My belief that I’m fundamentally flawed is so deeply held, I’m not sure who I’d be without it

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Photo: Oscar Wong/Getty Images

Here is a non-exhaustive list of things that I believe are wrong with me:

  • I am lazy and I procrastinate.

This Is Us

How to support a grieving friend when you aren’t sure what to say

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Photo: Chanintorn Vanichsawangphan/EyeEm/Getty Images

Since my mom died about a year and a half ago, neither friends nor family have seemed to know how to support my grief. Even people who have lost loved ones before seem uncomfortable around a person grieving.

After the first few days, people stopped even mentioning it; they stopped offering to “do anything,” and they stopped telling me how sorry they were. I watched my generally wonderful partner struggle with how to console me in the weeks after my mom died. He would visibly squirm when I brought up my mom, her death, or the aftermath; his most peculiar…

I’ve never been congratulated more for doing less

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Photo by Mel on Unsplash

“Will you marry me?”

“What’s this?” I said, holding a too-small silver ring that looked nothing like one I would have chosen. It took a moment for it to sink in that this was it — this was one of those Life Moments people talk about, and I needed to sit up straight and pay attention and think of something memorable to say and why hadn’t I penciled in my eyebrows today?

“What do you mean?” he laughed. We were sitting outside a small café just off the scenic path we were biking. It was my perfect engagement scenario: no…

Advice I wish I’d gotten when I was busy getting old

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Illustration: Lee Kyutae

The first time I thought I was too old to start something, I was in high school.

I was learning Spanish and really taking to it. The thought of traveling to another country and being able to communicate in a foreign language was incredibly exciting. So when I got the opportunity to live with a host family in Spain one summer, I asked my parents for permission to go.

There was only one problem: My aunt had read an article on how the language pathways in the brain shrivel up and die after age two, and she presented this to…

Britney Spears was my teen dream. Then we both had our own meltdowns.

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Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

Gather ‘round, younger Millennials and the as-yet-unnamed generation that followed (they’re not really sticking with Gen Z, are they?). Let me tell you about a girl I used to know.

Britney Spears was my frenemy. I both idolized and hated her for having everything I did not, for being everything I was not. She was my rival, although there was really no competition. Throughout my teens and early 20s, she outdid me at every turn: In 1998, the year I became a freshman at a Catholic, all-girls’ high school, she was suddenly very famous for being the hottest Catholic school…

I spent my teens and twenties looking for a boyfriend; now I just crave female companionship

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Credit: Malte Mueller/Getty Images

The so-called Golden Girls of Prospect Cemetery are four women, immigrants who came to Canada from villages along the Carpathian Mountains. They supported each other through the hardships of their adopted home, including children, dead husbands, xenophobia, and the Great Depression. When it came time to plan for the end of their lives, they told their families they had it figured out: They bought a cemetery plot with room for the four of them, side-by-side. Annie, Pauline, Anna, and Nellie are all laid to rest under a single pink granite tombstone marked FRIENDS.

This story was the first time I’d…

My perfectionism had informed every aspect of my life, but none more so than my desire to be beautiful

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Credit: Vectorpower/Getty Images

“Hey, beautiful.” He barely paused to let his greeting land on me.

I was standing in a train station vestibule, exhausted—emotionally and physically. I had just completed a grueling train ride, my second of the weekend. Fellow train passengers walked through the vestibule and out into the cold, most without seeing me. But then he did.

I perked up. I was not flattered. But a man was complimenting my appearance, so I was obligated to acknowledge him. And not just acknowledge, but express gratitude. My focus was no longer my approaching Lyft; it was acknowledging this man. It was expressing…

Let your grief ruin Valentine’s Day

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source: terradosol, via: pixabay

Here’s where I’ll start: Valentine’s Day is stupid. I know, that took a lot of guts to say.

It’s a day that celebrates romantic love, perhaps the most over-celebrated thing in history. And it doesn’t just celebrate it, it amplifies its worst aspects: the emphasis on a type of love that really only exists for the first 2–6 months of knowing someone, and the pressure to not be alone, even if you’re actually fine with it.

Instead of the focus on occasions, make your partner, your family, and your friends feel loved and appreciated…

Asking the spirits for answers after losing a loved one

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source: secondfromthesun0, via pixabay

In the immediate aftermath of my mom’s death, I saw a counselor for talk therapy. I had emailed this counselor from my mom’s hospice bed the day she died. The end was near and certain, but we didn’t know when; in my first email to the counselor, I said I needed help processing my mom’s terminal illness. By the time she emailed back, I was able to reply with updated goals: I needed to process my mom’s death. Her response was sweet and reassuring, and well, I was desperate. …

Understanding my mom, her death, and the beloved family pet she ushered on to what’s next

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source: 4924546, via pixabay (CC0)

Her things are piled up in my dad’s basement. The basement of the man she divorced over twenty years ago. The man that cut the lawn of her abandoned home for months while we waited for the bank to foreclose. The man that brought his friends and coworkers to the house to take canned goods, TVs, cleaning supplies; all abandoned, like the house.

She didn’t mean to abandon the house this way; suddenly, with dishes in the sink, leftovers in the refrigerator. Her final diagnosis, incurable cancer, came just three weeks before she died. Although we knew for those entire…

June Beaux

I write about death, relationships, family, and grief.

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