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Content warning: Abuse and domestic violence

I’m angry at evangelical Christians, even though I was one.

But there is a tightrope to walk: on the one hand, I have left evangelical Christianity behind completely and entirely, with no plans of ever going back. There are many others I know who have done the same. On the other hand, there are others I know and love who are still involved in that world and that culture.

Writing, I’ve come to realize, is how I can channel this anger and resentment into something productive and powerful. But when I write, my intention…

Photo by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash

“So what do you believe now?” a friend asks me over a dinner of chicken fried steak, buttery rolls, and mashed potatoes dripping with gravy.

I finish chewing my food and pause for a few moments to formulate my response. “I’m still Christian,” I say as I stare at the ceiling. “But I don’t buy into 99% of what people think Christianity is.”

“Like what?” he follows up, attuned to the uncertainty in my voice.

There’s a laundry list of items that go through my head. As I’ve made a life for myself — away from church, away from Christian…

I recently read Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive. I stumbled upon this book when I was flipping through the non-fiction section of the library, so I put myself on the waitlist. A few weeks later, I got the email saying that it was available, and I downloaded my copy.

I want to dive more into this book because there’s so much I want to say: about it, about myself, about depression and anxiety. But I know that will take time and energy and emotional labor that I’m not ready to expend yet. In lieu of that future blog post…

Policy change for America.

I absolutely cannot stand the way anyone talks about collective trauma, especially mass shootings. Before I wrote my master’s thesis, I had always observed strange tropes and formulaic language but didn’t know what to make of them. But writing my thesis has changed the way I consume media and political speech in the aftermath of such events. If you look closely, you’ll notice some patterns. Here, I’ve condensed some of the biggest takeaways from my 114-pg. thesis so that you can learn better strategies for talking to and with those who’ve experienced trauma:

1. Don’t call survivors “heroes.”

This seems…

Colorado flags in Larimer Square.

To live in Colorado, it’s basically a requirement that you love dogs of all shapes and sizes. Coloradans love their fur babies so much that you’ll find plenty of dog-friendly restaurants, breweries, hikes, and events. If you want to get out and socialize but feel heartbroken at the thought of leaving your pup behind, consider checking out a few of these places:

Avery Brewing Co.

This is a combination of everything Coloradans love most: craft beer, yard games, good food, and dogs of every shape and size. First and foremost, Avery offers some of the best local beers you can…

Peekaboo is my co-pilot.

Adopt don’t shop. It’s a great way to encourage potential pet owners to opt for a dog from a shelter or rescue instead of a pet store. Adopting or rescuing a dog can be a very different experience compared to buying a puppy from a breeder. But there’s nothing like the pride and joy I’ve experienced from giving my dog her forever home.

When I adopted my dog Peekaboo, a yellow lab mix, she was roughly 2 years old and had severe anxiety. The adoption coordinator who worked at the rescue alluded to the fact that many people had completed…

Street corner memorial for Aurora theater shooting on July 20, 2012. Courtesy of Getty Images.

I had woken up to several frantic texts.

Are you ok? Text me. Call me. Please let me know that you’re safe.

Much to my mother’s chagrin, my phone was on silent, as it usually was. But when I finally did wake up, I checked my phone in a blurry haze and dialed her number as soon as I realized that something horrible happened.

Several news alerts had popped up alongside the text messages on my phone. Multiple conflicting headlines about a shooting in a movie theater. The number of injured or dead varied depending on who had published the…

Kelsie McWilliams

A writer, editor, and teacher who loves dogs. I read and write about trauma of all varieties because we as human beings can do better.

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