Someone asked me once what it was like to have an addict for a sister.

I didn’t know how to answer.

Because it’s less about her being an addict and more about the loss of breath that comes with the words that follow the question.

Like, how do you describe a tsunami taking out homes, killing babies, being reckless, this alarming, horrendous force that is unstoppable?

Because a tsunami is simply posturing as a tsunami. How do you blame and hate a thing that is just doing what it does?

How do you blame an addict that is simply doing…


I read once that grief manifests similar to love.

It starts as this impending nausea that is felt at the base of the gut and sooner or later transforms into a strange settled-ness in the soul.

Grief comes in waves. We know this.

I sat on the beige carpet of my dingy apartment almost ten years ago contemplating this wave notion. As an exhausted infant — Cohen, cried himself to sleep, I hugged my knees and watched the rain hit the front windows.

Waves.

Waves reminded me of the vertigo I had been feeling for months. The kind that starts…


Grief feels like fear but postures like love. This is why it is so hard.

Those are the words I wrote tonight.

I suppose so much of my life, probably like yours, has been spent quietly catching breaths and learning the appropriateness of reactions.

Insert hardship. Output — a million and one ways to answer life’s most difficult of questions.

“What does a cool and collected woman do in this moment, Mackenzie?”

Yes, my dear, do that.

Because isn’t this the longwinded and tired response that we are all left with– What do I do with my hands? What do…


Did you know you can make dinner without them there?

I didn’t either.

I sat and drank my cheap red wine. Maybe more than I should. Maybe a heavier pour than is encouraged. Somewhere a study is being done on women like me… I creak my neck.

That’s what women like me do… move our necks side to side and call ourselves classic women.

Classic — ˈklasik — adjective

“judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.”

The vegetables were reaching the perfect peak of flavor, crispness and heat. That’s what…


I’m like her. But also, I’m not. I hate to even compare but alas, we all do.

She’s poised and collected and pulls her hair into a beautiful top bun on her head. I take a deep breath. I notice her perfected white smile and sparkly two carot diamond that she fiddles with nonchalantly. I can’t help but feel squeamish there crosslegged on the asphalt in a suburban neighborhood in the middle of March. I’m sweating but the heat isn’t hot enough to justify the beads around my neck.

She’s like me. But in all truth, I spent last Monday…


I haven’t written in five months. When you’re a writer who finds themselves full in the words that are strung together and you neglect the very ache of your soul, creativity finds itself in a barren catacomb of infested nostalgia and grotesque shame. It becomes overgrown with neglect.

But the mundane has been my kryptonite.

I think I have feared the mundane ever since I walked away. Like most of us who have lived chaotic lives, the fear isn’t in the flaling — the fear is in the stillness. The still ache of knowing there is nothing left to fight…


The late night kitchen smelled of a typical chicken dinner with steamed broccoli and a leftover starch baked in the oven, there on a mundane Wednesday night. The air was hazy as I attempted to put the babies to bed. They squealed in delight as I chased them down the hall knowing full well I was egging on their little boy energy. I turned and he was standing in the kitchen humming the words to a Christmas carol while balancing each plate on his wet, callused hands aching of a tiring day at work. I would walk over and pat…


I fell in love with you the way you fall in love with a perfectly rolled cigarette. Always unsure at first… but it’s a bit enticing and curiosity plays into the crevices of insecurity. All the facets fit beautifully, methodically and brilliantly. Each part knew its place. Rolled carefully. Then sexy, unrelenting fire sparks and lights every single part in faithful unity.

Inhale self medication and exhale exhaust.

Over and over. Until ash forms a small mound on the floor. Yes. Eight deep inhales and my perfect cigarette has etched its way into tar on my lungs.

I wake up…


Lewis tells us that grief feels like a lot like fear. I suppose if grief is the seafaring ship and the rising waters below us ache with the weight of our choices, fear instinctually becomes the driving force and sail. When one is lost at sea and there isn’t land for miles and miles in any direction, our natural tendency is to cry out to be seen.

Grief is the disoriented ship and I’m an incompetent mariner clearly yawing and lost at sea.

I suppose after the murderous screams and lashing out for days on this ship one either accepts…


I drove into the corner of the dusty parking lot. The slim space covered by shade on the excruciating hot summer afternoon. My heels hit the pavement as his tiny hand grabbed the back of my wrist. Fidgeting his little fists into mine he casually expressed…

Mama, you’re wearing a new ring. Are you married now?

My brisk step turned into a slow saunter and suddenly the world moved in slow motion. The ache of my back dripped of sweat and I creaked my neck as I turned around to find his face.

I fell down to look at him.

Mackenzie

Free People Rule Themselves

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