There aren’t words strong enough to express my disappointment in you

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Senator Scott,

Last Wednesday, I watched in horror as the center of our democracy was attacked, not by an outside power, but by our own citizens. Citizens whose rage had been stoked since the November elections by dangerous rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and bald-faced lies. We’ve seen video footage of an officer of the law bleeding from the mouth, crying for help as he was crushed by the raving mob. We’ve seen members of the free-press harassed and threatened, their equipment trashed as they were trying to report. We’ve seen…

Creative Nonfiction Contest Finalist

What I learned about the human soul

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Ever had your ass groped by a felon? In my early twenties, I began a career in social work in Atlanta. One of my assignments involved delivering care packages to prisoners. I also worked with street prostitutes abused, worn-down by age 20, selling the only asset they had for $20. In an after-school program, I distributed meals for kids who had no other access to food. The kids would bite each chicken nugget then shove the rest in their pockets for their next meal.

And then, at the over-confident age of 22, I was assigned to a small community program…

My experience handling swamped coping mechanisms.

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I am a high-strung person. My son used to tell me I’m loopy. I’ve managed my anxiety well for a couple of years now. However, this nightmare circus over the last couple of weeks is swamping my coping resources.

Everyone is feeling the high-alert, high-stress reality right now. For those of us who struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, the current situation can be immobilizing. Consider the symptoms of a panic attack: weakness, sweats, chills, chest pain, and trouble breathing. The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever and shortness of breath. The overlap is disturbing during a panic attack.

If you…

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After midnight, the dark mist began to swirl between the trees. Bleeding tendrils of ink, the fog sought its prey. Creeping silently, it spread from the shrouded forest. Dread, as if palpable, crawled ahead of the eddying shadows. Exuding malevolence, the midnight haze poured towards the sleeping town.

Flowing soundlessly, it blanketed its first victim. Garroting the drunken fool, who should have known to stay out of the night, the mist left the lifeless man without a sound.

Horror, though, overtook the sleeping denizens as screams of the soon-to-be-dead shrilled the warning of the skulking terror. …

Tips to conquer your activism burnout

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Pleas for our attention, for our involvement, for our contributions bombard us every day. Nonstop appeals can be stressful and overwhelming. Stop climate change. Reduce your carbon footprint. March for women. Avoid single-use plastic. Protect immigrants. Feed the children. Call out dog whistles. Call out everything! OK, take a deep breath.

These causes are important and most people want to help. We want to do our part, but these constant demands can cause overload and burnout. The anxiety is real because we cannot be all things to all causes. …

The hard lessons I’ve learned after my son died by suicide

Photo of Alexx by the author, Kimberly Read

Head cold! Who has a head cold in July? I’d been in a grumpy funk for a couple of days and felt like crap. I ignored July 4th and slept. I note this because I had been off the grid for a couple of days — a couple of days I will regret for the rest of my life — when I received a phone call from my daughter. She was on a road trip in California with her boyfriend, but her dad had called her because he couldn’t reach our son, Alexx. …

A silly rhyme on loosing time

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I sit in a meeting examining my thumb.
I’ve grown so bored my brain is numb.

Hour after hour the speaker drones on.
I look to the ceiling and stifle a yawn.

I prop up my head and drift to sleep.
Kitty moves in and takes a peek.

She looks around at the sea of dead faces,
dying to show them her feline graces.

She leaps to a table with a growl and a hiss,
shaking her fur, she takes a quick piss.

She bounds to the front, tail swishing with glee,
laughing within as the delegates flee.

Pushing papers…

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I walk through the cemetery on my way to visit your memorial. I pass the Jewish gravestones with their little rocks and pebbles. Pebbles of memories, of prayers. The Camissa’s elegant sarcophagus is black marble. There are always new flowers here. And a statue of an angel. It’s been a couple of months since I last visited. My guilt is heavy. The guilt seems more comfortable than the soul-aching loss. I will never not feel this ache. The Becker’s memorial, The one that shares your nook in the hedge garden? They haven’t had a visitor in the three years since…

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Hey, will you help us move next weekend?
are you kidding
do I look like someone who should be lugging your couch
hire a moving company
Sure. What time do you need me there?

Do you think you could drive me to the airport … during rush hour?
i’ll be stuck in traffic for two hours
don’t you have an uber account
maybe a lyft
Can I pick you up a little earlier?

Can I borrow your car?
under no circumstances will i lend you my car
Can you have it back to me by lunch?

Will you babysit my…

Kimberly Read

BA in psychology, MBA, PhD in higher education. Dedicated to the exploration of knowledge and lifelong learning.

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