Really, we’re making it harder than it needs to be.

Photo by Lefteris kallergis on Unsplash

We’ve been hearing it everywhere for years, from health gurus to documentaries to Medium articles — “stop eating meat.” But increasingly, reducing meat intake is less part of a special interest group and more the solution posited for several global problems we’re seeing right now — the burning rainforest, the dying earth, the billions of abused farm animals and increasingly polluted water resources across the United States, to name a few.

The sad thing is these situations aren’t hyperbolic, and the meat industry is directly linked to each of these problems. “Stop eating meat” can no longer be dismissed as…

The UW System is hindering public discourse, unfairly punishing one of its chancellors, and slut-shaming a woman for her history in pornography.

UW System President Ray Cross looking displeased about a different situation, but I imagine he had a similar expression when he found out about Nina Hartley’s visit to the UW. Image credit: M.P. King — State Journal

In early November, sexual freedom advocate and adult film actress Nina Hartley (also a Registered Nurse) visited the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse to deliver a lecture titled “Fantasy versus Reality: Viewing Adult Media with a Critical Eye.” She was invited to do so by the chancellor of UW-La Crosse, Joe Gow, as part of UW-La Crosse’s celebration of Free Speech Week, the topic of which was sexuality (see here for more on Gow’s statement on his reasons for booking her).

I…selected Hartley because I hoped she would remind our students, faculty and staff that sexual behavior should only involve consenting…

My life as a woman with a nonbinary sexual identity

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“I know you were flirting with that guy at the bar,” Jade said, her teeth clenched into an underbite, her criticisms almost fighting their way out of her mouth, through the spaces between her teeth.

“His name is Dee,” I said. “And no, I wasn’t. He’s just a friend.”

Whatever you say, she said. But I know that I’m just an experiment.

We were standing in my kitchen, drunk, fighting. This time, over a boy from Cuba I’d been friends with for two years, whom we’d run into on New Years’ — strangely, at the local lesbian bar, Sass. We’d…

Tips for when you want to pump iron but also want to stay away from other people

Photo by M. Plt on Unsplash

Recently, I decided to return to the gym after quite a long hiatus from going. I’ll spare the comprehensive list of what took me so long to get back into it, but one of the main hiccups was that I didn’t want to be around other people. A significant part of my not wanting to be around other people is because of straight-up social anxiety, but it was also because I prefer my gym time to be a solitary activity, which can be hard to accomplish when faced with hordes of sweating, breathing, grunting people.

In the two months or…

TW: Violence, suicide, self-harm

Jo, my roommate, sits topless on a wooden chair. Our other roommate, Jackie, sterilizes a needle by holding her lighter under it. She jabs it into Jo’s nipple and Jo screams — Jackie can’t get the needle through. She pushes it and it is slow; the nipple resists, resists, gives. The needle slips through and so does the hoop. Soon, the other is done too.

Jo laughs.

I turn away.

Badass! One of them cheers. Jackie smiles, admires her work. She wants to become a professional piercer one day. She has nipple piercings herself and various…

Why we should stop focusing on quantity over quality

Photo by Simson Petrol on Unsplash

NaNoWriMo. NaPoWriMo. Write x amount of words, poems, or pieces per day. We’ve all probably thought about it or done it. Big name writers tell us to do some kind of version of churning out writing on a daily basis; indeed, Stephen King recommends writing at least 1,000 words a day in his “memoir of the craft,” On Writing.

There’s no inherent problem with writing challenges that push us to get writing, and this isn’t an article against them, per se. …

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

I’ve been trying to get back into working out (with varying levels of success) for almost three years. I hit my fitness prime in undergrad — I never turned into a star athlete, but I exercised daily, sometimes several times, and went to the gym at least 5 days a week, even if it meant only going there for a half an hour on my lunch break. Granted, I was a little obsessed with it — all of this fit-ness grew out of an unhealthy body image and an eating disorder that also saw its prime in my undergrad days…

How land that I hated became my greatest comfort

Photo by Pablo García Saldaña on Unsplash

“Looks like we’ll be living in Tumbleweed Valley,” I said, elbowing my brother on the way to our new home.

Yeah, he said, talk about Sagebrush City.

L.O.T. — Land of the Tumbleweeds!

The nicknames we had for what’s more commonly known as Nevada were endless — a coping mechanism, I’m sure. My parents had given my brother and me two weeks’ notice that we’d be moving from our hometown in central Wisconsin to Minden, Nevada, which I promptly renamed “Satan’s asshole.”

We were moving to take care of my grandfather, whom I’d only met maybe twice up until that…

Image by Benedicto de Jesus on Unsplash

About a week ago, my brother called to tell me my mother swallowed a handful of anxiety medication while on FaceTime with him.

This is how stressed I am, she said. I take these pills five times a day. Everyone feels sorry for your father. Nobody understands my pain or feels sorry for me.

She was chain smoking and crying and holding the bottle in her hand. Then she swallowed the pills. She didn’t take enough to warrant a hospital visit. I’m not even sure she took enough to do any damage to her physical well-being. She did, however, definitely…

“I can stand almost all of the changes,” my dad said, “but the music. I can’t handle the fucking music anymore.”

We were talking on the phone, and I could hear the music, as if his phone was right next to the stereo. It was ‘Lil Jon this time, and I could hear my mom yelling “shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, EVERYBODY!”

“She’s in the other room,” he said, “and this is with the door closed.”

Nichole R

Copywriter, ex-academic, amateur cyclist, literature enthusiast. Hides behind a pen name.

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