All posts filed under: Literary Journalism

The 2017 Diaries: GE17

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but today is the General Election here in the United Kingdom. As an American/EU national living (and working, and paying taxes) here, I can’t vote. But I have paid close attention to this election. And this election is giving me literal chills. Actually, it made me cry. I queued up outside a local public school to vote for Hillary Clinton on a chilly November morning last year. I was ecstatic. Elated. I was voting for the first woman president. We, as a country, were standing on the edge of a wonderful, new, exciting world of possibility. We were about to take a massive turn. And we did, but not for the better. I cried every day for a full week following the US election results. I cried with my friends, I cried with my mentors, I cried with my mom and my uncle. I cried on the bus on the way to work, at work with my coworkers. I cried. A lot. When I relocated …

Take it From Me – Oh, Comely

I am a professional listener of music. Years of practice in self-isolation, my headphones lost beneath a mass of curls; hidden – during class, on walks, in the locker room at swim practice. Before technology had caught up with my sleuth listening capabilities, I carried a disc-man around in a knit turquoise bag. I could fit three jewel cases inside with it. Each day, three different CDs. One morning, a classmate nicked it off a bench and hid it. When I realised it was gone I burst into tears in front of our entire middle school. Sobbing, I searched for my homeroom teacher to fix this egregious trespass. Only when the disc-man was safely in my hands did the crying stop. I was 12. I should have been embarrassed, I was embarrassed by nearly everything – but I wasn’t this time. Music was everything. Read more…

Fire and Water – Oh, Comely

My mom went into labour on the evening of 22 July 1989. It was the last of a stretch of inordinately hot days, the kind that make the Manhattan skyline waver against the clouds. I do not know if you could see the stars that night. She was 37 years old, and was in labour for 22 hours. On 23 July, at 6.08pm, I was born. A Leo. I’m no great believer in horoscopes. I find the platitudes to be self-soothing. One more way that we absolve ourselves of responsibility for our actions. I never met an Aries I liked – I’m a Capricorn so it’s no wonder we don’t get on. We toss our hands up to the heavens and blame the stars for our misfortune – mercury is retrograde; the moon is full. Read more…

IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Was Groped at the “Pussy Power” Rally at Trump Tower – XOJane

“I would quite honestly bet a large sum of money that this shrill liberal harpie is talking unmitigated BS.” A few days ago, I broke the cardinal rule of internet journalism: I read the comments. I’m usually good at avoiding that cesspool. As a freelance writer, I know better. But this time it was different. This time, the article wasn’t by me — it was about me. The story this commenter was referring to was my “claim” that I had been groped at a rally outside Trump Tower on Tuesday, October 19. As I read the full comment, I felt my heart beginning to slam against my chest. I don’t mind being called a liberal harpy, or shrill. (Though, if the commenter knew me, they’d know my voice is actually fairly deep.) What enraged me was the ease with which my claim, my story, my voice, was dismissed. I can’t quite start off my story by saying I was “minding my own business,” which is what a lot of my friends who’ve been groped can …

It’s A Wonderful Life, When Lived In Between

I‘ve always liked putting down roots. Perhaps it stems from the fact that until I was nineteen, we never owned our own home. Perennial renting isn’t uncommon in New York City. By virtue and happenstance of my birth taking place in New York City, this is the first place I put down roots. My family, best friend of 22 years, and countless more friends and experiences I have all thanks to that city. I have bemoaned the gentrification of St. Mark’s place, the whitewashing of Nine Points, the never ending construction on the Gowanus. I feel NYC in my blood – it has made me who I am, and that is the reason I feel so comfortable leaving it. Because it is my home, I can always go back. This may be me taking it for granted. The roots I have in this city stem back generations, cover decades of friendships, deaths and births. They exist, as perennial as rent-stabilised lease agreement. “Some people, as they move through their lives, rediscover home again and again. Some …

Finding my Kindred Spirit – An Ode To Claudia Highbaugh

Last weekend I found myself sitting in front of a fire, drinking a glass of pinot noir with a good friend and mentor. It was a languorous Saturday evening. She turned to me and said, “you know, we had very similar childhoods.” The woman I was lucky to be sitting across from was Dean Claudia Highbaugh. For those who haven’t attended Connecticut College, or Harvard or Yale while she was there, this will mean nothing. Those fortunate enough to know Claudia might burst out laughing. Because on the surface, Claudia and I are nothing alike. She’s black, I’m white. I was born in 1989 and Claudia was born, well, before that and grew up in the tumultuous era of the Sixties. She believes in god, I don’t. I am tall, she is short. She’s from the South Side of Chicago and I’m from Greenwich Village, Manhattan. I am a student, she is a teacher. Claudia Highbaugh occasionally teaches a freshman seminar at Connecticut College. This was how I met her; I, an unsure, unstable young woman in a …

Sophie Walker and WE Party: London Mayoral Hustings – Evening Standard

The mayoral hustings offered Sophie Walker, the Women’s Equality Party candidate, a chance to step into a public forum and she showed that she sees London from a different point of view. Women are half of the population, and within that we are also made up of minorities, so I think Ms Walker could have shown support for intersectionality (the study of overlapping social identities). This was implied in her answers, such as when she discussed how transport needs to be user-friendly for mothers who may not own cars or when she spoke about the pay gap — including women who work part-time because they can’t afford childcare. These undertones of inclusivity are a step in the right direction, and Ms Walker needs to address the needs of specific women for her rhetoric to turn into policy. Women are made up of many subgroups and her participation last night showed her astute understanding of this. When she said “the WEP will make London better for everyone”, I think she truly meant it. Originally Published in the …

Being Half A Jew, Reluctantly

As a pre-teen, I didn’t often tell people I was Jewish. The frizzy hair, the glasses, the freckles, and braces – those were enough to contend with. Not that being Jewish should have been something to contend with. Yet in my adolescent mind, despite my liberal New York City upbringing and United Nations International School education, it was. Even in college, being Jewish was something I joked about. “This half of me is Jewish,” I would say, drawing a line down my face, indicating the left half. By then I had tamed my hair, gotten contact lenses, embraced my skin, and lost the braces. Yet my ancestry was still something of an ‘otherness’, something I wasn’t as willing to embrace, or to wear. Growing up in a half-Jewish half-Italian but completely agnostic family has its perks; we celebrated all the holidays. We lit a Menorah and had a Christmas tree, enjoyed Easter Egg Hunts and Passover Seders, without ever attending church or synagogue. I loved Matzoh and equally so the feast of the seven fish on Christmas eve …

#Manterrupting is Real, and it Happens on the 253 Bus to Hackney Central

We all know buses are strange places, where strange things happen. No matter what city you live in, this seems to hold water (at least, my experience in life has taught me this, unless of course it’s raining really hard. I’ve been in leaky busses…) I also love using the bus – I find it a lot nicer than hurling through a dark tunnel in a stuffy underground carriage. For city commuters, there is an unwritten code of behaviour (don’t lean against the poles, don’t put your bags in an empty seat, let the pregnant lady or elderly man with gout sit down) but somehow manterrupting hasn’t made it into the rule book. I spent last night at the cinema with my close friend and flatmate Emma. We’ve lived together almost two years, and know a lot about each other’s lives. We share things – from the deeply emotional to politics to what we had for breakfast. Last night, our bus ride home was passed by talking about our lives – our relationships, my visa, her job, how we …

sisterhood: an association, society, or community of women linked by a common interest: fighting the patriarchy!

I count myself lucky in many ways – I grew up in Manhattan, went to the United Nations School, was part of a diverse swim team, and have traveled a fair bit. I get to write about those experiences and, for the most part, I have my voice. I was raised very, very well. I am privileged in many ways. When I was 10 my best friend was Joelle. We spent almost every afternoon at each others apartments. We did our school projects together, rode the bus together, and had dinners with each others families. As we grew, we fell apart – as a lot of kids do – but have managed to retain a friendship via Facebook (we are in different countries, now, so Facebook is one of the only options). She recently posted this on her Facebook: “Feminism is not solely based on gender based oppression. Women of different races, social classes, and sexual orientations are included in this conversation. To be a feminist requires a great deal of fine tuning of what …