Boxing Shadows

Tonight, I attended the first of a three-part, once-a-week self defense class for women. We learned the hammer fist, the alligator roll, and how to center our weight when kicking at someone’s knees. We learned the grab-smash-twist, a defensive action involving genitals. A man’s genitals, obviously. We learned how to shout No! and Stay back! and how to ask someone to stop touching us assertively.

“There’s no obligation to say please or thank you,” the instructor reminded us. “I know as women, we’re trained to be polite. But you don’t have to.”

It makes sense that a class like this would be for women alone. The implied perpetrator is men, and having men in class would likely be unnerving to some of the attendees, all of whom need all their nerve to square their shoulders, look another person in the eye, and say, “I don’t like your hand on me. Remove your hand. Don’t touch me.” The bashful, cherub-faced teenage girl I was paired with certainly did.

It makes sense that the imaginary perpetrator would be male, too. 90% of adult rape victims are female; females ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault; women ages 18-24 who are college students arethree times more likely than women in general to experience sexual violence. ¹ Women are much more likely to be victims of intimate partner violence with 85 percent of domestic abuse victims being women and 15 percent men.² The statistics are staggering and easily Google-able. And in most of the circumstances, the perpetrator of these crimes is a man.

But still, as I was mule-kicking an imaginary attacker and screaming No! Stop! at him, I suddenly remembered:

Cut to a mom and her adult-sized son walking along a neighborhood street lined with local businesses on an overcast but dry January day. Picture the boy – a long, lean fifteen-year-old white boy in a baggy sweater and a newsboy hat he just got for Christmas. He towers over his 5′ 5″ mom, who is admiring him quietly, marveling at her baby son all grown up, but like a great Dane puppy who doesn’t quite realize he’s big now.

As the boy and his mom cross a busy intersection, an attractive young woman, maybe in her 20s, drives by and honks at the boy, waving. The mom notices the interaction and notices, too, as the young woman suddenly realizes that the boy isn’t who she thought he was. Mistaken identity. The mom laughs.

“That woman thought you were one of her friends,” she says to the boy.

The boy blushes and laughs a little.

“She thought you were a grown up man!”

“I don’t really want people to think I’m a grown up man,” the boy says to his mom, casually.

“Why not?” she asks.

“Because then someone’s going to make me fight them,” he tells her, emotionless. Just a fact that he means earnestly. A foregone conclusion.

The mom loses her breath for a second. Is this what becoming a man means?

Is this imaginary man who is going to make this boy-who-looks-like-a-man fight him the same imaginary man who I’m learning to shout down or smash the nose of?

He is not my son. But maybe he looks like him. He’s a man in the shadows, just out of view, who looks like any man.






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Needless Heroics at the Sex Club

I recently went to an alternative lifestyle (i.e. sex) club for a free erotic art show. This was not my first time at such a club, nor my first at this specific one. I’ve been (mostly) passively circling alternative lifestyle events and groups for a number of months now – since spring when I began to consciously take healing from sexual trauma on with focus and intention.** You can learn a lot about your sexual triggers when you step out of the typical Western sexual paradigm and into one that lives by different rules – the primary ones being 1) “no” means “no,” 2) overt consent is mandatory, and 3) don’t be creepy. Continue reading

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Let’s See How Fast This Baby Will Go wins at MIFF

I am so thrilled to announce that Julietta Boscolo, writer and director of the Australian short film adaption of Let’s See How Fast This Baby Will Go, won the Emerging Australian Filmmaker Award at the Melbourne International Film Festival this weekend.



And the incredible Liv Hewson, who plays me in the movie, was praised for her mesmerizing performance – which, in my opinion, should win every reward ever.




Liv is a force. Watch her, she’s going up, up, up. You can catch her currently as Abby Hammond on the Netflix original series Santa Clarita Diet.

And, of course, I must extend a word of appreciation to producer Eva Di Blasio and the rest of the brilliant cast and crew of this gorgeous film. Thank you all so goddammed much. You have no idea what a powerful experience this has been for me. And there isn’t enough gratitude in the world for how respectfully you handled this very personal story.

To my friends and family: I know you’ve been asking how you can see this film, and the answer is: I don’t know. It is licensed only for film festivals and I’m unclear whether there will be a wide release after it’s made its rounds. I promise to keep you up to date.
With love,



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Recovered Memory: The Hunger for Mangoes

It’s late June 2017 and I’m standing at a kitchen sink in Antioch, California cutting mangoes. It’s dark and cool in our rented Airbnb, but outside it’s dry and bright and pushing 100 degrees. Much hotter and drier than our hometown of Portland, Oregon nearly ever gets. Our curtains are drawn, the AC is on, and my twin teenage sons are sweaty puddles on the floor, vegging out after 3 days and 900 miles on the road. Our family road trip – easily the best, happiest time we’ve ever spent together.

We’ve just settled into our new digs, having first checked in, unloaded, then run to the nearby grocery store for supplies. Fruit was on sale, so I bought as much as was reasonable, plus a little. An entire array of delicious, fresh fruits: mangoes, bananas, grapes, and oranges. A welcomed change from the heavy, nutrient-poor road food we’ve been eating. We got the groceries inside, then my sons tapped out, stripped down to their skivvies, and positioned themselves over AC vents on the floor. They’re not used to this heat. But I am.

I’m running a sharp knife over the soft green and yellow skin of the mango in my hand, gently peeling it away to reveal the bright orange meat underneath. The sticky juice runs slightly between my fingers as I peel. Suddenly, I’m hungry for this mango in a way that surprises me. Then, I remember. I remember the hunger for mangoes.

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Roots and Wings

“There are two things children should get from their parents: roots and wings.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

They don’t let me write publicly about them anymore. Not by name, anyway.

They captain their own ship now. Except, of course, when they’re steering toward rocky cliffs or when the sea is too stormy, then I get the helm. Or maybe they are the stormy sea, and I’m the boat. Or vice versa. Or maybe I’m a particularly powerful head wind, slowing their course, and try as they might they can’t steer out of it.

Or maybe I don’t yet know what metaphor to use for this time in our lives – a time when our intertangled selves, which has been one whole thing for so long, are disentangling into three separate beings. (But whatever the metaphor is, it involves being yelled at for “all my rules” in the same thirty minute period that I have to remind them – yet again – not to leave trash, dirty socks, and a pile of papers strewn over the living room floor.)

All of which is to say: they’re teenagers now. Continue reading


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