They say whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; I wish I could agree

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Photo by Jacob Granneman on Unsplash

They say whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Resilience is a learned skill, and like any other skill, practice makes perfect. By surviving adversity, you get better at withstanding future hardships. I want to believe this. I have to believe this. I’m a queer Jewish woman, a survivor of sexual assault, and for much of my life I was a starving artist. I have been through so much. After this past year, I can safely say that we have all been through so much. And I’m still here. If you’re reading this, then you are too.

When I think…


2020 did not destroy us. 2021 will not save us. Only we can do that.

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Photo by Michael Marsh on Unsplash

The first time my wife and I separated — before I moved back in, before things fell apart again, before our marriage finally ended — I went to stay with a friend on the opposite side of the city. I would sit out back every night, perched on a step of the classic Chicago wooden staircase, chain smoking Marlboro Lights and talking to myself. I went over our past conversations again and again: the sweet nothings, the terrible accusations, the many, many promises. The names…


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Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash

This article describes the dynamics of abusive relationships and references PTSD. Please be mindful of this, and gentle with yourself, before reading further.

America is in an abusive relationship with Trump. This sound bite has been repeated countless times since Ibram X. Kendi’s article was published in 2019, and the events of this year have brought it into even sharper focus. His gaslighting didn’t just begin in 2020, though; it started long before the 2016 election. The slogan “Make America Great Again” is a perfect example. It’s right up there with “No one will ever love you like I do.”…


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Photo by dapiki moto on Unsplash

The names in this article have been changed.

The American economy is in trouble. We’re experiencing the worst downturn since the Great Recession. Although the number of applications for unemployment is slowly falling, it’s still at a historic high. Experts fear we’re facing a “jobless recovery,” in which certain industries simply never come back, forcing workers to change careers. This would significantly slow the economic growth we so desperately need.

And the pandemic is far from over. With the colder weather, people are moving their gatherings indoors, and new cases are on the rise. We are apparently facing a choice…


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Photo by Sushil Nash on Unsplash

We are in the middle of a pandemic. People from all walks of life, from the highest government officials to those experiencing poverty, are refusing to wear the masks that would keep us all safe. Protests against police brutality are erupting around the world. The American government is openly using fascist tactics by instituting unconstitutional curfews, sending unmarked vans to capture civilians and hold them without charges, and engaging in voter suppression. Political discourse between the world’s most powerful figures is happening on social media. Reported instances of domestic violence are rising. …


Learn about the #BLACKLIVESMATTER movement.

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Photo by munshots on Unsplash

As the Black Lives Matter movement gains momentum, you’re probably asking a lot of new questions. Many allies are wondering where they should donate and how to start learning about racial in/justice. A lot of us are unable to be on the front lines of the protests, and we’re looking for other ways to support systemic change.

I’m using this platform to lift up the voices of some powerful anti-racist thinkers and organizers. …


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Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

You survived sexual assault. You can survive this too.

This article contains a definition of triggers, and detailed descriptions of the process of healing from assault. Please be mindful of this, and gentle with yourself, before reading further.

Life after sexual assault is incomparable to whatever came before. Being denied sovereignty over one’s own body opens the door to a pervasive, insidious fear. If you were once trapped in a dangerous situation, however briefly, how can you trust your own judgement in the future? This kind of trauma never goes away; all you can do is learn to navigate it.


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Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash

Right now all of us are overwhelmed by fear: for our nation, for our planet, for our families, and more. Perhaps the most pervasive fear I’m seeing at the moment, the one that transcends everything from economic status to political belief, is the fear of getting sick. Every time I sneeze, I have a split second of panic. Is this the coronavirus? Is this the beginning of the end? This fear isolates us even more effectively than social distancing. We don’t want to burden each other by talking about it, so we remain silent.

For all their benefits, the overuse…


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Photo by samer daboul from Pexels

We don’t know how long this quarantine will last.

There are so many things to be concerned about right now: our families, the state of American healthcare, the economy, the future of education, the list goes on. It’s easy to discount the impact of intangible, existential issues when we’re faced with such overwhelming practical obstacles. We retreat to logic and tell ourselves that we are strong. We are battening the hatches to weather this storm together. We will take as it comes. These things are true. But no logic can instantly transform our relationship with time.

I’ve written before about…


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Photo by J W on Unsplash

This article contains detailed descriptions of PTSD and C-PTSD, and briefly references interpersonal violence. Please be gentle with yourself, and mindful of your spoons, before you read on.

All of us experience some kind of trauma. While it’s important to avoid the oppression olympics — that is, the act of competing with each other to determine who has suffered the most — it’s also true that not all trauma is created equal. A cancelled college graduation ceremony is different from the death of a parent. The loss of a limb is different from a lifetime of poverty. It’s not for…

Hannah Friedman

Writer, Massage Therapist, & Activist.

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