Over the last year, the men I’ve dated with anything resembling seriousness have all been twice my age, which makes them older than my father. They are all smart, complicated, and notable in their field. Shortly after this year’s New Years, when I began seeing the most recent man, a woman I hardly knew told him to beware of my vagina. She called me a “climber,” and said I was trying to fuck my way up the artistic and social […]
Chicago is a big city with 2,836,658 people and among them a big gay population, but there are ways to winnow down to smaller subsets, whether it be neighborhood or gym membership, favorite bar or a book club. Well, if you are a crystal methamphetamine addict, like I was, your world gets much smaller.
My office consists of glass paneling, two computer screens, a tiny plastic Yoda figurine, and a thin blanket of self-defeat. I’ve been in this office for eight years, six years too many. My name is stenciled in the glass door: Kelsie Huff, Director of Marketing. I never thought of myself as a stencil.
At twenty-three I was a widow with a three-year-old son. When my son was about eight, I got a teaching job in Grayslake and we moved to Libertyville, two towns I had never heard of until then. Acting as both mother and father was no easy task and sometimes I made mistakes. Most of my mistakes were unimportant and are long gone from memory, but the incident I tell here is one that will stay with me as long as […]
“Nice” comes to us from Megan Stielstra’s new book Once I was Cool, published by Curbside Splendor and on sale now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Powell’s. Picture it: 1998, I’m 23 years old and sitting on the front couch at Tuman’s, which back then was called The Alcohol Abuse Center. Remember the Alcohol Abuse Center? Right?! The most miserable, disgraceful, health-code violating awesome fucking dive bar in Chicago? Seriously. Fireside Bowl, Liar’s Club, the Mutiny on Western where I once saw a […]
It’s hard to be black when you’re ethnically ambiguous. But what’s not is to hear the questions “What are you?” or “Where are you from” a lot. For me, the answer’s kind of complicated. It goes a little something like this: So, my dad’s from Cape Verde, that’s a country in Africa. But he grew up in Cape Cod, that’s in Massachusetts. My mom is Jewish, she’s from New Jersey. She didn’t like being a Jew from New Jersey so […]
This is a story about Christmas. This is a story about my grandmother. This is a story about her unfailing trust and love. But it’s mostly a story about what a badass she is. December of 1996, my sophomore year of college. It was the last day of finals before Winter Break. I was excited to go home and see my family and take a well-deserved rest from the rigors of my class load. But I was more excited to […]
True personal stories are usually about the people who tell them. This one, though, is a story I only thought was about me. Later, I found out it was someone else’s story, though I’m the one left behind to tell it. PART I – Lincoln Square I live in Lincoln Square. When I say that these days, you know what that means. It means Sulzer Regional Library and the renowned Merz Apothecary and Meyer’s Deli, with its delightful rooftop garden. […]