Things That Are Easier Than Teaching Seventh Grade

Before Christmas, my boss and I joked that we were just slouching towards Bethlehem – simply focusing on getting our bodies in one piece to the holiday break. This year of teaching has been difficult and taxing due to the huge learning curve of first year teachers. In a fit of desperation, I made a list this year about all of the things that seemed easier than herding preteens into learning things:

Continue reading


Paulina’s Guide to Podcasts

I really can’t say this gently, so I won’t even try: You have a problem with if you only consume media made by white people.

There is no way that your views on race, gender, class, ability, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, or ability will ever change if you live in an echo chamber. Instead, you must challenge yourself to listen to others’ experiences. The best way to do this is to make friends with people who are different than you in some way. Another great way to supplement your intersectional education is to listen to podcasts that are produced by people of color.

Though I certainly support reading works by diverse authors, and watching shows that tackle issues of identity, I think the podcast is a unique media form due to its aural nature. You hear folks telling their own stories in their own voices, and you often feel a stronger emotional pull than you would get from words on a page. The more you learn a show’s inside jokes, recurring segments, and host dynamics, the more you come to identify with the showrunners and love them as if they were your friends. Podcasts are a free way to become absorbed in someone else’s world, which is essential to breaking down prejudices.

Do not worry: I’m not saying you have to delete Radiolab, This American Life, Welcome to Night Vale, or How Stuff Works. Just consider adding a couple of my humble suggestions to your list.

Continue reading

If You Want to Be My Lover, Here’s a Reading List

Here’s the thing: if you want my future, I really, really, want you to take my past into account. Truly, the Spice Girls do not describe my philosophy on relationships in any way shape or form (except for the whole thing about getting along with my friends. Baby, Posh, Ginger, Sporty, Scary, and I can all agree on that). Just to show you how much this song won’t work, I’ve provided an annotated version for you:

If you want my future, forget my past duly noted that this statement is erroneous

If you wanna get with me, better make it fast actually, I’m ok with a slow burn

Now don’t go wasting my precious time is getting with someone ever a waste or just another learning experience? 

Get your act together and we’ll be just fine all applicants must have their act somewhat together in order to audition for the position of my lover

Now that we’ve determined that late nineties British pop songs are not an accurate instruction manual for loving me, let me provide you with a better sense of where I come from and what I need.

Continue reading

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

I have to state the obvious: the capitalist, misogynist, racist, transphobic, xenophobic, ableist, elitist state did not originate with Donald Trump.

Instead, activist organizations have been working for years to eradicate injustice in the world. Some of you have seen Jezebel’s comprehensive list of organizations that need your support.

I’d like to highlight some non-profits that I have personally donated to you may have overlooked. Smaller local non-profits need your love and your dollars. If you are able to, I hope you consider making a donation today, and truly putting your money where your mouth is.

Continue reading

A Serenity Prayer for Interactions With Exes

Ah, Jess Mariano. Classic Ex.

I totally forget where I read this, but I believe it to be true: You’re truly over an ex when seeing them is not an event. You run into them, and you do not feel the need to text your best friend “SPOTTED: DOUCHENUGGET* IN FRONT OF THE LIBRARY” or having an internal monologue that sounds like “SHIT SHIT FUCK NOT PREPARED FOR THIS AVOID EYE CONTACT OK I THINK SHE’S GONE NOW PHEW.” They’re just a person with a face. That you saw.

*This is an actual nickname that I have used for a person. I’m quite proud of it.  Continue reading