An Absolute Legend Spills the Tea

all images from author’s private collection!

In the back corner of The Carlyle is an imposing figure. Tall, dark, and inscrutable, he stares down at his phone with a heavy, furrowed brow. As I approach, I take in the dark brown cashmere sweater and pleated Armani pants, clearly tailored for a perfect fit, and notice the empty tables around him. After years of searching, people are reluctant to get too close to Bigfoot.

Coming off of a book tour and the end of a long week hosting SNL, he still looks fresh, though there are a few twigs caught in his neck hair. …

Photo by airfocus on Unsplash

At the best of times, teaching is a demanding, stressful profession. Without factoring in COVID-19 and all of its challenges, it ranks in the top 10 of careers that can cause depression. Prior to the pandemic, 30% of teachers were leaving the profession within their first five years. Many teachers were already facing a lack of resources, violence in their communities, and the threat of school shootings (almost 500 between 2015–2020) aside from daily, classroom-oriented demands. Many teachers can’t even afford to live in the same community where they teach. …

Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

During this insane moment in history that’s full of so much fear and pain, we’re inundated with a cacophony of negative voices on our televisions, in the news, and on our social media feeds. But for many of us, that’s not where the negativity ends. We’re also facing the voices in our heads — voices of shame, loathing, and anxiety.

We usually cultivate these voices early, and like mockingbirds, they mimic a familiar voice from our lives: a cruel caregiver, a traumatizer, an abuser, or authority figure sitting in cold judgment. …

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

We’ve been kneeling on necks

For far too long

No consequence

But the benefits

of another’s blood.

We can twist statistics

To prove this point or that

Cite Facebook shares

and conspiracy theories

But over self-interested shouting

and privileged defenses

all I can hear:

“I can’t breathe.”

George Floyd is one man

in a long line of many

And black and brown

women and children, too

And we’ll hear the excuses

and rationalizations

But all I can hear:

“I can’t breathe.”

Remember Rodney King

The batons lifting and swinging

A battering ram into Ms. Taylor’s home

A toy gun, a…

Photo by Candid on Unsplash

My mouthguard has seen some shit. It’s been through medical tests, cat illness, and job changes. But it’s never been through a pandemic.

Normally, it sits in its tiny case until a few days before a dentist appointment when I wear it so I can honestly say yes when the hygienist asks me, “Have you been wearing your mouthguard?” But when phrases like “death toll” and “respirator shortage” started circulating, it made a powerful and timely comeback.

When my kid’s school shut down, I started waking at 3 a.m., dreaming that my music teacher was going to make me do…

Living through Covid-19 uncertainty with heightened risk

Photo: Jeenah Moon/Stringer/Getty Images

I have MS. My disease-modifying therapy is Rituxan, a chemo drug used off-label for MS. The idea is that, with an autoimmune disease like MS, if you can wipe out the offending B cells, it might slow down the progression of the disease — put it into remission. At least for a while.

When I was diagnosed and chose this DMT over two others (they all suck, though I’m grateful for them), I knew I’d be immunosuppressed and just resigned myself to being sick all the time. Though I did get sick now and then, it was far less than…

Photo by Billy Pasco on Unsplash

I keep clutching at the grassy shore

Wet blades between my fingers

As the current tugs my flailing legs.

If I let go, I will smash into the rocks,

Sputtering in the icy froth.

If I let go, I’ll be pulled

Away from what I know

To where I can’t touch bottom.

If I let go, I’ll miss the land,

The sturdy sureness of the trees,

Stillness under the sun.

But when this grass gives way

And I have no choice

I’ll be swept along, struggling

To find my footing.

So when I let go, I won’t deny my fear.

Since it’s 2020, and my resolution was to share more of my secrets to success with the world, I tell you — with the greatest humility — I have a new hip because of a fall in a middle school gym shower.

I know that can come off as stuck-up or superior in some way, but that’s not how I mean it. In the end, it’s just the truth, and I own it. If other people see it as bragging, that’s their problem.

The actual slip and fall was spectacular: A chubby, half-naked 12-year-old armed with only two hand towels…

Photo by David Pisnoy on Unsplash

As Chelsea pulled into the employee section of the parking lot, she let herself listen to the end of ”Down by the Water” by PJ Harvey. She sighed and turned off her car. The heat had caved in on her now that she wasn’t moving. She leaned over to crank up the passenger window, but it stuck. She was thinking about her girlfriend Angelica and how they’d be going to college soon and then what would happen? They’d been fighting and working around the edges of breaking up, but they couldn’t seem to do it. …

Photo by Tammy Strot on Unsplash

Hey, there! Yeah, you — can you just stop for a second? Alrighty, I guess scampering and twitching doesn’t prevent your ears from working.

Here’s the thing, you know there‘s no snow coming, right? I mean, I see you scuttling from here to there, your little claws scraping against the bark as you scramble up that tree, and I thought maybe you didn’t know that it’s not going to get cold, and the food will just keep coming! So, you can slow down and take ‘er easy.

Maybe it’s hard to know all of the other squirrels are scooping up…

Christine Elgersma

Writer, editor, teacher, queer mom, lip synch enthusiast, backseat forensic psychologist & paranormal investigator, car-singer, survivor of an ‘80s childhood.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store