“You Will Dance at the Wedding:” How Sobriety Allowed me to Experience all that I Dulled for 20 Years

Elephant Journal

Surprising Benefits of Vacationing

People are dancing in front of me, and I’m uncomfortable. Watching from the “all the single ladies” table, I can see the bride and groom cutting a rug to “Love Shack.”

I am about six months into sobriety, and this is my first wedding sans booze. I am self-conscious of most things to a degree I haven’t experienced since my teens (when I first started sneaking drinks at weddings). The thought of joining the group to do the conga feels like death.

The Life-Changing Benefits of Two-Minute Meditations

Tiny Buddha

I felt everything, from my lower back pain flaring up to tightness in my jaw where I clinch and carry my stress. With my eyes still closed, I rolled my shoulders and repositioned the pillow under my butt. Five minutes had passed, and I had no idea how I would ever make it to forty.

I opened my left eye to see if anyone around me was fidgeting as well and saw rows of people sitting in perfect, cross-legged lotus position with straight necks and relaxed jaws next to me.

I’m Still Dateable, Even Though I Don’t Drink

HuffPost Personal

We chatted for three hours over coffee on a foggy San Francisco morning. His bright eyes flickered as he told me about his recent hiking trip through New Zealand. I related, shared my own New Zealand travel stories, and fought the urge to imagine us rolling around in a large hammock off the shores of Papua New Guinea. I believed we would definitely see each other again and felt grateful to have met someone so easygoing.

Who Am I to Be Skinny?


I’ve fallen in love with NBC’s, This is Us. On the surface, This is Us is a show about a family. If you watch it, you will find this beautiful story has more to do with self-worth and how our relationships, especially with our parents, shape us.

The incredibly talented Chrissy Metz plays Kate, someone who has battled her weight since childhood. In Episode 13, Kate joins a weight loss camp. In a yoga-type class with her campmates, she bangs sticks in unison with the group on the ground.

5 Things that Help Us Get Right with Fear & Anxiety

Elephant Journal

I live in a rural area in Marin County, California, where raccoons frequently claw into garbage cans along the block.

Sometimes, I hear a mild thud in the night and know I will wake up to find tossed cans and hummus smeared across the driveway like frosting.

Last night, the thud woke me up at 3 a.m. and sounded louder than usual. Then, it continued in about five-minute intervals: a deep bonging sound followed by several quick ones.

My 40-Year-Old Face and Other Big Birthday Revelations


I spend a lot more time looking at my wrinkles these days. I’m certain my forehead and neck have acquired at least eight new half-moon creases overnight. Vanity sometimes drags me into old photo albums, where I flip pages reminiscing and coveting my “younger face.”

My friend Laura and I recently shared plans to celebrate our fortieth birthdays that land three weeks apart this month. When I asked Laura if she’d reflected on our milestone and the years leading up to it, she admitted, “I’m really obsessed with my face.”

Birthday Revelations

The 11 Things I Did NOT Need on My Trip Around the World


My Trip Around the World

My longest adventure lasted six months and brought a best friend and me through Costa Rica, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and Thailand. Like Cheryl Strayed's backpack in Wild, mine was way too heavy when I left.

Fortunately, it had wheels and could be rolled when needed. Six months worth of clothes, toiletries, and books simply made it impossible to zip the thing closed most of the time.

Navigating the Bumpy Road to ‘Published’


I’ve always visualized myself writing a book (said about 90 percent of the population). I just didn’t know what I’d write about until my life changed in October of my twenty-fourth year.

I watched live television coverage of the multicar accident for an entire day before recognizing my father’s Chevy pickup pinned between two semi trucks. A news reporter at the time, I narrowly avoided being assigned to cover the collision that killed my father.

The event, the way I found out, and our unfinished and sometimes tumultuous relationship altered me in a spider web of excruciating ways.

Bumpy Road

CrossFit Hell... of My Own Making


CrossFit Hell

"Quit fearing everything!" barks Aaron, my favorite trainer. It's 7 a.m., and I'm trying to conquer this 4-foot-high sit-ups contraption.

With both ankles hooked into holsters and my butt cheeks firmly planted on a shiny black cushion, I'm afraid to lean back onto nothing. So, I sit paralyzed, arms crisscrossed over my chest like a dead person, with Aaron staring at me.

"Seriously, Michelle. What are you afraid of? It's a sit-up," he says.

‘Text to Ya Later!’: In Defense of the Phone Call


In Defense of the Phone Call

Remember the days when you’d fall in love with someone and talk on the phone late into the night? Staring up at glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling, you believed those effortless hours of conversation confirmed you two were meant to be.

When the time came to hang up so that each of you could squeeze in a cool four hours of sleep, you’d play that totally not annoying “Who hangs up first?” game.

Honesty Still Exists, Even at the Auto Shop


Honesty Still Exists

My car guy, Dave, wears a curly brown ponytail that stretches down to his waist and glasses that kind of remind me of John Lennon. I found him through stellar reviews on Yelp. A free spirit, he’s undoubtedly the most unique mechanic I’ve ever met

Dave’s business looks nothing like your traditional automotive shop. Paintings of colorful swirls cover the windows on the outside of the building. Inside, Dave has eclectic posters with quotes and funny pictures hanging on the walls amidst countless plants and antique car parts plopped on the floor of the waiting area.

Always a Bridesmaid (11 Times)


Always a Bridesmaid

I’ll never forget my first time. I wore this drapey cream-colored promish dress. I think it involved a sash. At 21, I celebrated with the bride and other maids at some karaoke bar for the Bachelorette party. I gave the obligatory botched wine-soaked, half-crying speech at the rehearsal dinner. Headache pounding, I then miraculously made it through hair and makeup on the actual “big day.”

Walking down the aisle, gracefully carrying a carnation bouquet, I stared at my then boyfriend standing on the groom’s side fantasizing about our future wedding. A mere youngster.

The Too-Fast, Too-Soon Flytrap


Too-Soon Flytrap

A friend of mine fell in love. She declared it to the world through numerous romantic quotes and pictures she posted of her new boyfriend on Facebook. Their selfies show a couple beaming on day trips, hiking trails, and hammocks. The photographs, “likes” on each other’s everything, and “in a relationship” status are all too familiar. After knowing each other for a cool 11 days, my friend and her beau are happily stuck in the “too-fast, too-soon flytrap.”

Why Aren’t You Married Yet?


Why Aren’t You Married Yet

“Auntie Michelle, have you ever had a boyfriend in your life, ever?”

This question, from my godson, Makaio, could have sent me over the edge, but it didn’t. Kids cut right to the chase, and I happen to love this one so I couldn’t help but laugh.

Munching on French fries in the backseat of my car, Makaio stared at me perplexed. My laughter didn’t make sense to him, so he asked again.

“No, seriously, Auntie Michelle, did you ever love someone?” At nine years old, Makaio hasn’t seen me in love, because my last major relationship fizzled when he was just three.