TW/CW: addiction, drugs, shame, NSFW language

My little brother’s official cause of death was a drug overdose. His blood, which had stopped being a stream, contained pure fentanyl and two prescription anti-anxiety medications for which he had no prescription.

Photo of a combat-style boot on a person’s jeans-clad leg

Like 80% of people with opioid substance use disorder (aka addiction), he started out using prescription drugs before moving on to illegal ones. Actually, given that the state of Ohio recently legalized medical marijuana, he technically had only prescription drugs in his body when his consciousness passed from it. I think a lot about the sort-of irony that he’d still be…


We’ve all been there — it’s almost noon, you’ve been tapping at your work laptop for three hours, and your stomach has given way from growling to vague nausea. But wait — you haven’t gotten groceries in a week and a half, and you really want to save that last clean fork for dinner, because there is absolutely no way you’re going to muster the energy to pre-wash and load your crappy old dishwasher before today’s three-hour afternoon nap.

A sink and counter full of dirty dishes that are still molding in the author’s house.
Dirty dish mountain author’s own

But there’s a lot of work left between you and the respite of sleep, and your empty stomach is already starting…


I’ve always been a bit of a raincloud. When I was a little kid, adults described me as “somber.” I went 90s-goth as soon as I hit puberty. I’ll admit to thinking that it’s fun, at least sometimes, to be dark and dramatic.

I take absolutely no joy, though, in the utter bleakness of this election. The knowledge that our best possible outcome this November (or December, or January) is Joe Biden makes me genuinely sad and weary. If you, like a lot of my friends, are a proud Democrat, hearing that probably pisses you off. It probably seems utterly…


I haven’t said much of anything online, really, about Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the light of her passing. Despite my rabid, loud feminism, the only thing I’ve said or shared on social media is this retweet:

Mona Eltahawy tweet reading “if your democracy is jeopardized by the death of one person, then your democracy is a failure”
I mean…

RBG herself, to me, is kind of not the point. As a Supreme Court Justice, she’s kind of a mixed bag: yes, of course it’s awesome that she fought for gender equality and reproductive rights. It’s a great achievement to have been the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court. She also has a crap history regarding people of color. Just a few…


“Not EVERYTHING is about capitalism.”

I could hear the frustration in my friend’s voice even through text message. I don’t remember exactly what we’d been arguing about; I just remember her clear irritation. Listen. I know that my leftist rantings get on my liberal friends’ nerves. I know that it’s super annoying to hear me break down literally everything to class struggle and resource inequity. Believe it or not, I try to restrain myself. Please know, though, that I’m also often frustrated in these conversations. It depresses the hell out of me that something that seems so logical and screamingly…


I’m a leftist. I wear it on my sleeve. Though my beliefs have evolved over time, I’ve believed in the tenets of Marxism for actual decades, since before I learned the term and what it meant. When socialism and other forms of leftism started to gain steam in the public eye, I found myself Googling all sorts of terms I was unfamiliar with — and if I have difficulties, I’m certain that my poor liberal friends don’t know half of my jargon. It’s for my liberal buddies and newly budding leftists that I lovingly present this glossary.*

I’m going to put these two key terms up front:

A handmade sticker reading “No war but class war” on a utility pole.
Photo by Kayle Kaupanger

Leftist: someone who…


Thirty years ago, Peggy McIntosh wrote her now-famous essay, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. Though the essay is three decades old and the conversation around privilege and oppression has advanced, it still rings true: she, like me, carries a sort of Bag of Holding every bit as imaginary yet helpful as one in a video game. I’m represented in art and media, security guards don’t follow me around retail stores, and I don’t have to worry about how my race will be perceived in a situation like giving a work presentation or job interview. More importantly: every single time…


My brother existed for 10,027 days.

Almost exactly two weeks ago, down to the hour, his breathing slowed to a stop. His heart, metaphorically big but tangibly healthy, ran out of oxygen to pump to his organs. The electrical impulses that coursed through his brain, telling his body to function and ostensibly making him the person he was, ceased.

He was 24 days away from the birthday he shared with my mother. He was turning thirty, which he was fretting about — maybe more than I realized. It’s one of the things I ask myself every day, if I should’ve…


CW: gym culture, diet culture, body negativity

What I mean is, I don’t exist. I’d say “I’m a unicorn,” except that I’m not currently romantically involved with a male/female couple. Let me explain:

I lift weights. Not a lot; just your bog-standard three workouts a week. The leg press machine is my favorite, because it makes me feel like a badass — I do burnouts starting at 350 lbs. (157.5 kg) for as many reps as I can stand (usually only 10 before I have to reset the weight stack to 330) and work my way down as my legs…


CW: food, dieting, weight, body image, fat stigma

I’m beginning to think that the majority of people don’t actually like the holidays. There’s a sea of blogs, articles, and podcasts on “how to survive the holiday season,” from budgeting tips to ideas on radical self-care to talking points designed to shut down Uncle Donny and his bullshit.

If you go a few pages into your Google search, however, there’s another subset of these help guides: how to navigate the feasting and diet-culture aspects of holidays. Big family dinners involve eating large quantities of things you normally don’t consume in front…

Rachel Baird

Cottagecore communist. Intersectional feminist. Obsessed with issues of food and body, socioeconomic class, gender, and sexuality. she/her

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