Featured Stories

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74: I’m the Hero of This Story

I’m the Hero of This Story The whole story is about you. You are the main character. ~Don Miguel Ruiz “Listen, I don’t think you’re happy here.” I looked up at my boss, Chip. “I beg your pardon?” Chip smiled coolly. “I said that I don’t think you’re happy here.” It was my turn to at least try to smile. “What makes you say that?” Leaning against a bookshelf, Chip crossed his arms over his chest. “Let’s talk over coffee.” “All right,” I agreed. I followed my boss to the break room where he poured each of us a cup of coffee. “What’s up?” I managed to ask after taking a very small sip of the bitter coffee. “I’m thinking that you’d be much happier working somewhere else.” “Just what are you saying? Are you firing me?” Chip leaned back, hands flat on the tabletop. “Firing you? Of course not. I’m just suggesting that you look for another job where you might be happier.” “I don’t understand why you think I’m not happy. I am happy, Chip. I like my job, and I need my job.” “There are a ton of jobs out there. I’m sure that if you applied yourself, you’d be able to find... (more)
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75: It Started with Potatoes

It Started with Potatoes The best protection any woman can have… is courage. ~Elizabeth Cady Stanton It was late afternoon as I left the schoolyard. My friends and I had been engrossed in our favorite pastime — skipping rope. Even though it was December, we never felt the cold. The time slipped away from us. Most of us were latchkey kids, and our moms didn’t worry about us as long as we came home by dark. That day, we’d been having so much fun we never noticed that the sun had gone down. At last, we said our goodbyes and went in different directions. I had about a six-block walk through the streets of Long Island City, New York. Although I was shy socially, I was not afraid to walk alone, even after dark. I knew my way around. I came this way every day while attending junior high. New Yorkers do not let their fear or anxiety show. If we act like we know what we are doing, we are less likely to be harassed. But that evening, leaving the schoolyard, I got an eerie feeling. Something was wrong! The streets were deserted. I didn’t see a soul, but I felt I was being watched. From between parked cars, a shadowy figure suddenly emerged in front of me. It was a man about fifty — old to me — in a black raincoat and a blue baseball cap. I tried... (more)
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76: Road Trip for Rights

Road Trip for Rights We are struggling for a uniting word, but the good news is that we have a uniting movement. ~Emma Watson Hearing my name called, I stepped timidly up on stage. Steadying my trembling hands on the podium, I looked out at the sea of people and wanted to run away. I swallowed hard to settle the knot of nerves in my stomach. Just remember all it took to get here, I thought. With an audible quiver in my voice, I dived into the speech that I had practiced diligently, nervous but determined to make my voice heard. It all started with an impassioned essay I had written in response to a radio host’s slanderous comments about women’s rights. I had stayed up for days researching information to discount his claims. Content with the final product, I submitted it to my boss for publication. Later, I received a text stating that he chose not to publish it because the subject matter was “too controversial.” Hurt, I replied impulsively with my two weeks’ notice. In a blind fury, I began submitting my story to others. Someone had to be willing to get it out while the subject was still topical. After days of “thanks, but no thanks” responses, I felt disheartened. No one was interested in a no-name writer with a strong opinion that... (more)
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77: Young and Brave

Young and Brave I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. ~Rosa Parks As a mother of four children, I spend a lot of time thinking about the values I want my children to find important. I want them to not only respect others, but also be brave enough to stand up for themselves when something is affecting their wellbeing or moral compass. I always hoped they listened as I got eye rolls and cheeky responses, but it was the day my daughter told me she was assaulted by her teacher that I realized just how important it would all be. A few days before Christmas break, I picked up my youngest child from middle school. When she got in the car, the usually bubbly girl didn’t say anything, and her head was hanging down. We started to drive toward home, and that is when she finally spoke. Through teary eyes, she said I would be getting a phone call from the principal that evening. My first thought was, What did you do? Then more tears started, and I could tell this was much deeper than a simple late-to-class or dress-code violation. My daughter told me the events of the day, and I was simply speechless. She had gone into the science room before class to ask a question. While standing at... (more)