Malls Matter.

Over the past few years, I have been watching malls slowly close and disappear. For every one mall being repurposed or changed to keep up with the times, four are in some state of closure, decay, or demolition.

I grew up going to the mall. That's just what we did back then. Akron is not suburbia. I grew up in a particularly rough, blue collar part of town full of people whose families had migrated here from Appalachia. Everyone was poor, and a lot of us came from very unstable homes. 

My home life as a child was pretty intense in a lot of ways, so I spent a lot of time alone. I didn't know how to make friends, mostly because I was ashamed of being poor, and how our house looked. Sometimes the utilities would be off. The house was in shambles, both physically and metaphorically. I grew up with a mix of emotional abuse paired with emotional neglect. I didn't know that was possible, but it is.

My neighborhood never, ever felt safe to me. I had a lot of creepy neighbors (…

The past ten years, part two: You gotta heal.

The shirt I'm wearing in this photo from 2014 is where the name Flannelkimono was born. This was my favorite flannel shirt from high school. I bought it at the Hills Department Store directly across from Rolling Acres Mall. My best friend Kim worked back in the layaway department, so I would go up there and hang out with her. I lived in this flannel my entire senior year, and probably the two years following it. There are quite a few pictures of me from the early nineties wearing this flannel.

When my mom got sick, I was tasked with going over and cleaning her house, and cleaning a lot of the bullshit she had stuffed into every corner of her house. When I was cleaning out her closet, I found my beloved flannel. When I slipped it on, I was immediately shocked by how oversized it was. At the time, I was at least 80 pounds heavier than I had been in high school, and I could wrap the damn thing around me. I laughed and told my sister "it's kind of like wearing a flannel kim…


Over the past couple weeks, an alumni group has surfaced on Facebook for people who graduated from the same high school as me during the nineties. There's talk of an all class reunion next summer, and someone started the group to get the actual event planned. I joined the group, because I'm always happy to see big events being organized for my old hometown.

The group became a spot where people started posting photos from back in the day, as well as photos of their lives now: kids, vacations, and what they've been up to since graduation.  At first, it was fun. Then, it started jogging bad memories. I started to think about the insecure girl who vandalized my car at the mall, because she didn't want me talking to her boyfriend (who was my ex, who until that point I was on good terms with). I started to think about the guy in the hallway who told me I'd be prettier if I wasn't so fat.

I have revisited this time in my life already safely in my therapist's offi…

The Darkness.

I have been depressed pretty much my entire life. When I was a teenager, I remember sleeping entire days away. I'd skip school sometimes so I could stay home and sleep. I would medicate with food. As I got older, the depression got worse, but also had access to alcohol. I come from a long line of alcoholics, so it was a natural progression. I've never been an alcoholic, but i've definitely gone through periods of hard drinking and blackouts.

I didn't go on antidepressants until my mid-twenties, after a friend of mine called my mom because they were worried about me. I didn't have insurance, so I had to go to a local sliding scale clinic, for therapy and for meds. There were more than a few misdiIagnoses. I was put on a mood stabilizer that made me have a seizure at a temp job I was working at the time. I've gone on meds, off meds, and on again.

Two years ago, I had a breakdown that tore my entire world apart. I lost my job, and eventually lost my unemployment…

Mental Health: You Gotta Be Tough

I wrote an entire blog post about how I forget things constantly, and then Blogger forgot the entire entry, a love story in three acts:

Act 1: The one where she tells you how she forgets things, and why she forgets so easily

Act 2: The one where she reads her writing, and for the first time in a long time, was happy with the end result

Act 3: The one where the world weary Gen-Xer is disappointed, but overall, still into it. But not into the idea of a rewrite, so she relies heavily on a clever writing style to make up for it. She remains an enigma. Everyone wins.

Insomnia and TV Families

Life over the past year has been hectic, and the past few months have been no exception. My mom has been in and out of the hospital, again. She was able to stay in a local hospital, because it wasn't transplant related, but it was still a hospital visit. I also take her to get her blood work done every Monday, so that the transplant team can monitor her levels and watch for rejection.

I've also hit some milestones with therapy, and find myself again potentially at the end of my therapy visits for now. In addition to feeling like a different person mentally, I'm also adjusting to my smaller body. All of these things cause anxiety, and some nights, I end up wide awake. I tend to watch TV instead of writing or doing anything creative, because that only feeds into my insomnia. The last time I wrote at night, I was still up at 7am, and had to be at work a few hours after that. That was fine when I was young, but I'm over 40 and don't bounce back like I used to.


A Eulogy For My Hometown

I just got back from a long weekend in Chicago. I was there to spend some time with my friend, and to see a few Hold Steady shows. It was nice. I loved the neighborhood my friend lives in now; it was quiet, and the buildings were old, and reminded me of the neighborhood I currently live in.

Coming home after each trip has become increasingly harder. I spend the next few days completely depressed that I'm back in my hometown, where I've lived my entire life so far. Only this time, I actually sat and thought about why I feel so awful when I come back to northeast Ohio.

I've been in Akron my entire life. I was born at Akron General Hospital 25 minutes before Thanksgiving in 1976. I grew up in a blue collar, heavily Appalachian expat neighborhood near a few lakes and not much else. My family never worked in the rubber industry. My mom's family came to Akron for a job in insurance. My dad's dad worked for the electric company, I think. I'm not sure what brought his…