The Value of Voice-only in Times of Stress

By Kimberly Dark

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

During this time of social isolation, many of us have turned to video calls to resume not only our work, but our social lives, yoga and fitness classes, family connections. We may even be using video calling when we used to just make a quick phone call, or even connect online. We’re spending a lot of time sitting in front of the computer looking at other people — and looking at ourselves.

It’s time to question whether more is better when it comes to connecting across distance, and during times of duress.

After two weeks of social…

By Kimberly Dark

Big things are happening in the world right now. Fear takes us out of the present moment, which for most of us, is not actually dire. (Seriously, it isn’t; you’re reading an article on an electronic device.) Anticipation and uncertainty suck, but they are not the same as struggling to breathe, needing medical care and not finding it, physical hunger with no food, etc.

I’m reminding you of this distinction because it’s vital for how we take care of ourselves right now. The range of specific things that people fear is varied — health, financial and emotional…

Should anyone be forced to save a life against their own will?

Photo: Photography is my life/Getty Images

Does it actually matter when a new life begins? A person capable of having an abortion is already life in process. That person is a decision maker — the only one tasked with the very complex job of stewarding the contents of a uterus that may or may not contain human potential. If abortion involves sloughing off some unwanted cells in the interest of health and well-being, or if abortion involves ending a life, that decision belongs to the already formed human to (and inside of) whom those things are taking place.

You might be surprised to learn that, as…

By Kimberly Dark

Image via Unsplash (Christopher Campbell). This article was originally published in Ravishly.

I learned years later that my mother went to the church for guidance.

Why wouldn’t she? She was part of that congregation, and her parents attended as well. It’s only natural that she should bring a difficult family problem to her community of faith for input — but wait. The problem involved her family and the church and potentially criminal behavior that could cause scandal.

Was it still appropriate to rely upon the elders of the church as guides?

When I was in my early twenties, rebuilding a long-broken relationship with my mother after years of tension…

By Kimberly Dark

Reprint from Full Grown People.

In my dream last night, I was raising a child in some kind of low-class addict’s crash-pad. She was a toddler. After I woke up on a mattress on the floor to the sound of some guys setting up a keg on the front lawn, I found her in the bathroom. She’d crawled up onto the sink for a little bath and had her clothes ready to put on. She couldn’t have been more than three. She was doing a good job looking after herself.

I realized I didn’t know what had happened, or if I’d tended…

By Kimberly Dark

This poem appears in “Love and Errors,” a book of poetry by Kimberly Dark.

The Story He Can Understand

“Let me talk to him,” I said to her
as the officer walked around to her side of the car. A busy road on a hillside –
the kind that would wash out in a bad storm,
send little tin shacks tumbling,
foul people’s drinking water for weeks.
To our left, the ravine and barbed wire fences
that separate the nation and city of my birth
from the nation we are in.

We were driving too fast,
though offense is not entirely necessary for being stopped in this border city
by notoriously…

By Kimberly Dark

From Kate Champion’s newest show, Nothing to Lose. Photographer: Toby Burrows. This article was originally published on HuffPo.

It happens every month or so. Look, I’m not bragging, but it happens. Some young person — often a woman — tells me that I’ve changed her life through storytelling. She says that she never thought of herself or her behavior or her identity or her body “that way” before. What’s more, she’s ready to think and connect and strategize with others and change the fricking world. Because hey, we’re all changing the world, whether we do it consciously or not. Our lives matter. Just listening to stories about the body in culture can move us deeply…

By Kimberly Dark

Reprint from

Three times this week, I witnessed yoga students, over age fifty, struggling into poses that likely sent them searching for the ice-pack later. One man and two women. I’m guessing about their ages; over fifty is erring on the side of youth. The first student was new to my class and based on the way she scrutinized my posture and gaped with disbelief when she couldn’t do what I was doing, I would put her in the category of “people who think they’re failing if the fat lady does something they can’t.” During my decades of yoga…

Food foibles across the generations…

By Kimberly Dark

Image from Mouths of Mums. Article reprint from BEDA.

It’s weird to have a mom who doesn’t diet. That’s how my son grew up.

He told me that when he was small, he didn’t even know I was fat. I weighed between 280–315 pounds during that time. To him, being fat meant having a big belly and I didn’t have one, so he just didn’t notice that I was… different. And I was active. I was his mom, likely invisible in familiarity. When he commented on this recently, he wondered aloud whether families who tend to be fatter ever speak to…

By Kimberly Dark

Photo Credit: Gina Easley. Reprint from Full Grown People.

If you’ve ever felt certain you’re not lovable, come on over. Sit by me.

I was walking up the steps toward the bank. The sun was hitting the glass door so that I couldn’t see inside. I guess the woman coming out didn’t see me either and — bam — the big glass and wood door clocked me in the face. I stumbled back a bit, head throbbing. We both said, oh shit, and she apologized and I shook it off, got on with the day. …

Kimberly Dark

Kimberly Dark is a writer, sociologist and raconteur working to reveal the hidden architecture of everyday life, one clever story, poem and essay at a time.

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