Instead of setting goals, I’ve been accomplishing structure.

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

On January 1st of this year, I took an important note from at least a handful of folks on my social media feeds and decided that I would not begin 2021 with lofty goals over which I had no control.

I’ve always considered myself ambitious — when left without structure, I fill my days with micro-challenges and give into a healthy sense of restlessness. Because of this eagerness to constantly be doing something productive or new or out of the norm, 2020 hit me in a weak spot I’d always known I had but had never faced.

My creativity thrives…


To Love in the Time of COVID-19 and the Online Spaces in Which We Now Reside

Photo by Heather Miller on Unsplash

Minutes ago, I watched one of my older cousins marry his funny, bright-spirited girlfriend in a sparkling gold and navy courthouse, streamed over Facebook Live.

The video that will live on the platform for as long as Zuckerberg and the groom’s father allows is itself as short as the ceremony: a swift nine minutes and forty-eight seconds.

Just a little over two years ago, prior to the world perpetuated by coronavirus-deniers and misinformation, I promised my love much in the same way. …


Ask: Do I Need a “Coach” or a Therapist?

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

“I think something here is rubbing against one of your values in an uncomfortable way. Let’s look at your exercise and see if we can pinpoint what it is.”

A year and a handful of months ago, I would have been having this conversation in a small, likely over or under-air-conditioned office in midtown Memphis, Tennessee. …


Life Did Not Flash before My Eyes

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

I do not believe a single story where the lead’s life flashes before her eyes moments before death. Not anymore.

A handful of friends and I took off to the Outer Banks for a weekend-long party in the middle of the school semester I dubbed my “quarter-life crisis shindig.” Turning twenty-five in the middle of graduate school meant that each of the people who took the time to drive from DC to the chilly, fall beaches of North Carolina were doing so more to celebrate our friendship rather than take an honest vacation…


Carley,

I love this short piece! I've gotten lazy about keeping a notebook since finishing school, but as I've really tried making personal essays more of a habit, I think this will be some writing to which I'll return again and again! I use a Rocketbook personally, with the colorful pens. I can store my thoughts digitally really easily this way if I want, and it's thin enough to fit everywhere!

Thanks for this,

Jill


“Still, Life” is a short film that makes the mundane monumental

Photo by Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash

This afternoon, only mildly caffeinated and on the brink of exhaustion from the ever-relatable screen time dilemma, one of my best friends sent me a text:

Since you are my film friend, I wanted to share this with you…it’s just so good

An attached link hosted by The Bitter Southerner brought me to an out-of-focus image of a pregnant white belly, its owner laid back and cradling it with decided ease. This image is one I’ve been thinking about more and more since getting married nearly two years ago. …


It may not seem like posting your thoughts online can make a difference, but the effects of this habit may surprise you

Photo of Toph provided by the author.

Back in April of this year, I published a short article about five of the things adopting and raising a feral dog (Toph) taught me about life as a caregiver and recipient of unconditional love. That story hasn’t gained a lot of traction, and I wrote it thinking I’d look at it again every year or so around Toph’s “gotcha day.” The story was for me. I posted it publicly because I wanted a link to send to friends and family.

I’d had Toph for a little under a year at the point of publication, and my story walks through…


When you’re someone with boobs or a butt, there is no guidance.

Photo by Madrona Rose ⋒ pinterest strategist + business mentor on Unsplash

I can recall being told my shirt was too low cut for choir practice by one on my peers in high school. She told me that if her double-D breasts could be covered by her high-necked top I had no reason to be showing any cleavage.

We were sixteen, and it was a hot day in Memphis, Tennessee. I wasn’t about to concern myself with the gaze of others. …


We were still in the beginning of this thing. What did you discover?

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

In July of 2020, I published my book of positive, celebratory LGBTQ narratives. Amidst the chaos of mis-and-disinformation surrounding COVID-19, I struggled to convince myself that this community-centering work mattered.

A year ago I had no idea that this publication would grant me spots in writing conferences, connect me with amazing podcasters, and help me reevaluate and understand my own gender, sexual, and romantic identities on a deeper level. I also learned that I am interested in marketing, but not necessarily in doing that work for myself.

Jill Fredenburg

Author of LGBTQ+ Revolution 2.0 & occasional YouTube content creator 🏳️‍🌈 https://linktr.ee/JillFredenburg

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