Category Archives: Personal Essays

What Alanis Morissette Taught Me about Life

By Karen Petree

Alanis Morissette performing at Terminal 5 in New York City in 2012.

June 13 marks the twentieth anniversary of the release of Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, and like many a thirtyish year-old woman, I know I wouldn’t have made it through without the rock star my mother used to say sounded like a yodeling hippie.   But Alanis taught us it was okay to be angry, information that got a lot of us through our teenage angst.

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Just Looking

By Karen Petree

2048px-Stroop_Report_-_Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising_06bHe’s not looking at me directly, as if he’s too afraid. But I don’t want him to. I stare at him apprehensively where he’s frozen for 1/100th of a second in 1943.

Though there are a lot of people in the group of Jews being evacuated from the Warsaw Ghetto, the boy is the main subject. He is a bit separated from the group, many of whom seem terrified but caught up in the action of moving. His hands are held in the air as if he were playing the bad guy in a child’s cops-and-robbers game. But his expression is one of dark fear most Americans are unaccustomed to seeing on the face of a child.

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I am not skinny.

By Karen Petree

IMG_3478Fifteen years ago, I might have been delighted for another woman to call me skinny.  Thank God that changed.

I’ve met skinny.  It’s the street kid in Cambodia who doesn’t eat regularly or the grown man who does 12 hours of manual labor for half the calories the average American consumes in a day. I am not “skinny,” and when you tell me that I am, it is not a compliment.  It’s insulting that you would point out to people that you think I am so vain that I make a conscious effort to shun the food I am so blessed to have access to.

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