A coming out story

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1.

“Google ‘How much sex is normal when married’,” Geoff said, one arm resting on the back of Tina’s chair, the other holding a tablet showing last night’s emails.

“Again?” Tina eye-rolled. “We covered that three weeks ago and with a post-birth angle the week after. What else have you got, Angela?”

Geoff scanned. “Asian women only?”

Tina snorted, quipped: “Shut up with the resident Asian problems girl BS. Want me to do math tricks next?”

Jess dropped his bag on his desk, spilled some takeout coffee as he sat down, “suitably writerly,” he thought.

Geoff grinned. “Look at him, there…


A first meet that lingered, and a second one, years later

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1.

Tri-tone. First one, then a burst, jumping on top of each other, the last one reverberating. No other app has that specific tri-tone. The sequence sounded like the typical opener of someone saying Hi and then sending multiple pics of themselves. Let’s hope this one had read my profile first, I thought then, opened the app, Jamie, 29, a mile away. Jamie had a face pic, good start, tortoiseshell glasses, open smile, a little bit of a patchy beard, white T-shirt, and nice arms. He looked the dirty kind of innocent. His pictures were the usual bare skin, but tasteful…


Fiction Friday

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1.

A single drop of sweat glistened downwards, catching the sunlight. Eric followed the curve of Nicky’s brown back with a gentle glance, from the bottom of his spine up to the golden fuzz on his neck. Nicky was working topless in the neighbor’s garden. They used to play together every day, now he was seventeen, worked out, and had a scooter. Eric stared straight ahead at a crack in the pavement, he didn’t dare to look over again, even from the corner of his eye.

A blue car drove up, all the windows down. “Come on then,” Michael’s mother…


Stanford Scientists have found out how video calls tire us out, and that women are more affected

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It’s been a slog, this pandemic, and there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Video calls are here to stay as the world of work is moving to a hybrid model of home and office. After a day on Zoom, or Teams, or Skype (is anyone still using Skype?), most of us will feel drained, often more than after a day in the office.

The numbers are in: Zoom fatigue is a real, measurable phenomenon, and women tend to be more affected. Standford researchers have looked done a study with more than 10.000 …


Fiction Friday

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He got up, a resigned smile, his “Bye” lingering, eyes examining my face, searching, hoping. A little jolt as he turned and walked out of the diner and a sea of grey winter coats washed him away. I’d touched my cell, just to light up the black rectangle. A few seconds later, it went back to black, fingerprints. I’d stirred the watery coffee in the china cup, put the spoon down next to it, watched the spiral turning slower and slower, then the surface was still, reflecting neon strip lights and a part of my face.

I remembered cold coffee…


How to manage through chaos, create momentum, and stand out

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Wait, what, a donut? I am here from the future to tell you: the best thing you can do to stand out is to show leadership superpowers in a crisis. Stand-out people are the MVPs, the ones to work on the big projects (read: the interesting ones), get the raise, the promotion. Want to have a superpower when stuff goes wrong (oh, and it will)? Well, here’s the secret:

“Focus on the donut, not the hole.”

There are three things in this. Focus. Donut. Hole. Sounds simple, right? That’s right, simple is best.

A crazy Kiwi and tech start-up chaos

Not the fruit. Let’s stick to one…


How returning to the home I hated healed me

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It was the blue heavy heat of a late summer afternoon in August when I stepped out of the car. Covid had me breathless after months alone in the city, running on exhaust fumes of taxis and woken nightly by the sound of sirens. I drove to the small town I was born in, the one I fled from as fast as I could, into the great wide open, barely out of high school. I felt like there was nowhere to go but there, like gravity, “Come home”. I hadn’t thought of it as home in twenty years. I packed…


Moving back to move forward

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Regret is a rubber band. It snaps you back to right where you don’t want to be, time and again. I spent a decade with my toxic twin lovers, Chablis and Vodka. And when I freed myself from drinking and ditched them, there they were: 10 years that could have turned out so differently, and me in front of them, like looking at a crumbling monument, imposing, built by my own choices, brick by brick.

“We crucify ourselves between two thieves: regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow” — Fulton Oursler

When I put down the bottles, I could have…


My family owned a watering hole, drunks were around me from the day I was born. Guess how that turned out.

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My mom inherited the place from her parents and worked in it from when she was a teenager, she neither remembered nor imagined a different life. She married the local sheriff, a wooden man who dismissed feelings with a grunt, furiously jealous. The place barely kept going most of the time. Like Bates’ Motel, the highway came and went, and with it the fat years, leaving the lean years.

They had me later than my brother and sister, those had long gone, visiting only when it was unavoidable. My mom was open, warm: no one got to see the hard…


The 5 lies my self-talk told me to stop me from getting sober.

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You have a voice in your head that helps you process the day-to-day. As a drinker, that voice will be louder at times than for other people. Mine screamed. Most importantly, it lied to me, and those lies kept me imprisoned in my drinking.

Ethan Kross’ book Chatter helps show the inner voice we all have as a critic or a coach. The negative ruminations in our minds are chatter: deeply harmful, repetitive thoughts that intensify in a recurring spiral. Chelsey Flood wrote a great article on how to coax the inner voice into being positive.

During my drinking days…

Martin Friend

Observations, love, family, friendships. Shards of living today, and their edges. Aspects of lucid living without substances. Free sarcasm, with heart.

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