Celebrate Biden’s Win, But We Still Have Work to Do

Photo by Hybrid on Unsplash

I went to sleep on election night 2016 confident that I would wake up to our country’s first female president, and I awoke the next morning and felt ice in my stomach.

Many of my friends said that they cried during election night and the morning after. I didn’t cry, I just felt numb and vaguely angry.

I was optimistic that he wouldn’t do as much damage as we feared. Certainly there were the checks and balances we learned in school that would keep him from doing so much harm.

I was wrong.

He harmed us. He harmed again and again and again. He harmed people of color. He harmed transgender people. He harmed the queer community. He harmed women. He harmed immigrants. He harmed Muslims.

Donald Trump ruled the country on a white supremacist power trip.

And today, Saturday, November 7, 2020, AP has called the 2020 election for Joe Biden.

A candidate I almost didn’t vote for because I was so deeply angry at the Democratic party. I still am. I think the Democrats are more of the same establishment, but they pretend to care about minorities. They’ll put a rainbow flag and a Black fist in their twitter bios while they don’t do anything to stop an unqualified right-wing Supreme Court nominee from being shoved onto the court just weeks before an election.

I resolved myself to the fact that voting for Biden was necessary. Our two party system and the electoral college are absolute trash, but they are the trash we currently live in, so I played by the rules. I voted for Biden.

And I cried today when the election was called for him because the wave of relief across my Facebook feed, from my poor friends, my Black friends, my queer friends, my disabled friends, was so palpable that it hit me hard. And their relief, even among all my cynicism and eye rolling at the Dems, was my relief too.

The work is not done. Not by a long shot.

But for now, we can breathe, and we know that we will not have to fight against active hatred coming from the White House for another four years.

We aren’t “safe” yet. But we can pause and make plans to organize and work for a more just and equitable government under an administration that isn’t inciting violence and throwing temper tantrums

Organizers of Color Made This Possible

This election result is possible because of the immense effort of organizers of color. The phenomenal organizing in Georgia by Stacey Abrams, Helen Butler, Nsé Ufot, Tamieka Atkins, and Deborah Scott led to nearly one million new voter registrations and an unprecedented Democratic voter turnout that turned Georgia blue.

Los Angeles Times: Celebs bow down to Stacey Abrams as Georgia flips blue in Biden’s favor

Indigenous organizing led to voter turnout shifts in Arizona and Wisconsin, which were called for Biden, as well as Montana and South Dakota, which were called for Trump — but the counties with high populations of Indigenous voters were overwhelmingly blue.

High Country News: How Indigenous voters swung the 2020 election

Remember when 53% of white women voted for Trump in 2016, and all the liberal white women were shocked? This year, 55% of white women voted for Trump. The success of the Biden campaign came from people of color, specifically Black women like Stacey Abrams.

Celebrate, but it’s not over

Take some time today to celebrate this win. But remember that it’s nowhere near “over.” Donald Trump was not the cause of the racism, islamophobia, homophobia, and other hatred that has been on full display over the last four years. This country is steeped in white supremacy, protections for the rich, and oppression of the working class.

We still need to talk about police brutality. We still need to talk about the school to prison pipeline. We still need to talk about cannabis convictions. We still need to talk about the racism baked into every system in this country. We still need to make an actual plan to address climate change. We still need to talk about the concentration camps full of kids in cages. We still need to talk about COVID. We still need to talk about the minimum wage. We still need to talk about medicare for all.

We still have work to do.

If you’re relieved to the point of tears today, thank a Black activist!

Young Environmentalists Are the Key to Addressing Climate Change

Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

By the end of this blog, I want you to share it with at least one eligible student who you thought of while reading!

Teen environmentalists have been making waves in recent years.

Greta Thunberg, a 17-year-old Swedish environmentalist, address the UN Climate Change Conference in 2018 and inspired student climate strikes across the globe. She became youngest TIME Magazine Person of the Year in 2019. And she’s one of millions of mobilized teens taking action to preserve our planet.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, an Indigenous hip-hop artist and activist since childhood, has spent his life working toward a better world. He has addressed the United Nations multiple times and is the youth director of Earth Guardians, a global youth organization focused on sustainability and accountability for our environment.

Jamie Margolin is a founder of Zero Hour, and she’s also an openly lesbian Latina. Zero Hour seeks to center the voices of diverse youth around climate change, educating and mobilizing young people to make change.

These are well-known youth environmentalists.

And my message to other teens and young adults in the world is this:

There is no reason you cannot be next.

One of the best ways to get started on becoming a change-maker is to participate in Project Green Challenge, a truly inspiring thirty days that has changed the lives of thousands of student environmentalists, leading to the development of new community organizations, nonprofits, and campus reform for sustainability across the globe.

Now in its tenth year, Turning Green‘s Project Green Challenge is gearing up to once again inspire and mobilize young people to take on lasting, important work in their communities and for the planet.

What impact does PGC make?

Let’s take a peek at last year’s winners.

Koleigh Vachereau, a University of Vermont sophomore, was inspired by learning about food waste and food justice during PGC. Her action project was to develop a food pantry on campus after learning about the food insecurity facing students and the community.

Tatum Robinson, an Environmental Policy and Studies major at Champlain College in Vermont, and her teammates, developed a climate action plan and sustainability framework for their college campus with a goal of making the campus carbon neutral by 2030.

Josie Sparks worked with a local school garden, was able to make a statement to her local school board to address sustainability and food waste in the local schools, and ended up founding a non-profit in Bloomington, IN called Yellowwood Youth, focusing on environmental education and climate projects for school-age youth in the local community. She did all this as a high school junior!

Rowan Stalnaker grew up surrounded by nature and was pulled into environmentalism when he realized his backyard creek didn’t have the same insect life as a nearby stream. He investigated with the help of a local citizen science organization and found that polluted runoff was changing the water’s oxygen content, leading to less native insects breeding there. Rowan then joined PGC and restored his high school’s pollinator garden to restore soil health, feed pollinating insects, and provide a habitat for insects and small animals.

Julia Leonard, a senior at Champlain College, developed a climate action project to revamp her campus store to sell more Fair Trade, local, and sustainable products with more transparency behind the products sold to get the campus store on par with the campus sustainability initiatives that have already been implemented at the college.

Whether or not an activist “goes viral” or becomes a household name doesn’t change the fact that thousands of participating students, including these five winners, were able to learn about climate change, food justice, and other environmental issues — and they were inspired to make a change in their local community to address them.

This is the power of our youth caring about climate change.

Get involved with Project Green Challenge

So, what’s involved with Project Green Challenge?

Starting October 1, participants will have access to a daily challenge with multiple tiers. Complete the “Green,” “Greener,” and “Greenest” challenges and you can win prizes!

Each day’s theme is one aspect of sustainability, like Footprint, Climate Justice, Food, Soil, Adventure, Biodiversity, and more.

What’s in it for you?

  • Daily prizes awarded to participants who submit outstanding challenge entries (Greener and Greenest level submissions)
  • An opportunity to win an all-expense paid trip to San Francisco (pending COVID state and local protocols) for the PGC Finals, a 3-day Eco Summit
  • A Grand Prize valued at $8,000, including a $5,000 Green Award based on completion of a climate action project for the first place PGC Winner, and additional monetary prizes for 2nd and 3rd place Finalists

Inspire a student today

Students 16 and up are eligible for prizes and the PGC Finals, so share this blog with them to let them know you think they have what it takes to make the world a better place.

Sign up at ProjectGreenChallenge.com!

Doing the Work

Thanks to James Eades for sharing their work on Unsplash.

You may have noticed a distinct lack of blog posts around here for the last few weeks! I took June off to rest for my mental health and I’m looking forward to getting back to a regular writing schedule.

It’s been hard to know what to say lately. I support the Black Lives Matter movement (both ideologically and financially by paying monthly reparations to Black activists and families in need). I haven’t wanted my voice to take up space that should have been taken up by Black voices, but I also don’t want to ignore the reality that this movement needs attention and that I can use my privilege and platform to call attention to the work.

Your mission today is to follow Black activists, especially women or trans folks who are multiply marginalized. Some suggestions: Ijeoma Oluo, Sonya Renee Taylor, Ava DuVernay, Ericka Heart, Jessamyn Stanley, Devin-Norelle, Laverne Cox, Serena Hicks, Graeme Seabrook.

Follow Black artists, creators, and writers too, because anti-racist work isn’t just about learning about racism, it’s normalizing the presence of Black content in our social media feeds as beautiful and important too. Suggestions: Billy Porter, Lizzo, Jaime Milner, Shanee Benjamin, Gabriella Grimes.

Racism is a white supremacy problem, and it’s the responsibility of white people to stop being racist, to make reparations, and to do anti-racist work. This is hard because we were raised in racism and we often don’t recognize racism in our own behaviors. When it’s called out, we feel defensive.

That discomfort is where we do the work, friends. When you feel defensive about it, stop and listen. Research. Learn.

I recently had a friend let me know she was unfriending me on Facebook because her experience being called out for a racist comment about China was too uncomfortable. Even though she listened and learned, apologized, and said she wouldn’t say something like it again. The experience of being called out was uncomfortable. But we can’t let that stop us from doing anti-racist work.

Keep an eye out for new content soon. I’ve missed you!

And yes, there will be more commentary on anti-racist work. If that makes you uncomfortable… maybe stick around.

Get a Pep Talk Every Monday!


Photo by Adam Solomon on Unsplash

I miss talking to you. I’ve been blogging on Medium, posting a few blogs here, writing a proposal for my second book, and working on an online course. But sometimes I miss the old days when I’d chat with people in the comments of my blogs and get to know my readers.

So, to stay in closer touch with you, I’ve launched an email newsletter!

It only took me about eight years to finally get around to it, and it took me one single evening of following MailChimp’s really intuitive instructions. Cool, I love when the thing I’ve been avoiding for eight years only takes two hours to do.

Every time you subscribe to my email list, an angel gets their wings and a non-binary person is appropriately gendered by someone they just met. It’s really a win-win.

PLUS you get some fun and motivational content each Monday (ish).

When you sign up, you’ll get one pep talk email immediately (check your spam folder if you don’t see it, sometimes gmail gets aggressive), and then you’ll get added to the list to receive a new pep talk each Monday.

I will never sell or share your data, because that’s creepy, and I will occasionally email on a not-Monday if I have cool news to share that is time sensitive (such as early enrollment for an online course… hint).

Sign up here! I can’t wait to chat with you.

Work with Me One on One in 2020

In September 2019, I started working with a professional coach to help me with my goal to write more consistently. I had an idea for a new book rolling around in my head and also wanted to be more consistent with blogging.

Three months later, I was well into planning a workshop that I’ll be launching as an online course later this month, I’ve pitched four new books to my agent, and I’ve decided to open my calendar to new clients myself and help YOU reach YOUR goals the way my coach is helping me reach mine!

What does coaching with me entail?

  • Your Goals: You pick one (or a few) goals that you want to work on, and we’ll make a plan for you to achieve them or move toward them in 90 days.
  • Three Month Commitment: We’ll work together weekly for three months to focus on one or more ninety day goals you have for your life.
  • Weekly Check-Ins: We’ll have a video chat once a week to check in and work through the sticky thoughts in your brain that make it overwhelming to move forward with your new habits.
  • Individual Check-Ins: You can also text or DM me if you need to check in outside our regular call. I won’t always be available immediately but I will get back to you.

If I’ve written about it, I’ve experienced it, and I can help you do it too.

Here are some possible goals you might want to work on:

  • Taking control of a disordered relationship with food or exercise
  • Loving your body
  • Finding a new job
  • Starting or expanding a business
  • Getting a promotion at work
  • Establishing healthy boundaries in relationships
  • Navigating parental estrangement
  • Writing a book proposal

If you’re interested, I still have space in my January calendar to get started! Email me at caitlinlizfisher@gmail.com and let me know what your goals are.


5 Reasons to Update Your Resume for the New Year


Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

New year, new you? Don’t worry if you don’t have vast life-altering plans for 2020. It’s just another year, after all, and you’re allowed to be the same you.

Amidst resolutions about quitting a bad habit, starting a good habit, or “getting organized” (whatever that means), some of us out there are looking for a new job this year. Maybe it’s for a boost in income, maybe it’s to get out of a job that has a poor life balance and leaves you stressed and exhausted, or maybe you’re not actually looking for a new job at all.

This post will explore 5 reasons you should dust off the ol’ resume for the new year, even if you’re not job searching.

1. To Put Some Pep in Your Professional Step: Just looking over your accomplishments since the last time you updated your resume can put some serious coin in your professional confidence bank. Plus, updating frequently (once or twice a year, at least) means you can spruce up your resume while the details of your latest projects are still fresh in your mind. While you’re updating, you should also jot down some notes and highlights about your projects that don’t make it to the resume — these can be used for cover letter material.

2. To Make A Case: If you redo your resume and find that you’ve significantly stepped up your responsibilities and project management skills, it’s a good time to think about negotiating a pay raise. Taking an objective look at your accomplishments over the past year (or more) can help you outline your conversation with your boss.

3. Because Shit Happens: If you lose your job, it’s far better to have your resume already up to date than to have to think positively about the job you just lost while you try to fix it up.

4. To Stay On Trend: Resume trends change over time, and you may end up taking yours a completely new direction! Research the latest resume tips like scrapping the objective section for a summary or profile, leaving the references off, and highlighting skills in a separate section.

5. To Invite Opportunity: You never know when you might have an opportunity fall into your lap through a new connection in your professional circle or a recruiter on LinkedIn. If your resume is already up to date, you won’t need to scramble to get one put together, which risks leaving out important details.

Eco Friendly Products for Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… goal setting season. I love a good New Year’s Resolution, and I also love shopping consciously. This blog post will outline a few products you can feel better about using compared to their traditional high-waste counterparts.

Personal Care


Akamai Basics offers a refreshing alternative to personal care products made with parabens, plastic beads, and other not-so-great ingredients. I’ve used their soap, toothpaste, hair/face oil, and tongue scraper, but they’ve added many more great products like mineral drops for healthy hair and nails, mouthwash, skin balm, and refillable floss. They focus on recyclable or biodegradable packaging and simple, natural ingredients.

Use code MINIMALIST20 for 20% off a one-time order or a subscription over $35 (now through Jan 5, 2020!)

Contact Lenses


It can be frustrating to deal with bulky contact lens packaging if you’re trying to reduce plastic consumption. Scout from Warby Parker is a new contact lens made with a super-moist material that reduces dryness and a smooth edge design for comfort. As a bonus, they come in flat pack packaging using about 80% less packaging material than traditional contact lenses.

You can try a six day trial of Scout for just five bucks, and then get a 3 month supply for $110 if you love them.

Reusable Menstrual Care Items


Periods suck, but they suck a little bit less when your pads are cute. At least this is what I tell myself when I buy pads with sharks on them. Reusable menstrual items significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste produced by a person’s period. Tampons and pads come with a ~$3k lifetime cost for standard brands, produce a ton of waste, are full of toxic stuff you don’t want near your genitals, and mess with your natural pH and vaginal flora.

Check out Party in my Pants or search Etsy for cloth pads to find some in any and all fabric patterns, colors, shapes, and styles. If you want something custom, work with an Etsy seller on your idea!

If you’re interested in a menstrual cup, check out Put A Cup In It to take a quit that will help you select the right brand and size for your particular needs.

Do you have a resolution to reduce waste in 2020? Tell me about it!


3 Printable Mindfulness Exercises to Reduce Stress


Photo provided from A Place for Mom

Life can be stressful. From careers to family and everything in between, just getting from day to day sometimes feels like chaos. 

Luckily, there are ways you can manage your stress levels. It’s important to take a critical look at the commitments and tasks on your to-do list and evaluate how these things can improve your life. Decluttering your life can be a great way to reduce stress. Decluttering your mind, however, is a simple activity you can do every day to promote a sense of calmness in your world. 

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the current moment, noticing and appreciating the environment around you, being thankful to just be, and most importantly, letting go of any judgement you hold over yourself. 

There are plenty of ways to practice mindfulness, but to help you get started, A Place for Mom has created three printable activities you can do every day to lead a more mindful life. Included in the printables are a monthly mood tracker, a morning journal prompt, and a mind map template to lay out your thoughts in a way that helps you make sense of the clutter. 

Author Bio

Marielle Bio Photo


Marielle is a passionate writer who is always looking for new things to learn about and explore. She loves to travel in her free time and enjoys spending time with her family, fiancé, and three cats.


A Minimalist Approach to Handling Credit Like a Boss


Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

What? A blog about credit? It’s true. I am no longer the die-hard “never ever ever ever ever use credit ever ever” person I once was. Partly due to reading Broke Millennial and partly due to just realizing that perfection is impossible and sometimes it really is okay to do what you can and do your best to work within the system we’re currently operating.

When it comes to handling your credit, it’s important to view it as a slow and steady process. Focusing on the context of maximizing the return on your credit score with small and safe steps can decrease your tendency of falling into a pool of debt. 

Managing your credit successfully must come after an in-depth overview of your financial status. Gaining knowledge on how much you’re spending every month, building a budget that gives you an overview of your payment strategy, and determining what you need to buy and how much to save instead can help to establish a trend of confidence and uniformity surrounding your credit. With a focus on living life through simple routines and self-care, you should begin to manage your money through non-extensive, yet necessary steps to achieve a minimalist lifestyle.

Choosing the right credit card can impact the way you build and maintain a great credit score. With all of the credit card options out there, it can be quite confusing when comparing their offerings, and factoring which one is the best based off of your way of life. A credit card is more of a tool than people think, and it comes down to how often you use it, how much credit you’ve built up to this point, and making the pay-off process a priority. With that in mind, here are some easy steps for handling credit like a boss:

Open a Bank Account

Opening a bank account is the first step in building credit history. It’s imperative to generate a high enough credit score so that eventually, you are able to get approved for the card you choose to apply for. Through an account that benefits the growth of your savings and minimalistic approach to life, you’ll be better prepared for the responsibilities that come with using a credit card. 

Here are some important questions to consider when choosing a bank account that is right for you:


  • Which option is the most convenient? (Within walking/driving distance of your home and workplace, etc.)
  • Can I trust this bank to keep my money secure?
  • Are there a lot of additional fees that come along with regulating my account?
  • Will this bank account benefit my current financial situation and help my build my credit effectively?


Pay Off Credit Early

Designating your credit card to specific payments (and choosing them strategically) instead of using the card whimsically for unnecessary purchases can contribute to bettering your credit score and make paying off your balance easier. Remember: this card is a tool, not “free money.” If you think of it as free money, stop, read Broke Millennial, and come back. (I know, Amazon, sigh.)

During the beginning stages of establishing credit, it’s important to follow the deadline to avoid late fees. The more late fees you have, the more it will hurt your credit score in the long run. Try paying off your balance early and in full, before you even receive your statement. As a minimalist, don’t be afraid to set notifications on your phone as a simple reminder to submit your payments every month. A good rule of thumb is to pay your bills as soon as you get paid, which will help you avoid only being able to make the minimum payment at the end of the month. This can limit your chances of falling into a financial bind.

Charge What You Can Afford

As an owner of a credit card, it’s imperative to choose wisely what you’re using it for. The more consistent you are with what you’re paying off, the less likely you are to fall behind on payments and max out its usage. When you first start making transactions with your credit card, choose to use it with payments you know you can afford, like gas or groceries. Other purchases, such as hotel expenses, plane tickets or car rentals may not be the smartest expenses to charge when you’re first learning how to manage your credit because you can quickly fall behind on payments if you overextend yourself. Again, think of handling credit as a steady process without sudden impulse purchases or misuse.

Take Advantage of Credit Card Perks

Depending on the credit card you have or choose, certain perks may come along with making transactions and building your credit. No annual fees, accumulating airline miles and flight upgrades, automatic payment benefits, or credit monitoring services are all advantages you could receive. There are also cards that give you cashback rewards if you qualify for them. But remember: These perks are a bonus for behavior you already have, not a reason to buy more stuff just to get more perks. 

To obtain the credit card that is right for you, determine strong budgeting goals and analyze your spending habits. Learn as much as you can about what each credit has to offer and how it can help you, not work against you.

A Surprising Number of Things Elton John and I Have in Common 


0 of them are playing the piano.

When I saw the trailer for Rocketman, I instantly knew I’d see the movie when it hit theaters. In the mid nineties, my mother and I would trek from our small village of Seville, Ohio into the “big city” of Medina to do grocery shopping. Our soundtrack, more often than not, was Elton John’s Greatest Hits, a 1992 CD with Elton’s top songs from 1970 to 1974. This early start meant that I have loved Elton John from the time I was very small and have continued being a fan throughout my life. So I was extremely excited to see his story on the big screen, especially considering that I hadn’t put much time into getting to know the man behind the music. 

Here is the list of things I knew about Elton John before I saw Rocketman: 

  1. Elton John is gay 
  2. Elton John plays the piano 
  3. Elton John wears costumes and big glasses and rhinestones 
  4. Elton John is the MVP of Disney soundtracks, save for Phil Collins because Tarzan was 100% a gift 

Spoilers Ahead! 

The opening scene of Rocketman follows Elton walking down a long hallway in full costume dressed as a sequin-adorned devil. He bursts through the door… into a group meeting at a rehab center. After some questions about his childhood, which he insists was very happy, we see flashbacks to Young Elton who was emotionally abused by both of his parents.

The first interaction between Elton and his mother was her chastising him, saying “You’re late and I’ve had to throw your dinner in the bin” (I’m paraphrasing). This smacks of the time my mother told my sister that if she wasn’t home by 5 she couldn’t come on a car ride to drop me off at dad’s for the weekend — we passed her walking home at 5:01 and she was running for the car and crying. Mom didn’t stop. Or the time my sister and I ate popsicles while putting away groceries only to have our mother deny us a promised trip to the movies because we hadn’t finished our chores before eating them. 

Denied affection and love altogether by his father, and only conditionally loved by his mother, Elton John wanted nothing but to be loved as a child. Through the grace of one blood relative who cared, his grandmother, he was encouraged to take piano lessons and cultivate his love of music. Even as an adult, Elton was still searching for his father’s approval and his mother’s love. 

Now’s where it starts getting a little freaky. Well, it’s not so freaky. But I, too, was emotionally abused as a child and adult by my parents. Conditional love and constant striving for attention and validation was the name of my childhood and young adult game. I only cut my parents out of my life at age 30. So right away, Rocketman had me hooked because of this parallel between my own story and that of an artist I had adored my whole life. 

Saturday Night

Elton ages on screen through a choreographed sequence of “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting,” and this was the sequence in the film that first made me actually cry instead of just tear up. This song was my favorite to sing along with my mom in the car, and the juxtaposition of the upbeat song, the happy memories, and the truth of my emotionally abusive upbringing was overwhelming. Those memories of my mother are happy, and warm, and comforting. I loved listening to Elton John in the car with my mom. But my mother didn’t love me. And the grief of that was tangible while I watched this sequence in Rocketman. 

Elton’s mother was watching him perform. But did she care? Was she proud? My mother came to my choir concerts. But did she care? Was she proud? 

A Name Change 

Born Reginald Dwight, Elton desired a bit of a name change for his musical career. He borrowed both names, Elton and John, from bandmates. While in Rocketman, he appears to take inspiration from a photo of John Lennon, a fact check indicates that was more of a cinematic liberty than true historical fact. Which is a bummer, because if Elton John had selected his surname based on a favorite celebrity, that would be one more thing we have in common. 

As I left an abusive marriage (a nearly seven year relationship) and came to terms with my own abusive upbringing in childhood, I opted to select a completely new name rather than keep my married name or revert to my birth name. I chose Fisher, because without Carrie Fisher’s advocacy for mental health and medication, I likely would not have gone on the antidepressants that helped me see the abuse for what it was. Lexapro got me out of an abusive marriage. And Carrie got me on Lexapro. 

Serendipitous Encounters 

I was so happy to fact check and find out that Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin actually did meet through complete serendipity. Elton said he couldn’t write lyrics, so a studio exec handed him a sealed envelope from a stack of songwriting applications. Inside were Bernie’s words. The duo hit it off and have been working together ever since. 

Here’s where this completely rocks my world: I have imposter syndrome. I feel like my writing career is a fluke. That my published book is a fluke. That an agent reaching out to me and a publishing company picking me up as an author are flukes. I’ve made jokes time and time again that Twitter got me a book deal and it was all a complete accident. 

But I’d never say that Elton John was an accident. And this guy happened to get a random pile of lyrics from someone whose words were perfect. 

You could say that it was by chance that Elton and Bernie met up and made music together. But the fact that Bernie writes good lyrics and Elton plays mad piano and can sing with such talent and conviction… that is not by chance. 

Just like my writing is not by chance. I may have had some good luck, some good things happen, some serendipity in the modern age. But I’m not an accident. 

Abusive Relationships 

Speaking of careers and the people who help them along, let’s talk about Elton’s manager and first boyfriend, John Reid. Doing a bit of research about the couple, it didn’t happen exactly as portrayed in Rocketman. In the biopic, Reid seems much more cunning and out for power from the get-go, when in reality, the two were lovers who lived together before becoming professionally entwined. Additionally, Reid has even said that he wasn’t particularly enthused about being Elton John’s manager at first. 

Over time, the couple broke up but Reid continued to manage Elton’s career and accounts until a falling out and a court case over financial issues. Reid also reportedly had a terrible temper and had a string of assaults, punching and slapping people when he was angry. 

Across several moments in the movie, Reid’s obsessive control of Elton’s career was extremely triggering for me. My abuser took credit for my writing career, because he introduced me to my first freelance client. But just as it’s no accident or fluke that I ended up published, it was no fluke that my writing was good enough to pay for. If I was a shit writer, that connection would have done no good. My abuser spent years undermining my confidence in my own work because he so often took credit for turning me into the writer I was. 

Queer As Hell 

Elton John came out as bisexual in 1976 and married his wife Renate Blauel in 1984. The couple divorced in 1988 as Elton came to terms with his identity as a gay man, and he is happily married to David Furnish since becoming a couple in 2005.

In the movie, when Elton comes out to his mother, she responds, “You’ll never be loved properly.” I do not doubt that his mother said these words to him at some point, if not when he came out. The words of my parents in our final conversations are as clear in my mind as they were on the days they happened. And they hurt. “You’re a sweet girl. Fucked up in the head, but sweet,” were some of the words my dad said to me in our second to last meeting. “You’ll have to explain what you mean by abuse, because that’s a strong word and can tarnish a man’s reputation” were some of his words the last time I saw him in person. 

The end credits roll in Rocketman with a photo of Elton and David and a caption that Elton is finally being loved properly. I will admit that I got a little teary-eyed.

I honestly don’t even know if my parents know I’m queer or not. I do know that they’ve both taught me about conditional love. My mom raised me telling me I’d never get a boyfriend if I ate like a pig, and she shamed my body at every opportunity. She had me on a diet by age 12 and is a huge factor in my decades-long battle with disordered eating. And I no longer care what she thinks of me, just like I hope Elton has long given up caring what his mother thought of him. 

Healing the Inner Child 

In an emotional and, yes, pretty cheesy finale, Elton hugs his inner child as a symbol of his healing now that he is in rehab. Earlier in the film, Young Elton asks his father, “When are you going to hug me?” but his father does not hug, touch, or hold Elton. In fact, Elton visits his father later in his life and sees his father holding and being physically affectionate with his new and improved sons in his new and improved family, which is such a moment of pure emotional pain from the film that it still affects me when I think about it. So at the movie’s close, the inner child appears in Elton’s mind and asks, “When are you going to hug me?” Cue me, crying like a baby, because Elton drops to his knees and grabs the child version of himself in an embrace that is nothing but unconditional love. (Pause, I need a moment). 

Healing my inner child, as hokey as it sounds, has been a huge part of my trauma healing. In EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), I target specific traumatic thoughts, such as “I am not allowed to rest,” and the therapy process allows me to associate memories with the thought. Memories attached to this target thought include my mother saying we were worthless for not cleaning, being punished with excessive chores, and generally not being allowed to sleep in or take a sick day from school when we didn’t feel well. If you had time to lean, you had time to clean. Removing the belief that I can only rest when everything productive has been finished has been a game changer for my mental and physical health. 

Long Story Short 

I bought some rhinestone-studded eyeglasses because we all deserve to be fabulous. Do something awesome today, and do something amazing for the child version of yourself.