But she doesn’t want me to be part of it

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CW: This essay mentions suicide and euthanasia

When I saw her name on my phone screen, my heart sank. She never calls me this late unless something bad is happening. I felt guilty for missing her calls, and worse when I read her message.

“If you’re still up, please call me back if you’re in the mood. It can wait until tomorrow, though.”

I didn’t believe her. If this conversation could have waited until tomorrow, she would have called tomorrow.

She picked up within the first ring and cheerfully asked me what I’d been up to. I didn’t answer her…


I should have left him right then and there

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“You are weak, just like your entire family,” he hissed at me. I was too exhausted and shocked to defend my family’s honor — maybe also because I kind of agreed with him. I was weak, and that is why I let him shit all over me every time I had an anxiety attack.

Fireworks exploded over Lake Geneva, only adding to my sensory overload.

“I’m not weak,” I moaned. “I’m seriously getting sick; we have to go.”

My hands trembled as I tried to take a sip of water.

“No. I have ordered us the crème brûlée; it will…


Children have a right to their privacy, and you’re grossing me out

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I.

He apologized for being late. “We were having a frustrating discussion with our pediatrician, and I lost track of time.”

I shrugged. “Your kid’s health is important, and I didn’t mind waiting.”

With a swift motion, he unlocked the door and let me into his office. While I grabbed the notes I’d prepared for this meeting, he complained about their narrow-minded doctor.

“ I don’t know if I ever mentioned it, but one of my daughter’s nipples is bigger than the other.”

Before I could ask why on earth we would ever talk about his 7-year-old’s nipples, he continued.

“She…


He didn’t even have to try

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In the 39 years, I’ve known my dad, I’ve seen him cry three times. One of those times was on his 50th birthday.

My dad isn’t too keen on celebrations and surprises, but 50 was such a milestone; we didn’t want to ignore it. So we decorated his house and showered him with presents. We wanted him to be happy; instead, he was sad.

I was fifteen, and I still vividly remember how it felt to see my invincible super-dad hide his face in his hands and sob.

“I’m older than my dad now,” he said as we showered him…


Is capitalism ruining us as a species?

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I could hear my friend sob on the other end of the line.

“I’m just so tired,” she cried. “And yes, I know I am privileged, and I still have some money left, but it is so hard to find new clients, to grind every day, and not knowing if I can pay my mortgage this summer.”

Her sadness quickly turned to rage.

“And the only reason I’m doing this is for money. I am good at helping my clients, but I need more money to pay for the bare necessities. The hustle isn’t about buying a yacht. …


Don’t blame yourself for genuinely missing them

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As if simply existing as a teenager isn’t embarrassing enough, I had terrible teeth and needed to wear braces for two years. I hated every single day of it. I had hooks attached to my upper and lower canines, with a rubber band between them.

My lips would get caught behind the hooks, and I had chronic blisters on the inside of my cheeks. Every six weeks, I had to go to the orthodontist, where they would torture me by turning everything even tighter

So when the glorious braces removal day had finally arrived, I was ecstatic. Getting the brackets…


Hilaria Baldwin is back on her bullshit again — why she’s not multi-cultural

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In January 2021, Twitter had a field day when they discovered Alec Baldwin’s Spanish wife, Hilaria, was about as Spanish as a hot dog. Contrary to her carefully curated lore, Hilaria didn’t move to the US at 19 from Spain.

Internet sleuths quickly unearthed that she isn’t Hilaria from Mallorca but Hillary from Boston. Her caucasian American parents didn’t move to Spain until 2011, and until then, she’d only been there on holiday. She didn’t have a Spanish accent until she was an adult.

After all the upheaval, she gave a vague statement about being “misrepresented by others” and disappeared…


Only you can prevent forest fires — and pregnancy

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I. Classic trap

They fell for each other — hard. Love at first sight and a match made in heaven. He was a bit older, divorced, and a father of two boys. She didn’t mind. Seeing how good he was with his sons and their mother only made her love him more.

When she told him she would love to have children with him one day, his response disappointed her.

“I have two children, and that is enough for me. I love you, and I want to give you everything you want, but I don’t want to have another child.”

Even though there…


Practical gifts can be romantic AF

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“If I called you right now, would you pick up the phone?”

We’d been texting back and forward for days. I’m a writer, not a talker. So when he wanted to call me, I hesitated for a second. I was nervous. Even though we’d only been texting, I had already started to like him. Like like him. What if I said something dumb? What if his voice sounded weird? What if the conversation wasn’t as insightful and witty as our texts?

“Yeah, of course, I’d pick up. I would love to hear your voice.” …


It went as bad as you’d expect

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It was supposed to be a cheap trip. But when you hang out with middle-class kids, the word “cheap” has a whole different meaning.

Even working overtime in a run-down call center didn't earn me enough money to pay for the airline tickets. And then I got a letter from my bank—something about low-interest loans for students.

Two weeks later, I had more money in my bank account than I’d ever seen in my life. I was supposed to use it for tuition and books. Instead, I bought my first airline ticket ever. And a two-week stay in a rundown…

Judith Valentijn

Failing forward. Writer. Psychology student. Certified Non-Duality Coach. Reluctant marketer. Reach out: judith.valentijn@gmail.com

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