Best Laid Plans

Written by Anna Claire Hodge. Edited by Mara Strobel-Lanka. In the photo, I’m wearing unflattering overalls; my arms are thrust high in the air and light pours through the atrium of the dead mall. It’s not where I’d imagined spending our first anniversary, but my face was joyous and like a child’s. The movie Jide… Continue reading Best Laid Plans

Model Citizen

When I was offered a spot as a model in my favorite boutique’s second annual fashion show, it was like receiving my letter from Hogwarts. But as the day of the show approached, I became nervous, palpably so. I felt like I hadn’t prepared at all. The outfits had been chosen, sure. But was I… Continue reading Model Citizen

Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City

During my four-year Ph.D. program at Florida State, it was difficult to imagine the end. But once my dissertation was approved, my rented cap and gown returned, and all the champagne guzzled, leaving Tallahassee became a reality. I’d have to go somewhere, and it seemed only right that I move to Jacksonville, where my boyfriend… Continue reading Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City

The Late Bloomers Club

  This summer, my boyfriend left our apartment to find a flyer on his car. Safe from the weather in a plastic baggie weighed down with white rice was a rectangle of paper warning “Anyone (sic) of you black apes caught making eyes at a white girl will be beaten with bats…” It goes on.… Continue reading The Late Bloomers Club

Approval Rating

As a child, I snuck into the kitchen when my parents had friends over. I’d cut bananas and apples, arrange them on a plate, and deliver it, saying “Would you like a fruit plate?” I was precocious and loved the attention. That continued for quite some time, and those impulses linger. Last week, I left… Continue reading Approval Rating

Hurts So Good: Discomfort & the Creative Process

Once, a friend who suffered from severe seasonal affective disorder described his autumn-induced depression as “seeing grey.” He was spot-on. Late last month,I spent two weeks living and working alongside dozens of other artists and writers in a compound in the tiny village of Johnson, Vermont. The first few days felt like living in a… Continue reading Hurts So Good: Discomfort & the Creative Process

Coping With Crop Tops: A Novice Fashionista Changes Her Narrative

The first time I wore a crop top, I was surrounded by my oldest friends on a Costa Rican vacation. Fueled by a little liquid bravery, I slipped on the shirt and waited. I’m not sure what I expected. Outrage? Congratulations? Instead, my friends kept playing cards and sipping Coronas because what I’d done was… Continue reading Coping With Crop Tops: A Novice Fashionista Changes Her Narrative