Stephanie Georgopulos

Learning that self-discovery is a process, not a punishment

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Illustration: Daron Nefcy

In February I was introduced to a man, a successful man by any standard, a man called Rupert (and naturally by “introduced,” I mean I heard him talk about himself on Radiolab for three minutes). Rupert is your average 71-year-old podcast guest, probably, except for one thing: He has gone almost his entire life knowing nothing about science. I mean it. I mean it as someone who failed earth science once and biology twice. (I never got around to failing chemistry but I’m confident I could, if given the opportunity.) …

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liz west

Spotify recently released their annual year-in-review…experience?, which is pretty much the only year-end content I care about (sorry, “Auld Lang Syne”). I love reflecting on the flavor of my year through the songs I had on repeat — taken in sum, they reveal the unconscious layers of an era, details that would have otherwise escaped my awareness: my shifting moods, where I directed my attention, what I wanted to say but didn’t (or did).

Much like 2020, my Top 100 is all over the place. It’s obvious the year has permeated my psyche and yes, my musical preferences: the instrumentals I played through headphones as my old roommate took Zoom meetings at her desk, 10 feet away from mine; the more-than-a-few songs on the theme of desire; the remnants of those last pre-pandemic concerts and karaoke nights. …

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I’m a big fan of 911. As a kid, I watched Rescue 911 religiously. When my little sister shoved a Lite-Brite peg into the depths of her nasal passage, my first responder six-year-old ass had the phone off the cradle and the 9–1 dialed before my mom could say “tweezers.” If I see a person laying face-down on the street — or anywhere people typically don’t choose to lay face-down — I’m calling 911. If you’re driving like you’re drunk, an asshole, or a drunk asshole, you better hope I’m not on the road that day. Because if I am? You know who I’m gonna call. (No, not Ghostbusters. …

The creatures that stole my heart — and possibly, my sanity?

Growing up, I was what you’d call boy-crazy. There seemed to be no limit to the number of crushes I could simultaneously manage; logistical issues of geography, age, availability, and physical existence mattered little, if at all. I had crushes on cartoon characters (Dale of Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers; Alvin of the Chipmunks). I had crushes on every Aquarius in my middle school, crushes on old photographs of my dad, crushes on boys who crushed on other boys. If you could sing or wear a sweater well, you know I had a crush on you. I had crushes on my brother’s friends, and crushes on my friends’ brothers. I also had AOL crushes, neighborhood crushes, and vacation crushes. …


Growth is a creative process — but don’t discount the wisdom of your younger self

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Photo by Alice Dietrich on Unsplash

When I first began writing online over a decade ago, I wasn’t just building the foundations for my eventual career — I was awakening to the notion that I had a voice. And it was an intoxicating discovery: I had no shortage of things to say, and I lacked the neuroticism and experience that would otherwise have me hesitate to say them. That would come later. In the meantime, I became prolific: giving form to hundreds of thoughts, ideas, and questions that’d been piling up in my brain for a lifetime. I told stories I’d never spoken aloud; I experimented with structure and voice; I wrote from the gut, the heart. …

Story Spotlight

In his beautiful braided essay “Last Boat to the San Juan Islands,” Andrew Jazprose Hill achieves the impossible: He makes me miss the ferry.

Reading about his ride with a dying woman and her family was, for me, a sensory experience: I could taste the salt-licked wind, the desperation of watching your cell service decline, the joy and terror of leaving solid ground with a boatful of strangers. Remember strangers? Chance encounters that weren’t planned or even necessarily desired, spontaneous conversations and connections with people who, as far as we were concerned, didn’t exist when we woke up that morning?

I’m mostly projecting here; Hill’s essay is about a lot of things, and that’s the magic of it. Though largely a snapshot of his past, woven throughout are winks to our current context. It’s difficult to write something that feels relevant in 2020 without accounting for its major themes; Hill does not feign ignorance of them. But his nods to 2020 — the pandemic, racism, employment, fear — are mostly subtle. …

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The uncle of Dijon Kizzee, Lamont, grieving at the memorial where Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputies killed Kizzee on September 1. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Birding, jogging, and biking all sound like innocuous ways to spend a little time outdoors, unless you happen to be Black.

On Sunday night, two LA County Sheriff deputies attempted to stop 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee as he was riding his bike, which he was apparently doing in “an unlawful manner.” Kizzee, rightfully fearing for his life, abandoned the bike and attempted to flee. A physical altercation ensued, which ended in the officers opening fire — and yet another Black life cut short by police violence. (The officers are fine, if you really had to ask.)

What code did Kizzee violate? Is it the one where you’re Black and existing within eyeshot of a police officer (or even just a cranky White person)? No one knows, apparently — including Sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Dean, who could not name an actual offense when addressing the shooting Monday morning. (If you’re here to talk about the gun that does not explain why the police targeted Kizzee in the first place, please go read about all the still-alive White people brandishing AR-15s at officers instead. I’ll even help you get started.) …

The day after I learned about the Saturn Return — a defining and often tumultuous period that occurs every 27–29 years — my boyfriend of four years reminded me of an agreement we’d made a few months earlier: to break up.

We’d made the agreement on Christmas Eve of 2014, while house- and cat-sitting for some friends. I don’t remember how the conversation began, but I do remember the conclusion: this wasn’t going anywhere. Neither of us felt any urgency to act on this revelation, though. We enjoyed cat- and house-sitting together, for one thing. And we had plans to exchange Christmas gifts the following day. Also, we’d already booked a trip to Los Angeles in February, which neither of us felt particularly inclined to cancel. Acting all chaotic — and not going on vacation — would only make things suck more. So instead of picking a hard end-date, we agreed to break up at some point in 2015. …

A selection of stories on sobriety

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Quinn Dombrowski

As Human Parts contributor Seizan Egyo once wrote, “If you’re thinking about getting sober, you probably should.”

I took my first intentional break from drinking alcohol a few summers ago, after having the dark realization that sobriety was perhaps the last high I had yet to experience (welcome to my brain, hope you brought a flashlight).

I was in my early thirties and already drinking less than I had in spryer, bounce-backier times. I remember some friends thinking this made my timing counterintuitive: Why abstain now, when I wasn’t drinking that often to begin with? In my eyes, being halfway there was reason enough. Plus, I’d recently started taking Lexapro, which for me turned drinking into more of a chore than a way to blow off steam. …


Stephanie Georgopulos

editor-in-chief of human parts. west coast good witch. student of people.

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