Things I Read That I Love #185: You Don’t Choose Her But She Finds You

feature photo by David Hodgson via flickr, licensed under creative commons. quote in headline adapted from scarification by melissa febos, excerpted below.

HELLO and welcome to the 184th installment of Things I Read That I Love, wherein I share with you some of the longer-form journalism/essays I’ve read recently so that you can read them too and we can all know more about Disneyland! This “column” is less feminist/queer focused than the rest of the site because when something is feminist/queer focused, I put it on the rest of the site. Here is where the other things are.

The title of this feature is inspired by the title of Emily Gould’s tumblr, Things I Ate That I Love.

Burning Down the Mouse, by Heather Havrilesky for Medium, September 2015

I know better than to love Disneyworld but I do, I JUST LOVE IT. Heather Havrilesky knows better and therefore really does not love it, but gives it a winning try for the sake of her daughter, and also talks about Banksy’s Dismaland and welp, it’s just an all-around excellent piece of writing on topics I hold near/dear.

Slender Man is Watching, by Lisa Miller for New York Magazine, September 2015

The bizarre and monumentally disturbing case of Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, 12-year-olds accused of attempting to kill their friend, Bella, which they allegedly did because they wanted the protection of a fictional character named Slender Man.

That’s When I Knew I Was Free, by Jada Yuan for New York Magazine, September 2015

The individual stories of eight men who were imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit, talking about what it was like to return to the world again after what was often actual decades behind bars.

The Girls On Shit Duty, by Anna Maxymiw for Hazlitt, March 2015

If you know anything about me and my fear of discussing or reading about or really engaging with any conversation involving human excrement, you will understand what a big deal it is that I read this entire thing.

How Utah Became a Bizarre, Blissful Epicenter for Get-Rich-Quick Schemes, by Alice Hines for Talking Points Memo, June 2015

Pyramid schemes and the people who get involved in them have always been interesting to me — my Mom used to sell Tupperware and I had a roommate who tried really hard to sell us these weird nutritional shakes for a while. It was really awkward. Apparently Utah is ripe for this kind of thing, especially because a lot of Mormon housewives live there! This article led me to…

An In-Depth Look At Multilevel-Marketing, by multiple reporters for Al Jazeera

This is a five-part investigative study — I started in the middle, with Seeing Green, which talked about how Herbalife preys on Hispanic communities. The first piece, An Army of Recruits, focused on The Vemma Nutrition Company, a “mutlilevel marketing firm” that “relies on independent salespeople, or affiliates, to buy its products — energy drinks, diet shakes and supplements — and then sell them by word of mouth” and targets young people with lots of debt, employing “sleek marketing and social media savvy.” Every section of this report is worth a read as they look at not only specific companies, but the problem from all angles.

An American Void, by Stephanie McCrummen for The Washington Post, September 2015

A journalist spends some time with the friends whose trailer Dylann Roof was staying with before the Charleston Church shooting — showing off his gun, making vague threats, playing video games, drinking heavily, and listening to opera music in his car. Seriously all these guys ever do is play video games. They didn’t take the threats seriously. It’s really scary.

Two Years After Kony 2012, Has Invisible Children Grown Up? by Jessica Testa for Buzzfeed,

That Kony 2012 situation was so wildly bonkers. Here’s what happened before and after.

No Girls Allowed, by Tracey Lien for Polygon, December 2013

Al linked to this in the comments of Alex’s excellent piece on Girl Gamers and it is SO GOOD. It’s about gendered marketing in general, and like the entire history of the video game industry and when video games stopped being for everybody and started being marketed towards boys in the ’90s.

How To Write About Trans Women, by Gabrielle Bellot for Autostraddle, September 2015

Yes, I’m plugging one of our own, because we’re really proud to have published this! We found Gabrielle via Guernica and asked if she’d be interested in writing for us and then she did!

Never mind how much pain you cause. Never mind how many nights of terror and deep-sea loneliness you contribute to. Never mind how you have already begun to put us on display in your mind and in the minds of potential readers like humans on display in cages, things to be laughed or pointed at like specimens. Never mind the way you fill the halls of a mind with ghosts that should not be there.

Scarification, by Melissa Febos for Guernica, September 2015

This was the winner of the 2015 Center for Women Writers Prize in Creative Nonfiction.

In the locker room, you perfect the art of changing your clothes under your clothes. Your body is a secret you keep, a white rabbit, and you the magician who disappears it. Remember: this is a hard hustle to break. It is difficult to keep some secrets, and not others. Hustle now, across that field, forgetting your body as only this allows, and reach for the ball that scorches your hand with pain. See what happens when you forget yourself? It is better to choose your pain, than to let it choose you.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3211 articles for us.


  1. Uh, I just spent the half hour to an hour reading the Slender Man is Watching article and wow. (also with Julia Nunes lovely singing and ukelele in my ear for comfort) Then proceeded to skim the Kony 2012 and realized I had already read An American Void. Just wanted to let you know my commentary for the day.

  2. Jeez, this Slender Man case/story is so weird. And Gabby’s piece about trans women is so great! I’m so happy we published it!

    I really love this column, I don’t think i’ve told you that before, but yeah, I do!

  3. Started with the Girls on Shit Duty, but could not read futher than the first description of poop. Ugh.

    All the other articles were excellent though, as usual. I read the Slender Man article before going to sleep, which was stupid, but luckily my girlfriend is not easily scared and could calm me down.

    The Dylan Roof article was just depressing. These kids doing nothing, not knowing what to do, hanging out in the trailer all day, being open to strangers but still so passive (except the youngest kid that nobody seemed to really have time for). To be honest, I am not sure what the point of the author was, but it sure sketched a bleak picture of life in a trailer.

    (nor sure what the point of this comment is either, just sharing).

  4. I love this feature, but this week there’s almost too much to absorb! The Slenderman article was fascinating and creepy, although (as a Wisconsinite) the state seems to specialize in particularly creepy murderers — Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer, etc. If you really want a nightmare, try reading the old classic “Wisconsin Death Trip” before bed.

    Two young girls who create a fantasy world that turns murderous is not uncommon — think of the 1954 New Zealand murder that Peter Jackson turned into the film “Heavenly Creatures.” The human mind is endlessly strange.

  5. I read An American Void (beautiful, heart-breaking journalism) and then the Slender Man one (I can’t even provide commentary on it because it’s a nightmare, and there’s no redemption to be found – I don’t think they should be tried as adults, but how the fuck else was that to be handled..?) and now I think I need to go curl up in bed for a few hours.

  6. Just reading the comments about the Slender Man article is legit making me scared. Like, gonna huddle under all the covers tonight. I think my imagination runs a little TOO wild haha.

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