There’s always more to grief

Image for post
Image for post

I lost both my mom and my grandma in the thick of winter. New York’s street corners were still covered by dirty snow and the toe of my boots kicked more than one pile of frozen ice as I felt the weight of grief settle into my body. It doesn’t matter that there was a 10 year difference between both losses, it mattered only that it all felt so foreign and familiar, at once.

In the tradition of loss and grief, the time immediately following their deaths wasn’t a lonely one. People packed into my childhood apartment to pray for…


Focus on building momentum instead

Image for post
Image for post

It usually starts slow. It’s depression’s most finessed skill. You see it in how adept it is at slowly moving the dial on the clock so you’re waking up later and later. If it grabs hold of your momentum, the barometer doesn’t suddenly hit “E”, it knows to move slowly so that it doesn’t set off any red flags in your brain.

Instead of, “Holy shit, something is W.R.O.N.G.”, you don’t notice until you have one foot on empty and the other holding on to your lifeline.

I was first introduced to its ways when…


The Universe showed you it’s committed to you, now it’s your turn

Image for post
Image for post

I read The Alchemist during a formative point of my life. I was a teenager on a subway in New York City vehemently nodding my head every time Coelho wrote about the universe conspiring in our favor.

Since then, I’ve believed in beginner’s luck as the Universe’s nod that you’re on the right path. It took me a while to understand that when the Universe stops nodding, it doesn’t mean it’s stopped being on your side. …


Psychologist Dorothy P. Holinger explains the connection

Image for post
Image for post

The bright green cover of Dorothy P. Holinger’s book stared at me as soon as I walked into Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon. Through COVID, the only outing I afford myself is to stop by my local bookstore once every few weeks. The Anatomy of Grief hadn’t been on my radar, but one look at the cover and title made me beeline right to it.

The inside cover promises that “Holinger describes what happens in the brain, the heart, and the body of the bereaved.”

I was intrigued.

Over the last 18 years…


Grieving what you don’t have is the first step to imagining a better future

Image for post
Image for post
Photo: Roos Koole/Getty Images

The first time grief triggered my jealousy was during my freshman year of high school. I was at my locker, packing up my books to take home for the weekend, when my locker mate Val asked, “So, what are you doing for Mother’s Day this weekend?”

“I… I, umm, I’m going to give my grandmother a card, and then I’ll go to the cemetery to visit my mom.”

A poignant silence followed. She nodded, then politely removed herself from the conversation, while I stood there sagging beneath the weight of my textbooks and my loss.

Starting high school is hard…


Image for post
Image for post

I write about mental health and grief. Sometimes I write about these topics from a research or analysis perspective, but most times I write about them in the context of my own lived experience.

I wouldn’t write about these topics if I didn’t find comfort in putting words to paper. It’s also true that if I only wrote about these two topics, I would burnout quickly and never want to turn to writing as a happy place again.

I know this from experience. When I started toodamnyoung.com, a site dedicated to young adults who were grieving, I didn’t give myself…


Image for post
Image for post

I wrote 1000 words before I scrapped them all and wrote this instead — you were taught that light bulb moments and solved problems were synonymous and now it’s a lesson to spend a lifetime unlearning.

Here’s the truth, light bulb moments happen and then later, some real time later, there’s a resolution. Sometimes that resolution is an outcome, sometimes it’s peace and acceptance. The resolution is dependent on the circumstances that exist around it.

In my life, I am a writer, a creator, a human who lives with layers of anxiety and mental health realities. In therapy, I’ve learned…


Image for post
Image for post

Support groups tend to be nondenominational. I found this out the first time I sat in a circle in the back room of a Church. You are holy adjacent, but not required to be holy. You are invited to speak, but if you have no words, you’re given space to simply exist.

It’s wonderful.

When the hour-long meeting is coming to a close, the Serenity Prayer fills up the room. …


Image for post
Image for post

I’ve gone through stages in the last year. My biggest tell is my hair length. It’s like I was breaking up with all the other versions of myself that had been holding me back, but also holding me up. The inches I had cut off during the first break in quarantine last summer felt freeing, they also made it harder to hide.

I’ve never had extremely short hair before. Growing up my mom prized herself on the length of my hair. I on the other hand only felt its weight, its tangles, the pain that came with pulling a comb…


Image for post
Image for post

Think of your inner-creative (and by default your creativity) as a kid. A kid with so many ideas, hands at the ready to finger paint colors on any wall it has available to it, and no freaking idea where to get started. It’s so aimless that if you let it (and yes, this would be you letting it), it can be aimless forever. It will paint in an area of the house you never wanted painted and never touch the one wall you needed a mural on.

Your inner-creative needs direction and a revolving door of boundaries that help it…

Vivian Nunez

I write daily about creativity, grief and mental health. https://www.instagram.com/vivnunez/

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store