We just don’t have a real example of accountability

Photo of the Author by Aly Whitman

I’m really tired of hearing the word “cancelled.” I’m tired of it not only because all of my favorite events over the past year have been cancelled, or that the places I once loved and the people who I once looked up to have been called out for being problematic, but because the term “cancel culture” has arisen as a misnomer for what we’re actually watching unfold as our society decides to bring problematic behavior to the surface of our conversation.

I’ve written about cancelling quite a bit. Primarily because I’ve observed the term first thrown by well-intended social justice…


Self-sabotage, fear, and resistance in turning art into a career.

Photo of the Author by Anya Maria Johnson

Someone asked me today when I started writing. I paused for a long time.

“What do you mean?”

He thought for a second and replied, “yeah, I guess that’s a weird question to ask a writer.”

The truth is, even today I’m not sure if I am one.

I had an idea three months ago for an article I wanted to write. A series, really. It was going to be a series of artist portraits written in the style of the great Vogue cover pieces I’ve been obsessing over all…


TW: Body Image, Weight, Dieting, Body Shame

Photo of the Author by Aaron Alpert

I went on my first diet at 8 years old. Young, yes. But I was a product of screens. My parents would often leave my sisters and I at home during the summer months, usually occupying ourselves by taking bike rides and sitting in front of the television for hours. I remember waking up early and turning on Lifetime, following along with Denise Austin aerobics workouts and watching 5am informercials for weight loss pills and exercise machines. …


We’re getting called out, what are we going to do about it?

Kyoko Takenaka via https://www.kyokotakenaka.com/film

When I was a kid in school I remember my teachers saying “we have two ears and only one mouth, so we should be listening twice as much as we talk.” One teacher in particular would single out kids who were talking while she was teaching, saying “if you’re talking, you’re not listening. You can’t do both at the same time.”

As simple as these phrases may be, and as often as I’m sure we’ve all heard them throughout our lives, it frustrates me how little consideration these two thoughts are given in the grand conversations about discrimination in America…


Transposed to text as performed by Elyse Cizek. Written for live performance Feb 2017.

“American Neo Beatnick #3” by Aaron Alpert

I like men who look like they’re dyin —
— from heroin

Holdin their shit together with green juice
and guitar strings
to keep it clean keep it clean keep it clean

I like men space between their thighs
and a soft crop of chest hair they got from their daddies —
— who they don’t talk to anymore
but when they do he gives em money

White boys usually

They’re fun and don’t wanna take me home to their mamas
so I can have a…


TW: Mention of drug use and a handful of cuss words.

Photo of the Author by Aaron Alpert

February 18th, 2016 was a day like any other day. I worked in the morning and had the following day off, so I was going to celebrate my mini weekend with a night out. I got my hair done, got my lashes done, got my nails done, and I was prepared to celebrate — but the truth is, I didn’t have much to be proud of. The life I had created for myself then, at 28 years old, was one full of running, hiding, lying, cheating, half-assing, and blaming…


Photo of the Author by Sean Boyd

I hate it when people say Valentine’s Day is “just a Hallmark holiday” or “just another day.” I want to celebrate it so badly. I’m 33 years old and I have been single for all but two Valentine’s Days in my lifetime…and oh boy do I want to whine about it.

I haven’t been in a real relationship in five and a half years — meaning I haven’t been anyone’s girlfriend since I’ve lived in LA. Every year since my last breakup, this holiday has been torture. Sure, sometimes I’ve pacified my disappointment with friends or fun nights out, but…


Five years ago I cried at the San Diego Zoo. It was the orangutan primarily. A female. She was sitting on some grass in the middle of her reserve and we were standing behind some glass in a hallway designed to observe. There were children with popcorn, mothers with screaming infants in strollers, couples, men with cameras, and crowds of students gathered there, staring at this single creature just sitting. I remember hearing one child yell to his mother, “Mom, why isn’t it doing anything?”

I looked into the eyes of that orangutan and felt a deep sadness for my…


Photo of Author by Aaron Alpert

I don’t know how to tell you I’m tired of talking about race with you without coming off as stupid. And I don’t want my friendships to feel that way.

I don’t know how to tell you that when you bring up the “marketing value” of Black Lives Matter, when you tell me that it’s not efficient enough to actually create equality, that I don’t have the emotional energy to explain it to you. …


…what are you looking for?

I’m a glutton for the comments section. Not because I myself am an avid commenter these days, but because I find some kind of sick pleasure in the drama that erupts within the comments section of ads, articles, news videos, facebook posts, you name it. It’s a voyeuristic expedition into the depth between the sides of each social argument, the extremes to which strangers will go to dehumanize each other — from side eye to doxxing — and dominate the “rightness” of their point.

I don’t like that I do it. I don’t enjoy the feeling of seeing people rip…

Elyse Cizek

Author. Poet. Musician. Actress. Instagram.com/elyse_just_elyse

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