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

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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…


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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…


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

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“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…


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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…


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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?

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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…


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Photo by little plant on Unsplash

Two weeks ago a dear white friend of mine reposted a TikTok video in her Instagram story of a clever white young man saying “I denounce my whiteness. I’m off-white, I’m beige, you can call me pink, you can call me snowflake… I don’t care what you call me just don’t call me white. Those people on the news— those are white people…”*

I couldn’t formulate a complete sentence in response to that video because I was experiencing trauma in real time.

How dare you.

I have wanted so badly to write about my feelings after seeing the attack at…


Even if white liberals keep telling me it’s racist?

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Disney+ “Soul”

On New Year’s Day I woke up to two messages from a white leftist internet friend of mine asking “have you seen this?” He linked two articles about the movie Soul, baiting me to reply with the same disappointment the blog writers had shared. I didn’t read them right away. I knew what they were going to say. I hadn’t seen the movie yet but I knew through headlines and memes how I was supposed to feel about it. After all, I’m a proponent of change, of working to unlearn internalized white supremacy, and I actively and publicly seek to…


But first, let me read your Tweets from 2012.

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Image via Interview Magazine

During this time of isolation, I find myself filling the void of social interaction with seemingly harmless hours of other people’s voices. Strangers. People I likely will never meet. I spend far too much time on social media, mostly looking for some kind of connection. I want to relate. I want to laugh. I want to learn how to do something cool and creative. But mostly I’m looking for a way to escape the reality of what life is like today in America. I find that connection sometimes, too. It’s almost…


How my zero-tolerance anti-racist activism transformed into social media addiction, depression, and impostor syndrome

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Photo of Author by Caro Schild

“In these uncertain and unprecedented times…”

It’s every email, every ad, and all over social media. It’s like a cry for togetherness, that we’re all trying to figure it out. And I have to remember that we are, because I know I certainly am — and I certainly haven’t got it all figured out yet.

As we all clamor in isolation to manage through unprecedented rapid changes and uncertain paths to a future we are struggling to even hope exists, we sit in a silent audience of performative wellness and wokeness, watching our heroes fall to Twitter juries’ collective insecurities until we have no one left…

Elyse Cizek

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

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