Unshame Pain–the first clip is here!

I’m thrilled to present the first clip of the Unshame Pain Video Project:

[Click “watch on youtube.com” for transcript]

For me, this clip represents the soul of the Unshame Pain Project: imperfect, honest and heartfelt. This is the first clip to be publicly released and I am super excited to share it with you!

Feel free to share far and wide. I couldn’t have come this far without the support of countless people. Please donate here to keep our momentum strong.

Click here to learn more about the Unshame Pain Project.

To watch a Q&A with me about the Unshame Pain Project, keep reading. Continue reading

Leisure Discrimination and Constructs of “Normalcy”

A couple years ago I went to a queer hangout here in Sonoma County. Not far into the evening the conversation turned to a bar down the way that advertised “midget wrestling.” One of the hangout organizers was simultaneously saying how awful it was and encouraging everyone to go.

I was beside myself. I attempted to explain how offensive this was from a disability perspective in which there is a long history of both marginalizing and exploiting disabled people as a spectacle for mass entertainment. (I later contacted the bar to say so directly!) Continue reading

Making Space for Play & Pleasure

I’ve been putting off writing a blog post because it feels like work amidst what is already a lot of deep thinking, researching, and writing about pain stigma and social justice. As one “to-do” list morphs into another, I have been transferring the task of writing a post to each new list while trusting that the right time and content would make itself clear. Then, tonight I received the tarot card of “play” in a prominent position, as it has been showing up every time I engage with tarot recently.

Hmm, I wonder if the universe is telling me something?

Yellow lab-retriever Buffy, L, with head against M’s head, R. M is smiling w/teeth showing, has red hair and fair skin.

Continue reading

Embracing Loneliness

As the air begins to crisp with hints of fall approaching (my favorite season) I’ve been shifting back into school mode after being on Summer hiatus. I’ve been diligently working on my book and I’m pleased (and in ongoing awe) with how its purpose/essence continues to emerge and solidify. I have also enjoyed sweet opportunities to be with dear friends and and spend delicious time outside: definite highlights of an otherwise quiet summer!

These last few months have also been a valuable time of reflection as I’ve been thinking a lot about loneliness, which has been one of the most prevalent and chronic experiences of pain in my life since I was very young. At times the loneliness is nothing more than a whisper in the background, while in other instances it is an acute, deep feeling of despair and longing for connection, accompanied by grief over the yearning for what feels absent, unavailable or unobtainable (intimacy, fellowship, presence). Continue reading

Spring Greetings

Hello friends!

Ready for Passover Seder! Selfie of Ma’ayan w/short red hair sticking up, gold hoop earrings, purple/grey shirt and brown tie with a gear design on it.

Spring is typically a time of bumpy transition for me in going from the cold and wet to new growth (and lots of pollen, oy!). I often feel like a plant, coming out of dormancy and agitating for the light so that I may reach my full growth potential before my leaves fall off again…sound familiar?

Needless to say, after an extremely rainy winter and early spring, I am relishing the sunshine and beautiful weather here!

A few updates:

  • After deciding to take winter quarter off from school, I reached a huge milestone in April – I completed a [super rough] draft of my book about pain as a social justice issue!I proudly sent it to my first ever reader, my dear and brilliant friend (and developmental editor, among many other aptitudes) Beth Raps. It was so exciting to share my “baby” for the first time (years in the making… and counting) and to receive wonderful feedback.
  • The Unshame Pain Video Project is on pause for the moment while I wait to find out if any of my grant proposals will be funded. Huge gratitude to everyone who has shown their support in so many ways!
  • I am in the process of becoming a certified Journal to the Self Instructor and will be offering classes (local & online options) in the near-ish future. Stay tuned…
  • Below is “Blogging for Change”, a paper I wrote for school about my blog and the impact that web-based forums are having for people with chronic pain and illness conditions. It ended up being very interesting and inspiring to write.

My parting words: Take heart! Every day I read reports on developments that have the potential to help people with chronic pain and illness and, while the world feels ever tenuous, I am encouraged by progress that is being made bit by bit.  I thank all of you for being a part of it.



P.S. Don’t ever hesitate to reach out if you have comments, questions or to say “hi.” It’s great to hear from you. Continue reading

I’m so heartened by your support

Dear Friend,
Thank you to everyone who has sent the sweetest birthday wishes. I am filled with gratitude and warm fuzzy feelings. I love being 33.

I am immensely touched! Here’s a photo of Buffy and me dressed up and ready to celebrate:

If you haven’t yet made a donation and want to, there’s still time!
-Send checks to:
Unshame Pain C/O Media Alliance
2830 20th Street, Suite 102
San Francisco CA 94110
Note: Check Payee must be “Media Alliance“
Your support is invaluable, whether you donate or not. Knowing that amazing people like you are rooting for my success makes me feel seen, loved and keeps the momentum of my spirit stoked.Thank you.

We are halfway to summer and it feels fitting that I was born right as we enter this in-between space. I am thankful that you are in my life to share it with.


Will you donate in honor of my birthday?

IMG_0474Hi Friends,
On Sunday, February 3rd I turn 33 years old and I have a special request: will you make a donation of $33 (or whatever amount feels good to you) to support my Pain Activism & Education mission?
Increasing understanding for people in pain is my passion and your contribution—whether $99, $33, $11, $3, or whatever your heart tells you—will help sustain and nourish me in the process.
I’m excited to announce that the amazing media advocacy organization, Media Alliance, is officially Unshame Pain’s fiscal sponsor! You can now make a tax-deductible contribution to Unshame Pain:
-Send checks to:
Unshame Pain C/O Media Alliance
2830 20th Street, Suite 102
San Francisco CA 94110
Note: Check Payee must be “Media Alliance“
My grassroots goal for 2019 is $2,333 and, however you choose to contribute, your gift will be tremendously appreciated. As you probably know, I’m excellent at stretching a small budget and my commitment to you is to make the most of every cent you give.
Will you help?
I know that I’ve said it before, but I want to thank you again for all of your support in getting me this far, regardless of whether you are able to contribute financially. I have been hard at work writing grants but funding is limited and your grassroots solidarity helps tremendously. I have a lot planned for this year to continue maximizing my impact and having you to share the fruits of my labor with always makes my work so much more meaningful. I’m truly blessed to have you in my life.
Please forward this email to friends and colleagues you think will be interested.
Thanks for your consideration and for all of the ways you have already helped, even if you don’t know it. I’m enthusiastic to share my next trip around the sun with you!
P.S. Thanks again for taking the time to share your love and support with me!
Here are the donation links one last time:

Thanks for a great year!

Special thanks to all of you who have made 2018 especially sweet.

Here are some photos of a few particularly awesome friends who are all addressing pain by making the world more comfortable, understanding and creative. Check out their links for guaranteed amazingness!

Continue reading

Introducing Buffy the Great

I have an extremely special announcement of a new addition to my family: my service dog Buffy Baruch Simon!


I have been awaiting a service dog through Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) since 2016 and, in late October, I was invited to team training to make my dream a reality. After a two week residential training at CCI headquarters in Santa Rosa, Buffy and I graduated on November 9, 2018 and we are a fully credentialed service dog team.Buffy_grad

Continue reading