How I Got Radicalized

An illustration of a Beanie Baby with a star print and the U.S. flag on its chest. Behind the beanie baby is a generic stock market image.
Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

Welcome to How I Got Radicalized, a series from GEN that tells the story of a cultural moment that made you drastically rethink how society works.

We laughed about the Beanie Babies. There were hundreds of them, piled onto shelves in my little sisters’ bedroom. The shelves were high up…


A photo of my dad and his family visiting Hillsboro, Ohio, in 1964. My dad is the little boy rubbing his eye, leaning on his grandpa’s knee.

There are no stars or skyscrapers in the suburbs. Even as a child, it felt like an in-between place to me. Suburbs were built for commuters — they leave them to work and come back to them to sleep. Maybe that’s why garages are the focal point of most suburban…


Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

It took me a full decade to realize I was part of a multilevel marketing scheme. I should have seen the signs: the business model was unclear, my participation was so costly I fell into debt, and when I needed help meeting quotas, I was forced to rely on family…


My family moved from Oakland, California to Denver, Colorado in 2019. We moved to Park Hill because people told us it was a nice neighborhood. They were right. It is nice. Park Hill is divided into three sections, North Park Hill, Northeast Park Hill and South Park Hill. My family…


The day our third daughter was blessed at church. 2018.

Murder Among the Mormons is a new documentary about the crimes of Mark Hofmann. Mark Hofmann is considered the best known American forger. His known forgeries include a poem in Emily Dickinson’s hand and signatures by George Washington, Francis Scott Key and Mark Twain. He was also a murderer. In…


Photo: Apexphotos/Getty Images

Last Wednesday, the snow started to fall thick and fast in Denver, Colorado. My kids went to bed hoping for a snow day. They’ve spent most of their childhood in California, and sometimes we had smoke days there. These days were ominous and choking, ash fell from the sky and…


This Is Us

Eight years old. I begged my parents to let me go to cheer camp because the other girls were doing it.

I read a lot as a kid. I didn’t speak out of turn. People liked me.

Sure, I never knew where my school worksheets were. I was rarely able to turn in my homework on time. And, yes, my elementary school desk was always a disaster. I used to flatten…


House spider illustration from, Who Were the First Weavers? A children’s book, 1874

Did you know that some house spiders can live up to seven years?

I didn’t know.

Whenever I’ve seen a spider crawl across my wall, move the tips of its spindled legs out of my shower drain or scuttle beneath a cabinet I’ve….well, I’ve killed it. I mean, when my…


Photo: Westend61/Getty

My 9-year-old daughter is having a hard time. It’s the kind of hard time most kids have at her age, made worse by the pandemic. Sometimes people call her quirky. This makes her nervous. She wants to be normal. When I tell her there’s no such thing as “normal” she…


Photo: Drew Angerer/Stringer/Getty Images

On Thursday, Senator Mitt Romney proposed the Family Security Act, a monthly cash benefit for children. The proposal, tucked inside the Biden administration’s pending $1.9 trillion stimulus package, is pretty simple: It eliminates the child tax credit, a government assistance program for income earners. The tax credit would be replaced…

Meg Conley

✒️Women’s work, economic justice and the home. Work in Slate, GEN, Medium + my newsletter, homeculture. Subscribe at megconley.com

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