My Adolescence in an Attempted Utopia

Coming of Age Amid Adults Questing for Self Actualization at South India’s Theosophical Society Headquarters

When I turned 14, I made two discoveries.

First, I learned that I would never inherit the smooth drape of my grandmother’s skin. Like my father, I would battle hillocks and mounds of acne pushing up against my face well into adulthood.

Second, and more important, I would come to learn that my home was a forest at the edge of the sea.

In the same year, 1998, I moved into a decrepit bungalow situated within the world headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Chennai, India. The sprawling, 260-acre ecological …

Unibrow Battles and Growing Up Lebanese

It Was Easy to Buy a Pair of Tweezers. It Was Tougher to Figure Out Who I Was in Post-9/11 America.

Elementary and middle school yearbooks are laid out across my childhood bedroom in perfect rows, organized in chronological order, open to my class pages. Glancing over the faces of former …

Camp Conformity

I Was Sent to Bond With My Fellow Jews. I Failed.

Last month, for the first time since I was 15, I returned to summer camp. Some friends were getting married and had rented out a YMCA in upstate New York …