Kate Fagan is a columnist and feature writer for ESPN. Her latest book is What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen.

“When I was professionally closeted, I was kind of bitter. I didn’t have a ton of empathy. And I don’t think I always asked the right question, because I wouldn’t ask people questions that I wouldn’t want to be asked…I had walls up. I wouldn’t even allow myself to be vulnerable in my writing. Because the whole point of my existence at that time was to circumvent any moment that could create vulnerability in a way that would frighten me. And I think you could that see in my writing.”

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Wrong Way

Kids say it’s fun to take cars. They brag to each other about how many they’ve stolen and the sleekest models they’ve sped away in. They say they are bored and that it’s easy, sharing videos of themselves driving at 120 miles per hour. They smile with key fobs, offering rides on Facebook. But all of the biggest car thieves had something to run from.

Letter from a Region in My Mind

“I underwent, during the summer that I became fourteen, a prolonged religious crisis. I use “religious” in the common, and arbitrary, sense, meaning that I then discovered God, His saints and angels, and His blazing Hell. And since I had been born in a Christian nation, I accepted this Deity as the only one. I supposed Him to exist only within the walls of a church—in fact, of our church—and I also supposed that God and safety were synonymous.”