The Personal

“Can you really separate the personal from the professional?
My story, a very personal story, shapes every aspect of who I am.”

My story begins like any other…

I was born in Birmingham, Alabama to two Jewish parents who quickly divorced. My father, an attorney, later became The Honorable Judge Lichtenstein, a fact of which I am exceedingly proud.

My childhood was spent living with my mother and our horses until mom’s old Kindergarten fling Brian Grodner re-entered our lives (no joke). While my mother worked as an Occupational Therapist, Brian used our spare bedroom to start his own business: brokering used lumber equipment. Perfectly logical, if you ask me.

Ten years and 2 adopted-Chinese sisters later, my mother and stepfather turned towards Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, while I slowly drifted further away from the faith (but more on that later).

I attended New York University from 2002-2005 and received my Bachelor’s in Communication Studies and Cinema Studies before scoring a prestigious unpaid internship on a reality-TV pilot just after graduating. As promised, this opportunity lead to others, which lead to others. Reality TV was the life for me!

While I was doing well in my life and career, my stepfather’s cancer diagnosis shook our worlds and his death changed everything. As that played out in Alabama and Texas, I was living in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with my partner of six years–a transgender woman. This could be an entire story on its own, but the short version is that my boyfriend-turned-girlfriend and I had a beautiful house in the suburbs with a yard, a dog, a community of sex-positive and body-positive friends… literally everything!

And then I met him…

It wasn’t intentional. I wasn’t looking for love. But the fact is, we met and it happened. I didn’t know that he was an ordained Roman Catholic Priest when I started falling for him (and him, for me). By the time I knew, it was too late. Again, this could be an entire novel on its own, but I’ll stick to the short version.

My former partner and I ended up going our separate ways and six long and painful years of romance ensued. They were incredible times, as falling in love tends to be, but difficult due to the secrecy, uncertainty, and physical distance between us.

Despite growing up Jewish and leaving formal religion behind many years in the past, I began to pray that somehow we would end up together despite what seemed like insurmountable odds. In the summer of 2016, he resigned from active ministry and a year later we were married. I felt my prayers were answered and this impacted my beliefs moving forward.

The happiest day of my life. I’m so cliche.

Our “Happily Ever After” wedding isn’t the end, though. Before we were married, I began my studies at Johns Hopkins University. The summer of our wedding, I also switched jobs, prompting us to move across the country to Denver, Colorado.

Currently, I am working as a marketing and communications manager and head writer for a tech company. I recently completed graduate school and I do some freelance writing and editing on the side. I hope to have more adventures to add to this story in the future, but for now, life seems a bit calm and I’m enjoying that.

I relate to you this story, which has admittedly glossed over many details, so you may have just a glimpse into context of my life’s experience, which I can’t leave at the office door no matter how hard I try.

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