my ray of happiness right now
24 November 2021 | 6:36 am

In the summer of 2006, my mother suddenly announced one day that she, my sister, and I were going to Texas for the week to stay with her best friend. Visits to Aunt Christie’s weren’t unusual, but they were usually a little more … planned. But, it had been an extremely difficult time for my family. Things at our spiritually abusive “church” were coming to a head, and me and my mother had been some of the pastor’s more frequent targets for a while. We were reaching our breaking point, but at the time it was unthinkable that we just, y’know, avoid church for a week or two. No, people needed legitimate reasons not to go to your “home church,” and one of the few acceptable excuses was going out of town. On the way, my mother asked me to read New Spring, the prequel in┬áThe Wheel of Time┬áseries by Robert Jordan, to her as she drove. I did, and both of us were so instantly in love with the world that even before we got to Aunt Christie’s we stopped at a Barnes & Noble and bought the rest of the series in paperback. Mom would read one, then […]

the best way out is through
6 October 2021 | 6:22 am

Warning: vivid descriptions of the Pearl method of child abuse and mentions of sexual abuse. My mother was beaten violently as a child. She didn’t tell me those stories– or others– until I was an adult because her life is viciously, brutally dark. I help maintain a database on child torture and I still have rarely encountered stories more shocking and grotesque than my own mother’s. As we have both come to understand the ways our culture justifies child abuse and have learned about the realities of “spanking,” I’ve heard more about what the beatings she experienced looked and felt like. Usually, she was beaten when her own mother was enraged; she remembers the screaming vividly, as well as her mother chasing her, or beating her when she was naked and wet. When she had me, and later my sister, my mother knew she wanted our childhoods to look nothing like her own. She never wanted to treat us the way her mother had treated her. *** When my family was stationed in Iceland, we began attending a Baptist church off-base, in the village of Njardvik. My parents also decided to begin homeschooling us there, and we began to socialize […]

a womb by any other name
28 September 2021 | 7:46 am

My partner and I have a perennial discussion about rhetoric, and how to use it. Surprising to exactly no one who knows us personally, my position is that shocking, jarring language can be useful when judiciously applied and his is that it’s extremely difficult — if not impossible– to persuade someone when they’re on the defensive. I rejoin with sometimes you have to jolt someone to consciousness and milquetoast, softening language can bury the truth under too many layers of put-upon civility, and then he comes back with how overt aggression needlessly gets people’s backs up and away we go in circles. At this point, it’s a friendly conversation and we are getting better at recognizing it when it happens. Say, tonight for example. A friend of mine shared a post by Aayush Maurya about reframing “how we think about the uterus.” AJ saw it open on my desktop (including an image of the uterine reproductive system) and asked about it, and I related how much I enjoyed the post’s metaphor and language. One of the images Aayush uses is the uterus as a “fortress designed to protect the person from the developing cells inside them.” This sparked a discussion […]

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