Grandma

Out of all the places I’ve lived, only one has ever meant home. My grandparents’ house on South Fruitland Street. It’s not much to look at. Built in 1949, the house is a three-bedroom ranch. A white gable spans the front door and the bay window. My grandmother had the clapboard painted a powder puffContinue reading “Grandma”

What We Talk About When We Talk About Triggers

When survivors call a film “triggering,” we are paying it a compliment. Whether it’s a vet watching SAVING PRIVATE RYAN or a rape survivor watching HIGH LIFE, it makes no difference. If we say a movie was triggering, we are saying the director did their homework. They got it right. It means what you areContinue reading “What We Talk About When We Talk About Triggers”

The Discovery of No

I was 25, and I had just learned it was possible to say no. And just like a giddy two-year-old, I began to slap down this word in the midst of conversations, relationships, workdays. One of my library managers planned all our Halloween costumes that fall. We would all dress up as characters from The WizardContinue reading “The Discovery of No”

Cutting the Cord

I now saw that talking to my parents was pointless. So instead, I typed them an email. I need to talk with you about things that happened in the past. I have a lot of memories I’m just trying to make sense of. I know no one’s perfect, and we all have made mistakes. ButContinue reading “Cutting the Cord”

The End of Family

The last time I saw my father was in Austin, Texas. I was 25. My brother and I flew down to see our parents with high hopes for their happiness. They said they loved the city, that they loved the pace of it, that they were happier there than in their Seattle suburb. My brotherContinue reading “The End of Family”

Shelving Books

Libraries are not what you think. They are not havens. They are not sanctuaries of peace and learning. Each morning I unlocked the book drop-off bins and wheeled the returned books into the library. Sometimes orange juice or applesauce had been spilled on a book jacket. Other times, the stench from a pile of spyContinue reading “Shelving Books”

Becoming an Abuser

I wince at the images of female strength and power in the media. Women in armor swinging automatic weapons over crowds. Women in bikinis shouting into microphones that respect means spending thousands on a ring you can’t afford. Women in Spandex punching other people into submission. These aren’t so much portraits of strength as theyContinue reading “Becoming an Abuser”

Sexually Harassed by a Mentor

In the faculty office building, Top never dared follow me. Neither did the Mormon missionaries. Friendly faces smiled back as I waved at professors who remembered me as their student. I sold copies of my recently published chapbook. I knew I was safe there. It was my sanctuary. One of my old English professors, Gary,Continue reading “Sexually Harassed by a Mentor”