The Four Stages of Migraine

At the age of 31, I learned that the body is irrevocably tied to others. After violence from two young men, my health rapidly deteriorated. Migraines became more frequent and eventually chronic. Within three years, I had become too disabled to work. Our culture tells us that health and weight signal personal virtue. That “willContinue reading “The Four Stages of Migraine”

On Father’s Day Weekend

My father kept an old Yamaha acoustic guitar in his bedroom. Sometimes I ran my child-round fingertips over the strings just to see if it was still in tune. It was, then. I whispered secrets into the sound hole, and it always whispered back. It smelled of dust and spruce and something metallic, like aContinue reading “On Father’s Day Weekend”

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”

My Other Grandfather

My father’s father was made of different stuff. I never knew him as Grandpa because he died the year I was born. There is only one picture of us together, and in it, he sits stiff and unsmiling, his wire-rim glasses glinting at the camera. He has my father’s long solemn face and the sameContinue reading “My Other Grandfather”

The Aftermath

The next memories I can place with any certainty are in the last month of sixth grade. I am with my best friends, Heidi and Christine, girls whose lives hold their own traumas. We have completed our end-of-year projects—my purple rocket with a Lego monkey inside the capsule, books we have written and will presentContinue reading “The Aftermath”

The Abuser in All of Us

Last night at Elliott Bay Book Company, author Val Brelinski read from her debut novel, The Girl Who Slept with God, and posed an impossible question: Is it possible to love another human being–parents, siblings, children, spouses–and not in some way damage the other person? Or is that part of the nature of intimate relationships?Continue reading “The Abuser in All of Us”