Why I Don’t Have a Therapist…For Now

Don’t get me wrong. Therapists are a vital resource, and everyone should have affordable, easy access. From talk therapy to CBT to prescriptions and support groups, we all deserve to live in a world where whatever works for us is available and affordable. I’ve turned to therapists in the past, and they’ve been a hugeContinue reading “Why I Don’t Have a Therapist…For Now”

Ways of Reading: Part I

I started my first MFA class with a pretty clear idea of how things were going to go. Literary theory. Okay. I’d studied this during my undergrad degree. Cool. A bunch of dead white guys from Europe and North America will talk endlessly about what they think a text is, what the job of anContinue reading “Ways of Reading: Part I”

Writing with Chronic Illness

This week I came right up against a wall. Writing can be tough for anybody. Writing a book is even harder. But attempting to write a book with chronic illness? Even Flannery O’Connor said screw it when she was diagnosed with lupus and had to move back home, trading her fabulous life among Manhattan’s literatiContinue reading “Writing with Chronic Illness”

Gaslight (1944): How Abusers Destroy You

You apologize for things you didn’t do. You feel a wave of self-doubt whenever anyone points out that maybe you just misunderstood or maybe you didn’t remember right. Maybe it’s true, you tell yourself. You’re always messing up anyway. You look at others and feel inferior—when you can muster the courage to lift your eyesContinue reading “Gaslight (1944): How Abusers Destroy You”

Remembrance

In many faith traditions, remembrance is a sacred act. A devotion to God. Buddhism in particular offers a definition of remembrance that echoes this stage in trauma recovery. The Pali term sati can be translated as both mindfulness and memory. The Satipatthana Sutta teaches that sati enables us to see the true relationship between all things. We must awakenContinue reading “Remembrance”

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 Seventh Assault

CONTAINS TRIGGERING CONTENT We all want beautiful stories of survivors. We want to see people rise above cruelty with dignity. We want to see someone defeat the unethical with ethics, the unfeeling with compassion. We want to see someone whose survival is threatened, yet they respond with the generosity, the dignity, and the heroism ofContinue reading “The Seventh Assault”

When Post-Traumatic Stress Begins

I wish I could tell you that was the end of it. I held an umbrella and felt strong, and suddenly I was better. There. All better now. A band-aid. A blessing. And I was all set to go. But that isn’t how trauma works. I am 12, and I don’t yet know that justContinue reading “When Post-Traumatic Stress Begins”

Prelude to the Assaults

CONTAINS TRIGGERING CONTENT To begin a story is necessarily to omit. If I begin my story of assault at age 12 with my father’s attack, then I am omitting my mother’s physical abuse. I am leaving out the fact that my earliest memories are full of violence not from men, but from a woman. AContinue reading “Prelude to the Assaults”

The Pros and Cons of Exhaustion

I just finished another short story, which I’ll be sending the submission rounds next week. Thursday nights I volunteer in a nearly three-hour ESL class. I work part-time, and I am taking three classes this quarter. Count them. Three. My fiancé and I are also busy wedding planning. And sometimes there’s time leftover to cleanContinue reading “The Pros and Cons of Exhaustion”