Trauma Stuck Points

Between my twelfth and thirteenth birthdays, I became a different person. At 12, I was still skipping down the corridors at school, shouting jokes to friends. I was the kid who helped new students adjust. Who tutored classmates when they fell behind in spelling. I was generous, boisterous, and fun-loving. I was also boastful, cocksure.Continue reading “Trauma Stuck Points”

Handling Resentment

I’m not a pro at this. I’m not here to give advice. I’m just saying that sometimes I look at people who’ve had it easier than I did for their first 30 years on this planet—people who have the education, the financial stability, the family—and who think they have all that because they’re awesome. NotContinue reading “Handling Resentment”

Stalked by the Mormon Church

I had not been to church in over three years. I had moved to another city. I had not informed The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints of my new address. I had, in fact, not had any contact with the church or its representatives for over three years. And yet, one cloudy dayContinue reading “Stalked by the Mormon Church”

Stalked by an Ex

I should have known. Top had never taken “no” for an answer before. I should have known that he would treat the breakup as a challenge rather than a fact. How? My therapist Sarah demanded, almost ten years later, when I told her this part of the story. I blinked at her. How could you haveContinue reading “Stalked by an Ex”

The Beginning of the End

A few months before my graduation, I came home after classes one day to find my parents in the living room. The lights had been shut off and the blinds drawn. The ivory sofa loomed gray in the dim light, and my father sat in the center of it like a king upon a dais,Continue reading “The Beginning of the End”

And Then, Poverty

In 2016, one out of eight women age 18 and older lived in poverty. Currently, millions of women in the United States live below the poverty line, and nearly 50% of women on government aid give domestic violence as a reason they require financial assistance. In 2002, I was just another statistic. Another woman tryingContinue reading “And Then, Poverty”

After a Father Sexually Assaults His Daughter

The next thing I remember is shaking out black garbage bags. I bagged up the clothes from my closet, taking armfuls of sweaters and blouses and skirts with the hangers still attached. I wadded up my sheets and pillows. I stuffed everything into the bags and knotted them closed. I don’t know if this wasContinue reading “After a Father Sexually Assaults His Daughter”

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”

Aftermath at 20

I was not someone who got sexually assaulted, so I had not been assaulted. Simple as that. We all do this to some degree, usually with much lower stakes: I’m a smart person, so that book I love must be a real masterpiece. My child is an angel, so that teacher must have seen things wrong. Continue reading “Aftermath at 20”

Siddhartha

But depression does not recede with the ministering of kind words from a friend. Joe’s words had been a balm, and the pain stopped smarting enough that I could continue. But looking back, I do think depression persisted in a milder form for years—largely because of my parents’ ongoing abuse. I made poor decisions thatContinue reading “Siddhartha”