Mourning

The first thing it makes space for is sorrow. As the rage and terror ebb away, the grief can overwhelm us. For me, I think it was the grief, more than anything else, that I feared. I had lifted my rage against it like a shield. Hadn’t trauma cost me enough? How dare anyone, evenContinue reading “Mourning”

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”

The Third Assault

All children are curious about sex. But teenagers are downright thirsty for it. I’m 16, and I may be Mormon, with big glasses and ankle-length skirts and hair down to my waist. But I’m no different. At church, in my Young Women’s class, a teacher asks, “And why should we wait to have sex untilContinue reading “The Third Assault”

The Androgynous Genius of David Bowie

Growing up Mormon in the 1980s, I didn’t experience much pop culture beyond Rainbow Brite and E.T. But in 1988, I saw Labyrinth and was introduced to the cosmic force that was Planet Earth’s David Bowie. Both frightened and utterly bewitched at age seven, I fell in love. In my white bread, fiercely heteronormative suburb, IContinue reading “The Androgynous Genius of David Bowie”

On Dressing (and Undressing) at the Public Pool

Americans are weird about nudity. Maybe because we associate it exclusively with sex. To be a nudist in America is not just eccentric—it’s deviant. So deviant, in fact, that it’s illegal. You must have private property, fences, and warning signs—at the very least—to go topless, let alone in the buff. And I’m no exception to American puritanism.Continue reading “On Dressing (and Undressing) at the Public Pool”