Healing Trauma Through, Well, Clothes

Sometimes you’ve known something all along but just didn’t understand it. I’ve always told myself I hate clothes. I dress from a place of frustration and even resentment. I hate shopping for clothes. I hate trying on clothes. I hate buying clothes. I hate wearing clothes. And because my body has so often felt unsafeContinue reading “Healing Trauma Through, Well, Clothes”

Spring Semester Scandal at My MFA

CONTENT WARNING Now that I’ve finished my literary theory class, it’s on to the next course in my Accessible MFA: a fiction seminar. Full disclosure, I copied a lot of this from novelist Lily Hoang’s syllabus, which she generously shared on HTML Giant. Of course I chose my own textbooks, set up my own schedule,Continue reading “Spring Semester Scandal at My MFA”

Exposure Therapy

I was an exposure therapy skeptic. What I knew of exposure therapy came from abusers. More than one had justified their abuse by claiming it was helping me “face my fears” or “making me tougher.” This is nonsense. Such inhumane behavior will only make someone’s fear less manageable, even potentially debilitating. Research shows fear andContinue reading “Exposure Therapy”

Writing the Impact Statement

Pine needles drop from branches out my window. First, they grow brittle, fading from green to ochre. Then, all it takes is a breeze, and they let go. They swirl up into the air and settle into gutters. They pepper the shingles with orange. I used to think the only way to heal from theContinue reading “Writing the Impact Statement”

Life Goes On: Trauma Revisited

TRIGGER WARNING So I don’t talk much about trauma on this blog anymore. And you know what? It’s a relief. I started to face the abuse and assaults I survived when I was 25. Last month I turned 39. I’ve been at this 14 years. And I don’t expect it’s a journey that’s ever reallyContinue reading “Life Goes On: Trauma Revisited”

Reconnection

One morning I woke up, and my teeth were not clenched anymore. My face wasn’t twisted by nightmares. I had grieved for more than a year, and I felt cleansed. I could shelve books beside men in the stacks, and I no longer wanted to punch them. I no longer imagined a knife in myContinue reading “Reconnection”

After He Strangled Me

The next morning I went downstairs to breakfast in the dining hall as usual, but it wasn’t usual. I sat beside my brother, poking my spoon into the cereal I’d let go soggy, and I avoided looking up from my bowl. My hands were shaking. My pulse throbbed in my throat. I had done everythingContinue reading “After He Strangled Me”

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”

The Moral Imperative to Accept Refugees

How many of you have actually known refugees, personally? How many of you have sat beside them at a table and listened to their stories? Raise your hands. Okay, if you raised your hand, you’re free to go. Once you’ve sat across the table from a refugee and looked into their faces as they’ve toldContinue reading “The Moral Imperative to Accept Refugees”