Mandolin Lessons

When I was a kid there was a room in my grandparents house I wasn’t supposed to go into. On the outside of the door was one of my uncles’ old windsurfing posters, from before he had moved out. When my grandparents weren’t paying attention (or so I thought), sometimes I would quietly open the door to that room and sneak inside and stand there looking around.  Continue reading “Mandolin Lessons”

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Unapologetically Angry

“Just remember, love Trumps hate!” my friend types to me online. I roll my eyes. “I’m just so angry, that people won’t get active and do something. I feel alone. I feel like I’m losing my mind.” I type in reply. “I feel like people refuse to engage unless it affects them, and it’s so selfish, I can’t stand to be around people anymore.” “Just breathe.” my friend advised, “It’s not that bad! You’re just having a bad day. Even with everything that’s going on, we still live in the freest country in the world, and that is something that hasn’t gone away in hundreds of years. We should definitely keep writing our Representatives and stuff, but it’s a system that will work itself out. You don’t have to be so angry all the time. Remember what Lincoln said: ‘Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.'” I stare at the screen, even angrier, trying to think of a response that won’t break off connections entirely with my friend. “It was good talking to you.” I say, “I have to go make dinner! 😀 ❤ “, is what I actually said. What I wish I said was this:

No. That is complete nonsense perpetuated from a place of unbelievable privilege. Stop trying to tell people who have every right to get angry, not to be angry. They should be angry. You should be angry. I am unapologetically angry at this system and everyone who perpetuates, defends, and participates in it. Don’t talk down to me with bullshit, (also questionably attributed) Abraham Lincoln quotes and vague ‘positivity’ platitudes. Positivity platitudes are psychologically unhealthy, and don’t help people to actually deal with reality. Abraham Lincoln didn’t give a fuck about slaves, and he suspended the writ of habeus corpus, so let’s take him off that pedestal now, thanks. Continue reading “Unapologetically Angry”

On Dissent

In just a few days, a man will be coming into the Presidency of the country where I live, who, when running for office, vividly reminded me of my own father. Time and time again, this man has been called, at best, and authoritarian, and at worst, a fascist. Everyday, I read about the fear that people have for him to be in control. What can we do? How do we resist? Maybe this has been my role all along. Let me instruct you in the ways of resistance. Let me tell you what resistance looks like against unbridled cruel power, where there is no one to help you, but you. Let me tell you that I made it, and you can make it, and it can be ok, but it will be hard.

I grew up in an abusive home. The numerous ways in which I was hurt and neglected goes on and on until it disappears into my memory, only to surface, unwelcome at strange hours of the night, on the verge of sleep, vivid as ever. All of the factors that contributed to the way my house was, are often looked at as stigmas and taboo topics that we hurriedly turn away from in polite conversation. We want to be comfortable. We don’t want to think about poverty, and substance abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, or sexual assault. Continue reading “On Dissent”

Married

I’m getting married. It’s still jarring to articulate. Growing up, whether because I am female, or for some other reason, there was always a focus on “someday”, when I would get married, by peers and adults.

In Church, we were taught from when we were children to prepare our whole lives to be worthy of the spouse that God had chosen, and to be the kind of spouse that God wanted us to be. Our whole lives we were supposed to be thinking of marriage and children. Many of the people I knew at church married as soon as they turned 18, and had children not long after. When we were young together, a lot of our conversations would revolve around boys and girls, who we liked, did we think we would marry that person someday. For me, the problem was that in these conversations my mind may as well have been an tv set with static. I could never imagine being married, I could never imagine some kind of partner, or children, or living in a house taking my kids to school, all of those things I had been told to want.

From school, to Church, to family, these conversations cropped up again and again, as I got older. “Can my friend come over?” “Sure, what’s her name?” “His name is-” “HIS name? Your friend is a boy? Is he your boyfriend?” I always rolled my eyes at my family and friends, but sometimes I wondered if something was wrong with me. Were there people who didn’t get married, who didn’t want to get married? Or was I just all alone? Continue reading “Married”

Secret and Subversive Magic

“Did you bring them” I whisper furtively, as my best friend slides into the hard wooden seat across from me. “Yeah!” she whispers back, and pulls out two fabric bags we sewed ourselves at her house after school one day. Inside, are cut semi-precious stones with marks we painted on them.  The stones are ones that we had read had more energy from the universe, and the paint color is significant as well. These are our Runes.

We both have a pile of books, and we look around, as if anyone else in the library is paying attention to what a couple of 14-year-olds are doing. My stack of books is mostly Shakespeare, with some Poe mixed in, a book about the interpretation of Runes and a few about Potions and Spells. Her stack of books is about various methods of Fortune Telling, Symbology, and Divination. Between us we have a notebook and gel pens, to write down important notes from our books. Continue reading “Secret and Subversive Magic”

Brother

I look out the window and snow flakes fall gently down. I think of you. It’s early January, and I sit with my coffee, searching with my phone for files on the cloud of scanned in photos from a long time ago. Scroll, scroll, scroll. Little me and little you, but none of baby you. Maybe we didn’t have a camera then, or maybe those pictures were lost. Maybe our parents were just themselves and didn’t take any pictures of you as a baby, or maybe those pictures are with a relative somewhere. I choose a different picture of you and I, when we got parakeets for Christmas one year.

Tapping the screen, a message forms: “Brother. You were born one time. Look, we were little together once. Message me back or something. Love your face. -Sister” Select, Attach Image: “parakeet”. Send. Continue reading “Brother”