Articles, Essays & Interviews
Articles, Essays & Interviews
Memoir Monday Choice Essay , The Rumpus – April 2, 2018
In a doctor’s office, I held a plastic black spoon up to my right eye and said aloud the letters that I saw. I was in second grade, and squinted whenever I read books. I moved the spoon to my left eye and read the letters again. They didn’t spell anything. The doctor told my parents I was near-sighted.
The Angel’s Mouth
Editor’s Choice Essay, Nailed Magazine
Stand like a queen, she said. Don’t slouch, stick out your boobs. You must lift your soft palate, it happens at the end of a yawn. So, let yourself yawn right now, that’s right, bigger than that. This is a reflex that stretches. The soft palate tones the muscles of breathing, helps you swallow.
Your tongue must be out of the way when singing, touch it gently behind your bottom teeth.
Typehouse Literary Magazine
She sneaks into the garden after midnight to make congress with coyotes, foxes, Luna moths and any other creature awake at that hour. She breaks the curfew and so our nanny, Jeanine and my parents confine her to her bedroom until she learns to be decent, to comb her hair and wear a dress and fold her napkin. She never stays in her room. When my friends and I go out to play football, she stands on the edge of our self-created field, always out-of-bounds. No girls allowed, I say. Her tongue extends from her mouth, and she squishes her eyes closed. She makes herself a monster.
Modern day Initiation. What doesn’t Kill Us.
I will survive this initiation too.
The last time I see her, my 92-year-old grandmother’s body winces when she smiles. Momo can only give a ghost of her former laugh. She whispers to every nurse who comes in her room that I am her firstborn grandchild.
I feed her small bites of a Chewy Trail Mix granola bar. Her hands tremble constantly.
10 Qualities of Visionary Leaders and Healers in Transitional Times
Wake up World
Let’s push it, let’s birth it. Let’s create and heal and risk the pain. I love the way you lead the way, the way you risk that disapproving sneer, the distasteful glare. I love the way you dive right into the fear of isolation and rejection, just to become the truth. Sure, we want to be good and to be loved, but following the rules has never unveiled the joy we seek.
Now is not the time to follow the old rules!
The Manifestation Station
I had to kneel and stand, kneel and stand and plant my sore butt on an unforgiving wooden bench. I turned the thin white hymnal pages, to reveal the Christmas music I couldn’t read. My belly felt hollow and electric when they sang to the blue and gold stained glass, the vaulted ceiling. Jesus was my crush. I liked to move the characters around in the small nativity scene in our living room. I hooked up Mary and the tallest wise man, introduced the shepherds to the angels. I prayed that Mary would stop my mom from yelling and my father from taking off his belt. That morning, my brother stole the chapter book I was reading and wouldn’t give it back. I grabbed his worn out teddy bear and positioned my left hand like a claw over the bear’s head to rip it off. It was a hostage situation and we negotiated it like the villains we were.
Taking the Holy Risk
I learned to swim at age nine from Nick Nicholas after over 20 lessons with other unsuccessful teachers.
I refused to put my face in the water because I knew that was how people drowned. Nick Nicholas, in his bright red swim trunks was different. He told me I didn’t have to put my face in and taught me to swim all the other ways first.
There is a space before something happens. The space that you fill before you even notice that you do it. This space empties your gut, peels off your skin.
You fear the nothing in your belly so you walk where it is cold. Icy wet, weighted clouds run past. You walk fast. You leave the nothing behind. Pass the bridge. Pass the creek with the icy bark. You force your hands outside your pockets to make them numb so you can feel them buzz. Alive is a strange way to be.
Begin Your Creative Recovery Now
Creativity is another name for spirit, another name for human.
You can practice your budding creative genius right now wherever you are.
What brings you ridiculous amounts of pleasure? What would you do if you didn’t have to earn a living? The answers to these questions are often your treasure, your secret creative revolutionary soul.
Let Freedom Sing: A Break up Letter to Addiction.
The Tattooed Buddha
I never thought I would make it past 30.
Birth was the first time I took air inside myself. Then, the new sound from my raw throat floated away from me. That first time my voice pierced the world, I was not welcome. I longed to return to that quiet dark liquid place that tricked me into thinking it was home. I wasn’t real for a long time. I immediately hated anything that pushed me further into this unwanted emergence. My voice was to blame, so I banished it.
Reema Zaman: “Once I saw how it all connected, I became free”
The impact of trauma on entire communities, generations, or genders is too often ignored or disregarded. In my role as the executive director of Acupuncturists Without Borders, I often see people after the worst has happened. I see how, when disaster strikes a community—whether a wildfire, a murder, or a school shooting—a shared experience of trauma shudders through the collective. Sometimes, individual therapy and passing time do not repair the wounds. It is radical to challenge the global voicelessness absorbed by women after centuries of male violence, and insist that our fates are bound together.
Revolutionary Healing & Alchemy of Spirit with Gerri Ravyn Stanfield
Interview on Queer Spirit Podcast