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Parenting

I can’t tell you how excited I am to have my work included in the empowering collection Jennifer Pastilloff has put together on The Manifest-Station. The voices there are compelling, brave and unerringly honest. To have my work accepted is a BFG (big freakin’ deal), especially considering this letter is a list–a form not often selected. It is incredibly rewarding to find my piece in such a far-reaching forum. I hope you’ll hop on over and read. “The Letter No One Wrote My Mother” is the piece that brought me

Dear Woman, Stop it. Stop. It. Stop all of it. You are not a victim. You are a survivor. You get to choose what you will experience. So, file those papers. Pack his bags. Leave them on the doorstep. Change the locks. Invite friends over. Have them block the garage doors with their cars. Ask them to stay the night. This man you married, you owe him nothing. There were good times. There was love. You had hope. You put in the time. But what you had slipped away years

As expected, my public confessions of abuse resulted in an emotional barrage akin to a hurricane. The response was so swift and fierce that I was left breathless. It arrived via text message and frantic, tear-and-shallow-breath-filled phone calls. I read. I listened. I paused. Were the allegations true? Was I an emotionally unstable child in a woman’s body acting unfairly? Were my experiences the manufacture of an overactive imagination, my admissions false and vindictive? The accusations battered me. I shed my own tears, but I remembered my goals, assessed whether

I was recently at a friend’s baby blessing. She was two weeks from delivery. Her face bore the signs of fatigue and anxiety. She wanted to know if I had any advice for her. She didn’t know what she would do, she said, when the baby was born. Aside from her husband, her family was far away. In her home country, the village raises the child. Extended family is present to help out. She was feeling the distance of her loved ones, and the ache of treading in foreign lands,

1. Once upon a time there was a girl who was growing into a woman, but she wasn’t growing into the right kind of woman. Instead of dressing in loose robes that dusted the ground, she dressed like her brothers, in tunic and trousers. She pulled her hair back away from her face and never wound it in cloth. When possible, she bared her feet and hands and face and smiled in her joy because she was comfortable. This girl, instead of praying as her father prayed, turned her face

Before I ever dreamed of not pleasing my father (and this was before his hair turned gray, although he tells it otherwise) I filled hours imagining the ways I was better, superior to my sisters, mother, all others who could not dream the way I dreamed of being Daddy’s favorite –the golden child The Unmarred, The Worthy. I am none of those kinds of child I am no longer child, golden, unmarred or otherwise. I have, with great reluctance, accepted my position of adult, mother, Woman. My dreams now revolve

It took me ten years to work up the courage to write about my childhood. In that time, I explored every field except nonfiction, earning an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) with a thesis my husband describes as “stories in which girls don’t act quite the way they should”. Fiction was a safety net-a space where I could address my sexual, physical and emotional fears without honestly admitting to them. During workshops of my short stories, I often felt personally attacked as my writing was critiqued. While my peers were

The Letter No One Wrote My Mother was well shared. It had and continues to have international readership. Several of the people it has reached (with your help, thank you!) have contacted me to say that Fact Seven resonates with them. Fact Seven: I am an almost-abuser. I choose every day not to abuse my child. Becoming a parent is terrifying for any number of reasons. For many of us, those fears center around 1) losing ourselves or 2) our child getting hurt. Fact Seven is a combination of those fears.

It’s a shame that writing about past abuse has the power to hurt people in the present. I did not tell anyone in my family my plans to write about my home experience. The Spire is open to the public, my family reads it, some of their friends, colleagues, etc. Two days after posting The Letter No One Wrote My Mother, I have been told that feelings are hurt, and that relations are now strained. Out of courtesy to others, I shouldn’t write these things. I was also told that

Dear Mother, There is so much I need to say to you, because you are a sister to me. In a new way, now. We share a fear of seeing anger in a man’s eyes. We share a fear of those we love being hurt, and hurting those we love. We share a fear of hurting. This love is beyond friendship. We are betrayed. I want to hold you. I want to make myself safe for you. Always, you can cling to me. For hours, I have walked my floors

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