I Was a Twelve Year Old Priestess in the Occult, or So I Was Made to Believe

“Where is my real daughter? What have you done to her?” My mother is inside the apartment, pacing back and forth. I’m standing just outside the front door where she has ordered me to stay until I answer her. I am shaking uncontrollably. It’s a cold February evening. She asks again, “Where have they taken her?” and taps the door a little every time she walks past so that it is slowly closing. “Once the door is shut, they’ll come after you.” It’s 1982, and there’s no Internet yet, no Snopes website to warn me this might not be real. I am alone in Denton, Texas with my mother and her lover who believe I’m in the occult. Read more at Entropy

We Are the Time Travelers

Society gave me more rules as I entered my twenties: don’t get drunk at a party, don’t walk alone to your car at night, don’t be too flirtatious on a first date. Obey the rules, and predators won’t be able to find you. But according the Tralfamadorians, the aliens who abducted Billy Pilgrim, there are no rules. To ask why me “is a very Earthling question to ask…Why you. Why us for that matter?” they tell Billy. “Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?…Well, here we are Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.”

According to our patriarchal culture, I am trapped in the amber of being a woman. I am to expect violation from men, and yet, I am bombarded with rules about how to prevent it, and when it happens, society will demand to know why I couldn’t stop it. Time travel was the only way I could survive this destructive logic as I floated between the living room where Lawrence Welk music played and the bathroom where my grandfather stood, a great big blue towel being pulled off his waist. I learned how not to be fully present, how to let a portion of myself escape. Survivors like me send that part out to the ceiling, the sky, another room or an imaginary land to ensure we have something left when it is all over. Read more at Joyland


Multiple Acts of Abandonment

I was twenty-five years old when I decided to break up with my father. I suppose I could have started with the standard it’s not you, it’s me, but that seemed too trite given that our relationship began the day I was born. What was really going through my mind was more along the lines of it’s not you, it’s me, no it really is you, all you and if you could just acknowledge that in some way, this could be saved and I wouldn’t be sitting here right now wondering how to start this conversation. My parents had met at Philadelphia College of Bible, so saving people and relationships was a big theme in my family. I was raised on verses such as Exodus 20:12 that promised long life for those who honored their fathers and mothers, and I had to acknowledge the violence I was about to commit in telling my father that the markers of “father” and “daughter” no longer applied to us. I was about to break linguistic and spiritual codes in the next few minutes. But this abandonment was years in the making. Read more at Vol 1. Brooklyn