Being Mixed-Race Series

Excerpt from Memoir: King Leopold’s Daughter

“Imagine my hill at the edge of a road. Imagine a city, Kinshasa, a recent Belgian colony made independent nine years earlier. Imagine my white Belgian father, an architect waiting to make deals with one of the cruelest dictators of our times: Mobutu Sesseseko. Imagine my metisse mother, born as a simple brown girl in Burundi, now the queen of the continent, thanks to papa. Imagine me, a four-year-old brown girl, waiting for the sun to set to sneak out of the house to my castle at the end of a road, on the side of a hill.” […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Beach Speak

“Beach Speak” focuses on Angelica Julia Davila’s identity as Latinx through the use of the Spanish and English languages. Documenting her struggle with both languages while a child, Angelica explores what it means to accept who one is on the inside. It is a piece that touches on the shame of being seen as different while growing up in the United States. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Half-Cooked

This story is about food. And identity. And how each feeds the other. In a series of vignettes and reflections on Hana Etsuko Dethlefsen’s relationship with family, culture, food, and recipes, she explores the bitter-sweetness of an identity that is defined by being in-between. […]

Diaspora & Immigration Series

Eating Lice

My mom was an immigrant for eighteen months. I have been an immigrant for twenty-seven years. What made our migrations different? Mom was borderline illiterate, had six children and chose a husband poorly. I earned a Ph.D., had only one child, married a good man, divorced him, and married a better one. I teach at a university where I’m surrounded by intelligent people with inquisitive minds. I don’t know if education was the key, or who we married, or fate. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

When My Name Is José

“When My Name is José” is a playful take on when and how often someone’s gotten Juan Carlos Reyes’s name wrong since he was a kid. The concerns are local and universal: navigating a new culture, assimilation, and the politics of speaking up. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Why Japanese Persimmons Are Hard

You waited until now to tell me I was the love of your life? More than 2 decades after we met—as we’re pushing 50? Timing has clearly never been our strong suit. Over and over again we find each other. We take turns rushing toward each other like a wave hitting the shore, only to pull away once again. I wouldn’t call you my other half, but no one else is my hafu. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

Am I Still Bisexual? A Quiz

Using the format of a pop culture quiz, Yolande House interrogates her sexuality and how it has—or hasn’t—changed as she’s grown older. Is sexuality based on experience or identity? Does her lack of recent experience negate a strong identity that formed when she was younger? House’s essay gives a clear voice to the frustrations of how the world looks at bisexuals compared to how bi+ people feel about themselves. […]

Diaspora & Immigration Series

Episode 26: ‘Where Are You From?’: The Wrong Passport

In this in-depth interview with Yaldaz Sadakova—creator of Foreignish.net and author of The Wrong Passport: Memoir Stories About Immigration—we unpack the dreaded question “Where are you from?”, its limitations, how it’s a micro-aggression, and a better question to ask; Yaldaz speaks to how she found new emotional and intellectual anchors after leaving her birth country and how she found her creative voice in a foreign land; her feelings of shame and distress about forgetting her mother tongue; becoming estranged from her Turkish Muslim heritage; we interrogate our hesitation to correct people when they mispronounce our names; she elaborates as to why she’s convinced borders are a form of injustice; and much more. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Symbol Not Recognized

“Bureaucracy is colonization’s filing system; at Ellis and Angel island where people were renamed with ‘American’ names, at the border where children are being separated from their families, and thus their namesakes, a brutality perfected in Native Boarding Schools. Over the centuries of the Transatlantic slave trade, cultures, names and entire lineages were stripped from the people in a brutalist gesture to weaken identity. That is why we insist on our complication, our trickiness, reminding the systems that we are multitudes,” Ana Reyes-Bonar. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

All My Safe Spaces Are Dead

“All My Safe Spaces Are Dead” is a look at the upheaval and restructuring of my sense of self. My sense of safety is a horizon I never seem to reach; a mirage that morphs into something new once I tear my gaze away from its lies. Yet I wake up every morning looking for it, craving it, being unable to live without it. This is my hunt for a place to call home. […]

Poetry

Four Poems

While love seems to be the most common quality of a happy life, our first exposure to love starts in the home. These poems exemplify the influence parent-child relationships have on one’s experience of self-love and even romantic love. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Tell Me If This Hurts

“Tell Me If This Hurts” portrays the gruesome aftermath of a sexual assault. From being insulted by the police, re-living trauma during the rape kit, to finding out the offender was on the force: this story depicts the challenges and pains of being a rape survivor. […]

Creative Nonfiction

All Woman

“All Woman” chronicles the impact of sexual harassment in adolescence through adulthood, and the altered perspective of the world it cultivates. The harassment, however, is portrayed as a reclaimed point of connection, however unfortunate, from which women can bond, heal, and become stronger from sharing experiences and supporting one another. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Planting Seeds

Two decades after a newlywed suggests divorce, she writes a letter to her ex-husband, both an apology and an explanation for what she couldn’t understand at the time. Their son is now the age she was on that fateful night, in a sweltering bedroom in her mother’s apartment, waiting for her husband to come home. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Remember to Forget: A Coping Mechanism

During a poetry open mic, Angelia Saplan explores the relentlessness of trauma and the elusiveness of the act of remembering. As she revisits her childhood sexual assault at the hands of a family member, she confronts its harrowing repercussions on her relationship with her mother — and herself. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

Scales

Referencing some chimeric composition of fish, eczema, and weight, “Scales” is a personal essay exploring the swimming pool as a liminal space where the water’s distortions allow its pubescent narrator to linger outside heteronormative perceptions she doesn’t yet have the vocabulary to understand. […]