Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"

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. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"

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. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"

fleas. & their five life stages.

This piece clings to the life cycle of a flea to process a sexual assault. In comparing the five stages of a flea’s life to the events that occurred, this author attempts to find closure while addressing her nameless yet personally known perpetrator directly. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"

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. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"

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. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

Unlade

“Unlade,” a braided essay, unpacks the legal ruling allowing same-sex marriages to be recognized throughout the United States in the midst of Cie moving into a new apartment. There, unknown and without a center, Cie uses music and Pixy Liao’s Experimental Relationship photography collection to reflect on and explore sexuality. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

I, The Universe

The narrator struggles with coming to terms with his identity as he grows up in a sheltered village in rural France. The story takes the format of a mock-scientific theory presenting evidences before reaching a conclusion, through the metaphor of the universe and space. […]

Being Mixed-Race

Five Cent Secret

After a beloved grandfather dies, long held secrets come into sharp focus. “Five Cent Secret,” by Court Castaños, explores the complexities of having both white privilege and Mexican roots. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

A Monologue About Coming Out to my Iranian Dad

As a teenager, Sarah Lotfi didn’t yet have the words to explain her sexuality, nor did she conceive that she could ever live as an out-and-proud queer person, so she relied on queer media. She underlines the dissonance between Iran’s harsh persecution of homosexuals and a young Iranian-Canadian’s innocuous coming out story. […]

Being Mixed-Race

California

“California” captures the experiences of a young multiracial girl as she watches the white world of her mother and the Japanese-American of her father collide. On a summer evening, she begins to understand why her parents chose to make a life for their family in a small town. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Into Eros

Drawing on her experience of intimate partner abuse at 15, Zoë Brigley considers the possibility of sex after rape. Anne Carson’s assertion that Eros is “the biggest risk of your life” takes on a new meaning within legacies of trauma, and on a quest to rediscover desire and healing. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Backyard Eden

What is our responsibility to nature? How do you be true to yourself, your neighbors, your city? What can happen when you turn your brain from consumer toward producer? One man gives it a try and finds more than bargained for in an attempted backyard Eden. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Episode 15: Memoir as a Political Act

How can memoir be a political act? When living under oppressive systems, the simple act of standing up and sharing personal stories that go against the mainstream is a political act. Mireya S. Vela and Julián Esteban Torres López meditate on this issue. Vela speaks from the perspective of an author, while Torres López forwards his experience as a publisher. They both explore inequities and injustice and use memoir to challenge, expose, and defiantly try to break down systems of oppression. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Episode 9: Daughterhood

Four daughters lose and find their mothers, engage and disengage with them, learn and unlearn who these women are and who they were before they came along. These daughters, intentionally and unintentionally, look for meaning and identity in the women who gave them birth; because whether we like or barely tolerate them, whether they put us together fragment by careful fragment, or whether they undo us with the tug of an errant string, who they were tells us everything about who we will become. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Ten Dollars

The narrator of “Ten Dollars” goes out for a night of fun and dancing, but instead finds herself in a nightmare situation. Because she tries to defend her feminist principles at a club, she finds herself protecting her friend from physical danger—a danger that is, ironically, gendered in nature. […]