First Person

Because If I Was Honest, Everything I Knew Would Explode

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“That instinct, to lie or protect the men who abuse us, is hard to explain. It comes from being afraid of the person who is abusing you, of course, but also afraid for the changes that honesty will force. We don’t want to endanger the men who hurt us, because we love them and we don’t think we can live without them… If anything, my identification as a feminist made the idea of disclosing the abuse even more difficult, because I thought it was something I was letting happen to me and it embarrassed me.”

First Person

The Big Reveal

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“In fact, the strain of hiding my illness would likely have caused me to break down with even more frequency. How would she have coped with those dysphoric, hallucination-ridden breakdowns — and how would I have dealt with her uneducated reactions?”

A+

I Hope You Remember

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In church that morning, I didn’t see any of that. Instead, I saw the tears you shed the first time you saw me after telling your son that I was spitting in the face of God.

First Person

Calluses and Cow Sheds: How I Found My Queerness in Rural America

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“That year I spent a lot of time watching the goats and cows eat grass. Mostly because I found their single-minded focus incredibly comforting. Also because our fences were shoddy and I had to figure out how they were constantly escaping. I was learning to care for animals like I was learning to listen to myself: in silent and slow observation.”

Society+Culture

Sober in the City: An Atheist Walks into AA

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“The fellowship said I was thinking too hard about it, that I was stubborn, and that I was not willing to admit that there were forces bigger than me. What they didn’t get was that I did believe there were forces beyond my control, powers bigger than me. Let’s just take gravity as one of many examples. I just don’t believe that praying to gravity or the radiator or the ocean would cure me of my alcoholism.”

First Person

Learning to Use Chopsticks: Coming Out as Korean-American

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“At 27, I came out as Korean-American. I was always Korean, of course. I checked the “Asian” box when filling out a form. My ethnicity was written on my face in the shape of my eyes and my small flat nose. But until a few years ago, it wasn’t an identity I felt connected to. There were many identities that came first — poet, bisexual, queer, feminist, activist, organizer, fattie, vegan. Being Korean was a fact, but not an identity.”