Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area

Queer people aren’t strangers to shame, or to reclaiming one of the darkest feelings a person can carry deep in their gut. Shame is distinct from guilt in that shame is about doing something nonnormative, whereas guilt implies a breach of morality. Still, the consequences of shame can be profound — isolation, stress, secrets. Shame is relative to our surroundings, to the people who have power over us or to the communities we try to find homes in. For this A+ personal essay series, writers wrote about things they can barely whisper to aloud, things they thought was once a blemish that they’ve turned into crown, things that make them feel like a "bad queer", or the ways that other peoples’ shame has woven itself into their life and existence....

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Irene Keliher

Irene is a fiction writer, essayist, and 2018 NEA Literature Fellow. Her pieces appear in journals like Narrative, The Millions, and Salon, and have won the Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction, the Pearl Editor's Prize, and others. She's written about dog training, lesbian parenting, opera, blackberries and her own superhero origin story: being the first girl to win the Washington State Geography Bee. She lives in Seattle.

Irene has written 1 article for us.