“To know a language you need more than grammar and vocabulary; a language gains its life from memories. It is woven from all the voices you ever knew, from the daily noise of the street, from the quiet melodies of the authors you read, from jokes and songs and curses. I did not know this language.”
Heather Stokes recounts what addiction has taken from her and her mother. To feed crack addictions, her bother and uncle stole not just possessions from the family house, they robbed them of personal safety and any chance at stability.
My mother told me seaweed has twenty-one different minerals. She sent me two kinds in a box. I put one in a teacup and added hot water. Sipped the wisdom of her. Used her to make broth. Broth is one step in the recipe.
“On Sunday we drive to prison. I have packed snacks for the children. They have charged their phones. We start early, when the roads are empty. I used to cry on this drive. Now I don’t. I don’t seethe anymore, either. And I’ve stopped hoping. Everything that could go wrong already did. No more detours are possible around the scorched landscape of our life. All I can do is witness.”
As Connie Pertuz-Meza recalls her Papi’s struggles with alcoholism and the toll the shame of his addiction took on her, her sister, and her Mami, she comes to the realization that her sadness does not define her.
“Upon reflection now, I think the attic, to me, represented something of my feminine desire, perhaps contained it, let it incubate, simmer, and grow.”
When one woman visits a Japanese bathhouse, she confronts the way childhood surgery shaped her perceptions of nudity, her beauty, and herself as a woman.
A personal essay in which Narratively deputy editor Lilly Dancyger writes about dealing with people’s mistaken assumptions about the economics of her upbringing. A high-school dropout who later worked her way through college and graduate school, Dancyger grew up poor — the daughter of a single mother who was a recovering heroin addict. In New York City media circles, people tend to make comments indicating they assume she comes from privilege. Here, Dancyger sets the record straight.
A bracing essay on late-term abortion, and how American politics have made an impossibly difficult situation even more painful and dangerous for women.