The Half-Open Door

I kept staring at the door—the half-open door. I didn’t want it to be closed. I already felt violated enough and wasn’t comfortable with the idea of being shut in a room, alone with this man. I didn’t want it to be open. I didn’t want anyone to hear my answers to his pointed questions.…

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Quiet, Please

All eyes peered in my direction as the room transitioned to silence. Sitting in the middle of the room, according to my assigned seat, placed me among a majority of my friends. Scurrying to English class, I slid into my seat and into the conversations surrounding me. The bell rang, signaling the start of class,…

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For the Love of My Body

I am moving through the class movements when I hear our instructor Anna say to the yoga class, “Relax your shoulders and pull your tongue back from the roof of your mouth.” It takes a few seconds to register what she is saying, and then I notice my tongue is, in fact, stuck to the…

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A Modest Proposal

“You can take off your mask now and check your hair and your lips,” the photographer says as I get ready to take my headshots for work.  Check my lips? Oh, right. Women wear lipstick. “My lips always look the same, so they should be fine,” I quip back. As I glance in the mirror, I…

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The Cold Metal Scissors

I was proud of my long hair. I was noticed, and I received comments on the “pretty blonde” color which had grown almost to my waist. I bragged about how it had never been “officially” cut, but only trimmed at home. One way my mom showed care for me was with my hair. When I…

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Out of Hiding

Lottie Hillard wrote an article called “The Shame of Needing” that could have been written about me. Fifteen years ago when I was in graduate school for counseling, I recall one of the advisors saying that my shame was gregarious. I carried an air of confidence, moving in relationships with classmates and clients with charm and…

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A Bitter Reminder

I was ten years old when I traveled with my mother, brother, and grandparents to Throckmorton, Texas, to spend a few days with my mother’s grandparents. We drove for three days from Ohio and stopped at tourist places along the way. Carlsbad Caverns astounded me. It was as if the “bigness” of the world was…

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The Encounter

I lie still, my back pressed into the blankets on the summer sheets, arms clasped across my chest, eyes closed. I cross my feet. Sinking, sinking, not drowning. Gravity compels the air to form to my body, enclosing me, swaddling me. As my body floats, the bed disappears.

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May You Walk as the Woman in White

Who is the Woman in White? Is she you? Is she me? What does it mean to be the Woman in White? Is she respectfully standing in solidarity with other women as a declaration, or is she the ghost of a beautiful woman who was once scorned or betrayed? Does she represent purity, virginity, goodness, light,…

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The Woman in White

“This is the dress​.” I breathed the words barely above a whisper, just loud enough for my mom and best friend to hear. As I stood in front of the bridal mirror mesmerized by my reflection, I heard my mom break the awe of the moment with a quick clarifying question: “But we can get…

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