Here are some essays that I read this week:
- It’s Time to Talk about Our Mental Illnesses by Kelly Hayes
When I think about the spaces we could create, the networks of support we could build and the change we could fight for collectively if we all felt free to speak, my heart is heavier than I can say. I know exactly where these young people are at. It’s lonely and frightening and, most tragically, it is wholly unnecessary.
I don’t blame them at all for their silence. We have not built a world that welcomes their honesty . . . We treat symptoms of their illnesses as character failings and indulge stereotypes that diminish their worth as individuals. In short, we fail those who need us most, both in their daily lives and in their darkest hours.
They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist by Jenny Zhang
Everything people of color must endure, our sensational pain and our sensational brilliance, must be accessible to white people; they must have it in their quest to be rewarded. Put one more way: white people don’t like it when we don’t do well and they don’t like it when we do. But most of all, they don’t like it when they don’t do well.
This is another piece by Jenny Zhang, Mad Love, published in 2012.
Why do we have to be madly in love? Why does love have to drive us mad? Why can’t it drive us to health? A healthy relationship gives each person in it room to make mistakes, to be fallible, to have interests and desires outside of the relationship. When your happiness depends entirely on one person, you are not in a healthy, loving relationship.
Becoming by Alex-Quan Pham
As much as the mainstream LGBT movement seeks to make queer identities concrete and indisputable, I experience my queerness more as a project. I no longer feel like I need to tether myself to one particular way of being in the world. I identify as a queer, gender non-conforming femme. I’m not a boy. I’m not a girl. Most days, I feel more magical than can be captured in words or in gender norms. But I also understand now that my identity isn’t always coherent. Sometimes I have no idea exactly what my sexuality or gender is. There is freedom in recognizing that my identities may be ever-changing.
I started This Bridge Called My Back this afternoon and I am so grateful for each piece in the anthology. I have gone through a wave of emotions over the last few hours and I am exhausted but also in love. “La Guera” by Cherríe Moraga is a favorite. There’s only one short quote I want to share, “…the only thing worth writing about is what seems to be unknown, and, therefore, fearful.”