all happy families
6

A Letter To My Aunties

Aunties,

I heard some of you tried to Google me.

My mother tells me this sitting on the edge of my childhood bed. I’ve been gone from the home I grew up in for five years. I left to start my life. I’m back now to show my gratitude—like a spiritual praxis; there’s a cord that ties me to my family and their needs; I am a healer at my best.

As a kid I didn’t understand why my life had restrictions. Unlike so many of my friends, I had a list of terms and conditions governing my free spirit; a body of rules that determined my [...]

32

Dress Your Family In Your Lover's Shoes

I was asleep on the overnight train from Carbondale to Chicago, dreaming about snuggling with my boyfriend, Sam. I awoke to find myself reaching for my seatmate—a newly released convict who did not want to snuggle.

“No,” he said, crossing his arms. I knew he was a former inmate from his grey sweatpants, matching t-shirt, and prison-issued sneakers. The Pinckneyville Correctional Center is halfway between Southern Illinois and Union Station. The midnight train is the cheapest option for shipping freed men north.

He shook his head. “I don’t cuddle.”

“Sorry,” I mumbled. It seemed pointless to explain that I’d thought he was my boyfriend of one [...]

7

Mad Men: “It’s Nice to See Family Happiness Again”

You can choose your friends but not your family, wrote Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird; it’s a sentiment that carries through last night’s Mad Men, though it has a twist, because in a time in which the standard definitions of family begin to fluctuate and expand, the boundaries between families and friends and even coworkers blur as well. And, with family, to some extent, you do choose—you can choose your wife or your husband; you can choose to leave (like Roger’s daughter); you can choose to suppress (like Peggy, like Roger) or even recreate (like Don).

Last night’s show, the second to last we’re getting in the first [...]