The Parable of the Crayons

Poverty sometimes leads to frustration, then regret, and later, understanding.

“Put on your shoes. I need you to go to the store for me.” Ah. Back in the day. Neighborhoods had local grocery stores within walking distance. The streets were reasonably safe. You could have your eight-year-old child walk to

Keeping Secrets

An eight-year-old girl lays in bed with her covers pulled tight around her chin. She squeezes a bear just as old as she is against her side. Her parents are in the hallway screaming at each other about any and every misdemeanor that had ever occurred in their

Family Fault Lines: The Father I Failed to Forgive

“She said no. The words pushed past my lips in a hiss of fury. My pulse was beating in my ears and my throat was clenching closed, strangling my breath. There was a wide swath of counter between myself and my father-in-law, gleaming white and

Survival is a Process

The first time he hit me was in February. In my mind he was a model boyfriend for a very long time before things got bad, which is why I continued to date him: because he had proved for many months how good he was and the instances

A Narcissist-Free Thanksgiving

I didn’t go anywhere for Thanksgiving this year. My husband and I opted to stay in this year and eat some baked ziti that I made. My bonus kids spent the holiday with his ex-wife, and we’ll be doing our Thanksgiving dinner on Friday. For us, veterans of

Amanda Daniels: The Right to Feel Safe?

I'm writing this in support of Amanda Daniels. Amanda was in a band called Enabler. Their record La Fin Absolue Du Monde is one of the best extreme punk/metal albums of the last ten years. Then things got shitty. New pending album Fail To Feel Safe (Century Media) does not include Amanda

Voices of Domestic Violence: Dirty Little Secrets

Editor's Note: This essay contains descriptions of abusive behavior and explicit language.
There’s a dirty secret in my family that we all know but don’t really talk about. The secret is that for two years, I had the hell beaten out of me repeatedly by my ex-boyfriend. Apparently I wasn’t as

There’s Something Rotten at the Estelle Unit

The Estelle Unit, a prison located ten miles north of Huntsville, Texas, is home to 3,067 male prisoners. Established in 1984, it sits on over 5,000 acres of bucolic bliss surrounded by miles of razor wire. The Estelle Unit houses several different programs, including “on-the-job training” --

Alan Cumming Confronts Horrific Childhood Abuse in New Memoir

I've always adored Alan Cumming because he seems like the kind of celebrity that, while completely deserving of fame, is unafraid to be himself because of it.  He's been vocal about his own bisexuality and backs numerous campaigns for equal rights in his home of Scotland and abroad, supported the