Insights for self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, self-governance

Photos courtesy of the author.

If we are all our own worlds, if we contain multitudes, if we each are comprised of a dreamer and a cynic, a teacher and a student, a parent and a child, a healer and somebody wounded — what does it look like to take command of the kingdom inside you and present to the outside world a united front with yourself? To decide that all of those parts of you get to be here? What does it look like to be on your side, to support yourself even when one of your selves is unsure of yourself?

How do…

Insights for being in loving partnership with ourselves

We live in a culture that encourages us to give the best of ourselves away. If we are champions, we are expected to take up a person, place, or cause to champion. If we are compassionate, we are pushed to pour it where it’s needed (everywhere!). If we excel at creating supportive structures for the launching of dreams, we find ourselves repeatedly in supportive roles. We play the parts that feel most designated for us in service to a harmonious world. That’s deeply necessary and righteous.

But what would the world look like if we gave ourselves the best of…

Insights for deep-sea diving into our hearts

I once read that we’ve only explored 5% of the ocean. The other 95% is uncharted territory — the vast majority of its horrors and delights exist beyond the reach of our gaze. I sometimes feel like my heart is like that, too. Like even when I’m afforded what I think is full access, that thing that feels like a flood is only a small drop in the bucket of my feeling potential. Or like when what I think is one feeling is really 1,000 feelings stacked on top of each other. Like nostalgia for the future, hope for the…

Insights for a time of setting intentions, planting seeds, and calling in

Photos courtesy of the author.

I believe the most potent magic we’re afforded is the capacity to heal. That we can resurrect the parts of ourselves we’ve lost in battle, that we can reconstruct and reopen parts of ourselves we thought had burned down to the ground, that we can connect with a heart and soul that trauma once stripped of their magnetic charge — it’s all a miracle. How some numb nerves can start to feel again. How suffering facilitates our fall, traps us in our fracturing — until one fragmented piece of us calls its other fragments home, and by some graceful mercy…


The unrelenting responsibility of being necessary is terrifying, and my salvation

Illustration: Herekita Con

My mom gave me soft pink puffs and white periwinkle-wisped wallpaper, pastel peach and lavender clouds. She gave me my own room. It had a window overlooking the playground that divided the neighborhood between affordable housing and the other side. My mom gave me everything she could afford and came home later and later so she could afford more. I had a canopy bed with lace frills dangling down. When I got bigger, I had a loft bed from Ikea. You could fit a desk and a Gateway computer under there, and so she moved the family computer from her…

On learning to feel safe in love, so that I can be safe in love

Photo courtesy of author

My dad left before I was old enough to develop enduring memories of a time when he was regularly present. There was no grand exit, no cutting of cords, only the pronounced absence of any fastening in the first place—like being born into an antigravity simulation. When a parent abandons you, when you are left behind, you are unbound by nature’s necessary tethers. Impossibilities crack open, codes break, traditions collapse. It is an undermining of everything that everything else stands on.

What does a child do in the absence of any ordinary framework? What happens to a child when interpersonal…

And What Black Joy Means To Me

my son and I

“Come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed.” -Lucille Clifton

My mom’s laugh shakes the room. As a kid I sometimes wondered if she had to practice to get it like that, in the mirror throwing her head back, tuning the pitch of it, perfecting the way it projected. It used to annoy me. I’d be sequestered in my room, writing depressive adolescent poetry, and then it would crack through the walls in the hours she spent on the phone with my many aunts. Nothing is that funny, I’d think to myself.


Learning to be uncertain in public

The first story I remember writing was written in clumsy six-year-old scrawl on the wide-lined pages of a marble composition book. It was about a dinosaur who had misplaced its egg. The bronchiosaurus wandered its prehistoric terrain, trying to find its way back to what it birthed. Sometimes it was right around some corner of the forest, and yet, thanks to one mishap or another, the two just could not connect.

Me, at 18, writing Tumblr poems.

The egg was me. I was in first grade, trying to make sense of the absence of my father. Imagining realms and crafting metaphors allowed me to navigate my…

Illustration: Trevor Fraley

On January 1, a fault line was forming in the pit of me. For days, I could feel the ground stretching there, small tremors signaling something big soon. After four days and three pushes, I cracked open, and then there was Theo. Eight fast-breathing fragile pounds of him.

The liminal space that exists for weeks after giving birth is at once unique and universal. It’s lonesome and communal. Sleepy and vigilant. Mobilized and couch-bound. Tender. Tender like a kind and gentle touch, and tender like sensitive to that touch, like vulnerable, like the volatile pulp of a broken tooth.


and how at home with it others have been.

Photo by Femi Matti

How many ways can one body be ransacked? Almost immediately after the delivery of my second child the doctor said she was a little concerned about my bleeding. She said there was another way, but that this way was quicker. She placed an unfurled fist and half of a forearm inside me and swiped out a handful of clots.

It feels like that months later when the baby grows teeth and starts biting my chest while he nurses. It feels like that years before when I’m hugging my knees at the foot of a fuckboy’s driveway — suddenly sober, suddenly…

Dominique Matti

Writer/ Editor/ Cool Mom / /

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