or, Why Everyone Needs a Sister Like Mine

Laura and Lucy are wearing matching outfits: red tops, black skirts with braces and polka-dot headbands. They are smiling.
Laura and Lucy are wearing matching outfits: red tops, black skirts with braces and polka-dot headbands. They are smiling.
Childhood photo of mine. [ID: Laura and Lucy stand with their arms around each other and thumbs up. They are wearing matching outfits despite a 7.5 year age difference. Laura definitely copied Lucy and not the other way round. Red tops, black skirts with braces and polka-dot headbands. They are smiling creepily.]

When I was about 9 years old, I asked my Mum if I could use the home telephone to make an important call.

She helped me punch in the right number: it was my favourite phone number in the whole world, at that time. It was the number I needed to dial to contact my sister.

At the time, my oldest sister was living with our nan, for various reasons. One of which, I now know, is because if she had stayed for another minute with our parents, she might not be alive today. In any case, I did not fully understand this at the time and I missed her terribly. I assumed she must have had a good reason for leaving: I wrapped my head around the reasons she gave as best as I could, because I believed everything my sister told me. …


[ID: A ruffled-looking cat with sad eyes looks into the camera. The photo is grayscale.]
[ID: A ruffled-looking cat with sad eyes looks into the camera. The photo is grayscale.]
[ID: A ruffled-looking cat with sad eyes looks into the camera. The photo is gray scale.] source: Daniel Chekalov via unsplash.com


A Letter to My Future Child

[ID: a child in a blue and grey winter jumper, holding a leaf up obscuring his face. He is standing in an autumnal forest].
[ID: a child in a blue and grey winter jumper, holding a leaf up obscuring his face. He is standing in an autumnal forest].
[ID: a child in a blue and grey winter jumper, holding a leaf up obscuring his face. He is standing in an autumnal forest]. source: annie spratt via unsplash.com

When I was little, my parents were not as kind to me as your Daddy and I are to you. I’m so sorry you haven’t met them: I promise it is for your own good. Besides: you have your Aunty Laura and Uncle David. Your Aunty Katty and Uncle Andy, your cousins , Leo and Immy — and many more, by now, I’m sure. We all love you very, very much. But you know that. You’re probably sick of hearing it! That’s a good thing.

The first time we take you to the park, I’ll listen to the crunch of leaves under your first pair of shoes. You will hear an infinity of autumns yet to come. I will hear the cracking of my joints, tired from the strain of carrying you. I don’t expect you to be grateful for that. I expect you to keep running; there are louder cracks in the leaves ahead! …


How we can mobilise our guilt to dismantle white supremacy

[ID: a placard from a Black Lives Matter protest with Breonna Taylor’s face, which reads “JUSTICE FOR BREONNA TAYLOR.]
[ID: a placard from a Black Lives Matter protest with Breonna Taylor’s face, which reads “JUSTICE FOR BREONNA TAYLOR.]
Source: Maria Oswalt via unsplash.com. [ID: a placard from a BLM protest with Breonna Taylor’s face, which reads “JUSTICE FOR BREONNA TAYLOR.]

As a white woman, a feeling I am quite familiar with is guilt. Specifically, of course, “White Guilt.” Comedians have long been making jokes about the phenomenon as just something white folks all experience. Anti-racists have long been deeming it useless, too — even harmful.

But what is white guilt, really? And is it completely useless? This is what I have learned from my own experiences of white guilt.

What Is White Guilt and Where Is It Really Coming From?

The best sources to consult here are White Fragility by Robin J DiAngelo and Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad. …


Now, It’s My Turn To Define What Family Means To Me

[ID: A white house with a white picket fence sits amidst an autumnal forest. It’s idyllic and quaint.]
[ID: A white house with a white picket fence sits amidst an autumnal forest. It’s idyllic and quaint.]
Source: Scott Webb via unsplash.com. [ID: A white house with a white picket fence sits amidst an autumnal forest. It’s idyllic and quaint.]

I am 21 years old and I am about to move into my first home with my childhood sweetheart, my partner of 7 years. While I am very excited, there is a lot of pressure on this house, as it feels like an opportunity for me to finally feel at home. After all that I’ve been through, it feels important for me to have a stable and conventional family home, white picket fence, and all — specifically built for a fresh start.

Throughout my childhood, I suffered multiple forms of abuse from several family members. Various traumatic events left me in and out of homelessness and jumping around between different places. I constantly had to redefine what “home" meant, which was directly linked to my definition of family. “Family” was my parents and sisters, until my sister had to leave home for her safety. When we became homeless, family meant more than ever. As I tossed and turned on a hotel floor, my 11-year-old brain redefined family as the most important thing in the world: the only thing left to cling to. …


Performative Allyship, and How Readers Can Do Better

[ID: thumbnail of the announcement video for the 2020 Reading Rush challenges. Hosts Raeleen and Ariel are smiling.]
[ID: thumbnail of the announcement video for the 2020 Reading Rush challenges. Hosts Raeleen and Ariel are smiling.]
source: screencap taken by the author. [ID: thumbnail of the announcement video for the 2020 Reading Rush challenges. Hosts Raeleen and Ariel are smiling in front of a colourful bookcase.]

The Reading Rush, previously known as the Booktubeathon, is an annual event wherein readers all over the world come together in online communities to spend 7 days reading as much as physically possible. There are challenges, reading sprints, prompts and themes. It was once known as the Booktubeathon, because it arose from that very place: bookish communities on Youtube. It’s founder, Ariel Bissett, has been producing bookish content on Youtube and other platforms for over 10 years.

2020 saw two Reading Rushes: first, an impromptu “Stay At Home” Reading Rush which was intended to bring people virtually together during a time of mass loneliness and listlessness (lockdown). …


Productivity and Mental Health in a Global Pandemic

A street sign shrouded in greenery reads “LOCKDOWN” in black letters on a white background.
A street sign shrouded in greenery reads “LOCKDOWN” in black letters on a white background.
[ID: A street sign shrouded in greenery reads “LOCKDOWN” in black letters on a white background.] source: Matt Seymour via unsplash.com

At the moment, lockdown measures in the UK are gradually lifting. But like many other Brits, I’m acutely aware of the government’s failure to tackle the crisis. I’m worried about public health and I’m terrified of a second wave. So for me, lockdown is not lifting any time soon. While I see others going to restaurants for their first date night in months, my partner and I only leave the house to exercise, buy essentials, or provide care for a family member.

I have embraced this as the new normal, which is advisable if you don’t want to go absolutely insane with nostalgia, longing and boredom. What comforts me is remembering that I’m not “stuck inside”. I’m staying inside because it’s the right thing to do: I don’t want anyone to get sick. …


[ID: A father and child stand on a beach, on the shoreline, looking out to the horizon].
[ID: A father and child stand on a beach, on the shoreline, looking out to the horizon].
[ID: A father and child stand on a beach, on the shoreline, looking out to the horizon]. source: Bambi Corro via unsplash.com

I truly believe that I’ll meet you in heaven.

Not the real you,

but a version of you that I needed.

You’ll hold me and tell me I’ll come to no harm here

and I’ll give you a thousand pairs of slippers for all the Father’s Days we missed

and I’ll ask you to teach me to swim, though on earth I taught myself

and you’ll teach me to ride a bike: later, to drive

and we’ll take a trip to the edge of the after

and I’ll say the sunset looks incredible

and you’ll smile, sadly, and say, The day can only last so…


[ID: a candlelight shrouded in darkness].
[ID: a candlelight shrouded in darkness].
[ID: candlelight shrouded in darkness]. Source via Jarl Schmidt on unsplash.com

people asked me if I missed you. They asked me if I had chosen to die, or if I had been killed. As if that changed the ending.

When I died people asked me if I hated you. I think they were worried you didn’t feel loved. No one asked what I felt.

At my wake, people remarked that the buffet was cold. They figured you would have done it better. That’s probably true.

After the service, I think people expected me to come back up through the earth. …


[ID: A mother holds her newborn baby. The baby is pulling at her hair, and they are looking at each other.]
[ID: A mother holds her newborn baby. The baby is pulling at her hair, and they are looking at each other.]
[ID: A mother holds her newborn baby. The baby is pulling at her hair, and they are looking at each other.] Source: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

I do not know my always. But I know my nevers.

For you, my darling, I will move mountains. Please know that when my fingers are calloused I will blame the mountain, not you. Never you.

For you, I will work those calloused fingers to the bone. I may not always find the answer. But I promise I will be dismayed by the question, not by you. Never you.

For your broken heart, I will tear apart my own. It will be frayed, my dear, but it was like that before, not because of you. Never you.

For you, I’ll weather every element of the season’s as they change. Because of this, I will not always be sunshine. But I will never be lightning. Not to you. Never you.

About

Lucy Morris

Sick of these lefty snowflakes? Then I think you might be lost.

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