What we know about motherhood is written by women with time and resources

‘The Kite’ by Charles Sim. Credit: National Museum & Galleries of Wales Enterprises Limited/Heritage Images/Getty Images

I am a writer. I am a mother. I am a writer who has written extensively on motherhood, starting fitfully when my daughter was six months old, for several years, culminating in the publication of a memoir, in July of 2018, when my daughter was four and a half. It wasn’t easy. Writers love to complain about how hard writing is, and it is hard: I sit and stare for days, sometimes, and nothing comes out. I bang the keys writing emails and chatting with friends only to find that it’s now time to pick my daughter up from school…

You’re going to want to read all day…

Illustration by Louisa Bertman

Today on Gay Magazine we’ve got two new stories for your reading pleasure. Up first, Carey Baraka’s essay on Jacaranda trees, their introduction into Kenya via British colonizers, their uneasy status as an invasive weed, and their incredible, undeniable beauty.

Then, we have Jennifer Neal’s essay about how speculative fiction ranging from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ to the works of Octavia Butler align with Black feminism.

You can check out every story Gay Magazine has published, too.

Thanks for reading.

On formative, finite correspondences

Image: Carol Yepes / Getty Images

Ann Marie was the first. I found her, if my memory is correct, in the parking lot of the Seven Springs Mountain Resort on a 4th of July weekend when I was seven or maybe eight years old. I was there with my family for an annual “Polka Fireworks” extravaganza, when hundreds of polka music lovers gathered to dance and drink and meet up with people we didn’t usually see but once a year. Ann Marie was from Dearborn, Michigan. She had short hair and a braided rattail that ran down her back, and she traveled to that parking lot…

I knew she was an alcoholic before I even knew the word

Credit: Jesus Marin/Glow/Getty

My mother was an alcoholic. I knew this from the time I was about eight years old, without anyone ever telling me. In fact, we avoided talking about it. And one thing my increasingly drunk mother did really early on was stop showing up. At first, I thought she had just forgotten me. Which, on the one hand, she had. But on the other, she was drunk, which I know now means that the forgetting was a symptom, not the reason: She forgot because she was drunk, not because she disliked me.

This dissonance — that my sober mother loved…

The Parent Rap

Nevertheless, she pershishted.

One of the best things about having a child is watching them acquire, over years, the basic skills that make us human, and realizing, in fact, how hard fought the battle of acquiring them actually is. Watching a human learn how to sit, then crawl, then stand, then walk, makes seeing them finally run away from you all the more satisfying and heart-rending. And there are the lesser, but still impressive skills, the getting of spoons into mouths and the pencil holding. All of it, you’ll find, is quite impressive and immersive, if you’re really paying attention.

But nothing has…

The Parent Rap

A portrait of the artist as a young Annie.

When I was a child, maybe 5 years old, I went to see the first movie I ever recall seeing in a theater. My grandmother, my mother’s mother, took me to see Annie, which came out in 1982. The occasion felt like well, an occasion. As I recall, I dressed up. It was raining and the movie I saw enraptured me. We emerged from the film — probably a matinee — and I was surprised to see that it was still daytime. Before, I’d clung to “Sesame Street” and Mickey Mouse; now, I had Annie. …

Still dreaming of a place without boys.

4th Grade. From the collection of the author.

I was a runt among girls. I wasn’t physically that small, but I was awkward and half blind, my shortcomings were so painfully obvious to even me that often, at sleepovers, I ended up hanging out in the kitchen with my friends’ parents rather than with the group of girls in their sleeping bags in the dens of the upper middle-class homes I haunted. I was sensitive and quiet, more comfortable with adults than kids. I brought books to sleepover parties, I always fell asleep first, and I required assistance wrangling my rat’s-nested hair into ponytails. I cringed at the…

The Parent Rap

Baby doing a puzzle at the library

When my daughter Zelda turned one, I bought her a baby doll. I did this mostly because, after a solid 12 months of watching her fall to sleep each night in a barren, empty crib — sleep guidelines dictate that, for the safety of infants, they sleep with nothing: no blankets, no bumpers, no stuffed animals — I was looking forward to giving her a nighttime friend. I had watched her wake up to the reality that, down the hall was a party that every single night — me, her dad, the dog — that she was never, ever invited…

The Parent Rap

The animal in her natural habitat.

I am not an easy going person. It’s just not “who I am,” and so, although I am mostly kind and fairly gentle, I am honest with myself about the kind of mother I have been in the three years since I had my daughter: I’m dedicated, I love her more than anything in the world, I am completely obsessed with structure, and occasionally, I’m kind of a bitch about order. I don’t know where this dedication to order came from. I don’t really know what I hope to gain from Zelda in this department, either: I would never want…

Failure to see what’s in and around me is the basic atmosphere of my adulthood.

This morning in the car, me in the front driving, my daughter in her carseat in the back. I was taking her to school, which I do every single morning.

I was thinking about coffee, Donald Trump, and the fact that I haven’t showered in three days. She was chattering away at her baby.

“The moon is shining! The moon is shining!” she squealed, delightful nonsense tumbles out of her mouth 12 hours a day.

I dropped her off. Lately, she’s been clingy and crying…

Laura June

Laura June is a writer and the Deputy Editor of Gay Magazine. She is also the author of a memoir, “Now My Heart is Full.”

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