When Home Isn’t Where Your Heart Is
“I’m going to braid my hair
Braid many colors into my hair
I’ll put a long braid in my hair
And write your name there”
― Duende by Tracy K. Smith
How do you know when you’re home? Is it a place? A feeling? A memory? An easy answer to a complicated question?
I’ve grappled with this question for many years, being an immigrant in every place I’ve inhabited, including the one where I was born.
Whenever I’ve tried to search for ‘home,’ it’s never felt like a place, but nor has it seemed accurate to call it a feeling. How can you say ‘home is where your heart is’ if your heart is in at least two different places at any given time?
Now I’m scared to search for it. Every time I get too comfortable, I’m reminded that ‘home’ isn’t a word for people like me. If you’re brown, if you’re black, if you’re an immigrant, if you’re a refugee, if you are queer, if you are questioning, ‘home’ may always be out of reach.
For too many, the thought of ‘home’ is too painful to bear. The reasons too heavy — abuse, neglect, and trauma felt in places you were once told to call home.
The word ‘home’ was created only for those who knew they could leave whenever they wanted and be welcomed back any time. Maybe it’s a word I’ll never fully experience.
With love + solidarity,
By Carol Hood
CW: Descriptions of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse
Don’t think about him, don’t think about him, don’t think about him. Don’t think about how he smashed that door, left knuckle prints in your chest of drawers.
Forget about how he’d rather be right and you be sick than he be wrong and allow you antibiotics. Don’t wonder if any of the awful words he called you are true.
It’s exhausting. It’s exhausting to remember him and even more exhausting to actively not remember.
By Carissa Harris
Cultural fictions of masculine haplessness and feminine culpability, which we absorb like poisonous water and dust left behind by long-dead builders, have tangible results in cases featuring women’s real-life anger and violence directed against other women instead of the men responsible for their harm.
The toxic narrative of bad women is pervasive in our language — for example, there is no male equivalent term for “homewrecker.”
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A miscarriage is already an emotional and painful time and it is every woman’s right to know all of their treatment options so they, not the medical staff or office billing manager, can make the best decision for their body.
It’s a decision based not on increasing profit or perpetuating unnecessary medical procedures, but on their individual needs.
By Reese Piper
Stripping is protected by the First Amendment, but city councils have the power to curtail the industry through zoning if they can provide evidence of “secondary effects” that outweigh the right to self-expression.
As long strippers are feared and devalued members of society, our bodies will be seen as a deterrent in gentrifying cities.
In order to mitigate our threat, officials and police will regulate, criminalize, and dispose of us without a care.
Lead image: Unsplash/ Cindy Tang