Familial Ties and the Decision

By: Asmita Koirala

A spine-chilling breeze hums in my ear. Heavy rainfall touches my shoulders and caresses my face; I am sitting on the windowpane of my room that overlooks the balcony. Ever so often I like to sit by myself and think. The rain gives me serenity, and for a few minutes I am transported to a utopia. Sitting in the rain helps me escape all the chaos and inner turmoil that has been engulfing me lately. I have a decision to make. A decision that will determine the path I have to embark on.

My father’s word still echoes in my mind. He trusted me with this. This might probably be the biggest decision I was ever subjected to take in my nineteen years of life. The one that will forever stay with me. He summoned me to his room earlier today and said, “Asmita, you have a decision to make.” For many, this decision might be easy to make, but for me it is tough. Fear of the unknown, and the fact that I might mess things up scares me.

I reminisce all the things I have done with my family, my friends, my siblings here in this very place I call with my whole heart home. It feels like yesterday that I was playing hide and seek with my brothers and that I was screaming at them .My eye falls upon my window pane. The windowpane I call the pane of memories. As I look through the windowpane I see old markings. I look at the different colors I used to draw. Each portrays a story of their own. In red crayon, I drew a ludicrous picture of my brother when he was mad at me. I used green to draw a sad personification to cheer my brothers up when our tutor got on our nerves. I look at the windowpane and I smile; I smile thinking about all the we were and all that we will someday be. Each and every corner of my house holds some sort of beloved memory of us. Us as a family, us as siblings, and us as people slowly trying to morph from naïve childhood days to adulthood.

I recall fighting over something as small as who gets the remote control. I recall smashing my brother’s fingers in the door mistakenly when he tried to get inside the television room .I recall blood dripping down his fingers and the murderous look he gave me .I drown myself in memory lane so deep tears start to stream down my face. It’s bittersweet .I have spent nineteen years of my life in this house; I have grown with my brothers here, I have learned from my parents here, and I have grown emotionally and physically here. I have never known life outside this house and outside the love of my parents. I have never known anything but to be a caring daughter to my parents and a pain to my brothers.

I look at my dog that is now wagging her tail and is trying to get my attention. I remember the circumstances under which she became a part of our home. I was heartbroken when my first dog, Bruno, passed away. I cried a river mourning his death .My brothers and parents made sure I was okay. They were my rock at times when things were tough. As soon as I recovered from Bruno’s death, they got me my new dog, Lucky. Bruno will forever hold a special place in my heart but the void, which he left behind, was gracefully fulfilled by Lucky.

“Asmita your future is in your hands. Either you stay here in Nepal with us and pursue your higher education in the prestigious Kathmandu Management College that you qualified in, or you go to a foreign country, be independent, and enroll in the college that you qualified in to. What will your decision be? Which college will you pick? Where do you want to go?”my father had said.

Coming out of memory lane, I observe my surroundings and see that, in the blink of an eye, the night has been swept away into the dustbin of the past and a new day is upon me. The sun like a great golden disk rises across the sky to greet me. It shines in my hair and glitters in my heart. I see the overcast fog of my clouded mind fading away. The decision now doesn’t seem to be as daunting to take, as it was a few hours before. I steal one last look at my room, my windowpane, and my dog I inhale the sweet air of my country and decide its time. It’s time for me to get out of the bubble of protection my parents have always given me. I decide it’s time to break free and be liberated. I will carry my loved ones with me in my heart, but I decide its time for me to break the mold and embark on the journey of the unknown in a foreign country without anyone to look after me every step of the way.

 

 

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Black Cool

By Sharai Sims

I have started a new phase in my life. I am a black woman, 22 years old, and living in rural Minnesota, ­­ where assimilation is a must for social acceptance. For so many years, I thought I was accepted because of my light skin and the ability to flat iron my hair so bone straight that you never saw my nappy roots at the nape of my neck.  I thought it was the traces of whiteness in my family line that separated me from the other black kids. Just as ambiguous as my looks, I couldn’t be placed nor did I try to limit myself when moving through social crowds and groups.  I was accepted seamlessly.

Because of the necessity I felt to assimilate, I never acknowledged the things that were actually setting me apart: my humor (black), my style (black), and my insight (black).

When I was a sophomore in high school, I remember a party that my white friends were throwing. At the party, all the popular girls (there were about nineteen of us) wanted to do a group shirt saying “sophomore class of 2012.”  Funny, I was actually flattered to be considered a) popular and b) the only black person invited, even though our whole school was pretty diverse.

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Open Letter

By Jo Benson

Mom,

You were right.

Those words are a big moment for you and me. You told me when I was four, five, eight, twelve and three times when I was eighteen, that one day I would know what you meant, and I would say, “You were right.”

I’m lucky to have the opportunity to have you as a mother and mentor who teaches not through lessons, but by example.         Patience is one of the many things you’ve taught me. Patience has allowed me to take time to reflect and understand our relationship. It has allowed me to see you as a human being, even though you might not be ready for that yet.

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Growing Up Queer With an Eating Disorder: Part Two

I can’t remember exactly when my eating disorder first emerged, but it happened some time during the fall of 2011.  My eating disorder, which I only recently had diagnosed as atypical anorexia nervosa (See description here), was characterized by calorie restriction and purging through the form of exercise. I would meticulously count every single calorie that went into my body, and my goal was to never exceed consuming between 800-1,000 calories per day. And on top of that, I would frequently exercise on our treadmill so that I could track the amount of calories that I burned, and once I burned more calories than I had consumed for the day, I felt accomplished and would stop. I continued this routine throughout the greater part of my junior year in high school.

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Growing Up Queer With an Eating Disorder

By Ruth Sybil May

Part 1:

It’s so peculiar to me that the older I get, the better I understand my childhood self and how my intrinsic traits compounded with my sociocultural environment to shape the unique experiences and struggles that I’ve dealt with throughout my life. One such revelation that I’ve had is that I struggled with a full-fledged eating disorder while I was in high school.  But, the root of the problem started taking formation years ago while I was much younger.

Growing up as an undeniably queer and gender non-conforming kid, I struggled to find a solid sense of self and belonging with the people around me. My parents and teachers tried their hardest to socialize me like any other boy, but I could never shake my femininity and conform to traditional gender norms no matter how hard I tried (and believe me, I really did try). I always stuck out like a sore thumb, and I was bullied mercilessly for it. This left me feeling very confused and with a lingering feeling that I must have somehow been born into the wrong body, that I was actually a girl trapped in a boy’s body and that my existence must be some cruel joke. This feeling of gender dysphoria (Read about gender dysphoria here) was quite isolating.  Although I have a problem with using terms like gender dysphoria because I feel like it legitimizes the classification of trans identity as psychological disorder, I use it for simplicity’s sake to describe my experience as easily as possible due to a lack of less medical language.  I was in desperate search of something to identify with and find solace in; something that could transport me outside of my tough reality and give me some sense of belonging and inspiration.  When I was 7 years old, I found what I was looking for in the hit television series, America’s Next Top Model (ANTM).

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Coming Out (of Innocence)

In honor of National Coming Out Day (October 11th), we are pleased to bring to you a poem by Alex Marrone.  This poem was published in the St Cloud State University Kaleidoscope publication for 2015.  The author has graciously given us permission to share it with our blog community.

I remember the first time I saw my mother kiss another woman

I was six

She asked me if I understood

I thought I was supposed to say “no”

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