writer mom

She doesn’t understand.

“ It’s been five years, it’s time to get over it” said my mom.

But how can she not understand? That it hasn’t been five years for me. It’s like I blinked and here I am in this unknown world trying to survive. Trying to act like I am happy when I am dying inside. How can she not understand that I wake up every morning thinking I woke up from a bad dream only to realize that bad dream is my life and isn’t so much a dream but reality.

Yet I say, “ I know Mom, I’m over it.” But even I can’t lie that good.

Here’s to the woman who truly deserves all the love in the world though I know she won’t accept it. She is too selfless, too kind, too full of love already but I do know what she would do with all that love, she’ll share it without a doubt and without worrying about leaving herself drained. I write about people who don’t love me back while here she is with love, overflowing. So let this be an apology and a celebration of her and her whole person. If I know what love is, it would be because of you.
—  Me (JNH). To my mother.

To my mother,
I wish I could take back every hurtful word I ever said to you.

I wish I could remove every scar of yours, physical and emotional, that were inflicted by me and because of me.

I wish I could bring back the smile that used to grace your features in the days before I let the demons take over my soul.

I wish I could replace the dead and dying stars in your eyes, forever burnt out by the toxic poison expelled in my breath.

I wish that you didn’t feel like a failure when you look at me; you say you are proud of me, but it’s written on your face: “Try harder.”

I wish I could easily apologize for all the times I spoke at you with disdain in my tone, for all the times I walked away leaving you in pain.

I wish I could hug you tightly and glue together every little piece of your broken heart that I hold in my own.

I wish I could go back in time and open the door to my soul for you.

Mum, I wish I could go back to when I was 10 and hurting so bad, and not close myself off for the next thirteen years. If only I had dealt with my pain, I could have saved yours.

To my mother,

I’m sorry I may not have been the courteous, loving child you wanted. I’m sorry I broke your heart as many times as I’ve broken my own.
I’m sorry that I couldn’t love you while I didn’t love myself.
But I did love you.

I do love you. And I’m learning to love myself.

—  chari0ts-of-fire, happy mother’s day

You never told

Me how 

You wanted

Me to be so

I became a vision

You never wanted to see

My preference for love ruined

Your happy holy family picture that

I’ve never felt right posing for

Your expectations of who

I was supposed to be, fueled

My endless rebellion

My fight for individuality

I was supposed to dress like

You, pray like

You, ask forgiveness everyday like

You, but

I stopped whispering secret apologizes when

I no longer felt sorry

I feel sorry for

You though and the fear that

Your faith is being questioned by

My truth

My truth is that;

Your bible is

My death,

My eternal damnation

I hear the heated hate behind

Your words, “Abominations”

I tried to live in

Your perfect garden of Eden

I swallowed the Word

You forced down

My closed throat, but still

I snuck and ate

My own forbidden fruit

You confessed a terrible sin to

Me and spoke about forgiveness

You continue to pray for after decades of guilt


My salvation lies in

Your disappointment,

My freedom lives in

Your shame, and it breaks

My heart to realize that

I’m doing  

Me with or without


Charity Irby


When I stay at my parents’ house I sleep in the room of a girl I’ve never met. I am called by her name. I see her clothes in the closet and her things in the drawers. They don’t fit me anymore. I hold up the dresses, the T-shirts—did they ever fit me? And if they did, what was that girl like? I run my hands over the smooth surface of her life in my mind. Every thread is in place, but my rough fingernails snag and ruin it.

I can play pretend at being her if I try hard enough. She has my nose, shares my favorite color, cross stitches the rhythm of her thoughts like me. During the period where she blurred into me, we learned to sew. X’s in neat lines, rows of prayers.

Embroidery starts with intricacies, stitches I squint to see. They are never the same color as I expect at the beginning, numbered skeins of embroidery floss organized before use. Three stitches like my mother taught me. Secure the thread on the fabric. One for an anchor, two for luck, three for insurance. Always leave a tail of thread. The stitches must be small and perfect.

My mother taught me to sew, her mother taught her, it’s the earliest form of female self-expression. Women teaching girls teaching their daughters to create in careful, useful ways. Whip stitches, back stitches, cross stitches, the secret ways that women learned to survive.

I am not a woman; still the craft has been passed to me.

People on the street call me miss and ma’am and remind me of my needle and thread beginnings, how the tail dangles from the piece I’m working on and gets tangled. My heritage is cross stitched and hanging on the wall in my childhood bedroom, sewn by my pregnant mother twenty years ago.

           I hear my mother cry through the thin walls of her house, she asks God why did I have to be like this. What happened to her daughter. I ask God to take the damage out on me instead, spare her from what my existence does to her. In her eyes, I am burning; in her eyes, I am not enough.

When I was thirteen a distant ER doctor sewed my tear-stained chin up. Fell off a bike that I was too small to be riding, growing up too fast, trying to fly away. Saw my bone for the first time, jarringly white, like I was free of sin. The doctor numbed it, I sobbed. I can still feel the pull of the thread, the butterfly needle, the this won’t hurt a bit. Couldn’t sleep on my side for a week, my chin dripped mucous and antibacterial ointment. The stitches tickled for three days. I still have the scar.

My mother sat me down in the kitchen two weeks later and cut them out carefully, sewing scissors, healing flesh. A different kind of pull, like a bad spirit leaving my body. I trusted her; twenty years of embroidery made her hands sure.

Two years later I came out to my parents, sitting on the same kitchen chair. I played it off as casual—there are worse things to be—and didn’t meet their eyes.          

When I stumble across my dad’s search history, I see articles with titles like “Trans-Trending” and “Why So Many Millennials Are Bisexual” and “Just A Phase?” and it’s been five, almost six years. I know he’s still trying to make sense of it. I wonder why he can’t just ask me. I wonder why I can’t ask him either, why I whip-stitch my lips together when I go home to him. He talks about his daughter with pride in his eyes. I bite my tongue at the she and silently replace it with they.

I’ve never said anything, and I don’t know if I ever will. I’m afraid of the response I’ll get, ashamed to be stripped down to bone.

I wake up in a cold sweat. I dream about my grandmother’s delicate hands quilting scraps of fabric while her husband went on strike and her family ate mostly love. I watched her hands shrivel and falter, caught the needle as it dropped. It pricked my fingers crimson; she was buried with her thimble. The fabric she stitched lays over me during the night. There are too many holes to keep me warm; the wind sings it to shreds. I shiver and she places her hands over mine, the last of her warmth.  

I am sewing her skin to mine; she is living through my young and trembling hands. Intricacies, keeping us stitched together. My mother did the same thing, I think. She has a bookshelf of patterns, some she’ll never sew. I silently leave a space in my home for the patterns to become mine. The empty spot gathers dust, yawning at me. There are pieces to be rearranged on my walls, beautiful, finished works of needlecraft.

I try to become the front of the embroidery, carefully created without a stray thread. The back is not supposed to show once it’s finished, covered with felt or a frame. I try to become the front; I am and will always be the wayward ends and the furled knots with their blurry shape and messy colors.

I’m not what a woman should be. I’m not even what a woman is. I stitch the confusion into my work, try to make some sense of it by organizing patterns. My thoughts grind against each other like transverse faults. Healing comes slowly, if at all. I let the fading light stream through the blinds of my apartment window and warm my face.

I make do—intricacies, French knots, squares in circular feminine boxes.

 My mother looks as me like my queer body is dirty sometimes, trying but falling short of understanding. I try to see nobility in my queerness where my mother sees sin.

Never discredit your gut instinct. You are not paranoid. Your body can pick up on bad vibrations. If something deep inside of you says something is not right about a person or situation, trust it.
—  Simple Reminders

Her heart was never fragile.

It was strong.
God, it was so strong.
It could pull the sea into the universe with its pulse. It was a heart that could love and love and love; it would steal the thunder from the lighting and kiss the rain away from the storm.

I wished I could have inherited her heart, so I could give my mother the type of love she deserves.

—  Mothersday
My mom has had a hard life
There always seems to be a rain cloud over her head
She always thinks she’s a loser
Because she’s not rich
Or because she doesn’t have the best job
And has always had to struggle with money
But she is one of the most nice, caring and hardworking people you’ll ever meet
We have the same type of job where we’ve worked with the same people
And every time they’ve worked with her
They come up to me as ask
“Is your mom so and so?”
And they always tell me how great she is
How sweet she is and how much she helped them at work
“She’s the best.” They’ll say
My grandpa also tells her that me and my brothers are good people
and a hardworking bunch
That we get that from her
That she raised great kids
And I see her eyes light up
To me
That is so much better and says a lot more about her
Than how much money she makes
She may have a rain cloud over her head
But I think some people are destined to be good people and great mothers
And she’s excelled at both of those things
—  Chapters from my life
Why can’t people see that words cut like knives and sometimes they cut so deep that you can’t feel the pain. The knife you shoved between my shoulder blades didn’t cause blood to seep through my clothes right away, and I think my nerve endings may have been frayed. No baby, I think it wasn’t until you got caught up in your own lies, your own blatant disregard for anyone’s feelings besides your own that I opened my eyes and truly felt who you are. All pain aside, I hope you never understand one day how it feels to turn around and find your friend wielding a blade.
—  Why are tongues made of razor?
frail of heart but strong of will

Grog and Keyleth take a moment to unwind, and Keyleth learns some new tricks.

grogleth. 1.3K

There’s something electric about running like this. The four-part rhythm of her paws against the packed earth, the wind through the ruff of her collar––it’s like racing the storm front, like skimming the waves as though outrunning the ocean itself. She exists somewhere outside her body when she runs like this, sheds the weight of her crown and her office and her future and herself until all that’s left is the pounding of her feet and the rush of the wind, carrying her along, weightless.

What she’s trying to say is that it’s pretty fucking great.

She skids to a stop miles from anywhere, sides heaving as she catches her breath, and moments later Grog appears through the tall grass, footfalls like thunder. He doesn’t slow, just grins wide and wild and chargers her with a roar, and she braces herself, and they go over in a whirlwind of bared teeth and tangled limbs. Back and forth they wrestle among the tall grasses until Keyleth pins him down, teeth at his throat, and he yields with a laugh. Only then does she roll off him and shiver back into her own skin, sprawled flat on her back and laughing loud enough to fill the empty sky far, far above. Grog sits up, legs splayed in front of him and grins, breathing heavy.

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Of all the things in the world that make me feel small,
my mother is not one of them.
There are moments when
I am at the end of the rope 
the world is throwing me no bones
I am a pockmark of consequence
that has been pitted from the fabric
of this universe
and even in this shrunken state
as I lie next to her
floating in what I believe is a pond
of my own emotions
she makes me feel like 
I am the entire ocean.

She reminds me that 
this will never be easy
and sadness is a fountain
that will never dry
but I don’t have to be enough
for the whole world
I only need to be enough
to see to it that I am myself.

Even as a child
burrowed in her own sorrow
she reminds me that I am home
and I might not realize how 
heavy my bones are on the floor
or how quickly my eyelids flutter
at the first open window
but she sees my very existence
as an infliction upon the realm itself
an interruption as if to say
you cannot go on without me
that is how she has always seen me
and who am I to doubt that my mother
is wiser than the world.
—  A word on inheritance and motherly advice