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Lifting the Burden of Shame

A collection of essays written by people of color, which also highlights the voices of other marginalized and/or silenced groups about the role of shame in their lives. Examining shame through a prism of race, sexuality, religious beliefs, mental health, infidelity, marriage, body image, gender, employment, and relationships. These powerful stories illustrate the language and impact of shame and how it can be overcome.

Checking my Respectability Politics by Vanessa Mártir

The first time my sister Dee said it to me, I was visiting from the prestigious boarding school I had received a four year scholarship to attend. We were arguing about I don’t know what. We’ve always argued. As kids, as adults, long after I’d left our mother’s house, leaving her behind to deal with what I couldn’t and didn’t ... Read More »

I Don’t Live There by Richa Pokhrel

Shame is a common feeling that a South Asian woman like me experiences over and over throughout our lifetime. Since my birth, this emotion has held on to me like a light scar that never fades. I’ve shaken it off a few times like a wet dog, but somehow it creeps back into my life. I’ve dealt with a fair ... Read More »

Breaking Cycles by Rachel Wendy Cuevas

Plenty of people are oblivious to the many diverse forms of domestic abuse. It can be deemed physical, verbal, emotional, psychological or sexual. According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention: every month 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. Lugubriously enough, domestic violence doesn’t just transpire between romantic partners. An immediate family ... Read More »

Born Just in Time by Joan Becht-Willette

     I always felt like I should have been born a boy. Males were always valued more, wherever I went. So, I flew under the radar, dimmed my light, my intelligence, my creativity, and independence. It was expected back in the day, and I wonder if this is still the case.     I grew up in the middle of two ... Read More »

Breaking the Colonial Cycle and Reclaiming my Voice by JF Seary

You sound white! You speak so well. You’re very articulate. As I was coming up in the world,  a brown-skinned Bronx born Boricua at a time when my appearance and the sounds coming out of my mouth didn’t compute for many people. I’ll never truly know what they expected to hear, but I remember what it felt like to receive ... Read More »

In Honor of Growing Old for Marsha Moore by Nancy Mercado

Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative. ~Maurice Chevalier   I lost my best friend when we were 32. We met when 5, in kindergarten. Marsha Moore was a wonderfully tall fat Black girl who treated me like her sister. We were sisters. Marsha didn’t get the chance to grow old. Her life in this world was ... Read More »

A Forbidden Desire by Gitanjali

1989 I am eight years old. I am standing in my bedroom looking up at the black woolly hair that crowns my mother’s head. We live in a bungalow in a largely white, working-class suburb of Western Sydney. My bedroom window looks out onto a stiff, spiky lawn, permanently kept yellow-green as the grass fails, year after year, to recover ... Read More »

Terminations: One by Lynne DeSilva-Johnson

1997-2017:: in which I am a dystopia As the unexamined traumas lodged in my muscles, bones, and organs metastasize into a laundry list of erratic pain, illness, and life-altering shifts, I find myself in one waiting room after another, filling out the same information (and lack thereof): what are your current symptoms? how long have you been experiencing these symptoms? ... Read More »

Fall and Rise by Maria G

By the age of 6, I had been to see more psychiatrists than I ever wanted to – 6,10,15 – I’ve lost count. So many faces they just disappear. My parents searched far and near for help but all they got was sorry there is nothing for her here. Unnecessary pain and suffering dominated my life for years because the ... Read More »

A Version of Normal by Michelle Guerrero-Henry

My entire life, I got sick very easily. Always something wrong with my stomach, complaining of nausea constantly. As a kid, tests were run, though my mother made sure we all had a healthy diet, doctors thought I had one illness or another. At around 11 years old, my mother called me into her bedroom. Before I was blindfolded with ... Read More »