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Category: choice

I asked my son to call me Nik, out of respect

I am huge on respecting my elders.  Still, I am thankful that I grew up in a place that taught me to call adults by their first names.  As if their marriage status was irrelevant to holding a conversation with them.  As if I was a human too, and not hoping to grow into one.

A few years ago, in trying to express to my child that I am a whole person–

not just the one who picks up his dirty socks

or the one who cooks his meals

or the one who works for his shelter

or holds his pain

or tickles his laughter

— I asked him to call me Nik, out of respect.

I wanted him to see me as a person in the world, not just a person who meets his needs.

I wanted him to understand me as human and dismantle the pedestal he had built for me to serve him from.

Not because I am afraid of heights.

Because it is difficult to hold his hand from up there.

Because I am more than his mother.

Because when he declares, “This is what a feminist looks like” I want it to be because he cares about women, as humans, not because he has a mother.  Not because he is supposed to.

Because it is his truth.

If there wasn’t cancer, would same-gender marriage be legalized?

Seven days ago, I quit smoking.

Seven days ago, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of same-gender marriage.

Seven days ago, my sister shaved my head.


The first time I started smoking, I was a teenager voluntarily trapped in a psych ward.

The first time I realized same-gender marriage could be possible was the first time I could legally vote.  I didn’t.

The first time I shaved my head, my mother was still dying from cancer.                                                                                                She did.


Nine days ago, a nurse told me that I have high-grade precancerous cells inside my vaginal canal.

Nine days ago, my ex-girlfriend left me a voicemail that said: “Remember me?” She doesn’t understand that my love for her overlaps together and apart.

Nine days ago, I was growing out my hair.


First, on the phone with the nurse, I cried about losing my insurance to capitalism.

Then, on the phone with the nurse, I cried about wanting to birth another child.

I still haven’t cried about wanting to keep living.                                                                                                                                                                                                 To keep living.


Today, I had lunch with a stranger.

Prompted to Be Man Luggage


Photo by Shae Savoy

Photo by Shae Savoy

1. The light is out:

Instantly, I see a woman’s body

folded, we already

pre-shrunk her, to fit in

the suit case.


After rape

or aging.

Her folded body


for busy-ness quick

get off

her children have his last name.

2. How to Be Man Luggage:

  • Make handles of your hips retractable
  • Open and close on demand
  • Have (w)heels for being dragged
  • Hold out your left finger for his identity tag
  • Be reversible
  • Contain what he does not want to carry
  • Hide his secrets
  • Zip yourself sealed
  • Carry more than you can hold
  • Expand, but maintain your shape

3. How Not to Be (the) Man(‘s) Luggage:

  • Travel, light
  • Take off
  • Show up
  • Arrive
  • Read the broken signs

(You don’t need to lug those social expectations anymore. Set it all down.)

4. Question Bergman as Baggage:

How do you learn to savor if you always carry, in stock?

5. Sometimes light is for highlighting what is there, but not lit:

(Be)rg(Man Luggage)


real girl

ready go


I stopped flipping coins when I realized neither side of capitalism is the answer.