Freshly Pressed: Friday Faves
An ode to a father, a story of growing up with two mothers, a request for a cloak of visibility, and a reflection on goodbyes. Here are four Freshly Pressed standouts from this week — all quite personal pieces that have resonated with many readers. Go ahead and dive in:
My father spent his years fighting his size, wishing he was smaller, weaker, less of a giant. He was taught to hate his body, and he was ashamed of the amount of space he took up. But he passed his strength to me, and I won’t squander my inheritance. I will not let myself be diminished.
Tiffany Kell, a contributor and dancer at More Cabaret, reflects on her father’s recent passing, and his long struggle with his weight and health. She describes him vividly — “born larger than life” and of a family made of “Viking stock” — and creates a strong, invincible man in our minds.
“But he didn’t want to be a giant,” she writes. “He wanted to be thin.”
She recounts the experimental diet programs he tried, his obsession with calorie counting, his celiac disease, and — finally — his last year: wasting away, becoming a shadow of himself. This post isn’t simply an ode to her father, but an intimate, powerful piece about who she is and where she comes from — and ultimately becoming comfortable in one’s own skin.
As Queer Black women, we don’t have many role models. The connection and communication with our elders is rare. It’s important to recognize and honor the LGBTQ women in our lives who have come before us, blazing trails that we may not have ever known we’d walk.
This week, we read a number of posts celebrating Mother’s Day, from reflections on motherhood to interpretations on “mother.” Nitra at Wise Edits tells a bold and moving story about growing up in an unstable household of drugs and abuse — and finding happiness and a haven through her Aunt Dee. But this woman disappears from her life, and it’s not until Nitra is older, and comes out to her family, that she learns who Aunt Dee really was, and is.
Beautifully told, Nitra’s piece celebrates the connection between mother and child, unbreakable bonds over time, and the queer household. We appreciate her warm, honest voice and tribute to the women in her life.
Women of a certain age.
No need for an invisibility cloak.
We just vanish.
The author at Memoirs of a husk muses on a number of issues in this poignant post: Beauty. Womanhood. Aging. She writes about what happens when you “fray around the edges”: when you need a lip pencil and clear mascara to get noticed, yet no matter what you do, you’re no longer you: “You start to see just that — a woman, nothing more,” she writes. “No past, no personality, no added dimensions.” At the end, she asks JK Rowling for assistance — to invent a cloak of visibility, “not for our fraying lips and bushy eyebrows, comfy midriffs or laughter lines, but for us. Whoever we are.” We like this blogger’s voice: it’s fresh and unique, and her style is quiet yet sharp — we’re curious to read what she tackles next.
Of course there are friendships that reside far beyond geography’s lethal grasp, laughing in the face of distance. “A friendship that can be ended didn’t ever start,” wrote the French poet Mellin de Saint-Gelais. Philia, or the platonic love between friends, is perhaps not as sexy as its cousin eros – romantic love, but it’s the purest of all the loves. No sex or jealousy to muddy the waters. No mandatory filial piety. No professional incentive. Just the pure joy of voluntarily shared company, of dipping into each other’s souls every once in a while.
Nick Ashdown, the blogger at Advokat Dyavola, has lived in Russia, Turkey, and Rwanda, so he knows a thing or two about goodbyes. Yet they never get any easier. Here, he discusses the word “goodbye” (which he finds absurd, as “nothing feels good about it at all”), and its euphemisms (“see you later” and “let’s stay in touch”). In his reflections, he describes the different connections we have in our lives: people we may never see again, but also those friendships that last, despite the distance.
In a time when some of us wander the world as nomads, and many of us communicate and maintain relationships online, Nick’s thoughts on goodbyes and friendships are at once timely and timeless — and relatable to others.
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