All posts filed under: Issue: Rise

March Issue: Rise and Shine

At the Oscars Sunday Night, Frances “the fiercest” McDormand asked all the nominated women to rise from their seats. “Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed.” It was an incredibly powerful sight to see multiple women poke up across the vast theater (also disheartening that in that huge crowd, there weren’t more.) We sure do have tales to tell.  This is our moment. Women are rising up and speaking their truths — whether adding to the empowering, system-changing #metoo chorus or depicting women not just in their glory, but in their struggles as McDormand did in Three Billboards. These are not the stories we always want to tell — these are the stories we have to tell, the ones that make us whole. In our issue this month, we explore all the different kinds of power women find when they rise up, from finding a strength after the destruction of a marriage; letting childhood hopes and dreams wash away in rising tides; or even simply embracing …

TueNight Live: Photos from “RISE”

Last week, on March 6, we returned to the cozy Wren Downstairs (last time we were there was for “Sisters”), to bring our RISE issue to life. We had six phenomenal storytellers — Melanie Dione, Kerika Nalty Fields, Whitney Johnson, Elana Rabinowitz, Abby West and Yng-Ru Chen. We drank delicious Rise-themed cocktails, noshed on empanadas, and — of course — shared our stories. All photos by Kacy Jahanbini. Margit kicked off the evening talking about the meaning of this issue (more on that here), thanking The Wren for hosting, our writers for reading, and our bartender, Dale, for bartending. Kerika pulled us in with her hushed and intimate story of rising in the wee hours of the morning to write. TueNighter Adrianna introduced her friend of more than a decade, Yng. (Has it really been that long?) Yng’s shared a harrowing story of a rising fever during the birth of her first child. And Melanie straight up brought the house down with her frank description of her quest to have an orgasm. After catching our collective …

My Search for the “Oh Yes!” When Sex Was a No-No

Sexual education in my conservative, southern, Christian upbringing was strictly on a need-to-know basis: I needed to know what I should avoid. An entire sexual revolution swirled around me, giving not thought at all to my existence, yet it was I, I, who madly sought it. My curriculum was carefully curated so that I might be informed, but still avoid the rising tide of desire. Too much information would no doubt trigger the awakening of the wanton sexual temptress hell bent on besmirching my family name with gonorrhea and out-of-wedlock children that ignorance had allowed to lay dormant. I dubbed my sexual curiosity my white whale — an obsession that consumed every waking moment I spent away from the Bible or Knight Rider, sure to lead to my undoing. I had to use context clues for everything else. I asked my parents where babies came from when I was six. They gave me a splendidly clinical “a-man’s-sperm-meets-a-woman’s-egg” spiel. “How? They rub stomachs or something? Does he feed it to her?” It wasn’t until a year …

Fvmbe Humor: Honoring My Ancestors with Belly Laughs

In my culture — the Mvskoke (Creek) tribe — humor is a constant. There’s even a certain genre of humor which one of our scholars, Craig Womack, termed “fvmbe humor.” (In Creek, “v” is pronounced like a “u.”) “Fvmbe” means “stink,” and “fvmbe humor” often has to do with the body, though it’s not crass. It is difficult to translate, but we’ve kept the word despite the government’s many attempts to take away our language and culture. Laughing at certain things is almost a marker of belonging. But another marker of belonging is knowing when not to laugh, when not to let suppressed giggles burst out at the wrong time. Especially, in church. My family attends a Mvskoke Baptist church. As is custom in our tribe’s churches, the church house is in the center, and it is surrounded by family “camphouses” — small houses which are usually just a dining room, kitchen, and seating area. Some have a bedroom because some people stay at church from Saturday evening to Sunday night. All of us stay …

My Husband’s Manic Break Left Me Running for My Life

Nine years ago a battalion of police cars and a whole lot of crazy portended the end of my 16-year marriage, and I — someone who’d gone from living in my mother’s house to living with my husband at just 19 years old — was now completely on my own with two young children in Westchester in a crumbling house I couldn’t afford. To say that I was scared would be like saying this first year with Trump was just a little bit rocky. I was panicked. Low-key panicked in that way that vibrates off of you, no matter how cool you’re trying to play it. And I was trying to play it cool, at least for my kids. At 8 and 11, their whole world had been upended and they were struggling to comprehend why and come to terms with it all. They needed me to act like it was all going to be okay, and while I faked the funk for them every day, I needed everyone else in my life to tell …

And Still I Rise: Answering the Midnight Muse

3:27 a.m. That’s what time she woke me up this morning. Two days ago, she woke me up at 3:49 a.m. Today? Tomorrow? Who knows. I’m talking about the writing muse — that seductive voice that whispers in my ear when an idea strikes me, and I’m compelled to jot it down, explore it. My Muse comes in many forms: a memory, a feeling, a longing, a joke  As a non-fiction writer working on a memoir, I welcome my muse. I need her.  I love her. Just not at 3 a.m. in the morning. At first I would fight her. Wait it out. Lie in bed, unable to go back to sleep but refusing to move. Or I’d turn on the television; its bluish glare illuminating my darkened bedroom. Now I know better. Now I give in. Now I know that nothing will satisfy the early morning mystery except my writing. So I’m prepared. Before I go to bed I make sure I know where my laptop is. Or my legal pad and pen. Or my journal. …

The Jordache House on 140th Street

Growing up in Brooklyn, I was all about labels. I went from purchasing Sears’ Toughskins  — with the patch on each knee — to an obsession with getting a pair of Jordache. In the ‘80s, Jordache jeans were heavily advertised on TV and were a must-have by any pre-teen girl. They had that thick maroon label with a horse stitched on, placed right above the back jean pocket. I pled with my mother until she finally bought me a pair and wore them until the last stitch fell off. As I got older, my obsession switched to Guess Jeans, the triangle-logo’ed, acid-washed style, which in retrospect looked like an accident of two tones of denim placed into one dungaree. It was around this time that I met a group of girls and guys who took the Green Line bus from Rockaway, Queens to the junction in Brooklyn. They entered our school, with their mousse-abused 80’s hair, tanned skinned and big oversized glasses. In the midst of urban New York, this group stood out from the (Park) Slopies …

Childbirth Is No Place for a Fever — or Fear

“Are you feeling ok?” my ob/gyn asks me. I’ve been in labor for 26 hours with my first child. My water has broken in dramatic fashion and I’m preparing myself to start pushing. “Am I feeling OK?” I ask myself. “What does ‘OK’ even mean in this context?” I am tired in every sense of the word. But I guess I feel OK. She keeps asking, though, and I don’t understand why. “You have a fever of 103.5. Are you sure you’re OK?” I emerge from my epidural haze and finally register what she is saying. I arrived at this hospital fever-free. I had had a normal pregnancy. Actually, it wasn’t normal — it was very easy. No vomiting, minimal nausea. The labor has taken a long time, but that’s not unusual. Now all of a sudden my temperature is rising and alarming everyone around me. This moment in 2009 is the very peak of the swine flu pandemic; by the time it run its course, it will claim nearly 15,000 lives around the world. …