Tag: identity

Spilling the T

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When University of Baltimore MFA student Joshua Cole decided to transition, he suddenly felt motherless. Then one day, Coretta showed up…

I don’t believe in ghosts. Most days, I barely believe in Jesus. But ask me about my faith in fairy godmothers, and I’ll crack a smile as wide as Wyoming. You see, earlier this year I was issued my very own fairy godmother. Ms. Etta Coretta is her name. Six feet, three inches of midnight royalty, a drag queen of the highest order. Her liquid eyeliner makes her green eyes pop like four-leaf clovers on LSD. High-heeled in halter-cut gowns—that woman knows how to dress. She speaks hard truths swaddled in blankets of kindness, but she’s quick to call me on my bullshit. Ms. Etta Coretta’s the badass bitch you want in your corner. She’s the momma I wish I had.

The Little Cloud that Cried…Or How to Chill in July

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image via pinterest
image via pinterest

University of Baltimore MFA grad Sue Loweree remembers her ice-skating contest/identity crisis. It’s such a cathartic read, especially in the Baltimore summertime, you’ll likely shiver.

The Omaha Convention Center is a big, cold building with ceilings as high as our new two-story house. I follow Mom and Miss Darby, the skating coach down the hall listening to them talk about Thursday night lessons.

At Light City, A Discussion on Black Identity from Two Baltimore Thought Leaders

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Johns Hopkins School of Education assistant professor Wendy Osefo (left) and Baltimore author D. Watkins.

How does one define what it means to be black – and does it help anyone to try?

Every Dog

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Girl_And_Her_Dog University of Baltimore MFA student Jessica Welch tells a harrowing (yet not unhappy) story of bad dogs, good mothers and great friendship.

I met Mary Patelli when I was five. Our mothers were ICU nurses together, both divorced, both in co-dependency meetings. Our families lived around the corner from each other in the suburbs of Baltimore. I saw her nearly every day; we vacationed together in the summer. We shared mothers.

Toward Graphic Maturity

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image via fastcodesigns.com
image via fastcodesign.com

Essayist Lindsay Fleming ponders the character hidden inside each person’s handwriting.

I’m filling out the permission form for an after-school activity and call Addie over to sign her name. She’s 11 and several forms in the past year have required her signature. She watches me sign in the space for parent/guardian. I hand her the pen. She says, “But I don’t have a signature.”

To All the Young Women Never Cast as Clara

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image circa 1890
image circa 1890

In a special installment of “My Real Life Modern Family,” writer Patrice Hutton reflects funnily and philosophically on childhood Christmases past.

‘Tis the season, the season in which we’re reminded of our first failure of womanhood: never being cast as Clara. We grow up and lean in while learning that we can’t have it all, but years ago, we faced our first trial of womanhood. We’d stalk the mailbox for letters, or push toward the cast list, to see that once again we’d been overlooked for the role of Clara.

Lessons from a Turtle

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image via ecology.com
image via ecology.com

Award-winning poet Elizabeth Hazen reflects on her ambitious life thus far — the winning, the losing, the waiting it out.

Once at the National Zoo, I watched a pair of giant tortoises copulating, the sound that emanated from their habitat like a sleeper’s distress in the midst of a confusing dream. My son wondered what the matter was. All of the children wondered, the older ones with a slight blush of awareness. The adults chuckled nervously, parents scooting their children along to the next exhibit. Meanwhile I stared with the fascination of a scientist, the brazenness of a paparazzo. How those enormous, armored bodies could fit together—how even turtles could evince pleasure without words! Somehow this was a comfort to me, though simultaneously I was conflicted by my voyeurism and my relentless obsession with things I do not understand.

An Unaffiliated Jew: How I Got Religion

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image via kanestreet.org
image via kanestreet.org

University of Baltimore MFA student Ellen Hartley describes her stint in Hebrew school, the scandal that rocked her temple, and the pivotal personal decision she made at age 15.

I am an unaffiliated Jew. I wasn’t always. I became an unaffiliated Jew in 1956 when I was 15.

Before that I had felt comfortable within the fairly relaxed Jewish framework in which I’d grown up. My parents came from an Orthodox background of Eastern European immigrants. Their families kept kosher and observed the whole shebang. My mother officially left the fold as a teenager, when she and her cousin Ethel sneaked out of Yom Kippur services and went to a luncheonette for their first ham sandwich. When my parents married, they moved 250 miles away and dropped the Orthodoxy. Our refrigerator regularly held sliced ham for sandwiches; oddly, my mother drew the line at bacon, which she claimed made her ill. I remember my father making bacon and sausages for my brother and me on Sundays when my mother slept late. We’d run the exhaust fans so the “porky” odors would be extinguished.

Hidden Nerve

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photo by Judith Krummeck
photo by Judith Krummeck

Baltimore writer and beloved voice of classical music radio (WBJC) Judith Krummeck describes her sense of place — in the U.S. and Africa — and her sense of longing for each land she’s called home.

A hidden nerve is what every writer is ultimately about.

–André Aciman

I was born in Africa. I am an African. But, because of the color of my skin, I am not truly African. Strictly speaking, because I was born in Africa and I am now an American citizen, I am an African American. But, because of the color of my skin, I am not truly African American. In the truest sense, I am neither African nor American.

Why at 31 Years Old I Had My Eyebrows Waxed for the First Time

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eyebrow

Recent University of Baltimore MFA grad Lauren Beck never bowed down to the stinging gods of conventional eyebrow-grooming, until one day she decided to throw caution to the wax.

It all started on “Opening Day,” when the Baltimore Orioles play their first home game of the season. This is practically a holiday for O’s fans from all over Maryland, a day on which the goal for many is to tailgate at the local bars and then stumble over to Oriole Park at Camden Yards; for some, if they make it to their seats, that is considered an accomplishment. I have attended the event for the last several years, but this past Opening Day, having recently turned 31, I felt that I had grown out of the need to participate in such youthful debauchery and made no effort to get tickets. But when a friend offered a pair of tickets to my boyfriend and me, I couldn’t resist.

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