Culture & Criticism
7 Essays To Read: Finding Feminism, Loss, And Having Brain Surgery While Awake
This week, Susan Grey Blue writes about parting from her right-ring Christian fundamentalist lifestyle after discovering feminism. Read that and other essays from
Racked, The New Yorker, The Toast, and others.
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For years, Susan Grey Blue was a devout, evangelical, right-ring Christian fundamentalist who'd been taught to fear and oppose feminists. That all changed in grad school, where she met other scholars and read books by Christine de Pizan and Audre Lorde. "Feminism gave me the perspective to see the world for what it is, and to locate my own authority in that world," she explains in an essay for BuzzFeed Life. Read it here.
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Occasionally, to unwind after a long day of writing, Matthew J. X. Malady will browse through Google Maps Street View, revisiting places from his past. During one of his recent online expeditions, he decided to drop by a house he lived in as a teen, and that's when he saw his now-deceased mother. "The confluence of emotions, when I registered what I was looking at, was unlike anything I had ever experienced — something akin to the simultaneous rush of a million overlapping feelings," he explains in a piece for The New Yorker. "There was heartbreak and hurt, curiosity and wonder, and everything, seemingly, in between. Read his essay at . The New Yorker
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In Alabama, there's a store called Unclaimed Baggage Center, full of stuff people have left on planes and luggage gone missing. For Racked, Stephie Grob Plante visited the massive shop, perusing lost items and interviewing the store's employees and shoppers. The visit comes just months after the writer lost her lifelong best friend. As the title suggests, her essay is one on losing things and losing people — but also on finding God. Read it at . Racked
During his early years in school, Cameron Laventure struggled to live with Asperger's syndrome. Isolated and unable to express his feelings or read social cues, Laventure found solace in Nintendo. "It would be my lantern in the dark, offering me the means to comprehend my existence and the will to try," he writes in an essay for The Toast. "I had been a boy without a role, trapped in a world I couldn’t understand. But a game gives you a role. A game gives you a world you’re meant to understand. In a game, it’s impossible not to belong." Read the entire piece at . The Toast
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It took Tyrese Coleman two years to even acknowledge her depression after giving birth to her twin sons. In a BuzzFeed Ideas essay, she ponders how much it had to do with the way she had been taught to be strong. An excerpt: "It was during a nasty argument where I’d decided to open up about my feelings but was unable to express myself," she writes, describing an instance from her childhood. "I stammered through hyperventilating breaths. ... I panted and kept saying, Come on, Ma. Come on, Ma, a mantra pleading for understanding. She finally stopped me, called me a crybaby, and said, You sound like a white woman." Read it at BuzzFeed Ideas.
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Michelle Maltais attended private school for most of her life, switching to public eduction only for high school. In an essay originally published in the LA Times, Maltais vividly recalls being accused of cheating after turning in an essay that met her standard of performance. Although much has changed since then, Maltais plans to send her 4-year-old son to a private school. "The fact is most students in California are falling short of learning targets, and are not on track to succeed in college," she explains. "Black students have traditionally performed more poorly on these tests. They aren’t expected to reach the same level of achievement as the rest of their class. That just will not do in my home." Read her essay at . Medium
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Imagine having a hole drilled into your head while you're awake. That's what Kineta Kelsall had to endure after doctors found a raspberry-sized tumor in her brain. "Lots of people still turn down the procedure because they're scared of being awake, but I rationalized: If I'm asleep I won't know if I'm dying, whereas if I'm awake I can do something about it," she explains in the as-told-to essay. "Plus, I thought it would make a great story." Read about her experience at . Broadly