How do the spaces we inhabit often represent our internal struggles? In many ways, the condition of my kitchen mirrored the condition of my life for almost twenty-five years. The lens of my marriage and relationship with my ex-husband had clouded the view of my life and I began to act accordingly. At some point I began to realize it was not my kitchen, but me that was feeling “ugly” inside. In the end, beyond a little “window dressing,” my kitchen never really changed. I had changed.
Fairy tales have always been about the human condition. What we fear, what we hold onto, what we repress. And the house, as with the cottage where “The Tea Vendor” is set, is always an allegory for the body and the soul — in this case, lonely, snowbound, with a grave beside the porch and a wealth of secrets just out of sight.
How are stereotypes helpful? What can we do to curtail unhelpful assumptions? “Two Chicken Platters” explores how the presumptions we make are so often superficial and ignore the nuances of human suffering.
The following poem series describes the grief after a father’s suicide. They are part of a series in which the poet looks back at his childhood, but also to recent years when the poet estranged from his father during his deepening depression and alcoholism. Losing your parent is a hallmark of life, but suicide is not a natural event. At the time, the press announced that 21 veterans died daily in the US.
The tragedy associated with addiction leaves its mark on those who are left living. But what kind of life is it when grief snowballs into melancholy because of addiction’s unforgiving hold and the ensuing senseless death? The following visual art series details the melancholy created by opioid addiction. The images detail a mourner weeping due to the loss of a friend.
“The Ones Who are Left Behind: An Armenian Story” details the close relationship the author had with her great aunt (who witnessed the murder of her family), the author’s search for identity, and a reckoning with a brutal collective past. The essay explores how trauma can travel through generations as the author self-reflects on her struggle to harness her emotions to get better, not bitter. Nestled within this personal essay, there is a universal message of hope and healing from suffering and loss.
Experiencing love is linked to higher self-esteem, improved immune system, lower blood pressure, and various other health benefits. For many, achieving love is akin to self-actualization: it is the ultimate goal of life and synonymous with true happiness. The desire to attain love can lead to obsession, codependence, and intense fears of rejection. Without love, we feel unworthy. So, what happens when love becomes additive? When a fundamental human faculty is utilized excessively, transforming a healing experience into a damaging one? Is it better to have loved and lost, or better to have never loved at all?
“The Moolian Stream” is about missing the company of true friends and loneliness. These have always been true for humans, but for groups such as immigrants and those who find themselves in exile, they are experienced more acutely. The exiled experience cultural isolation as well as existential and physical loneliness. After the COVID-19 pandemic, many others feel increasingly isolated.
Loss can present itself in a variety of ways: death of a friend or loved one, a relationship breakup, leaving home or moving to a new place, loss of physical ability, loss of financial security, etc. Sudden loss (like crimes, accidents, or suicide) leaves no room to prepare, while predictable loss creates grief related to the anticipation of the loss, as well as the loss itself. The experience of loss is profoundly human, yet it is often something we suffer alone, in solitude. How do we build resilience against future losses? Can we ever replace that which we grieve?