“Dazzle Camouflage” is the honourable mention for Room's Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2019. Here's what the judge, Terese Marie Mailhot, has to say about the essay: “‘Dazzle Camouflage’ was full of beautiful language and the depth of the work was wonderful to sit with. It was personal and cerebral and the voice within the work felt poetic and full. What does it mean to inhabit an identity or be part of a larger community and shared history? It’s a beautiful essay looking closely at the self.”
This is what I can tell you: On a June night in 1986, my mother drinks from a tall glass of ice water. The radio might be on. If it is on, she is listening to Patti or Luther or The Pointer Sisters or Whitney. She might be singing, voice off-key but still rising proudly up her throat.
I have my mother’s hair. It is a thick, deep black—the kind she calls wūhēi.
Every now and then I catch it: a cluster of motes, a brown gathering at the tops of my cheekbones, age spots; grey hairs shot through with light, fibre-optic electric in the fluorescent glow of a grotty bathroom; the fleshy syncopation of my upper arm, waving a half-beat behind my hand. I feel it like I feel the geese, migrating: somehow I am in the sweet late summer of this young body, and I just want to fuck you with it.
Christine was charming and friendly, but I had begun to dislike her with a fiery intensity months before. It was visceral, and I couldn’t quite understand it. My disdain flustered her; I could see it in her eyes when they met mine. I had unmasked her. She thought I knew.
You know you’re ethnic as hell when your own smart devices immediately autocorrect your Korean name. Apparently, according to Apple, Jiyoon is incorrect. Instead, their devices offer a plethora of alternatives; the most notable being Jason, June, Jouoom (this one remains the most mysterious of the bunch), and even Jamie.
“The calm lunatic—now that is something to aspire to.”—Mary Ruefle, “
Writing about us is a way to finally claim what happened as my truth, a space which is mine, where he can’t tell me what to feel. A moment, two years too late, of recognition. To say, without compromise or shame, I loved him. And he abused me. You don’t have to believe me. I don’t need him to read the emails. I just want to look in the mirror, see the girl staring back at me, and let her know that I’m sorry.
Picture the girl. See her pull the black cardigan closed in a tight fist as she shoves the heavy door open with her shoulder. The warm evening air hits her like a slap in the face. As she steps out onto the sidewalk and sees the sunset bleeding orange and pink, broad streaks of red and purple, she thinks, That’s it. Childhood is over.
#MeToo backlash is here, and it is exhausting.
This article is adapted from a keynote address delivered on Thursday, November 2nd at Queer Canada, a conference at Brock University in St. Catherine’s, Ontario.
Dedicated to the memory of Aiyyana Maracle and all my transsexual and Two Spirit relations who resist and continue to make beauty in the middle of a genocide.
Our 2017 Creative Non-Fiction Contest Honourable Mention.
I’ve heard that when you see someone you love your pupils get bigger, as if your eyes themselves want to swallow them up and trap them inside.
Do you wonder if the people who assaulted you ever think about it?
Created in 1995 in the pre-digital video days of A/B roll editing, this educational video about media literacy examines the media's shaping of the Montréal Massacre to deconstruct media representations of violence, trauma and gender. Created with the financial support of the Canadian Studies Directorate and the Ministere de culture du Québec. Included here as part of our No Comment project.
Nothing that bad happened to me. Certainly nothing out of the ordinary. I was lucky. I wasn’t raped. I wasn’t sexually assaulted. At most, I was sexually harassed. Cross out at most. I was. And even that is so complex and equivocal and tenuous.
If I had to describe myself at twenty, this is what I would write.
A hyper-verbal, defensive, funny, and skinny skate betty. A poet, thin-skinned and capable, ambitious and in love with the idea of love. A lonely girl from a big family who was open to everything and acutely aware that, at any moment, the next man I met could be the one to change my life.
Before reading this essay about accessing appropriate health and wellness care as a sex worker I’m going to ask you to reflect on your own relationship to othering—perpetuating, witnessing and surviving it—and how it has impacted your health.
I attended the University of British Columbia from 2008-2014. I spent four of those six years in the Creative Writing Department, first to get my Bachelor’s degree, then my Master’s. I was raped twice during my time at UBC, once by one of my classmates in the Creative Writing program.
Our 2015 CNF Contest Honourable Mention.
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Room 42.2, Borderlands
Edited by Rebecca Russell
In this issue:
Selina Boan, Jenna Butler, Leonarda Carranza, Carolina Corcoran, Šari Dale, Marisol Diaz, Sarah Ens, Paola Ferrante, Katie Fewster-Yan, Hannah Hackney, Lori Hahnel, Natalie Homer, Liz Iversen, Jac Jenkins, Jaslyn Marshall, Laura McGavin, Emily McKibbon, Alessandra Naccarato, Ezi Odozor, Caitlin Prince, Rebecca Salazar, Ellie Sawatzky, Alysia Sawchyn, Farihah Aliyah Shah, Josephine Sloyan, Tanya R. Ward, jiaqing wilson-yang, Elana Wolff.