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It wasn’t what they expected

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They had both been through it and basically forgotten about one another. It had been a long haul. She had lived a number of lives, in and out of sanity and always striving for an area closer to the edge. He had been over that edge a number of times, jumped off and climbed back on, pushing and pushing himself to understand what the fuck he was doing here. He never learned.

They both married well. Fell in love, really, though they would have said the same upon meeting one another when they were teenagers. He had chosen a woman…

An excerpt from the memoir, “Every Time I Didn’t Say No”

Photo by Erin Chu on Flickr

Trigger warning: this story contains content related to pedophilia that might be troubling to some readers.

The first time I didn’t say no I was only a child. I cannot recall the age but know we lived in Texas. It’s strange, the effects of trauma on the mind. In this case, I can't clearly remember the event as an actual occurrence, but rather a moment when the memory itself pummelled me, over and over, as a teenager living in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The trauma of this recollection was as severe as this time I didn’t say no.

This happened.


Photo by form PxHere

Waves beat against rocks
Jagged and cold in this Scottish winter
In our heart, there is no end to caves
They go on and on forever, redefine
“Depth,” they are infinite and broad,
The expanse moves to tears, regularly
There is no way to stop this movement,
These tides, the endless crashing against the wet
Cold, stone walls

The movement continues
Past terrible shadows from overhead clouds,
Their gray faces glare down
Like mothers who never learned to let go
Expected children to sit straight and tall
Smile without eyes, hold fingers to lips
Force smiles where there were no smiles
Hold backs ramrod straight
Against the onslaught…

Women can perpetuate a sexist workplace, too

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

“I just love it when she calls me that!” a colleague chirped during an end-of-the-year luncheon. “It’s like she’s everyone’s favorite grandma.”

There was no way I was going to wade into that conversation. Being on a contract far, far below that of “everyone’s favorite grandma,” meant I had a great deal to lose in speaking my mind. Especially because doing so would likely end in the kind of offhand chiding reserved for “overly sensitive women,” or those who take this whole feminism thing a little too seriously.

The fact is, this woman seems to call every younger woman “honey”…

Education is power, withholding it is a brutal form of neglect

Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

Ignorance is destroying the world. Climate change is the most significant threat to the planet and could render it uninhabitable for humans in our children’s lifetimes. However, swaths of US schools lack basic climate change education, leaving the next generation without the knowledge or tools necessary to combat the devastating consequences of the reality of climate change. I reside in a state that actually, “stripped all mentions of human-caused climate change from statewide science guidelines while leaving the rest of the standards intact.”

This is abuse, plain and simple. There is no other way to describe setting our children up…

A matrix can help you examine how you communicate in relationships

The author and her fiance. Photo by Willow Cornelius.

Seven years ago, while still in a long-distance relationship and shortly before we began living together, my partner was talking to his sister about the amount of time we spent Skyping. She was dumbfounded that we could spend hours a day, sometimes nearly every waking hour, just talking. She couldn’t understand how we never ran out of things to say.

“The thing is, I’ve never been in a relationship like this before either,” he said when we were on Skype first thing the next morning. That conversation revolved around his sister’s comment and the two of us dissecting not only…

An excerpt from “Every Time I Didn’t Say No”.

Photo by Maan Limburg on Unsplash

I am fourteen and today, John, Lucas, and Sean, all members of a local band everyone believes will be famous, are visiting. We are in my room and John wants to pierce his eyebrow and my nose. I burn the pin with a match and hand it to him.

“Thanks,” he says, walking to the full-length mirror.

We gather round, leaning in as he presses the pin into the flesh above his eye.

“Ugh,” he says. “It’s so thick.”

“Of course it is,” says Lucas. He’s the tallest, with long, fine hair already dappled with flecks of gray. …

Jenny Mundy-Castle, M.S.T, Ed.Spec, ENL, Ed.Lead

Jenny Mundy-Castle is the author of Every Time I Didn’t Say No, her memoir inspired by educating high-trauma youth in New York, New Mexico, and Nigeria.

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