family

MOTHERLESS SONGBIRDS

My yearbooks as far as first grade are filled with notes from teachers saying they can’t wait to see me on TV when I get older, singing and accepting Grammys. My childhood videos show me lining stuffed animals up as an audience and singing passionately into a karaoke machine for my guests. I’ve always loved to sing, and honestly, don’t remember a time I didn’t. I come from a line of singers. My grandmother is a singer. She’s the deep, rich baritone with a voice that can literally shake a room. My mother is a singer. She’s the crystal clear, high soprano with a voice that sounds like clear blue skies. Then there’s me. I’m the soulful, middle alto with a voice somewhere in-between the two of them. But as I grew older, I realized singing wasn’t the only thing we had in common.t The tale of my...

EPISTEMOLOGY WITH OWLS

Do we only find  what we’re looking for?    Of late, all I seem to find  is that you are not quite here.    The other night the owl  went unseen until the dog    rushed up to it and then,  wings beating magnificently,     flew to the nearest branch  to peer down at us, woman and dog.     What reason did the owl have  to be there at the edge     of the park, wings silver and wide   in the darkness?    You see, my father handed me  The Blue and Brown Books    one Christmas that was like this.  He never told me three     of Wittgenstein’s  brothers committed suicide.    He never told me anything  about families or patterns of inheritance.     Never said a word about the distrust  of life that violence breeds,    never said there might be owls  in the darkness or that    you are only as alone ...

MY MOTHER’S LOVE: AN INVISIBLE PAIN

Every Mother’s Day, my mom asks if I’ve wished her a Happy Mother’s Day, and every year, I do so begrudgingly. During my last semester of college, I called my best friend’s mom to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. And then she said something I will never forget: “You are so wonderful, Katie! I am so proud of you.” I remember my chest feeling heavy all of a sudden and not being able to see my book through the tears. Here I was wishing someone else’s mom a Happy Mother’s Day, hearing words that should’ve come from my own mother, but never did. At the core of any form of abuse is a desire to control. Having experienced both physical and emotional abuse, the latter is significantly more painful, which is funny because I cannot feel the wounds, but I know they are there. I ignore them because I am...

MEDIOCRE

I leaned out the window of my ‘99 Hyundai Accent. “FREE THE LEASH KIDS!” I yelled. A mom walked along the sidewalk, her toddler with a monkey leash backpack running ahead.  Everyone is an amazing parent before they have kids. I was a great babysitter. I came prepared with crafts and activities. I cleaned up messes before the parents got home. I stuck to schedules enough to keep the parents happy, but bent them enough to delight the kids. I was awesome. “How hard can parenting be?” I thought. “You just have to be firm and calm with the kids.”  When I was pregnant with my first child, I had beautiful plans. He would never sleep with me. He would eat only healthy, homemade food. I would never yell.  Then he was born. “Sleep when the baby sleeps!” they told me. But my baby didn’t sleep. My bab...

THE PERFECT ANSWER

Life from the beginning was far from perfect. I was raised by a single mother, from the tender age of four and a half. My father decided to follow his heart as a man rather than his responsibilities as a husband and father, and consequently left my mother with no choice but to pick up those broken pieces.   I remember feeling absolute anger, sadness, and confusion, and amidst these conflicting feelings, I was trying to find an answer, why. I tried to piece back the broken pieces together, with ‘why’ as the glue.   I was trying to find the perfect answer.  I believe I was subconsciously trying to find the perfect answer for my father not being present. As I was also subconsciously trying to find the perfect answer as to why laughing and smiling are rare occasions for my mother. Without a do...

THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING

My beloved Nana Norma taught me a wonderful tradition that became a touchstone in my life.  In her Brooklyn apartment, 303 Beverly Road, Shabbat dinner was always celebrated with her homemade challah. You could smell the sweet aroma of the baking bread as soon as we stepped off the elevator. The smell led us merrily to her front door. When she answered our knock, I’d enter like a cartoon mouse floating towards delicious, buttery aromas.   After dinner, we’d take a large tote and go door to door to collect leftover challah from a few of her dear friends who were neighbors in the building. This was also my Nana’s way of checking in on her friends, catching up on their week, and, looking back, a very loving way to show off her adorable grandchildren (remember, we did not have Facebook back th...

OPEN GROUND

On your left arm is a scar  where glass from a broken windshield   pierced skin, muscle, aponeurosis—  a thin, white sheet of fiber, impossible to know   is there without a wound.   When he was institutionalized   you told a story to explain his absence:   a flat tire, you said. Seeing your father unmedicated  is like meeting him again, is like being    a child. He gives you a purple flower,  drives you around the city, orders pizza   with oysters on top, doesn’t stop talking—  your taciturn father, his unhappy history   suddenly wiped from view.     He took his antipsychotic meds   for 23 years, sometimes buying food   for you and your brothers rather than   filling a prescription. The year you apply   for medical school your father loses     his hold on reality, it slips away   into the ...

HEADACHES

Headaches  I’m on my period  My head hurts  It will hurt for three hours    My mother  Her head hurts every day  For I don’t know how long  She comes home with her eyes tired    I look at her  And she is still beautiful  With her tired eyes    Her head hurts  And so does mine  I wonder if I have her tired eyes     Author: Marina Flores Email: Marina.flores597@myci.csuci.edu Author Bio: My name is Marina Flores. I am a student at Cal State University Channel Islands. I am a senior and will be graduating in May 2017. I am majoring in Communication with an emphasis in Business and Nonprofit with a minor in English. That being said, I am also a writer, a poet, and a scholar. I am a swimmer and a wrestler. I am a queer chicanx. I am a musician and my trumpet’s name is Tinman. I am a s...

PEYTON

Peyton  Sister, sister listen here   I’ve got something you should hear   Know your worth, for you are smart   Don’t take what they say to heart     “Strong girls don’t cry,” they say   When some of the strongest   I know cry every day   Be who you are, don’t change a thing   Your talent & grace   Is more than enough to win this race     Author: Hannah Krebbs  Email: krebbs.hannah@gmail.com  Author Bio: My name is Hannah Krebbs and I am a senior at Northwest High School. In my creative writing class we are required to submit our work to be published and I chose Harness Magazine! 

MAKING BABIES FOR SOMEONE ELSE

In 2015,  I experienced infidelity, pregnancy loss, a new job, single motherhood, the financial stress of separation and divorce, and my son reacting to all this upheaval, along with the series of firsts as a single mom: first new apartment, first solo day of school, first solo Halloween, first year of solo Christmas planning, etc . It was, to say the least, a very stressful time.  I had always wanted more children but made a personal decision after my marriage failed this that my son and I along with our new puppy were perfect as a trio.  No missing pieces, but a real family – full stop. That being said, I had a fairly easy pregnancy with him and frankly, loved the sidecar of pregnant life: gender reveals, ultrasounds, bump clothing and the way my body looked, etc. While no one wake...

MOTHERHOOD (AND PRETENDING IT WAS EASY)

It isn’t easy. Sometimes you might not even feel okay. Sometimes the distance to the coffee machine in the morning can seem overwhelming. Not to mention the distance to bedtime. And sometimes it gets lonely, and it isn’t even about adult interaction. It’s that special adult, your rock, whether that’s your partner, best friend or family. And you try to explain this occasionally, tears and exhaustion stinging, but the only ones who (I’ve found) truly understand have been there themselves. The mom tribe. Because even though all the above might be true, so is this. You’re in love, madly and completely, with this tiny human. You cherish every second spent together, even while balancing the wish for a few more hours of snoozing next to each other. Every laugh, every reaction, every time your hug...

FIGURING IT OUT

I know I’m good at what I do. I see women in NYC (where I started my career) and all over the web achieving so much success, and I think, ‘When am I going to get to that point?’ I moved back to my hometown six years ago, and I’ve been working hard to relaunch my business, and after being a small fish in a huge pond, is it crazy to think that the reverse situation will lead to greatness? I’ve been an event planner for over 15 years, and I’ve honed this skill to the nth degree. I can manage dealing with crazy deadlines/stress, Broadway stars and raising millions of dollars, and at this point in my career I feel like I’m ready to be considered the guru for event planning in my hometown. It doesn’t come that easy though, you know? When you have a family, you have responsibilities. ...

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