All posts filed under: Current Issue

Motherhood is the Framework: A Conversation with Bassey Ikpi

Bassey Ikpi is a writer, performer, mental health advocate, and author of the instant New York Times-bestselling book, I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying, a debut collection of essays about living with bipolar II disorder and anxiety. Bassey first gained public acclaim as an internationally recognized poet featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. She has been published by The Root, Huffington Post, Essence, and elsewhere. As the founder of The Siwe Project, a mental health organization, Bassey created the global movement #NoShameDay, an initiative that aims to reduce stigma and increase mental health awareness. RM: Can you talk a bit about the process of writing a memoir and deciding how much or how little to include about your motherhood experience? BI: I was very clear with my editor and even my first agent about this. The agent thought I should add something about motherhood, and I said, “No, I’m not even going to put it in the proposal because it’s not happening.” So it was a firm decision made on firm ground. I told …

The Unmothered

I could tell you everything you wanted to know My coming State side to pursue, to embody the American Dream I could tell you about flying over the shining sea; amber waves patch-worked like glassy rice fields – my soul a mere shadow mired in the water A pawn where stars and stripes the occident ALWAYS triumphs over the crescent moon, the orient Transplanted NO D E OOT R P U In secret As hidden as the Cantonese heritage upon my visage YET I was not relinquished I was a missing child I had memories of merlions, touch-me nots,and hawker stalls I was rooted in the satay clubs, double decker busses, and Singlish slinging lah’s and aiya’s as part of my lexic on colonizing Kipling; embracing the hybridity of Singaporean Not all orphans are real ones. I was a manufactured one. Thanks for reading! If you enjoy Raising Mothers, please consider making a one-time or recurring contribution to help us remain ad-free. If even a fraction of subscribers signed up to contribute $1 per month, …

Human Decency

A tiny bug scurries across the counter, and my hand slams down automatically. No barrier between its death and my skin. I barely felt it. Afterwards, running my hand under water, I don’t even use soap. I know that I’ll do it again, and again, and again. Those small, moving bodies evoking a nearly instantaneous response. I track down where they live, their secret passages, so I know where exactly to place the poison. My sons shout, Bug! Bug! because they know me— merciless eradicator, matter-of-fact killer, steady stalker of infestation, grim keeper of a certain, pristine life. They summon me to take care of these necessitated deaths. So confident are they in their own position of safety. Thanks for reading! If you enjoy Raising Mothers, please consider making a one-time or recurring contribution to help us remain ad-free. If even a fraction of subscribers signed up to contribute $1 per month, Raising Mothers could be self-sustaining!

The Other Way

My daughter and son do not like to read. There I said it. First time I saw those words on the screen of my laptop, I looked down at the keyboard, expecting to find another pair of hands, not my own. While some new moms shopped for cute sleepers or researched car seats, I purchased armfuls of board and picture books. I’m an educator, a writer, and my apartment looks like a small bookstore.  My daughter, Holden, named seventeen years ago after one of my favorite characters in modern literature, has often explained to me how she reads—preferring articles over books, listing off recent statistics on mass incarceration and evidence of climate change. Recently, I nodded absentmindedly, looking past her to my copy of The Kite Runner. I suggested she read it weeks ago, but it remained unattended on her DIY vanity. Shoulders stooped, gaze to the floor, and with the slow limp of someone grief stricken I shuffled out of her room. Why can’t she love books? I console myself with the thought of …