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Natasha Coulis
Ex-Mormon queer feminist trauma-informed writer. Embracing complexity, nuance, slow conflict, unknowing, non-judgment, love.
Apple bite and photography by E.H. Image by Natasha Coulis.

Trigger and content warning: This piece fleetingly mentions rape. It also discusses religious and community control behaviours.

Note: I use “wokeness,” “cancel culture,” and “The Church of Social Justice” interchangeably and as different from “social justice.” Keep reading for further explanation. Imagined audience are white social justice activists.

About eight years ago when I was 32, I sat in my new girlfriend’s kitchen and mused aloud how unfortunate it is that ducks get raped. Lots of animals do, but I didn’t yet know about barbed lion penises because animals kind of bore me unless they’re being gay. After I said…

Photo by Lerkrat Tangsri from Pexels

NOTE: Major content and trigger warning for child abuse and suicide attempts.

Things I never remember my mom saying to me, not even once:

“I adore you.”

“You are so special.”

“You are so lovable.”

“You will figure it out. You’ll be able to overcome this.”

“You can do anything you set your mind to.”

“You’re so talented.”

“That was so brave of you.”

“I’ll be here to help you.”

“If you have any questions or needs, reach out and I’ll see what I can do.”

“What do you want to do with your life?”

“What do you want to…

Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

This is a follow-up to “I treasure my mother”, a piece I wrote about childhood abuse, its intergenerational impact, and forgiveness

I used to focus on all the good I could have done if I had not had such a traumatic childhood. I used to think about the superior choices I would have made. I would have gone to university at age 18, and would have wound up with a PhD by age 30. Maybe I would have gone to med school. I would have made better relationship decisions for myself. …

Photo by Jeffrey Czum from Pexels

Trigger warning: This essay semi-graphically discusses childhood sexual assault, abuse, suicidal ideation, violence, cancel culture.

Ever since #metoo, media spread broad awareness about why we should “believe survivors” of abuse and support them. Famous men were cancelled for their abuse. They were de-platformed and excoriated in the press. I was one of many women who breathed a sigh of relief. I wondered if our culture was truly shifting toward women being able to speak up about being sexually assaulted and harassed and receive care, starting with being believed. I want to be believed.

I was sexually assaulted as a 10-year-old…

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash, editing by Natasha Coulis

Note: My imagined audience here are social justice activists who regularly promote deplatforming straight cis white men indefinitely as a representation correction model

Sometimes when I am about to quote someone with a poetic, insightful, articulate, experienced thing to say, I ask myself if they are white and if they are a man and if so, I hesitate. I feel pressured to somehow find a similar sentiment or idea expressed by someone from a less visibly represented identity. I hear in my head the horde of online activists(?), …

Original photography by Isabella Mendes, image editing by Natasha Coulis

Trigger warning: This piece of writing discusses sexual assault of children and adults, and describes an example of racist judgments towards Indigenous people.

There are unrepentant people who have done things so egregious that the harm is self-evident by naming their behaviour.

Jian Ghomeshi. Donald Trump. Brock Turner. Harvey Weinstein.

We know they did the things they did because multiple witnesses who didn’t know each other came forward at risk to themselves. (I’m oversimplifying here for brevity’s sake because I expect majority agreement and I dismiss any refutation as being silly.) They deny what they have done and therefore have…

Photo by David Todd McCarty on Unsplash

Reading notes: My intended audience is primarily straight, white, cis women but it may also apply to queer women. I’m speaking here of power dynamics and don’t believe it’s my place to speak to anyone but my peers.

Do we have the same beliefs? Let’s check:

I believe that demanding, manipulating, fighting, looting, and destroying property is a “punching up” strategy that can be morally employed by oppressed people.

I believe that tone policing people of colour is white supremacy. Telling people how to feel and how to respond about violence targeting them, about systemic oppressive inequality, is violent communication…

@sunnysmng on Unsplash

The pandemic hit my awareness shortly after my personal life blew apart by an effective divorce. We married ourselves via my children we co-parented for seven years and counting; joint finances; businesses we launched and shared; and mostly through the formal intention to marry each other as the loves of each other’s lives— best friends who could be plopped down together on any deserted island, never running out of things to talk or laugh about. But, our traumas were incompatible. I grew tired of trying to make our traumas accommodate each other. A beat later, she did too. …

Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

It is 4:30 am and I can’t sleep. I opened up Facebook to bore myself back to sleep but instead got riled up reading comments from people judging other people about Doing Coronavirus Wrong. I’m so tired of reading and hearing people judge and shame each other for how they cope in a pandemic, competing in an imaginary competition for Best, Smartest, Goodest, Most Socially Acceptable Person.

People are not wearing masks everywhere in public.

People are having a hard time parenting during quarantine while working.

People are going to beaches.

People are not standing exactly six feet behind other…

Photo by Chi Pham on Unsplash. (Everyone would be happier if there were 12 more daffodils here. Call the bi-law officer.)

There are generally two kinds of adults in the world: those with super dogmatic morals and ethics and those who graduated from their dogmatism with the ability to think for themselves and quickly pivot their position depending on the specifics of the scenario. James Fowler has a theory of faith that I think also describes thought evolution. You might be in Stage Three. I’m in Stage Five. You don’t understand me. I get it. I used to be you. I was still a good person (I was just a lot less nice to be around).

You said to me in…

Natasha Coulis

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