SOUP: Anything for Love

By Jen Harris

SOUP offers a content warning prior to every column, as the subjects discussed herein may be triggering for some readers. Please proceed with caution. If you would like to try a grounding technique for triggered moments, here is a personal recommendation.

The song goes, “I would do anything for love… but I won’t do that,” and the great debate is, “What IS ‘that’?”

That is all of the things that wreck a relationship: addiction, codependency, attachment style, jealousy, infidelity, financial strain, untreated mental illness, misogyny, sexism, racism, sexual repression… the list is long. So, the song is inherently claiming, “I would do anything for love, except be human.”

Historically I’ve claimed to be the sort of person who “won’t do that,” even though I totally DO THAT and that and that. I’d still like to believe I would do anything well-intentioned and healthy for love.

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SOUP: The Fragility of Growth

By Jen Harris

CW: C-PTSD, trauma

What happens when you “walk through something” in life? When people speak of being glad to be “on the other side” of that time of sorrow, grief, suffering; what do they mean?

I have always wondered what they mean, especially when I witness firsthand (and am totally freaked out by) their inner glow. A healed person, a person who has done the work possesses an uncontainable, undeniable, light. A light they seemingly acquired on this journey they’re illustrating but…wait. What?

What do you mean, the only way out is through?

Yeats said, “If suffering brings wisdom, I would wish to be less wise.”

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SOUP: Let’s Not Have the Same Holiday, Again.

By Jen Harris

Let’s Not have the same holiday, again.

I look up from the 2020 survival trek and oh, it’s that time again. No, not my period. Christmas. I’m talking about Christmas. I’m surprised to smell apple cider and hear holiday music. Are we really celebrating this year, after everything that’s happened? It feels remarkably disrespectful to healthcare and essential workers, the dead, the dying, and those isolated in the purgatory of uncertainty to be glutenous after such a disparaging year, but it appears there are those who are going forward with holiday plans under the guise of being grateful for what remains.

It’s the holiday season (holiday season) // Whoop-dee-doo (Whoop-dee-doo)

Or at least, I think those are the words. Nonetheless, that’s my overall vibe about this year’s holidays. I struggle with holidays. It’s been my experience that many of us struggle with holidays, especially within the queer community.

Look, I’m not trying to exclude anyone, I’m just saying, when it comes to queers and holidays, any holiday, MOST holidays: it’s loaded. Proceed with caution.  

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SOUP: Queer Pain, Queer Resilience

By Jen Harris

Forever a trigger warning re: sexual and physical assault

I need to write about how hard it has been for me to be Queer.

The trauma of my Midwest queer experience rattles in me, generational and cellular. I am devastated by the danger I placed myself in in order to feel safe. How many nights did I drive shitty cars and shitty people around, trying to find an exit or a safe parking lot or enough change for a motel room? How many cigarettes have I smoked and how many lies have I told? How much survival sex did I have with women who wouldn’t acknowledge me during the day, but filled me full of food and drugs at night? How many scraps did I accept in place of true meaning and connection? At what point did I lose touch with my worth? Did I ever know it to begin with? Is it something you nurture or is it inherent? Is it something you believe in? Is it annual or perennial? How much sunlight and water does it need? How long can it live in the tundra before damaged, irreparable?

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SOUP: Can I Get a Witness?

A low-simmer column about queerness, identity, and growing the fuck up 

By Jen Harris
Photos by Justina Kellner

When I was a child, there was no such thing as choice.

I know you don’t believe me. I know you want to argue with me right off the bat. Perfect. Hi. Hello. Welcome. I’m Jen. I’m queer. A nonbinary womxn. A lesbian. I’m 35AF, and I know saying that proves it. This is my first time here, so I figured a proper introduction would be… qualifying. It’s like when someone writes a letter to a celebrity (in this case, you are the celebrity) and they (I) start it with, “I have never written a letter like this before in my life.”

Often, that’s true.

It’s true for me, now. I’ve never been 35 before. I’ve never written a column about the queer experience. I don’t feel proficient for this task. For one thing, I bought a television a month ago, and it’s still leaning against the wall. I don’t know who’s popular or what matters to the masses. I don’t know any vacation hot spots, and I certainly don’t have the 411 on lesbian engagement dating apps. I’m taking a break from s-e-x… sooooo……

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