The Diatribe’s Michaelyn

Sunflowers surround the words, "This is Michaelyn Mankel"
Michaelyn stands under a spotlight with a determined look. Reflected beside her is young Michaelyn, hunched and fearfully looking up. Her parents argue, fingers pointed, while young Michaelyn reaches for them.

Growing up I encountered a lot of trauma. I was brought up in the decades where my parent’s hatred of one another superseded everything, my brother and I included.

Michaelyn looks away, remembering her past. Flash to middleschool Michaelyn, she sits on steps leading up to her school. She sits alone while kids talk and play nearby. Next she stands by herself, watching cows roam across the road. Lastly, she rests her head on a table in the back of the library. There are kids around getting books and talking, she sits alone once more.

I couldn’t trust any of my peers or instructors enough to talk about what was going on at home, so I spent a lot of years in silence. Silence to me looks like all the places I hid to be left alone in middle school when I was being bullied. When it was warm I would sit on the concrete in front of the gymnasium doors. I would face free range cattle roaming next to small suburban homes on the side of the building opposite from the sports fields and basketball courts where we were supposed to go after eating lunch. When it was cold I sat at a table in the back of the library.

Highschool Michaelyn now is learning to speak and be heard, she stands ready to defend her case at a pedestal. She seems confident, and excited to finally be speaking her mind. We see a flash of her facing away with her backpack, she is now in college and then at a rally. Sunflowers surround Michaelyn now looking overjoyed, she faces her partner Jocelyn.

My mom let me transfer to a new district for 9th grade. I attended City High in Grand Rapids until my junior year, when I moved to Kansas. During those 4 years I started to speak like I was trying to make up for lost time. I remember running out of breath for the first time while arguing with someone my first year at City. In Kansas I got into debate and forensics, and qualified for nationals both years. I moved back to Michigan for college in 2014. After moving back to Michigan I fell in love with my partner. We knew each other in high school but it wasn’t until years later, at a rally following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, that we reconnected. Her love has a profound presence in my life, and has largely shaped my identity and my writing. Jocelyn is everything I know about home.

In a journal the words 'resistance, reclamation, liberation' are scribbled on the page. Michaelyn looks off to the right, where she floats among constellations outlined with the words 'reclamation, patriarchy, ableism, resistance'. Then she sits at a table in the back of a library, but she is surrounded by children who are excitedly showing her writings that they've done. She looks happy, and content that she has made her way to this point.

In 2016 I began writing poetry. My work centers a lot around concepts of resistance, reclamation, and liberation. I write about white womanhood a lot, as well as the history of white supremacy and its ties to patriarchy, heteronormativity, classism, and other forms of oppression. To paraphrase my favorite poet Audre Lorde, I see these single-issue hierarchies as different stars of the same constellation. Writing and performing spoken word is about speaking truth to power while telling my own story. 

Art by Hailey Mramor

instagram.com/haileyraedraws

Growing up I encountered a lot of trauma.

I was brought up in the decades where my parent’s hatred of one another superseded everything, my brother and I included.

I couldn’t trust any of my peers or instructors enough to talk about what was going on at home, so I spent a lot of years in silence.

Silence to me looks like all the places I hid to be left alone in middle school when I was being bullied. When it was warm I would sit on the concrete in front of the gymnasium doors.
I would face free range cattle roaming next to small suburban homes on the side of the building opposite from the sports fields and basketball courts where we were supposed to go after eating lunch.
When it was cold I sat at a table in the back of the library.

My mom let me transfer to a new district for 9th grade. I attended City High in Grand Rapids until my junior year, when I moved to Kansas. During those 4 years I started to speak like I was trying to make up for lost time. I remember running out of breath for the first time while arguing with someone my first year at City.

In Kansas I got into debate and forensics and qualified for nationals both years. I moved back to Michigan for college in 2014.

After moving back to Michigan I fell in love with my partner. 

It wasn’t until years later, at a rally following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, that we reconnected. We now plan to get married.
She is a member of my family. We spend every Christmas, birthday, and major holiday together. We vacation and travel together. We live together. We want to raise kids and buy a home together. Her love has a profound presence in my life, and has largely shaped my identity and my writing. Her name is Jocelyn. Jocelyn is everything I know about home.

In 2016 I began writing poetry. My work centers a lot around concepts of resistance, reclamation, and liberation. 

I write about white womanhood a lot, as well as the history of white supremacy and its ties to patriarchy, heteronormativity, classism, and other forms of oppression.

To paraphrase from my favorite poet Audre Lorde, I see these single-issue hierarchies as different stars of the same constellation

Writing and performing spoken word is about speaking truth to power while telling my own story.

Art by Hailey Mramor

instagram.com/haileyraedraws