The most recent issue of Tin House (v16 n1), themed “Tribes,” features an essay in the Readable Feast section by Roxane Gay, “The Island We Are: At Home with Food.” The quote line the magazine chose was “When you are overweight in a Haitian family, your body is a family concern.” That caught my interest (well, and of course, it’s Roxane Gay for cripes sake), but what stuck with me throughout her piece was the repetition of ‘loving, and loving hard’:
“We talk about our lives. We debate and try to solve the world’s problems. We are a holy space. We love each other hard.”
Following the “overweight” quote, Gay writes: “Everyone – siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, grandmotehrs, cousins – has an opinion, judgement, or counsel. They mean well. We love hard, and that love is inescapable.”
“They want to help. I accept this, or I try to.”
“As I eat the foods of my childhood prepared by my own hand, I am filled with longing, as well as a quiet anger that has risen from hard love and good intentions.”
Her writing is a mirror of that: subtle, persistent in keeping you reading, and hard hitting in its meaning, which isn’t at all sneaky. It’s there throughout, and you can’t help but to keep reading it, wanting to be a part of it, loving it.