If It’s Not One Thing, It’s A Mother


My mother stood before me in her quilted bathrobe, dark hair held back in a ponytail, her eyes sunken, grey. I felt like the narrator of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, who, startled out of sleep, opens his eyes to behold the monster reaching out to him: ‘the miserable monster . . . held up the curtain of the bed and his eyes . . . were fixed on me. His jaw opened and he muttered some inarticulate sound while a grin wrinkled his cheeks.’ Dr Frankenstein’s horror is intensified by intimacy, by the bond and expectations between parent and child.

Anxiety, nightmares, monsters, and mothers.

Lyz's writing has been published in the New York Times Motherlode, Jezebel, Aeon, Pacific Standard, and others. Her book on midwestern churches is forthcoming from Indiana University Press. She has her MFA from Lesley and skulks about on Twitter @lyzl. Lyz is a member of The Rumpus Advisory Board and a full-time staff writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. More from this author →