We Wanted a Matriarchy
2021- Present

My brother christened her Marmee like the mother from Little Women.
    She keeps the family photos in a leather suitcase, shoved in the back of a closet. Teddy guards them; he is a mangy bear with no eyes that has survived everything. We look through the pictures together, but I know very few people. Instead, I watch for their recognition. The light in their eyes, the fondness. I look for that same familiarity in the sand, in the bathtub, in the furniture. Is it the photograph that creates it? Then I listen to the anecdotes, which give it all meaning.

        I know that familiarity when I look at them. Marmee embodies it all with her hair. It's naturally red. It's naturally curly. Mom and I are both missing half. Her’s is only red and mine is only curly.

        For as long as I can remember it has been the three of us. Three women, three generations. Marmee, mom, and me frequenting Home Goods and Kirkland’s trying to create somewhere that felt cared for. There are so many layers of it now. We’ve been collecting and collecting, but now it has become unorganized. The weight of too much care crushes the spirit. So, we escape to the beach. The barrier island where Marmee was born. Each trip is a history lesson, sometimes a familiar one. My grandmother and the beach are interlocked, impossible to separate. Our relationship is the same. Maybe even codependent. Our matriarchy is a triumvirate, but we are always trying to find some way to be different. Despite our best efforts, we only grow more similar.

As I get older,  I struggle to discern whether I am becoming more like Marmee or if she is becoming more like me.

I dye my hair red. My mom curls her hair. The three of us match.

I take care of you, take care of me.