What names mean to transgender and nonbinary people, and the impact of chosen names.

Story By Jax Kiel

Early in her transition, Sarah Mayes went to a Starbucks kiosk at the mall and ordered an iced coffee, looking for something routine and thoughtless to do.

“[The barista] asked what my name was and I said ‘Sarah,’” Mayes said. “And that was the first time I said my name out loud to a stranger. To someone who wasn’t very intimately connected to me.”

The woman smiled, wrote the name, and a few minutes later the iced coffee cup labeled “Sarah” came…

The lasting impacts of being raised by an alcoholic parent

Story by Anonymous

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Illustration by Amanda Kelley

I remember my first drink, a Heineken my roommate bought me on my 21st birthday. I have always been afraid of alcohol, but that night I did not want fear to rule anymore. Yet, as I took my first sip, I wondered if I was making the biggest mistake of my life.

I am what people refer to as an “adult child of an alcoholic”, a fancy term meaning that my dad drank — a ton. I am talking bottles of Jameson Whiskey in less than a…

Do you still see me as me or am I just as disappointing as your expectations?

Story by Quynh Trinh

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Quynh gets her hair faded at the local Bellingham barber shop, Old Barber 99 Shop. Photo by Hannah Silver-Fajardo

I walk down Holly Street on a casual strut around town. I see JJ’s, then the Comic’s Place, then I see it — Old 99 Barber Shop. I feel like what I’m about to do will transform me into a much cooler, fresher version of myself. It was momentous. I was on top of the world, and then…

“I have an opening at 11, do you want me to write you in then?” my barber said.

I was so confident…

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Illustration by Julia Vreeman

Breaking the stigma of not reporting a sexual assault and sharing resources to help survivors.

Story by Grace Yatsko

I t wasn’t the typical “stranger in a dark alley” narrative that most people are familiar with.

No, my narrative was something I could only define a few years after it happened. I began to ask myself: Why was it embarrassing to tell family and friends? Had I brought this on to myself? Would this shame ever fade?

And why did he hug me afterwards?

The decision to report or not report is a challenging one that sexual assault survivors should…

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Illustration by Julia Vreeman

I used to think vulnerability came at a cost and that I was left with weakness, but really, it made me human.

Story by Madison Schoenberg

“I remember the first time you opened up to me about feeling lonely,” my friend, Tessa, said to me over the phone. “I felt like I was literally watching your body convulse as you spoke.”

My body filled with shivers, reminding me of numerous recollections of recent conversations within my relationships that emulated this feeling.

The familiar feeling that prefaces moments of vulnerability; a feeling that I have welcomed into my life, especially in…

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Illustration by Julia Vreeman

An homage to my dad and his spirit animal, the beaver.

Story by Michelle McDaniel

Every now and then, there comes a time in a person’s life when an epic moment defines them. For my dad this moment was when he became “the beaver.”

It’s a story spoken with exuberance each time it’s told by my husband, Jack McDaniel, and his Navy friends who were there to bear witness that day. A story that has left a long-lasting impression on my dad and anyone that knows or cares for him.

My dad’s defining moment takes place about five or six…

An open letter to my little sister.

Story by Makenna Marks

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Illustration by Julia Vreeman

Dear Lily,

Remember when we were kids and Dad built the trampoline in the backyard? Remember learning how to do a front flip, and trying to bounce each other so high we’d almost fly over the net?

Mom and Dad told me to be careful so you didn’t get hurt.

I loved being a big sister.

Remember when we were little and we’d hear the ice cream man drive through our neighborhood? We would beg Mom and Dad for $5 and then sprint barefoot down the long, gravel driveway.

Mom and…

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Illustration by Julia Vreeman

My experience with arthritis and how it changed my view of others with chronic illnesses.

Story by Aedan Scanlon

I n pain at the age of 2, we didn’t even know what I had. I’m not sure I can even describe the pain, because at that point my life had just begun. This was the start of my hidden disability.

Abnormalities were first discovered by my mom at a family friend’s house. The room was bright and then the lights got turned off to watch a movie. My mom noticed that my pupils weren’t the same size as each other…

As I walk through my past experiences as a Jewish woman, I reveal and disprove the common phrases used to discount antisemitism.

Story by Melody Kazel

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Illustration by Julia Vreeman

I walk the grounds of Ellis Island.

A metallic plaque, filled with the names of immigrants passing through to the United States, extends across the island.

My eyes scan for a familiar last name: Kazel.

Sun glinting off the metal almost makes me miss them; Rose and Max, my great-grandparents who escaped Ukraine just before the Holocaust — the reason I had any chance of being born.

When telling someone that their comments are…

A look at how my adult ADHD diagnosis changed my life and how ADHD in girls and women is often overlooked.

Story by Shannon Steffens

I ’m a 9-year-old girl, daydreaming as my third grade teacher discusses multiplication tables. I’m 12 and struggle to follow conversations with friends; my mind can’t process their words while my thoughts are bouncing in every direction. I don’t understand how others can seem so “present.”

I’m 15, and I spend my lunch period in the library instead of my high school cafeteria, letting my stomach go empty because the buzzing chatter overwhelms me. …

Klipsun Magazine

Klipsun is an award-winning student magazine of Western Washington University

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