Debbie Weingarten is a freelance writer based in Tucson, Arizona and a writing fellow with Community Change. She was a 2019 James Beard Award finalist for investigative reporting. (September 2019)

Follow Debbie Weingarten on Twitter: @cactuswrenwrite.


Where the Light Is Different: A Duet on Girlhood

Yellowstone National Park, Montana, 1992

[D] Ohio girls are nice girls, polite girls, salt-of-the-earth girls. We are raised to say please and thank you and would you like some help with that? We learn that nice girls should say yes and yes and yes again—should not cause trouble with a no. [M] After I left home, for many years I spent my life carelessly opening up to people who hadn’t earned it, like a sea creature on a chef’s station. I think at first I was searching for someone who would be as reckless with me as my mother had been.