I Went to Wyoming to Get My MFA and It Gave My Life Back to Me
When I came to Laramie, I found the person I wanted to be. When I left, I took her with me.
Jenny Tinghui Zhang is a Chinese-American writer from Austin. She holds an MFA in nonfiction from the University of Wyoming, is a 2016 VONA/Voices alumna, and a participant of the 2019 Tin House Summer Workshop. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Apogee, CALYX, Ninth Letter, Passages North, wildness, Cosmonauts Avenue, and The Rumpus, with essays in Huffington Post, Bustle, and HelloGiggles, among others. She is a prose editor for The Adroit Journal and is working on a novel. Find her at jennytinghui.com
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There are cowboys out there who echo the conquering-the-west narrative, one of entitlement and legacy and what he is owed.
I take off the effects of the day, the echoes of wind, sleet, and snow. I pamper my skin, urge it to replenish and heal. I am asking myself to brave another day.
In this small town of Laramie, what you say matters. It gets around. The only way to combat the misinformation is to keep telling the truth.
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My eating disorder dictated my relationship to food. Then I moved to Wyoming, whose unforgiving landscape reminded me: We eat food to survive.
How sad that I couldn’t regard myself with more kindness before, but how necessary it felt now that I was in constant pain.