Letter From the Editor
Art by Kirsten Hemrich
I would love to say that I have my life together, that I am someone who moves through the world with a steady grasp on every obligation while also having a thriving social life and excellent time-management skills, but that would just be unequivocally false. My own life and I are simply not always on the same page, but sometimes I find that is something I have to accept rather than attempt to change. The weeks continue, papers are due, and deadlines approach—even if I would prefer to pause in my bed for the conceivable future.
In light of the insane pace and demands of the world, I think it is vital to ask ourselves, what serves as sustenance? What keeps you going? What gives you the inspiration, the power, the motivation to continue? Identifying the sustenance of our lives seems so simple, but I know for me, it isn’t always so obvious what serves as something that will recharge my spirit. Especially as we near the beginning of the end of the semester, knowing what helps us continue means we can give those things proper value and attention, even when times get tougher and we get busier.
This cycle, Iris honors challenges and struggles, but also continuations, strengths, and solutions. Lexi Toufas shares a piece of her heart through her Papa, exemplifying how important it is to have someone in our life who makes us feel seen and loved. Marwah Shuaib reimagines baking bread as a form of resistance against late-stage capitalism. Caroline Bohra takes us through the all ages she’s been, from 10 to now, when others have made her feel less-than—and yet somehow her piece is not a litany of complaints and self-pity but rather a triumph of self-awareness, resolve, and strong, sparkling grace. For Iris readers who are feeling a touch of pumpkin-spicey nostalgia this time of year, Cady Rombach offers an aching, loving, let-the-leaves-fall-where-they-may reflection on autumn at UVA versus autumn back home. And to ward off the fall chill, Mackenzie Williams lights a crackling feminist bonfire with her piece on witches (you, me, and every powerful woman we know)—and the patriarchy’s obsession with finding, labeling, and burning every last one of us.
Writing in itself is a form of sustenance and an act of resistance, and therein lies the power of the written word and of Iris. We’ll be here for you when you need us.