The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: All We Knew But Couldn’t Say by Joanne Vannicola

I had thought that once I’d escaped my mother and my past, once I’d found independence, that somehow all my fantasies and dreams would come true. It was all a lie, all a bunch of false information that we ingested from television shows, news, and school, the fallacy of a
better tomorrow. Lies.
There would be nothing better, nothing to look forward to. I knew too much. I believed I knew everything there was to know. I believed that kids like me, from violent or broken homes, couldn’t buy in to societal norms. They were lies, imposed concepts — marriage and children, houses, nine-to-five jobs — designed to keep us in line. Lines I had no use for. I lived outside of them. I wanted nothing to do with them. With anything.

I was fifteen and no longer satisfied with just starving.

In honor of National Women’s History Month, this selection comes from the book, All We Knew But Couldn’t Say, available from DunDurn Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Joanne Vannicola is an Emmy award-winning actor, author, and advocate. Vannicola is the chair of outACTRAto, the LGBTQ+ committee at ACTRA Toronto, and sits on the sexual assault ad-hoc committee for women in film and television. Vannicola is the recipient of the Leslie Yeo award for volunteerism (2019), and the recipient of The Margaret Trudeau Advocacy Award (2020). Joanne founded the non-profit organization, Youth Out Loud, raising awareness about child abuse, sexual violence, youth rights, and LGBTQ+ equality. All We Knew But Couldn’t Say, was released in June, 2019, and has been featured as the Top 21 memoirs to read in summer by Bustle magazine, and was featured on The Next Chapter by Shelagh Rogers, the Toronto Star, the Globe, CTV mornings, NOW Magazine, The Girly Club, and the Lambda Literary Reviews. They are currently co-developing a new series, and working on their second book, exploring themes of LGBTQI homelessness. You can learn more at: Or on Twitter or Instragram: @joannevannicola

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about women with a socio-economic disadvantage and the effect of trauma, hearing loss, homelessness, and violence in their lives. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens, The Selkie Literary Magazine, LipServices Miami, Writing Class Radio, and The Cream Literary Alliance. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @nilsawrites.


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