Archive | Personal Essays

I’m Gay

When I was eight years old, I wrote my first poem. I remember the moment the words came to me. I was lying in bed at night, the lines rattling through my brain, startling sleep away. I turned on my pencil-shaped bedside lamp, grabbed my pink diary and huddled up underneath the little roses on my wallpaper to scribble the words down before they were lost to me forever. I re-read them over and over, letting them seep into my mind as I drifted off to sleep, so full of mystery and fascination at this new craft that had opened up to me.

The next day, I showed the poem to my mother. It was a love poem, and the only thing she said was, “Why is this written to a woman?”

I didn’t know. (more…)

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I’m changing my name

The day Matt told me he was done with our marriage, I took myself out of the house. I bought a dress from a thrift store and sat alone in a booth at a pizza restaurant, eating my favorite toppings and feeling numb about the uncertainty that lay ahead.

Sitting in my car, unsure what to do next, words by Mary Oliver that I’d read ages ago came to me: “I was a bride married to amazement… I was a bride married to amazement… I was a bride married to amazement…” Hungry for more, I googled the line to find the entire poem: (more…)

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Come stand on the blank page with me

I am not ashamed of getting divorced. Divorce has been a winnowing experience for me.

First, I cleared physical clutter from my life, giving up things that I did not need in order to stay close to my girls. I budgeted carefully, gave up my car and simplified my spending habits so that I could stay home.

Then I cleared out emotional clutter, letting go of relationships with people who did not believe in me. I was told to get a real job or to stop homeschooling or to parent differently. I was told that everything bad that was happening to me was my fault.

But there were other people, people who stood by me, and I couldn’t have made it through this year without their support. (more…)

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Winnowing

The dishwasher was the first thing to break. I told myself that I’d rip it out of the wall, use the nook for muddy boots and yard supplies. The truth was I couldn’t afford to replace it or fix it.

I saw an ad on craigslist where a handyman would exchange household work for women’s panties, preferably unwashed ones. How desperate would someone be to make that choice? I never want to be in that position. I realize I need to make more money, find a reliable handyman. Money is freedom. (more…)

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I don’t know why.

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I don’t know why.

At night, after my girls drift off to sleep, I slide out from between their two warm bodies, slip out of my bedroom, and find a bit of space to sort through my thoughts about Matt leaving. I’ve been numb for months. But now that I’m starting to get a handle on my single-mom life, the parts of myself I’d shut off to survive are waking up, full of pain. And I’m tired. Of everything. (more…)

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On the Threshold of Fear

threshold fear

I never thought that I would be accepted as a vendor for Renegade Craft Fair in Seattle this winter. Renegade is huge. Their Instagram account alone has 139,000 followers. I had to put up my entire booth fee with my application, and all autumn I was making plans for what I would do with the money when they rejected me and I got my refund. (more…)

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