Archive | Personal Essays


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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Discover the Wild Animal Inside of Your Loved Ones

animal personality portrait bear sable

Inside of each of us there lives a wild spirit.

It’s easy to overlook this intangible part of our being, but it creeps up into our awareness, through our nicknames, our slang, our childlike imaginations. We often use animals to help us describe the otherwise indescribable aspects of ourselves.

What is the difference between a hug and a bear hug? What do we mean when we say one person is sheepish and another is foxy?

Animals make terrific analogies for the different parts of the human spirit or the different personalities that people exhibit. Animals are fun. They are whimsical. And the anthropomorphism of our favorite critters is something that has been around ever since children sat around a fire listening to the first fables and stories known to man.

We tend to compartmentalize our concept of The Physical apart from our concept of The Metaphysical. But what if the two were intertwined all along? What if the skin on our faces reflected the face of our souls? What would that look like?

Maybe it looks something like this. (more…)

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Parents Are the Ones Who Need to be Unschooled the Most

walking down a dark hallway antique store silhouette profile

My daughter is only four years old, and this has been going on for over a year: every conversation with a new person starts the same way, “Where is your daughter going to preschool? Is she excited about starting Kindergarten soon?”

When I reply, “We are homeschoolers,” I invariably get the not-so-subtle raised eyebrow, the quick intake of breath, the pursed line of the mouth. Yes. I can read your body language. Your judgmental thoughts are coming across loud and clear.

I want to scrunch up my nose at the stranger and walk away. Who do they think they are, judging me? But what good would that do? So I try to be kind and diplomatic, an Ambassador for Homeschoolers Everywhere. I smile as open-heartedly as I can muster, and I say something like, “We are really excited about providing her with opportunities that we don’t think she can get through the public schools,” or, if I’m tired, I just say, “It’s what’s best for our family,” and leave it at that.

I keep hoping that someone will be smitten with how noble I am and actually want to reexamine their views on the “public school versus homeschooling” debate; but nobody wants to discuss it further. The topic becomes taboo for the rest of the (short-lived) conversation. (more…)

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Wild and Free: A Beautiful Homeschooling Community

sketchbook ekwetzel heart say yes“All good things are wild and free.”
– Henry David Thoreau

The Wild and Free Portland conference was held on on May 29-30, 2015 at the Kennedy School hotel in downtown Portland. Here are my reflections on that event, as well as some thoughts about the Wild and Free homeschooling community, in general.

From the moment I bought my ticket to the Wild and Free conference, I always knew that, for me, it was never going to be about learning homeschooling tips and tricks. I just don’t find that kind of stuff interesting. If I believe in something, I know I can figure out the ins and outs of applying it in daily life. I don’t need to learn HOW to homeschool. What I need is community and support. Homeschooling is a fundamentally lonely endeavor, in both a day-to-day way, and also in a broader ideological sense. (more…)

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