Thursday, July 24, 2014


This post is hard to publish. I've written some pretty personal things, but this is different, there's intense fear of rejection, of telling someone they matter way more than they should, and it's scary beyond words.

 I should start at the beginning.

I have a little sister. 
I have a fuzzy memory of being woken up, a phone, and someone telling me I had a little sister. I remember being very unimpressed. It pretty much set the tone for the rest of my childhood. I was barely three at the time, so I think that’s got to be one of my first memories.

We weren't close growing up.  She was constantly stealing my stuff, and getting away with things that I got in trouble for.  She did sports, I did theatre. We grew up.  Our kids brought us back together. I will be forever thankful for the birth of her eldest. Before she got married, we got tattoos.  We have similar vines and I smile whenever I catch a glimpse of hers. 

She’s truthful, honest, and always there.  We’re close.  I know I can call her whenever, and she’ll listen.  She may not understand, or agree, but she’ll listen. We can laugh together, and complain about, well, anything.

I love her and count on her more than I can express.

I have a big sister.
She wasn't born into my family.  I don’t even remember meeting her.  (There’s a chunk of high school that’s pretty blurry.)  We became friends and just clicked.  We laughed together, made less than responsible decisions together, and were comfortable together.  She speaks Kristin.

There were about ten years that life pulled us in different directions and we hardly spoke.  Currently, our paths have aligned a bit more.  We’re both busy in our own worlds, but when we make time to talk, it’s as if no time has passed at all.

She’s truthful, honest and always there. I know she’ll come, regardless of the time of day or distance between us. She listens and cuts to the heart of what’s wrong.

I love her and count on her more than I can express.

That part was easy.
and now the scary.

I fell apart.

Too many little stresses added up to a completely overwhelmed and emotional mess.  All the feelings were jumbled together and I couldn't sort them out at all. I was barely maintaining the fragile exterior of a functioning human being.

He was there. He wasn't supposed to be.  He asked how I was, and I shattered into a mess of rainbow colored bits of Kristin. He stepped in, silently, and let me cry, protected from the world.  I cried.  I forgot to breathe.  He just let me cry it out. He let me be the broken little girl for a few moments.

By the time he left, I was a functioning human being again.  He had managed to glue all my pieces back together, a temporary fix, until I could figure it out.

I hate that I fell apart.
I hate that I needed someone to glue me back together enough to finish the day.

I don’t know why he was there.
He wasn't supposed to be. I waited until he wouldn't be.
I was supposed to fall apart alone, and figure it out alone.  

I spent the next few days trying to sort it all out.  Both the original stresses that led to the emotional mess and the new added mess of why he even cares enough to want to be there, to want to make it better.

We’re comfortable. He speaks Kristin.  He tells me when I’m wrong, and I don’t ever remember trying to impress him. He’s honest. I’m honest.  He’s spent the last year beating self-worth into me.  He’s invested time and energy into me and I don’t understand why.

People notice, and neither of us care, because it’s not like that.
truly. not. like. that. 

He’s… there, just waiting to help when I ask, or laugh, or listen.  He teases me and I smile. (Although, the picture from the bar, sent to me while I was in the middle of a super tedious meeting? That was just mean. made me smile, but still. mean. )

I find myself trusting him, counting on him to be there.
Trusting a "he"? hard. scary. heart-breakingly so.

I’m waiting for the day he walks away. Because he will.
It’s going to hurt when he isn't there to put out a hand when I’m a crumpled heap in the corner.
I’m going to miss him when he’s not standing silently in the back.

I don’t need him, but I certainly take comfort in knowing he’s there to laugh at me or lend me a shoulder to lean on.

Then it hit me.
It’s the same.

He’s seen me at my worst, he’s seen me at my best.
He’s proud of me, and I know it.

Just like my sisters.

Does that make him my brother?  My younger-than-me, supportive, snarky big brother?

Because that would certainly explain a lot.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

sleep. just. sleep

I want to sleep with you.
Only sleep, next to you.
In my bed, between my sheets,
under the quilt I made. My quilt without a past.

I want my head on your shoulder.
I want my hand on your chest.
I want your arm around me.

I want to hear your heartbeat
and feel your warmth.
I want to close my eyes
and breathe you in.
I want the window open to hear the night
and let in the chill to keep us close.

I want to be protected from the nightmares that threaten to carry me away.

I want to hear you sleep.
I want to watch you sleep.
I want to remember every moment of this night.

I want to sleep,
just sleep,
just for tonight.

please, stay.
just tonight.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

own the awesome

I’ve been writing posts in my head for the last few weeks.  But my thoughts have been so scattered that I‘ve avoided opening up Word and staring at the blinking cursor.

Well, here I am.

Staring at the cursor, watching the words flow from my brain, through my fingers and on to the screen.

So many topics.
So many scattered, half-formed ideas.

A few weeks ago I was having a late-night parking lot conversation about self-confidence.

Words were said that I’ve been repeating to myself every day since.

“You’re awesome. 
You know this.  Own it. 
Own the awesome.
The rest will come.”

Own the awesome.

Own it.

Oh, hell. I’m trying.
I know who I am.  If anything, this last year has been incredibly introspective.
I know what I like and what I don’t.
I know my strengths and my weaknesses.

“Own the awesome” and “I respectfully don’t give a damn what you think” go hand in hand.

Last week I joined some of the cast at a local bar for karaoke night.
No, I did not sing.  But I chatted with people and listened to them sing. 
I sat by myself in the corner, people watching.

And that was the best part.

For the first time in my life I wasn't concerned about what people saw when they looked at me sitting in the corner alone. 

Because I was having a good time.


Alone. In a crowded bar, surrounded by a sea of people and noise.

I was owning the awesome.  Without consciously trying to.
I was comfortable just being me, and that was amazing.

At one point, as I sat people watching, I realized that I missed having someone sitting next to me, in my bubble, watching with me, laughing with me.  That was the point I realized it was time to head home. 
Before I got all melancholy.

Because I miss it.  Oh, how I miss it.


I miss having someone to laugh with,
someone to take me out for pancakes,
to sit on the couch and relax with.

I miss not having to drive myself everywhere.
I miss being greeted with a hug and a kiss on the top of my head.
I miss holding hands and sitting close.
I miss someone who's eyes light up when they see me.
I miss waking up and the middle of the night and reaching out to feel the comforting strength of a he in my bed.

I want all of these things.

I want him to know he’s allowed in my bubble, and have him touch me without asking.
I want him to hug me without my having to ask.
I want to be the reason he smiles.
I want a him.

I don't want a he who needs to see me everyday.
I don't want a he who doesn't understand that I'm crazy busy.
I don't want a he who's looking for forever, right now.

If only it were that easy.  Snap my fingers have a he appear. 
It’s not.
So I continue to miss a faceless he.

I continue to be myself and hope that someday soon, a he will appear.
I will happily be alone until then, learning the virtues of patience.
Alone, surrounded by a sea of people and noise.

owning the awesome.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fly On My Wall - after closing the bar....

Conversation late Friday night after much needed quiet drinks,  tasty fries, laughter and letting go.

Me: "I hate it. I hate talking in front of the cast like that. You have no idea."

Cast member, incredulous look on his face, "Do you have any idea how good you are at it? How you get and hold our attention?"

Second cast member, his voice a mix of exasperation and admiration, "No. She doesn't. At all."

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sharing Space - the starfish principle

My Amy wanted to share a bit of my space again.  More about My Amy here


             I don’t get to be selfish at work. I don’t get to think about how I feel, about I react, about how it churns my stomach and stings the back of my eyes.

          So here, I’m going to be selfish. Forgive me.

          It has been many years doing this work in one capacity or another. I think often that it has been too many years. There are days when I think—when I know—that I won’t ever be the same.

          That I have passed some sort of breaking point.

          That there was some unnamed threshold, some invisible line in the sand, that once broken, once crossed, cannot be repaired.

          That there is no going back

          Some days I would give anything to go back.

          I have lost many things in the past two weeks. One is a measure of separation when I looked in a client’s eyes and saw a bit of myself, a bit of my own struggles.

          When I am not them, when there is no obvious similarity, it is easy to stay removed.

It makes me better at my job. I am able to be more forthright, more open, and I hear them more clearly.

But when I can see some of myself in them, I am shaken. We are all steps away from losing our touchstones, our talismans, the people and things that keep us grounded.

          Another loss comes in a measure of confidence in the fairness of the legal system. It hadn’t failed me before this week.

I can’t look at it in the same light. I knew that it wasn’t just all the time. But knowing and believing are two different things, and now I believe.

          It is isolating. It brings an added weight down on my shoulders to viscerally understand that the things that should be fair are not always so.

If we can only depend on some of what we should be able to depend on, the world beneath our feet rumbles and fractures and those fissures do not close.

          Worst of all is the loss of faith in the unwavering safety of the children around me, the ones that I know outside of work, the ones in the neighborhood, the ones I know through my niece.

          You see, no matter what, through it all, I have somehow maintained an unwavering belief that the kids I encounter outside of work, even the ones who are one or two degrees of separation away, are without a doubt safe.

          Heartbreakingly so, that is not the case.

          So I wonder tonight what else I have to lose.

          Sleep, appetite, friends, social life, exercise.


Even though it was only a tiny iota left, I maintained a little innocence.

I think some would call it naivete. Survival mode. Forced blindness.

I choose to see it as a shred of faith: there are kids out there who are safe. Maybe it’s not even the kids who are ‘out there’. It’s the kids who are here, who are close to home.

I have come to believe in the past two weeks that the only kid whose safety and wellbeing I will ever be able to guarantee is Ramona’s.

When I stop to remind myself, I have several parents in my life that I trust innately to keep their children safe. Like Ramona’s parents, they will do anything for their kids.

They will circle the wagons, fight like dogs, and willingly bleed to ensure that their kids will wake up happy and protected.

I am grateful beyond measure for these families.

I hope they know how very much I appreciate them.

But those kids are a step removed these days. They are far away. And for the most part they are much older than the kids I encounter in my job.

Maybe it’s that they aren’t Portland kids.

In my head, in my heart, they are easy to separate. My Eugene kids are not equivalent to my Portland kids—they are and have always been safe.

I am able to depend that those kids will be safe. It’s not the same as with kids here.

I don’t know how to explain it. Perhaps because it is inexplicable.

The kids that are breaking my heart, are the babies up here. The ones that she knows. The ones who are her friends.

I guess I thought we had a little more time. 

A little more time before the insidious and shadowy parts of my world bled into the true blue, sunshine soaked parts of hers.

So now I am left wondering where I go from here.

This isn’t a new question for me. It’s not a new question for most of the people I work with; the difference is that most of them are much better at answering it.

The way I see it, there are two choices.

I can wallow. I can ask why, wring my hands, cry. I can sit here and let my brain take over.

I can believe without a doubt the evidence in front of me that says there is no possible way to actually make a difference.

That would be so easy.

And the part of me that is exhausted is so ready to take that out.

The other choice is so much harder.

That is the one where I get up and go to work every day. I can stand up, put one foot in front of the other, do what needs to be done.

I can obey my heart.

I can choose the starfish principle, that logic-defying belief that making a difference to even one person is worthy.

What would you do?

If I am being brutally honest: tonight I simply don’t know.