Short Story: Puzzle Pieces

This summer I took a creative writing course to get my final humanities credit towards my BA in Social Work. This is one of the pieces that I wrote. I really hope that you enjoy it, & if you do then let me know what it was that you enjoyed!

Puzzle Pieces

My heart is pounding so hard that I can’t tell if the mess on the floor is from the shattered plates or if my ribcage has splintered against the pressure from my pulse. I can’t even tell if the house is quiet or if the roar of the blood in my ears drowns everything else out. Spots float in front of me and fall away like dust. I blink hard and begin to pick up the big pieces of either glass or bone in front of me. When I flip them into the garbage bin I see yellow flowers linked by blue accents. I guess my ribs haven’t broken.

The rest of the kitchen isn’t dramatically different from the tiny scene in front of me. One chair is thrown across the room, blocking the freezer and the table is shoved into the wall, pinning the rest of the chairs against the window. All of the utensils from the table gleam from the floor. There is food everywhere. Pieces of turkey from the deli are stuck in various states on the wall, cheese is smashed into the floor. Bread and lettuce are strewn throughout the silver wear on the floor. I finish with the big pieces of plate and stand up to find the broom.

I guess this isn’t the worse that the house as ever looked in the aftermath, but it’s definitely the worst that I’ve ever felt. I run my hand through my hair and rub the goose egg that’s starting to form on the back of my head. My other arm feels like I’ve been stung by a dozen bees. I roll up my sleeve and inspect the two sets of bite marks on my forearm and see that the skin is broken.

Damn.

I sit back down on the floor and cradle my head in my hands. Tears involuntarily run down my face and hang on the end of my nose. I can’t remember the last time I felt like I had control over any real aspect of my life. My therapist says that in times like this positive self talk and meditation are key, but right now all I can think about is that for how much money I shell out every month, she’s a little too full of shit. I try it anyway.

After six or seven deep breaths through my nose and out through my mouth the tears stop, but it’s like putting a bandage on a wound caused by a machete. What’s it really going to do for me in the long run?

The phone rings, cutting my inner monologue and pity party short. I wipe my face on my sleeve and get up to answer it.

“Hello?” my voice is still shaky and I clear my throat.

“Mrs. Anderson?” a man’s voice inquires and I know what kind of conversation is coming.

“Yes, well Ms. Anderson,” I trail off.

The man hesitates. I can tell that he must be new at the hospital. “Mrs. Anderson, this is the River Bend Hospital and I’m calling about your son. Riley?” He pauses, but I don’t say anything. There’s nothing to say. He’s going to tell me that they’re going to transfer my son, thank me for taking listening and not meeting the police car at the hospital, and that it would probably be best if I don’t visit for a few days.

“Mrs.- er, Ms. Anderson, my name is Dr. Ryan and I’m the one that did the intake on Riley when the River Bend PD brought him in. I’m sure you know that he was in a significantly agitated state when he arrived…”

It’s not funny, but I can feel an inappropriate and hysterical laugh bubble up in my chest. I cough to force it back down. Significantly agitated. That is definitely the med school training coming through and it sounds way too formal. I want to scream Just say it, my kid is out of control! But I don’t and Dr. Ryan continues.

“Due to his history and the manner in which he came in I think it would be necessary to transfer him to the inpatient unit at the University of Minnesota Behavioral Health facility. I know that he’s been there before and we thought it best to send him somewhere familiar.”

There is an icicle forming in my chest and I can feel it spread outward, into my gut and down my legs. Somewhere familiar? I knew it was coming, but to hear that the behavioral unit at one of the biggest hospitals in the Twin Cities– the one the most severe go to, is familiar to my child, enough so to be considered the best placement for him, makes me feel like I’ve been pushed backwards into some lake in the middle of winter. Another feeling bubbles in my chest.

“Mrs. Anderson? Hello?”

“Yes. Yes, I’m sorry,” I stammer. “I’m sorry, I’m here.”

“I know it’s a lot of information to take in, but I have their number and the direct number to the on call doctor if you’d like it.” Dr. Ryan offers. “Riley is being transported there as we speak. We’re sending him by squad car. It seemed like that was the most effective way to keep everyone safe, including your son.”

I can feel tears well up in my eyes again. No matter how many times this happens, no matter how nice the doctor is, or the police officer is, or the nurse is, it still cuts me. My chest feels empty and it aches.
“No, I understand. If you could just give me the number of the on call that would be helpful.” I sit on the floor with a used envelope and pen. He gives me the number, I thank him, and we both hang up. Leaning my elbows on my knees, I stare at the piece of paper in my hand for a good minute or two before I call the doctor that is about to do an intake on my son.

The conversation goes exactly as I thought it would: We’re sorry that this situation has come up, No I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to visit until he can be stabilized, Yes we have all of the medications that he’ll need, I can’t say for sure until I see him.

It is the exact same conversation I’ve had with at least seven other doctors over the past year. Always with the same exhausted, underlying tone that wants to know why on earth I can’t control my child.

~

When Riley was born, it felt like the whole world had been cracked open. At the time I felt like it was opened in the way that allowed warm, sunshine to poor into all the dark nooks and crannies in order to drive out all the dust and gloom. For a while, it was. Everything about him amazed me, day in and day out. It never struck me with lightening bolts of panic when he failed to meet milestones at the designated times. I felt like when he wanted to do those things, he would do them. Looking back, I don’t know if I was more naïve or just in denial.

I know that a lot of parents of autistic children say that they sense something off balance right away, but I didn’t. I never felt that deep pang in my chest that let me know something was different about my child. It wasn’t until the official diagnosis was handed down that it hit me. It didn’t matter how much I loved my kiddo, he wasn’t just going to “come around” like I had thought he would. I still never felt like I was going to be swept away by the tides that many parents of autistic children are.

Early intervention, I thought. Applied Behavioral Analysis, I thought. Speech therapy. Occupational therapy. I can get him a service dog. So many options ran through my mind. Surely, surely, there was still a world of possibility for us out there. Wasn’t there?

We found a variety of therapists to work with Riley and they all had something different to offer. The weeks were scheduled between all of his different therapies that were supposed to help him. All experts in their field and the best that money could buy. Despite this, he never showed any interest in demonstrating whatever verbal skills he may have had. He never complied, never bought into the tasks, and became more and more volatile. The older Riley got, the longer he went without talking, the more frequent his outbursts became, the more I began to feel like I was being swept out to sea.

By the time he hit fifth grade he was becoming almost too big for me to handle when he would become aggressive. He would bite and hit, and the bigger he got the harder it was to hold him off until he could calm down, or put him into a hold. During the times he couldn’t get to me right away, he would grab whatever was closest and throw it. The TV, shoes, plates, anything. Eventually, I had no choice but to call the police.

I know that I am not the only parents to come to this point, but watching Riley leave in the back of the police cruiser for the first time took me to a depth of loneliness that knocked the wind out of me. There was such an enormous pressure that it was as though I couldn’t even lift my arms. The second and third time I knew I was beginning to drown. After that, I knew I couldn’t keep track anymore. It would have pushed me under. Maybe it did. I can’t remember the last time I came up for air.

~

The light is red and I drum my fingers on the steering wheel, waiting for the go ahead. I can’t tell if the lightness in my chest is relief or if I feel like I’m going to pass out. Maybe it’s a mixture of the two. I never know how to feel when we do this part.

I know that I should be ecstatic that Riley is coming home with me today. That he was discharged fairly quickly in comparison to his other hospitalizations, and that it went so smoothly. This doesn’t tell me anything, though. We’ve been here before, at this same stoplight, after the same discharge directions have been given, and the same nurses explained medication changes to me.

Lorazepam, Depakote, citalopram, fluvoxamine, Benadryl. Two in the morning, one at night, four at 2 PM, by mouth, with meals. Take three of one to combat the side effects of the others, and take one more to combat the side effects of that.

He sits next to me, rocking slightly and humming tunelessly, one finger closing off his left ear, his right hand flapping. I want to reach out, to hold his hand, but I know that I want it selfishly. Holding hands, hugs, ruffling of hair– that’s all for me and only me. If I reach out, if I break the quiet between us, it might send him spinning into oblivion. Actually, I know it will.

Cars behind me lay on their horns and my eyes snap forward. The light is no longer red and Riley starts humming louder, almost frantically, and his hand flaps with fervor. I step on the accelerator.

“Sorry,” I throw out, keeping my eyes straight ahead. I receive no response, but the humming dies to match the sound the engine of the car makes. Riley’s hand falls back into a moderate rhythm, and his finger almost comes away from his ear. He looks around like he’s tracking a mosquito, his head weaving to the same beat as his hand.

Calm. That’s how he looks to me. They say behavior is a language, and I used consider myself proficient in Riley. There was a time when no words even had to pass between us and things went smoothly. Now the absence of words almost chokes me. I don’t know what he’s thinking, I don’t know anything exact anymore. The best I can do is make a rough estimate and hope for the best. At first I felt like I was losing my grip on our connection, but I’ve come to realize that the change is coming from his end and not from the bond between us. Right now I think he looks calm, but I have no way of really knowing.

“I missed you, Riley. I’m really, really glad you’re coming home with me today.” I throw out a probe. Along with what’s left of my heart.

The nature of his humming and the movement of his hand remain stable. I wait a minute, observing out of my peripherals, and reach out to rub his shoulder.

He leans toward the window, his hand flapping as fast as the last night I saw him, and the humming takes on the quality of a scream trapped in his mouth.

~

By the time we pull into the driveway, his hand is doing a slow waltz again and his humming has a tranquil quality. The car is in park and the engine turned off, but I still have my seat belt on. Riley hums for a few more seconds and takes his finger off of his ear. He unbuckles and opens the door, stepping out of the car and shutting me in, alone.

I watch him. That sounds creepy, but when you’re a parent it’s different. I used to watch him when he was a baby and he was asleep. There was no humming or flapping then. There was just him, his sweet baby smell, and sleepy dust. I could have sat and watched him like that for the rest of my life, but babies grow up. I went from watching a dreamy baby, to a withdrawn toddler, to an unpredictable teenager. The naps turned into tantrums, and the tantrums gave way to full scale blow outs that left me unsure as the whether Riley was the same person I had watched asleep in his crib.

In between though, during the quiet times, I saw glimpses of my baby again. When he would jump, squeal, and clap in excitement when the neighbors used to bring to their dog over. Or the times something as simple as blowing bubbles would crack his face into a smile that seemed to big to be real. But it was.

Then it seemed that suddenly, there were no more smiles, or jumping and clapping. Nothing could draw out the same glow that I had seen so many times– the glow that made my heart stop because it was too full to give up another beat. The squeals didn’t ring the same, and when they came out they were accompanied by an attempt to bite and a grab for my hair.

Riley makes his way up the front steps and crosses the porch. His finger is back on his ear when he opens the door and I know that I can’t stay in the car forever. I want to get him from inside the house and drive until we find something that makes his smile come back and my heart full again. I want to drive until once again, he’s covered in sleepy dust and maybe I’ll be able to squeeze his shoulder without setting off a reaction from which we may never recover.

~

Everything is out of focus and all I can hear is a vague buzzing. My face feels like it’s melting. I want to stand up but my legs don’t seem to be connected anymore.

“Ms. Anderson? Ma’am?”

There’s a face to my left. I don’t know who the face belongs to. I can’t turn enough to face them.

“Ms. Anderson, I can’t even begin to understand how difficult this must be for you, but I really need you to talk to our social worker.”

My face is still hot, but the buzzing fades away.

“Ms. Anderson, the social worker?” The face is still there, but now it’s in focus.

“Yes, of course,” it comes out like I’m underwater. I can turn and face her completely now. She’s young and I’m sure she doesn’t have children of her own. Not yet, anyway. She must work evenings because she’s been here almost every time that I’ve had to come in. She’s one of the more decent RN’s, and for some reason the name Becky comes to mind.

Another face joins us and sits in the chair across from me. She thanks Becky and tells her that she can go before turning to face me.

“Hi, Mrs. Anderson, my name is Katie Johnson and I’m the social worker here for the Behavioral Health unit. Riley’s doctor thought it would be good if we introduced ourselves.”

I don’t even correct her to tell her that it’s Ms.Anderson, not Mrs. I don’t care. I am too tired to care.

“I can’t imagine what must be going through your mind right now, so I’ll try to keep this as easy as I can.” She offers a soft smile and all I can do is respond with “okay.”

“Mrs. Anderson, we as a team think, especially after getting to know your son, that it might be best to consider a more focused approach to treatment at this point.”

I stare at her. On some level I always knew that this was a possibility– that I might not be the best option for my son. But how could I not be? How could anyone possibly know him the way I do? Do they know all of his different hand motions, or what each type of humming means? How could they ever even remotely begin to understand him the way that I do? Know that the outbursts aren’t meant to hurt, but to convey the very core of his frustrations.

I know exactly what she means as soon as she says it, but my mouth has disconnected from my brain. “Riley already goes to several different types of therapy.”

“Yes, Mrs. Anderson, and we think that is wonderful. I think that just shows how responsible and intune you really are with the complex needs your son has, but at this point, he seems to need a little more.”

My throat gets tight and my eyes start to burn.

“Residential treatment and living does not mean you have failed as a parent. In some cases it’s an indicator of the contrary.”

My lips feel too fat to move and they tingle like I’ve been drinking. Part of me wishes that I was. The social worker reaches out and places her hand on top of mine. I know that it’s supposed to make me feel better, but I just want to crawl under my chair. I want to pull my hand out from under hers, but my arm won’t cooperate.

“Mrs. Anderson, the sometimes the hardest thing to do is realize that there are certain things you cannot always do for your child. You will always be the best mother for him, but right now Riley needs a research based, 24 hour care as well as a mother.”

Fat, hot tears start to roll down my cheeks. I don’t move to wipe them away. I can’t. I’m at the bottom of the ocean and there’s too much pressure. I can barely force air in and out of my lungs, how could I possibly lift up my hand to my face?

“You would be allowed to see him whenever you wanted and we have nothing but the best, most thoroughly trained staff of any facility I’ve ever seen. They genuinely care about the kids, Mrs. Anderson.” Silence falls between us and after a few minutes she pats my hand again.

“Please don’t feel like you have to give me an answer right away. Of course you’ll want to talk to Riley’s doctor and the rest of the team. I’ll let you have some time to think things over.” I can her heels clicking down the hallway long after I can no longer see her.

It’s been over a week since I’ve seen my kid. The blowout had come out of nowhere. There was no increase of his ticking. No escalated nature to his humming. No indicator. Or maybe I just completely missed it. We hadn’t even been home for more than two hours and he just went off. I couldn’t even identify any triggers. The TV hadn’t been on, we weren’t eating, and there was no real change to routine. Everything was exactly as it always is.

Except for Riley.

Riley was the only thing that seemed out of place.

And now, a week later, with only emails from his staff and phone calls from his doctor to tether him and I, it’s come down to what has always lingered as an awful possibility in the back of my mind. How can I send my child away, knowing that he won’t be coming home any time soon? What can these people offer that I can’t? I’m his mother for Christ’s sake. He needs me.

He needs me. The thought sinks to the bottom of my gut and sits, uneasy. Does he? Does he really need me? It wouldn’t seem so, if I’m being really honest with myself. For the first time I look at Riley and I from the outside. He doesn’t need me, not in the way that I want him to. Not in the way that I need him. He doesn’t need the hugs or the shoulder squeezes. He doesn’t need conversation as a confirmation of our bond. He doesn’t need the things that I need.

Riley needs behavior experts and someone that is trained to handle his blowouts. Someone that doesn’t cry in the bathroom when he rejects their attempts at connecting. Someone that can look at him objectively and create a plan to help him. I have to admit to myself that I am not that person.

I am not the person that can observe his behavior from an objective standpoint and pinpoint the reason why. I am not the person that can emotionally detach and deescalate. I am the person that can love unconditionally, visit everyday, and bring his favorite things from home.

I can love Riley, but I cannot help him. Not in the way that he needs.

I hear her before I see her. This time I reach up to wipe the tears from my face. When the social worker rounds the corner she smiles and this time she comes with a box of tissues. She offers me one.

“I just came back to see how you were holding up.” She sits in the chair next to me.

My throat is no longer tight and I turn to face her. “I don’t have to make any definitive decisions right now do I?”

“No, of course not.” She continues, “but if you’d like I can walk you through some of the details of the potential process and through the programs we offer. Really, whatever you need.”

Immense relief floods me, like the feeling of floating towards the surface when you’re about to run out of air. I am no longer running out of oxygen. I am no longer drowning.

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My dog is a better person than I am.


I know that everyone says their dog is the absolute, final-final, hands down best dog there is, and I have to say that I fully agree.

All dogs are infinitely awesome.

And wise.

And hilarious.

And loving.

And accepting.

And that’s why dogs are awesome.

Dogs are the best parts of all of us and they are so much better than all of us.

I can’t think of once that a dog has ever bailed on me, or criticized me (even when I deserved it), or been anything less than loyal. I don’t think there are many people that can fit that same description.

The only real flaw dogs have is that sometimes they pee on the floor, and I don’t feel that property damage of such a minor degree is a capital offense.

I love my dogs.

When I moved to Alaska, I knew I was going to be alone a lot of the time. Starting completely fresh in the great, white north was my dream, but I didn’t realize how lonely it would be at times. Of course there were things to keep busy with, but at the end of the day it was hard to just sit completely alone day after day.

I mean yeah, I had friends I could hang out with, but it’s a difficult thing to go from being surrounded by people I’ve known my entire life to such green friendships. I needed something to fill the void that was starting to consume me.

So when W left for Prudhoe Bay for work on a Sunday morning in July, I had to do something to stay busy. I drove to Fairbanks, wandered through some stores, and checked the classifieds in the newspaper. Immediately, I saw the ad: AKC Yellow Lab Puppies, ready to go July 3, Salcha.

So I called.

I can just go look right? It’ll give me something to do, keep my mind off of everything. Can’t hurt anything to look.

I drove to Salcha and was greeted by three wiggly, yellow, fluffy, perfect creatures. Two boys, and one girl that made me instantly think it had been a bad idea to come. I knew I would be going home, to my apartment that had a strict no pet policy, with a puppy.
Can I run to the ATM and be right back? Will you hold him? 
With an affirmative response from the man selling the puppies, I tore off to North Pole, hit three different ATMs and sped back.
I picked a male with a tiny pink spot on his nose that stared at me with huge muddy green eyes. It was all over; there was no way I was ever going anywhere without this dog.
Despite the horrors of potty training, Tucker has always been a fantastic dog. He makes me laugh, he sits with me when I cry, and he has always been a steadfast protector.
He is crazy, completely destroys my living room, barks at W when he’s being sassy, and hogs the bed. Tucker is my best friend. My hairy, perfect, loyal to the end, thinks the sun shines out of my ass, best friend.
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She was barely visible as the gray waves viciously swirled around her, roaring and crashing through the air while she sat perfectly still. A gale of wind was tearing at her hair, creating wild shadows on the wall and turning everything to ice. Her eyes were steely and their color fluctuated with those of the storm. She stared straightforward, her gaze never breaking, seemingly searching for still waters, or at least a break in the storm.

She held all of the ocean in her heart, and every storm, every calm, every ripple, and every wave was driven by the thoughts that occupied her. Never knowing when the peace would come, or how long it would stay, sometimes turned her heart into an inhospitable port. When the waters were calm, it was the perfect place to lay anchor, but when the winds began to gather no boat was long to stay. When it all became too much, the storm would rush out all at once; her heart living outside her body.

And it was all so alive. She felt every droplet of mist fall on her skin, and every strand of her hair lifted by the wind. While her heart turned the world around her to chaos, her body stayed perfectly still. Once the gray clouds rolled into view and the midnight water began to thrash, there was nothing she could do but ride out the storm.

The black waves would inevitably soak everything they touched and the winds would tear down what was left. If she did not maintain her quiet position, the destruction would spread and then the storm would not only soak her– it would sweep all of those around her to some distant shore. She just needed to hold fast and wait for the waters to calm themselves. Experience had shown that nobody, no matter the quality of their vessel, could withstand the waves and her voice could never be heard above the wind. Those that had been caught in the storms of the past had been washed away, never heard from again.

Eventually, the storm would carry itself away, as it always did. The tidal waves would turn to ripples and the gales that had terrorized those around her would find their way back to a breeze. The calm would return, and she would pick up the pieces. It would happen suddenly: for days she would find herself adrift, and then one morning the storm would be gone.

I was asked three separate times today if everything was going alright.

Everything was going perfectly fine. Great, actually.

Why. Do. You. Ask.

“You just… don’t, um, look okay.”

Umm… Thank you?

I did fail to apply any makeup like I usually do this morning but…?

Wait. Are you saying I look unwell when my face is the way that my face naturally looks?

I don’t know why this bothers me so much.

I mean, yeah, I like to feel attractive. Who doesn’t? But the way people respond to me shouldn’t be based on my beauty or lack-there-of. AND I feel like it’s an issue that I even have to feel this way, or feel the need to talk about this subject. Or that it even grinds my gears, but it does.

And here’s why:

I have an eating disorder, and I say ‘have,’ not ‘had’ because while I no longer struggle like I used to, an eating disorder is something that never really leaves you. It’s not like the flu which you recover from after a certain amount of time has passed. It’s like addiction, one step at a time, one day at a time. It is always lurking, sleeping just below the surface threatening to wake up and rip your peace to shreds.

Through middle school and the first half of high school I struggled not just daily, but hourly, even by the minute with this overwhelming obsessiveness. Not just an obsession with my BMI, but with food in general.

Food was on my mind every second.

How many calories were in that apple?

and that means how many sit ups…

so no food at home, only water. 

Too many calories. No more apples. Ever.

I ate the same thing everyday, and I couldn’t/wouldn’t eat with or in front of anyone unless I was absolutely forced to. (I’m not hungry, haha, big breakfast, haha).

If I wasn’t counting calories, or thinking about calories, I was burning calories. I exercised excessively. Obsessively. I would have a near total breakdown if I didn’t get my leg lifts and sit ups in daily. 2,000 of each, every day. And if I lost count, I’d have to start all over.

It was a numbers game. Count calories, count reps. God forbid the calorie limit be broken; that leads to purging and more reps. Honestly, I can’t even count how many times I emptied myself out, and all to fit in a certain size of jeans. My entire self worth was tied to numbers: numbers on the scale, numbers on my clothes, numbers on food labels, numbers in my head that meant nothing to anyone but me.

That’s how I lived. Day in, day out. In constant fear of what my reflection would tell me everytime I passed a mirror or window.

And I’m not the only one. 

There are countless, countless individuals that struggle with the same shitty disease that only goes into remission, never actually letting you off the hook.

still have days when I can’t even bring myself to eat the pizza crust, so I just awkwardly and painstakingly scrape the cheese off the top and eat that. Sometimes, I can’t even order at a restaurant without an overwhelming wave of anxiety crashing down around me.

Eating disorders linger. They are the monsters under our bed, and sometimes they are courteous enough to sleep and leave us alone. Sometimes they rip our headboard off and scream all night. Some days are harder than others.

And this why the assumption that someone just because I am not putting forth an obvious effort to look like a perfect 10 means I am not okay bothers me. I am still a worthwhile individual without an aesthetically pleasing appearance. I am still the same person, with the same quirks and traits and I am worthwhile. My appearance should not dictate my worth, or the way I am reacted to.

I can think of a million things worse than being less than physically appealing.

Of Dogs and Negotiating Skills

Everyone should have a dog.
Unless you’re allergic, then don’t get a dog.

I have two.
Tucker, our lab, was adopted while W was up north. He didn’t believe that I had gotten a dog until he came home a month and a half later. (I can’t belive you- Awh look at his little ears!)
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Our German Shorthaired Pointer Skeeter kind of came along the same way. I’ll set the scene.

K: Tucker needs a brother.
W: Nope. Not getting another dog.
K: (to Tucker) you’re going to be a big brother tomorrow!
W: (rolls eyes) No.

I have wonderful negotiating skills.

And then 24 hours later I came home with a wiggly, sassy GSP with the cutest nub tail you’ve ever seen.

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He sleeps under the covers, steps directly on my head at night, and steals the burners off the stove.

You should get a dog.

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Boundaries

Loving unconditionally doesn’t make you a push over. Actually in my experience  it makes you quite the opposite.

Setting boundaries shows the most true form of love. How can you really love someone if you’re constantly allowing them to cheat themselves? If you’re allowing them to form a pattern of behavior that leads to poor choices and unhealthy relationships. It’s dishonest, and that is not love. Real love isn’t meant to be selfish.

You may want to sit down for this next thing I’m about to tell you.

I am not perfect.

Nope, Not even a little bit.

It’s okay, I was quite shocked when I found out as well.

We as humans are flawed. Flawed is not synonymous with unloved. It does not mean that we have to settle, or allow ourselves to be walked on. And despite the flaws we all have, we still hope beyond hope and love beyond reason. But loving beyond reason doesn’t mean settling for what we know to be wrong. The refusal to set boundaries based on the fear that our love may not be reciprocated is selfish. It’s horrendously self absorbed to allow things to happen out of fear.

So say no. Say yes. Be brave. Be fearless. Don’t just live with your flaws: love them. Love the flaws in others, but don’t allow them to cheat you or cheat themselves. It’s not fair. It turns perfectly rational, wonderful people into something dark and ugly, and that isn’t love.

Me

So I realize as far as first blog posts go, mine was fairly heavy. This one will be lighter, I promise.

I’m Kendra! & I live in Alaska.
I love it. Every minute.
As I’m sure you gathered, I also love the sea. I love a lot of other things, too.

I have two dogs and a husband, w (technically fiance, but what real difference does a piece of paper make?). All three are naughty, & all three make me happier than I could ever imagine (W most of all).

I love writing. I love fishing. I love wine. & coffee.. & the Midwest.

I am originally from Wisconsin. I am so torn between this frozen tundra & the one I left behind. Obviously, in light of this information you will have guessed I am a cheesehead. Born & bred, proud to be.

I love rain boots & plaid shirts & the smell bon fires leave in your hair.

I wish I could garden because who doesn’t love a killer flower bed & some fresh produce?

I’m sure we’ll become better acquainted  as this project continues.

Thanks for stopping by & I hope you enjoy!