I didn’t know Acceptance had rules until I brought my Aaron Carter backpack to school on the first day of 6th grade. It’s the first time I remember feeling embarrassed without anyone telling me to be. I bought a new backpack that afternoon.

Before that, I had lived unashamed in that sweet space between the very real, very visible world & the one in my mind, where I was one inch tall dodging giant feet, or I was a human ferret fighting bad guys with swords, or I was riding my Pegasus across the sky, with my own hands pulling clouds like a blanket to cover the earth with April showers, where I had a very cool boyfriend (his name—if you haven’t already guessed—was Aaron, and he was a rapping, rocking, super cute pop star with spiky bleached hair and a famous older brother).

Since then, life and art have been practices in rediscovering the magic I knew back before I knew a backpack could make me look so bad.

I’m a bit of a misfit, and I know it, and I’m tired of trying to pretend that I’m not. I’m an artist, for goodness’ sake. I lived in LA but I hate trying to be cool. I love being a woman but I hate “acting like a lady.” I love the way of Jesus, but I’m afraid of the people who follow him. Teamwork makes me cry, and so does the news. I’m an artist, for goodness’ sake. I feel it all.

I love words, and how they create space for all of it to coexist—all of these self-contradictory Yesses, the Hope and the None-Of-It, the Beauty and the Heartache, the Truth and the Mystery.

So consider my writing my best Back-to-that-Sweet-Space effort, where we create freedom by reminding one another there is power there in the choosing to let our souls breathe, and we bless the world when we allow ourselves to simply be.

Here’s to wearing that dorky backpack you like so much, and, with a big crooked smile, being proud that you do.


been so tired i could
hear my bones creak in
protest of my rising.
i’ve wondered if it’s the
sound of my old self,
the one i used to know
who somehow got
lost beneath Weary.

it’s heavy, the
weight of the world
as i twirl clumsy
looking for sunrise.

but the new day comes.
it always does.
& when i see my Living
in the light of day again,
i know what it’s all for.

the creaking of my bones means
the crumbling of my shell, and
my God, the new me is beautiful.