White. Hot. Shame.

When I started this blog a couple years ago, I told myself I was going to fill it with first drafts. Just write and publish, a little bit every day, until I could get comfortable with shitty first drafts being a thing.

No matter how mundane or how personal, I would just write and publish and not look back. That was the plan.

But that plan lasted all of a few days, max. I did write pretty consistently at first, but as soon as my parents started reading, my need to please had overpowered my desire to create anything worth reading. Now, I rarely write because I can’t stop censoring myself.

And if it ain’t real, why bother writing about it? The good stuff goes in a journal now, and then it gets recycled.

This morning is different, though. Something has happened and I am compelled to try to put it into words.

It’s 3 a.m. and I have been tossing and turning for 3 hours, unable to sleep. Maybe it’s time to try something else.

So, fuck it. Here we go. One shitty first draft, coming right up.

Here’s what happened:

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A battle to get my boss fired

Recently, I’ve been posting transcripts of the speeches I’ve been giving in a public speaking class. Today, I gave a speech I can’t post, but it meant so much that I still want to tell you about it.

The assignment was to deliver a persuasive speech that would convince a business to make a change. I pretended the class was the Executive Committee at a firm where I used to work and I tried to persuade them to fire my boss.   Continue reading

Tumbleweeds

PlantaRodadora

I have always had a problem with metaphors. I think in metaphors as if they’re my first language.

Sometimes I say unusual things, because I’m speaking metaphorically. And then I get weird looks and I have to translate what I meant. But it’s hard to find other words.

I always want to say, “Well, that metaphor really was what I meant. I don’t know how you say it in plain language.”

I sound like a foreigner.

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Change the world

Since I’ve been in grad school, I haven’t had much time for blogging. Okay, I haven’t touched my blog.

But this quarter, I’m taking a class called Finding Your Voice. It’s about becoming a better speaker by being more authentic. Rather than writing blog posts, I’m sharing the speeches I give in class. Today in class, we were asked to give speeches about what we would change about the world and how we would deal with it. This is a transcript of my speech in response to that prompt. 

* * * * *

I’m going to show you two photos today.

This first one is an image of a single mom and her daughter. I share it because I want you to think for a moment about what associations come to mind when I say, “single mother.”

Vigdis with daughter - Edit

And I’ll tell you what comes to mind for me: Continue reading

The difference between us

We took a walk to explore a nearby park. I say “park” because that’s what the city calls it, but it turned out to be more like a rain forest, right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The trees form a lush canopy and many of them are covered in moss. A creek winds through the park and there are a few places where you have to walk through the water to follow the main trail.

I must have said, at least five times, how beautiful the place was. I said it would be nice to come back and run the trail sometime. I said all of that because I was trying to suppress a steady stream of terrifying thoughts. Continue reading

Josie

When I first met Josie, I asked if her name was short for “Josephine.” It reminded me of The Wallflowers’ song by the same name, which came out when I was in high school. I’d see Josie around and in my head, I’d hear the chorus:

Josephine
You’re so good to me
And I know it ain’t easy Continue reading

Bob Marley and I were eavesdropping

“I could be Native American,” she said. “I mean, I like turquoise.”

It was Saturday morning and I was seated outside on the patio, at a small table in front of my favorite bagel shop, just down the road from my house. I had gone there to spend the morning writing in my journal, which was lying on the table in front of me, open to a blank page. I had just begun to spread low-fat cream cheese onto my lightly toasted onion bagel—that sweet, cherished indulgence I only allow myself on Saturday mornings after yoga—when I heard the voice of the woman next to me. I froze.

I must have heard that wrong, I thought.  

I grabbed my felt-tip pen and began writing in my journal, shaking off whatever it was I thought I’d heard. She wouldn’t have said that out loud in public, I assured myself. Not in Arizona. 

But the woman kept talking and I couldn’t tune her out. Journaling was going to be difficult.  Continue reading

The news

Today is a big day, and it’s been killing me. I have been counting down to this day for months.

In January, I applied to graduate programs at five different schools and today is the day that one of those schools promised to announce its final admissions decisions. I realize that this might not seem like a big deal. And in fact, writing it now–that one out of five decisions is coming out today–really makes it sound like today shouldn’t be a big deal. But my ego disagrees.

This isn’t just any school. This is the school where one of the professors wrote one of my favorite books, and it was a book that was hugely influential in my decision to go back to school and change careers. Continue reading

Random things

I haven’t been writing blog posts lately. I’ve been writing grad school application essays instead. Blog posts are much more fun to write, though, and I can’t wait to get back to them once this arduous application process has passed. That being said, there was one essay I really enjoyed writing—so much that it felt like a blog post. The prompt was to present a list of “25 random things” about myself. Here is what I submitted:

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