Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year In Review


I'm not sure what it is about the end of a year that makes us sit down and reflect on our life during that year, but reflection is good for understanding.  It's also good for wiping the proverbial slate clean in order to start the new year on a good note.  My review turned out to be a lot longer than I expected but if your up for it, here goes.

This past year began with me dressed up and in a tie for the evening and out celebrating at the now defunct E-Room (what used to be Portland’s only lesbian bar but has since closed) with a bunch of really great friends and my, then, wonderful girlfriend.   It was awesome to start the new year with my friends and even better to start it off with a kiss from someone I loved very much. 

Shortly after the year began I flew down to Vegas to attend the only Women’s Football Camp and Conference in the nation.  It was a whirlwind of an experience but I got quite a bit out of it and gained some new friends.  I also had the financial and emotional support of my friends and chosen family around the country who helped get me there.  It was something I had been wanting to do ever since I had heard about the camp in 2009 and I am eternally grateful to those who helped.

After returning from the camp I discovered a lump in one of my breasts and had my first ever mammogram.  That was an experience, to say the least.  I was worried but as it turned out, all was well and there was nothing to be concerned about.  Thankfully.

In February I spent an amazing weekend in Cannon Beach with a wonderful woman.  Memories from that weekend still linger.  Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock were always favorite spots of mine but after that weekend they became sacred.  I still find myself being drawn there to ground and re-group when things get overwhelming. 

February and March also brought a lot of fundraising planning and executing for the football team that I was playing for, the Portland Fighting Fillies.  I spent the first year as not only a player but an owner, treasurer and fundraising planner.  It was a lot of hard work but we pulled off an amazing first season. 

Unfortunately, during a practice in mid-March my left foot got pinned and my left knee was fallen on causing an injury that took me out of the game for good.  I have cartilage coming off my bone inside the joint and I’m told it isn’t repairable.  My only option is to try and not over do it and when I do, elevate it and ice it to keep the swelling down.  This injury sent me into a spiral of depression that I am only now realizing and working through.  Playing sports and my ability as an athlete meant a lot to me.  It was a huge part of who I was.  You don’t realize how much you use your knees until you just can’t use them, or one of them, anymore.  Even as I type this now, tears are rolling down my cheeks just thinking about how much it’s affected my life and how I see myself.  I still have a lot of work to do around that.

April brought the beginning of the football season for the Woman’s Football Alliance and I found myself on the sideline of our very first game as the Portland Fighting Fillies.  Our trainer was working with me to get the knee recovered because at that point I hadn’t yet seen a doctor to have it thoroughly looked at.  This was probably my biggest mistake.  I figured if I could still move it I must not have torn anything so it’ll heal if I just give it time and work on getting my range of motion back. 

April also brought the joy of watching her play softball again.  I was so happy to see her out there playing the sport she loved.  It was the first time I had a girlfriend who also played sports and it was then that I realized exactly how hot that was.

Finally by May I felt ready to get out on the field again so I was back in at practice and played briefly in a game then got back into the gym and the second set of squats did me in.  That was all she wrote for my football career.  I still took my time getting into the doctor but finally did it after a few weeks of it being perpetually swollen.  An MRI was ordered and a few weeks later my injury was discovered.  Physical therapy was started to get the swelling down and my range of motion back then began the up hill battle of getting my quad muscles back.  I’m still working on that when the knee will allow me to.

In May I flew down to Vegas again to support my team in a game against the Las Vegas Showgirls.  By the end of June I was supporting them from home as they traveled back to Vegas to play that team again in the first playoff round.  We were eliminated but were still excited about and proud of the fact that we made it to the playoffs in our first season as a team. 

Also in May, my son and I drove down to Southern California to pay respect to my Grandmother who had passed away after a long and busy life.  After listening to the minister list all the things that she had accomplished in her life my son leaned over to me and whispered, “Now I know where we get it from.”  It was an enlightening trip for both of us and I was thankful to spend the time with him and see my family again. 

My son celebrated his 20th birthday in June and I still can’t figure out how that happened.  We truly have grown up together and he is one of my best friends now.  He’s an amazing and talented animator and I am very much looking forward to seeing what the future holds for him in his life and career. 

The end of June brought another fun filled camping trip on the coast.  This time with a big group of friends and the wonderful woman I had spent the weekend with on the coast back in February.  It was great fun and lots of really good memories were made but it was to be, unfortunately, the last camping trip for me for the season and for us as a couple. 

July brought heartbreak and some really difficult emotions that took some time to work through.  Unfortunately, I went a little crazy during it all and not only did things but also said things that I wish I hadn’t.  Hopefully, those who were affected by my insanity will eventually forgive me.  I'm still finding my way through that insanity but I think I'm gaining a better grip on it now.

July also brought more beach time with friends and a new tattoo to honor the relationship that had just ended and the person who brought so much to my life in such a short period of time. 

With August came some huge, I mean HUGE, life changes.  The changes that actually started this blog.  I finally came to the realization that my job as a Senior Accountant for one of the Pacific Northwest’s chain of pubs and breweries was sucking the life out of me and making me absolutely miserable.  By the end of August I made the decision to quit and step off the cliff.  I had very little savings but tons and tons of support from friends and family and people I hadn’t even met in real life.  This is when I begun to really understand why things had happened the way the did the previous month.  It was all supposed to be and was making a way for me to find my true self, my authentic self, by becoming the artist I had always wanted to become.

Since quitting that job and my life as an accountant I’ve found temporary warehouse work, house and pet sitting gigs from friends and dog walking gigs from friends of friends who are becoming new friends to me.  I’ve also sent away a short story that I worked on for a few months, with the help of a very talented friend and writer, and am hoping to have it accepted into an anthology next year.  Photographs that I’ve taken have been purchased, loved and shown proudly by me in my first art show ever this past October. 

The last few months of the year have brought many wonderful and amazing things to my life.  A good friends visit and lots of great information from a journey she did for me while she was here, another trip down to Southern California where I found peace with my parents and fun with some new friends and chosen family, registration as a volunteer with the Oregon Humane Society as a dog walker (which I thoroughly enjoy), more sales of my prints and note cards and lots and lots of friend, family and doggie time. 

As one of my good friends put it to me this morning, this has been quite an epic year for me.  It hasn’t been an easy year, but I truly feel blessed for all that 2010 has brought.  New friends, a new life, new experiences and more insight into me.  I very much look forward to seeing what 2011 holds in store for me and can’t wait to share it with all of you here. 

Happy New Year to all of you!  May your new year bring you an abundance of love, joy, happiness, wealth, health and laughter! 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

First Writing Submission

A few moments ago I emailed off a story I've been working on these past couple of months for a BDSM anthology that Sinclair Sexsmith is editing.  It's to be published in the Fall of 2011 by Cleis Press.  If it is chosen for the anthology, it will be my first published piece.  Needless to say, I'm a wee bit nervous about it.

I posted a short teaser on my Facebook page after several inquiries to read it.  There has been only one other set of eyes to read the piece in it's entirety and that's because that person helped me in the editing process.  It's always good to get a second set of eyes on it before you send it off.  Anyway, to be fair to those who read my blog but who are not on my Facebook page, here is the teaser:

     After leading her out to the bike, I stood behind her for a moment as she prepared to mount the powerful machine.  The combination of her black leather boots, tight fitting jeans and the black mesh riding jacket I had just handed her made my blood race to all the right places. 

     Before she slid her helmet over her long, dark curls I walked up behind her, slipped my arm around her waist, and whispered in her ear, “It’s okay, baby.  Just hold on tight and Daddy will take good care of you.” 

     I could feel her body tremble as she leaned back against me and whispered, “Yes, Daddy.”


Copyright Wendi Kali 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Numb


I am stuck between me and some version of me.  A made up, partially shut down version of myself.   The observer who is watching the movie of my life.  Scenes flicker on the screen, characters come and go but there’s no forward movement.  No plot to this particular story.  I am a part of it yet disconnected.  Removed from my emotions and sense of, well, everything.  Numb.

Words don’t flow very easily when I’m in this space.  I’d like to say that I’ve ‘gone within’ but that doesn’t feel true.  I feel more like I’ve shut down.  Numbed myself to things around me.  A sense of overwhelm does this to me.  With the holidays and so much happening around me and in my life, I seem to have an incredibly difficult time staying present.  The ‘fight or flight’ mode has kicked in and I mostly want to flee.  The idea of renting a cabin on Mt. Hood for the entire month of December sounds comforting at this point. 

I just realized that I am much more complex than I had originally thought.  I’m not yet sure how I feel about this revelation, either. 

This morning I re-read my piece that I wrote to submit to the BDSM anthology and was thankful that I was able to get it out before I found myself in this space.  I am happy with it and am excited to see what happens with it.  Perhaps by this time next year I can call myself a published writer.  I would like that very much.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holiday!

"May love and laughter light your days and warm your home. May good and faithful friends be yours wherever you may roam. May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures. May all life's passing seasons bring the best to you and yours." - Irish Holiday Blessing

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Becoming Whole


The Universe has ways of getting its point across.  I’ve been battling with myself over the direction I’ve taken with my life and finances lately and have continuously received message after message just like this from the Universe.  Don’t be perfect, be whole. 

Since I’m not working at the moment I took the afternoon ‘off’ in an attempt to just rest and ended up watching both the Ellen and the Oprah show.  Yes.  Daytime television.  It sort of reminded me of being home with my Mom during my last visit.  She watches a lot of those programs during the day since she’s been recovering from one surgery after the other. 

Oprah’s guest today was Jane Fonda.  I sort of half-heartedly watched as I knitted the scarf I’m working on to donate to the Handmade Especially For You project.  Yes. I knit.  It’s very meditative.  I feel productive while I’m meditating.  Yes.  That’s not the point of meditation but it works for me. 

Ms. Fonda was talking about her life in it’s “3rd Act” and how she’s finally learned that life isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being whole.  Don’t be perfect, be whole.  Then Oprah said something along the lines of wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone actually heard you and shifted from the get, get, get, more, more, more as an idea of success in life and just focused on becoming whole and in so doing became successful?

In this society, in this world, being whole takes so much courage.  Courage and determination.  Determination to live outside of the lines and to create a life that makes you happy, which in turn makes those who are around you happy.  I know these things to be true for myself and I continue to fight through the conditioning of get more, make more in order to be more.  It takes a lot of strength and courage and a hell of a lot of support from those around you. 

Encouraging words go a long way in this journey.   I’ve received so many and for that I am so grateful.  Just the other day my birthmother, who is an amazing minister and who began writing a book a few months ago, told me over the phone that I inspire her.  This blog and my writing inspires her to just get it all out.  To be open and honest with the world about who she is.  Needless to say, I was deeply touched.  That was so unexpected to hear.  She’s inspired me so very often in my life.  I never thought it would ever be the other way around. 

Little messages like this from those around me, from the Universe, keep me on this path.  They keep me honest with myself and in turn I am honest with the world about who I am in hopes that it will inspire others to be true to themselves, to be whole.  Listen to those messages.  They are sometimes hard to hear but they are there. 

Don’t be perfect, be whole.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Butch Lab

The wonderfully talented writer Sinclair Sexsmith has begun another amazing project of which I have contributed to with my post about Butch identity.  The project is called Butch Lab and it's filled with all things Butch.  The mission statement of the project explains it all:
The mission of the Butch Lab Project is to promote a greater understanding of masculine of center gender identities, expressions, and presentations, through encouraging: 1. visibility, because we feel alone; 2. solidarity, because there are many of us out there, but we don’t always communicate with each other; and 3. an elevation of the discussion, because we have a long history and lineage to explore and we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
I am honored to be included amongst this awesome group of writers and share the first symposium post with you here.  Please take some time to visit these other wonderful sites and read the words of these amazing writers.

**********************************

The Butch Lab Symposium is meant to be a cross between a blog carnival and a link round-up, where whoever wants to chimes in on a particular topic around butch identity and we all have a conversation.

I strongly urge all the folks who participated in this to: a) re-post this roundup, in whole or part (I can provide the HTML if you’d like, contact me); and b) to comment on as many of the contributions as you can. Seriously, challenge yourself to read every single one and comment. Think about what is different or the same from your definition. Make note of a line that made you go “hmmmm,” or “yeah, that!” and tell them.

So, because this was the first Symposium, I figured we should start out with the basics. To get all of us on the same page, to come up with a common language and definition and structure for talking about this stuff. I’d really like to continue elevating the discussion around butch identity through this project, and this is part of that, to really dig our hands into the deep stuff and see what we come up with.

So the first topic was: What is butch? How do you define butch? What do you love about it? What does it mean to you?

Thirteen bloggers wrote in, four of them not butch identified but are interested in this work.

Ulla writes on Boxer Shorts & Bras:
I am a butch woman, a butch lesbian, a butch dyke – so my interpretation of butch stems directly from that. Beyond that though, butch is an adjective I use to describe the way I look, the way I walk. For me it’s about style, not gender. It’s the hipster jeans, the sneakers, the wallet chain, the watch, the heavy silver rings, the fact that I wear men’s clothing but refuse to accept masculinity and femininity as my gender labels. It’s my reclaiming of stuff that society says is just for boys and men. It’s liberation. It’s boxer shorts and bras.
Kyle at Butchtastic:
I love the word butch, it looks and feels exactly the way it should: tough, masculine, a little hard. For me, ‘butch’ evokes images of blue jeans and leather jackets, sturdy footwear and strong hands. ’Butch’ is strong, handsome, capable, ready to help, there to back up a friend or a stranger in need. And while I realize it’s not true for all who embrace the term, for me, butch is all the great things about being a woman, wrapped in the great things about being a man.
Holden from Packing Vocals:
I love taking what I perceive to be the best bits of masculinity and putting them into practice, such as chivalry and courteousness. I love opening doors, carrying bags, being called a gent and generally attempting to display as many ‘old fashioned’ good manners as possible. I also love the clothes and accessories, suits, ties, cufflinks, waistcoats etc. It’s all of that which makes the blood in my veins run thicker and stronger.
Roxy at Uncommon Curiosity writes about butch from the perspective of loving someone butch:
Butch is that red-and-white, candy-striped, aftershave-and-razor hair cut, the hand you wish you dared reach out to feel those strong, ripped shoulders, that neck that slides up, close-cropped, under the fabric, like she was born with that cap on, like they were made for each other, lookin out at the world like it’s one big fight or maybe just last night’s lay. The way she shines those boots that have known the ground, walked miles outside this town, out of her house and never looking back, marching and dancing with her girl, but always easy, hips that were built to press up close when her girl sways and leans her head back, stretching out her neck, long and graceful, inviting her inside.
G at Can I Help You Sir:
Being a butch is complex, and I dig it. When I think about what I love about being a butch, it’s easy to think tactically – “What things do I do that make me a butch?” I shave my face and wear my ball cap backward when I watch sports and love manual labor and open doors for my date, but anyone can do that. I went a step further and thought, “How do those things make me feel?” (Ew, feelings!) I can tell you this: I know what my life felt like before and after I came out as a butch, and the difference in my comfort level is astounding.
Victoria Oldham wrote at The Musings of a Lesbian Writer:
I am a femme. To me, butch is the other half of my equation. … There’s a swagger, a sureness, a sense of yeah, that’s who I am, so what? to her walk. A sense of comfort in her own body, of knowing who she is and what she wants out of life. A defiance of pronouns. An ability to take up space like a man, without every having to be one. She is in-between and everything, all at once.
EST from A Lesbian Christian writes:
Though it might be how others identify butch individuals, for me butch has very little to do with clothes and hair. Butch is an attitude. I think above all Butch means embracing your protective instincts. Holding a door open for a woman…or a man. Standing up for others who can’t stand up for themselves. Butch means not being afraid to get dirty especially when others are involved.
Wendi at A Stranger in This Place:
No matter how much I am against putting myself in a box by claiming the title of ‘butch’, I have learned to be much more ok with it after attending the conference and talking to others about the term and what it means to them. You see, the thing about words and titles is that you can mold and define them for yourself. … I am just me. A boots, jeans and t-shirt wearing, motorcycle riding, butch lesbian with a buzz cut. I like to think of myself as mostly a guy but I’m not. I’m a woman.
Jenni from Butch.org writes:
Having grown up as a gender non-conforming child, and navigating life as a gender-trans adult, my butch identity has been a way of naming myself and proclaiming who I am — so that I might embrace these qualities and think of myself as a hero instead of an awkward, self-conscious mistake of nature.
Ali at Made of Words doesn’t identify as butch, but chimes in:
I think you’re butch if you feel butch. I don’t think you need to claim the title every day. I think short hair my be a visual clue, but long hair doesn’t exclude you. I think gender identity and butch can be completely separated from each other, that it’s just an adjective for power, pants-wearing, and planning really great dates. For being swanky and taking care of yourself and being unafraid to get dirty. For occasionally getting “Sir” on the street, either accidentally or intentionally.
Jolie writes at This Side of Changed:
Butch is an adjective. Butch is a noun. Butch is a compliment, an acknowledgement, a performance, an attitude. Butch is an insult, an attack, an assault. It’s flattering and pejorative and honest and undeniable. Butch is a body born female and worn male. Butch is a title. One that must be first accepted, then adopted, and finally fulfilled. … Butch is the strength to grow up female and then choose for yourself – it is the strength to walk out the door every single day looking like everything you shouldn’t and making it work.
Lesbian Dad (Polly) writes over at Lesbian Dad:
Whether or not “butch” is the first term I find myself using to describe my gender, it is an umbrella I find shelter under. At the Butch Voices conference my breath was taken away: a room after room, hallway after hallway of people like me. I’ve got years of familiarity at being called “sir” (“six of one, half dozen of the other,” I usually reply, with a smile and a hop of the eyebrows); I am resigned to forever fluster/ disorient/ alarm women in public restrooms (at forty some-odd, I still avert my gaze and head for stall or sink, in mute attempt to convey I’m “just here to pee, ma’am; just here to pee”). Yet being surrounded by so many mannish women showed me how inured I am to aloneness in public.
Sinclair (um that would be me) over on Sugarbutch Chronicles:
So here’s what butch is, for me: Permission. Permission to be myself, that little solid stardust shiny nugget I feel somewhere in my core, like a diamond lodged between L5 and L4 of the lumbar spine vertebrae. Permission to wear what I like, to love who I desire, to play how I crave, to decorate and adorn my body how I choose. To experience all the things this world has to offer, without guilt or obligation, but with curiosity and an open heart and experimental hands. Permission to be right where I’m at, regardless of whether that’s where I was yesterday. Permission to explore and seek pleasure, to connect and create friction, to question and make change. Permission to be exactly who I am, doing exactly what I’m doing, to have bright burning faith that everything I do works toward the greatest liberation for everyone, as much as possible, all the time, in all ways.
Here’s a list of all the posts by link, if you’d like to copy & paste it onto your own blog.


Symposium #1: What is Butch? on Butch Lab:
The next Symposium topic will be announced soon.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Living


Today is my birthday.  A day where I look back on my life and do a bit of a self-assessment.  I’m in my 40’s and I think to myself, “Is this where I thought I’d be in my 40’s?”  Honestly, I don’t think I really ever thought about being in my 40’s but today, and the last few days, I find myself in a space where I’m feeling a bit unsure of myself and of my abilities.  I hate to say it but there have been more than a few times when I’ve stopped and thought to myself, “Wendi, what in the hell are you doing? You gave up a decent paying job and having all of your bills paid for this life of uncertainty.  That’s not very responsible of you.  What the hell?”   

After that initial ‘what the hell’, beating myself over the head sort of self-talk happens I begin to remember how incredibly un-happy I was in that job.  No amount of money in the world could make that ok for me anymore.  Ok, maybe if enough money were involved to pay off all of my debt and work the job for a year at minimum, then maybe it would be ok.  But, that’s not the case at all.  I was staring down the barrel of a lifetime of misery and self-sabotage.  I just couldn’t do it any longer.  I’m not going to do it again.

Yes, at this moment in time I am struggling financially and my bills have fallen behind but the reality of it for me is that those things are minimal when you consider the big picture of life.  I’m broke but I can honestly say I am happy. 

Learning to put this kind of trust in the Universe has been a struggle, to say the least, but at this point I know that this is simply a transitional period for me.  It’s temporary.  It won’t always be this way.  I am rich in so many ways (love, joy, happiness, art, friendships, family, compassion, health and laughter) and the financial richness will eventually follow.  Somehow, I know this is true.  It’s just a matter of time.  How much time?  I don’t have the answer to that question but that’s ok. 

Until then I’ll just keep putting one foot in front of the other, take more photographs, write more stories and spend as much time with my amazing circle of friends and family as I possibly can.  I’ll keep doing those things even after the financial richness has followed.  This is what life is about.  This is living.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Holiday Blues


This year, the holidays bring with them a tremendous sense of sadness and overwhelm.  I find myself completely repelled by anything associated with the holidays.  Christmas music, lights, decorations, and trees everywhere I go.  All of it stirs up feelings of anger, irritation, frustration and sadness.  I can’t quite put my finger on the ‘why’, either.  It seems to be a number of things.

The energy of people and the world this time of year is incredibly chaotic.  The only shopping I’ve done, and will be able to do this year, is grocery shopping.  Even that can get really crazy.

I was just in a Fred Meyer this past weekend with my son and everyone around me was completely oblivious to not only me and my son but to everyone else in the store.  They stood in the middle of the isle during a busy time and read a label or stared at the shelves trying to make a decision while their carts sat directly in the middle of the walkway.  The place where I needed to go to move down the isle and get other things.  Every time I said ‘Excuse me’ in the politest tone I could muster (with a smile of course) they seemed annoyed that I needed them to move their cart so that I could get out of their way and do my thing.

Memories of past holidays are heavy on my thoughts this year, as well.  December 13th marks the 13th anniversary of my Dad’s passing.  While he wasn’t my biological Father, he was one of the most important Father figures in my life and I still miss him.  He taught me how to work on cars and so many other things about life and love.  When he passed he was a long haul truck driver trainer.  He and his trainee were in Arizona when he started one of his coughing fits and had a massive heart attack in the sleeper of the truck.

I remember my phone ringing in the middle of the night.  My phone didn’t ring that often and considering it was the middle of the night, I knew something had to be wrong.  Mom was on the other end and all I could hear was her sobbing. 

The family was notified and arrangements were made.  One of the arrangements was a viewing before cremation.  The date of the viewing happened to fall on my birthday, December 18th.  Needless to say, that was incredibly difficult for me to deal with.

Other memories of the holidays include family drunkenness and fights, the stress of having enough, or not enough, money to purchase a gift for everyone, and lots of travel to make sure and see everyone I possibly could.  Plus, the fact that my birthday is seven days before Christmas doesn’t help matters any.

I am doing what I can to keep my spirits up through the month.  Lots of doggie time with the dogs at the Oregon Humane Society where I am a volunteer dog walker and lots of doggie time with the dogs of some of my friends as I pet and house sit through the month.  Dogs always help lift my spirits.  They love you all year long and could really care less that it’s Christmas.  I’m also getting in some good friend time and spending a lot of time reading. 


I think next year I’ll rent a cabin on Mt. Hood for the entire month of December and disappear for the month.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Letter To Your Mother


This was sent to me by one of my dear friends, chosen family and one of the Mothers of my Goddaughter before I made my trip to California.  Seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes is sometimes good for the soul.  I’ve read it and re-read it several times to remind myself that I am a good person.  This letter touched me so deeply and I am forever grateful for the connection that we have in this life.

Learning to love myself is going to be a continuous process, I know.  But, I’d like to get a good foundation going in the next year.


Who She Is

Your daughter is my friend. I know you don’t get to spend a lot of time with her so I thought I might share some thoughts with you. Your daughter is one of the bravest people I know. She has lived past an adolescence and early adulthood spent as the victim of people and circumstances she didn’t have any control over. She not only lived past it but she has really LIVED.


She is brave. She has moved herself and her family from place to place in pursuit of more beautiful environments and people and finally found a true ’home’ in the community of Portland. This year she brazenly decided to get real about her life and follow her bliss. She quit a good but energy sucking job to explore the idea of becoming more fully herself. How many of us can say that we didn’t just follow the path of least resistance? How many of us make decisions based on what’s best for us and not continue the cycle of trying to keep up and be like everyone else?


She is so intelligent. She is not only a traditionally educated person she is emotionally and spiritually intelligent. Getting through college took her ten years! That’s an amazing amount of determination. She has made a lifetime study of religion and spirituality. She left behind the judgment and restriction of some religions and opted to become a student of those paths that uplift people and bring humanity together.


She is an artist. She writes poetry and bravely opens her computer and notepads and writes stories that illustrate her truth. I have read many of these things and many times I have felt that she was so amazing to have that kind of insight about herself and the world around her. She takes the most wonderful pictures. They are mostly of landscapes and objects. Her pictures can make you love and appreciate the things you see everyday. She recently took a picture of a local bridge that made me rethink what is beautiful.


She is an athlete. You will remember in her childhood she was a competitive swimmer. She has been on countless softball teams, and even managed some. A couple of years ago she became one of the first female professional football players in the world. You should have seen her struggle. She fought to learn the game, to commit some of it to muscle memory, to get her body to react quickly, to train until exhaustion to be someone her team could count on. You would have been so proud to have seen her in her uniform, all pads and cleats and that huge helmet! She looked scary and brave but I know inside she was that bashful little girl you raised, trying to muster the toughness and grit she would need for game day.


She is one of the MOST LOVING people I have ever known. I had the privilege of being her partner for several years. During that time she taught me so much about resilience and trust. She impacted me so deeply that she changed me forever and I am in turn a more loving person today. Even after our relationship ended we remained family in the best sense of the word. In 2008 I became a mother to a tiny baby girl. I honored Wendi by asking her to be the Godmother. Papers are being written right now to assure that if anything ever happened to my partner and me that Wendi will have sole custody. As you can imagine, this is a critical decision in my life. I have family. I have friends. I have no one else in the world that I trust more that your daughter.


I know that you may deserve much of the credit for the woman that your daughter is today. I know you may wonder if she has turned out well. I thought you might want to know that she has done well and that you can be proud to be her mother, just as I am proud to call her family.