Growing up a little white girl, among a see of hispanic children was both hard, and it wasn’t. I mean, it WAS hard because I always felt like I didn’t fit in. Adding to that the fact that my mother was a smoker and the kids at school always made it a point to acknowledge that I was a Gringo, and stank. It also wasn’t hard though, because it was what I knew. I had no alternative to compare it to.

Childhood leaves us with the funnest memories, doesn’t it?

When I was a teenager I was living in a fundamentalist group home in (then) rural Idaho. Life was the sheltered sort, with the exception being church and youth group at a local “city” church. A mojority of the normal kids at church, living in their normal homes, going to normal schools and eating normal foods thought us group home kids were freaks. To be honest, their parents also saw us as dangers. It was an isolating and pretty scarring existence.

With this package deal attached to my early life development, there was also the personal feelings (SO MANY FEELINGS) that I had about NOT fitting in. Not feeling a part of things, sure. I had essentially been abandoned by my family and lived a daily life of rejection, so those feelings made a lot of sense.

I also didn’t WANT to fit in.

While everyone was listening to what was hot and trendy, following the current of what they believed kids our age were supposed to do, I teetered there, unsure.

Did I follow along, accept and finally achieve belonging?

Did I go with my gut and follow the less worn path of obscure movie tastes and worn out sneakers?

The struggle was real.

I believed the struggle would eventually subside as I matured into a woman, beyond the angsty years of teenagehood. I was wrong.

That eternal quest to belong equated itself with my sense of personal worth so deeply. Knit by (what I believed, at the time) the rejections, abuses and abandonment thematically designing my life, a melancholy hopelessness settled into everything I did.

I went into group home care in 1988.

I walked through that gate and into the real world in 1993.

I became a wife in 1994.

In 2017 I learned that, on the enneagram chart, I am a four.

Fours have big feelings. Fours are creative and artistic. Fours ache to fit in, but also want to dance to their own rhythm. (and their own, non-trend decided tunes) Fours are (likely) the 90’s emo kids. They are the ones not regularly depicted on screen, in film and television because they happen to (probably) be the real life people writing those characters and creating that art.

I embraced my four.

I connected with other fours.

Knowing these things, having these explanations, it’s like the comfort of filling the gaps I’ve lived with, unwhole, for my entire life. It also forces me to see where my flaws lie. The how’s and the why’s.

I am able to know “ok, these are things I’ll do when I’m at my emotional healthiest”, and “these are indications that I need to work some stuff out, because I’m struggling.”

So many times we’ve humorously mumbled about life not having an instruction manual, or people not coming with a guide.

Guess what? We do.

That is literally what the enneagram does for us.

Plainly put, it is EMPOWERING.

Owning our truths helps us with one another too. For instance, I know that if someone on my team is an enneagram two, they will be prone to saying “yes” and people pleasing. Knowing that, and asking a lot of them anyway would be exploitive and selfish. Additionally, being married to an enneagram nine has helped me realize he isn’t passive or apathetic, he is simply prone to not cause ripples. At his unhealthiest, this can be dark and explosive. Knowing these things helps me love and respect him the way he deserves. It helps me see all of him, and love him.

If you don’t know where you’re at, or want to learn more, I strongly recommend the Road Back to You, by Ian Cohn. Also, in this week’s episode of the Collective Podcast, Abbey Howe is hanging out and chatting random ennea-info with us. Her youtube channel Enneagram with Abbey is super fun and informative. (As is Ian Cohn’s podcast!)

October 1st, 2017…

On the Collective Podcast today, we have a survivor of the Las Vegas shooting that happened at the Route 91 festival, in 2017. She bravely shares her story and, while it may seem obvious to state, shines a spotlight on how most of us have gone back to life as usual, while the survivors from that day (and let’s be honest, many other brutal days, with other locations and other acts of violence) can never regain the normal they knew before…

Please listen to Brie share her story in episode 46…

And also, please do something beautiful in memory of these souls who lost their lives. Do not allow life to minimize them into one dimensional memories- these were living, breathing human beings, just like you and I. Look at their faces, learn about them. We need to, as a society, reacquaint ourselves with people and less with disconnected news blips.

these days…

This has been the first summer that we have lived in our little nearly-lake side cottage. We piled our boxes and possessions in during the sticky post-summer remnants of last fall. In these summer months I have walked the tightrope stance of being annoyed that early mornings were so bright, and wishing I could bring myself to wake up earlier. Isn’t that funny? There I am, sleeping away (and I’ve never been a great sleeper anyway,) when the beautiful sunrise comes peaking in and I grumpily shade my eyes only to later wish something (anything) could help me wake up earlier. How often are we guilty of begging for an answer, when the solution is right before our eyes?

Well, 4 a.m. yesterday and 4:30 a.m. today have me (reluctantly) up and facing the day. Yesterday it occurred to me that a few weeks ago, the sun would have been right on my tale, but this day it seems, doesn’t have its rising scheduled until pretty much 6 a.m.

The days are getting shorter…

And truthfully, I am sad about this.

The longer summer evenings have, for the first time that I remember, caused their own set of issues. My husband’s hours, for work, had him heading to bed long before it had even considered setting, and so I would struggle. While I should retire, as well, it was full sun outside. The result was, almost always, me up past 1 a.m. because this night owl knows how to self sabotage, apparently… (I hear you saying well no wonder you were struggling with the 4:30 rising sun! I know, I know…)

Complications aside, I love a long evening. I love the breezes as they chase away the heat of a day, as the sun sets late. All too soon it will be pitch black at four in the afternoon and the sun won’t be rising until hours after our early work day has began.

I am sad because shorter days mean that we are on the downslope of this year. This year who, for its first half felt unfairly brutal and stripping, and then suddenly I’m left whiplashed and wondering where it has gone.

As we age, this passing of time happens at lightening speed. It may also be fair to point out that my crotchety regards to early sunrises and late sunsets can also apply (a bit) to older age as well. I could remark about how I can’t win, but the common denominator here in all of these ill-fated trains of thought is simply me.

Last night I had a video call with my sister, who was buying school supplies. I felt a mix if things. I had noticed their appearance, in our local Target, last week. I had avoided them, an act pretty unlike me, as I love school supplies. I guess I wasn’t quite ready to embrace the impending change of season, not quite willing to surrender my grasp on summer.

But still, these days are getting shorter.

Last night, around the time of the video call, my husband and I were at an outdoor blues concert. It was amazing and lovely, peacefully and summery, when all at once two things occurred…

One, I looked up at a girl’s t-shirt which read class of 2024. I scoffed and made some low-breathed remark like yeah right, she looks a little tall to be a kindergartener. Here we are, on the literal cusp of 2020, and I sat clothed in full denial because how? (seriously though, how is this even possible? And is asking this a sign of old age?)

Two, halfway through the show, as the sun was beginning its descent, people started packing up their chairs and picnic remains. The slowly fading sun had escorted in the bugs, ready to have their evening feast on all of us.

The days are getting shorter.

Also, next Monday’s show will be seven days worse…

Do you love the late summer sunsets or prefer the cooler, early evenings of Autumn?

there is a light that will never go out…

Maybe it is generational nostalgia, but I have a deep affinity for 90’s movies. While I realize the romantic comedy genre was done in by this generation and many are still happy to see it’s almost nonexistent presence these days, there are certain movies from this 90’s golden genre that hold special places in my heart.

One thing that is fun about them is that they are so dated. Between the styles, cars, hair and makeup, music… If you were alive in that era, that alone makes them fun!

In the vein of 90’s Rom-Coms, let’s talk Never Been Kissed, shall we? I mean, COME ON, this movie is SO TOTALLY RUFUS! In the context of 1999, this movie was pretty amazing. Most of its core audience was ready to relive the youth of our own bad high school crushes, embarrassing moments and adolescent misery. In one way or another, each of us had been our own version of Josie Grossy, and adult Josie gave us a special mix of encouragement, validation and motivation to move past those heinous scars locked tight within our memory.

With a (still) perfection-woven soundtrack, this movie evokes so many warm fuzzies that it is easily a feel good favorite, twenty years later… (Twenty?!?!?! What?!?!?! HOW?!?!?! I know…) But seriously, this soundtrack is timeless. I could talk for a good 2000 words about this album, but I won’t. (you’re welcome! Unless you were hoping I would, in that case- hit me up! Let’s chat!)

What about when we let our violet lensed, round 1999 shades fall to the wayside while we view this sweet little movie from today’s contextual perspective?


The scales are completely different.

Let’s chat the bad out of the way- this movie would never be made now. COULD never be made, not without so much internet rage, controversy and bad press that it would kill the project, anyway.  The fact that a huge portion of this premise involves men well into their adulthood talking about the high school girl’s bodies pretty openly is pretty terrible. Add to that the adult male (older brother) dating the high school student whose ready to have sex with him. Great, he hasn’t technically broken the law yet, but also- if she’s “ready for sex” odds are they’ve at least fooled around. So wrong...

Lastly, as if these things aren’t enough, we have the teacher who has feelings and an attraction to Josie, whom he believes is 17. He is willing to alter an, although completely flawed, long-term, long distance relationship to explore being with her- HIS STUDENT. In many circumstances he is placed in positions of being with her enough to open up about personal things AND spend alone time with her, while no one bats an eye.

As a mom, I cringe. I mean, we viewers know she’s really an adult and that no one is doing anything wrong- but he and the school staff witnessing such things DO NOT KNOW THIS. Just like we, the viewers, know these scripted pervy comments about the “high school girl’s bodies” are really being said about adult women playing high schoolers… but still.

And I swear to you, I am not trying to ruin this beloved movie! I’m not. I love it, even with my 2019/42-year-old bifocals on, I still love it. Let’s be honest though, suddenly this sweet movie sounds pretty terrible, pretty un-#timesup/#metoo and we have to pause for a moment to wonder what the pitch of this film must have sounded like, and were any women in the room to say yay/nay? (of course not, it was 1999) (also… fun fact… Most of you know (or should) that I find James Franco ABSOLUTELY REPULSIVE. I had no idea he was in this movie until we rewatched it the other night.)

While these things are troubling, what it shows me is that we really have come a long way in our entertainment. Do I still love the movie? YES! It plays off more innocent than it should because we weren’t aware of the underbelly of the entertainment industry and what was happening. Most of us didn’t know about human trafficking, sexual assault/abuse was not part of every day dialogue and women/girls weren’t in belief of being owed respect and valued for more than their physical assets…

But, the scales of balance are alive… Though not at all as timeless as its soundtrack, what about this story is still relatable to anyone, regardless of age? In a time when these kids had no social media presence, what could Never Been Kissed possibly show us about internet life?

Josie stands on a literal mound in complete transparent vulnerability… She shares her own journey of humiliation, peer pressure, the need for attention/approval, etc- and took the difficult journey to see herself for the mess she’d become. People were hurt, she had misrepresented and disrespected herself and she has to own up to it. Even pre-instagram/Facebook/Tumblr/Twitter, we all struggle to authentically be real and honest representations of ourselves. Even without understanding what a “filter” would become, we filtered ourselves.

This human struggle for love and acceptance has always been, and it will always continue.

Wherever you are at, in life, as you’re reading this, tell yourself you will be ok. Put on some Smiths, throw your hair into a messy bun and take inventory of the hard stuff. It doesn’t matter if that guy likes you, or those girls are unkind, what matters is how you feel about yourself. Work on you, and if your soul needs a quiet moment of entertainment, grab a 90’s flick and kick back with your diet coke- just remember, it was a different time and then allow yourself to be grateful because when the world is feeling all topsy/turvey, you have the subtle proof right before you’re eyes: we’ve come a long way, baby, and it will get better.