Somebody’s Giant

 A short story by Natascha Pearson

18 and up for mature content.

Water bubbles rose in a pot on the stove. It was tight in the kitchen, with just enough room for one adult and a little one. Hot dogs sizzled on the pan and basked in vegetable oil. Next door, the Airbnb renters hooted and hollered as they partied on the balcony. A harsh ocean breeze sent palm fronds throughout the eight-hundred-square-foot backyard. The song “True Colors” came from the television while little Bailey watched the movie, Trolls. She sang the love song, mimicking Poppy’s dance moves. I wouldn’t admit it, but the scene reminded me of her father, Lucas, my boyfriend. He could be so pessimistic at times that I would smother him with love, just as Poppy does to Branch.

            Bailey laughed uncontrollably. “He’s scared to sing, just like Dad!”

            Lucas and I used to eat spaghetti cooked in a teapot on the campfire or split a bag of chips for dinner. Now, Bailey’s request for tonight was mac and cheese with hotdogs. I shave broccoli into the cream. The wind howled in the house like the song in a seashell, filling up the space and pushing on through. Bailey and I sat at the edge of the bed on top of maroon sheets. Bailey stared mindlessly at the TV. I hated that Lucas was gone all day. If we did something else, I could let go of my tension—click. 

            “Dinner is almost ready. Let’s put on some music,” I said, grabbing the new CD player. I popped open The Change I’m Seeking by Mike Love, and the first song to play was “Permanent Holiday.” Bailey knew the words to the song and danced around on top of the flea-ridden casino carpet. I turned off the stove and ran to the restroom in the far corner of the house. The house had a living room/kitchen, that’s where we slept, and then a bedroom with a bathroom. Bailey got the bedroom. The bathroom was covered in graffiti tags that I needed more time to paint over. Bailey came to us overnight. One second we fought for her custody, and the next, she was with us full-time. In the mirror, I was no longer the same person I was a few months ago; my hair was healthier, and the bags under my eyes had faded.

            The two sister cats, Whiskers and Ashes, lay on Bailey’s bed, cuddling closely. Through the doorway, Bailey stood with scissors halfway through her shirt as she cut toward her face. “Fuck, Bailey, be careful! You’ve ruined your shirt!” The fright pulled through my skin, and my hair rose. Not only did I frighten her, which could have made it worse, but I’d also cursed, and now Bailey thought she was in trouble. I ignored the antagonizing itch to call Lucas.

            Bailey watched, confused, and began to cry. I took the scissors away and shouted, “Those are mine!”

            Did I say that? Fuck, I didn’t mean to say that. “I’m sorry.” I hugged her. “Thank you for letting me have them. You scared me. I have child-safe scissors over there that we can use after dinner.”

            I couldn’t believe I left out the sewing scissors. The consequence of hemming the skirt weighed heavily on my shoulders. That could have been the end of Bailey’s life, and it would have been all my fault. What would I have done if something had happened? I placed Bailey’s bowl in front of her. She took a bite and smiled with half-chewed noodles between her teeth after a few munches.

            “This is yummy. You make it the best,” Bailey shoveled bite after bite into her mouth. I’d used the recipe on the box.

             Where was Lucas? The wall clock read five forty-five. He wasn’t even off work. Bailey rubbed her eyes from above her bowl. “Let me put dinner away, and you can—”

            Bailey stood up and walked away. She went to the bathroom and brushed her teeth. It was nice to see that this was already in her routine, surly set by her grandmother during the year she was away from Lucas. I stood next to her and began brushing my teeth, too. We watched each other in the mirror, smiling. She was much shorter and had to stand on a wooden stool to see into the mirror. I spit into the hand basin, and the saliva was mixed with blood.

            “That’s gross,” Bailey said. “Ew!”

            So embarrassed, I nudged her arm. “Come on, that’s not nice. One day you’ll bleed from your gums.” It probably wasn’t true. She would always have perfect teeth. I chipped my nail at the graffitied paint on the wall with the toothbrush still in my mouth while she finished and washed up. “All done?”

            “All done!” She smiled.

            It began to rain, and the partygoers moved inside. A red plastic cup fell from the balcony and into the backyard. The windows were the best part of the living room. The windows covered the southbound wall, and the door had a windowed hexagon with light-colored glass. Zed, a terrier mix, nudged at the entrance until I opened the door, and he bolted inside. The rain came down hard, and the ocean’s musk and bone-chilling air filled the room. As I closed the door and looked behind me, Zed soaked the sheets with dark wet spots.

            “Let’s play a game!” Bailey loved playing with dolls, Uno, or Chutes and Ladders. She walked right past her baby doll and surprised me with Twister. Not my favorite.

            “Sounds great,” I played along. I kicked off my DCs and sat with her on the floor. She pulled the Velcro apart on her pink sneakers and placed them next to mine, hitting the floor hard to flash the lights. I was officially someone’s giant.

            I spun the arrow. I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t playing. She placed her hand on the red. Then I spun again, this time her foot on green. Right hand on yellow. Bent on all fours, she fell when I called left on green.

            “You lasted much longer than I could have.” I spun again.

            “Please, play with me one time!” Bailey pulled at my sleeve. Her small hands had a good grip while she pulled me to the mat.

            I flicked the pointer. “Left-hand green.” We faced one another and placed our palms on the green. I spun again, “Right leg yellow.” And again, “right-hand red.” This time, I quickly took my hand off to turn the arm and put my hand back on red. “Left foot yellow” then “right-hand blue.” Our feet made a line of yellows, and our hands stretched to opposite sides of the board. “Left-hand red.” Our arms crossed, and her boney body leaned into my armpit. ” Right foot green.” I forgot why I disliked playing. This game was a form of yoga.  

            I held my weight on the balls of my toes in a squatted position. “What does it say, Bailey?” I spun the dial behind me, making sure not to shift my weight and fall.

            “Left foot red.” She wiggled her foot from underneath me. She was going for the closest, which left me with the red on the opposite side. With my left hand already down on red, I kicked my leg over Bailey. My foot didn’t catch the floor as my leg came down in a beautiful ballerina plie, and my back came crashing down.

            “You won!” I giggled at my loss. “Do you want to play again?”

            “It’s okay.” Bailey yawned. “I’m tired.”

She moved over to the bed and placed her head on Lucas’s pillow.

            “Okay. I’ll stay up till your dad comes home.” I put on Ancient Aliens because that’s what we used to watch when we were trying to sleep. The words of the paleontologist drowned out as I sank to the floor and rested my head against the mattress. Bailey’s and Zed’s snores became my own kind of counting sheep.

            I woke up, and it was dark in the room, illuminated by a light blue glow from the streetlights out front. Lucas was asleep. He must have put Bailey to bed when he came home. I couldn’t believe I fell asleep. We hardly got any time together. In front of the house, a high-pitched female’s laugh rang louder than the others. I tried to close my eyes and rest.

            I woke up again, this time to the words “Shit, shit, let’s go” from people traveling on foot across the empty lot on the north side of the house. It was unnerving. Something about the way the people were walking. It’s odd how a person can tell someone’s intentions by how they walk or run without seeing it, just by listening. I couldn’t go back to sleep.

            I shook Lucas awake. I was not one for sleepless nights or night terrors.

            “Did you hear that?”              

“It’s probably a trash panda,” Lucas said as he turned away.

            The whistle of the city whirled through my ear canal. I followed in my mind the cars from blocks away—their every stop, acceleration, or tight turn. Suddenly, a woman’s shrill scream broke the silence of the night. The walls were so thin I could hear her tears and the cry of sheer terror. She was in front of our house, the house that housed our child, which helped us gain custody. The place that was supposed to keep her safe no longer felt safe. Everything we’d worked toward seemed like it could all go away in the blink of an eye. 

            Bailey continued to sleep. I sat on her bed and watched her in the moonlight that seeped through the window while she slept through the sirens and the hysteria. Lucas stood outside and smoked an American Spirit for what seemed like hours as he kept an eye on the commotion.

            “Someone died,” he said when he finally came in. He was cold to the thought of death, which made me more unsettled than the chaos in front of the house. “In their car, parked in front of the house.”

            “Should I go out there and tell them what I heard?” my voice quivered.

            “No. You don’t want to associate yourself with this at all. If it were an overdose, there’s a good chance someone wanted him dead. You don’t want that person coming after us.” Lucas turned the lights off and went to sleep while I watched the shadows shift with the car lights that drained through the window. 

            The following day, the block was roped off with caution tape. A tow truck removed the small black Toyota Corolla from the street parking spot in front of the house. My Cherokee was stuck in our driveway with no way to move. Lucas had to walk to work early.

There were groups of people huddled together on the sidewalks. Some took shots from a tequila bottle while others bent over crying. Cops wove in and out of the blocked-off road, holding yellow tape and notebooks. The cops talked to a select few, but the cops didn’t speak to us. People continued to come until the road resembled a block party of lost souls, a chaotic gathering of mourners who couldn’t bring back their dead.

            “Maddie, what happened?” Bailey asked.

            I hesitated for a second. I reached Bailey’s eye level and placed my hand on her shoulder. “Somebody died in front of our house last night. I don’t know what happened. Your dad warned us not to talk to them, okay? Just let them mourn.”

            “That’s sad,” she said. We walked past the crowd, invisible to the men in chains, covered in tattoos, or the woman in skulls and fishnets. Bailey and I walked two miles to the coaster which would take forty minutes to get to the school. We’d kept her in the same daycare she was in before so the transition from grandma’s to our house would be easier for her, even though that meant we had to travel further. Some days I got the car, but more than not, we took the coaster. We brought an old Eeyore doll with us. It sat next to her in the blue train seats. I’d gotten Eeyore from Disneyland when I was six, only a little over a year older than Bailey was now. I passed her a banana, and she took a large bite out of it.

            “Smile,” I said as I got out my camera phone.

            After working a few hours on the house, I returned to the coaster to get Bailey. When I got home, the street was full of people and classic lowriders that had come to honor the man’s death.

            “Spider was a good man. Yolo, pour one out for the homie.” A large man in a Tupac shirt dumped the liquor onto the ground. The cops were gone, which left room for more visitors to arrive. They weren’t very social. We followed behind a woman with a low-cut shirt and a skirt walking in heels toward our house. She cautiously bent over the memorial of flowers, photos, and beer bottles and placed a red candle, which she lit, and a picture of herself on the lap of a large man. In the photo, they were both laughing. I closed the wooden gate behind us, blocking us from the sixty-plus people and the mariachi music.

            Through a hole in the wood, I could see some surfer guys approach a group of mourners. “Did someone die?” one of the neighbors asked, his friends close behind him. A man with a rosary turned his shoulder to the neighbor, closing the circle until the neighbor and his friends walked away.

Cars left, and new ones took their spots. People poured out of an SUV, and a new wave of strangers and tears took on the night, accompanied by music and candles.

            “Maddie, what happens when you die?” Bailey said as we sat on the porch, looking through the wooden gate.

            “You get a second chance, and all the good stuff you do determines where you end up,” I spoke without question.

            “This guy must have been really good if he had so many people that loved him. His second chance is going to be epic.”

            “Yeah, Bailey. I’m sure it is,” I said.

            I picked a book from my childhood off the small wooden bookshelf. I Love You Forever by Robert Munsch; my mother had given it to me, and I read it to Bailey. The words of the story always predicted I’d grow up but could never have prepared me for the love and commitment of being a mother. I held back tears as I finished and kissed her cheek. “Good night,” and I turned off the lights.

            Lucas came home from work. He was breathing heavily from the walk home. He sat on the bed and kicked off his shoes. “My coworker doesn’t do anything. He sits on the toilet and talks to girls on dating apps.”

            “I’m sorry, that must be rough.” I’d spent the day picking up cigarette butts and broken bottles from the backyard, and I painted the ceiling until my arm wanted to fall off. 

            “Yeah, it was.” He kissed my cheek and neck—the smell of freshly smoked cigarettes and a full day of sweat from lifting soil. My mind lingered on Spider and how his death had affected so many people. Whose kid looked at him as a father, or young kids that thought of him as a brother, or how many people would be without their dope? How many people had his dope killed? Lucas’s hands were soft on my skin. He slipped under my blouse and pulled it over my head. He kept kissing me harder until it came to my mind to kiss him back.

            “You don’t even seem like you’re into this,” he said while he got out of bed. He held his head in front of the lamp. I pulled his body closer to mine, frail like a flower but rooted. I kissed the stubble on his chin and pulled his pants to his knees. He entered me from under the blanket, and a moan escaped my lips. I wanted to relax, but my mind kept racing. In the corner of the room, I could see a shadow moving.

            “Bailey,” I whisper into the night. Lucas pushes off me, and I wave her over to us. We scramble to get our clothes on underneath the sheets. I kicked my legs deeper until my big toes found my pajama bottoms, and I pulled them up.

            “I can’t sleep,” she said. Of course, she can’t sleep. I was probably being loud.

            “There is a giant in my dreams who’s going to stomp me like the man outside,” she said. Through the thin wall, someone whistled out, breaking our conversation, followed by loud chunks of intoxicated dialogue.

            “That man wasn’t stomped,” but I couldn’t explain further. All we knew was that it was a drug overdose and he was a well-known dealer. If he was killed or if it was just an unlucky hit, we would never know. “Do you want to sleep in our bed?”

            She nodded her head and climbed into our bed. I remembered having bad dreams as a child and wanting to sleep in bed with my mother. I might not have been her mother, but I’d let her sleep with us.

            “Maddie?” Bailey said in a high-pitched four-year-old voice. “Can you sleep on the floor?”

            I grabbed a blanket and made a spot on the casino carpet. I let Bailey get all the cuddles from her father that I had stolen for the past year.

            The room was silent, except for Lucas’s piglet snores. I missed his touch. A fuzzy animal crawled under my blanket, and Zed cuddled against my belly, above where my legs cupped. He reminded me of having a baby in my belly, and I pet his back like a pregnant woman might her stomach. The room faded, and my body sank into dreamland. 

            In the morning, I made waffles with bananas and cinnamon. Lucas had already left to work by the time I woke up Bailey. “It’s a school day. Get ready.”

            She shuffled between the rooms, grabbing a bow for her hair and socks that matched the pink in her clothes. She liked her independence and being able to dress herself. We brushed our teeth, and I braided her hair. We moved quickly. We had already missed the coaster and would have to take the bus. Together we raced down the street of condos, past the shopping corridors, and behind the movie theater where the bus stop was.

            A man in holey black jeans and a shirt, holding a dirty blanket over ragged hair, was screaming in front of the bus. His eyes bulged, and he pointed at me, shaking, “Cunt, you stole my child, cunt! Fuck! Pedophile! Freak! You stole my child!”

            I took Bailey’s hand, and we walked past him. The bus driver took my money and waved us on. We sat in the middle of the bus, Bailey by the window. The man from outside got on the bus. Fear trickled over my skin as he pulled out a bus pass. The bus driver waved him on.

            “You can’t let him on here,” I said. “Did you not hear what he said outside to my daughter and I? Please don’t let him on.”

            “He has a pass,” the bus driver said, like there was nothing he could do but let the man on the bus.

            He sat up a few rows across us, staring at Bailey, slapping his lips together. His mouth formed the word C-U-N-T as he yacked his lips. He kept trying to get our attention, but I held Bailey close. “Don’t look,” I told her. In his hand was a small Mcdonald’s bag, and he took a condom out of it and tore it open with his teeth as he continued to make a long smacking gesture with his lips.

            The bus came to a stop, and I got off with Bailey even though it was only a few stops down. A kid with scraggly dirty blond hair approached us. “Can you buy me some vodka? Please? I’ll give you five dollars.” I shook my head, and we continued walking past a diner with an American flag advertising “Veteran Specials.” A fitness model passed quickly ahead of us in high-rise jeans, a crop top, and a large sun hat, gossiping on the phone. A skateboarder held a pizza box in one hand and a dog leash in the other as a bulldog hauled him under the beats of the palm frond’s shadows. A man in all black with a mohawk danced to heavy metal in his headphones while flying a sign for AT&T. Further down the street, after Baskin Robbins, was a hydro store with a spray-painted sign and exotic plants. Finally, somewhere familiar, closer to Lucas.

            “Downtown is busy today,” I told Curt behind the counter.

            “Is that Lucas’s daughter? Hi, Bailey.” Curt approached her from behind the counter and held out his hand. Curt’s shirt hung loosely, and his brown hair was slung over his left eye. She took his hand and shook it.

“It’s nice to meet you. Lucas’s in the back, unloading soil,” Curt said.

            Bailey was usually shy, but she took to Curt and talked to him about the plants on display. She quickly returned to my side as I headed to the back of the store. “Hey, Lucas,” I yelled into the back.

            I could hear him talking to some coworkers. He walked around the soil piles, towering over them like a tree. Bailey broke away from me, ran, and jumped into his arms. Lucas’s eyes squinted his lips in a smile. He loved being with his daughter.

            “This guy was harassing us at the bus station. The bus driver didn’t do anything about it,” I said.

            “I’m sorry to hear. You guys want to take the car the rest of the way?” he asked. Bailey nodded her head, and Lucas handed me the key.

            “Thank you for stopping by. I’m glad Bailey met Curt. He’s our newest employee,” Lucas said as a heavy-set man approached him and patted his shoulder. “And you remember Drake, don’t you?”

            Of course, the one who’s always on the toilet sexting. “Hi, Drake. It’s a pleasure to see you again.          

            “Hey, Maddie,” he said, shaking my hand before bending to Bailey’s level. “And this little stinker.”

            “Drake!” she smiled.

“Your daddy is always talking about you and Maddie,” he said, giving me a quick wink as he pulled a lollipop out of his back pocket. I wouldn’t have taken it.

            “Yum! Thanks.” Bailey unwrapped the candy and put it into her mouth.

            “Thanks, Curt,” I said, ready to leave. “Hey, did you hear about a Posole who died a few nights ago? I think his name was Spider.”

            “Never heard of him. What happened?” Curt said, concerned.

            “He overdosed in his car in front of our house. You know we live close to the underpass by the beach. He was probably meeting someone there. I woke up that night to some people talking. They said something like, “Oh shit, we got to go,” and afterward, there was just screaming when his girlfriend found the body.”

            “Sounds like something you all want to avoid getting involved with. Don’t worry too much about it, Maddie. Just keep a bat by the bed.”

            “Thank you, Curt,” I said while taking Bailey’s hand and walking away. It was nice to talk to someone about Spider and almost shocking to think there was someone who didn’t know him. I felt like Spider had been the center of the universe.

            These kinds of days went by quickly. Transporting Bailey to and from daycare three towns away was becoming a hassle. I needed to call her grandmother and tell her it would be easier if she went to school closer to us. I could get a job at the diner, and we wouldn’t have to take public transportation as much. The bad encounters were becoming more frequent. I spent the day spray painting the outdoor furniture, so it had a fresh layer of color that would surely chip after a prolonged rain. Bailey was excited when I picked her up, and we decided to return the car to Lucas so he could get home faster when he got off.

            “Are you sure? I can walk,” he offered.

            “No, it’s okay. It’s a beautiful day. We can walk the last fifteen minutes.” It was more like twenty-five at Bailey’s pace, but I preferred he have the car, so he would get home faster. I was desperate for quality time.

              We walked the rest of the way along the coast. The waves crashed close to the walkway, separated by large rocks where crabs and starfish hid in the cracks. There were fewer people along the boardwalk than on the busy city streets. A woman jogged by wearing headphones, and a man in band patches rode past on his bike. The waves played the beat of their drum, and it was nice to be close to the most natural element in the city.

             “I like it out here. Can we go to the playground?” Bailey asked. Opposite the eroding beach was a playground among a grass field. Children played on the swing, slides, and monkey bars. The playground was a good stop. Bailey ran ahead to join the kids going down the slides. Next to me was a tall blond with inescapably large breasts in a short tennis skirt.

            “How’s it going with Jimmy? Lucy?” she repeated to get the woman next to her to pay attention while petting her daughter’s head.

            “Oh, he’s still playing fantasy football every Thursday. Work trips on the weekend, man’s hardly home,” the woman, Lucy, responded, wearing brown pigtails and a puma jumper with a matching baby bag and sneakers.

            Bailey ran up the stairs with the other girls, nagging them to tag her and coaxing them to play. The kids weaved through the play structure. One girl tripped and started to cry hysterically. Her mom attended to her, and the cries turned to sniffles. The other moms called their kids over, and suddenly Bailey was alone on the playground. The other children and moms huddled in a circle with their blankets and strollers, an afternoon mom’s club.

            When it was time to go, Bailey started complaining, “This walk is so long. Are we almost there?”

            We were close, but I knew three blocks seemed far for a child. “We will be there in no time.”

            The house was between some condos and a dirt lot that led to a trailer park. Dirt and stones paved the driveway. The paint was chipping on the house, covered by two large bushes and some dahlias. The wood fence was tattered and weathered. The house had character. They told us when we moved in it was an old mailing house and wasn’t meant to be lived in. Before we moved in, it was a bachelor’s pad or a trap house.

            I had been painting it navy blue and a dark forest green in Bailey’s room, with gold highlights throughout the house, plus a maroon ceiling and dark purple walls for the living room. The porch had a gothic elegance, with wooden newel posts and rusted outdoor decor, the metal statue I spray painted gold, and the Venus fly traps hanging from the awning. Lucas and his friends had spray-painted the outside walls a year before I came around. Even with the spray-painted flowers and smiling sun, the house was deteriorating. Rats endlessly crawled through the attic, and nights were bone-chillingly cold. But the home made it possible for us to live together. I put the kettle on the stove, ripped two hot cocoa packets open, and poured them into mugs.

            “Let’s play a game!” Bailey shouted.

Healing Through Writing

A 10 Week Course by Francesca Lia Block

Francesca Lia Block

I just finished Healing Through Writing, a ten-week writing group hosted by Francesca Lia Block. Francesca has been my favorite writer since I was twelve and read I Was A Teenage Fairy, “a postmodern fairy tale, a teen model’s friendship with a fairy helps her overcome abuse,” ( and the last book I finished was House of Hearts, her newest book with themes of mythology, death, and rebirth taken place at the Salton Sea. I always appreciated her work because she writes about taboo, abnormal, and traumatic topics accompanied (or disguised) by magical realism. Her language, details, and symbols will take you to another world, engulf you in its essence and bring you back into your existence more light-hearted. I always wanted to be a writer, and after reading Francesca’s books, I knew why; I had never felt more understood. 

I recommend this course. I finished my BA at Full Sail University in creative writing but struggled to publish. Since I graduated, I have taken a writing class at a community college. In this course, I read and analyzed plenty. I even started a new story, but I wanted more. I had yet to accomplish what I wanted. I came to Francesca with questions about getting a Master’s. If you read my blog post on my BA experience, you know I am overwhelmed with student loans and think college can be risky. She told me about her writing group. I’d known about it but needed the money for it. We worked out a payment plan, and I was ecstatic to dive in. 

We met on Sundays on Zoom and submitted ten pages a week, along with the answers to the questions she provided. She used the twelve questions from her book The Thorn Necklace and other questions for deeper thinking. These questions weren’t just about writing but about you, the writer. I am a brick wall regarding trauma, but even these questions helped me open up and reflect. As a writer, I learned that we are pushed to express our deepest desires, write about our childhood, admit our flaws, and appreciate our gifts. After all, without these things, good characters wouldn’t exist.

So, of course, I struggled. I struggled to open up, struggled to write ten pages, and struggled to give back good critiques, but I got better at these things. I continued writing a story idea I had when I took my first in-person class by Francesca Lia Block in 2016. The story I worked on was a high fantasy that could quickly go wrong since I was an inexperienced writer. I got so caught up in world-building that I lost concrete details that helped the reader relate or the characters come to life. She asked me to write a non-fiction piece for submission in week three. (I will post it on my blog in the upcoming weeks). It was called Somebody’s Giant, about a death in front of our home in downtown Oceanside. This piece was a great release for me, and it was nice to hear the feedback from my peers. Even though writing non-fiction doesn’t come naturally to me, getting support from my group was healing. 

We met every Sunday evening and worked in a group of four. These writers were very talented. For the price of the class and the amount of writing, the kind of people this class attracts are die-hards. Reading their stories changed me. Giving them feedback, getting their feedback, was more than someone close to me could offer. We are all striving for a common goal, all being vulnerable, and all there to support one another in the process. There was little time to chat, but Francesca allowed us as long as we needed to give each other our reports, talk about our work, and get her feedback. We had group exercises and even sat in a brief ceremony for the full moon. Reading their stories changed me more than I can say for my community college class because I was a part of their story. They took in my advice and comments, and it reflected in the upcoming submissions. They trusted me with their secrets, and the sisterhood bond was healing for me. 

In the tenth week, I didn’t submit my work. I’m not perfect, and I got stuck six pages into my chapter and was overwhelmed with work, illness, and stress. I didn’t move forward. Instead, I focused on my reviews and gave my group the best analysis I could for that week. I would recommend two hours a day put aside for this class, Monday through Friday, with a break on Saturday and a meeting on Sunday. I’m not saying it takes that long to write ten pages but you have to map out your chapter/ or short story, you have to answer the questions, review your classmates stories, take notes and execute the notes from the prior week and write your story. If I could do this class again, I would take the questions more seriously and put aside more time to focus.

I wrote 66 pages, 21952 words for my story Discordia, gained notes on an existing short story and a ten-page non-fiction called Somebody’s Giant. I received four notes (including Francesca’s professional notation) on each chapter. I learned how to become a better writer, how to plan and analyze my process, and I was pushed to write by taking this course. Because she allowed me a payment plan, I was able to manage the class fee, and I would 100% retake this class. 

If you are a reader, I recommend you pick up Francesca’s fiction books. If you want to become a writer, I recommend A Thorn Necklace. If you are a writer, take the course. There is nothing to lose and so much to gain. I am so proud of what I have accomplished in just ten weeks. 

Thank you for reading my blog! I am happy to be back. 

(Some links in this blog post are affiliate links.)

Happy New Year!

Thank you to my 50 followers. I appreciate your commitment.

This New Year has been a resting period for me. I apologize that the blog has been less active, and this can be expected for the next two months.

Opportunities have come up with my edible company, and I am currently trying to settle on a name that captures my brand and stands out from the crowd. Since we also offer salves.

We have sold out of products at Emerald Genetics/ Cal Sole, and our next harvest is in February. We will have on the shelves Gelato 25/ Dosido and OG. Sales and building client relationships have proven to be a challenge. I must constantly reevaluate why our product stands out and what we offer that no one else does. As I’ve been told, growing cannabis in Humboldt county isn’t enough. Even though we can’t hold onto product, I am still establishing myself as a sales face for Cal Sole. You can find Emerald Genetic Products at 101 M Street Dispensary inc. in Crescent City.

I am taking a writing course with my favorite writer Francesca Lia Block. This is the real secret my blog is being put on hold. I write ten pages a week, and I answer some questions that help me explore my characters and also myself as a writer. I then review my peer’s work and then meet on Sundays to review our pieces. It has been a dream of mine to take this course and I am very thankful to be under her guidance.

Little Lost Forest is working on getting its business license and signing up for upcoming fairs. Competing with the artists in Humboldt county takes work. All the talented people seem to come out of the woodwork to live here! So I am going strong with my Etsy and will update it soon.

My best friend, who you might be familiar with, Orion, moved in. He is going to Cal Poly and working on a social worker degree. He will be helping me with the edibles and also with the children.

My husband and I have talked about doing more things together, but we still need to do actually do them. We spent many years getting stable enough to have a child while raising our oldest. We don’t have a lot of time with each other… alone. For now, it is what it is, but since I talk about marriage and relationships in this blog, this is a genuine piece of my life. I miss having “fun” with my partner, like going on car rides along the coast or spending time together at the beach without the kids.

Please take a second to reflect on how you have come into the New Year. Reflect on all the progress you’ve made in the past fifteen days and the goals you have set in place for the rest of the year. Your goals are attainable.

I hope that you are going through the New Year with ease. Enjoy the rain Humboldt County.

Part 3 and Final Interview

Starbucks was cold and loud, so Dan, Lanie, and Natascha went over to the Shanty to continue their interview.

Natascha: We changed locations to the Shanty for warmer and quieter conditions. Hi Dan. Thank you for coming today!

Dan: Hi.

Natascha: How’s your day going?

Dan: It’s going great. It’s really cold.

Natascha: It is pretty cold day. At least it’s not raining yet.

Dan and Natascha: Yet… [laughs]

Natascha: Can you tell me your pronouns?

Dan: I use she and he. A lot of people get confused about that, so I’m here to talk about it today.

Natascha: Awesome. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Dan: I am a percussionist, and I like to paint. And I work with children on the spectrum. [Inaudible]

Natascha: You want to come a little bit closer?

Dan: I should and talk louder too.

Natascha: There we go. How has transitioning been like for you?

“Yes, the more we learn about this, the more people will have the ability to have language to advocate for themselves in a medical way.”


Dan: So, I am intersex. For those that don’t know what that term means. It’s an umbrella term that categorizes a difference in genitalia or chromosomes. It is something someone is born as. It is not an identity. It is a way someone is born, and it is not necessarily what someone identifies. An umbrella term to talk about someone who is born without traditional male or female characteristics.

Natascha: Thank you. Why is it important to use the proper pronouns?

Dan: It brings validation. It shows a sign of care and respect. It’s like learning somebodies name. You wouldn’t- It’s understandable if you don’t want to learn someone’s name, you don’t want to get to know them. But, if you are going to ask their name, you’re not going to call them a different name [second of inaudible.] It’s a sign of respect and acceptance.

Why do you think it might be hard for some cis-gendered folks, or why they would be bothered by the use of they/ them pronouns?

Dan: Learning is hard, and it can be embarrassing if- and seeing somebody upset and sometimes in order to make yourself feel better, they’d say, ‘You have no reason to be upset.’ versus maybe I need to reflect on what I can do differently to accommodate and respect you as a human being.


Natascha: Thank you. Why is it important to introduce children into the LGBTQ community?

Dan: There are LGBTQ children, and without that community, it can make someone feel isolated and alone.

Natascha: Do you feel that transition has changed you in any way?

Dan: So, particularly with my case, I’ve always felt the need to appear as Afact or a cis-female. If that means altering certain characteristics, which I’m not going to go into detail about, or hormone supplements, at this point of my life, finding a community where we are genderqueer, and I have the ability to accept myself, who I am, and all the lovely characteristics that make who I am and not needing to edit this. So, the act of transitioning for me is essentially me being myself, whatever that looks like- letting myself exist for once, as I am- as I wake up in the morning, as I. Yes.

Natascha: Thank you so much for coming onto Little Lost Forest and talking to me. Also, sharing with our community here in Eureka and everyone else who comes to the blog why it is important to use proper pronouns and why (cis) people shouldn’t take offense when asked what their pronouns are because we’re in this community together and to show respect to one another and the people in the community need to change the way we think and respect and appreciate members of the LGBTQ community within our society these include people with religious degrees and people that assist disabled children. When disrespecting someones announced pronouns, you don’t know who you’re talking to, their background, and what they had to endure. By not respecting someone’s pronouns, they are not respecting our community as a whole. Thank you, folxs, for coming on today. Is there anything that you want to add?

Dan: Yes, the more we learn about this, the more people will have the ability to have language to advocate for themselves in a medical way. I can’t tell you how much that has changed in my ability to talk about the things that my body needs, and that’s not something that necessarily a woman who is cis might need. And even though the doctor might see that’s what I am assigned from my birth, it isn’t necessarily what my body needs. So just those terms, the education behind those terms, just having doctors that are educated on what that is because I have come across a lot of medical professionals that don’t know. It’s healthy. At the very least, I can go to the doctor and get care.

Natascha: That is so important. Alright, thank you.   

Using the Correct Pronouns in the LGBTQ Community Pt.2

Laine, Dan, and Natascha sit out front of Starbucks, sipping coffee and talking about misgendering and using proper pronouns.

Natascha: This is Natascha with Little Lost Forest. I will be conducting short interviews today with Laine and Dan on the LGBTQ community to spread information and create co-existence on non-gender-conforming and intersex persons.

Hello Laine, thank you for coming today.

Laine: Hello, thanks for having me.

Natascha: How’s your day going?

Laine: It’s going alright, thank you. And how about you?

Natascha: It’s going good. It’s been long. Thanks for coming late at night. Can you tell me your pronouns?

Laine: My pronouns are they/ them.

Natascha: Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Laine: I’ve lived in Humboldt County for 21 years. I have degrees from Cal Poly Humboldt in music and religious studies, and I’m learning to be a dog trainer.

Natascha: That’s awesome! How have you transitioned?

Laine: I was born female, and I transitioned in several ways. I had a hysterectomy in 2019. Earlier this year, I had top surgery, which also helped me with a chronic pain condition which I’ve had since high school. I am on a low dose of testosterone which has helped in several ways, but most people couldn’t tell that by looking at me, so not everything is visible to the eye when someone is transitioning.

Natascha: How has transitioning healed you?

Laine: I’m a much happier person. I used to be very grumpy. I had a lot of anxiety about my body and I was always very depressed about my life and about who I was but I’m not like that anymore. Still a little bit because things are still up in the air with a few things, but it’s much better. And having surgery on my chest helped my chronic pain a lot. So physically- much better.

Natascha: Why is it important to use the proper pronouns?

Laine: I see it a lot of times as respect. Do you respect this person and what they’re going through and who they are? That says to me yes! I see you. I see who you are, and I will use the pronouns that you use on a regular basis. There are trans people that I even don’t respect, but I still wouldn’t misgender them, such as *** ***. She’s not a really good person, but I still would never misgender her or deadname her because that’s just not a cool thing to do. You wouldn’t go up to a stranger and say, ‘Hey you, I think you’re a man, and I’m going to call you a woman.’ Why would you do that to a person? That’s just not cool. Do you lack manners?

Natascha: I can totally agree with that. Why do you think some cis-gendered folks are bothered by others’ use, announcement, or display of their correct pronouns?

Laine: For some people, especially the Gen- X and Boomer generations, and maybe because they are older, have trouble getting acclimated to something new. [Loud background noise]  -Sorry about the traffic!

Natascha: I’m sorry.

Laine: They may be like, ‘Okay, this is really new for me. I don’t know how to deal with it. It’s a big change. You might have to remind me a whole bunch’ And that can be hard for some people, especially if it is their child or grandchild. ‘I’ve known you as “this” for so long. It’s gonna take them some time to change to “this.”‘ But for some other people, people of our generation or even younger, they see it as you are taking something from them, especially with trans-fem people. Cis-women will see it as you’re taking away their womanhood. They see it as your putting on a costume. You can’t just take some hormones or put on a dress and some make-up with longer hair and suddenly- bam, you’re a woman! They say you have to have a womb and give birth which totally pushes away cis-women who can’t give birth or don’t want to or anybody who can’t give birth and doesn’t want to because we shouldn’t just be down to our body parts. That’s not just who we are. We’re not just our genitals and our body parts. We’re who we are inside.

Natascha: Thank you. What is the importance of introducing children to the LGBTQ community?

Laine: Well, there are LGBTQ children, and we don’t want them to feel alone and ostracized in not knowing who they are because then it’s kind of sad to feel all alone, and once you find others who are similar to you- it’s like finding others who have the same hobby as you but you’re like ‘Oh my gosh, you’re like me. I can talk to you about this stuff. There’s somebody who understands. I’m not alone,’ and don’t you want your kids to be happy and feel like they’re accepted? And, besides that, even kids who aren’t members of our community, wouldn’t you want them to see other people who are different? Rather if your child is Caucasian, wouldn’t you want them to see people that are Black, who are Hispanic, and people who are different then them so they see that this is a glorious world? There are people who are different, and we’re all wonderful people. Don’t you want them to see people who are disabled and show them that there are people who are not like “me.” That they are still out there and not everybody’s like you.

Interrupted by intoxicated passerby: Whoah, you’re so amazing! So good!

Laine: Wow…

Natascha: I think you’re pretty amazing [Laine.] He just doesn’t get how amazing you really are.

Laine: – Show children that there are so many people out there in our world and not everyone is like what they see on a regular basis.

Natascha: Thank you, thank you so much. Do you feel that transition has changed you in any way?

Laine: Well, I am a happier person. I used to be very depressed and- but- I didn’t really know who I was. I was confused. I was in pain both physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was grumpy all the time. I wasn’t a nice person. I was “Grrrr.” Now, I’ve been through all these struggles with changing my name and being on hormones, and I see people doing the same struggles, and I can help them in some way. I’d like to give them some tips, and tell them ‘This is what I did. If you’re going through the same struggle, I maybe can give you some ideas on how to pass those hurdles in certain processes in what you might need to do so you can get through that faster because I did it in the slow and long way and now you can do it a faster way so you can get through that in a much more expedited manner. And not just that, but if someone is within the community and not transitioning- just tell them what it’s like so they can understand. Or if people are outside of our community and want to be an ally, just talk to them about what it’s like, like what I am doing now. But if someone comes and doesn’t come to be an ally and doesn’t come with openness or love, I don’t have time for that because I’m not going to waste my time with a person who doesn’t want to understand and just comes with hate.

Natascha: Thank you so much, Laine. I really appreciate your time. I know it’s freezing cold out here, and we have horrible background noise, but you have been so wonderful and great. Is there anything else that you wanted to add?

Laine: I don’t know. Do you have any other questions?

Natascha: No, I think you answered my questions just beautifully.

Laine: That’s great, and I am so glad that you are doing this, and I hope it goes over well, and if I can answer more questions or if there are any comments, I’ll be there.

Natascha: Thank you, we will make sure to reach out to you. Thank you.

Laine: Thank you.

Thank you for reading. The correct pronouns list is below. Please share with your friends and family. Dan’s interview is coming up. You can look forward to reading it next week.

Interviews on Using Proper Pronouns


I conducted three interviews this week on folx in the LGBTQIA community. Here is one of them!

Natascha: Hi, this is Natascha with Little Lost Forest, and I will be interviewing Ranma today. A very good friend of mine for the past ten years. Ranma, how are you doing?

Ranma: I’m doing good, thank you for asking.

Natascha: Awesome, I’m so happy to hear. Will you please tell us your pronouns?

Ranma: Well, my pronouns are she and her.

Natascha: Sweet, and as I understand, you have transitioned?

Ranma: Yes, that is correct. I have been in transition for about a year, and I think four months now.

Natascha: Wow, the time has gone by. It flies. Can you tell me a little about yourself, what you do, and what your hobbies are?

Ranma: I’m an artist. I’m very athletic. I used to break dance. I love listening to music. I love making illustrations. I try to do illustrations for the trans community, and I also do designs for everyone else. As you know, I’m very open with my artwork. As for a real job- that is basically my real job because I have epilepsy and can not work.

Natascha: Well, a full-time artist is definitely a real job, and you keep yourself quite busy.

Ranma: It helps when you’re mad.

Natascha: Yeah, it does help when you’re mad. I can agree with that. How has transition healed you?

Ranma: Um, well, it allowed me to be myself completely. And now I actually have a bigger palette of fashion than I had before. More clothes to choose from, which can be awesome and really bad at the same time. If you saw my room, you could see the toll it’s taken.

Natascha: That’s great. The clean-up might be more now.

Ranma: Yeah! I need one of those machines now that they clean the ice with-

Natascha: Like in Meet the Jetsons.

Ranma: That’s right, a Zambonie. A Zamboni or a mechanical maid or something.

Natascha: I’m sure you can manifest anything. It will come to you. Why is it important to use proper pronouns while someone is transitioning?

Ranma: Well, because, for one, that person was never actually their birth gender. Inside they were always woman or male, and actually saying so would help their body’s energetical cells (helping every trans person realize that they are beautiful, Angelic even) to actually blossom. -Because it feels good to be called what you’re striving for. It was always there, but you know, you’re just trapped in this skin suit.

Natascha: That’s beautiful. Why do you think some cis-gendered folks are bothered by others’ use, announcement, or display of their correct pronouns?

Ranma: Well, to be honest, I think a lot of cispeople are very uneducated about their own sexuality. And also I think that they’re fearful. For instance, if they see a cute woman and that woman turns out to be a transwoman, it’s like, ‘Oh Shit, am I gay now?’ You know, and vice versa. To be honest, I think it’s just insecurity.

Natascha: Do you feel transitioning has changed you in any way?

Ranma: I can’t answer that one too precisely because I have always been me, but the biggest change that I can say is that I am actually 24/7 happy.

Natascha: I’ve heard that a lot in these interviews. That it [transition] has helped with depression and has made people very happy. That is wonderful.

Ranma: One of my friends I went to bars with was like, ‘Oh my god, you’ve changed so much.’ For instance, you smile more, and I thought to myself, I thought I always smiled. No, no, no, you smile a little bit, and then you put on a depressing song for karaoke, and then you sing a depressing song for karaoke, but here you are dancing and smiling and more upbeat songs for karaoke. So I’m like, alright, well, thank you, I didn’t notice that.

Natascha: Cool, this is a question I threw in there, which is kind of important to me because I have children, and I’m introducing my daughter into the LGBTQ(IA) community.

Ranma: Awesome-

Natascha: Why do you think it is important to introduce children to the LBGTQ community?

Ranma: That has so many answers. For one, it’s really good for child evolution right there to be accepting of everyone and everything and to realize that there is more than one way to live life. And everyone is the same. You know, it is also the journey of who you are. There are grown adults who have no idea who they are.

Natascha: Yeah, absolutely, and there are people that transition later in life so, and don’t find happiness until then.

Ranma: I am one of them. I didn’t even know I could do this until four years ago when I had my trans fiance, and we broke up, and I found out that, as much as I don’t want to admit it, I was completely jealous of her.

Natascha: Does it all make sense now? Are things coming together for you?

Ranma: Yeah, the only thing I have to really be cautious of is haters.

Natascha: Can you tell me a little more about that? What kind of negative reactions or discrimination do you have to face?

Ranma: Basically everything that comes with being a woman, those discriminations (referencing that women have to go through, all women have to go through, being judged on their beauty and being seen as just sexual entities, etc.)- that type of stuff. And then there’s little stuff like my aunt still likes to mislabel me, misgender me, as you know he. And like someone did this to you! And it’s like, no, I did this to myself, and I’m happy. I made a choice. And it’s quite interesting. The landlord still calls me he ’cause he caught me at the entrance of my transition, and he’s old, he’s sweet, you know he just can’t open up that third eye and get down with me being a woman and him being able to still talk to me and chill and have a beer with me.

Natascha: Yeah, I’m sorry you have to deal with that. At the same time, I think you’re really blossoming into your true self, and you’re absolutely beautiful and stunning. I don’t think anyone is going to get you down, and if they do, you call me. Is there anything else you want to add?

Ranma: There are some of our old friends that just recently saw me and haven’t seen me in a bit, and I just went to the bar. I have this overall skirt. A beautiful overall skirt, and I think you know Kevin. You know, dreadlock, Kevin. He couldn’t say to my face that he found me attractive. He told Eddie, my housemate instead, and said, ‘Oh my god, who’s that? She’s got beautiful legs,’ and found out it was me. ‘That’s Ranma,’ ‘Oh, Ranma? Can I meet her?’ ‘Kevin, you already know Ranma. Ranma used to be Rasheed. That’s Ranma.’ ‘Oh, okay. She has beautiful legs.’

Natascha: Now you get to show them off.

Ranma: I love showing them off. Especially when an old friend hits on you. ‘You don’t recognize me?’, ‘Okay.’

Natascha: Well, you’re a new person now.

Ranma: Not even how I speak? I think I still speak the same.

Natascha: I think you do, but you know it’s a new you, and I am so proud of you. Is there anything else you wanted to add to help educate the community on transgenders or using pronouns?

Ranma: Well, all I want to offer is a little bit for everyone on this one. Loving yourself will allow you to love others. And that’s the basic thing if you’re cis, trans, or miscellaneous, you know it doesn’t matter. It all starts from loving yourself; once you love yourself, you can be yourself and learn to love everyone else.

Natascha: Thank you so much, Ranma, for coming on today. These are short ten-minute interviews. I appreciate you.

Ranma: No worries.

Thank you, everyone for reading, educating your community, and spreading the word that using the correct pronouns when someone is in transition is showing respect! I look forward to sharing more interviews early next week.

Learning Curves with a Nine-Year-Old Girl

My nine-year-old is my joy and learning curve to life. She needs to be treated delicately and with emotional support. She does not have tantrums, and she mimics what she sees in adults. For a while, I had to let her make her own decisions to learn from her mistakes. I could only tell her so many times a day not to do this or that before our relationship wasn’t fruitful. Then she will run with the reins, and I have to take them back, slow her down, and set boundaries and rules for her to follow again. We have made some significant changes lately.

Her doctor told her she had high cholesterol and glucose levels. She recommended a dairy-free diet and informed us that she was sensitive to eggs and wheat. My daughter likes candy and hates her greens. I didn’t want to make her eat anything. I felt uncomfortable knowing she would close her mouth and refuse, but something changed when I had the doctor on my side. Now it was something she had to do.

I began by feeding her kale, bok choy, and broccoli. We integrate green foods into everything we eat. She has switched to Almond Milk (she prefers the vanilla flavored.) They will not give her dairy at school, which includes many bread options (biscuits, waffles, etc.). She drinks the Silk milk and is now hungry enough to eat her fruits and vegetables. Even if the doctor made up the dairy allergy to change her diet, I am glad she did.

My daughter got kicked out of her rideshare for being rude to the elderly carpool. As much as I want to protect my daughter and stand up for her, this brought immediate changes. I assured her that we greet those who help us, ask them about their day, and say goodbye, even if we’re having a bad day. I had her write an apology letter, but these are things anyone would do. What hit home was that I took away her television and electronics for a month and refused to buy her anything that she wanted (not that she needed.) This method was very effective, and I’m looking for more changes, like saying hi to the cashier at the grocery store by name.

My daughter felt like a friend wronged her at school, and she felt vengeful. My friend and I explained to her that this was not the proper reaction and that just because someone had made her feel bad, it wouldn’t make it right to make that friend feel the same pain. She apologized to her friend. I got her The Self Regulation Workbook for Kids. She is working on managing her feelings, and I’ve noticed she hasn’t been fighting with her peers.

My daughter does chores. Her tasks include personal hygiene, cleaning her room, picking up poop, doing her workbooks, and doing the clean dishes. She is struggling in school, and even though she is in 4th grade, we work on a 3rd-grade spelling book. She reads daily and works on multiplication three times a week.

My daughter is very bright and creative. She has to match her clothing rather than wear new clothes that do not. She brushes her teeth and helps her little brother brush his every morning. She writes me letters when I am mad and always offers to pay for her things even though we won’t let her. She has proven to play with all ages and quickly talks to kids in new settings. My daughter is perfect and weird, and I am so proud to watch her grow and adjust herself when she learns a lesson. Please check out my Tiktok and IG @the_glowing_expectant to see the progress of a nine-year-old big sister and how she supports her brother and mother.

Medieval Festival of Courage

October 1, 2022- The Medieval Festival of Courage was hosted by Coastal Grove Charter (K-8th) in Blue Lake, CA. With 50 vendors, two stages, and three unique arenas, the festival attracted a large crowd dressed throughout the ages. I had the privilege of vending with TLC. My children, their friends, our friends, and school and work peers all came to indulge in the festivities. This two-day event spanned from Saturday to Sunday and was a very special showcasing of central Humboldt’s hidden gems.

At $10 a ticket, knights, wizards, queens, and kings entered the gates! Greeted by a sword-fighting arena for children and a few rowdy fathers, took on foam-covered sticks and fought to the death! The sword fighting arena was one of the most popular activities full of children’s rampage. The front stage was bedecked with belly dancers, clog dancers, poetry, and bagpipes. The days were full of thespians and musicians belching out their hearts in a medieval dialect. Surrounding the arena were vendors of jewelry, clothing, food, and wine. The cherry wine flushed the lady’s cheeks and beer overfilled grizzly bearded men’s mugs. Carmel dripped off green apples like witches’ muck, and meats and corn were cooked on open grills.

Over by the paddock was a tent for the kings and queens, dressed in authentic 500-1500 ce costumes excluded from the common folk. A large crowd lined the fences as men on horses jostled, flinging one another from the horse’s back. Between shows, men in armored suits and beautiful women dressed as royalty paraded the horses for the audience to touch. Within this arena were a petting zoo, a miniature pony ride, and even axe throwing! The animals warmed the children’s hearts while leaving their turds along the pathway.

Even though there was a metal fence on the high-top areas, I combined this arena as one. The front entrance welcomed the crowd to a beautiful children’s area and homely vendors. One tent offered toys for the children, blocks to make castles, animals to dress, and playsets decorated with dangling tassels and velvet flooring. A majestically dressed woman read stories from a book and welcomed groups on a story quest with the legend of the Sword in the Stone. Also displayed were gem vendors, free pin-making stations, and a gnome dome, the safe haven for the tired-out child to live in a fairyland.

Then there was “TLC” a non-profit showcasing local artists, including me! I represented Little Lost Forest displaying wands, resin trays, acrylic art, and ruins! I had the pleasure of live painting and reading tarot. My friend Savana showed her unique electroplating copper jewelry, and Patrick his locally made wood tables, mushrooms, and swords. We advertised for our upcoming festival in Manila next month! Behind the metal fence were aerial silk performers with young girls climbing the ropes! Musicians played at a small stage in the back, serenading us with the violin. A jump house, jewelry vendor, and archery station fit with plenty of room along the basketball court. Men, women, and children pulled back their bows and shot toward haystack targets. A few performers free-flowed with staff, poi, and Hoola hoops.

The Medieval Festival of Courage was a well put on event that brought the community together, offered affordable vending spaces, and showcased some top performers. The children ran the show, and Coastal Grove Charter did a good job relating its artistic and out-of-the-box curriculum. More adults (then I think would like to admit) dressed in their favorite garb and transported back in time. At the end of the day, the playful and innocent collaboration of our communities youth shinned through, and I can’t wait to return next year.

Four Years of Marriage in the age of Polyamory 

Millennials (1981-95, that’s me!) grew up with parents, Baby Boomers (1946-64), who came from families from the Silent Generation (1928-45) where marriage was a lifelong bond and until the no-fault divorce law came to be in 1969, they needed a reason to get divorced. As things changed, the Baby Boomers had the highest divorce rate ever, spiking from 1990-2012 (my parents were part of this statistic). There is no wonder why marriage is less common for Millennials and self-development takes over importance. It may seem “new age,” but more families have kids without getting married or wait until later in life to tie the knot. Some are opening up their relationships to avoid the devastating regrets of being cheated on or, worse, being the cheater.

My father being closer to the Silent Generation than my mother, a Baby Boomer, instilled in me the Christian ethics of marriage and lifelong partnership. When I met my husband at 26, marriage was the last thing on my mind. I wasn’t sure how to be in a committed relationship or end my many friendships with “benefits.” I was conflicted between “if you want me to commit to you, we need to be dating” to “I can still make out with my friends, right?” Influenced by the Burning Man polyamory scene that my peers were partaking in. 

It wasn’t long until I met my husband’s three-year-old daughter, and things changed. I suddenly needed commitment. Not just from him, but I longed to change my single ways and craved stability and family. I suddenly wanted kids so they too could grow up close in age to his daughter. After helping my husband obtain full custody of his child, the ball started rolling even faster. It wasn’t a matter of, I love you so much, let’s get married! Even though I loved him so. I was now questioning how I would play the mother’s role in his daughter’s life and how I wanted to go about it. Being fully committed to my husband and his daughter by raising her, taking her to school, keeping in touch with her grandparents, and helping her expand her social life, there was no doubt in my mind that I would do anything to be her mom. 

We got married in 2018, and eight months later, I adopted her. This was the biggest miracle in my life, but it was a full-time commitment. I saw walls being built between me and my friends. As if overnight, I went from a social butterfly to being a mom while sustaining part-time employment. Reality sunk in, and being unable to go to this or that show or party created resentment within me. The first year of marriage was the hardest. He was working toward his career, and I was obtaining a higher education. We struggled to get on our feet as we worked, spending time away from our child, living in small, unkempt one-bedroom buildings with two dogs and two cats. Things became very stressful. So stressful that I wanted to leave. 

Not my family, just the life we were grinding to achieve. So, we did. In 2020, our second year of marriage, we moved. We left our families and our friends to live in a more affordable place that offered us job security and a home where we got our own rooms. I had always promised our daughter when we had enough space for another child, it would happen, and it did. Our family continued to expand; even though children cost money, we began to make more. We became more stable by the day. Our stress levels decreased, and opportunities became more abundant. 

I enjoy being married to a partner who allows me to be me. The constrictions society had fifty years ago has been broken with gender identity, sexual orientations, and ways of life broadening. People are finding new ways to conduct and maintain relationships. I’m not saying jealousy, rules, and boundaries aren’t in action, but I believe more acceptance and a willingness to try to please the ones we love for who they are and not who we want them to be helps sustain a relationship.

What advice would I give to the younger generations? Don’t push commitment without reason, a dying desire, or a meaningful purpose to marry. Otherwise, you are feeding the government more money off a concept they sell as “love.” Love yourself, love your partner, but most of all, love your life. Love your day-to-day routines. Be thankful for the life you’re living because it is beautiful! Everything else will come together. Not only will it come together, but you will notice things becoming abundant. Love, space, time, we control all of this subconsciously. It’s up to you how you use it. 

Most of all, don’t feel trapped. We are not trapped in the lives we live. We weren’t back then (history), and we’re not now. It takes honesty with yourself, what you want in life, and if what you are doing is making you happy. If you find yourself unhappy, then there is no reason to keep doing the same things every day, which calls for change. I don’t despise my parents’ divorce- it was time for a change. And who knows, my marriage is still young. Yet, if you enjoy your partner, if you don’t want to change them, if you appreciate them for who they are and how they compliment you in achieving your goals in life- then put a ring on it. There’s no documentation necessary for that. 

Malakai Turned One!


Last year on August 10, 2021, my husband, Jeremy, delivered Malakai, at our home in the seaside town of Eureka, California. I am very grateful for the beautiful experience and the baby it brought me. Malakai is developing quickly for his age and is rather a large (2-3T/tall) boy. He is kind and plays well with others. Malakai’s birth has also been a transformational experience for me; I have found myself much more organized and future-focused. I have taken up business classes and organizational skills I didn’t have before. I had a summer off from substitute teaching and played in the sun with my children going from one campsite to the next, one town to the next. 

It was a beautiful mothers day in May when my son started repeating his first word, “Dada.” The ramblings of “Da Da Da Da” went on for months until Halyaya (his sister) and I couldn’t help but reply, “I am not dada!” Toward the end of the summer, my son started saying, “Mama.” I might close the door behind me, and he will stand with his arms outstretched, screaming, “Ma ma! Ma ma!” Or he will be in a sour mood and ask to be held with his hands opening and closing and a crying plea “Mama, Mama,” snuggling his head into my chest and rubbing his nose against my blouse. This little victory was exciting for me, just as much as his little first step, which led him to run through the house with other children or play outside in the backyard. 

Malakai started eating food which felt like it took forever as my friend’s babies were being fed bananas, strawberries, and avocados, but Malakai refused it all. He eats meals with us, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He loves snacks. Like Halaya, he prefers warm foods over cold foods. On my birthday, two days after his, Malakai fell into the fireplace and got a cut on his eye that bled profusely. We rushed him to the ER, and by the time we got there, he didn’t seem fazed by it. He is one tough cookie. 

I love the community I have met, the friends and acquaintances my son draws in at festivals or parks. Even at the grocery store, I can have a sour attitude, and a lady will approach me and comment on the kindness in my son’s eyes or how much they love his smile. At his daycare, where I picked up a shift or two over the summer, I watched as his cheerfulness and playfulness spread amongst the teachers and infants. It will be hard for me to return to work and place my one-year-old in daycare in a week when summer comes close. Halaya, Malakai, and I have had two months of intensive bonding.  

Even though we are no longer breastfeeding, Malakai still cosleeps with us. My husband and I want him to sleep in the cradle, but it is hard for me mostly to separate from him. He no longer sleeps next to us but more like against us, on top of us; sometimes, we find him at our feet. He will whimper or cry in the night, and one of us will get him a bottle. I love to soothe his cries. I expect that the cosleeping will be coming to an end shortly. 

Now that Malakai is one, and I look back, I had thought the first year would be more challenging. I was surprised to have gained somewhat of life back, to continue to have a healthy relationship with my husband, and still have time to spend quality time with my daughter. Even though I have to commit more time to raising my child, I have learned to cut out certain times of the day to get things done, like writing my blog. Things that are harder than I assumed would be going out in public or leaving my children with someone else to watch. If I were to do it again, I would have breastfed longer, introduced solids sooner, stuck to using cloth diapers more often, and maybe would have been less eager to go out in the town. But in all, it’s just been great, and I couldn’t be happier with the little family we have created.