This will probably be the best week of the year.
Do you know what I did today?
I went kayaking for the first time.
I could hear the whales. I could see their water spouts.
I listened to the sea lions yelling at each other.
I have a blister.
I went paddle boarding. I tried to stand up. I felt wobbly.
The water is cold.
I went hiking up the rocks at the point.
I stood on moss that’s been shaded by these trees for hundreds of years.
My boots are still tied.
I applied for my first photography contest.
I sent in my first story query to a magazine.
I ate halibut I saw come in on the line.
I saw it drained. I saw it fileted. I smelled it cook.
I came within ten feet of my first black bear.
We both wanted to watch the sunset.
My heart didn’t beat much faster.
I drove up a mountain all by myself in my little blue car on the one lane black gravel roads.
I picked berries.
I made jam with my own two hands.
I did all that today.
And it’s still not enough.
I still feel lazy.
No matter how close to perfect I become,
That feeling will never go away, will it?
My mother, she calls it the Purtain in us.
That feeling of never doing enough, being enough,
Never being good enough.
I like to imagine which poems Terry Gross will pick out to analyze me
Once I become a famous poet.
And I have a book on shelves somewhere.
Whichever ones she selects will throw daggers at my character.
I like to think she’ll find themes in myself I didn’t know were there.
Then I’ll finally get recognition from my father for all the money he spent educating my brain.
See, Dad, I’m not as smart as my sister, but I can be on NPR, for just being me.
Am I interesting?
I’m not so sure.
I met a programmer who told me I was.
It must be because I moved to Alaska.
Other than that,
I’m a quiet person,
Who prefers to listen to your stories, than tell my own.
I suppose that makes me greedy.
I have so much to say.
I can’t get it all out.
I can’t stop myself from feeling apologetic.
I have to barrel through.
And not think about it.
It’s like singing really loudly in my mind, so I can’t process anything.
She was telling me about the island next to Russia,
Where she used to be.
About how high the domestic violence percentages are there.
There’s not much we can do about it,
Because you can’t go to the clinic, then your Aunt would find out,
And she’d tell your boyfriend.
You can’t tell your Mom, it was her new husband after all.
The cops would have to fly in on a helicopter.
They don’t have rape kits here.
You can’t tell school, you have cousins in your class,
Half of them have your last name.
Outsiders can only hope it will get better, with these new generations.
It makes me wish I was stronger.
Strong enough to do something about it, even though I have no position in the community.
We don’t have cops here.
Our VPSO left.
That means there’s no law.
Not like most followed the rules anyway.
But we’ve got people stealing gas, girls, cedar, and stuff from your car.
And our house still doesn’t have locks.
The troopers take days.
The last time we didn’t have a VPSO,
A girl got killed,
Took two days for them to get here.
The community watched over the body.
I’m living below poverty line.
I did the math today,
It was the car payments that nicked me over.
But it was so hard walking to work everyday.
My parents still cover my health insurance,
And I split my cell phone with my sister.
But my rent with gas and utilities is over 60% of my income.
And I’m spending too much on food.
I’m just me. I’m good with money. I have no debt.
What do you do if you have a baby, and you make as little as I do?