Strong Anyway

The first time I remember being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up was in the second grade. My response:  “Author.”  For a second grader, it wasn’t a very exciting choice and I cant remember why I chose that, but it stuck with me through most of elementary school.  I also wrote my first book in the second grade. I don’t remember what it was about but I bet I could dig it out of my mom’s basement.  I do remember that computers were extremely new and barely in use at school but the technology teacher helped me print my pages out and bound it for me. Gosh I was so proud of that. In fourth and fifth grade I wrote more stories, one with my friend about a girl who traveled to Hawaii to visit her dad and one in the fifth grade about a girl whose sister was killed in a car crash… kind of heavy stuff for a fifth grader.  Throughout middle and high school I kept journals and diaries, writing out my feelings, fears, tragedies, and secrets. In my senior year of high school I wrote a novel for my senior project. I still have it and recently bought a floppy disk converter so I could start reading through it.  In 2009 when my daughter was born, I used to sit up with her for hours at night – she required absolute silence to sleep and would do so only if I was holding her. I wrote a book in my head that I have written over and over for ten years – it’s a trilogy by now – but I’ve never written it down. 

All of my life, for as long as I can remember, I have loved to read stories, write stories, and have written about my own life and experiences. I have no idea why I didn’t pursue that passion as a college student and often wonder what I might be doing if I had.  For most of my adult life, people have told me I should blog or write a book, but truthfully, I’ve never felt sure that anyone would read anything that I wrote. Blogging is so common and any story I can tell has probably already been told, right? I have had myself convinced that (a) nobody cares and (b) it’s already been done and (c) a lot of people wont like what you have to say – you can do without that kind of rejection in your life. The steps I’ve taken in the past year towards “putting my stuff out there” have been less like cute wobbly baby steps and more like being dragged through mud by your teeth. This year, I have found myself in great need of wisdom, guidance, understanding, affirmation, truth, purging, and peace. That describes what? 99.9% of us (if we’re honest)? 

In the past two months the last two steps towards this beginning were planted firmly in front of me:  First a friend who is a wizard at all things websites graciously said “I can help you with that.”  And then… she did.  Second, in a “Target moment” (you know, when you go to Target to buy toilet paper but then buy everything else?) I picked up Brene Brown’s book “Braving the Wilderness” because I was sick of hearing how great she was and desperate for something relevant and life altering.  The first chapter is called “Everywhere and Nowhere” (ding!) and the first line says how fearful she is every time she sits down to write (ding! ding!)  She clearly wrote anyway, despite her fears, and she’s changed so many lives for the better – because of her fear. My takeaway from the first few chapters of that book was that it doesn’t matter who reads what I write, what I say or don’t say, or what anyone thinks of it. Write it anyway.

So to Chandler, who is patient, kind, funny, REAL, and a true wizard… thank you for the push. I bet you didn’t even know you did that, but I needed it and I’m grateful. 

To Dr Brene Brown… you already know your work matters, but your chapter “Everywhere and Nowhere” changed my life. At a time in my life where I felt so desperately insignificant, inadequate, and invisible, your words made me feel seen. Thank you.  

I am a big advocate for expectation management… so here’s what you can expect from me:

I can be funny, so it won’t be somber and serious all the time. 

My husband is going to do some writing with me. HE. IS. AWESOME. I know you probably think that I’m biased but in this case I’m also right. He is. 

I have been a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist for 12 years and have worked with the very young, the very old, and everyone in between. My experiences as a professional working with kids, their parents, and adults in this field have provided a wealth of teaching and learning experiences that have added so much value and countless stories to my life.

I’m kind of into fitness. The story of this journey is pretty cool.  You’ll hear from both of us on this topic!

I am a mother to two kids. Parenthood is a hot topic and one I am very passionate about. There is plenty of room to laugh, learn, and share stories here.

I am a military spouse. I sort of cringe at that label, but our lifestyle has provided so many opportunities to learn about ourselves. I promise not to be a cliché. 

I have dogs. Two. They are ridiculous. Or I am ridiculous. Yes, I’m that “dog person,” but they are wildly entertaining so you’re welcome in advance. 

I guess that’s a good start as far as introductions go?

It took me 37 years to ‘grow up’ but I’m determined to make my second grade-self proud… here we go…   lets write it anyway.

~KPAL

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