Crown or No Crown, You’re Still a Queen to Me

“Crown or no crown, you’re still a queen to me.” I read these bold, black words in a small card with a picture of a silver glitter crown on the cover.  My friend, Desire—my coworker and fellow sorority sister—left this card for me at our work. It was a sweet gift: we had just learned…

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Treasure Hunter

Show-and-tell Fridays were days my brothers and I lived for as we progressed through grade school. We simply brought our dad. Well known among our peers as the man who brought unusual artifacts and interesting stories of Native American folklore to life, he also brought the pride of his ancestry. He easily looked the part…

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Victorious in Him

When I was a little girl, I had a best friend. He called me “Little Princess.” His hugs were protective. His smile was warm. He adored me and I adored him. We loved each other, and we both knew it. There was pure delight between us when we interacted. Then, one day, he moved away. Far away. I went from…

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No End in Sight

Weeks before the collective pandemic upheaval in March 2020, I found myself stepping off the Seattle-to-Bainbridge Island ferry. I am carrying a backpack chock-full of books. Some of the books are mine; others are not. Books are friends, holding words I want to remember. Piles of them are stacked in both my home and therapy…

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Tipping Point

The computer keyboard looked alive, warped and waving as my eyes roamed over the keys. They were everywhere. Ants crawling in and out of the space between the letters and numbers, piling over each other to get to…Where were they going? Wait, where were they coming from? I searched frantically around the desk, my heart…

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Asking for a Do-over

“I know she is capable of offering deep care, but there are moments when I don’t feel she actually listens to me,” my husband Michael says to our marriage counselor. I smile nervously at the irony that he’s married to a professional counselor who at times struggles with listening.

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Tears Week

Years ago, as a first-year counseling student, I attended a course called Fundamental Therapy Skills. It was the introductory class to my upcoming practicum and internship, and the coursework prepared students for counseling real people. The final week was deemed “tears week,” because it had a reputation of eliciting many tears from the students. During…

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Layers First

There I sat. Alone. Silent. And in pain.   During my seven-year marriage, I encountered other couples who had divorced and often wondered, “Why didn’t they try harder? Why didn’t they keep the marriage together at all costs? I just don’t understand.” But, now, on the other side of marriage and trying to pick up the pieces,…

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Comforting My Critical Self

You know you have an internal critic when your therapist tells you that you have an “Integrated Self” and a “Critical Self.”

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The White Dress

Bagpipes resounded “Amazing Grace” as the June rain pounded the roof of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church. After the bridesmaids processed in pale pink tea dresses to the tune of “Canon in D,” the large wooden doors shut. Thunder clapped, marking the redemption of this day, the many dark chapters of our stories now expanding and…

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