This is my face lately.

Less makeup and fun outfits, more beanies and outdoor-wear.

Less family dinners and meeting friends at music gigs—more quiet evenings and googling “how to train a puppy to stop biting” as I trudge out the door with a wriggly brown fur ball at 3 am.

I have never been able to hide how I’m doing. I may come across a certain way to other people, but I can look at pictures of myself from different phases of my life and pinpoint my exact emotional state at the time.

I look at photos of my face now, and I can see it clear as day: The vulnerability, the weariness, the strength. I see the determination and the deep sadness. I see the hope and the question of how and when it will be ok to be happy. I see the woman who is recovering from a decade and a half of serious trauma, life changes, and intensity—finally acknowledging the things that were and were not ok, seeing clearly the patterns I held that didn’t do me or those I loved any good, and doing my part in letting those broken places heal.

I see a woman who has come so far—who feels pretty tired thinking about the road ahead.

I see a woman who is still becoming—who is pretty dang committed to being the most whole version of herself possible.

I’m learning it’s ok to be exactly where I’m at. I’m learning to pace myself and not get overwhelmed by my future.

I’m learning to set the tone for my own life. I’m learning true gratitude and leaning in to healing.

I’m learning to just let things hurt sometimes. I’m learning to be honest about how I am, and to be unfazed by people’s responses.

I’m learning that even in my not-ok-ness, I am still profoundly ok.

During the first week I moved back to Canby, I was staring out the window into my old-but-new backyard with an unshakable ache in my chest. I grabbed my phone and let it all out in several poems.

So in true Kate-form, I’m sharing one of them with you now. It only felt right to be honest with where I’m at and to make some beauty out of it.

Here you have it, Lilacscent:

My heart feels ripped out of my body


And I’ve been scrambling to stop the bleeding

From my gaping chest

But I look out the window

Through the grey and mossy landscape

And see the dark skeleton

Of a lilac tree

Gently shudder in the wind

I stare past its vacant branches,

Like looking in a mirror

And I imagine

I imagine the crisp bright sunshine

the lushness of its bounty

The pure bliss of lilacscent

That awaits me in mere months

I think

When the light breaks its silence

And the same tree erupts in color

I’ll crush its petals upon my scarred


In May I’ll see my reflection again

In the fluttering leaves.

And squinting into the sun

That is yet to come

I’ll remember

How I lived through this

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