Friday, June 16, 2017

Message (Part 2/3)

Thursday 3:15 PM

Don’t forget about Davey’s
soccer practice today! 4 pm at West
Bay Park. He needs to wear blue.
You’re still ok driving him and Tanner?

Thursday 3:22 PM

Becky, did you get my text about Davey’s
practice? Can you do that for me?


Sorry, I just didn’t know if you saw it since
you didn’t respond. :) Thanks, sweetheart.
And remember if you start feeling manic or
depressive, just call me ok? I know you
don’t want me to have to come home early
again, but I will. You’re more important to
me than any of this.

mom, i’ve been stable for 3 months. we
talked about this. i’m 17, i can handle it.

I know, Becks. I’m just so far away from
you guys. If anything happened, I don’t
know what I would do.

we’ll be fine

I know. :) Just please call if you need
anything, alright?


Thursday 6:49 PM

Hey did you figure out 16 on the worksheet?

no! is it cosine or secant?

idk. We’ll just have to ask Durham
tomorrow before class.

I saw you and Jace going at it today during
lunch. 

haha yeah ;)

You guys are adorable!! So have you told
your mom yet?

nah she would FREAK. she thinks I
can’t handle life anyways.

Haha yeah

Thursday 9:53 PM

How did today go? Did you get everything
done? How about you and Dave’s homework?
yeah, it’s all good.

Even your Precalculus? Didn’t you say you had
a test tomorrow?

yeah. we’re fine mom.

I know. :) Will you remind Davey not to take
his skateboard to school? I don’t want him to
get hurt on those crazy ramps he loves,
especially not while I’m gone.

yeah, i’ll tell him.

Alright. Well goodnight sweetheart. I love
you very much. :)


Thursday 10:35 PM

hey I’m here
Thursday 11:27 PM

becky, where are you?


what’s wrong dave?

mom said you’re not supposed to leave
me alone.

are you hurt or something?

mom said you can only leave me alone
for school and work. she said if you’re
not doing what you said you would,
I should call her.

dave just go back to bed. do you really
want mom to have to come home early
again just because her 11 year old was
afraid of the dark?


Mom  Missed call
Thursday 11:50 PM

Thursday 11:51 PM

Becky, where are you? Dave says you’re not
home. What’s going on sweetheart? Are
you alright? Is something wrong?

You took your medication right?

i’m fine. i’m heading home now.

What’s going on? I thought you said you would
call if anything went wrong!

mom, seriously, everything’s fine. i’m not
manic. i’m home now. i’ll talk to you tomorrow

Ok. What time will you call me tomorrow?

Friday 12:21 AM

i can still taste you, you were so sweet
tonight. ;) let’s cut 3rd period tomorrow,
pick up where we left off when your mom

called. ;)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Message: a serial short story in text messages (Part 1/3)

Some of you know I dabble in creative writing. I wrote this short story about a 17-year-old girl with bipolar disorder taking care of her little brother while her single mom is gone for the weekend. It's told entirely through text messages. I'll be posting it in three installments.


Thursday 9:21 AM

Hey sweetheart! How are you doing?
Did Davey get off to school ok? Did
you remember to take your

good. dave got to school on time. yeah.

Was that a yeah to you taking your

yeah i took them. have fun in dallas.

Thanks sweetie. ;) It’s been great so far.
Several people have told
me they’re really looking forward to
my presentation on Saturday. :)


I love you! :)

Thursday 11:13 AM

Hey where were you this morning? I
didn’t see you in the commons.

yeah, i was late. i had to drop off davey
at school

Oh that’s right! Your mom’s gone
starting today yeah?

yeah, and she won’t stop texting me!

UGH  Moms are the QUEENS of freaking

haha yeah no kidding

So are you gonna sit with us at lunch


Maybe-definitely or maybe-not because
you’ll be kissing Jace’s face? 
the 2nd one ;)


shut up!!

 fine. I’ll see you later.


Thursday 2:33 PM

hey babe, you wanna go to a movie tonight?
i srsly had the worst day.

can’t. i told you, my mom’s gone
and i have to bbsit dave.

you have to stay with him? isn’t
he 13 or something?

he’s 11

whatever. well, you put him to bed
and we can catch a late showing.

i can’t

is this like a bipolar thing or something?
you seemed fine at lunch.

eff off

sorry babe, it’s just hard with you,
you know. like, i never know what to

you think it’s not hard for me? i
live with this batshiz brain.

hey, don’t say that, i didn’t mean it. this
last month with you has been incredible.
and all I want to do tonight is to go to a
movie with my super sexy girlfriend because
i had the world’s crappiest day.

what time?

:) i’ll pick you up around 10:30.
i love you baby. <3

<3 you

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

If I Had a Wedding Reception We Would Throw Tomatoes

Disclaimer: This is not a specific critique of any wedding reception I have attended or will attend. I love you all, and I have loved getting to take part in your special day(s).

Beginning with being kitchen help as a 12-year-old Beehive, I have attended approximately one bajillion wedding receptions. That's what Provo is famous for right? Marriages coming out the whazoo.

Attending so many wedding receptions--indoor and outdoor, cheap and expensive, fun and not-so-fun--well, it wears on you. Even receptions for your dearest friends are still a parade of repeating tropes: sign the guest book, eat the food, dance the dance, cut the cake, and (always, always) do the send-off with sparklers or bubbles. Literally, I am convinced that someone is rich off a company that only sells tiny bottles of bubbles to Mormon wedding receptions. They are probably married to the person who sells Mormon wall stickers. Anyways...

If I had a wedding reception, it would be as follows:

Guest book- No need to write your congratulations in a book filled with our faces or pose for a polaroid! Just throw a dart at a sheet covered in paint-filled water balloons. Your contribution is one more color dripping down our home's first piece of art.

Line- Forget it. My husband and I will be sitting rolling office chairs. If you want to talk to us, just hold up a picture of one (or both) of our faces, conveniently located at every table! Think of it like the BYU Physics help lab- we'll come to you.

Food- Soooooo much of it and soooooo tasty. Like I don't even know-soup and pasta and fruit and ice cream and maybe mini calzones in honor of Ben Wyatt. Nobody goes away hungry or disappointed.

Daddy-daughter dance- This is the one convention of wedding receptions that I actually love and makes me cry. My dad and I would dance to the song that always reminds me of him: "If I Had a Million Dollars" by the Barenaked Ladies.

First dance- Doing the robot to "The Final Countdown" DUH. I also want to steal the Latino tradition of having to pin money to the bride and groom so you can dance with them. If that's not too culturally insensitive.

Bouquet toss- Instead of tossing my real bouquet, or having a fake one to toss so I don't ruin my real one, I would just throw a Nerd Rope. Because that way it's actually super tasty, and it wouldn't be as embarrassing/bizarre when girls fight over it.

Garter- Literally my least favorite wedding tradition. But, it could be fun if my husband and I both had garters on our arms and we have to take them off each other with our the same time.

Games- Did I mention there will also be carnival games going on all around the reception? Bobbing for apples, donuts on a string, face painting, donkey rides for little kids provided by my brother and cousins. Maybe even a fire-breathing dude. None one will be bored at my reception unless they choose to be!

Cake- Before cutting the cake, we will be taking bets on a large blackboard about whether or not we'll shove it in each other's faces. We will of course. Hard.

Send-off- Before leaving for the car, my husband and I will don trash bags, and then run to the car while people try to hit us with overripe tomatoes.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Curating My Library, and Other Thoughts on Quitting My Job

Catie's library, top shelf, back bedroom, Flood House, USA

Last Saturday, I finally unpacked my stuff into my new room, and went through my books, deciding which to keep at my apartment and which to take to my parents house. It's funny how I had acquired these books. Some were gifts, others childhood favorites, but the majority of them I bought at a used bookstore or library book sale. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that most books I buy on a whim, because they look interesting, not because I have necessarily heard of them. Most of the time they are good, although sometimes I never get around to reading them.

Those of you who decided to read this post because of the "quitting my job" title are probably wondering, what has this got to do with New Haven? I think in large measure, I started working at New Haven on a whim. Sure, I did some research, but the truth is, I didn't know what to do after I graduated from BYU, and I thought this would be a good option. After I started working there, several people told me I was there for a reason, that I had something to learn there. Looking back, eighteen months later, I think they were right. But I think it's also important to note that working there was a choice, like buying these books, that I made without really knowing what it would mean for me, what story was in store for my life. How could I know? I can't even explain the experience now that I've lived it.

My "library" is a pell-mell of all different genres and time periods, from Walt Whitman poems to Women at Church. Their words and ideas cannot be distilled; there is no main argument of a library or a bookstore. Working at New Haven also can't be boiled down into "the experience that made me stronger" or something. It was so many things, so many emotions, so many experiences. I felt indescribable pride when one of our students transitioned, sitting in a room filled with love and triumph and the unique spirit of each family. I also felt incredible pain, personalized anguish, the white hot poker of abuse telling me over and over again that I was worthless and wrong. And not just this binary. Funny little moments shared with students or coworkers: the time a student and I accidentally covered a pizza, not with frozen mozzarella cheese, but with hash browns. Little stabs of conflict: telling the same student over and over again to change her clothes, to stop gossiping. Trying to be relational and firm: yes I love you and I know that you're sad, but you still have to shower, go to school. The sheer uncertainty of making judgment calls and having to stick to them. Sitting for hours with a suicidal student, a task both boring and anxiety-inducing. Having a ridiculous awareness of knives and scissors. Driving a 14 passenger van. Walking to the jangle of keys. Group texts. Run calls.

New Haven is like my library, but then again... Books can arrest you and shake you, but you can close them. Walk away. In spite of the incredible anxiety it cost me, I love New Haven because it demanded that I live life fully, at every second. I couldn't just walk away, I had to handle it. There was always a situation to deal with, every day was different. And while that drove me crazy at times, I will miss it. I will missed being forced to confront and decide and feel and live. I think that's how life is supposed to be, anyways.

So thank you, New Haven (staff, students, therapists, campus). Thank you for everything you taught me and gave me and took from me. Thank you for making me live.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Parable of the Two Under-shepherds

There were once two under-shepherds, who helped to tend the flocks owned by a kind shepherd. One day, the kind shepherd told his under-shepherds that he needed to travel to the city to buy more provisions for them and the sheep. "While I am gone," said the shepherd. "I want you to divide the flocks between the two of you and care for them. Take them out every morning and bring them in every night. Keep our sheep safe, and I will return in a fortnight."

The first under-shepherd was determined to please his master. Every day, he took the sheep out as soon as the sun peeked out from behind the hillside, determining that this was exactly morning. He brought the sheep back into their pen just as the first star started shining, for this must be night. While he was out in the fields with the flock, he patrolled the edges of the meadow all day. He made sure to guide any sheep that got close to the forest's edge back to the flock. He walked around and the around his little group of sheep.

The second under-shepherd also wanted to do his job well. Every morning, he lead his part of the flock to a meadow to graze. He wasn't very good at singing, as other shepherds are, but he loved to dance, and he would dance for his sheep. He bandaged the legs of sheep who cut themselves on rocks or fallen branches. He took the sheep to a delicious stream fed from a mountain spring.

Finally, the shepherd returned from the city. He called his under-shepherds to him to report on how they cared for the sheep.

The first under-shepherd said, "I did exactly what you asked. Every morning, I lead the sheep out of their pen just as the sun came up. Every night, I gathered the sheep into their pen just as the first star shone. I patrolled the meadow while the flock grazed, and I kept the sheep safe."

The second under-shepherd said, "I didn't know exactly what you wanted, but I knew that you love our sheep. So I danced for the sheep. I bandaged their wounds. I took them to drink in a sweet mountain stream."

And which did the shepherd praise more at the end of the day?