Designated Deena

If you knew me in college, you might remember that I used to be a designated driver for anyone who needed it. It didn’t matter who they were, where they were, or what time it was. If I got a call from someone who wasn’t safe to drive, I found a way to get them home. No judgments. No lectures. No drunk driving. It was a pretty good deal.

Now I’m back in Billings, and I’m going back to that. But this time around I have a few changes.  Continue reading


On Lying to Myself

Yesterday I passed a man with a cardboard sign. It read simply:

Homeless Vet. Need Help.

I noticed at the time that he looked incredibly sad. More… broken than most of the other people I’ve seen with signs. It made my heart hurt to see him.

My initial reaction was pity. And a bit of anger. Our government should take care of our veterans. The words flooded my mind with certainty fueled by passion. And I was angry. So angry, in fact, that I didn’t even notice that my initial reaction was to blame someone else for that man’s continual suffering, even as I, myself, just kept going.

I kept driving. And so did the person behind me. And the person behind him. And still the angry thought repeated: This isn’t right. The Government should take care of our veterans. 

And, somewhere beneath that anger, a much much smaller voice whispered: But the government is supposed to be a representation of its people. Look at the line of cars you led that just passed that man. Maybe you’re represented accurately. Continue reading

You Look At Me, But You Don’t Know Me

You look at me. You see the printed cardigan and the sensible shoes. You see the red pen behind my ear and the stack of essays in my hand and you think you know me. You think I have always been this way. The teacher, “the man,” the representation of everything you hate about society.  I am the knife that whittles down square pegs so that they can fit through round holes. I am the oppressive force that destroys creativity and forces conformity. You look at me, and you despise me because how can I not see that I am evil? Continue reading

Things That My Father Taught Me

I’ve found myself helping several of my friends with various problems over the last few weeks. After a long (often blunt) conversation, I often get a “I’m glad you’re so smart” or “Thank you so much! I’m so glad I have a friend like you!”

I’m always humbled by these exclamations of gratitude, but I know that these people don’t just have me to thank. Most of who I am stems from a loving and supportive childhood. For every person I’ve ever helped– you are as much in debt to my father as I am. Some of the things weren’t taught on purpose. And, let’s be honest, everyone teaches things every once and a while by showing us what NOT to do. But, no matter how he passed on the lessons, I’m grateful that my father spent so much of his life being there to teach me.

I originally posted this back in January, but I think it deserves to be said again.

Thanks, Dad. Continue reading