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Dear Ellen, 2014

Every year since I’ve turned 18, I’ve written to Ellen DeGeneres for our birthday (January 26th). This year, I decided to reflect on how much I’ve changed since I first wrote to Ellen. (I have a 1500 character limit so forgive the abbreviations.)

How have you changed since you were 18?


Ellen and I both had an exciting 2013.

Ellen and I both had an exciting 2013.

Dear Ellen,

This is perhaps a futile attempt at a letter to you, as I’ve written to you every year since I’ve turned 18, but it’s a tradition to wish us a happy birthday!

When I was turning 18/ you were turning 50, I was a senior in high school, writing to you because you were funny & could dance, but really because you were the strongest lesbian role model I could see. Being a closested high school senior wasn’t fun, but your show would always make me dance.

When I was turning 19, my letter to you was very weak, as was I. I was sickly, anemic, & recently diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. It was also my first year of college, and I was finally starting to see who I was.

For 20, I was living the high life. I was on the Dean’s list. I was a RA in a luxury hotel because my university ran out of housing.

For 21, I was fed up with having a winter birthday. I decided to throw a celebrity themed costume party. My ex and I dressed up as you & Portia. Our love didn’t last, but my love for you did. Portia’s book also helped me, a lot.

For 22, I sent a song to you online. I briefly forgot I couldn’t sing. The internet wasn’t kind, but oddly enough I ended up starting my blog & finding my niche on the web.

Last year, at 23, I freaked out. The 23 curse of love & change in my family’s life scared me.

Now, I’m turning 24, happy, engayged, a hs English teacher, & making a difference every day.

Happy birthday to us! Thank you for inspiring me so many years ago to be me.


Memorial Day

My grandpa (Buster/Grandpa), my grandma’s brother (Uncle Johnny), and her father were all Vets. Every year for as long as I can remember my family has gone up to the cemetery Memorial Day weekend and cleaned up Uncle Johnny and grandma’s dad’s gravesites. When Buster died in April 2008, he was buried in the same cemetery and became part of the grave-cleaning tradition.

In 2009, the Memorial Day Weekend visit was especially emotional. It was the first Memorial Day visit we had had since Grandpa’s footstone had been put in. Seeing the flag next to his name brought out a lot of emotions in all of us. For me, seeing an old veteran hobbling around and and stopping at the graves of every service man and woman was particularly emotional.

After that visit, I wrote a poem that I like to share every Memorial Day.

“Memorial Day”

The hobbling man gives me
a lonesome nod:
recognition of my lingering gaze
as the rest tend to Grandpa’s grave.
Grass is trimmed,
a bouquet placed next to the flapping flag,
and mud is wiped away,
revealing “MM2 US NAVY.”
Grief falls from my eyes as I mourn
a nation of heroes beneath the earth.
My eyes return to the old man
who pauses at every flag-adorned grave.
He, too, is mourning
the price our country has paid.