I usually resist writing when I feel distraught. Today I feel like it might take over if I don’t get it out so here I go..

A week ago my car was broken into and my belongings stolen out of the backseat. I’d just pulled into Portland and parked downtown near my new place of work. My suitcase and duffel bag were gone when I came out two hours later. I didn’t think to worry as it was the middle of the day and so many people were around. I was also too excited to see my best friend and my new place of work.

When I saw the broken window and realized what had happened I felt sick. I cried. Hard. As each item that I’d lost registered, a new stream of tears would flow. My passport, sentimental jewelry and my favorite clothes just gone. All of my toiletries from bobby pins to glasses most likely in a dumpster somewhere.

I know crimes like this happen to so many people every single day. I know it’s just stuff. I tell people so often that I barely own anything anymore and really don’t place sentiment on physical belongings. But I’m sitting here now even a week later feeling like my identity was taken from me.

My friend and I taped up the hole in the window with massive amounts of duct tape over cardboard. All week long I’ve felt like when the window got replaced, I’d feel whole again. It was replaced this morning. I don’t feel any better.

The duct tape residue is still all over the car and slivers of glass remain inside. I tried for a while to remove it with oil. I held back more tears and said over and over “It’s just a car it’s just a car it’s just a car”. But I still want to cry.

I fight the thoughts telling me I’ve made a huge mistake.

I go over and over the things I’m grateful for: a place to stay with my best friend, new co-workers that bring bags of clothes and shoes and toiletries to work before they even meet me, ย the way time goes by so quickly now, being the opposite of bored, enjoying nature, having the money to begin replacing my lost things. I’m lucky. I know.

So why do I still want to give up? Why do I want to sob like a little girl?

I think because I’m human. We can’t always be strong. When life keeps throwing challenge after challenge we sometimes throw down the glove and refuse to play anymore.

It can’t always be sunshine and roses.

I’m writing this here because I strive to be authentic. I don’t ever want anyone to see just the highlight reel. It’s easy to look around on social media and start to think our own life will never be as good as everyone else’s. But the truth is we all struggle somehow. We all hurt. We all go through periods we think we can’t survive.

Here I am though, surviving.



  1. Wow, so sorry Rachel. I’ve just had two other friends move to Portland in the last three weeks. What part of town should they watch out for? Sounds like good folks you work with – still curious to hear about that new job. The photo on my wordpress logo is from the Japanese Gardens in Portland from three months ago when we were there. We saw a great deal of beauty, both nature and the folks we met. I ache for you and wish I was there to give you a big hug. John wants to send you words to a song he has written that might help. Send me your email at ๐Ÿ’•

    • As I get more time and become familiar with the city, I’ll be making time to explore every park and fancy garden:) I’ve made it up to Forest Park for a renewing hike and need more. I emailed you:) Hopefully it came through. Thanks Kate!

  2. I am sorry that my hometown didn’t welcome you better than that…
    I know you will mend that which is frayed. With hopefulness and heart. I continue to wish you “enough”. And to wish you enough clarity to use the strength and the patience and the understanding that I know you already possess.

    What I know of you is that you are a good soul, a wise young traveller and indeed a survivor.

    And I know you will Thrive.

    • It wasn’t exactly the neighborhood welcome wagon. The good news is that I immediately had my new work family bringing me clothes and toiletries even though most hadn’t even met me yet. If I were to look on the bright side (not usually my instinct), this situation brought me into the group at work quickly. It takes me time to warm up and jump into social situations, but when someone hands you a bag of shirts you tend to be friends immediately:).

      • Glad that there is a bright spot! What kind of work are you doing in Portland? I’m headed that way tomorrow to see my folks and spend my birthday at our family beach house in my beloved Manzanita. Two memorials for my friend Michael, as well… though I’m not sure I will attend.

        Have a better than average day!

      • I’m working at The Bar Method and as a nanny. Just piecing together a new life:) I do love Portland just not the thieves. I hope you enjoyed your ocean time very much. A pirate needs the sight of the sea…

      • Oh, The Bar Method is great! I know a number of women “my age” who are regulars there. Including the love of my life (who got away). That’s funny.
        I was thinking of you this weekend– One of the books I got for my birthday (“Going Some Where” , about a couple taking a cross-country bike trip to Portland) featured a young woman named Rachel, changing her life, journeying to Portland. Good read.
        Yes, my Manzanita time was much needed and long overdue. I was able to walk on the beach alone, breathe, try to make sense of things. I think I finally got rid of some of the darkness I’ve been navigating lately (the deaths of two friends and my “loss” of another).
        The sea has always been so restorative and spiritual to me…
        Be well. I hope we can meet one day.

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