When it comes to understanding truths about myself, I’m a slow learner. It took until I was 30 before I was properly diagnosed with my mental illness and 40 before I knew how to deal with it. I didn’t get sober until I was 37. So now that I’m 44, I finally know how to label my gender. It has taken a painfully long time to learn each of my personal lessons.

Growing up, I didn’t quite fit in anywhere, and I haven’t been able to put my finger on why that was until just recently.

I did write a…

The CD is placed in the player

volume adjusted up or down

the arrow button pushed

and whether I am laying

in a darkened bedroom

to escape the throes of a migraine

or in front of a bright light

for therapy instructed by my doctor

or writing a poem or a blog

to share later with others

the piano music soars floats

surrounds elevates me

beyond my pain

beyond the storm

beyond the dark

beyond the light


I am the rain dripping

on leaves in a vine covered forest

I am a feather floating

through an azure sky


This is a letter I wrote to my district judge after my ex-husband, who I have a protection order, was stalking me. He would drive around the neighborhood where I lived, and stop me while I was walking.

Dear Sir:

In April of this year, you signed a protection order for me and my two children guarding against my ex-husband. You upheld this protection order in court at a hearing in which he tried to have the protection order dropped. …

Why do I sometimes resist being labeled, or “put in a bucket”?

My difficulty with labels — in permanent ink, at least

I have a problem.

Okay, yes, I have many problems, and have had quite a few therapists who didn’t know what to do with me, but that may have been because I didn’t know what to do with myself and where to start in explaining myself to them. I digress.

It was brought to my attention in a gentle manner that perhaps I am averse to being labeled in any way. I don’t like being placed in a mental illness bucket. I don’t know what you’d call my sexuality type…

First, I’m going to observe that in writing or saying anything resembling an opinion, one is bound to upset, piss off, or offend someone. This is not my intention. Nor is it my intention to start a big heated debate. Writing is my way of thinking, and if my pondering and figuring things out can help someone else figure something out in their life or make them feel a little less lonely, a little less misunderstood, or a little less sad — then that’s why I share. So that’s my disclaimer. …

The full harvest moon, peeking through clouds

in a pale blue morning sky

watched me drive to my new job today.

You said you want the old me

and his letter searches for the girl

who could paint fairy tales and pretend

the world revolved solely around

my endless energy and the innate ability

to fatally romance every man I chose.

You remember someone grasping at

every moment to be with you,

dressing up to please you, giggling.

I do not know the last time I laughed.

Each morning I wake, cling to a job

that I still do not…

I have not been accused

of being an outwardly adventurous

nor gregarious child

but I enjoyed the outdoors

so the first time my Girl Scout troop

went camping in platform tents

the one thing I remember isn’t

the creeking in old shoes down the riverbank or

the songs around the campfire or

the hikes to discover the forest or

the friends’ hands held fast but

that first night

finally drifting off to sleep in my cot

being awoken with the startling realization

that I could no longer breathe,

my sleeping bag twisted tight around me,

I having fallen off my…

Original sketch for sale at Ravenwood Art Gallery in Norfolk, NE

How I’m treated differently as a woman in a man’s world

I walk into the Crop Production Clinic, a day of talks centering around agriculture presented by our University’s Extension staff. I know what to expect for the day. First, when I go to sit down in the lecture room, I will get men glancing at me from the corner of their eyes, and no one will sit in the chairs next to me. They will not chitchat with me, not smile, and I will be ignored for most of the morning, if not the whole day. I will, however…

To Men

I thought I had made it clear


after going from the frying pan

to a pot of boiling water

that I was staying away

from the fire

altogether this time.

Yet you persist in pursuing me

just the same.

I keep getting chased by pots and pans.

When I am confidently standing and

dancing on my own

you are attracted by my strength.

I am a butterfly,

free and flitting about, uncaptured

and you yearn to subdue me.

But when you catch me and learn

there is no controlling this winged spirit,

no way to jar the…

Julie S. Paschold

From Nebraska, two degrees in Agronomy/Soil Science, poet and artist, gender fluid queer, mother, twin, manic depressive, sensory sensitivity, PTSD, resilient.

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