It could have been anything. Any arrangement of words said or sent could have done it.

It wasn’t the word “unabashed” though in a later conversation, it gave me pause —

How many things have I been abashed about? What would make my top-ten abashed moments list? Too many, and those that jump to the fore:

Crying during a routine gynecological exam. Throwing up Korean barbecue at a bus stop. Asking a non-pregnant person when the baby was due. Walking in on my then-boyfriend with his hand up another girl’s shirt. Exiting the house naked at a party with the expectation of skinny-dipping, and seeing everyone else in swimsuits. And them seeing me. Wearing the wrong colors to a playoff game. Very wrong colors. Thinking I was much better at sex than I was, and told so. In the midst. Choking so hard on an oyster shot I sneezed cocktail sauce for a week. Sending an obviously unwanted love letter. Not sending an obviously wanted love letter.

In each of these, I entered unabashed. The way the heart opens a bid to the world is not foolish; it is the world’s counter-offer that sucks it into the mire of context, of taboo, of arbitrariness.

We can accept this counter-offer. We can also smile with unfolding hands, push away from the table, and walk out singing.

— Halsted M. Bernard

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.