Kneeling at the altar of fate and circumstance


When I started this program I wasn’t sure if coming to Portland was the right choice. I felt scared. I wasn’t scared of how difficult it would be (which I totally underestimated), and I wasn’t afraid of living up to the expectations of “being an adult.”

My fears were more immediate, and less heady. I was scared coming to Portland would put me further into debt. I feared the distance between me and my new husband would strain our relationship and start our marriage off on the wrong foot. And for an agonizing 12 hours earlier this month, I feared an imminent eruption of the Yellowstone Super-volcano.

I took this photo while walking my dog recently in Portland. For some reason it helped me realize I was here for a reason.

I took this photo while walking my dog recently in Portland. I’m not sure why, but it helped me realize I was here for a reason.

Now the program approaches its end and all of those fears are gone. They must have silently packed up their bags and slipped away unnoticed into a brisk Portland night. In their place I have found the foundations of strength and confidence.

I have new relationships — with an office full of people dedicated to ending homelessness through good journalism, with Josh and my PDX cohort, and with the sources who have so generously shared their stories with me.

I can’t wait to get started building the life that I have always wanted with precisely the person I want to share it with. I’ll be trying my hand at freelancing for almost any publication willing to pay me for a byline. I’ll be starting a small business doing alterations and clothing construction for designers. I’ll be building my husband’s online presence as an author of science fiction. And I’ll be preparing to start a family.

I have asked myself countless times why participating in the Portland Experience was so important to me. We are shaped by life’s experiences. We don’t always get to choose what those experiences are or will be. But I choose to participate in the Portland Experience because it promised to make me better. Whatever doubts I had in the beginning, I know now that the PDXSX made good on that promise.

Congratulations to my cohort and good luck!

– Jasmine Rockow

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5 Responses to Kneeling at the altar of fate and circumstance

  1. Adaira Floyd says:

    You have some really exciting adventures coming up! Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith to see what is the best choice for you – and sounds like it is all falling into place. Looking into the future, it sounds like your next 5 years are going to provide incredible growth for you and your future family.

    Believe it or not, I had no idea about that volcano. I watched the video you sent and it sounds pretty scary! Hopefully things stay settled.

    Best wishes Jasmine!

  2. Emily Kirk says:

    It’s great that your internship has been good to you and you to it, Jasmine! I’m so happy Portland was a great opportunity for you. Cheers for you!

  3. Hannah Olson says:

    Great post, Jasmine! I have no doubt that you’ll do well as a freelancer, you’re a terrific writer and whoever snags you will be lucky! As a native Portland-er, I’m glad to hear that your experience here has been positive. I wish you the best with what’s ahead 🙂

  4. What a great post, Jasmine! It must have taken a lot of courage moving to Portland at such an important time in your life but it sounds like it turned out to be the right move for you. Good luck on your future plans, it sounds like you have some fun and exciting projects ahead of you!

  5. Isn’t it great when you are so busy you’re distracted from your worries and forget about them? Then looking back at all the small things you overcame that added up, you realize how strong you actually are and worry less about future problems. It’s a great feeling, and great post! It’s crazy to think that you got married right before you started up here in Portland, but it really helps to know there’s an end date to that separation. I’m glad you’re so positive and have so many ideas for the future, they will get you so far, good luck! And I’ve never heard of the Yellowstone volcano thing, pretty intense.

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