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.
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