Getting Personal

Getting Personal
Napier truck tent in my Tacoma, Mogollon Rim, AZ

I got to thinking the other day that when I started this humble little blog almost 5 years ago I didn’t bother posting an introduction or an “about me” beyond what’s on the front page.

At that point, I didn’t imagine anyone besides my ever-supportive parents would be reading my posts, so I guess I never thought it was necessary.

But it has occurred to me there may be followers who don’t know me IRL, as the kids say these days.

Thus, this post is devoted to giving all of you faithful readers a more personal and rather unconventional view of the girl behind the words.

As a fair warning, this was all written in sporadic bursts in recent journal entries, and I have no intention of reorganizing the thoughts to make it a logical, autobiographical account. That would be boring, and I tend to steer away from anything resembling that adjective.

stole this collage from my dad’s Facebook…

Also, I don’t have many childhood photos in digital form, so what you see is what you get.

Don’t worry, you’re not missing much from my middle school age days since my smile was covered with a contraption called headgear that pushed my molars back, and then I was a brace face for another couple of years. I’m just happy it was over with before freshman year.

Anyway, my parents named me Anissa Kea Rowe shortly after I popped out into the world from a home-birth where my dad caught me like a football (his words, of course, since I don’t remember much).

The first name has a short “i” sound like in “it” and not a long “e” pronunciation, contrary to popular misconception. Until recent years it didn’t exist on any of those baby name meaning websites, but it’s there now and apparently is mostly related to Hebrew names and thought to mean gracious.

think I was about 13 or 14 here…

I’ll let you be the judge of that.

The second is a Hawaiian word that is not pronounced like the car brand but rather “kay-uh,” like something you might mutter when you’re thinking of what to say next. I’m told it means pure, white, and fair. My mom chose it because even though I didn’t turn out very brown from the get-go (my words, not hers), there’s still some small percentage of Hawaiian blood in me.

However, she often says my middle name should have been “go” because ever since I could speak it’s been my favorite word. I’m not denying it–everything I do, including talking and walking, is fast, and I can’t stay in one place or social setting for too long.

fresh smile (and apparently a gift bow topper), circa 2004 ish

The last name is pretty self-explanatory; I think it’s English-derived. And if you think you’re the first person to sing “Rowe, rowe, rowe your boat” I’m sorry (but not really) to have to pop that bubble of yours.

My brother, Joel, calls me the Pack Mule, among other things. I suppose it’s symbolic for the fact that I take on burdens that aren’t mine and consistently say yes to filling up my schedule. Really, I’m fairly certain it’s because I can carry his skinny, five-years-older-than-me self on my shoulders.

I never felt the need for more siblings–my brother and I are almost as opposite as could be but we’ve always been close regardless of our age gap. I can tell him anything and he’ll keep it to himself, mostly because he forgets about it soon after.

When I was young I used to vehemently correct strangers who thought my eyes were brown; they are in fact a dark, hazel green but the lighting and the colors I wear do tend to change their shade a bit.

My talents include, but are not limited to, singing in the key of chipmunk, picking objects up with my toes, and carrying 15 grocery bags on my arms until they turn purple.

I’ve been known to read an entire book in one sitting, even if that means staying up until 4 AM.

Remembering names is a difficult task for me, but oddly, and creepily, enough, I can tell you most people’s birthdays.

Some of my pet peeves include water running down my sleeve to my elbow when I’m washing dishes and grammatical errors in published documents. Honestly, I’ve had to hold myself back too many times from circling and correcting them in library books.

2011, Trinidad and Tobago

I like all the flavors most people gag at, like black licorice, beets, raw sushi, super dark chocolate, boba, horseradish sauce, matcha green tea, butter popcorn jelly beans (and I don’t even really like jelly beans), and probably more. I once tried a peach, lime and goat cheese ice cream and loved it.

As extroverted as I come across, I’m actually super self-conscious and public speaking unnerves me in the worst way.

I’ve always had my own style whether it was trendy or not–I just like what I like. I can’t stand the thought of blending in. I can get fancy and actually enjoy it but I’m most comfortable in a flannel shirt and denim skirt.

My fingertips are often ice cold due to terrible circulation, but I’ll still easily break a sweat almost daily, even if the temperature is chilly.

I crack my knuckles and any other joint that will pop. My lips are often mangled from a bad habit of being chewed on and picked at.

my actual high school grad photo

My natural instinct is to make a ridiculous face for a camera instead of smiling. I ruin what are supposed to be nice pictures all of the time. I’m working on this, though not very diligently.

I’ve never broken a bone–knock on wood–but I’m sure I’ve bruised every possible square inch of my body at some point or another. I even have permanent bumps in some areas from repeat offenses. Suffice it to say, when I get into something competitive or physical, I go all out.

The closest I ever came to a fight was when I was 8: I stuck my fist under a bratty girl’s nose and dared her to repeat what she’d just said about my best friend. Instead of doing so, she ran away, so my record is still clean.

2007 powderpuff football; I was named the Skirted Wonder

Selfies have exposed that my right eyebrow is slightly lower than my left, and my birth-defect dimples show even when I’m eating, so I’ve been told.

If you’re ever driving in front of me like your tires are drenched in molasses, you will see me in your mirror pausing momentarily from singing to ask what in the world you’re doing and if you would please move aside. Something along those lines.

However, if you’re ever riding shotgun and I have to brake hard, I’ll use my arm as a secondary seat belt for you.

I also drive barefoot quite often, but be a dear and don’t tell the fuzz.

Before I got my own car and moved to Arizona at the age of eighteen, I drove my dad’s ’86 Camaro for school and work (which included a local coffee drive-thru and Columbia Sportswear). My palm was always bruised from pounding the console whenever the radio would go all white-noise on me, but I appreciated the spare vehicle, and the V8.

That was way back in the day, when my name was placed on the weight room record board for back squatting 185 pounds. I wonder if it’s still there, or if I could still do that now…

Math was always my least favorite subject, but there was this one time the long-term substitute geometry teacher decided to enlist me into the local math competition (like a spelling bee for number-savvy folks). I was, and am still baffled, as to why, though I suspect it was simply because I attempted and turned in my homework. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed hanging with the smart kids for a day, and ended up winning second place for guessing the number of gumballs in a container.

One of my proudest moments, for sure.

Samson and I, front yard

Growing up, I never really gave much thought into attending college. Yet I now have a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in Leadership degree, and I work in the accounting department of the university I graduated from.

So if you’re wondering, yes, I do believe God has a sense of humor.

If you ever need emotional support or comedic relief–which are basically the same thing as far as I’m concerned–I’m here for you. I laugh easily, so puns and lame jokes have a good chance on me.

I’m not a very outwardly emotional person, but anything involving animal cruelty or suffering angers me to my core and has the potential to bring me to tears.

If it isn’t evident by now, I’ve got a bit of a zeal for the written word and photography. However, I’m really not trying to be social media successful or pretend to be an expert with either passion. If it turns into a side-gig someday, cool, but hobbies are called hobbies for a reason.

2015, Atop Mt. Dalsnibba in Geiranger, Norway

The thing is, putting my writing out there is more terrifying to me than most extreme, life-risking activities, and feeling vulnerable isn’t necessarily a delightful state of mind. This has all been a slow and somewhat painful process for me.

Just be on your guard, because anything you do or say can and probably will be cause for inspiration in my written ramblings, published or not.

I’m absolutely awful at wrapping presents, but I’ll write you the nicest birthday card you’ll ever receive, if you can decipher my handwriting.

I’ll always have the vocabulary word you’re looking for, and I may try to finish your sentences. I apologize for how annoying this is in advance.

I also like to think that I’m the first person to coin the hashtag #neature. Please, just let me have this one thing.

2016, Havasupai hike and falls, AZ (notice the low eyebrow

My imagination was always unlimited, and as a kid I wanted to be everything from an artist (even though I can’t draw a straight line) to a professional athlete to a full time writer.

But the one dream that’s never quite faded is my desire to travel the world and simultaneously teach English to secondary learners. It’s one of those passions that always gets pushed to the backburner and then boiled up again every so often. Maybe the doors will open. God knows best.

I get a kick out of all personality quizzes and even more so enjoy trying to figure out what other people are. Truly, it’s all just for fun–I don’t take it too seriously.

As a side note, though, I’m a Cancer sign with a Melancholy temperament, an ENFJ personality and my love language is and always has been quality time. One point for you if you know what any of those mean (click on the hyperlinks to find out for yourself).

New York City, May, 2015

I’m currently 27 years young, single/never married, and doing my best to keep a balance between responsible working adult and homeowner and free-spirited world traveler. This is not easy, but I’m managing.

I love trying new things just to say I did, but unfortunately this variety of interests means I’m not the type to dedicate myself to any one skill and become an expert at it.

If anything, I’d like to be a pro at prayer–an expert at being a Christian. Not in the sense of being extra-religious, but extra Christlike, a parallel reflection of God’s truth.

If you’re wondering, because most people do but are afraid to ask, I choose to dress modestly because of Deuteronomy 22:5 and 1 Timothy 2:9, and I don’t cut my hair per the passage of 1 Corinthians 11 (verses 6 and 15 specifically).

My motto has always been that when I get to Heaven, God is not going to shake His head and tell me I took His Word too seriously. So I try to live as close to His Word as His grace helps me to.

I’m not sure what I want to be when I grow up yet because I’m still not convinced I actually have to (grow up, that is). I used to proudly tell all of my teachers in my essays that I just wanted to be happy.

But now the only thing I’m sure I want is for God to use me for His perfect plan.

2017, Salvation Mountain, California

So, that’s about all I’ve got for now. It’s probably more than you ever needed or cared to know, and probably leaves a lot still left in the dark, and I’m OK with that.

Hope you all have a blessed weekend!