Kendra just happens to be one of the most amazing women I know. The fact that she shares a birthday with me is the most delicious icing on the cake that represents our friendship. It’s not just a friendship cake, though — it’s a sisterhood cake. I’m not usually one for sweets, but I’ll always have a bite of whatever Kendra dishes up.
Kendra and I first connected at Vibrant Studios, but the relationship we forged has expanded far beyond I ever imagined it would. I was instantly attracted to Kendra – because, really, who isn’t? Her charisma, charm, intuition, wisdom, and beauty were magnetic. I wanted more of that in my life — and more, I got. We have since shared innumerable days and nights together, both in Portland and elsewhere (Tucson, Seattle – where shall we off to next?). We are masters at spending evenings out on the town or tucked in together. She is my favorite person to feast on brilliant homemade charcuterie plates with, my favorite person to go out on the town with, my favorite person to cuddle up with in her mighty bed. Spending an evening with Kendra, armed with a deck of tarot cards and a bottle of red wine, is all I need to feel complete, fulfilled, and deeply happy.
Kendra is super smart. A lot of times, when I speak of “smarts,” I speak of bookish ones; Kendra’s got those in droves, but she’s also got a whole slew of other things I would qualify as (even more?) important and crucial for navigating the world. She’s socially smart: able to navigate group and individual relationships with grace, enthusiasm, and warmth. She’s emotionally smart: attuned to herself and her inner landscape, able to clearly identify whatever she’s experiencing, and own her own issues rather than blaming or playing victim. She’s spiritually smart: connected to her own personal religion and how it relates to the congregation she gathers with; attuned to her angels, her healing guides, the divine forces in the universe. She’s also street-smart and intuition-smart and every-chakra-smart. I admire immensely the fact that she has such a stunning combination of so many of these different traits — most people are lucky if they are highly intelligent in even one or two of these realms!
Kendra is passionate — and that’s an understatement. She’s filled with unbridled passion. I hear it in her voice when she explains her truth: to me or other close friends, or to a full group of people. I see it in her eyes when she’s connecting with someone she loves: fully and deeply present, engaged wholeheartedly in supporting and sharing and holding space. I feel it in her presence when she’s immersed in an experience that she loves: she lets herself respond in exultation or exasperation or exhilaration or anticipation. She inspires me to let my passions glow and shine, to receive without reservation or hesitation.
Kendra is truly, genuinely, herself. It never fails to astonishes me how she is So Authentically Kendra, and never compromises herself in an attempt to fit in or conform to social norms. She knows what she likes, knows what works for her, and works to get what she wants if it’s not already within her grasp. She wears clothes that are comfortable, and feel good to her body, and even if they don’t meet standards of high-fashion she always manages to pull them off. This has to do significantly with the fact that she always holds her head high; she exudes confidence and attractability. I’ve seen her win over individuals who feel steely, cold, or closed-off individuals — her winning combination of charm, presence, openness, and genuine interest in nearly every person she meets is palpable and irresistible.
I use that word irresistible for a reason: I truly believe that Kendra could be in the dictionary listed under it. She is So. Likeable. She is So. Friendly. I attribute this partially to her remarkable ability to both exude confidence and humility. I don’t know anyone else who dances the line between these two as magnificently — standing proud and tall (both literally, and metaphorically!), in addition to never inflating herself. She is explosively radiant, but in a way that’s utterly unpretentious.
Kendra is one of the most open, caring, compassionate, and non-judgmental woman I know. She’s done a lot of work on herself, and has come to understand that most often, when she has an objection with someone or something in her world, it’s HER stuff, not theirs, to take on. She then takes total responsibility for her process, and is able to “zoom out” of a tough situation – moving out of emotional response, and into a space of compassion for herself and whomever else is involved – in a way that leaves me breathless. She’s also a shining example of someone able to truly see and listen to others, because she doesn’t close herself off based on fear, or defensiveness, or other conditioned sympathetic nervous system responses. She pulls from the knowledge she’s acquired from Paul Gilmartin, Dan Savage, and so many others: about seeing the humanity in everyone she encounters, understanding the inner workings of why people act and react the ways they do, about never making assumptions and being open to the possibility that the truth is far greater than she could ever initially realize. Folks often think she’s older than she is, mostly because she has accumulated such a vast body of wisdom in her 27 rotations ’round the sun.
Kendra’s not without her share of struggles. She’s experienced many layers of pain — in both her physical body and her energetic sphere. On numerous occasions, she’s felt her heart break; on even more numerous occasions, however, she’s felt her heart expand and grow. There have been many nights when she’s called me to share some of this pain; sometimes I’m able to simply hold space for her, with deep compassion and empathy, but other times my love for her bubbles and boils and I can’t contain my opinionated responses. When the latter is true, Kendra takes my strong and fiery reactions in stride; she listens to my outbursts, respects the sentiments behind them, takes the wisdom that can be gleaned and discards the rest (I’ll write it off as Aries craycray, which she’s quite familiar with 😉 ).
Kendra, you have truly been the equivalent of a Christmas miracle in my life. You have been a metaphorical life saver: so many days and nights that you’ve given me pep talks, talked me through mini crises, nursed me out of being a anxiety-ridden stress ball. You have probably also literally saved my life, on more than one occasion. You have been there through my highest highs and lowest lows. You are the person I feel safest with in my life, most able to explore my full range of emotions and access the places inside me that are generally left hidden. Your tough love and real talk has left me overwhelmed with gratitude; your willingness to receive me as I am, no matter what, unconditionally – has transformed my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are my best friend, my soul sister, my March 30 partner-in-crime. Can’t wait for so many more spins around the sun with you.