About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each Wednesday, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, DivineCaroline.com, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found.
I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and you can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


bias, lied, dead, bled, deal, leads

These are the words that spontaneously came to mind while lying on my acupuncturist’s table with fourteen needles in my back.  They are words formed from the letters within the word “disabled.”

It’s a word I’m thinking about more and more as I prepare to leave my teaching career.  It isn’t a temporary leave, it’s not an extended absence.  It’s a resignation.  Retirement due to disability.

So, here’s the deal.  I can’t plan everything, I can’t control everything, and I can’t change everything.  I need to change.  And starting in March, I’ll be changing the way I spend my days.

It’s two-and-a-half years now that my legs have been under siege.  And as unfair as it may seem, as upsetting and infuriating and terrifying as it may be, it’s time for me to admit it - I am a woman with a chronic disease.  Not a life-threatening disease (thank God), but a medical condition that necessitates some life changes.

But, I don’t like the word “disabled.”  Because, honestly, regarding someone as disabled unfortunately leads to bias.

My grandmother was disabled.  She didn’t drive herself, and my grandfather was always rightfully infuriated when he couldn’t find an available handicapped parking spot near the entrance to the market.  My grandmother’s car had a blue placard granting her access to these specially reserved spots.  And she needed it.  Rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer, and strokes made physical movement difficult.  My grandmother usually had my grandfather push her in her wheelchair.  When she did walk, it was slow and laborious, and reliant on her cane.  

She was disabled, and she looked disabled.  

Truthfully, for most of my life, that is how I have viewed disability.

And that’s not me.  

Although within the last two-and-a-half years, I have spent time dependent on a wheelchair, and I have relied on a walker to get from point A to point B.  Thankfully, those days are done.  The wheelchair was returned to my doctor, and my walker is folded away and stashed in the closet (where I pray it remains).

    I am learning that there are degrees of disability, and that not all disabilities are apparent the first time you look at someone.  While I sit and write, bystanders might think I appear fine.  If they looked closely, they might see me squirm in my seat as I try to find a comfortable position for my leg.  If they followed me home, they’d see the bottles of prescriptions lined up on my kitchen counter.  If I rolled up my sleeve, they might see the bruise left from my most-recent blood-test at my bi-monthly doctor’s appointment.  And if I pulled up my left pant leg, they might notice that my calf looks rather hard and tight.  They might see the scar left from a muscle biopsy.  They might see the trail of veins snaking around my legs.  

Now, I am forced to acknowledge that I am disabled, as in unable to do certain things.  For two-and-a-half years, I have been going along, trying to ignore the pain, trying to work through the pain, waiting for the pain to go away.

It’s not going away.  All I can do is try to control it better, try to manage it better, try to spend my days not doing things that might exacerbate the pain.

So, March 1st, I will go to school as a classroom teacher for the last time.  I will say good-bye to the only school I have ever taught at.  I will say good-bye to my students, my co-workers, my profession.  

And for the first time in a really long time, I will start putting a lot more energy into myself.  

My disability enables me to do that.


  1. Honey,
    2013 will now be the beginning of amazing new things for you! I am so sorry that you have been going through all of this pain. You have a great gift with words and this entry on your blog is another fine example of your writing abilities. I am proud of you and I love you with all of my heart!
    Love, Paul

  2. I have been crying while reading this as it kills me to know you have been going through so much pain for so long.You have been a wonderful teacher and you have made such a difference in all the children you have worked with,and now it is time to work on yourself.I know this is very hard for you as you have felt you would be teaching for many more years,but actually you should have stopped a while ago as instructed by your doctors but you are not one to give in and the pain has just gotten worse and now it is time to ease up and hopefully by not teaching the pain will lessen at least a little.You have been very brave through all this and you certainly do not deserve this medical condition that came upon you.I love you and I am very proud of you.

  3. It is with a heavy heart that I read your BLOG. I have prayed that God would ease your pain and I am frustrated that I can't help you. With your RETIREMENT, I hope your quality of life improves. I understand that this condition is here to stay. I am impressed that you gave your best and never complained. Your Mother & I are proud of you.

    Love, Dad

  4. Wendy,

    I know from firsthand experience that you are an AWESOME teacher and I have so enjoyed getting to know you on a more personal basis. I have to be honest. I have been grieving ever since you shared the news with me! I’m pretty sure I have hit up every stage of grief by now…. :)

    Here’s a peak into my thoughts over the last few weeks…..

    Denial – no way, she’s not leaving…we will figure this out.

    Anger – this is not fair!

    Bargaining – Okay, maybe she can do part time work? Maybe I can figure out a way to help out more? What can I do to help? Well if she does have to go -- I know….she can homeschool Kyle and Chloe! (tee-hee)

    Depression – I am sad. I think I will cry.

    Acceptance – I am sorry to see her go – but this is a GOOD thing! She will give herself time to heal, the pain will lesson, she will be able to focus on her visions, dreams and passions, Wendy will have more time with her family….and she can start focusing on WENDY! Yeah! THE BEST IS YET TO COME!

    You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers! ♥


  5. Hi Wendy. Thanks for your honesty. I've enjoyed reading your blog. Is there a way to get in touch with you? I looked for a contact email on the site but wasn't able to find one... thanks!