Cassie Westrate

Cassie Westrate (’14) graduated with a double major in writing and international development studies. She currently lives in West Michigan, where she works as a writer, hangs out with her pet bird, and fights crime by night. Just kidding about the crime.

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Expectations vs. Reality

I look at my expectations from a year, or two, or ten ago and realize that I never would have been able to create a reality so bittersweet, so full of wonder, and drowning in grace.

If Dog is Real

Isn’t there a certain bit of wonder involved in math when it’s stripped down? Even when solving proofs, the first line is given.

On Conquering Fears

I am irrationally afraid of concrete horrors, like clowns and spiders and people impersonating Talking Elmo, but those veins of fear are hardly the heart of the matter.

I Am Sadness

Sadness drives me toward community in a way joy never has. Sadness bids for honesty, serves as my greatest ally in empathy, checks my anger, and encourages me to look at another side of the story.

A Series of Honest Postcards

There is something about watching people pick out spaghetti sauce, and knowing they will cook and eat a meal together, leave dirty dishes in a sink together, that makes me ache.

The Weight of Nothing

“It’s just that because the universe is expanding, that means it goes on forever, and forever makes now seem pointless,” I told Luke one day.

Ghosts We Know

Hi. My name is Cassie. There’s forever a part of me stuck in the loop of crawling in and out of bed.

On Wonder

When I tell people that the high schoolers painted a building, cleaned up weeds and replaced broken doors, people ask me what the building is for. “Nothing,” I say.

How to Swing Like a Child as an Adult

Let the sky be wide open and full of good possibilities. Wonder why the sky is blue. Wonder how the earth suspends in space. Wonder how you came to live under this beautiful blue sky in this small corner of the universe.

I Joined Online Dating

Every time I have doubts, I ask myself where the line is between settling and compromising. Is this really not working? Are we really not right for each other? Or am I just unrealistic, idealistic, and CRAZY?

Small Fish

I’m twenty-four and should move somewhere far away and then move again once I’ve grown familiar enough to know exactly where to find packets of yeast in the store.

Good and Broken

You’re always wondering what it means to live a good life. Someone sat at a table the other day, watched you wipe down a counter, and asked you if you want to serve coffee for the rest of your life.


So lately I find myself trying, instead, to think less often about my insecurities and shortcomings, and to focus more on the person in front of me who is accepting me for who I am.

Letters to God

“Can’t you feel that?” Pastor said one Sunday. “Can’t you feel that breeze?” I could. I was pretty sure it was the air conditioning kicking in.

Against the Wind

So I scoop the Cherry Pineapple Parfait, listen to Katy Perry, and wonder if any of my effort will ever make any difference or if I’ll always be as powerless and obsolete as a plastic bag drifting through the wind.

On Washing Dishes

So often my mind races about circumstances I seem to have little control over that it’s nice to be able to fix something so easily. At the end of the day, it’s nice to be able to bow my head and dip my hands in soapy water and rinse away the dirt.

Whale Watching

“Now,” he says. “I don’t wanna be out there with a root canal. So if we don’t see any whales, and you’re gonna pout about it, I prefer you get off now.”

Building a Road in Jamaica

And so I have to wonder if life is less about walking a road and more about building one. I wonder if it matters less how far we’ve been and how much we’ve seen.