arlais header
Marcie Hopkins, University of Utah Health
Embrace Love of Self
Arlais Rune, contracting officer for the Office of Sponsored Projects, shares a haiku she wrote about her journey of self-acceptance and how listening to and validating others leads to a much more authentic, vibrant community.


Dark. Hard. Self abuse.
See colors. Be colors. Shine.
Embrace love of self.



wrote this haiku as a reflection of my own journey. I like haikus because they are a highly structured, creative outlet. As an attorney, I tend to be a little bit more on the verbose side, so conveying a thought or a feeling in a condensed format has always been a fun challenge. 

Growing up in a very religious, conservative family, I carried a lot of guilt and shame for a long time. I internalized and hid a large part of me, which contributed to stress, anxiety, and depression. This led to substance use and eventually, recovery. Part of my recovery has been to acknowledge all the parts of me. I believe that while you can experience these long periods of doubt and shame, it's much better to embrace who you are and self-actualize as best you can. I empathize with the fear and anxiety of being out and embracing who you are, but for me, doing so has kept me healthy and alive. 

Since moving to Utah from Connecticut eleven years ago, a lot has happened in terms of public acceptance of the LGBTQ community. Salt Lake itself is a bastion of diversity and acceptance within an otherwise conservative culture. Although we live in very divisive times right now, I think that when we engage each other and get to know each other for who we authentically are, we can forge friendships. 

Part of what has been so valuable to me in living in Utah and engaging in the community has been that, by accepting others, I've been able to accept myself and not hide certain parts of myself. As a University of Utah employee, the coworkers who I’m close with have become some of my strongest supporters. To be an ally is to listen and to let someone feel seen. By listening, you help that person feel validated. And, you might just learn something along the way. 

About Arlais Rune (She/Her/Hers)

  • I have two lovely Great Danes and a troublesome saltwater aquarium.
  • I have two charming young sons.
  • We enjoy fishing and camping together.
  • I completed my JD at the University of Utah in 2010.
  • I have worked for the University of Utah since 2014. 
  • I am currently working on my application for the Masters of Social Work program at the University of Utah. 
  • I aspire to work in support of the LGBTQIA+ community as well as those working toward addiction recovery.  
  • I am a bit of a compulsive shopper (which may be a bit of an understatement). 
  • I collect first edition books, guitars and high heels. 
  • I have learned and forgotten how to play the guitar twice in my life and am working on learning for a third time.
  • I have thus far refused to adopt the Oxford comma. 

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest insights in health care equity, improvement, leadership, resilience, and more.