Bonnie was born in Austin, and moved to El Paso with her grandmother and her mother after her parents divorced when she was nine. Throughout her adolescence, she dealt with the usual mire of hormones, anger, and insecurity that most of us do, but as an only child, she had to learn to navigate these things on her own.
As an intellectual with a punk rock heart, Bonnie would find rebirth in music just as much as she would in books, and in knowledge. Her teachers understood her in a way that many others didn't, and it helped to kindle within her a dedication to learning and to understanding the truth in things as best she could. She didn't really want to rule any social roost; knowledge and books were her kingdom.
Perhaps the only thing she loved more than learning or music was her family, and upon the loss of her grandfather, Bonnie felt this more than ever. Her initial goals of majoring in molecular biology became less important than returning home from New Mexico, where she was attending college, and her priorities changed greatly. When she did return to school, she focused instead on education as an homage to her love for learning and her neverending appreciation for those teachers who stood for her when it seemed at times that no one else would.
Since getting to know Bonnie, I've come to regard her as a close friend.
There is plenty to love about her: she's intelligent, fiercely focused on defending truth, and loyal and loving to her friends and family beyond even the level of most. Following the loss of her stepmother, Bonnie was devastated to learn that her father had committed suicide. The pain of losing him, while never forgotten, was also translated into a greater appreciation for those who are still there with her, including--and especially-- her husband and her young daughter Charlotte.
When dealing with her daughter, Bonnie's loving nature especially shone through. She suffered through intense sleep deprivation while trying to sleep-train her daughter for months. As she suffered she had moments of guilt that too many mothers face and feel shamed for, be it moments soaked in tears of frustration or quick times of resentment toward her child. Despite these totally understandable moments of frustration, though, she would always return mere hours later to talk about how much she loved her little girl. Sleeplessness was hard, but Bonnie seemed fueled by the realization that nothing worth it is ever easy.
Honestly, though, if there was anything I pulled from my talk with Bonnie, it's that having a child has and hasn't changed her. Her fascination with science and the universe hasn't waned; her focus on things that are beyond full understanding hasn't wavered. Given a baby-free week, she'd of course love to catch up on sleep and catch up with friends, but she'd definitely still be up for a game of pool or a live music show if she could swing it. She'll just be more interested in getting home at the end of the night.
As with any whole, complete person, Bonnie hopes that people realize that no woman has to be any one thing. "There are a lot of different facets of me," she told me, "and I don't feel like they contradict each other...they're all me."