Rise Up.


It’s Thursday.

Wednesday was a difficult day. Wednesday, when I opened my eyes around 5:00am, I realized that what I fell asleep worried about around 2:00am was very much real 3 hours later.  And so I cried.

I had cried the night before, in a public venue.  After a great dinner celebrating my stepmom’s birthday, we went to the bar to have a few drinks. Election updates were on the TV. And then Trump won Ohio. A small group of middle-aged, white men cheered. I cried.  One of my brothers put his arm around me asking what was wrong. “He can’t win…and those men…cheered.” was about all I could muster as I tried to hold it together.  As we worked to make sure a tab was paid and get me out, one of my aunts hugged me and told me it would be ok.

I drove my brother home that night. I didn’t cry as he sang along to songs as we traveled the back roads of Lakewood.  He hugged me and said he loved me as he got out of the car.

I drove home thinking. Thinking of how I didn’t say anything to those men that cheered. How I wasn’t brave enough. How I had failed to stand up for all that Hillary was standing up for. I thought about all the things you think about in those moments of hindsight.  I wanted to make them look me in the eye as they cheered for a man who thinks it’s ok to grab a woman by the pussy.  That sexual assault is ok. Because I thought, “Maybe they have never met a person who was sexually assaulted?”  The same thing I thought when I saw that my aunt (who had told me it would ok mid-hug) had also cheered for Trump’s victory.

When the “Trump Tapes” were initially released, I wrote a blog post as I was filled with rage about what was happening. A feeling that is returning but in a very different way.  But when I posted that blog post to Facebook, I hid it from my family.  I was afraid. I’m not really sure why, but I was.  And I’m trying not to cry as I write this one, and know that this one, I won’t hide.

I cried Wednesday morning and had a difficult time getting out of bed. I almost thought about not getting out of bed. I thought about staying there in the dark, listening to the wind beat up against my window. But I felt like perhaps I needed to be there for other people. So I made myself stop crying. I made myself get out of bed. I made myself get into the shower.  Upon getting out of the shower, I broke down again into uncontrollable sobs.

I put on some makeup. Not a lot in case I cried again. But just enough to cover an already blotchy face.  I walked to the bus. I watched people get on the bus wondering how they felt. It was a quiet bus ride.  Campus felt quiet.  The office was quiet.

I sat in my corner of our office space and silently cried throughout the day.  I was not ok.

14 years ago I was sexually assaulted. And now a man who thought that was all just “locker room talk” was President of my country. In a position to make more laws on what I should do with my body.

This morning I woke up and told myself I could do this. I could be stronger. I could be braver.  I made myself a small playlist.  It pushed me through my morning.  It helped.

My friend Ann Marie shared a blog post. That helped.

I have some incredible friends and family members to talk to. That all helps. Sometimes you just need to know that other people are struggling along side of you.  When you sit across from a friend during your lunch break and you know that you are both struggling and holding back tears, nothing has to be said. It’s already all been said. The people that are “My persons”. We are hurting together.

This election season has given a stronger light to racism, sexism, homophobia, bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, and just plain hatred for others.  Please know I don’t think this is republicans vs. democrats.  I don’t hate anyone.   I know that my anger can be construed to be from a place of hate, but it’s not. It’s fear. It’s disappointment.  It’s just being so tired to fight for something that should just be a basic part of our humanity.  That we can love one another. That we don’t have to pass laws to discriminate against people. That we don’t have to use religion as some sort of exclusionary device, making it really difficult for people, like me, to want to walk into a church ever again.  People are hurting. People are afraid.

So I’m ready.  I may have thought I was ready before, and to an extent that was true, but now I’m really ready.  For all the people I know and for those I don’t, let me stand next to you. Let me listen to your fears. You can tell me your story.  You can cry on my shoulder. I will hold your hand. I will stand in front of you when you need defending. And I will lift you up so that you can shine in your own amazing way.

Together we will Rise Up. We will be Unstoppable. We will love.





Despite all my Rage…

I’ve felt a lot of rage the last few days. It’s not an emotion that I feel too often.  In fact, I’d really worry if rage was a common feeling I had. But it’s now something I feel constantly. I’d like to share my thoughts in this post without a lot of the politics involved, but I feel, and know based on the current climate, that is unavoidable, as my rage stems from things within the political arena and the impending election. So I’m just going to try and share as best I can in the most honest way I can and then see what the result is at the end of all things.

I work on a college campus, and have worked on a campus for the majority of my post-college career.  My experiences in college and beyond those four years have shaped me into the person that I am in so many ways, and it’s something that I am extraordinarily proud of. I am proud of who I have become, even if I know I have still have a lot of “becoming” yet to happen.  All a part of our ever shaping identity I suppose.  And in the many conversations I have had with colleagues and students about identity, my number one has been that I am a woman.  I identify strongly with that part of my life.  It defines how I live my life and causes me to feel quite strongly about issues affecting that part of my identity.  Just as others choose to fight for issues related to their own identities.  Whether that be gender, race, religion, etc.  And when you fight, you have a lot of feelings.  And sometimes that feeling can be rage.

So MY rage. My rage that for some would constitute me just being a “bitch”. Maybe I should calm down. “Grow up” as Scott Baio likes to put it. (You can see his misogynistic ignorance in this video clip.)

In my second month of my new job, I took part in Green Dot facilitator training. Green Dot is a bystander program, designed to train people to be active bystanders and help prevent situations that lead to sexual assault.

It wore me out.

It drained me mentally and emotionally.

Listening to people share stories of their own situations with sexual assault or times they helped other people.  By the end of the week I just needed alone time. There was so much to process.  (But please don’t get me wrong, as it was one of the most valuable experiences of my life.)

We live in a society that perpetuates rape culture.  And this past week, we watched a candidate for President of the United States, perpetuate it even more.

When I was about 24 years old, I was out with friends for New Years Eve.  We had been drinking and I ended up in a room kissing a friend of a friend.  It was obviously late and we decided we would sleep on the floor, as people were in various rooms in the house.  Before I realized what was happening, this person was on top of me with his pants down and pulling down mine. I told him to stop and he did.  I tried to sleep and then he did it again. I again told him to stop.  He did, but in the process said, “What was the point of all of this then?”

I guess he thought he could just have what he wanted because I had spent some time kissing him.

I got up and left the room and slept on an open couch.I never spoke to him again or told my friends.

In fact, I never told anyone.

I say it now because I watch people make excuses for Donald Trump’s behavior. For Brock Turner’s behavior. For the behavior of so many others.  It makes me so angry. I watch friends on Facebook share how Trump’s words were just “bad words”.  Things that we should get over.  Move past. Ignore. Laugh about. Those words are sexual assault. And they hurt. Not just me but so many others.

So many brave people who have shared their stories.

So many more that are afraid to speak up.  

That’s. Rape. Culture.

And for a person to laugh it off and make excuses, just gives more opportunities for people to think that it’s OK.  For people that are my friends and making excuses and laughing about it, please look me in the face and tell me it doesn’t matter. That I should get over it. That it’s no big deal. That I should just “grow up.” That’s it just my liberal biases.

And so I rage. Except I know I’m not alone.

What is my voice?

A few days ago, in an anger ball of frustrations, I shared a video of Trump talking about how he wanted to hit people from the DNC after they had talked badly about him. In particular, “a little guy”. It was the last straw for me.

I asked people in my friend list to defriend me if they were planning on voting for Trump this fall. I was so tired. I was tired of the words coming out of Trump’s mouth. The hatred. The bigotry. I had watched the RNC. I had listened to the speakers. I had listened to their fear tactics. I had listened to their discrimination. And it hurt. It hurt because people thought it was ok. It hurt and it terrified me. It still does.

Do I regret making that request? Honestly? No. Am I sad that I lost some friends by making that request? Yes. That does make me sad.

It’s not a situation of Republican vs. Democrat (or any other third or fourth party).  The very first time I was registered and voted, I voted as a Republican. Through the years, my belief system has moved more progressively, and that is where I found a place in which I can speak my voice amongst people that think and feel similarly to me. And I believe in good discourse and conversation and I appreciate when others challenge me to thinking differently.  It stretches my boundaries, pushes me to learn, and makes me more clear in how I feel and think about issues facing me on a daily basis.  I know we are not all the same and that is the beauty of the world that we live in.  However, I struggle when people take our differences and create fear, anxiety, and hatred.   Deep down I know that’s not what Republicans set out to be, especially when forming the party. And I’ve never been truly afraid, as a Democrat, of a Republican candidate. Until now.

I don’t hate Donald Trump. I’m afraid of him. I’m afraid of the people that cheer when he talks about hitting people. I’m afraid when I watch people at his rally’s hit people because they think it is ok.  The way that Trump talks about Muslim people has allowed people to think it’s ok to treat them so poorly.  He chose a running mate that has openly discriminated against LGBTQ people and therefore, created a culture of supporters that think that is ok too.  Trump has create a space in which racism is ok. Where sexism is ok. Where hatred and violence as a means of disagreement, are ok. He has taken the power and given people permission to allow all of the horrible things festering in our society to rise to the top.  They’ve always been there, but now someone in a powerful position is opening the door to all of it. Kind of ironic from a man who wants to build a wall.

I’m not going to tell you how to vote. That’s not my place.  But I will be aiming to use my voice for love and care. For peace and comfort. To show support to the people I love.  And perhaps I didn’t show the most loving spirit a few days ago, and I recognize that.  But I’m going to move ahead and focus on the things I can do and the ways I can use my voice to be part of the good things I know we can become.

Wheat Noodles & Bonus Fries

Yesterday at dinner, I decided on the “make-your-own pasta” option in the dining hall.  The student staffing the pasta station that night really knows what she’s doing. I’m a regular customer when she’s working.  Noodles, chicken, Alfredo sauce, and a spoonful of roasted red pepper pesto.  She remembers every time which impressed the other student I was standing in line with that evening.  I chose the white noodles as they were fancy noodles that night.  How fancy were they? Fancy enough for a noodle but not enough to make me look up the exact type.

Ok, I looked it up.  They are called Fusilli Lisci.

I sat with a few of my students for dinner that night, thoroughly enjoying my bowl of yum, when lo and behold there it was: a wheat noodle.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve got nothing against the wheat noodles.  During orientation season when we have the pasta bar I’m always mixing it up with my noodle selections.  But in that moment it became clear that this wheat noodle was like a bonus fry.

You know, the bonus fry that generally happens if you go to Burger King, order the onion rings (don’t act like you’re better than me now that you know I like BK onion rings).  But you go and order the onion rings and then BAM. Bonus fry.  Maybe  your bonus fry is at the bottom of your McDonald’s bag.   Although let’s be honest you have to search the bag for those right away.  McDonald’s fries only have limited quality assurance time.  No time to find one of those after you’ve already eaten the other fries and your 10-piece chicken nuggets.

[side note: if you have time, PLEASE watch Jim Gaffigan’s stand up about McDonald’s. HILARIOUS.]

The point is, these are exciting things in unexpected moments.  Serendipitous incidents in which things just seem all right in the universe.  When you find a quarter on the ground.  When the scoop of ice cream is a little more than usual.  When you walk away from moments having gained more than you ever really imagined was possible, because you were not expecting it to happen.

It’s been on my mind the last few days after I facilitated at the Delta Sigma Phi Presidents’ Academy this past weekend.  And it was true after I facilitated the Undergraduate InterFraternity Institute (UIFI).  I went into these situations with certain expectations.  I was going to work with college-aged students and talk about leadership, values, strengths, etc. and I was hopefully going to make an impact in some way.  And that totally happened in several situations.  I connected with those students and we had laughs and good conversations and even challenging moments.  I went in ordering onion rings and I got a whole bunch of onion rings.  With zesty sauce.

But then, there it was.
Bonus fry.
Wheat noodle.
Or whatever your preferred food analogy might be.

I met some of the coolest grown ups in the world. They are the shit. No joke.  My bonus fry is that person who people assume you’ve known for years when you only met them an hour ago.  Or the person you find yourself in a battle of snark with a day after meeting.  Or the one that sits with you for hours talking about your families.  The people you laugh until you cry with during the late night, slap-happy hours.  You share secrets and fears.  You spontaneously buy plane tickets when they ask you to visit (when you’ve never been that spontaneous in your life). These people. My people.  My wheat noodles in a world of fancy-ass Fusilli Lisci and Farfalle, or even Pappardelle.

Someone asked me today how I was doing.  My lazy response is busy and I hate that.  But today I paused.  How am I?

I’m exhausted.
I’m swamped with work.
I’m trying to move to a new place.
I don’t get normal amounts of sleep ever.
I have a great family.
I drank beer and listened to authors read their work last night.
I spent the weekend laughing endlessly.
I’m achieving great things in my job.
My friends are incredible.

So I responded, in a way like you’ve just consumed a whole plate of pasta:

I’m full.

Hope you find the things that fill you as well.
Until next time. Eat up friends.


Over the weekend I started listening to the “Dear Sugar” podcast and it slowly started changing my life a little.  The stories and the vulnerability shared within not only the letters but within the conversations between Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond (the Original Sugars), and then whichever person they called on the show.  Listening to the heartbreaking letters they received from people struggling with self-worth, relationship doubts, critics, etc., I couldn’t help but relate to so many of the questions asked, the worries shared, the doubts lingering in their minds…all of it.  And while the thoughts of my own fears and doubts and many other things (that so often left me in a ball of stress and sadness) came to mind, I felt a sense of calm, almost a camaraderie, with everyone involved.  I wasn’t alone.

But I don’t want this post to be all about the realizations and acceptance of myself post-podcast in some sort of unrealistic rom-com breakthrough in which everything falls into place and I end up with a new sense of self and a really good looking guy at the end of it all.  While nice, it’s not the end-all-be-all of my existence by any means.  It’s not how I define myself.  It’s not the thing I cling to most in the world (despite what my 20-something self might have thought).  Rather, I wanted to reflect on the things that end up defining me in all of my weirdness.

So I give you, my confessions:

  • I’m slightly lactose intolerant but I would rather drink that whole large milkshake and suffer the consequences in the bathroom later, than to deny myself that joyous beverage.  Speaking of, it’s almost Shamrock Shake season…
  • I love Nickelback’s song “How You Remind Me.”  Any time it’s on the radio, I turn it up.  I despise everything else about Nickelback, except this song.  This song is gold.
  • I recently binge-watched the first 2 seasons of Baywatch.  I loved that show for the first 2 seasons. Still do.  It used to actually have good story lines…
  • I buy books that I end up never reading. I just like to buy books. Goal this year is to read those books. Seriously. I tweeted about it.
  • I get secretly envious of people that come up with parody Twitter accounts (ie. Emo Kyle Ren) or people that Live Tweet famous films they are seeing for the first time (ie. This lady & Star Wars).  But then I remember, “Kathy, you don’t have time for that.” Yeah? Well I’m still jealous.  #SpaceVoldemort4Lyfe
  • I put egg noodles in my tomato soup.
  • I consider myself a movie fan, yet I have never seen any of the The Godfather films.  #LeaveTheGunTakeTheCannoli
  • I cried watching an episode of The Simpsons. Like legit, sobbed.
  • I know every word, musical note, crowd cheer from the song “Tonight” by New Kids On The Block.

Until next time…

Purple Rain is for the Ladies

When I was at ACPA Baltimore, I found myself at a bar with some pretty amazeballs people, having a few beers and a plethora of laughs.  The house band began to play. Loudly. Soon our Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 6.49.23 PMwe were shouting. And while it provides a hilarious reference to one of my favorite films, it doesn’t help when you’re just trying to chat it up with friends in a bar.  We attempted this feat until we decided it was ridiculous and needed to find somewhere else to socialize. As we walked by the band on our way to the door, the lead singer motioned to us and said,

“Hey! This one is for the ladies!”

Cue, Prince’s “Purple Rain”…

Whether or not Prince would have said that exact same thing if he were in that downtown Baltimore bar is neither here nor there. (Although we can all be honest that if Prince were there, we would have not left the bar. ) But that moment is permanent in my brain and triggered anytime I hear the song.  But let me digress for a minute or two..

On the second page of Mindy Kaling’s new book, Why Not Me?, she says the following:

“The result of my not caring so much about what I say 
allows me to care more about how I say it.”

 That resonated with me in such a way that I immediately grabbed my stack of post-it notes that I leave on the little table next to my bed (for night time epiphanies) and wrote that down. Then I just let it soak in my brain for a few days.

The end result was revitalizing and reinventing my blog. My goal is to make it a collection of stories about my life.  Maybe in the same vein of my writer sheros Tina, Amy, & Mindy.  But they will be my stories.  As Anne Shirley eventually realized, she needed to write about what she knew and then she got that damn book published. So perhaps these blog posts will be stories of my own Avonlea.  Or perhaps they will be my advice on styling wigs.  Or maybe it will be stories about how my grandma’s criteria for my potential future mates started and ended with whether or not they had nice teeth.  Ok, let’s be honest.  A post will definitely be about that. Regardless, I’m going to take Mindy’s advice and get over the hump about worrying about what I say.  It will be much easier that her advice on trying to befriend a cinematographer to light me wherever I go.

So thanks for reading so far.  Stay tuned.