Me. Mine.

It was during high school, one afternoon, in an upstairs hallway.

I’d come to the conclusion I wanted to end the relationship.  We’d been together awhile (probably around a year) and while things were good at times, overall things were bad.  My boyfriend–my first real boyfriend–was clingy, demanding and manipulative.  He wanted to plan matching outfits every day.  He constantly compared our relationship, especially the physical aspect (really, the lack thereof), to his best friend.  If I was having a good day and he wasn’t, he went out of his way to ignore me until my day was shitty too.

So, I told him it was over.  He rested his head against the wall, silent.  I though the conversation went as well as it possibly could have…until he reared back and slammed his forehead into the glass of a picture frame hanging on the wall.  In disbelief, I backed toward a classroom door, hoping to escape quickly.

Locked.

Shock quickly turned to fear.

Luckily, other students were farther down the hallway and heard the commotion.  I hurried back to class and frantically told my teacher what happened; she rushed out to assist him.  My cousin came to check on me and I told him I was fine, he hadn’t hurt me.

The painful part came afterward, when I was asked to keep quiet about what happened.

My ex begged me not to tell anyone what happened.  He hoped to join the military and worried this would negatively impact his chances.  His mom and sister came to me with the same request.  I was horrified.  was supposed to protect him? He was upset, they said.  That behavior wasn’t like him; his future was at stake.

He.  Him.

My college boyfriend–my first real love–went home for the summer while I stayed in town and worked.  Toward the end of the summer, he told me he wanted to take me out to dinner–to talk to me about something–when he got back.  He was very mysterious, refusing to tell me what he wanted to talk about, and I thought for sure he was going to propose.  Turns out, he wanted to break up.  (Thank God I got him to tell me over the phone instead of in a restaurant.)

But after that, we were still cordial…until he got upset with me for not buying a computer from him.  See, he worked at a computer store and I came in one day and bought a brand new laptop–but not while he was on shift.  He could have used that commission, he said.  He thought I would have wanted to help him out.

He.  Him.

Too often, women are expected to take ownership for what men do.  Recently, the trial and conviction of Bill Cosby illuminates this disgusting facet of our society.  Why did she go to his hotel room?  What did she expect would happen?  Why is she coming forward now?  He’s an old man; he’ll die in prison because of this.  What about him, his legacy as a Black actor?

He.  Him.

It sickens me for a number of reasons, but mostly because it happened to me.  I completely understand the anger, the sadness, the frustration, and the guilt that comes with being made to feel like you have to take care of someone totally able to care for himself.

Women are socialized to care, to nurture, to feel.  We are expected to be firm, but kind.  We are taught to be nice. Even at our own expense.

This goes for everyone, but especially for women–we need to start taking care of ourselves.  It isn’t selfish to protect yourself from harm.  It isn’t mean to tell the truth.

Honestly, I hesitated to even write this post. What if my two exes, their friends and families, got upset with me? What if I hurt their feelings? What if I made them mad?

Then I realized–I can’t worry about them. I have to worry about me. One of my intentions this year is to speak my truth. I’m finally telling the truth I’ve felt obligated to keep quiet for so long.

Me. Mine.

You don’t owe anyone your self-esteem, your time, your money, or your silence–especially if they aren’t willing to positively invest in you.

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Snowy Days

Winter in Wisconsin is in full swing, y’all. And ya girl is NOT FEELING IT.

Something Everything about the blistering cold, the gray skies, and the seemingly unending snowfall just makes me depressed. Being cooped up inside doesn’t help my anxiety either. The days are so short it feels like you never see the sun. The wind chill is so cold that it burns your skin. Now how much sense does that make–weather so cold it feels hot?!?

We got four inches of snow on Saturday, and another inch on Monday. More snow is predicted for tonight, and even more next week. My snow shovel and I have been best friends the past couple of days. #truestory I shoveled my driveway as my cardio warmup before my personal training session on Monday. There’s a silver lining to this cloud after all! 🙂

But, in all honestly, I know this rough patch won’t last. Where there is cold, eventually there will be warmth. Gray skies will be blue again. And summer will be here and make me forget all about these snowy days. Here is a snapshot from a hike at Devil’s Lake last summer–I cannot wait until I see green trees and feel the warm sun again!

Best of 2017

So.  2017 was an…interesting year.  So much craziness went on in the world (including, but not limited to, somebody’s President acting a fool constantly) but plenty of good things happened too!

Here’s is my list of personal highlights from 2017 (in no particular order):

  1. Getting back into acting…kinda:  I completed recording for my first lead role in an audio drama!  I’m used to acting for stage and screen, so doing just vocal work was new to me, but it was a fantastic experience.  And y’all–this story is SO GOOD.  I can’t wait for you to hear it.  Please check out Who Killed Julie?, debuting later this year!
  2. #relationshipgoals:  My boyfriend and I celebrated one year together!  Wonderful can’t even describe this man.  He has been so supportive and understanding (given my rocky last relationship) and I can’t imagine my life with out him.
  3. International travels:  It was a bit late in the year, but I went to Ontario, Canada for a work trip in December.  I had never been to Canada before and was excited to get another stamp on my passport.  I’d love to go back for fun instead of work (preferably in the summer months).
  4. Mommy/daughter Costa Rican extravaganza:  I guess technically this falls under international travels too, but it was so awesome I had to give it a special shout out.  My mother and I took a trip to Costa Rica in October that was so wonderful.  Look for more details on our adventures in a FOUR PART series next month!
  5. Three decades of life:  This year, I turned 30!  Honestly, I feel like I acted like a 30-year-old long before my actual birthday, so it is nice to have my age match my maturity level.  🙂  I’ve come a long way from that girl who first boarded a plane at the age of 16, who thought she’d live and die in the great commonwealth of Kentucky.  I’ve learned a lot along the way and I can’t see what the good Lord has in store for me for the next 30 years.
  6. My squirrel friend’s wedding, my other squirrel friend’s baby, and just general squirrel friend shenanigans:  This year I was blessed to see my good friends make awesome moves in life.  One had a daughter, who is now a DRDIT (Drag Race Diva In Training).  One got married in a beautiful ceremony in upstate New York (which I was fortunate enough to be able to attend).  One finally freed herself from an abusive relationship.  And so many called, texted, Skyped, or just hung out with me.
  7. Girls Trip:  If you haven’t seen it, you must.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever laughed that hard in a movie theater.
  8. StellaMy brand new car!  You know, after seven years, I finally feel safe driving in these Wisconsin winters.  It’s amazing.
  9. Workin’ on my fitness:  2017 marked one full year since I started working with my personal trainer.  I’ve lost 20 lbs so far (and improved my eating too)!
  10. Fully realizing the awesomeness of Amazon Prime:  “Why yes, I did order a dish drainer online.  Couldn’t I have just gone to the store and bought one?  Absolutely!  But…why?”

Tell me–what’s on your “Best of 2017” list?  What are you hoping to accomplish in 2018?

Weekend Warrior

“I haven’t seen you in a month of Sundays!”

Anybody else heard that phrase?  I grew up hearing it, but perhaps it is restricted to sleepy Southern towns.  In case you aren’t familiar, it means “I haven’t seen you in a long time.”

My point for this is that I haven’t blogged in a month of Sundays.  #sorryboutit

Buuuutttttttt I have a good excuse!  I’ve been super busy living my best life.  Y’all can’t be mad at me for that, right?  🙂  Here are a few deets from some things I’ve gotten into over this month of Sundays:

Chi-stravaganza (feat. my boo and my besties)

My boyfriend and I left after work on Friday and drove down to Chicago for the weekend.  We stayed with my college BFF Cornelius, one of my best friends from college, and did so many fun things:

  • Went to a brewery and played Apples to Apples while enjoying some delicious craft beer.  This particular brewery didn’t serve food, so we ordered in burgers (for the omnivores) and fries (for the vegetarian and vegan).  Those fries were the crispiest, tastiest french fries I’d had in quite some time–the first of many delicious foods I enjoyed that weekend.
  • Played a few games of Uno over breakfast with the boo, then hit up the lakefront for the Air and Water Show.  We took a bus downtime, found a sunny spot by the lake, and watched huge planes do spectacular things–so impressive!  I struggle to keep my composure flying economy on Delta so I know I’d be freaking out if I was in the cockpit of a Navy jet.
  • Had drinks at a rooftop bar called Cindy’s.  You could also see the Air and Water Show from here, which was even cooler than watching it by the lake because it felt like the planes were flying right past your face. We met another friend from college (a former speech competitor from UT-Austin) and had a blast catching up.
  • Ate a delicious dinner at the Chicago Diner–and it was VEGAN!  The poutine was fabulous; I would dare any meat/dairy eater not to enjoy it.  The strawberry milkshake I had for dessert was phenomenal.  I can’t wait to go back there again!
  • Watched an awesome burlesque performance by The Fly Honey Show.  The show featured men and women of every body type and ethnicity.  It was funny and poignant and like nothing I’ve ever seen.  If you can catch a show, I’d highly recommend it!
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Airplanes doing crazy things–it was spectacular to watch.

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Me, my boo, and my besties!

Devil’s Lake Hiking Adventure

My wonderful boyfriend couldn’t believe I’d never been to Devil’s Lake (apparently it’s a Madison institution) so he took me for a hike!  It was tougher than I expected–I thought we’d be walking along flat trails, which did NOT happen–but I made it to the top.  I felt so empowered looking over the edge at the spectacular view.

After the hike, we went back to the car and took the ferry route back home.  The ferry was so cool!  There was a little snack stand where you could get ice cream while you waited for the ferry to arrive.  Once we drove onto the ferry, we got out of the car and watched as we went across the lake.  Check out a few photos below:

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Panoramic view of Devil’s Lake–absolutely breathtaking.

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The top–getting some Pride Rock vibes!

Birthday Turnup

This weekend is MY 30TH BIRTHDAY!  My boo has some stuff up his sleeve (I’m not sure what) and I’m also planning to eat hella cake.  Why?  Because this is a celebration!  My 20s were kind of tumultuous:  graduating from college, moving to Madison, two failed engagements (including one that was abusive), taking on home ownership, a career change, and an ongoing legal battle all took place during this time.  I’m hoping my 30s are a bit calmer–I’ve got my house, my car, my career, and a stable relationship with a wonderful man.  I couldn’t be more blessed to make it to 30 and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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Last year’s birthday cake–I may get one twice the size this year because I’m 30 and I do what I want.

 

Shoe Freak

My grandmother loves shoes (and handbags); my mother does too.  So when I see my closet full of shoe boxes and purses, I blame my genes.  What can I say?  Spending tons of money on shoes is in my blood!  😉

I’m also very picky about the shoes I purchase.  The shoes have to speak to me if I’m spending my hard-earned coins on them.  I tend to go for higher heels–the higher the heel, the closer to God (in my opinion).  If I wear flats, I want them to be stylish.  Want proof?  These are just a few pairs from my collection:

Purple suede with a satin bow–gorgeous!

Patent leather stiletto Mary Janes–classic!

I don’t always wear heels–sometimes I hit ’em with the Jordans too!

So imagine my shock when I walked out of a shoe store with these babies:

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Not what I’d usually go for…

Definitely a departure from my usual style, but with good reason.  My mom and I are taking a trip to Costa Rica in the fall (!!!) and I needed something that would take me from the jungle to the beach and back again.  After some research (online and talking with friends who’ve hiked a million more miles than I ever will) I decided on the Chacos.

Honestly, they are pretty comfortable.  And they are kinda cute when you put them on too!  I promise y’all, the intent of this post isn’t to brag about my shoe collection.  It’s to brag about how super #adult I felt buying them.  I’m almost 30, y’all.  I need to cast away childish things.  I need to quit focusing on how I look and focus more on how I feel.  Because the shoes don’t make the woman–the woman makes the shoes.  And I’m making these Chacos fabulous, henny!

So whether I’m hiking the jungle or walking the runway…

 

#truestory