Archives for posts with tag: writing

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 10.07.50 AM

Me too. The hashtag that took over social media this past weekend. I had to look it up, to be honest.  I had a feeling what it was, but googled it to be sure. Sadly, I was correct. The day before this started trending I shared a brief story of my own via a Facebook status. It was about the first time I vividly recall being sexually harassed, and maybe by some definitions, assaulted. In middle school, by a teacher. It was in light of the discussions of men in positions of power abusing that trust and role. Using that position to hurt women. The next day I stated seeing “me too” all over Facebook and Instagram.

I haven’t posted a “me too” status though. Why? Because I am very open about my stories of assault and harassment and date rape. I have found my voice over the last few years and I talk about it until I am blue in the face, until all my Facebook friends probably roll their eyes and think, here we go again, (I don’t care though). I talk and write and write and talk because it is important. Because for 13 years I lost my voice. Because maybe my stories will help another woman. Because these moments happened, are happening, and will happen again.

Tomorrow is the culmination of my Resistance Writing Workshop. I set out to write another piece on sexual harassment. I even have a first draft written up. In the end, I shifted to a piece on mass shootings. I will share that after my critique and edits. But at the front of my mind, when I first stepped foot into that class 6 weeks ago, was writing about sexual harassment. Before the “shocking” Weinstein story (is it all that shocking? It seems the whole industry knew) and before “me too.” Why? Because this isn’t a trending hashtag. This is real life. This is my real life. This is the real life of most women I know. Because a teacher massaged my shoulders and ran his hands through my hair when I was in middle school. (I don’t even think I had gotten my first period yet.) Because an adult coworker followed me into a freezer when I was 16, closed the door, pinned me against a shelf, and kissed me, without my consent. Because I woke up in a hospital, no underwear, questions about what happened to my genitals being barked at me by a doctor. Because a man trapped me in an elevator and commented on my legs, while I was carrying my wedding veil. Because a man masturbated in his car, next to mine, watching me, as I put my first born son into his car seat, at 10 a.m. on a weekday. Because a drunk man sexually harassed me at noon on a weekday when I was pushing my 2 year old in his stroller. And so many more instances. All of that gets lost with just “me too.” You don’t quite get the disgusting nature of these moments when you chalk it up to “me too.”

I think the stories are important. It is more than “me too.” The narrative matters. What happened? Who did it? How did you feel? How did it affect your life? How are you doing now? How have you recovered? You matter! The details matter. Me too doesn’t solve anything. Awareness, sure, but we are all aware this happens. We live it. We see it. We read it. We hear it. Now we need to change it. Talk, speak, tell your story, insist on fairness, require body autonomy, demand that your sons will walk into this world differently, men, speak up when you see it happening, not after it comes to light. Bosses, refuse to tolerate any employee feeling uncomfortable in your office/company/business. The burden is not on us victims. The burden is on society to get its shit together. To refuse to tolerate sexual harassment and assault. Maybe because I am a writer, I feel that the stories are so important. “Me too” glosses over the nitty gritty ugly details, and maybe that is what we need. A bold look in the mirror, face the ugliness, the hideousness, the shame that we continue to let people (men, mostly) get away with these acts. Then enact bold and revolutionary change.

I am in the middle of an amazing Resistance Writing Workshop. This week we focused on resistance through fiction. One of our exercises was to take life as it is and reimagine it as it should be. This short story came to me based on a shirt my 6 year old wore to the march for science earlier this year. It reads “save the earth. It’s the only planet with pizza.” So without further ado, my first dabble into fiction in a very long time! 

Earth’s Most Delicious Hero

Pizza. Everybody likes pizza. There’s a topping for every tastebud. There are city rivalries based on pizza. Rats carry pieces around New York. There are different sizes, shapes, and depths. People are passionate about their pizza preferences. Chicagoans scoff when they see “Chicago Style Pizza!” anywhere outside of Chicago. There is no way they get that right, no way! Pizza is a simple yet serious part of our collective ethos. Funny thing though, Earth is the only planet with pizza. You can’t find a thin crispy crust cheese slice on any other planet, that we know about.

Pizza is what saved this planet. The force that finally led world leaders to collectively sigh and say, “ok! We have to do something about climate change, or this is it. We are done for! Finished, gone, extinct!” Not Cat 5 hurricanes, or flooding islands, or unbearably hot Septembers, or ice shelves falling off. No, we humans live through our bellies. And it turns out, the way to a man’s brain (not heart, we had that one wrong) is through his belly.

Pizza. That perfectly warm golden tangy delight, too delectable to ever give up, was the Earth’s champion. The reason we all work harder to reduce our impact and waste. The reason our air is cleaner and our oceans are cooler. And come to think of it, why everyone smiles more. Who can be mad when every single Friday is International Pizza Night? Obviously started to commemorate our shared, global, hero. You don’t have to Go Green. You can just Go Cheesy (but please, skip the anchovies).

 

IMG_8205

Last week I was lucky enough to be accepted as a RedTri Spoke Contributor! I am so excited about this opportunity to share my voice in their community.

In Defense of Downsizing takes a look at what happens when you look into your heart and family and make choices based on the answers you find. I explain our journey to living with less space and more time together.

I hope to remain active in this contributor community. I will always share with you whatever work I am fortunate enough to submit and have published.

Do you have any pieces that have been published on different sites, blogs, communities? Share your links below!

I have started and failed to finish several posts this week. It has been difficult for me to get into a good writing flow. They were all very long posts but they just didn’t seem right to me. They all were incomplete as well. I have had a lot on my mind but the words just won’t form correctly. Today, though, I am going to try a bit harder.

Yesterday evening I was thinking to myself that I would really enjoy it if I had a rainy day tomorrow. A day to just slow me down a little bit. A reason to stay inside, cuddled up with my sweetheart. A day where I could use the bad weather as an excuse to not run errands, go somewhere fun, walk to the park, or whatever ever else came up. 

For over a week I haven’t slept through the night. Last night was no exception. As I lay in bed I considered a walk to the park with Jackson today. No workout, take a rest day because I haven’t taken a rest day in over a week either. But a nice 1.5 mile walk and maybe some swimming. My brain was active as I lay in bed considering all the things I could do today. I finally decided to get myself up for the day, having stayed in bed a bit later knowing I didn’t plan on fitting in a workout. Alexander started slowing moving around, then kicking. It was time to start my day. 

Imagine my surprise as I waddled into my kitchen, not greeted by the usual beaming sunlight that radiates through the massive set of windows we have. I was greeted by grey sky, rain, clouds, and utter wetness outside. My heart skipped a beat. My rainy day! I hadn’t even checked the weather forecast yesterday. I had no idea rain was coming. I just wished it would, to force me to slow down a touch. As I sit here and write I am accompanied by the sounds of rain falling on my skylights. Heavy raindrops writing their own song. Jackson is still asleep. He likes to sleep late on rainy mornings. There is no sun radiating around the small space around his blackout blinds. 

I am not sure what we will do today. My dishes could be washed. I was too tired last night to wash the ones from dinner. Legos are already spread across my kitchen table. Except for the small area I am afforded for my meals and well my laptop I am typing on now. We have a ton of books we could read. I have a new big Ninja Turtles coloring/activity book we could make our marks on. Maybe we will do all of them. If he keeps sleeping much longer, there won’t be a nap today. Especially on a day where we don’t wear ourselves out playing outside or going on an adventure. 

As I sipped my coffee earlier, watching the rainy day, I couldn’t help but thank my Gma (that is what I called her a lot). I can’t help but feel like she may have had a hand in providing me with exactly what I needed this week. Forcing me to slow down a little, her girl who is always on the go. Thanks Gma, you did me a solid. 

IMG_7458

View from my kitchen

I have always loved words. Talking, reading, or writing. I am a chatterbox. I talk a lot. Always have. I used to get in trouble in school for being a social butterfly. I haven’t been able to put books down since I learned how to read. I have been writing since elementary school.

I always knew that I loved words in all forms. But I never knew that love could grow so immensely until I heard my child utter his first words. It started when he was around 9 months old. 9 1/2 months to be more precise. I stopped in my tracks the first time I heard him form a real word. I was caught totally off guard. He was crying for us. He had just woken up for the day. I went into his room. He was sitting in his crib and as soon as he saw me he started crying “momma momma momma” I couldn’t believe it!

Fast forward to now. Today (literally) he is 17 months old. I am desperately clinging to this last month of having a toddler under a year and a half. But that is for another post. Today I have to talk about how excited I am to hear WORDS from his precious pouty mouth. Last week he started saying “yellow.” He loves cars. He has this set of Maters. From Cars2. Mater in all of his secret agent disguises. There is a yellow one. I asked him, “Jack do you want your yellow Mater? Can you say yellow?” He looked at me and said “Wheh Whoa!” HE SAID YELLOW. That is not a particularly easy word. It is also a two syllable word. I was flabbergasted. I always ask him to repeat things or words I say. I am constantly asking him to try to use his words. Yet it still caught me by surprise. I was elated.

He has been working on the word flower for a while. I have flowers throughout the house. I have my wedding bouquet dried and on a wine rack in our dining room where we eat every day. I also have a fake orchid in my dining room. (I cannot have real plants. They die) But he has been taken with them for months. If you ask him where the flowers are he points. For a while he had been saying “fa” in reference to them. Yesterday he was working so hard to saying flower. “Ffffa-ah” On his own. We were sitting there enjoying breakfast and he started pointing and saying “ffffa-ah” over and over. Much later in the day we were at the grocery store. On his own he spotted some flowers and started saying “fffa-ah” again!

It makes my heart grow a million sizes bigger each time he gets a new word or phrase. I love communicating with him. I love hearing his little raspy voice work out new or old words. I am a big believer in using your words. When he is upset and having a tantrum I ask him to stop and use his words. I get to his level and look him in the eyes and tell him I can’t help him until he uses his words and tells me what he wants or what is wrong. If he knows the word he really stops and tries to tell me. I have found it to be a great relief during tantrums.

Words. They have been such a big part of my entire life. But I never truly appreciated them the way I do now. It is amazing the world a child can open up. The most simple thing, saying the word yellow, can make your day, week, and month so amazing!

my cool little talker