an ode to back to school.

Happy Monday!  AKA happy day your kids are back in school after holiday break!  AKA happy day the clouds parted and the sun peaked out and you heard the tiny crescendo of angelic singing!  Or maybe that’s just what I call it. 

Seriously though, can we talk about how hard it is when you have pre/school aged children home for an extended school break?  How exhausting and overwhelming and chaotic and stressful it gets?  And how a lot of it is super fun but a lot of it is super NOT fun?  And how nice it feels to send them back on their merry way to have someone else take care of them for a bit?  And how it doesn’t make you a bad parent to feel this way?

I truly feel like I went into winter break with the best of intentions.  Honestly it was really exciting to pick my kids up from their last day of school before break because it was PC (pre-christmas).  We were all just super happy and in great moods and ready for a nice little break to celebrate all the holiday junk.  We had all these sweet little holiday plans as a family plus a ton of extended family events to look forward.  Cut to 3 days into break and we’re all already screaming at the top of our lungs and I’m threatening no Santa and I just realized I’m out of wine.  Cut to 3 WEEKS later and we’re all on emotional life-support. 

There were a lot of factors at play here; my kids age difference, my kids personalities, the holidays, traveling, PRESENTS (good gawd the presents), the weather, the lack of wine… there was just a lot going on.  But really, what it came down to is that it was just a long time to take my kids (and me) out of regular routine.  It felt very chaotic a lot of the time.  There was lots of shouting, lots of tantrums, lots of missed naps and bedtimes… and that was just me and Casey!  Mrah mrah mrah.  

Dropping my kids off this morning, I felt like I had just emerged from a very long, very loud, very malfunctiony car wash… where I had accidentally left my sun roof open.  Now that I’m out of it, I’m relieved, tired, and not even that mad that I have a mess to clean up because I get to do it ALONE.  Between the hours of 9am-1pm Monday through Thursday, that is.

Now, here is the part where I’m supposed to say BUT we also had so much fun! and there were many moments of pure joy! and we made really amazing memories! and the good outweighs the bad blah blah blah!  But you know what?  I just don’t feel like it.  I’m ty-ty. 

Listen, I know you guys love your kids. I saw ALL your instagrams.  I know I love my kids.  And I know that the good parts outweighing the bad parts is the truest of true statements.  If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t survive.  But that’s not the point of today’s show.  Today is for talking about parental freedom.  The sweet sounds of nothing.  The beautiful ability to drink hot coffee.  The joyful triumphance (go with it) of peeing in peace.  And if you’re like me and had a fun and lovely (see, I love my kids!) yet exhausting holiday break…. well to you I say, we did it.  We made it.  Solidarity, compadres. 

For those of you who don’t understand any of this and genuinely love the long winter break with your kids… well to you I say, good for you guys!  

And I hope your kids get mild ear infections.


what’s up / 03

Making: elaborate obstacle courses for my kids throughout our house because it’s currently -28 degrees outside and I just can’t even.

Drinking: coffee coffee coffee! (in the voice of Lorelai Gilmore)

Reading: weather updates, instagram updates from kaitlyn bristowe and jason tartick, my new Dining In cookbook, where the wild things are, and crazy rich asians. among other things.

Wanting: to find a good neck cream. yes, a NECK CREAM. i looked in the mirror the other day and realized that my neck is starting to look like slime that’s being pulled apart. i’m sorry for the nightmares. #33

Watching: the bachelor. (basic and proud!) and i also just finished watching the ted bundy tapes on netflix, which is equal parts interesting and horrifying.

Wishing: that i was back in portland. good gawd I miss it. especially when it’s -28 here and 50 there. just a casual 78 degree difference and yes i used a calculator. a friend of mine from portland posted a picture of herself wearing sandals outside yesterday and it made me want to punch a small bird.

Listening: to podcasts, nonstop!!! my favorite lately is the my favorite murder pod (don’t knock it til you try it). i also love off the vine, criminal and of course… the queen herself, soul sessions with oprah. (also my friend erin and i are thinking of starting a podcast about parenting and life and women and wine, would anyone listen???)

Enjoying: red bull. i used to work for red bull in college (yes, i drove the truck with the can and no, i didn’t just go into bars and sample it to drunk people it was more sophisticated than that OK!!???!!) and i OD’d on it for 4 years and then took a long hiatus… but for the past few months, i’ve been living for it.

Loving: my kids playing together! we’ve had a rough go of it lately with crosby and willa just screaming at each other nonstop. ever since willa found her words, she’s been USING THEM. and crosby was not prepared for her strong-willa’d-ness. it’s been stressful and frustrating… but i’m trying a new tactic where i put the responsibility on them. for instance, if they are playing together and start arguing (AKA screaming at the top of their lungs) I ferociously calmly tell them that if they can’t resolve their issue, then they can’t play together. and if they can’t, they have to separate. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. but it’s wayyyyy better than me yelling at them to take breaks and then breathing into a paper bag while simultaneously pounding wine. i’m kidding. maybe.

Hoping: that my husband will pick up more paper bags and wine on his way home.

Needing: somebody to come to my house and change willa’s diaper because i can smell it from 20 yards away. better yet, i need somebody to come to my house and potty train her, because a toddler who eats the same things an adult eats has diapers that look and smell like burning garbage (AKA donald trump).

Feeling: cabin fever. although a part of me kind of likes the feeling of coziness and surrendering to just having a lazy movie marathon day.

Wearing: leggings and sports bras. i recently got certified as a bodypump instructor and have been working on certification as a ymca group instructor! (humble brag) that said, i’ve been at the gym a lot lately to train get free childcare for 2 hours.


home alone party times.

This is going to be a quickie. (Heyo!)

Hi, my name is Shawnna and I am serial movie rewatcher.  Especially around Christmastime and especially if it’s written by John Hughes.  I get it from my papa.  He, my brothers and I are a bit obnoxious (or amazing, depending on who you ask)  (ask me!) when it comes to quoting Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, The Great Outdoors, Uncle Buck…. you know, the classics.

Two of our good friends back in Portland would have a Home Alone viewing party every year and of course we LOVED it.  So when we moved to MN we decided we’d adopt the tradition and start our own annual Home Alone gathering.  Although ours is less of a “viewing party” and more of a “slam a bunch of drinks with your friends while wearing festive clothes while Home Alone plays in the background and you pay someone else to watch your children for a few hours” party.  There’s also cheese pizza.

Here are a few photos, if you care to see!  But go easy on the fluids, the rubber sheets are packed.

Ok that’s it!  Now it’s time for you to get your ugly yellow no-good keisters off our property.  Crowbars up.


it’s cold + a beautycounter giveaway!

the time I looked like Elphaba and the kids wanted to do a face mask with me so I smeared mashed bananas on their faces. 

Popping on real quick to talk about winter and skincare and self-care and Jimmy John’s.  As one does.

I’m currently sitting at one of those children’s play areas at a mall watching my kids chase each other around a giant caterpillar tunnel and a questionably shaped rocketship, both constructed purely out of germs.  It’s only 4pm (I started writing this yesterday) and it’s basically pitch black outside, which makes it feel slightly ominous to be here.  There’s an ever-present chill in the air because the play area is way too close to an exit.  Although there is a Jimmy John’s right next to the exit, which is looking like it’ll be our dinner tonight so it’s not all bad!  Everyone here is alternately bundling up to leave or bundling down to stay and you may remember my thoughts on that.  Bundling is the worst kind of evil torture.

There’s always a bit of shell shock after daylight savings ends when we’re just like, aw crap.  Here we go.  Minnesota winter. Dun DUN DUNNN. This is my family’s second-and-a-half winter back in this state and I’m sorry, but it doesn’t get any easier.  At least not for me.  There’s honestly no use in complaining… so I’ll spare you.  Except!  Can we all just agree to stop saying “it’s so cold!” in small talk, as if it’s new information?  It’s not, we all know it’s cold. (#guilty)

But anyways! I feel like I’ve gone through enough MN winters in my life that I know what personally helps me get through the months. One of my favorite ways to (attempt to) embrace the cold and cozy nights is after I put my kids to bed, I slap on a face mask, drink a cup of tea (jk it’s wine) and listen to a podcast or read a book in my cozy bed.  Sometimes I’ll paint my nails while I wait for my mask to set.  Sometimes I’ll de-pill sweaters with my favorite gadget.  Sometimes if Willa hasn’t fallen asleep yet, I’ll lay on the floor in my closet until my mask is dry so that my bedroom light doesn’t keep her awake… it may sound ridiculous but it’s actually glorious and quiet and peaceful.  Dream big, people.

If you know me well, you know I’m a skincare addict.  I have a small arsenal of potions and cleansers and masks that I rotate in depending on how peeved my skin is at the moment.  I’m not going to pretend to be any kind of expert but I’m really interested in clean beauty and skincare and at some point I want to write a full post on all of my favorite products that I’ve grown to love.  If for no other reason than it’s fun for me.

But here’s something fun for YOU! One of my favorite said clean beauty and skincare lines is Beautycounter and today my friend Krysten from BC has offered to give away a $50 gift card to one reader to use on any of their products.  I love Beautycounter for their clean and super safe products.  Some of my very favorites are the baby soothing oil, (I love this for my kids and for me!) cleansing balm, and the overnight resurfacing peel.  To enter to win, just make a comment on this here blog post or on this blog post link on my Facebook page. Go on, do it! Thanks, Krysten!

Tell me, what are you favorite tips, tricks, skincare products, podcasts, and wines that get you through the winter?

PS IT’S SO COLD.

PPS Keep your eyes peeled on Krysten’s BC page because they will be posting Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals very soon!

 

 

 


willa is two!

We celebrated Willa’s second (!!!!!!) birthday a couple of weekends ago.  I won’t get into the can-you-believe-it-ness that she’s two because I feel like every parent says that same thing on every birthday of their kids.  It’s such a cliché thing but we all do it.  It’s written in the parent code.  Right before the clause about stepping on legos and right after the subsection about wiping your kid’s snot on your sleeve when you don’t have a tissue.

Speaking of snot!  JK there’s no cute way to transition back to Willa’s birthday.  She turned 2!  We had a party!  It was super duper fun!

We invited some family over for a little brunch celebration.  The kids painted bear masks and we stuffed our faces with food (including the everything bagel breakfast bake from Chrissy Teigen’s new cookbook which is so good but I’m pretty sure I’m still digesting it because it’s so extra).  Willa was so sweet the whole day and I just kept imagining her with a thought bubble over her head that said “I’m so excited but I have no idea why!!”

Which is another thing that’s in the parent code… throwing parties for your kids before the age when they’ll actually understand or remember it.  Listen, before I had kids, I was always like… why would anyone throw a party for a baby or take a toddler to Disneyland or a nice dinner that they’re not even going to remember TAKE ME INSTEAD.  But once I had kids, I got it.  It’s not necessarily about if they completely understand or will remember it or not, it’s more about them feeling joy in a moment.  And then as a parent, being able to witness that joy.  To see their faces light up and you can almost physically feel their excitement…. I basically black out with happiness.  It’s the freaking best.

That said…. Crosby + Willa, don’t expect a birthday party EVERY year.  Everything in moderation.  Is what the parent code says. I don’t make the rules.

I realize now that the strawberry sauce on the cake is a bit…. creepy.  Werps.
I feel this on a deep level.

Uncle Ben won the day with this unbelievably sweet dollhouse that he made with his own two man hands.  UB, any other gift you give Willa for the rest of her life is gonna suck.  Unless it’s a life-size version of this house. You did this to yourself.
Also, thank you for the greatest gift ever you da best spergy an merbles.
Happy Birthday, sweet Bill.  I will always love you, and leave you wild.

what’s your sleep marble number?

First of all, I just want to say thank you to everyone who commented on my revival post.  I swear on everything I own, Madewell purchases included, that one of my favorite parts of doing this is the feedback and conversations that come from it. So thank you. Kindness is real neat.

Ok, so! This is a topic that has come up a lot lately and I wanted some more people’s perspective on….

As a parent, what time do you go to bed?

Because I want to burgle you while you sleep.

Nah just kidding I’m too lazy for that.  But seriously, I’m curious about parent’s bedtime.  Because I’ve had a few conversations lately with Casey and friends… and the answers seem to lean heavily one way or the other.  What it seems is that parents typically fall into one of two camps; team sleep and team night owl.  Team sleep might not be the best name because let’s be honest we all WANT more sleep but some are more motivated to get it than others.  Team sleep goes to bed shortly after their kids.  Team night owl, not so much.

I fall pretty firmly into team night owl status.  Which means that most nights I stay up way later than I probably should. I’d say a typical night for me is going to bed around 11pm.  Sometimes much earlier, sometimes later.  But 11 is about the av.  (That’s average, for lazy people.  Who then end up spelling out average anyway. Twice.)

Sometimes people are shocked when I say that.  Other people are like, girl yes, same.  But it does seem to be a pretty divided sitch.  (That’s situation, for lazy people.  Who then end up spelling out situation anyway. Twice. Is this getting old yet?)

As I said, I’ve been talking to people about this a bit lately.  And the best way I can explain my stance is this… when my kids go to bed, I finally have a minute to myself.  That minute starts so late in the evening (Willa goes to bed at 7 and Crosby at 8, but he usually manages to snack/bathroom/iseeashadow/tuckmein/onemorestory/whydowehavebutts his way until at least 8:30.  At that point, as much as I love my kids, I am just like OK BIIIIIIIIYEEEEEEEE.  So when they are finally both down, I all of a sudden have time to myself and/or time with Casey.  And because that time doesn’t start until so late in the evening, I end up staying up later to just exist in the quiet of not having anything to do other than what I WANT (or sometimes need: I’m looking at you, laundry.) to do.  One netflix show turns into three, one hour of putzing around on my phone turns into blurry vision, one podcast about murder turns into needing to watch an episode of Friends to calm my nerves.  You know?

In addition to that, I also typically want to be physically left alone for a bit once both kids are finally down.  Sometimes, after Casey and I have finally succeeded the bedtime hustle, I’ll plop down on the couch and he’ll squish up next to me and put his hand on my leg or go in for a kiss and I’m all YOU BETTER DON’T.  I need at least 2 feet of personal space for at least the next 30 minutes.  Like I physically need to NOT be touched after being treated like human superglue all.day.long. by small humans and dogs and sometimes Casey if he’s lucky. (Heyo!) (Sorry to all the prudes.)

It’s like this.  It’s like I start the day with a certain level of emotional and physical… marbles.  (I don’t know? Let’s just go with it.)  And all day long I’m handing out these marbles.  You need a hug?  That’s one marble.  You’re having a tantrum and I’m trying to keep my cool?  That’s 15 marbles.  We’re taking family photos?  ALL THE MARBLES.  And in return, my people will often give me their marbles too (this is a terrible analogy and I’m just going to keep going).  But let’s be honest, as a parent of small children, we’re in more of a give/give situation than a give/take with our marbles.  So anyways, I’m giving and taking the marbles all day and by the end, I’m left with a pretty low marble count.  And sometimes I just don’t have much left to give and I what I really want to do is…. nothing.  I want to keep the few marbles I have left for myself.  And doing nothing feels real nice.  So I stay up later than I should to enjoy the nothingness.

This is sounding really dark, and it’s not supposed to!  Marbles!

But the thing of it is.  Even though I’m a team night owl, I still needs to get up at the crack of dawn with my little marble-grabbers.  (seriously, shawnna. think of a different object already.)  And sometimes yes, I’m tired.  Which is when team sleep (cough:casey:cough) is like, well then go to bed earlier ya dummy.  And I hear you, I really really do.  But for me, at this phase of my life, at this phase of my kids lives, staying up late is apparently more important to me than sleep is.  Does that make sense?  I feel like in order to recharge the batts, or re-fill my marble tank! I need a certain amount of nothing time during the day.  And sometimes the only time I can get it is between the hours of 9 and midnight.

All that said.  Am I crazy person?  Please don’t answer that.  Or answer it, but kindly.  And then bring me a cookie.

I’m honestly curious if other parents out there are team night owl?  Orrrr am I the only one sitting on the couch at 10:30 with half a sack of marbles?  Which then opens up the bigger question, is the sack of marbles half-empty or half-full?  UGH SORRY BYE.  #stoptryingtomakemarbleshappenitsnotgonnahappen

Thanks for reading! x


hi? hi. hello.

Oh, hey buddies!  Remember me?  Yes that’s right, me, in the middle.

Bad jokes, always.

It’s been a minute since I’ve blogged and I want to take some time to explain why.  I shared an extremely personal story almost a year ago on this here bloggo.  You know the one.  Or maybe you don’t.  Regardless, it was hard to move on from, blog-wise.  Real hard.  It shook me a bit, realizing that the words I share here are accessible to anyone.  And therefore, anyone is able to comment, or gossip, or make judgements on it.  Of course I knew that prior to that post, but it was pretty tough to deal with the emotional craziness of that particular post.  I love talking about my life, my kids, my thoughts.  But for the most part, what i talked about was kinda fluff.  When it comes to the issues that matter, I take them so very seriously.  Which is why I needed to take a knee after that post.  I tried to put out a few generic posts following that whole situation but it turned out that I wanted, or maybe needed, was to take some time to just…. be.  I also wanted to take some time to figure out what this blog would be, moving forward.  It was so light-hearted for the most part and then one story took it to a deeper level that I didn’t really intend for… but also don’t at all regret.

With all this said, I want to be clear that I have not been consumed with this.  I came to peace with the response to that post pretty quickly after it happened.  And honestly this past year has been one of the best.  But given that experience, I unintentionally needed to allow myself the time to just exist without sharing my thoughts with the world.  And by world, I mean the 12 people that read my blog.  (Winky face!  Waving emoji!  Wurt urp.)  I have sat down to blog probably 100 times over the past few months but have been at a loss for words.  (Who, me?)  I actually felt forced to do it every single time.  It didn’t feel natural or good.  I guess I just really needed some time to myself?

That said.  I’m sitting here now, and I am loving typing into my crappy laptop. (Until about 7 years ago I thought it was labtop, I swear I’m a smart person!)

This feels good!  I love this space.  I love sharing my stories and my opinions and thoughts with you all.  And getting the same from you in return!  Honestly, that’s my favorite part.  Feedback and interaction is the fricken best.  I feel like I’ve grown six extra skins of protectiveness and strength in the last year.  I credit my hiatus with providing me the ability to really figure out who I really am.  And you know what?  I’m pretty cool with me. I’m pretty cool with you all too. (Heart emoji! Fist bump emoji! Wurt urp.)

So.  What I’m trying to say is that I’m back.  I’m back?  I think?  I feel like I’m finally ready to get back on the train of sharing some crap.  If you’re reading, and interested, thank you for your patience and I’m so happy you’re still here with me!  I promise to provide more BS and more shitty dad jokes and musings on junk that really doesn’t matter but makes you feel things.  If you’re into that sorta stuff. But I’m also not going to shy away from the big issues.  Because this past year has taught me that I have many dimensions, interests, and opinions and I want to share ALL of that here.  I also want to share skincare recommendations and dinner recipes because GURLS (and my dad, stepdad, and casey. are there any other dudes here?) I have some good ones.

Thanks for being here, thanks for being a buddy, and thanks for your KINDNESS! xx (Poop emoji! Wine emoji! I love you all emoji!  WURT. URP.)


bundle.

Oh hi! Guys. It me. Casually strolling into here after a few months of rechargin the batts. Not like, the computer batts… my batts, like my internal battery, not actually batteries, not like double A’s, like…. oh never mind.

Honestly, it was nice to take a little break from spewing my words onto the interwebs. As much as I love writing and sharing, sometimes a girl just needs a minute. Ya feel?

So, what have I been up to, you ask? Well, the past few months have been spent bundling my children. Yes, bundling. *The act of putting shitloads of layers on before going outside.* Bundling up, then bundling down, then back up, then sideways, then upside down, then again, and more, and two more times, in that order, but backwards. If you have no idea what bundling is, then I hate you. (JK I love you and can I come visit?)

Ok ok, so I also watched this past season of the Bachelor, but other than that my winter has been spent bundling. Of course I might be exaggerating just a bit (who me?) but I seriously do feel like a large part of my life these days consists of getting my kids prepared to literally open the door and brave the elements. This is something we haven’t ever really had to deal with until this winter since Portland never got this cold and the few months that we lived here last winter we pretty much stuck to the skyways. If you have no idea what skyways are, then I hate you.  (JK I love you and can I come visit?) Our kids never had thick winter coats until this past year… and sweet baby jeezus they are a pain in my ass to deal with. (The coats, not my kids. Maybe.) Anyways, Crosby’s preschool is a half mile from our house and in the fall we’d walk 10 minutes to get there, easy-peasy. But since basically mid-October we’ve been driving because it’s just too cold. And it literally takes us 17 hours to bundle halfway, drive, get both kids out of the car, re-bundle, bring Crosby and Willa inside, drop Crosby off at his room, then take Willa back to the car, de-bundle, drive home, and throw all of our winter clothes into a pile and light them on fire and then go to Target to buy more winter clothes. What I’m trying to say, if it isn’t blatantly obvious is: wine me.

THAT SAID. It’s finally attempting to warm up around here and I find myself finally feeling slightly at home here? ::she says as breathes into a paper bag:: This winter has been a tough re-adjustment but it’s also made me appreciate my home and my sweet little family so very much. Our house….I’m still at the point in the relationship where it gives me the warm fuzzies. It just feels like a hug. And although the cabin fever is strong within it, this winter has meant lots of fun times with my family in our new home.

You’re like, what is this, a Lifetime movie?

So I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. So hi! To the 3 of you who are reading! How have you been?? What should we talk about??

PS my winter hands look like Voldemorts face.

PPS if you want to know what it looks like to be a Minnesotan… this is it. Chilling Coors Lite required.


now back to your regularly scheduled program.

It’s taken me a while to get my writing mojo back after the emotional hangover of my last few posts. But I do want to say thank you so very much to all of you who took the time to read my words and reach out… in both support and empathy.  I’m in awe of the beauty that comes from vulnerability.  Thank you thank you thank you for joining this important conversation.

But for the sake of my sanity, let’s switch gears for the moment. Because we have many other (less) important things to talk about.

1. First things first. I need this shirt in my life.

2. You guys. I’m stating the obvious here but whyyyy does it have to get dark so early? Every day I’m like, welp time to start making dinner. Oh wait… it’s 3:15.  I still have 5 hours of mom-ing left before winebedtime.

3. Along the same lines… the early darkness has me putting on sweatpants earlier and earlier these days. I’m lucky if I make it to 5pm without changing out of my “normal clothes” (hahahahaaaa) and into my comfies. I mean, jeans are basically formal wear at this point in life.

4. Does anyone have a recipe that calls for garlic stuffed olives, leftover white rice and hardened tortillas? Cuz that’s pretty much all that’s in my refrigerator right now.

5. Casey and I are planning a trip to Mexico in February. (It was one of my stipulations in agreeing to move back to this ice cube.) I’m leaning heavily towards Tulum but it’s rather pricey so we haven’t committed yet. Anyone been? Hotel recommendations? Excursion recommendations? Guacamole recommendations?

6. I shared this on instastories a while back, but in case you missed it, Crosby filled out a little questionnaire thing at preschool shortly after he started… and when asked what his favorite subject in school was, he said “hanging up my bag.” Obviously. I asked him the same question today after school and you’ll be happy to hear that he’s now moved on to “I really like snack time and when I raise my hand to get more snacks.” Watch out, Ivy League!

7. PSA of the day… I recently got a sample of Biossance face oil and I swear to you, it is pure magic. I’m kind of obsessed with skincare and have tried a LOT of products in my day (sorry bank account! and Casey.) and this one is in my top 5 of ever. So, you just go right on ahead and add it to your Christmas list. But only if you want your face to feel like a baby’s ass.

8. This is going to make me sound coconuts but what else is new. I do not know what color eyes my children have. I’m serious. They’re like… technicolor. I keep referring to them as “mutt eyes” and I probably should stop that? Anyways, I really don’t know how to figure it out. Is there an app for that?

9. We’re having our first Home Alone Christmas party this weekend! Our friends (Hi Laurie and Joe!) hosted one every year in Portland and now we’re carrying on/stealing the tradition. We’re serving lovely cheese pizza and Pepsi cocktails and I may or may not have recreated Kevin’s battle plan poster while the kids were napping yesterday. There’s literally no shame in my Home Alone game. I’ll take some photos and maybe post em here next week, if you’d care to see? …..Hello?

10. Embarrassing thing I’ve googled recently: is there a plural of Ivy League?


the aftermath.

Guys, this week has been tough. I’ve been on a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve had moments where I’ve been so very proud of myself for sharing my story and I’ve had moments where I wished I would have kept my mouth shut. It’s been hard, but not necessarily in the way that I thought it’d be. What I didn’t know going into this whole thing was that telling my story was actually going to be the easy part. The real courage, the real bravery, would come after.

For me, sharing my story was not about outing him. It was about me standing up for myself in a way that I wasn’t even capable of doing back then. It was about me sharing something so personal in hopes that it might resonate with someone else going through something similar. It was about showing people how truly rampant this behavior is in our culture. It was about showing my support to the women that have been brave enough to speak up and the ones who are still suffering in silence.

Unfortunately, vulnerability comes at a cost. Because what’s happened since I’ve shared has not been easy to deal with. I’ve willingly put myself in a position to be judged in the most personal way. There has been a lot of support yet a lot of silence. And within that silence lives gossip. I’ve made myself a target for rumors and assumptions and inaccuracies, and I’ve been hurt all over again.

What’s so ironic about this is that the guy from my original story, my “friend”, read my blog post and actually apologized to me. Sincerely apologized. He gave me what I needed from him now, because I spoke up. He took accountability for himself and his actions and commended me for my courage to tell my story. While I definitely don’t forgive his actions, I am choosing to believe that people can change. And yet, even after I got what I rightfully deserved from him, I’m still hurting. Not because of him but because of all the collateral damage that comes from sharing something so personal publicly.

I’d just like to say that if you’re reading this post, if you read my last two posts, and your first reaction was “omg gossip!! do you know who she’s talking about?? i have to find out!! who can i talk to who might know?!”…… INSTEAD of “wow, that is awful. i can’t believe this happens so often. we need this to stop. how can i show my support?”, then maybe you need to take a look in the mirror and take some accountability for your role in this culture. Because this is EXACTLY why women are afraid to speak up. For fear of judgement and gossip. Behind her back. To her face. To her family or her friends. And this is EXACTLY what needs to change. Our first response to hearing something like this should not be whispers behind the scenes, it should be conversations full of support, compassion and respect.

I am capable now of dealing with the aftermath. But I wasn’t back then. Just like so many other women.

I am not sorry that I told my story. I am at peace knowing that I’m a better person for what I did say rather than what I didn’t. I know that I have the empathy and freaking common sense to know how to react appropriately and compassionately to someone sharing something so intensely personal. And I know how to be a supportive human being. After everything, I feel like I am now able to accept that while the memory of my story still is one of violation and shame… I can move forward knowing that it is also a story of empowerment. I am stronger and smarter and more considerate because of this. I hope you are too.