White but Not Privileged: How to Understand What Is Going On Right Now

I had an unusual upbringing. My parents were both mentally ill, homeless, and addicted to drugs. My siblings and I slept in a three drawer dresser (one drawer for each of us) in the back of a van my parents drove up and down the country. When my dad got too violent, maybe taking a knife to my mother, maybe tying her up and striking her, we would stay in a women’s shelter or a homeless shelter. Not for too long, though, because there was a constant need to outrun Social Services and the police.

The psychotic, dangerous road trips would always end with my father in jail, my mother in a mental institution, and my siblings and me in group homes or foster homes. These bastions had their own drawbacks, namely physical, sexual, and verbal abuse, but they were a short reprieve from hunger and homelessness.

Notably, I lived in a condemned house in Detroit in a neighborhood called 7 Mile in the 1990s. I have greeted a box of government cheese with tears of relief.

I have accepted that I would die from exposure to the elements, hunger, or violence more times than I can count, not fully understanding to this day how I am still alive. I have spent nights in homeless shelters, days on the streets, slept on snow-covered city benches and in abandoned buildings, feared for my life, and prayed to die instead of living another day in undignified hardship.

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I got this completely random text message from my sister as I was writing this post.

There is not a person on this planet that could call my life easy so believe me when I say:

if I can understand white privilege, so can you.

Continue reading “White but Not Privileged: How to Understand What Is Going On Right Now”

Stop Silencing Your Excuses

I think Nike killed the feminine gift of place making. Nike and their athletic gear counterparts, airing shiny commercials of powerful warriors hurtling over their obstacles, barreling out of planes without parachutes, growling down wolves who stood between them and their bench press. Powerade and Gatorade drip from the pores of gods and goddesses who finished their 26-mile run across the Mojave desert. Just. Do. It. No excuses. The only thing standing between you and your goals is you.

Winning Lionel Messi GIF by Gatorade Football - Find & Share on GIPHY

This cultural shift has walked over the gentle necessary healing art of place making. It has silenced the guiding voice telling you what you need to support yourself in your journey. No parachute? No problem. Hurl yourself out of that plane, land in a sandpit, run those miles. Don’t stop yourself. No legs? This guy scaled a mountain without any. How dare you breathe an excuse as to why you can’t meal prep?

In practice, this has not brought out the Spartan warriors in all of us. Instead, it’s been crippling.

In a world where all objections are an excuse, all considerations are excuses, and all excuses are unacceptable, your guiding voice can not take care of you. You feel anxious and depressed because listening to your excuses is shameful.

I argue that the journey toward accomplishing your goals must start with deep listening to and acceptance of your excuses. Not only start with, but end with, and middle with. For a lot of women it’s not just the starting of a task, but the middle, the ongoing. We silence our concerns, our aches, the things that don’t feel quite right. We stop listening to our inner voice that wants a tweak, a change, some variety, and shame those voices as “excuses” and ourselves as “excuse-makers.”

In reality, our excuses are the key to sustainable change, greater well-being, and stronger self-esteem.

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How to PMS Better

Tampons

Like many women, I’m in the middle of a lifelong quest for better feminine health. We all have our little tips and tricks to ease and support ourselves during “that time of the month.” I want to share with you the ones that have made the biggest difference for me and solicit the ones that have made the biggest difference for you.

So let’s gather outside the cave to tell each other which berries we should rub on our boobs for an easier cycle and a better corn crop.

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What Are You Doing for Yourself in Quarantine?

Woman holding a growing plant

What good things have come out of your time in quarantine?

I bet it’s something and I want to know what it is. Did you learn how to play the ukulele? Have you finally mastered the perfect ratio of bubble bath to water? Did you learn something about your partner you never knew before? Was it that he is actually a ghost from the 1970s and has been dead this whole time? Because obviously, we all want to hear that story so stop being so selfish and tell us. Or maybe you organized your pantry or whatever.

Regardless, I want to know what you have learned, started learning, excelled at, or changed during this most unusual time in all our lives. Here’s mine:

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Who Is Bothering You Most during Quarantine?

An angry otter

Ah, coronavirus. A virus that needs no introduction. The star of all our lives right now brings out the best in us, the worst in us, but mostly it seems, the annoying in us. Whether it’s the protesters, the hoarders, or the family members who struggle way too much to figure out Zoom, there is some group of people getting under all of our skin. I invite you to have a nice vent with me, air those grievances, girl, because it’s never good to keep that in.

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Decorate Like a Damn Witch

Woman in a witch hat reading a magic book

You’re a little witchy, aren’t you? You mystical huntress. Maybe not all the time but on occasion, when you are very lucky, you will step in exactly the right place and find a supernatural force that seeps up through Mother Earth till it finds the soles of your feet and lets you know: life is pretty magical and so are you.

This is our favorite feeling, isn’t it? Feeling attuned to the hedonistic unknown? That full moon, warm summer night, stolen kiss feeling? Mmmmmmm, Magical Calgon take me away.

I want to talk about cultivating that witchy spark in your home. How to feel like you live in a faery castle, or deep in the woods surrounded by healing waters, or in a white curtain-lined sex yurt complete with a naked Witcher. I also want to teach you how to do it without turning your home into a tacky head shop which, let’s face it, is your worst fear.

Henry Cavill Witcher GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY

Decorating has never come naturally to me. I am drawn to overly feminine pieces or trendy garbage that never translates into my own life, and I tend to quickly turn on patterns and colors, first welcoming them into my home, then quickly becoming skeptical, and eventually loathing them. Before I know it I find myself once again burying a vase in my backyard in the dead of night, sobbing that it was an accident, that next time it will be different. The vase won’t betray me. I’ll love the vase. We’ll be together forever.

If you are like me, and it’s important to you to have an environment that fosters creativity, sensuality and a little bit of magic, I have some trend-free tips for you that should keep you out of the acquire, love, loathe, kill cycle.

Bette Midler Witch GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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My Year in Self-Care Purchases

Blue and gold shopping bag

You see, dear readers, when a clusterfuck and a shit show love each other very much, they get together and make something truly terrifying: the year 2019.

I don’t want to dwell on the bad things because we have so many fun new topics to explore this year. So let me sum up what has kept me away from you all… with shopping.

Today’s post is my year, in self-care purchases.

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Why You Should Have a Life Philosophy

A carved buddha statue

I am not one of these people who take Pinterest quizzes. I am not new-agey. I don’t like a whole bunch of fuss. I’m not sentimental. I don’t have a spirit animal. I am the most pragmatic person I know. Ironically, I would never read a post called “Why You Should Have a Life Philosophy.”

The whole idea summons images of inspirational print art, t-shirts claiming my heritage as a mermaid or unicorn, and Tony Robbins… then they get all blurred together as a mental picture of Tony Robbins having sex with a mermaid with a scrawly script above it that says “Everyday is a good day when you’re fucking a mermaid!”

Mermaid GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

But having a life philosophy is not about higher thinking or spiritual fulfillment or having sex with mermaids.

It’s about organization.

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My Marriage is Easy?

I’ve been waiting for it to happen: that time in my marriage when I start to understand what everyone is talking about. The time when I start to nod along in agreement to people saying marriage is “hard work,” that it’s not “easy.” My ten year anniversary has come and gone and despite health problems, cross-country relocations, financial hardships, and family emergencies, the only thing that hasn’t been hard work has been my relationship.

Suspicious Tim Allen GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

My marriage, however, has been the cause of three break ups… seriously. My brother-in-law’s girlfriend wrote me on Facebook one day saying that watching my husband and I in our daily interactions gave her horrible proof of the way a relationship “could” be, and she couldn’t continue to settle knowing it was a possibility. One of my very good friends said she just assumed all marriages were like hers and seeing mine filled her with so much sadness for herself that she kicked her husband out of the house.

It’s bewildering. It’s not as though my husband and I are Gomez and Morticia, shamelessly making out at funerals, family reunions, and the DMV.

The Addams Family M Fangirl Challenge GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

On the weekdays he kisses me goodbye on his way to work, we exchange some loving words mixed with reminders of daily responsibilities. “You are so gorgeous baby, I miss your face. Also, could you pick up some scotch tape if you go out today?”

He comes home, we prepare a meal together while drinking a glass of wine or a Manhattan, eat, watch a little television, go for a walk. Maybe we catch a yoga class, or meet up with some friends. Repeat.

I asked my husband the other day, “So, like… is this supposed to get super hard at some point?” “Eh, I think we’re out of the woods,” he said.

So after 11 years of smooth sailing, this is the best advice I can offer:

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What Becomes of Your Emotions?

A woman with her hands over her eyes on a chair

I always loved the movies where the sexy detective has a bad day because the man who murdered his wife six years ago is killing again, so he goes home to his overly large industrial loft, takes his shirt off, pours a scotch and starts punching a punching bag. Then he takes a cold shower and has a serious think in a leather armchair.

Humphrey Bogart GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

This is not what I do when I have a bad day. When I have a bad day I watch Bridezillas, eat something called “Oreo whip” (a birthday party staple for the ten-and-under crowd concocted at my local grocer), and lay on the couch in my underwear and a t shirt inexplicably covered in peanut butter.

At least that’s what happens with some of my bad days. Other times, my negative emotions turn into exactly what I want them to: diligent sexy productivity.

I’ve always loved this idea of my day going completely to shit and being like, “I just need to exercise, drink responsibly, then brood like a badass adult.”

Luckily, I have implemented a system of retraining not my emotions but my reactions to them so I can be more the sexy detective than the slovenly child. I want to share this system to those of you who also struggle with controlling the actions of your naughty personas.

Continue reading “What Becomes of Your Emotions?”