Eat Pray Lou

Lately, I’ve been feeling the need to get out of dodge, so to speak. I think it’s all part of this trying to “remember who I really am” thing. When I travel, I’m able to be a freer version of myself that I never allow myself to be at home. Not to say I go wild on vacation because that’s not who I am at all. I’m freer because I can stop the chatter in my brain that drives me crazy on a daily basis; My life becomes less about everyone else and more about what I need and want.

With that in mind, I learned about the wonders of traveling alone this past year which is even more liberating than I could ever describe. It’s definitely a feeling I want more of and soon. Though, it is a slight miracle that I even made the trip.


I mentioned before that my anxiety would kick into overdrive at the thought of traveling by myself, but not for reasons you may think. I’m perfectly ok with being alone. I even prefer it  at times. Oh, the joys of being an introvert. Besides, I’m pretty good company.

The things that stopped me from traveling alone in the past are stupid things like driving in an unfamiliar city, using a train system that I could get lost on, and worrying if I’m safe on my own. Though, I must say, my biggest fear all the time is looking like an idiot. If I can’t figure out how to buy a train ticket right away, are people behind me judging me? What if I pronounce the name of a street wrong when asking for directions? I shudder thinking of these things. Do I know these are the most inconsequential things in the world to be worried about? Yup. Do I still worry myself to death over them? Yup, yup. When I say worry, I mean obsess, by the way. Those thoughts would enter my brain and completely take over. They’d eat away at any logical thought process until I’ve driven myself mad with doubt. These are the inner workings of my brain; it’s not always pretty in there, but we’re happy together.

My first trip by myself was to Santa Fe this past May. It. Was. Glorious. Glorious, I tell you. I must give myself credit for going on my own, but it wasn’t all me. My awesome husband and Lou Diamond Phillips (LDP, unknowingly though) gave me the courage to get my butt on that plane.

Jason, my husband, is a pro at this travel alone thing. He likes to go on hiking trips by himself to clear his head. I’ve always been envious of his ability to just get up and go. I’m even more envious when he returns from these trips; he’s much calmer, more focused and ready to take on the world. He has an inner peace about him that I’ve never experienced.

He and I have often talked about my fears of going away by myself and he’s always encouraged me, but I still never did it. To hear the person you love the most in this world tell you that he has more faith in you than you do yourself is deeply moving and highly motivating, but you do still need to dig deep within yourself to make things happen. The thing with Jason is that he’s persistent. He kept telling me I could do this and that I would love it. My husband always has my back even when I’m doubting myself; He truly believes I can do anything. His faith in me always takes me by surprise because he sees something in me that I have failed to recognize; my strength. I found a good one. I know.


1375731_10202191109759246_2015947018_n (2)
He really does always have my back!

In March of last year, with my 39th birthday fast approaching, Jason asked me if I was finally going to do a solo trip since I had always said I would do it before I turned 40. I immediately thought of Santa Fe because I’ve always been fascinated by it. However, before I booked it, I found several reasons to not go (the dates wouldn’t work, the flight times were crap, it was too expensive, etc). Jason got back to me with flight times that were reasonable, not too expensive and they also made sense with my work schedule (there he is, saving me from the battles that go on in my brain). Every excuse I came up with, Jason countered it with something positive. He talked me through each scenario I created in my head repeatedly until I was comfortable. He was excited for me when I found new things I wanted to explore in New Mexico and often brought them up to remind me how much I wanted this. Jason assured me, more times than I can count, that once I landed the “spirit of the desert” would find me; I would feel calm there.

The thing is, I had done this before. I’ve booked an entire trip only to, ultimately, cancel it because I’m in a panic about traveling alone. Most times I haven’t lost any money, but, I’m ashamed to admit, there have been 1 or 2 occurrences where my wallet has taken a big hit from this. My anxiety is that bad; I’m willing to lose a grand just to stay home and be comfortable.

Here’s where the stars aligned and forced me into taking the trip of a lifetime.

By stars, I don’t mean the ones in the sky, but actually one particular star, Lou D. For those who don’t know, LDP has been a favorite actor of mine since I was 9 when my mom took me to see “La Bamba” on the big screen. Back then, it was more about how absolutely, freaking cute he was (still is, by the way), but as I got older, it was a mix of his cuteness, talent and how wonderful he had always seemed off screen.


la bamba
I’m not sure I knew what “hot” truly was at 9, but I knew this must be it.

There seems to be an unwritten rule in our household that we always check out whatever film, TV show, etc., that Lou is involved in (and yes, I’m thankful everyday that I married someone who shares my taste actors. Though while Jason thinks Lou is a good-looking guy, I’m pretty sure he likes him for his talent alone). Not that it would matter, but my LDP crush is Jason approved. Jason accepts it, I accept it, and, at this point, I’m pretty sure Lou may have an inkling about it so we’re all on the same page.

About a month before I booked the trip, we had started watching “Longmire” because Lou is one of the cast members. The show is unbelievably good (I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it). The acting is spot on throughout the entire series and the beautiful scenery almost becomes another character within it. We started wondering about filming locations so Jason looked it up. He laughed while saying “did you know this was filmed in and around Santa Fe?”. I didn’t. But it made things interesting since filming for the final season had just begun and would be ongoing throughout the time of my trip.

Here’s the part of the story where I become something I’m not; fearless. Never in my lifetime would I have imagined I would message a man I have admired and fan-girl’ed over for 30 years to ask for a set tour, but that’s exactly what I did. I’m just going to say that I must have lost my mind in those moments, but I wasn’t alone in that bout with insanity, because Lou agreed to the idea and set the whole thing up.

In all honesty, that man is anything but insane. He’s got one of biggest hearts ever and is beyond kind. Because of his generosity, I was able to look beyond my anxiety to get myself to Santa Fe. I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to meet one of my favorite actors while visiting the set of a show I loved because I was afraid! He’ll never know how much that invitation meant to me. Knowing what was on the other end of that plane ride from Boston gave me the courage to get on the plane in the first place.

That trip changed my life, it changed me. It started me on this journey. A journey that was so long overdue, but one that I was never brave enough to take. I found my strength in New Mexico. To be a total cheeseball, I found parts of me again. I sobbed my first day there while sitting in a pew in the Cathedral Basilica. At the time, I had no idea why I was crying. Looking back, I now know it was because I felt whole again. I felt free from every title anyone had ever put onto me. I was just me.

By the way, the set tour was amazing and meeting Lou was even better. Words can not describe how utterly fantastic it is to meet one of your heroes only to realize they are so much more than you even imagined. I’ve heard of people who are disappointed when they meet someone famous, but the opposite can be said in this case; my admiration only grew.


Lou and I _ Santa Fe May 5th 2017 (2)
Dreams do come true!


On a side note, my only regret from that trip is not going to a party I was invited to by someone else on the show, but I think it’s for the best that I declined. I’m sure I would have had the time of my life, but I didn’t want to intrude. I managed a good few hours without embarrassing myself, it’s best that I didn’t push my luck with a party. For me, if not going to a party is my only regret then I’m in good standing since my usual regret would have been not going on the entire trip. I think I’ll have to forgive myself and be ok with this one.

So here I am, one solo trip under my belt thanks to the helpfulness of 2 wonderful people in my life (for this blog we’re pretending that LDP is a part of my life. Please, just go with it) and wondering when the next one will be…

I feel this overwhelming need to travel because it pushes my boundaries, but in a way that I enjoy. Traveling brings out the person I used to know and love, while allowing me to grow into something so much more.

A second solo trip seems like the next logical step. The world is calling to me, but where do I want to go?

Heads up – it’s in the works. I’ve had to scour the internet for something affordable and worthwhile, but I think I found it. Let’s see if I can make this happen and find the courage within myself to move forward with it.

You only get one chance to live, right? I’ve had 39 years of letting life happen around me; it’s time for me to take on a more active role in my own life. I want to feel every emotion straight through to my core. I want to travel the world and enjoy every single second it and know that I did it while scared out of mind. Why? Because then I’ve proved to myself that I’m more than I thought I could be.

Adventure awaits…




That Night

I can’t remember what month it was. I could probably only tell you a vague description of the pajamas I was wearing. I haven’t a clue which jacket I eventually threw on as I ran out of the front door. I can’t remember if my hair was haphazardly thrown up or if it was down. I wouldn’t be able to give a clear description of the events that led up to it or any of the details during it. I do know I had on socks because I walked home with only them on my feet. I can clearly remember which cd was on and which song was playing. I do know it happened. I also finally understand it wasn’t due to anything I did.

I always knew I was a lame kid. I didn’t drink (had my first one at 18; much older than most I know) and I can’t stand the smell of smoke. I preferred staying in, listening to music and watching movies. I’m not saying I was an angel, but I didn’t really ever give my parents any reason to worry.

But if I had done any of that, it wouldn’t have mattered. What occurred that night should have never happened. My story is not uncommon though. In fact, almost every single woman/girl I know has a similar one.

Dear readers, I’m going to assume you know that I was attacked by someone.

Did I report it? No.

Did I tell anyone? I told less than 5 people and only 2 of those knew right away. I’ve since, in the past year, been able to speak about this a little more.

Was it long ago? It happened about 24 years ago.

Why am I talking it about now? Because I’m now getting comfortable enough to admit it even though I still feel ashamed that it happened at all.

I was in 10th grade; sleeping over a friend’s house while her parents were gone. There were a few of us including an older member of the opposite sex. Some may say it was stupid of me to sleep over a house with no parents in mixed company and, at the time, I did blame myself for that very reason. As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve learned that this still does not put the blame on me. It’s on him; all of it.

Back to my story, I changed for bed; I think I remember flannel like pajama pants and a baggy T shirt, but I don’t know if I remember those particular pajamas because that’s what I always slept in at that age or if I’m completely wrong. Again, not that any of that matters. It never matters. I don’t care if I was naked. If I don’t give you permission to put your hands on me then don’t. I don’t go around randomly touching people! It’s not that difficult.

I was going to sleep on the pull-out couch. Back in the day, I needed to have music on to sleep. It was a requirement for me or my brain would go all night. That night, I chose a cd by Jodeci and put it on repeat. Two friends, 1 male and 1 female crawled into that bed with me. I don’t remember feeling like we were crowded in so it must have been pretty spacious.

However, I remember being uncomfortable that a boy was sleeping in the middle of us, but I let it go. I knew him. We had been hanging out for a year, at least, and he was my friend’s boyfriend. I figured I was being my usual anxious self so I ignored what I now know were my natural instincts. I didn’t want to make a big deal about it and look like an idiot to my friends. No one wants to be the difficult, dorky friend in high school. This, right here my friends, would go under things you later regret in life. I’ve learned to not care if I look like a geek now. If I’m uncomfortable, you’re going to know, loud and clear!

I turned away from him, onto my side, so I was facing the wall and went to sleep. I can’t recall what time I was woken up. I do know “Come and Talk to me” by Jodeci was playing softly on the stereo; it was all I could focus on. I was frozen with fear. The boy next to me was all over me. His whole body was pushed up against me, a leg over my hips. His arms around me, holding me so I couldn’t move, yet they still managed to be everywhere. Shortly after I woke up, he turned me onto my back and moved on top of me; grinding his whole body on mine. I felt trapped. I was trapped. Pressure from his hands, limbs, whole body were bearing down on me. I’m getting nauseous just writing this; reliving being violated by someone brings it all right back to the surface. When I felt my clothes being moved, something in me kicked into gear. I started to fight more. I started to cry. I told him to stop.

I don’t want to go into details on this part and honestly, everything about this incident is foggy. I don’t know if it’s because I was woken from a dead sleep or if I just blocked it out, but it happened. I was petrified. I will tell you all I could truly focus on was that damn Jodeci song and the noises he was making. I can still hear his grunts and those fucking slurping noises from him trying to kiss me.

I somehow got up and ran to the front door. I grabbed my coat, house keys and left. I walked home as the morning was dawning. I was never a fan of that walk especially when I was alone, but alone in the street was safer than where I had just been.

When I got home, I walked by my mother’s room, only opening her door slightly so I could hide behind it. I let her know I had decided to come home. She asked if everything was ok and I lied to her. I told her I just wanted to come home because I wasn’t feeling well. She didn’t ask anymore questions because that was my deal with my parents. They trusted me. I was always the kid who did the right thing. She told me I should have called her. Even though she didn’t drive, she would have woken up my brother. I apologized for walking home alone and said I just wanted some sleep. She let it go.

I remember my feet were freezing. It wasn’t overly cold out, but I walked for a mile with only socks on my feet. My shoes were not near the front door and I was so overwhelmed with fear that I could only focus on getting out. Once I got past my mother at home, I went straight to my room and shut the door. I changed into new pajamas, warmer socks and crawled into my bed. I didn’t cry right away. I think that came a few hours later. My comfort that morning came from Rocky, a stuffed Ewok my parents bought me when I was 6 (for any “Star Wars” fans out there, yes, I changed the name of said Ewok). I knew he couldn’t tell a soul so he got to hang onto all my sadness.

My mom questioned me one more time the next day. I’m almost positive I told her someone made me uncomfortable, but I didn’t give her details. Uncomfortable? Really? I felt horrid. I felt so dirty and used. Would I be considered a slut now? Would I lose my friends? What would they say about me if they knew? I was scared. I was taking all the blame onto myself. I knew better than to sleep next to a boy; I was a smart girl and I was totally aware of what could happen. I was a worried about everything at that age, so I didn’t take many risks; I felt foolish for taking this one. I was disappointed in myself. I hated myself in that moment.

If only I could go back and tell my teenage self to not hold onto that guilt.

I don’t know what would have happened that night had I not been able to get out. I don’t know if it would have been just this or if I would have been raped. I don’t know if my friend would have woken up and stopped it. I don’t know if she was aware of what was going on and was just as frozen in fear as me. I don’t know if she ignored it because it was her boyfriend.

There are so many unanswered questions and honestly, I don’t even care about those anymore. He’s the only one who should feel any shame in this situation.

I said no. I fought. I got away. Simple story, yet, here I am cringing while writing this.

I still don’t truly know how to put this night or my feelings about it into words. I’m embarrassed that it happened. It makes me feel like there must be something wrong with me which is the stupidest reaction ever. If a woman came to me to tell me her story, I would flat out tell her she’s not at fault. There is no blame on her. Why is it so difficult for me to accept this about myself? I can be my own worst enemy. I guess, I still have some things to come term with, like forgiving myself for feeling any guilt.

I don’t have to shoulder that burden any longer.

This story will be a shock to some who know me. I expect some may attack me and tell me I’m jumping on the #MeToo band wagon. All I can say, is that it takes courage to live through this and even more to talk about it. My courage came from, not only being angry that I stayed silent for so long, but also in the power I felt watching others come forward with their own stories. At this point in my life, I don’t really care anymore if you have something negative to say about me. Those words will never be worse than what I’ve already survived.

Say whatever you want about me, but please, don’t make me listen to Jodeci ever again.  I’m strong, but I’ll never be that strong.
Continue reading “That Night”

I Am Enough

A few things I’ve learned about myself over the past few years:

I lived my life for someone else.

I lived by their rules, not my own.

This is no way to live.

I cried when I realized these facts about myself.

I have lots of regrets about the things I didn’t do. Those regrets are mostly because I listened to the wrong people. They told me my dreams were impossible; that I wouldn’t survive in the world I wanted to create. Because of those words, I didn’t pursue anything that made me happy. I never wanted to be a disappointment. I didn’t want to hear “I told you so” if I failed. I let all those dreams fall to the wayside. I let that whole piece of me die. I lived someone else’s dream and, if you asked them, they’d probably tell you I wasn’t very good at it.

I grew up thinking I was never enough. Everyone loved my writing, but it was all I had. I was told I was pretty, but then told my friends were prettier. I was always curvy, but taught to hide those and be embarrassed by them. While in one ear I was hearing I could be anything I wanted to be, the other was hearing my dreams were stupid. I was just a silly girl who excelled in English and History, but hated Math so I must not be so smart after all. When I learned to straighten my hair, I was shown a picture of Claudia Schiffer on the cover of a magazine. She had curls in her hair. I was told, “You used to have nice hair like that”.

I was never flat out told “you’re not good enough”, but it was implied.

As a girl, I was expected to be quiet, pretty, and to know my place. Get good grades, but know you’re never going to the college of your choice if it’s out of state because you can’t leave the family. I was once told to “act like a lady, but think like a man”. In a sense, I was taught that men were better than me. That’s a really screwed up thing to teach a child (and yes, I just had to edit myself because I really did want to swear, but I’m not comfortable swearing in print. Out loud, yes, but not in writing. Little quirks that I have. I have many so let’s just accept them and move on).

I was fearful of everything. I had always wanted to travel alone, but my mind told me that the world was a dangerous place for me. I was groomed to think I could never do it on my own. My thoughts and feelings often dismissed.

I learned to be a submissive person; to not stand up for myself. I learned that, as a woman, there were certain things I could never do.

That’s over.

It’s been a slow journey for me, but I’m trekking along.

I now know I am not that scared little girl; I never was. A strong person has always been inside of me, screaming to get out. I would often find myself taking crap for years and then suddenly I would explode; every feeling and thought would come spewing out of mouth. It wasn’t healthy nor pretty, but that was her. That was the girl who was desperately trying to live her own life. She was trying to tell me to speak. GET LOUDER! Don’t let them break you!

One final explosion buried that complacent, miserable girl. For good.

I don’t miss her.

I like the person who has emerged in her place. One who speaks her feelings as they come. One who advocates for herself. One who has so many fears, but is putting on a brave face to overcome them.

I am enough for me and I’m the only one who matters. If I’m not enough for you then you can find your way out of my life. I’ll be happier without you. Negative ninnies beware! You have no spot in my life.

While I realize my childhood wasn’t awful, it isn’t a time I would ever go back to either. I like this time much better. I am more me than ever. My life is filled with the people I choose, and I choose them because we have a mutual love and understanding for one another.

Every decade of my life has been improved upon so far. I didn’t love being a child though I have some awesome memories from it. I felt lost in my twenties. In my thirties, my current decade, I’ve grown into my own. I’m comfortable with myself. I know I’m a geek. I know I’m awkward around people. I know that I cry easily. I know I must walk away when I’m angry or I may say something I regret. But more importantly, I know I have a huge heart and that I’m a kind person. I accept all of me. Finally.

I’ve been given this fantastic opportunity to discover and nurture the woman inside of me. Today I make this promise to her: she will never be silenced again. My dreams will begin now; it’s never too late.



And It Hit Me Like A Ton Of Bricks…


I haven’t written anything for myself in years. Yes, I’ve written emails, stuff for work, etc, but not anything that was solely for me. I’ve tried to start again here and there, but it never panned out for me. Either I didn’t like where my writing was going or I just felt I lost creativity/confidence in it so I would quit. Well, this is me. Today. Not quitting.

This is absolutely frightening for me, by the way, and for so many reasons, but I’ve narrowed it down to 3 for this blog.


  1. Have I forgotten every grammatical rule ever? I feel like I’m so out of practice that I may have. In all honesty, that one is the least of my worries. I tend to be a perfectionist so posting something with any mistakes within it will drive me absolutely batty!
  2. Will anyone even read this? I’m not all together that interesting. I’m a normal woman with normal worries and a normal day-to-day life with some extraordinary things that do happen occasionally, but those things are extraordinary to me and probably not to others. I, also, don’t know if I’m scared more by people not reading this or by people actually, really reading it.
  3. I’ve lost who I am somewhere over the years and I’m hoping my writing brings that back to me. I’m petrified to find myself again. On a public forum. That anyone can read. Whenever they want. But I feel it’s the only way for me to bring this part of myself back.


On that note, I think this first blog will be about that last bullet point. For the past year, various people in my life have asked me “what do you love to do?” and I could never answer. I could think of a million things I really enjoy; horseback riding, yoga (though I’m not good), running, craft-y things (again not good at them, but I like them), puzzles, organizing things (I never said I was normal), etc. Yet, nothing I LOVED would come to mind until…

Out of nowhere, someone brought up writing and to be cliché, it felt like a ton of bricks hit me. Why did I ever give this up? This was who I was for so long. I was the geeky kid who constantly carried around a notebook and a pen (it was the 1990s, people! No one carried around an iPad or laptop yet). I had permanent indents in my fingers from pens and pencils. I felt naked without my writing utensils. They were always a comfort to me; something I knew would always be there when I needed them. I leaned on them a lot in those years to get me through, well, life.


  • Unrequited love – write. (I wrote so many of these that I was Taylor Swift before she could even hold a pen.)
  • Depressed – write.
  • Overcome with happiness – write.
  • Death in the family – write.
  • Daydreaming about my latest celebrity crush – write. (This could probably fall under unrequited love as well, but it was a daydream so it wasn’t unrequited in my mind.)
  • Mad at my parents – write.
  • Dealing with sadness cause my brother left for the army – write.
  • Pining after your older brother’s friend – write. (Again not unrequited love because I did marry him eventually.)


I was known as the writer throughout my whole family. Every single one of them thought I would someday write a book or go into a creative writing profession. Guess what? I didn’t. Instead, in my early twenties, I got an office job that didn’t use those creative writing skills. I have no complaints about that job. I stayed with the company for 16 years until a recent lay off. Some people may think being laid off needs to be a sad thing, but it was time and I needed the push. I say “it was time” because that was when those “what do you love to do?” questions starting coming in and I realized I didn’t know who I was at all anymore. It took a person I barely know bringing up writing to make me realize that a huge part of who I am is writing and I just let that go. Why did I let that happen?


I didn’t let it go on purpose nor did I think about it as it was happening, but as you get older, life starts to get in the way. The few times I started to write again, I didn’t have the energy. It was hard enough working, going to see to my buddy, Lincoln (my horse), hitting a gym and then cooking dinner. I couldn’t possibly fit being creative into that. I was exhausted. But I made good money at my job, I loved my co-workers (yes, I know how lucky I am to be able to say that and mean it), and my husband and I always fit in some fun activities we loved together on the weekend. I wasn’t unhappy with my life, but I was aware that something was missing. I guess, because I hadn’t written in so long that I completely forgot how much I needed it. I taught myself to live without it, but with that, I also taught myself to just be a shell of a person.

I couldn’t find that interesting, unique, quirky, fun individual that I know I am. Even now, as I write this, I am still not confident that I found my individuality yet. YET; it’s an important word. I know that girl is in there somewhere and I will bring her out. She’s screaming at me deep down and it’s time.

I told my brother the other day that I was going to start writing again. I can’t even remember his reaction word for word, but I can remember how it made me feel. It made me feel confident in my writing and myself again. Almost, as if, he’d been waiting for me to realize that part of myself. Then I realized I had been waiting to realize that part of myself. I hate to be cheesy (I don’t hate it so welcome to my cheesy world; You’ll see it a lot in this blog), but it was as if my soul felt happy again.

Writing this took a ton of courage for me. Posting it will take even more. Posting a link on my social media pages will be a small miracle for me. But people should know me; the real me. The one I have kept buried for so long that I had forgotten she was there.

This is freeing for me.

I am writer.

Ask anyone in my family. Ask my closest friends. Ask me.

It’s who I’m meant to be.