Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Closing Up 2013

2013 was a hell of a year, full of heartbreak, hope, and moving on. Here is a list of some of my favorite and not so favorite moments of it:
Kyla and Bax finally getting along

In Boston

*Being confident enough to ride (snowboard) without my huge knee brace on. It was the first time in YEARS that I've done it.

At the Sex Ed Conference :)
*I went to my first ever ProChoice rally at the State House. I met people from Planned Parenthood.

*I sold my body for money and research.

I love energy drinks
*The first ever #AbortionChat chat in February!
Last Day!

*AbortionChat's blog was created

*AWP 2013

*Having people agree to a panel in 2015

*Receiving grant funding for AbortionChat

*The Sex Ed Conference

*Getting a new job as a reporter
March Against Monsanto!

Literary Death Match!
*Getting a new job as a mental health professional

*Becoming friends with Mormons~who broke into my house to make me Depression Pie

*Adding Kyla to my little dog family

The boy I woke up to stargaze
at 2am

Working with Planned Parenthood
*Taking trips to Boston to meet and make friends

*Waking a boy up at 2am to go stargazing after arriving late from Boston

*The 30 Day Challenge: No caffeine for 30 days. It was hell. But I did it!

*Friends who donated to Baxter's veterinary care

My favorite Twitter Friend, Liz :)

*Finally quitting Rite Aid (really this time!)
The yard sale for Baxter

*Finding a crappy place to live, but having an awesome landlord

*Making new friends

*A co worker's wedding

*Celebrating a friend's housewarming and engagement!

*Completing the A to Z Challenge!

Bax's tattoo :)

AWP 2013
Laura and I with Cheryl Strayed and
Augusten Burroughs
*Getting the right size bra from Victoria's Secret 

*Writing an IOU to the local McDonald's

*Getting out of being arrested for my car registration being suspended due to unpaid EZ Pass ness

*Meeting twitter friends in real life!

*Seeing Hunger Games 2!

*Having a roommate who made me breakfast almost every morning

*Literary Death Match in Portland

*Getting my panel accepted at SEWSA 2014!

*My Baxter Tattoo

*Working with Planned Parenthood to  help create a 39 ft patient safety zone!

Laura after a day at
the mountain
*Meeting many of my literary heros

*My sister visiting Maine and FINALLY getting to take her snowboarding

Not So Favorites:
Getting locked in a basement thanks to my sketchy roommate.
Baxter getting sick. Then getting sick again. Then needing surgery. Then being hurt again.
A friend from down south dying.
An awful eye infection.
Getting fired from being a reporter.
My Mormon friends getting shipped to other places.
Kyla being diagnosed with heartworm.
The 10th anniversary of Kellie's death.
Ex boyfriend kicking my door in an almost having to get a restraining order.
The $4,500 vet bill I'm still paying off

It has been an incredible year. It's awesome to see how much I've changed in 365 days. I'm excited to see what 2014 will bring.

For all of you going out tonight, be safe. And remember that every day, you can change your life :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Saga of Baxter

For those of you keeping score at home, Baxter has now cost $4,400 in the last seven months. Thankfully, I've had many people donate money to his cause and help with $625 worth of his bills.

In case you missed what's been happening, in April (end of) he'd started having nose bleeds. He had an xray, rhinoscopy, and blood work. A few months after that he started puking, and puking, and then began bleeding from him bum. I called out of work and rushed him to the emergency vet clinic where he stayed overnight on an IV drip (they say it was something viral).

Most recently, he had this on his leg:

We referred to it as his sausage. The vet took one look at it and said, "Yea, that's going to need to come off." She didn't touch it or anything. He was brought in for surgery the following morning and has since looked like this:

He rams things straight on, hard enough we have to put his cone of shame on a few times a day, but he's recovering well, which is nice.

Just before Thanksgiving, I'd like to say that I'm thankful to have Baxter with me, still. 2013 was rough on both of us, but things are always looking up :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

After Two Years, It's Over

So long, so long
Effective today, I turned my keys back into what I've affectionately dubbed, "The Soul Suck."

Two years ago, I'd moved to Maine without a place to live. I became a snowboarding instructor and my manager blatantly said, "We don't pay well, and your hours will be variable. You'll need a second job to survive the winter."

I put in an application, and after a rather extensive background check, I started working for Rite Aid. Because of the mental state I was in, it did not go smoothly for a long time. I fought with managers, I dropped stuff. Eventually, I was promoted to a Shift Supervisor, which is where I've been for the last year and a half.

One of the things I'd hated:
You load the cart up....
I spent two years putting my life back together after it felt apart. Rite Aid helped fund my travels to Michigan, to writing conferences, for a snowboard, for housing, for Bax's vet bills, for clothes. It was a safety net that I'm letting go of, and as I counted down the register for the last time last night, I was kind of scared. What if I fail at my new job? What if something happens?

And it'd all fall...

Every time.
But I guess that's part of life, isn't it? We don't know what'll happen. We're just along for the ride.

So after three pairs of ripped khakis, four navy blue shirts that are permanently stained, five name badges that were chronically lost, countless scrapes and bruises, and far too many energy drinks, I say goodbye to the place that helped put me back on my feet.

Goodbye, Rite Aid. Thank you for the last two years.

There are things I won't miss like, the marquee board that caused me to scream and curse and hope there were no customers around. mean customers to scream at me regarding the fact I'm IDing them, taking the trash out....and having it fall all over the parking lot, etc.

Monday, November 4, 2013

To My Little Mouse Friend

I've been living in my gingerbread house for the better part of a year now. While it has its charms (like snow coming in the walls), it has been a pretty okay place to stay. Plus, I haven't been moving every three months, and my landlord rocks.

Meanwhile, while we've been here, each night, there's a scratching deep within the walls that clearly says, "Something lives inside here!" When I sit on the couch, I can hear it run over top of my head and it scares me to death.

A lonely sugar wafer. Our little friend
loved sugar.
A few weeks ago, my roommate told me he'd found two mice nests with little babies inside. He put them outside, checked on them the next day. They were gone. I assumed that their mama found them and now they're living somewhere happy. He maintains they were probably eaten.

Then one night, I was sitting on the stairs chatting with my roommate while Baxter and Kyla played tug-of-war. From my right side I saw movement. Sure enough it was a tiny mouse going after my mint oreos. I screamed, he screamed, he ran, I screamed more. 

My roommate and I more fully began discussing getting a live trap so we could catch the little guy and send him packing without killing him. A few mornings later, however, I woke up. Fed the dogs, and just before I went to leave, I remembered I hadn't checked their water. 

I stood on my toes, and there, in the water bowl was a floating mouse.

Needless to say, I couldn't stop screaming and my roommate had to take care of our little dead friend.

I'm sad because I hate finding live mice in the house. I know they'll die in here and I'll have to deal with their small adorable bodies. Realistically, I just don't like things dying because it makes me sad.

So here's to my dead little mouse friend: may you rest in piece with as much sugar and oreos as you can stand.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Ten Years, Three Years, Two Years

My best friend passed away October 1, 2003. Her anniversary was doubly difficult this year because it was the 10th anniversary. It's amazing to think that I was only 15 and can still miss someone that much.

I frequently consider the person who I've been since she passed, the experiences I've had without her.

October marks many anniversaries for me. Most of them involve my decline in mental stability (three years), but through the years I've pushed on, become stronger, and am grateful, each day, to be alive.

Two years ago is probably my most difficult anniversary. October 19th is my half birthday, and two years ago, it was the date I had planned to kill myself until a friend begged me not to. HERE is a link to my Facebook author page if you'd like to see the video of me addressing a public policy and health committee last night.

I am alive today because after her, several others stepped in. Because I frequently reflect on who I was verses who I am now, here is a small list of reasons I am glad to be alive and kicking:

Two of my very good friends :)
*Baxter. He was one of the big things keeping me in motion at that time. With how sick he's been over the last few months, I'm glad I stuck around to take care of him.

*Becoming a snowboarding instructor. Words cannot express how grateful I am for this experience.

*Working at the "soul suck". This retail job taught me a lot about who I am, what I'm willing to put up with, and helped pay the bills for the last two years.

*Coworkers, friends. I moved from North Carolina to Maine. I didn't know anyone here, and now it feels like I know everyone.

*Happiness and drive. Some days, I feel as though I cannot fail.

*Kyla. I wouldn't know her, I wouldn't own her. Though she's a butthead, I'm blessed to have her.

The list could be endless really (things I've tried, experienced, accomplished, etc) but I'm really just writing this post to remind you that if you're struggling, things can and will get better. Have faith, hold on, and remember that even if it hurts, smile.

Monday, September 30, 2013

A Puppy Update

I look like a goober

In April, Baxter got really sick and ended up costing me $3,000 in five days. More recently, Kyla got heartworm and cost us another couple hundred. Then yesterday, Baxter got seriously sick and I had to call out of work and rush him to the emergency vet's. The bill was yet another $700+.

The good news: Baxter was able to come home this morning at 7:30am (!!!!!) and has been recovering nicely. The reunion between him and I resulted in him knocking me on the vet floor and us knocking over the Caution Wet Floor sign. It's true love. When he got home, we reintroduced him to Kyla. They immediately ran around.

I'm so incredibly grateful that both pups are doing well, and seem to be getting healthier every day.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Because I'm a Huge Nerd

In honor of Cassie Mae's book bloghop, we're here to celebrate!

The question posed for this blog hop is: What is the nerdiest thing about you?

It could possibly be that secretly, I'm a gamer. Recently my household has gotten a Sega system (which I played growing up), an Atari, and my Nintento DS's.

I aspire to soon own a Wii so I can play Just Dance whenever I want. (You can come play, too!)

I've spent many hours in front of the TV these last few weeks.

Outside of those things, I'm also obsessed with my dogs (I did the entire A to Z Challenge about Baxter), and I may or may not have a small obsession with The Hunger Games. (Which means, yes, I do have a Mockingjay pendant as well as a District 12 bracelet.)

I would love to also add that I'm a book junkie and laugh out loud at parts, and sit crying on my couch at 2 a.m. sometimes, but I feel like I'm not alone in this.

Friday, August 9, 2013


I'd been considering getting another dog for Baxter for awhile. He loves other dogs, like a lot. Then I was with Damien, and he wanted a dog, and he pulled into the parking lot at my job and I met this little brown pit bull.
Kyla (front) and Baxter (standing)
She was so beautiful, the wind literally slipped from my chest.

Because we weren't sure how Baxter would handle her, or her him, we agreed it'd be a trial run and took her home. They met outside in a field, they sniffed, then continued to pee on the surrounding bushes.

In the next couple of days, Kyla ended up with a puncture wound in her ear from a fight, and she continued to try to eat Baxter randomly. Because it wasn't consistent fighting, I didn't worry. They seemed to get along (one would lay on one side of me, the other on the other). Finally, I got brave, went to my landlord, and she said, "You're a good tenant. I trust your decisions, even if it's a pit bull."

Damien and I broke up about three months ago. Though Kyla was to be his dog, he left her with me without any of her medical history.

I refer to her as the little tramp, as the red-headed-step-child, as the bad dog, etc. But she sleeps on my bed every night, and though she's the smallest person in the household, she manages to take up a majority of the bed. Baxter has been demoted to the floor (though pressed up against the bed, and my arm slings off the bed around him).

I finally had some extra money, and took them to a vet today. I had to respond "I don't know any of her medical history," and was almost immediately frustrated.

They like to lay together.
"What are you here for?" he asked.

"A heartworm test and vaccines."

I held Kyla as he drew blood. Because I haven't known her long, I wasn't sure if she'd try to bite either of us, but she just stood and allowed it to happen. Within minutes, we got the test back.

It was positive.

It was hard to breathe.

In two weeks we're getting the medication to try to start combating the heartworms. The treatment could kill her. Running could kill her. Moving too quickly could kill her. She could very well die before the treatment gets here (I'm hoping this statement is an overreaction).

I'm bracing for the following weeks hoping that everything will turn out okay. I'm bracing for the chance it may not, and my little family may be back down to Baxter and me. I'm bracing for how Baxter may respond if things go wrong. I'm bracing for the risk that Baxter may have also been exposed.
She really loves guarding the bathroom when I'm in it...
It's doubly hard because in all the ways Baxter is a really good dog, Kyla is a really bad dog (he doesn't go potty in the house, she does. He doesn't steal food, she does, etc). And in the ways Baxter is a really bad dog, Kyla is a good dog (She always comes when calls, he wags his tail and continues ignoring me. She plays in the water, he stands to the side, etc.) The two balance each other out. They've stopped separating their food and water and started drinking out of the same dishes, sometimes at the same time together.

I don't know what's going to happen and it terrifies me.

At this point, I'm just praying for the best.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Day I Stopped Being Afraid of Victoria's Secret Employees

In case you've forgotten,
this is what I typically wear
On Thursday, July 25, I traveled to Portland to go to the DMV for the third time that week. It turns out, to be a journalist, it sometimes requires driving. As such, I need a working car, and a driver's licence. Only, mine had been expired since my birthday...in April.

The first time I'd gone, I'd needed a birth certificate. (Hard to do because my mother is unreliable, etc.) So I got my birth certificate, and went back a few days later with a co worker. This time, because I don't have a lease, and haven't registered my car to the town I'm living in, and all my mail goes to my PO Box, I don't exist as a person....so I was rejected again and handed affidavits for people to fill out stating that I do, in fact, live in Maine.

Finally, at my third time at the DMV, I got my picture taken, proved my vision is worthless without my glasses or contacts, and boom! I now have a temporary licence while I wait for mine to come in the mail. (For those keeping count, I've now had licences in Michigan, Massachusetts, and now, Maine!) In celebration of FINALLY being a real person again, I went to the mall to buy a new bra.

I have this thing with Victoria's Secret. I love their bras and undies, however, I'm always SUPER awkward about going into their store. As always, I stood outside for an extra second, took a deep breath, convinced myself I'm an adult, and walked through into the land of pink.

Somehow, though I'd been waiting for it all year, I'd managed to miss the semi annual sale. There was still a small bin of bras left, so I looked at them and went to the fitting room. (Ladies, if you've never tried on anything at Victoria's Secret, you need to. I am not kidding. Their mirrors just make you want to take off your clothes.) So I took off the dress I was wearing and tried on the bras that were the same size as the one I had on...only...something didn't feel right.

In the fitting rooms, they have service buttons, and the woman who'd opened the door for me told me to push it if I needed "sized". Well, it turns out I did. After about a minute of debating with myself (I didn't have any pants on, I'd only worn a dress in...etc) I pushed the little button, panicked because I was literally standing there in a bra and underwear, and then she came in and agreed, I was totally wearing the incorrect size. Not only the band size, but cup as well. I had to go down two band sizes and up a cup.

From that moment on, she came to my fitting room several times with different bras to try on, a tape measure, etc. She didn't look at my body like I was disgusting. She didn't shame me or make me feel like an idiot for being uncomfortable in my own skin, or not truly understanding how to pick out a proper bra even though I'm 25 years old. She was professional and incredibly helpful. She even went so far as to find me which bras I wanted to buy.
And on that day, I bought two new bras :)

I understand that for many women, this sort of thing is easy, but for me, it wasn't. I'm not used to wearing girl clothes. I'm not used to talking about boobs, or bra sizes, or allowing strangers to see me mostly naked. But the woman who helped me never once made me feel like an idiot, or some sub par female for needing/asking for help.

I'm not going to lie, it felt pretty empowering to finally get a bra that hugs me rather than hides me.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Living the Dream

My first day of a big girl job apparel 
It's 7am and my alarm is going off. For the last several months, it'd be typical for me to roll out of bed around 9am or even as late as 11am. No longer. I get away with snoozing two to three times. Then. I HAVE to get up.

My hair is sticking up in all directions. The make-up I couldn't wash off my face last night attaches itself just under my sleep filled eyes. I snap my fingers twice to avoid talking for another few minutes, and Baxter and Kyla meet me at the door to go outside.

I shower, eat breakfast, debate on putting on make-up again, dress, pet the dogs, make sure I have everything: voice recorder, notebooks, pens, pictures of Baxter to put on my desk, wallet, keys, cell phone, etc, kiss the dogs goodbye, and then I'm out the door. Most mornings, I make one stop: the coffee shop, where I'll spend $2-$4 on either coffee or an iced caramel macciato. Usually by noon, I start shaking and forgetting how to make the letter "D".

My first day, I worked over ten hours. My second day was somewhere around 9. By day three, I passed out at 5pm and woke up at around 7:30pm. It's been a challenging and exhausting week, but it's been amazing to see this:

Two of these FRONT PAGE stories
are mine!
If your theory of Living the Dream is getting paid to write, I feel like I've made it. I work 40 hours a week. I get assigned articles, and get to cover ones I think are interesting. I get paid to write. Not to stock shelves, cash people out, get yelled at for ID people who look under age.

I feel like I'm on top of the world right now.

Just you know, a little tired.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Getting To Know You

It's been awhile since I participated in a blog hop, and because of another author, I stumbled across the Getting To Know You blog hop, and I figured why not?

Getting To Know You Blog Hop

How do you remember your first kiss?
I was a little bit of what you'd call a mouth-slut as a small child. I chased boys on the playground, and if I caught them, their punishment was usually a kiss. When riding the bus home, I'd kiss boys under the seat. However, they were always pecks on the cheek (well, typically. I think in second or third grade, I graduated to lip kisses.)

As I got older, we began playing more intense rounds of Truth or Dare. I can't remember if I got dared, or if he got dared, but either way, we were dared to ::GASP:: french kiss! Soon enough, his mouth was on mine, and his tongue felt like licking a slug. We jerked away, and promptly went to the bathroom to brush our teeth and get each other's tastes out of our mouths. 

I waited a few years before trying again.

What was your first favorite love song?
Oh, wow. This is a hard one. I've always been surrounded by music, and I've always gone around liking and unliking songs. It's hard to remember my first (perhaps, Damn, I wish I was your lover? Because I got to sing the word "Damn" without getting in trouble?).

What's the first thing you do when you begin writing for the day?
Probably clean or organize something to avoid writing. Play on facebook, gmail. twitter pet the dogs, realize Baxter's ears need cleaned. When I sit down to write, I avoid it for at least another hour.

Who's the first writer who truly inspired you to become a writer?
Kerry Cohen and Zu Vincent, I think. I met them both at AWP. Kerry is the author of Loose Girl, and she is just so brave, and blunt, and amazing. She's not afraid of the mistakes she's made in her life. I was humbled just being in the room with her.
Zu (author of The Lucky Place) on the other hand has helped guide me through this crazy process. She read a few pages of a manuscript and told me to keep pressing on.
I know there have been TONS of other writers who have influenced and helped me, but those two rocked my world.

Did the final revision of your first book have the same first chapter it started with?
No way in hell. God, my first chapter was AWFUL. So bad in fact, I asked my sister to read/edit it for me, she got three pages in and emailed me saying, "Please, please don't make me read any more of this."

For your first book, which came first: major characters, plot, or setting?
Setting, I think. Sometime in the future. Then the main character, and the love interest. He was always there.

What's the first word you want to roll off the tip of someone's tongue when they think of your writing?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Streaked Mountain Old and Young

Billy, on top of the world
A friend I'd lost touch with over the winter got a hold of me this week, inviting me for coffee and an adventure. However, the adventure started at 7:30am, and I'm a slow riser. Ugh.

He drove us to Streaked Mountain, and we spent the next hour or so hiking one of the steepest mountains I've hiked. (I actually lost my footing one of the times and managed to twist my ankle. So graceful :) ). When we got to the top, I saw a bush. "What's that?"

"Wild blueberries," he answered.

"Can I eat them without dying?" (The entire time I was thinking about Hunger Games.)

"Probably," he said.

Me on top of the world.
And like that, I grabbed a few and popped them in my mouth. It was an explosion of sweet. We met a hiker along the way who stopped at each bush and ate a few. I decided this was a good goal to have next time around. (Perhaps with a bottle of water to rinse them off first.)

Days after the adventure, I was sitting in the newspaper office and mentioned hiking. I was asked (rather ferociously) if there were blueberries. I said yes and that I'd eaten some. The woman slumped with jealousy.

That same day, I made my voyage for the Real People column and interviewed a 98 year old woman. She's from the area, and used to go to school via horse and wagon. She told me about her brother dying in WWII (he was only 23, and very, very handsome). Closer to the end, she talked about hiking Streaked Mountain when she was younger, and eating the wild blueberries.

My mouth fell open. "I just did that."

"Really? Were they wonderful?" she asked.

I recounted the way they tasted, and how it was my first time ever to the mountain.

As I left, holding my notes from the interview, I was washed with a million feelings. I am 25. She is 98. Yet, chances are we'd stood in the same place, overlooking the surrounding mountains, perhaps even eating from the same blueberry bush.

I have every intention of hiking Streaked tomorrow morning with another friend, this time, knowing that I carry a 98 year old's memories with me. I'll be sure to eat some blueberries for her.

Wild Blueberries!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What I'm Learning About Frienship

In my life, I've had some really, really bad friends. Ones who steal money from me, abandon me when I need them most, and ones that just use me to get something in return.

It hasn't been until this whole Seek Healthy Relationships mission that I've truly started to see what makes friendship such a beautiful thing. Because we all know how much I love lists, here's a small list of what true friendship is (and don't worry, I'm still learning).

My sister and I. She pushed me pretty hard.
7) They push you to be better than you currently are.
My teacher friend saw potential in me and roped me into this public speaking gig. My other friends pushed me to submit my resume to the newspaper. Your friends should always seek the best for you, and if you're afraid to take the first steps, they'll know how to support and challenge you so that you, too, want the best for yourself.

Some of my very, very good friends.
6) They don't have to be remotely anywhere near your age.
I have friends who haven't graduated high school yet. I have friends who are in their 80's. I have friends in-between those age gaps. We don't have a generation gap, we find mutual ground, a mutual respect for each other, and bond over snowboarding, or our hatred of our jobs, our love of animals, or our fucked up pasts.

5) They help take care of you.
My little friend, Allie and I before I left NC
There are times in your life where you can't take care of yourself. Whether it's because you're puking from drinking too much, you can't carry your food to the couch because you're on crutches, you're curled up in the fetal position crying for days, or your dog has gotten seriously sick and you can't afford his vet bills. True friends will help you. They will spot you money, they will break and enter with you so you can get your stuff back from a creepy old man who'd exposed himself to you, they will pick you up from the couch you've refused to rise from.

4) Though you may embarrass them, frequently, they're still not ashamed to be seen in public with you.
Yep. I was rocking hooker boots at a family function.
Laura (sister) yells at me quite a bit for not having any social tact. I talk about a lot of things I shouldn't, especially at the dinner table. In recent weekends, I went to Connecticut to help my friends celebrate their new house as well as their engagement, and we went out to dinner. I talked too loud, and told some poo stories, and puke stories. Needless to say....I should learn tact, some day. But they're still my friends. It's kind of that whole "Accepting you for you" type of thing.

I see these cats less than once a year.
3) You don't have to see them every day.
Some of my favorite people to be around, I only get to see either once every few months, or once a year. Some of my very good friends (blogging friends, twitter friends) I've never even met. Many of them have helped me (especially with Baxter). Many of them support me. Many offer advice, even when I don't want to hear it.

2) They protect you.
Friends from CT. They're very happy people.
A few weekends ago, I was in CT for a friend's engagement party. I'd had a beer and minimal amounts of food. When a guy handed me another beer, my friend (also a boy) looked right at me and mouthed, "Be Careful." He spent the next hour convincing me that I needed to eat and drink water. We were told repeatedly that we sounded/seemed like an old married couple.

1) Things that are important to you, matter to them.
My friends from Ecuador and the Philippines!
Another amazing example of friendship is an example from my time in CT. When they saw me, they ALL asked how Baxter was doing. They've never met my handsome little man. But they knew he was sick and tried to help him. They asked how he was because he's my entire world. It meant more to me than I can express.
They also allowed me to talk about my organization, my writing, and my dog, over, and over, and over. They never told me to shut up (except when I embarrassed them :) )

This is only a small list, but each point has shocked me. I always imagined that you see your friends every day, or you interact with them, or you've somehow known them your entire life. I managed to forget that you can go weeks, months, years, without seeing each other, and nothing can change. I forget that they can influence you to be a better person, to stop selling yourself short.

In unrelated news, each person in these pictures has helped save my life at one time or another.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Your Societal Debt and a McDonald's IOU

A happy picture, of polar bears :)
After an incredibly rough night, I woke up to find that there was no food in my house. I had cereal, but no milk. I had peanut butter but no bread. So I made the two mile voyage to McDonald's, excited about getting a $1 iced coffee, and breakfast burrito.

Instead, as I stood in line there was a sign on each register that wasn't typically:

We currently cannot accept any credit or debit cards. 
Sorry for the inconvenience.

"Is that true? None of the computers can take cards?" I asked in a panic. I looked at my watch. I had fifteen minutes to get to work. Not exactly enough time to go anywhere and get a decent breakfast.

"It's true. Even the drive through is down."

Panic rose in my throat. I needed food. More importantly, I needed coffee. It wasn't even 7:30am yet. "Is there any way I can write you guys an IOU? I get out of work at 4, and I swear to God I'll pay it."

The cashier looked at me uncomfortably before saying, "I can get my manager and you can ask her."

She did, and the manager asked what I was getting. "It'll only be two dollars," I said. She had me sign a receipt, I got my coffee (which was hot rather than iced, but I figured beggars can't be choosers) and my breakfast burrito, and went to work.

A few hours later, I returned bottles, got $3.00 back, and paid $2.10 to the lovely manager who'd allowed me to write an IOU.

So how does this story tie into societal debt?

It's simple. When you get burned enough times, you stop trusting people. In example, if I hadn't paid the manager back, and someone else had done the same thing, a future person in a similar "emergency" would
When people get hurt enough,
they learn their lesson...
probably be rejected by the proposition of an IOU. In order to allow that future person the same luxury I was allowed, I had to pay my societal debt, and make sure the manager continues to trust honest people.

You can take this debt further. Take it into relationships with people. If your relationship sucks, you become more guarded in the next. If that one sucks, you're more guarded, and so on, until you just feel dead inside and can't remember how to function in a relationship. As a relationship, it's up to you not to hurt your significant other, and especially if you're breaking up, not to scar them for future relationships. Think of this when people loan you money and you need to pay them back. Or when you borrow something and need to return it.

Pay your debt. Ensure that people are safe, and unhurt. Protect the invisible future person from damage you may have caused.

Happy Monday.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Why Break Ups Suck

I've been reading a lot of newspapers recently where the crazy ex or boyfriend kills the girl. He strangles her, stabs her, or some other atrocious act of violence to end her life. I've read them in Cosmo, and I've read them in the newspaper.

When I was in college, I read an article that discussed how the first month of the break up is the most dangerous. If you're a woman and you broke up with a guy, he can go through a stalking, "Maybe I can get her back" phase. It can be cute, but it can also be horrific.

Keeping these things in the back of my mind during the last month or so of my current break up, I've been trying to keep my distance. For the first two weeks or so, I'd said if he changed and grew up, I'd be willing to reconsider the break up.

Then it was abundantly clear that nothing was going to get better. It was over.

As time went on, things degraded very quickly. He threatened to kill me if I brought a boy home. (Also threatened to kill the boy, too.) He tried to use the fact I don't have parents, I used to cut myself, I have a lot of male friends, etc against me. Then in the next breath, he'd say he loves me, or will always have feelings for me. I'm not saying I was an angle, and I didn't scream, and name call, and whatever else. But when the door gets kicked in and I have to call the cops, there's a serious issue that he's not addressing, and I seriously hope he gets help before he hurts himself or someone else.

It's hard because I still remember that time he drove to Boston when I was stranded at 3am and took me home when we both had to work morning shifts. It's hard because I remember him disappearing one night, and I found him scraping off my car when it was covered in snow so I could drive home. It's hard because I remember going to sleep, and him kissing me on the forehead. It's hard because now I walk the dogs by myself at night, and it's nicer to talk to someone, even if it's only superficial. It's hard because I've seen the destruction of the relationship, and that's why I ended things in the first place.

Since 2011 I've made it my mission to seek healthy relationships. With friends, with boyfriends, with siblings, hell, even with my mother (who we're constantly trying to establish boundaries). I don't want to end up like my neighbors last summer who just screamed at each other every night. I don't want to end up like my parents and their toxic relationship.

Every person on this planet deserves to be healthy. Everyone deserve to be happy. This is a small set back, but at least I can say I ended things when they crossed into unhealthy territory, and in the end stuck to that decision (which has recently been made abundantly clear it was the right decision.

With that said, take some time to evaluate your relationships in your life. Is there a way to make them stronger? More stable? And when you're done with that, have an awesome weekend :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Shit Just Got Real

They are super excited for me :)
This one time in May, I started working for a newspaper with the Real People column. It's been fun, and challenging, and making me wonder if I could get involved more with the newspaper.

As of yesterday, I had an interview, where I got to talk about abortion rights and my involvement, protests, and other things you typically shouldn't say at an interview.

And this morning, as I lay in bed with Baxter and Kyla, my phone went off.

And they offered me the position of a reporter! It's salary. I shouldn't rely on a roommate anymore!

Friday, June 28, 2013

How to Deal with Hatred?

Four coffees for four people
I've come to expect "baby killer." I still haven't gotten used to the whole, "You should have killed yourself" or "You should be sterilized" or "You should have your tongue ripped out." But these attacks are typically on twitter, where people can see my avatar, and not actually me. It's safe to attack people in other states.

This morning, I organized some friends, rounded them up around 8am, and headed south to Portland. From there, we took a small coffee break, a small potty break, and found Planned Parenthood. There were already a few protesters lining the street. The rain was coming down in sheets.

I wasn't there for an abortion this time, but the sight of them crawled into my veins like shards of glass mixed with fire ants. Children, younger than their teen years, were holding signs of what they dubbed "Aborted Fetuses."

I was in the state of Maine. Rain was pouring down my face. Yet, for a split second, I was in Virginia on a sunny day, shaking as a friend wrapped her arm around me and whispered, "Don't listen to them, honey. Don't listen."

The caffeine kicked into my system, and I started shaking. My friends and I pulled out our signs:

"We Support You" "Honk for Choice" and "Planned Parenthood Saved My Life"
Immediately the tension in the air rose like a vibration from an amp that had just been turned on. It was almost tangible. I wasn't sure if we were going to get hurt, assaulted, or just verbally attacked. Cars began to honk for the honk for choice sign. People walked by and high fived us. And then the gentleman to the left of this picture began to call us "Willfully ignorant" even after I explained, "Sorry, actually. I know exactly what happens. I had an abortion, but thanks."

From there, he continued to insult us. Women walked passed us with the greeters while protesters accosted them. A representative from Planned Parenthood stepped out and said that it's hard for women entering the clinic to differentiate signs of support from signs of hate and malice. We decided to move across the street, where more people high fived us and honked.

And the protesters began to yell across the street, "Why did you move? Are you scared of us?!"

"We're not scared," I hollered back. "We just don't want to look like YOU."

She yelled for a few more minutes before finally giving up. Our signs began to run (turns out when Crayola says "Washable paint" they ain't kiddin). When Honk for Choice was no longer visible, and Your Body, Your Choice leaked onto the street, we called it a day.

I've spent all day going over this in my mind. My friends and I weren't there to spread hate, rather an environment of acceptance, and support for women who may be there on the worst day of their lives. It's hard for me to separate the hatred and anger I feel from my abortion experience and protesters, to what's currently happening.

I accept people have freedom of speech. I accept that they may be awful people. But it's one thing to verbally attack someone online. It's an entirely different thing to attack someone as she's walking, with her head down, through doors you may never enter.

So my question is, how do you deal with that kind of hatred?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Stolen Life

I've been kind of giving reviews of books in a mini fashion, not really respecting them enough (or taking the time) to write an entire blog post about a book. It's a good and a bad thing.

However, the book I'm about to tell you about made me sick to my stomach. It made me so angry with the male gender, I didn't want my boyfriend to even put his arm around me. I was left with the staggering question, "Why did this happen?"

With no further ado...

A Stolen Life
By: Jaycee Dugard
Rating on Goodreads: ***** of *****

A Stolen Life is Jaycee Dugard's memoir. She was 11 when she was kidnapped, and held captive for eighteen years. In that time, she endured countless tortures, including repeatedly being raped and told to stop

It's hard for me to fathom how men like that can live. It's also difficult for

It is unacceptable that we live in a culture that looks the other way, or slut shames, or does any other awful thing toward women. This book further reiterated why I'm a feminist, why I'm doing what I'm doing at AbortionChat, and why, above all else, I will fight for women.

This book should be read by every single person out there. I didn't give it a five star rating based on writing quality (her formal education was cut off at 5th grade) but instead, by the sheer ability to recount what she'd gone through, and how she's trying to heal.

Brace yourselves. This is NOT a pretty story.
me to have any sympathy towards rapists. Personally, I feel like they should have a "One and Done" mentality, where if it happens, even once, they get dismembered, slowly. Jaycee's rapist had raped a woman before. He was on parole. His parole officer came to the house she was kept at. He went to jail for a month was she was captive. And yet no one discovered her.
crying because it was ruining her rapists fantasies.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sometimes I Feel Invincible

...And then my computer goes forever without wanting to work...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

This is how we do
This Christmas was spent in a basement of crazy folk, sipping hot chocolate and peppermint Kahlua. I bought and watched Rudolph, and Frostie the Snowman (terrifying now that I'm 25). I was the only person who volunteered to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Moments before settling into spiked hot chocolate, I'd stopped over my Partner in Crime's to witness family life; his parents, girlfriend, and sister gathered around a beautiful tree exchanging gifts. I felt like an unwanted alien. Something to pick at and dissect. I didn't mean to intrude. I just wanted to drop off a present for him and a card for his parents.

An hour or so later, as I watched the animated cartoons, from time to time, I spurted a few tears, but after a long while, Baxter and I cuddled, said Merry Christmas, and went to sleep. It was over for another year.

Father's Day kind of feels like that.

At work, the cash register faces a pretty display of cards. Right now, the hot sellers are Father's Day cards. They're witty, and clever, and everything I'd want if I were buying a F-Day card. But I'd have no one to send it to.

At work today, a man came in who strikingly resembled my father. My hands started shaking as I imagined him grabbing the back of my head and bouncing it off the counter top, or worse, calling me by my first name. Or worse yet, rendering me unmovable, and telling me to go outside and being trapped, and kidnapped, and helpless...again.

I imagined him saying he missed me, or he loved me, or any of those things my father had repeatedly said before he'd hurt my sisters or me. Even after I realized the balding gentleman in front of me was not my father, I couldn't stop shaking.

Not all little girls grow up with Fathers. Not all little girls grow up with Mothers. But some of us grow up with Sisters, or kickass friends, or amazing teachers. Never underestimate who you're influencing when you interact with the youth. Many people kept me from becoming my parents. Many people kept me from throwing my life away, several times over.
Kind of like an empty dinner table...all the time

I'm not saying it's easy to not have family. It's not. Christmas is never fun. Thanksgiving is lonely. I don't get to imagine my wedding and my father (or anyone's father) giving me away. Growing up without parents isn't easy. But people can do it. And people can turn out okay.

So for those of you who having loving husbands, hug them. For those who've had loving fathers, love them, too. Celebrate the strong men in your life, let them know what they mean to you, because there are some people in the world cringing on this day, wishing for the chance to give a strong man a hug. Instead, settling for cuddling with a large dog.
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