Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bachelorette party violence

When I envisioned the bachelorette party in Chicago with 20 people, I expected some drama. Loads of women in heels (sore feet make you cranky) eating too little at dinner to stay svelte in their dresses (hunger makes you hangry) plus booze - in a busy city-- it seemed a given that something notable and possibly catastrophic would go down. 

Luckily, no party-ending drama ensued and a good time was had by all. But there was still violence. 

I intended to avoid the typical level of inebriation one would expect from a bridal party on bacheloette weekend, so I could anticipate and difuse the potential stressors of a night out with a gaggle of girls drinking too much champagne. However, in the famous words of my friend Nikki, I became "the drama we were trying to avoid." Here's what happened. 

After our early dinner, we headed out to the first club on the busy, bustling streets of Chicago. While walking ahead of some of the group, I hear Nikki call out to me to watch out. At that moment, I felt it. A substantial and invasive ass-grab. The kind of that feels intimate. At that moment, I turn to find a man in his mid-thirties by my guess, in a hoodie, passing me and our large group on the left by the street. And I knew it was him. 

Without a word, I sped up and started smacking him in the back with my clutch, filled with only my lip gloss, ID, and credit card. Not enough heft to do harm. Nikki comes running up and kicks him with her blinged-out high-heeled shoe. I yell that he can't do that to people and tossed in some expletives for good measure. He turns as he continues to flee, and shrugs his shoulders as if he has no idea why were are accosting him on the street. 

Our friends don't know what Nikki and I know, and just suddenly realize we are attacking a stranger. 

Ultimately he walked on and we explained to the group what took place. I still regret that I didn't do more, and left that man unpunished to gain unsolicited access to women's private areas. 

Feeling a bit objectified, we continued on our night out. We laughed and danced and made our bride dance on stage at a piano bar. Eventually, we end up at a club that had an elevated area for girls to dance. Two skinny friends, the bride and Nikki, who was also accosted by the hooded man, were dancing on the raised area, and asked me to join. Emphatically. Eventually, I relented, though lacking the level of inebriation generally required for such an activity. 

As soon as I was up there, a bouncer came over and asked me to get down. My friends insist the area was too full and that was the motivation. But as a girl who has put on a few, I internalized the requst as a personal affront. I'm not little like them and was undoubtedly visually less appealing to be at eye-level. They insist it was a capacity issue. I came down, dejected, and already a little bothered about the earlier events. At which time I got upset. And then, the words that will live in infamy from Nikki: "you are becoming the drama we were trying to avoid." I laughed and realized she was right.

I got my act together, but will insist to the end that me, in my borrowed dress without a size 2 figure,   was  not in line with the club's "brand." 

Thankfully my friends have a late-night appetite like me, and we ended up leaving to go to the hotel to eat pizza at 2 a.m. Take that, swanky Chicago club. 

Know what drama I really want to avoid? Finding food late at night. Thankfully, pizza delivery exists, and drama was (mostly) averted. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Good Childhood.

Emma, my 17 year old daughter, told me recently that she feels like she had a great childhood. 

She didn't even say it because she wanted something or because I had a bad day, she seemed sincere! 

She talked at length about how some of the stories she's heard about hard times we had are lost on her; she doesn't remember things that way. She doesn't remember the fights her dad and I had. The times we moved didn't leave lasting scars. The clothes from garage sales didn't make her an outcast. The times I had to write papers all night while she and her brother watched t.v. didn't make her feel unloved. 


I'm sure there are some negatives there somewhere.  But overall she felt loved and hapy. And isn't that all that counts? 

Maybe she'll tell a therapist one day about some time I didn't listen or said the wrong thing, or her dad did something wrong. But this day, but she had an open audience in me, willing to take on any wrong I'd committed, even with my objections that things didn't go smoothly... yet she insisted. She had a good childhood. 

Everyone's perception of a "good childhood" differs, I'm sure. But what matters is MY KID'S perception. 

Pinterest didn't exist. I didn't make crafts for her classroom. I didn't throw lavish parties. We didn't go on spring break and fall break vacations. She didn't get each toy she saw on t.v. and asked for. But she's happy with her childhood. 

The trials we face as kids and adults shape us. Things my mom went through, I also went through, in different ways, and I learned. I'm sure Emma has lessons learned that she doesn't even realize yet. Trials and troubles are good. But at the end of the day- if you see the good in things, you are much better off. 

That conversation was a cherry on top of a lovely experience raising this young lady. She's had experiences as a teen that left us both changed,but she has come out on top. She is smart, mature, caring, and kind. And if there would have ben a list of characteristics I'd hope for my girl when she was an infant, those would be the ones. 

Feeling blessed is not an adequate description of how I feel. This girl, this life, is more than I hoped for. Love. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What I read Wednesday: Soar

I feel sort of famous today! After our Disney trip, I sent an email reply to a newsletter I get weekly from the founder of SOAR. Capt. Tom Bunn has a comprehensive DVD course (which I haven't done), a website with lots of free resources, an app, and a book.You can find more info here. or buy the book here:Soar: The Breakthrough Treatment for Fear of Flying

The app, book, and website have been incredibly helpful to me! Not only can I fly successfully without crying or having a panic attack, but I feel so much braver in other parts of my life too!

My email was published today in this week's SOAR newsletter! I have no idea how many people receive that email newsletter, let alone read it, but I am am excited to think that someone else might read my email and decide to read the book or take the course and feel better in some way. You can see the full newsletter here if you'd like:

Here's the email I sent. I actually wish I'd edited a little before hitting send but what I love is that it was straight up passion and excitement in my writing. :) 

"Truly Changed My Life"
I really appreciate these emails, the website, and the app. I rave about your book and tell anyone who will listen, because it truly changed my life!

I've always had a lot of anxiety about a lot of things. I'd never ride roller coasters, I panicked on trains, and flying was too much. Two years ago I got a promotion at work that requires travel 5 times a year. The first flight I took for work, I ended up drinking cocktails on the plane at 8 try and ease my nerves and crying in front of my coworkers due to my fear and anxiety. Pretty embarrassing. The next flight, I took anxiety medication I was prescribed, and it helped a little but I was still a nervous wreck for weeks leading up to the flight. Finally, knowing I needed a better solution, I started researching and found your website.

I've read the book and every article on the website. I have the app and use it every time I fly. I brought the book with me on each flight in my carry on until 2 flights ago when I realized I didn't need it anymore. Not only do I fly without anticipatory anxiety, but I actually look forward to flying now! I still get a little uneasy during take-off but the checklist in the book (which I now have memorized) eases that. If we hit turbulence, I just use the G Force meter and it reminds me that it's safe.
I just flew with my kids to Disney World a couple weeks ago. Two years ago, I would have been so overcome with anxiety that I would have made the family miserable. Instead, I got to look out the window with my son on his first flight. :)

I realized while at Disney that it's not just flying that your book made better for me. The skills I learned in the book, and the insight it gave me into my own mind, allowed me to do something I truly thought I'd never do - I rode every ride-even roller coasters- with barely any anxiety. Even Tower of Terror that has huge drops, and the Rock n Roller Coaster which goes upside down! I've been terrified of rides like those and truly would never have believed just a couple of years ago that at my age I'd finally overcome this life-long fear.

So many possibilities seem open to me now, that weren't before. Thank you for all you do. I really believe that your work has dramatically improved my enjoyment of life. 
I can't say enough good things about this book. If you are like me, buy it on amazon. And let me know what you think! 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

2014 Year in Review

Something I find super fun is going back through my instagram and facebook posts and calendar entries to see what all I did in my life. A couple of times, I posted a blog as a sort of "year in review." See 2010 here and 2013 here.

I'm trying a new format this time. :) Below is a big ol' collage of photos I posted, along with a quick list of events that took place and places I went. 

I know it's a tad late (4 months or so) but I needed this posted for posterity! 

Below, my 2014 -not counting the many date nights with Matt, dinners and drinks with friends, movies and games with the kids, etc. I live a blessed life. 

Major Life Events:
Matt's Nana passed away | March
Emma's mission trip to Nicaragua | April 
Matt and I got Masters Degrees | December
The Kids Were Busy: 
Emma got her first job | March
Ethan runs track | spring
Emma's Junior Prom | April
Ethan made a viral video that was on the news! | May
Emma gets her drivers license! | May
Ethan runs cross country | fall  
Emma takes Senior Pics | November 
Races I Ran: 
Shamrock Run | March
My first half marathon | April  
Indy Women's 5k | June
Zombie 5k | July

Places I Traveled: 
SLC Utah | work trips |3 times
Panama City Beach | Beach Vacation with Erin and all the kids June
French Lick, IN | Weekend Getaway with Matt | August
Chicago, IL | Chicago Half Marathon, which I didn't run due to injury, but cheered for Jessica! | September
St. Louis, MO | work trip | September
Madison, IN | Fall Wine Haul with Mom | November
Horseshoe Casino, Southern Indiana | Birthday trip with Nikki, Scott, and Matt | November

Have you posted a blog about your year in review? I'd love to read it!