Proverb for the Day Archives – February 2018

I adore sparkly things and witty words.

Instant gratification takes too long.

I am not an idealist.  I am a pragmatist with ideals.

If you never take risks there is no challenge.

Stories can be doors.

Go be a passive aggressive bitch somewhere else.

Some days life is just harder than others.

You never know what someone is going to do until you back them into a corner.

Growth is painful, but not as painful as staying stuck.

Get out of my way because I may hurt someone and it could very well be me.

They say it takes all kinds.  I just wish it took less idiots.

You can always buy more underwear when you arrive.

If I don’t remind you to love me, will you forget?

When in doubt, dance.

I know I am not in a dream because my dream would be better than this.

You don’t get to choose my life.

You know it is time to go home for the day when you start pounding your head against the desk for apparently no reason.

Sometimes it is my job to be a nagging bitch.

Some days I am amazing.   I do my best to remember that on days I feel like I am nothing.

It is easy to find things to hate.  Sometimes, try finding things to love.

I usually give others more of an effort than I give myself.





To Relax or Not to Relax – that is the question….

Hafa Adai!  Greetings from Guam!

I am not very good at relaxing.  I have a full time management job, a house, a spouse, pets. I teach burlesque classes, teach dance classes, perform, costume, sing, write, choreograph and generally don’t sit down a whole hell of a lot other than to fall asleep on my husband’s shoulder (or play with my guinea pigs!)  I have been accused of being one of the busiest women in burlesque.  Maybe it is true, maybe not.  There are a lot of busy burlesquers out there.  So, when it comes time to relax, I am usually have a bit of trepidation.  So, when I was scheduled to go to Guam for three weeks for work, I didn’t know whether to be relieved or to be worried.  I think it is the latter.

So, I have traveled to Hawaii for work before at three to four weeks at a time.  That is hard enough – but I usually manage to keep myself occupied.  Honolulu, despite being in the tropics, is a city.  Things move, they are fast-paced.  I can be relaxed AND run around.

My typical after-office hours in Honolulu consist of dinner, a long walk with plenty of shopping because the stores are usually open til 10 or 11pm and then exercising in my room when I get back (or choreographing or whatever else I need to do.)  Also, the time change is not crazy, so I have two or three hours time difference – depending on the time of year.  It makes it so that I have reasonable times to call home, conduct business with people back home and I don’t have to spend an excessive period of time calculating what time it is on the mainland.  Plus, while the hotels get a strong mix of American and Japanese tourists, the beds are still typically soft and I love me a soft sink-into bed.  Yum!

Guam is a different story.  After work I call my spouse in hopes that he is not yet in bed, because it is 18 hours earlier at home, meaning I get off work at 11pm and back to the hotel sometime between 11:30 and midnight when he may (or may not be) be in bed, depending on the level of his sleepiness.

At seven it is dark and the pools at the hotel are closed.  I can eat dinner and I can walk, but the shopping is much more limited and I do not have the range of safe, well-lit, and comfortable walking areas that are available in Honolulu.  I can drive, but I have already discovered that google maps in Guam is marginal, the roads are narrow and badly lit with potholes, and, as such, after dark there is really no place that I want to go badly enough to have to drive myself to it.   Plus, it is hotter here than Hawaii, so the tired, lazy heat factor is even that much more intense.  So far, my favorite pastimes are swimming in the pool-like beach, the pool-like pool, or doing bar-work on my lanai (do they have a different name in Guam, I do not know!! Lanai is the Hawaii terminology.)

Plus, I am tired.  I think I am tired because there is an 18 hour time difference in Guam.  To talk to my husband during his lunch break from teaching, I have to wake up at 5:30AM.  Then, several mornings we have spent 20 minutes just trying to connect via Skype because the hotels wifi is wonky.  Also, the beds are low and hard – the rooms are catered more to the Japanese tourist trade, and the whole trip I have been sleeping about 2 hours at a time before waking back up.  Not super conducive for a good sleep.

So, the whole trip has been super relaxing and super discouraging and super depressing! Since I am tired and hot and discombobulated, I don’t feel like a powerhouse and things like rehearsing in my room and choreographing are not as compelling as they should be.  Therefore, I feel like I am lazy and a loser, which makes me more depressed, which makes me more tired, which makes me not want to move and do less which makes me more depressed, and so on and so on and so on.  It is like an endless loop to try to keep my mind in a non-depressed and positive mind-set. Damn it is hard!

I have had some lovely experiences in Guam – the island is beautiful, the reefs feel totally safe to swim in (even though I do still spazz out excessively when I get water in my snorkel mask and I did get a contact stuck in my eye while snorkeling), the fish are interesting, I saw a Carabao (water buffalo), went to the totally weird and tiny zoo, and ate some amazing poke.

But, I desperately need more physical and mental stimulation. The television pretty much sucks, I have read all but one of the books I brought with me for the trip (5 out of 6 and I need to keep one for the flight home), and being on Facebook too much will cause my brain to just devolve excessively.  Like an animal in a too tiny cage, I can only do so much in my room, even though it looks out onto a beautiful sandy beach and a coral reef, without feeling like I want to scale the walls.  Like the caged tiger, I will pace for awhile back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and-forth, until I finally give up and curl up into a shallow and restless sleep, waking up periodically to growl at the caw of a bird or the scream of an ambulance or just the torment from a memory of freedom outside the walls of my room.

So, I will concur that some relaxing at some points in time is a good thing.  But too much relaxing and too little to do makes Velvet a very sad girl!  Looking forward to seeing you soon in San Francisco!  I have ALL the things going on in February when I get back – gogo at Hubba, DIVA or Die Burlesque, Circus of Sin in San Jose, the four night Burlesque Extravaganza at The EXIT Theatre, and Bad Influences Burlesque in San Jose!

Proverb for the Day Archives – January 2018

Change doesn’t come from a new year. Change comes from yourself.

There are the people that really love and cherish you, the people that pretend to, and then all the others.

It is not my fault, but it still feels like it is.

I will always lose the popularity contest.

Do what you can with what you have.

I will rest when I am dead.

You can’t stop consenting adults from being stupid.

A beaver in your pocket is worth two in the bush.

Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

My priorities are not necessarily your priorities.

We have the ability to fight this system.  We do not have to be complicit.

Either you choose your story or one is chosen for you.

Life has no yellow brick road to follow.

When negotiation fails, I resort to polite belittling.

I may care about you, but that doesn’t mean I am passionate about all of your passions.  Hell, some days I am not even passionate about all of my own passions.

People believe what they want to believe.

Life continues, even if you are not ready for it.

Make today your bitch.

You can be very sane about your insanity.

Relaxing is hard.

When you step in it, don’t just walk around with shit on your shoe all day.

Why, yes, you did choose wrong.

Play on your strengths.  Rely on other people to help shore up your weaknesses.

Proverb for the Day Archive – December 2017

You only live once.  Unless you are a zombie.

Random thoughts can grow into great works.

Vegetables are never really like noodles.

You survive or you surrender.

You can’t stand up for yourself without a backbone.

I did not unfriend you because you had a different opinion than I did.  I unfriended you because you were demeaning to me, and you cannot write in complete sentences.
The lack of doing something can be more of a failure than the inability to succeed at something.

Children are like dogs.  If you can’t control them, you shouldn’t have them.

Before you speak, ask your self if what you are going to say is actually worth saying.

We all make mistakes.  It is what you do with them that makes a difference.

Sorry I misunderstood you, but in my defense, I wasn’t listening.

You never know how your words can impact someone else.

I am not a big fan of moral suasion when I can use immoral suasion instead.

Be successful by becoming the best person you can.

Leave them wanting more.

Life is short: Be happy.

I am calm and you can go fuck yourself.

Saying you’re happy is not the same thing as being happy.

Pain is totally manageable until it reaches the threshold where it is absolutely not.

Solve local issues to get local support.

When I am tired of shopping I sit down and try on shoes.

Live a fulfilling life, not a perfect one.

Sometimes it is best just not to engage in the conversation.

When you build a bench sometimes you have to pull out a few nails before you get it right.

Sometimes when you want everything it is because what you really want seems unattainable.

Some people are way more concerned with exerting their arrogance than living in a peaceful, effective, and cooperative environment.

You might as well stop thinking. It isn’t working out for you.

The biggest ingredient to success is cooperation.

No one can do you like you can.







2017…   And the zombie apocalypse begins…

So, it has been about 4 days since the horror of it all started. Four days since the zombie pandemic started and panic began sweeping the city – and apparently beyond – although, obviously, I cannot attest to that first hand. Four days since we started this now never-ending dress rehearsal for our big Holiday Burlesque Show. At least we were the only ones in the theater that night. I say that because we thought that three pounds of pretzels, huge chunks of cheese, boxes of crackers, and cartons of saki and champagne bottles would last quite a while. But when that is all of the food you have for a group of 11 hungry dancers and a tech, it really doesn’t last very long. Of course, not all 12 of us need to eat food anymore. Five dancers have succumbed so far to the zombie affliction and two more are now coughing and hacking. It could be just a cold – goodness knows conditions are poor. But I am watching them closely and making sure I am sleeping in a shut room well away from the two of them. We have the five that have transformed tied up with tree tinsel and ensconced in the men’s bathroom. I am sure they could easily break the bonds, but they don’t appear to really be smart enough to do so. I removed the toilet paper before we put the zombies in there – can’t waste valuable resources or risk getting bitten any more than absolutely necessary. 

Periodically, one of us peers out the glass door in front of the theater. I shut the iron gate in front of the door and locked it when we realized this zombie outbreak was really happening. Every once in a while we see a small pack of zombies traveling by. Even more infrequently we get a still-human runner. No one has stopped at the door, which is good, because I don’t want to make the decision of whether we let anyone else inside. Amazingly, we are still getting fresh water through the tap and electricity. The phone works occasionally, but text messages seem to be the best communication with loved ones outside. Unfortunately, not all of our performers have achieved contact with their families. No internet, but we have radio. Spotty, but periodic. We listen occasionally for emergency messages. One station is playing continuous music. The ladies wanted to keep it on, but I said no, we have to conserve batteries. There may be more in the store room, but I don’t have keys to that and I am not sure we have the strength to break down the door.  


Part of me hopes that we will still be rescued. As I said, the zombies are not smart and can be easily picked off with weapons. However, it depends on the progression of the disease and who is left to rescue the populace. We may have to leave soon as we will have no choice when food supplies get desperate. But where to go and the best way to get there and not get attacked is uncertain.  


Mr. Velvet and I text at least a few times a day. He has volunteered to come rescue me. However, I think it is a better decision for him to remain at the house in a place of safety than for both of us to be running around the streets at risk. He has not had any problems with zombies trying to get into the house. I guess they are not fond of or don’t understand stairs. Even the backyard seems safe with the fences surrounding it. He can see and hear Mission street from the roof. While it was crazy the first couple of days, it has apparently calmed down. He is taking care of the dogs and the guinea pigs. Luckily, I have a tendency to stockpile, so he has plenty of food – canned, boxed, frozen. He will run out of perishables, but he won’t starve. The piggies are not happy without their fresh greens, but he has plenty of hay for them. And cheerios.  


So, I have decided to reflect on the last year as we either await rescue or make other decisions that impact whether we live or die. It has been a very rough year and is somehow fitting that we should be dealing with a zombie apocalypse at the end of it. Not that I have not had some really wonderful personal accomplishments, but the country has been hit hard by storm, fire, and now this. While I am not religious, I wonder if we are re-living the modern version of the seven plagues.  


In addition to producing my own show, teaching dance and burlesque classes, and performing in San Francisco and the Bay Area, including Sacramento on occasion, I did perform in several festivals this year. I got to go back to Boston for the Great Burlesque Exposition, as well as the London Burlesque Festival (my first trip to London), The Mile High Burlesque Festival in Denver, the Hollywood Burlesque Festival (one of my favorites), the Ohio Burlesque Festival, and The Wiggle Room in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They were all a lot of fun. And while I thought that I would never visit London, UK and Winston-Salem, NC in the same quarter, they were both unique and delightful trips. My favorite tourist sites in London were the Tower of London – super interesting historically – and the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is the Victorian era and so just fabulous architecturally since I love that period. The stuff inside was pretty cool, too, but I was just happy to explore the building itself. Winston-Salem, NC was an interesting little town with a vibrant arts community and lots of fascinating little shops. I think I did more shopping there than I did in London. (The prices were MUCH cheaper in NC.) Work took me to Hawaii for about 5 weeks of the year and Mr. Velvet and I actually went to Hawaii on vacation for a week. We went to Oahu and the Big Island (neither one of us had ever been there.) It was nice having some time together. He usually doesn’t like to or is not able to travel with me on work trips. And festival trips are often so quick it is not worth the wear and tear on him to go…  


Mr.  Velvet and I were thinking about both going to London together in the next couple of years. But that may not happen unless we can get all the zombies eradicated. Hopefully the disease has at least eradicated some terrorists. I wonder if Trump has survived? Or was he already a zombie? Although maybe a little too smart… for a zombie…


Mr. Velvet succeeded in relinquishing his position as academic senate president. He had served two terms (four years). It was time. Now he is back to being a regular college professor. Grading more papers. At the beginning of this zombie thing Mr. Velvet joked about the respite from paper grading, but I think he would rather be mucking about grading papers than dealing with zombies. Of course, maybe there is not much difference…


What else? While all the natural disasters around the country and internationally were devastating, the North Bay fires definitely impacted lives in San Francisco. A lot of people I know personally and from work were impacted – losing homes, businesses, everything they owned. And, while minor in comparison, the smoke in San Francisco from the fires was stifling, reaching dangerous health levels. Building air conditioning and filtration systems (those that had them) could not keep up with the smoke and I had a migraine as a result for days. Of course, the awful precursor to that was the crazy heat we had in San Francisco. 106!! It was a record high. While other parts of the country lamented about the San Francisco “snowflakes” being so sensitive to heat, 80’s is high for the Bay Area and so many people have no air conditioning – at work or at home. Two of my guinea pigs died because of the heat – one had a heat stroke and the other’s tummy shut down and stopped processing her food. The sky looked like the apocalypse. It was a reddish-orange haze that only happens in post-apocalyptic-type movies. As a result, we bought two “portable” air conditioners. I figured we would get more hot days. And they helped keep the smoke out of the house during the fires. And, frankly, I don’t want any more pets to die from the heat… I mean, the pet I like least seems the most resilient. Hmmmmm…. I wonder if the zombies like to eat neurotic dogs? Probably not… Oh, well.


So, who knows what next year will bring or, hell, even tomorrow. I hope you have a great Holiday season and that you are safe with plenty of food and water and not at risk of zombie attack or whatever other major disaster – avalanche, typhoon, hurricane, flood, earthquake, president, tsunami, or any combination thereof – could possibly afflict you.  


I hear pounding at the front gate. I do hope it is someone providing help or telling us that the zombie outbreak is over! Of course, the way the year has been going it is probably the big toenail of Godzilla brushing against the building. I mean, what else could go wrong? This has GOT to be the worst dress rehearsal EVER!!!  




Proverb for the Day Archive – November 2017

Nothing ruins your Friday more than realizing it is Wednesday.


Prioritization:  when you stop doing the dishes to stop the fire that just broke out on the stove.


Don’t tie your happiness solely to other people.


I am not anti-social. I am selectively social.


If it doesn’t make sense, it probably isn’t true.


Just because you THINK you are right does not mean you ARE right…..


I will help you push your stone up the hill, but I am not going to stand there and hold it for weeks while you go on vacation.


Don’t waste my time … or yours.


Success breeds confidence and confidence breeds success.


Take every opportunity you can to fail.


You only need sleep if you plan on being mentally and physically healthy.


Don’t stand still when you can take action to move yourself forward.


Kindness costs nothing.


The older I get the more everyone can kiss my ass.


I don’t always have the perfect comeback, but when I do, it is usually the next day In the shower.


Act as if what you does makes a difference because it does.


I am not sure whether to laugh or to be extremely insulted.


I can’t be normal. I have a reputation to uphold.


Without trust, there can be no relationship.


Don’t make it any harder for yourself than I am already making it for you.


When you cut an avocado in half you decrease the calories by 50 percent.


Let your courage rise with every attempt to intimidate you.


You didn’t have to eat all of it.


If it was always easy, you would never be challenging yourself.


Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a long time making it.


You could create something great or you could just keep doing what you always do.


I am here for you.   I wish the reverse was true as well.



I Don’t Want a Lot…

No, I don’t want a lot for Christmas. Well, I do actually – just not material things. What I want is to live in a better world. While I think having Trump as President exacerbates things in the OPPOSITE direction, I cannot blame him entirely for all of the fuck-up-ed-ness that goes on in the world or even in the U.S. But, he is obviously not helping. (You want to argue, take it somewhere else – my brain, my opinion.)
I wanted to write about misogyny today. I know! Such a happy holiday topic! (sarcasm). But this issue came up quite a bit when I was discussing the upcoming show Just Another Zombie Holiday Show with various people I know who are not in the burlesque community. I am nervous about the show, but excited by it, too! It should be a fun show, a silly show, a show with a little bit of a plot line, some sexiness, some stripping, singing, dancing, cavorting, a few chase scenes and a tad of flesh eating. (Don’t really, we don’t really eat each other’s flesh.) But it is fascinating the conversations I have had with different people who are not in the performing world. Let me describe them for you:
Typical conversation with women: “Really? That sounds fun? Who is in it? Do I know anyone other than you? Is there going to be a lot of gore or just a little bit of flesh eating?” 
Typical conversation with not white, not misogynist men: “Zombies! I love zombies! What kind of zombies? Are they slow zombies or like the fast-moving zombies in World War Z?”
Typical conversation with white men who don’t know they are misogynist: “Is it sexy? Does everyone look hot? Because I don’t want to see them if they don’t look hot. Do you have any guys in in? Who would want to see that? How could you possibly be a zombie and look sexy? I don’t want to see that. Who would?”
Now, of course, these are not exact conversations. They are an amalgamation of the conversations I have had. But my point is, that I have had quite a lot of the last version of the conversation. Enough so that it really, really bothered me. No one else told me what people want to see or don’t want to see. No one else placed their opinion and assessment of sexuality and what is sexy onto every other person in the universe. And yet, these men, if I have a conversation with them about women, will tout to me how they support women in the workplace. How they create equal opportunities for them. How they are not sexist. And I agree – on a daily basis in the workplace I DO NOT consider them to be sexist. They treat me equally and give women equal opportunities. I am sure they try very hard not to be sexist. And they think they are succeeding. And most people around them probably do, too… But they can see the world from only one viewpoint – their own. They can’t (or don’t) want to consider any other perspective. I have had a conversation with one man who has said “Who wants to see a male burlesque performer?” Well, let’s see: Women who like men, men who like men, women and men who don’t particularly like men but like to see art and movement and have an open mind. I mean, those groupings just spring to my mind immediately. But who would want to see that? It astounds me that there are people who perceive that the world wants only what they want. Are they that confident? Do they lack empathy or imagination? Do they fear looking at life, or fear looking back at themselves and what they might see through a lens other than their own? Do they live in an emerald-colored city only because they never take off their emerald-colored lenses? I am not saying I am perfect by any means, and I am often in a situation where another viewpoint or perspective has to be explained to me. But I at least try to understand when my brain is doing something fucked up and make changes accordingly. 
Ultimately, I think the inability to understand different lenses is what gets society stuck. People are afraid to put on a new pair of glasses with a new lens. “I see just fine!” They think. Well, sometimes you don’t know what you can’t see. I literally thought I saw just fine before I got my first pair of glasses. Then I found out that with my glasses I could see individual leaves on the tree. I couldn’t before. I found out I could see cows in a field instead of lumps of color with legs. I didn’t know that before I tried something new on. Whether sexism, racism, other forms of discrimination; many people think they are treating others as “equal.” I so often hear people say the words “I am color-blind.” And I so often hear people of color complain about that… (as they should). The issue isn’t just that you treat these people in ways you “think” are equal, but that you can at least know that they have had a different lens, a different life, different experiences, and so a different perspective. You can’t ever really put their lens on, but you can know it is there and try to listen and adjust to that perspective. You can stop telling people that they are wrong for feeling a certain way or liking or hating a certain thing because it is different than what you think. The same with sexism. I often hear “It is unacceptable to cry at work.” Yet, who is more likely to cry at work? Women. Is it because we are weak? No. It is because we have been socialized that way. We get angry, we get frustrated, we are hurt, we are sad – all those things make us cry. Men get angry. They get angry, frustrated, hurt, or sad and they typically get angry. Why is it more socially acceptable in the workplace to get angry than it is to cry? Because men say it is. Why is it acceptable to get angry at everything? It isn’t – it is just that we socialize little boys that the only acceptable behavior for men is anger. 
Again, I am not saying I am perfect. I am not saying I don’t say the wrong thing to people. But, I want to be called out when I fuck up because I need to learn to do it better. To think better. None of us are perfect, but we need to see what other perspectives look like and try to put ourselves in their shoes and see if we would still say or do the same things. 
So – how do we create a truly equal space? I don’t know that we ever really can. But we can get closer. We can stop telling people how they should be reacting and what they should be feeling, thinking, doing. We can talk to them. We can learn a little more about their lens and we can try to see some different perspective in our life. Who knows? We might even gain some new insights that improve our own lives. Here is hoping for more understanding, caring, and empathy this holiday season and into 2018.  

Creating a New Show: Just Another Zombie Holiday Show

I am in the middle of working on our next theatrical/cabaret/burlesque production: Just Another Zombie Holiday Show. That said, for any of you who have been to the other “big” shows we have produced, this one is going to be the “light” version. We have had less actual rehearsal time, a less complicated script, and fewer show nights. Plus, we will be limiting the stage set since the show is switching theaters half-way through the production. The plot is certainly less complex than Hotel and White Rabbit (if you saw those) but should be a fun and festive show.

Putting together any show is hard work and part of that is finding a dedicated team to put it together. Luckily, I have the EXIT Theatre who supports these crazy productions and helps us with space, tech support, funding, promotion, and a whole lot of other behind the scenes stuff that I am supremely thankful not to have on my plate.

I have not been earnestly working on this show as long as the other shows, but in some ways, the thought process for developing this show started after Christmas last year when I decided that I must choreograph a cancan number to the instrumental version of Sleigh Ride. When the EXIT Theater told me this summer that they had some theater nights available in December, I told them I was willing to put together a holiday show. So, I emailed a bunch of great performers I know and asked them if they wanted to be part of this project. What started out in the mind of the theater director as a nice burlesque holiday show quickly morphed in my brain to “Just Another Zombie Holiday Show.” Holidays are great. I even have a few numbers that could be discernable as vaguely associated with Christmas… but I didn’t want to do just another holiday show. I wanted to do something different. Something with a hint of a twist. Something fun. And something altogether deadly…. So, the idea of Just Another Zombie Holiday Show came erupting out of my brain and into the world.

The premise is pretty simple. We are performers doing our final dress rehearsal before our BIG HOLIDAY SHOW. But most of the cast are late, and when they start showing up they talk about the craziness in the streets and one of them was even bitten by a random passerby. So, what do you do when you figure out that you are in a theater in the middle of San Francisco during a a zombie apocalypse?   Well, the show must go on and so must rehearsal!

So, the first part of the process was confirming my performers and their act ideas and figuring out how to meld them into the basic idea of the show and then into the simple and broad story arc. (Yes there is a story arc.) Then to get them into some cohesive format, I enlisted my personal zombie expert – Mr. Velvet (college English professor, writer, zombie aficionado) to help me formulate, write, and edit the script. Next, rehearsals! The Velvettes have already started group rehearsals for their act contributions to the shows as individuals are working on their solo numbers. Soon, we will start bring the solo numbers into rehearsals, setting scenes in the theater, and working the words on the page into a (semi-) realistic on-stage drama…. I mean horror.   Ummm, comedy. Er, sexy stripping show. Yes. All those things.

Rehearsals will be fun, exhausting, envigorating. Sometimes the cast will love each other. Sometimes they will hate each other. They will love me occasionally and hate my naggy bitchy self probably more often than they will care to admit. We will set the stage for some theatrical biting, tormenting, stage fighting. Who knows what else? (I do – but I am keeping the ending secret for now.) Rehearsals will be about getting it right and making it better – refining acts, scenes, and content as far into the process as we possibly can. By opening night – we will be perfect. And if not, hell, it is dress rehearsal during a damned zombie apocalypse. Give us a break already….

What will happen? Will good prevail over bad? Death over life? Rubbing alcohol over a previously unidentified disease? Will we still have access to the internet? Will we all turn into zombies? Will some of us survive the onslaught and escape for the opening night performance?   You have to come see the show to find out…. (background: maniacal laughter petering into silly giggles and random coughing)

Proverb for the Day Archives – October 2017

When we cease to make mistakes we cease to exist. 
Of course I could wait for you forever, but we both know that is not very practical….  
You don’t always have to procrastinate, but when you do, do it well.
It is easy to be a good person in good times.  
Even people with the best intentions will fuck up on occasion. 
People are truly remorseful about getting caught.  
People often lie just because they think it sounds better than the truth.  
I would not have to be a mean bitch if you weren’t an incompetent cretin.  
Just because you say it is satire does not mean it is satire. 
I am not more creative than you are, I just work harder at it than you do. 
Try to do at least one small thing every day to make the day better for someone other than yourself.
Life wouldn’t be the same if I thought just like everyone else.  
You are old, but you are anything but wise. 
I can’t miss you if you never leave. 
I know you are not 10. A ten-year old would have a much better grasp on this conversation than you do.  
Even slow steps forward will eventually get you to your destination.. 
Coercion is not consent.  
We all have demons. Some appear occasionally, like a delightfully entertaining dinner guest, some inhabit your space like a comfortable couch, and some annoyingly will never leave like the pungent smell of cat pee in your spare bedroom….  
I need a better filing system for my brain. 
It is not enough to make a decision. You then have to act upon your decision. 
When the years have passed, you never remember the lies the way you remember the truth. 
Sometimes taking the high road just leaves you with altitude sickness.  
I am not worried about it at all, until I am.  
The biggest problem with communication is the illusion of understanding.  
You may not be able to stop evil but at least get in its way and slow it down.  
Not being bad does not make you good. 
Don’t make me use my teacher voice. 

Why I thought it was okay…

Why I thought it was okay…                 Even though it never ever was.


Note: MAJOR TRIGGER WARNING – graphic rape discussion


It was New Year’s Eve and I was 15 years old. I remember because I did not have my driver’s license yet. My best friend, 17 years old, was over at my house and my parents and older brother were getting ready to leave the house for other New Year party plans.

My best friend and I were going to stay at my house and her 21-year old boyfriend and his 22-year old friend were going to join us. They were bringing some kind of alcohol. She thought her boyfriend was the best. He was in a band and the bandmates all lived in a house together. I don’t even remember their names.

I do remember my best friend getting drunk very early, well before midnight. She passed out in my twin bed in my pink bedroom with white ruffle curtains and a white ruffled bedspread. We tucked her in. The guys were bored and suggested that we leave her in my bed and that the three of us head to their house. I argued because I did not want to leave my best friend behind. I know I argued. Maybe I didn’t say no but I sure didn’t say yes. Nevertheless I found myself at their house. I know we went in a car. One of them drove. I have no idea how long it took, what kind of car it was, or what happened along the way.

When we arrived at their house, they had one room set up with only band instruments. The living room was normal, but the other rooms were all painted either black or red. We sat and drank some more. I was very drunk. The next thing I remember was waking up with one of them lying on top of me with his dick inside me. I didn’t know what to do and was so drunk I could barely move. At some point in the process I passed out again. Later I woke again as a blonde girl was beating me in the head with her fists as she screamed semi-coherent statements. She came home and found me in her bed with her boyfriend. She was screaming at me. All I could do was curl in a ball and try to protect myself from the hits. He held her and fucked her in a bed right next to me while I cried. When she fell asleep, he got inside me again.   I passed out again crying.

The next morning I wake up to knocking on the door. Someone answers it and there is my mother’s cheery voice stating, “I am looking for my daughter. Is she here?” One of the guys comes and gets me. I get up and pulled my skirt down. I see my underwear and shoes on the floor and put them on. They hadn’t bothered to remove anything else. I walk to the door. I want to cry and I want to throw up and my head hurts and I am thirsty and I feel really disgusting. I was on my period and my tampon is missing and I don’t have another one because I had nothing with me when we left except the clothes I was wearing. Not even house keys.

I walk out the front door and there are my mother and my best friend. My best friend is clearly hung over but smiling. My mom chirps a “Thank you” to the closing door and then proceeds, smiling, to ask me if I had a good time. Without waiting for an answer, she proceeds to tell me how they got home late, but saw everyone was gone. They peeped into my room and thought I was asleep in bed. “My how your dad and I were surprised this morning when the bedroom door opened”… and my best friend comes out instead of me. My best friend was hung over and confused, but told my parents she thought that we might have gone to her boyfriend’s house. She didn’t know his phone number (pre-cell phone days) and so they drove over to the house to look for me. As the chatting occurs, the three of us get in my mother’s green Datsun B-210 and my mother chats cheerily away for the 20-minute drive back to my house while my friend and I were silent.

When we got back to my house I took a shower and changed clothes.   I felt around in my pussy looking for my tampon – hoping that they had noticed it and taken it out before fucking me. Thinking that they must have because I could not find it. I was mortified when it worked its way out of me three days later. I don’t know exactly where it had gotten jammed into, but I can guess.

Turned out my best friend was mad at me because I left with the guys. And she thought her boyfriend liked me better than he liked her.   My mother was cheery and chipper. I thought that I must be over-reacting. Apparently it was perfectly okay and perfectly normal that this had happened. I didn’t tell anyone anything. Because who would care and what would it matter. This was the way the world worked. At least that was what was apparent to my 15-year old self.

I was raped again when I was 17 when my car broke down and a coworker offered me a ride home. But that was the only one that I classified to myself as rape. I never thought of the incident that happened when I was 15 as rape. I tried not to think about it all. It wasn’t until over a decade later when I was discussing the situation in therapy that it came out. That I realized how horrible it was. That I was disgusted that two men over 21 years old got a 15 year old drunk in her home, took her from her home, and then had sex with her when she was passed out.

I got angry at that point. Not at the perpetrators. At my mother and at my friend. I was angry because they normalized the rape behavior. I don’t have children, but I thought to myself, what parent missing their 15-year old daughter politely asks two adult males if she is at their house. Says “thank you” smiling when the daughter appears. If I had been my mother, I would have screamed at them, “What the fuck are you doing with my 15-year old daughter? What the hell were you doing taking her to your home from mine? What did you do to her?” I would have called the police. Statutory rape at a minimum – not to mention the lack of consent. Hell, there was never a secret to anyone about my age or about their ages. Why didn’t anyone say in the beginning that maybe it is not a good idea that I be allowed to hang out with two men over the age of 21? Why was this okay? My mother confided to me later that when she was in high school she had a 21-year old boyfriend. Is this why it was okay?  What had she gone through in her life and how bad had it all been?

And my friend was no support. She was still angry at me for leaving her passed out in my room while I “went off” with the guys. As if I had a choice. As if she had ever even asked me if I had a choice. As if I was going to tell her what they did to me because then she probably would have been even more pissed off at me. Because of course if I wanted to leave with them (even though I didn’t) I obviously wanted anything else I got, too (and must have been trying to steal them away from her, too.) She was older. Obviously not wiser. But why didn’t I get to be mad at her for passing out and leaving me alone with them? Or would it have been worse if she didn’t pass out? Would the same thing have happened except she would have been there? How much worse would that have been? At least this way she was only indirectly implicated in rape culture, not actually a participant or observer.

Of course I should be mad at the men who raped me. But no one ever knew they raped me because everyone around me normalized the situation so much that I figured I must be the problem. I figured it must be okay. I figured that was what girls were supposed to do and then just shut up and smile afterwards.

I know my mother never meant to hurt me. I don’t know what she was thinking and I never discussed the situation with her at all.   But the way that she acted made me think that the whole thing was okay. That this was all okay. That it was perfectly normal to have your 15-year old daughter disappear from your house, have no idea where she was and if she was okay.   That you didn’t need to ask questions and you should be polite and smiling and happy that she isn’t dead.   Looking back, I expect my mom did this as a defense mechanism. She was probably mad and probably worried and she didn’t want to freak out my friend or anyone else. But at the time I never would have known that. Particularly because we never discussed it. We never said another word about the incident. Ever. This is a dangerous form of “don’t ask, don’t tell” that I think too many people in our society practice.

I don’t think my friend meant to hurt me either. But she was so desperate to be loved by a man that she put our friendship second. I didn’t see her much after that and stopped considering her my best friend. At some point I just stopped considering her a friend at all.

I survived. I am fine. And I still love my mother. In fact, I was hesitant to write this for fear she might read it and be hurt by my analysis of her actions. But this is important stuff. I needed to share this so that people know that rape culture is not just sustained by rapists and not just sustained by men. It is often sustained by the everyday behaviors and defense mechanisms that we turn to. That doesn’t make it okay by any means. It just means that all of us must be more aware and more cognizant of how we act and react and what those actions/reactions imply to others. Are we, perhaps, just by trying to protect ourselves or maintain our own sanity, failing to ask questions, failing to get mad, and thereby unintentionally helping rape culture to continue to permeate society?