Things I did when I was seventeen

Show of hands: Who drank beer in high school? Anyone do it so much that they needed to mention it 30 times in a job interview?

I did a lot of things at the young, innocent age of seventeen. But none of them were illegal. And none of them caused me to blackout. And I’m not even trying to get appointed to the Supreme Court.

A non-exhaustive list of things I did my senior year of high school

I went to school dances

I attended parties that DIDN’T involve alcohol

group of high school friends

Nearly twenty years later, I still see some of these girls on the regular.

I didn’t drink beer

I worked my tail off at school

I got into a good college

I didn’t drink beer

I was an athlete

Three girls blowing kisses in 90s high school cheerleading uniforms

If you tell me cheerleading isn’t a sport, I will fight you.

I had inside jokes with my friends

I didn’t drink beer

I went on dates with boys

I filled travel mugs with hot chocolate and hands with fresh baked cookies and, together, my best friend and I drove past our ex boyfriends’ houses

I didn’t like beer

I dressed in a way that made me feel pretty, which was sometimes too provocative for the school administrators

I went to the under-21 club without my parents’ knowledge

I still didn’t drink beer

I kissed my boyfriend. A lot.

I joked with my friends using sexual innuendo

I didn’t like beer

I dominated week-long games of Monopoly (and maybe I cheated)

I played Truth or Dare and Never Have I Ever

I didn’t want beer

I went ghost hunting at all the most-haunted spots in Chicago

I skipped senior prom because junior prom was just okay

I still didn’t like beer

I attended football and basketball games and went to TGIFridays afterward for chicken fingers and honey mustard

I went to theater parties and hung out with band kids

I didn’t want beer

I went on a Christian youth group trip to Florida 

I went to Las Vegas

Chrissy and friend with gondolier in Las Vegas Bellagio

At seventeen and sixteen, there was still a lot of fun things for my pal and me to see and do in Las Vegas without drinking beer or having sex.

I still didn’t want beer

I had co-ed sleepovers at my house

I hosted an unsupervised New Year’s Eve party with sparkling grape juice

I didn’t need beer

I can’t imagine a world where everyone in high school drinks. I suppose I should be thankful for my very rare high school experience in which I retained my innocence for a few years longer than everyone else. What did you do in high school?

Disclaimer: I was a super good kid in high school, but once I hit college, I discovered that I would, in fact, drink beer. This post is not designed to showcase me as holier than thou. Humor is a cornerstone of my life, and my intent is solely to amuse. And also to see how many times I can mention beer in a blog post*.

*18

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The pain will subside if we stand together

I’ve often been asked by people who know me professionally if I have an “off” button. If I’m ever not cheerful, happy, and positive. Yesterday, some of them saw the darkness that lies within me. Yesterday felt like one of the worst days.

The only way I can adequately put my feelings into words is by comparing it to other experiences. Few times in my life I have felt this numb exhaustion.

The first was in high school, when my first boyfriend broke up with me. I didn’t understand the feeling, and my mom compared it to the death of someone you love. Heartbreak is often the death of a relationship, and your body mourns that death. I barely slept. I couldn’t eat. And I found solace in a summer nanny job that kept my mind occupied and my body busy. Children have healing powers. But even then, I took to writing in order to work through my feelings.

A year later, September 11, 2001 happened. Three weeks into my freshman year at Bradley University and the world felt like it was crumbling. we collectively sat glued to our TVs, terrified, unsure, sad, and angry. We went to candlelight vigils and mass en mass. We prayed. And we cried.

The next time I felt that empty sadness was the first time (of three) my college boyfriend broke up with me. It was an old friend enveloping me in a dark cloud, and I truly wondered if I’d ever smile again. I lived inside my journal. Writing  the same thoughts and feelings over and over in every way I could.

And then, a real and painful death shattered me. My grandfather died. My grandfather, who had lived in our home for ten years. And the raw pain I felt was guttural. I trampled across campus, tears streaming down my face, coating my boyfriend’s pajama pants in mud to find him in the engineering lab because I didn’t now what else to do. I just knew I couldn’t be alone. For months, I’d start thinking of him and just cry. I would think, I’m okay. And then I’d hear a song on the radio or someone would say something that reminded me of him. And I’d burst into tears. My body and mind exhausted from crying, from thinking, from worry. I felt the pain physically.

It has happened several more times since then, but every time I experienced that exhausting, empty sadness, I came out of it, alive. Stronger. With kindness, courage, and resolve.

This week, it truly feels like someone died. Maybe it was democracy, but only time will tell. I have to have hope. And faith. And belief that this is not the end of the world, but the start of a revolution. I have to do what I can, and I hope you will, too, to continue to fight for women, racial minorities, non-Christian religious or non-religious people, the LGBT community, refugees, and any people looking for the American dream.

Bay City, Wisconsin

Bay City, Wisconsin

 

Yesterday, we mourned. Today, we rise.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I’m Voting for Hillary. Period.

I voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 Illinois Primary.

I voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Illinois Primary.

I’m not a feminist. I’m a humanist.

I don’t love Hillary, but I intend to vote for her. I intend to share my beliefs. I intend to use my digital platform to support her.  I intend to dedicate whatever I can to helping our country elect her as president, not because she’s a woman, but because the other outcome is too scary to possibly imagine.

I will still share my life. You will still see pictures, videos, and mishaps as Brian and I walk down the aisle and continue our life together. You’ll still hear about me walking into poles, tripping over invisible wires, and stealing my best friend’s car. But if you follow me anywhere, you’re going to see a proud as fuck Hillary supporter. BECAUSE THE OTHER OUTCOME IS TOO SCARY TO POSSIBLY IMAGINE.

Hillary for President. Because the other outcome is too scary to possibly imagine. Click To Tweet

I understand that many of you are planning on voting for a third party candidate, which is your right as an American. But in this two-party system we’ve got going on (one that won’t be changing in the next 3 months), you’re wasting your vote. And if The Donald is elected? It will be partially your fault. You want to change the two party system? Great. CHANGE IT. Petition the men and women of congress. Petition your representatives. But don’t think for a second that Donald Trump isn’t using this two party system to his advantage.

If you can honestly say that you support the racist, sexist, egotistical, narcissistic bigot because you believe in his version of America…there’s the door, if you will. But if you’re more afraid of Hillary than of Trump…why don’t you do a little more research. Why don’t you listen to the horrifying words that come out of that orange-faced mouth every fucking day. He’s not a conservative and he’s not a Republican.

I support Hillary. I’m with her. And I’m ready to use my voice and fight for her election. Because I have faith. And hope. And I believe in her, just like I believe in you. Be better.

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!