My teacher brought a gun to school. She didn’t “save” any students. She used it on herself.

When I was in 7th grade, less than a year after the Columbine shooting, my 6th grade science/choir teacher was shot in her classroom. She said that a young Hispanic man had been sending her death threats, and before school started that morning he came in, shot her in the shoulder, and ran away. It was earth-shattering as a 13-year-old that such an act of violence could happen in my school, to my teacher. It was even more horrifying when the police revealed the next day that there was no shooter, that my teacher had shot herself in the shoulder, and concealed the gun in a false bottom of her purse. She claimed that it was an effort to step-up school security, a response to the death threats no one took seriously (and that she had actually written and sent to herself). From what I read, the prosecution believed that she was trying to get her own lawsuit against the school, or get medical leave and early retirement.

This woman who was trusted with hundreds of children brought a weapon into a school and used it on herself in order to fulfill her own interests, and then defamed a Hispanic student without any regard for the damage that would do to him or his family. I read about some of the teachers who testified against her in court, how they had laid down on the floor in the library in lockdown after the shooting, how they suffered with PTSD, how they worried if their students of color would look at all white teachers as racists that they couldn’t trust.

So when people believe that the solution to the mass-shooting crisis in our country is to now arm our teachers, I can’t help but think of this woman who was a teacher, who armed herself against an imaginary danger, who did not use her gun in the defense of her students, but instead to create a lot of hurt and chaos.

I cannot say it enough: Guns do not belong in schools – in anyone’s hands. I have so much respect for teachers, and for anyone involved with educating our children – I know especially in Arizona it can often be a thankless, underpaid and grueling profession. Teachers take on so much, but asking them take up arms is beyond insane. GUNS DO NOT BELONG IN SCHOOLS.



I want to be better at being an adult. But I realistically will probably continue to suck at it.

I want to be the kind of person who always remembers to buy someone a birthday card at least two weeks in advance, and yet manage not to lose that card before the birthday arrives. I want to do a load of laundry and not procrastinate putting it away for a week, allowing it to take up camp in the dryer until my husband evicts it when it’s time to do his own laundry. I want to be able to quickly assemble a meal plan in my head, grocery shop, and meal prep all in a single afternoon without stressing about what to do with the extra red cabbage and falling into a Pinterest spiral. I want to be able to RSVP to weddings and baby showers before the deadline, and not have to get the shameful text reminding me that the deadline has already passed while I was too busy binge-watching staged British reality shows to remember that there were actual real-life events to attend.

Adulting, (which I mainly have gleaned the definition of from what I am doing wrong), is having your shit together, doing the boring, mundane things that are necessary for you not to be a regular hot mess. It consists of paying bills on time (I know all the ones that you can get away paying up to ten days late without a late fee), keeping track of irregular charges (that yearly gym-fee that deducts forty bucks from my account, my cat’s micro-chip renewal), knowing that you have food ready for the next day (not scrambling to make it to Starbucks in-between meetings, praying that there’s a protein box left so you’re not eating lunch out of a vending machine), doing laundry before your only option for the staff meeting is an old bridesmaid’s dress, and making sure that your car has enough gas to get you to your destination (not cruising down a hill on your way to your wedding venue when your tank reads zero gallons remaining, hoping you don’t run out and have to feel your wedding makeup melt in the heat).

Bad adulting makes for hilarious stories, but it also will age the fuck out of you with all the oh shit! moments. With age has come some wisdom. I’m not calling out of work because I’m hungover from a poorly timed Whiskey-Wednesday (who puts those in the middle of the week?!), but I did request to work from home in the last month because I was going to get a tattoo and couldn’t figure out how to maneuver a professional outfit without a bra while it healed. I bought three cards in advance and managed to lose only one of them (an excellent birthday card from Trader Joe’s with two fish partying in a fishbowl – one wears sunglasses). I usually am prepared with adequate food for the day, and only occasionally am reduced to the necessity of a vending machine/food cart/three Starbucks runs in a day.

On busier days I don’t indulge in alcohol because I know that it makes me tired, but I have spent time where I should have been napping conducting a photo shoot with my cats (who were incidentally, napping). I’ll stay up hours past when I should have gone to bed if I’m inspired to write, but if my laundry has to be put away and it’s after 9:30pm, I’ll leave it the next evening – or next week if I’ve missed my window. I can work from 7:30am – 1:30am at my office job followed by my bartending job in the same weekday, but if someone makes me get up before 8am on a Saturday to go to breakfast I’ll be in a sulky mood. If I’m creating, I can focus on a project for hours on end, but if I need to draft a short email for work I can’t sit still for more than five minutes.

I keep wondering if one day I’ll be the kind of person who will very rarely experience an oh shit! moment, who will have the basics of being an adult down. I wonder if I am too much of a dreamer to focus on the concrete to-do lists of everyday life, if my brain drifting to a story I’m writing or a project I’m developing is just too appealing to resist. If it’s a tradeoff, if I have to give up one in order to be better at the other, I’m more than fine with continuing to fail at adulting. Because with creating, there’s also oh shit! moments, the moments when things connect and make sense, and you know exactly where to take a story or painting – and those are more than worth every single oh shit! I’m out of coffee and have five meetings! moments.






You are a grapefruit. Don’t try to attract someone who hates citrus.

I am famished, and the only thing that will satisfy my hunger is a banana. A big, yellow banana with a hint of greenness and absolutely no brown freckles that indicate mushiness. I go into the grocery store with the intent of purchasing such a banana, because that is what I want, and only what I want. When I get to place where the bananas usually are, the shelf is empty. I look around in confusion, but the sign below says that this is where the bananas are kept. I slowly realize that this shitty grocery store is out of bananas.

But I am still hungry. I can’t leave empty handed (or empty stomached), but nothing is as appetizing to me as a banana. There are some tempting looking grapefruits on sale, so I begrudgingly purchase a ruby red on my way out, thinking that this will tide me over.

I start to eat the grapefruit, I enjoy it somewhat, and it does fill me for a little bit – but I still can’t stop thinking about the banana. Because I couldn’t have it, I crave that banana even more than I did before I had the grapefruit. I continue to consume the grapefruit because something is better than nothing, but it’s not what I really want.

Now swap out food, and insert people. The banana is an ex, a person that’s made it clear they want to keep their genitalia covered in your presence and yet you can’t stop hoping they’ll change their mind, or even a hypothetical idea of the person you want to be with. You want the banana to want you, and it doesn’t, so you want it more.

The grapefruit is the person that is accessible to you at the moment, whether is someone you meet in a bar, or on a dating app, or is a friend with whom the option of nakedness has not been entirely ruled out. When we’re talking about food, it seems fucking insane to act like the grapefruit has feelings, like the grapefruit would be hurt knowing it’s only second best, the winner by default until the more desirable bananas are restocked – but for some reason I encounter more people being treated like a grapefruit or some other object whose sole purpose is thought to be to make someone else feel better.

Even worse, I’ve had friends who knew they were grapefruits, and kept making excuse after excuse for the banana chasers. If someone tells you upfront that citrus isn’t their thing, believe them. It’s their way of offering a disclaimer that they don’t intend to really commit to you. If someone is giving you a reason why they don’t want to be with you, believe them. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had friends ask why someone they thought was the moon, sun, stars, and unicorn butt rainbows didn’t love them back or appreciate them.

If you feel like you’re the one giving the all in the relationship, like you are not the golden banana of your partner’s eye, go find your banana. It is detrimental to your spirit, your happiness, and your sanity to feel constantly rejected by the person you want to be with. I get the struggle and the urge to pursue a relationship with someone who doesn’t want it initially, the satisfaction in thinking that you can convince them that they do want to be with you, that you are worth their affection.

But if you’re not what they wanted, you’re not going to really have them as a partner in a relationship. If you’re settling in how you’re treated now in the hopes that you’ll get treated better – it won’t get better. It just enables someone to treat you like grapefruit – you’ll do for now, but you’re disposable.

For you banana chasers biding your time with a grapefruit – regardless of whether it is a specific person or the idea of a person, if you are settling for someone that you don’t really want to be with, but you don’t want to be alone – you’re being an asshole. Be careful who you treat like a second-rate fruit, because one day a person might think you’re a grapefruit too.

In defense of self-defense.

For some reason, I have always had the notion that if I ever took a self-defense course, I would be a natural at fighting off an attacker. I am not coordinated nor athletically gifted; I am short and prone to clumsiness especially when attention is focused on me. While I do workout fairly regularly, anything requiring me to pay attention to both my feet and hands at the same time (like a Zumba class for example) makes me so flustered, I just end up jumping and flailing more than anything. And yet despite the physical evidence, when I read about women like the badass Kelly Herron – who in the middle of a marathon, fought off an attacker in a restroom using self-defense techniques she had just learned – some part of my brain nods and thinks that is exactly how I would react if I were ever in such a scary situation.

This delusions may be derived from the fact that I have seen every, single episode of Law and Order: SVU and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and to some part of my brain this meant that I was going to be extra adept at self-defense. Basically, from all the episodes of SVU I now assume that anyone can be a potential predator, and try to be careful and more alert around people I’m not that familiar with. From Buffy, I think WWBD? There’s one episode of Buffy where she tells new slayer Kendra, “A good fighter needs to know how to improvise, to go with the flow.” So whenever I’m entering a room or walking somewhere at night, I’m always thinking of what I can use as a weapon if I find myself suddenly threatened and needing to flee.

This all might sound incredibly paranoid, but that is how my brain is wired. As a woman, I’ve grown up my entire life being told that I need to be careful, and stay safe. I feel a pressure to take my own safety in my hands, like I have to do everything I can to avoid being assaulted and murdered by someone else. And while I can plan what I’ll use as a weapon and be cautious around every stranger to walk by me, that still doesn’t mean I’ll be able to actually physically execute the imagined scene in my head where I use a Nalgene bottle to break my assailant’s nose and make a successful escape.

So when a conference I was attending offered a session on Self-Defense, I eagerly signed up. I was ready to learn some badass techniques that would save my life. I had taken Tae Kwon Do when I was in second grade for two weeks so I felt like I had a head start on everyone else who could possibly be going. I wore pants so if I needed to practice kicking something I’d have more flexibility. I filled up my Nalgene just in case.

So I was completely wrong. The instructors quickly informed us that the whole point of the session was to get away from our attackers without “waking them up.” I was immediately confused because if someone is looking for a victim, I feel like they’re pretty awake, filled with adrenaline and excited. I can’t imagine committing crime, especially assault, casually. Like nonchalantly grabbing someone’s wrist, and if they yank it away, you just shrug and decide you’ll try the next person jogging by?

The techniques were a series of complicated wrist turns and placing your fingers in certain positions to force the assailant to release you. I was paired up with the cutest woman who was a mother of two, and had that inexplicable mom strength. Even though I was probably a few inches taller than her and lift regularly, I COULD NOT GET AWAY FROM THIS WOMAN. I started over-thinking the hand placement and which way I was supposed to step. We were supposed to step toward the attacker in every scenario except one, and it felt so counter-intuitive I kept bumbling through the motions.

The instructors also demonstrated some throat punches, which I felt comfortable with until they said you had to be careful because if you seriously hurt your assailant, they could always sue you for damages. I didn’t even know a person was supposed to worry about hurting their attacker. I didn’t even want to practice this on my partner because what if I accidentally connected with her and she sued me, and then I was poor forever for trying to learn how not to end up as a true life episode of SVU?

By the end, I was convinced that I would end up being murdered because I couldn’t remember if it was one finger or two that was supposed to squeeze the tendon, of if that throat punch would have too much strength or too little. I felt like I was more likely to get out of a bad situation by talking about my cats until the other person was so bored they let me go for the sake of their own sanity, than successfully implement any of these techniques.

So my first self-defense course was not a success, but I don’t think this means self-defense isn’t important. Shortly after I had shared this story on Facebook a friend posted an article about the importance of choosing the right self-defense course and going more than once, and I completely agree. This was not the right course for me, but there are so many out there, and clearly as evidenced by Kelly Herron, they can save your life. I plan on finding one to take over the summer, but until then I am using my mom and her mom strength as a bodyguard.

Oooh baby, baby, Baby, baby…shower

Tomorrow we are having a baby shower for a coworker. I think that the basic concept of a shower has good intentions: you have an acquaintance, coworker, friend, or family member undergoing some major (usually expensive) life change, and to encourage and assist them in their new endeavor, you buy them a present.

Housewarming party? Here’s a squatty potty. Bridal shower? Here’s some lingerie you’ll be embarrassed to open in front of your future mother-in-law (but you’ll definitely delight your ninety-eight-year-old great-aunt). Baby shower? Have some nipple cream or clamps (I don’t know what those were actually for). It starts off so simple.

I am all for an occasion in which it is not your birthday, and you get presents. Despite the fact these things tend to occur right before a paycheck Friday, I actually do enjoy giving people presents. I like seeing someone laugh or get excited because I’m a fucking present genius and gift like a chic she-Santa.

I dislike all the activities that the people throwing the shower feel necessary to orchestrate. If I am coming to an event with a present I went to a physical store and bought (instead of a new bikini with neon mesh and metallic tassels), please don’t assume that I need any kind of compensation other than cake.

I realize that some people enjoy the games (by some, I think I know one person who has admitted to this to my face), but even they have usually stipulated that they like them as an icebreaker. An icebreaker I can live with – put a sticker with the names of a famous couple on my back and I’ll walk around asking twenty questions until I’ve weirded out most of your (probably mostly only female) relatives. Or give me a chance to act like I am a human who knows how to conduct herself in public – I mean I did go to that store to get the present remember?

Also, it’s 2017. There’s some stigma where a lot of men resist attending baby showers more than cats about to get a bath. The last baby shower we threw at work included the dads in addition to the future moms, and it was really nice to see people acting like the baby was something happening to both parents – because it is. If you’re having a baby with someone, then the easiest thing you can do is both show up to get presents.

And if you’re a straight man who has an acquaintance, coworker, friend, or family member having a baby, now’s the time to step it up. Just because you haven’t typically been expected to show up to those events before, feel free to break that stereotype and purchase some organic cotton reusable diapers and join us for brunch. Don’t let it all hang on your significant other just because baby showers have typically been grouped in the feminine category – bae would probably like to be able to buy that bikini for a change.





On Apathy.

I haven’t written a new post in a while. For the few months around Halloween I was mostly devoting my energy and free time toward constructing a merbabe costume, a merfessional version that I could wear to work, and meowmaid costumes for my cats. Turns out painting seashells by hand, or sewing felt scales one by one is time consuming. Who knew?

And then the election happened, and I was so blindsided that I needed time to find the words for what I was feeling. I’ve had to explain to some close friends why the results hit me so hard, I’ve had to explain how to show compassion. These are not conversations that I thought I would have to have with the people I love, the people who I thought got it.

I understand people have different visions for this country, and different priorities. I thought that this country would want to move in a more inclusive, hopeful direction. I thought my generation was more united, and that was incredibly naïve of me. I had a lot of discussions with people around me in the days following the election, trying to understand what exactly had happened, and how it had happened.

I witnessed some ugly interactions. One of my best friends who no longer lives in the country posted that America should “grow up” and stop crying because an election didn’t go a certain way. We don’t agree on a lot of political points, but what shocked me was how she was condemning people over their own personal despair, and ridiculing them when they brought up their fears on how this new administration and government would move forward. Dumbfounded, I had to literally explain compassion to her, and point out why her post lacked any.

I had a handful of close friends who chose not to vote, or who used their vote as a joke, writing in the name of someone they knew instead of an actual candidate. I didn’t have a problem with the people who voted differently than me, I had a problem with the people who didn’t care enough about it at all, as if they would suffer no repercussions from either choice. That is what I still can’t understand: this apathy toward the outcome of an election, of a country, of how it will affect everyone, and at the very least how it will affect you directly as a person.

I’ve had a lot of conversations since the election. I’ve talked with people who voted for Trump, had honest and calm discussions about their reasons for voting for him. I’ve talked with the people who voted third party, who just could not stand to vote for either major candidate. I still try to have conversations with my friend who voted as a joke, I try to talk to her about the things that are going on in the world. I’ve had two friends tell me that they just don’t care, that it’s too much effort to keep up with the constantly changing news and the topics. My friend in another country told me that it’s “frankly tiring” to always try to think about the umbrella of equality.

I believe in conversation as a tool for change. I realize some people will never change their stance, but I do believe that by talking about differences, by sharing differing points of view, we can at least attempt to bridge the gap between us. You don’t know what someone is going through, what they’ve been through, if you don’t tell your story, if you’re not given the chance to be heard. I believe it is our duty as human beings to listen to each other, to hear each other’s concerns, to talk about what we’re afraid of, what we hope for, what we believe in. I believe that we can make our lives meaningful by trying to make our time count, to try and support each other despite our differences. I believe in trying to make another person’s life better, even if just for a minute, in trying to show kindness and compassion in everything you do.

It is work, having hard conversations, educating or even reeducating yourself, opening up to a new way of thinking, reading, talking, asking questions. I believe that by doing these things, we can make the decisions that will best represent ourselves and our priorities. Whether or not your choices mirror my own, you are honoring all those who fought for you to have the right to make that choice. Please don’t act like none of this matters – it does. Believe in something. Anything.

On not giving a fuck.

Lately I’ve had to stop caring. Not like in this tragic life has no meaning kind of way – I mean that I don’t care what other people think about my life choices. And it’s made me ridiculously happy.

I’ve spent years inconveniencing myself for other people. YEARS. And I’m not saying everyone should start living these incredibly selfish lives and not lift a finger to help anyone ever, but I am saying that I would generally do something that would put myself at a disadvantage in order to make someone else happy or like me more.

One example – I was scheduling my workouts around when my workout buddies could join me, sometimes taking an extra hour of my day because I was waiting for them to get done with whatever they were doing. Sometimes, not a big deal. But on a daily basis, not cool. I want to get home so I can eat the food I’ve been drooling over all day on Pinterest. I want to watch my cat do indoor parkour, and continue the Seinfeld marathon with my husband. I want to work on at least one of my writing projects, take a shower, and be able to read a few chapters of A Darker Shade of Magic (have you guys read this – it’s amazing!). And I really want to get at least six hours of sleep so I can do the whole thing over again the next day.

But I feel so goddamned guilty whenever I just go for what works best for me, because I know that sometimes in life you need another person to help get you through whatever it is you’re going through. I’ve had people help me get into a fitness routine, and it really is easier to do with a partner. But there is a point when you can only give so much, before it crosses that line into resentment.

Working out is just one example, but I’ve started saying, “Hey, I’m going to the gym at this time and doing this routine if you want to join me there.” Not when it works for you, but when I can do it. Occasionally I’ll be flexible, but I’ve had so much more time to get the things done that I’ve needed to get done, and I haven’t honestly lost a workout buddy – I just haven’t been angry with them because I’m not longer waiting, and if anything I feel like we’re getting more workouts in.

Another example? I dyed my hair green – something I was hesitant to do because I was worried it would make me look unprofessional. (It didn’t, and I also don’t interact face to face with the public so I could be entirely green and it wouldn’t matter.) I started working on a writing collaboration with a good friend and when I’m excited about it, I decline getting lunch with my coworkers because I’d rather work on a chapter for a day. I have a friend I watch a TV show with, and I’ve had to push that back because I need to pack so I can move into a new house.

I’ve been supporting my husband’s new diet by doing it with him, which means no gluten and hardly any dairy. You know who loves gluten and dairy? Everyone. Every work function I’ve had in the past two months since starting this diet has included these two things. You know who gives you dirty looks when you don’t eat their gluten and dairy? Everyone who organized the event without asking if everyone could eat/wanted to eat some stale cookies that were on sale at the grocery store. You know who doesn’t give a fuck? This girl who has happened to lose five pounds and has a happier, healthier husband who doesn’t feel alone as he has had to undergo this lifestyle change.

Because why are we making ourselves upset or feel like crap to make someone else feel better? Why are we sacrificing our goals, our ambitions to accommodate someone else’s schedule? People might not approve, people might be irritated – but who cares? Asking someone else to give up a piece of their happiness is ridiculous, and I’d rather say at the end of the day that I did everything I could to be my happiest self and pursue my dreams than eat a cheap store-bought cookie I didn’t even ask for.