May 12, 2016

It's May...

So, this was my morning yesterday.

For those of you whose computer screens aren't awesomely calibrated, that's a brown shoe on my left foot and a black one on my right. And, that's my classroom carpet, so obviously, I didn't notice the situation until I was already at school. There are SO.MANY reasons as to why this happened, but the salient one is, of course, it's May. And, I'm tired. Bone weary from giving and grading and loving and teaching and listening and repeating "STAHP picking his nose!" waaaaaay more times that any human ever should. Because, May. But, that's another blog post for another time.

Back to the shoes. Of course, my first thought was, "How fast can I get home, change shoes, and come back??" (hint: 20 minutes). My second was, "Thank God for first hour prep! No one's gonna know about this!" And then, of course, I promptly took a picture, texted it to a group of friends, posted it on Instagram AND Facebook, and then emailed it out to the entire female staff of my school.

Because, embarrassing moments can empower when they're shared. There's a strength, a confidence in hearing someone exclaim, "You, TOO?!? Oh, thank God!!" There's a power that comes from owning your humanity, your absurdity, and allowing yourself to laugh with others whom you love.

And, let's face it, as a teacher, I need to model this behavior for my crazy students. I need to show them that life sometimes slaps you in the face, but if you smile, laugh, and yes - even share the moment, you come out victorious. Stronger. Fuller.

Little did I know that other women in my school needed that laugh as much as I did. I figured I was just sending out an little funny. A moment for a chuckle, a possible eye-roll, and an "Oh, usual..." It's May (have I mentioned that?), so we need any amount of encouragement and humor we can get.

But, these ladies. Oh, Sweet Almighty, these ladies. That picture was the tipping point, and the emails started swirling, each one more hilarious than the last. Sharing stories of clothing mishaps and malfunctions, downright embarrassing moments with doctors, teaching missteps, and more.

And with each one, I fell more in love with the women I so highly respect and admire. Because each woman is strong. Sophisticated. GORGEOUS. Hilariously funny. Amazingly loving. And so darn good at what they do. They inspire. They call to greatness, and they model that greatness themselves.

Each story, each chuckle, chipped off a bit of the professional veneer we all wear so well; it called to the soul, connecting and showing the true, insane human-ness of who we really are. It bridged multiple gaps (in age, subject matter, years of experience), and joined us together in the bonds of belly-aching laughter and cries from the soul that shouted, "You, TOO?!? Oh, thank God!!"

Our students may not notice that their teachers are more empowered and stronger, today. We probably still have the bags under our eyes, and the frazzled-harried look about us as we're racing across campus, precariously balancing piles of grading along with the biggest cup of coffee that could be found. But, I believe that we are better because of a found strength through the bonds of laughter.

March 1, 2016


I needed a place to vent. I'm just...appalled. That's the word.

Yes, I'm part of the online dating world. Yes, I laugh more than I actually accept dates. Yes, I'm gathering fodder for a book that may (or may not ever) get written. And yes, there are more times than not that I'm fantastically appalled, offended, and downright shocked at what men write to women they don't even know.

So, here I am...for the sake of transparency, shared shock (because, wow), and just frustration, posting the conversation that took place just this morning:

Him (keep in mind, this is the FIRST TIME he's contacted me): 

Orgasm Master inviting you to a free one-on-one class on how to have longer and more lasting orgasms. Class will last all night long; I am a wizard with tongue, fingers, and my 11-inch d*ick; call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx. (While I am incredibly TEMPTED to leave his number here for all to see, I do have a sense of decency...)

Me, after stewing, brewing, and just being grossed out for the millionth time (because, friends who are already in committed, loving, honoring relationships - I get messages along this ilk ALL THE TIME): 

Why? Whyyyy?

Normally, when men are so vulgar, base, and display a downright lack of integrity and honor, characteristics which so aptly define your behavior just now, I refrain from responding. The whole adage, “You can win an argument with an idiot, but then you just won an argument with an IDIOT” definitely is apropos here.

But, today. Today. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had any coffee yet. Maybe it’s because I woke up on the snarky side of the bed. Maybe it’s because I walked into my classroom and looked into the eyes of my amazing, brilliant, loving, creative, and brave female students, who will some day (oh, dear Lord, I shudder at the thought) have to encounter the vile and filth that is a man like you.

So, today, I respond. Not that you’re going to read anymore of this because you’re probably now pissed beyond thinking that I would deign to call you out. How dare I? I mean, I’m just a woman, and you looked in my direction, gave me the proverbial “wink,” and I’m just supposed to drop to my knees and thank you for your consideration?

Not in my lifetime.

I do have questions, though. Why? Why would you think that’s an appropriate way to get a woman’s attention?

Better yet, how would you feel if someone used that line on your mother? Sister? Considering your age (he's 44), your daughter or niece? I’m sure you would be offended and absolutely appalled. Maybe even want to defend their honor.

But me? Why me? Ooooooh, because I’m not a real person. I’m an image on the screen, something you can fantasize about, much akin to the porn you probably watch.

I’m more than that. I’m flesh and blood (and not just the vagina you’re so interested in). I have a brain. It’s fabulous, really. I’m compassion and grace. I’m strength and dignity. I’m dreams and hopes and grief and joy.

And EVERY WOMAN is. Every picture you click on. Every person to whom you send a debasing message, she is real and deserves every iota of respect that you fail to see her worthy of.

Until you figure out how to treat women as PEOPLE, it’s probably best that you stay away from the world for a while.

I don't share this to man-shame. The number of honorable, loving, amazing men I know outnumber the sleeze balls by a large margin. I am blessed, beyond measure, to have those intelligent, funny, honest, and kind men in my life.

But, friends. This is real. These messages flood my inbox, and I'm just tired of being silently appalled by myself. I am strong. I am smart. And I know that these kinds of messages - and the insinuations and assumptions they contain - do not define me or who I am to the world.

Men. C'mon. As a friend, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a co-worker; as a human being, I'm asking you to stop. Stop the debasing. Stop seeing women as only a tool to scratch your itch. Stop seeing us as potential porn stars to act out every fantasy you've ever seen on your computer.

Treat us as humans. People. And, I think, it takes shifting your perspective, first. To treat us as humans, you need to see us as humans. And, I think the advent of this whole internet-age has succeeded in keeping that from happening, on a very basic level.

Am I still going to stay on those dating websites? For a while. Goodness knows, I need more fodder for my book. 

Am I going to let scum bags like the one above define my understanding of men? Hell, no. I have my dad, my friends, my brother, my uncles, and countless other amazing men in my life who live out respect, honor, integrity, and love so well.

But, I worry about other women - even my students - who DON'T have those examples in their lives.