Dear White Women: On Abortion

July 27, 2022

Dear White Women,

Better Buckle Up. This is gonna be a long and bumpy ride.

It may seem harsh, or even not well placed to target white women in the United States when discussing the fallout and now overturned constitutional right of all women to make choices about their own bodies. However, I hold US most accountable for this egregious and traumatic loss of autonomy and the potential for heart piercing holes to be placed into our Constitution around the basic human right of privacy. There are a few fundamental issues at hand, but at the very depth of overturning of Roe versus Wade (1973), lies in small white minorities need to maintain power and control. Many are not remotely aware of the consequences coming for ALL of us, and it was our job, white women, to stop attending to the fragile ego of primarily white men. By the time many white women woke up to what was ACTUALLY at stake, donned their pink pussy hats and marched on the 2016 inauguration day, it was already too late.

So, as I began; Buckle Up and Plan to get to Work.
We are joining the movement late and may need to be clear;
it cannot be our voices taking center stage.
Black and Brown women across this country have long been
working the front lines, so we must get behind them.
With our money and our time.
Listen carefully.
Follow the leaders.

On the morning of the ruling, I was in L.A. After having dropped my daughter off for an immersive film experience. I laid quietly in a hotel room, white sheets and warm light, breathing in an accomplishment towards the future for my only child. Window cleaners had lowered themselves down onto my floor and I curiously waved at them as they slopped water on and off the 17th floor view. I flipped on the television and there, in a rhythmic rush, channel after channel, the news Raged. I was initially confused, but never surprised. The constitutional right, the federal law to protect women’s access to autonomy over their bodies and make decision for themselves to have an abortion if needed, was OVER.

Unfortunately, we have witnessed an increasing assault on access to women’s health care, contraception and especially access to legal abortions for decades. Erroneous laws have rained down on all women, further reducing our access. We have made Planned Parenthood the devil himself despite the continued reality that abortions are only a small fraction of services provided.

From that once light scene in a far away hotel room, I stumbled in a long daze back to Georgia. Although this state is my home now, it felt as if I were flying back into the hot, burning belly of Hell, knowing this place will remove the basic right to privacy from ALL female bodies; no longer a personal decision between themselves and their medical professional. I will not bother with the nonsense of pinpointing abortion as right or wrong, except to say that I personally believe what was once said; ‘all abortions are a failure’. A failure does not mean a person’s choice should be removed from them. They are a failure of OUR systems to provide the necessary means to have safe and consensual intercourse without the fear of pregnancy.You do not get to blather the words ‘abstinence’ out of your mouth and expect me to take you seriously. We have been having sex in adolescence since humans existed. What would give us the thought that somehow our Christian morality would save us now? Perhaps if we actually spoke from a place of honesty and accountability, every human could exist on a healthier moral code.
Instead, let us create context in the complexity rather than continue to spoon feed us simplicity. This is our lives at stake and we cannot be so dumbfoundly ignorant as to believe any of this has ANYTHING to do with abortion. So, let’s begin to attempt to create the contextual complexity that exists inside the nuance rather than rigid and simple answers.

First and foremost, there is potentiality for the overturning of this law to diminish the basic human right to privacy that has been outlined in several of the Amendments to the Constitution along with historic legal precedence, including Roe v. Wade that has informed us on how the right to privacy works in our every day lives. When every female had their federal rights to make decisions about their bodies removed from them, it left a gaping hole for many other privacy rights to also be removed. Of course the first and already mentioned by Clarence Thomas is removing the right to marry who you choose and the access to contraception. You may personally look at these and believe it won’t effect you, but that is where we are ALL wrong. The problem is now, you have undeniably allowed for a crucial thread that binds this basic right to be tugged at and eventually fully unraveled. The laws may not come for you today, but they will. If you continue to remain under the bizarre belief that immunity washes over you, I have no empathy for what your future may hold.

This right to privacy already extends into the current overturning of this federal law. There are an abundance of rumors that law enforcement or those with legal precedence to uphold an abortion ban can and WILL use your personal data. There are discussions of tracking searches, using data from Apps and even attempts to ban federally approved medications in some states. To be clear, there is no evidence of these things occurring yet, however, with no clarity on what the actual privacy of a human being looks like, how are we to know what may or may not be allowed? And if the specific 4th amendment is now in jeopardy, how will we ensure that our right to not be searched without a warrant will hold steady in our future? If you are a gun owner, how can you be sure this diminished right to privacy will not effect you?

What appears effortless to assume in the loss of autonomy for all women, remains in our consistent treatment as citizens who will never qualify as equal to men. Again, white women, as long as you continue to be under the ridiculous belief we stand behind white men and prop them up, we will somehow get the trickle down benefits of power. I promise you with every fiber of my white body, men will gobble up power with the greed and stealth of a malnourished animal. There is nothing left for you, not even the crumbs left behind on the table.

So, perhaps for a moment, look behind you and see who else may be waiting for their turn to have a voice and create their own table.

These terrifying systems of power have once again decided that all females are to be treated like infants. We are now too developmentally stunted to make our own decisions and need EACH STATE’S government to be involved in the future of our bodies, our family planning, our decision to not carry a pregnancy that will create a legacy of trauma. There will be no help for our young daughters to not carry a fetus they are not physically, emotionally or spiritually capable of.

This is about a kind of dishonesty and lack of integrity on the part of those who decide the laws and those who have to live out the consequences. It is so readily apparent the Supreme Court has lost its way and lied about their belief in the precedence of Roe v. Wade and even lied about how early leaks of this ruling got into the public. Members of this Supreme Court have lied about their involvement not once but TWICE (Thomas and Kavanaugh), of sexual assault and sexual misconduct while we gladly ushered them into the highest court in our country. We continue to have such obvious disregard for women that even consistent and considerable testimony on behalf of women is irrelevant and discussed in the minds eye as either lies themselves or just things women understand are going to happen and just ‘Shut up and live with it!’ If I remember correctly, one of the main correlations to public mass shootings is the consistent hatred of women. I wonder what it would be like to actually be taken seriously?

Above all else, the end of the federal protections for women remain about white supremacy. We all know who will still have access to an abortion, morning after pills, Plan C or even basic contraception….and WHO will NOT. We are clear that as a whole, white women both obtain and retain more wealth in this country than any other, leaving black and brown minorities with far less resources and access to changing their socioeconomic status. With that, if more marginalized women in this country are forced to complete a pregnancy against their will, two important things will occur. First, it solidifies another likely poor generation, fueling the work force in the service industries that underpay and undervalue its human beings. Second, it ensures a continual trap for every generation of zero upward mobility simply by deleting their decisions on family planning. We are currently in a country where we are more likely to inherit our families socioeconomic status before the color of their eyes. How about taking a good look at those saucers and decide if our our consistent and endless cheap work force to serve us is worth this kind of indignity?

I am edging onto 47 years old, and I have retained the dignity to make my own decisions about my body for all these years. I once believed that my country and government had my back, at least on this very important issue of privacy of my own body and decisions around it. Now, I have to stand witness in the very state I have raised my daughter and potentially beg her to leave. It is unimaginable that my own daughter will be told, as if she were a child without her own beliefs, thoughts, fears and desires for her OWN life; that she cannot make decisions for herself any longer.

Who will look my daughter in the eye and say, “We believe you are not smart enough, not thoughtful enough and certainly incapable of making such a decision on your own— so WE need to do it for you.”

It seems like just moments ago I witnessed thousands of people across this country protesting against wearing masks, signs very clearing stating the obvious, “My Body, My Choice!” Where are you now as I have to look at my daughter in the eye and tell her that her government has failed her? Where are you when I have to tell her to find another place to move and settle her life, because here may be too dangerous?

I have worked at an extremely intense clip for more than a decade in therapy and perhaps most of my adult life focusing on changing intergenerational patterns that have been passed down to me. I did this primarily for me, but more importantly, I did it for her. I was clear, I would NOT have children if I could not break the toxic legacy that was laid at my feet on the day I was born.

Despite the controversy, my mother gave birth to me at the age of 17 years old, the same age as my own baby girl is today. My mother left me with the burden of the intergenerational cycles of trauma to change. She seemed bright and spoke of plans to attend college before she became pregnant. I would have wanted her to end the pregnancy and create a career and life she loved instead of what has become of her. An early retired prison guard, left following severe PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) who lives inside the toxic relationships that are familiar to her. I would have wanted her to take on this assignment of ending a toxic legacy —- and NOT ME.
So YES, I would have wanted her to opt for an abortion.

I believe I would have made it into the universe in some other fashion, left the burden of multiple lifetimes of trauma to her and perhaps even had the potential to be born into a family that knew how to love and truly show up for people.

As a therapist…..

I have the privilege of being deeply embedded in hundreds of stories of women who have also carried the legacy of trauma.

I witness the stories of women who are the product of rape. They are often outcasts and shunned by their own family of origin. When we cannot find a place to belong inside of our own family, we will often sabotage or even self destruct in our attempt to just fumble around with existence; never quite touching happiness or even contentment. It sometimes feels like life is barely a consolation prize and most often a burden.

I witness stories of sex trafficking, a terrorizing experience that occurs inside of families more often than we are even willing to be honest about. Victims, most often young women (but certainly boys) have had to face the challenge of an unwanted pregnancy at young ages that was perpetrated upon them during a pedophilic sex orgy where their parent was either a participant or a known villain in the process. This criminal behavior continuing without the protection of legal abortion will only lead to young women being forced to have illegal and unsafe abortions; further traumatizing the young woman from what has already been unimaginable crimes against them.

I witness the stories of women going out and enjoying themselves in public, only to be drugged and raped by an acquaintance, their abusive partner or on occasion, a first date (these are just a few possible scenarios). Men have taken advantage of their forced vulnerability through drugs and raped them. This has occurred with the help of male bartenders at times, or through a small group networks of men that have a silent pact, allowing this criminal behavior to continue. Women often have little or no memory when the drugs are forced into their system and some become pregnant, creating a new and often devastating trauma in conjunction with the rape they endured.

What happens now when my clients have had their dignity stripped only to be further told by their government they also CANNOT decide for themselves their next steps in their own lives? Are we honestly going to look them in their petrified and completely undone faces and tell them this RAPE IS A GIFT? From who? Even just writing the words makes me feel a kind of emotional danger that even I have yet to witness. How could this kind of personal hell end well? I am going to loose my very own people to suicide because their ability to make their own decisions about their lives has been stolen from them. How do we hold the concept of being raped as either a female child or adult as something to form gratitude around when we are then forced into a lifetime of pain in having a child?

Sometimes, I think I have heard most every story. Not something to boast about, just facts in the world of a therapist specializing in trauma. But this; This will be new. Twenty-two years now as a clinical practitioner and I understand that in this state, I will be asked to walk along this type of horrific journey, if the woman ever makes it in for help.

I do know that the first two weeks following the law being overturned, EVERY client spoke of the fear of the potential consequences. On repeat, the law being overturned alone felt like a personal violation to their already abused and broken bodies. The violation was so encroaching, it inhibited their ability to breathe and they repeatedly told of experiencing a feeling of being trapped and strangled by our own government. I witnessed the belief and ongoing social structure of ‘women as less than’ in action. Perhaps so below men, that even the men not in agreement but complicit with their silence, are the ones themselves tying the noose around all of our necks.

If my words have had any bearing on your understanding of the truth of how this will negatively impact people who can bear children’s lives, I hope you are asking the question as to what do we do now. I have spent some time deciding where I want to put my energy and of course invite you to do the same. From what I do understand, it appears that PlanC, an FDA approved drug that allows a woman to end their pregnancy up to 12 weeks is readily available and easily accessible. Initially, to obtain this medication, a face to face visit was required in order to receive a prescription, however, this changed with the age of Telemedicine and the combination of the worlds COVID-19 pandemic. The FDA decided to allow a telemedicine session to occur with a prescribing physician and then medication to be sent to the person. It appears this is a cost effective and safe way to end a pregnancy, even in states that will or have implemented a full ban. I suggest educating yourselves on PlanC and the most recent executive order the president has put into place to protect this right regardless of what the state has decided.

With every ounce of education you receive to support those in need of making their own decisions about their bodies, please share with everyone you know; especially in marginalized communities who may have less access to clear information or confirmation of what is being learned. It appears PlanC has not had a high level of traction in our female communities and perhaps more knowledge will ensure everyone, especially marginalized communities, are provided with access to PlanC or any other ability to decide for themselves. As I have stated, marginalized communities did not create nor are sustaining this nonsense. It is time to stop telling ourselves the lie that white women will somehow obtain power if we stand behind and hold white men up.

Although education and empowerment through information is important, it is not enough. If you want to start a movement, you are going to have to break the law. It is not enough to be pretty, obedient allies in the corner wearing shirts of controversy or waving about flags of pride. We will have to be willing to be arrested and give zero fucks about what consequences could await us. We must choose to be an accomplice to change and have the courage to do what is right in the face of death.

Women are going to DIE. More abortions will occur, not LESS.
Stop telling me and everyone else those fucking lies.
And Do NOT tell my green GREEN eyes, I am not worth it.
That my daughter, all our daughters, are not worth it.

I will return again to what was once said by a past president of Planned Parenthood, ‘Every abortion is a failure.’ And it is — it is a failure of people, communities, states and our entire government to NOT act in the best interests of women and children. We are considered expendable commodities, easily tossed out after being used up, like a trash bag liner….only this time, it’s our uterus. It is so easily seen in the multitude of ways our government already fails us, on purpose. I will name just a few of the things women and children do not have in this country but readily deserve to illuminate our inequity.

We deserve free and easily accessible (beginning in adolescence) birth control that includes condoms, birth control pills, shots, IUCs (intrauterine contraceptives) and implants. If we want these things and are not adults, we deserve the right to the same legal protections of privacy to make our own decisions about how we want to prevent and plan for children. This was once allowable until rights were slowly stripped away.

We deserve consistent and repeated sex education by a professional beginning at early ages. As stated before, we sit on our irresponsible and ludicrous value of Christian morality and therefore the extremely fake concept of abstinence, as if it were actually an honest possibility. We do not increase the number of young people having sex when it is a consistent, open and honest conversation. We significantly decrease the likelihood of unwanted pregnancies. When past administrations have attempted to mandate adolescence compliance into abstinence, it only increased the number of unwanted pregnancies. I am just not sure how it is not getting into our brains as human beings that our transparency as parents and adults in young peoples lives is the ONLY way we will ever have a chance to influence them in a healthy manner. It strikes me speechless when I witness adults under the disgustingly stupid idea that we have any power over teenagers and sex.

We deserve accessible and affordable gynecological medical and primary physician care. I am personally a working professional with a partner who has been working in academia in Georgia for the last twenty years. I would not qualify for any health care individually, at least not anything affordable and our current healthcare matches that of a deductible so high that it basically would only serve us if we had a major accident. Essentially, all our health care does for us is reduce the amount of costs because the insurance plan gives itself a hefty discount and then passes everything to us.

We deserve federally mandated paid maternity and paternity leave. We are the only first world country that offers zero paid maternity leave and instead forces us to take FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) and then speaks to us like we should be lucky we cannot get fired while caring for our new infant.

We deserve affordable and accessible Child Care. NOT DAY CARE. We need well trained, well paid people who have taken the time and energy to understand the developmental needs of infants and children. We deserve to know that our children are being taken care of by those that are interested (and paid accordingly) in a healthy supplementation of developmentally appropriate care to increase our children’s chances of easy and consistent transitions between parent(s) and child care providers. Not to mention, when another set of well trained eyes are focused on our children, we may be able to learn and spot areas of need and possibly test to ensure the best outcomes for our children’s future. What we have now are mostly lousy, poorly paid babysitting facilities.

Had we made the decision to not touch the federal law as it stood just a month ago and instead made commitments to all of these things outlined above, were made available throughout our country; we would have actually reduced the numbers of abortions. It is a given fact, when abortions are accessible, the number of abortions reduces. It seems a rather interesting thought as to how much more abortion may be reduced had we acted like a country that saw women and children as equals.

So, let me repeat this…….

To all my pro-life, ‘we want to save the babies’ people out there…Say What You Mean and MEAN WHAT YOU SAY!
If you are going to bullhorn your save the babies slogans– then let’s get clear and be honest about your intent.
Need Some Help Here.
Let me translate.

What you are actually saying is, “We want white people to continue to have the most power in this country and one important way we can make that happen is to restrict marginalized communities from safe access to not only abortions, but also healthcare, birth control and childcare. This will allow us to ensure we continue the intergenerational process of poor minorities. This will allow us to continue to walk on the backs of black and brown people. We will continue to get our cheap labor AND maintain our white power, even if we remain the minority in this country.”

SAY THIS, and I will believe you. Hell, say anything about the actual truth and I may be willing to discuss this topic.

Behind every pompous and egregious lie, comes down to one thing. Women retain magic. We are the creators and sustainers of life. We OWN the power to create human life and for all of time, men have been attempting to have power and control over it. In the end, women, all women, have more power than any man ever will. Why would our bodies need to be legislated if that were not THE TRUTH?
Some men remain afraid of the fact that outside of a few sperm, we do not need you.
– And they know it.

Until that fact is realized, I suppose I will have to continue to consider how best to inform, rail against and even break laws to ensure women have the right to make their own choices.

I can only hope YOU will intend on joining me.



March For Women’s Lives 2003

Reflections and Lessons on Turning 40: 10 Lessons that Light My Way

I had no plans for life, much less bliss. It wasn’t always a conscious choice, but I recognize I didn’t intend to make it very far in this life. It was so painful and sometimes felt like I could not remember to breathe, much less live. Often, it seemed taking my own life would just be better. Then the awakening occurred and although much of it was like wrestling through a cocoon of boogery goo, the rebirth has been a blissful (although very messy) internal discovery. As a result of the recognized mess, the lessons I reflect here remain in flux. Some days I completely loose my way and others it seems like there is a special flashlight shining on my path, just for me.

Number One:

I have learned the art of severing foreboding joy’s snakey head. This lesson has been one of the main gifts from immersing myself in Brené Brown’s work. Put simply, the definition of foreboding joy is waiting, even expecting bad things to happen. Worse yet, while experiencing something beautiful, we take it away from ourselves by rabbit holing our minds into scenes from the Walking Dead or Game of Thrones.

Creating a gratitude practice is a one way ticket out of the insanity of waiting for everyone to die. Until I started talking about my foreboding joy, I thought I was a nut job! But guess what, other people spend an ungodly amount of time sending loved ones to the funeral home too! Oh, the sweet relief from shame. Thank you baby kittens everywhere!! Stealing your joy can end with a real life practice of ‘thank you’ (just like I did right there thanking kittens around the world). Gratitude jars, journals and consistent acts of kindness are the salve of imaginary and frankly cuckoo-ka-roo death.

Like fo-realz people, I used to not sleep cuz a gang of machine gun wolves were going to bang up our house. WHAT. (Maybe the whiskey drinkin’ wolves from Bugs Bunny were bad for children after all).

Number Two:

I am still not sure I am a good therapist and I am sure I am a mediocre mother. However, neither worry or really bother me like they once did. Because I do know- I AM Enough. I couldn’t say that with confidence for like- EVER. Now, I try to stick to what I know best and I figure I will get called out for my ongoing fuck-ups. In the meantime, I will keep changing and growing the only thing I will ever be good at and that is myself. Our journey is all the control we will ever have and probably why the role of therapist and mother will always mildly allude me. Really, some other people think I know them better than they know themselves? Worse yet, my kiddo thinks I am the bearer of all the survival magic? Nope. Not this girl.

I will try to share what others have taught me and what I have learned in using myself like a life time human experiment with a smidge of theory just for sprinkles. But beyond my own milky way, hell, I don’t know.

Number Three:

Not knowing is okay. I am keenly aware that even after collecting thousands of rich and juicy stories – I still know so very little. I have always liked the myth that we are only using a small percentage of our brain because then I could imagine stuffing it with more crunchy goodness.

Most everything I do know, say or even write did not originate from me. Yes, perhaps I package my life in this particular way, but the glory goes to those before me, with me and even those who have lost all respect for me. My brain is full of other people’s stories, ideas, wisdom and theory. The wisdom I can impart is often built upon the lives of those I have come to love. Throw in some decent schooling for good measure and Presto!- out comes the words from my mouth. If you think my words are witty or clever, they likely came from another. I just decided their beauty had to be shared with you. Other people’s life and wisdom are often the vehicle for the next person’s growth. I am the compost and my existence relies on the squishyness of our lives being mushed up together. Sure, I may be the smelly one that some initially want to gag on, but those seeking change return again and again to make the ground fertile for new planting.

Number Four:

I am accepting the difference between genuinely making a difference and being a famous author. I would like to publish, but one trip into the book store is a scary reminder that I am not alone on this wish. It’s just not a big enough boat to fit everyone. I still struggle with the belief that unless I was the next canary singing Anne Lamott or Glennon Melton, I would never make a meaningful contribution. I am certain that if Kali could help me lop off this hunk of my ego, I would be a happier person. I have to maintain my corner slice of the world- stay in my lane as many of my clients say- and I can have an impact on those I can physically touch.

~And So Can You, making the domino effect the most brilliant part.

Number Five:

Being a trauma survivor is not a state of uniqueness. I get no prize for being the girl who survived sexual abuse. Now, showing up and being vulnerable about my trauma, bravely maintaining my trauma as a part of my whole, now that I give myself prizes for all the time. I believe being a survivor allows me to experience connection with others. I have come to believe (and yes, it is biased) that every therapist would benefit from having clinical expertise in trauma because it IS the red thread of humanity. It is a rare sighting of a human being to not experience some form of trauma. Perhaps that sounds horribly nihilistic, however, I believe in those moments of inevitable drowning, lies our own personal salvation. Yes, you like chocolate, cats and yoga just like I do, but to know your deepest heart is to be present with the shame of existing. I want to hold space and more space and EVEN more space for that which makes our hearts crack wide open. I believe holding space is our super power.

Number Six:

I know for sure the trauma of being invisible is one of the most painful to swallow. So many of my people grew up NOT getting the physical smack around or severe punishment with belts for breathing, but instead were treated as if they didn’t matter by the people that mattered most to them. Physical abuse may have been sweet relief from being touched by nothingness. And as I witness this on a larger scale, I sometimes loose sight of my own ability to do good. It seems sometimes the majority culture has adopted the belief that if you exist outside the norm, you are just invisible. Treating another human like the underside of garbage is a perfectly acceptable option. I can barely tilt my head in that direction and I certainly did not fully understand the culture of invisibility until my clients taught me how it exists inside the family system. Deprivation is real and it is a kind of mind fuck like no other. Whether found in the petri dish of the family or the discourse of the public, it is one thing that readily clenches my heart and lungs- leaving me fearful and breathless.

Number Seven:

I am pinpoint clear about what I love. I am totally oily on how to keep my focus on it, but damn do I know what matters to me. I struggle to be brave and rise from the stringy mess that I often create from my own stagnate emotional starvation. I am clear I know what water trough I am refusing to drink from. I see the beautiful marble at the bottom of the creek, but Damn! I will not go in after it! For example, it literally took me two years to get my shit together well enough to figure out my part in a relationship. The belovedness of my relationship never wavered, however, my ability to sift through the sewer of my mess paralyzed me.

Number Eight:

I like being on the fringe of normal. One mentor said, “We gotta learn the rules so we know how to break them.” I wanna go my own way and although you may find me bitching about being found out as the ‘different’ one, I recognize that I prefer it. I would benefit from following along when it’s in my best interest and I continue to seek out balance. I do tend towards weed whacking my own path when the declared one may be useful. So I keep my colorful hair and personal style both in life and in the therapy chair, but I am learning to listen a little more to those wiser than me.

Number Nine:

I am in the frightful stages of stopping myself from sounding like a know-it-all. I believe others need our love and support and especially our presence, but only when asked do they need our advice. I totally get that as a therapist I am by default being asked to share some possible wisdom, otherwise, I gotta learn to shut it. I trick myself into believing I am being helpful. People generally already know what is best for them. Hell, I honestly believe being a good therapist is the simple act of reflecting back a person’s best Self. Really. Everywhere else, this lesson is still bitter on my tongue. I still throw up my fancy fix it words and worse, when someone else does it to me, I am irritated! And why? ……Because when we do this unsolicited diatribe of pretend helpfulness, we are judging the other person pretending “to help” and are essentially saying that they are too dumb to know what you magically do.

Swallowing the bitter pill and shutting up… the best of my ability. Perhaps I can report some more growth here at 50.

Number Ten:

I have come to believe there is no greater gift than being emotionally awake. To be able to stand outside of myself and know I may not be like living at the Ritz….Hell, I am sure my partner would disagree it was like living at the Holiday Inn some days~ Still, I get me and I am full of gratitude for being able to get into the balcony and watch myself interacting in the world. It is why it remains the ONLY thing I can confidently write about. All Other Things. Just Fuzz.

The glorious part of not designing your life at such a young age is the ability to forgo having to tear down a shallow house. I never dreamt about being a rock star or saving the planet. Sure, I have vision now, but perhaps some can be simple reflections in the water. Some may grow into the painting of my life. Others will ripple on by. I do know; the story is not over. Maybe, just maybe I can be a lantern on another’s journey and offer my light as a reminder that their story isn’t over yet either.

Here’s to beautiful 40 and possibly 40 more years of wisdom to come. Here’s to all of us who have chosen to stay and say ‘the story isn’t over’.








Baked in Gratitude

My most recent Daring Way™ group, The Daring Survivors (yes, somedays they could be one of those ole’ timey all girl doo-wop bands) and I were lighting the way into the arena. We were gaining clarity on our values and making decisions about what we are going to take into the arena instead of the swords of emotional armor.

One group member piped in and asked what was Altruism? It was a difficult idea to explain in terms of a value, especially since I obviously could not keep my opinion to myself about how I felt about the concept. I did my best, but did say I worried saying ‘we are coming from a completely selfless place’ because I do not believe that is really possible.

We are humans and therefore we need connection. We cannot do this alone. We need a tribe.

Hell, sometimes I need more than one. So if we give knowing that it will bring us Joy, I would argue that it is not- nor does it need to be- from a selfless place.

And honestly, nothing has been more meaningful then the work I get to do with my fellow trauma survivors. Yes, some just come and go. But when we stick, its kind of like Mod Podge- we are gonna glue some shit down permanently. And no matter how you try to bake, it is NOT an altruistic endeavor.

I have the honor and privilege of holding space for my fellow trauma survivor. And as they plow through, trudge straight up hill- sometimes holding heavy weight for some time; I gently keep pushing on those edges of comfort and ask, ask and Ask Again to Wake Up to this life. Be Courageous. Do the hard thing- because if I can, You Can.

The transparent truth is this, I push for many important reasons, but as I watch the world shift, sometimes a life saved; I hold it dearly on those dark days. When someone does the work and moves from victim to survivor it gives me hope that WE can do it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. Their work has a ripple effect that they will never see. Sometimes I won’t even see.

So, from my perspective, there is no such thing as altruism. I am a hard ass about the work once I know your level of commitment. I have been known to straight out call people a fucking liar when their own personal honesty is lacking and I hope ONLY when I have earned it. Giving the gift of a whole hearted life to yourself is the most important and meaningful thing you will ever do for yourself. I will then carry your authentic Self with me ALL the days of my life. And no matter what the challenge, I WILL HOPE. I will keep dreaming of another. And another. And another SURVIVOR.

The only thing we can ever really do to make a difference in this life is to change ourselves. My fellow tribe pushes me to keep growing. I push them to keep moving towards Survivorhood.

Yeah- Survivorhood: its a place where the courageous go to lay down their emotional armor and change the world by changing themselves.

Come. Come and Go with Me.



Am I REALLY a Writer?


Rejection is one step closer, sister. Keep on. It is clear to me this is the path for you. MAKTUB. Just lean into it. It’s already done. All you gotta do is make sure your ass is in the chair and your fingers move. The rest will take care of itself. Love, G.” *


Recently, Glennon Melton wrote this message to a fellow writer following an interview and I just kept reading it over and over again. If you are unfamiliar, Melton is the author of Carry on Warrior  and writes in the image I wish to reflect in my own life. I don’t like finger waving preachy or telling someone how to live. I just want to show up, live and love to the best of my ability….fuck it up a whole bunch, hope for the best and write about my real life, an AWAKE life. It always feels like a disjointed beautiful mess, lots of Face Palms, and I love it, just the way it is.


Do you know I have dreamt for most of my adult life about writing my own book? I want the satisfaction of holding in MY hands something I birthed with my words. I am not sure how important it is to me that more than one copy exists!

What is keeping me? I have been blogging for almost a year now and perhaps that is not done with me yet. But, I can tell you, I do not give myself the space to sit MY ass in this chair and bang-bandigty-bang on these keys enough long enough.

I have something important to say, at least to myself. And if others want to listen. Bonus.

Just last night, I had the privilege of sitting with my BFF as she shared with me how she was finally making the decision to focus on what she loved and honor herself in a way that she has not for many years. I always knew she could do it. Can I?

Maybe one day both you and I will find the collective good of this life wrapped in a 3-D rectangle with a pretty picture and pretty words on the front.

Funny thing is, some days I think the fire in my belly will rot me away if I don’t make it real. Others, I am reminded I am already good enough so why am I so worried?


*check out the entire beautiful interview here:


The Domino Effect


Recently, a fellow writer sent me a message with a blog topic for me. Here is how the initial chat went:

Friday, 3:45 pm- She wrote

I have a blog topic for you!

How to function as survivor after being a victim

*as a survivor

Saturday 8:20am- I responded

Would you like to write it?

Saturday- She responded:

Oh goodness, I don’t know.



Initially, when I received the blog topic suggestion I thought to myself…..’Uh, I know you have been reading my Blog, I think this is what I often write about….I am confuzed lady??’ (My daughter and I readily use the word confuzed to denote that we are beyond normal confusion). Then I realized this really was not about me so I asked what I hoped would be the Golden Question.


Let me say before you read this below, this is why I tell my story: for the Domino Effect. I fell in love with Maya Angelou when I was a teenager because it was the first time someone spoke my story of trauma and I held that in my heart for years and years before I wrote my own.


My hope is that for every truth we tell, another life will be lived fully.



       Solange Made Me Do It


I had no idea I was a victim. I knew that I had been through some unpleasant things in my past, but the idea of being a victim carries so much shame and embarrassment for me. I can help other’s see their worth, but I was delusional about my own.

For the first time a few weeks ago I shared the story of how I was verbally, mentally and sexually abused by my ex-fiance. In the midst, I didn’t even realize it was happening. I was raised to be a strong woman that didn’t take anyone’s shit and to recognize the signs. I saw them and ignored them because I was lonely in a foreign country. I didn’t realize how much damage it did to me and I didn’t realize that I carried it with me like a piece of luggage until the word vomit started flowing. You know, that one bag you have had forever, that you would rather duck-tape than to throw it away because the hole is not that big, and you paid too much for it? That one. It was attached to me like a tumor.


I left him when I realized that we were two different people. I stayed away when I had time to think about the manipulation and the fact that he tried to break me. He didn’t. He couldn’t. My genes were stronger than his desires. I had generations of women standing with me who were strong enough to endure and flourish.


I have heard Alicia share her story a few times. The first time, I didn’t know I had one. Well, I knew I had one, but I didn’t want to be vulnerable. I didn’t want to share. I wanted to support those brave survivors from a distance. If I got too close, I knew I would spill the beans and then everyone would know about my private pain and shame.


I sent Alicia an email a few hours ago telling her that she should write a blog on how to function as a survivor after being a victim. She is the expert, she knows, right? I needed to know because I was so tired of living like a victim. The shit sticks to you like honey on a hot day and even when you aren’t thinking about it flies zone in on it, drawing attention. And even after you wash it off you still feel those phantom flies and stickiness. It never goes away.


What I didn’t expect was her response to my proposal: “Would you like to write it?” My first thought was No!!!! I don’t want to be vulnerable! I don’t want to share my shame. I knew better than to be abused. I let it happen. I paused, took a deep breath and remembered that I had a choice. I could continue to function from behind the scenes or I could step up and own my story. In those terms, I didn’t really have a choice. I knew what I had to do.


I know that Solange never thought that beating up a guy in an elevator would inspire such honesty, but there it is. So now I have to figure out how to function as a survivor instead of a victim. I have to figure out how to let go of my shame and embarrassment. I have to because I want to be authentic. I want people to be able to look at me and know that they are getting all of me. The good, bad, ugly. No more hiding. No more isolation. Just me.


I’m not yet ready to thank Solange for sparking this conversation and revelation. I’m sure she doesn’t care, LOL. I’m a victim who is learning how to function as a survivor. It will take time, and now that I have opened my heart to receiving the love, acceptance and support that I know I will have, I’m ready to receive it.




The Golden Rule is NOT a Fixed Position


I am having the time of my life! You would never know it by the Ass Whoopin’ I’m taking at times.

Who says ‘ass-whoopin’ and ‘time of their life’ in the same sentence?

Some days I am certain there is seriously something wrong with me. Then I remember, I have decided to lay down my House of Armour and LIVE. OUT. LOUD. At least for today. Tomorrow may not look like this, but today I chose to stand on my values and allow myself to really be seen. I can’t believe that I’m actually saying that I’m having the time of my life to be honest with you. I am choosing to dare greatly by facilitating my first Daring Way™ group with such beautiful people. I sometimes want to scoop them all up and take them home with me to my family. Other moments, I want to run away screaming out of fear that I will never measure up because I am too young, sling around too many cuss words and listen to weird music. (I always envision myself running away in my kelly green dress with my hands flailing and of course trip because I have on three inch nude heels).

But a moment keeps grabbing my attention while processing through group session after group session (Yes, us therapy-heads can’t live with ourselves until we process the process). Someone suggested that I not reach out to someone privately in the group because the side conversation would be too time consuming. I really had to think on that. The question really became, ‘Where is MY time boundary?’ ‘What am I willing to put in?’ Interestingly enough, my reasoning for not reaching out in that moment ended up having nothing to do with my boundary issue around time, but instead, the need for the work to remain in the group. Something very important would have been lost if it took place off alone, somewhere else.

I often say that I genuinely disagree with the golden rule. So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” (Matthew 7:12) What my boundary is around my time, how I spend my money? Who I would consider a friend?….the list goes on and on are invariably so different from one person to the next. Who says that I am right and they are wrong? There are so many areas of gray in our lives and what may be a meaningful boundary for one person may be a violation for the next.


So where does my boundary lie around time? While I was deciding whether or not to take the time to reach out to this person privately, my mind kept going back to one thing…..

When I was in college I had befriended a group of physicists. (Don’t ask, other than I was a closet nerd and had NO idea). I had the coolest friend, following my mental work out with him as my tutor.  His name was Joe and I was the supplier of girls to his physics parties, because, well….You know. There weren’t many girls.



Just that year Joe got a new roommate named Donovan. He had recently lost one of his best friends in a terrible accident. His friend was hit by an 18 wheeler while changing his tire trying to make the trek to California. I had no money, certainly little time and I really did not know him but a few months. But I went to the book store, used the few bucks I had for the end of the month and bought him a sympathy card- it had some cute little sappy puppy on the front of it. I wrote in green pen (don’t ask me why I remember).

Next month Donovan and I will celebrate 17 years of being together. He says that card sparked something in him and when we spoke of it this week, he still gets a big cheesy smile on his face and mutters on about how special it was to him.

It is such a funny thing, this time boundary. I don’t want to be that person that forgets my family and friends birthdays (although I am not so good at it). I want to remember to send sympathy cards on the year anniversary after a family member passed. I want to leave love notes on your car and send kooky cat messages on sad, hard or just lonely days. I don’t want to be that perfunctory girl who just sends out the perfunctory message wishing my friends a happy fill in the blank day. I want to take the time. I want to share my piles of party crap and stay up late making sure some order gets out on time. And sometimes, when the vulnerability dial is high, I am going to take a chance, step out of my comfort zone and share myself with someone new.

I want to leave my legacy as being that kind of person who made you believe

you really mattered, because you do.

And No, I don’t expect the same back. The golden rule is not a fixed position.

So, I am having the time of my life….me and my ass-whoopin’ group. I keep leaning in and listening to where my boundaries work for me, listening carefully as my group dares greatly, voice their boundaries and maybe….just maybe…..We will each decide to take the time to dial up the vulnerability.



Mother of Dragons For Mother’s Day


I think of myself as a rather thoughtful and kind person. Yes, I am well aware that my sassiness might blind you to these facts from time to time…..but they do exist. However, when it comes to Mother’s Day, I have been stuck in a SUCK tunnel.

Before becoming a mother I am sure I made plates of burnt toast and construction paper cards, followed by cheese ball Mother’s Day Cards (I dunno, ask my mother). Then I brought home my beautiful baby girl on Mother’s Day nine years ago and looked forward to breakfast in bed and gifts I (usually) requested from my BFF’s jewelry store. If we are not uniquely acquainted, everyone should have a BFF that is a jewelry designer….Just Sayin’.

But over this past year, something has sprouted within me and has been vining around my pretty little heart. The weeks leading up to this morning have led me to want to send cards and messages to people because they are “like” Mothers to me (Say it in Your Best Valley Girl Voice). So I declare an end to this notion that a mother is someone who either participates in the making of or adopting of a human baby! I mean, REALLY, what a tragic and small definition to the notion of Nurturing!

Or Worse, you don’t get to celebrate anymore because she is gone. Or EVEN worser, what do we do when we are not in a place to nurture our relationship with our Mother? That phone call…and you KNOW that phone call I am talking about, is just pure torture, if it even happens at all.

So, besides all of us who have had the unique messy pleasure of being a parent… heart sprouts around so many others places.

I think about my BFF who lost her Mother at a very young age. I know I will never meet her, but I know every time I look at her, I see her Mother alive in her eyes. How can that kind of pang of loss ever go away? Especially when I am told her Mother was one awesome Bad-Ass? She never got to meet my BFF’s children and they are simply amazing.

I think about my friend who is Mother to all of New Orleans in the Louisiana Restaurant Association. She supports her community with passionate love through food. Some mothers I know can barely make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She makes your mouth water every time you see her post FB pictures supporting a new local restaurant or local high school students growing their culinary skills. Not to mention a great lover of her sweet fur baby!

I smile on my friend who has nurtured her love of her fur baby with diabetes for many years. Her sweet love of a dog is coming towards the end of her life and she continues to give her the kind of grace and dignity I would expect us to give any human being.

I consider my daughter’s god parents who would become her guardians if something tragic were to happen to my spouse and I. They do not have human children, but are already Mothering the person she will become; helping shape the woman that we shall see in the future. I am more than confident they are Mothers and they are Men!

I ponder on my friend who has lost one of her children. She celebrates with another child and grandchildren and I am certain it is beautiful, but it will not be without loss. How do you get through the day and not consider that?

And there are my friends who are in dark spots with their Mothers….It can happen to all of us so don’t act like it can’t be you if it hasn’t been you. Mother’s Day doesn’t wait for us to work out the bats in our head so it can certainly pass by and create a painful moment that is hard for everyone to overcome.

And how about my friend who is Mother to every sexual assault survivor she encounters in the emergency room? In those moments, she loves and nurtures them, creating a safe environment, sometimes Mothering the entire family through their darkest hour.

And what about those waiting to Mother? I watch some of my friends and clients be in relationship with my daughter and think, ‘DAMN! Now THAT Girl has Got IT!’ (what ever the hell IT is). You see that and know a kid needs to be whipped up, adopted or just magically appear for all I care because that person loves with their whole heart and Well, Whew! I just want someone other than my kiddo to share in that kind of Joy!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear ya critics; “This is Suppose To Be My Day! Why are You being so ALL-Inclusivey and Stuff? I want MY DAY!” Believe me, this princess wants her day too. And I can tell ya, making me get all dressed up and “taking me” out to brunch is NOT what you are going to do on my day. I will take an order of yoga pants, no bra and breakfast in bed, Thank you.

But, I just got to say, something has really shifted in my sassy little heart. Perhaps I have watched too many episodes of Game of Thrones and I have come to believe we are all capable of being Mother of Dragons. If Daenerys Targaryen can rule a wild, mythical, fire-breathing beast, who’s to say what a Mother really is anyway? I say, if you can grow and nurture it, then you can call yourself Mother.



An Act Of Self Compassion


One challenging aspect of being a therapist is to not simply pay lip service to what is suggested to clients in their consideration of growth and change. I believe that a therapist is only as good as their own personal life. Now it is true that it is not appropriate to share my personal life details because therapy is intended for the growth of the client, but if I make suggestions and do not live by them, then for me, I am simply a liar suggesting to others that they should change their life, while I am wildly and knowingly making the same mistakes. And the most difficult for me , STAY HOME when sick!

For a small business owner, no work equals no pay. It is difficult for those of us that run their own business because we know that others genuinely count on us to be present. In my case, it is not like I can call in a substitute to take over. That would be an ethical violation worth loosing my license over! None the less, the art of self care is always a difficult task especially when we want to make sure others are aware of how important they are in our lives.

I have had countless sessions over the years on the Art of Self Care. I find the idea of putting yourself at the bottom of your list curious and absurd. I understand that everywhere we turn our community, society at large and even religion tells us that we are to operate daily like the sacrificial lamb, putting all people ahead of ourselves. The last time I checked, when I ride around on empty, really, ‘E’ means there is nothing and you will be dead on the side of the road. You cannot give of yourself when you needs emotionally, physically, spiritually and sexually are tanked. Worse than that, we make statements about how family or close friends are at the top of our list while we are dead last; therefore they are farthest away from us. It is a farce, at best, to say that we will give of our time, attention and energy to family and friends when we have to trickle the energy up the list in desperation to even share what may be left with those that mean the most to us.

If we do not put ourselves at the top of our list, yes, I even mean before our children, everyone and everything in your life gets a half-ass version of us. If we are not well and fully present then how can anyone expect us to genuinely give of ourselves? How can I call myself a decent therapist if I promote extreme self sacrifice as a tenant of a happy life? I understand that over the years, I have been accused of being selfish and I understand that what I write goes against a great deal of what the world tries to tell us. But the last I checked, a person that does not participate in the consistent act of self care, with intention, on a regular basis, is running on empty. When we stop sacrificing our needs, everyone around us will get the best that we have to offer.

The Act of Self Care does not require taking up a new hobby or adventure, although it may. It is remembering to do the little things consistently that allow us to maintain emotional clarity. This includes getting enough rest, exercise, eating well, playing just for fun and remembering to relax with intention. It is normal to fear how we will be perceived when we say, “NO”. We all have to regularly fight off the urge to be perceived as perfect. We do not want to admit the possible shame surrounded by being seen as weak. However, when we truly show ourselves, flawed and with limitation, just like the rest of us, that is when we are truly courageous. So, while I attempt to allow my body to heal from my now five days of illness and am certain me and this bed are one, I continue to wrestle with the urge that I am super human. But instead, I will do as I should and take another nap.

Be Well and Live. Out. Loud.