Tag Archives: realtalk

Vet-Life: why you should support them (and possibly get over yourself)

1920x450_1 I never offer up blogs about products… or rarely, because it’s pretty damn rare I believe in them. Let me tell you a story to preface my shameless plug for Vet-Life. Actually, let me tell you 23 million stories.

  • 23 million veterans since 2009.
  • 840,000 homeless.
  • 22 veteran suicides… a day.
  • 300,000 veterans on the streets on a given night.
  • Substance abuse and mental health issues from PTSD, with no hope and no help.
  • Inadequate shelter options.
  • Men and women abandoned by our people and our government after years of sacrifice.

Guess what… I don’t care if you don’t support the war. If you never supported it. If you have a negative opinion of the men and women who go to battle for you and your family. They don’t desert your safety because you don’t believe in them. They don’t return your derision simply because they don’t understand your perspective. We cannot understand what we have not experienced.

Many years alongside the Marine Corps allowed some intimate glances into the minds and hearts of men who serve, for me. I trained many of these men and women in the gym and I trained alongside them. These are real people, with real humanity and empathy. Very, very few – VERY FEW – went in “to kill”. Many never thought they really would. Were they willing to, for your safety? Yes. But they never craved that experience.

These people went to war – many because they and millions of others were convinced by our government during 9-11 that this was a dire need. They thought they were protecting us. Whatever your political affiliations or revelations or disturbing information about our government’s reasons for war that have since come to light, these people I knew… they went in because they cared about your freedom and thought to protect it. They had no other purpose or mission.

When you remember that you have never walked a mile in their fucking boots, many of you have never even known a military member – you would do well to stop and consider the empathy you may have neglected for the sacrifices they made in the name of freedom. Whatever you think of the war, remember that these are human beings. They served and serve out of a passion for your ability to walk, talk, breathe, pray, marry, speak up – without fear of oppression.

I love this community, and I support them with pride.

My friend Kevin works in the private sector now, but spent many years in service. He and his business partner, Corey Peters, are both veterans who started the company Vet-Life on September 11, 2014. Vet-Life takes an active role in the veteran community through the support of various veteran charities and their families throughout the United States, including:

  • Live to Tell Foundations
  • Student Veteran House
  • Homeless Veterans
  • Mission 22

Vet-Life’s mission is to support armed service members and veterans through a diverse line of in-demand apparel. The clothing is comfortable and fashion-forward. The company purposes to honor and represent ALL veterans from military branches, including police officers, firefighters, EMT’s, and other heroes of America who’ve risked their lives for people they’ve never met.

Vet-Life is ready to give back to those who have given so much to us.

Are you?

Click HERE to browse the apparel and provide your support to our veterans! vet      

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The Souls that Save Us

The Souls that Save Us

I’ve wanted to write a post for a while about the people in our lives; the constants, the ones that weave in and out, and the transient relationships which play a small yet powerful role in the process of our evolution of character and personhood.

Before I begin, here’s one. You should follow this man. Rarely am I hooked enough by someone’s transparency and writing style to read through the entirety of a post. Want to be inspired, encouraged, uplifted? Check him out:


There are many people whom I have crossed paths with over the years. I have learned something from each of them. I moved at least 8 (if not more) times in the past few years, and have come across some interesting characters. I have had people encourage, exhort, affirm, build me up; I have had others tear me down, use me, abuse me, mistreat me. I have had those people in my life who simply shine with the radiance of tested character, and the people whose presence is so negative that the room seems to darken when they enter.

Everyone is a part of your journey.

I tell people often that the reason I am not aggressively seeking a relationship, nor am a clingy, obsessive person, is because I have learned many life lessons about a word I overuse but love: transience; the very unquestionable reality of the brevity of existence, of relationships, of materialistic things, and of life. Everything is passing, waning; a breath away from moving on.

7 years of chronic Lyme disease taught me to hold things loosely: to treat them with care, to invest fully where I am (Jim Elliot: “wherever you are, be all there”), and to value what I have been given; but to keep open hands. What I cling to becomes my foundation, and shifts with the sand; the only thing that will endure is my God, and my own character.

I learned to treat my tomorrows without guarantee, to treasure the good people in my life and to remember that nothing given should be taken for granted. I love these lessons; I wouldn’t trade them for 7 years of perfect health and the return on all of the moments I missed as a chronically ill individual during that time frame.

Enter relationships: I feel I may be one of the few people that desires something lasting and beautiful but readily accepts that if something ends, and I have acted with integrity to myself and to the other person, it is because that part of my journey is over, and it is time to move on. Relationships are not an end-all. Make a relationship your everything, make someone your world, and you forget that you really should be with someone who helps you DISCOVER the world, discover yourself. It’s a partnership focused on life and learning: relationships are not an end. They are the means to the greatest end: discovery of self, of the world, and of God.

This also allows me to treat men (and women) like human beings: people I can learn from, hopefully mutually strengthen, encourage. I find my greatest validation in the benefit and impact I am able to somehow have on others. Men are not objects, either for sexual gratification or for “marriage prospecting”. They are people, and many have contributed to my life in powerful and healthy ways.

I have learned more in the last six months of pain and soul-rendering than I have my entire life about myself, others, and the world. Would I wish this on others? No. Would I trade it for ignorance, uncertainty, insecurity of self and less depth of relationship with God? Absolutely not.

Life can bring its worst. I am ready for it. This has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the unwavering assurance that “when all else slips away, He then is all my hope and stay”. In addition, it has to do with the powerful presence of courageous souls in my life who have paved a way for me, lifted me, carried me, tirelessly loved me… unconditionally so.

I have “Hope Anchors the Soul” tattooed on my right hip, from my favorite verse in Hebrews which says “We have this hope as a SURE and STEADFAST anchor of the soul; that Christ has gone before us on our behalf”. The same is true of the souls that have strengthened mine: iron sharpening iron, men and women teaching me about the depth and the brevity of life.

Thank you to the beautiful souls that have many times saved this one.

Dad: thank you for showing me what real love looks like. What a man should be for a woman, what a father should be to his daughters. I knew what my husband was not, because I know what he should be from your example.

Mom: thank you for your beautiful spirit. You empower others constantly and are the single most selfless person I’ve ever met. You never gave up your identity as a person, so you stand out as a mother who knows and values herself but also loved and pours herself into her family.

Liz: thank you for your ceaseless thirst for knowledge and your incredible capacity for pain. You fight onward when the world and your health are against you. You are my personal hero.

Katie: thank you for speaking truth with courage. Even when we don’t agree, you are the most truth-focused, honest person I know. You say it like it is, but you mean it from a heart of love.

Gran-jan: you are feminist through and through. But you deeply loved Paw-paw. You taught me to stand up for myself and my goals, and to follow-through, among many other valuable lessons. I love continuing to learn from you.

Paw-paw: you have gone before, but I remember you daily. I tell people all the time that you taught me this incredible lesson: “Never lose your curiosity for life; the moment you do, you stop living”.

Josh: thank you for the incredible, deep appreciation you have for women as a gender. Sounds odd, but you do. You cherish your lady friends, you treat them like gold. Thank you for being the first person to tolerate buckets of tears after I left. Thank you for reminding me that being feminine is not weakness.

Max: thank you for being a constant friend. We didn’t date, and we are both glad we didn’t – ha. You value me so much as a person that you want nothing else from me. This is rare, and beautiful. You approach the world with so much enthusiasm. I love it.

Cory: where did you come from? One of the best men I know. Your character and confidence shine as you continue to grow as a man… you are unashamedly you, but humbly so. God has used you powerfully in my life and continues to do so.

Katie D: you are fiercely loyal. I love you for it! You’re a champion of other peoples’ goals. That’s a precious thing. You fought for me when I couldn’t stand up for myself.

Jess, Charisa, Em, Sam, Jordan: you always have my back, and I hardly know you. You all face your own struggles but take the time to affirm me and reassure me of my own value when my past sneaks up and trips up my confidence.

Kenny, Bill: gifts I hardly deserve, purely from hearts of kindness, from people I haven’t even met. Amazing.

Christina, Brittany, Kevin: taking me in like family. Resilient, confident, beautiful people and amazing personalities.

Joe C: kicking butt, going for your goals, steering me gently during a really painful time. You and your family played a crucial role.

There are a million more, I need to stop.

Thank you all. Every single name brings to mind something about you, some way you’ve contributed to my life.

I am a blessed, blessed girl.

Cheers to the bright future. Look for the souls that save you, and take your lessons to heart.

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Strength vs. Control: Dating 101 PT 1


In the bodybuilding world, if we’re being honest, the focus is actually on how strong you LOOK, not how strong you ARE.

This is why crossfit competitors and powerlifters and competitive athletes have my respect. Don’t get me wrong, TONS of work goes into bodybuilding competition prep, but the focus is on how you APPEAR, not how functional your fitness actually IS.

Let’s carry this analogy over into my personal experience in the dating world.

Growing up in a strict church culture, I wasn’t allowed to date anyone until I was 18, preferably later. I was in two fairly long, committed relationships between the ages of 18 and 23. I was single for about 6 months and then met my ex and was married for 3 years.

My abuse counselor has been pushing me to be open to casual dates for the sake of self-recovery and healing as I make my way through the difficult process of moving on from an deeply abusive experience. Trust me, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea.

What I’ve found is that for some reason, I have been conditioned to view a certain “type” of guy as “attractive”: the guys who give off that strong, aggressively “masculine” vibe; the military guys, construction workers, trainers, cops, coaches… usually guys in that line of work are instantly “attractive” to me by the way they carry themselves and the confidence which they portray.

The key word is “portray”.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: I am in NO way identifying these job descriptions with abusive behavior or writing any of them off. I am simply speaking from personal experience. There are wonderful, loving men in every profession and equally terrible, abusive, controlling men of every job description. I also have a deep personal respect for the careers these men choose and particularly for the sacrifices made by military men and their families. “Rah!”

No matter what the job description of the guys I’m typically attracted to, I’ve come to find that MANY times this “overtly masculine” vibe is actually a harsh mask for deep insecurity and controlling behavior.

Here’s a stellar example:

I meet – let’s call him “John” – John at the gym. John is pushing some serious weight, he’s rugged, tall, “confident”, and clearly approaches me to ask if I’m using the tricep press for one reason.

I’m flattered. We flirt a little.

John gets my number.

I have a deep feeling of concern which I ignore over attraction.

Texting happens over the next week or so.

John disappears. Then reappears, more interested then ever.

I fail to text John back one evening while working a 6 hour shift on my feet (no phones allowed).

I return to my phone to a string of insecure, concerned text messages such as “Where are you?” “Are you okay?” “I hope I didn’t offend you” “I didn’t mean that to sound that way” “I know sometimes I come off too strong” “If you’re upset at me you should tell me, you’re being immature” “I guess I’ll talk to you later, this is ridiculous”.

In the span of a few hours of not talking, in a non-committed relationship with someone I barely know, this man has gone from happy and confident to angry, upset, self-abasing, worried, anxious, critical, and dismissive.


If you find yourself CONSTANTLY having to reassure someone you’re not even dating (let alone actually in a committed relationship with) that you’re honest, loving, non judgmental, faithful, and available in order to make them feel they have self-worth and that you’re “into them”:


One of the things I’ve learned in abuse counseling has been the vicious path that

  • begins with insecurity
  • moves on into fear
  • then to control
  • then to anger
  • and then to abuse.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Lesson #1: Don’t date anyone who “needs” you to be constantly affirming in order to feel they have value.

Here’s another scenario for you (these actually happened):

“Ryan” comes to me as a client via FB. We hit it off via email and move to texting or phone calls.

Things are going swimmingly: we have a lot in common, easy dialogue, attraction. I’m considering saying yes to the offer of a coffee date.

After a few days of talking, Ryan starts pushing a very sexual vibe into our conversations.

Don’t get me wrong, I love sex. I miss it. I had a deep, personal, intimate relationship with my ex and a very steamy sex life (at first). Might be TMI, but I’m just saying.

I’m uncomfortable with the vibe. I’ve been used and hurt and I’ve come to understand that friendship and care are the basis for healthy relationships. You need passion and sexuality, but you can’t start there.

I’m very, very hesitant to give into this type of talk. Ryan pushes and uses all sorts of manipulating phrasing and sentences like “Guys need sex to feel love” (we’re already talking about love??), “You’ve just been hurt, you need to let go of it and move forward”, “If you never open yourself up to a passionate relationship with someone again, you’ll just be lonely forever”, “You know I’m not that guy, I’m really into you”, “I’m not asking for much, just tell me/show me ___”.


There’s a REASON time has taught me to distrust this as a starting place for anything healthy and real and lasting.

Once again, it may come off as confident and flattering, but in truth it’s from a place of selfishness and control. It’s manipulative and it’s probably not new to them.

The right guy will understand several things about me, and these may apply to you as well (guy or girl):

  1. The right person will understand your hurt and be patient with it.
  2. The right person will value you as an individual enough to wait until you’re ready.
  3. The right person will be secure enough and ACTUALLY, truly strong enough to avoid rushing the relationship.
  4. The right person will let time develop intimacy and will not ask you to prove yourself.
  5. The right person will make you feel safe, vs questioning yourself every time they want something you aren’t ready for.

I describe my previous relationships and mistakes to people often as “instant coffee relationships”:

Very hot water. Add nasty fake coffee. Strong, heady, quick, hits you right away… and then the grinds start separating from the water, it goes all lukewarm because you only nuked it, and you’re left with a bitter aftertaste.

Lesson #2: The good stuff takes time.

So French Press that bitch if you want it to last.

Be very careful to cautiously analyze whether or not someone is legitimately strong in character, intentions, and integrity.

I’m learning to redefine “strong”, “masculine”, and “attractive”. I’m reconditioning myself to appreciate the humble, patient, loving, caring, quietly confident types. Those are the good ones.

You would think I would’ve picked up on that a long time ago, because my mother married one, and 30+ years later, they’re happy as can be.

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RAW pt 3: Heartache

RAW pt 3: Heartache

There are many beautiful things about love.

How you DEFINE love changes as you mature, as you experience life, and as you learn from your mistakes.

One of the worst things about love, in my opinion, is that it defies logic.

Emotion. Masks. Truth.

Part of the recovery process includes a constant battle with your EMOTION over what you know to be LOGICALLY true.

The further you are distanced from a situation, the more your subconscious chooses to cope with pain and the logical decision to remove yourself from a bad situation by bringing up the happy memories, and glazing over the recent ones.

You think about the intensity of the passion that you had with someone, the raw feel of being acknowledged on an intimate emotional and physical level.

You remember a million, billion moments of laughter; inside jokes, near escapes, late-night talks.

You remember the first kiss, that special look; your song, your favorite restaurant.

You remember Valentine’s day at a crab shack, watching a documentary on weapons… the most romantic thing in the world, somehow.

You remember a sleepy getaway to Williamsburg that resulted in a not so intentional pregnancy.

You remember rescuing a dog from the shelter, throwing a ball for him and taking walks in crisp fall air.

You remember that desperate desire to be in their arms again after long periods of time apart, the glow on their face when they see you, and you run to them.

You remember being held amidst significant physical pain, comforting hands and a warm breath of promise in your ear.

You remember a frosty morning on the beach where he turned your world upside down and promised to begin a new life together.

You remember a sunset glow and wedding vows, and a crazy party with amazing friends.

You remember how you lit up their world.

You remember them holding your hand as you struggled through labor, and the deep comfort of their presence.

You remember the incredibly, beautifully, priceless, unforgettable moment when you both saw your son at the same time.

You remember that special smile, and the rush of being together.

You remember all of the beautiful moments, the sunshine times, the passion and the beauty and the laughter and the good in your relationship: a beautiful friendship.

No relationship is ever completely bad. None.

Something drew you to that person, something made you stay.

There were happy moments. You will remember them.

They will play tricks with your mind, and attempt to soothe your fear.

You will find times where you want to say: “f*ck it”, and go back, and try, as you did over and over, ONE. MORE. TIME. One LAST time, right? One last time, for the hundredth time.

In these moments you have to struggle to fight for truth. You have to remember you walked in the good of how God led you.

You don’t want to, but you have to allow reason to overcome your emotion. You have to purposefully recall everything you’ve pushed to the back of your mind in order to cope.

You have to be real with yourself.

Face it.

Cry if you must.


And step forward into your future.

Letting go of the past, opening your arms to the unknown…

that is the greatest achievement for you,

right here,

right now.

“The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.”

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(Simple) Lessons I’m Learning: Pt 2

This is seriously the CRAZIEST season of my life. Combine a legal separation/pending divorce, custody craziness, natural painful emotions and processing, redirecting my life as a single mom, caring for my child, work to provide for myself and my child, school, and a bunch of other things…

When you’re spinning this many plates, you start to think you’re in control.


While I STRONGLY believe in FREE WILL, I’ve noticed that when I am forced to deal with so many things on a daily basis, I start to feel frantic and scattered because I feel like ALL of the pressure in the WORLD is on my shoulders.


Here’s why:

First, I’ll acknowledge that staying busy has become my way of NOT coping with emotion. That is NOT a good thing.

So much is notably out of my control legally, relationally, and with my future that I find myself doing all I can to control everything else. Not surprisingly, this has the opposite effect.

I don’t give myself time to breathe. My hands are all over the place, spinning all of my little plates in my crazy *ss little world, and I forget that actually, the burden is not on me, it’s not in my control – none of it – it’s on Someone who has me covered.

This is when I remember something someone said to me a few years ago about this manner of living. Simply stated:


This is NOT an encouragement to abdicate responsibility in your life, to be lazy, or to pretend you have no impact on the outcome of your decisions or lack of decisions.

It is simply a reminder that once in a while, you need to breathe, you need to remember Who is holding you and gently directing your steps. You need to stop running, stop rushing everything, stop questioning and wondering and overanalyzing and confusing yourself, mellow out, and sit on your damn hands.

My first counselor months and months ago told me to follow peace. When you pass that feeling of peace, you’ve passed God. You forgot about him while you were trying to control everything and convincing yourself you could, should, or will.

Don’t pass peace.

Acknowledge God.

Slow down.

Sit on your hands.

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
    but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

– Prov 19:21

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First of all, go listen to this:

Second, go read this:


Finally, my turn.

Let’s talk about RESPECT.

The beautiful and classic Aretha sings:

Ain’t gonna do you wrong while you’re gone
Ain’t gonna do you wrong (oo) ’cause I don’t wanna (oo)
All I’m askin’ (oo)
Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Baby (just a little bit) when you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)

When I was a lass, early on in my first real relationship, with my skewed ideas of self-sacrifice and love and my juvenile grasp on self-sufficiency, my boyfriend (eventually fiance) told me progressively that he didn’t like:

– dangle earrings

– boots




– eye makeup

– tattoos

– my playfullness

– my talking (politely and respectfully) to anyone of the opposite sex

– my affectionate behavior

– my talking in public.

Yes, you read that. There was more, but luckily it all escapes my memory.

My young self, with my stunted emotional independence and church mouse conformity, readily threw away or gave away every article of clothing, accessory, and personality trait he disliked. I worked my @ss off trying to be what he wanted me to be.

Lucky for him, and even luckier for me, things went downhill quickly and we broke things off. He went on to marry the exact opposite of me, and someone who by nature fit the criteria I was forcing on myself.

You would think I would’ve learned from this relationship, but I didn’t.

My next relationship was about 5 months long. This guy had me convinced that his unwillingness to touch me (in 5 months of dating he only ever gave me a side hug) for the sake of purity was normal. I changed my perspective on things that were or were not appropriate, and I took my standards way “up”, in a manner of speaking, so that he felt I could match his level of “purity” (i.e. drinking was a sin, even one drink, and secular music was a pitfall… things like that).

This one ended when I began to realize how unhealthy the pattern was, and I stood up for myself.

My next serious relationship was my marriage. I flew through the process because of the passion, and looking back I wish I hadn’t, but at the same time, I know I would’ve made the same decisions with the maturity I had at the time, so I do not regret it. Life is a learning curve.

Compromise to me, in this relationship, meant a heavy adjustment of goals and priorities both for the sake of military life, and for the comfort of my partner. If my goals and dreams and likes and dislikes upset him, I backed off, suppressed, changed.

I’ve learned this can only last so long.

In each of these relationships, the other person was threatened in some way by my differences, opinions, personality, and dreams. Not only did they each have their own issues, but they were not secure enough to accept the respect I offered, and to offer the same.

I can legitimately, honestly, with integrity say that in my relationships, I am never the one to make demands. I want, beyond a shadow of a doubt, and clearly to an extreme, the happiness of my partner. I will sacrifice everything to secure that. In some ways, this is not healthy. In other ways, I am very proud of how secure I am in of myself to be happiest when my partner is happy, even if things the like, want, do, or change are not my preference.

Here’s the not healthy, and how I’m learning to address it.

1. Respect is a two-way street.

Only boys will project their insecurities onto you. If you have done nothing but honor, care, respect, and love, and they decide to be cagey, jealous, angry, possessive, controlling, and demanding, that is not respect, and it is an undeserved projection of insecurities.

2. Compromise requires constant redefinition.

We like to say relationships require compromise. In a situation, for instance, where I wanted my Master’s degree and was offered an amazing opportunity, was told to turn it down, and did, that was not compromise. Compromise would’ve looked like patiently and lovingly evaluating the situation and making a healthy, adult decision of my own out of a desire to both pursue my dreams and honor my relationships. Compromise is also a two-way street. If there’s something that you don’t like or that makes you uncomfortable, you discuss it openly (you don’t sit on it for months), immediately, and from a heart of love and support, and you do this on a regular basis.

3. Respect requires communication.

When I was deeply hurt or confused by the actions of my partners, I would internalize because I didn’t want to be “that girl”: the bitch that makes a big deal out of emotional, physical, or mental hurt. WRONG. When you respect yourself, you are open with hurt in a mature way so the other person can know they’ve disrespected you. You may be forgiving, but those little hurts, over time, will undermine a relationship.

4. Changing the things you really want, and the way you really are, is only temporary.

If you go with your gut and you choose to recognize who you really are, what you really believe, and what your own standards are; the core values, the personality, the strong preferences and the things that hurt you or bring you down; when you own those things, you recognize you cannot change them. If you try, and many, many people try, it will eventually wear you down or wear off, and the other person will feel hurt and disillusioned and angry because you’re being yourself.

5. The deepest and most beautiful relationships have mutual respect.

Respect that also includes an autonomy: a value of self. Respect that says I love you for your ESSENCE. If you want purple hair and a butt tattoo, I might not like it, but that’s on you. Respect that also says I want to be attractive to and to encourage and uplift my partner, so there are things I can recognize as trivial and can give up or change because they aren’t a part of my essence, I’m not changing who I am. Respect that values the other person’s dreams, goals, ambitions, personality, differences, and delights in them. Respect that cares enough to go deep, to push someone further, to see their potential and help them realize it, even when that means challenging them in difficult ways. Respect that does not lose the value of self in being fully absorbed in someone else, but still wants and desires and longs for the companionship and partnership of the other person.

Next time around,

I want to know I’m valued for the deepest parts of who I am. I want to feel honored and supported. I want to know I have the liberty to do what I like, so that I can make conscious choices to compromise from a place of independent self-assessment and not oppressive control. There are very few things I want so badly (VERY few) that I will not give them up for someone else, but there are now a few things I value so deeply that I will not sacrifice them.

Like respect.




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The S-E-X Word

Yea, you read that. Let’s talk about SEX.

Whoa, whoa, fitness blog! Nah, I told you things might get spicy.

DISCLAIMER: This is my PERSONAL opinion, and I understand and respect that everyone has their own.

Let’s get the preachy part over with first.

I’m not sure when this happened, but somewhere along the way since the flower-child free-love drugs-galore era where sex as a pastime was normalized (not all a bad thing) sex has become the easy-button go-to for that empty, lonely feeling we all get.

People go through pain or emotional/relational challenges in their marriage, friendships, relationships, work environment, you name it and they decide they have a “need” that needs to “be met”. So they cash in. Maybe through a connection online, maybe through someone special in their life, maybe through someone not so special, or maybe through a “f*ck buddy”, someone they can call up when they just feel their sex-tank is on “E”.

The inner dialogue seems to go something like this:

“Oh man, my sex drive is growling. Must be time for some nookie again”

“Geeze, nothing in the freezer. I thought I had some on standby. Bummer”

“Since I can’t microwave this, I’ll have to grab a phonebook and have it delivered… what a hassle”

“Yea, I’ll have that… with a side of endorphins and no shame please”.

I just don’t get it.

Granted, I was raised in a culture that went to the opposite extreme, where sex was an almost taboo word and the concept of any intimacy (including hand holding) outside of marriage was a carnal sin.


Having made some choices in my past that I legitimately regret and having been out of that culture for a while; having explored various religions myself and come to terms with what I personally know and accept about God and the afterlife and standards of conduct, I STILL find myself frustrated by this convenience-store concept of sex and intimacy.

Here’s why.

My reasons don’t really have to be “biblical”. In an age where hedonism is all we live for, where generation Y is hell-bent on doing everything they can to reach the ultimate end goal of personal gratification, we get lost in the rat race for success and satisfaction and miss the cost aspect of the things we do to cheapen things that are priceless.

I’m of the old fashioned, grab-me-some-dentures and pour-me-some-prune-juice opinion that sex is INTIMATE and SPECIAL and AWESOME and reserved for someone who is in fact INTIMATELY involved in your life, SPECIAL (like no one else is), and AWESOME beyond explanation. Now that I’ve used up my ’90s child vocab…

I personally feel like the more sex you have, the emptier it becomes. I’m not talking about sex with that special person (we will get to that), I’m talking about sex with everyone else. There’s actually science that shows that we only have a limited amount of dopamine receptors, and when we max those out we will never achieve that first rush feeling of sexual gratification again.

Well that sucks.

Why can’t we keep sex on the top shelf and not make it the cheap version of what we really want to drink? We all know the thrill and intensity that comes with sex inside of a loving relationship with someone we want ALL OF, including their mind, soul, heart… we love them COMPLETELY, and there’s a special intensity that comes with THAT kind of sex.

YES, everyone has a desire for sex (some more than others), but just like any other desire, there’s ways to meet it without going A-WOL. I like sweet stuff. I choose low-sugar fruit when I’m competing because my end-goal is worth giving up the chocolate cake for.

If you can genuinely say you really don’t want a fulfilling, deep, intense, passionate relationship with someone else as an end-goal then more power to you, I won’t judge you. Your end-goal, in your world, justifies the normalization of shopping-cart sex. But not for me.

Having indulged myself in the best type of all-out, multiple-times-a-day (yea, TMI, sorry), complete, awesome, intense, passionate, loving, trusting, beautiful type of sex, I want to hold out for that. I’ll snack on fruit while I wait (how sketchy is THAT analogy) but I’ll give up the chocolate cake for the sake of coming in first place in the end.

On to the practical. Some quick bullet points:

1. SEX SHOULD BE FUN. Some positions are tried and true for a reason, but everyone should be open to experimenting. If you really trust and love someone let them do it upside down and backwards if they want to. If you really can’t physically deal with it, that’s your choice, but be open to experimenting. Sex goes stale when it’s too boring or when everything is “expected”.

2. SEX SHOULD BE REAL. Get over the movie-screen romance-novel version and get lost in the moment. You might hit your head on a wall, someone might burp, that button won’t unbutton, they might not do exactly what you want. #REALLIFE. Get used to it. When you script it in your head everyone will enjoy it less. Get lost in it.


The BEST sex means you’re talking, to some extent. Once you get over the movie-screen version and stop scripting, start talking, start asking questions. In my relationship before things got bad, sex got better with time because you get used to asking what the other person wants. The more you get to know your partner, and they get to know you, the better it is.


Now, this does go BOTH ways. BOTH people have to be focused on the other person’s satisfaction and enjoyment to have really awesome sex. But don’t forget your part in that. Get rid of the script, ask questions, and then take pleasure and joy in making the other person happy. I promise it pays off.


Cut the selfish act. Unless you’re physically ill or you really really have a crazy to-do list, be willing to give up the right to demand when you want but not meet when they want. Those of you who want it less often, give in and be surprised by how much fun you have. Often it’s just a mental block that keeps you saying “he has a stronger sex drive” or “she wants it but I’m too tired”.


Sex is awesome, intimate, special. Keep it for someone who is.

Sex (great sex) is real, unscripted, communicative, often, and unselfish.

Just my two cents.




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Living for Tomorrow

In this fitness-obsessed, crazy culture that we bodybuilders live in these days, and with a new wave of “inspirational quotes” and concepts regarding how to live life, we’re constantly bombarded with the idea of “living for today”.

While I get it, I really do, let me speak for a moment to a very specific demographic, a demographic who feels caged by today; broken, hurt, torn apart, depressed, angry, resentful, afraid, discouraged, hopeless…

Let me speak to the broken-hearted, the starting-over, the can’t-get-out, the lonely, the self-loathing, the confused, the deeply-hurt and the lost.

Let me speak to the single woman who is desperately trying to hold out for the good guy, who longs for the companionship and thrill of love and is wrestling daily to keep from cashing in on tickets to the cheap-seat version.

Let me speak to the man who deployed with a beautiful home and a woman who lights up his world, who came back to a broken dream; a note on the table or a regretful email from a friend.

Let me speak to the mother who can’t hold a job, who is trying to get on her feet and meet every emotional, mental, and physical need of her children and sees all odds against her, with the rising desperation of huntress on a barren plain.

Let me speak to the teenager, trapped by a tyranny of oppression that is in no way indicative of loving protection, torn by a thirst for experience and a hatred of every waning opportunity.

Let me speak to you, to your shattered dreams.

I see you, with the Survivor’s light in your eyes. I see the darkness at your back and the bruises on your cheeks. I see the pain that you hide: the smile you wear like a jester’s mask on a broken doll. I see the confusion and the fear, the silk illusions of hope shredded by the painful daggers of your life’s torment.

I see the immense struggle at times, to put one foot in front of the other. The other moments, when you float through reality in an emotionless coma, grateful for the faithful regularity of breathing and the ability to simply check out and keep moving forward.

I see the worst moments, the moments when you are alone, and you step back, and you check in, and you simply HURT. You FEEL every moment over again, every word, every broken dream, every shattered reality, every disillusionment and the painful needles of disappointment.

These are the moments, these are the struggles, wherein the hope we find is not in living for Today. Today has betrayed us, with her duplicitous smile and false promises.Today is broken, irreparable, lost, Yesterday’s whore.

These are the days when you live for Tomorrow. When the simple hope of unclaimed time is the most beautiful thing in sight. These are the days when Tomorrow, with all of her unexplored nooks and crannies and possibilities and endless opportunities, is the hope that keeps you alive Today.

Tomorrow is a precious promise, when Today has lost its beauty.

Never give up on the hope of Tomorrow.




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Strength and Anger

Something clicked last night for me. My abuse counselor said it might eventually. I realized when you get to the point where you’re clinging to hopes of proving your worth to someone, there’s nothing left to cling to. When someone has decided in their own mind to think the worst of your motives, character, and personality, when you have done nothing but reach out in love and affirm them over and over; when you continue to assume the best of their intentions time and again only to be destroyed by their utter disregard for compassion and love; when you begin to realize that your very definition of living and loving someone is the nemesis of their rejection; when you begin to see that your value in perception to them is based on their ability to control you; when the patterns become so textbook they are almost laughable…it’s time to let go. When they stopped believing in you and made their love conditional, you passed the point of no return. In this moment, when you recognize that they are unable to love you as you love them, you are moved to pity and you begin to be angry. And when deep wrongs have been done to you, anger is okay. I know you’re reading this, this person in my life, and you will hate me for it, but you stepped out of my life the moment you loved your pride and control more than you loved me. Leaving you was not abandonment, it was courage, and I will never regret it. I hope you find everything you are looking for, but begin with finding yourself. You cannot strip my value from me. I am no longer granting you that power. Thank you for the many things you did teach me, I hope you can find that spirit of first love again.




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Lessons I’m Learning #1


Not only is it okay, it is good.

Some women function regularly on emotional waves. Yours truly functions by shutting out emotion when things hurt. I avoid sadness and pain in my thoughts because of that weakness I hate so much.

Part of this is a coping mechanism for the tidal wave of emotion that comes with a severely painful situation, and part of this is a survival mechanism because I can’t afford to fall apart. I have a son and myself to provide for and responsibilities to meet.

Only teenagers can collapse in a puddle of mascara-smeared, powder puff tears on a bed of broken hopes and obliterated self-esteem, right? Nope.

I really do rarely cry, but I’m learning that tears or no, IT IS OKAY TO FEEL.

It is okay that when I caught a glimpse of his face when he FaceTimed our son, I had to rush to the living room with a sob caught in my throat, cover my face and weep: that is okay. 

The fact that I still love him, that I deeply miss him: that is okay.

It is okay to relive the pain in order to move forward, and it is also okay to relive much of the beauty and good. This type of nostalgia is not unhealthy; it is pure and unadulterated HUMANITY.

In the interest of humanity, let me be raw for a moment on this score:

I loved his passion for life. When we met he was as intense as I am in his curiosity, his balls-to-the-wall lifestyle and his deep and passionate love for and interest in me.

He was the first person to make me believe, by his very confidence, that I could be healthy again. He taught me to hope for healing.

He taught me to BS less and to say what I was thinking; to stop being a people pleaser.

I loved the laughter; SO MUCH LAUGHTER, it would break me into a million happy shining pieces in the best of ways.

I loved his deep awareness of God’s voice: he would hear from Him, make decisions, and every time things came to pass as he said they would, and he succeeded.

I loved his aggressive fearlessness. Where I was afraid to try new things, to travel, to live after years of sickness, he would hold me and remind me I was safe, but also that I had the power to do things, and possibly even to succeed at them.

He held me amidst significant physical pain and breathed through every contraction with me on our son’s birthday.

Wrestling and late night cuddles and the honeymoon effect of military lifestyle; I look back and love it and feel it all.

No one made me grin the way he did, and no one made me feel so like an 8 year old girl with her first crush.

I love what we had and what we were, and what he helped to make me be. I have a million things to thank him for.

I am human, I feel, I accept that feeling. I acknowledge the pain of rejection, anger, betrayal; of a beautiful thing turned upside down and backwards and inside out and broken at the hands of a fallen world.


This is how we know we are alive.




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