#MeToo, One Year Later

One year ago, I was in a hotel room in New York City, about to leave and take the N train from 42nd street to 23rd street to see the Flatiron building, when I got a notification on my phone from CNN. There was a breaking story on Harvey Weinstein in the New Yorker. The story was by Ronan Farrow and it broke down many tricks and avenues he would take to manipulate and take advantage of women. I showed my mom the headline and she shrugged, continuing to get ready for the day. I sat down on the bed and scrolled through the story, getting chills on my arm from every account I read.

One year ago, I didn’t know the magnitude this story would have on our society. No one did. After so many years in power of Hollywood, no one knew the significant impact the fall of Harvey Weinstein would have our society. No one had seen a man fall from grace this hard and this fast. No one realized that he was the first of many who would follow in his footsteps. I was too preoccupied with seeing the Flatiron building before the remnants of Hurricane Nate rolling through New York to focus on our society breaking into two. A few hours after receiving the notification, I became overly preoccupied with trying to get home through the shitty weather.

It wasn’t until the next day when I was sitting in the hallway, waiting to go into my last class of the day that I understood how this Weinstein story hit a spark in the universe, creating an explosion of women sharing their stories. I was seeing people using the #MeToo on Twitter and Facebook. The more stories I read, the more I felt less alone while at the same time becoming angry by the fact of how common this is and how it took a hashtag for so many women to share their stories public. I was hesitant about sharing my story and after lots of trepidation, I wrote two poems about how the actions of careless boys have impacted my life.

One year has passed since #MeToo spoke to the zeitgeist in a way no one could have ever predicted. We have opened a door we can never close again. One year later, we’re listening to women’s stories and believing what they share, yet we don’t believe them enough to change the old patterns of human history.

945 Miles

Nebraska feels longer than Iowa

and Iowa felt like forever

while I was fast asleep.

I watch the miles drop

as I fly by green signs on the

highway traveling west.

Listening to a podcast,

my father sleeping in the passenger seat,

I wonder how long it will take

until I see something new.

Green fields and pastures filled

with cows, semi trucks too large

to fit on the road.

75 mph for almost two hours,

no stopping or terrible weather,

I watch the low clouds drift east as

I slowly wish to be lost in a dream.

My Essay Is Now Published!!

I won’t be posting a review today. Instead, I have some very exciting news. One of my essays is published!! I wrote this essay for a class in the spring of 2017. It’s about my journey to beginning to acknowledge my stutter and how that coincided with finding my passion for writing.

For almost a year, I had submitted this piece to different publications and received one rejection after another. I had gotten a DM from Z Publishing on Twitter in late April, asking if I was interested in submitting a piece for their upcoming emerging writers from Colorado anthology. I decided that this was going to be the last piece I would submit this piece to before completely rewriting it. I had submitted my essay in early May and forgot about it for about a month.

In the middle of June, I thought I didn’t get it because I hadn’t heard from them. But, by the end of the month, I got an email congratulating me on having my essay being accepted for publication. I’m still on cloud nine and can’t believe this is happening. This is only the beginning!

If you want to read my entire essay, “Finding My Voice,” you can purchase Colorado’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Nonfiction on Amazon or Z Publishing.

Tweets from Sunday

August 12th, 2018

6:15 am

I love when I’m in a place and my phone isn’t on the forefront of my mind.

6:50 am

This is so important for someone like me who seemingly can’t detach from the lure of always needing to be updated on who posted what and when on Instagram.

7:01 am

It’s an addiction I’ve been trying to control for a while. Habits that I’ve blissfully unaware of harder to acknowledge than one would assume.

Denial and ignorance take over my mind for a long time until my awareness over my routine becomes too strong to the time that falls out the window due to too much time scrolling through stranger’s photos on the app that’s different to detach from.

It’s only when I’m on my own and away from good cell coverage that I can step back and see what life is like when it doesn’t revolve around feeling the need to know who, what, when, and speculate on why.

Although, I had this feeling when walking through New York. Being out and about in the city, I barely thought about what could be happening on the addicting app. It was another view into a life where technology wasn’t sucking up the time in my day.

My goal is to get to a place where I don’t feel the need to check Instagram too many times a day when I’m in good cell coverage or have WiFi.

For now, deleting the app will have to do.

7:03 am

(Some of this is rambling, some of this is incoherent. I’m tired and excited to spend the day not on my phone.)

You Can’t Box Millennials Together

Like previous generations, millennials contain all different kinds of people.

Passionate people. Lazy people. Stupid people. Thinkers. Scientists. Writers. Makers. Creators.

Yet people, specifically the media, consistently box us together.

I saw a headline a couple of weeks ago about a teacher who said she couldn’t teach millennials because they aren’t willing to learn.

This is both untrue and unfair.

Yes, some millennials are unfocused.

Yes, some millennials are lazy.

Yes, some millennials don’t want to learn.

But making a statement specifically stating all millennials are untraceable is an insult to those of us who have gone to school and more school because we dream of doing what we love.

You can’t box hardworking young adults with lazy, entitled ones.

Old generations put the blame on us while forgetting who raised us.

This isn’t meant to be hurtful, I’m tired of being grouped with labels I cannot relate to.

Every generation has a variety of different people. Stop putting the bales on millennials. We are ALL responsible for the constructs of the society we’re currently living in and it’s important to take responsibility for all of our actions in order to teach future generations to learn from all of us.

Every generation has people who aren’t great. Just because some millennials aren’t willing to be taught doesn’t mean it applies to people born in the early 80s to the late 90s.

New York

I’m writing this post at JFK, waiting to board a flight to Boston. I’m heartbroken to leave this city. Coming here, I didn’t expect to have an ache in my chest as I leave. This city, the people, the art, the culture, the literature, all of it is magic. Yes, it can be smelly. Yes, walking in rain flooded sidewalks isn’t fun. But all of that lessens the more I’ve been here. Seeing the skyline of Manhattan from Queens is always breathtaking. The outline of the skyscrapers is beautiful. Walking up and down 5th avenue every single day is an experience I will never forget. Spending hours walking through the stacks and sections of The Strand, purchasing too many books. Seeking out Washington Square Park and Hotel Chelsea. Being around so many people. Growing as a young woman living in a dynamic, crazy, society that we’re in right now, seeing people of all kinds of diverse backgrounds being civil with one another gives me hope. I understand why New York is called a melting pot, it’s full of people trying to find the lives they dream of. As I left the city, I looked at the skyline as it was fading behind me, I felt as though I am leaving this city I fell in love with as a different person. I hope to return very soon.

As many of you who know me could probably guess, I was nervous about traveling to New York by myself. I’ve never travelled by myself before to this extent and I’m normally a pretty anxious person when stepping into the unknown. Fortunately, I was in NYC last autumn with my mom, so I knew a little bit about the city. On the downside, I was anxious the majority of the time last year and I feared I would be more anxious being by myself. I was wrong. Thankfully, I was able to push any anxiety I had to the back of my mind and go out of my way and seek out places. The Strand. Hotel Chelsea. Washington Square Park. I walked everywhere almost every day. I never felt unsafe walking in NYC, which surprised me. On Sunday, I walked from The Met to The MoMA by Central Park. It was an lovely stroll. I walked under the trees of Central Park along Museum Mile. I was calm. I stopped often to take photos. I wasn’t in a rush. I took my time, taking in the view of buildings and people, well aware the sadness that was washing over me because it was my last day in the city.

On my stroll by Central Park, I stopped at a Strand kiosk and spent a solid amount of time browsing all the books before buying two more I did not need. I bought them despite the fact that I had already purchased too many. For those of you who don’t know, The Strand is a famous New York bookstore. I spent a lot of time there after long days of stuttering therapy. It was comforting finding solace among books after a day of constantly talking with people and working on myself. As a writer, I love reading other writer’s work. It makes me a better writer. The Strand is a magical bookstore with so much rich history. I even found a copy of Robert Mapplethorpe’s Flowers, which was an unexpected find that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

I left New York a different person. I left New York heartbroken to leave. I spent the week working on myself and my stutter. I discovered new things about myself and how I can become a better communicator. The work doesn’t end now that I left the city. It’s only the beginning and I’m excited to do the work. I also discovered how much anxiety is in my head and how it stems from anticipation about being uncertain about the unknown. The anticipation is always worse than the actual event. The worse things I can think of don’t happen and it was proven to me over this week. I was capable of walking throughout the city without having a panic attack or being extremely anxious like I thought I would be. It was comforting to see so many people, specifically women, walking alone throughout the city. If they could do it, so can I. And I did. I had spent years admiring the city from afar and I fell in love wandering the streets with people from all walks of life. I may have left the city heartbroken but I have a strong feeling I’ll be back there very soon.

Photos from NYC.

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

Part 5.

Part 6.

The MoMA

1/2

2/2

The Met

1/2

2/2

AIS: Speak Freely Live Fearlessly

This week at the American Institute for Stuttering has been amazing. I went in with a few ideas of what I wanted to work on and I’m leaving having learned a lot about myself and my stutter with the tools to navigate this lifelong journey of stuttering. I learned little things I have known about myself but never acknowledged.  How I need to work on my eye contact when I speak with people. How I use filler words to make it easier for me to communicate. How my past dictates my present. How I have options to choose how I want to communicate.  How the anticipation leading up to something is always worse than the actual event. How being vulnerable isn’t as scary as I thought. How I can have control over my voice instead of it controlling me. How I have more to work through and willing to take on working on myself to become to best human I can be. This week, I met some incredible people who have been so supportive along the way. I’m so lucky to have experienced this program with all of them and I’m sure we will keep in contact as we apply what we have learned here in our daily lives. When you interact with fluent people on a daily basis, you can often feel like you’re the only one. It’s inspiring to be reminded that I’m not alone, that there other people out there who stutter too.