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The Winter Weekend

Life lately has been fairly non-exciting. Aside from work, a few social events and the holiday craziness, Evan and I have been laying low since about November. And I can’t lie, it’s been amazing. I’ve been loving this winter and it’s because I’ve barely done anything! Back in the summer when it was busy every weekend (with fun events!) I was fantasizing about a winter weekend at home with no plans, so I’ve been remembering that feeling and making sure to appreciate every minute of the low key life.

It’s only February and ALREADY every weekend this summer is almost booked (with fun events!) and I know that, once again, in a few months I’ll be looking forward to a winter weekend in with no plans, so I am making sure I don’t take it for granted.

Anyway, this weekend we actually had nice winter weather and I got out and did stuff. It was a long weekend here and we had some fun activities on the agenda. Which means…….I HAVE THINGS TO WRITE ABOUT!

On Saturday we celebrated my friend Sherrie’s birthday, so we kicked that off with some tubing action at Lakeridge, our friendly neighbourhood ski resort (where my friends and I learned to ski back when we were kids, oh the memories).

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What a birthday babe. We did this four years ago for Sherrie’s birthday as well and had a total blast!

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The last tubing party

If you’re new to tubing (this was only my second time ever) you are pulled up to the top of the hill, and then you ride your tube down with up to six fellow tubers at a time. They’ve changed things up slightly with the tubing though–last time the lanes were bigger so you could go down in a circle up to a group of six, and this time the lanes were more narrow so while you could still go down in a group it was a single file one. I think the first method was slightly more fun because you could see everyone’s hilarious panicked faces and the fear in their eyes, but I will say that this way got people down the hill more quickly so the lineup moved faster. So that’s a win. You still move surprisingly fast down that hill and it still caught me off guard and I could do nothing but scream my face off the entire time. Intense.

We were there for a few hours and it was good times all around!

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After the tubing party we headed to Sherrie’s, ordered pizza, made wings, ate all the trashy snacks, and hung out in our leisure attire. It was so wonderful. Much different than the tubing after-party last time, which included The Corral (a local country bar), but we are four years older and therefore wiser and no one wanted to pay for that decision for the next two days. We made the right choice I think.

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It’s been a while since all of us were together with our men so it was nice to just hang out and catch up! There were nearly 20 of us so it felt like a legit house party! The DGAF version.

We played some games, as we always do. Evan’s mom got me Telestrations for Christmas (the dirty version) so I brought that along and it was HILARIOUS. Clearly.

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It’s basically a cross between Pictionary and broken telephone and we were absolutely dying. So so funny. I highly recommend that game. Can’t wait to bust it out again.

It was a super fun night and we headed home on the early side. I was in bed by midnight as I had big plans the next day–my friend Joanna and I headed up to Blue Mountain Resort to go skiing!

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Joanna’s a snowboarder so she’s way cool, but I don’t think I cramp her style too badly. I haven’t been skiing since Lake Tahoe last year with my pal and fellow blogger (she is much more regular than me) Cely! But skiing is basically just like riding a bike. After a few runs it came right back to me. I didn’t even fall! Things got a little hairy though when we went down a double black diamond hill that was basically all ice. I felt the wheels coming off the bus but I somehow managed to hold it together.

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I love Blue Mountain. I haven’t been skiing there in about 10 years and they’ve added a few runs since the last time I’ve been. They’ve also added a BeaverTails at the top of the hill!

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So, that’s a dream. I wasn’t quite ready for a BeaverTail at that moment since we were about to eat lunch (I ate an entire pizza, skiing makes me hangry) but you better believe I got one in the village before leaving.

Blue Mountain is not quite the same as skiing on an actual mountain and I can’t say that it compares to Lake Tahoe, but they do have some good runs and most are a decent length. Unlike Lakeridge (where we went tubing and where I grew up skiing) where you do a few turns and the hill is over.

It had snowed up there the day before so the snow was decent, the sun was mostly out, it was around 0 degrees so the perfect temperature, and the view was gorgeous.

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So just an amazing day. You could see Blue Mountain Village below, the town of Collingwood, and then the lake for miles. Gorgeous.

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It was also so nice to spend the entire day with Joanna! (she was one of my bridesmaids if you remember) We have not spent that long together one-on-one in yeeeeeears, so it was so nice to just chat it up all day.

Since it was Family Day weekend it was definitely busier than usual, but we didn’t really notice until about 4pm. Luckily we were on the hill by 10am and other than a break for lunch we were skiing for all that time, so by the time it got crazy busy we were pretty much done. We waited for at least half an hour for our last chair lift, did one last hurrah run, and that’s all she wrote. I snagged my BeaverTail on our way out…

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I like just the plain cinnamon and sugar BeaverTail, the other ones are so sweet they hurt my teeth!

And then we were on our way back to the city. Blue Mountain is about an hour and 45 minutes from Toronto so every time I’ve gone in the past (skiing or not) I’ve stayed for a night, but I did not mind driving up for just the day. We saved money and I didn’t feel rushed at all. Totally doable day trip.

On Monday Evan and I went to Orangetheory (possibly a mistake, my legs were pretty dead and by yesterday they were just done) and then did the usual Sunday mix of errands, getting our shit together for the week, and leisuring. I have done ZERO winter activities this year so it felt really nice to pack them all into one weekend! And just in time–we’re leaving this Saturday to go to Mexico for a week, and then hopefully by the time we get back it’ll be spring! Doubtful, but a girl can dream.

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15 Life Lessons I Learned from my Nana

This week marked one year since we lost my beautiful, wonderful, fantastic 102- (and a half!) year-old Nana.

I can’t believe it’s already been a year, and at the same time I feel like it’s been forever since I last saw her. If you know me, or if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you probably know that we were very close and she meant a lot to me.

I feel so very lucky to have had her in my life for as long as I did. She was such an incredible person and taught me — and our entire family — many important life lessons over the years. And she taught these by example, not by preaching to us, just by living her life.  I can only hope to be half the woman she was.

These are the biggest lessons she left us with (there are so many and I know I’m leaving some out, but I hope to do her justice!).

15 Be generous.

Nana had a large heart and her generous love knew no bounds. She housed us, not only our family, but our friends, her neighbours, their friends. She would host my friends and I at her house in Toronto for weeks at a time. She opened her home to anyone who needed somewhere to stay and even had boarders for many years, figure skaters who were training on Team Canada and needed somewhere to live in Toronto. She cooked for us, pierogies, cabbage rolls, pizza, lasagne, and so much more, and she baked us elaborate cakes for our birthdays, filled with change that she scrubbed, dried and then wrapped in wax paper.

My brother Eric, Dawn and I back in 1998, with a famous Nana cake

She gave us all $200 for our birthdays, slipped us cash when we didn’t have money, or just because (or if she felt we should buy ourselves $50 worth of chips and gingerale…treat yo’self!). When I moved out on my own she bought oranges and cookies and cheese and paper towel and whatever else was on sale at the grocery store and made care packages for me. When she moved into a nursing home she saved whatever random assortment of goods she acquired (cookies saved from meals stored in Ziplock bags, socks won at Bingo, pens, stickers, Werthers Originals, etc.) and continued with the care packages, giving me whatever she could manage. She gave and gave and gave and gave, right until the very end. She loved endlessly, and she sacrificed to make sure that her family came first.

14 Don’t sweat the small stuff. 

This is cliche, but it’s a big one. People ask me all the time what Nana’s secret was, how she lived so long, looked so great, and was still so spry until the end. It was undoubtedly her positive attitude. My Nana was truly THE most positive person, and this was despite experiencing many hardships throughout her long life. She lived through two world wars (born during the first) and the Great Depression. Her mother died of the Spanish Flu when Nana was very young, leaving her father to care for her and her younger brother and two-month-old sister (she had an older sister who still lived in the Ukraine and she wasn’t reunited with her until years later).

As her father needed to work to support his family, Nana was often left with neighbours, friends, anyone who could watch her, and these people were not always kind to her or took good care of her. She gave birth to my dad three months early in the 50s and he nearly died. She ran a busy restaurant in Toronto on Yonge Street for many years, which you bet was a stressful situation. Her husband died 34 years before her, of lung cancer, and she never took off that wedding ring.

After all of these things, and who knows how many more little things, she was the most positive, uplifting person, and she never dwelled on the past. Maybe her less-than-perfect life allowed her to put things into perspective? I don’t know, but I don’t think I ever saw her without a smile on her face.

As she would always say to me, “Don’t worry, you’re beautiful!” (which of course does not solve anything, but never failed to make me feel better).

13 The biggest power you wield is forgiveness.

Nana forgave. She knew that forgiveness is for our own growth and happiness, and it is forgiveness that allows you to be happy in the present. She understood that when you hold onto anger and resentment, it harms you more than the person who caused it. The only person in the world you have control over is yourself, and you can control how you let situations and people and things affect you. You have the power of forgiveness.

12 It is up to you to make the best of any situation. 

At 96 when Nana had to leave her apartment and move into a nursing home,  it was not her favourite, BELIEVE ME. She had been living it up independently for years, and she absolutely mourned that loss. But she knew the nursing home was the best place for her. She embraced it, and focused on the good things — meals made for her! Cookies at every meal! Friends! Games! And of course, the care she needed. She kept as much independence as she could while living there, and for a while even did her own laundry to keep a sense of normalcy. She went to all the activities, Bingo, table bowling, mystery word (which is a game I still don’t understand). She made friends. She did whatever she could to make it enjoyable for herself. When Elvis came to the nursing home’s annual family BBQ, she was all over it.

She went to the dining room for every meal and she always looked her best before going. Which brings me to…

11 Always make an effort to look your best. 

It’s about feeling good about yourself. Nana took pride in how she presented herself. She woke up early every morning and would get ready, washing up and doing her makeup, including lipstick, to go down for breakfast in the nursing home. Even at 102. Even at 102 she was still getting manicures and having her hair done! She always looked like a million bucks.

10 Thoughtful gifts are the best gifts.

Nana didn’t care about receiving gifts from us, but she sure cared about cards! She saved every card anyone had ever gotten her in a photo album. And she loved reading the messages on them. For holidays all she ever asked for from me was photos of me.

Giving cards was also just as important to her, and she prided herself on finding that perfect card. And she would always add the same message: May all your dreams come true. With love, Nana.” And stickers. She always added her own stickers.

Later in the nursing home if she couldn’t get out to get a card, no problem, she just regifted a card that some random child had made for her.

She just whited out the name to make it her own.

When I was younger I was big into Babysitter’s Little Sister and then the Babysitter’s Club books. Nana kept an updated list of all the book  numbers that I currently owned and for every holiday she would buy me a few of the books I still needed to add to my collection. Unwrapping a fresh Babysitter’s Club Super Special that I hadn’t yet read on Christmas morning was THE BEST.

9 Sometimes you’re just going to have to take care of things yourself.

She didn’t like the fan on in the hallway outside of her room in the nursing home because it would make her room cold, and when the nurses left it on she took matters into her own hands. She dragged a chair out of her room, stood on it, and turned it off herself. At 100 years old. One time we were walking through her nursing room hallway and there was a resident in a wheelchair blocking the way. They weren’t moving, so rather than wait it out, Nana picked up her walker to chest height, carried it past the person blocking the way, put it back down and continued walking with it. It was incredible.

8 When the odds seem against you, don’t give up.

When Nana was 99 she fell and broke her hip. We worried it was the beginning of the end. The doctors warned us that she would probably never walk again and to prepare ourselves for the worst. But she just couldn’t have that. She said that she told herself that she WOULD walk again, she WILLED herself to walk, and she was walking again in the hospital the day after her hip surgery! No one could believe it.

She had another fall on her bum just before her 100th birthday party and was not feeling the best the day before her party, but when my aunt told her that she needed to perk up because a lot of people were coming to celebrate her big milestone, she somehow just snapped back to normal!

Again, I think she just willed herself.

7 It’s okay to get dirty, in the kitchen or the garden.

You need to get your hands dirty to insert love into everything!

6 It’s important to be able to laugh at yourself.

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My friend Emily went to see Nana in the nursing home when she was about 8 months pregnant and Nana had a moment of confusion, thinking Emily was me and I was the one who was pregnant! It was quite a surprise. When she realized it was Emily and not me she laughed and laughed. When I saw her next she was still laughing at her mistake. Nana had no problem making fun of herself, and that is a quality I admire.

5 Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures. 

Nana was incredibly food-oriented and was always making food for us. Banana splits before bed whenever I slept over at her house is one of my favourite memories. One of my first blog posts was about Nana’s love of food! One time I asked what she had for breakfast in the nursing home and she responded: porridge, toast, eggs, yogurt, coffee, and orange juice. Yes, this is for sure where I inherited my love of food. Also there are five ingredients that make everything taste better: butter, salt, garlic, sugar, and of course, love.

Also, there is room for wine in any diet. Or a mimosa on your 100th birthday.

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4 Enjoy the little things. They can bring you so much joy.

Cards, cookies, books, the Y&R (she watched it faithfully for years and years), horoscopes, Turtles, afternoon tea, dessert, the love of your family. Well, that last one is a big thing but Nana lived for all the little things and again I think this is why she lived for so long. She always had something to look forward to!

3 Moisturize moisturize moisturize!!!!

She was ALL about moisturizing and credited her amazing skin at 102 to her moisturizer (she used Olay if anyone is wondering, their cheapest most basic one!). I’m crossing my fingers it’s genes but you better believe I’m still moisturizing.

2 Love as long as you live.

Nana lived for the love of her family and she told us and showed us how much she loved us every chance she got. When I think of Nana, love is the first word that comes to my mind.

1 Carry on.

When something seemed insurmountable, when Nana was in pain (she was frequently in pain during her last year or so) she would always say “Well, I’ll just carry on.” It almost became her motto, carry on.

When things seem overwhelming to me, I ask myself what Nana would say, and it would be to carry on. Life is going to be real shitty sometimes. It’s all I can do, it’s all any of us can do, just carry on.

I am no expert at putting any of these lessons into practice, but I hope I have a long life ahead of me to get better at it. I’m so thankful to my Nana for being such a great example and for giving me a solid foundation. It is her legacy to all of us.

(if you enjoyed reaching about Nana, this post about all the reasons she is the best ever is my favourite!)

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Holly Jollies

Ahoy ahoy and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great holiday! I thought I’d pop in and talk about mine while I felt in the mood for blogging. It’s fleeting lately so if I don’t take advantage and do it now it’ll suddenly be mid-January and I won’t ever talk about it.

We had a really good Christmas! My mom came in from BC and stayed with us for 10 days, which was a real treat.

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I can’t remember the last time I spent Christmas with my mom and it was so, so nice to have her here! Evan was treating us to delicious dinners in the days leading up to Christmas.

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He’s been mastering our Instant Pot lately and making really delicious things in there, like the roast beef below.

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Serious melt-in-your-mouth going on there. That was Christmas Eve dinner, which we also had Evan’s mom over for. I love that our moms get along so well! They hit it off immediately and they’re good buddies after their week together in Cuba. Evan’s mom slept over on Christmas Eve so she could have the morning with us and then help us prep, ’cause we hosted family Christmas. It was the first time since Evan and I have been together that we weren’t traveling somewhere on Christmas day and I can’t lie, I really enjoyed it. Although, hosting is a lot of work. We had 9 people in total, which isn’t a ton, but we do live in a condo. Luckily it’s pretty big and our main living area and kitchen are very open, so space wasn’t really an issue, but we had to borrow a table from our building to to fit everyone. I didn’t even get a picture of our beautifully set table. Just the food.

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Unpictured is lentils and rice and a shrimp curry Evan’s uncle made that I loaded my plate up with after. I barely took any pictures but everything was so good and I was proud of us for pulling it together. We worked with the moms to make everything, and they mostly did the turkey while Evan and I supervised. My mom also made her stuffing recipe, which I have not had in about 15 years but have been dreaming of for just as long, so that was fantastic.

I made my Nana’s Christmas cookies!

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They are time-consuming suckers but man are they worth it. I love them so much.

So, I’d say our first time hosting Christmas was a big success.

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On Boxing Day we headed to Evan’s dad and Loulou’s with my mom for more Christmas things. It is now the arctic here and it was absolutely freezing, but we still wanted a bit of outside time on their huge and beautiful property.

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So crazy that for the past few years on Christmas I’ve been able to be outside with a light jacket on. Not this year!

We squeezed in a visit with my favourite donkey, too.

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Love that Zeke. I had really talked him up and my mom was quite excited to meet him.

Then we warmed up inside. Evan carved the turkey. He’s a pro.

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And we had Christmas dinner #2. Also delicious.

I was lucky to have the rest of the week off work, so I spent it mostly leisuring with my mom. We did some shopping, watched movies, finished the second season of the Crown, and had dinner with Evan and his mom on Wednesday. On Thursday night we all went to our pal Emily’s for my mom’s last hurrah.

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Dawn and Scarlett were with us as well, and of course Baby Marcus.

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Who I can’t get enough of.

Emily and Corey made us all an amazing pasta dinner and it was nice to just hang out for a few hours. I know my mom loved seeing them all, and overall I know she had a really great time here! I wish she lived closer (Eric too), however it is nice to have an excuse to visit beautiful BC!

It’s been extremely cold so aside from going to Orangetheory, grocery shopping, and a couple dinners out, Evan and I have been mostly hibernating. For the first time in our history we stayed in for New Year’s Eve and it was GLORIOUS. We just hung out and drank beer and played video games (we’re both into Call Of Duty WW2 right now). And it was SO NICE to wake up in our own bed on New Year’s Day. Usually we’re out and about the night before and would have stayed over at friends, so we’d still have to make our way home, and then probably nap. I feel like we got a jump start on the new year waking up at home.

And now it’s back to the grind for me today. I’m hoping it’s a quiet week at work and I can catch up on a bunch of things before things start to get crazy again. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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Music Monday

I took an accidental blog hiatus so to ease myself back into things thought I would post a playlist. I haven’t done a Music Monday in a while and I’ve been hearing some good tunes recently so I think it’s time! Here’s some of the music I’ve been loving lately.

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Clicking on the link will take you to the song’s YouTube video.

Ahead Of Myself – X Ambassadors

Amsterdam – Nothing But Thieves

I am really loving this one.

Angela – The Lumineers

Astronaut – Sir Sly

Bottom Of The Deep Blue Sea – MISSIO (also really loving this one)

Broken Machine – Nothing But Thieves

Die Young – Sylvan Esso

Faded Heart – BØRNS

The Gold – Manchester Orchestra

High – Sir Sly

High Enough – K.Flay

Knocking At The Door – Arkells (love for Canadian music! Love that Toronto skyline in the beginning. I’m seeing them on Thursday and I’m super pumped about it!)

Live In The Moment – Portugal. The Man

Money – The Beaches

Mountain At My Gates – Foals

Now Or Never – Halsey

Remember That Night – Grouplove

Sit Next To Me – Foster The People (this one makes me so happy)

Sorry – Nothing But Thieves

The Devil You Know – X Ambassadors

Whole Wide World – Cage The Elephant

I’m always on the hunt for new tunes so if you have any recommendations I am all ears!

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Accidental #Gainz, Cat Pinkeye and Hell Week

Just a bunch of random things that don’t really flow together but I feel like talking about today…

I bought a new protein powder a couple weeks ago but the same brand as usual, I was just replenishing my stash, so I grabbed it quickly without really paying attention. A few nights ago I was making my overnight oatmeal for breakfast the next morning, and as I was adding my protein powder I caught a glimpse of the stats on the back of the canister. They seemed higher than usual. Like 160 grams of carbs higher than usual and about four times the calories. I turned it around to look at the front and…

Gainer. Mass GAINER. Great. I was using that for like two weeks. You know what’s not my goal? Gainz. Ugh.

I feel like Regina George in Mean Girls with the “weight loss” bars.

Oh well, good thing it’s Hell Week right now at Orangetheory Fitness! In the eight days leading up to Halloween, Orangetheory is “celebrating” by having 8 days of extremely challenging classes. If you can survive 5 of the 8 classes you earn a coveted Hell Week t-shirt! I will do pretty much anything for a free shirt so obviously I’m doing it. All the workouts have fun Halloween names too, and I’m a sucker for kitschy things like that (all Orangetheory’s follow the same schedule so workouts are the same at every studio).

  • OCT 24 – “Don’t Fear the Burpee” – 23 minute row block
  • OCT 25 – “Don’t Breathe” 16 All Outs
  • OCT 26 – “Drag Me to the Hill” Partner workout
  • OCT 27 – “28 Reps Later”
  • OCT 28 – “Thigh Day the 13th”
  • OCT 29 – “I.T.”
  • OCT 30 – “The Inclines of Death”
  • OCT 31 “Helloween”: where tricks OR treats await you depending on the luck of the draw.

I skipped Don’t Fear the Burpee mainly because I fear 23 minutes of rowing (I actually like the rower, but 23 minutes on it would make me hate it), but I did Don’t Breathe on Wednesday and Drag Me to the Hill yesterday, and dare I say they weren’t that bad? I feel okay so I might do 28 Reps Later after work tonight. I think I’ll skip Thigh Day the 13th but do I.T. (I think it’s going to be an intense tornado, which means switching stations constantly and that’s my favourite) and then Helloween. And that’ll make it five for me so I’ll get a sweet shirt with this logo:

Only three more classes to go.

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The little kitty has a name! She is officially Pepper.

It took us about three weeks to decide, but I think it suits her. She’s a Pepper. She is totally crazy. I feel like I forgot how nuts kittens are, and it hasn’t even been that long since Tilly was a crazy kitten. Remind me to read this blog post if I’m ever thinking about getting a kitten again. She is into freaking everything and she rarely sleeps. But, we love her.

In other more unfortunate cat news, poor Tilly is recovering from pinkeye.

That picture is from before the pinkeye, clearly. I didn’t even know cats could get pinkeye, so that was quite a surprise. It was extremely alarming when we first discovered it because it came on very suddenly and looked very bad. She had just woken up from an evening nap and when she first opened her eyes her right one looked so bad that it appeared she may not even have an eye anymore. We panicked. It was awful. We originally thought Pepper must have scratched Tilly while they were play fighting. Evan and I immediately packed Tilly up and took her to the emergency vet and her eye was already looking better when we arrived there (she definitely still had an eye, thank god). After the vet examined her it was discovered that it’s just pinkeye.

Tilly had an upper respiratory infection when we first brought her home from the shelter, but after a couple weeks of sneezing she’s been fine since then. Pepper also has an upper respiratory infection from the shelter and has been sneezing, so the vet said that the virus has probably just been lying dormant in Tilly and with Pepper sneezing on her it brought out symptoms again. Which manifested as pinkeye.

Cats man, who knew.

I’m so relieved it’s not more serious. We’ve been putting drops in her eye three times a day (she does not love this) and it’s almost fully cleared save a little runniness in that eye. But I will never forget that sick feeling of dread I had when I thought Tilly might have lost an eye. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have kids and having to deal if they hurt themselves. Intense.

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Well, that’s pretty much it. Except I have NO PLANS this weekend and I could not be more excited about it. Life has felt really busy lately so I’m looking forward to chilling out with Evan. I’m gonna watch Halloween things and read, and maybe do some painting around the condo. We’ll see. Have a great weekend!

 

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Me Too.

You may have seen this movement going around social media in response to the disgusting Harvey Weinstein situation.

 

Well, me too.

Too many times to count. Many of these encounters I do not feel comfortable talking about but there are a few I will share, because unfortunately my experiences are not uncommon. In fact, I would be more surprised to find a woman who did not experience sexual harassment or assault than one who did. So today I will add my voice to the chorus of others, because for so long this behaviour has been normalized and we need to speak out.

When I was about 8-9, I was walking home from my school bus stop and an older boy in my neighbourhood (probably around 14-15) asked me to come into the forest with him because he wanted to show me something. I knew him fairly well and trusted him, and I was thinking he wanted to show me a fort, or something of a similar cool nature. So I followed him. When we got to a clearing he dropped his pants, exposed himself to me and said some horribly disgusting things that I will not repeat on here but I will never forget. I ran away as fast as I could, and I didn’t tell anyone for 20 years. I felt ashamed and embarrassed, like it was somehow my fault it happened. Like I had brought it on myself. And my mom was friendly with his mom so I didn’t want to “make things awkward” between them. I didn’t want to be questioned about it. I wanted to forget it happened.

When I was in high school my friends and I were all on a band trip in Quebec City and a man was lurking outside of our ground floor hotel room window. He exposed himself to us and began to pleasure himself right there in front of us. We didn’t tell any of the chaperones, because we were ashamed. We actually finally told our band teacher just a couple weeks ago that this happened, and when he asked why we didn’t say anything to him at the time we all looked at each other and said the same thing. Why would we? What would have happened? We thought it was our fault. We felt like we did something to cause it. In reality it happened just because we were a bunch of girls.

The summer I graduated high school there was a big party in a university town at the house of one of our friends who had graduated before us. A bunch of us went, probably a third of our school (we went to a very small school). After the party died down I had gone to sleep and when I woke up a male “friend” of mine was situated halfway down my body, he had my jeans undone and was struggling to pull them down my hips. Alarmed, I asked him what he was doing and he said he thought I “wanted to.” Um, I was sleeping, so how exactly did I give off that vibe? This was someone I trusted. We went to elementary school together. I grew up with him. I got myself out of that situation and I told my friends who were there, who were very supportive, but I didn’t turn it into a big thing because it was awkward. I told myself that maybe it wasn’t that big of a deal. And his friends were friends with my friends and I didn’t want to make people take sides so I just shrugged it off. That was only about 15 years ago but it was a different time, and we didn’t talk about these things.

That same night one of my friends was sleeping on a couch and a strange man we had never met just started making out with her. And that is actually just the first time that same situation happened to that same friend. A couple years later we were at another friend’s university house in a different town and this time a strange man on the street happened to look through the living room window in the middle of the night, saw my friend sleeping on the couch, felt free to let himself inside, and again just started kissing her. What the actual F? If she hadn’t woken up and had such a loud violent reaction that our boyfriends at the time raced to her side and ended up chasing him down the street, I shudder to think what could have happened.

The fall before I met Evan I was in a bar with coworkers and a man reached through my legs from behind and grabbed my crotch so hard that it hurt for two days afterwards. I was wearing jeans. I don’t know why I feel the need to add that fact. I wanted to slap him or something, but it happened so quickly and I felt so shocked and violated that by the time I realized what had happened and turned around to face the person, they had disappeared into the crowded bar.

I cannot count the number of times a man has made an unsolicited comment about my body, specifically my chest. Or touched me without my permission. You get the point. And I’ve been lucky! So many women have stories that are so much worse.

A bunch of my friends and I were talking recently and every. single. one. of us had a similar story to the above. All of us. Back in the summer my friends and I were having a girls night and we were playing a game where someone made a statement, and if that statement was true for another person they had to take a drink. I made the statement: “I have seen a man’s penis when I did not ask to and did not want to.” Everyone drank. Whether it was an unsolicited and sudden surprising d*ck pic, the incident similar to the one in Quebec I mentioned above, or a man coming through the drive thru of a coffee shop with his junk exposed to the teenage girl who was working, we’ve all seen it when we absolutely did not ask to and did not want to. WHY do men think this is okay? Why do they present that like it is some sort of prized fish? Not all men, of course. But #yesallwomen.

I have never been comfortable talking about these experiences and I have largely kept them to myself, especially that first one. I opened up to Evan recently and for comparison purposes I asked him how many unwarranted, unasked for, vaginas he had seen. I’m sure you can guess his response. Zero. Not one.

Maybe #metoo isn’t going to inspire real change, and also know this:

I do agree that it is still easier not to speak. A hashtag probably isn’t going to change much. I’m still seeing comments on these “me toos” that women are only speaking out for attention and for people to ask them what happened (give me a break), or that we’re not talking about men being objectified (that’s not the point of this conversation).

But I do believe that things are slowly changing and we are starting to have the courage to more openly discuss these stories and say this is not okay. And yes it is common from regular women. We’ve been conditioned to believe that it’s our fault, we made this happen, we should have said something, we could have stopped it, we’re crazy for thinking it’s bad, or we’re thinking it’s not “bad enough” to warrant speaking out, or when we do speak out it’s because we want attention. But after seeing my Facebook feed inundated with ‘me toos’ I felt like it is finally becoming accepted that it is the aggressor’s fault, not ours. For me, hearing other people openly talk about their experiences empowered me to talk about mine, even though relatively speaking they’re not that bad, and even though they still make me feel a twinge of embarrassment. Because yes, me too. Of course me too. This movement should be changed to “who hasn’t?”

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