Dear Drunk Driver

Dear Drunk Driver,

You are so lucky that you collided with me. You are so fortunate that I was the one just beyond that white line in the distance beyond the beaming red light. I am a 30 year old abled bodied woman: a strong human being. I was able to endure the impact and keep my head straight as you spun me through a familiar intersection. I was tough enough to grit my teeth through the shock and evolving pain to exit my vehicle. Looking back, I’m more impressed with my emotional strength than that of my physical tolerance. As you got out of your car and walked my way, it was you I felt bad for. I knew that you had the red light and causing the collision would be a burden, both financially and emotionally in this modern world. I suppressed the anger of my mangled dream car and possible injuries to worry about you.

Then I was slammed with a reality more astonishing then the steal impact of your F250 against my brand new car. You walked towards the scene as Police approached, and you looked right through me. There wasn’t a wince of empathy on your face or even a polite gesture of concern in your eyes. Then I heard you tell the police, ” I was coming from McNears, I had two drinks“.

It didn’t hit me in the moment, but as the days have past that initial concern I felt for you has turned to rage. Your decisions could have had devastating consequences.

What you don’t know is that earlier that day I was nannying for two wonderful children, ages three and seven. They were in that car with me all day long. I had just left their house. The point of contact where your truck impaled my door, was right where the 3 year old would have been buckled into his carseat. His sister just one seat away.

What you don’t realize that is that I walk across that street weekly. I live a block away. Your truck blowing through the red light and my car spinning uncontrollably through the intersection could have killed pedestrians.

What you don’t know is that I have a bad right shoulder; I was a softball pitcher in college and had shoulder surgery in high school. I rely heavily on my left shoulder to compensate for the lack of strength in my right. The collision has caused injury to my left shoulder. You have stolen my summer hopes of wake boarding my weekends away. Not to mention, with every twist and turn in the night Im reminded of the accident.

What you don’t know is that you obliterated my dream car. “The Beast” was only 4 months old and she was everything I could have ever dreamed of in a car. Sometimes when I hopped in to drive her I would sit and just smile at her sleek interior. I was so proud to walk up to her in the parking lot and be the one to drive her away. She had abundant summer plans and too many pictures to count to prove how proud I was to own her.

When my car came slid to a stop. I was completely alone. My phone had been thrown in the accident and I had no way of contacting my support system. I’m am beyond grateful for the kindest woman (Megan) and her son They stopped to comfort me and offer their perspective to the authorities. She lended me a caring hand, a way to contact my family, and waited with me until I was surrounded by familiar faces. Thank you, so much.

You see, you are so lucky that you collided with me. You are so fortunate that in your second DUI offense, the only thing you killed was my dream car.

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Married at First Date

During the school year I have a strict rule about only agreeing to Bumble dates on weekdays. The weekends are my time and I want to spend them with my people. I’m not willing to take the chance on a date that has the potential to go sour in the first ten minutes. However, it’s summer time, which makes everyday Saturday, and this wasn’t a bumble date. We connected on OkCupid so I broke my own rule and asked him out for a drink before I headed home early on a Saturday evening.

I told him I only had time for one drink as I had to get up early on Sunday; this was a white lie but I’ve learned with online dating you have to have an end game just in case it goes south quickly. We met up at a local watering hole and upon his introduction I knew there was something familiar about him. I had definitely had an interaction with this guy before. We sat down, sipped our drinks and shared the basic get to know you facts – careers, age, hobbies, drink preferences, similar experiences. He mentioned that he was a bartender for some time at a bar that was popular when I was in college …. Boom. It hit me. A flood of memories flashed furiously through my mind. He was the bartender at a bar I used to frequent when I was freshly 21. He has a deadpan sense of humor and a quick mouth. I remember it vividly. As an inebriated bright eyed 21 year old that didn’t know how to order drinks the mixture of his blunt sense of humor and his good looks intimidated me. The memories smeared a smile on my face and I continued to listen with giggles in my eyes finally pin pointing my deja vu.

The conversation was unfolding comfortably and soon enough we had reached the bottom of our glasses. To his surprise I agreed to another round of drinks. We walked to the bar and ran into a small bachelorette party. They were three young foreign girls shipping their good friend off to the land of marriage with a fun scavenger hunt. The bartender in him allows him to casually and comfortably strike up a conversation with anyone, so he did. He promptly greeted them and asked to see their list to see if there was anything he could check off for them. “Get serenaded by a guy”. He sang her an unenthusiastic version of the Itsy Bitsy Spider. They weren’t satisfied with it, and silently, neither was I. They egged him on, considerately checking with me to make sure I was in support of the festivities. I was, completely; I was ready to make some memories for this bachelorette. Suddenly I hear the bachleorette ask my date how long he and I have been together for. Without missing a beat I decided to take a risk. I reply with, “We’ve been married for 7 years”. I’m immediately thankful that my hands were in my pockets because all three girls instantly dart their eyes towards my ring finger. Yup, he smiles, 7 happy-ish years. He teases as his eyes meet mine. The girls are giddy with shock, they can’t fathom that we’ve been married for so long. Apparently I look far too young for that nonsense (their words, not mine). They ask all the questions, how did you meet, what advice do you have, and of course how did he propose? I fielded how we met, he was a bartender and I was patron. He chimmed right in explaining that he never charged me for drinks which kept me coming back. Finally I agreed to take his number. The bachleorette was in awh. I could see the sentimental hope in her eyes, she couldn’t wait to be telling strangers about her marriage story one day. The girls insisted we tell them our engagement story, I passed this one off to him eager to hear how elaborate he was willing to make this story. As he began to talk I realized this may prompt them to inquire about about ring. I smoothly switched the attention back to the bachleorette reminding the group that this night was about her story not ours. With that I offered them a round of shots so I could make a proper toast. As the shots arrived I slyly slipped the ring I was wearing onto my left hand. As I had anticipated, once the shots were finished they asked to see my ring. I held my hand out and explained that we like to keep it simple. I was wearing a simple silver band with a tarnished engraving. With the arrival of the bill we bid them a good night and all the well wishes for her wedding. I don’t quite remember all the details of our interaction, but I know we walked away from that conversation as a happily married couple of 7 years with two kids.

As we sat down and laughed about our victory I officially redacted the fake curfew I set in motion at the beginning of our evening. I was sold. Whether this budding relationship had true potential I still didn’t know, but I was ready to see where the night would take us. No matter what the future outcome the night was one for the books.

Social Media Authenticity

With the invention of social media we have more community than ever. We are consistently connected to far more people and “interact” far more often. In the few seconds I have between classes I can keep tabs on my nephew in Ohio as well as the girl I met in Croatia. I’m one of the first graduating classes to know what most of my classmates are up to despite the fact that I’ve never attended a reunion. But is that community? Does watching someone’s highlight reel create, sustain, or deepen a connection? Does social media make us feel connected to each other, or more like we have to prove ourselves to each other with the next best post? When I posted my 30 days without alcohol blog I was not prepared for the overwhelming out pouring of support and love for the piece. I had several people reach out to me via text, social media comments, and private messages to thank me for writing such an authentic piece. I was shocked. Being raw and real through the platform of social media sparked a reason to connect. It was one of the few times I have felt a genuine connection through social media. People were opening up to me, they were sharing similar experiences, and they were feeling inspired to challenge themselves. The connection of social media was creating a genuine jumping off point to create deeper relationships in real life.

We need more of that; I want more of that. We need to see the raw and the real, the highs and lows. I’m careful to say that as I’m not referring to “dumping”. I am not talking about the posts that are written rashly out of high emotion that seem to be begging for attention. I mean posts that invite others in to elicit understanding. Posts that are thoughtfully written to share an experience. Posts that are vulnerable and give others insight to different perspectives. Thats how we grow together; that’s how we grow as people.

I recognize that social media platforms aren’t necessarily designed for lengthy well planned pieces. It caters more effectively to the quick check in. It’s also not always the safest place to share your lows, or even your highs. However, I think we could all do our part in creating a better balance of what is shared. A balance that elicits authenticity – a refreshing perspective that reminds scrollers that behind the screen we are all simply human. The raw and real posts give us validation. Its a settling, deep breath of comfort that we are where we should be. Social media can present this constant underlying anxiety that we aren’t enough or won’t be enough – or that others are so much farther in front of us that we won’t ever catch up. These authentic posts calm those fears, they validate where we are all; they confront the highlight reel perspective head on. Social media is what you interpret it as, but if we were all just a little more authentic it could relieve the unconscious pressure of living up to our social media presence or someone else’s.

When I started this blog I didn’t have the intention of publishing it. It was simply going to be a place for me to keep all my pieces in a well organized manner. I also considered publishing it without sharing it through my social media – so the chances of someone I know reading it would be slim. I thought about writing it under a pseudonym so my identity would never be revealed. But now I’m committed. I’m craving more of those connections; I love deepening the relationships I have around me. For me, this is what makes life worth living; creating a community to experience life with.

One Game, One Love

“Baring It All” isn’t my first attempt at having my own blog. I began blogging in 2012 when I was a graduate student working towards an MA in Sport Psychology. I was so inspired by what I was learning in the classroom, I needed a place to share it all. To this day I still share my insights and expertise as they relate to sports. Check it out: One Game, One Love

30 Days Without Alcohol

I set out on a 30 day no drinking adventure on April 28 2019. I had just finished a wicked snowboard season full of mimosa’s, shot skies, and mid-slope fireball swigs. I was prepared for the ultimate challenge; one that would test my will power, my confidence, and the depths of my personality. Fun is in my soul, and ever since my days at Chico State alcohol has been the forefront of that fun. Somewhere in my mid twenties drinking had become the headliner on the main stage and other forms of entertainment were simply side acts. A sporadic few had begun to worry, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t occasionally ponder the issue, so I took the plunge. I documented my experience along the way, here is what I noticed and learned.

Day 4 – I drink for others, not myself. Almost immediately I recognized that I often drink to ensure that others around me have fun rather than choosing to do so out of my own desires. I actually realized this long before I started this journey; it’s the biggest reason I brushed off people’s concerns with my alcohol consumption. As you’ll find out on day 11, others people’s impression of me is highly correlated to my alcohol tolerance. If I’m not drinking I must not be having fun, and I more than anyone out there, hate party poopers. So to ensure the masses that I am in fact happy and loving the moment, I drink.

Day 5 – I love the bar scene. I spent my first weekend without alcohol bar hopping with a good friend of mine. We bopped around to bars that I frequented in grad school and even tried some new ones. I ordered mocktails and did shots of sprite – the experience wasn’t any less enjoyable and the energy was as contagious as ever. I love the bar scene with or without alcohol.

Day 6 – The placebo effect runs deep. Maybe its because wine has always been associated with relaxation in my life. Whatever the cause, whenever I sat down with a non alcoholic glass of wine and took a few sips … that deep exhale melt into the couch relaxation consumed me. It’s not the alcohol content, it’s the habit that provokes a mindset. It’s also worth mentioning that fake Rose isn’t half bad!

Day 8 – Alcohol IS entertainment. Planning to meet up with a friend for a drink is all the planning you need, the day or night naturally unfolds from there. Without that option I had to put more effort into my social gatherings – we had to find activities that correlated with our interests and the weather. What can you do in this town besides wine taste and go to happy hour? Having the option of an alcoholic beverage gives the interaction purpose, there’s always an underlying activity that accompanies the conversation. Without it I found myself wondering what to do with my hands. I found it more challenging to end or extend the outing.

Day 10 – I’m not skinnier and my wallet isn’t fatter. I swapped food for alcohol and shopping is much more expensive than drinking – not to mention it keeps you entertained for shorter amounts of time.

Day 11 – Alcohol isn’t confidence. I’ve always been a high energy, eyes on me type of person. Most people assume I’m most comfortable being the life of the party, which is mostly true, but it has to be the right party. In my early years of college I found it a struggle to be social in a room full of new people. I had this skewed perspective that because I wasn’t on the thinner side guys and even girls wouldn’t want to befriend me. So I laid low and faded into the background. In time, with a few sips of alcohol I felt more inclined to engage. Once I discovered I could drink with the big boys I really hit my stride. My tolerance became a silent introduction to those around me, and it fueled my innate center of attention personality. I was thankful for the crutch and I turned to it often; It was comfortable and I was good at it.

Who would I be without that introduction, without that party trick? What I found, was so much more than a party trick. Without the buzzed facade I displayed all of me. My introduction was my confidence and the fuel of the engagements was the variety of facets that compile who I am. People were intrigued by who I was rather than what I was doing. I had grown into my own and I had learned to embrace being the life of the party at every party, not just the right ones. It made me feel like I had come full circle. A roommate from my 2nd year in college once mentioned I was the same drunk as I was sober. 10 years later, I was reminded of that, and the confidence boost is far greater than that of alcohol.

Day 16 – I didn’t forget how to feed my soul, I just forgot to. I began my life as a student when I was 5 years old; with school came friendships, extra curricular activities and of course, homework. I continued my career as a student until I was 28 working my way through a BA, an MA, and a teaching credential. Again with those degrees came friendships, sports and homework. My life has always naturally dictated a healthy balance for me. I had a goal I was working towards, a passion that fueled my soul, and a support system that kept me socially thriving. When sports and school faded I merely had my job, and my social life. In the past, my weeks were so full of striving for goals and exploring my passion that letting loose on the weekends with my girlfriends was the perfect break – it was what I thought made me feel happiest. With only work and my social life on my calendar, my empty days were filled with social gatherings, 99% of which involved alcohol. At first it was euphoric, I could do what made me feel happiest more often…but the more I did it the less fulfilling it became. I’ve come to realize that the only reason I felt the happiest in those times is because I had been “filling my tank” all week. I was feeding my soul with studies of sport psychology and writing my blog. I was working towards a goal and bettering my life everyday in school and at work. Without putting in the “work”, the reward didn’t taste as sweet. A wise elderly woman once told me the secret to life was: “everything in moderation” – I had lost that moderation and low and behold life had become less fulfilling.

Day 18 – Drunk moments don’t correlate to deep connections. Throughout my entire career as a collegiate athlete I believed the easiest step towards team cohesion was a drunken night out together. I wasn’t wrong, those blurry nights allowed us to put our guards down, relax, and share memories together. However, what I didn’t realize is these nights were merely a jumping off point; it took many sober interactions to foster and instill that lasting connection. In team sports this happened naturally because we were together all week practicing, working out, and going to classes. As an adult they don’t happen as naturally. Most social interactions happen during leisure time, which is usually accompanied by a glass of wine, therefore my sober social interactions with my close friends were far more sporadic.

Day 19 – Temptation is fucking real. Before I began, I thought this journey would be tough; I figured that most days I would really struggle to stick to mocktails instead of cocktails. I didn’t, I waltzed through 18 days with virtually no temptations. Then I hit day 19. I was on a 3rd date with a cool guy and wine sounded incredibly enticing. I didn’t need a confidence boost, I didn’t need to relax, but the atmosphere and the company were wonderful and a glass of wine would have been the cherry on top. I almost gave in. He didn’t know my friends or my family, so I felt like I could have a glass, never tell anyone, and still claim victory after 30 days. I didn’t, I stuck to my guns and drank a glass of fake rose. I thought that admitting I experienced temptation would make my commitment less of a success, but it doesn’t. I’m more proud that I was able to resist it, more so than I would have been if I didn’t experience temptation at all.

Day 22 – Ok. I am skinnier . Ten pounds skinnier to be exact. (Welp, that won’t last long). I’m trying to convince myself it’s the morning gym workouts I’ve committed to, but let’s be real, it’s not.

Day 24 – Genuine friendships. All my friends were incredibly supportive, some even stood in solidarity with me when we were out and about. Cheers to you guys! (Irony intended)

Day 26 – I take far less pictures. My social calendar wasn’t any less packed than it typically is. However, looking back through the photos on my phone I notice that I documented far fewer moments.

Day 30 – Already? The last drink I had was a margarita at Mi Pueblo on Butter and Eggs day (April 27, 2019). It’s officially been 30 days. I’m shocked at how quickly time passed.

Is 30 days without alcohol a huge victory? Not necessarily. However, 30 days without anything you typically have or do is something to be proud of. I’m proud of myself for committing to it; I’m proud of myself for diving in and genuinely noticing the differences as time passed. I was able to be still long enough to evaluate my happiness instead of constantly moving to ensure others. As far as what I ultimately learned about myself along the way; I was reminded of who I already knew I was.

Welcome

I am a balanced mix of outrageous fun and intriguing depth. Authentically meshing those two personas has been a life long adventure – as society brands them mutually exclusive. These are the lessons I’ve learned, epiphanies I’ve discovered, and experiences I’ve lived along the way. This is my world, from my perspective. Enjoy.

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