Sleater-Kinney Thawed Me Out

The whole gang! Photo by Audrey Leon

The whole gang! Photo by Audrey Leon

I had the utmost privilege to see Sleater-Kinney perform in Milwaukee this past Sunday night, and it was a riot grrrl dream come true. 

I've written about them before here, but to summarize: my cool older brother bought me "The Hot Rock" for my 14th birthday, which then began my entrance into Riot Grrrl and feminism. And I've never turned back.

Seeing Sleater-Kinney live was something I never thought would happen. I was too young when they were starting out in the early 90s to ever go to a show, and the timing just never seemed to work out in the early 2000's. It was kind of a dream of mine that I put to rest, because I thought my time was up.

Lizzo (on left) and Sophia Eris Photo via Sophia Eris

Lizzo (on left) and Sophia Eris
Photo via Sophia Eris


I teared up when watching them perform. Seeing Janet, Carrie, and Corin on stage--belting, playing, dancing, feminizing--was emotional for me. They played all of my favorite songs (minus a few), and the energy in the theater was electric! I felt safe at their show. I felt exuberant. I felt like I loved life again. 

This was, by far, the best concert I have ever been to, and the most emotional one, too. I felt all of our hearts thawing out in that warm theater in snowy Milwaukee. 

Lizzo and I! <3

Lizzo and I! <3

P.S. If you have a chance to see Lizzo--she will also change your life. I swear to the goddesses I had a spiritual experience watching her perform! (I got to meet her, too!)

An Assault to Remember (TW: sexual assault)

TW: sexual assault, physical abuse


I'm terrified of dating. 

It used to be kind of fun. During grad school, I pretty much had dinner paid for each night of the week (men are always wanting to invoke the very gendered and ancient "rules" surrounding dinner dates).

Dating has got me tired. Worse, it has hardened me. It has made me jaded and cynical and untrustworthy. 

It has, quite literally, assaulted me. 

About a month ago, I went on a date with a man I met on the oh-so horrendous site, OkCupid. We met for drinks. He seemed great--he was hilarious, flirty, intelligent, handsome, kind. I only drank half of my martini, because I rarely drink (especially with strangers). He had two martinis. He walked to the bar from his place--which was quite a long walk in the below zero Wisconsin cold.

I offered to drive him home.

(Is what happened to me my fault if I admit that I wanted to kiss him?)

I initially was not going to take his offer to "come inside", but when I saw where he lived--I changed my mind. You see, turns out, he lives in the house my boyfriend from two summers ago lived in. I thought, "This is too fucking ridiculous. I can't NOT go inside." I knew my ex was long gone, of course.

(Is what happened to me my fault if I admit that I wanted to kiss him)

He, luckily, was not living in my ex's old room--that would have been far too weird for me. We walked up the stairs to his bedroom, sat on the floor--he barely had any furniture. It looked like he was just moving in or just about to move out.

I sat on the floor. Him across from me. The owner of the house's cat was purring between us. He moved the cat out of the way to kiss me. It was nice. It was passionate. It got aggressive quickly.

(Is what happened to me my fault if I admit that I wanted to kiss him)

We moved to his bed, which was a twin-size air mattress. He rushed to shed me of my clothes. I didn't mind. He stayed clothed. He was on top of me. 

He held me down for a bit, and made out with me. I pushed him away at one point to ask: "So, what are you into? Are you a Dom?" He responded with: "I'm into a lot of things. Yes, I'm Dom, how could you tell? Haha! And I know you're a sub."

He asked me: "Do you like being slapped?" I thought he  meant on my ass--I thought he meant spanking. I said, "Yes, very much so." 

He held my throat for a moment, and then slapped me across the face. 

(Is what happened to me my fault if I admit that I wanted to kiss him)

I didn't know what to do. I didn't know where this was going. I suddenly could not speak, and my body went limp. He slapped my face a few more times. Then he started to take my underwear off. And he slid his fingers inside... 

Slow at first, but eventually, quick and hard and painful. He was still fully clothed, kneeling on top of. I didn't know what to do or how to get away. Then he noticed I was bleeding. And he stopped. I felt like fainting.

My blood saved me. 

(Is what happened to me my fault if I admit that I wanted to kiss him)

He said we could keep going, but I lied and said I needed to get home--it was late after all. He flung my bra at me. I must have scoffed at this, because he said: "What? You seem really uncomfortable." Scared and shaken, I said to him: "No, I'm just really tired. That's all. I should go."

I put my clothes on, and he walked me downstairs to the front door. He leaned in to kiss me goodbye. 

As I left, I noticed he still hadn't washed my blood off of his fingers. And then I remembered what he said to me as I was getting dressed: "You better believe I'm going to jerk off to you when you leave."

His orgasm was my pain.

(Is what happened to me my fault if I admit that I wanted to kiss him)

New Year 2015

Here is my obligatory New Year post! Happy New Year, dear readers!

I'm not one for New Year's Resolutions--they honestly just give me anxiety, because they never really stick, and when they do, they don't stick forever. Anyways... there are things I'd like to do more of, so that's what this list will be. A "Do More Of These Things Because I Like Them And They Make Me Feel Good" list. Please enjoy--and tell me what's on your "Do More Of These Things Because I Like Them And They Make Me Feel Good" in the comments!

1. Write more (especially poetry)
I used to write so much poetry. I have journals upon journals of poetry (probably shitty poetry, but poetry nonetheless). I would also like to write more blog posts. The only thing that really stops me from writing is my internal thinking that says: "Who cares what you have to say about anything!?" I'd like to silence that voice.

2. Publish my 2nd book of poetry
I plan to publish my 2nd book of poetry (published my first during my senior year of high school through a small press in Middleton, WI). I plan to self-publish this through Lulu

3. Practice yoga more
I'm an E-RYT, but it has proven difficult finding a "yoga home" here in Madison. I miss my yoga home in Chicago so much--still. Madison doesn't have much to offer (for me, anyways) in the way of yoga. I like 5 teachers and most of them teach when I can't make it! So, I'm either going to have to suck it up and go to whatever classes I can, or I'll need to be way more diligent about having a home practice. Either way, this has to happen, because yoga does amazing things for my mind and body. 

4. Take more walks
I love being outside (especially in winter--don't judge), and I'd like to take many more walks this season. 

5. Do no harm, but take no shit
Speaks for itself.

6. If a man makes me feel anything less than amazing, never speak to him again
Again, speaks for itself.

7. Do more for GF.
Figure out where I want to go with this thing. Nonprofit? Etc...

8. Take more pauses
I can be very reactive--I AM very reactive. This isn't always a good thing. I'd like to be able to take more pauses--stop rushing through life because of discomfort. I'd like to be able to have more compassion for this, my "one wild and precious life." 

9. Continue to be myself fiercely, and allow others to be themselves fiercely, too.
This can be hard with family members, etc... especially when I've thought, "Well, why can't this person be more like this and less like this?" I'd like to stop questioning. 

10. Trust my gut(s)
Because what else/who else could possibly know me best? :)

29 & Alive!

"'Cause it's my birthday/And I wanna get fucked like it's the first time/Like it's the first time"

Today is my birthday. The last year of my 20's. Every birthday, I'm reminded of the beautiful short story, "Eleven" by Sandra Cisneros: 

What they don't understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you're eleven, you're also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one.

So, on this day, the 29th year of my existence, I remember that I am not only 29, but also: 28, 27, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. I've had this same heart since birth. It's a good one. 

Taking a page from Rebel Grrrl Living, I've made a list of 29 things that make me happy. Enjoy!

from clockwise: momma and I; dad and I; my brother, mom, and I; the whole fam; brother and I; and besties Anju, Kelly, and I

from clockwise: momma and I; dad and I; my brother, mom, and I; the whole fam; brother and I; and besties Anju, Kelly, and I

1. friends & family
I have the most amazing parents ever, a brother who is goddamn inspiring, and friends who support and believe in me (even when I don't believe in myself). 

2. job
I'm so lucky to work with such incredible people, both at my unpaid and paid jobs!

mermaid pose

mermaid pose

3. heart
It's the same heart I've had since I was born... it's a loyal heart. It's a heart that loves fiercely and fearlessly. I'm consistently amazed at how much my heart can take in, and keep beating so strongly.

4. yoga
I started yoga in college after I had quit dance (ballet and jazz). It has saved me on many occasions. I only wish I could find a goddamn studio here in Madison that doesn't suck :/

5. guerrilla feminism
My passion. My heart. My everything. GF is an extension of me, but it's also way more than me--and that feels amazing. I'm so happy to see how it has progressed. I'm indebted to all of you who have helped me a long the way--who have taken your time to volunteer for this little idea I had back in 2011. Thank you <3

6. grrrl music
Grrrl singers are my absolute fave. Everyone from Erykah Badu to Kathleen Hanna to FKA Twigs and more. I feel such a kinship with these women through their music.

7. poetry by: nayyirah waheed, shinji moon, warsan shire, yrsa daley-wardcaitlyn siehl, and rupi kaur.
If you haven't heard of any of these women, do yourself a huge favor and check them out NOW! For any heart healing, read these poets. 

from clockwise: Great-Great nonna Giuseppina, mormor Elvira, Great nonna Rosaria (with her mother Giuseppina), and another photo of Great nonna Rosaria

from clockwise: Great-Great nonna Giuseppina, mormor Elvira, Great nonna Rosaria (with her mother Giuseppina), and another photo of Great nonna Rosaria

8. my ancestors
I come from strong, witchy Calabrese women--and a Danish woman. 

9. my bestie of 10+ years, Anju.
The longest friendship I've had--and one of the best. Anju has been with me through it all. We met in ballet class as youngins. She just called, sang some "Happy Birthday" to me, and then said, "I'm glad you're in this world." *ugly crying*

10. winter
Yes, you read that right. I'm a winter baby, and it's in my blood to love all things winter. Snow is my favorite. It's so magical and beautiful and all of the things!

11. italianità
My Italian-ness is very important to me. I grew up speaking Italian with my Nonno (who recently--last June--passed away). I studied abroad in Italy in 2006, and am certain I will be back there someday. It's in my bones.

12. the Olive Grrrls anthology
I had the idea for this in 2010, but only published it a year ago. The writers in this book are amazing! Please support women writers, and read this!!!!

Stela art!

Stela art!

13. art by Stela Starchild
I've been lucky enough to also start a friendship with this rad artist. Stela Starchild's work gives me life!

14. my curls
I spent most of my youth hating my hair, and wishing for straight hair. In college, I finally grew into it. I finally started liking it. Then, I started loving it. My hair is fucking rad, ya'll.

15. ukulele
I've been playing the beautiful instrument for a while now, and I wouldn't say I'm great at it, but I don't really care, because it's FUN. 

16. online feminist community(ies)
I'm lucky to know so many truly special souls--and a lot of these folx I've met online because of GF. My dream is to visit them all some day! It WILL happen, daminit!

17. my bestie, Kelly.
This bitch is fucking fabulous. She is my soul seastar. She's a beautiful person and incredibly loyal. She called me a "beautiful tropical fish" today <3

18. places I feel safe
As an anxious person, these are few and far between, but they still exist--which is something I'm so thankful for. My momma's house, my dad's house, my work, my friend's apartments, and local bookstores/coffee shops :)

Positano, Italia - 2006

Positano, Italia - 2006

19. places I feel at home
Madison, Italy, and maybe even Boston a tad

20. therapy
In all forms--yoga, my actual therapist, napping, meditating, bedroom dancing, singing, writing...

21. hardships
This past year has been really terrible--in a variety of ways. I'm thankful for it all though. I've learned a lot about myself. I've learned how goddamn resilient I am. How resilient my heart is. How the only person who can truly abandon me is me--and that will never happen.

22. makeup
I spend way too much at Sephora, but damn... I just really love makeup. I especially love liquid eyeliner--the blacker the better!

23. my body
I've gone through eating disorders, disordered eating, etc, etc, and I feel like I'm finally at a place where I can actually say I love my body and I'm thankful for what it can do for me. I'm thankful for its abilities. I'm thankful for its beauty. 

mamma's spiced tea

mamma's spiced tea

24. mamma's spiced tea
She has been making this for a long time, and it is so delicious and healing <3

25. social media
Seriously though. There's a lot to complain about, but overall, it's something I'm very thankful for.

26. nail polish
Painting my nails feels very therapeutic. I own too much nail polish, but whatever.

27. dancing
I love dancing (and I'm pretty good at it, too). 

28. the moon
Luna, oh luna. I love your phases.

29. the souls I have not yet met and the hearts I have not yet loved.
I'm excited about my future. I hope I have a very long one ahead of me :)

29 Songs of Popularity From 1985 to 2014

So... I'm on a playlist kick. Enjoy these 29 songs that have been popular throughout each year of my life--from 1985 to 2014 <3