Posted in about shae, badassery, femininity, Uncategorized


I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. Whenever I’ve asked a hairdresser to do it, they’ve balked. Their definition of femininity didn’t allow it.

Know that I LOVE IT.  If you don’t, that’s ok. I didn’t do it for you. It’s the most freeing thing I’ve done with my “look” since I cut it shorter in the first place.

It’s so freeing. I have heard my whole life, from people who mean well, how “pretty” I’d be if I a) lost weight, b) was more demure, c) had long, high-maintenance hair.

I don’t need to be “pretty.” I’m already beautiful.


Posted in fearless, femininity, feminism, music, Uncategorized


I really like this song! The lyrics are wonderful, and I was not surprised to see that this was one of Sia’s offerings to another artist.

Let the words sink in. I will never fit into the picket-fence utopia and once I stopped trying to do so, I was much happier!

Chained to the Rhythm by Katy Perry (Video)
Are we crazy
Living our lives through a lens
Trapped in our white-picket fence
Like ornaments
So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble
So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, the trouble
Aren’t you lonely
Up there in utopia
Where nothing will ever be enough?
Happily numb
So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble
So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, the trouble

Ah, so good
Your rose-colored glasses on
And party on

Turn it up, it’s your favorite song
Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
Turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we’re free
Drink, this one is on me
We’re all chained to the rhythm
To the rhythm to the rhythm

Turn it up, it’s your favorite song
Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
Turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we’re free
Drink, this one is on me
We’re all chained to the rhythm
To the rhythm to the rhythm

Are we tone deaf?
Keep sweeping it under the mat
Thought we can do better than that
I hope we can
So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble
So comfortable, we can’t see the trouble, the trouble

Aha, so good (so good)
Your rose-colored glasses on
And party on

Turn it up, it’s your favorite song
Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
Turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we’re free
Drink, this one is on me
We’re all chained to the rhythm
To the rhythm to the rhythm

Turn it up, it’s your favorite song
Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
Turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we’re free
Drink, this one is on me
We’re all chained to the rhythm
To the rhythm to the rhythm

It is my desire
Break down the walls to connect, inspire
Ay, up in your high place, liars
Time is ticking for the empire
The truth they feed is feeble
As so many times before
They greed over the people
They stumbling and fumbling and we’re about to riot
They woke up, they woke up the lions (woo!)

Turn it up, it’s your favorite song
Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
turn it up, keep it on repeat
Stumbling around like a wasted zombie
Yeah, we think we’re free
Drink, this one is on me
We’re all chained to the rhythm
To the rhythm to the rhythm

It goes on, and on, and on (turn it up )
It goes on, and on, and on
It goes on, and on, and on
(It goes on) ’cause we’re all chained to the rhythm

Written by Sia Furler, Max Martin, Katy Perry, Ali Payami, Skip Marley • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Posted in breast cancer, femininity, travel, travels, weight loss


I have passed the middle of one of the busiest years of my life. I am tired, for sure, but I’m so grateful to be on this journey. 

My travels started in March with a trip to Maui, and with work, I started in May with a trip to Philadelphia, followed by a trip in mid-July to Los Angeles, and I just got back from New Jersey and will leave again for Los Angeles again this Sunday. 

Fortunately, I am fond of traveling, even for work. I just bought a new suitcase for the half dozen or so trips I have left this year, and the half dozen or so I will have next year. 

Daisy, the best suitcase ever!
Daisy, the best suitcase ever!

Daisy already has road wear, but whatever.  She is easy to maneuver and she is easy to spot and forces me to pack lighter. I love my work shirts – they help me pack lighter too. They don’t wrinkle either. 

I am on the quickest pace I’ve had since I had breast cancer. I’m not kidding – sometimes I wonder where the energy is coming from (right up until the point it absolutely disappears).  I am balancing two huge projects at work – which I’ve likened to juggling two burning bowling balls and trying not to get burned – and I’m surviving.  

I say “surviving,” and I am. Not always as gracefully as I’d like, because, well, this is me, and I have hit bumps in the road and found myself crying in frustration when I physically and mentally collapse in exhaustion, but I’m still going. Still getting better. Still figuring out what life is supposed to be like after the breast cancer/hysterectomy/RNY gastric bypass clean slate. 

I haven’t lost a pound in about 6 months. That’s been about as frustrating as anything. I’m still on the medicine that makes me gain weight, but I didn’t think I’d come to this plateau so soon. I’ve fluctuated the same 5 pounds since March. Up/down. Up/down. I’ve not gained any weight back per se. My measurements are still the same or even less. I feel no pressure to move the scale, but I’m still frustrated. I refuse to go back to being morbidly obese. I refuse to return to what was.  Getting the scale to move again is not my focus right now, but if it did, I’d be thrilled.

I have zero chances at establishing any sort of routine between now and next June. This is where I am challenged to find routine in the spontaneous demands of my job until these projects are finished.  I’m trying to see this as an opportunity rather than a hinderance. I know I am capable. I can do this.

Finding balance has never been my strong suit, but I’m getting better at it. I hope to have more tales to tell as the time goes on, more tales where I’m not just fighting like a girl, but kicking ass like a woman. What got me through the challenge of breast cancer must mature into something that can sustain me as I keep moving forward.

I fought like a girl and won. Life has gone on. Time to kick ass.

Posted in bariatric surgery, breast cancer, femininity, food, tamoxifen, weight loss

DISTORTED IMAGE (and being comfortable in stretch-marked skin)

I took this photo before I went in for my first meeting with my bariatric surgeon, Dr. Davis, last Friday. I was waiting outside in front of the elevator bank since the office staff had not returned from lunch so I decided I wanted to take a “before” photo.  My hands were shaking because I was slightly nervous, and this is how the photo turned out.

When I saw how fuzzy it was, I immediately considered it a success. I look at myself and I do not see this person at all in this way. It’s a distorted, fuzzy image of me.  When I see photos of myself I am in disbelief. Who is that chubby person? When I look in the mirror, I see a beautiful, shapely person. I do not see fat arms, two chins and hips wide enough to double as an inflated flotation device.

I can’t pinpoint when the transition happened.  I used to look in the mirror and see fat everywhere. Fat, fat, fat. Big girl. I didn’t want short hair because it would make my face look fat. I would never, ever tuck in a shirt, because people might see my fat butt or stomach. Fat calves. Fat arms. FAT.

My hair is now the shortest it’s ever been and I love it. I I love my sassy hair and sassy glasses and sassy attitude. I don’t care that the jeans I’m wearing right now are size 20. I wear sleeveless shirts and I don’t care what my arms look like.  When I look in the mirror, I see beauty.  I see a woman who is comfortable in her stretch-marked skin.

The decision to have bariatric surgery has been a difficult one. I have fought having the surgery for a year. So when I sat down with Dr. Davis, I did so because I finally decided to do whatever it takes to improve my health. In three months or so, I will have the surgery, and then the real battle will begin.

I understand now why bariatric patients go to support groups. I cannot believe how unbelievably cruel people can be. Everyone has an opinion, and though most have been supportive, there have been a few who have ignored my boundary and let me know how much they are appalled by my decision.  Those negative, judgmental people want me to know I don’t have enough faith, that I am just lazy, and my weight loss doesn’t count because I won’t have to work for it.  Other people have let their feelings be known in less direct ways, but the sentiment is still there.

Not one of those people has walked in my shoes or lived my life.  They don’t know my medical history.  They don’t realize that when you are taking medications that make it impossible to lose weight, losing weight is, indeed, impossible.  Instead of encouraging me, or lifting me up, they’ve chosen to throw stones and discourage me in sometimes hurtful ways.

Negative comments tell me quite a bit about how much research or knowledge those people have about obesity and the hope this surgery gives. If they had done any research at all, they would know many bariatric patients have tried everything to escape their prisons of fat and surgery is the end of the line. Bariatric patients are choosing a life-altering, path-changing procedure and it is by far more difficult to admit they cannot achieve their weight loss by themselves than to repeat the cycle of diet insanity.  After 25 diets that don’t work, why not try something else?

I’m a breast cancer survivor. Last summer I had second degree radiation burns in a very tender area. I went to work every day.  I got treatment every day for 33 days.  I was exhausted and in pain every day.  I walked one of the toughest paths I’d ever had to traverse.  I didn’t take the easy way out then, and I’m not choosing an easy path now.  Life after surgery will be one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced. And I will face it.

My body is broken, but my spirit isn’t. I’ve asked Dr. Davis to help me put my body back together and getting it working optimally again. The next three months of anticipation of the surgery will hopefully fly quickly as I prepare physically and mentally for the aftermath of surgery – which will be a battle every day for the rest of my life.

I’m grateful for the people who lift me up every day – in person, via email, text, Facebook, Twitter.  I need your support so much as I go on this journey.  You know who you are, and I love you all.

Posted in commentary, femininity, random, Yahweh's fingerprints


I don’t know if they have HEB grocery stores where you live, but it’s my favorite grocery store. One of the primary reasons I shop there is because all their workers are happy, cheerful, and helpful. I’ve yet to find an exception to this observation. At this grocery store, customer service is primary and I believe one of the reasons for its success. (Don’t worry, Whole Foods you are a close second, and your customer service is also excellent!)

I have purposely stopped shopping at certain stores because their customer service is terrible, their clerks (and managers) are so rude and so sour and beyond unhelpful that I’d rather pay $5 more per shopping trip to shop anywhere else. My time is precious to me, and I’d rather enjoy my time doing something I have to do anyway, than leave a store all tense and drained because of someone else’s rudeness.

The actual story of this blog entry started at HEB Wednesday after work. I was in the checkout line and was greeted warmly by M. She’s scanned my groceries before. Always pleasant. The young lady who was bagging my groceries very graciously ran to get me a bigger cart because I’d overstuffed the little one I had. When she came back, M was almost finished scanning my groceries and was scanning my coupons.

That’s when we both noticed him. A very good looking man had come up behind me. I am rarely caught off guard by how good looking a person is. Quite frankly, I rarely make it past a man’s eyes, but this man caught my attention. He was over 6’ tall, muscular, very short blonde hair, well chiseled face, blue-eyed and just generally FINE. The kind of fine that you thank God for making to decorate the Earth even though you could never picture yourself with someone that breathtaking because he’s too pretty and that kind of pretty is usually more high maintenance than I am. He even made the surgical scrubs he was wearing more handsome. A FINE looking man. Dr. Fine.

I could tell M didn’t feel well but she was still working and still smiling and most important, not complaining or smashing my groceries around. She looked at me and almost giggled because this guy was that good looking. Mind you, she looked to be close to my age and not a teenager, so that reaction just amplified his Adonis-ness. Meanwhile, the young lady who was bagging my groceries was called away by her manager to go pick up her till so she could take over for M. M began finishing up where the young lady left off.

Personally, the exit of the young lady didn’t bother me. I try not to be in a hurry most days because usually it’s a waste of energy. Besides, it was a mere second before M began to bag my final items. No. Big. Deal.

Mind you, this was not an express lane, and Dr. Fine only had an armful of items. He watched the young lady walk away and immediately barked, “well, she must work by the hour! She’s so slow!” That’s when I tuned him out. He angrily picked up his five items and stomped off to an actual express lane.

M and I looked at each other and I said,“He was so cute until he opened his mouth.” M agreed with me. She asked me what I thought he meant about working “hourly”, and I told her that someone like that thinks that people who get paid by the hour are beneath him for any number of reasons. She shook her head and finished bagging my groceries. I told her to be glad she’s not him because she’d be wasting that beautiful shell on a dry, shallow well. She smiled and the young lady had returned with her till, all smiles and ready to go, and M could finally go home and get some rest. I hope she’s feeling better today.

I pushed my big cart through the lanes and as I was leaving, I saw Dr. Fine still waiting in line in the express lane, looking all sour and angry. He was no longer handsome. He was no longer desirable. He was no longer Dr. Fine.

People have bad days and are sometimes short or terse with others. I know that happens. I’m guilty of that myself. It’s what came out of his mouth, however, that was most offensive. That’s when he turned into the handsomest jerk I’d ever seen.

Dr. No Longer Fine saw me as I passed his lane and I hope my eyes communicated what I was thinking: What’s inside of a person really is more important than what’s on the outside… but he probably thought I was in awe of him. From afar, he may get away with being pretty and he probably gets stared at a lot, but I wonder how many women he’s turned off with what’s underneath that well-chisled exterior.

Then I went home and in between putting my groceries away and looking out the window to see what my Green Onion was up to with my car repair (actually he was hanging upside down looking under my dash, but that’s another story), I looked in the mirror and faced the ugliness that sometimes lurks inside of me. Part of my makeover has to be an examination of my interior to make sure what’s inside is more beautiful and lovely than what covers it.

I wonder if Dr. No Longer Fine will ever realize that instead of looking in a mirror, he was the mirror.

Posted in about shae, Bro Onions, femininity, Yahweh's fingerprints


My Green Onion is getting married. For him, this means that Schmitty actually said yes and they’ve successfully negotiated the terms of the college football season. For me, this means that less than six months from now, I will be in another wedding. Either I’ve not learned the lesson from just a few months ago that was going through via the other two Onion’s weddings, or the universe decided I looked so good in the Victorian Lilac that He decided I needed to try again in Pool or Pastel Blue or whatever the color choice actually becomes (But I look great in that color family, too).

The fact of the matter is, since I wrote about this subject in January, this journey has taken me places I never thought I’d go or admit to think about visiting. For example, I cleaned out my closet and rid myself of an unbelievable amount of shapeless t-shirts because I have come to terms with my curves. I wear heels now (to work at least) more than any other type shoe and I will go without food to have a pedicure at least once a month. My closet could compare with my Shoe Diva’s in her early phases of excessive foot covering addiction. I also gave myself a facial this afternoon and refreshed my pedicure. This is still me in 2010.

When my Sweet Onion and his bride said, “I do,” the feminine spell didn’t break. It has woven itself deeper into me than I thought possible. Even though I still wear the tshirt and the flip flops, I do like my bootcut jeans and heels almost to excess.

So we will see what happens over the next few months. I will try to do better about posting. I have many irons in the fire right now. I’m trying to start a photography business, reignite my creative writing, and somehow have enough down time to have enough energy for all this creative output.

Thank you for hanging in there with me. It’s going to be an interesting ride! (and I say that like it isn’t always like that…hmm…)

Posted in about shae, femininity, Yahweh's fingerprints


These days, I find myself knee-deep in satin and girl time. I can say, “mani-pedi” and not giggle and have even expressed the desire to get one. I actually went to a store last week with the sole purpose of buying a leather purse, and did indeed purchase one. I went a shade darker with my hair and had my eyebrows waxed. I have recently purchased two hats that do not have any logos on them and they are not baseball caps.

This is me in 2010.

I am nowhere near becoming a fashionista or a pink and lace girly girl, and, yes, this journey began a long time ago. I did, however, become keenly aware of the transformation last June when I stood in DSW taking pictures of shoes with my phone. I sent them to my Shoe Diva, Sharon, in California to ask which shoes I should buy.

Mind you, Sharon is in law school and was aiding me during the fashion emergency by texting me while in class. This Shoe Diva knows her priorities.

The questions came rapid fire.

“Dress or pants?” she asked (while adding her complete delight and glee that I was asking her about shoes).

“Could be either. I haven‘t decided yet.”



“The strappy ones on the left.”

Done. Back to law.

I scooped up the shoebox and put it under my arm before I changed my mind about buying shoes all together.

A male salesman, who had walked past me several times during the whole exchange, walked up to me and laughed. “Shoe emergency?”


“Dress or pants?”

It then occurred to me that not only was I generally lacking in fashion execution, I was horribly ignorant of the lingo and had no idea that pretty shoes could do more than serve an aesthetic purpose. Shoes could be pretty and practical and a) worn with just a dress, b) worn with just pants, or c) worn with either pants or dress and could d) be worn to dance in and still be pretty.

Being feminine is hard work and I feel as if I need a student visa to study in this foreign country, but I digress.

This summer, beginning June 5th, I will attend or be a big part of three weddings that will all happen in a six week span. Two years ago, I would have faked a family death to remove myself from such discomfort. My comfort zone does not include tulle, tossed bouquets or fancy dresses and definitely not pantyhose. If I wear pantyhose for you, that is LOVE. Remember that.

Something very strange has happened to me in the last year. After a couple of really nice weddings where I knew the bride and groom well, weddings moved out of a vestibule of hell and became a not so dreaded part of life. Then, after a wedding where the bride and groom were about ready to jump out of their skins they were so excited to begin their lives together as man and wife, I walked out saying, “I can see myself having a wedding someday.”

If my mother weren’t already dead, upon hearing those words, she would be now. Anyone who has known me longer than two or three years is probably in shock. Michelle and Hallie just high-fived each other. The Green Onion just landed the mother load of buttons to push.

Two of my Bro Onions are getting married this summer. They are both marrying beautiful women I love and adore and I am excited for them. I am in the house party in one wedding, and I have agreed to wear Victorian lilac for Hallie and probably pantyhose, too, in the other.

God only knows what else will happen to me between now and then.

The other day this thought occurred to me: I keep saying, “that/they/it will be the death of me,” but if I’m honest with myself, I think that part of me needs to die.

Believe me, that phrase applies to many other areas of my life, but honestly, the moment that thought was birthed in my brain, I was pondering purses, hats and Victorian lilac.

I’ve held onto, quite stubbornly, my devotion to not being a girly girl since I was about eight years old. This journey to even the slightest attention to femininity has been a long one, and yes, I do realize there is so much more about femininity than pink lace, ruffles, purses and the right makeup.

For me, this means I have to let go of what scares me about being feminine (that’s a long story) and just let this lesson unfold as it will. I am up to my neck in all this girl stuff that‘s not just about girl stuff. I decided, after agreeing to wear Victorian lilac, that it is no mistake I have three weddings in six weeks and that my involvement gets deeper as the summer progresses. God is taking me on a journey and instead of fighting it, I just need to lift my feet and let the current take me wherever God wants me to end up.

I was born a girl. I’m still not sure what it means to be one. Not completely. I’ve had to be the “man” in my life for a long, long time. I don’t mean to sound stereotypical, but I’ve studied the male/female roles for a long time and I’ve had to be both.

I take care of myself. When it all boils down the nuts and bolts, it’s just me that has to deal with everything that adulthood brings my way. I fix the holes in my wall. I take out my own trash. When I had a lawn, I was the one that mowed it. I’ve changed my own flat tires, and I know more about cars than most women. When push comes to shove, I am my own shield from harm. When the bills get paid, it’s the money I’ve earned to provide for myself that pays them. I am solely responsible for the outcome of my life.

My point is, I have had to wear many hats in this life as a single woman that I wouldn’t have to wear if I was married or in a relationship. It’s that simple and that complicated.

Some women like not giving men the privilege of loving them by being male and allowing them to be fully feminine. Personally, I am tired of wearing that hat. It’s Real Man repellent. I watch young women spray on Real Man repellent every day and I’m wondering if I can get its stench out of my clothes before it’s too late.

If I‘m honest, quite frankly I wish I had a real man in my daily life, for many reasons, but for the one I‘m addressing here, to relax into my femininity. I just don’t know how to relax into being fully a woman without having a man in my life to… be the man.

I know I’m not explaining this well, but that’s where I am as 2010 begins. I am wrestling with having to be the strong one and take care of me while exploring what it truly means to be a woman in that circumstance.

Albert Einstein said, “I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.” I know this means I have to lay down what scares me about being feminine and embrace all that life has intended for me as a woman. Don’t be surprised, though, if at first it’s with all the grace and awkwardness of an eight year old, because I’m picking up where I left off.