Posted in about shae, badassery, fearless, relationships

Because I’m Worth It

One year someone said they pitied me for being alone on my birthday and not having anyone to buy me flowers or jewelry or whatever they thought a birthday gift should be.

Let me set the record straight. Again.

I’m never truly alone. I’ve had dozens of well wishes and phone calls. I was with a bunch of ladies at the salon this morning. I had great convos at Starbucks and with the nice lady at Smallcakes. Yesterday I talked with my Bestie for two hours. I’m also very fine company all by myself. Don’t worry, I’m good.

As for gifts… I buy myself flowers and not just on my birthday. They are always my favorites. I buy myself some fine jewelry, and it’s always exactly what I wanted. I’m particularly fond of my new rainbow topaz ring and matching earrings.

I know being alone on any given day makes most people uncomfortable. I am not one of those people. While I enjoy the company of many, I am just as happy going out by myself, whether that be for coffee, dinner, a movie or shopping.

If you are someone who waits for someone else to pamper you or buy you gifts, I hope you have someone in your life to do that for you so you do not remain in a constant state of disappointment. If you are there, by yourself, may I suggest making yourself happy. Buy the flowers. Get the ring. Treat yourself to a manipedi.

I’m worth it. Someday I hope you know that you are, too.

Posted in about shae, badassery, photography, Uncategorized, Writing

One Word 365 “Roar!”

In the past, for the One Word 365 Challenge I’ve chosen words like, “Imagine,” “See,” “Adventure,” and “Hope.” One of my favorites that still resonates is, “Fearless.”

As I’m completing my fiftieth birthday year, it is now almost 2020. I set out to have certain goals met by now, some I’ve just squeezed in at the last minute. I am now living my most authentic life, still evolving and learning, but the most me I’ve ever been.

My word for this coming year is, “Roar!” Now that I feel the most me, the most authentic, it’s time the world heard my voice, my thoughts, my stories (visual, written, and verbal) and my truth.

Stay tuned. You are about to hear me roar!

Roar, by Katy Perry

I got the eye of the tiger
A fighter

Dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar

Posted in Activism, advocate, fearless, safe


Regardless of your political affiliation or personal feelings about sexual assault victims or trauma, please consider all the people whose abuse or trauma still hides in the shadows, in their traumatized hearts and minds.

You may not know you are standing next to a sexual assault victim, that you’ve known this person for decades and they’ve never summoned the courage to tell you their truth.

Sexual assault is more common than you might think. People are afraid to come forward for a myriad of reasons. It’s complicated.

You don’t know.

You may not know that you know their abuser and to you, he may appear to be the most faithful family man you’ve ever think you’ve known. You’d never believe it because that hasn’t been your experience with that person. But he, too, has a secret he won’t tell.

You don’t know.

You may not know that when you roll over at night and put your arm around the person you love, that they’ve pushed their pain down so far they can’t even put to words what happened to them, so it remains buried, at least until the triggering event comes along to where everything explodes like a messy science fair volcano.

You don’t know.

All I ask is that you consider your words when speaking of this kind of trauma. You never know who is listening and what they’ve had to, or still are dealing with. I know one too many sexual assault survivors and the last couple of years have been traumatic for them, and this past week has been especially tough.

You don’t know.

To any sexual assault survivors out there still hiding in the shadows, if you need a safe place, let me know, because…I know.

Posted in education, fearless, Uncategorized


Yesterday, a friend of mine was told it was time to apply for graduation for her associate’s degree. She was so happy I’m surprised she didn’t float away from jumping up and down with joy.

She would be considered a non-traditional student. She has worked hard – working full-time while going to school.  Some mornings she is so tired she can hardly hold her head up, but she is doing all of this so she can be/do/work at something that requires a certain level of education.

I definitely was celebrating with her, not necessarily for earning the degree, but for having that “whatever it takes” attitude, setting a goal and achieving it.

I won’t lie.  College attendance was an expectation for me – not an option.  The money was not there, but I was going regardless of the obstacles.  The other expectation put upon me was that I would become a teacher because one could always find work as a teacher while I waited to get married and graduate to stay at home motherhood.

None of those expectations were mine, but I set out to live up to them.

I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I was good at writing, so I pursued that and had no idea what job would materialize later to justify it.  Turns out, through my liberal arts pursuits, I found I was good at a great many things and still they wanted me to choose ONE thing to be good at for the rest of my life.

Last night, I wrote the following after I’d given my college days some thought.

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I do believe that college debt is a big deal and students should have a better idea of why they are going to college and what they are going to do with that degree before they attend – some may not need to attend right away or at all.  That said, I believe college was so much more than a degree for me.

That said, I believe college was so much more than a degree for me.  I pull knowledge from my English literature, writing, music business, and other courses often, but I pull from the life lessons, life choices, and life skills just as often or more.

I consider my degree one of my greatest accomplishments and because I have that under my belt, I know I can accomplish much more!

Posted in fearless


Tomorrow is no different than today as it relates to goal-setting and self-promise making. Still, each year, people chose this day to make huge (and often unobtainable) changes in their lives. From losing weight, saving money, finding love, and a host of other well-intended resolutions, people hope that the coming year will be “their” year to accomplish all these things and to finally reach the pinnacle of their self-imagined happiness.

I set some goals last year and limited the amount so as not to go insane in the pursuit of reaching them.  I did better than I ever have. I also did something that, for me, was a life-changer.  I changed my “life word.”

Up until the end of 2013, My life word had been, “hope.”  Hope is a fine word. It still applies in my life. To me, however, hope implies waiting, not action.  Hope was about waiting for life to come to me, and I was still hoping.

For 2014, I chose the word, “fearless,” as my life word.  I started out the year with the best “Suckuary” I’d had since Suckuary began in 2001, mostly in part to a life-changing song by Pharrell Williams called, “Happy” and my determination to reclaim January as part of my life. For the most part, it worked.

I kept the momentum going after a promotion in March and a trip with my BFF to Maui. Most of that came about because I would look at a pile of obstacle to things I wanted or wanted to do and say to myself, “WHY NOT?” Then I’d go do it.

In May, I became a certified Lead Auditor for ISO 9001. That may not seem like such a big deal but I had to go to Philadelphia to train and take an EXAM (I really haven’t done that since 1991). Still, I attacked that test fearlessly. I had nothing to lose except pride. I trusted my instincts. AND I PASSED.

Then I spent the next six months traveling 25,000 air miles for work. I questioned whether I had the stamina for all the travel, but I managed and I had some great experiences, especially when I was traveling by myself. I was fearless and I embraced my new reality.

I could list so many things of how living fearlessly has changed my life. I am more outgoing, I’ve had wonderful new experiences and met some great new people. I enjoy my job so much more than I ever could have imagined, because every day I approach it fearlessly.

I am grateful for all these new opportunities that I didn’t hope for, but chased down.  The Year of Fearless changed my life, so, with that in mind, I’m going round 2 with “fearless,” in 2015.

You haven’t seen anything yet!

Posted in Uncategorized


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I remember what it was like to be so greatly affected by my surroundings, circumstances, and other people’s inability to experience happiness. I have been reminded lately that I am in charge of how I feel, I am in charge of my happiness.

Being responsible for oneself seems like an easy concept, but in a world where we, especially as women, are taught that we are not our own – we belong to a man, or a job, or to a relationship, or a higher power – ownership of our well being or happiness can be a difficult concept to grasp.

I have a wonderful young friend who is learning the concept of being in charge of her own happiness, her own self, her own destiny. It is exciting to watch her bloom and to watch her unfold and open up to all the possibilities that are hers to grasp.  She has reminded me of some simple truths that desperately needed the refresher course.  She also reminds me, every day, to practice what I preach.

Happiness comes up a lot in our conversations. Happiness is defined as the state of well-being and contentment, or a pleasurable or satisfying experience. Happiness is something that we all crave and marketers everywhere want us to believe that we can buy happiness, or create it by spending money we don’t have (which can pop the happiness balloon). So much effort is put into the pursuit of happiness that people get worn out and cranky and once they get “there” they don’t find the “feeling” they were seeking.

Happiness. Where do I get my happiness? I’ve found that happiness is a deeply personal state of being. What makes me “happy” may not make someone else happy. That’s why it’s deeply important to pursue my own happiness.

Eventually, after several misguided attempts and pursuits, I figured out the only person/thing/idea/situation that can make me happy lies within me. I am in charge of me, which puts me in charge of my happiness and how I feel at any given moment. In other words, HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE and no one else, no particular thing, place, or situation can make me happy.

Sometimes I need a reminder that happiness is a choice. The following is a list of activities/things/actions I choose in my pursuit of happiness that I will pull out when I need it.  Put your list in the comments.

HAPPINESS CHOICES (in no particular order)

1.  When people around me are grumpy or sad, I try to cheer them up, redirect their pity party, whatever it takes to bring a smile. Most of the time it works. Either they start smiling or they take their pity party elsewhere.  Most of our sadness or grumpiness is legitimate. Dwelling in it and sucking others into it is not.

2.  I sing. That is one of my favorite ways to be happy. I sing silly songs, or make up songs, or just sing my heart out. Singing always (I do mean always) makes me feel better.  Usually when I sing my silly songs people laugh or smile, so hopefully they feel better.

3. Obviously, making others feel better fills me with that happy feeling. Singing, encouraging words, being silly, whatever it takes. When I do these things, I feel better.  I always hope the feeling is contagious.

4.  Writing is always a happy choice for me. I always feel better afterward, regardless of the subject. It’s an unloading of my mind even if no one else reads it.

5.  Photography is another way I choose happiness.  A friend told me recently that even when I shoot ordinary things, I make them look special or unique and she sees them in a different way.  That’s one of the highest compliments I’ve ever gotten in regards to my photography.

6.  Making videos. This is a relatively new medium for me but be prepared to see snippets of me being silly, serious, and pouring out my random brain while you can see my face.

7.  I am comfortable in my own skin. That’s what makes 1-6 possible. There’s a freedom in being me 24-7-52. I like who I’ve become, and why there’s always room for improvement, I deeply appreciate who I’ve become so far.

I could go on all day with examples of what I choose to create my happiness.

I can hear the naysayers and Negative Nellies saying, “yes, but what about when (insert every day life event) happens?” It’s simple. I stop, I take a deep breath, and I do one of the above things or I say, “I choose to be happy,” or at the very least, “I choose not to dwell in this mess,” or “This is temporary.”

Bad moods, pity parties, and lashing out are just as much of a choice as happiness. I am guilty of falling into bad moods, but I no longer dwell.  I can pull myself out of the pit or I go to someone I know will help me lift myself out of the pity party. Again, happiness, or what we consider that state of being we call happiness, is a choice.

As we enter the season of the craziest emotions, remember happiness is something that is chosen, only by you, and no amount of presents or money spent this holiday or whatever else you try to force happiness from, will make you truly happy.

Choose happiness!

Posted in Uncategorized


I am finally home after my hysterectomy and the removal of my left ovary. After 3 days in the hospital, despite their exemplary care, I was ready to come home and sleep in my recliner and have my privacy and not get woken up every few hours.

I was also ready to not have to see so many babies. The hospital does not yet have a wing dedicated to female care that does not involve childbirth, so I was in the NICU wing, where all the walls, including my room, were covered with artsy pictures of newborns. Even if I got up and walked down the hall, the hallways were lined with these photos and I would also pass the nursery as well as groups of family members who waited for news expectantly.

Honestly, the room was resort like and I ordered meals like I was ordering from room service. Still, when I first opened my eyes and saw the photo of this gorgeous newborn held as he slept in his parents’ hands, I felt the emptiness of my womb more than i thought I would.  

When the floor manager came to talk to me, I told her that every last nurse that had served me was exemplary and I would recommend that hospital to anyone.  I did ask her that the next time they put a hysterectomy patient in the room and knew they were doing so, to change out the photo for sensitivity purposes.  I knew I’d had a very mild reaction compared to what another person might have.

She thanked me for my honesty and said I wasn’t the first person to mention this and she would talk to marketing about the photos.

I came home last night, took my pain meds and slept in my recliner (I would have a tough time getting out of bed by myself). Some friends brought me breakfast and another is bringing dinner. I’m so grateful for all the visits, flowers, cards and food. Very, very grateful.

While in the hospital, I received news that finally, I am approved for my bariatric surgery which will now happen in late April. At least now I know and can plan for that eventuality.  For now, I need to heal from the current surgery. And rest.