Free Write: Kombucha Tears

There is something so sickly sweet about the mixture of lust and earnest interest in someone.

Someone who might not feel the same.

It tickles your tongue like sugar

and stings the roof of your mouth with a vinegar finish.

You can’t tell if you like it


if it just hurts.

You want to hold onto every



even when you are sipping air.

You want to believe it is all good, but the unrequited emotions bubble up.

More and more.

You seep out the edges, upset because this spill seemed preventable.



dripping in disappointment.

You won’t entertain accidents, even though that’s what it actually is.

Instead, you let it keep trickling down your throat, trying not to choke.



Fly it high

I’ve cried more since the early morning hours of November 3, 2016 than in the collective years since that was my only form of communication.

That’s probably an exaggeration, but anyone who knows me knows my hyperbolic use of the phrase “I’m crying.” But, finally, it’s been used correctly whenever I have typed that since the Chicago Cubs won the World Series that early Thursday morning.

To many of my friends, especially those I met in college, they probably find it strange that I almost exclusively save tears for sporting events (well, and maybe a few to stupid boys who don’t deserve them and sleepless nights fretting over making a magazine). You are right; it is weird because they are literally super publicized games that can also be played by children (or by an infamous Backyard Baseball player named Pablo Sanchez).


This was more than a game, though. Not just in the sense that it was a championship because I’ve seen a couple of those brought home to Chicago (thanks Blackhawks). There were droughts that needed quenching on both sides, though the Cubs’ was the most notorious. There were loyal fanbases on both sides who knew what it was like to push through seasons upon seasons of sad scores.

Being a fan of the Chicago Cubs isn’t typically just a fair weather or bandwagon situation. It’s been instilled in you that you will toil season after season with not a lot to show for it, while your White Sox friends might laugh or heckle you on sports jersey day in elementary through high school. For me, it meant going to Mizzou and being surrounded by die-hard Cardinals fans who never let me forget just how many rings they had in comparison to our win not long after the turn of the 20th century. For me, it was memories of attending games with my dad, grandpa and brothers (me in my pink Cubs visor and pink-accented jersey) and eating frozen chocolate malts in the stands. For me, it was memories of watching the sunset over the ivy or getting nearly caught in tornadoes on our way out of storm-delayed games.

For most of us, it’s not just fandom. It’s heritage. It’s love. It’s family.

That’s what made me collapse sobbing on the floor of my apartment around 1 a.m. after having to leave the Chicago bar here in Atlanta because I was so nauseous with nerves that I literally puked outside of the door. That’s what made me text my grandfather “I haven’t stopped crying yet. GO CUBS” because I knew that this meant even more to him than to me. That’s what made me cry thinking about the people that didn’t make it to see this win, like my Papa Giggy and my Grandma Virg who loved the Cubbies because they were cute. That’s what made me tear up in a Starbucks watching the parade and rally livestream because I just wanted so badly to be surrounded by people who all were connected by this same type of love.

Being the true journonerd that I am, I had to live vicariously through the quality media that was being put out after this historic win. I also had to spam my FB feed with all of it whilst crying again. I miss my favorite city so much, even though it has been raw, broken and seemingly numb to the violence and hurt. But this win means that for once the city could just be full of joy. The city can just love its inhabitants purely.

But it wasn’t just the city that needed this win, the nation did. Sure, a baseball game can’t solve everything. It doesn’t have to, but it can let us find peace and happiness and avoid the politics that have been plaguing us for months upon months (P.S. Make sure you vote; it’s almost over, folks). And it’s OK to allow ourselves to be consumed by baseball emotion for a little while.

Although it’s been an emotional journey (I was sobbing again yesterday), it’s one I wouldn’t trade for the world. I would just trade where I was living right now to be amongst the Cubbie fray. Thank god I didn’t need to be somewhere specific to watch Anthony Rizzo sing and twerk on SNL, though. That just added to the buckets of tears with some laughing tears. Now if I could only I could trade places with Rizzo’s girlfriend…


The first week of 2016 has come to a close and I have come out of my temporary sickness and following laziness to crack more into my Passion Planner. For those of you that aren’t a part of the #PashFam and haven’t heard me singing its praises since August, the Passion Planner is the Holy Grail of all planners and is centered around goal setting and reflection. To start the planner you are instructed to create goal wish lists for different time periods and then use the most impactful goal from each of those areas to start mapping out your goals. Once of my goals I made (written humorously, meaning seriously) was for a #FuckboyFree2016.


Make it trending, homies. None of us need that.

Pardon my language, but this word and behavior by humans has become all too common, especially in my 2015. When I was reflecting on 2015 to create some goals to better my life in 2016, I realized I spent a strange amount of 2015 dealing with, crying about and living in the limbo of interactions with f*ckboys. Such a weird realization for me, especially since I spent 2015 trying to grow in my education and advocacy for women’s issues, feelings and experiences. Yet, when it came to my own womanhood and relationships, I wasn’t being as mindful.

There was a moment during the dog days of summer and the scattered freshness of the new school year that I was stopped by words that rang too true to my female existence. Janine, a friend from junior high, posted a haunting poem as her Facebook status that goes as follows:

when your little girl
asks you if she’s pretty
your heart will drop like a wineglass
on the hardwood floor
part of you will want to say
of course you are, don’t ever question it
and the other part
the part that is clawing at
will want to grab her by her shoulders
look straight into the wells of
her eyes until they echo back to you
and say
you do not have to be if you don’t want to
it is not your job
both will feel right
one will feel better
she will only understand the first
when she wants to cut her hair off
or wear her brother’s clothes
you will feel the words in your
mouth like marbles
you do not have to be pretty if you don’t want to
it is not your job

-Caitlyn Siehl

As I felt the goosebumps crawl over my arms, I recognized my own internal battle with “pretty,” a battle known to many girls and woman. The in and out of each passing day included me putting on clothes and makeup for myself and my love of fashion, yet I would feel full and validated with compliments, likes and comments on my beauty. Sometimes social media comments on my appearance concretely makes me feel weird, such as @party_boy47’s infamous comment on my booty during the football season.


I mean, I have come to know that I have what could be typified as a “good ass,” especially when I am out dancing. An ongoing joke I have with my friends is how I can’t go to the bar Roxy’s without some guy dancing on me and asking for my number. I always play it off with a smirk and a giggle, but question the part of me that feels the warmth of pride when it happens. I have never been one to consider myself sexy or hot, or really even pretty. I have been content with being the cute, funny one or stylish, usually based on my hair. With my girls I can join in the battlecry of our collective sexiness and hotness that empowers us, but it never really felt the same as the kind that guys drool over. When I am called out by males as hot, I usually scoff and run away before my ears and cheeks turn red because I turn into a 12-year-old.


Or I just tweet about it because I am a disgusting millennial. And, of course, the replying tweets tried to call me out for “humble bragging,” because I must be sharing this for validation and virtual appreciation, right? But actually, I was more dumbfounded and taken aback. I mean, it’s flattering to be called hot and it makes me feel good, but there is only so much substance to comments like that. That giddy feeling eventually disappears into just questioning why someone felt the need to yell that at you.

This is where f*ckboys come in. Urban Dictionary has tons of definitions for this word that took 2015 by storm, but a common theme through definitions is that a f*ckboy is a human that plays the game the right way by schmoozing other humans so they will hook up with them. They know that saying those aforementioned words can help in their game. F*ckboys have mastered leading people on and ghosting (from absolutely everything) as much as they have mastered doing the shit they will complain to you about. They are charismatic, usually attractive and magnetic even when you don’t think you have any sort of metal to bring you close to them. F*ckboys have a plan, and they aren’t too worried about what could get in the way of that plan, such as your feelings.

My darling friend and roommate, Alison, texted me an article about the phenomena of the “softboy,” a sort of subculture of the f*ckboy. They softboy carries all the calling cards of the f*ckboy, except they are frustratingly more complicated and complex. He isn’t in it for just one night; he’s in for the long game. The game you won’t win. The softboy puts off all the right signs. He is usually seemingly inclusive, says shit about feelings that you relate to and can drop some knowledge on things you like. But, what gets you the most with softboys, especially when they fuck you over, is this:

He is emotionally intelligent but does nothing with this knowledge. He is artistic. He is aware. He is still a dick.

This was the type of weapon I had been up against. It may be the weapon you have faced as well. “No, no… but he is so smart. He’d never do something that dumb,” you’ll convince your friends before you’ve hit the ground from the dumb cloud that you have been floating on, just inches above reality. You, me, we all we knew better. But that’s how they get you.

But not anymore. My lovely lady friends and I have had our fair share of f*ckboys, softboys and all the in-betweens that aren’t just genuine humans. I will say that I use f*ckboy as a more gender neutral term because that sort of behavior is definitely not restrained to one gender, but in this case I did fall back on my power woms. We cried, bitched, wallowed and planned “Bad Blood”-girl gang revenges, but time’s up. It’s a new year and we can’t be wasting time hating on these f*ckboys, ourselves or each other. 2016 is leaving f*ckboys behind and letting #GirlLove take over. My awesome friend Crystal graduated in December and shared her love for all the ladies that helped her along the way by posting this video:

Sure, it’s basis is around girl-on-girl hate and ending bullying, but it reminded me of all the ladies that let me cry about stupid shit and the kind notes they left me to remind me of my worth, the worth that is more than my beauty to some guy. That is some good juju to spread and a good reminder to us all.

So, since it is in my planner, it is real. This year will be free of f*ckboys and the confusion they bring. Instead, it will be full of friendships and relationships with others and myself that make us all stronger. Because ain’t nobody got time for anything else.

P.S. I made a Spotify playlist of 16 songs to jumpstart #FuckboyFree2016. Some of the songs are perfect for getting your cry out. Some let you jam in your awesomeness. And some may be something you would like to tell those loser f*ckboys.

P.P.S. This SNL clip is probably my favorite of all time because it includes Drake and is just hilarious. Some people will get why I included this clip, but even if you don’t it will brighten any mood that f*ckboys tried to bring down.

My Fivehead Man

The light was the kind of bright that makes your eyes slightly damp around the edges. Moonlight bright in the newfound early darkness. It was full.

My eyes muster up the courage to face the brightness and gaze into the gleaming circle in the sky. I can hear your sing-song call…

The bella luna.

Almost instantaneously U2’s “With Or Without You” inhabits my brain, my ear, as if Bono, eyes gazing into the moon behind his yellow-tinted lenses, is singing right next to me.

I can hear the CD catalog of U2 and Peter Gabriel. I am sitting in the too big passenger seat of your black GMC Jimmy in a pink leotard and soft, leather ballet slippers. The toes are just slightly scuffed. This is our time. Just you and me, on the way to the YMCA. I am your princess.

My castle is the American Girl Doll Store every year on my birthday. My carriage takes me to the ball, the one that the Bulls are playing. We yell for Cuppy Coffee to beat stupid Biggie Bagel on the screen because I would rather you get a free coffee than me getting a bagel. I know better.

Four daddy-daughter dances later and I still don’t think your recycled jokes are funny. I roll my eyes, but I still grin. We bash the weird, annoying dads in your Acura TL while XRT plays in the background.

You suck

The air out of my lungs as the visceral words hit your face. My middle name gets some unfortunate air time as I lose your respect temporarily. We fume like two matching steam stacks.

Two peas in a pod. We butt foreheads, though he refers to his as a ‘Fivehead’ because it is just a tad bigger. Our secret handshake of sorts, in all its stubborn glory, also shown in whiteboard notes proclaiming dollar prizes for the MU vs. Illini Border War Basketball game.

Sometimes I think that we are more alike then I would like. But, I guess I am just truly a Daddy’s Girl. I will let you be right about that.

#FreeWriteFriday: Boots are made for

I am happiest when I clack.

It’s the sound effect for “bossy” and god forbid I associate with that.


It’s a strange sound of power that brings hushed tones of those wary an authority figure will hear their less-than-academic plans.


She stands at the front of the class. A different pair of boots adorn her feet every day, but they always


Heel, toe. Heel, toe. Can you hear me?


That satisfying slap of hard rubber or wooden composite signals to the ground “I am here. You aren’t escaping me anytime soon.”


I have arrived.

#FreeWriteThursday?: The Metra Mobile Edition

I giggle at graffiti.

The seemingly never-ending freight cars that greet me as I wait for my Metra into the city have quick tags, try-hard “artist” renderings of Pac-Man and the occasional “Fuck, I’m drunkkk.”

As I get closer to the city, “Society is fucked!” screams from a dented shed in red paint in scrawl similar to what is found in my reporter’s notebooks.

It’s funny to me, people using aerosol cans of paint to be heard. Not funny in the sense that it is stupid, just in the sense that they have just not nailed it yet.

They expect the can to cry out in protest, in rebellion, to whatever wrongs they feel, but all it is doing is releasing a quiet “whizzz” of air.

A sigh. We have a long way to go.

Snow Happies/Sads: #FreeWriteFriday

11:31 p.m.

I played in the snow by myself yesterday.

Lying in the snow is the only time I am completely comfortable with being utterly alone with my thoughts (or lack thereof). I let the snowflakes hit my face and I smile as the cold makes my cheeks numb and tickle my closed eyes. I don’t let anything bother me.


So what, one of my younger brothers wouldn’t come out to play with me, even though I kept throwing snowballs at his window. I scampered around and jumped on my trampoline until the snow took my feet from under me.

The snow in front of my house was perfect. The plows had pushed it up nice and high around my stone fortress-esque block of a mailbox. Perfect enough for me to scale up the mounds of snow and sit atop that mailbox fortress. Hell, I stood on top of that fortress and claimed Greene Ridge Drive as my own.

It was around 5:30, so it was dark and I could watch the cars slide past on the dim street from my roost. I could jump down and lie on the front lawn and make a snow angel and just melt into the snow as if I wasn’t there.

One with the snow. One with the happy.

Today, though, today it rained.

Not just a slight drizzle, but steady, like you are in a car wash, water streaming down the windows, rain, piercing my snow like little liquid knives.

People tell me how they looooove the rain, oh how it is so soothing and relaxing.

This rain, no, this rain just made me sad. It was quite literally taking my happy, starting to eat away at my beautiful snow.

That snow envelopes me and makes me feel safe and free and something about this rain, the clouds, clouded my mind with sads, all the things that kept me caged. All my worries came rushing into my brain just as that rain rushed from the sky to the ground.

My dad came in from being and work and exclaimed, “It is disgusting outside.” Hmmm, close. It is some sort of icky that makes you wonder why the sun isn’t there.

I replied with, “It’s sad outside.”

Sure, maybe it’s weird that I, an almost 20-year-old, played in the snow, squealing and laughing, all by myself. And, sure, maybe it is crazy that today’s weather casted a cloud of insecurity that led me to tears for pretty much no reason.

But, this is my kingdom. And I can’t sit on my mailbox throne if the steps are melted.

11:52 p.m.