This is a post altered and expanded from what started as a comment on a Facebook thread related to the below video of author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (full disclosure – I am unfamiliar with her writing but am now crushing hardcore and about to embark on an Amazon Prime quest for her work). I did not want to lose my thoughts on this topic, or keep them buried in a thread; sometimes this is how posts are born…

“Likeability.”  This 5 minute video is lovely, but you can skip to around 3:14 for Adichie’s thoughts on “likeability.”

The idea of “likeability” is a bit of a hot button with me… I’d like to see more pleasant kindness and compassion in life in general – and people who are pleasantly kind and compassionate are typically very “likeable.” But – for me – living with the filter of “likeability” is no way to live. Constantly not sharing ideas, opinions, or stories that are essential to your being because you are scared of someone not liking you if you did is – to me – stupid. I’ve tried at many points of my life. And it always sucked. And I lost a bit of myself every time I consciously filtered. It sat in my soul uncomfortably. Plus – I don’t want to be liked based on the filtered version of myself. I deserve more than that. We all do. If I am liked, I want it to be for who I *really* am at my core. Which means being truthful. And in being truthful, you don’t have to be unpleasant or unkind to people – because tact and compassion are still things to use. In fact I think sharing your truth is actually much kinder than a “likeable” facade – even if it is a little rougher going at times. I’d rather people let me see them for who they truly are and get hurt or offended right off the bat than be lulled into a sense of secure, “likeableness” with someone who is not being honest in our interactions because they don’t want me to dislike them. Plus repressed selves always seep their truths out in other ways – often very passive aggressive, more damaging ways than if folks were just owning their gnarly edges from the start.

I don’t have time for that.

If I want to know you, I want to *know* you in your own skin, owning your personhood for the unique, fascinating individual universe you are – the “likeable” and “unlikeable.” And I’ll let you see my universe, too.

Extending this to artistic endeavors – specifically with the written word which Adichie is addressing – you can’t be worried about who you may offend or who may not like you because of the story you have to share. The filter of “likeability” doesn’t allow people to be authentic and true to creation because that filter demands that you reign in and judge honest, visceral reactions – particularly to hard or ugly stuff. But the hard and ugly stuff is so important to honestly put out there, too, or else people are left to struggle through being human on their own without knowing that others have thought, felt, questioned, and struggled in the same way.

Filtering by “likeability” is isolating – not just to an individual but to culture as a whole.

This is something I am keenly aware of in the space of this blog because no story I share is just *mine*; all stories involve other people (directly or indirectly), some of whom may be offended by what I choose to write. For the more personal posts involving others – even seemingly peripherally – I let myself word-vomit a completely unfiltered draft and hold nothing back. Then I will edit with kindness and compassion in mind while keeping the integrity of my truth intact.  Sometimes that results in posting something that may still make others upset or uncomfortable; I am positive there are those who have read a post or two and gone “NOPE! Don’t like that chick,” or “She’s too much,” or “What a weirdo.”  And I’ve grown OK with that. Because my intent is never to harm or hurt another person; my intent is to share bits of my life in order to connect with others and – through sharing – understand this world of humans a little bit better than I previously did.

I have more things to say. There are more stories that want out. And I don’t want to be “liked” by everyone … I want to be honest. I want to be truthful. I want to be understood.  And – ultimately – I want to be cared for by those who want to know me for who I actually am, unfiltered. And on my body is a written reminder: “Trust your heart, and trust your story.”

Trust you heart, and trust your story

Trust you heart, and trust your story


This evening, I came home and furiously cleaned my apartment. I vacuumed. I wet-Swiffered. I did loads of laundry…and put it all away. I tackled a heap of dishes. I sorted mail and bills and put things in my very adult, hot-pink accordion file folder.

I wanted to start my thirties fresh and feeling as unencumbered and “together” as possible.

But in my cleaning I came across The Birthday Banner; this had become a thing with me and the ex.  The first birthday we celebrated together was his – I purchased the banner and secretly brought it on a weekend away to hang in the room when he was getting ready for dinner.  And it went up most birthdays from then on.

I debated.

Then I said: “FUCK IT – some years you have to hang your own birthday banner.”

And as I hung this silly collection of foiled-over, cardboard letters while dancing to atrociously wonderful pop music, it struck me that these are precious times. I am not beholden to anyone. I get to write my own story – no real co-authors or ghostwriters. And while my twenties were spent mainly lost, my thirties are starting at a place of exploration.  I’m no longer floundering; I’m just seeking.

I am on a grand adventure.

As the clock struck 12:00 midnight, I stood alone* in my tiny, candlelit apartment with Hozier’s “SOMEONE NEW” blasting from a Spotify playlist, popped open a bottle of pink bubbles, said a prayer, and danced.



Cheers, loves.

(*obviously Fabian was looking on very confusedly from a distance)

Stories of Singledom: Pierre

I have the best, worst dating stories. I may share some of the harmless, more amusing ones about relative strangers from time to time. Names will be changed to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent alike.  And I will employ gifs to illustrate as much as possible. Enjoy.

The other night I went out with a colleague whose last day at work is fast approaching so we were going to celebrate. We met up with another colleague and random friends of her friends and went to reggae night at a joint I have never been to before. I HAD SO MUCH FUN. The music was amazing – I was in my zone and just grooving.


And there were SOOOOOO MANY HANDSOME MEN THERE. Soooo many. Like. A distracting amount. At 10pm on a Wednesday night. WHO KNEW THIS WAS A THING?!?!  I certainly did not. Which is why I was wearing a dress befitting a toddler and my rhinestone cowgirl boots from Limited Too – I do not kid you and I don’t know why they fit me, but they do.
Anyway – handsome men.

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shemar moore gif criminal minds wife

I was in my neo-hippie-dance-zone and thinking I looked like a baby, so was not trying to do that whole flirting thing…but a fancy French man who we’ll call Pierre approached me.  Now when I say French, I mean that he just moved to the States and this city somewhat recently.  He chatted me up on the dance floor and after 20 minutes or so, asked if he could buy me a drink. Which apparently meant champagne.

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Honestly, Pierre’s personality was such that half the time we were talking and dancing, I felt like I was hanging out with this guy…

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… which – while slightly confusing because he was  obviously interested – put me off my guard in a good way.  I was relaxed and just existing and enjoying chatting with a new person without stressing about him hitting on me; plus I love meeting new people and Pierre leads a fascinating life while being very relatable.

My colleague and her friends eventually headed out for the night but I was having a blast and music was still going strong, so I decided to stay behind.  Pierre and I broke it down on the dance floor for a bit longer.

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Towards the end of the night when I said I was going to leave, Pierre kissed me.

lady and the tramp

This is where I should say that I am typically unfazed by kissing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice, but I have had to kiss so many people in my life because of theatre that kissing isn’t often a big deal – and when it is a big deal, that’s when I know I’m in trouble. For example, in the recent past I was hanging out with three of my friends after a show; when my scene partner for the current show said something about my lips, the other two jumped in with their comments BECAUSE I HAD KISSED ALL THREE OF THEM IN SHOWS AT SOME POINT… which I had completely forgotten. My unfazed-ness also means that in adult scavenger hunts with my non-theatre friends, I’ve always been the one to check the “kiss a stranger”/”kiss a bartender” box off my team’s list. Because if I don’t care – then why not?

2010 Scavenger Hunt: Complete Stranger

2010 Scavenger Hunt: Complete Stranger; All The Points.

So … getting back to Pierre, he kissed me and I was all unfazed and like “OK! Nice to meet you! It’s 1:30am so I have to go home and feed my cat now! But you have my number if you want to see me again!” (this is not verbatim but is pretty close…God help me).

And then Pierre said he was going to kiss me “in ze French way”….

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And he licked my face around my mouth. Brad The Bad Kisser style. 100%.  And I was shocked and appalled and started laughing so hard because IT WAS SO WEIRD. If I had myself together more, maybe I would have been somewhat tactful or kinder. But I literally laughed “BAHAHAHAHA!”-style *into his mouth* and backed up. Because WHAT?!

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I think he was insulted. Understandably. And I did feel slightly bad. But also it was 1:30am and I was too tired to try to mask my feelings on the matter. AND SERIOUSLY. WHO TOLD YOU THAT WAS OK, SIR?!?!

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I recovered and reiterated that I was going home to feed my cat (not kidding); he said he was leaving, too, and suggested we share a cab. I said OK. Because while I’m awkward, I’m not a monster and I did enjoy his company for the bulk of the night.  And it’s just sharing a cab.   As we were getting in the cab, Pierre said he had a “surprise” he wanted to show me and that it was on the route back to where my car was parked.  Now a red flag presents because I am no dummy and I know that often when a man tells you he has a “surprise” to show you in the wee hours of the morning, it relates back to one thing…
I cut that short right quick and told Pierre that under no circumstances was I doing anything but going right to my car and to my home by myself. He assured me that he was *not* trying to take me back to his place and that the detour would only take 3 minutes. So, ever the optimist, I said (like the dummy I am not) “OK – then show me the surprise.”
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He gives the address to the cab driver and it is absolutely on the way to my car – that checks out.  Now I figure it’s going to be a statue or fountain – something very specific to the city, something that he likes or relates to and wants to show me. Which – cool, right? I mean I’ve lived here for 11 years, so I bet I’ve seen it before – but I’m game.  HOWEVER I ask the driver if when we get to the location he can wait so I can hop right back in the cab and zip to my car post-3-minute-surprise. The cab driver says “Yes,” as we pull up to an apartment building. To Pierre’s apartment building.
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“DUDE. PIERRE. No. Absolutely not. I told you I was not going to your place.”  And he gives me a song and dance about wanting to show me his “rooftop deck”. So I give him a song and dance about how at close to 2am on a Thursday morning, I don’t need to see a relative stranger’s “rooftop deck”.  Also I’m not that stupid and there is a good chance that he is substituting the words “rooftop deck” for
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 He kept trying to get me to let the driver leave saying that it would be too expensive to have the cab wait and that I should Uber after I see the “rooftop deck”. And I was not having it.
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As we parted ways, something was mumbled about inviting me to a French dinner but that he wasn’t going to contact me because American girls always play him, so I’d need to reach out for the invitation…
I hopped back in the cab. The driver was shaking his head and said “He was being very pushy.”  And I agreed.  Which is sad because it was a fun night otherwise. But Pierre got shady. He took me to his apartment building and tried to get me in an isolated spot when I told him I wasn’t going for that. Not cool, yo. Add to that the mouth-licking….?  So I think I’m good on the French dinner front. I’ve got me some morning star farms chick’n nuggets and frozen pasta meals at home.  Plus I’m not really into foie gras so much.
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I picked up my car, drove home, called my biffle to recap the night, then went to bed at 4am on a Thursday morning. Like the 21 year old I’m apparently aspiring to be.  This is fauxdulthood at its finest.
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(special shout-out to my lady CGriff for being an editor on this post and an encourager on the share-your-weird-stories front)

“Let’s Be Brave & Search Alone Together!”: Q’s 30 – 35

My friend, Tia, has started a tumblr (inspired by a production being put on by a local theatre company) encouraging folks to go on an Identity Scavenger Hunt.  And in her rallying cry of “let’s be brave and search alone-together” (which I love love love love) – I’m all in.  And I encourage you to play along as well! Over the next 30 days or so, Tia will be posting a question or two a day from the famous Proust Questionnaire on the tumblr.  I’ll be doing my best to keep up and answer the questions here; my approach will be to not think too much about any one answer and to go from the gut.  You can answer the questions on the Identity Scavenger Hunt tumblr, on your own blog, in your journal, in your head, or feel free to e-mail answers directly to the lovely Tia at – she may want to use some of your answers in different ways in the future!

30. What do you most value in your friends?

Honesty. I value most the friends who I know will be honest and real with me no matter the circumstances. Kind. Always kind. But honest.

31. Who are your favorite writers?

Neil Gaiman; Harper Lee; Lewis Carroll; Shakespeare

32. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Atticus Finch. I need a re-read. Also Leslie Knope and Liz Lemon…for obvious reasons. They aren’t traditional “hero” types, but they are relatively regular, imperfect women who work against odds to do things they are passionate about while trying to balance personal relationships. And they are fairly successful.

33. Who are your heroes in real life?

Amy Poehler; Tina Fey; Jane Goodall; my friends and family who I watch soldier on during/after tragedies; men and women who use their lives to better the lives of others; people who stick up for what is right while knowing it could or will bring them harm.

I want to be best friends with them.

I want to be best friends with them.

34. What are your favorite names?

For humans: Isaiah, Isabella (Ella), Mason, Lucy, Atticus (sense a theme there?)… and depending on how the GoT series goes, if I ever choose to have/adopt kids and end up with a daughter I may opt for Khaleesi. Or I may just name a dog or cat (or elephant) Khaleesi.  What I’m saying is that Khaleesi will be used at some point.

For animals: anything with a title or office – Officer Fuzznugget, Mr. Brown, Sir Dudley, Fabian Raven Ittameh Bittameh Kittameh The Duchess of Things, etc.  I love a ridiculous name for a pet.

35. What is it that you most dislike?

True heartbreak. I’ve only been heartbroken a few times in my life (and not always in a romance-related way) – feeling shattered and internally-cracked because something huge has shifted, often without warning or without choice in the matter, and now you are left to mourn the loss of what will never be regained; when you start questioning the truth of everything because something has died – be it a person, pet, friendship, relationship, opportunity, etc. and that sickening feeling of being broken and not knowing how to get up in the morning let alone how to rebuild.  That is what I most dislike.