For the Love of the Game

It’s no secret that I’ve had a rough go in my personal life the last few years. Of course, no one has perfection and bad shit happens to everyone, however, I’ve been numbed to the point that I don’t expect the worst but am surprised by nothing. Nothing.

Martians falling from the sky? We believe you.

It’s also no secret that I love college football – especially my alma mater, the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Fans #1 and #2.

It can be hard for those who experience trauma to remain in the moment, appreciating what life offers up for enjoyment. No matter how small the pleasure.

The last day that I can truly say I was ‘in the moment’ was December 5, 2015. I got to experience the first Big Ten Championship with my dad, The Silent Indian (who cheered for the wrong team) and Camo with my Iowa Hawkeyes taking on Sparty of Michigan State.

Big four at the Big Ten game.

It was one of the best days of my life even though Sparty won in the literal last second of the game.

All the after morning feels.

Four days upon returning home from that game, I was pushed out of a career that I’d worked my ass off to obtain in the music business. Eleven days after that, I experienced the worst Christmas of my life – a day I cherish (almost as much as my birthday) due to family dynamics shifting and my unwillingness to accept it. Less than one month later, a woman who was like a little sister to me died in a car accident. That evening, I went to my best friend’s house and was raped by her boyfriend.

I went into deep personal hibernation.

Somebody wake me when it’s 2025.

The day I was at the hospital awaiting my rape kit to be performed, I was asked if I’d like an advocate to come sit with me. I didn’t know if I did or didn’t because as my bare ass was hanging out of the back of a hospital gown, I was in a state of shock. An advocate was called on my behalf. Aside from her beyond sweet demeanor, her name being Barbie (I mean, c’mon!), her fabulous Louis Vuitton purse (obvies the right advocate for me), she said something that still rings true to this day.

“There will be a before rape in your life. And there will be an after rape.”

A before and after. Seems like a simple enough concept but I did not comprehend then how fucking true this would be in my daily life moving forward.

The Before: last selfie I took before Rapegate.

The After: first selfie taken after Rapegate.

It’s now been 1,277 days since the saga of Rapegate began. At first it was all-consuming, eating me up – a worm in my brain, invading every moment of my sleep, thoughts, feelings – I had no idea that I might as well have been standing at the bottom of Mount Everest, readying to climb 29,029 feet with zero conditioning.

My thoughts on hiking.

Thing is, life goes on all around even though time stands still for victims of any sort of trauma. For me, I was stuck on January 29, 2016 but I still had a job to find, bills to pay, fur ball mouths to feed and personal hygiene to maintain (this took much insisting from Mrs. America and my sister). I just wanted to wallow on my leopard couch and have it swallow me whole but of course that didn’t fucking happen.

Not so fresh and so clean clean.

With the support and love from my family, friends, and readers of this blog (my sparkly army), I was encouraged to put one (semi-clean) foot in front of the other and got into counseling. I’ve tirelessly acted as my own advocate with a horrendous detective, found a job, kept my lights on, was diagnosed with PTSD, adjustment disorder and severe stress and stumbled forward.

I don’t wanna but I’m gonna!

Through what felt like a continuous avalanche in my life, I put on the happiest face possible and plowed forward. Although, everything had less meaning, was less fun, was just not right. I went to my fave watering hole Dalts, invited girlfriends over, tried to read books but couldn’t remember the page I just read, watched TV only to forget what the episode was about as my mind couldn’t stay focused, stopped going to yoga and jogging due to not being able to be alone with my thoughts – because the aftermath of Rapegate was never far.

SAY WHAT?

Trying to trudge through life, every step felt like I was moving through snow waist deep. Yet again, life stops for no one. Aunt Crazy Pants was diagnosed with terminal cancer almost six months to the day after I was raped. She passed just a little over two years ago, ten days after I suddenly lost the fur ball love of my life, Ted. The searing dual losses not only felt like unusually cruel timing but also like a hot iron had been stabbed into my chest. I’d never experienced the throes of despair (navigating my way out of Rapegate), alongside devastating, life altering grief (losing those we deeply love) at the same time.

There’s not enough wine for this.

While I was home for ACP’s celebration of life, I had an opportunity to go tailgating with my Uncle Toddy, Aunt Crispie, my cousins and their many friends at the in state rivalry of the Iowa Hawkeyes versus the Iowa State Cyclones. It was a thrillingly unexpected day jam-packed with tailgating shenanigans.

The friendly family rivalry…

Battle of the birds.

The fun of endless booze all around…

I hate tailgating.

The classiness of passing time while waiting to use the port-a-potties…

Shotski for three please.

Having to ask your uncle if there’s anyone he’s friends with in his season ticket section just in case I embarrass him with my big, loud pie hole…

A beauty and a sparkly beast.

Embarrassing my youngest cousin with all the right moves…

Cousin love is acceptable below the Mason Dixon line.

Up close and personal for the live action overtime win didn’t suck!

End zone win baby!

Afterward, I realized how much fucking fun I truly had that day. I lived in the moment for the first time in almost two years – at yet another football game. I didn’t think about anything other than what I was partaking in every. single. second. The bands marching through the tailgates. The booze. The Hawkeye buses arriving. The booze. The food. The booze. The rivalry. The family and friends I was enjoying the fuck out of spending time with. The game I got to watch from the end zone and the exciting win by the Hawks in overtime.

Some cousins took it well.

Others were sore losers.

Point is, for a brief day I got a taste of what it will be like when I transfer from survivor to thriver. I felt normal. I felt the fun I was experiencing. I felt like pre-rape me for once in almost two years. And it was fucking fantastic, freeing and I caught a glimpse of my old self starting to shine through the cracks I still carry.

Fist forward.

I’m happy to report that in the two years after this fun day of football, I will be there again this upcoming Saturday as a thriving survivor. And holy shit Ames, look the fuck out. This survivor is gonna be there in the wee hours of the morning to secure a spot to see my 82 year old boyfriend, Lee Corso, with the rest of the College Game Day gang.

At the end of every episode, Lee picks one of the two teams featured and my fucking fingers, toes and legs are crossed that I get to see him don a Herky head.

Everything else is triple fucking crossed that I not only get to lay eyes on Lee but also, hopefully, maybe just maybe, get my hands on my other boyfriend, Herky the Hawkeye.

Stud.

I attended the University of Iowa for four years and never once got close enough for a pic together. But you bet your ass I tried.

Wait. Stop. I love you.

The Hawkeyes are almost always considered the underdogs. And it’s not lost on me that both the last and first time I realized I was living in the moment were at football games, watching my favorite team with some of my favorite people.

I love you too, Lee.

The love of the football fan experience was and is a much needed reminder that I’m doing the best that I can every goddamn day. Aren’t we all?

Appreciate what life offers up for enjoyment when you can.

ON IOWA!

CBXB

 

First Round Draft Pick

The NFL Draft has arrived in Nashville and everyone is losing their goddamn minds.

Now, not everyone is losing their minds because they love the sport of America football or the NFL or just the hype of a fucking gigantic event being hosted in downtown Music City. Nashvillians are losing their goddamn minds over the influx of traffic, the take over of production companies downtown (causing you to watch every step you take due to massive cords), road closures everywhere, the cutting down of trees for draft stages, tourists in general, NFL draft tourists – need I say more?

I lose my fucking mind over this guy, T-Rac, every time.

On top of the NFL Draft commencing today, the Country Music Marathon is this weekend which in and of itself always draws tens of thousands more to the downtown area. All said, it’s projected that 300,000+ peeps will be overtaking my city. The past few weeks I declared no one could beg me to go near the downtown radius the entire week all of these shenanigans are taking place (unless, of course they had a front row seat to the first round of the draft).

Oh, hi! Who me? Miss out on fun? Never.

The preparation for this major event has included Nashville’s Hard Rock Cafe taking their iconic guitar sign down (you know, gets in the way of a good TV shot), entire bars are being rented by the NFL organization, and temporary rooftop viewing areas are being put on top of restaurants – it’s fucking bananas.

Missing: One massive neon guitar sign.

Years, months, weeks, days and now the final hours until the culmination of the NFL Draft 2019 begin to unfold.

Staging of the stage.

Side stage complete.

Naturally being the football fan I am, I certainly thought I was going to attend the draft when I heard it was going to be in Nashville and –  key word – free. Also, two Hawkeye tight ends are slated to be picked during the first round, Noah Fant and T.J. Hockensen. They will attempt to make 2019 the third Iowa draft class to ever feature more than one first-rounder, after the classes of 1997 and 1986. Would I Iove to take Dada CBXB (he was drafted by the Colts when they were in Baltimore after his college career, FYI) and see that happen in person? You bet your ass I would.

From a Red Raider to a Colt.

However, there is a lottery to get into the viewing area of the draft stage. Yes, there are mega huge TVs all over the city streets but in lieu of standing with other fans asses to elbows, I can sit ass to elbow with any and all members of The Pussy Posse. And, I don’t have to worry about standing en masse to get into one of these germy portable toilets that will surely run out of toilet paper within the first minutes of the event commencing.

Talk about crazy town.

When my gal pal Energizer Bunny asked if I wanted to go with her bestie Dance Pants for a last minute trip downtown, I had to think about it for .0000000000002 seconds (hypocrite at my finest).

EB: “Want to go-“
Me: “–YAS!”

Entrance to the NFL Draft experience on Broadway.

The aforementioned bars being converted into additional TV spots was equally impressive. Tootsies World Famous Orchid Lounge grew about 50 extra feet, which will be a secondary broadcast location for the event.

Finishing touches.

Stages here.

Stages there.

Stages everywhere.

Typically the downtown Nashville shopping scene is full of nothing but honky tonk trinkets. But every single store we passed had NFL team merchandise displays and every bar we passed had an NFL Draft 2019 neon light in its window.

No team left out.

Let’s not forget the people watching….

Bang This x 2.

People watch we did.

At one point as women who were wearing shorts shorter than bikini bottoms galloped by our bar window, Dance Pants said, “those gals are going to get a bad infection.” I immediately vowed to never sit on a bar stool without first wiping it down with an antibiotic wipe.

Regardless of whether you are watching the NFL Draft 2019 near, far or not at all, Nashville is definitely where it’s at this weekend.

The Bat Building is always a beaut.

Happy to have the projected 342,700 of you visit Music City this weekend. Just don’t forget to be one of the 30,000 departing people from the airport on Sunday or Monday.

Also, for those of you in motor vehicles, please kindly leave early (or late) enough so I can make it to work on time this upcoming Monday.

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Because if you decide to stay, I will punt your ass out.

Cheers!
CBXB

CBXB!

 

Weekend Winks – Panic, Boos! and Pussy Shenanigans

Friday started on the right foot with some prep for a Halloween party at the office tomorrow.

However, things took a hard turn when I had a panic attack out of fucking nowhere after lunch. I had to leave work, after catching my breath and then I managed to throw up while driving down the interstate. With my head out the window like a dog. And still  got my empty stomach contents all over my shoulder and down the inside of my door.

Adulting is hard.

I threw my newest armour on that I received last week via mail with no note. Now, obviously the sender really knows me, as the shirt not only included sparkly pink text, it read, “Onward Buttercup there’s fuckery to spread.” I had posted a blog about my own personal Harvey Weinstein on Friday (thinking back, possible trigger for a panic attack), and got this text from the sender.

I have the best friends.

Unable to un-tense any section of my body (even my eyeballs ached), I wallowed on the leopard couch, played Words With Friends that pissed me off when realizing my favorite state isn’t really considered a word.

WTF?

I was joined in snuggles from Iowa by my sister and Princess B.

Miles apart but the same at heart.

I was being mauled by my fur balls and I didn’t hate a second of it.

Fierce feline snuggles from Ruby Sue.

Precious and Rocky joined in, too.

I was mighty happy the Iowa game didn’t start until 5:30 pm on Saturday, so I was able to do one out of 100 loads of laundry I should have done, lay on the couch, and watch my 81-year-old boyfriend Lee Corso on ESPN’s College Game Day rock a skeleton outfit. It was pretty much a perfect fucking all day.

Game day ready.

Extremely conflicted as to wear a costume, Iowa Hawkeye gear or a combo of both, I went for the gaudier side. A little Halloween and a whole lotta Hawkeye.

Conflicted costume.

Traveling out to Dada CBXB’s for the game (also known as Pamela Anderson to my Kid Rock this time of year), we got to see Cousin Eddie and Clark that I originally rescued but they took to my dad so much so, that I wrapped them up and gave him to them for Christmas two years ago. He can’t tell them apart and calls them Cat 1 and Cat 2.

To me it’s beyond obvious.

Cousin Eddie

Clarkie

We were all Skinny Pirated up and ready for the 5:30 kick-off. Some of our crowd were more excited than others…

Although the first half was kind of a snore, my Hawkeyes pulled out a win and we take those no matter how ugly!

Two touchdown and one victory shot! Whoop!

We then settled down with nightcaps of Manhattans courtesy of my BIL’s famous recipe.

Nighty night.

I slept the most consecutive hours Saturday night in as long as I can remember. TEN hours. TEN! I’ve been averaging maybe four per evening the past two years, so saying I felt like a new lady is an understatement.

To top off the start to my Sunday, I was treated by Dada’s world-famous cheese omelette (according to him) which is one of my fave things he cooks.

Ah, yeah baby.

My Iowa twins couldn’t decide which holiday they wanted to celebrate more…

From Halloween. To Christmas. Back to Halloween.

Pumpkin perfecting.

With some elbow grease to finish.

Paw Patrol is still big at the Twin Castle, and my handy sister was able to create adorable ensembles for the most adorable duo on the planet.

Skye

Zuma

Then, all hell broke loose for me when fucking Facebook popped up a memory from a year ago and feelings started to seep into my soul. This time every year, I would be prepping Teddy Bear’s costume – this is the first time in eight years I haven’t been able to do it. And top that off with it being National Cat Day, I had a come apart of epic proportions.

Hole in my heart over my main squeeze who is gone too soon.

Not wanting my current fur babies to feel left out, (as I do have the cutest kids on the fucking block), I still celebrated my fave four pussies, of course.

My fab four. Rocky, Fabio, Ruby Sue and Elsa Pants.

I’ll leave you with a little wisdom one of my Nashville sistas gave me in regard to closing out 2017, looking forward to a new year:

Anyone have any cheese for my cracker?

CBXB