It’s All in the ‘Tude

Attitudes are the shit and I burst onto this planet with one in tow. I was born with the confident “I can do anything” stance somehow and my folks continued to nurture that temperament as I grew up. The only thing they cautioned me on was to not get married until I was at least 25 (they may be wishing they’d sung a different tune as I’m a candle lovin’ lady with four pussies, a chug and would now be considered an ‘old maid’ in a different era).  Before Rapegate, there was never an issue with me adjusting my attitude – being able to kick my own ass back into shape as needed.

Lately I’ve been exceedingly inundated with cheerful “I’m thankful for…” countdowns, “reasons for merriment,” and “I resolve to…” positive posts on social media. Going into the holiday season, I struggled to gear up for anything festive – and I hated my attitude. As some of us were excited to be knee deep in gravy for a solid two months, I was hoping this holiday season didn’t linger as long as my 21st birthday hangover.

I may or may not have drunk dialed my boyfriend’s mother at 3am. She answered.

Thing is, I never thought I would fall into latter category, as typically on America’s birthday, I’m salivating like Dracula does over a neck – thisclose to getting my Halloween décor out on the fifth of July. But mentally for the past two years, it’s been a monstrous war inside of my skull, emotions swinging back and forth more extremely than POTUS’s hourly tweets. Not just regarding holiday cheer but being cheery about life in general. Oh Rapegate, thank you for PTSD, adjustment disorder, severe stress, insomnia, panic attacks and all of the insecurities I gained at your reckoning.

Previous multi-seasonal head cheerleader.

In my experience, PTSD (can go fuck itself) is exhausting – not only mentally but physically as well. I’m constantly on edge, have nightmares, difficulty staying asleep, experience major loss of interest in activities I used to love the fuck out of and feel ultra-guilty about “letting” myself be raped (how fucked up is that feeling?). Accompanying these symptoms are feelings of alienation and self-inflicted detachment from friends, family and my old self. Problem is, I’m having trouble kicking my own attitude back into shape and I loathe being out of control of my emotions (so you can imagine how comfortable the last 23 months have been for me).

I think I’ll just stay in bed and wallow.

With mental issues, one can rationally know how lucky they are (or know what happened to them isn’t their fault)– no matter what bad shit has happened to them – or people they love. With this being the first holiday season without Aunt Crazy Pants and the fur ball love of my life, Ted, grief has also been a constant companion even though there are crazy fun memories of hilarity, hijinks, pee-your-pants fun to fall back on. The heaviness of grief crashes like tsunami waves, compounding the sense of loss I carry with me daily due to my personal trauma. I can almost feel my heart hardening at times.

Miss you something crazy.

Miss you something terrible.

Thing is, it super sucks because I missed my old holiday pukes all over the place self (and I mean all over – the mini manse, my office, fucking reindeer antlers on my car, Christmas underwear, socks, sweaters (that others might wear to an ugly sweater Christmas party I wear on the December regular), adorning Santa hats like they’re simply a part of my noggin, blasting holiday  music from my car like I’m Santa himself, watching fa-la-la-la-la Lifetime movies that are so full of cheesiness, I want to kick my own ass for loving them).

Christmas Gaudy Queen of yesteryears.

In therapy, I’m tits high into the thick of processing the act – the moment of my rape and my feelings (ew) – while also constantly reminded, triggered, (whatever you wish to call it), daily by the super cool humans who apparently never learned fucking body basics in kindergarten. Thursday afternoons I see my own personal super hero, Sheila, and as she guides me toward a semblance of my old self, sessions almost always leave me with an emotional hangover that can last days. The mental, emotional and physical fatigue I fight daily, barely leaves me any energy to gussy up for work, so the thought of getting in any kind of holiday spirit was simply draining.

I woke up like this. And just want to go to work like this.

But I’m at a point where I must ban myself from a weekend full of bed lingering when I’m not trying to be social (stepping out of my mini manse and Dalts bubble little by little). I forced myself to get Halloween decorations out to the max because I hadn’t for two years. The fucking nerve of me.

There’s a glimpse of my old holiday mistress.

So, too, it is time to get in the motherfucking thankful, celebrate everything, CBXB spirit again YEAR-ROUND. Period.

When Dada CBXB and I were watching the Iowa Hawkeyes win their first bowl game in four years (yeehaw!) and he suggested I keep my Christmas tree up a little longer because it looked so pretty. (Side note – my buddy Camo insisted that I put my worldly pink, sparkly possession up and almost forced the ornaments on the fucking thing himself – and I’m glad he did).

Once the goddamn thing was up, I couldn’t help but be excited about turning the lights on when I got home from work. I also raced home every evening to see if anyone from my pussy posse knocked the pink tinseled delight over (remained in tact all season) being that this was their first experience with an actual Christmas tree. Turns out, they just like to sit underneath it and stare up at the lights, much like their mother.

Hello Gorgeous.

Speaking of moms, mine suggested that if I still had mine up, I should decorate it with Valentine’s attire. And just like that – I had an Oprah AHA! moment.

If I kept my tree up all year round would that make me:

  • a) Festive
    b) Red neck
    c) White trash
    d) Crazy as fuck
    e)All the above

Guess what my answer is?

  • f) I don’t give a fuck

So, there you have it. I’m keeping my tree up all 2018 in celebration of celebrating.

Getting my ass back into the habit of loving everything about any little out-of-the ordinary thing of the day/week/month/year. If you visit the mini manse, best bring me something to hang on the pink tinsel (yes, mini bottles of Captain Morgan count).

I have a sparkly army – and if you’re reading, you’re a part of it – who has done nothing but encourage me every step of the goddamn way. Via comments. Messages. Snail mail. Phone calls.

Just minor digit change from last year.

I rang in the new year with reminders that I’m facing nothing alone sent to me from all over the world – here’s a sample of my faves:

I even wore armour sent by HJ and CC by way of Denver, CO (and no I wasn’t tipped and yes I was pissed no one tried all night).

Onward Buttercup There’s Fuckery to Spread

Attitude for gratitude, my friends. I have nothing but it for you.

Join me in being fierce as fuck in 2018.

Cheers.

The Little Things…

Being an Iowa Hawkeye football fan leaves most folks with a sense of pride (I mean, hello, ever catch my blog during football season?) even if their season is sometimes less than stellar.

We’re #1! Even if it’s just in our hearts.

Iowa is not only known for its corn, it’s truly dubbed the Hawkeye State. I grew up singing a song that included the line, “where the corn grows tall and the kids grow great. I’m glad I live in the Hawkeye State!”

If any strings are attached in being associated with this university, they’re welcomed. Now that I live in Nashville (or if you live anywhere outside of the Corn State) when I tell people Iowa is my original home, I’m received with “Oh the Buckeyes!” or “The Potato State!” and living in the South, some peeps think I say Ireland when I say Iowa (no fucking clue how they hear that, as all Iowa schools taught phonics but whatever).

Raygun t-shirts always on point.

My point is the University of Iowa may be little known by others but man, the people there are some of the fucking greatest. And it’s not because they’re mostly from Iowa (although I swear to god that the state produces the nicest, most modest (aside from me of course), hard working, earnest, salt of the earth people ever).

I was surprised yesterday by an act of kindness that almost (I said ALMOST) made me ugly cry in a happy way (which pretty much means hell would have frozen over because the first and only time I happy cried was five years ago after finding out the twins had arrived).

Happy cry, sad cry, neither is pretty.

I have a Hawkeye football poster I get every year from the Iowa State Fair (one of the greatest events on the planet) hanging in my workspace, along with a few other pieces of Hawkeye memorabilia.

Pride and joy.

Letting the love show.

Even cups get the Hawkeye treatment.

I’m sure my co-workers are all “OK. OK. We fucking get it.”

The poster has been a great conversation starter and almost any college football fan stops to comment upon seeing it. One vendor stopped and asked if I knew of CJ Beathard (quarterback) and George Kittle (tight end), both who played at the University of Iowa and both of whom were drafted in 2017 by the San Francisco 49ers. Almost responding with a “fucking duh!” I was excited this dude knew past Hawk players. So we chit chatted about how Beathard and Kittle were the shit and then the gentleman slid in that his son also was drafted in 2017 by the 49ers. His son roomed with Kittle and is tight with both former Hawkeye players.

I couldn’t wait to text my dad and tell him the scoop.

You know, because he’s a little bit of a fan, too.

I looked up Trent Taylor, who is a wide receiver (from the Nashville area!) for the 49ers and my new buddy’s son. Every time Dad Taylor came to our office, he’d stop to talk football shop and I enjoyed hearing a little inside scoop. Well, yesterday was just a dreary winter day and I got a phone call from Dad Taylor asking if I was in the office and then he instructed me to meet him in the lobby in 15 minutes.

Still having trouble with a regular fucking phone and a headset. But I’m here.

Assuming he had something for my boss, I moseyed up to the front and waited his arrival. Dad Taylor had a FedEx envelope in his hand and as I went to grab it (ever the classy gal that I am), he put his hand up. “I have something for you and I want to see your expression when you open it.” What? What?!

Then he slid out a photo from the envelope. And I immediately saw football players. And I immediately tried to not be too excited who those football players might be on that fucking photograph.

It was an autographed photo signed to me with the inscription, “Go Niners! Go Hawkeyes!” along with signatures from Trent Taylor, CJ Beathard and George Kittle. FUCK ME IN THE GOAT ASS.

Be cool! be cool! be cool! be cool! becool!becool!becool!becool! BE!FUCKING!COOL! I kept thinking in my head while my mouth was wide open (so it was basically to the floor) and at the same time I thought don’t cuss, don’t cuss, don’t fucking cuss. Because all I wanted to do was throw my arms around Dad Taylor and scream holy fucking shit! This just made my year!

I haven’t smiled this hard since 2015.

I realize that it’s just a picture. But the idea that someone who doesn’t know me well, just wanted to do something nice for the sake of being fucking nice. Trent Taylor’s dad reached out to him and Trent took the time to not only sign the photo himself but get Beathard and Kittle to do so as well. Standing there trying not to shriek my brains out, with moist eyes, all I could utter was “I can’t say anything right now or I might cry and I’m never a lady with nothing to say!”

Dad Taylor did what most dads would do and gave me a great big hug and said, “I’m so thrilled you’re thrilled.” I basically skipped my way around the office the rest of the day showing anyone who would look and listen (and gave no shits) my photo and back story.

I ran around searching for the perfect frame and naturally got something ultra studly to home the picture. A matted, mirrored frame. That sits proudly underneath my Iowa Hawkeye poster.

A very subtle, footbally frame.

I slept with a grin on my face that night. I know I woke up with one in the morning. And I haven’t smiled so hard since 2015 – that’s no lie. What I’m getting at is you know that saying – you never know what battles others are facing (or something along that fucking line)? These peeps don’t know any struggle I’ve endured over the last three years. All they know is that I’m a huge Hawkeye fan (and now the Niners #1 fan) and did something nice because they fucking wanted to. And now I have a treasured story and possession to remember the feeling of specialness because of strangers’ kindness.

Aside from making my fucking day, week and month, this act basically made my year. Which is a fabulous sign because it’s still only early January. Whoop!

Once a Hawkeye, always a Hawkeye.

Now go start someone’s year off on the right foot by being nice.

Go Niners!

GO HAWKEYES!

CBXB

Weekend Winks – Lights, Santa, Action!

The most wonderful time of the year…has been really fucking hard for me to get into the past few seasons. So in an attempt to kick-start my holiday merriment, I went to see the lights at Nashville’s Opryland Hotel on Friday. Every year, they decorate their botanical gardens with millions (or maybe thousands) of lights throughout the property.

Light show captured by @steve_zeinner.

This trip used to be tradition but I just haven’t been in the mood the last three years, so I forced the fucking spirit – even if it almost killed me. Which it did because if you take a look at the doors to your right in the photo, the platform I had to jump up to was well beyond my physical skill set. But goddamnit I got up there.

It only took 8.9 minutes for me to jump onto this platform.

The lights and music did help (along with a few martinis) rally me into the festive spirit.

While I was creating holiday mojo, my Iowa twins were gearing up to ride the Polar Express to see Santa.

Cuteness overload.

Not excited.

At all.

When they finally got to the man in red, Princess B tried putting the moves on him by holding his hand (as I’ve said before I couldn’t have birthed her better myself).

Nothing but love.

While the twins were living it up on the pseudo North Pole, I was taking the newest addition of the mini manse to the vet. For…ultra attractive, not at all disgusting worm treatment.

I had one pissed off pussy on my hands but Fabio took his butt treatment like a champ – and then we also discovered he had ear mites. Poor dude. All is well now and none of the other members of my pussy gang have contracted either squirmy, wormy ailments, thankfully.

Last week when I had family in town, a cactus that was cut from my Grandpa’s (who passed over ten years ago) was delivered to me (thank you S.S.). However, being that I have no green thumbs (pink only for me of course), it’s already turning a bit brown. How do I save it? I’ve seriously had this thing for maybe 12 days and I’m already murdering it. Anyone?

Cactus SOS.

While the spirit of any holiday has been hard to jump into, life in general has been a fucking challenge of late. And, again with friends and supporters like you, it’s all but heart exploding when I get reminders like this from you guys. These reminders always come at the perfect time.

Reminder well received Allidme.

Not sure if you guys remember but I am a huge Iowa Hawkeye football fan. A little earlier this year our mediocre team beat the shit out of a nationally ranked number five team THE Ohio State University Buckeyes whom I loathe (although, this team is the reason Dada CBXB and I started the Touchdown Shot tradition) with a score of 55-24.

And we don’t hate it.

Even though Ohio State went to win the Big Ten Conference championship on Saturday night, they were snubbed hard when the top four selections of teams came out on Sunday, being eeked out by Alabama, thanks in part to the Iowa ass kicking.

You’re welcome Bama fans.

Sorry not sorry for the cockblock of THE Ohio State University.

While running errands to put some holiday touches in the mini manse, I couldn’t believe my alcoholic eyes when I saw Target actually sold corks for decor.

I have about 429 corks around my mini if anyone wants to buy them.

Princess B acquired a cold after all of the Santa excitement. Luckily for everyone involved at her castle, she had her own remedy plan put in place.

I uncorked a bottle of vino (which brings my total to 430) and hopped in the bubbles for a long winter’s bath (even though it’s 70 degrees in Nashville).

Turns out that was an ideal move by yours truly as I sat in over an hour of traffic on a route to work that usually takes me 15 minutes.

Good thing I found this gem shopping yesterday to help with my Monday woes.

Dreams do come true.

All in all, the weekend got me festive enough to slowly start embracing the Christmas cheer.

Ready to get this holidaze shit show started.

Cheers!

CBXB

Weekend Winks – Gizzards, Griswolds and Gaming

Over the river and through the woods to the mini manse they came…

So, I haven’t ever cooked a turkey (or mowed a lawn, washed dishes without rubber gloves, changed a dirty diaper… because you know, my nails are jewels, not tools) but my friend Rasta decided to bake a bird for the Thanksgiving holiday, as she wasn’t traveling back to New York. I had family from Iowa coming into Nashville, she was kind enough to invite us over and it was a Griswolds meets the Iowa Hillbillies meets City Chic. In other words, the best kind of holiday mash-up.

I’ll let you guess which is which.

I went to help prep the evening before and basically sat on my ample derriere washing the evening away with wine, BUT I did help with snapping green beans, K?

Being a sous chef is hard work.

Upon my return to the mini manse, I called Mama CBXB no less than 31 times in 25 minutes because I was attempting my first casserole with a whopping six ingredients.

What’s a ¼ lb. of cheese?

Do you drain the corn or leave the juice in it?

What’s a ¼ lb. of butter look like?

And voila!

Corn and noodle casserole was a hit.

OK, I may have eaten half of it but still, a success.

Rasta baked her tail off, as I supplied a cases of much-needed vino.

My contributions.

Rasta stirring up a storm in her kitchen.

Upon completion of the bird baking, no one in the place had ever before carved a turkey.

How many peeps does it take to carve a turkey?

The bird got divvied, the casserole was a hit and Precious the chug may have had the tryptophan kick in earlier than the rest of us.

Tired turkey.

Friday, after shaking off our turkey comas, we headed down to Bailey’s Irish Pub to join another 125 Hawkeye fans to cheer on our fave team for the last game of the year.

Hey-oh! Hawkeye time!

The outcome of the game looked rather bleak at halftime with the score being tied at 14-14 (and as the Hawks basically rolled over and died their last two games, it was anyone’s guess as to who would win). But, in the third and fourth quarters, Iowa scored an unanswered 42 points, leaving us with a winning 56-14 score.

Somewhere between shots one and four…

… and somewhere between shots five and eight.

Of course each and every time the Hawks scored, I had to Facetime Dada CBXB who was up in Iowa visiting the twins.

I can’t hear you but drink!

What do you do after a victorious beat down? Celebrate, naturally. We headed to Robert’s Western World for some of the best old school honky tonkin’ around.

Showing G’Lee a fun old-fashioned country time.

Enjoying the holiday leftovers in Iowa, my BIL was showing off his doughing skills, making turkey and gravy pizza.

Dough master.

No one was upset about the use of leftovers.

Of course, the second the clock struck 12:01 am the day after Thanksgiving, the twins were ready for Christmas. And the decorating commenced.

Tree trimming.

Old school advent calendar.

While the mini manse residents are still recuperating from the shenanigans – surely, it’s just a turkey hangover.

Snuggle train still ongoing.

A day of Hallmark holiday movies and moving from one side of the couch to the other worked wonders for us.

Working our wind down with wine. Duh.

Here’s hoping your well on your way out of a gravy coma.

CBXB

Weekend Winks – The Buck Stops Here

You know those weekends that you think are going to be low key? Mine started out on Friday with a heavy pour of pinot noir and snuggle down with the fur balls.

Wine down Friday.

Saturday rolled around and I could hardly get out of the bed, even though it was an Iowa Hawkeye game day.

Caturday canoodling.

I mean, with lay outs like the one below, I decided to crawl back into the throne and frolic with the fur balls.

A king almost falling off a queen sized bed.

The Hawks were going to play a number three ranked Ohio State University (whom I loathe, have always loathed and will continue to loathe forever and ever amen. Maybe it’s because you’re supposed to say THE Ohio State University…maybe it’s because they seem to piss every major bowl game down their leg, maybe it’s their cockiness….you choose). Dada CBXB and I almost didn’t get together because my he was having his cable worked on and we weren’t sure it’d be done by the game. I also think we both figured that being the 20 point underdogs, it may be the most boring game of the Hawkeye season.

Cheerleading from bed.

A game against THE Ohio State University several years ago is the reason we started taking touch down shots (to keep the games more interesting for us Hawk fans when we scored maybe one touchdown per game).

Then this gem of a text rolled in from my sister. Who, may I note, lives about 25 fucking minutes from the University of Iowa and Kinnick Stadium where kick off takes place. EVERY. SINGLE. Saturday she asks:

A) Who the Hawks play

B) What time the game starts

I, in turn, always love asking her who the Tennessee Titans play. Her guess this time goes back to when our dad played for the Baltimore Colts (who are now located in Indianapolis for you non sports fans). She’s a huge football fan, obvies.

I got all game day gussied up and headed out to watch what was possibly going to be the worst ass beating in the history of our team. It’s not that I don’t have faith in my Hawkeyes – I do – however, it’s sometimes heartbreaking being a fan because when we’re bad we’re very, very bad and when we’re good we rock.

On my way!

The game started and as I was saying, “Jeez it’s really lou-…” the Hawks got a pick six and scored for a touch down eight seconds into the game.

“At least we lead once this game,” said Dada CBXB.

Then, something miraculous happened and Iowa scored again.

Surprisingly a second shot as Dada said, “Well, at least we lead some of the game.”

Shot three game and we were silly with excitement.

NO ONE thought we’d have four touchdowns on THE Ohio State University during the first half (let alone the entire game).

Colin Cowherd, a sports media personality with his own pod cast hates the Hawkeyes with a passion. Even when Iowa had a perfect 12-0 season two years ago, he found holes to poke. Well, he taunted with a Tweet during halftime….

….SUCK IT Colin, ’cause the Hawkeyes kept on steam rolling. Cowherd really does owe everyone at the Deadwood bar in Iowa City a PBR.

We were ultra prepared for an OSU comeback in the second half but instead, the Hawkeyes kept on trucking and gave our livers a run for their money.

Shot fucking 5?!

Holy SIXTH!

Our reputation precedes us, as even our loyal Facebook touchdown shot counters noticed we had posted nothing during the entire game, as we typically document each shot taken.

HEY-OH we posted the last shot taken of the game!

THE BUCK STOPS HERE at shot seven.

With a final score of 55-24, all of the Iowa fans rushed the field…

…as did yours truly, only virtually.

I mean, how could I miss out on a moment like this – that will most likely never happen again?

Victory shot for good measure, along with how the rest of the night felt.

Even the Internet took notice over the ass beating we handed THE Ohio State University.

Being that I thought I would be sober Sally upon the completion of the game, I didn’t pack a bag to stay at dad’s….but I who am I kidding? I wouldn’t have changed out of my Hawkeye gear anyhow. I may or may not still be in my game day clothes and I may or may not change out of them until we lose again.

Not ashamed of this walk of shame.

Here’s hoping you’re having a week as high as I’m feeling. My head is still in the clouds because the buck stopped here.

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

The Underdog

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.

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.

That period of time was as beautiful as I look in this photo.

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 616 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. Because that’s what this last year and over a half has dealt…an excruciatingly slow climb out of (or rather up) the lowest of extreme lows, seeking the summit of a mountain top that appeared further and further away by the day.

What happens when I hike.

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 tirelessly acted as my own advocate with a less than helpful (and that description is extremely nice) 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 a month ago, ten days after I suddenly lost the fur ball love of my life, Ted. The searing losses felt 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 Iowa versus Iowa State. It was a thrillingly unexpected day jam-packed with tailgating shenanigans.

The fun of family…

Mama CBXB, Uncle Toddy and Aunt Crispie host tailgating done right.

Friendly family rivalry.

OR WAS IT?!

The fun of the endless booze all around…

I hate tailgating.

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

Shotski for three please.

The catching up with old friends…

Game ready.

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 loudness…

A beauty and a sparkly beast.

Embarrassing my youngest cousin with all the right moves…

Cousin love is acceptable below the Mason Dixon line.

Seeing a live marching band was fulfilled for the season…

March on.

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.

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.

It was a much needed reminder that I’m doing the best that I can every goddamn day. Aren’t we all?

Happy tailgating!

CBXB