Weekend Winks – Surprises, Six Degrees and Slaying

This shade of black really brings out the color of my soul.

God I love a t-shirt that speaks for me.

Open for fun.

My aunt flew in to surprise my dad for a mini retirement celebration. It was pretty fucking fabulous.

The par-tay train headed downtown to honky tonk on Broadway.

The Bat Building never gets old.

Robert’s Western World never gets old.

Arriving late after gussying up, as soon as my ass hit the bar stool in Robert’s, I got a message from an old school friend asking if I happened to be around. Seeing as Music City has 100 fucking people moving to the city every.single.day (please for the love of god, STOP MOVING HERE. Come visit, spend some cash and get the fuck out) Nashvillians going downtown is about as rare as a man being falsely accused of rape. So like, 99.9% never.

Downtown used to be a fun hang every so often but now, it’s asses to elbows everywhere. So it was Kismet that I happened to be in a bar right across the street from my old buddy, who still resides in Iowa. He was visiting for work and just thought he’d reach out. As kids, our families would camp (yes, I actually camped (ew) before I knew glamping was a thing) and one of our fave activities was going around Wilson’s Lake and collecting pop cans that we’d turn in for a refund at Cheese’s grocery store. Redeeming five cents per can, I thought we were going to be thousandaires as we packed garbage after garbage bag full of aluminum. I think we each ended up with about $50. Still not bad for 10 year olds.

Six degrees of CBXB.

When I went to meet up with his crew, I didn’t know anyone else at the table. But within the 30 minutes I chit chatted, I somehow had a connection to or through or knew someone they knew at the table. My friend came across the street to say hey to Dada CBXB who, prior to his move to Nashville (and retirement), was a teacher and coach of some sort for over 30 years.

Old school.

Naturally we did what all teachers and coaches do when they reunite with former students.

Shots.

I mean, you know I have an ever classy fam.

Blurred lines.

Saturday came early for my Iowa twins, who were frying up a donut storm.

Then they decided to create costumes since the weather was kinda shitty.

If you guessed bats, you’d be right.

Inspired by my mini bakers, my lazy ass decided to get out a new pancake mix I picked up. Mostly because it was gluten free but really because all it takes is 2/3 cup of the mix and 3/4 cup of water.

Betty.Fucking.Crocker.

My Iowa Hawkeyes had a 2:30 kick off, so I sauntered out to Dada CBXB’s and watched my dudes school the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Hawks won 48-31. You know what that meant….six rounds of our classy Family Tradition.

I’m not good at math but I couldn’t fit six pics into my cute photo collage.

It also meant that the Floyd of Rosedale rivalry trophy will reside another year with my favorite birds.

The pig stays in the Hawkeye State.

After the welcomed distraction of a win, it remained consistently hard to escape the painful thoughts that have been swirling around my noggin for the last three weeks, as America’s attitude toward rape culture continues to shock the ever living hell out of me.

It’s sad. It’s so sad. So much so that I’ve turned to eating my pain away. Which isn’t working for my brain as much as it is my already ample ass.

I’ll have five pounds of wings, please. No, really, we had five pounds of wings. And Shit Dip that was already inhaled when this photo was snapped. And like one celery stick.

We welcomed Sunday by washing Saturday away with margaritas at our fave Mexican joint.

Tasty treats.

Accompanied by what felt like 482 lbs of food after I scarfed my feelings food down.

Another side of salsa, please.

Of course no self care Sunday would be complete without my personal bible, People magazine, and a dip in bubbles.

To those of you weary to the motherfucking bone after the past few weeks, know that it’s OK to feel that way. To those of you who are confused after the past few weeks, know that it’s OK to feel that way. To those of you who feel hopeless after the past few weeks, that’s not OK.

You matter.

The next generation matters.

K. Thanks. Bye.

CBXB

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