Why I Marched


I marched on Saturday. Some of you are already rolling your eyes and some of you are cheering, but I marched without question. That is, until I got there and, surrounded by 200,000 other Denverites, the friend I was marching with said, “I need you to write a blog post to remind me why I’m marching.” I paused for a moment and thought about my own motives for being there. I’ve got to be honest, it was a gut reaction to the election. I didn’t think, I just clicked “Interested In” when the event invite scrolled past my screen. So why was I there?

I have a distinct memory from my senior year of high school. I sat in English class and listened to our teacher explain to the young women before him, “Girls, if you get to your junior year of college and are not married or in a serious relationship, it’s natural that you’re going to panic a little and it’s going to be hard for you.”

To be fair, this was not all that uncommon. Our English teacher doubled as our Bible teacher, and there was often overlap between Shakespeare and Song of Solomon. But those words stuck to my 18-year-old soul. I carried them with me all summer and into the fall semester of my freshman year of college.

The first week of class, I had one thing on my agenda; to find a man before it was too late. If you’ve never seen a Bible school introvert with virtually no life experience and an unfortunate collection of gaucho pants try to snag a husband, you haven’t really lived. Thankfully, I was not successful.

Why did I march? I marched for the 18-year-old girl who thought she needed a man to feel whole. I marched against the culture of telling girls they need to find a Prince Charming, a patriarch, a purpose. I marched because someone should have stood up and called bullshit on that teacher 10 years ago, but none of us knew how.


I marched because I am so proud to have a partner who marched with me. A feminist is someone who seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. Sound like pretty basic stuff? My husband agrees with you. I grew up being taught that I needed a prince to rescue me from an unsatisfying single life. I was pretty proud to have a partner instead of a prince by my side on Saturday.

I marched because I know what it’s like to pay for birth control on a fixed income without health insurance and before the Affordable Care Act. It. Is. Not. Sustainable. When my husband and I were newly married, we worked hourly jobs seven days a week, rented a room in the basement of a house, and were in no way ready to support a child. Paying for birth control was confusing, stressful, and never more necessary. No one should have to struggle to make such a responsible decision.

I marched because I believe in Planned Parenthood. While working in the public health program at a refugee resettlement center in DC, I saw firsthand how difficult it was for refugees and asylees fleeing horrible, sometimes life-threatening circumstances to navigate their limited health coverage in the United States.

I remember one client in particular who injured herself on duty at a factory job. She lost the baby she was carrying inside of her and she developed an internal injury that threatened to take her life. I called specialist after specialist explaining the situation and NONE of them would accept her insurance. I couldn’t believe it. I got to the last name on my list and dialed Planned Parenthood. She was seen and treated almost immediately.

Most of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding comes from Medicaid reimbursements for preventive care, and some is from Title X. The government never writes a blank check to Planned Parenthood, and zero dollars of federal funding ever go abortion services. I support Planned Parenthood because they saved the life of a woman whose longtime employer refused to pay for a life-threatening injury that was due to neglect of their own machinery.

I support Planned Parenthood because if I hadn’t been so afraid of them, JD and I could have saved a meaningful amount of money on birth control when we were newlyweds. I support Planned Parenthood because it’s the right thing to do.

I marched because I voted and I wasn’t happy with the result. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen a post this week that went something like “why didn’t those 3 million women march themselves to the voting booth in November …” First of all, we did, which is perhaps part of the reason Hillary won the popular vote by about 3 million votes. Second, I voted, which is why I felt it was important to represent and grieve for that vote, much like the Tea Party movement did after the 2008 election. It’s our right as Americans, and I think it’s pretty beautiful.

I marched because I’ve been grabbed by the pussy without my consent and I didn’t particularly like it.

I marched because too often, I don’t show up for things I believe in. Whether you agree with Saturday’s march or not, we all have moments in our lives when we haven’t shown up. Sometimes it’s in those moments when an executive looks at a row of men, and me, and asks me to make him a pot of coffee. Sometimes it’s when I don’t show up in my marriage. Sometimes it’s when I tear myself down internally, telling myself that this is the blog post where people will stop reading. Saturday was me showing up in a way that I was proud of. I think we can all relate to that.

I marched because I am not that little girl anymore. To that girl, I would say that a relationship is only part of what makes life full. I would tell her to walk a path of honesty, hard work, and hard decisions and to invite people to walk that path with her who will do it as a partner and as an equal. Lastly, I would tell her not to be afraid to show up. Because, at the end of the day, everyone benefits when you show up.

PS. I didn’t make that man coffee. I pointed him in the direction of the nearest coffee shop, because I had shit to do.

On Making Unpopular Decisions


I dated some nice men in college. Arguably, the nicest. People congratulated me on these relationships. They cheered for me. They giggled with me in excitement. My Christian sorority (that’s a story for another day) even had me stand on a chair at our weekly meeting and tell all 50 girls about how so-and-so asked me out, where we went, and where we were going (straight to the altar, in case you were wondering). When these relationships inevitably ended, people cried with me. They encouraged me. They prayed for me.

Then I met my husband. He challenged me. He could be painfully honest. And he was not overtly religious. Suddenly I had made an unpopular decision. No one had me stand on a chair and tell the story of how we first met. Very few people congratulated me. And virtually no one cheered for me. I still had people tell me they would pray for me, but the meaning was very different.

That judgement showed up for me in a few ways, the worst of which was doubt. I doubted my decision to be with a man I already loved, because he was different from what I was told to expect. I doubted it so much, it almost ruined the most beautiful, messy, and complicated decision of my life. All because I was afraid of what other people would think.

During my sophomore year of college, I took a semester off to intern for a San Diego nonprofit called Invisible Children (before Invisible Children itself was an unpopular decision). Those six months taught me more about self worth, relationship, and worldview than almost anything else in my life to date. I remember one evening, in particular, near the end of my time there. All of the interns, roadies, and staff had gathered in a backyard to listen to Joel P. West play his guitar and to say goodbye.

Two things stand out to me about that night. The first is that someone brought chocolate-covered amaretto cherries and I was terrified that if I ate one I would get fall-down drunk. The second was something IC’s co-founder, Jason Russell, said to us. “Don’t ever let someone tell you that you have something to prove to them. You have already proven your worth.”

You have already proven your worth. YOU have already proven your worth.



I’ve made a lot of unpopular decisions. My guess is that you have too. Some of us let the questions or criticisms roll off our backs. Some of us let those same questions and criticisms chip away at our independence, our confidence, and ultimately, our worth. I get it. I’ve been there.

I chose to stop going to church. We chose to move to Washington DC in the middle of a recession without jobs. I chose to stop taking birth control because it makes me C.R.A.Z.Y. I chose an easier career path over chasing my dream of working at a nonprofit. We literally chose Hideaway Pizza as our wedding meal. I chose to start seeing a therapist. I chose to see Celine Dion seven times. I chose to quit my Christian sorority when I got back from my internship in San Diego. I chose to marry a man who is my partner, my encourager, and my opposite in many ways. I choose to own each of these decisions.

Some were huge mistakes. Some were not. None of them are my regrets. All of them are my privilege.

You have already proven your worth. Now what?

Let’s Leave What’s Heavy Behind


I grew up on the plains. I grew up with red dirt on my knees in the summer and straw-colored grass on them in the winter. I grew up going to church every Wednesday night and Sunday morning. I grew up being taught that I should be a lady, a Christian, a virgin, a wife, a mother, a servant, an evangelist. I grew up being taught that yoga was evil, demons paced the halls of my high school, and that those who believed differently from me were somehow lost.

I started this blog as a place to talk about home. But a different kind of home than the one I believe in today. I’m never going to take beautifully sunlit photos of the china at my dinner parties. Realistically, we have “dinner parties” twice a year and serve chili in paper bowls every time. At least one of my dogs will get into the desserts, and we’ll probably set the yard on fire once or twice. I’m going to call it. A “lifestyle” blog is probably not in the cards for me.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in my therapist’s office talking about why, even today, I can’t enter a church building without shuddering. “Why then,” I asked her, “do I still feel like I should be trying?” She prescribed a book called “The Four Agreements” which explained that the agreements that are the hardest for us to break are the ones we were born into. The agreements we did not choose. Those are the agreements that we cling to, that we feel we have to fight for, even when we don’t. So I guess this blog will be about breaking those agreements I didn’t choose, and embracing the ones I did.

The thing is, I still believe in God. He might look a little different to me than he looks to you. He might require different things from me than he requires of you. But I believe in him. And I think he’s the same God I believed in when I lay hands on people in middle school praying they would be healed. I think he’s the same God i believed in when I marveled at the incredible faith of a little Muslim boy kneeling in prayer between our tutoring sessions in Cairo. I think he’s the same God I believe in when I laugh with good friends and cry during Celine Dion’s concert finale of My Heart Will Go On (I know it’s coming, but it gets me. Every. TIME).


At the end of our session, my therapist told me I might be able to help some people with where I’d been and where I am today. To be clear, she told me I should get a PhD in theology and teach a class, but I thought redirecting my mostly dormant blog was more on par with my personal levels of motivation and drive.

For 23 years I believed a lot of stuff I don’t believe now. That doesn’t mean that what I grew up with was wrong (except for that shit about yoga being evil…and maybe a few other things). I respect the devotion of my friends who faithfully serve in their churches. I am in awe of women my age who have two, maybe three children, and raise them so lovingly. And I’ll be damned if I don’t delight in ordering a Big Country pizza (all the meats!) with two sides of Ranch dressing when I go home to Oklahoma. It’s a thing of beauty that deserves some sort of anthem and salute all its own.

So, this blog will still be about home, but the home that raised me and the home I live now. I think our homes represent truth to so many of us. Our homes are where we cry, where we fight, and where we’re probably the most truthful with ourselves and those we choose to love.

This blog is a place for me to share the painful marks and many blessings of growing up in the Bible Belt. I hope that sometimes it will be funny, sometimes it will be uncomfortable (I just told you I see a therapist!), and sometimes that it will strike a chord in your own life.

I hope it’s a place to leave what’s heavy behind. Let’s leave what’s heavy behind.