Write On Grrrl

Voice of Empowerment. Not reason.

Filtering by Tag: freelance writer

Finding Your Voice

Fear has the ability to silence your voice.


Dramatic? Indeed. But when you're afraid to speak up, especially when there are consequences for having a opinion that's not popular or expected or how you're supposed to act, it's way easier to be quiet.

To become invisible.

To take yourself to a place where no one notices you. Because there's a certain safety, and anonymity in this silence. When you put yourself on mute, there's no incoming harsh judgements. Because there's absolutely nothing to judge.

You are living an empty existence.

You become invisible. You go inward, not upward. You are afraid to really be you.

Hopefully, your voice is so strong that it cannot be silenced. And eventually, you'll work hard to become stronger. And get to a place where you're able to beat those other voices back. The ones that have the audacity to say you're not good enough. The ones that say why can't you be more like me. The ones that are weak. And judge. And compare themselves. And are threatened because they can't be more like you.

Hopefully, your voice can rise out of the quiet, and boldly go against the grain. And you can find the courage to speak your truth out loud. To embrace all of your wonderful, beautifully divine traits and gifts that are characteristics of you and only you. To figure out what YOU believe in. Then stand up for it. To figure out how to say no thank you to the things that don't fit your personal life mantra, embrace the things that do, and never, ever, have the need to apologize.

That's what being a Write On Grrrl is all about. 

It's about living a life of empowerment. It's about embracing love and showing fear the door. It's about Girl Power (em)powered by the pen.

Sometimes it takes a while to find your voice. 

But a there's absolutely no storytelling without one.

Say Cheese! How My Valentine Shamed My Poolside Stalker Paparazzi Style

This is what a stalker looks like in the Dominican Republic.


Meet Mr. Nasty. 

Clearly, his mother never told him it isn't polite to stare. Or follow someone to the bathroom, that's tucked conveniently, and remotely, behind the tiki bar. Or blatantly change his position to get a better view. 

And I thought we were just trying to get away from obnoxious toddlers at the adult pool.

Things started off innocently enough on our first full day in the paradise that is Punta Cana. With the weather forecast predicting snow at home, my husband Andre and I were beyond amazed that here, July lives on. 

And bathing suits can be worn sans coats.

So, after a breakfast of freshness (hello papaya), we made our way into the sunshine and tried to set up shop beachside. But after a stiff 15mph trade 'breeze' managed, in 10 seconds, to coat our water bottles with a thin layer of sand, we opted to go a few yards inland to the 'adult' pool.

Clearly this classification had to more to do with height than mental age.

After first getting kicked out of a lovely shaded cabana bed, because we were too cheap to drop the $15 rental fee, Andre and I settled for two lounge chairs on the patio. The small area was completely under-furnished, so Andre had to drag them, ironically, from the kiddie pool.

Where Mr. Nasty, no doubt, would have gotten arrested.

Here's the thing: I understand, as a woman, a bit of appreciative observing comes with the territory. File it under 'Harmless Bikini Watching In A Tropical Environment'. And trust, I also understand, or at least thanks to my husband telling me a million times, that men are more visual than women. 

But anyone with an ounce of class, or self-respect, would take in the picture with a sweeping glance. Then go about their private business. Especially when that includes a lovely lady at your Nasty side, who by all classifications, would rate as hot. Especially in her very non-American thong.

Not Mr. Nasty, whose party of two arrived on the scene minutes after us. 

"This dude's acting like he's watching tv," said Andre. 

So Andre and I made adjustments. I took the lounge chair the furthest away from my stalker--believing the psychological intimidation of putting a muscular black man in between the offending party should do the trick.

'Cause damn it, it usually does. 

Not this time.

Things were peaceful for a while, when another couple had the tremendous misfortune of picking the spot between us. But when they abandoned their seats, at the same unfortunate time that it was for me to reapply sunscreen, Mr. Nasty clearly lost his damn mind, leaving the comfort of his chair, to settle on the steps of the pool.

Facing us. Literally feet away.

For my husband to notice at all is bad. For him to comment on it, then it's really bad. 

"I'm gonna pop this guy," Andre said.

I turned to look at Andre over my right shoulder. My back was to my husband, as well as Mr. Nasty, as I attempted, in vain, to apply sunscreen hidden from prying eyes.  "Why don't you take his picture?" I said half-kiddingly. 

Andre's a photographer. And my protector. As well as a fierce champion of treating women with respect. My words, and essentially my permission to make a different type of scene, sparked something awesomely beautiful in him. 

Andre pulled out his camera and started to shoot.

Behind my sunglasses, I closed my eyes. Because even though I had tolerated a good two hours of being 'eye-raped' by Mr. Nasty, I was uncomfortable with what was going on behind Andre's viewfinder. I fought hard to quiet the teeniest part of my soul that felt bad that Mr. Nasty was now the subject of my husband's impromptu photo shoot.

With his hyper-application of zinc oxide on his lips, giving him the appearance of a sadistic clown, and expansive gut, Mr. Nasty is the type of dude who is going to get stared at for all the wrong reasons. I felt pity for Mr. Nasty, to the point that I was willing to continue to subject myself to his blatant leering, so that I wouldn't make him feel self-conscious about his own looks.

Even when he was doing the same thing to me.

My husband? He didn't have that issue. Andre just continued snapping frame after frame of Mr. Nasty until 'he slinked away like the Lock Ness Monster'. 

And we were finally free.

Black Friday Shopping? Please. Get A Life.

This year I almost bit (it). 

And I'm kinda embarrassed. 

Thanksgiving is a day I like to spend reflecting on what I am grateful for in my life -- a whole lot--and, duh, eating. Instead, I came outstandingly close to gobbling my dinner, leaving the dishes piled up in the sink and hightailing it to the nearest Connecticut big box, to wait outside for hours, like a loser, in a Black Friday line. 

At 6pm on Thanksgiving Thursday. 

'Cause all of that just really screams me.

Trust. I'm not in need of holiday gifts. I've already said, thanks, but no thanks, to the sad hyped up machine o' consumerism that brings Christmas to a retail outlet near you 'round September. I was in need of something way bigger. 

A new TV.

Our current viewing situation? Literally, a 'tube'. Stop laughing. We had the outstanding good fortune of replacing our hardware just as prices came down on HD units. Remember the days when they used to cost close to a grand? Me too. 

But now we're ten years out. With a 27 incher that refuses to bite the big one. Truth be told, we'd probably continue to suck it up, if involuntary picture cropping hadn't become part of our reality. Never witnessed this phenomenon? Few have been so lucky.

The skinny: Apparently, since 2009, the 16:9 aspect ratio has reigned supreme as the measurement of choice around the world for HDTV programming. Our boob tube? Not exactly wide screen friendly. Consequently, we're clearly missing some info with our viewing. How much? No one knows for sure. And that joke has gotten old. 

So when I heard, recently, that Black Friday circulars were available on-line for my browsing pleasure, nearly two weeks before the big event, I decided to check out the options. You know. Research and all.

And, indeed, there I saw it. A 32-inch HDTV advertised for less than a Benjamin. Granted, I had never heard of the name brand. Ever. But with a price so low that we could even pay cash, I thought about going to check that bad boy out in person.

Until I abruptly returned to my senses. 

It was the actual Black Friday theme song on the site that irritated me first. (Seriously AC/DC? Did you really just sell out like this.) And then I methodically started the calculations: How many hours would I have to stand outside? In the Northeast chill? I estimated four. Which, depending on the weather could quickly feel like eight (teen).

What time would I have to eat dinner? Around noon. Or 8 PM, if I still had an appetite. 

And the big one: Why in the hell was I doing this to myself? 

I'm a shopper. A good one. I know the actual price of things, as well as the value. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the real key. So I started investigating the specs of this TV to even see if it was really worth it. That'd be a negative. The resolution wasn't up to par, nor was it a Smart TV. I browse on.

The truth of the matter? No matter what lies you're telling to yourself, I don't think Black Friday is about shopping at all. The internet provides amazing opportunities, with coupon codes AND free shipping. No one stands out in the cold, or gets trampled, and you can save a huge amount of cake. 

In fact, I'd go as far to argue that Black Friday is all about frantic fake anticipation--best served to the millions of people who don't have any means to generate excitement in their daily lives--by big business. A Sisterhood of Shopping if you will, that every single year, millions of already cash strapped people fall for.

Hate on me if you want, but I know Black Friday is all about living on the edge, for those who never take the opportunity in their everyday lives. It's about doing something crazy, like waiting in line while it's still dark and rest of the world is asleep. It's about the adrenaline that comes from rushing inside after the doors are unlocked. Like a way sadder Running With The Bulls--only the prize is an overloaded bin of $1 fleece scarves. 

I don't want any part of that. Ever, but especially this year, as Black Friday blurs into Turkey Thursday and more givens, like the once simple concept that everyone, even minimum waged retail workers, could enjoy a whole day of rest with their families, get eroded by greed. 

This Thanksgiving, I am outstandingly thankful to live in Rhode Island, where our blue laws restrict retail store openings on Thanksgiving and Christmas. (Yay to you Massachusetts and Maine for also continuing the tradition.) Because these so called bargains? They're costing all of us way way more than you even realize.