the right rain

I try to do right by everyone around me, everyone I encounter, strangers I will never see again and friends, family who I will.
But, please forgive me, I am just now learning the awe-inspiring ocean wave feeling of doing right by myself.
The balance of both, the symmetry of rightness is the rainfall I wish to get soaked in now.


I can’t help but feel that life got away from me already.

Have you felt that before?

I had such high hopes but upon becoming an adult years ago and living on my own, I’ve muddled through year after year without a plan or focus.

I had such high hopes that a path would make itself clear, that I would seek and receive clarity, that I would be one of those people who magically went to college, received a degree and a job right away, and felt fulfilled. I believed the lie.

But it isn’t always a lie. Some people do live that. Are they happy? Do they feel fulfilled? Some of them have already paid off their college loans. I have no hope of ever doing that.

I’m not seeking pity; I’m just confused, tired, run-down, and still seeking that glimmer of hope because I’m stubborn. I refuse to believe that my life is encompassed by me moving to a new place every two years, becoming disenfranchised, trying out jobs like new clothing, and then donating the entire lot to a clothing bin before moving on.



Yes, I support, donate money to, and am a regular patient at my local Planned Parenthood in Rocky River, Ohio.

They have offered a sliding scale to help pay for my yearly gynecological visits and recently for my IUD insertion (just in case my insurance didn’t cover it). Every person I have encountered there has exuded kindness, professionalism, understanding, and a profuse willingness to sit and answer any and all questions I’ve had.

I feel safe there. I know that my health is in good hands. During my IUD insertion, the clinician doing the procedure talked me through everything, letting me know what to expect, when I would feel pain, and she stayed with me afterwards until my color was back and I wasn’t feeling lightheaded anymore.

I was provided plenty of information on all forms of birth control when I went in for a consultation. My decision not to have children was respected and not questioned. I was empowered with knowledge in order to make the best decision about my health that I could.

And I walked out with an ‪#‎IStandwithPlannedParenthood‬ sticker to display proudly on my van.

Those who do not support PP are afraid. They are afraid of the empowerment I felt going there. Knowing that I would get all the information I needed in order to make an informed decision on my own health. On my future. If they can’t control me, if they can’t control all of us who rely on PP, they are faced with women who have torn off the patriarchal veil we’ve worn since birth and who now demand our freedom, our equality, and our right to choose for ourselves.

Fear is their only defense. It doesn’t have to be ours.


Running through insincere fog


May I tell you a story?

A story about photographs that injure, sunlight that hides, and people who breathe inadequacy and redundancy.

About a reality that isn’t real and sawdust that chokes, but when the rain comes, it sets forth little rivers to wash it all away. I can’t see my boots but I know they are there as the water slowly rises to my ankles.

Her eyes are the real stars of the show. And each flutter of lashes bring them closer. Closer than compliments and an insincere blush.

May I tell you a story about the time canvas almost killed me? How speaking rudimentary Spanish saved me? And everything in between?

Her concrete smile followed me everywhere, even through walls, and her illegal lover thieved touches in the spotlight as she sank further down the rabbit hole. She knows the truth and she knows I know the truth.

And one day, my zebra-striped memories will give me pause, will maybe trigger a twitch at the side of my mouth as I regale you with astounding stories of the two years I ran away from home, from me, from a musty, book-aura’d life.

And then I will tell you how long it took to reclaim. It is a satisfying, continual work in progress but a lengthy one. I declare myself, my love, my journey and my niche in this world; not alongside a red, metal star but underneath real ones I can wish upon.

Whatever it takes.

Casting my simplified birth chart

I picked up an astrology book (The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk) from a thrift store the other day and have had a lot of fun reading through it, learning about the zodiac and decided to cast my own birth chart, following the directions in the book.

Whether you believe in astrology and horoscopes or not, you have to admit it’s an interesting read:

My simplified birth chart, complete with 12 Houses, 10 planets and 12 zodiac signs


My Sun sign, Pisces
My Sun sign, Pisces
A cusp is the point at which a new astrological sign begins. When someone speaks of being “born on the cusp”, he or she is referring to a birth time at or near the beginning or the end of an astrological sign.
Each astrological sign is divided into three parts, and each part is called a decanate or decan.
What sign Mercury was in on the day of my birth


The position of the Moon in your horoscope is second only in importance to the position of the Sun. The Sun sign (in my case, Pisces) is the part of you that is most apparent on the surface; it is what others see. The Moon sign (in my case, Aries) is the part of you that you see.


What sign Venus was in on the day of my birth


What sign Mars was in on the day of my birth
What sign Jupiter was in on the day of my birth
What sign Saturn was in on the day of my birth
What sign Uranus was in on the day of my birth
What sign Neptune was in on the day of my birth


What sign Pluto was in on the day of my birth
What Chart Type Are You? This interesting personality guide was devised by the well-known American astrologer Marc Edmund Jones. Jones formulated seven distinct personality types based entirely on the pattern that the planets form in a chart.
In What Part of the Horoscope Are You Strong? The various parts of the horoscope circle all have specific meanings.
In What Part of the Horoscope Are You Strong? The various parts of the horoscope circle all have specific meanings.
One of the things to look for in a chart is which elements are dominant and which are weak or lacking. Is there more earth than fire? Does this chart accent water more than air? Does one element dominate or is one element missing? Is this chart evenly balanced between all four elements? My chart: Deficient in Air – The subject is likely to have difficulty expressing exactly what he or she means to say. There may be misunderstandings or crossed wires in communicating. He or she is probably not too interested in abstract ideas or intellectual pursuits.
You should study a chart to see which “qualities” are prominent. The astrological signs fall into three groups of Qualities: Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable. My chart: Weighted in Mutable – The subject is likely to be vacillating, unreliable, or unable to accept responsibility.


The first things an astrologer examines in a chart are the four Angles of a horoscope. These four Angles are the most important points in a chart; they indicate power, strength, and activity. In astrology, they are sometimes called wide-open doors, because planets here can act freely and unimpeded.

Babylonian astrologers named twelve separate categories of life, which have come down to us from that time almost unchanged. These twelve divisions are called Houses…each House represents a separate area of specific function of your life. There is a House of domestic life, a House of personal wealth, a House of marriage, a House of career, etc.

FIRST HOUSE – It is the most personal and most powerful House in your chart, for it symbolizes you – your mannerisms, your style, your disposition and temperament.
SECOND HOUSE – This is the House of Money and Possessions. It relates to what you own in life and what you will acquire, your income, and your financial prospects.
THIRD HOUSE – The Third House relates to your immediate environment in three major areas: self-expression, your family ties, and day-to-day travel. This House governs the way you think, speak, and write.
FOURTH HOUSE – This is the House of Home. The Fourth House governs your home life in the past, the present, and the future. It indicates what kind of home you had in childhood and your relationship with your parents. What you have brought into this life from your ancestors is in its domain.
FIFTH HOUSE – This is the House of Creativity and Sex. The Fifth House rules over everything you do for pleasure and to express yourself creatively. This is the House of your heart.
SIXTH HOUSE – This is the House of Service and of Health. Often called the House of service to others, it indicates your need to help others and to be useful in the world…this House rules your relationship with people you work with, with those who are subordinates, and with your employers. The Sixth House also relates to your state of health and especially applies to illness brought on by worry or emotional upsets.
NINTH HOUSE – This is the House of Mental Exploration and Long Distance Travel. The Ninth House can be thought of as a widening of the Third House; study, travel, and mental pursuits are expanded in the Ninth House onto a much wider plane. This is the House of the higher mind. Under its domain are higher education, philosophy, and the study in depth of profound subjects.
TENTH HOUSE – This is the House of Career and Public Standing…the Tenth House rules all matters outside of the home – your profession, your status in the community, and your public reputation. This House also reveals in what esteem you are held by others. This House has a great influence on your material success in life.
ELEVENTH HOUSE – This is the House of Friends and of Hopes and Wishes…the Eleventh House has to do with long-term dreams and goals and with intellectual pleasures. This House often indicates the kinds of friends and acquaintances who can best further your interests and objectives in life.
Your Ascendent or Rising sign (the terms are interchangeable) is a very important part of your horoscope. Your Ascendent is the sign that reflects your outward demeanor and to a great extent determines how the outside world looks at you…the personality you outwardly project is almost always a perfect blend of your Sun sign and Rising sign. Your Ascendent is the sign that was rising at the time of your birth.

**All images and quotes are taken directly from The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk (2001 edition)

Indiegogo campaign: BUST Mag Internship or bust!



I’m reaching out to ask for your support for my online fundraiser: “BUST magazine internship…or bust!.” I have been offered an unpaid editorial internship with BUST magazine beginning April 1, 2016 and I’m raising money for living expenses while setting aside a good portion of my own money also.

There are two ways to help:
1. Donate – even small donations raise our popularity and give us more visibility on the site.
2. Post to Facebook – in the end, the more people hear about us, the more likely we are to meet our target.

Indiegogo Life has no fees, so anything we raise goes directly to our goal.

Thank you!

Lipstick & Curlers


My family tribe lost our maternal matriarch on August 10th, 2014.

While everyone was grieving, while no one was watching, I witnessed her last breath. There were pauses before this one that made us all think it was over, but then she’d draw another breath and we’d hold ours. I don’t know if it was a reflex in the chest or if it was actually her final breath, but it was incidental in its movement and came within 30 seconds of the last one. Then it was over.

My aunt, who lost a baby when I was a child, asked her mother to look for Jenna Rose when she reached heaven. The idea that my grandma would still have a chance to be a grandmother after leaving all of us will make me smile the rest of my life. I also witnessed my mother ignoring her searing lower back pain in order to lean over her mother and whisper in her ear that it was okay to let go. She touched her mother’s shoulder, then her head, then ran her fingers through the silvery, unkempt hair. All throughout my grandma’s last 45 minutes, my mother was encouraging her mother through tears to embrace the angel who visited my grandma each night.

Oh yes, there was an angel. I believe that wholeheartedly. I didn’t see it, but my grandma told me three days before she died that an angel had been witness to her prayers and her singing each night before she went to sleep. He was more beautiful than she could describe, more colors than she could define, and as she fell asleep, he would wrap his arms and wings around her in an embrace.

In her final 5 seconds of life, she opened her eyes wide and her mouth formed an O-shape. She wasn’t looking at any of us and didn’t even seem to know we were there anymore. Later, John described her expression being like a little kid watching fireworks. Whatever she saw, wherever she was going, she was in awe and wonder when she finally saw it.

To watch another person die is profound. I’ve never had the honor in my 34 years of life but now I have. It is hard to process the experience while grieving. Sometimes the memories bring tears to my eyes and a stabbing pain to my chest and other times I’m able to smile fondly and thank the universe for putting her in my life. We have only been grieving 9 days. It has only been 4 days since we buried her.

Each family member who made it to the hospital had a private moment with her. She slept soundly in-between visits in order to conserve energy for the next person. Each time, we told her that so-and-so was almost there and if she could hold on a bit longer, they would be at her side as quickly as they could. We gathered from California, New York, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Vienna, Austria and stood vigil in the waiting room just down the hall from her room. Because there were so many of us (7 cousins/grandkids, 1 great-grandson, spouses, parents, etc.), we claimed the waiting room as our own and left our belongings there, slept there, and ate meals there. Nurses told us they’d not seen a family like us; most families came for a visit and then departed. We stayed 12-14 hours a day, my grandma knew we were at her fingertips. When she was craving her treat (sherbet and Sprite Zero blended together), we were on it. When she needed ice chips to soothe her throat, one of us had the spoon at hand. When she needed the towel on her forehead re-moistened, we were ready. On her last morning, all she needed to do was tap her mouth and we’d give her water via a small sponge.

Her passing shakes up and redistributes the roles in our family now. My aunt is now the matriarch. My grandpa is now a widower in a big house that was organized and managed by a wife no longer there. My uncle, who flew in from Aigua, Uruguay for the funeral, is conscious of his upcoming role as patriarch which he will attain someday far, far away from the rest of the family. My mom, the youngest of her siblings, is next in line after my aunt. The three of them, along with my grandpa, are now in charge of clothing, memorabilia, canned food items, jewelry, decorations, toiletries, unused medications, kitchen utensils, and potted plants that encompassed the life of a woman now gone.

To see her lipstick in her vanity drawer with the indentations from her lips still on them is unsettling. Her curlers still carry strands of her hair in them and her bedroom lingers with her scent. Most items in the house are inscribed with her handwriting; she left notes telling the short story or history of where these items came from. The necklace I wore to her visitation and her funeral was housed in an envelope saying it was from my Uncle Ryan and his first wife when they lived in Alaska. On the flip side of the envelope, she wrote: “Hope someone takes this”.

Her toiletries tell a story of a woman who did not want to grow old. Not only didn’t want to, but fought it every step of the way. She bought wrinkle eraser creams and oils and anything promising to give you a more youthful glow. I remember her telling me many times that I shouldn’t grow old; that it wasn’t any fun. I would say to her that I didn’t like the alternative and she’d grimace and say, “Wellll, that’s true.” She was incredulous that her body wouldn’t allow her to do everything she could do in her youth and to my knowledge never made peace with the betrayal.

She stubbornly held onto her two story house, long since paid off and way too big for her to maintain properly, because it held memories and allowed for a gathering place for the family even though she eventually had to concede that she wasn’t able to clean it properly anymore and hired one of my cousins to clean for her. My grandpa had long since hired a neighbor kid to do the lawn and the family was in the midst of encouraging them to hire someone to plow their driveway in the upcoming winter.

A year later to the day.

We all remember her from our corners of the world. We reach out to each other via modern technology and spread the love that drew us together a year ago in Indiana. I can’t believe it’s been a year already. It’s felt longer. It’s felt shorter. I see photos of her and I hear her voice immediately. My grandpa has been adjusting to living on his own and I couldn’t be more proud of him for grabbing the life given to him each day and making the most of it. He’s busier than I am most days.

She wasn’t a saint, but she was my grandma. I inherited my control issues and my stubborn streak from her. My forgetfulness, even my restless leg syndrome. I hope I don’t inherit her diabetes. Or her brain aneurysm. Or the seemingly hundreds of illnesses that wore her down in her last couple of decades. She grew bitter at times, resentful that her body had given up on her. She sometimes took that negativity out on those around her.

I get that from her also.

But in sharing the good and the bad, in remembering it also, I hope to present her as a whole person. Someone who lived her life for 85 years and made a mark. If I live to be at least her final age, I have 50 more years to do the same.