Playing Catch Up: Reflecting on November

So November happened. And I had the fullest intent to post each and every week as it passed because even though I may not have been writing about our VOWs, I certainly felt like I was living them. The weeks piled up at the same rate as my work case load and grad school readings. There are seasons when it feels like all you can do is keep your head above water; be it by skipping workouts or ignoring personal writing assignments. For anyone who missed these posts, my apologies. But now you get a huge recap (and I get a head start on next year’s format where we focus on one VOW per month).

SHOW certainly, well, showed up at the start of the month (November 6 – 12). This fall has been eerily quiet in my office; typically incidents start getting reported near the start of October. But this year? Crickets. It took a full month for the reports to start coming in, this time with the mass and intensity of a plague of locus.

Additionally, I was also presenting to First Year Experiences throughout the month. Let me tell you that talking about sexuality — let alone sexual violence — is not your average 18-year-old’s idea of a fun class session. Typically, I am met with tons of discomfort, a heap of uncertainty, a touch of resistance, and sometimes a sprinkle of hostility. I try to make my presentations to students as painless as possible (given the subject) and engage them in a way that makes the issue at hand applicable to their lives. I have limited success but the song-and-dance feeling of NINE one-hour presentations IN A ROW has the ability to make you feel like you’re putting on a SHOW. And it’s a program no one really wants to be watching.

Thankfully, I can say that those presentations were a RISK of developing my own program, outreaching to faculty members to get on their syllabi, and receiving some positive feedback from at least one or two students at the end of each session, was entirely worth it. It was exhausting and I half-expected to be chastised by several professors because of my liberal use of the word fuck (though I never used it as a verb, solely an expletive). Overall, I felt proud of myself for accomplishing so much single-handedly.

The week of Thanksgiving (#VOWReplenish) was sooo appropriately timed. Josh and I headed to New Orleans for the start of the week. It was our first real trip together, with no work or family obligations to dictate our schedule. It was unfettered, glorious, silly, and extravagant in ways that only New Orleans could be. Strolling aimlessly along streets in a foreign (to me) city is one of my favorite past times, made all the sweeter that my hand was constantly tucked inside my favorite person’s. We drank copiously (something I hadn’t tasted much of since August) — indulging in cocktails in a red-lit, French-themed seance room, champagne on one of the city’s premier patios, and bloody mary’s on a legit steamboat. My heart was exploding with happiness from the moment we embarked on the train.

We returned the day before Thanksgiving in time to collect Sister, and we continued to dine on cheese and guzzle wine for four more restorative days. It was a humble Thanksgiving but one of the best ones I’ve had. I was sad to come back to work but also refreshed enough to see my cases through fresh eyes.

Last week, we HEIGHTENED. Most specifically, Josh and I are now Club People. Hopefully not the insufferable kind. Birmingham’s City Club and UAB partnered on a pretty sweet membership price that offers free breakfast and squishy seats all day to those who want it. And Josh, who currently pops around from coffee shop to coffee shop, could certainly use a new space. Add to it the most stellar view from one of the area’s tallest skyscrapers (that sort of looks like the building from Ghostbusters), we have literally moved upwards. We’ll see if we stay Club People but figured given our current circumstances, we might as well soak in the views next to the clouds.

Ironically, the week I finally decide to post is the week we HUSH

Check the links for all of Steph’s timely VOW posts: #VOWsave/#VOWshow, #VOWrisk, and #VOWreplenish/#VOWheighten

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#VOWrisk = Trust

Taking chances isn’t something I dread normally. I do pretty well with risk.

But I have to be honest, I was not looking forward to last week’s verb.

I believe that your vibe attracts your tribe. I also wholeheartedly believe that the energy you put out into the world comes back around to you. And when you’re feeling nervous about or dreading something, the Universe tends to help you face that resistance by giving you an assist and helping you lean in.

This past week, there were all the things I didn’t want to do, mainly because they each made me somewhat uncomfortable: Going to the dentist. Being patient. Waiting for clarity. Potentially embarrassing myself. Turning upside down.

All the things I didn’t want to do, and all the things the Universe basically gave me no choice but to do.

Turns out risk doesn’t always look like running.

Sometimes it means just showing up, trusting someone else with your teeth.

Sometimes it means just trusting the process, and when it comes to dating, that means maybe giving someone else the chance to get curious and remain curious (read: unsure). That means maybe reminding yourself that you should get curious too, because isn’t that what dating is all about?

Sometimes it means doing something a little bold but totally you (read: quirky) and trusting it was the right thing.

And sometimes it means trusting your body to catch you, even though the idea that your shoulders will do just that when you get your hips right over them (read: inversions!) seems INSANE.

Risk is all about trusting something. Or, rather, questioning whether you do. Be it yourself, someone else, the Universe, etc.

What I know for sure is that I trust the journey, because even if ruin is what I find, at least it’s a road to something.

So I go to the dentist, because the worst that can happen probably will if I don’t go.

And I consider the fact that curiosity is not a verdict but a chance.

And I’m true to my quirky self that knows what she wants, so I send the email.

And I’ll take a really deep breath and then turn upside down–yep, still scary as fuck.

And this week, we