oOver the course of a week in January, 204 women and girls read victim impact statements at the Larry Nassar sentencing hearing. The judge in the case gave all of his sexual abuse victims the chance to come forward, read their statements in front of the world, and force their abuser to hear what they had to say.
It was almost a full year later before I listened to the NPR podcast called Believed. It’s an investigative journalism story about the victims of Larry Nassar and how they finally put him away.
This case had a tremendous effect on me. I was inspired by the bravery and power of this huge collection of women getting together to unleash the truth. But, I wasn’t just moved that they were speaking up NOW. Many of them had spoken up BEFORE. They reported it to police, parents, child protective services, and medical licensing agencies. It shouldn’t surprise you that until 2018, their stories had been silenced or not believed—filed away as misunderstandings.
During the week of the Kavanaugh hearing, I yelled at my co-worker. He was upset that someone’s career could be ruined over an accusation of an incident that happened in high school. He was frustrated that because of the #metoo movement, he would have to have tough conversations with his teenage boys about how to navigate this new world.
I listened to him talk. Then, I RAGED.
I was angry hearing him complain about having to talk to his sons. As a survivor, I was all too familiar with feeling careful, scared, shy, and hyper vigilant. The fire in my voice when I responded to him caught me off guard. I’m sure it caught him off guard too. But if I’m honest, expressing my anger was euphoric.
My outburst helped us both understand each other a little better. I felt compassion that he was scared and wanted to protect his boys. I also realized how dangerous it is when we don’t take the time to really listen to the experiences, perspectives, and struggles of others. Moving forward, I’m trying to open my mind to learn more from other genders, races, and cultures who view the world differently than me. I’m sharing more of my stories with others too.
2018 was named a “year of the woman.” Looking back, so much has changed in how I operate.
Here’s a few intentions I've been working on that I’m carrying into 2019:
If you were also moved by the victims in the Larry Nassar case, please join me and complete the “From Darkness to Light: Stewards of Children” course that shows adults how to protect children from sexual abuse.
Take the training at D2L.org. Use the promo code FLIPTHESWITCH to get it for free.
From Darkness to Light trains adults to follow five steps to protect children: learn the facts, minimize opportunity, talk about it, recognize the signs, and react respsonsibly.
As a Christmas tradition, I've been making fancy pistachio orange drop shortbread cookies for over 10 years. I don't know the source of the original recipe, but full disclaimer, it's not mine. Whoever came up with it is a magical minx and I bow to their genius.
I'm following a "mostly keto" diet these days because eating low sugar not only makes me feel better but I'm trying to avoid a very hefty family history of diabetes. This year, I still wanted to make Christmas cookies, but I decided to try an experiment with my favorite recipe. The result? Pretty f-ing fabulous.
These shortbreads are a touch more crumbly than the classic, but it's a well-worth it substitute to make them keto-friendly.
Here's my take on a Christmas classic. Make them for your friends, family, and co-workers. Be prepared for everyone to think you're a MASTER BAKER.
Keto-Friendly Pistachio Orange Drops
1 cup butter (room temp)
1 cup Stevia in the Raw sweetener
1 tsp. grated fresh orange peel
2 1/2 cups almond flour
1 cup finely chopped pistachio nuts
1 cup (16 oz) dark chocolate chips (or low sugar chips)
2 tbsp. coconut oil
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat the butter, stevia, and orange peel using an electric mixer until it's as fluffy as you can get it. Stir in almond flour until well blended. Reserve 3 tbsp. pistachio nuts, and stir the remaining nuts into the dough. Shape rounded teaspoonfuls into balls (about 1 inch in size, I use a melon baller). Place 1 1/2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes until lightly browned (will look as if it really hasn't browned -- just a hint of brown). Remove and put on a rack to cool.
Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a pot over low heat until smooth. Drizzle a thin layer of the melted chocolate over the tops of the cookies. Sprinkle with reserved nuts before the chocolate hardens. Store in a cool place.
I recommend keeping these in the refrigerator and eating them cold! It helps them keep their shape and style, plus I just LOVE cold cookies.
You spent many days, months, and years crafting your show. Preparing, you were behind the curtain, fixing all of your mistakes backstage. You recited your words, repeated the flick and twirl of your wrist until you had it just right. Then, it was showtime. Under the bright lights and the cameras you were just as you hoped you would be--beautiful, practiced, poised, edited, under control.
The show was beautiful, and it must go on.
But, my dear magician, I want to see the REAL you next time. Would you show me? Can I grab a seat backstage?
Show me your tricks. Show me what it took to become the performer you are. Show me your cracks, your flaws, your mistakes. I want to see your vulnerability because it mirrors my own. I don’t care if you’re not the best at it. Neither am I. Give me more of your not-so-perfect self. Let everyone else applaud your tricks. I’m here to bow to your struggles.
The real magic is in your mess.
Traumas from the past are shattered glass. Back then, you picked up the sharp and sparkly pieces you could see, and you moved on. You were busy—you had to get to work. But inevitably, tiny shards were left behind, hidden in the cracks and corners. Later, you let your guard down and walk into the kitchen barefoot. The glass cuts. Startled, you bleed. You realize there's more healing to do.
You see, there is no perfect cleanup, no perfect timeline. When glass breaks, it’s messy, and so are we. So, don't beat yourself up when hidden wounds from the past show up to ruin your day. Healing craves patience.
Today is the day you decide that a shard of glass is here to amuse you, to spark your curiosity, to open back up.