My Story Isn't A Romance

My Story Isn't A Romance

A message to women about life, love and adventure.

There's nothing quite like a used book store. There's one in my neighborhood called Tin Can Mailman and it is two floors of narrow hallways, tall bookshelves and endless stories. I noticed a free box outside and sat for a minute giggling at the similarity of all the dramatic embraces on the covers. The whole box was full of discarded Romance novels. Sitting out on the curb on a rainy day, nostalgia of lost love seemed an obvious metaphor. Love and sex are the most googled words. Love songs, movies, books and general romance plots are everywhere. However, Romance is just one genre. It's indulgent and pleasurable to read, but at the end of the book I didn't learn much. Most of the time, I have no desire to read it again or save it in a corner of my room for it's magical insight. I have loved how even many of the new Disney princesses aren't in wild pursuit of marriage. Elsa's main love was with her sister. Merida, from "Brave," worked on repairing her relationship with her mom.

When in the Tin Can Mailman, I rarely enter the cheesy Romance section, but find myself lured into the mountains of knowledge. All of the really transformative books that I've read have been from other genres. Philosophy, travel, history, action, self-help, humor and who knows what else. There are a handful of books that had dramatic impacts on my life, and have probably walked past many that have the capacity to do so as well.

I think it's important that we realize for ourselves and our daughters that Romance is far from the only narrative. I've spent a lot of time reflecting about my own teaching as a female identifying child. The gender norms for women in relationships were especially impactful during my spongey transition from child to adult. I started worrying about fitting into society's definition of a "girl." I was taller than all the boys, and had relatively straight figure. At that time, I really invested emotionally into the whole concept of being someone's "girl." If I could go back and talk to myself in the 5th and 6th grade when my adult gender identity was starting to emerge, I would tell myself not to be defined by those norms. As social creatures, it's only natural that we desire intimacy and connection. That's totally ok! But I want to shout to the women of the world that no relationship innately needs to define their life. Connection and companionship isn't limited by monogamous relationships and value certainly isn't defined by them either.

Just like Princess Merida, my longest love affair has been with my mom. I love my friends. I still miss my first dog. There is a lot of love in my story. Actually, I'll probably fall in love hundreds of times with hundreds of places, people and things. Hopefully, not too many things, but that's beside the point. I want to carry on the pursuit of adventure and fearless play that characterizes so much of childhood and only the best of novels.

I want to invest into relationships, but not invest my worth into relationships. I think it's important to invest into questions like, "What do I want my life's work to reflect?" and "Is what I'm doing now how I want to be defined?" because the best parts of stories aren't the end-all-be-all moments, but the character development over time.

Cover Image Credit: Raleigh LaCombe

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10 Reasons Your Big Sister Is The Best Person In Your Life

"There is no better friend than a sister, and there is no better sister than you."

As much as I hate to admit it, my big sister might be sort-of, slightly, cooler than I am.

Sometimes. She's the one I call when I can't call mom and the only one in the family who can properly handle my attitude. Big sisters are the people you'd choose if they weren't already family, and here's why.

1. She is your first and truest friend.

Big sisters are (literally) there from day one. They see every dirty diaper, every bad haircut, and every melodramatic breakup. They deal with every bad day and drama queen attitude and still love you in the most unconditional way.

2. Her closet is your closet.

For some reason, her clothes always look better on you. Funny how that works, huh? With a big sister comes a big closet, and who doesn't love having a double wardrobe? I'd also like to take this opportunity to apologize for the clothes I will never give back (but I'm not really that sorry).

3. She knows what it's like to deal with your parents.

Anything you could possibly be going through, they went through it first. It's kind of like having an instruction manual or a key to the future. Either way, it's always nice to have someone who will always understand the struggle.

4. There are no boundaries.

Wanna dance around in your underwear all day? Cool. Life talks while she's on the toilet? Also cool. There's no awkward moments or changing in the bathroom with the door locked. There's just the kind of freedom that only comes with siblings.

5. Thanks to her, you know about all of the cool movies/music/fashion trends from years back.

Thanks to my sister, I have every Too $hort and Ludacris song you could ever think of downloaded on my phone. I've seen every cheesy '90s movie, and when a fad from 10 years ago comes back in, I already have the hookup.

6. She tells you like it is.

We all have those friends who tend to sugarcoat everything. Yeah, sisters don't do that. She's the first person to tell me when I'm making a terrible decision and that I really shouldn't triple text that boy again. She keeps it real with me and deals with my attitude, and that's why she's the best.

7. Her home is always open.

Sometimes you just need to get away from life and binge watch Netflix, and sometimes you need all of that plus your sister. She always has her door open when you're two seconds away from losing your mind, and she also has good takeout and a dog.

8. She knows what you're capable of.

My sister knows exactly who I am and what I can do. She knows when I'm not doing my best, and when I need to be set straight. She's always there to remind me who I am and what I'm capable of accomplishing. She's always been my biggest fan.

9. She's a lot cheaper than therapy.

For some reason, my sister always knows just what to say. Even if I don't see it at the time, she's usually right (don't tell her I said that). Big sisters are like wizards, somehow they always magically make you feel like life's gonna turn out alright in the end. If she wasn't already awesome at everything else, I'd suggest she be a therapist.

10. She will always be your go-to gal.

No matter the situation, she will always be by your side. There is nothing you could say or do to make a big sister leave, and that's why they're the best. Whether it's a speeding ticket, a mean girl or you just need to laugh, big sisters are always going to be there to lift your spirits and set you straight.

I couldn't make it without ya sis, I'm sorry for ratting you out on Thanksgiving that one time, and for running away at the zoo. Thanks for taking me to see Aaron Carter even though he's way too old to still be singing "I want Candy," and thank you always for being the best role model, sister and friend I could ask for.

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Poetry On The Odyssey: It's a Girl

An ode to the little girl raised to be insecure.


They raise little girls to be insecure

Little girls grow to be big girls

People always ask big girls why they're so insecure

Big girls aren't quite sure

Day after day the big girl can't keep up

She's exhausted

Her soul feels worn

The big girl learns to grow hard

In a way, she's a bit stronger

People call her a bitch


What is that?

How can she let that affect her

It's simply the only way to be her

She mourns that little girl

Hoping that one day

She'll be strong

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