A Sassy Guide to Galena & the Car That Got Us There the 2020 Toyota Highlander

My family and I usually take a big trip during the summer since my sister has it off from school, but 2020 is a weird one so instead of doing a trip to say Japan we decided to do a road trip to Galena, IL. It’s about 3 and half hours west of Chicago and has tons of history. 87% of Galena’s buildings are historic buildings and can’t be torn down so it’s literally like stepping into the 1800s when this town was in its heyday. Galena is located right on the Mississippi River so it used to get a lot of steamboat traffic, but when the rivers got lower the steamboats couldn’t get through because their cargo was too heavy and the city eventually lost its luster, but it makes it such a cute getaway today!

2020 Toyota Highlander – peep that sun roof tho!

Toyota loaned us their new 2020 Highlander for the weekend and it was literally the perfect car for a family road trip. Some of our favorite features as a family included:

  • Ventilated front seats (it was so hot out this was amazing!)
  • Three-zone automatic climate control with separate second-row control panel so we each could have individualized temperature settings!
  • Wireless smartphone charging station – key for doing directions from your phone and not losing battery
  • Jim’s favorite thing – the in-dash split level shelf where he could put his mask and napkins haha
  • The Head-Up Display with speedometer and navigation assistance that appears right above the steering wheel in the glass so you don’t have to turn your head to look at directions or what music is playing!

We arrived in Galena at our B&B Felt Manor Inn on Friday evening around 5pm. I had won a gift card for a stay at the inn last year so it came in super handy when we needed a getaway that was closer to home, in-state, and had a private coach house so we didn’t need to have contact with any other guests.

Felt Manor Inn.

The coach house is completely separate from the main inn and was recently renovated and is completely modern. The rooms in the inn are more traditional to a 1800s home with no TV, etc., so I am glad we picked the coach house because we decided to have a pizza & movie night our first night in Galena. We had originally planned to eat downtown but the pizza place we wanted to try was still only doing take-out. This ended up being a blessing because downtown was PACKED to the gills with people and bachelorette parties. We felt more comfortable doing our own thing at home. We got pizza from Cannova’s which was actually fabulous – get their speciality pizza with spinach – YUM!

We started Saturday morning early because we wanted to do some physical activity by renting bikes from Fever River Outfitters to ride along the Galena River Trail. 3 bikes for 2 hours were about $60 – a real deal to us city peeps! We went about four miles down the trail which ended at a really great view of the Misssissippi River and some really cute rainbow Adirondack chairs and then biked back.

We stopped at the Belvedere Mansion on the way back which was a real treat. This home was considered the first mansion in Galena and was owned by J. Russell Jones who owned a bunch of steamboats. The home was eventually sold after he got offered a job as a US ambassador to Belgium, but the home itself is still maintained in all its 1880s glory. A lot of the house has trinkets and treasures from all places over the US so each room has its surprises – like the original drapes from the movie Gone with the Wind are in the conservatory and there is a clock that possibly belonged to the captain of the Titanic!

Galena River Trail.

After our tour, we rode back downtown and got lunch at Dirty Gurt’s – good pub type food – and then went home to shower. I had convinced everyone that we needed to do a winery tour of Galena’s finest wineries in the area, but I failed to realize most of them closed at 5pm so we ended up only going to Galena Cellars Vineyard, but it has a gorgeous view of the hills and you can do wine flights for as low as $10. I did the rose flight and Jim did a dry wine flight.

That evening we went for dinner at a German/French hybrid restaurant called Fritz & Frites which was cute. Most of Galena’s Main Street is shut down so people can eat in the streets and it makes for a cute little view downtown.

Sunday morning we woke up relatively early again to pack up, eat our delicious breakfast from the inn (they make it fresh every morning! drool!) and went back to downtown Galena to do our own self-guided tour of the history of the downtown buildings and stopped in some of the shops like Galena Apothecary, Great American Popcorn, and Elle & Beck. On our way home we stopped at Thunderbay Falls which had these gorgeous falls and fishing (we just did the falls!), and then drove the 3 hours home.

Galena Cellars Vineyard.

COVID CONCERNS: This weekend away was literally just what the doctor ordered for me – I really needed to get out of the city. Downtown was a little crowded at times, but if you stayed at the beginning or ends of the closed off Main Street you could avoid a lot of the crowds. I would say 50% wore masks on the street and the other half didn’t so just be forewarned. All stores and restaurants require masks and a lot make you use hand sanitizer before coming in the store as well. Felt Manor Inn was completely contactless and we highly recommend it for someone looking for a hybrid Airbnb/Inn experience since you could be relatively alone but also got amazing happy hour platters, cookies, wine, and breakfast each morning left on the porch!

Drop any questions you have about our first road trip we’ve tried during the pandemic in the comments below!

Community Response: What are your Top 3 MUST HAVE skincare products?

Community Response: What are your Top 3 MUST HAVE skincare products?

Last week I asked all of you to give me your top 3, can’t-live-without, skincare products and you guys DELIVERED. Below are all your favorites, including mine, with links to purchase the items. If an item has a X2 or X3 next to it that means it was recommended 2 or 3 times! Hopefully this is a good starting point when looking for items that are Sassy community approved!


recommended 4x!

Beautycounter No. 1 Brightening Face Oil x4

Clarins Double Serum x2

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate X2

Seabucktorn Oil by Best Skin Ever

Lumene Nordic-C Glow Boost Vitamin C Serum

Obagi Professional-C serum with hydroquinone

Innisfree Green Tea Seed Intensive Hydrating Serum

SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel

Pixi’s Vitamin C Serum

OleHenriksen Truth Serum

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic

The Ordinary’s Niacinamide + Zinc Solution

Sisley Hydra-Global Serum

CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Face Serum

Skyn Iceland Arctic Face Oil

The Ordinary Buffet Serum

Herbivore Emerald Hemp Seed Deep Moisture Glow Oil

Lancome Advanced Genifique Anti-Aging Serum


EltaMD UV Clear Face Sunscreen

Super Goop Unseen Sunscreen

La Roche-Psay Anthelios Sunscreen

Algenis Sublime Defense Sunscreen

Dr. Loretta Urban Antioxidant Sunscreen

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen

Glossier Invisible Shield Sunscreen


First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Face Cleanser

Cerave Gentle Foaming Cleanser X2

Cetaphil Daily Face Cleanser

Lancer Polish Scrub

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser

Farmhouse Fresh Cleanser

Shea Moisture African Black Soap

Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Face Wash

Tula Cult Classic Purifying Face Cleanser

Grown Alchemist Polishing Facial Exfoliant


Recommended 3x!

CeraVe PM Moisturizer X3

Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Facial Moisturizer X2

Beautycounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer

Yon-Ka Time Resist Night Cream

Lush Celestial Moisturizer

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream

Beautycounter Adaptive Moisture Lotion Countermatch

Murad’s Skin Perfecting Lotion

Clinique’s Moisture Surge 72-Hour Hydrator

Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Cream

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel with Hyaluronic Acid X2

Mario Badescu Bee Pollen Night Cream


Recommended 3X!

Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream x3

Necocutis Lumiere Line Smoothing Eye Cream

Caudalie Premier Cru Anti-Aging Eye Cream

Beautycounter Countertime Ultra Renewal Eye Cream

Tatcha Peony Eye Cream


The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner

Lancome Hydrating Toner

Klairs Supple Preparation Face Toner

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Toner

Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner

Thayer’s Witch Hazel Facial Toner


Recommended 3X!

Sunday Riley Good Genes – 3x

The Ordinary Hyaluranoic Acid 7% Toning

PCA Skin Acne Gel

Glossier’s Solution – Face Exfoliater

Beauty Pie’s Superactive Capsules

Elemis Resurfacing Face Pads


Recommended 2X!

Farmacy’s Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm X2

Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover Balm

Fresh Soy Makeup Removing Face Wash


Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Lotion

Weleda Skin Food Ultra-Rich Cream

CeraVe Healing Ointment

Beautycounter Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm


Recommended 2X!

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask – x2

Beautycounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel X2

Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask

Tatcha The Kissu Lip Mask

Ahava Hydration Cream Mask

Milk Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask

Mighty Patch Duo

Kora Organics Tumeric BHA Brightening Treatment Mask

Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Masque

Shea Moisture African Mud Mask

Boscia Exfoliating Peel Gel


Tinkle Face Razor

Tula Eye Brightening Balm


Glossier Balm DotCom

Smith’s Rosebud Salve Lip Balm


Tula Face Filter Blurring Primer

Community Response: Tell Me a Time You Were Sent Home for the Outfit You Were Wearing

Community Response: Tell Me a Time You Were Sent Home for the Outfit You Were Wearing

Last week I saw a post that said, “When you interrupt a girls school day to force her to change clothes, or send her home because her shoulders or bra straps are visible you are telling her that making sure boys have a “distraction free” learning environment is more important than her education. Instead of shaming girls for their body teach boys that girls are sacred objects.”

It resonated with me significantly because I have at least two instances that I can remember that I have been sent home for wearing “inappropriate” clothing when in reality it was probably just because my body developed sooner than other girls or because a man felt uncomfortable around me. I shared my stories on my Instagram stories and then asked for others to share theirs. The responses were OVERWHELMING. It felt good that my experience was a shared one, but alternatively felt icky and sad and gross that so many of us had had the same problems growing up. That we were shamed, humiliated, made to feel bad about our bodies. Below is my story and all your shared stories. If you didn’t have an opportunity to share one in my stories, please feel free to share one in the comments below. I want this to be a place that we can all share our stories and feel heard.


It was picture day in 7th grade at my Catholic grade school. We usually wore uniforms but on picture day we got to dress up, which for a budding fashionista was a really exciting thing. I had gotten a new outfit at The Limited just for this. I remember thinking I looked like Cher from Clueless in my white button down and pleated plaid skort and Mary Janes. When I got to school I for sure remember feeling looked at and uncomfortable and when we were about to go get our pictures taken, the principal came out and told me I could take my photo since the only thing in the photo would be my white button down, but then I would need to get picked up by mom because my skirt was inappropriate.

I remember my mom being mad that I got sent home because she helped me pick out the outfit and sent me to school. Also it was a SKORT, meaning the skirt had shorts so I didn’t think there was anything inappropriate about it. The shorts were probably just as short as the ones I wore for gym class. Anyway, flash forward to the end of the school year. There was a tradition that the 8th grade class would “will” something to the 7th graders – something that they would need for the next year. Usually they were funny – like my friend Meggie was given a frown because she never stopped smiling. My “will” was a long skirt. I died of humiliation since the one thing the 8th graders thought about me was one of the more embarrassing of my grade school career.


*These will be anonymous.

“I was sent home multiple times in middle school for ‘too much’ cleavage.”

“Not sent home but openly criticized for length of a denim skirt in 8th grade.”

“Wasn’t sent home but I’m petite and the school wouldn’t let me take in my uniforms to fit. I was tall for my age and ALL leg. It was humiliating to be called out while giving a speech.”

“A toga in 12th grade…Not from wearing a bed sheet, but from one shoulder showing.”

“My bff and I had matching outfits on: shorts, tank top & cardigans and I was forced to button mine up to the top because I had boobs and she didn’t. I was in 8th grade. I was sent to the office by a male teach which as an adult is creepy because he totally was looking at me not as a child which I was.”

“1st day of my freshman year of high school. Shorts were ‘too short’. My mom left work to bring me clothes. She only did it because she worked so close to home/school at the time but I still got in BIG trouble at home for inconveniencing her.”

“Actually happened at work two years ago. Had silk tank under cardigan. Went to lunch & came back with cardigan draped over my arm (100 degree Midwestern summer). I was sent to HR.”

“I’ve always been a big girl. Went to Catholic grade school and they didn’t have our uniform in bigger sizes so I had to special order skirts because I wasn’t allowed to wear pants and had to wear the very noticeable boy shirts. Got teased all the time for it and no one stopped it.”

“I’ve got long legs/short torso. I got sent home in 10th grade bc my jean skirt was ‘too short’.”

“Our rule was shorts to the end of your finger tips. I wore some plaid ones with heels once and they were long enough but the heels ‘made my legs look a mile long’ so I was sent home.”

“I wasn’t sent home, but this happened to me as an adult. I was a first-year teacher in a tiny town in the Delta. Principal had me do the dollar bill test for my skirt in front of my students because she didn’t like my outfit. I passed the test, but was humiliated.”

“Not sent home, but embarrassed in a cafeteria full of people. Had to do the ‘finger tip test’ because they said my shorts were too short. I passed ‘the test’.”

“Not me, but my teenage step-daughter. Racer back tank. Sexy shoulder blades?”

“My HS was so bad about this and they would watch students enter daily at each door. Awful. Also ‘finger tip length’ is some BS, especially for us tall ladies. I’m 5’9.”

“I’m a teacher and twice I’ve been shoulder shamed until either I cover up or change. I dress business casual. I was wearing dresses both times and nothing cut. I had on proper foundations ie bra and underpants.”

“Wore a Christina Aguilera short to photo day at a Catholic school and was sent home.”

“Mine actually happened at work while in grad school! They said my dress was too short even thought I was wearing opaque tights and knew it was NOT too short. Told to change shirt because I was wearing ‘spaghetti straps’. Straps met 2 finger rule.”

“A friend had to go home, bring all school clothes to school and try on in front of principal!”

“I sat down and my shirt didn’t cover that little bit of back. I was 10 and felt embarassed.”

“We had uniforms at our school. We had to go out in the hallway 1 by 1, kneel and skirts had to be touching the floor.”

“Sent to the office over a tank top that ‘flaunted’ my large chest as my English teacher put it. It was not low cut I was super petite and had 38D chest. She always tried to humiliate girls that had curves.”

“I had a skirt that went all the way to the ground. With a slip on underneath. Still deemed suspicious! Because ‘you might be able to see through it in the sunlight’.”

“My sister who is modest was told to put on a sweater because she had a thick strapped bra on. She said ‘no’ because she was really hot and she felt like she’d faint. The teacher (a woman) kept arguing with her in front of the class. Finally my sister said to the teacher, “But you’re wearing a thin strap tank top”. Hypocritical rules. It was a Catholic school and this teacher always had her thongs showing and later was fired for making a sex tape.”

“I was taken into a classroom alone and lectured by a teacher for wearing a t-shirt. It wasn’s low cut but it ‘outlined my breasts’ and I was being ‘sinful’ and ‘men would see you differently’.”

“I was sent home from a choir concert because my skirt was “too tight” under my choir robe.”

“Wasn’t sent home but I’m tall and had to do a public shorts/skirt length check ALL THE TIME.”

“Not sent home but I developed early. Teaher pulled me out to talk about wearing a bra. We were poor and I couldn’t ask my mom to buy 1. So had to have a lot of talks that year.”

“They attempted to send me home towards the end of the day. I told them my mother would flip, but they could try calling if they wanted. They opted not to since we had less than 2 hours left and knew my mom would get mad.”

“My hs was awful. We had a gigantic (6X) orange tee saying ‘Tomorrow I will dress for success.’ We also couldn’t even wear flip flops or tanks in summer. This was NW Indiana. Looking back now I wish I would have called out the administration.”

“I too developed early around 7th grade. I remember the first time I wore a v-neck shirt I didn’t wear a tank top under it. My mom worked for the ambulance and wasn’t always home before we left for school but I by no means thought it was inappropriate. You could just barely see the start of my ‘cleavage’ line. I was told I needed to find a way to fix it or I had to go home. With no way to go home since my mom was out with the ambulance, I stapled a piece of paper into my shirt to cover up my 2cm of cleavage.”

“In my school district girls couldn’t wear shorts but boys could. I live in TX and it was HOT.”

“Not school but a job. I wore a shorter dress that went to my mid thigh and told not to wear it again.”

“Worse. A straight size girl would regularly wear a tight dress that hit just under her butt and no one cared.”

“Shamed in home room in 2010. for wearing leggings.”

“Never sent home, but I was singled out in front of everyone during lunch in 7th grade.”

“I remember wearing a tank top with ‘too thin a strap’. The creepy ass principal made me put on a dirty old t-shirt over it for the rest of the day. It was a punishment. I was being punished for wearing a tank top when it was too hot. It was the modern equivalent of a Scarlet A.”

“My volleyball team was made to order soccer uniforms because the principal said no one wants to see “big girls” in spandex volleyball shorts. I was furious! Still mad.”

“Never sent home but told to war a jacket over tank tops or one-shoulder tops in FL. Uh, it’s hot!!!”

“Never sent home, but if I was to wear a dress or skirt it was only when planned with others. Comfort or safety in numbers I realize now.”

“I’m very tall so shorts were short on me. Was forced to wear sweats in 9th grade because my shorts were ‘too short’. It was early fall so it was HOT. I felt embarrassed. Oh and the sweats were a men’s L or XL and I was probably an XS at the time.”

“Catholic school: skirt was ‘too tight’. It was bell shaped with ruffles – I just had hips under it! I also got a detention because I bent over to pick something up and my shirt untucked itself.”

“Admin in HS first asked if I was a parent or a student. Then dress coded me. Also got sent to the principal’s office for my school issued cheer uniform. ‘It looks different on you.'”

“I got reprimanded wearing a miniskirt at Express because I’m hippy and they didn’t like it. A miniskirt THAT THEY SOLD. In multiple colors. Just not for people like me I guess.”

“Not sent home, but along the same lines: I am VERY busty with a very petite frame. Went to senior prom with a guy friend and inveitably my dress showed some cleavage. His mom apparently made comments to all of the other parents that “at least their son was going to prom with a girl who knows how to dress appropriately”.

“Not sent home, but my pants were always too short. I was 5’9″ since 11 and always picked on.”

“A teacher stopped me in the hall to to unroll my pants (my 7th grade self made low-rise jeans lol). My pants weren’t too low – I was carrying an armful of textbooks & my shirt rode up! It was humiliating and I remember feeling so ashamed. Also I had a big ass and curvy hips at 12. She wasn’t doing that to any of the twig girls.”

“Back in the late 90s I was sent to the principal’s office for wearing a spaghetti strap tank top. I was already a D cup so my bra straps showed. I was told to reevaluate my style choices. But other girls in my class could wear spaghetti straps and bras and not get in trouble. I didn’t see it as fair at the time, but talk about a triple standard shame right there!”

“Def had to measure my shorts inseam multiple times in front of the entire class.”

“Didn’t get sent home but they gave me ugly sweatpants to wear all day.”

“Not sent home but collectively the girls in my senior class were told off the day after an awards night for dressing like we were “at a party” AKA in teenage sundresses with spaghetti straps in June.”

“I’m 5’11” so skirts were shorter on me. Had to be as long as fingertips and it came to my knuckle. It made me feel like a GIANT being called out class and escorted to principal’s office and they called my mom to tell her to go get me. It was a knee length skirt at most. Humiliating.”

“Got detention for lower back showing when leaning into my locker.”

“I was also sent home for wearing Nike track shorts since they curve up on the sides.”

“We weren’t sent home but had to wear like ‘community clothes’ basically sweatshirts/sweatpants.”

“My orchestra teacher told me everyday that my midriff was showing.”

“I was made to wear someone else’s gym uniforms from the lost and found.”

“They wouldn’t send us home, they made us change into our gym uniforms but STILL!”

“Sent home for wearing bike shorts with a long t-shirt (covered my behind). Funny because it’s back in style.”

“I was stretching and leaned back therefore my shirt rode up. VP saw and I got in school suspension.”

“I legit got sent home in high school for wearing a maxi dress because it had spaghetti straps.”

“Sent to put on gym shorts because shorts too short (mid thigh) – 5’7″ in 6th grade…”

“We had a very strict dress code at work and if you wore capri pants, you had to wear a polo with it. I forgot and wore a nice, dressy top but got sent home to change because it wasn’t a POLO.”

“Not sent home from school but shamed at church because my skirt was at my knees and not below.”

“3rd grade teacher sent me home because I had crimped my hair that day (FLY AF!) and I was ‘touching it too much’ and distracting the boys in class. THIRD GRADE!”

“Definitely the short shorts at one point due to my height. I had to wear gym shorts instead.”

“I wasn’t allowed into our 7th grade dance because I had on a sleeveless blouse.”

“I got a Saturday detention for my skirt measuring 4 1/2 inches above my knee instead of 4 inches.”

Avocado Club Egg Rolls – CPK Knock-Off Recipe

Avocado Club Egg Rolls – CPK Knock-Off Recipe

If you’ve been following me for a while it will not come as a surprise to you that CPK is one of my favorite chain restaurants of all time. We went there a lot as kids because everyone in the family loved something on the menu – and my sister and I were picky eaters so that was a big deal! So it was a sad day when CPK in downtown Chicago closed its doors (the rent was going up – ugh), so I have resorted to making my own avocado club egg rolls at home to get my fix of my favorite appetizer there.

I make mine in an air fryer, but if you don’t have one – this recipe has everything you need to make them in the oven.



  • Egg roll wrappers (these can be found in the produce section at most grocery stores. It makes no sense but that’s where they are!)
  • 1 grilled chicken breast – diced
  • 1 large Roma tomato – seeded and diced
  • 2 strips of bacon – chopped or crumbled
  • Shredded cheese
  • 1/2 avocado – peeled and sliced or chopped
  • ranch dressing (to dip)
  • PAM cooking spray


It depends how big your air fryer is, but overall this whole process of cooking the chicken and then compiling the items, rolling the egg rolls, and frying them probably took an hour.


4 egg rolls



  1. Combine filling ingredients – bacon, chicken, tomatoes, and cheese – in a bowl and stir to mix.
  2. Place the egg roll wrapper on a flat dry surface in a diamond shape – so one corner is pointing towards you. NOTE: the wrappers need to be in the fridge so the longer you leave them out the harder they are to work with and can tear so just be gentle with them when handling.
  3. Distribute about 1/4 cup of the filling into the middle of the egg roll wrapper placing chopped or sliced avocado on top.
  4. Fill a bowl with water – this will be for sealing your egg roll wrappers. Dip your fingers in the bowl and brush the outer edge of the wrapper before you start to roll.
  5. Rolling an egg roll is like rolling a mini burrito. Take the diamond point closest to your body and wrap that underneath the filling.
  6. Fold over the two sides on the right and left of your diamond and then roll the egg roll closed.
  7. Spray both sides of the egg roll in cooking spray.
  8. Place egg rolls in the air fryer. I usually do two at a time since I have a smaller air fryer.
  9. Air fryer should be set at 350 degrees and for 5 minutes per side. Make sure to flip in the middle so it’s nice and crispy on both sides.
  10. Cut diagonally and then serve with the ranch dressing.


Past Trauma Pop-Ups. How Rude to Show Up During a Pandemic.

Past Trauma Pop-Ups. How Rude to Show Up During a Pandemic.

They keep saying these are unprecedented times. And that’s true, but what they mean by that is that these are unprecedented times as a collective whole – for the world, our country, our states. There’s never been a worldwide pandemic in our lifetimes with this kind of ability to travel nationally and internationally and thereby spread the disease with a more feverish ability. And that is scary and truly unprecendented.

But it’s not completey unpredecented for me. I have lived through something that tore my whole world apart. I have had my world view shook. My reality changed overnight. My routine torn apart. Sure, comparing one family’s loss of a mother at a young age isn’t the same as a worldwide pandemic. But it is something that can be described as traumatic.

I saw this post from @findyourshinethearapy back when the pandemic was just strating to ramp up and it said, “If you’re a trauma survivor and are frustrated by how (well) you’re coping right now, it may be important to acknowledge that the very survival mechanism that feels unproductive to you now, is the same force that has allowed you to survive everything you have in your life up to this point. Your survival brain is working hard and, if you are reading this, it’s done a pretty good job.”

I found another that said if you’re feeling weirdly calm it could be because chaos feels familiar to you. These posts made me stop in my tracks a little. I haven’t been pissed, per se, that I have been acting pretty calm during this pandemic, but it did seem odd to me that so many people were so rocked by it.

Of course, this made me a little retrospective. I hadn’t really considered that my trauma had made me into the person I am now. I’ve always thought that this was just who I am. I was born this way and the moment I found my mom after her first seizure that day before school was sort of a turning point – a light bulb moment if you will – when I realized that that’s just how I am in a traumatic situation. Under pressure, I stay calm. I did in that moment and I have moving forward, but I sort thought that was just how my family dealt with these kind of situations. Not much you can do but move on is our unofficial family motto. That day some 16 odd years ago, it was like I went into survival mode. And it feels like I have for this situation as well.¬†

I mean, in theory, there’s not a lot else one can do in this situation. I can just stay home and not panic…which I’ve been doing. Buy a tie dye kit. Start new routines with special takeout nights on Fridays and Saturdays. Paint a new watercolor once every other week. Create content for Instagram/blog. Start a TikTok.

But I also realize this is a bit of a mask. I have always been the one who when something bad happens to try not to dwell. I try to walk right through it. Keep myself busy. Projects make me feel better. They are how I cope.

It’s too early to sit in my feelings about how this pandemic brought up old feelings of trauma, but it’s good to at least acknowledge that it might be something I need to address with a professional in the future. Right now it just means writing a blog post. Connecting with my family and sister to be with people who went through the trauma with me. And to just be. And breathe.