So what?

Some days I sit up at night and I get a pit in my stomach. I worry about all of the things that I must get done. I beat myself up incessantly if I don’t do them.

Today, however, I think, “So what?” So what I didn’t do my laundry? So what I didn’t vacuum. So what I forgot to send that email? So. What.

Because I’m on spring break.

So guess what?

So what?


Alma Mater

The shot clock is winding down. Loyola has to hold the ball long enough to get a shot off. Side-step. He sets his feet. He floats and…SCORE!

Loyola won tonight, and I am proud.

I will never forget the day I was offered a full-ride scholarship to attend Loyola University Chicago to play Division I softball. We were seated in a restaurant on a warm summer day. My parents were seated to my right. For some reason, I saw my father first. Her words came matter-of-fact, “We’d like to offer Brooke a full-ride. Tuition, room, and board all paid for by the university.” Tears formed on my father’s face. I had found a place where I can be with the best of the best. I can compete on the biggest stage for female athletes. It was an incredible moment for me and my family. I was one of the best.

Athletes work themselves to the bone for success. They grind. They grit. They tear their bodies up and bleed on the field. They put their heart in the game because it returns every bit as much love as they give. It’s not always easy, but damn is it worth it.

For four years, Loyola was where I bled for my sport. I gave it everything I had. Unfortunately, no one really knew or cared. Athletes aren’t in the game for the glory. It’s a perk, but it isn’t everything. I remember dreaming about attending a school where people knew our name. Where we walked onto the field and said, “Fear us, we’re Loyola.” But Loyola didn’t have that respect. Hell, I don’t think people even knew we were Division I. I played against Purdue and beat them. I played against Northwestern and beat them. I played against Notre Dame and I beat them. But no one knew because Loyola wasn’t on the radar.

When I first started dating my boyfriend, I remember feeling a bit envious of the way he and his buddies cheered on their team in the playoffs. Purdue. It’s a team people know. It’s a team that has loyal fans that actually give a damn. Their games were a big deal. I would watch the way they’d emotionally implode when they’d blow it and how they’d jeer when they made that game-winning shot. I didn’t have that. I had Loyola…

But, Loyola is on the radar now. My school, where I put my blood and soul into the game, is a place where athletes are starting to be respected. It’s a place where they can hold their own against teams across the nation. They’re on the map.

I’m proud because I know how hard those guys have worked to get there. They put in as much as any other athlete competing on the big stage. They love the game as much as Duke or North Carolina, or Purdue. The only difference is they can’t walk into a room and say, “Fear us, we’re Loyola.”

But they’re getting there. And they deserve to be seen.

While I didn’t get to see a school that got excited about its sports while I was there, I can be an alumn that gets excited about my team from afar. And, let’s be honest, I just want to see them go further than Purdue 🙂

Go Ramblers!



He looks at me with pleading eyes. This is always the first step. Then, he finds a way to get close to me in some way. He shoves his nose in my face or sits with two paws grasping for my arms. Once he has me in his grip he pins his ears back and opens his eyes as wide as they’ll get as if to say, “Are you seeing me?” Of course, I see him, but the ritual must continue.

His paws grip my skin more tightly in a desperate attempt to rally my attention. He wants me to know what he needs so badly, but I am just a simple human. He knows he needs to try something else, so he begins to open his mouth slightly. He doesn’t start out with a bark. He has manners, and he knows it’s not polite. But, he has to make me understand what he needs somehow.

So, his mouth opens ever so slightly. His tongue makes its first appearance but utters no sound; it only moves slightly. He sees that I still haven’t moved. I haven’t begun heeding his orders. He must go on in order to make me understand how desperate his need for this is! So, a slight whimper follows shortly after. Perhaps a squeak or two like you might hear from a hefty yawn. Again, he sees that I haven’t moved. Why hasn’t she moved? I just sit there watching his struggle as he tries to make me understand.

Alas! He can take it no more! He tries to talk to me. He knows barking is not an option, so he moves his jaw up and down as he tries desperately to form the words for me. He can bear it no longer! Polite or impolite he must make me understand! Bark! Bark! Loud and thundering he tries to make his point known deep into my chest. It works, but I need to know exactly what it is.

He just peed, so it can’t possibly be that he needs to go outside. I refuse to indulge him. I look into his eyes so full of anguish I can barely stand it.

I ask, “Water?” His ears cock slightly, though I see no movement. No. It’s not water.

“Do you need food? Are you hungry?” His muscles instinctively twitch at the mention.

He licks my face incessantly. I’ve done it! He rushes to the spot he knows he’ll find what he needs. He checks over his shoulder a few times to make sure I’ve followed him. He can’t give up now. I reach into the cabinet and drop a cup full of food into his bowl. He wags his tail approvingly and digs in. He did it! It seemed impossible, but he did it. He scarfs down his food as if it was the last time he’d ever eat. He licks his chops, savoring each flavor. He jumps into bed, rested and satisfied. His muscles relax. There’s nothing more he needs now; But when he does he’ll know exactly how to get it.

The Athlete in Me

I recently expressed to my boyfriend how saddened I felt about no longer being an “athlete.” Since I was 5 years old I had spent my life in gyms, on fields, and in uniforms. Each time I did a get-to-know-you activity I always shared the story of how my dad built a balance beam in my living room so that I could practice. Softball and sports were who I was, but they are no longer who I am.

As the years passed since I graduated, I felt that part of me slowly drift away. I no longer needed her. Every time I picked up a book instead of a glove I felt her dim. Each time I took a sip of wine instead of a swing of the bat another light went out until slowly I couldn’t bring her back.

And so, that made me sad. I felt like I was searching around for a part of me that had been lost to time. The athlete in me was only there when I needed her to be and lately, I didn’t need her at all…

Until I stepped on the softball field again today.

As I was teaching the girls the first drill I realized that I had awakened an old friend. The athlete in me, deep in slumber for an extended time, opened her eyes once again. She was beautiful. She was confident. She was exactly what I remembered her to be.

She wasn’t lost at all.

While it’s true that I may not need the athlete that resides in me as much as I used to, I take comfort in knowing that she’s still with me, and all I have to do is pick up the glove and she’ll be there.




Life is made up of moments all strung together in time. Each decision you make leads you down another path. Some decisions move you more slowly than others, but each one moves you forward always, whether you like it or not.

I can understand how, in one moment, you can stop to wonder, “How did I get here?” But that’s the incredible thing about time, right? In order to answer that, you would have to go back. The question is, how far?

Some moments you can trace back a short while. For instance, “How did I get so full?” Well, that one was easy. 10 minutes ago I scarfed down a burrito.

Other questions though, they take longer. Like, “How did I get so lucky?” or “How did I turn out this way?” I feel like something that elusive isn’t made up of a single decision. It’s made up of a series of choices. One after the other strung together in a way that makes no sense at the time.

What I find incredibly scary is how one choice can lead to a series of rippling consequences.

Now, we can look back on those choices and think, “What if?” What if I hadn’t struggled with anxiety? What if I hadn’t gone to the bar that night? What if I hadn’t been on the dance floor at that exact moment? How far back does it go? How do events align so perfectly that allow for such profound moments in your life to happen? And, if they didn’t, who would you be?

But we can’t look back and think, “What if?” because it doesn’t exist. Time moves forward always. All we can do is try to make the best choices possible and then sit back and marvel at how time does its job.


Do not feed the birds

As I walked through the city of Chicago on this fine St. Patrick’s day, I stumbled across the following sign:

Once upon a time, there was a cereal named french toast crunch. It resembled tiny slices of bread, much like the image you see above. Those of you who have ever eaten french toast crunch will appreciate the following joke.

“Do not feed the birds… french toast crunch.”

This is what the sign, accurately, should have said.

No Sympathy for the Rich

My boyfriend, the pharmacist, sometimes works ridiculous hours. They just overhauled their entire computer system which, according to him, has been a complete disaster. As a result, the staff has had to pick up extra shifts. So, tonight I get a message from him that reads: So I might stay till 12:30 tonight and then double back at 7:00 am. 

Sucks, right?

At least, that’s what I thought. I fire back with empathy and compassion wondering how they’re able to work him like that. It’s ridiculous, I think.

Outraged and feeling bad for him, I bring the story to my coworkers. I share with them his poor situation. Expecting a reaction along the lines of “that sucks!” I instead receive the following:

He makes too much money to complain.

I stop to think about that. Here I am, at 7:30 pm, STILL at work after seeing rambunctious teens drain the soul from my very body, talking to their parents about how “they’re great kids, but I’d love to see more effort.” When earlier today I had to explain to a student that, no, the world would NOT be a better place if school let him play video games all day and that YES, I did tell the class that the assignment was due Monday at least a million and one times and that, YES, it’s also posted in three locations in the room and on Classroom, so NO I won’t change the grade. And yet here I am, making pennies to what he brings in.

So, I look at my coworker, and with new eyes, I think, ain’t that the truth. 

Beautiful Mosaic

In the movies, a classic cliché seems to go as follows: He doesn’t look at anyone else the way he looks at you.

Growing up as a young idealist teenager, I dreamt of the day a boy would look at me that way. I’d write in my diary, fantasizing, pleading for him to come around.

But, he didn’t.

I’d jump in and out of relationship after relationship, always wondering if that “look” was real, or something the movies just lied to me about.

But I refused to settle. I’d tell myself, “It isn’t right.” And so, like clockwork, three months would pass, and I’d be on to the next one. It would go on like this each time I met someone new.

But soon, I stopped believing in that movie love I’d grown up dreaming about. It was a lie after all, wasn’t it? I started to think that I didn’t deserve such a look. I wasn’t special enough. I’d wonder what those girls had that I didn’t. I lost hope, and I truly believed I would never find him.

Which is exactly why I think I did.

I remember precisely where I was when he gave me “the look.” It was early in our relationship. We were on the “L” in Chicago. I stood across from him. And, like in the movies, time stopped. No one else existed for me in that moment. It was just he and I. He looked at me, and for the first time, I felt seen.

I think that’s what we all want, to feel seen. That when all of our faults and passions and imperfections and quirks and oddities are completely exposed and vulnerable, that not only does someone see them in you, but that they look at you as if they are seeing the most beautiful mosaic ever crafted.

And so today when he looked at me, he was looking at every misshapen, often broken, rarely polished piece of me, and I was beautiful.


Today, as I sat in detention with, ironically, two students I very much enjoy, the question came up:

“Who would you take a bullet for — your dog or your boyfriend?”

I, being the creative thinker that I am, took advantage of how she phrased the question.

“Both, of course.”

“NO! You can only pick one!

“Well, you said who would I take a bullet for? I’d take a bullet for both of them. I answered the question.”

She sighed and gave a humph. “Okay…if you had to choose between taking a bullet for your boyfriend or your dog, who woul…”

“My dog.”

Crap. Did I answer too quickly?

What would I do without you, Mom?

I call up my mom at 9:30 at night. I’m heading into the city on Wednesday and I need her to watch my dog. Of course, she picks up. Mom always picks up. That’s who my mom is. She’s there.


My mom was there for me when I was only 5 years old and I cried every day during gymnastics because I couldn’t handle the stress. She gave me hugs and wiped my tears, and she reminded me to get back out there and finish practice because that is what strong women do. My mom was there to buy me every color leotard I could possibly wish for, dishing out thousands of dollars funding my sport, only for me to decide that, at age 8, I wanted to quit, and she was there trusting that I was wise beyond my years and knew the right time to walk away.

My mom was there when I was 13 years old and I was afraid to go to school because the previous day I had walked into the cafeteria only to have every single girl get up and walk away from my table. She was there to teach me how to be strong and face my challenges, and she always reminded me that those girls were jealous anyway 🙂

My mom was there when I had my first heartbreak. I cried on her shoulder for hours. She wrapped her loving arms around me, protecting me with her love, filling my heart that had been left empty. She held me until I fell asleep. She gave me strength when I had none.

Oh, and she was there at midnight when I called her in a panic because I realized that I had left all of my softball equipment hanging in the locker room back in Chicago. So, of course, she was there at 6 am the next morning, in Indiana, with enough equipment for me to play with so that my coach wasn’t the wiser.

Mom was there for me when I suffered from the worst anxiety I have ever experienced. When I would walk into her room before work, curled in the fetal position, and she would hold me, just like she did when I was broken and alone, and she’d put me back together.

She was there when I didn’t need her. She was there when I didn’t want her. She was there when I made her cry, and when I told her I didn’t love her. She was there when I threw my temper tantrums and when I only wanted her around so she could buy me things.

She was there when I was an absolute, ungrateful, insensitive bitch.

Because that’s who she is.

She’s there.


What would I do without you, mom?