The Napkin Hoarder

The Napkin Hoarder: One bunch of napkins at a time

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In His Shoes

In the midst of mourning for Mike Brown, I was shocked and deeply saddened by the news of Robin Williams. So many thoughts have been running through my head, but this Robin Williams quote kept coming back to me: “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” So Captain! My Captain! I write…

I know those voices really well. I used to hear them much more often than I do now. These days, it’s just once in a while. Most of the time, I can switch them off and I replace them with the healthy tape that I’ve been working on for years. The shock and pain in my heart, though, never decreases when I hear about a suicide or an attempted suicide. I can almost feel that pain in my own heart and in the pit of my stomach.

But after that, I feel anger. Anger that no one was there to help. Anger that there may have been someone there to help, but couldn’t. Anger that he thought himself so worthless. Anger that the world would be better off without him. Anger that he believed the lies that depression was telling him. I’m not sure why I feel anger. Maybe it’s the anger that I have for myself because I have been in his shoes. 

I’ve been to that point of desperation - utter despair and darkness - that is seemingly unending. I distinctly remember each of the times that I had tried to take my own life. I remember the voice inside that was telling me that I was worthless, better off dead, and that I really didn’t matter. I also remember feeling that death would somehow bring me relief from the darkness, the pain, and the deep sadness.

I don’t know exactly what Robin Williams was feeling this morning or this past few months or even these past few years, but what I do know is that I have been in his shoes. I have been mired in the darkness and have outwardly shown a smile and a laugh - trying hard to keep it all together.

Depression is a terrible illness - one that never really leaves you and always tricks you with its lies.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please know that you are not alone. Please call 911 or you can call here to get help: 1-800-273-8255 or go to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website to chat with someone if you are in crisis.

Rest in peace, Robin Williams.

Filed under depression robinwilliams

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BlogHer ‘14 Recap: The Mirror That Changed Me

I just got back from my second BlogHer conference and it was…validating, empowering, fun, amazing, and rejuvenating.

I felt nervous about being there, but was excited to have two roommates waiting for me at the hotel. I am seemingly extroverted, but am terrible at meeting new people and small talk. I was so thankful for Cheryl and Kimberly!

The first day, my mind was preoccupied with two things: meeting Flourish in Progress and reading my post for VOTY later that night. I felt like I was holding my breath through the keynotes and sessions - even though they were all incredible and I absolutely loved Tig Notaro! I also got to hug LTYM creator, Ann, and the most wonderful New Cities Mentor for LTYM, Melisa. On top of all the meeting people in real life, I also got to meet some new folks. Little did I know that they would become my tribe by the end of the conference.

But let me get to my personal highlight for the first night. This was my view during VOTY:

Before VOTY started.

After VOTY… WOW, right? WOW!

Then, this happened:

Flourish in Progress was one of my inspirations to keep on blogging! It was pretty amazing to meet her in real life and to just talk with her and spend some time with her. She is authentic, beautiful, and a rock star. Thank you so much for being out there and for your words…

It was strange to give voice to my post and to actually say the words, “I wish I was white,” out loud - in front of people. It was heartbreaking, empowering, and cathartic. I am so thankful to BlogHer for giving my voice a chance to be heard.

I was completely floored by all the readers. I had so many moments where I was wondering, “How did I even get chosen to be up here?” backstage. When I looked out at the audience, though, I said, “Wow,” because each and every one of them - they were a mirror reflecting back at me. I was worthy because they are all worthy. I could speak my words because they have already been speaking their words. I was up there because of them. Because of YOU.

The next day, was equally as amazing because I just got to meet more amazing people and to also feel a bit like a rock star because of all the “me, too” moments that people were sharing with me. I felt bonded, united, and blessed to be there.

I was so excited to hear Kerry Washington and was definitely pleasantly surprised by Kara Swisher, but was also so grateful for ALL the 10x10 speakers on both days. I also decided to spend some time in the Expo Hall before the closing party and I was glad to have one of my roommates join me. We decided to stop by The Mrs. Band booth where they had this huge mirror. Our hotel room mirror had these clings on them that read, “I’m enough” and it was quite inspiring - it was a little promo thing that The Mrs. Band had for BlogHer attendees. Here’s my selfie:

(Before you continue, take a second to go watch their video and hear their single: Enough)

So, the mirror in the Expo Hall was something similar, except it had headphones. We waited in line and I wasn’t sure what to expect. After putting the headphones on, I heard a women talking to me and I just talked back to the mirror. She asked me if I was a writer and she asked me to do a little dance - I did. Then, she asked me to look in the mirror. So I looked. After a moment, she said, “What do you see?” I looked at that mirror and myself again and I just cried. The first things that came into my head when she asked that were terrible, ugly thoughts of myself. When I couldn’t really say anything, she said to me, “Do you know what I see? I see a strong, amazing, beautiful woman.” And she continued to affirm me while I just cried. I cried because a complete stranger was speaking truths about myself to me - truths that I could not even say to myself. It changed me.

That night, Rev Run was at the closing party and I danced like a 13 year old girl. I felt confident. I felt powerful. I felt beautiful. I felt like I belonged.

I looked around and I saw my village. Within this beautiful village, I found my tribe:

(Kimberly, Danielle, Melissa, Cheryl, Me, & Lisa)

As I reflected on my BlogHer experience for the past two days, I came to realize something. BlogHer ‘14 was the mirror that changed me. BlogHer, you reflected back to me every brave heart, every authentic voice, and every beautiful soul that is within each and everyone of us. You are the writers that I aspire to be. You are the role model that I have been looking for. You are the voice that needs to be heard. You are the mirror that has changed me, empowered me, and made me see ME for who I really am.

And for all these things, I am forever grateful.

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Today, my little baby turned 5. I’m still reeling from it. I don’t think I will accept it until the day she turns 6.

When did my baby grow up?

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Summer TV List

So, there are tons of summer reading lists that are floating around this time, but I love me some TV in the summer! It’s a good time to catch up with shows that you didn’t get a chance to watch during the regular season and it’s also a great time to try out new shows! Here is my list of must see TV, summer edition:

  • Royal Pains: Did you want to spend your summer in the Hamptons? Well, join Boris, Hank, and the rest of the HankMed crew for five seasons of beautiful Hampton scenery, beaches, people, and clear blue skies. With the exception of one summer storm, every day on Royal Pains is picture perfect. Plus, by the end of the first season, you will know how to intubate and start your own concierge doctor business. Catch all five seasons on Netflix now.


  • Orange Is The New Black: Your wild days of youth catching up to you? Prepare yourself to serve your sentence by heading over to Litchfield. Don’t forget to get your prison nickname too for those prison tattoos. You can also watch this on Netflix. Let me know after you’ve watched both seasons and we can talk about it!


  • House Of Cards: Didn’t get that internship in D.C.? No problem! Intern for Frank Underwood to watch and learn from this master political insider. Everything you see is pretty much true. Bill Clinton said so. Catch both seasons on Netflix - go watch it now.


  • Dr Who: Who doesn’t want a visit from the Doctor? Plus, he rides around in a phone booth and has a beautiful British accent. What’s not to love? Jump on the Tardis and do a bit of time travel this summer! You can catch it on BBC or on Netflix.


Want more recs? Let me know! Any good shows that I should add to my own list?

Happy summer TV watching and hope you learn a little something! I’m pretty sure I would make a good CSI and a doctor - or at least play one on TV pretty darn convincingly.

Filed under tv Summer netflix

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I’ve Hit A Brick Wall

There seems to be a wall that I keep running into over and over again. I seemed to be a bit tapped out. The ideas just swirl around in my head with no where to go. There is a lot of false starts with frustrated taps to the delete key. There are precious minutes spent searching Pandora and Spotify to find the perfect playlist that will inspire me, keep me focused, and bring this all together. There is a lot of wandering, snacking, and all around restlessness.

So I’m sitting here and just writing whatever is in my head - in hopes that this will somehow cure me of my aimless wandering. How do you break out of creative ruts?

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Could the Universe Be Talking to Me or Is It Just You, God?

Did you ever read that book, Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret? I was always amused by the title and I remember praying in my tween years, “Are you there God? It’s me, Phyllis.” It was unclear to me if God really heard me better when I started off with that.

I’m a believer in God - big time. However, I’m also a believer in karma, the universe, and that dreams can give you lots of insights and warnings in life. Maybe it is part of the fact that my grandparents and great grandmother were Buddhists and that they also come from a culture steeped in Shamanism. 

A few mornings ago, I got a text - I knew it was from Ninja. I knew it had something to do with the car. The night before, we ended up taking an impromptu trip to an auto center because the air in the front passenger tire was low. I had this feeling that there was a hole or something bigger than just not enough air in the tire. Ninja hates running these kinds of errands after work, but we’ve had more than our share of car accidents, tire blowouts, and other car difficulties, so I didn’t want to chance it.

Apparently, the tire rim is bent, which is causing a continued leak. The tire rim got bent the last time we went over a pothole and blew out the tire. We recently paid off the car and now we are paying for so much just to keep the car running. And I am left wondering what the universe is trying to tell me. Is the universe telling me that we really need to move closer to Ninja’s job? Is it saying that Ninja needs to find a new job? Is it saying we need a new car? Is it teaching me some sort of lesson? 

Whatever it is - I feel like I am not getting it. I’m trying hard to listen, but there seems to be no message - just a lot of bad luck. Or maybe God is trying to say something to me through all these series of events? I am also a believer that things happen for a reason - to be understood or revealed now or even many years down the line. However, I am impatient about all of this. I want to see the writing on the wall and the explanation immediately. I hate the not-knowing and the fact that I am not understanding what is going on. Maybe this is some sort of exercise in faith. I just want clarity. I just want some control.

For now, I am trying to listen and gain some insight while impatiently wondering what God or the universe is trying to tell me. It is always hard for me to feel out of control in situations and it is even more frustrating for me to not know what lies ahead or see the clear path. Just one step at a time, right?

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My poor neglected napkin hoarders…

…ugh. It has been an intensely terrible winter and I am so glad that spring is right around a corner. (Maybe I shouldn’t have said that out loud?)

Ninja put away some of his winter coats, but I am afraid that if we do, we will somehow jinx spring and winter will come back with a snow storm in mid-April. If that does happen, I think I will lay out in the snow and cry myself a river.

My napkin hoarding has definitely taken a strange and unwelcome hiatus. I had big plans in January, but now it is the beginning of April! When did the three months go by? What the hell happened and why was I so freakin’ busy? I see 15 posts sitting in my drafts - posts that were either too painful for me to publish, too tiring to complete, or just puttered out of ideas and as my 4 year old would say, “I lost my mind!” (Her version of saying that she lost her train of thought!)

I am still working on my word of the year: BRAVE. My friend and co-producer set it in stone for me - literally. Each day that I get up and get going, I remind myself of being brave - of taking that next step and facing the day. I look at my stone, touch it, and remind myself that I am facing 2014 with all the flaws embraced and my head held high. In my heart, I say to myself, “Today, I am going to be brave.”

It is easier to ignore the blog and to procrastinate writing, but part of my exercise in being brave is to push past all that and to do what’s hard, what’s inconvenient, and what I really want to be doing - writing, blogging, journeying together with you.

Every time I fail, I will just get back up rather than give up. It’s been a bumpy road in the short three months of 2014. It already feels like a year has passed, hasn’t it?

Filed under brave