Changes

So for the next year I am home in Vermont. I plan on doing some traveling while I am here but not as much as I used to. I will be making regular posts again now that I am back on solid ground but they will be pretty local to the New England area. I just wanted to ask you guys what kinds of posts you were interested in? What would you like to learn about when it comes to travel and adventure? Are there any stories you’d like to know? Recipes that I’ve learned across the country or made up on my own? Questions about Mental Health on the road? Let me know in the comments below!

The Anniversary

So I never really know what to call the day I left Vermont and never looked back. Lately I feel like this event in my life should have a name and the other night, as I stood naked in the … Continue reading

You Asked It! Moving, Women’s Rights and Rape Culture.

Trigger Warning: Discusses Rape, Harassment, Assault, Controversial Issues, and very intimate details about my life. If you are not comfortable reading this, then please continue to the next article. For kids under 16 parents should be advised.

“What first prompted you to move and why you’re so passionate about women’s rights and rape culture” 

So the person who asked me this is a personal friend of mine who I met while we were working at a less than reputable place in Louisville, KY. When we first met I had only been in Kentucky for a couple of weeks, we clicked instantly and she became one of my closest friends which is part of why this article is being posted. This post continues below the break.


I have always known that Vermont was not the place for me, when I was a little kid I attempted to run away several times but in child-like innocence I would pack too much and not be able to carry it, pack the wrong things or get about half a mile away before I would get hungry/tired/scared of the dark and would head home promptly to my nice warm bed. In that bed I would dream of far away places, magical and enchanting like New York City, and as we drove past open fields I would day dream about galloping full speed across the Scottish highlands. I was constantly reading books about every other culture that I could find, when I was five or six I was obsessed with Ancient Egyptians and read every single book I could get my little fingers on and understand. I had a high reading level to say the least.

School did not make me living in Vermont any easier, I was not in the ‘in crowd.’ A lot of people say that small towns are safer, better and more respectable than big cities and in my experience that is just not the case. Cabot is a beautiful town, but it wasn’t safe for me and getting out of Cabot became my goal in forth grade. What really sealed the deal was when I was 13.

A few things happened when I was 13 that really effected my life, there were some family issues on both sides that left me feeling very angry and very alone. The adults in my life were not how I needed them to be and it was a lot. Depression runs in my family pretty deep, I certainly wasn’t new to the concept at 13 and it got pretty destructive. I made some bad choices, burned some bridges and pushed as many people away as I possibly could. As the adults in my life were doing their thing I fell into a less than stellar crowd and made a less than stellar ‘friend’ who later raped me. Being 13 was absolute hell. He told the group of friends what happened as if I were into it and of course, small town, news travels, questions got asked and guys started to get a little more aggressive in their advances. After all I wasn’t a virgin anymore. Not only that but when I went to the Vice Principle of the school she did nothing. She didn’t report it. I disappeared from my head for three years and shut everything down. I had also caught on to cutting, something I hadn’t even thought about until the nurse had to come to each of our classes and talk to us about it because it was becoming an epidemic across the US.

In the time that I dissociated I made some really amazing friends that brought me back to being me, even when I was the biggest jerk to them sometimes. When I finally came back to my own head and actually started to be able to remember my day to day activity I was 16 years old… It had been three years of what? What do you even call the space that you are in when you’re dissociated? For those who don’t know the feeling of dissociation it’s like a vacuum pulling yourself out of your body and sometimes you watch “yourself” and sometimes you don’t. Imagine watching your body from the back seat of a car but it’s NOT you and you know it. That’s kind of what dissociation feels like.

I was unreasonably hard to deal with, especially because during all of this time I was still being sexually abused my my peers. I hated physical contact, when people would touch me it would make me nauseous to the point where I would get dizzy. The word sex turned my stomach and even putting in a tampon was too much, the thought of hands down there made me so incredibly sick to my stomach. It still does sometimes, I have never been able to have a healthy sexual relationship with myself because of this.

It took me a really long time to get out of these cycles of finding unhealthy or abusive relationships, at least that’s what it felt like. I always found myself in a dangerous or fucked up situation. I stopped trusting myself. I miscarried when I was 19, in my mind that was my fault, I hated myself. I destroyed friendships that mattered the world to me. I went back to the one person holding me back over and over again because it was all that I deserved and I was scared of something better. This mentality ended up with me in the hospital the first time for my anxiety, the second time was because I overdosed on my newly prescribed anti-depressants. It was really really brutal and I really really needed help.

There had been so many times in my life that things could have changed if someone had stepped in and stood up for me when I was a teen. If I had even let them step in. The things I went through left physical scars on my body, self inflicted and otherwise that will probably never fade. People accepted what I went through, accused me of lying, asked me what I did to provoke it, told me and reminded me it was my fault over and over and over again. And that was all in a small town in the USA. Where we don’t have gangs or massive drug violence. I wasn’t stood up for when I needed someone to stand up for me, partially because the adults in my life really did have really difficult things to deal with on their own. I understood that. I want to change that.

When I think back about all of these things I want to change all of that history and give my teen self the information of what was happening, what rape actually was and how to get help after it happens, how to deal with depression and anxiety. I wish I hadn’t felt so alone and I wish I had the resources on hand to be able to change it. Then I think about my future and if I ever have children of my own, the information they will need to survive and how I can provide the best life for them I can and I look at our current social situation and I get worried. Rape Culture is so prominent and Women’s Rights are getting punched at daily. I still am scared walking down the street alone at night and I am a well equipped 23-year-old woman, what about my future 17-year-old daughter when she sneaks out of the house one night to go hang out with what’s his face? Will she have everything she needs to feel and be safe? Will she be prepared if something happens?

I do not want this future for my daughters or anyone else’s daughters. I want them to love themselves fully and without regret and have the resources to do so even when things go wrong. I don’t want them to be embarrassed to wear bikinis, or feel in danger wearing a short skirt on a hot day. I want them to be able to dance and laugh fully and often. And if I want all of these things than I need to be the one to change how women and their rights are viewed every single day. I model with my scars because they are a part of me, just like my piercings and tattoos. I write on here about all of my adventures because I fought like hell and goddamn it I deserve it. I will be damned if I let them win. I fight for Women’s Rights because we deserve them, we are human. We deserve to love ourselves unconditionally and to have the ability to take care of our bodies. I fight against Rape Culture because I have an amazing little sister who I love who is 14 now and if something were to ever happen I would want  someone to stand up for her. I want her to have those resources she will hopefully never need.

I hope this answered your question, K ❤

-NerdyGypsy

NOTE: PLEASE if you ever feel like harming yourself call the National Suicide Hotline, open 24/7! There is help and you are not alone, we care and we are here for you! Phone calls are anonymous or personal as you want them to be:

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

IF YOU HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED: There is help a phone call away, 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline. Please talk to someone, you are not alone ❤ Just like the Suicide Hotline all phone calls are anonymous or as personal as you want them to be:

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE

https://www.rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-hotline

Writing Prompt: Describe snowboarding

My little sister and I goofing off before we hit the mountain. She's a skier and I'm a boarder, proof that we can live in harmony ;p

My little sister and I goofing off before we hit the mountain. She’s a skier and I’m a boarder, proof that we can live in harmony ;p

It’s no secret that I’m a snow bunny. I live for being at the mountain regardless of how average I am at it. It always starts when I wake up, my toes tickle me awake as my chest warms to welcome me to the day. My legs, on the other hand, force me to get out of bed in the most antsy of fashions. Sometimes it’s hard to even focus enough to eat, I do because I should but I’ll be damned if it’s not like trying to force a sugar high two-year-old to sit.

As soon as that crisp mountain air touches my nose I know nothing can touch me. I start relaxing into my body and into a more solid foundation. I am centered, focused and a force to be reckoned with. I feel sexiest on the mountain and covered with nice, warm, layers. You can bet sun or snowfall that I am headed to that mountain to experience my ultimate freedom.

Once I am at the mountain I know I am home and the snow shimmers a friendly ‘hello’ in a multitude of colors just for me. Snow is not white. My feet fit knowingly into my boots and with each click of the bindings my heart stutters and skips, if I’m lucky I’m there early enough to be the first one to carve their name into the side of the mountain. Even the cold bite of the ski lift against my legs after a hot run feels like heaven.

From the top of the mountain you know why the Gods and Goddesses would have picked Mount Olympus as their home, the view is breathtaking. You can see forever on a clear day, watching the mountains fade into that soft periwinkle blue before disappearing into the horizon. The chilly air stings my cheeks, sinking into the bones in my face, as I snap into my bindings and head down the mountain. My hips already know this motion, they live for this as much as I do.

The first lesson I learned when I left Vermont.

I made a few mistakes when I left Vermont, that although I learned some interesting lessons (often than not the hard way) I wish I could change some of them. The following story contains sex talk, cheating and possible triggers.

 

When I had envisioned my move out of Vermont and into the rest of the world I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I did however know that when I left Vermont I wanted to fall in love some way, somewhere, I wanted (and expected) some romance. After all I am a total bookworm and, even though I hate to admit it, kind of a romantic at heart so romance novels (I know, I know, shut it) have been a staple in my book-diet since I was 16. Wild traveling women who met a man to keep up with them? Who wouldn’t want that? I mean, when I was growing up my cousin K traveled all over the world. She even sent home a video of her bungee jumping from a cable car strung between two mountains. She found a love that not only traveled with her, but moved around the world with her. Really more than anything else in a relationship, I wanted that. Least to say K is part of the reason I travel as much as I do, she inspired me.

Back to the story,

So when I moved to Louisville I was on the prowl, I joined Plenty of Fish, proceeded to get thousands of creepy responses, I joined OKCupid, still thousands of creepy responses, and went out a LOT

In Louisville there is this strip of road that gets shut down on the weekends called 4th Street Live, basically it’s a giant fashion show for who can dress the skimpiest and attract the most women. I had a friend that I went there with semi-regularly and would play ‘who can get the most phone numbers,’ we’d tie out more often than not.

The way FSL is set up is pretty breathtaking when you first get in, perhaps mildly overwhelming for someone who has never clubbed before. There are six bars on street level and four large bars on the second level, the four large bars had different themes and large sky walks that would take you out over the street so you could watch the partying below, and that is where I met JW.

JW was in the military and based outside of Louisville when we met. I was standing over the Sky Walk, nursing my drink and people watching when he approached me. He was originally from Connecticut which really caught my ear considering I am originally from Vermont and boy was he a smooth talker. You know when you watch a TV show and the girl starts talking to the bad guy but has no idea the dude is a sociopath and you are just sitting there like: “Nooooooooooo!!!” Every time I look back on this event that is how I feel. This guy had me convinced that not only was he divorced (he wasn’t) but that he was a nice dude (again, wasn’t.) That night I got perhaps too drunk, but being the ‘gentleman’ he was he walked me home to make sure I got there safely although not without trying to convince me to bring him upstairs which I was most certainly NOT going to do.

He proceeded to text me and call me at weird hours over the next few days, usually with some good excuse as to the weirdness of the hour. One night he called me at midnight and tried to convince me to have phone sex with him, which didn’t go over at all especially when I had to work early the next morning. This pattern happened for a couple of weeks before I finally gave in and slept with him and not a day later my lesson came crashing in loud in clear when he texted me that not only was he back with his wife, he had never left her. I felt awful and betrayed but mostly I felt like the worst person in the world. I would NEVER sleep with a married person, regardless of their SO’s permission. That’s not comfortable for me. I was worried what she would think of me, what my friends would think of me. There had been many times late at night where my friends and I would sit there and pass judgments on the girls who slept with Married men and suddenly I became that girl and it was a whole lot less than pleasant.

A few days later, despite my better judgment, he invited me out again to FSL and said that he wanted to apologize and that there were no tricks up his sleeve. When I got there, there he was. With his wife. I was horrified but I pulled her aside to tell her what had happened anyway, I didn’t think he did. His wife, now to be referred to as M, was understanding and informed me that this was not the first time to happen. The rest of the night we had teamed up and we were going to bring this sucker down a notch by the end of the night while he stood around ‘sulking’ like a puppy who had been swatted on the nose.

The way this story ends is not nearly as satisfying as I wish it could be, she ended up staying married to him despite the fact that later during the night he demanded a threesome because he felt like it would ‘even the playing field.’ I dropped contact with both of them the next day and only saved his number so that I knew who it was that I was ignoring. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the first thing I learned when I moved out of Vermont. 

Magic Hat Artifactory

My mom at Magic Hat Brewery in South Burlington. Hi mom!!!

My mom at Magic Hat Artifactory in South Burlington. Hi mom!!!

While we were in Vermont this past week we did some really awesome things but one of my favorite days was going to the Magic Hat Artifactory. Now I’ve been to a few pretty incredible Breweries in California since moving here, and maybe it’s just that I am really partial to Vermont, but I have to say this may be one of my favorite Breweries that I’ve personally been to.

When you get to the Brewery the first thing you’ll notice is a small silo with a rustic door that has the Magic Hat star for a window to peep in through. To the right of the silo are these large metal doors that look both slightly daunting but they drag you in with curiosity. What could they be hiding behind these large doors? Then you finally enter the building and it’s like entering an entirely different world. Everything is presented to look as though you just stepped into a mid-50’s Circus and the posters are so. Freaking. Cool! If you are a gamer just imagine being in a Brewery in Rapture from Bioshock.

Totally love it.

Totally love it.

Unfortunately we couldn’t go on a guided tour (they are offered on the weekends and you can find the hours here) but the lack of a guided tour didn’t leave us disappointed. We took a self guided tour, watched a fabulous short on the process of brewing a fine craft beer like Fat Angel or Heart of Darkness and finally made it to the brew and bottling part of the tour. 

Where they make their elixirs.

Where they make and bottle their elixirs.

When you walk into the industrial part of the tour you are instantly surrounded by warm air that smells divine. The smell of Hops, Barley, Yeast and the various other ingredients they use in their brews is enough to make anyone thirsty. They didn’t seem to be brewing anything when we went but we could watch the labeling process and enjoy the rich smells. We could start identifying which smells were dominate in each beer once we got to the tasting bar just by sitting and watching the process for a little while. It was impressive and incredibly inspiring, I started debating on what it would take to start brewing my own at home in San Diego.

Beers I tried:

Heart of Darkness – An excellent stout with a bittersweet chocolate under current. ABV: 5.7% IBUs: 30 SRM: 80. Note: Seasonal beer, only available October – January.

Maple Chocolate Stout – This one was my favorite, we ended up buying a growler of it. Made with local chocolate and maple syrup it is a very very smooth stout. This beer you can only get in the Brewery as a Draft. ABV: 7.2% IBUs: 50 SRM: 70. Note: Seasonal, only available October 15 – March 31.

Steven Sour – A fantastic Sour IPA made with three different types of Hops and Passion Fruit. ABV: 5.6% IBUs: 85 SRM: 5.8. Note: According to the site it is only available in November but the Brewery had it on tap. I can imagine this is a popular one with IPA and Sour Beer fans!

Single Chair: A light ale that is perfectly balanced in every way. Perfect for just getting off the slopes as well as a hot summer day. ABV: 5% IBUs: 17 SRM: 3.5. Note: Only available in Variety packs January – February but available on draft all year long.

Beer Jargon Explained:

ABV – Alcohol by Volume and simply represents the portion of alcohol in the total volume of the beer. The higher the percentage the higher the alcohol content

IBUs – International Bitterness Units describe the concentration of the iso-alpha acid in the beer. The higher the number the stronger the bitterness.

SRM – Standard Reference Method which is used to describe the color of the beer, the lower the number the lighter the beer.

 

(edit: just had that it pointed out to me that Artifactory was misspelled, whoops! Too much craft beer!!!)

Street Art Sunday’s: Vermont

So this past week I was in Vermont and I got a couple of photos of some local Graffiti. Because it was winter I couldn’t get to a lot of the places that house some of the incredible Graffiti that exists in Vermont but I did get a couple of photos of at least one piece of Graffiti: Image

 

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