Every Crayon in the Box

Every Crayon in the Box

Living a colorful life.

You can scroll the shelf using and keys

Every Crayon in the Box…

…is me. I am every crayon in the box.

Every Crayon in the Box

…is you. You are every crayon in the box.

Some days we are Burnt Sienna. Other days we are Purple Mountains’ Majesty. On good days we may be Razzle Dazzle Rose. On bad days we may be Screamin’ Green.

On happy days we could be Sunglow. On bad days we could be Unmellow Yellow. Pick your color. Make your choice – it’s all up to you.

Samantha Jones from the first Sex in the City movie, 2008, said:

I can’t color enough, I would color all day every day If I had my way, I would use every crayon in my box.

This blog is about Every Crayon in the Box. Be a color. Love a color. Live a color. Color your picture. Live life, laugh lots, and love.

All content on everycrayon.com is ©2013 Margie Sutherland.

perfect herbed grill chicken [à la Gwyneth Paltrow]

February 24, 2014

Originally posted on Well, Bless Her Heartichokes:

Remember when I said that studying for the Bar would yield more recipe posts? Well, here it is. I consider it a stress response. Sometimes getting multiple low-percents (not going to reveal how low…) in one week on Barbri MPQ1s is just too much to handle. So, what do I do? Focus on improving my cooking expertise. You know, just in case being a lawyer doesn’t work out? I can be a line cook somewhere, right? Right. [Yikes.]

This past Saturday one of my good friends from law school got hitched, to boy from our section. It was the most incredible wedding - exactly what I want when/if I get married. (Sorry Katie, I may or may not copy everything you did. kgreatthx.) Anyway, the night before leaving for Nashvegas, Jamie (my perfect wedding date) came into Bham to spend the night and do generally girly things. I made dinner…

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Writer’s block?

February 18, 2014 4 Comments

Usually I love to write, but lately? I have a lot to say but I don’t feel like sharing with y’all.

Why? because it’s personal and it’s NYOB, and…why the h.e. double hockey sticks would you WANT to read about my losing 10 pounds of a much needed more, or about my latest job rant, or even  my lucky dog Lucky?

writer's block

I’m calling writer’s block.  Back to watching the On Demand version of Jimmy Fallon’s first Tonight Show. How about U2 performing on the 70th floor of the Rockefeller Center during his show? Go Jimmy. Enjoy.

ChicagoNow: what goes around?

February 4, 2014

I have a lot to say about the latest incident at my old hood, ChicagoNow,  but I don’t know how much I want to get into it.

A friend pinged me yesterday, said that the man who bullied me on and off of ChicagoNow in 2011 had his blog removed from the platform yesterday.  I felt kinda relieved! And I kinda didn’t care.

I wrote a piece about him last year when he was nailing a “young man” on his own blog. I called it: Bullies come in all sizes, D.A.D!  The now former ChicagoNow dad blogger opens his entry by saying to this “young man:” God forbid a complete stranger, who hardly knows anything about you, does something to hurt you that would be awful.

The weird thing is that one would think that by writing something down like that it would come from a lesson learned, but it seems like nonetheless it may not have? For when a mommy blogger, over this past weekend, wrote an oped about how this man made it to be featured on the Chicago Tribune  for being a Stay-at-home Dad while women have been doing so for hundreds of thousands of years, he went on to personally attack this mommy blogger AND her husband, threatening to have her husband fired?

What is that?

And yet… I don’t care too much about this. I just want to point out how one man, who unprofessionally bullied me, this other mommy blogger,  could have continued in this manner and not get called on it, until now.  When I was on ChicagoNow I said my peace regardless of what the bully thought of me at the time. It needed to come out. I got the closure I needed and it ended with what happened at the BBB. The final straw for me at ChicagoNow was when I wrote a piece on homosexuality based on a conversation I had with a friend and the same man turned it into something it was not. I turned to my blogger community to get help with this man and I received the boot in the end.

A bully is a bully. Just that. So what goes around comes around. And the truth is that this whole topic will last for another few days and will probably disappear.  And that’s what I have to say about that.

I’ve had nothing much to say…

December 23, 2013

…it’s been a year of disappointment, sadness, sickness and joy, happiness all in the same year, not just for me but for a lot of people in my life. It is bad to say that I really had a bad two months from August to October? I was really down. I painted, I blogged a little, but for the most part I’d been pretty down. Other things had happened among members of extended family and friends – cancer, for one. But miraculously, tumors are shrinking and gliomas were found to be non-cancerous in the brain of a 9-year-old child.

And in my nuclear family? A baby is about to be born, in 2 weeks and a few days. A breach, almost by then 9 pound big baby girl to be exact.  I have never felt so MORE thankful to watch that baby grow in my sister’s belly and I have never shed so many tears to know my youngest sister is about to have her first child. MY BABY SISTER is having her first baby. Now THAT’S SOMETHING.

Of course, less than two days from now we will be celebrating the birth of one very famous and important baby, to which I’m also very grateful, and as I’m watching one of my favorite reality shows, The Sing-Off (a cappella me, please!) I found Pentatonix’s version of Little Drummer Boy:

I’ve had nothing much to say this year. I listened a lot, but for the most part, 96% of me is grateful for lessons learned this year and blessings received. I don’t know about the remaining 4%. I just made it up for the many colors left in all of our lives.

Creative Commons 3.0 License

Creative Commons 3.0 License

I do have one more thing to say to a friend: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I wish you would see all the colors that I see in you.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Oh and one more thing: thank you for bringing Lucky back to me, people of Naperville, IL.

Lucky

Happy Holidays, everyone. Thanks for continuing to read Every Crayon in the Box (the thousands of ya; I don’t get it, we’re nothing special here), thank you and…

Have a wonderful end of the year.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, too!

October 24, 2013

Every October we are inundated with the color pink, and every year I say the same thing:

PLEASE PUT YOUR PURPLE ON for October’s National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

I want to thank some friends from high school who shared a great article with me on Huff Post about Pinktober. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about doing whatever I can to support breast cancer cures, awareness and prevention, but it was refreshing to read from Leisha Davison-Yasol,  a breast cancer fighter,  that this month has come to be known as “Pinkwashing” in breast cancer circles.

To that I have to say, again: please, please please don’t forget that October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. You have a week left to WEAR PURPLE, the color for the respective cause.

Why is it so much easier to pinkwash than purplewash? I don’t find it so hard. See? The artwork I made for Chicago a couple of years ago demonstrates that a purple skyline is just as easy as a pink one this time of year:

Image

It’s not that hard to put on purple, and it’s a much easier color to wear than pink, especially for men. That’s just my opinion.

Then I would add a version of Corinne Bailey Rae’s Put Your Records On and say (with her permission, of course):

PLEASE put your purple on
Tell me your favorite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

In other words: DON’T BE AFRAID. We’re aware of what you’re going through. There is help for you.

WE WILL BE THERE FOR YOU. 

Seriously, for the past two years I have written about this important month in raising more awareness for domestic violence. I have shared my own personal story, actively promote LifeSpan, and while on ChicagoNow spent almost a whole entire month on that platform bringing in thoughts, ideas and others’ experiences such as Antonia’s story of leaving an abusive relationship and starting her own hair salon.

So you all have one more week to promote the OTHER major October-dedicated cause: National Domestic Violence Awareness. Please put your purple on at least once this month.

PLEASE. 

You’re going to find yourself somewhere, somehow.

I’m not any good at picking the winners of the show The Voice, but I like the contestants that demonstrate the most heart and soul in their singing.

This kid, Matthew Schuler, was just so happy to be on The Voice that he was just beaming from ear to ear even before the chairs almost immediately turned for him. He was so full of joy in singing Young the Giant’s “Cough Syrup,” a little ditty even though there’s zombies in the park waiting for his heart, I’d vote for Matthew Schuler in the battle rounds.

One more spoon of Cough Syrup now whoaaa…
Kid’s got pure talent and a heart of gold, whoaaa…

Incredible Talent: Matthew Schuler

October 8, 2013

Stop and Blog the Roses tickles me pink.

September 22, 2013

I wish every day I had an attitude of gratitude.

Alas, life can get you down and sometimes it’s hard to bounce back from the bottom. I ride the waves like everyone else but I have moments where I feel life is overwhelming; typhoon-esque.

So I reach out to my favorite social media friends and I ALWAYS take a look at Stop and Blog the Roses.

Stop and Blog the Roses is my number one favorite blog OF ALL TIME. From June 1, 2010 to May 31, 2011, Jennifer Fernicola Ronay recorded three things she was grateful for every single day for 365 days. She created 365 blog entries and therefore 1,095 things to be grateful for during that time. Jen continues to write at least 7 entries per month since then and reaffirms gratitude with every new entry.

Stop and Blog the Roses Tickles me Pink.

I wish I could write 3 things every day for which to be grateful.   I’m not sure how much Jen realizes her influence on her fans but her recurring attitude of gratitude is PRECIOUS. I know it lightens my day. It takes the typhoon in my brain and turns it into a peek of sun through the clouds. It helps overwhelming feelings become more tolerable and gives me time to remember the important things in life.

The smallest things, even the most mundane, often are the most important and the most precious, Those three things for which Jen is grateful in every one of her entries can have the highest reward, remind of a very Tickle-one-pink’s moment in a life and to be thankful for the gifts one has to offer in this world.

Pink to help the blues

Pink to help the blues

Thank you so much, Jen, for Stop and Blog the Roses. Your attitude of gratitude tickles me pink. I am truly grateful to you.

(Please vote for her at babble.com as a top reader’s choice blogger. Give her the recognition she deserves!)

Bullies come in all sizes, D.A.D.!

September 14, 2013 2 Comments

Dear Dad all Day:

hammer screwdriver

Unfortunately, I read your blog post about how your daughter was “rated” by a teenage boy on Facebook. You basically wrote an open letter to the “young man” who completed the action. The rest of your post went on about your own personal experiences as a teenager and how you grew up respecting women. BUT I know from first hand experience that you are not a nice man and you are not respectful to women. See D, you openly bashed me online, you did it more than once, and on your post you basically did the EXACT SAME THING to the teenager.

Are you proud that you strutted yourself and used a manly hammer to try and put a nail to this kid’s actions? Are you proud that you SLAMMED a teenager on your high traffic grabbing because it’s a Tribune- owned blog?

I have to say that MY Dad, a father to four, independent, grown women is rolling in his ashes right now.  My Dad may have been angry as hell at the time but he would never openly bash a teenager for doing something stupid. Instead he killed with kindness.

D., you open your entry by sayingGod forbid a complete stranger, who hardly knows anything about you, does something to hurt you that would be awful. 

When you bashed me online you didn’t know me, at all. You did not take the time to understand what was going on with my story, with my pain.  You were not my friend, you were a fellow grown-up blogger who wrote, just like me, on a Trib-owned platform.  if I didn’t meet you once, I would consider you a stranger.

Yet you continue say to the teenager: Here’s a tip about women “young man,” being mean to them, is no way to get them to like you.

THAT WOULD BE VERY TRUE. For example, I am one who does not like you, D., and, to your point about consequences of people’s actions,  you really caused some damage.

Women and girls put up with enough crap in their lives from men and other women, this type of bullying is the kind of thing that can crush a girl’s confidence and stay with her forever….

…Maybe someday when you are a “man,” and have kids, you will teach them what your parents forgot to teach you, respect for other people and their feelings.

Well thankfully I’m a grown-up and I don’t give a shit about the crap you threw at me BUT I do have to say this:

YOUR ADVICE? LAME.

How about writing something like this:

Well hey I was a shitty bastard and I still can be from time to time. I understand what you are going through, “young man” because my actions are still sophomoric sometimes. See how angry I am, “young man”?  I’m going to hammer down my message to you on my high traffic grabbing, Tribune-owned blog .  What do women do when they put up with enough crap in their lives? HELL IF I KNOW. Ask my wife.

Because you have NO CLUE what you are talking about, D.

LEAD BY EXAMPLE. Instead of calling out a “young man” and bullying him online, how about writing how you EMPOWERED your daughter and taught her how to be RESILIENT to bullies and / or teenagers such as this “young man”?  How about saying that yes, it HURTS to be bullied and “rated” by some ignorant teenager but you KNOW your daughter is strong!  She passed her own personal test by going through this and working through her own feelings!

How about telling her that her feelings WILL be hurt again, whether by a bully, another teenager, even a friend or a first love that may break her heart? How about that the hurt, although it seems painful at the time, will pass when it’s ready to and YOU WILL BE THERE FOR HER WHEN IT DOES?  And finally, how about openly expressing that you LOVE HER?

8th grade graduation. Dad and Me.

Dad and Me. Being a nerdy tween daughter SUCKED. He taught me how to get through the sucky pain.

Because, you see, D., to your point, crap like this DOES happen in women’s lives, ALL THE TIME.

Why not lead by example and not by some sick, manly strut your stuff, puff your chest “I know you and I know women”- type entry?

BECAUSE CLEARLY YOU DON’T KNOW WOMEN.

Bullies come in all sizes, D.A.D.  

Lead by example, not by the hammer in your hand.

Today’s color: Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown

September 12, 2013

Today’s color is Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown, and it is for a very special friend.

blurred brown

I can not imagine what my friend is going through right now. She just found out her youngest son has a brain tumor. I saw her today and I could tell how overwhelmed she was with the shock of the diagnosis. We talked for a good hour and a half, and I wish I could just be her shoulder to cry on with a little more time.

Timber

One thing she expressed to me is how she would feel when her son came off the bus after school today. She didn’t have to say anything; I just knew. I told her (and I don’t know where it came from) that all of the routine things, the comfort things, are probably going to feel endearing for a while, and sad. Her son’s life is going to take a drastic change; THEIR life will, if only for a while (we all pray).

But I know my friend is strong. I know she is going through the Fuzzy Wuzzy Browns right now. Things are so overwhelming, so out of control and her poor son is going to have surgery to remove the tumor and possible radiation therapy…

WHAT THE F***. WHY??? WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?

Her family is already saying “what are you going to do?” “Why haven’t you made a decision yet?”

She’s going through the Fuzzy Wuzzy Browns but she is so STRONG.

She’s already taken a brief moment for herself without even knowing it and I am so PROUD of her. Her instincts are on top and she is preparing herself and her family for the surgery.  I see her, by Sunday, having a whole bunch of colors surrounding her and reducing the Fuzzy Wuzzy Browns, if only for a while.

She’ll be surrounded by Purple Heart, Blue Bell, Mountain Meadow and Wild Strawberry. And hopefully the family’s CaringBridge account will be up soon.

Please pray for my friend, her little boy and family.  Pray for strength and hope.

Concussions and PTSD – my story

August 30, 2013 2 Comments

This is going to be hard for me to write, and will probably be long.

Three years ago, after long hours training at my gym, I slipped and fell in the women’s locker room and slammed my head on the concrete floor. The gym was going through a major renovation, and the women’s locker room was next on the list.  I was taking a shower post swim – I was training for my second ever sprint triathlon – and realized I didn’t get a clear plastic bag for my swim gear, which was part of my shower / post swim routine. I went to grab the bag which was located one shower stall away. I was naked except for my Crocs flip flops and my swim cap when BAM! I slipped and fell. It wasn’t just a land on naked ass kind of fall; it was a land on back side and my head snapped back and SLAMMED on that concrete floor.

Never again will I trust a yellow concrete locker room floor!

I thought I was by myself in that shower area. Thank God I wasn’t.  I couldn’t get up right away. I saw black. It took me a couple of minutes to get back up. Another swimmer was in that area and asked me if I was ok. Still out of it, I said “yes.” I think I was more shocked and humiliated that my naked body, with swim cap and Crocs flip flops still on was va jay jay front forward right before her eyes.  I don’t remember her helping me get up; I probably was too stubborn for help but I went back to my shower stall. The next thing I I remember? I just started sobbing and couldn’t stop.

I don’t know why but I was crying hard and couldn’t stop. My head hurt, my backside hurt really badly. I remember someone else came over and told me the Manager on Duty couldn’t leave the front desk. Then I remember the MOD, whom I knew, finally came back, sat me down (I think I was at least in a towel by then) on the ledge in the shower stall and said I was lucky I had my swim cap on because I probably would have required stitches.

I don’t remember much after that except she couldn’t get a hold of my sister (emergency contact) to come get me. I don’t know if an accident report was filled out or if there was an option for an ambulance. I took a cab home. The next day I went to the hospital (no I don’t know why I waited; I was by myself) and yes, per the ER doctor,  I definitely obtained a concussion at the gym the night before.

So you would THINK that the gym would reach out to me and ask me if I was OK. I was at that gym faithfully, I worked with a trainer for 18 months and I learned so much; I was passionate about what I learned from him and I was eager to learn more. My trainer wanted me at the gym five times a week and for his place of work to become my “second home” and it sure did; but what happened just a little over a week after the night I obtained the concussion blew me away.

A week or so after the concussion the health club’s Corporate HR Director wanted to speak with me.  I was not really willing to have a call with her but I did anyway. I should have stuck with my gut because the below happened:

She was hostile on the call; she said “Don’t be cryptic” when I was trying to formulate words for this discussion. She told me that the club would review my hospital bills (I did not receive a contract – long story – to sign my life away in typical fitness club form), and then implied that I wanted to be intimate with my trainer, then fitness director…

…who told me about 9 months prior that he had a boyfriend.

I was absolutely shocked.  I CALLED my trainer that evening post conversation with this HR Director (why would an HR Director want to speak to me about a concussion I don’t know) to ask him what happened and WHY on earth was this woman implying I wanted to be intimate with him. The trainer sent me a very bland email as a response – he told this woman that he was my trainer and nothing more, to which I replied and looped this HR Director into the email asking for an immediate apology.

I never got that apology.

I’ll add in the little fact that my trainer told me that his father was “recently unemployed” and just started a new trade association in the fitness industry. Why, pray tell, did I know this? My young trainer felt a need to tell me.
I was working with a 25 year old man, otherwise spoken for (ahem), whose father was with the industry since basically its inception. What made this worse for me is not only did I have this information but the HR director was a “30 year veteran” of said industry and the CEO of this health club chain was a “past president” of the same. Did I know that they had knowledge of what I was told of both my trainer’s personal and family history, by my trainer?

I couldn’t even imagine telling that HR Director, “but he’s gay!” that fateful day. Maybe I should have. Maybe it would have felt less heartbreaking.

Either way, I was so distressed. I didn’t know what to do next. I was still recovering from the concussion and I was exhausted. I was on autopilot going to that gym, which became my “second home.”  I ended up sleeping and resting for a handful of days laying on the chaise lounges on the club’s sundeck. My trainer stopped talking to me, and I was still looking for answers. Finally, a month later, with no true answers and for various reasons I just quit that club.

LEAVING THAT CLUB FELT LIKE I WAS GRIEVING A HUGE LOSS.

So three years ago the above happened, and during that time even after leaving I was still searching for answers. Finally, I just started writing openly about it.  I was told by some that I was victimized after explaining everything but then I was also openly blasted by a fellow blogger multiple times at the same time.  When I saw how the community manager gave preferential treatment to this blogger, I knew my public blog was doomed.

I moved on from that blog in 2012 to here and tried very hard not to reference what happened. I wanted to persevere; I wanted to move forward and do more triathlons. I completed another triathlon in June last year and then…

I ran into a blast from the past, someone who was part of the course of fiascoes at that gym in 2010, someone whom I desired to never see again. I could write more about that but in terms of the content here: last summer, after the triathlon and running into this man I obtained lesions in my esophagus. I was so terrified that he was in my space again that my body decided to have a full on freak out.

When I obtained those lesions I knew that my past experiences were not put behind me. I knew this was a reaction to running into this man….

That’s when I found out, just months later, I have had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for the past three years because of what happened at that gym, the concussion and how that organization treated me during that time – aka very poorly. And what’s worse, it’s permanently documented at the Better Business Bureau that I wanted a personal relationship with my gay trainer. No one did anything about it. No one corrected it. No one apologized for bad behavior. I felt so incredibly LOST.

But things started falling into place when I found out I had PTSD.  I bought the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook when I was diagnosed.  Just a handful of pages into the book I was thinking “YES! THAT’s ME!” and I broke into tears multiple times. I found out this:

Speaking openly and then more openly after being blasted by that DB blogger was “outcry.” The continuous nightmares that I was having about the health club for two years and more sporadically now is part of the “intrusive-repetitive” stage.  Those two stages also caused hyper-vigilance; I was consistently on guard for anything that might hurt me and went into times where I either prevented myself from enjoying regular activities or went into prevention mode to ensure that if I did those activities I would be protected.

The pushing through to continue triathlons last year was part of the denial stage and emotional numbing of the illness, and a need to persevere…until I ran into the man from the past and got the lesions.

And now? I still have the intrusive thoughts and sporadic nightmares.  Since I’m past the emotional numbing (I think) I’ve become fearful of entering a gym. I’m afraid of allowing myself to be vulnerable to judgement for what happened and how I reacted. I still feel a lot of unwarranted guilt as well as fear and sometimes I’ll allow myself to feel anger about this process.  My family has not been supportive and I’ve kept friends at a distance. But I feel another turn coming…

I can reflect on everything that has happened and I can stand further away from the experience, and I’m starting EMDR therapy to help work on my fears of being triggered by fitness equipment. I’m also working on building working relationships with people in the fitness industry and who have no intention of hurting me but are in a profession that COULD potentially cause harm to me. There’s no reasoning to any of that; I just know that the triggers are in a part of my brain that, with the right help, can dissipate.

All I want now is peace. I want the trauma put into the part of my brain where non-important memories lie, leaving the triggered space. I have been painting and drawing a lot lately – it provides relief. But I’ve had enough. Three years of this is too much, and MY GOD I miss swimming.

The point of my story?

I found out that you don’t have to be a football player or a wounded warrior to experience PTSD from a concussion. I’ve felt embarrassed for so long that my little story was not as “big” as those who have experienced PTSD under way more extreme conditions, but the truth is that PTSD is REAL and is a diagnosis that can assist many people who have experienced trauma.

And NO ONE should be told they were “victimized” by some and then openly blasted by others while enduring this.

SUPPORT is needed, LOSE THE HATE.

I hope to move forward soon. Thank you for reading.

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