I wanted to pop in and share with you a blogger that I have gotten to know better recently and wanted to give you the opportunity to get to know her better as well. These things happen when I get addicted to one's photos, writing, and stories. You may remember mention of Nina when I showed off my awesome mugs that you all seemed to love way back when. Recently Nina has torn down every wall of vulnerability on her blog and has opened up quite a bit touching lives everywhere from her own personal stories. I thought it would be fun to do a little Q&A with this bombshell so that's what we did. You will want to read on...believe me.
1. Have you ever written about something that you never thought you would? If so, how did it make you feel?
Yes, is the simplest answer. I never thought I would ever write or publicly talk about what happened to me in college. I really do hate to use words like "abuse" or "domestic violence" because they are such buzzwords and I feel as if they take away from the actual stories girls may have. But that is what it was. God, therapy, and time (in that order) have gotten me personally to a point where I could even share but a part of me was still scared. What good could come out of it, really? But I started hearing these hushed stories, of good, church going, kiss your mama on the cheek, no sir, yes m'am men hurting women physically, sexually, emotionally. Some were even prominent in churches and in other stations of respect. And I started to get pissed.
It's one thing if it happens to me. But all these are other women...What are we doing about this? Are we just going to whisper about it? Seriously?
That guy? He did what? It's hard to believe and yet it is happening every single day. It happened to me, Miss Sass-a-frass, won't take no ish from no one. I will go toe to toe with anyone but I was in love. If it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. And I was tired of these stories being whispered about. Someone had to be the first to speak and so I did. I was terrified out of my mind, but I did it.
2. Recently you opened up and shared some dark parts of your life---how has that impacted your blog and connection with your readers?
Well, within 24 hours of sharing my story and then the follow up, over 100 women contacted me either publicly or privately sharing various stories of abuse. That number flabbergasted me. One in four women will be sexually assaulted (one in six men) and this is the most unreported crime for a lot of obvious reasons and some not so obvious ones. And still, I was completely bowled over that on my little blog, women I knew and women I didn't wrote me and told me what they felt they couldn't tell someone else. It was, as if, by sharing my story, I had proven to be someone safe. Someone who would say: what happened to you was not okay. The fact that this happens at all is not okay. I mean,and that is a whole other thing that pisses me off. That women have to be worried over being believed. What in hell are we doing about the girl on the couch?
And if you want me to get seriously worked up, let's talk about the culture in which we raise boys. Because no matter how many women we "rehabilitate" and "heal," it seems to be a revolving door with more and more coming with more stories and battle wounds. So what about the men? You think it won't be your son who raises his hand to a woman? Then who are these guys? The guy who hurt me wasn't from a broken home and his daddy didn't hit his mama. So? And what about the "good" ones? What are the stand-up men doing for their sisters?
But 100 emails in 24 hours? Multiply that by a hundred. Multiply that by a thousand. Multiply that by a million. I kept thinking: this is too many. I wrote each woman back personally, my heart breaking the whole time.
Since then I have promised to be a warrior for them. I never planned on that. I never planned on these football player guys messaging me, teammates of the guy who I dated, telling me what happened to me was not okay and that I had to be a warrior for these women, that I already was. But stranger things have happened and it's happening. It's so much bigger than me.
I can't read everything I did and not do something. Right now I am in the research phase but I am their warrior now. So yes, it has changed my relationship with my readers.
3. I love hearing people's "why" behind their blog. Why did you begin writing and has that changed since you started?
I'm a writer. I always have been. I always knew I was meant to be one. I had just moved to SF and thought: well, here is an opportunity to chronicle your adventures, are you going to keep writing and closing your laptop or are you ready to be the person you were meant to be?
4. Your blog title is Flowers In My Hair. How did you decide on that?
When I moved to San Francisco, my best friend, who moved to CA a year before me sent me this video of this old song with the lyrics: "if you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair." It seemed perfect. And then after I started, I found a Mumford and Son's song and a Lumineer's song that included a line about flowers in your hair and then all of a sudden it was the COOLEST thing ever to wear flowers in your hair. Hey guys, I promise I was ahead of the trend. I am NEVER ahead of a trend so I am pretty sure it was meant to be. Even though I moved back to Chicago this summer, I kept the name because it had come to mean more than the original song. It's about trying something new and failing in a beautiful way. It's about adventure. It's about doing you.
Gaaaaaah, I just love it. Perfectly said Nina. Perfectly said. Make sure you pay Nina a visit and stick around for awhile--her blog is definitely a must read. Also, take advantage of 20% off all ad spaces with the code YELLOW while you have a chance. If advertising with a blogger who is blowing up is wrong, I don't want to be right ;)
Thanks Nina for sharing little pieces of you with all of us!