• i'mwithher

    #imwithher: this isn’t defeat

    Something horrible happened today. (Or, if you’re on the opposite side of the world from where I currently am, maybe it happened last night.) As an American, I am utterly shocked at what we, as a collective group, did. We … Continue reading

  • self-satisfaction

    I stopped caring… a lesson in satisfaction…

    There’s so much shit going on these days. There’s so much I feel like I should be doing: work stuff, exercise stuff, personal project stuff, reading stuff. There’s. Just. So. Much. I’m a very goal-oriented person (or tend to see … Continue reading

  • commitment phobe

    I tried committing… but I wasn’t ready…

    Lately, my thoughts are all over the place. It’s been such a long time since I’ve written anything for myself. Part of this is unintentional; much of it is/was a product of my life circumstances. I ended up dating someone … Continue reading

  • a little bit brave… in Taiwan

    Reader, I’m so excited to share the next installment of my series, “A Little Bit Brave.” Each month, I’ll be posting an article by another blogger who took a leap and moved themselves away from everything that was familiar to find … Continue reading

  • be beyonce

    be your own “Beyoncé,” girl…

    Things are starting to stir as we approach that special time in the Americas when candidates start coming forward and declaring their intentions to begin the race for the next presidential election. (In fact, Hilary Clinton officially launched her campaign publicly … Continue reading

  • project tinder… a “real life” science experiment…

    Happy Tuesday, Reader! Let’s get down to business. Lately, I’ve been taking notice of what “search terms” randomly lead people to my blog and apparently, something along the lines of “Tinder in Korea” is a big one. I’m here to tell you … Continue reading

Daegu Story Slam | once a storyteller, always a storyteller…

Last weekend, I went out on a limb and stopped into a monthly Story Slam meet-up in Daegu. I vaguely recall seeing past events shared to various local Facebook groups I was in over the years, but I always turned up my nose and just assumed it was something I had no interest in.

Oh, how wrong I was.

I don’t remember if I took the time to research what an actual Story Slam is the last time my interest was piqued, but this time I made the effort. And I was immediately enraptured by what I saw.

I was born to be a storyteller…

In short (if you don’t want to do the research), a Story Slam is like an open mic for people to (obviously) share their stories. A theme is chosen for the night/event and your story should somehow relate to it. You’re given a certain time limit to tell your story and it does have to be a story – not a poem or something you’ve written or a performance: it’s a real-life story that happened to you. You don’t make notes, you don’t over-prepare, you just get up and tell your story to (most likely) a room full of strangers.

Now, I love telling stories… If you’ve read any part of this blog, my guess is that’s pretty apparent.

I’m constantly recounting epic tales to my friends about my ridiculous experiences, family interactions, and crazy Tinder-related sexual escapades over the years – I love hearing and telling a good story. I love flexing my funny muscle and hearing my pals laugh at the stupid situations I’ve found myself in.

To get a feel for what exactly a Story Slam is, I watched several YouTube videos of other storytellers doing their thing at various events across the US and I knew immediately I wanted to see it in action. Many speakers told funny stories and had the audience laughing, others told heart-wrenchingly honest stories that plucked at listeners’ heartstrings – on both sides of the spectrum, these were my people.

The problem was that these one-off videos didn’t really give me a completely clear idea of what a live event would be like, so I needed to see it for myself. I decided that I would attend the next Daegu Story Slam.

And here’s the kicker: I decided to be brave and went alone.

(I might also add that the event in Daegu is held every month in a bar… and I’m doing Whole30 this month so I’m not drinking… So I resolved to buy someone else a drink to earn my spot at a table.)

a lone storyteller…

I didn’t know anyone in town that would be willing and able to accompany me to the latest Story Slam, so I decided to go on my own and just sit and observe. As it turned out, I did know a few people who ended up being there throughout the night, but I sat on my own at a full table of strangers most of the night.

The theme of the evening was “Confessions” and the event hosts were collecting “anonymous confessions” from the audience. I dropped a couple of my own in – participation is key, right?!

As the night wore on, the hosts kept encouraging attendees to be a storyteller because just a few people had signed up, so there were several spots available.

I hadn’t planned on telling a story but there were openings, I was being given an opportunity to observe before jumping in to see how it “worked,” and my friend, William, encouraged me.

My conversation with William went a little like this:

“You should tell a story,” said he.

“Well, I’m just not sure what story I should tell… I have plenty of things I can confess to and few things I’m overly embarrassed about, so I guess I could,” I replied.

“You can totally do this. ‘A little bit brave’? How about ‘a lot brave.’ You can totally tell a great story,” he gently pressed.

“Yeah, okay. I’ve got a story,” I said.

So, I signed up and it was like I had been doing it forever…

I put my name in the hat and when I was called up, I told a fantastic tale about how I have always loved to laugh but it has caused me trouble in the past… because I used to have a terrible time trying to hold my bladder. (Translation: I used to pee in my pants from laughing too hard all. The. Time.)

I was invited to the mic and introduced and it was made clear to the audience that it was my first time. Everyone cheered their encouragement and I hit the ground running with my story.

 

daegu story slam

 

And you know what? I was nowhere near as nervous as I thought I would be. In fact, I was completely energized and just a tinge nervous – I was barely aware of my heart beating a little faster and my face wasn’t getting too overheated.

It was like I had been telling stories to an audience for years.

I’m no stranger to public speaking, but I’ve always been nervous about being in front of people. I just don’t know what happened that night…

I’m glad I took the leap…

What I haven’t admitted to you, Reader, is that I almost didn’t go… I had been out shopping for a few things and had some cumbersome bags; I didn’t have a buddy to join me in a bar and I wasn’t drinking alcohol. But I dragged myself to the gathering anyway and saw just a single face I recognized.

Since returning to Korea in September (surprise!), my friend pool has dwindled and changed. Folks have moved, had babies, or left the country altogether. That initial decision of bravery on Saturday night introduced me to something new that I know I’m going to love being part of and opened a new door for meeting people.

It was a fantastic decision.

 

I haven’t taken many brave steps over the last 12 months – something I’m a little ashamed to admit – but this one was a good one. I’m so glad I went, even with my shopping bags and no tag-along pal. Sometimes, being brave doesn’t mean stepping far outside of our comfort zones – even small steps matter.

Thanks, Daegu Story Slam community, for offering me a seat at the table and an opportunity to be part of the human connection in that room. It was a blast.

 

As we close out 2018, what brave steps have you taken this year? What do you want to do before the year is over? There’s still time! Share with me in the comments.

 

when is the “right” time to report sexual assault? the short answer: any time

Like nearly everyone else in America, I want to talk about what’s happening with the #MeToo movement.

Let’s get something straight to start: life for women is abundantly different than it is for men. We have developed habits that are truly engrained in us, so much so that we don’t even think about it when we do these things in hopes of protecting ourselves. These behaviors are practically nonexistent among men.

Every day holds potential threats for women. Every. Single. Day. And by denying that, you empower the men who think they’re above the law or above ethical and moral behavior.

While a movement has started – or for the sake of argument, resurged – in the last year or two, it does not diminish the fact that we still have a long way to go.

We must believe women when they speak up and we must respect them when they tell their stories “late.” Why? Because the threat of being shrugged off as a misunderstanding, a joke, or an inconvenient time for the perpetrator is no longer an excuse.

We cannot allow these excuses to be more important than listening to these stories. The reality is that there is no “right” time to report sexual assault.

I don’t consider myself to be a victim, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have some uncomfortable stories.

I will be honest and say that, as a woman who has never been a victim of what I would consider sexual assault, there have been times in my life where I was uncomfortable.

When I was no older than 4 or 5, an older boy who was a friend of the family was reading a book to me on our sofa. When I said I wanted to go take a nap with my mom, he said I could just stay and lay on the couch with him and we could take a nap together. My father was in the next room, likely watching football and napping in his recliner.

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solo trips: the importance of being a hermit…

 

 

I’m crazy busy these days between my teaching contract ending; my part-time editing and content management gig with Anna Wickham, my amazing boss and friend; and I’ve been working on a startup project with a business partner I made in Bali in November. I don’t have time to mess around these days…

It was clear to me at the end of last year that I needed to do something to get myself on track and well-organized for the year ahead. I knew I’d be working a lot and wouldn’t make enough time to push myself to have some legit “me” time.

But I knew it was going to be important for me to exercise some of my hermit tendencies more than ever. So I decided to do my best to find ways to get my shit together and make it happen.

Making It Happen

I’ve gotten better at being by myself over the years. The first time I remember taking a “solo trip” – going somewhere “fun” all alone – was when I was 21. I had a season pass to a local theme park in Branson, Missouri called Silver Dollar City and that day, I was sad.

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each November, I remember… finding joy after loss…

For the first time in 20 years, I didn’t cry today.

On November 1st, 1996, my father died from cancer. It’s hard to believe I can say that. I don’t feel “old,” but saying I experienced the loss of a parent two decades ago makes me feel like I’ve aged.

Every year, I have dreaded November 1st. For what feels like forever, this day has been a major tracker of life events – much like a birthday or New Years celebration.

Another year I didn’t get to celebrate my achievements with my daddy. Another year wishing I knew more about him – that I knew him as his adult daughter.

Two years ago, I decided that I wasn’t going to let this day dictate my feelings so negatively. I wasn’t going to let it rob me of my joy. Instead, I’ve spent some time over the last week or so leading up to this day to think about how far I’ve come in 20 years.

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my fellow Americans… everything you need to know about voting from abroad…

No matter who you are and what your nationality, there’s no question: your Facebook and Twitter feeds have been full of news about the impending American elections to be held in November. Regardless of what side you’re on, you’ve seen stuff from both ends of the pendulum’s swing. This year – perhaps more than ever – Americans’ voices matter when it comes to choosing the next Commander in Chief.

I’ll be honest about this: when I arrived in Korea 3 years ago, I didn’t know I was going to stay this long. I was open to it, sure, but didn’t know it was actually going to happen. I voted in the States before I arrived in Korea in Feb. 2013 and figured that would be it for me for 4 years. Clearly, as I see it now, I was wrong.

I decided a few months ago when I chose to stay one more year (really, this time; this is the last Korean year) that I just wouldn’t bother voting in this election. Even in December, I didn’t like any of the candidates running on either side all that much and anyway, I was going to be in Korea so what did it matter? I wasn’t terribly concerned about figuring out all that absentee stuff. I’ve since changed my mind.

If you’re an American living abroad, I can’t urge you enough to register to vote absentee this year. You might be thinking, “But Krissi, it’s only April. I have plenty of time to worry about this crap.” Well, Reader, I’m here to tell you that you don’t. The longer you wait, the less likely you’ll be to actually do it. Don’t wait; read on and get shit done.

Where Do You Stand?

It’s a scary time in America. The economy seems to be in a bit of an upswing (finally) and everyone has finally made their peace with Obamacare (for the most part). Last year, love finally won and marriage equality is now a real thing and legally recognized everywhere in our great country. We’ve come a long way, people.

But despite the strides we’ve made, we’ve still got a long way to go.

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