relationships

My 2015 Recap

A year ago, I focused on how my glass was half full. I was – and am – thankful to be a mom and an educator. Nonetheless, as 2014 drew to a close, there were still a lot of loose ends in my life:

  • Was my breast cyst benign or malignant?
  • Could I physically handle my job? (I only had six days between my lumpectomy and the start of the semester. I had three new classes to teach and 30 more students than the previous semester. And, I still had my usual two migraines a week.) Assuming that I could handle the added responsibilities and that the cyst was benign, would my full-time contract be renewed?
  • Was I really at peace with no longer being in a relationship with The Man? Or, would I return to my old pattern of going back to an ex-boyfriend?
  • How would I fare at being a single mom?
  • Where would Roya get into preschool? (The DC preschool hustle is an interesting process with applications, recommendations and interviews.)

Today, I can reflect on all of those questions and stressors with a huge sigh of relief.

Most importantly, surgery in January revealed that the cyst was benign. My November MRI showed no evidence of cancer. According to my oncologist, I now have the same risk of anyone else my age of getting breast cancer. Breast cancer thus becomes a disease I had, not a disease from which I’m in remission. That matters clinically and psychologically.

On the work front, I’ve been able to handle all of my responsibilities effectively. My contract has been renewed through May 2017, and I get excited every time I head to campus. I recently was asked what I liked best about my students. I paused as I tried not to shed any tears and replied, “How much time do you have?” I know how lucky I am to truly love what I do.

I also appreciate where I am professionally. If an opportunity as a panelist or expert doesn’t benefit my continued role as an instructor, I have the ability to respectfully decline. Choosing what’s been the right fit has led to some amazing opportunities, though. A few highlights:

  • Speaking about The Hunger Games to a sold-out audience at The Smithsonian;
  • Being interviewed by Associated Press about drone technology;
  • Filming a short video for WebMD about what to expect when you’re diagnosed with breast cancer; and
  • Talking about selfies for American Magazine.

With respect to The Man, I do not doubt that we were meant to meet and fall in love. I also do not question that we are no longer meant to be a couple. He was put in my life so that Roya would be born. He was a love in my life, and there will be another in the future. She is the love of my life.

As far as being a single mom, I don’t view that term — or my reality — as a negative. Roya is a great kid, and I’m thankful to be in control of every day and every decision in her life. And, I can exhale, knowing that she ended up in the right preschool for her.

Is our life utopic? Of course not.

Parenting is joyously exhausting (or exhaustingly joyful?). Between Roya’s sleep patterns, grading and curriculum development, a five-hour stretch of sleep is a good night for me. And, it would be nice to have time to see my friends, work out and write. But, I know how privileged I am to say that the toughest parts of my year were lack of sleep, missed brunches, and wanting to fit into my skinny jeans.

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As we change the calendar to 2016, I pray that the new year brings Roya and me more of the same. I am truly content with my relationships, my family and my job. I go into 2016 without any loose ends. Roya and I are blessed to be happy and (knock on wood) healthy. I hope the same for you and your loved ones, too. xoxo

A Relationship Update

Three years ago, I posted this picture on Facebook. By this point, I had written about my relationship with The Man and had introduced him to my close friends and family. But, the picture below was our first public “Facebook official” shot.

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At the US Open 2012

I met The Man at my end-of-treatment fundraising celebration, and our relationship was on the fast track soon thereafter. Just how fast?

  • February 2012: We started dating.
  • April 2012: I had a double mastectomy.
  • June 2012: We moved in together.
  • October 2012: I learned I was pregnant.

He was my rock and my love. And, then, he wasn’t. Somewhere between the two points, our daughter, Roya, was born.

It might seem simplistic to condense a relationship of several years into three sentences, but it really is that simple. Trying to navigate whether The Man and I had a future together was complicated and emotion filled. Accepting that our relationship had run its course wasn’t.

For years, my blog was devoted to relationship drama and over-analyzing every minute detail. (Or, was that my life?!?) It was difficult for me to ever have a clean break with someone I loved. I was the Queen of On-Again, Off-Again Relationships!

By contrast, the end of this relationship was a clean break. Once I made the decision, there wasn’t the need to talk about it ad nauseam or seek others’ validation, as I had previously done. My mom always said, “Closure is a female notion. When a relationship is over, it just is. “ She was right.

A dear friend commented that since cancer, I’ve had zero tolerance for nonsense. (I think her exact words were, “You no longer put up with any bullshit.”) Roya has raised the bar even higher. I now know my worth and my purpose. I’m thankful that The Man loves Roya, and Roya loves him. But, that wasn’t and isn’t a reason for me to be in the wrong relationship.

My life and my priorities are far more focused now than they were before I was diagnosed and before I became a mom. I no longer define myself or gauge my worth based on my relationships with men. And, I won’t devote energy to anything – personally or professionally – that doesn’t make me happy and send the right message to Roya.

Three years ago, we were in love, and Roya was conceived. I needed to be in a relationship with The Man so that I could meet her, the love of my life. There is nothing complicated about that.

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Roya, Age 2

6th Blog Anniversary

In 6th grade, my English teacher tasked the students in my class with writing their own autobiographies. I couldn’t think of a title for mine and asked my mom for help. She didn’t need more than a second to respond:

Doing It Stef’s Way.

Yes, I marched to the beat of my own drum even as a child. When I started this blog six years ago with a post about whether or not I could date a much younger man, I didn’t know where this online path would lead.

I rarely blog anymore, and yet, I don’t see shutting this site down anytime soon. These are my words…my journey…my successes…and my mistakes. I’m proud of the good and the bad experiences in my life since they led me to where I am today.

A recent comment from a reader noted how much my life and blog have changed since my earlier posts. Yes, it’s true that I no longer write about my sex life and the guys who wronged me. But, if I had never dated the guys I did, I would have never met The Man and Roya wouldn’t be here. And, if I had never had such an eventful dating life, my professional path might have been very different, too.

When I started blogging, I wrote only for me. One year later, I had received enough sexual health and relationship questions from readers that I decided to join the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists as a supporting member. I began to blend more advice posts with my own dating tales and write about sexual health for two websites.

Several students at American University were regularly reading my blog, and I was invited to speak at the Social Learning Summit in 2011. That led to my idea to teach a class on Sexuality and Social Media on that campus. In 2014, after three years as an adjunct professor, American University offered me a full-time contract as an instructor.

In many ways, my life is so different than it was six years ago. 3am texts from whomever I was seeing at the time have been replaced by 3am feedings. My club attire and fancy dresses are in a closet, collecting dust. Date nights now happen at cocktail parties organized by the parents in Roya’s playgroup.

Even though my daily routine has changed profoundly, I’m still the same. I continue to march to the beat of my own drum. My blog tagline is “Educate, Advocate, Titillate.” As a professor, I focus on the first two words in that phrase. I still talk a lot about feminism, branding, sexuality, relationships, health, and double standards in the work force. My discussions just occur in the classroom, rather than on this site.

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Back when I blogged regularly, I didn’t write about my dating life in real time. I enjoyed crafting a story with the benefit of hindsight and doing things differently. As a teacher, I’m thankfully allowed the creativity to develop classes that find academic merit in popular culture. In three years, I’ve created the curriculum for seven courses from scratch. I proud of what I’ve accomplished and know how fortunate I am to love my job!

Shortly after I began blogging, I shared with my readers that I wanted to adopt a little girl. A few comments were highly critical of of that decision, stating that I wasn’t capable of being a mom and that I wouldn’t be able to prioritize motherhood in the midst of such an active social life. I didn’t know that my journey would lead me to have a biological daughter, rather than adopt. But, I knew then that I was ready to be a mom and how much my life would change. I was fully prepared to hang up my stilettos, and I have. I don’t have much of a social life or time to write for pleasure anymore, but that’s not atypical for moms of young toddlers.

Even as a mom, though, I’m still the same me. Roya is the most important and amazing thing in my life, but I know that she’s not perfect. I set boundaries, and I say, “No!” when I need to. I don’t coddle her when she isn’t hurt or sick. I don’t throw fancy parties for her or care if another child does something earlier or better than she does. And, I don’t feel guilty when I say that motherhood is both the best job and the most exhausting job there is.

When I started this blog six years ago, I didn’t know where the journey would lead me. I sit here today in front of my laptop with happy tears in my eyes. Because of my blog, I’m blessed to be where I am today — at American and with Roya. For those who have supported me along the way, thank you from the bottom of my heart. It warms my heart to know that the doors to my home in the blogosphere are always open. xoxo

My Chemo-versary v4.0

I tasked my students in my Body in American Culture course with examining their thoughts about the body, beauty ideals and body image. The basic guidelines for this Body Genogram are as follows:

Connect your early life experiences with your current understanding of your body and beauty in general. How do they or do they not impact you today? Throughout the paper, ask yourself, “How did my culture, religion, socioeconomic background, race, ethnicity, friends and family affect my own views? How do these factors impact my current attitudes about my body and beauty ideals? What role, if any, did television, magazines, advertisements and social media play in influencing my views?” Your genogram will be graded on a pass/fail basis.

It’s ironic that I’m reading my students’ genograms today of all days. On September 21, 2010, I walked into my oncologist’s office. I was scheduled to begin treatment for breast cancer with a “lighter” form of chemotherapy and only had a 15% of losing my hair.

Once inside my doctor’s office, though, I learned that was no longer the plan. I needed a stronger chemotherapy cocktail because I had an aggressive strain of HER2 positive breast cancer. My hair would likely be all gone by mid-October.

I knew that losing my hair would change me, but I wasn’t prepared for just how much. I also had no way of knowing then how poorly my body would react to chemotherapy. Steroids caused me to gain 23 pounds and develop insomnia and an eye twitch. I forgot conversations and plans. My migraines increased to three times a week. And, after hemorrhaging following my second round of chemo, I was thrown into menopause.

Four years later, my hair has grown back, and although my weight isn’t what I would like, it’s in a healthy range. I’m also proud of all that my body has done from the minute (being able to walk three miles a day) to the miraculous (getting pregnant and giving birth to Roya despite being post-menopausal).

Nonetheless, I’m not the same woman that I was four years ago. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at a time in my life when my body looked its best. My metabolism was stable, and the age of 37, I was able to eat what I wanted, rarely exercise beyond walking and physical therapy, and not worry about the scale moving. (After suffering from an eating disorder in my late teens-early 20s, I was in a much-improved place emotionally and physically.) I looked in the mirror and felt attractive. My priorities at the time were my blog, increasing my experience as a sex educator, charity and social events, and boys. I also was considering taking a local modeling agent up on her offer to book me and had met with an adoption agency to begin the lengthy process to adopt a little girl.

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Shoot with Patrick Onofre February 2010

I had waited to submit my adoption application and to schedule the meeting with the agent until after I had my mammogram. The mammogram led to biopsies which in turn led to a diagnosis. My plans to adopt and my chance to do some local modeling were put on hold. Four years later, I doubt that I’ll adopt now and I objectively wouldn’t have a shot at modeling. I look at the photograph above, and I’m no longer that girl anymore.

Most days, I relish the roles I now play and the directions that my life took. I love being a professor, an advocate, and a partner. And, I don’t doubt for a second that God had a plan for me to be Roya’s mom. Cancer forced me to reprioritize my life, my views on women’s bodies in general and my body in particular, and my relationships. That was all meant to happen.

However, there are times like today when I can’t help but wonder, “What if?” Where would my life have taken me if I hadn’t gotten cancer? How would I feel about my body, if I had never gone through chemotherapy and a double mastectomy? What would it be like to watch a movie or read a magazine and not be so uncomfortable with how women are portrayed, and their bodies sexualized and commodified? Will there be a September 21st in the future when I don’t question these things?

I’m left with more questions than answers, but that’s my reality. I’m beyond thankful to be cancer free, but my life isn’t free of cancer.

What factor or experience has played an influential role in your views about your body and beauty ideals? 

Should You Follow The Three-Date Rule?

Friend’s Question: Does the three-date rule still apply? I’m not sure whether or not I should have sex with Mr. New Guy after our third date.

I texted my friend with my brief, initial thoughts, but her question seemed worthy of a more thorough answer. There’s no definitive relationship guidebook or treatise on dating that everyone reads and follows. As such, these informal rules – such as waiting until you’ve gone out on three dates before engaging in sexual activity – receive more credence than they should.

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Most importantly, there is no right or wrong time to have sex. This is a personal and intimate choice to make. No rule and no other person, including the one with whom you’re considering having sex, should influence you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable.

There are other concerns with respect to the three-date rule:

  • What is the goal of having sex? Sometimes sex is just sex. If that’s the case, then there might not be the need to wait for three dates or to even go out on a traditional date. But, if you’re looking for a long-term relationship, focus less on the act of sex or timelines and more on getting to know the other person. Take however long you need to build a strong relationship foundation.
  • The three-date rule doesn’t take into consideration the timeline for these three dates. For one couple, three dates might happen in three consecutive days. For another, it might take two months to go on three dates. Likewise, what was the foundation between you two before you went out on your first date? If there’s a history of friendship, you may already have an emotional connection before you add sex into the mix. That might cause you to favor having sex sooner than a couple who is just getting to know each other.
  • Unfortunately, we live in a society in which double standards regarding female sexuality and slut shaming prevail. That can lead to women trying to justify to themselves or others that they are waiting to have sex. One reader wrote me wondering why her partner wasn’t taking her out on dates since she had waited to have sex with him until after three dates. She informed me that their first “date” entailed them meeting at a networking event. The second date was a coffee date, and for the third “date,” she went over his place to have sex. That’s fine if she only wanted sex. However, her questions indicated that she was open to the potential of a relationship that wasn’t just based on sex. In that case, it might have behooved her to wait until they knew each other better.
  • Dr. Susan Krauss Whitborne’s analysis of current research indicates that couples who wait more than a month before having sex have stronger and longer relationships. Age and stage may also impact how soon a new couple has sex. A recent Business Insider survey reveals that approximately one-third of male and female respondents believe that it’s appropriate to have sex sometime after the second-fifth dates. (Note that 37% of the survey’s respondents were between the ages of 18-29.) Over half of the responses favored sometime after the second-ninth dates.
  • The three-date rule doesn’t contain any component of verbal communication. Unless you’re using a condom and just interested in a quickie, there are important issues that should ideally be addressed before having sex. How do you define “sex?” Will you get tested for HIV/AIDS and STIs before engaging in sexual activity? What birth control will you use? Will you spend the night after having sex? What, if anything, does having sex mean? Will having sex create an expectation of exclusivity or regular interaction (via the phone, social media, dates or in the bedroom)? If you don’t feel comfortable talking about any of these things with the other person, then it might be a sign that it’s too soon to have sex.

The above list is merely for your consideration. When you have sex with a potential partner is a decision for you and you alone to make. Just do whatever feels right for you and appropriate for your relationship goals at this point in your life. xoxo

Did I miss anything, readers? What are your thoughts about the three-date rule? Have you ever ascribed to it?

Welcome to My New Site!

When I first began blogging in December 2008, I had a basic WordPress platform. The pale mint green and grey template was neither busy nor fancy. Since I blogged anonymously back then, there were no images embedded in my posts. I appreciate that a strong blog is about the written word, but I also acknowledge that my posts were very text heavy.

In September 2010, I obtained my City Girl Blogs™ logo via crowdsourcing and had my site professionally redesigned. I loved the new look of my brand and my blog!

The same month that my site launched, I started chemotherapy. I honestly didn’t know where my blog – or my life – was headed. Getting through treatment was my main priority, and blogging about my relationships was a fun diversion.

Back in 2010, I thought that I would finish treatment and put the whole cancer journey behind me. In retrospect, that approach seems blissfully ignorant! I’m thankfully in remission, but the experience still impacts me on a daily basis in both positive and negative ways. I know that one of my life’s missions is to write, speak and advocate about cancer and cancer prevention.

My blog led me to teach at American University. Three years later, I feel blessed at how much joy my job continues to bring me.

The most significant change in my life is that I’m the mom of an eight-month-old miracle baby named Roya! Every decision is made with her in mind.

This new site reflects who I am now and the many hats I wear. In addition to my blog posts, the site also includes information about:

My blog will continue to feature content that’s as varied as my life. From Roya to health advocacy to sex advice to giveaways to cancer, you’ll never know what topic you’ll find when you click on the latest post! For those who’ve missed my Sex and the City-esque adventures, fear not! Quite a few of my old dating tales are still accessible.

I’ve genuinely missed writing and being a part of the blogging community.  It’s nice to get back to both.

I hope that you enjoy my new site as much as I do!

Many thanks and much appreciation to Earl Wyatt of Feedigital.com for all of his help with the site transfer, design and updates!

xoxo, Stef

The T-Shirt That Made Me Cry

The Man describes me as a sentimental unsentimentalist. Or, maybe I’m an unsentimental sentimentalist? However you phrase it, he's right. When it comes to my personal relationships, I’m incredibly sappy. (Why, yes, I’m the girl who is tearing up in the card aisle at CVS after finding the perfect card for a loved one!) On the other hand, I view many things, including pregnancy, pragmatically. That is, until I put on a t-shirt.

“What t-shirt caused me to have tears streaming down my face?”

The Survivor T-Shirt for the Komen Global Race for the Cure.

Several of my friends and I have participated in the walk for the past several years. However, I haven’t raised money for Susan G. Komen since the Planned Parenthood debacle. My tolerance for linking the cause to all things pink has also waned. Nonetheless, I’ve felt it important to register and walk with my breast cancer sisters and other supporters of the cause.

This year’s walk was held on May 11th, which was a rainy day in Washington, DC. I deferred to one of my best friends who has lost far too much to this disease as to whether we would actually brave the walk or just meet for brunch after. She chose to bypass the rain and focus on brunch.

When I awoke on the morning of the 11th, I decided that I would walk my own 5K down to the National Mall for the closing ceremonies, then to brunch and then back home. I put on the survivor shirt that Komen sent me and went into the bathroom to finish getting ready. The walk happened to coincide with the week that my belly had finally grown past my boobs. As I looked in the mirror, I noticed that the first three letters in survivor hugged against my baby bump.

I proceeded to cry…hard. I cried for all that had transpired in the less than three years since my diagnosis. I cried for what I had lost, but far more importantly, I cried for what I had gained. I cried for the fact that not only had I survived, but I was giving birth in less than three weeks! Despite all the odds, my body was doing something normal and healthy!

I dried my tears, finished applying my makeup and headed down to the Mall. I found myself beaming and actually embracing my growing belly with pride. I lost count of the number of smiles, looks of surprise and comments that I received. My smile got progressively bigger with each "Oh My God!" and "Wow!" that I heard!

At a recent conference for Young Survivors, attendees to a session on fertility were told to expect that they would never get pregnant. Maybe they won’t. But, it’s worth spreading the word about organizations such as Fertile Action devoted to helping women preserve their fertility before they start treatment. And, it’s worth believing in miracles since they do happen despite all odds! The fact that my daughter is asleep in my arms while I type is proof of that!

50 Shades Class in AmWord Magazine

Earlier in the semester, Alex Korba, a writer for the American University literary magazine, asked if she could interview me regarding my 50 Shades trilogy class. Alex's article is available in the latest issue of AmWord Magazine and reprinted with permission below. (Fellow bloggers might find the last paragraph to be especially relevant!) Hope you enjoy the piece as much as I did!

Fifty Shades Risque? American University's Newest Class

By Alex Korba

Professor and sex educator Stef Woods came up with the idea for the course based on her interest in the double standards regarding female sexuality.

When asked why she picked Fifty Shades as the subject for the course, Woods responded passionately.

“My background is as an attorney, so I started thinking about copyright issues with books on the computer and fan fiction,” she said. “I am also a sex educator; I do a lot of health advocacy and health education. I read it and I immediately thought, this is an abusive relationship.”

It is not uncommon for college courses to use polarizing books as a lens to study cultural facets.  For example, Twilight and The Wire have both been utilized in classes as case studies to examine issues that transcend the books themselves. In the case of Fifty Shades, the very real topics of abuse and mental instability are at play. Just behind the glossy love story these issues beg for attention and they deserve to receive more of it.

Though she believes fervently in the goals of the class, Woods has no delusions as to the literary merit of the book.

“You’re not reading them as you would read a Shakespearean sonnet,” Woods said with a laugh. “You don’t have to analyze every word, or even every chapter.” As an exercise in literary criticism, the class has to edit the first chapter of the book. Woods believes this to be good practice for future careers where employers will need documents proofread promptly.

When asked her opinion on whether the Fifty Shades books give American girls an unrealistically rosy image of BD/SM relationships, Woods replied that she believes this current generation knows better.

“My entire class agrees that there are glaring control issues. The author wrote it as her fantasy and it was targeted at women of that same demographic,” she said. “Their idea of a perfect man on paper is one who takes control of everything when at the end of the day they’re just looking for a man to take out the garbage.”

Because of the controversial subject of the class, opposition is inevitable. Since its publication, the series has been dubbed “mommy-porn” and received scathing reviews by many reporters. This didn’t stop hordes of women from flocking to the bookstores and firing up their Kindles. If anything, the taboo reputation served to increase the book’s popularity.  Like these women, Woods is not fazed by the book’s repute.

 “It’s not a book club,” Woods asserted, “There are 60 other resources. My syllabus is 11 pages single-spaced. I stand by my work product; I stand by this course idea. If you think it’s an easy A, that’s not my class.”

When asked whether she would consider teaching the class again next semester, Woods shrugged and responded, “It’s a short shelf-life class.” She continued on to say that she is very interested in teaching a course with the topic of blogging as a social force. In a world where technology is ever changing, Woods is a professor unafraid to adapt to the changes, even if it means embracing a subject that she could potentially catch flack for.

“Opposition? Ok, that’s fine,” she said dismissively. “For every compliment there’ll be a hundred criticisms, especially in an anonymous online world.”

A Little (or a Lot of) Respect

According to the US Census, 44.6% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 are childless. Nearly half of those women who earn $100,000 or more do not have children. When I think of my five closest friends, 80% are childfree.

I’d like to believe that we live in an age in which all women’s choices can be respected, yet I realize that viewpoint is rather idealistic. There is still the presumption that heterosexual women should get married and have children – in that order. For some women, that is the path of their choosing, while for others, it isn’t.  I hope for the day when being single after 35 or married without a child doesn’t evoke confusion or judgment.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about women’s choices and the need to respect the spectrum of options regarding relationships and family. As excited as I am to be expecting, I approach pregnancy with more pragmatism than sentimentality.  I attribute that approach to a combination of my age and health experiences.

How have I approached pregnancy thus far?

"+1:" When friends ask how the three of us are doing, I respond as follows:

The Man, Flake [my dog] and I are great! Thanks!

I smile when friends refer to their babies-to-be as their “+1s” or any fraction thereof. But, I feel more comfortable saving the use of the term, “+1,” until she’s here. I’m thankful that she’s growing as she should be, but if she doesn’t keep growing inside of me, she can’t survive outside of me.

Sonogram Photographs: If you’re a regular reader, you know a lot about me. (At times, you might have found out far more than you’d like to know!) However, I won’t be sharing any sonogram photographs or as I refer to them, “placenta pics.” In the early stages of pregnancy, I think that the baby-to-be looks like a tadpole. In the latter stages, 3-D and 4-D technology creates some images that I find to be off putting.

“Mommy” and the Baby’s Name: I look forward to being a mom in four-and-a-half months, but I don’t feel comfortable when people call me “Mommy.” Likewise, although we’ve picked out a name, we’re not sharing that with anyone until after she’s born. (I appreciate that this pregnancy is a miracle, but I don’t want to tempt fate!)

Shopping for the Baby: I’m halfway through my pregnancy this week and haven’t bought one piece of baby clothing or any items for the nursery yet. I’ve said that I won’t begin to shop until she’s 24 weeks since that’s the stage at which she’s potentially viable. (Again, I’m not tempting fate!) In addition, there’s such excess when it comes to baby products. The world will go on if I don’t have a Diaper Genie or the perfect wallpaper trim when we come home from the hospital. I can’t get overwhelmed about the small stuff.

Online Resources: Once a week, I go onto one pregnancy website for a few minutes to read what's going on with my body and the fetus. Beyond that, I have neither the time nor the inclination to be inundated with information about my pregnancy. If my doctor says that all is going well and I feel good, I say a prayer of thanks and hope for more of the same at my next appointment.

I appreciate that I’m in the minority as to how I view being pregnant, and I would never tell someone else how to react to the experience. I’ll continue to respect whatever choices my friends make, regardless of which boxes they check off on a census form or how they view pregnancy and motherhood. At the end of the day, I  hope and pray that my friends are happy and healthy, and I'm thankful that they hope the same for me.

I’ve Got a Secret!

Back when I wrote about my dating adventures, I was the Queen of the "To Be Continued" posts. My past relationships were drama filled and provided perfect fodder for a blog. And, since I didn't write in real time, I had the ability to stop telling the story at the most inopportune moment for the reader.

After finishing treatment for breast cancer and starting to teach at a local university, my interest in writing about my own dating life waned. I didn't want my work as an advocate or educator to be clouded by my relationship antics. More importantly, by that point, I no longer had the tolerance for drama or antics in my personal life. I don't care for my life to be measured by cliff hangers anymore.

My blog has evolved with me, and I appreciate those of you who've stuck around to read my posts when they're no longer as scintillating.

My life and blog appear to be evolving yet again! I'm headed on a new adventure, and I hope that you'll join me for this next phase. I can't wait to share with you all what it is, as it's the biggest news that I've posted on this site.

"Bigger than when you revealed that you had cancer?"

Bigger.

"Bigger than when 'Buckeyes' Boy broke up with you by blocking you on Twitter?"

Bigger.

I have a secret, but soon it will be a secret no more. All will be revealed by Tuesday, December 18th.