In her own words -
"The year I turned 25, I crossed the abyss, or encountered a series of intense, life changing challenges. I ended a six year marriage, developed a life threatening reaction to a toxic workplace, and was left with a lifelong autoimmune illness. To top it all off, I was attacked by 3 men and held up at knife point. I saw the curved, serrated hunting knife coming at my face in slow motion as I pepper sprayed my attackers, blocked with both arms, and got a series of defensive wounds. Luckily a car came down the block and they scattered, giving me time to get in my apartment gate and lock it behind me. I called 911, but the attackers escaped and were never caught. I moved to a new place, my hands and arms swathed in gauze, but couldn’t manage more than basic existence. My physical wounds healed fairly fast, but it took a lot longer to heal emotionally. For months I’d replay the attack in my sleep, waking to a jolt of adrenaline. I was always looking over my shoulder, avoided going out at night, and I was hard on myself for not accomplishing more. One day I shared my assault with a neighbor, and she said “Be gentle on yourself. It takes time to get past something like that. You can’t rush it.” Giving myself that permission made a world of difference.
Fast forward 28 years. I’ve been happily married 20 years and raised a son and daughter who are creative, smart, and egalitarian. I’m the VP of Dug Production Sound, Inc, working on shows all over the world. I own 2 successful blogs: ChiILMama.com and ChiILLiveShows.com, and have been a theatre critic for 12 years, averaging 25+ shows a month. I’ve donated countless hours and given away thousands of tickets to Chicagoans so they can enjoy theatre without economic barriers.
Then March 2020 comes and I’m back at the abyss again, but this time the world is with me, with Covid-19 breathing down its neck. We are all learning how to sit with the pain and losses and take the time to regroup, heal and recover. With death tolls and illness still spiking, record unemployment numbers, and rampant idiocy, things are grim. When I start to get in a funk, I remember one of my favorite quotes from Anne Lamott, “A hundred years from now? All new people.” I miss live theatre and music deeply, but without nightly shows to review, I am reinventing myself again, editing and shopping around 4 novels I'd back burnered. Quarantine gave me the gift of time. The pandemic is an amplifier. The rich are getting richer by magnitudes, the vulnerable are more so, economically... physically... mentally…
Yet, positive change has been amplified too. We’re making strides reducing systemic racism and police violence, tearing down offensive relics, and shaking up the status quo. Here’s to interconnectedness and individuality, storytelling and artmaking. I can’t wait to see what’s next."
Participants in this project will be supporting the efforts of Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. We are all stronger together and it is my sincere hope that we will be inspired by each other’s stories. Now is the time to celebrate as well as encourage one another. Tell your story!