Out and About

HAPPY PRIDE EVERYONE! It’s that special time of year if you’re queer. A truly joyous time filled with love and celebration. This month also happens to be the anniversary of when I came out. I didn’t specifically plan to come out during Pride month but it honestly could not have worked out better. I mean, I get to celebrate my anniversary dancing in a sea of rainbows on the streets of the West Village.

Coming out is v complicated though. There are so many layers to it. I was already out to some people but not everyone yet. I kind of sprinkled it out over four years. A couple people here, a couple people there. Coming out shouldn’t be rushed, everyone should be allowed to go at their own pace. For me, it was a slow burn. I was cooking up a big ol’ gay stew in m’ crockpot. Although, two years in, this truth I wanted to tell was bubbling under the surface and threatening to overflow. I was itching to be out but I was still scared to tell even my closest friends. It was this push and pull. I so desperately wanted to be out so I didn’t have to be burdened by keeping this secret. But I didn’t feel ready to face the reality of how people might react. It was paralyzing. That is, until I got a lil’ push from my pal Al…cohol.

It was my senior year of college and a few of my friends were hosting a jungle-themed housewarming party. I love a good theme so I brought my A game and a six pack of Heineken. Two beers deep and you better believe ya girl was getting ready to spill those beans. And so, that night, the beans were spilled right there in the kitchen. As I stood there in my bikini t-shirt and straw hat, holding a Heiny and slurring my words ever so slightly, I came out to my dear friend Mariette. It felt wonderful to release another piece of this weight from my chest. The fact that I did it while wearing a bikini t-shirt, priceless. And of course, it meant so much that Mariette was so warm and supportive. Over the next year I continued to come out to more friends at school. Except on these occasions I was fortunately sober and unfortunately wearing normal clothing. It felt incredible to come out though, like I was gaining strength each time I did. I remember one spring night, I had my friend Asa over to my apartment and decided I wanted to tell him. So I gathered my thoughts, had this dramatic build up and finally said it. He was warm and supportive and not at all surprised. I apparently already told him at that same party. Ya gal was loose in the jungle. Blame it on the Heiny. 

Coming out is a powerful experience. It didn’t matter if I was telling one friend or everyone I know, I was absolutely terrified. I am so grateful I was met with nothing but love each time. That is what New York Pride is to me, nothing but love. Overwhelming, overflowing love. There’s this electric connection in the crowd. We are all there to see each other and to be seen. To be loved. This weekend, I get to dance in a sea of rainbows on the streets of the West Village. I get to stand with my community as we celebrate and honor the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. I’ll laugh. I’ll cry. At times I might even look like someone tried to combine the comedy and tragedy masks. I can’t wait. HAPPY PRIDE!

Cheddar Bay Biscuit Biddy

When I was a Freshman in college, I worked as a host at Red Lobster. It was…not enjoyable. But tbh, better than my previous job as a cashier at Staples. I always associated Red Lobster with my grandma because she loved it. Although I never really ate there much myself, which is why I would always recommend the cheddar bay biscuits when I was asked what my favorite dish was. These are the free biscuits brought to every table. I may not have gone above and beyond with my recommendations but those biscuits are ridiculously good so they deserve the hype.

I have stories from my time at Red Lobster that I’m sure many of you could relate to. Like the time I was bussing a table and spilled an entire soda on myself so I had to borrow a giant white button down from my manager. Or how I would try to entertain myself on the drive home by singing along to a playlist of true bangerz like the Ghostbusters theme song. But there is one story that is so bizarre, I have a feeling you haven’t shared the experience.

I got into work one Monday afternoon and started tidying up around the host stand. That’s when I noticed the lobsters weren’t in their tank. A few minutes later my manager came over and told me we lost power the day before and the lobsters had been moved to the freezer in an effort to save them. I’m still confused as to why that would work but I guess they didn’t have a lot of options. Besides, what do I know about lobsters? I’m the cheddar bay biscuit biddy. Anyway, she needed me to help bring the lobsters out and put them back in the tank. Cool, no prob, I’m all over it. That wasn’t all though. My manager proceeded to inform me that I needed to massage the lobsters before I put them back in. Ok, this is getting weird… Not to warm them up, but so they would um…do their business on the tray and not in the lobster tank. Excuse me?! I literally had to massage the crap out of these lobsters.

I was the only host working at this time, which meant I would have to go back and forth between massaging these lobsters and greeting/seating our guests. We weren’t allowed to call them customers, they were guests. I think it was supposed to make the experience more personal or something. Well it was about to get v personal between me and these lobsters, but I don’t think that’s what corporate had in mind. It was still pretty early, so thankfully there were no guests at first. I started massaging the lobsters and immediately felt uncomfortable. To make matters worse (or better?), they just wouldn’t go. #ConstipationCity. But you know what, sometimes that happens after a big trip. No shame little lobsters, no shame.  

My manager came back out to check on my progress and was not thrilled about the lack of poop. She told me I wasn’t massaging them hard enough and demonstrated how I should be massaging them. Literally, what is happening? My manager walked away and I returned to massaging the lobsters. Then a couple walked in. “Welcome to Red Lobster!” I said as I let go of the lobster and removed my latex gloves. “Party of two?” I asked as I picked up menus and tried to act like everything was normal. A consummate professional. They were obviously confused but followed me to their table and sat. On one hand I was surprised they weren’t like “???… f this, let’s go to Olive Garden” but on the other hand, the cheddar bay biscuits. You might as well stay for a round of biscuits while you read the room.

After I sat them I went back to the front, put the gloves back on and got back to work. For the record, only one lobster actually pooped on the tray before I put it in the tank. One little bastard went right after I dropped him in, which I felt personally offended by. Like, really? That’s how you want to play this? Ok then, I see you little lobster. It was beyond rude.

When I put the last lobster in the tank, I went back to the host stand and spent the rest of my shift trying to figure out why things like this happen in my life. If you were wondering, I never had to massage another lobster. I still can’t believe this happened though, what a truly weird experience. But it did make that day more interesting. Oh Red Lobster, I will certainly never forget my time with you.


Yes, And…

It was the fall of 2011 and I was a scared freshman at Boston University determined to become the next Tina Fey. I heard the sketch comedy team was having auditions so I signed up and suited up, which meant putting on the t-shirt my Grandma got my Dad when she went on her cruise to Alaska. It says “Alaska” and has a bunch of wolves on it baying at the moon. Actually, I guess they’re not so much baying at the moon as standing on rocks under the moon making kind of intense eye contact with whoever looks at them. Anyway, I walked into that audition and…I choked. The only thing I actually remember saying was “there are more wolves than you think!” when someone commented on my t-shirt. I had a long way to go before I was Tina Fey.

As you may have guessed, I didn’t get chosen to join the BU sketch team. I took it kind of hard but I was more upset with myself because I knew I didn’t do my best. I let fear get in the way. I learned a lot about overcoming fear in the next year and a half as I went through the process of transferring to Fordham University. It was difficult but I grew and learned the value of challenging myself and being honest about what I want. And what I honestly wanted was to give comedy another try. The success of my transfer gave me the confidence I needed to sign up for Improv 101 at the Upright Citizens Brigade. This class was basically eight weeks of almost skipping out of sheer terror only to go and fall more in love with improv. By the end I couldn’t get enough, I was FIRED UP. So when I found out my campus didn’t have a comedy student group, I started one. I envisioned Stove’s Cabin Crew as a community of friends who push through that fear of vulnerability together and come out the other side laughing uncontrollably and loving unconditionally. Friendship, respect, support and fun. They are the foundation of Stove’s. I don’t think you can have successful comedy without them. And I think that’s why I’m drawn to improv, because it is all about support.

Saying goodbye to Stove’s when I graduated was the literal worst. Stove’s was my baby and such a big part of my identity. I took time off from comedy after that because I was bummed. I was also intimidated by the “real world” comedy scene. I thought it would be cut throat and scary and I just wanted to play with my pals. Almost two years went by until I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I felt like a piece of me was missing. I knew I needed to challenge myself to overcome the fear again. So I signed up for Level 1 Improv at The Magnet Theater and I found my post-college Stove’s. Over the next nine months I took three classes and experienced countless moments of joy. The people in this community are some of the kindest, funniest, and most interesting people I have met. I felt like I was part of something special. The Magnet is one of the things I miss the most about New York. It was actually one of the reasons I considered not moving at all. If you are in New York and want to try improv, do yourself a favor and take a class at The Magnet. I gained so much more than improv skills from my time there. To be clear, The Magnet is not paying me to say this, I just really love it. But like, if someone from The Magnet is reading this and y’all want to throw me some change, I wouldn’t say no. Lmk.

It was tough to leave The Magnet, but moving to Chicago meant experiencing first hand the comedy scene that so many of my idols were part of. So naturally, I signed up for a class at The Second City. And once again, I gained more than improved improv skills. I was homesick and lonely and this class was the best part of my week. Improv never fails to deliver on wonderful people and this class was no exception.

When the class ended I was itching for more. So in December I audition for Coached Ensembles, which are groups that perform in four improv shows at The Second City. By the grace of God and my coach Ashley, I was chosen. We’re halfway through our run and that’s why I wanted this month’s blog post to be about improv. Because I am overwhelmed by my gratitude for it. I love it, all of it. The rehearsals and classes where we start to find our groove, the nervous excitement back stage right before we go on, watching my talented teammates do their thing on stage. The adrenaline, the bond, the joy. It’s everything. Improv is everything to me. How lucky I am to have found something that makes me feel whole. Like all of me all at once. It’s strange that I feel the most like myself when I’m on stage playing a jazzercise instructor or a middle aged southern woman spying on her neighbors or even a pirate buying a new TV. But I do.

Thank you to my teachers, teammates and scene mates past and present. You are the reason improv is filled with joy. Also in case you were wondering, I wore that wolf shirt to my first Coached Ensembles show. I’m not sure that freshman at BU would believe one day she’d be wearing that shirt on stage at The Second City. I mean, she’d believe she would still be wearing that shirt for sure. But the rest is a crazy dream come true.

The Real Struggles of Chicago

As you may or may not have noticed, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I also haven’t really posted with the frequency I set out to. That’s because I’ve been struggling. Moving to Chicago has been a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I wanted this blog to be fun and funny and I wanted to be honest here, so I just stopped writing when I didn’t feel like I could be fun or funny. But it’s not fair to myself to stop writing when I’m feeling sad because that’s when I need it the most.

So today’s post isn’t really filled with lolz like I hope the others are. But I still feel compelled to share this because I think it’s worthwhile. When I’m struggling and I hear someone else tell their story, it helps. I feel like someone else understands me, I feel like there is hope for me, I feel less alone. So I hope by sharing this, I help someone else feel understood, hopeful, and less alone. At the very least, the acts of writing and sharing my story will help me because being honest about our struggles and sharing those struggles is so crucial to working through them. If you can’t tell, I’ve really been hitting up the self help books. I’m currently reading some Brené Brown because she is the literal best and Oprah loves her. Oprah loves Brené’s work, so I love Brené’s work. Oprah is my Regina George.

Anyway, the biggest challenge of this move has been the homesickness. I knew I would feel it, but I did not expect how big of a presence it would have. I miss my parents, my friends, my old job, my old coworkers, my old improv theater, my old city, my home. All of that is not to say what I have right now in Chicago is bad. I do have a lot of really great things happening here. I’ve just been consumed by grief, by the struggle to say goodbye and let go. I don’t know what the answer is in the long run, but for right now I think I need to stop playing the comparison game. That game isn’t fair. I’m not comparing reality to reality. I’m comparing a version of Chicago engulfed in grief to a version of New York and New Jersey that is romanticized and devoid of the struggles that follow me wherever I go. This is a hard truth I’ve had to learn. That running away to a new place won’t solve the problems inside. I mean I really thought I knew that before I left and was convinced that’s not what I was doing with this move. But I can see now I was wrong. It wasn’t the entire reason for my move, but it actually was part of it. That is really difficult to admit and confusing to take in.

As hard as all of this is, what gives me a sense of calm is being completely honest and finding the truth between the heightened versions of Chicago and New York and New Jersey. And as sobering as it was to realize I have the exact same stuff to work through here as I did in New York and New Jersey, I can now see I have been given the gift of clarity. There’s no more denying or finding an external explanation for an internal issue. I have some real work to do. Thank God I got two of Brené’s books for Christmas!

I don’t want to give the impression that the challenge of this move has been completely negative though. One positive aspect has been my new appreciation for my parents. Being this far from them has given me a different perspective that has unlocked so many levels of gratitude. I love them so much and miss them every day. But every time I have seen them since I moved has been incredible. If this new outlook is the only thing I gain from my move, all of the tears and homesickness and anxiety will be worth it. But I also know I have so much more to learn and gain from my move to Chicago. My biggest reason for the move was personal growth, I just forgot how hard personal growth can be. What gives me comfort is that taking on a challenge for the purpose of growth has always proven to be worth it in the end.

Haunted Lawbrary

WHO’S READY TO GET SPOOKY??? In honor of the Halloween season, I’m going to share a story I never tell because it sounds fake af. So without further ado let’s take a look back in this witch’s crystal ball to my junior year of college. I had just started a new job at the law school library, or the lawbrary as my bff Natalie called it. Natalie and I had the same shift, so we basically got paid to hang out. V Laverne and Shirley capping bottles in Shotz Brewery.

Anyhoozle, the law school building was kind of old and had some creepy spots. One of which was the basement level of the lawbrary. It had a closed area only staff could access with super old books. If you’re getting Harry Potter restricted section vibes you’re on the right track because on my first day I was told this room was haunted. I was also informed I would be spending a lot of time in this room working on a project by myself. The whole haunted thing was a joke (I think?) but y’all know I get scared watching Murder, She Wrote so I was a lil’ uneasy. You may be wondering if this story is building up to someone being scared by a ghost sighting. It is, but I wasn’t the person who saw the ghost. I apparently was the ghost. PLOT TWIST. #Gotcha! #Boo! #She’sBeenDeadFor50Years!

It was a typical day at the lawbrary and I was shelving books on one of the quieter floors. I pushed the cart down the aisle and stopped at one of the rows to bend down and pick up a book to shelve. When I stood up I was startled by a student who was standing in the middle of the row with a horrified expression on her face. I asked if she needed help with something but she just silently stared at me with the same horrified expression. I started to wonder if I had something on my face and/or major pit stains. We continued to stare at each other for a moment until she stammered, “Oh, uh haha. I, I saw you bending down and didn’t see your body. I thought you were a disembodied head.” Ok, I’ll pause. I’m sure you are thinking ‘Scuse??? There is no way someone actually said that. That sounds fake. I agree, and am still confused to this day. But she said “disembodied head.” I swear on all four Golden Girls.

In this moment I think we were equally shocked by each other. It also kind of seemed like she wasn’t entirely convinced that I was a person. She could see my body at this point but still seemed a little skeptical. It was all just a lot. I didn’t really know where to go from there so I said “Nope, just me!” and awkwardly laughed. She turned and wandered away, seeming v disturbed, and I put the book I was holding on the shelf as I tried to wrap my (attached) head around what the h just happened. I think it’s safe to say we both left that interaction feeling “shook.”

Had I not been incredibly confused and surprised, I would’ve liked to have said something along the lines of “honey, I think it’s time to go get some rest.” I don’t care how hard you feel you need to study, once you start seeing disembodied heads, it’s time for a break. In hindsight, the creaky cart and lack of windows on that particular floor probably didn’t help. They definitely set the scene. But still, I have a body. My guess is she was sleep deprived and stressed af. I honestly don’t know how else to explain it. I hope she did well on her exams, but more so I hope she got the rest and relaxation she one hundred percent needed.

Well that’s my ghost story. No ghosts actually involved, but everyone got thoroughly spooked so that counts for something. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go put the finishing touches on my Ellen DeGeneres costume. HAPPY HALLOWEEN Y’ALL!



Bi Bi Baby

Hello everyone, I am writing to you from the year 20Gayteen (which is hilarious and I can’t take credit for it but I am 100% going to use it until December 31st 11:59:59pm and possibly after). As you may or may not know, I identify as bi. If you didn’t know, that’s fine because for the first 19 years of my life I thought I was straight and I didn’t come out until I was 23. But today I can tell you I’m about as straight as my hair.

It’s funny now to look back and think about the little indications along the way. Like how I hated wearing dresses when I was little or how I was attracted to women. You know, the subtle signs. But you really can’t go by stereotypes because if you did, I’d be a middle aged gay man. Exhibits A & B are my eternal love and devotion to The Golden Girls and Barbra Streisand.

This part of who I am isn’t something I discuss often because to be honest, I’m still sorting through internalized shame that never should have been there to begin with. It astonishes and frustrates me that despite the overwhelmingly positive response I got when I came out, I still feel like I can’t just be myself. I guess I feel drawn to share this today because it has been on my mind lately. The purpose of my move to Chicago was to take positive risks and go for what I really want in life. So I think I need to take advantage of the momentum I have right now and apply this attitude to every aspect of my life. What better year than 20Gayteen, am I right??

I’m already off to a pretty great start. My first weekend in Chicago I spent Saturday night dancing until dawn in Boystown. When my roommates and I left the bar and the sun was rising I thought to myself, “Huh?” and then “Oh my God.” Then I just smiled and enjoyed the moment. I got to watch the sun rise over Lake Michigan as we rode home. I got to feel at home in a new city within my first week. That’s what it’s like being surrounded by other LGBTQ people, it feels like home because I feel at home in myself. I feel a warmth and a deep love for the people around me, because they are just like me. And I know without a shadow of a doubt they understand me on a level I so rarely feel understood.

That feeling is why it was so important to me to go to New York City Pride this year. I literally delayed my move to Chicago to go and it was so worth it. That night in Boystown was also coincidentally the last night of Pride month and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate. So basically, this was my longwinded way of saying I’m heading to Boystown this weekend if anyone wants to join me.

I’ll close this post by saying thank you and I love you to everyone who makes me feel loved and supported. I’d also like to leave you with the Maya Angelou quote I shared when I came out, which has also become a quote I try to live by:

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”

Chicago (The City, Not the Tony Award Winning Musical)

A few weeks ago I moved to Chicago and on the day of my flight, I was feeling a touch emotional. And by a touch emotional I mean I put on Sing by the Carpenters and shamelessly cried in front of hundreds of strangers in Newark Liberty International Airport. Honestly, it was a good cry and I feel good about it. I’m just glad the crying stopped by the time I got to Chicago.

This move was a big deal for me. Even though I had been planning it for a little over a year and I felt confident in my decision, there is just no way to avoid nerves during a major change like this one. So I just let myself feel my feelings and it helped. I started to feel better during the flight, that is until I opened by backpack to discover my water bottle had leaked all over my laptop, passport, and wallet. For a moment I thought I might cry again because:

A. I had only just started to de-stress


B. I was really thirsty and it didn’t seem like the beverage service would start anytime soon

I didn’t cry, but I also think I was too dehydrated to produce tears #LivinThatLucilleBluthLife. The rest of my flight consisted of me attempting to dry my passport and laptop case by hanging them on my arm rest and praying my new laptop wasn’t fried. Quick update: my laptop still works, thank god.

Water spill aside, my flight was pretty uneventful and I landed safe and sound at O’Hare. Even though I was able to get myself into a better headspace, what really helped rid me of my nerves was seeing my roommates. They were so welcoming to me, it made me feel instantly at home. Not to mention our apartment is a New Yorker’s pipe dream. I went from a tiny studio apartment in New York to a spacious three-bedroom with air conditioning, a washer and dryer, and a balcony. It was like when Harry Potter moved from the cupboard under the stairs to Dudley Dursley’s extra bedroom.

I feel like a new person in a new world here. I like Vodka again, lifting a seven year ban after a bad experience involving funyuns and what was probably just too much Vodka. (I blamed it on the funyuns for too long. But to be clear, I still don’t like funyuns). I’m listening to more youthful music and now know who Dua Lipa is. I had deep dish pizza and enjoyed it as much as New York pizza. P.S. now that I am states away, I’m just going to say the best pizza I’ve had on the east coast is in Jersey not New York #SorryNotSorry. Same goes for breakfast sandwiches QUICK SHOUT OUT TO CHESTER BAGEL, LOVE YOU BABE.

Basically, I’m feeling grateful. I was pretty much terrified to take this risk, but I did it anyway. I just knew I had to. And so far, it’s working out really well. I get to live with two of the kindest and funniest people and everyone else I have met has been so open and warm. Having only ever lived in New Jersey or New York, moving this far was intimidating. And while I do miss New Jersey and New York, I know that I am supposed to be here in Chicago. So I choose to see this as an adventure. I have no idea where I will end up, but I am happy to be here now.

Middle School Memories

We may live in divided times, but if there is one thing we can all come together on, it’s to agree that middle school is a living hell. So today I share with you my most mortifying experience in middle school. I mean there were a lot, it was middle school. But this one was def the worst. In my 7th grade history class we had a weekly current events presentation. Basically we just had to find an article from that week, read it, and then relay it to the class. I really enjoyed this assignment and tried to bring in the most ridiculous stories I could find. I distinctly remember one week I found an article about a man who accidentally got superglued to a Home Depot toilet. Thinking about this now, I do wish I remembered more details because I have questions. Why in God’s name would there be superglue on the toilet seat? Also, was it a regular toilet or a display toilet? If it was a display toilet, why was this guy sitting on it? Was he taking it for a test drive? Hard hitting questions we’ll never have the answers to.

Anyway, that’s not the story I’m talking about. One week, I tried and I tried but there just wasn’t anything funny in the news that week. At least nothing funny that I understood/found funny as a thirteen year old. So I settled on a random boring story. I honestly don’t remember any details about it except that it took place in Titusville. That week when Mrs. Jenkins’ called my name, I walked up to the front of the class to give my boring let down of a presentation. I got through all of the facts we had to rattle off and was about to sit down when I realized I forgot to mention the location. “Oh and it took place in-” Now I’m going to pause right here to remind you that I was a thirteen year old girl, in front of a room of fellow thirteen year olds and Mrs. Jenkins, who was actually pretty cool tbh. But except for Mrs. Jenkins, we were all immature, insecure barely teenage people. Public speaking at that age was terrifying, especially when I had to talk about current events and I only kind of maybe understood a little bit of what was going on in the world. So there I was, at the front of the room, so close to my desk where I could sit and bring my heart rate back down. All I had to do was say the story took place in Titusville. Well, I got a little tongue tied and instead of Titusville, I said the story took place in Titsville. But wait, there’s more! I didn’t just say Titsville, I noticed my horrifying mistake while it was happening and tried to correct it. But it was too late and it kind of sounded like I was saying Titsville in an Italian accent. “Tits-a-ville!” So of course everyone started laughing, even Mrs. Jenkins. I mean I don’t blame her, I would too. Working in a middle school has got to suck so take the laughs when you can get them.

At this point I don’t remember anything between saying Titsville and sitting back down at my desk. All I did was walk back to my desk but I’m p sure I blacked out. I sat down, completely embarrassed because I just said TITSVILLE in an ITALIAN ACCENT in front of EVERYONE. I looked over at my best friend Kristen who was trying to console me but also obviously laughing. I was in shock. HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN TO ME??? ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT’S ME SARA… COMING AT YOU LIVE FROM TITSVILLE??! Ugh. Once everyone settled down, other people gave their presentations. I just sat there trying to time travel/disappear. When everyone finished, Mrs. Jenkins started to explain our upcoming assignment which also involved public speaking. Mrs. Jenkins went through all of the guidelines for our speech and finally arrived at the last one, saying “And be sure to use appropriate language.” Mrs. Jenkins paused, then smiled and looked at me and said “Sara, I’m looking at you for that one.” Everyone started laughing again, even me because damn Mrs. Jenkins can joke! She was v cool. And that, my friends, is a moment that has stayed with me for the past twelve years. It was the absolute WORST at the time but it is also hilarious. For the most part, moments like these tend to seem like the worst at the time but I usually end up feeling grateful for an opportunity to look back and laugh. So here’s to Titusville, here’s to Titsville, and here’s to moments that make us laugh.