Choose Your Own Adventure And Own It

I was a voracious reader as a child. My ability to escape into each and every story helped me develop a very fantasy-heavy sense of creativity, which I desperately needed. So If I wasn’t at home or at school or at church, I was at the library taking out as many books at one time as I could. I wasn’t allowed to run around and play outside like most kids my age, so I mostly stayed in and read. To say I was sheltered would be a gross understatement, but my parents had their reasons and they were good ones.

When I was around eight, I became especially obsessed with reading a series of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. They were immensely popular in the 80s. The idea that I could change the course of a story, and that I had the power to actually choose an ending, blew my mind. It truly spoke to me. In fact, it was probably just what my soul needed at the time.

I’ve been pretty open about my falling victim to sexual abuse as a young child. It happened only once, but my predator remained in my life for years after. And I’ve never really expressed the amount of blame I’d placed on myself as a kid, because it’s something I’m still processing as an adult. I’ve replayed countless times the moments leading up to the incident, and wondered what I could have done differently to prevent it. Even though I can’t turn back time, I do return to that place in time over and over again and can’t help but think I could have avoided it altogether.

It’s why I started losing myself and choosing my own adventures in the pages of those books so long ago. If I couldn’t change what had happened to me then I could at least control what I read and where it took me, in my head. If I had not gotten in that elevator with that sex offender 35 years ago, and if I had just screamed at the top of my lungs instead of staying quiet like he told me to as he held me down…what if, and what if, and what if I could have just closed my eyes and chosen a different path…jumped to a different page…just like in the books?

Like, what if I had never had that abortion as a teenager or developed an eating disorder? What if I had stayed in an unhealthy marriage and not left when I had? What if I had never gone on Big Brother or been arrested or started smoking weed? What if I’d never tried ecstasy or speed or coke? What if my dad had not died so early, or I’d never moved to Belgium or become a mother?  What if this or what if that? And all the other things I dare not yet say out loud?

Or. Have I actually chosen the adventure that was meant to be, that was meant for me…all this time?

As I approach the end of this year, I can see more clearly that my life so far has been just an endless string of good and bad choices. And I’m finally okay with that. I’ve helped and hurt a lot of people along the way.

But it’s made me who I am today.

I hope anyone reading this who is feeling broken or beat up will find a way to slowly pick up those pieces and heal at their own pace, starting today.

I, for one, am looking forward to next year.

Always dishing,





  1. Jane

    Refreshing brutally open and honest as always. We all have our successes and shortcomings. I have made wonderful decisions and some very foolish ones however all the ones I have made…I made them at the time thinking they were good choices. I have learned much along the way, the best thing I learned is to love myself in the skin I am in❤️❤️

  2. Cherie A Lindner

    Thank you for sharing!! I have not been thru half of what you have but I feel this way about my own life’s adventures!! I have a serious lack of ability to write it down or share with others the pains I hold within.. I love reading your blogs.. They open my eyes to another perspective!! Love you

  3. Anonymous

    “I do return to that place in time over and over again and can’t help but think I could have avoided it altogether.”

    Not your fault.

    Never your fault.

    I would love to have a way to remove the self-recriminations and doubt. It is something that just doesn’t want to stop.

    Hug yourself.

    Reassure others.

    I would suggest kicking the bastard in the balls but he has none. He is a coward and should have been banned from your precious life.

    Some days (even years) are easier than others but ultimately, you were the survivor! You savored life to the fullest and you are the wonderful woman you are because you fought back the best way you could. You lived!

    Noah is a very lucky young man to have you as his mama.

    Live <3

  4. Emily

    I’ve been following for years but have yet to comment. However, reading this at a certain low point in my life reminds me just why I continue to and always will follow. There are few things that provide more hope and stoke that fire inside that motivates me to just try to keep fighting than the brutal honestly and openness of someone you truly respect. These reminders mean so much. Thank you.

  5. Suzanne

    I was a victim of a sexual assault when I was in my 20’s. The suprising thing to me at the time is I didn’t feel anything about it. I kept waiting for the rage, revulsion, shame, tears, but they never came. I often thought about why but never thought of an answer and left it at that.

    Until a couple of weeks ago.

    My husband made a comment that he was bummed that a certain actor was no longer going to be on a certain show because of rape allegations made against him by 4, now 5 different women.

    I asked him if he thought the actor should just get away with what he had done for the sake of my husband’s entertainment, and before he could even answer, all of those feelings I never felt hit me at once and I was a seething demon. I took out all my rage on him and he didn’t even understand why. I had never told him about the incident.

    I’m fact, I had never told anyone about the incident, except the police – who promptly made me feel as if I brought the assault on myself. One of them even said, “ You’re a big girl. It seems like you could have fought him off.” Douchebag.

    I guess my point is even when we don’t blame ourselves, someone will find a way to victimize the victim.

    Why it took me 40 years to feel anything is something I’m still trying to figure out.

  6. Thank you Jun. As always you write about life in such profound ways. There are many what ifs in my life that often revisit me. I choose to use them as strength and learning tools. Sending you thoughts of joy and positive adventures for the New Year.

  7. Thanks for sharing Jun! I totally appreciate that you share your life with us. You remind us that not all of life’s experiences fit into nice little squares. It is heart breaking reading the stories of victims of sexual abuse. Thanks for your courage. As my Grandfather used to say, “:Peace be unto you and yours”.

  8. The thing is that in the end no matter what path in the book each of us chooses we all end up at the same end. so perhaps it doesnt matter what path we take now we will end up living the life we were supposed to live. far too bloody annoying a thought but its the way i own the terrible things i ended up involved with. I am who I am and its because of my choices good or not so good.. hugs sweety and love to you and your wonderful son.. Merry Christmas


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