Tag Archives: jail

Fit Body Boot Camp- Week 13- Meet the Boss Lady, Sara Goossen

Fitness CAN be fun, with Sara Goossen!
Fitness CAN be fun, with Sara Goossen!

Are you familiar with the action of a wrecking ball?

That is Sara Goossen in a nutshell. The lady is powerful, energetic, and ready to knock excuses out of the way. She is a bright and compassionate person who sees the potential in people and then helps individuals harness their inner bad ass. This talent is an imperative staple in her personal business model.

October 1, 2012, Sara opened Fit Body Boot Camp- Cheyenne, with 14 clients. Her goal is to change the lives of 5000 of Cheyenne’s citizens by 2017. As of April 2015, she has trained and cultivated a community of 1200 residents who are interested in adopting a healthy life style. That is an average of 400 people a year, getting active and aware in the fair city of Cheyenne and it’s surrounding areas. No small feat for this 5’3″ wrecking ball.

Sara and I got together to discuss her fitness past and her optimistic fitness future; how she came to start FBBC and some of her own trials and tribulations in the fitness process.

Before I jump into the interview, I would like to state that when you are looking for a gym, and a support system to help you change your habits; having a leader like Sara is imperative because she has run the gamut of unhealthy eating and body weight issues. She has children, she knows struggles and excuses. She has taken initiative on her own, in her own life in order to transcend her past hang ups. In turn Sara has turned hardships into valuable insight for those at any point in their fitness journey.

It may be easier for certain people to take her ethic very seriously because she didn’t start out on this lifestyle right after high school or college before having children; when most women’s bodies are still in that youthful metabolism. She wasn’t always healthy. It was a choice that she had to dedicate herself to; which meant a long road of challenges that led to the changes that are evident in her today.

Let’s find out more, shall we?

March/April 2015; back in  the game after a 2 month break.
March/April 2015; back in the game after a 2 month break.


AGE: 28

HEIGHT: 5’3″

WEIGHT: 145.3 lbs



Breaks are temporary... This lady is out to GET IT DONE!
Breaks are temporary… This lady is out to GET IT DONE!

Let’s talk about your fitness past, eating disorders, all that stuff.

It goes so far back, it’s disturbing… so, okay, 10 years old; my mom told me I needed to stop eating granola bars because they were making me fat and at that point in time I had just finished some book, I can’t remember the title of, and it was talking abou this girl who would throw up, because she was so fat. So…I…followed suit.

Thank God for Children’s Literature, right?

Yeah, I was like, “Well, now I am well informed and I can solve this problem.

(Sara reminences with awkward laughter.)

So, at ten years old that started fourteen years of just roller coaster disordered eating; ranging the spectrum of binging and purging to just starving myself. When I got pregnant with my son, when I was sixteen, I kind of just said “Fuck it. It doesn’t matter if I am skinny; it doesn’t matter if I am fat…I am pregnant. I can eat whatever I want and have no guilt.” I gained 50 pounds when I was pregnant with him, and I lost ten. I lost some weight nursing, but after I stopped nursing him, I continued the disordered eating cycle.

Just picked it up where you left off?

Yep, just picked it up right where I left off. And I knew… I was an athlete in high school, I knew about nutrition but it’s not something that I ever listened to because disordered eating was so much easier than learning how to feed myself. At nineteen I married my now ex-husband, (my daughters’ father) and gained all that “happy weight” I maxed out the scale before we got married, at 197 lbs…. so, I looked like a cow in my wedding dress.

None of this happens over night... it takes time to get to either end of the spectrum.   Which one would you prefer to be closer to?
None of this happens over night… it takes time to get to either end of the spectrum. Which one would you prefer to be closer to?

Thank god for girdles….

After that we were trying to get pregnant with Emma, and couldn’t get pregnant… couldn’t get pregnant. We tried for two years, and I finally went to the doctor and asked “what is going on?” I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and the doctor told me that I had to make a lifestyle change, or else…. “you’re going to end up with diabetes; you are more apt to have certain types of cancer, you are just going to get fatter, your thyriod is going to peter out…” All the things that go along with PCOS… “This is your future. You either make a change now or enjoy your future where it is headed.”

At that point I sought help because I knew my disorder was no longer a sustainable way to live life. It wasn’t mentally or emotionally healthy.

So I lost about 20 lbs. and we got pregnant with Emma through a series of fertility treatments. When I was pregnant with Emma I only gained about 20 lbs and then I lost it all right away. At that point they (the doctors) said “Well you are probably not going to be able to have any more children, so don’t worry about it.” And I thought, okay, cool; I am just going to go back to doing the whole weight loss thing, because I still had fifty pounds to go.

So I lost another twenty pounds, and then I got pregnant with my daughter Ileena… BOOM! I remember going to my dads house and saying, “Well… I am pregnant again just when I was gettting my ‘sexy’ back.” My grandma looks at me and says “Well honey, maybe that’s the problem.”

Double edged sword on that one…

Yeah! So I got pregnant and did that whole thing and I only gained fifteen pounds with Ailena , and I lost that all right away. November 2009 I found Body For Life, Bill Phillips, transformation.com ; whom I heard about from my step-mom. So I thought, I am going to try this thing. (Everybody thought I was crazy for starting during the holidays.) It was pretty easy; three days of lifting, three days of cardio, all high intensity intervals. By doing that the next three months I was able to loose the rest of the weight. About half way through that three month process I was like “Ya, know, I want to help other people because I can do this as some one who has struggled their whole life with eating well and taking care of themselves … I can help some one else do this.”

I got my personal training certification.

How long did that take you?

It was about four months and about that time I was working for my dad as his administrative assistant amoung other things. I decided that I would try this training thing before and after work, and see what happens. I did that and it just blew up, so in June 2010, I quit my job working for my dad and I started training full time.

I was doing a lot of one on one training and two boot camp sessions at a local gym. I was making money, doing something I love. I worked there for two years and I left because there were some issues that made it neccessary for me to get out of that environment. I decided, I am just going to start my own place; I left and they came after me with for violating my no-compete/ no-solicitation agreement.

Looking back, I was so mad at the time. I was furious, like how could they do this? How can this stand up? Well, it stood up because I had solicited the people who had signed up with me, but were also their clients. I had to take a year off of training and I went back to working for my dad for a year and within that year I knew I needed to do something. I was miserable.

When you are following a life of passion and suddenly it is taken away; it’s like the wind has been knocked out of your sails. You don’t even feel like a human being. I started looking down in Colorado for places I could move to and open up. I was doing all this during the same time I was being sued and working for my dad; I also had gotten a divorce from my kids father. It was everything that could go wrong, did.

I was at an impass; like shit, what do I do?

I looked down in Boulder and I spent about six months driving back and forth, just looking for a location I could open up. I encountered road block after road block.

By this point I had already talked to the CEO of Fit Body, who has been a long time friend. I told them, I want to do this but I have to wait until this year is up or I am screwed.

Was that part of your Non-compete agreement? Did you have a time limit to wait?

Yes, that was the year. One year to the day, October 1, 2012; we opened up with fourteen clients. I was just so excited to be open and be able to do what I love to do. That’s it… the rest is history. Here we are today; looking for another space, a bigger place… sitting down with the bank and talking about bigger loans.

The beginning bare bones of a fitness fortress in the making.
The beginning bare bones of a fitness fortress in the making.

That’s pretty quick, only three years.

Yeah, less than three years actually.

How do you know the CEO of Fit Body?

The fitness industry is so small, it really is. So if you don’t know every one you soon will if you stay in it long enough. I met him doing a master mind. I was in there with the two founders of Fit Body Boot Camp, Steve Hochman and Bedros Keuilian. I was in Steve’s Master Mind and through that I met Bedros. We had several conversations and talked on the phone several times, emailed back and forth; He called me up one day and said ” What’s it going to take to get you to open a Fit Body? And I told him, “You know what it will take, you know what I am up against right now. It’s going to have to take one hell of a deal and some patience and that is where it’s at.” So he said “Alright, let’s make it happen.”

At this point it was going from licensing to a franchise, so they were looking for people and I just happened to be one of those people.

Do you get together with other gym owners?

I do know a lot of the Fit Body owners simply because we get together quarterly; every three months, usually in San Diego or Chino Hills, California. There is a great community with in Fit Body, even from a corporate structure coming all the way down to the clients. It’s nice that we can just continue to pay it forward. It’s pretty cool, and a very unique situation.

Would you like to talk about your competition stuff?

OH YEAH! Sure! I don’t want to bore you to tears with business.

I first competed in August of 2011, I also ran the Denver half marathon in October 2010, and after that I gave myself permission to never run again. (laughter.) I find it really useless and painful. It turns out I am better suited for lifting heavy things than go fast.

2011 looks good on Sara Gosseen!
2011 looks good on Sara Gosseen!

Did you do this on your year of sabbatical?

No, it was right before everything blew up in my face. Then I competed in my second figure show August 2013.

2013 looked even better!
2013 looked even better!

Did you win anything?

I did. I placed 5th in the second show, I was pretty excited about that. Granted there were only six figure competitors, so I was 5th, but I was happy to have something to take home, regardless.

My first show I did there were 36 figure competitors, and I think I finished 34th. So I was like, “I think I have improved!”

'High Knees
‘High Knees” are different than heinies… make sure both are in good form!

Were these in Wyoming?

The one in 2011 was in Loveland, Colorado. The Warrior Classic, and the other one was in Wyoming, and that was the Jay Cutler Classic. And that Dude, is a Big Dude. I have a picture of him somewhere.

Not only is Jay Cutler bohemoth, but he makes Sara look like a tiny lil tea cup.  Jay Cutler Classic 2013.
Not only is Jay Cutler bohemoth, but he makes Sara look like a tiny lil tea cup. Jay Cutler Classic 2013.


He was there?

Yeah, he is huge! He is a moose of a man! My head is as big as his shoulder!

He could pick you up in the palm of his hand!

Honestly I am getting the bug again, to compete. I am trying to weigh out the time commitment that it takes, along with my other obligations to see what it will take… if it’s something I can feasibly do right now while keeping everything else balanced. I do love competing .

If you wait to have your own place, you could put on your own competition, in house competition. Then you won’t have to go too far.

That is one of the most fun things about competition; you get to meet so many interesting people from all over the country. People who are busting their asses just to get super lean for just a minute. It literally lasts a day. You deplete enough to have a six pack for a day, and then you gain 20 pounds the next day because you drink water. It’s crazy.

It would be interesting to time lapse a person going through the build up to competition, and then the 24 hours afterward. Once you get the tanner off, and start drinking water again, it’s like what the hell? You blossom like a flower.

You still eat, you carb load the day of to fill out your muscles because you have depleted to the point that you have taken all the glycogen and striped your body of literally everything. It’s not something you want to do often because it is kind of dangerous, BUT, it’s still fun to push your mental ability and physical barriers. That is big for me, because I love the challenge.

Are you a challenge junkie?

I totally am! I love the personal challenge. Competing against other people is fun, but figure prep is anywhere from 2-5 months.

It’s kind of interesting that you have struggled with disordered eating which is in and of itself sort of an addiction, and pushing your body to a limit and challenging it, but not in a very healthy way. And here you have turned your addiction around to a healthier way of expressing it. Yet, there are still these extremes that you go to.

It totally is. What I think helps me with competing and the lifestyle of body building is the structure that it provides. It’s like a security blanket. You take some one with an eating disorder who has struggled with that their entire life, and you say, “you don’t have to struggle, here is some structure. Have a nice day.” It’s like, “okay, this is safe.”

Then the biggest struggle, is will power to be able to keep on the regamine.

Yeah, it’s like any other fitness goals… as long as you have that dead line… the finish line at the end; it makes it that much easier. It’s not like you have to do this for a lifetime or else… It’s here is your dead line, and then you reset the goal. And that is something that is really, really exciting for me.

Through competing I learned to accept my body, where ever it is; whether I am 120 pounds or 145. I am still strong, I am still beautiful and I am still worthy of love and acceptance and success. That is one of those things that I have accidentally learned through the process. It is a by product.

I know a lot of people who compete who struggle with that mindset. Like if they don’t have a six pack they are done for. They are like “Oh My God, My Life Is OVER!”

It basically boils down to bulemia or dysmorphia. It’s all activated on the same brain wave length, same neurological pathway. It’s been nice to find freedom from that as I have gotten older. To not be stressed out about the numbers, to see yourself and be like “You look good!”

IT’s a good example to your kids, too.

I hope so. Sometimes I wonder, “am I ruining these little people?”

Mommy, Wife, Business Owner and Encourager of the Masses... what can't this lady do?         Photo courtesy of  Lacey Dippold Photography
Mommy, Wife, Business Owner and Encourager of the Masses… what can’t this lady do? Photo courtesy of Lacey Dippold Photography

Instead of “You’re the reason mommy has a drinking problem,” it’s more like “You are the reason mommy has an exercise problem.”

That’s funny beacause when I took two months off earlier this year, my kids were like “what is wrong with her?” I did not feel like myself. I felt like I was insane most days; like absolutely bat shit crazy.

You needed to be exerting yourself.

Yeah, I needed that rush of endorphins and I think it was something that I had always taken for granted because I have been doing it for so long, it’s just been part of my life for so long. When I completely took it out, I had no idea the impact it would have on me. Not just physically but spiritually, emotionally and mentally. I got to tell you, the week we started working out again, my husband and I; He was like “Gosh you are so much easier to be around.” And I knew he meant that in the sweetest way possible, instead of being a jerk, and I was like “I know, trust me, it’s easier to be in my head.” I went to the doctor and I asked am I schitzophrenic, what is going on here? And she said “I think you are depressed.” And I just needed exercise.

So tell me about your favorite success story to come out of here.

My favorite one, honestly, is from when I very, very first started. He followed me when I opened Fit Body. His name is Austin, he was 16 when he came to me he was 386 lbs. and he was tall and huge. He knew he had a problem. He was home schooled so he didn’t have a lot of interaction with other kids. The reason he was home schooled was because when he was in school, the other kids were just horrible to him because he was so big and kind of awkward and quiet.

He would come, every single day to Boot Camp. At that point in time, they were 1 1/2 hour sessions, he would show up at 6:00 AM, every day. And even if he couldn’t do it, he would struggle through it.

He asked me, “what do I eat? how do I do it?”

His mom was onboard, but I didn’t see her much. Sometimes she would come and walk while he did Boot Camp. Every now and then she would come talk to me, well when I took the year off, Austin started power lifting and he took his focus off the weight loss. Then he came over to Fit Body when I opened, and he brought his mother with him, and they did it together.

It was just so, so, so cool. He ended up losing 110 lbs by the time he was 19. Then they moved to Oregon. He was such a great, great kid. It was just so cool to see how he was able to influence his mom because it’s usually the parents who influence the kids. He was able to influence his mom after two years of going at it by himself.

Was she also over-weight?

Yes, she was, but such a nice, nice gal. I look back on those two, especially Austin and I think “That kid could have made every excuse in the world because teenagers do, adults do. Teenagers learn from what the adults model.” He just was like “I am tired of this. I am tired of being the ‘fat kid’. I don’t mind being a ‘big kid’, I am 6’3″. But I am tired of being the ‘fat kid'”

The last Halloween he was here, he dressed up as The Hulk; and that involved taking off his shirt, and painting himself green, and walking around with out a shirt on. Two years prior to that you would have never seen him do that. It was so cool to see him blossom from this awkward quiet, video gamer (indoor) kid to this little ball of life and energy, and sass.

It was fun to not only see his journey of weight loss but also to see how he grew as a person. To see him evolve into an adult from a kid that just didn’t want to be fat and made fun of.

Do you stay in contact with him?

I do. I stay more into contact with his mom because he is a young adult now and all over the place.

It would be interesting to see if he takes a career in Fitness from this influence. It seems like people who a great at teaching come from a past of being ostersized.

So, we have touched on this, but obviously Fitness has a positive effect on your homelife.

Oh God, yeah! The kids are like “Mom, go work out, you are driving us crazy.” It is also nice though, because my husband and I can share it together. Every morning Monday through Saturday we go work out together, and then go to work and do our thing. It’s been a good bonding experience for us too. Although it did take us three years for him to come and work out with me. The first time we exercised together, he was having a bad day and we were just friends at the time. I was like “he’s having a bad day, just go lift, and he will be fine.” Well a half hour in, he is dry heaving on himself, and I was like ” I thought you were in shape?” Well, after that he didn’t come back to work out with me for three years. And he comes to boot camp, and he makes it through the whole thing, and after that he said “I am going to have to wait until you are ‘deconditioned’ a little before we can work out together.”

He took the oppertunity while I took two months off to “even the playing field.”

Since then it has been nice, in the last couple of months to have that morning time with my husband because we have five kids… we need that time together. It’s nice to have that time and cheer each other on.

What are some of your future goals?

Really my mission is just to help people and it always has been. I am in the business of changing lives and if I am not changing lives, then I am doing something wrong.

Watch out folks....
Watch out folks….


Ha, ha! Oh man, if some one said that to me, I would have to reevalute everything. I really do just want to leave an impact on this world. And, Cheyenne… God Bless it, and all of it’s citizens; (but Cheyenne) is a FAT city. Overweight, unhealthy; spiritually, mentally and physically. People are over worked and under paid, or over worked and over paid. They have little or no time for their families , no time for themselves; no time to do anything. So we have people spinning their wheels, but for what? At the end of the day if you don’t have your health, you have nothing left. I don’t want to out live my children. I see obese kids around and I want to slap their parents. I don’t want to beat the kids, but I want to slap the parents. It makes me so mad. But then I look at it, and you have to change the lives of the parents before you can change the lives of the children. At the end of the day, it is our job as adults to make those responsible decisions. It isn’t easy, but it is our responsiblity.

It’s in my heart to change the health of this community, if not the entire community of Wyoming, but that’s a long way off down the road. I want to continue to make a difference in peoples health and in their lives.

Thirty minutes of exercise might not seem like much, but it can change how a wife treats her husband. She is in a better mood, she feels better about herself, she feels more attractive… she actually wants to be with her husband instead of saying ” I don’t see what you see, at all.”

It changes how a mother treats her children because she has more energy, she will want to take them to the park, or go hiking and do stuff. Or maybe she is just in a better mood and doesn’t want to paddle their butts just for being little people.

It is just fitness, it is just a work out… but it can change EVERYTHING. I have seen it with myself. I saw it when I started my journey years ago and I still see it today. If I don’t work out, I need to work out because I start feeling ‘cagey’ inside. Anxious.

What has your biggest triumph been in your personal fitness journey?

I think just staying the course. Every day is a new day. I can’t say one event has been a real defining moment in my health and fitness journey. I think it just staying course with the lifestyle. I mean sometimes I fall off, just like anyone. I go on a little cookie diet, when I feel stressed, and then I gain eight pounds and then I have to lose it again. At the end of the day just knowing that I am doing what I need to be doing is just great. But when I am not doing that I can tell a difference. So for me, it’s just committing to the lifestyle.

Is there anything you would want to change?

No. Not really because I believe even the hard stuff is lessons. And I think I am far more grateful now toward some of the hardships that I went through. When you look back at it, it just gives you an oppertunity to learn about yourself; to learn about others and the way the world works. Hardships are often self inflicted. So if anything it’s just learning about who I am and who I want to be and who I do not want to be. It’s just about growing up.

Would you like to give any tips or inspiration?

It’s just about consistency. You have to pick and plan and be consistent. It doesn’t matter what your plan is, as long as it has some good foundation of physical health, mental health and spiritual health. Even if it’s CrossFit or lifting or body building or boot camp; whatever it is, I think it’s just about picking something that works for you and stick with it. I know Boot Camp isn’t for everyone. I wish it was. At the end of the day finding something that works and sticking with it long enough to get results. So many people just go about their life by starting a new program every two weeks, saying “But I am just not getting results.” and I am like “Dude, it’s only been two weeks. Do you know how long it took me to lose 70 pounds?”

How long did it take you?

Beginning to end it took three years. Granted I got pregnant twice in between, but it took me three years to lose that 70 pounds. It’s not going to happen over night.

After spending all this time taking other peoples measurements; when do people, on average see a difference for themselves and accept that change is occurring?

Typically eight weeks, especially for women. I call it an 8 Week Miracle. Literally nothing on the scale can change and inches may not change, but may be your clothes fit differently. For whatever reason the inches may not change, your body fat may not change, and then one day you wake up and somewhere between the bedroom and the bathroom, you realize you lost your ass. It’s like it’s just fallen off somwhere and you hop on the scale and you are down ten pounds from the night before. And you will be like “what the hell? My scale must be broken.”

So you call in a spouse or a loved one and you have them hop on the scale and it says what it always says to them, and you hop back on there and it says the same thing, “you are down 10 lbs.”

You have to trust the process, long enough. Not just “half commit.”

“Oh I am just gonna work out for eight weeks and hope that everything is going to happen. You have to have a plan. Have a plan of attack and exicute it flawlessly. Even if you have one bad day, okay, perfect; get back on the band wagon, but don’t let that one bad day or one bad meal derail you for the next six months.

So I think that is the key. Consistency. You have to be consistent, no matter what. And that goes with anything; if it’s fitness related, or business related, or if you want better relationships. What ever it is, BE CONSISTENT! STICK WITH YOUR PLAN! Things WILL change.

In summery; Knowledge, is the awareness that all action has a reaction, and Wisdom, is using that awareness to your advantage whilst utilizing all available resources.

Fit Body Boot Camp works because of the significant insight that the program lends through collaborative Wisdom and Experience.

Fit Body Boot Camp is calling out more of Cheyenne to get involved in their fitness; and during the month of May we are taking extra efforts to expose residents to the opportunity.  If you have been following this blog and you are tempted to try it; COME ON DOWN!  Let them know you read this blog and that it has helped you to take the first step in health and wellness; or if you are new to town and looking for a fitness community and this seems up your alley, come take a test drive.

You can find out more by going to fitbodybootcamp.com/cheyennefitnessbootcamp, or on Facebook Fit Body Boot Camp Cheyenne.

If this article interests you and you would like to read more, check out these related blogs.  And as always I appreciate “likes”, comments, suggestions and subscribers; so  please feel free to interact.  And remember kids, Fitness is great, but Burpees SUCK!

January Jail Bird

It’s crazy to think that 10 years ago today… I was in jail.

It wasn’t for very long, but when you haven’t thought too much about your white privilege, even 18 hours seems too long.

I never thought I would be the kid in my family to go to jail.  I was the honor roll student, who; on paper, looked like the All American Over Achieving Teenager. I was involved in student mock trial, I was obedient (overall) to the Law and God.

In fact, I never thought any of my siblings or cousins would go to jail.  Even the trouble makers; over all, we were all really good kids, brought up with respect.  None of the boys were very violent.

Looking back, maybe it was obvious I would be the one to go, if one was to go.

My temper was far worse than any of them.  And my quickness to hit or hit back, was evident.  Maybe it was because I was the only girl around 3 boys; maybe it was my latent anger issues at losing my mother at four years old.  Maybe it was a little bit of both.

January is a very precarious month for me.  My mother’s mother was born on January 31,1927.  My mother died on January 31, 1985. I went to jail January 17, 2005 and I got pregnant on January 31, 2007 (HA! The Chaste Moon or Snow Moon).  My first niece was born January 29, 2014.

Lot’s of birth and death and change seems to occur around me at that time of the year.  I should have expected it.  My life was already in a sort of shambles.

I was living with whom I thought at the time to be “the love of my life”; below poverty level, working two jobs, and fighting all the time.  The honeymoon period ended as soon as we moved 1200 miles from where we met, and from there things were on a rapid down hill slide.

Both of us had lost a parent at an early age, and were quick to anger.  I never hit him.  He smacked me more than once to get me to shut my mouth; but he never “pummeled my ass.”  He would get in my face and yell at me, maybe throw my stuff around, but I never thought he would go “too far,” or at least further than I could handle.

I moved out once, before the night I went to jail.  I didn’t have enough in my paycheck to pay my half of the rent;  and most of our issues revolved around money, which was just an avoidance of deeper emotional issues.  I was accused of not pulling my weight.  I would rather run than fight again.  So I packed my things, took them to a friends house, and left a note.

There he was the next morning at 6:30, waiting for me outside my job.  He looked haggard; exhausted and tear stained; begging me to come home, telling me that we were family and that he loved me, that things would be different.  And because I loved him, and believed him, and knew deep down, that our issues were emotional; because I was for the first time in my life, COMMITED to another human and our relationship, I went home to him.

And things were okay for a couple of months.  He even said “We have to cut this shit out, or one of us is going to end up dead or in prison.”  I definitely agreed.

The night I went to jail, was an average cold wet Oregon night.  I worked my second job at a fine dining Italian restaurant in downtown Bend.  It had been a busy night, so I stuck around after my shift to help with extra clean up and a shift drink.  One hard cider turned into three; and on an empty stomach.  I didn’t feel tipsy or buzzed, I was at work for a couple hours and felt fine to drive home.

I drove the three miles home feeling quite sober and when I got out of my car I felt drunk.  I made it half way to the door and realized I left the dome light on, and turned back to shut it off.  I leaned in turned it off and grabbed a couple of items from the back seat.  As I shut the door a cop car pulled up and an officer got out and approached me.

“What are you doing?” He asks, holding his flash light directed at me.

“I forgot something in my car. Why?”

“There have been some break in’s in this neighborhood,” he gets closer to me. “Have you been drinking tonight?”

I knew he hadn’t caught me driving, and we were standing directly in front of my house; so,  thinking I wouldn’t incriminate myself, I was honest and said “yes.”

I don’t remember how, but this led to a road side sobriety test.  Wherein I got incredibly nervous, and full of adrenaline not only because of the Law, but because my boyfriend came out of the house.  I knew either way the cookie crumbled, I was going to have hell to pay.

My boyfriend was obviously pissed to be woken from his beauty sleep. A look of loathing and disappointment was severe and evident across his face.

About the time I saw him, was about the time I spelled my own last name wrong.  Things were definitely going from bad to worse.  I already knew, my boyfriend would probably be mad that I was home later than usual… and he HATES cops… now one is interrogating me in our front yard, and I am FAILING.

He finally speaks up and tells the officer, “It’s fine, she lives here.  That’s my girlfriend.”

The officer says “Fine, you can go in, and make sure you stay in, for the night.”

I say “okay” and “thanks” as my lover escorts me to the door.  That is when things really start to blur.  I am shaking, and as we cross the threshold he says, “I am disappointed in you, we will discuss this tomorrow, but I need some fucking sleep because I have to be up in 3 hours, so you need to sleep on the couch.”

I didn’t argue, I just went to the couch with my work clothes on.

I must have laid there a while, and decided to go to the bathroom and take my contact lenses out.  He heard me from the bedroom, and got out of bed in a rage; yelling something along the lines of “lay down or I am going to lay you down.”

Now, I just don’t think this is something you say to a person whom you have hit more than once, and is also a rape survivor.  Add in the chemical mix of alcohol and adrenaline; I became a self preservation machine.  I don’t remember much, but the tussle.  He came at me, and instead of swinging, or blocking; I grabbed his hair, and I held on, keeping him arms length away for as long as I could until he pulled away, leaving me with tufts of his hair in my hands.

He was livid.  “You have to get THE FUCK outta this house, but you are not driving that car!  I am going to pull the spark plugs out of it, but you, you need to get the fuck OUT!”

I started freaking out, telling him not to touch my car.  I followed him out the front door grabbing at his t-shirt, ripping it away from his body. I got in front of him, attempting to block him from getting to the car, my hands still on his shirt, which tore some more; I lost my footing on the front stoop and fell backward holding the shirt, he was pulled forward and stepped off the stoop directly onto my face, breaking my nose.

I started bleeding immediately, and he saw it and freaked out.  He ran into the house and locked the door, and called 911.  I got up and went to the window, I saw him on the phone in the kitchen.  I tried the locked door.  It had since started raining, and I was soaked from falling on the ground. I noticed the blood, and I wanted to go inside; so I started banging on the kitchen window.  The longer he ignored me, while on the phone; the more frantically I started beating at the double pane.  That was until I busted through both panes of glass and shards were shot into my chest from the argon gas compressed between the panes.

My boyfriend yelled at me, saying the  cops were on the way, and that he wouldn’t be letting me back into the house.

I was freezing, I had no shoes on, I just wanted to take out my contacts and go to bed.  I didn’t want to fight, or go to jail, or deal with cops, or blood.  I just wanted to rest.  The escapist in me thought about running to the near by park, or hiding in someone bushes; the educated part of my brain reminded me of all the episodes of “COPS” that I had seen; and that no one ever gets away.  So I sat patiently freezing on the front stoop until the Authorities arrived.

I don’t remember what they asked me.  They took a statement from him, and in Oregon, in domestic disputes involving a 911 call…some one has to go to jail; and because one of the responding officers had already logged me in their book that night; I was the lucky winner.

I think the officers felt a little bad for me and the state of my face.  Both of my eyes started to swell shut and shiners were becoming evident.  As I recall, they didn’t cuff me; I had no fight left.

I was taken to the county jail, which at that point, I didn’t even know where it was located.  I sat in processing, and the check in officer asked what the other guy looked like, to which I answered “I think he lost some hair.”  He suggested I check out the domestic violence programs in town.  I asked for an Advil, and was told “no”, then escorted by a female officer into a large bathroom; where I was instructed to completely disrobe so that I could be cavity searched.  This was like some worst nightmare (I didn’t even know I had) coming true.

I was issued some ugly scrub type inmate clothes and taken to a holding cell until I would be moved to the general female population later in the morning.

They put me in a temporary tank with a woman who was probably in her late 50’s, early 60’s.  She was screaming and violently banging on the plexiglass.  “GIMME A NEW GODAMN DIAPER!  I SWEAR TO CHRIST I WILL WIPE SHIT ALL OVER THESE WINDOWS!!! I WANT A CLEAN DIAPER YOU MOTHER FUCKERS!!! FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING PIGS!!!””

How the hell did I get here?  I was freaked out; worried, tired, and scared as shit.  I huddled in the corner with a blanket and cried.  Again some compassionate officer must have had some pity for me, and the elderly lady was removed.

In the quiet cell, I called my dad, 1200 miles away.  This was maybe a bad idea, and I could hear the helplessness in his voice when he said “what I can I possibly do, from here?”

I said “I don’t know.  I just thought you should know.”  And hung up, defeated.

I asked if I could make another phone call at 7:45, to let my boss I know I wouldn’t be at work.  I cried and apologized for the collect call, I told them to take it out of my pay check.  “everything would be okay. Don’t worry about it.”

I hung up the phone, and about that time I was taken to be transferred to the female jail bird population.  I was given a brown lunch sack with a flimsy pen, a toothbrush, tooth past, a crappy comb, and a small pad of paper.  I was taken to a 6 bed bunk, and shown my mattress, pillow and blanket.  The officer advised me on hours of food and left me to assimilate.

I set my brown bag on the mattress and walked out into the commons room where every one else was socializing.  I sat at an empty table and just observed the goings on.  I was now apart of the great equalizer, and I had the outfit to prove it.  At this point, I realized “I am an inmate.”  Yet, I felt no guilt.

Some girl with a bunch of neck tattoos came over to me and sat down.

“What happened to yo face?”  She asked.

I gave her a run down of the hours leading to my arrest.

“Damn girl, Imma give you my numba.  And when I am outta here, you jus call me, and I will kick that muthafucka’s ass.”

“I really don’t think that is necessary, but I appreciate the offer.” I answered.

Another girl came over.  Taller and heavy set, “Girl, you must be tough… you just got here and you are hanging out in commons?  Man, I stayed on my bed and cried for a week before I came out to commons.”

“I really don’t think I will be in here very long, and I believe in making the best out of a bad situation.”

Tattoo girl asks “Whatchoo do?”

“Well, I work at a pizza shop… but I am a writer, painter and performer.”

Both girls nod, “that’s cool.”  The tall one asks what I perform.

“I perform spoken word poetry.  Would you like to hear some?”

The girls get excited and call some of the other women over to listen.

I make it through two of my favorite poems.  They ask for a third, I make it almost through the third, and my mind blanks.  I can’t remember the end; the lack of sleep is catching up to me, and I think I may be in delayed shock.  I get a round of applause anyway, and apologize that my mind is just too overloaded to do any more.

Tattoo girl, looks tough, but she is compassionate.  “That’s cool, girl.  I didn’t talk to no one for days when I got here.  It’s cool you shared that.”

“Enough about me… what did you do to get in here?”  I ask her.

“Ohhh, me and my boo got lost in the Wal-Mart parking lot, for, like, three days.”

“What?!?” I query.

“You, know, we got some real good meth, and we couldn’t find out way outta the parking lot.”

In my head I was full of incredulous laughter.  But all I could say, was “I can’t imagine.”

Lunch came and went, and all I wanted was sleep, but nothing about this situation made me feel comfortable laying down.  I thought about drawing but my hands were shaky, and my eyes were swollen and watery.

At about 3:30 an officer came in to tell me my bail had been paid, and that I would be released.  I asked who paid the bail and they said my boyfriend had.  It was only $250.00.  The kicker was this; in domestic disputes in Oregon, who ever makes the call, immediately has a state mandated restraining order on who ever received the charge.  The police informed my boyfriend that he could not pick me up; and they informed me, that I could not go back home if he was there.  I told them I didn’t have a ride home, they told me “that isn’t our problem.”

I was given back my damp clothes.  No one had grabbed me a pair of shoes, and I had no idea where the hell I was or how I would get home.

Once in the parking lot, I took a look around to try and gauge where the house was in relation to the jail.  I saw Pilot Butte to the South East, and started walking along the highway. I  must have looked quite the scene, walking shoeless in January with no coat;  arms wrapped around myself, wild hair whipped by wind, tear stained face beginning to amplify in it’s bruises.

I had probably traveled about a mile and a half when an old Ford F-150 pulled over just ahead of me.  The passenger side door opened and a young woman and her husband called to me, “you need a ride?”  I looked the truck over, it was old and beat up, a large crack in the back window.  I just stared at them for a second, trying to decide if this was a safe thing to do; exhaustion didn’t care, so I said “sure” and hopped on to the bench seat.

The lady asked me where I lived, and I told her my address.  They were familiar with area, which left time for them to ask questions like “Why are you walking along the highway with no shoes?” and “what happened to your face?”

I gave another run down of things, and finished up just as we pulled in front of my house.  The lady, noticed the broken window, and said “Are you sure it’s safe for you to be here?”

“oh yeah.  He’s not here right now… and the window, I did that.”

She looked concerned, but said “okay, be safe.” And they pulled away.

My life changed dramatically that day in January of 2005.  I became a warden of the state, I now had a new Master to appease.  I was no longer just a person with a couple of traffic violations…I was considered a domestic abuser, a person worthy of charges like harassment and assault; none of which felt true.

I used the hide-a-key to get into the house, took a long bath and l crawled into bed; attempting to forget my current reality.

Mumbling to myself as I drifted to sleep, “Fuck January.”


If you would like to read more about this life changing event (and see my horrible mug shot), CLICK HERE.

Your Honor/ My Honor

60172Few of you may know, that I went to jail in early 2005.  The charges were “domestic dispute  with a misdemeanor of assault   I went to jail that night for about 16 hours.  It was by far one of the strangest things I have ever encountered.  I don’t talk about it as a respect to the other party, who really loves his privacy on such matters.  Regardless, I really do try and keep a good mindset about all things.  And though the jail thing was hairy, I endured it.  Upon seeing a court evaluator, I asked “what is the most the court will ask me to do?”  He said community service and classes on domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse.  I got the info and got in right away.  I found a community art gallery and donated my time to the cause. I wrote this piece two days out of jail… but I had to wait 7 months for a hearing with a judge.  In the mean time, I did everything the was going to ask me to… ONLY I DID IT BEFORE THEY ASKED.

At the end of the trial ( there were people on the jury, who had totally bought a pizza from me a Papa Murphy’s)  where I was found guilty, the judge talked to me off the record, wherein I shared this piece of writing.

She was impressed with what I had done, and said I could have my record expunged after 4 years, if no other incidence.

There has been no other incidence.  I have been single for 7 years.  That was my last serious relationship.  It ended weird  and now I have a mark on my record… why? Why haven’t I had it expunged?  Because I would rather put petrol in my car, and buy a six pack then pay yet another $85 dollars into the system I found myself indebted to.

How did I win?  Well I guess I cut a lot of drama out of my life after all of that, and yet, at moments knowing what I know; I find myself still fearing the law.  Fuck me.

Your Honor,

I come before you a humble and humiliated part of society

my brain screams

“girls like me, don’t belong in jail”

but I compromised what allows me to be free

My reality, assault in the fourth degree

a fight


Luckily not another tragedy

just a young woman

with too much to drink

a tendency to over think

and a bottle of rage packed inside

These things I over looked

came back to bite

and now I know what a night in jail is like

I can’t remember the succession in which it all happened

Only I know

I don’t want it to happen again

I don’t want a record

or a label like criminal

Since that day

I pay for my actions

Two hundred and fifty

of my cash

goes to bail I owe

Not to mention the

broken double pane window

My brain gets lost when it thinks

of these court costs

My humiliation is evident at my job

with this broken nose

and black eye

No way to disguise.

Humbled as a daughter

who had to call home from a holding cell

didn’t go over so well 2000 miles away.

I’ve been waiting to talk to Your Honor

for weeks, just trying to think what I could do

for Deschutes County to drop these charges against me.

I confess I am willing to do anything

I can to lessen the charge

counseling or deferment

I don’t know yet

I ask your Honor for help

so that I can contain the stress

that made me burst outward

with violence

It makes no sense to me,

how I could act  irrationally

but then again

it was that dark part

that comes out with that depressing friend called liquor

it gets that range pumping quicker

until your mind goes black

and you are ready to attack your lover

The marks on my face

disgrace me

Public Humility

evidence of the darkness that exists inside all of us

once let loose

I am only here in Bend temporarily until March 10th

Then I send myself back to middle America

I swear it’s my word and your judgement

Your Honor, I trust what you decide, will fit the crime.

I appreciate you, for allowing me, this time with you.

I am ready to do what you ask me to.