Just a Girl

This time of year in Chicago is the great equalizer. Everyone’s cars are all the same color (magnesium chloride grey). Everyone looks like Kenny from South Park (perhaps with a different color parka). Coats that resemble sleeping bags replace anything and everything more stylish. Women everywhere give thanks if they’re fortunate enough to have a hair stylist that gave them a cut that works as “hat hair.”

And on this afternoon of yet another new year, as I sit here in my ochre green tweed chair in my Chicago living room, I do feel there’s one place this year where I’ve come out ahead of years past: I have no New Year’s Resolutions.

This year, I decided to become a living, breathing resolution. Each day I wake up, following my heart to places like the gym (where women showering next to me feel free to pee, which makes my resolve to not forget my shower flip flops even stronger). On an unexpected journey from Denver to Chicago. From a five-year renter to homeowner once again. Looking at my clients and thinking, “It’s pretty ridiculous how much I love each of you.”

Looking at myself and putting the brakes on the self-defeating bullshit talk. You know, the talk I wouldn’t talk to anyone else.

The funniest part of all those things, these things I’ve followed, is that none of them required a date to start.

None of them required permission from a calendar, an ominous “1” staring back at me, running some jerktardian countdown clock until the moment where each “thing” I resolved finds said resolve vanished into the ether like Kanye West’s reputation each time he speaks.

But the one thing I can tell you today is that I’m scared.

I’m supposed to be the girl who has it all together. The answers, the “unstuck” solutions. The words, the jokes, the perfect timing and with a load of f-bombs waiting in the wings.

But I’m not. The most beautiful realization I’ve come to this year is that I’m just a girl.

And I can’t remember the last time I allowed myself to be just a girl.

I’m a girl who’s done and said things I’m not proud of. When I walk my dogs in the morning, there are times where my hand slips out of the little poop baggie as I picking up poop and poop gets on my fingers and I say “fuck” every goddamned time. I step in dog shit on a regular basis (because other people’s dogs shit — mine poop). I can parallel park like a childhood parking prodigy and every time I give the wheel a final turn, I hear Samuel L. Jackson saying, “I am superfly TNT, I’m the guns of the Navarrone.” There’s a blue James Perse shirt hanging in my closet that I’ve worn to more speaking engagements than not because it’s the color of a Denver summer sky and makes my eyes look fan-fucking-tastic. I love talking to my mom and I’m becoming (I hope) a better sister to my sister. My dad and I will never see eye to eye, but I know he loves me as best he can and I can no longer hold that against him. I’m one handy bitch and Home Depot and Lowe’s are my bitches. I can install a hard-wired lighting fixture (to code) and four hours later, soak in a bathtub filled with sea salts rocking out to Janis Joplin’s scratchy sweetness. My bikes hold the keys to my heart through the soles of my feet and when I go on a date, it needs to be with someone who might not feel the same way, but understands that. I randomly tip funny waiters $50 and will walk into Target and spend another $50 on a bag of things that the homeless woman on the corner — you know, the one that you try to ignore at the top of the freeway off ramp — had the guts to tell me she needed. I screw up more than I succeed and if I couldn’t laugh…if I couldn’t make people laugh, I’d have dropped a toaster in the bathtub a long, long time ago.

I’m just a girl. It only took me 41 years to get here to meet her, but I like her. No — I love her.

It’s incredible, all of the years I spent in a most desperate pursuit of being anyone but me. It’s even scarier when someone asks you what you want and…you stutter. Your words lodge in your throat like a poorly chewed Frito, creating a pain that makes you wish you stepped on a Lego in bare feet.

But I know what I want. And it’s to be just a girl. Human. Comically human. Able to create laughter and on occasion, know that I’ll be laughable. Laughed at. More laughed with than anything, I hope. It’s really the only thing I can be with any success. Erika. Just…a girl.

And love her.

PS: If you’re not part of the Facebook community, here’s what I shared yesterday that folks seemed to like. Just more of me being just a girl — and using the best words instead of trying to edit myself down to the right ones to tell the story of my life.

Today is less about ends and more about beginnings.

It’s more about “fuck it” than “fuck you.”

More love than loathing.

More manatees and meerkats than termites and tribbles.

I’m fortunate that this year, I found more ME than I’ve ever found before…and more than I ever knew existed.

I’m also fortunate that I’ve lost things and people not worth keeping, but all of which served me while I needed them. Their journey and mine continue, just not intertwined.

I better know the difference between owning shit and owning MY shit.

But above all, I’m most grateful that I have no New Year’s Resolutions. As I know that each day is of my own design and mine to master.

I’ve never lost time because I believe it’s never too late to follow your heart.

Blame is a fuckwittian, outdated finger pointing in the direction of things that go nowhere.

And I’m entering into a new year scared shitless, but buckling up for the ride of my life.

Dear Universe: ship it. I’m ready and able. And for the first time in my life, I can honestly say…I’m willing.

Seeya 2013. You’ve been a worthy adversary, partner, and lover.



Your Friendly Neighborhood Word Hooker


what a article i enjoy really well and love it, too interesting also. 


Late to the party, but I love this - so glad I'm not the only grown-up who still thinks in terms of "I'm just a girl". :)  I'm still working through a lot of self-discovery and acceptance, but one achievement is that I'm not longer feeling stupid as I do so. It felt kind of cheesy at first, doing the whole "finding myself" thing in my mid-30's, but more and more I'm realizing that it's a pretty good time in my life to do it! :)


Indeed you and are welcome to being a pure-hearted kid and an open book. Love it


Not that I can understand being “Just a girl”, with my being a guy...  I do relate to the “just being myself” part!!!

The largest thing this past year I learned is what you wrote so descriptively- “I’m also fortunate that I’ve lost things and people not worth keeping, but all of which served me while I needed them. Their journey and mine continue, just not intertwined.”

Had to make some hard choices with Negative people, some are painful to cut out of your life...

And WOW, smart intellectual, open and honest don’t hold anything back girl that can also install a electric lights to code- nothing but sexy...   Good for you, keep it up!!! ;-)


I am a boy! There, I said it. End of story. No resolutions, just revolutions on this life journey trip. Look out 2014, here I come and I am taking no prisoners. Thanks for the inspiration, Erika!



No resolutions here either. Just a continuation of important stuff I began -- and will continue to do -- in ernest.



Wow.  This was my 2013, and my continuing 2014.  And, knowing how unpredictable my trajectory is, especially when I try to make it predictable...probably my 2015.  You've put into words so much of the elusiveness of (what? what is this? Emotion? Ego? Universe and Wisdom? Just needing a nap? Perimenopause?) all I've felt and keep on feeling, and kept surrendering to, layer upon layer.

"I’m entering into a new year scared shitless, but buckling up for the ride of my life."  THAT.  This whole damn awesome post is going up on my wall, and that will be highlighted. In hot pink.


Erika Napoletano
Erika Napoletano moderator

@CoachSherrill Here's to the next turn in this crazy and bliss-filled ride, Sherrill! And damn straight about the hot pink :)


OMG 41 is how old when I finally got to that point, too. I love who I am and I don't care what anyone else thinks. Since I grew up in the Old Town area of Chicago, I can also park as well as you describe and so wish I could have come up with such an amazing description of said parking. Happy New Year, Erika! :-)


Finding love for yourself is an incredible feeling. Thanks for being so open to all of your audience and an inspiration! Happy 2014!