Solving My First World Problems, One Day At A Time

Making my great life better..

My first review with @urban magazine. April 30, 2013

Filed under: My LIfe — SideShowShannon @ 12:41 PM
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My first review with @urban magazine.

I got lucky. My first album to review happens to be my personal favorite, and I love that I got the chance to write about it! Check out the magazine, it’s great, creative, and full of incredibly talented writers!!


Moder…what? April 18, 2013

Filed under: My LIfe — SideShowShannon @ 1:56 PM
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ImageI learned a lot of things in the last month.


I can’t stop from living my life, and my life will continue to throw obstacles in my way. I just need to figure out how to control how I react to them.


My obstacles? Alcohol.


Alcohol was once a great friend, and confidant. Alcohol has been present in my life regularly since college, and while I regret few things, I have had more than my share of overindulgences. When I was younger, I literally sought blackouts, I worked toward them, and was incredibly successful in being a drunk.


I had this mentality with drinking until after my son was born. So I basically drank to get completely wasted until I was 30. WOW.  You would think after gaining 80lbs and becoming diabetic I would have realized where my problem was.


It finally occurred to me when I started working out, and not having time to actually drink. I didn’t have time to be hung over anymore, so I stopped really drinking. When we would travel to see our friends, I would get the opportunity to drink, and I would come back 2-5lbs heavier. It’s insane. I seriously gain weight from drinking alone.


It’s gotten to the point where I get nervous about my exciting weekends with my friends because I know that in two days, I’m going to cancel out everything that I do during the week, and I work HARD. 


Is it worth it?


The time I spend with my friends is well worth it. I live for those weekends.  I just hate the guilt that I feel Sunday when I come home and weigh myself. I hate that it takes about a week for me to get BACK to where I was before.


So what am I going to do? I’m going to be the least drunk person there from now on. I’m also going to make sure I get up and run, because I won’t be hung over. I can’t be counterproductive because I want to party. 


I can still have fun without a huge bar tab and a hang over.  I may have even more fun than I know. 


Growing up is hard. Moderation is something I never planned on becoming familiar with, but I suppose if it helps me reach my goals, I can employ it in some aspects of my life.


See you girls in Austin this weekend. I’ll be the one that will carry us home. I could use the exercise anyways. 


I can see it now…

Filed under: My LIfe — SideShowShannon @ 1:07 PM
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wpid-2013-04-17_08-03-54_904.jpgThis morning I weighed 161. I weighed last week with the doctor and was 165, meaning I lost like a pound in a month.

But I can see that I look different, and I LOVE it. 

I blame the low weight loss on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol.  I drank a few of these weekends, and it never helps. I don’t want to stop living my life in general just to get down to a goal weight,  I never planned on being that friend that stays sober. I never was before, but I guess I’ll be just be less drunk.

Eating has gone well. Since I started these new meds my appetite has decreased. Sometimes I crave fried chicken or a cheeseburger and I don’t deny myself all the time. I still look at Ben & Jerry’s to see what’s new, and I’ll even pull it out of the freezer section, only to return it after walking around with it in my cart for five minutes.

Our workouts are great. We made this Binder Full of Workouts (see what I did there?) so we have a ton of variety that keeps everything fresh. I run faster miles, and longer distances.  Back in December I was struggling with 60 second jogs. Now, I’m running over 3 miles without stopping.  I’m turning into a beast, and I love it.

I definitely attribute my running to my Nike Running App (find me at sideshowshannon or Shannon Hensley). Seeing my progress motivates me, and it holds me accountable for what I’m doing. Maybe I should have lost more weight than I did last month, but I also ran a little less this month. I got complacent some weeks, and didn’t work as hard.  I also tackled my treadmill anxiety  and ran faster. I usually can’t run faster than about 5.5 without getting nervous. I can vividly picture my chin hitting the treadmill and dragging, and it makes me slightly stumble every time it flashes through my brain. I can now run 6.0 without getting nervous!

I tried on swimsuits and made myself upset because I was looking at the wrong style. I made this whiney little post, then deleted it after I found one that fit me and looked great. I am bound and determined to get into a pinup bikini by July. I may be rockin a sexy tankini until then, but hey, it’s hot!

After shopping and realizing that I no longer fit into large sizes, I went home and tried on pants. I found new outfit combinations from my closet that made me very, very excited.  I am into pants and shirts that I was holding onto from my early twenties for sentimental value, and I’m glad to welcome them back into the fold!  On a sad note, all of my summer dresses now are shapeless sacks on me.  All too big.. So sad, looks like I’ll have to buy new ones!

So from this month  I am very proud of:

  • Blood sugar regulating
  • Willpower in food
  • Increase in strength
  • Continuing to work out every week
  • Visibly looking thinner
  • Fitting into new clothes
  • My hair is getting HUGE!
  • Increase in CONFIDENCE

My goal for this month is to THINK. Really think. Think about what I did each day, and think about what I can do better the next. I also want to write a lot more.  I want to make sure I am continuing to observe everything good, in and around me.


He took me out of the ballgame. April 3, 2013

Signing my letter of intent

Signing my letter of intent

Over a decade ago I was pursued by a few schools to play softball in college. I remember Northeastern State University, Missouri Southern, and Seminole State College. I didn’t know anything about the schools, and chose Seminole based on the fact that a girl I grew up with was there, it was an hour and a half away from my family, and their coach was one of the best.

My parents never participated in collegiate sports, and were pretty preoccupied that year with a family tragedy so we never actually sat down to discuss my options. The only thing I knew was that because this tragedy, I would need scholarships to go to college.  We visited one school and decided on that, rather than looking around. I also didn’t receive much guidance from my high school coach on the subject. I had no idea what to expect, I was completely in over my head. The only thing I knew was that I was leaving home, and I was pretty excited.

My only good memory of college softball was playing on The University of Oklahoma’s field. I remember walking out there and staring. Thinking to myself, this is amazing. I can’t believe I’m here. I remember being proud of all of the girls I played with, and being honored to be among them.  I was terrified of the coach. From my first practice until I quit the team I would shake as I put on my cleats.

My first practice I had a bad feeling. He made me nervous, and when I got cleated during a rundown, I was afraid to tell him. It was so bad that once I was able to inspect it, my sock was completely soaked in blood. Still afraid to tell him, I continued to play on it until it was infected. We went to the doctor who said I should have gotten stitches, and he yelled at me for not saying anything.

He talked to me like I was dumb and untalented, and made me feel like I was the worst decision that he had ever made. This man single-handedly turned my passion and dream into my worst nightmare. He had a way of looking at me that made my mind go completely blank, which angered him more. One time during a practice he had gotten so angry that he hit me over the head with a bat (I was wearing a helmet), and I spent the rest of practice crying from center field and listening to the ringing in my ears.

I tried to pull it together. My roommate would try to console me while I cried uncontrollably in our dorm, telling me to hide what I felt and just play. Just play. Don’t let him see you cry. I couldn’t.

It was the most frustrating feeling in the world. I managed to survive my senior year, watching my family fall to pieces, but I couldn’t handle this man. I couldn’t handle being away from home, despite not actually wanting to be there. I couldn’t handle the isolated feeling I had being labeled as the worst player on the team. I forgot that I was a strong athlete. I forgot that coaches pursued me, that I was useful, and talented. I had no idea what I was even doing there.

I called my parents, upset and wanting to quit. They couldn’t afford for me to go to college without a scholarship, and accused me of wanting to party instead of practice.

They were right. I wanted to party. I didn’t want to touch my glove anymore. I didn’t want to run another base, I didn’t want to have anything to do with softball, especially if this man was standing on the field.

My self confidence dwindled to nothing and I could tell that he had no use for me. So I started drinking with the students in our dorms that didn’t play. I got in trouble, and rather than pay the consequences (which included running a 5k) I quit. I found my way out.

When I told him that I didn’t want to play anymore, he gave me a smug look and said, “You burned your bridge, McGill. You will never play for another school again.” He beat me. He won.

After I quit, only a few of the girls talked to me. Most of them pretended that I didn’t even exist.

I was devastated. I had lost my team, my friends, and my identity.

I had also lost my brother about seven months before. My coach and most of the girls knew, but no one was really aware that I was still struggling because I refused to talk about it. I was still having nightmares. The only thing I had that was keeping me sane through that tragedy was softball, and it was gone. I had no idea who I was anymore, If I wasn’t an athlete.  I no longer thought there was anything about me that made me special.


A sympathetic older teammate from high school mentioned me transferring to the school where she coached on the East Coast but I was ashamed to tell her about me getting in trouble. I was also terrified of going all the way across the country to another coach like him. I was afraid that if it went badly, my parents would be upset that I had failed again, and I would be stuck there.

Telling my coach was easier than telling my parents. They were very disappointed in me, and found ways to make me feel like I had basically ruined my life. I stayed there one more semester as a non-athlete, then moved back home, ashamed, discouraged, and depressed. I got rid of my equipment and didn’t play again for another eight years.

I carried that experience with me for years. About five years later I was bartending a restaurant in Tulsa and he walked in with his family. I saw him, stopped breathing, and ran to the kitchen to collect myself. I closed my eyes and was eighteen again, standing in the dry windy heat, his face inches from mine, spitting, yelling, telling me I was worthless. Asking me why I was there. Telling me to get out of his sight.

I started crying there at work. I somehow pulled it together and finished my shift, but I never kept my eyes off of him. I don’t know what I was afraid of, but I watched him, tensed up like a threatened cat, and was only able to relax once he left the building.

I spent years ashamed of what happened. I felt like a failure. I never even told my husband the whole story of me quitting. But now I know, it wasn’t all my fault. So to that coach I say this:

I didn’t fail you. I was a teenage girl dealing with issues that no one there knew how to handle. I was away from a very close family for the first time in my life, and I was afraid. I was a talented athlete. I was strong, I was fast. I was fearless, until you. You chose to intimidate a young girl with a broken home without seeing and cultivating raw talent. You chose to bully someone who joined your team who was in pain.


I watched the Rutgers video and  lost it. THIS is unacceptable, but common. We forget that these athletes are out of high school, still kids. They had a completely different life before leaving their families and entering this stressful but rewarding environment. These kids are our sons and daughters. It doesn’t matter how old they are, they will ALWAYS be someone’s son or daughter. While they can’t always be protected by parents, it is vital that these coaches remember that they are talking to teenagers and young adults. They are supposed to be leaders, and guide these students. I’m thirty now, and I see 22-year-olds as kids. They may look like adults, but they are kids. Away from home, with a story that they left behind.

My biggest influences growing up were coaches and teachers. I know, some of us seem hard to reach at times, but I will never forget Coach Bass yelling, ‘Free throws win ballgames’. I always felt comfortable and happy playing for her, on the court (even though I was awful) and on the ballfields. Also, Drew (RIP), Charlotte, and Moose Tyler for teaching me literally EVERYTHING I know.


Front page of the Tulsa World. Best day ever.

Have you ever seen me slide? Thank Moose Tyler. I can still do exactly what she taught me, and it’s impressive.

Coach Gibson who made me part of his family when I was a shy 8-year old girl, and gave me peace whenever I struggled through my senior year in high school. Coach Kirk whose workouts I use to this day before I run. Charley for having patience with a loudmouth teenager, Coach Wallace (RIP), who let the worst basketball player on his team play, even if it would affect the game.

You are the reason that I want to be a coach someday. You are the reason that I encourage girls playing sports. I only hope that one day I can touch a life the way you all managed to touch mine.

So coaches, I know us kids can piss you off. I know we don’t always listen and we make mistakes. Please remember that we are still someone’s son or daughter. We take what you say with us. Some of us are walking a difficult path.

Before you open your mouth to knock us down a peg or two, think about

how far the fall is, and how we will make the climb back up. 


I would wish this for my worst enemies. March 26, 2013

ImageWhere were you when you fell in love for the first time? Who was it with? Was it the first or the last person that you kissed?

Once you fall in love, can you tell another person what it feels like, or what it should feel like?

For me, I knew I was truly in love when I found the courage to spread my wings. I was able to say that without a doubt, I knew where I belonged, and I went.  I was scared.  It took a while for me to finally accept that he loves just as much as I love him, but it feels good. It feels so good.

I would wish this feeling for my worst enemy. Everyone is entitled to feel whole, completed, loved.  Everyone.

My version of love came in the form of a 6’5 gentle giant with reddish hair. When I see our son, a perfect blend of us both, I know that THIS is where I belong, and together, we did not make a mistake.

It’s hard to believe that in our parents and grandparents lifetime, it was illegal for us to marry. Our son, our baby, would have been considered an abomination. A beautiful abomination, nonetheless.  We would have been persecuted for finding love outside of our race. In fact, we probably would have never married, dated, or even spent time in the first place. People still appear surprised when they see me next to my husband. I think it’s funny. But we are in Fort Smith, Arkansas.dave-chappelle-rick-james-unity-i0

I can’t even imagine life without him, having to settle for someone else because the law and society disagreed with interracial marriage.  How silly, huh, that people of different races could have a loving family. It’s just unheard of.

I grew up a minority, and continue to live my life as one. I am the token black girl and always have been. I really don’t mind it. In those years, I have come into contact with many people who have told me that they could never date me because of my race, or I would have been the first black girl they dated. It’s weird. I’m sure now these guys can look back and be like, “hey I dated a black 580369_10151519503362128_2075935674_ngirl once.”

I know what it’s like being different, and noticed because of it. I don’t wish that feeling upon anyone who feels different whether it’s race, sexual orientation, disabilities, anything.

I am so glad I grew up in a time that is finally starting to see that we are all people. We are all entitled to the same things, and as tax paying citizens it is time that we all have the same rights.

Love is natural, love is beautiful. Let’s finally take the politics out of love and let our friends and family enjoy what some of us take for granted daily.

Every day is an important day in history. Do you want to be remembered for repeating it, or for changing it?

To Ree, who 11 years later still reminds me of  the girl I used to be.. Jimmy, whose high school dramatics prepared me for my first hag relationship that featured our pals Vicodin and Justin Timberlake. Chase, who tells me exactly what I need  to hear all the time, whether it’s actually in my favor or not.  Jason, one of many men who I managed to kiss before he came out.. If an urchin like myself can live happily ever after, you deserve the same. I know how important this is to you, and I want it for you just as much.Love you guys.


Control YOUR KID March 22, 2013


Parents, have you ever heard those words, or thought them?

I have thought them a million times, but have only actually said it aloud once, to a girl I used to know whose kid was a demon. I’m not going to spend a paragraph or two explaining why, because I could with a story or seven that will prove such. I’ll just say that I’ve seen a tantrum that I had to tell all of my parent friends about because I became speechless by the insanity that I saw.  I saw it over a year ago, and I still remember it like it was ten minutes ago. But then again I can’t really say much because I threw tantrums forever.

I spent a lot of time babysitting when I was growing up, so before I actually became a mother I could somewhat understand children’s moods.  Before the baby came along though, Randy and I made a solemn promise that if Blake started to act a fool in public, we would scoop him up and get the hell out. We have both silently judged screaming babies in public enough to know that it’s not a good experience for the baby, parent, and onlookers.

If anyone has had the pleasure of meeting our bundle of joy, you would know that his temperament is that of his fathers. He smiles and hugs often, and is only fussy when it’s time for him to take a nap. He wakes up and is our smiling baby again, and we continue our lives of parents that get sleep and don’t have to deal with a baby that cries for hours. (knock on wood)

This morning I was in Target with Blake, enjoying a morning of buying things that I don’t need and letting people tell me how attractive he is. It’s funny because when I go now, I have to look nice because people always look at him. Everyone looks at babies, especially when they smile back, and I don’t want to shame my son by wearing a Chelsea Houska outfit and having my fro askew.

We are in the shoe clearance aisle, trying to find a new pair of shoes to sneak in the house and Blake was very talkative. I always encourage his babbling, so I’m playing along. He gets excited and shrieks really loud.

That’s when I heard those three words. On the other side, a teenage girl says “Oh my god, control your f-ing kid.” I froze. Then without thinking I wheeled my happy baby to the aisle to see who would even consider to say those words about MY perfect child.

Every parent thinks their kid is perfect. If the kid is bad, the parent usually says something like, “he/she is really smart and gets bored easy.” “he/she is just expressing themselves.” Yeah, right. Expressing yourself has nothing to do with knocking over store displays, or being a six-year-old that still bites and refuses to listen when an adult speaks. I’m sure that unless a friend stages  an intervention, I could be that parent that refuses to see that my child is out of control, I just hope it never happens. Until then, I raise my eyebrows when I see a child that’s too old for running, knocking over things, or screaming in public.

You can imagine the surprise when the two girls see me facing them in the shoe aisle. They appear startled, embarrassed, and completely unprepared for what was to happen next. I’m sure they would have gone running if I hadn’t blocked them in with my smiling baby and shopping cart.

“Actually, my ‘kid’ is a seven month old baby, and this is how he communicates when he gets excited, because he doesn’t speak English yet. So before you say to control my f-ing kid, maybe you should control your mouth.”

Silence. Staring. Then I push my cart with my still smiling and babbling child past them.

Yeah, I sound big and bad telling off a couple of rude teenagers, right? Not my finest moment, I will admit. I guess I’m a bit protective. Hopefully I’ll outgrow that when the fat kid on the playground  that reeks of oatmeal knocks him over.


My body betrays me once again… March 20, 2013


So THIS is what it’s come to… I have had horrible knee pain lately, and my knee pops. I also deal with shoulder pain. I’m looking for advice: any runners have suggestions on knee pain? Something that doesn’t require prescription pills?image


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