Baby Steps

Once upon a time I read an article on habit formation that talked about establishing a flossing habit by just flossing one tooth a day.

I laughed out loud at the ridiculousness of this concept.

Of course the author answered my silently uttered, “what is the point?!” by of course citing a bunch of behavioral change theory. Or maybe I’m confusing my MPH classes with my blog reading. OH WELL!

Basically it’s the idea of building upon small wins. <—can’t tke credit for that concept either thank you Danielle/Marie/Hillary/Leo/Ramit/Derek/Tonya/Sarah/Kris/Gabby/Lindsay/I can’t remember who said it so yes I just listed all my mentors. If you floss just one tooth a day every day for a week, you’re building your capacity + your belief in your ability to do it. To be honest, I still think its super silly but guess what I started doing this year? And guess what actually worked?

Yea, I have a flossing habit now. So what?

Well I decided to be super ambitious and extrapolate this baby steps mentality to a bigger project: getting my Master’s paper published. I’m embarrassed to admit that its been almost a year since I submitted it and I basically haven’t looked at the damn thing since. Frankly, there’s a lot of emotion wrapped up in the paper and it was written at a pivotal time when I was coming out of the darkness of the previous months and into the newness of being a Master’s grad. In other words, there’s a whole myriad of reasons why I never want to look at that paper again.

But getting it published is something I want, both for me and the field. Its good work and despite whatever emotions surround the experience of writing it, I’m proud of the work.

So this week I committed to spending just 10 minutes a day on it. On Monday, all I did was read through it to get myself reconnected to the work. During that time I started to get anxious and tense because omgthere’ssomuchtodo! And I remembered how much effort the damn thing took and now that I’ve waited its, admittedly, going to be harder to go back in and make edits because there’s another year’s worth of research that I have to go through. My antural instinct is normally to plow through projects. I give 100%: to work or to play but never to a happy medium of both..

I’m starting to recognize this is a problematic pattern for me. I alternate between weeks of insane productivity and weeks of utter and complete laziness. Because when I’m in a project, I’m in it. Until I get bored and take a break and a week later, I’m still taking a break.

And so just like with flossing, I’ve said no more. Baby steps from here on out, with this project and so many others. Next week, I’ll do 15 minutes per day. 20 the week after that. It isn’t much, and my ego is having a shitfest with it, but its more than I did before. And the little results (like realizing how badly the amazing citrus that is in season gets stuck in your teeth <—ew) do feel like wins and are totally worth celebrating. Plus I have something new + tangible everyday to share with the beau.

As I look at my life I see so many areas where this pattern has been toxic for me. I get paralyzed by all the things I need to do and then just stay stuck because there’s literally no way to do them all right now. Thankfully this year I have an amazing accountability buddy (shout-out to Danielle!) who’s not only there to push me but also to remind me that its ok to take a break. That if all I accomplished on Monday was re-reading my paper, then that’s a successful day. Because those 10 minutes are about more than just doing the work (or even building confidence). They’re reconnecting me and rebuilding my relationship to the project. And that’s what is going to get the damn thing done.

I don’t believe in the go-go-go push it mentality. I believe in working with ease. But sometimes ease = distraction for me and that’s not work either. So baby steps is, in essence, my way of finding a balance in how I can be productive with ease. On day s when I want to do more, and its coming from a genuine place of being inspired and enjoying the work rather than fear at it being too much, I will. But on days when I don’t want to do anything, at least I’ll have 10 minutes to say that I accomplished something worth celebrating. And most likely feel a helluva lot better about the work than before.

So here’s to trying something different and actually getting results,. And being held accountable. Since, you know, I just told ya’ll that I plan on getting this paper published. *gulp* W

What’s one big goal you want to accomplish this year and how can you break it down into #babysteps?


Kait xo

That crazy whirlwind called life…


Little Gunpowder Falls

As I’m sure you can guess from my lack of posts and the title, the past few weeks have been out of control!

Plans have been made, created, cemented, changed, altered, and fallen to pieces. My heart has broken wide open as I said farewell to more loved ones who moved away to follow their dreams. My hopes have been dashed and almost promptly rebuilt.

My arms grew weary of holding on and my heart was heavy with fear and uncertainty and doubt.

Then suddenly this week things began swinging upwards. Answers trickled in, solutions to keep me afloat and get me involved in causes and with organizations I care about and could see myself being a part of for years to come.

None of this is permanent. Its all temporary solutions to deeper problems. But the important part is, I’m being provided for in a million tiny ways…by friends opening their homes, a partner who supports me from near and far, and new streams of income that will cover my expenses and then some.

I feel like I should have known it would be something spectacular like this. I have a friend who moved 4 times during the summer and right when one stay was finishing she would find another place to housesit or sublet or whatever. But it was always dramatic and down-to-the-wire.

Seriously, we need to start a reality tv show! True Life: Hopkins Grads sounds like a good title, dontcha think??

Anywho, the good news is that its not time for me to say goodbye to Baltimore just yet. I get to keep on teaching Zumba and cuddling “my” baby <–Note: not actually mine but rather the little one I babysit a few times per week who I’m obsessed with because he’s a little piece of cuddly heaven and being part of the communities down here I finally feel I belong to.

Its exciting and scary. But then again, the next step always is.


Kait xo

Wednesday Revelations: We Create our Lives

2 August 2013

August, start:

  • fear
  • hopelessness
  • lack
  • terror
  • despair
  • anger
  • loneliness


August, end:

  • hopeful
  • joyous
  • abundant
  • laughter
  • light
  • friendship
  • dreams come true

And so it shall be.


1 September 2013

Hope: job opportunities

Pride: healthy, balanced decisions

Joy: birthdays + anniversaries

Closeness: revealing conversations, asking for what we need

Let’s do this September.



Kait xo

Wednesday Revelations: Ariel, Belle, and…Me?

Apparently my writing muse is back because I’ve been going it at it like a champ. #punintended

Seriously, my journal is filling up, so is the notebook I carry with me for ideas, quotes, and connections. And this is the third week in a row that I’ve posted more than once. I’m not 100% sure what is happening, but I love it. Writing, for me, is so therapeutic. Its, as Dan Shapiro said, how I navigate my world, especially my victories and struggles.

One particularly poignant struggle lately has been about figuring out where I fit in this crazy world. As I continue to work on getting back to myself, and battling deep loneliness + regret, I’ve started to see two common themes that may remind you of the very Disney princesses I reference in the title.

  1. I never quite feel like I belong. There’s always something that seems to hold me back from being part of the group, whether its my belief that veganism is not the answer for everyone, my unwillingness to give everything else up for my studies or acting or environmentalism, or my desire to take my work as a sex educator beyond doing Passion Parties and into the realms of cancer survivorship, LGBTQ rights, sexual violence prevention and response, and advocacy around of all these issues and more.
  2. I often feel there’s something bigger out there waiting to be realized by me. I can feel myself on the brink again here, teetering between fear and acceptance of something I can only call my destiny, of leaving my mark in this world by making it a better place through prevention and promotion, education and healing, promise, and hope.

To put it into Disney terms I want to be part of that world and I’ve got so much more than they’ve got planned. Yes, that just happened. No, I’m not sorry about it. And come on, you know I had to! 😉

As I look back on my life I can see these two themes running over and over again. I know this is common among entrepreneurs and healers and empaths, but, you guessed it, I don’t feel that I fit into those labels as well. I want to, so very desperately, but I don’t.

Which, of course, leaves just me.

Please don’t get me wrong…I have wonderful friends and readers and clients. My life is full of love. It took quite some time for me to be able to own that fact after my experiences in grad school, but I can now proudly say that I know its true. But, despite all of this, I often still find myself feeling on the outside, buddies with everyone but true friends with few. A recent Hopkins gathering reminded me of this and reopened old wounds I thought I had dealt with. Although I didn’t completely revert into a quieter, shadowier, more self-deprecating version of myself, I could feel her coming out of me. My inner child, who took such a beating over the course of the last year, wanted nothing more than to curl up into a corner and hide…from the potential for judgment and the reminder that I’m not like them and I blew my chance to be with them.

This all leads me to a new book I’m reading: Do the Work by Steven Pressfield. Or rather, a book I’m rereading because I sped through the first round and now I’m taking it one topic at a time, furiously taking notes and working on actually implementing the principles. Anyway, one of the principles talks about well-intentioned family and friends as being one of our greatest adversaries. Why? Because they see us, and want to keep us, consciously or not, as we are. Steven encourages us to let them go because new friends, ones who will be among our greatest aids, the people who we 100% need will show up.

Perhaps, this message is telling me to forget about trying to fit in. That the people who I constantly feel I have to prove myself to (clue: just about everyone except for a handful of dear loved ones!), are not the ones I should be spending time worrying about. That, upon “giving them up,” a new tribe will come into my life, accepting me as I am and encouraging me to be the best version of myself.

Because, at the end of the day, that’s who I want to surround myself with, is it not? Or is that just my ego talking, trying to protect me by keeping me separate? Its been hard for me to tell lately, as one of the more unfortunate results from this past year’s journey is that I no longer have a strong sense of whether my ego or my Inner Pilot Light is speaking…probably definitely because getting quiet and tapping into the latter became so much harder + scarier.

SO this revelation is far from complete…although it has inspired me to rewatch two of my absolute favorite Disney movies.

Have you ever struggled with feeling lonely and/or not fitting in?


Kait xo

Balancing Light and Dark

You may have noticed this blog has been somewhat lately with the exception of couponing posts.  Much of whats going on in my life I don’t feel totally comfortable sharing publicly, for a variety of reasons.  So while my journal has been filling up rapidly, I haven’t published much at all. Many times I want to, but I also am starting to see the benefit and necessity of keeping parts of my private life a bit more, well, private.

Anyway, the focus of today’s post is a different kind of struggle.  Those of you who’ve been around for a while know that I love teaching about sex.  Although I don’t talk about it extensively on here, it pops up from time to time because it is as integral a part of my character as couponing and cooking and dancing.  Lately though I’ve noticed resistance. You see when I started doing Passion Parties nearly 4 (!) years ago, it was just a way to earn money.  Then I discovered the sex-positive movement and fell in love, learning everything I could about sex and relationships and orgasms, especially as they relate to women.  My first job furthered my obsession by highlighting the huge unmet need that exists in healthcare when it comes to sexual health and, especially, pleasure.  So I came to Hopkins and…all of a sudden nearly everything I’m learning about sex is negative.  Pregnancy is something you are ‘at risk’ for, just like STIs.  Rape and trafficking are running rampant in my backyard, the military, colleges across the nation, and among close friends.  There’s “no money” in sex ed, either at the community level or within healthcare because it doesn’t provide a profit.  Training is often met with resistance and so on. 

This is the background against which my transformation from the sexpert/sex toy lady into sex educator, speaker, and consultant took place.  Suddenly I find myself wanting to qualify statements about pleasure to recognize that some of my clients undoubtedly have experienced the dark sides of sex.  I feel pangs of guilt here and there that I’ve been so focused on the fun and the pleasure and the passion that I did not acknowledge these other aspects.

In other words, I’m struggling to find the balance between ‘sex is fun and great and healing’ and ‘sex causes so much pain and suffering and destruction.’

Along with all of these mixed emotions is another: incredible gratitude.  Because as more and more of my friends disclose their negative experiences to me, my heart at once breaks and fills up – for their suffering, for my safety (luck?), and for their willingness to share.  Its a beautiful moment when you go that deep with someone.  Trusting another to hold your heart and soul with compassion and without judgment is a huge risk.  You make yourself vulnerable in ways that are equal parts terrifying and gratifying.  But sharing that takes relationships to a whole new level, it lets you see and understand and care in all new ways.

This greater awareness, on a personal and academic level has  changed the way I think, write, and talk about sex.  In some ways its a blessing.  In others it has made my work extremely difficult, paralyzing me at times as I struggle to answer the question: on which side do I want to work? 

Of course this question speaks to something larger: what do I even want to do?  I know my strengths–public speaking/teaching/performing, writing, creating content and curricula.  I know the macro-level movement I want to be a part of–decreasing sex negativity and shame.  I know how I want to feel in my work – present, engaged, and influential.  I’m less confident, however, about how I want to apply those strengths and, of course, the practical side of me worries about the sustainability of such strengths.  Which makes me sad given the number of mentors in my life who coach and teach and present and write… 

I’ve started to wonder if maybe my purpose is to balance the light and dark aspects of sex. I’m still exploring exactly what this means for me.  Rather than be paralyzed while trying to ‘figure it out,’ though, I’ve begun to incorporate both sides into my current work, adding qualifying words to my newsletter (e.g. ‘consensual sex’ instead of just ‘sex’), sharing posts related both sexual pleasure and rape culture, healthy relationships and body shaming on my social media pages, and working with survivors and policy-makers. In the meantime, I know there will be more moments like the one that inspired this post, moments when I stare at a blank screen, angry with the world and wondering how I can talk about orgasms when approximately 30 individuals were assaulted in the hour it took me to write and edit this.

To me, being sex positive isn’t about ignoring all the bad shit that comes along with sex.  Instead, its about really acknowledging all of the negative while also recognizing that sex itself is not bad. In fact, sex can still be beautiful despite the way so many use it as a weapon, a tool for violence, manipulation, and control. We so often assign external ‘goodness’ or ‘badness’ to things that we forget most of them are totally neutral and value can vary greatly with context. The brand of sex positivity I want to promote encompasses all of this and more – a true balancing act.  Here’s to hoping I find my way there sooner rather than later.


Kait xo





Thoughts on Endings

My brain is a mess of bittersweet, pride and exhaustion  After what I can say was most intense year of my life, I’m done.  The past week has been a whirlwind of celebrations, answering “What’s next,” and emotions ranging from joy to jealousy.  I’m at once so exuberant to have made it through and devastated that I’m starting yet another round of goodbyes and until next times.

The thing they don’t tell you about this program is how much the end hurts.  Yes the ability to breathe, catch up on blogs, enjoy the sunshine, and just be is wonderful.  But underneath it all is an extreme sense of loss.  I haven’t broken down yet but I feel it coming on and I’m wondering who will incite it.  I said my first farewell “until next time” yesterday, to someone I’ve known but a few months but who has forever changed me.  And I’m sad to see her go and hopeful our paths will cross again and believing they will if it is meant to be.

People come into our lives for so many different reasons.  Some stay, some go, all impact us for better or worse.

The fact is, this program is like no other.  What we’ve seen and experienced…its impossible to understand from the outside.  The beau has confirmed this, and so have countless other partners and parents and friends and loved ones who have been around for the full year, who have seen the devastation and the exhilaration but who could not fully empathize with it.

As we prepare for a new class to enter, I’ve been thinking a lot about do’s and don’ts.  Of advice I would give and whether it would mean anything.  We’re told to start the work early and make the most of every moment.  But we aren’t told to hold these new friends, our battle buddies, close because in a few short months we’ll scatter to all parts of the world itself.  And though technology makes it easy to stay in touch nothing will be the same as the engulfing hugs, the late night talks, the city wanderings, the progressive dinners & potlucks, the continual discovery of something new and surprising.

Yet it is these very heartbreaking reasons that undoubtedly fueled the pure joy we experienced at commencement when as a class we stood up and roared, letting the applause and the gratitude and the pride fill us up and tumble out our open mouths and raised arms.  It was these that encouraged us to cheer and hoot and holler for nearly 200 of our classmates as they walked across the commencement stage.  It was these that drove us to make every moment count during the after parties.  Differences were put aside, hurts were forgotten and for one day, at least, we simply enjoyed.

For some, this ending has left us feeling a bit lost and disconnected, unsure where to go from here.  For others it has opened opportunities they never dreamed would be come a reality.  Many of us are trying to find the balance between feeling happy for friends and jealous that it is not our turn; finding grace in moments of doubt and insecurity without raining on others’ parades.

Yet at the end of it all, what we’ll take away, are the memories and the changes and growth we’ve undergone thanks largely to the people around us.  And at reunions and in random texts and group facebook messages we’ll periodically reminisce about the “good old days [that] weren’t always good.”  We’ll whisper about “that time” and “remember when you taught me x” and let the late nights and stress be a little less important.

At the end of the day I don’t regret this decision.  I have regrets from this year, no doubt, but I would not have stayed stuck in my former role if given the choice to go back and do it all again.  So as this year has officially come to a close, I’m focusing on the now and the memories.  On returning to a state of gratitude for everything that it has given me rather than that which it took away.  On finding compassion for myself and the fact that despite working and blogging and cooking and living and a new diagnosis and the subsequent biweekly treatment…I got through it.  I didn’t land on top, a fact which I’m admittedly still struggling with, but I didn’t give up either; rather, I did for a bit but found the strength to not just carry on but seek the help I needed, both medically and from friends. 

And it is that message I can pass along to the next cohort: to get through, stay true to yourself, and realize that all you can do is your best, no one else’s.  It’s a lesson I’m still trying to incorporate with the help of understanding friends and well-timed blog posts.  And it’s the most important lesson, I believe, I was meant to learn this year.

MPH Class of 2013…it truly has been transformative. 


Reproduced with permission from Kunal Narang.

Yoga/beauty/new beginnings,

Kait xo



In this my 24th year I commit to…

giving it my all.
developing my daily meditation practice.
being committed to myself 100% of the time, regardless of what that 100% means.
earning my MPH with pride and success.
being loved + giving love.
opening myself up
growth. spirit. love. change. amaze.

This post isn’t meant to be a scorecard.

In fact, its just the opposite: an honoring of the past 365 days of growth, hardship, triumph, fear, and joy.

I thought 23 was hard… my body betrayed me and left me breathless, pained, and confused.

Yet I found the light.  I said yes to myself, I cleansed, and I rose out of the ashes.

24 began full of promise.  Hopkins, Baltimore, newness.

One final hurrah with my best friends followed by two glorious months of sleeping, working out, cooking, travelling, and savouring every moment I had with the ones I loved.

I moved, the power went out, classes started, everything changed.  Having anything remotely close to a regular schedule just didn’t happen, not with 8 week terms during which time you spent 2 weeks basically living at school doing for mid-terms and finals.  As I write this I realize that part of the reason this year challenged me so was this very lack of a steady schedule.  Everytime I started to feel comfortable, everything changed.

Tangent: Thank the Universe that’s almost over.  As much as I am terrified for what’s next, I am looking forward to life settling down a bit.  Which, of course, is ironic since I despise the word settle and all it connotes.

24 ended up being just as difficult as 23 but in a completely different manner.  My injuries weren’t physical this year, although my symptoms certainly manifested themselves that way.  Instead, I dealt with an uprising of my Gremlins who had been silenced for so long.  <–Think of yourself on Easter when you can have that thing you’ve been denying yourself.  I did so much self-work during my 23rd year that I started 24 feeling grounded and sure and on top of the world.

As I look ahead to 25, I can’t say quite the same.  I can’t say I’m totally ungrounded as the last few weeks have seen me coming back into myself and living with so much more self-awareness than I have in a long time.  But there are so many questions and my road to recovery is still in its early stages and I’m dealing with the guilt over hiding my truth for so much of this year.  More often than not, I didn’t let myself feel…good, bad, or indifferent.  Instead I isolated and ignored and numbed.

What, then, is my overarching theme for 25?  Hope + trust.

Both are emotions I’ve started to feel again after months of experiencing the exact opposite.  As graduation comes closer, the bank account balance declines, and the question marks stack up, I’ll need these two emotional heroes to buoy me and guide me through.

Selfishly, I can’t help but hope that this year will be a bit easier physically.  But I’m excited as it brings with it the newness of a graduate degree, a new career, and a new way of defining myself as a professional.  I’ve no clue what’s next but I’ve got the love and support of people near and far and the confidence that I will make it through.


Kait xo

And you can’t hold me down…


The past ten days have been transformative.

In many ways, I’ve come full circle, right back to sobbing to Defying Gravity while letting emotions fill me up, topple over, bring me down, and lift me up again.

I found me again. I hadn’t even realized I had lost myself until kerplunk, kerpleuy…I’m sitting in a hot bed of emotion realizing all I let slide, disappear, disintegrate over the past year. Seeing how “corporate” I’ve become in an attempt to convince myself that I did belong.

The week before Easter I found myself holed up in the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health participating in the most intense training I’ve done in a while. A training that is indescribable, but I’ll do my best.

Imagine the most intense therapy session (or heart-to-heart for those who’ve never sat on ‘the couch’) you’ve ever had. Now multiply that by eight hours. And do it three days in a row.

That was the Sexual Attitude Reassessment (SAR). Three days of being gently and lovingly pushed to feel into our bodies, to confront our own biases and demons, and to question and push everything we thought we knew about sex and sexuality. On one hand it was three days of hell. There wasn’t anything pretty about it. There were tears and fear and rage and confusion and disgust. There was also truth and light and freedom and arousal and community. On the other hand those three days reminded me of who am I, of the community I’m a part of, and of the values I hold most dear.

I returned to Baltimore on a high. At times, I was inappropriate (three days of absolutely NO filter is hard to come down from). But 100% of the time I was me.

I am valuable. I am enough.

For those who’ve been following along, you know this year has been a tough one. And the SAR opened my eyes to the fact that I shoved so much of my me-ness under the covers. Because I wasn’t at the right place for sex ed. Because I was told repeatedly that my interests weren’t public health issues. Because classmates shot me dirty or annoyed looks when I said something typically Kait-like or spoke too loudly or made too big of an entrance. Because Hopkins never ceases to remind you that you are among the best of the best…and how are you going to prove it? (Answer…publish and go abroad and put your name on shit)

So I dimmed my light, my Kait-ness. I questioned saying and doing and writing things that 12 months ago I wouldn’t have hesitated to do. Some would call this growth or maturation. (The PC part of me wants to write…’in some ways it was growth’) But if that’s what it is, then I want none of it. I want to have safe spaces to talk about anything and everything, from the controversial to the kind of gross to the plain sexy. I want to say the word vulva. loudly. on TV. (Side note: even the ‘Cunt’ skit from Vagina Monologues was cut ridiculously short…) And you know what, I want to make an entrance dammit!

Because that is me. I’m full of life and spirit and energy and passion and sometimes I burn the candle at both ends. But I shine brightly, and often Jon a way that differs greatly from the “typical” Hopkins student. I have no publications and quite frankly could give a rat’s ass about research (beyond reading it to inform my work and interests). I have practically no interest in working in developing countries and I don’t want to focus only on marginalized populations in the US. I want to be on the ground DOING public health…the one being analyzed and monitored and evaluated. I want to work with people, not numbers (ever).

Even now I’m terrified to hit publish. I’m worried others will think this is a judgment of them when in reality it is an expression of my lived experience over the last year. And I’m worried too that judgment will rain down on me for not being Hopkins-y enough…for not fitting the mold and for not being compassionate enough or worldly enough.

But I’m going to…because these past ten days have reminded me that I have nothing to prove and nothing to be ashamed of. In the span of a year, I have managed to grow from a girl who likes to talk about sex and sell sex toys and kind of knows her direction in life into a full-fledged sex educator who gets paid consulting gigs, has a weekly column, and is listed among sex ed idols superstars like Megan Andelloux, Tristan Taormino, and Erika Lust. I’ve gained the respect of others. More importantly, in the past few weeks I’ve started to feel proud of myself for the first time in far too long.

This is who I am. Proud sex geek and sex educator and yes, sex toy lady. I am me and I can’t be anyone else. And I’m meant to shine brightly and that’s what I intend to do for the rest of the year and beyond. Because I”m happiest being myself…and looking back, my best times at Hopkins have been when I wasn’t questioning or doubting. I was just being 100% unapologetically, me.

So hello again world. My name is Kait. I like to write, learn, and talk about sex and vulvas and penises and orgasm. I’m pretty damn good at doing so too. So good in fact, that I’m building a career out of doing it! I have a thriving Passion Parties business and I teach Zumba for my body and my soul. Expect me to be late for things but be proud when I’m not. Know that you’ll always have great food when you’re with me because I rock at picking out restaurants and I’m a great cook too. I’m also the perfect size for most hugs since more likely than not you’ll be able to rest your chin right on my head. In other words I’m 100% unique, I defy gravity, and, you know what, I kind of rock.


Kait xo

Let the end begin…

Congrats to Debbie T for winning the Qi’a giveaway!  I’ve contacted you for your mailing address.

Georgia sunrise

Georgia sunrise

Today is a terrifying, exciting day.

Today marks the start of fourth term.  This is it.  Eight weeks until I graduate.  And then its on to the next big adventure.

Whatever that may be.

So here it goes…the beginning of the end.  Of a brutal, exhausting, enlightening, eye-opening, life-changing year.

Now if only I knew what those changes were going to be…


Kait xo