New graphic courtesy of Cam DenUyl! Thanks, Cam!

AND the site’s got a new layout. Working on adding a comment section and doing some behind-the-scenes analytics work as well (I literally have no idea what I’m doing so every little thing takes at least an hour. Friends who know how to code? You out there?)

Send me a message and let me know what you think, like WeStayAwake on facebook, or just hit up the ask box with any questions you’ve got. 


Thought Catalog: “The 20-Something-Year-Old Virgin”


I am so so so proud of her, not only for how well-written and mature she proves herself to be, but also because it takes so much for someone to come out and proclaim their virginity. Read her story below. Link to the article after the jump. 


Here’s a brief recap of my sexual history using cliché baseball analogies: Went to first base at age 13. Went to second at 15. Rounded third at 16. Scored at home… never. I’ve led off quite a few times, but never quite made it past the catcher. It’s a bit of an anomaly that I’ve never managed to touch home plate, but sure enough my “runs scored” count for the last 20-something seasons has remained a solid zero. And I’m cool with it. My batting average is still pretty damn high.

I’ve never gone more than a month or two without some sort of hookup, and up until my self-implemented sabbatical from boyfriends this year, I had never been single for more than a four month stretch since age 13. So, you may wonder how the hell I am still the owner of the rare, platinum level V-card? Or more importantly, why? Let us explore.

First, I would like to shed some light on the 13 years of nuns and plaid and abstinence talks I endured during grade school and high school. Catholic school will actually make you believe that the devil will crawl up your vagina and infect the rest of your body with horrid disease and immorality if you allow the genitalia of another human being anywhere near your own before exchanging vows. Hell, I’ve got friends that were afraid to use tampons for fear they would turn into demoralized sluts if they accidentally popped their own cherries. A painful biking accident at age eight involving a pothole and awkward positioning rid me of this worry — I had already bled my maiden voyage through girls’ size 6-8 “Wednesday” undies back in 2000. I went through high school with a flock of 200 other virgins (okay, it was probably more like 180… we had to have had a few Mary Magdalenes) never thinking my lack of penetration was an oddity. At no point did I declare I was saving myself for marriage, but do you really have to when you can quote the Catechism word for word regarding procreation?

Now, you probably think once I got to college I was tempted with an entirely new society marked by blackout hookups and casual relationships like most other college freshman. Good guess, but ‘twas not in the cards for me. I found myself in a spartanic community distinguished by androgynous grey uniforms, rigid open-door room policies, and a 200-page manual of everything I was allowed/ not allowed to do (sex was explicitly prohibited). Welcome to the United States Military Academy, ladies and gents, where we boast an impressive 86% to 14% ratio of dudes to chicks. You would think this would make it easy for a girl to get a little action, but between the ultra-competitive environment and the distinct lack of alcohol, everyone’s libido was pretty platonic. There was one night the stars aligned: my boyfriend’s roommate was away, I got my hands on some contraband Jack, and I managed to sneak into his room after taps (curfew) without getting caught. We thought we were going to hit a homer that night, but got caught up at third when we realized neither of us had a condom. Bummer, dude.

Nowadays I’m in REAL college and I get drunk and I go to parties and I make out with strangers and I dance pelvis to pelvis in four inch stilettos until my legs are sore, but guess what? I still don’t have sex. It’s not that I’m standing on some moral high ground as proud ruler of Blue Balland… I just haven’t found anyone I want to pursue that kind of intimacy with.

I think I’m just too into myself right now. I’m exploring my ambitions, my social presence, my independence, and my capacity to maintain long distance relationships. Further exploring my sexuality is an adventure I just haven’t devoted much time to recently. The time will come when I am indeed ready to embrace the facet of my persona with arms wide open (legs too, I suppose). But for now I’m content living DFMO (dance floor make out) to DFMO and listening to friends recount their thrilling sex lives while we drunk-eat carrots and hummus in the pre-dawn hours. I’m not too worried about being past the teenage years and never having “done the dirty.” It’ll happen when I’m ready. And hell, even if it doesn’t happen in the near future, I’ve still got a good 19ish years before they make a movie about me starring Steve Carrell

Read more at 

re: insecurity and working what you’ve got, grrrlll

You’re beyond gorgeous. Hope you know that. But when/if you ever do feel insecure, how do you handle it?


Oh god, of course I feel insecure. I don’t know any girl who looks in the mirror every day completely thrilled with her appearance. Which is sad, because I know more girls than I can count whom are flawless. 

My biggest source of insecurity is my body. Since I work at a gym, people that belong on magazine covers constantly surround me. I fight every hour to remind myself that these are people who have devoted their lives to physical fitness—it is their job to maintain and teach a prescribed regimen of physicality beyond the reach of the average person. And since I have an aversion to exercising (although I do it anyway), I resent those with hard bodies even more.

I wrote something similar to this before, two summers ago. I found myself ashamed of my body, but struggled with that shame because, like so many women, it was unfounded in reality. Sure, I could’ve worked out more. Eaten healthier. Taken the stairs instead of the elevator, drank more water and less Diet Coke. There’s always room for improvement. But I was uncomfortable in my own skin to the point of fearing situations that would leave me exposed. Thinking back to that saddens me—I should never fear my own body. I shouldn’t be embarrassed of it. That’s so much easier said than done.

Today, I’m still not totally comfortable with my curves. I wish my boobs were bigger, my butt smaller, my hips less wide and my stomach flatter. I force myself to work out on a semi-daily basis (provided the time), but also force positive examination of the curves that I can’t completely control. When I pull on a pair of jeans that hugs my hips, I push away thoughts of inadequacy when compared to the trainers I see so often, or the models and actresses plastered across magazines and television, and think instead of real women with real bodies that I can relate to. Even then, I’m forgetting something important in the thought surrounding physical appearance—what I have is totally, completely mine. Comparing my supposed flaws to the perfection that I see in, say, Kate Upton, is fruitless. I am a unit entirely mine own, made up of curves too little or too big that, despite their flaws, are what I’ve got. Like it or not (and I really do need to learn to like it), this is my body and resenting its perceived imperfections gets me nowhere but a pointless cycle of self-hate and guilt 

Letting go of all of that baggage isn’t easy. It takes time and thought and learning to love yourself without consequence. It needs to be fueled by people who appreciate you for who you are, and who accept your flaws as a part of your overall beauty, and also by a healthy appetite for constant self-improvement and self-confidence. 

And if all of that doesn’t work, I watch this until I feel better.

And I’m sorry for excluding males in this post. It’s hard for me to assume the role of knowing how a man feels when he looks in the mirror. I can’t give you that sort of perspective. If you’re a male, and you can relate to the question, feel free to send me a response and I’ll post it here. 


Last night, I did some googling to find my old AP Gov teacher’s email address. She moved right after I graduated and I hadn’t told her how influential her class (and she herself) had ended up being in my life.

While writing the email, I began to recall the person I was in high school. For those of you who exclusively know me from this university, you’ll be shocked to learn that in high school, I considered myself a staunch conservative. I campaigned for signatures for Pete Hoekstra’s congressional campaign after classes. I did projects on the Republican Party whip, complete with editorialization (shocker). I argued that those who were old enough to vote, and were doing so for Obama (in ‘08), were merely doing so because their favorite celebrities endorsed him.

I graduated only having gotten slightly tipsy once (with disastrous results— that was the night I realized I was allergic to spiced rum). I was the poster child for conservative overachievement, if you took out my light-to-moderate swearing and penchant for dirty jokes (these were the first few years of “That’s what she said”). I attended youth group, taught Sunday School, participated in mock trial, was Vice President of the school, and Copy Editor for the yearbook. Somebody probably should’ve beat me up, or at  least told me to loosen up a little. 

Three years have passed since graduation now. With every year, I find myself changing more. I’ve had a few drinks since then. I met new people— people who grew up with different religions and cultures than mine and who taught me more about life than they’ll ever know. I stopped going to church to focus on finding my own definition of spirituality, and I stand firmly behind my President for re-election (I deal with my stint on the other side by reasoning that Hillary Clinton was the president of her university’s chapter of College Republicans before coming to terms with her disillusion on the party’s platforms). I can sometimes have the mouth of a sailor (…more often than not), but I’ve cleaned up the dirty mind a bit. I like to think I’ve matured. 

These days, I don’t worry about who I am anymore. I’ve got a support system behind me that’s made up of the most amazing people. I’ve got a best friend who called me halfway across the world in the mountains of India just to wish me a “Happy Birthday”, much to the frustration and panic of the country’s officials (satellite phones are used as terrorist’s form of communication there. Jake didn’t realize that when he dialed me up from somewhere in the Himalayas). I met the most amazing woman I think I’ll ever have the pleasure of knowing when she was placed as my roommate second semester last year. Just being around her makes me a better person— she is patient, and kind, and her heart’s as big as Texas. She’s going to do great things, whether it be three months from now or in ten years. And she makes the meanest apple pie you’ll ever taste. 

The guys who let me into their lives as a surrogate little sister freshman year are still there for me (they sometimes even cook for me) and if I ever need to just relax and watch a game or get a real hug, I know all I need to do is make a phone call. Even those I lived closely with last year (especially, I suppose) have proven to be more important in my life than I could’ve ever guessed. And the girls who took me in this summer (some of whom I’m lucky enough to be living with next year) are some of the best kind of people you will ever meet— Sara once gave me the shirt off of her back. In the middle of Noodles and Company. I get to love and be loved by these people. Are you beginning to realize just how lucky I am?

This somehow turned into a love letter to the people in my life these past three years, which is okay, even if it was intended to be something different. I’ve been struck by how incredibly fortunate I am for the past few weeks to be surrounded by the people who make me happier than I could’ve ever hoped for. They make me, me. They’ve (mostly) accepted me through all of the changes that I’ve made since September 2010 both physically (SERIOUSLY WHY DIDN’T ANYONE STOP ME WITH THAT BLONDE STREAK), emotionally, politically, spiritually and more. Knowing that I can call on 75% of my address book to vent, share good news, or just crash on a couch is special, dammit. I don’t deserve you guys. 

Okay. It’s time to end this because I keep thinking of people I have to mention (Jilly Bean, Aniket and Ky, my Vie family, Anna (I don’t tell you thank you enough for letting me bitch to you in Italian on a regular basis), and so much more.) AND because I’ve used enough clichés and generalized “amazing’s” to last me at least three weeks. If you don’t know me terribly well, or if you don’t know me at all, I realize I may have alienated you in this post. Even if you can’t directly relate, I hope you thought of at least one person while I ranted on and on about how lucky I am to have mine. It might not be a bad idea to let them know how grateful you are, too. 

Now. Someone come and give me a hug. 

PS: Obligatory nod to the Tigers for sweeping the Yankees. World Series what? Detroit, you deserve this. 

Also if you don’t get a laugh out of all of the tiger verb puns that sports journalists are taking advantage of’re missing out. 



Try A Little Tenderness (Live Cover) // Florence + The Machine, MTV Unplugged

I paused Bon Iver for this. So you know it’s good. 

re: enemies and character

Erin, there’s a saying “If you have no enemies, you have no character.” Don’t let people cause you to hesitate to write things, or, worse, censor yourself to stop the flow of vitriol. Turn off Anon and 90% of it will go away from the start. You’re an amazing writer, and I don’t think that your post made you sound like a tiny douche, let alone a giant one. Saying “do what you want, until your idea of what’s right collides with mine and restricts me” doesn’t make you a douche. It makes you RIGHT.

Learning to develop a tougher skin. 

Thanks, Matt. 

losing yourself

It happens when you’re not careful. Little parts of you start to wind up at the bottom of the laundry basket, hidden between the layers of mismatched socks that never found partners after last winter (I can guess that half of them are lodged somewhere underneath the curve of your mattress). When you’re washing your hair at night, letting the conditioner soak its way into you the roots of your over-processed strands, you can feel the pieces coil against your slick fingers, dead hair weaving its way off of your body. You stamp yourself on the leaves that crunch underneath your heavy sole, in the warmth your breath provides on the window of the bus, between the pages of the books you pick up and put down between classes, work, dates, sleep. If you’re not careful, you wind up with nothing left of yourself at all. 


When the people you love are afraid that you’re losing yourself, they’ll see it in everything you do. Your short breath up a flight of stairs is cause for worry, the passive gaze you cast is nothing short of damnation, a night out is escape and a text message is a declaration. You can choose to see them too, or refute every proposed case and risk lending further evidence- “you’re in denial”- or be labeled as apathetic. I’m not yet sure which is worst. 


But you’ve got to lose yourself. Parts of you have to fall off, left behind your constantly evolving figure— you are a tree, a river, any other nature-based metaphor you can come up with that is in a never-ending form of change (poetry was never my strong suit). You’ve gotta lose your leaves to grow something new. You lose yourself everywhere, in everything, in people (oh, god, in the people, forever in the people) and then you find yourself again. You find a piece someone else dropped on the ground outside of class and, selfish you, you keep it for your own. We take the parts of others and use those to make us whole. 


You won’t usually feel whole. You’ll find a part that you’re trying so hard to push into the crook of your heart that just won’t fill the space you’ve left there. Your compensation for the pieces left in the spines of novels is too different— the texture is all wrong. The patches that others have sewn on in the face of your own indifference are fraying and coming undone (change can only be done by you alone) and, in some areas, have worn raw the areas that are trapped underneath. 


What kind of romantic bullshit is that, right? Lose yourself to find the person you’re meant to be. It’s like some bad motivational speaker’s underlying theme while he speaks about coming out of rehab. I hate that I can be so clichéd. But whatever. I lose myself every day. Hell, I lost myself the first day I met you, the last time I cried, when I cut that guy off to get in the door first. Tonight, I just want to focus on what will make me whole again. 

re: ignorance and prejudice

I received this question a while back and I haven’t been in the right frame of mind to answer it until this moment. A whole load of shit has piled up that has led me to believe that, collectively, people kinda suck. So now it’s time to rant about society. 

The question is this: Do you think ignorance is bliss? You seem like you constantly battle to get rid of your own ignorance, but can you blame someone else for choosing it?


I’m gonna address this on a few levels. 

First, the few things that happened this week that have led me to doubt my faith in humanity:

-An article was written by University of Michigan senior Jeffrey MacMahon, in which he declared all females on campus to be “princesses” who need to be “protected” by the men of umich. He didn’t stop there, though. He proclaimed that we didn’t need to dress provocatively and sleep with men (yes, ignore heteronormativity here) in order to get someone to like us. We’re perfect they way we are—which, I guess, in his opinion, is a chaste and honest woman looking for a big, strong man to care for her in all of her delicate vulnerability. 

-Watching 60 Minutes with my family while home for fall break, a segment on Syria prompted discussion among my family members. One of the four present proclaimed that she— okay, I narrowed it by ONE. You all knew it wasn’t my dad anyway. She said that she didn’t want to hear about all of the terrible things going on across the world. She “wanted to be happy” instead. 

-A friend of a friend came out to her mother, and, while the mother came around eventually, she still claims that she will “pray for her [daughter]” to find a man. 

– Five unresolved arguments with my best friend about the misogyny in Newsroom (Aaron Sorkin’s this time) that led to often-yelled “JUST WATCH IT WITHOUT THINKING LIKE  MAN“‘s. 

-One long unresolved argument with my parents that ends, every time, in “you just don’t get it.”

All of these things piled up this week. My patience is wearing thin. So for the next few days, if you: say something I find asinine and close-minded, if you disagree with me fundamentally on an issue that I feel strongly about, or if I find you to be nearing hopelessness in toleration and ideas of equality, you will be referred directly to this page. 

Here’s how I feel: 

“Ignorance is bliss” is easy. It’s simplicity and lack of thought and one-dimensional and that is fine. If you wish to remain in the dark about wars that are plaguing your fellow human beings, I am not someone who can berate you for your chosen path. I am no better than you, I don’t know your reality, I can’t force opinions on to you or even make you listen to my own. If you truly think that your existence is bettered by your lack of knowledge, then who the hell am I to force you to see any differently? As an aspiring journalist, a friend, a blogger, a daughter, a sister, all I can do is expose you briefly to issues I think deserve attention. It is your albatross to carry from there. 

But (and this is a big but), the moment that your ignorance begins to affect those around you negatively is the moment that I will blame you for your lack of knowledge. If your views bring hate to a group of people, you will hear from me. If you judge others based on your own narrow worldview, I will not hesitate to start attempting to change your mind. I will write, or yell, or sit you down for a nice, long chat until you see that your ignorance has become something larger, and is now prejudice due to lack of (and unwillingness to receive) information. 

Jeffrey MacMahon exhibited this in his purportedly well-intentioned article that instead was full of disrespect to women and sexist, traditional views of masculine and feminine roles in relationships. His article even hit Jezebel (for those who don’t know, is a widely-read feminist EZine), and in the comment section, I found a particularly wise set of words: “benevolent sexism is still sexism” Jeffrey may have been writing this to encourage the men of campus to treat women with more respect, he may have been thinking the whole time that he was doing us all a favor by sticking up for us like he did. Instead, he managed to offend a great portion of the campus and proved to many that ignorance regarding feminism and respect for women still has much to hope for. His privilege as a male, his inability to see past that viewpoint, made him prejudiced to 50% of this campus as frail creatures who need a man to survive a whole and complete existence. And for that, I do blame him.  

For those of you who still have no idea what’s going on in Syria, for those who still have no knowledge of the Arab Spring: you can stay trapped in a glass ball your whole life but you will eventually run out of room to grow. You’ll remain one-dimensional in your fear of knowledge (and, from there, commitment) and you will never truly know empathy without aching to know and understand the pain of others. Your back, weak from a lack of practice, will break at the lightest straw. You will sleep well at night, not plagued by thoughts of those suffering so far away, or right across the street, but you will not find additional solace there. Ignorance may be bliss, but it is also flat.


Therefore, you may think what you wish. You may flip your TV from Bravo to TLC, skipping all news channels in between. You may believe that a woman’s purpose is in the home, to care for her family while her husband provides and protects her and his. But the moment that those thoughts become actions that disturb the peace of another individual’s lifestyle, the respect that you give collectively or individually, or the hate that you exhibit as a result of your ignorance is the moment I blame you, your thoughts, AND your actions. Ignorance breeds prejudice, breeds hate. I have no room for hate in my life. 

There are a million other things about which you can decide to be ignorant. I am not here to judge you for those things, or even to disagree with you on all of them. I may be opinionated (only slightly….) but I am also reasonable (for the most part). Don’t fear that I sit here, typing on my high horse, looking down among you all and assuming that I am so well-learned and without any ignorance at all. If you are getting that, I encourage you to read again, or to think harder at the underlying current I’m getting at here. I’m still ignorant of so, so much, and I do admit that there is much that I still struggle with exposure because not knowing would be so much easier. But I try to fight that, along with the prejudice and hate that come after it, rather than get swallowed in my own small reality. 

I would encourage you to do the same. 



re: busted.

I was called out for sounding like a douche (which, to be completely honest, I expected), so at 8:30 am, I took down the post that went live at 2 am last night. Apparently, that was enough time for a handful of people to see it, and since then, I’ve gotten questions about why it wasn’t back up. Someone straight up called me out, sending this to my ask box:

I like this Erin: “Date a girl who cares..”, more than the Erin who posted the response to Jeffrey’s viewpoint. I almost felt like your response to the viewpoint was a personal attack. But I’m willing to bet that your response was written by an Erin who is perhaps more bitter than the Erin who wrote “Date a girl who cares..” Either way, I cannot seem to find this response on your blog, leading me to believe that you’ve removed it. Good writers stay true. Put it back up and embrace your opinion. 


Well, Anon, I agree. I like that Erin more, too. But I’ve got buttons that push easily (as most of the people who are close to me know well) and after a week of having to explain my feelings toward that article, I did feel bitter. Maybe I was too harsh. Maybe I did come across as a douche. So I pulled it. 


And now, thanks to you, it’s reposted below. If I get more shit for this, I’m blaming you. 

Later tonight, I’ll be posting something more along the lines of “You Should Date a Humanitarian” to even out the social rant with a little metaphorical prose. (<—-THAT is douchebaggery guys! That sentence! How am I not called out for this shit more often?!)

Edit: it was “giant douche” guys. Not douche. Giant douche. Just wanted to make sure I got that right.