What do you want to be when you grow up? That age-old question that, frankly, took me until my mid-thirties to figure out for real, has always played a starring role in “you were so cute when you were little!” stories in my household. Apparently 4 year old JoEllen was prone to telling adults who asked what she wanted to be when she grew up that she was going to be “Wumba Woman!” What can I say? I aimed high.
In reality though, I struggled to find the answer. I had a whole (small) career in theatre in my twenties that I eventually walked away from after years of never really feeling like I had my footing, like I was good enough, of always feeling like I was trying to prove that I deserved to be there. I spent the next couple of years bumming around teaching yoga (because it was the mid 2000s and that was what basic girls did then) and the whole time I was torn on what came next. I wanted to be teaching people but kind of hated the whole yoga scene. Also, I wasn’t very good at it. It was another place where I constantly felt like I needed to prove that I deserved to be there, that I was good enough while I never really believed it myself.
Then in 2011 a bunch of things happened all at once, including the death of my father. That was when I decided, no more settling. No more living a life that was anything less than exactly what I wanted. A year later I started writing about sex online and everything clicked. After a lifetime of feeling like I needed to prove that I deserved to be in spaces, I found the space that welcomed me without question. After years of everything being a constant struggle, I found the thing that just worked. This work has taught me that I do have a voice and that it matters. That I can use my work to help people learn, understand, and not spend their lives feeling like their aren’t good enough. This work let me become who I was meant to be.
Okay, that was a touch dramatic but I love my work, it has made countless dreams come true for me, and this week another dream was added to the list when SheVibe unveiled their May cover featuring me as Wonder Woman:
I love this cover so much I had to create a bulleted list of high points just to keep this post from becoming gargantuan.
I’m so honored that SheVibe chose to focus on my work with The Monster Under The Bed. Exploring sex and depression for these last couple of years has been the most rewarding work I’ve ever done and to see it celebrated and promoted (they even linked to my Patreon! Btw, do you know about my Patreon?) in this way is wonderful.
- May is Mental Health Awareness Month, what better time to be a mental health superhero?!
- I love SheVibe so much and am just so thrilled to be on their cover!
- This July marks the 5 year anniversary of the launch of my site, I can think of no more awesome representation of how far these last 5 years have taken me!
- There’s an actual monster under a bed! I got a bit choked up when I saw that. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, SheVibe’s Alex Kotkin draws the coolest stuff!
- There’s a Doxy Wand on there!
- I GET TO BE WONDER WOMAN!!!
So, thank you so much to SheVibe for the beautiful cover, and for their ongoing support, and to all of you for supporting me and my work for these last 5 years. I am continually amazed by and grateful for the folks who show up to read, share, and respond to my work. It means the world to me.
And to little, tiny JoEllen rocking her Wonder Woman bathing suit in 1983: We made it!