What Gets Remembered. Forever.

I’m not surprised that Christine Blasey Ford can’t remember how she got home or other seemingly simple details after being attacked in an upstairs bedroom as a teenager in the early 1980s.

Thirty-six years ago I was sexually assaulted while walking (with crutches) from a parking lot to a bar in Brookfield, Ct. It was a familiar bar that I’d been to several times over a couple of years. Ask me the name of the bar. I can’t tell you. I don’t remember the dance floor, or where the restrooms were.  I’ve tried but don’t remember any of those things.

But ask me about the sickening smirk on the face of my assaulter; the smell of smoke in his long dark wavy hair. Ask me about his grip on my neck then his hand pressed over my mouth. The coarse brick wall behind my head. The Cheap Trick song blasting from inside the building.  His pants unzipped. The punch to my face once he regained his stance after stumbling backward. I can tell you all about those.

I was not penetrated,


Christine Blasey Ford. Thank you. Your courage lifts us all.

When You Really Want to Say F*ck You.

Taking charge of your life means taking charge of your emotions
Over the weekend I had a wonderful visit with a cherished friend who’s heading into year two of a really rough divorce. Few divorces are without some ugly bits—dismantling a marriage can be difficult and gut wrenching—but her future ex is just being a colossal prick. His narcissistic behavior pushes all of my buttons while breaking my heart—for everyone involved.

Toward the end of the visit the conversation shifted to XIZOZU™ and while showing her a new design, I laughed and volunteered to create a custom medal especially for her that essentially said “Fuck You Husband.” We both lost it laughing over the idea. “I’ m going to do it!” I swore.  I mean who would know, right?

An hour or so after she left I realized: I would know. And she would know. Petty and spiteful (though temporarily satisfying!) is not what XIZOZU™ is about and that’s what a cynical medal like that would be—small and diminishing. XIZOZU™ are the very opposite of  that kind of damaging negativity.

The medals I make for women are about finding their strength through hard times; they’re about coaxing the positive threads out of life’s challenges; they’re about emotional and physical valor. They’re a place from which to draw strength and direct love.

I am still making her a medal, but it will be a medal that restores her.

What will it say? Something like:

The best revenge is forgiveness.

Get Your Medals


Learning to Shift | The XIZOZU 8

Small Shifts for big Changes

This week’s eight things that are worth sharing with friends

Issue #3: Learn to Shift  

Creating a life that’s more than standard! What I learned this week about the incredible change that can happen from small shifts.

  1. APPROACH: Whenever I give my OCD friend who loves to clean a hard time, she tells me I’m just compulsively messy. Touché. Imagine my glee when I learned we can all have tidy houses without donating entire days to cleaning the them! Wheeeee!
  2. TIME: Speaking of time not spent doing something, imagine what you could accomplish just by changing how you spend ten minutes a day? After spending 10 mintues reading One Hundred Blocks, I’ve been loosely tracking my day in ten minute blocks. If nothing else, this helped put the time I waste on social media into perspective. We made an easily printable form for you to try it yourself.
  3. GAZE: SpaceX is tackling one of the obstacles to life in the final frontier: sustainable transportation. Elon Musk hopes to launch his Tesla roadster into space early this week. No really.
  4. PERSPECTIVE: There’s so much that could be said about the work of Bernard Pras besides that it’s amazing in the actual meaning of the word. If you do the Facebook thing, check this video out.  And also on Facebook this shifted view from the British Museum takes you into a 17th century Chinese Scroll. Gorgeous and mesmerizing. (Oh, wait we’re also on Facebook!)
  5. GROOVE: Drop a retro Nightshift vibe onto your next music playlist: Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson have a timeless soulful verve.
  6. STANCE: Wait, I changed my mind – and why it’s a good thing. Or, are our minds made up and nothing will change them.
  7. POSITION: Downward facing or upward facing, I still rarely do either of them correctly. Even so – a little free yoga is always good for realigning your body and your adjusting spirit.
  8. SITUATION: “I shifted my car into reverse when…” Nobody wins in an abusive realtionship, but I have nothing but respect for this chic right here…

Every life deserves a medal. Get yours.


The XIZOZU 8 is a regular collection of eight ideas that our friends and fans might find helpful. Subscribe and get it delivered  straight to your inbox.

Information worth sharing with friends


Fighting the Harvey Weinstein approach

Last night I was saddened as woman after woman throughout my online social networks started updating their status to the hashtag #MeToo indicating that they have experienced sexual harassment, abuse or assault. But since the medal honoring the sexual assault survivor is THE most ordered XIZOZU™, I wasn’t the least bit surprised.

The Harvey Weinstein scandal that launched this most recent bout of anger and aguish is ripe with celebrity—entertainment gossip fuel—so it gets a lot of attention. We should be, and are, glad for that. What we need to remember though is that the Weinstein approach to career advancement and professional survival is something that goes on in boardrooms in Sacramento, in professors’ offices in Iowa, and in capitol buildings worldwide. It’s everywhere. Perpetrated by nobodies. Hollywood Harvey’s not unique. This type of abuse is systemic, not assigned to any one industry or cultural community but rather to our society as a whole. This is what women face regularly as part of our daily lives. Learning how to circumnavigate harassment and abuse in professional situations is a skill some begin honing as early as elementary school. It’s as fundamental and as frequently used as shoe-tying.

How will I get out of this? Is often a vague almost unformed thought rolling around the back of the female mind as we enter stairways and elevators, crowded clubs and, yes, closed door executive offices. Rather than continuing to sharpen our defensive maneuvering skills, we need to be standing up. Shouting back. Flinging open the doors everywhere it happens.

Stand up! Fight back!

And we are! And we will. Good on us!

But some women won’t. Some forever won’t. Some women, when forced, are going to make the choice that she thinks best protects her family. It’s easy to roar for resistance until you’re that mother. The mother who desperately needs your job for your family to live, and that source of your existence is being threatened by some middle-aged guy who wants you to blow him. Or worse. Imagine being that woman.

I’m not going to, on top of everything else, yell at her. Are you?

#SheToo is who #WeToo are fighting for.

But I’m all for beating the crap out of him.

8 Do’s and Don’ts for Helping a victim of Sexual Assault. 

This list is for her. And friends of her, which means it’s for you.

It’s a list of 8 suggestions for what to do and what not to do when someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted—compiled from women who’ve gone through sexual abuse and also trauma experts.

Unique survivor jewelry for sexual assault and rape survivors
XIZOZU™ honoring the survivors of sexual assault.

Breaking the Silence and the Cycles of Domestic Violence

Don't turn a blind eye toward domestic violence

When I was five or six I walked into my grandmother’s kitchen late one afternoon and discovered her holding a large kitchen knife against my mother’s already blackened eye.

“You got to keep something cold on it,” my grandmother said seeing me in the doorway. “Or it will swell.”

Why ice wasn’t the first thing she grabbed I will always wonder, but a lot of things adults did back then didn’t make sense and I was relieved that she wasn’t actually attacking my mother.

It was her son, my mother’s husband, my father, who had just done that earlier. With his fist.

That wasn’t the first nor only time my father had physically assaulted my mother.

It happened with unspoken regularity. When a reason for this brutality could be pointed to, it was always senseless. Once it was because she had rearranged the living room furniture. Another time because he found clothes in her closet that still had the price tags on them, and another because she deposited her paycheck into their bank account without letting him see it first. Those were some of the times when the antagonizing prologue could be clearly heard and deciphered before I closed the door of our upstairs bedroom, trying to distract my younger sister, while shooting don’t-go-downstairs looks to my older brother.

One night while my sister and I were downstairs playing dolls on the living room floor when I caught a glimpse of my father leaning over our mother who was backing up in her chair in the opposite corner of the room. He was speaking through gritted teeth, his face inches from hers. I tried to become as small as I could and stared helplessly at Barbie’s eternal smile. My father managed to punch my mother in utter silence. She made no sound. The next morning, she was wearing her sunglasses. At breakfast. Again.

We knew he was dangerous. To her. My father never hit us, his children. That does not redeem him. Nor does the fact that he never touched his second wife. He terrorized our mother emotionally, verbally and physically through most of their eight or nine year marriage and turbulent two-year divorce.

Back in my grandmother’s kitchen as a little girl sitting quietly on a stool by the cellar door, I listened. I don’t remember much of the conversation or how much I actually understood at the time; the knife still against my mother’s cheek. The only sentence I DO remember comes in my grandmother’s comforting voice: “Don’t make him mad. You just can’t make that boy mad. You can’t give him a reason to hit you.

Did I know then how insane that statement was? No. I didn’t. I do now. It’s crazy to blame the victim. But back then it made sense to my young mind as it was precisely the approach I took when dealing with my mother—my mother, who beat me. But that’s another story for another day.

But you see the pattern, right? You see the problem?

When worn in a cluster, XIZOZU™ medals can tell a complete story.

Have you saved yourself from someone else’s emotional or physical violence? Two XIZOZU™ Medal Pendants that honor getting yourself out of harmful relationships, claim yours:

I Got Out of an Abusive Relationship


I Ended a Toxic Friendship or Family Relationship 


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I will elaborate on my personal childhood experiences with this all too common family struggle in future journal posts. Today I’ll end here, asking that if you or someone you love are in a relationship that should be all about love and support and it’s instead filled with control and anger, please reach out.

Resources for Dealing with Domestic Violence

Here’s a place to start: National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-SAFE (7233)

Jane Doe, Inc.

PAVE (People Against Violent Encounters)

More on Domestic Violence Survivors:

Why Didn’t You Just Leave? Six Domestic Violence Survivors Explain Why It’s Never That Simple.

We Made Our First Donation!

Jes Foord Foundation Supporting Survivors of Sexual AsaultToday is an exciting day! Today we made our first contribution to one of the selected non-profits in our XIZOZU Cares & Shares program!

Jes Foord Foundation in South Africa received R$400 South African Rand (approximately $32 US) to help with their important work in community education and post-trauma support of rape and sexual assault survivors.

Why was Jes Foord Foundation selected as the first recipient? Continue reading “We Made Our First Donation!”

How to Help Sexual Assault Survivors

how to be there for rape and sexual assault victims

What to do to help a victim of sexual assault. And a few things not to.

Listen. Listen. And Listen.

Remain silent and still as you can. Give them time and space to speak. Be ready to sit through their uncomfortable news or equally uncomfortable silence. Don’t press for details or specifics about the incident. Let them tell you what they’re ready to talk about.

When you feel they need you to speak. Say things like “I’m sorry this happened to you. I can’t make this better, but I am here for you. I can’t imagine what you’ve been through.” Because you can’t. And when you really don’t know what to say. Say that. “I don’t know what to say.” And just be there.

❌No If Only.

Do not present hypothetical scenarios that might have been different if only something were different. If only you didn’t go to that party…if only you didn’t wear that dress…if only I had been there with you…if only you didn’t work with him alone at night.

At Least Nothing.

Do not even whisper a statement that begins with “At least…” Do not try find a light at the end of their tunnel. There isn’t one, and any that you manufacture will blind you to the pain they’re experiencing. There is no bright side to sexual assault.

Don’t try to solve or fix anything.

For some people the urge to fix a problem is the first and strongest natural response. That approach has no place here. Actions that appear to be moving things forward often make only you, the helper, feel better and put added pressure on the survivor to return to normal. They have a new normal and it’s not one they want. They’re fragile and traumatized. Let the survivor dictate the pace of forward motion. It’s possible that they will remain physically and emotionally stalled, spinning in place, for some time. Go with that.

Don’t judge or blame. 

Asking questions like “What were you doing there so late?” “How much did you have to drink?” or comments like “That dress is pretty provocative,” can cause survivors to blame themselves. Inadvertently insinuating, even in the smallest way, that they somehow brought this upon themselves absolves the perpetrator. Nothing a person does or wears—really NO THING—makes them deserve to be raped.

✨Manage Your Own Anger or Denial.

If you know the assaulter you may find it difficult or even impossible to believe that they’re capable of such hideous behavior. Expressing disbelief makes the survivor think you don’t believe them. Again, it turns the blame onto them. It’s equally important to suppress comments like “I’m going to kill them.” Seeing your anger can make the survivor feel as though they’ve burdened you with undue anguish and it does nothing to help ease their trauma. Confronting the assaulter can put the survivor in additional danger.

✨Ask them what they need.

Don’t try to guess. Everyone who experiences violent trauma will need something different. Let them tell you what that is by asking them “What do you need right now? How can I help you?” If they can’t tell you just assure them that you will stay right there with them and that they don’t need to talk. Be with them for as long as they need you to be. Even if the person is not someone you are close to, they chose to tell you. Don’t abandon them.

✨Honor Their Trust.

Whatever information they share with you should be considered sacred. Keep it to yourself and do not share it with anyone else without expressed permission. You can do that.

Unique survivor jewelry for sexual assault and rape survivors
XIZOZU™ honoring the survivors of sexual assault.

Have you found yourself in the position of being there for someone who was sexually assaulted? What did you experience? We’d love if you would share in the comments below what you thought was the hardest and/or the most rewarding  part for you.

The pronoun “she” was  intentionally not used  to describe the survivor. While the large majority of sexual assaults are against women, men also experience this horrible trauma which comes with its own set of complex reactions and symptoms.

You Don’t Need a License to Stand Up for Yourself

But there ware people who can help you get out of an abusive relationship

Summer Solstice. The longest day of the year and the official start of summer.

Yet today I found myself thinking about a brutally frigid morning a few winters ago. It was about eight o’clock, and, without exaggeration, eighteen degrees below zero outside. I shifted my car into reverse when the reflection of a woman moved across my rearview mirror. Continue reading “You Don’t Need a License to Stand Up for Yourself”