This Squeaky Wheel Dances

I’m turning 35 this week!

Five years ago, I would never have imagined that I would be where I am right now. It has been an incredible first half of my 30s. The opportunity to take a job and move to California came on my 30th birthday. I proudly walked in the 2017 Women’s March the next day in Chicago with hundreds of thousands of other women, one of the biggest in the country. A couple of weeks later I arrived in Santa Cruz with all my belongings in the car. Instinctively, I knew I had made the right decision.

I like the sound of 35. It feels solid, like I got something to say and the track record to prove it.

I’ve had very few hangups about age and getting older. For as long as I can remember, I have pretty much always enjoyed maturation and reaping the benefits of accumulated experience. Each chapter of my life came and went for a reason. I wouldn’t trade the pain, the wins, the emotional turmoil, the relationships, the stupidity, or the mundane of my past for anything.

Age also comes with courage.

One of my favorite slay-every-day entrepreneurs Rachel Rodgers challenges her readers in We Should All be Millionaires to try an exercise. Ask: What would you do if you were a “bad girl”? And then answer yourself honestly.

The sassy fierce gene of my maternal side is suuuuuuuuper dominant y’all. I have a strong Artemis archetype, Goddess of the Hunt. I come with a pack of hounds, bows, and arrows. I’m independent. The feeling of entrapment mobilizes me to break free in unconventional ways, and I don’t need masculine approval.

But I am still a product of society, so I do ask myself periodically–in what areas of my life am I being too much of a good girl? Would bad girl Krissy apologize less? Would she dare to talk more openly about her dreams even when they seem preposterous? Would she ask for more? Would she get angry at the bullshit?

“If you have ever been called defiant, incorrigible, forward, cunning, insurgent, unruly, rebellious, you’re on the right track. Wild Woman is close by.”

Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clorissa Pinkola Estes

A couple months ago I spoke up at work about how the soul-sucking rate of turnover was burning everyone out, and I questioned the “equity” of a salary raise initiative that seemed to have some structural flaws. I raised my voice over email, and everyone in my division saw it.

Was I bad? You’re damn right I was. I surprised myself. My inner Artemis had been in hibernation for much of 2021, but she made her comeback on a chariot of fucking fire (different myth, I know).

The leadership of the division split hairs over the method of my message and botched an opportunity to address some real issues. I was reprimanded and found myself on the receiving end of some butt-hurt passive aggression–all coming from people who make a whole lot more money than I do.

I started a grease fire because they were treating a rusty wheel with cheap oil (one of my colleagues was actually called a “squeaky wheel” by her boss last year for speaking up about similar issues). So when I held a lighter up to it, it all went up in flames.

It was infuriating.

An episode of chronic pain kicked in immediately following the reaction I got from leadership. It didn’t matter that three times as many other people told me in confidence that they agreed with me. The experience took me right back to my childhood when I was punished time after time for being “bad.” The origin of much of my trauma-induced pain.

So I went to the rage room—the dance floor. I put on my booty shorts, turned on some Drake, and got nasty. Because I wasn’t just a bad girl. I was a mad girl. I had to process that eruption of rage. Imagine the energy of Big Dick Richie’s dance to “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails in Magic Mike XXL (if you haven’t seen the performance, do yourself a favor and watch it now). That’s the level I was at in my dance movement in December. This is my feminine movement at its best.

And the dirt that they threw on my name

Turned to soil and I grew up out it

Time for y’all to figure out what y’all gon’ do about it

Big wheels keep rollin’, rollin’


Thanks Drake.

When we allow ourselves to be “bad,” we begin to realize our power and everything that we are capable of. It’s like our mind and body are suddenly enlightened to the enormous capacity for change and growth we hold. You can speak up. Being bad is almost guaranteed to come with some negative responses. But don’t let them nitpick your methods. Take note of how it feels in your body. Let the rage come flowing. Growl. Twerk. Stomp. You deserve it.