Where Are You, Christmas?

AshleyCirque du Today14 Comments

www.bigtopfamily.com

I may be more like a child than my own children when it comes to saying goodbye to Christmas. Even though some old-school Catholics like my mom believe that Christmas doesn’t truly end until after the feast of the Epiphany (when the wise men came to visit), I personally am not an old school Catholic (shocker). So I start feeling … Read More

AshleyWhere Are You, Christmas?

The Sister Helen Effect

AshleyOld School Circus17 Comments

www.bigtopfamily.com / The Sister Helen Effect

Among the strange stories I’ve told, perhaps living with a nun for much of my childhood makes the loudest statement about just how different my childhood was. The nun’s name was Sister Helen, but her impact on my life wouldn’t just be on childhood. She would change not mine, but my whole family’s lives, forever. Most of us who were … Read More

AshleyThe Sister Helen Effect

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

AshleyOld School Circus34 Comments

I had a therapist recently ask me: When you were growing up, what did money mean to you? This was in relation to a conversation about my husband and I disagreeing on how to manage our finances. The purpose of the question was so that I could see how money, or the lack thereof, affected my childhood and shaped the … Read More

AshleyMo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

Cirque du Today: Losing My Religion

AshleyCirque du Today40 Comments

As some of you might guess, my relationship with God has been, um, complicated. When you grow up with a mom who frequently converses with The Lord, and those conversations often lead her to pack up all your shit and move somewhere overnight, you might occasionally want to give God the finger. And not the You’re Number One finger. Now, … Read More

AshleyCirque du Today: Losing My Religion

The Trailer

AshleyOld School Circus12 Comments

Braking suddenly at the end of a dark dirt road, Mom almost slams into a cow. When the dust cloud clears, we see that not just a cow, but a whole herd of cows is surrounding our car, and ignoring this fact, Mom looks at us with a triumphant smile. “We’re here!” My sister and I peer fearfully out the … Read More

AshleyThe Trailer

The Demise of Balboa

AshleyOld School Circus15 Comments

I was happily skipping down the hall after my alter-ego, Balboa, told Gina Palmeri, the beastly-basketball-playing-bully, where she could stick it. I just assumed that would be THAT, because in elementary school, all I’d had to do was mouth off to bullies to get them to leave me alone. Sadly, up in the high school big leagues, this wasn’t the … Read More

AshleyThe Demise of Balboa

The Return of Balboa

AshleyOld School Circus20 Comments

When I was in elementary school, I was teased and bullied because of the car my parents drove, and because we didn’t have much money. I tried telling the teachers about it, but putting my trust in the authorities was wasted time and effort since they didn’t seem to care. And I went to a CATHOLIC school, which you’d think would … Read More

AshleyThe Return of Balboa

The Night the Devil Chased My Mom

AshleyOld School Circus35 Comments

The night the Devil chased my Mom, I was six-and-a-half years old. We were living in a crumbling part of downtown Steubenville, Ohio, in a rickety two-story house with paint so peely I could pull it off in strands. The house had three bedrooms: one for my sister Alyson and I to share, one for my single mom, and one … Read More

AshleyThe Night the Devil Chased My Mom

I’m Having Two Penises?!

AshleyCirque du Today20 Comments

My husband and I staggered out of the ultrasound technician’s office after being told we were having twin boys and decided to table our freak-out session until his work day was finished. We drove off in our separate cars, me heading to Dunkin’ Donuts, and him probably skipping work and hitting a bar. What was especially jarring to me, combined … Read More

AshleyI’m Having Two Penises?!

Give it Up for Sexual Chocolate

AshleyCirque du Today31 Comments

Ever seen the movie “Coming to America” with Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall? Sure you have – it’s a classic. Ok, so then you remember the scene when Eddie Murphy doubles as Randy Watson, the lead singer of “Sexual Chocolate,” and gives a nails-on-the-chalkboard rendition of Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” to a slow-clapping audience. Love the movie, love … Read More

AshleyGive it Up for Sexual Chocolate