Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
You can also find Monica's writing here:
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The Freak Out and Other Tales

You thought I had bailed on the blog? Perhaps you hoped I had bailed on the blog? Maybe you hate-read here as much as I hate-watch The (Un)Real Housewives of wherever and my continued absence allowed you to turn your attentions to more intellectual internet pursuits? The Instagram wormhole that is #kyliejennerlipchallenge, for instance? Too bad, suckas. I'm still here. And I ain't ever gonna stop! Or I'll stop. Only thing I know for sure anymore is that I don't know. You know?

Personal blogging in this form seems to be all but dead. I already lost you after the first paragraph because it was longer than 140 characters, right? This post is like that really long Facebook status update that arm wrestles you into reading it only because you can't fathom anyone has five paragraphs of shit to say on Facebook and holy God this isn't even on Facebook it's, like, an entire click away and that's soo faaarrr and it takes tooooo long and are we there yet? This is taking forevverrrr. I have to pee again.

Which is why it makes perfect sense for me to keep writing here. It feels like pushing a reset button on personal blogging. Any blogger who could string two words together has ascended to book deal-dom or sponsored posts and trips and giveaways and there ain't but a handful of folk left just sharing stuff because they like to write. In some ways it feels like the beginning of blogging again. No ads, no sponsored posts and for godsakes no conferences and networking... Nothing but me and you. Which is how it all started. Full circle.

I like it.

I had to take a blogging breather there for a bit because shit got really heavy for me. Clearly it was heavy for most of 2014 - baby born/separation/beloved dog dies/divorce and a few other life-altering occurrences not fit for public consumption (if it happened and I don't blog about it did it really even happen?!) but somewhere around the time my divorce was finalized in January I kinda freaked out. I know, I know! MONICA, the shovel-wielding, ex-girlfriend stalking, emotional hurricane having a freak out? No way. Impossible! But yes, my internet friends, yes. Full-on nervous-breakdown-panic-attack-in-my-car-at-work mode. I couldn't breathe. Thought I was dying. The usual panic attack stuff. An ambulance may have been involved.

I thought I had it under control but control is just an illusion I was presenting to myself in a desperate attempt to keep from freaking out. Turns out, you can only keep The Freak Out at bay for so long but much like that one relative you're trying to avoid at your cousin's wedding, The Freak Out will find you. Especially if you keep giving it the finger and soldiering forward. The Freak Out loves a trooper. Makes the inevitable freak out even better. One has options during The Freak Out. One can continue to blog while in the thick of it and sometimes it's helpful but if I've learned anything over the course of ten roller coaster years of this blog and reading the blogs of others it's that, in most cases, blogging while in the thick of it often leads to regret. And sheeeeeiiit; a full-time job, freelance writing, three kids... Who has the time to share all their feels on their blog?

But life has reached a new albeit chaotic groove. Serge and I are dating. Which is... interesting. I was offered a new position at AccuWeather and am now Video Content Manager which basically means I get to keep a lookout for great video all day with the coolest crew imaginable. I also get to coordinate a bunch of storm chasing dudes and AccuWeather recently launched a network on cable so I'm involved with writing and editing stories for the channel which gets my old news junkie adrenaline pumping in all the right ways. I'm still writing for and have no plans of leaving any time soon although I've scaled back my commitment quite a bit. recently asked if Serge and I would resurrect our old He Said/She Said video series and we agreed. So I've got the internet's judgmental comments about my relationship, my appearance and my kinda-lisp to look forward to! And I just had a pap smear come back normal so there's that too! Look at that. Things are shaping up nicely.

So yeah, all in all, things are better. Which ain't saying a whole helluva lot considering where I've just been. Shit had nowhere to go but up, it's scientifical. Anyway, y'all interested in a role call? Who's still out there checking up on me? Reveal yourselves! Got any questions or comments? Lay it on me, string bean. Let's catch up and restart this thing properly.

In closing, this:

A beautiful evening wanes. #louisarmstrong

A video posted by Monica Bielanko (@monicabielanko) on

Reader Comments (87)

Yay, you're back!

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

I will always read Monica! You are so authentic. I long for the days of reading my favorite bloggers write about something personal, that we could all relate to, that wasn't a sponsored post. I hate the way they lure you in too....."It is really hard being a mom, here are some of my challenges (that aren't tooo real), and that's why I use Baby Earth Mother Organic Apple Juice and Skin Moisturizer."

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSarah


Glad you're back. I always enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for being real.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJust Jill

Really? OF COURSE I'm still here! There's nowhere else to go! Your blog is the only one I follow at all...I'm happy that you're back!!!

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHanni

I've been here for years--glad you are, too!

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAC

I have missed your writing. I look forward to more.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAna

Love this :) I've toyed with ads and blogging for money and thinking about 'growing my audience' - but I keep going back to that's not me. I just want to write to WRITE, and I don't really give a shit who reads it or if I make money from it. Good to hear from you again, is my point. Glad you're back in any form!

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJosey

Still here. As a "no longer Mormon" living in Utah raising young kids, I can relate to so much of what you write. Glad you're back.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

I have been checking on you everyday since January and even friended you on Facebook. Imagine my delight when I found this post and your new picture!! I started reading from the beginning about 2 months ago and left me hangin'. So glad you are still alive and blogging.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMarilee Boothe

YAY! I've been cheering for you silently for years! After witnessing one of my best friends go through the marriage/divorce/re-dating scenario, I am so thrilled things are looking up for you all! CHEERS!

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered Commentercourtney

Still here, glad to have you back! I missed your words. The break seems to have done you the world of good. Great!
Welcome back!

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterA

I am still checking in! Love how real you and Serge seem to be.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

I'm happy you are back. Congrats on your promotion at work and I'm so happy you are Serge are dating! I had always hoped that the two of you would find your way back to each other!! Best wishes!!! Those kids are the cutest!

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterkacy

Yay! I'm glad you are back. Does looking for video content equate to watching youtube all day? Because if so, I need that job. I love funny cats.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCharity

What cuties! The kids, I mean...though you're pretty adorable yourself.

Still here, still reading...8 (???) years strong. Always, always rooting for you and Serge. Together and individually.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSara

@Charity Pretty much. How about adorable dogs?

April 24, 2015 | Registered CommenterMonica

I'm still here! I'll ask a question, too, as I'm curious how it works dating someone you used to live with: How often do you see each other? Are you doing the thing where you basically live together but keep two separate houses?

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Still here, still lovin' ya both!! and the tricycle motors!!

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Buck

I'm so glad I stopped in, and behold and new post. YAY! I love your writing and your fresh, honest voice.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke

I've been reading since you lived in Utah and I'm still reading! Glad to see you back.
I understand going through THE PANIC AND CRAZY. Hope the worst is behind you!
PS. I still make that coconut curry chicken recipe you posted in like 2009 or something. The family loves it.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCristin

So glad you're back! Although I read you everywhere else so I feel like I've still been keeping up. :-)

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKelli G.

Congrats on a decade โ€“ I think I have been here for most of it. Keep on keeping on!

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSaffoula

Welcome home :)

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTara

Now I've read it!
Obviously still here, loved this post - Welcome back!
Looking forward to the return of He Said/She Said - and not because of your kinda lisp! It's refreshing to see a couple share what they are really like instead of hiding behind some cookie cutter everything is fine mask for their "Brand".

That word makes me stabby. My brand, my brand, my brand. How about share your actual life and not some wanna be twee bs all for the sake of clicks. Ugh.

You're refreshing and I'm glad you're back.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Still here, reading you! I've been having a loving long-distance relationship with you for years, so kisses from far-away Helsinki!

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLili

you know I'm here. Never, ever leaving.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

Glad you're back. 2014 sounded like a horrendous (wasn't great for me either with fertility disappointments, hormones and shit). Sometimes I was so upset/irritable that I had to take a break from FB and reading blogs because everyone's happiness, or even their personal life choices got me pissed. Don't even get me started on the fucking fertile Duggars, for some reason they were/are #1 on my shit list.
But glad to report I'm in my 17 week of pregnancy which so far means basically I'm in denial-land. I don't really look pregnant (just chunky), no morning sickness at all (I know, you hate me) and no baby kicks or movement... I just don't sleep. Up at all hours, sometimes with anxiety, sometimes just up for no reason.
So I feel like I have to fake the excitement that everyone else around me has (this after worrying evey night of the first trimester that I was miscarrying - again).
My husband and I have made lists, been given some books, and have basically been acting like we have 6 years to prepare instead of 6 months. But I am very happy for the reunited Bielanko family.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBonnie

Me! I'm reading! I find your life fascinating, and painful, and hopeful, and relatable, and I can't look away. I also can't not root for you and Serge to make it and stay in love forever and ever and fix your shit all up! I am married to someone who I have contemplated divorcing nearly everyday for the past three years. We have two girls and I just can't stomach the gruesomeness of divorce. It seems so damn difficult. I'm not miserable being married to him either despite his philandering past and our lack of alignment in world views. It is hard to talk about with my girlfriends. I guess not everyone's relationships are so gray and fucked up. So glad yours is! Kidding. But not really! Thanks for sharing your journey. I truly wish your family the best!

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJill

I love your writing and hearing about what's going on in your life.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterErin

I'm so glad you are still here. Let's hold hands and drive this bitch over the cliff.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLesley Z.

Still here <3

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra

I think you're hella cool. I think Serge is even hella-er cool. So glad you guys are dating. I love both of your stories. I wish you lived in Chicago. We'd get drunk on whiskey at the tavern near me.

p.s. my parents got divorced when I was 10. They remarried when I was 12.
They were in timeout.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

@Kate - Our first video for is going to be based on that. Separate houses, separate finances but we see each other every day. So glad you're still hanging around! @Bonnie - CONGRATULATIONS! On being pregnant and no morning sickness! @Lesley Z - Can I be Louise?

April 24, 2015 | Registered CommenterMonica

...still think we will drink these beer on the porch [wherever] one day! cool, isn't it?

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered Commenteranajo

oh good! I missed your blogging. Glad you found a good balance in your life. I like your kind of lisp, okay. knew you would find that thweetneth again with Serge. Loved that last thing he wrote about the two of you. Very poetic and thoughtful. As for ambulances and panic attacks I understand. I had a blowout panic attack last Saturday night. Middle of the night, just laying there and the heart starts racing at 200 beats minute. Might have been the dark chocolate and vitamins at bedtime, but it was like the 3rd time. Ambulance, Fire truck. The whole thing. It stopped racing once I was hooked up to the EKG and I am sure that I have been labeled as hysterical post menopausal maniac...ugh. Oivey.) So glad you're back. I always checked.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered Commentergina

Nothin to say except THANK YOU FOR COMING BACK. Knew you would, just that whole "waiting game" thing gets tough after a while. XO

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChelsea

I love reading your blog! I also really admire your "kind-a-lisp," it's unique and adorable. :)

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCandice

Still reading! I found you via a daisychain of other blog posts that ended with a photo of you and Serge and then-baby Henry/Hank, named in honor of Katie Allison's oldest who had just passed. My own writing ebbs and flows a lot, so I understand. Hell, I don't even have a blog because I can't make the commitment. Soon. Thank for sharing your life with us.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPam Crews

*Raises Hand* PRESENT!

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAudrey


April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMiranda

Welcome back and yay for things looking up. Though none of my business, I think dating your ex makes the most sense of anything dating related (and it's what I did back in the day). So good for you, ya crazy kids.

Thanks for returning. Long format is not dead, it's still awesome and you do it so well. Which reminds me, between you and Serge your kids are genetically situated to be the most amazing speakers, writers, and storytellers, well, maybe ever.

I hope you keep coming back.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine

I never took you off on my rotation - I knew you'd be back. You had at "Mormon to Married in Manhattan" ;P

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAggie

๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿป here. Love your "real" writing and while I read a few Blogs -- with a capital B -- I really enjoy your blog -- little b. It seems honest and not always pretty and funny and those kids are cute and much more relateable for me than the Blogs.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer W

I'm glad you're back. I've always enjoyed your writing!

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

I'm so glad you're back! I've been checking every day :)

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth B

We're here! We're queer! Get used to it! <3

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered Commentersherewin

Hooray your back and keeping it real! I love your writing and Serge's. Keep writing and keep it long. Thank you!!!

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterErin

Good Goddess it's great to read you again!!! The Noisy Plume still keeps a blog and her words/photos are sacred at times: so beautiful I'm so glad you're back, even though I've kept up with all y'all on The Face Book posts. And you're dating! So glad you found a nice chap with whom you could connect (cue snow shovel).

As for The Nervous Breakdown... been there, had one and my life was never the same; it became so much better. Here's to movin' on up and dancin' with Mr. Louis every, single evening.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Still wondering how the meet up with the ex went?

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMickey

Still here too.

April 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCarole

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