Paranormal Investigation – USS North Carolina

Thanks Amanda for sharing your experience on our investigation of the USS North Carolina.

Amanda Hettinger

I’m not sure if some of you know this or not, but I am big time into all things paranormal. Mostly it’s anything having to do with haunting, ghosts, demons, and all of thee above. I’ve watched all the TV shows and watched many movies, but nothing makes me more happy than being able to go on an investigation.

I had been able to go on some investigations in the past with my mother and father ( who are apart of the Indiana Ghost Trackers ), but living so far away from them makes it difficult to be able to join them when I want ( unless it’s an awesome big investigation like Waverly Hills ). So I had been on the hunt for quite some time to join a team or be able to go on investigations. Needless to say it had taken me a while.

Fast forward a…

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Do “The Vagina Monologues” Still Matter?

V-Day Raleigh

I remember my first period. I was 11 years old. I was a figure skater at the time, and I was at the rink. It was after my lesson. I remember asking my mom for a quarter so I could get a pad. It wasn’t a big deal. I had sex ed. I knew it was coming. I thought it would be a big deal, but it wasn’t. Then, when I was 18, I read, “I Was 12. My Mother Slapped Me.” It was one of the earlier monologues from “The Vagina Monologues.” You don’t really see it in the annual V-Day movement anymore. But the message is still poignant 1billion_2018_V6_blackand clear. We have all had different experiences with that “magical moment” that makes us a woman…some are positive, some not so much. If only we knew back then that it was only the beginning of experiencing “womanhood.” It’s no…

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This Little Light of Mine

If you know me well, which most of you do, if you had to name two things I love it would be theatre and the paranormal. Theatre has been a part of my life for over 20 years, and it isn’t going anywhere soon. The paranormal found me, so to speak, and it’s been at the forefront of my mind since I was a kid. Regardless of where I end up in life, those two things will always be important to me.

I will say 99% of the people in these communities are amazing and fantastic. But that 1%…not so much. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people. It just means our personalities are quite different and it wasn’t a good mix. However, that 1% has gone out of their way to hurt and break my spirit it seems. Like, they need to put me in my place.

Why does that 1% get more attention than the other 99% who are amazing to me? Maybe it’s because I once trusted them? I need to stop focusing so much on the people who have hurt me. I’ve noticed a pattern with those who end up hurting me, and it usually goes along like this:

  • They aggressively insert themselves into my life to become my friend
  • They do a lot of favors for me
  • In turn, they expect me to go to bat for them in ridiculous circumstances because of said favors
  • When I can’t deliver or don’t meet their standards when I do go to bat for them, they leave quite dramatically
  • Thus follows about a year’s worth of petty drama and a one-sided pissing contest

Now that I’ve noticed the signs early on, I’m usually pretty good at picking this up. When this happens, I divert myself away from the person as soon as possible. But what happened to giving people chances? Nope. Not doing it anymore.

I’ve put myself out there to the extent now that my light faded for a bit. But, it’s time to let that shine. If that means certain people aren’t invited to the party, so be it. I’d rather have just 1-2 friends who are awesome than 50+ friends who take advantage of my weaknesses and vulnerabilities for their personal gain.

Let your light shine, and don’t you dare let someone else put it out.

Be the Phoenix

It’s hard sometimes to swallow words when someone praises a person who hurt you so much. Of course, that someone doesn’t know the back story so it’s not on them.
This person took away my self-confidence and safe space. Since that person did what they did to me, I’m always looking over my shoulder, I don’t trust easily anymore, and my confidence took about 15 steps backward right when I was finally feeling comfortable in my own skin. That person violated my personal life as well and took liberties with my pain that felt like the moments in “Once Upon a Time” when your heart gets taken out of you.
But eventually, I realized that:
  1. While that person took the power upon themselves, I gave that person way too much power over me. They enjoyed that power, which gave them validation to do what they did.
  2. I can’t let someone dictate how I feel about myself because they did a crappy thing to me.
  3. Even when “triggering” moments are rampant right now, the best thing I need to do is ignore it.
  4. The truth eventually comes to light. And it’s coming to light from others who have been hurt by this same person.
I have to count my blessings. I’m *finally* in a show at Raleigh Little Theatre, I’m working from home even if there are days where it’s not easy, and my anxiety is under control. Sure, the next outburst is probably a moment away, but for now, I’m at peace. Anxiety is a sleeping beast that is unpredictable. Add in depression and you just have a whirlwind of chaos that looms over you at times.
Eventually, I’ll learn to trust again. For now, I trust my family, my boyfriend, and my closest friends. I’m picking up the pieces from the hurt I’ve been through, and using them to rise from the ashes…like a phoenix.
Wait, not LIKE a Phoenix. I need to BE the phoenix.

Is This What Pride Feels Like?

Last night was our last rehearsal for “The Vagina Monologues” before we moved into the theatre. I’ve been getting told by my friends and family how proud they are of me for pulling this off and putting it together. Most people know how I feel about compliments, and I’ll keep the tradition going. This production was so much bigger than me! It was a massive puzzle that had to be put together, and every person involved has been a piece of that puzzle. Without them, this production wouldn’t have happened.

16836217_1356874697702905_7586359801460349449_oI’ve been crying a bit for the past day, but for once it’s because of a good thing! I’m so proud of this show! I can’t even explain in words how much my heart is bursting! It’s been a journey, but it has been SO POSITIVE!

This was honestly a crazy idea that I had back in December. This means that this production was a last minute decision that was pulled together in less than 3 months. I honestly could not have done it without Loni Price, Pimpila Violette, Emily Hamm, Ashley Jones, Alissa Alba, and Sarah Gendron. They were the first to answer the call when I put it out on social media that I wanted to do “The Vagina Monologues.” They kept me grounded, went along with the crazy ideas, and put their whole hearts into this project. I owe you ladies so much, and I don’t know how I will ever repay you.

Not only that, but I got so lucky with this cast.

For example, Kelly McConkey dove in even before she auditioned and was getting donation items, gave out of her own pocket and spread the word about the show like a true leader. She boosted me up when I felt hopeless and ready to give up on everything in my life, even on the paranormal side!

Joanna Herath is such a joy in my life. She was in the staged reading of my play, “Japanese Eyes/American Heart”, and she is amazing in Vagina Monologues. She has also done tremendous work on our fundraising end and made it possible for us to have a counselor present for our show.

I hadn’t met a few of the women before this show. Like Arin Dickson…holy cow! She is so passionate, and can own a stage like no one’s business! I am so glad she is with us!

Arrissia Blanton is one of the strongest women I have ever met. She brings so much to her monologue, and you don’t want to stop watching her!

Chelsey Winstead is not only a sweetheart, but she makes me laugh so hard that I’m in near tears. I have enjoyed getting to know her, and I look forward to working with her in the future!

Speaking of tears, Maribeth McCarthy made me cry last night with her reading of “The Vagina Workshop.” I hadn’t worked with Maribeth before, and I’m so glad she wanted to be a part of this!

Amani Mckenzie brought new life to “My Vagina Was My Village” and her sweetness just made her portrayal of the devastation that much more heartbreaking.

Every day, Nicole Graziano inspires me to do more, live better, and be a fighter. She is someone who I feel honored to be in the show with.

I knew of Lauren Bamford but I hadn’t had the chance to see her perform until now. She brings “Hair” a new life that I have never seen before.

I can watch Lynnette Barber perform all day. She brings about a sense of calm and control that is so fascinating to watch, and she has one of the longest pieces in the show. And you know what? She rocks it and does it justice!

Sharon Moyer…where do I begin? What a talent and such a joy to work with. She is so dedicated to the cause that she drove from Fayetteville to be a part of this cast. She saw the cause as THAT important, and she makes me weep during “I Was There in the Room.”

Nan L. Stephenson has the challenge of bringing the annual Spotlight monologue to life. Let me tell you all, it’s a doozy. But Nan takes it on flawlessly and brings Eve’s words to life in such a way that I want to stand up and rise for the cause.

Seema Kukreja is one of the most passionate people I have ever met! She has put her whole heart into this production, and she has given so much of herself! Having her in this show is truly a blessing.


As I watched the cast run through the show on Thursday night, I thought, “Wow…we have a show.” I felt so proud of these amazing women!

I have to give major kudos to Michelle Johnson. When we needed someone to wear the Pinky costume…aka dress as a giant vagina, she volunteered and has owned the role!

Kelly Buynitzky has been a tremendous helper since day one by spreading the word. Even at auditions, she was helping us sort papers, and she has helped promote the show.

I have to say how grateful I am to Jennifer Torres of Wake Health Medical Group. I met her at Friday Free for All at “Bob and the Showgram” and when I learned she did vaginal rejuvenation sessions, I knew I had to tell her about Vagina Monologues! Not only did she help promote, but also donated a rejuvenation session for our silent auction that’s worth $750! You can check out V-Day Raleigh’s silent auction here.

Finally, I have to give kudos to our show night volunteers! Ann Haigler, Heather Curry, Janice Blevins Hillanbrand, Julia Fair, Elizabeth Breakey, Marianne Ayers, Ciaran Cavanaugh, Juanita Velázquez, and Chris Yarborough will be on the front lines during the show to make sure the patrons have a great experience. And we also have Sheri Leider coming as our counselor in case anyone is triggered by the content.

I hope you will be able to join me on Monday February 27th and Tuesday February 28th at Sonorous Road Productions and see all of this hard work come to fruition as we raise money for InterAct of Wake County!

To get tickets, please click here. To donate to V-Day Raleigh’s Generosity page, click here.

V-Day Spotlight 2017: Violence Against Women in the Workplace

Each year, the international V-Day organization chooses a Spotlight. V-Day “spotlights” a certain group of women who are facing violence, “with the goal of raising awareness and funds to put a worldwide media spotlight on this area and to aid groups on the ground who are addressing it.” Previous Spotlight Campaigns featured Afghan Women (2002); Missing and Murdered Women in Juarez, Mexico (2004); and the Women and Girls of Haiti (2011 and 2012). V-Day’s 2017 Spotlight is Violence Against Women in the Workplace.

V-Day Raleigh

Each year, the international V-Day organization chooses a Spotlight. V-Day “spotlights” a certain group of women who are facing violence, “with the goal of raising awareness and funds to put a worldwide media spotlight on this area and to aid groups on the ground who are addressing it.” Previous Spotlight Campaigns featured Afghan Women (2002); Missing and Murdered Women in Juarez, Mexico (2004); and the Women and Girls of Haiti (2011 and 2012). V-Day’s 2017 Spotlight is Violence Against Women in the Workplace.black-and-white-city-man-people

Disproportionate Effect on Women

Workplace violence disproportionately affects women, who are often subject to sexual harassment on the job. The subject recently made national news when former FOX anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against FOX CEO and Chairman Roger Ailes, accusing him of sexual harassment. Subsequently, additional women came forward with similar accusations against Ailes. 21st Century Fox allowed Ailes to resign – and gave…

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Why “The Vagina Monologues”?

Why did I want to do “The Vagina Monologues” this year? Why didn’t I wait until next year? Read V-Day Raleigh’s latest blog and find out!

V-Day Raleigh

There are numerous ways to make your voice heard. Thanks to the innovation of the internet and social media, your voice has the potential to have an audience of millions. While there are venues of activism that are powerful, I feel activism through art is one of the most powerful ways to make your voice heard.Social Media Abstract Vector Design

Truthfully, I wanted to somehow be a part of “The Vagina Monologues” (TVM) in Raleigh in some way. I hadn’t seen it since I was still in San Diego. Since moving to the Triangle in 2013, I kept my eye out for a production of TVM that wasn’t in a college setting, but my search didn’t turn up much. Finally, in 2016, TVM popped back into my mind after a colleague of mine was killed by her husband, and then he committed suicide. After the results of the presidential election, and encountering more stories…

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