Don’t Touch


Usually, it’s ‘don’t touch my shit,’

Adults are home.


We are the last generation of Latchkey Kids

We spent our afternoons alone listening to music

Songs we couldn’t play loud with adults around

In 1993 I was eleven, he was fourteen

Too cool for me in public

Best of buddies at home

Stolen from Sam Goody

Slid into his baggy jeans that sagged in public

He’d pull them up once he got home.

Daddy had a TEAC stereo that we weren’t supposed to touch

Don’t touch my shit, he’d say.

But we did anyway

Vaun came home one day with something new

A black and yellow W on the cover

Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers

Protect Ya Neck, Bring da Ruckus, C.R.E.A.M

The first album that wasn’t made by Whitney Houston that I listened to without skipping a song

I loved that album for a million reasons, but my favorite

Was that he shared it with me

I didn’t always understand Da Mystery of Chessboxin’

But I made sure I could sing along with him

He’d quiz me, who are the members?

ODB, Method Man, Ghostface, Rza, Gza, U God, Masta Killa

When he’d leave the house he’d tuck his CD into a giant book

Hide it under the bed and tell me,

Don’t touch my shit.

Yeah, sure, Vaun. I won’t touch your shit

Don’t cuss. It’s not cute when girls do it.

Once he left, I touched his shit

I’d lie on the floor, listening

Reliving the memory of him dancing along

Sometimes I’d try to dance like him

And even though no one was watching

I still felt embarrassed.

Twenty-Five years later

I still listen

Alone, without him

I can still see him dancing along

Hands in the air

Boxers showing under his baggy Girbauds

Pulling them up because it’s not allowed at home

Explaining to me the significance of the numbers

Making me feel cool

Grown up, like I knew something important that no one else my age knew.

Most importantly, that he chose me.

We shared a secret that no one else understood

The only thing we understood together

So now, eighteen years after he left

An album drops every year

When I’m feeling nostalgic

I always am

Every last one is right at my fingertips

To remind me


Of those days in the living room

I’m lying on my stomach, reading the lyrics from the book in the CD case

He’s dancing in his Wu Wear shirt that he begged our parents for Christmas

Then too soon, always too soon

He leaves.

Reminding me

Not to touch his shit.

But we both knew I would.







Unpopular Opinions!

Unpopular Opinion Game!😏

Name 10 things that you DO like that most everyone else does NOT…here are mine. They are in no particular order.

1. Eating butter
2. The smell of my own armpits
3. Being lost at a concert by myself
4. Extreme chaos and loud noises
5. Stomping
6. Wearing fishnets with pants
7.The smell of your armpits
8. Actively seeking the most unlikely friends
9. Two dogs. Only two dogs and one is mine.
10. The smell of my old Chucks

Corona Virus Serves Fort Smith Woman an Entire Humble Pie

Man, I don’t even know how to start this. We are like three weeks in, I think; every day is Wednesday to me and I’m cool with it. I have yet to find my grove but I am skippy dippin and skit scattin all over my wood floors trying to figure things out. No one can see me unless they look through my amazing bay windows, and you have the option of taking a picture or looking away.   I stay camera-ready like Queen Gina Vong.

I’m ready to work again; not because I wanna leave my house, but because I wanna pay my own bills.  I’m not as stressed about it as I should be, we all sitting in the poor pot together so I’m just trusting my path and making plans to work around this pandemic.

I love my house; I’ve said it a trillion times. I love everybody in it. I love that for the first time in a very long time I’m only obligated to pay attention to a small group of people. We are huddled up, checking in on each other, and reminding each other every day that they’re loved and missed. I hope everyone else lucked out with similar support groups.

I miss hugs though. A friend came by with quiche (Fort Smith is feeding ya girl so so so good right meow) and she gives the best hugs. We had to air hug and now my arms are sad because they anticipated the overdue affection.  My love language is physical touch. I spoon and mouth kiss EVERYTHING that lives in my house. I miss hugs that don’t smell like melted Bomb Pops mixed with Lucky Charms and Gouda.  I want someone other than the dog to lick my face and bark at me like DMX when I walk by.  Somebody slap my ass, anything!

But for once, for the most part, I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

As a result, my house has been temporarily destroyed.

Just playin, my house is always like this.

But more than everything that comes with this virus and Quarantine, not to sound selfish, but I’m getting to write again. I’m sitting, writing, thinking, feeling and getting to know who Shannon should live, fight, love and die for. I’m not who I thought I was, or who I remember. I’m not even sure I’m the correct version of myself right now.

I’ve been the most distracted, it’s landed me to an unnecessary space. I’ve been literally forced to confront the space I should be tending to along with the rest of the WORLD.

We are forced to mind our own business for once. That’s not even something I do on the regular, I’m a trainwreck that I prefer not to acknowledge.

But I am now.  It’s humbling to spend days at a time butting heads with your child and find a diary entry from nearly the same age with a similar situation merely reversed.

I’ve been the frustrated kid who feels like they can do no right in their mother’s eyes. I’m also the mother who can’t understand why her kid isn’t listening. Or why they don’t understand.

I’m my mother

And my son.

I miss being my parents’ daughter. 

Let me go back, I promise I’ll do better! I’ll pay attention in batting practice, I’ll clean my room. I’ll stop making my brothers cry.  I’ll feed the dogs every day.  I’ll iron your jeans and put that crease in that you like!! 

 We operated in true harmony as children; we literally sang with each other all day.  As the only child currently within her reach, I will say with complete confidence that personal autonomy overpowers set boundaries. No one can make anyone be ‘good’ or ‘bad.’  There’s only so much you can do when your kids are teenagers and everyone has to work.  I can tell Tyler a billion times not to mess with Achilles and he knows what I’m saying, but he chooses to pull his tail.  Children will do whatever they wanna do, especially when they’re big enough to get away with it. 

Another thing I learned that humbled me; none of is ever prepared for the personalities and idiosyncrasies of children. They can’t be handled exactly the same and they notice it, which causes resentment that they can’t understand or navigate properly. Everyone accepts love and consequences differently so my ass is over here trying to figure out which language to speak to two different boys who JUST started speaking English and having feelings.  

I barely know myself. I JUST found out on my own this week how annoying and obnoxious and tactless I am. I’m also on all the meds, so while I’m trying to rebuild myself while inadvertently self-harming in a variety of ways (no sleep, drinking too much, not writing, stress eating, etc) I’m gonna keep my remaining children alive and navigate my behavior for all my other relationships. It’s a ton of trial and error, a ton of apologizing, and even more things to add to the list of boundaries.

Every time I scream in frustration, “I never woulda gotten away with this bullshit!” I remember it’s because she didn’t let us get away with it.

She gave zero fuchs about being the best homie and how loud I threw a tantrum- by the way, cry it out doesn’t work cause I still throw em. She stood her ground to make sure whatever foolishness we tossed her way never made it out again.

Speaking of tantrums. When my Macbook broke I cried like Achilles died with it. Then somewhere between my wailing and sniffling loudly I got a flashback of my mom crying when Goog and I broke these engraved glasses my dad got her for their anniversary in 1984. We decided to play baseball with a balloon in the room we aren’t allowed to play or even visit unless we’re dusting. One of us hit the balloon with a mini Tulsa Drillers bat and it flew right into the Schrank holding  Mama’s preciouses.

Upon this memory, I allowed myself another fifteen minutes or so of audible mourning, took a chill pill and went about my business.

The more time I spend with my boys, the more I realize that I deserved every ass whoopin or grounding I got. 


Shout out to this natural disaster for humbling me as a human, parent, daughter, and woman.

Guess it’s only up from here, and right now we all cookin in the same pot.

Stay ya asses inside so we can all move up. Also, keep washing your hands. 


But if you sick of cooking,  keep our neighbors alive by visiting some of these guys!

These are who I’ve visited since the quarantine so far! Where have you gone?

Jeff’s Clubhouse

AJ’s Oyster House

Asuka Sushi and Hibachi

Ralph’s Pink Flamingo BBQ

Doe’s Eat Place



You can’t touch me cause I’m on Quarantine.

Quarantine, Quarantine!

You can’t touch me cause I’m on Quarantine!

Quarantine, Quarantine,

Don’t touch your hands, don’t touch your feet,

Wash those hands

Cause we on Quarantine!

We already have a song to commemorate our nationally-forced banishment to our homes, and I think it’s great. We are having trouble enforcing a lot of the touch rules, but everybody’s hands are clean.

Clean for boys.

My giant tantrum from last week led me to a whole new week of falling into a role I’m quite familiar with- Stay at home mom.

My boys are nuts but so am I. I feel like we are trapped in a dream home plopped in the middle of mature trees, ivy plants and daffodils. My inner dialogue shouted to me the other afternoon while we were gathering flowers to press. Imagine what a shout sounds like coming from inside of me, I been speaking Shout fluently way before Kindergarten.


I live in a favorite storybook/movie so aside from work plans, which we are all in the same boat here and it is completely unavoidable so I’m gonna wait till this is over to figure out that part. I’m home. In the Secret Garden, feeling the most inspired by my space and safe in my environment.  Every room has memories from a recurrent dream that involves every house I’ve ever called home. Windows take over our walls, making the house constantly bathed in sunlight.  Skylights remind me of my parent’s house in Bixby and I’ve finally stopped pacing the house for hours.

My friends around the community have made socially distant cameos to my environment with gifts, words of encouragement, and laffs. I’m getting stuff in the mail, and I love it! I can FaceTime my therapist, you should to it!

My time creeps and crawls but it does it for me.

I’m not forcing myself to interact in unnecessary situations; my boys have a lot more of my attention than they used to have and I’m in the space to rectify habits and behavior that’s popped up because of it. My patience is all for them and myself.

I can heal.

I can sleep.

I can do my schoolwork.

I can rebuild the cracks in my household.

I can still have my friends without the expectation of being in constant contact.

I can finally focus enough on myself to fix the flaws I’ve been ignoring within.

There are no distractions.


Don’t complain about being bored.

If you’re bored then you’re boring.


‘80’s babies- We got this! Half of us grew up without all of the shit we are limiting. We know what it’s like to not travel, go out to eat every night, or randomly shop during the day.

We know what it’s like to be poor.

So far my biggest tragedy of this pandemic for me is working on a Dell instead of a MacBook. I’m lucky. But I also hate working on a PC.  I hate it so much.

This can pass if we can remember that we survived staying indoors, away from germs. This likely created itself due to us overexposing ourselves to each other anyways.

Take a look at the changes made with us manipulating Earth less, spending time with those only absolutely necessary.

I will say this; right now the people who are constants in my life are still there. We been doin this without social media for a minute now.

Let’s be romantic again. Send letters and care packages. Create art for yourself and others. Learn your environment and turn it into a place you never want to leave.

Cause we finna be in here a minute.



Thank YOU!

Crazy weekend, but we survived it! I want to thank everyone who listened, read and shared my story. I’ve been advised by so many people to seek legal action, and the climate seems like it would make things worse for me and my boys. The town is small, and my oldest son is in Fort Smith Public Schools. Retaliation is real in Fort Smith. Because the person involved is a City Director, I’ve also had people just tell me to drop it, as we are in Fort Smith and I’m a black single mother and she’s…. her.

And it’s like, what’s the point? School’s canceled anyways.  Unfair things happen all the time, and at least we all know now not to sneeze in the halls of Spradling or there will be an email going out that you spray farted on the walls.

Not to mention the fact that the employment laws here to fire anyone whenever they want, so it would be like a million years of dealing with that and, to be honest, it’s not worth it to me. I never planned to be a teacher and after my experience, I couldn’t imagine setting foot in there again.

At this point, I just wanna graduate and find an environment where my boys and I never experience this again.

In an attempt to land gracefully while flailing out of my comfort zone I am planning a fundraiser to assist in completing the book while I seek employment. As I mentioned unrequited fundraiserbefore, she is a City Director here so I feel that my chances for employment after her actions are slim, so I’m gonna write until I find something.

Take a second to check out my flyer, and see if there’s something you might be interested in.  People have also advised creating a Go Fund Me account, but I would much rather do it this way, where everyone receives a personal thank you in return.

Thanks to EVERYONE who continue to help and look out for us!


The day before Friday the 13th

Below is my account of what happened Thursday, March 12, 2020
I substitute taught for Coach Lee with Coach Newhart in Spradling and Bonneville’s PE Classes. We started our day in Spradling, then left for lunch and finished the day at Bonneville. Between that time, I shared lunch with a friend who arrived that morning from Tulsa while I substituted at Spradling Elementary. We spent a total of 25 minutes together.
At approximately 12:52 PM he texted me, warning that his coworker spent the weekend in Aspen with someone contracted with the virus. He immediately left town. I immediately made Coach Newhart aware of the situation and we both decided I should stay, partly because she’d vomited in the bushes in front of the school, a member of staff walked by her and asked over her shoulder if she was okay but didn’t check on her. She was suffering from a severe migraine but both of us knew that we wouldn’t be allowed to leave without someone getting angry with us so we both stayed until the final class where I left Bonneville at approximately 2:45 pm.
I called Mercy and told them my situation; they instructed me to cancel my appointment and call the Health Department. I called the Health Department and they gave me an 800-number to call, then I called them who took my number and said they’d call back.
On the morning of Friday, March 13, 2020, I received a call from FSPS that terrified me. Mrs. Penix told me that Mrs. Dawson was terribly upset and called HR telling them that I was infected with the virus. I answered her questions truthfully until I realized that I would be losing my job and became upset. In that time I messaged the other PE Coach asking what she told Mrs. Dawson and she called me. We had a conversation for about ten minutes and from that, I gathered that she wasn’t allowed to grab her jacket from the gym, Robyn was angry, sent an email regarding me and the gym would be fumigated.
I had yet to see my friend during my time at Spradling Elementary. Robyn Dawson took gossip and spread it like that virus through her entire school.  Around 11 am I spoke with the school nurse who wanted to “get to the bottom” of everything going around the school. Everything going around the school. A nurse casually mentioned that people were talking about me.  Mrs.Dawson’s name and behavior was mentioned again and she asked me a series of questions where she concluded there didn’t need any further investigation. At this moment I realized Mrs. Dawson could take to her social media and I feared more people finding out, especially since I wasn’t infected.
Later this afternoon, my friend informed me that his coworkers’ test came back negative and I took the task of letting everyone know that his results were negative. When I called Spradling Elementary, the first school I visited that day hours before I had lunch with my partner, the receptionist asked if “I was the receptionist from yesterday?” when I asked her to elaborate, she alluded to the virus. I was humiliated, but it also proved that what everyone was saying was true; Mrs. Dawson was telling people that I had an incurable disease.
News travels fast in this small town, and it devastates me that a principal of a school would spread rumors about me before even speaking to me. I volunteered at Spradling a few times before I even taught there. In speaking with Mrs. Penix, she agreed that Mrs. Dawson’s behavior regarding my situation never should have happened but despite the negative test result, the damage has been done. I am no longer able to work here.
I told the truth, have no ties to the virus, but FSPS staff sent a schoolwide email about me regarding a rumor. I am extremely disappointed with Fort Smith Public Schools, and at this point just want to make sure I don’t lose my home due to Mrs. Dawson’s entertainment they had at my expense.
I found it even more concerning that they both didn’t hide the fact that they didn’t care that I was humiliated, but that I found out.
If the person is reprimanded and fired after this, we all know why.

That time a school principal told everyone I had the Coronavirus.

So and so eats their boogers!

So and so has a crush on so and so!

Shannon Hensley has the coronavirus!

Thanks to the principal of Spradling Elementary,  I am on the receiving end of Coronavirus  2020 hysteria, and it cost my financial stability.

With the help of another staff member, she emailed her staff falsely alerting them about me being infected with the coronavirus.  When I mentioned the email to her, she, as well as the HR director, were more interested as to HOW I found out, and WHO told me.  

The same night, she called one of her employees asking her what she knew about me, and who my friends were. News flash, lady. I don’t have friends here. I just have people who like my social media. You’re the one with friends and connections.

I’m just a substitute. I make $85 a day.

You might be wondering how this could have happened?  

But imagine this; you get a series of phone calls during the day that results in being removed from the schedule until further notice despite no evidence stating that I have been infected. You’re a college student and single mother on a fixed income, and not only are you removed from the schedule, someone spent an entire day ranting and raving about something that didn’t actually happen about you, to everyone who would listen. 

Meanwhile, we find out that the person who is about four degrees separated from me isn’t infected and I call to ensure everyone that everything came back negative. Imagine, human resources, who is in charge of making sure these things don’t happen,  admitted wrongdoing, but it’s too late. I can’t work because of suspicion, and they get to go back to work. I was told that they would change protocol regarding humiliating the help but she wouldn’t be truly reprimanded and I can’t go back to work.

The source of the story even getting out, the PE teacher who I worked with that day told someone who told the principal who told everyone else before confirming. 

So there’s nothing we can do about it, I’m not important enough in Fort Smith to be regarded, and I’m not the perfect employee but according to HR I certainly deserve this treatment, and I was given a dismissive “sorry boutcha.” 

The worst thing about being surrounded by a crowd of people who don’t care for you is finding out that the crowd is willing to watch your demise without helping. That’s how I feel when it comes to my city. I can volunteer, participate, promote, everything possible, but regardless of what I put into Fort Smith, the thanks is a constant reminder that I’m not important enough to matter here. If and when I need Fort Smith, they’re close by to hear my pain but end it with a “Damn, dude, that’s crazy,” and go back to their lives. Better me than them, right?

Let’s see how Shannon gets out of this one!

With the spread of coronavirus, I’m sure no one is looking to hire a new person who recently had a principal tell their community she had a life-threatening disease, so I’m a little unsure of what to do next. I guess I’ll just keep writing until then.

Maybe one day I’ll get an apology for having a false email circulated about me in a school district THAT MY BROTHER IN LAW FOUND OUT ABOUT IN ROGERS. But likely not, they never sent one amending the original. 

Good thing there’s no such thing as HIPAA in Fort Smith Public Schools, huh? Any other place you would have lost your job, and not the person you were talking about.

But as a favor, if anyone does actually care what happens to me in the wake of this, I ask you to share my story.  I just hope it will show people that hysteria, panic and overreacting cost a single mother her job. Also, to everyone on the Spradling Elementary staff, I DO NOT HAVE THE CORONAVIUS. 

Also, don’t ask if I am okay. I am NOT. 


We get it, Brock. You hate periods.

My biggest share wasn’t even created by me.


Let me just pile that onto my crippling imposter syndrome.


But It sparked a “heavy flow” of emotion from our male counterparts. In the words of the mighty Janet Jackson, it was


Heavy like a first day period.


So real quick I would like a huge favor from any female who reads this:

Please answer in the comments section a simple yes or no. Feel free to add a story, I’d love to hear it and I’m sure a lot of us wouldn’t feel so alone.


Have you lied about having your period to escape having sex?


Simple question, just a yes or a no, I just wanna prove the dudebros who actually read the entire article outside of its provocative title a point.


When I was a teenager my parents spoiled me, and I’m grateful. I had a billion magazine subscriptions; two of them being Seventeen and Teen Vogue. Mad Magazine was my favorite though, and I need to revive that immediately.


Anyways, those two teen girl mags answered some questions I didn’t always wanna ask my mom, or the moms I babysat for. One that I still use today is the question above.


If I’m ever in a situation where I feel uncomfortable just saying No to sex, I’ll say I’m on my period.


Because contrary to popular belief, sometimes No doesn’t always work. In fact, I’ve yelled an almost terrified “I’m on my period!” at a frat boy that sent him in the other direction saying “eeewwwww” when my “No” was met with a “stop being a tease”. Suddenly I’m a stupid bitch for not letting him know beforehand that I was on my period. Because that’s his business.


“Yes, this trashcan punch you gave me is delicious, Brock. By the way, I’m on my period so you’d have better luck chasing the girls in white lace shorts tonight… Not me, in the long black billowing skirt and the crow sitting on my shoulder.”


So, thanks to Seventeen or Teen Vogue, you got me out of a few sticky situations that I will likely be told were my fault for being caught up in the first place. Cause according to dudes I’m slutty, and slutty girls are public property. Back to Seventeen and Teen Vogue, right after I use the word slutty, If you ever want a writer who celebrated every period with you in my bathtub all afternoon ( God I was so spoiled I miss it) Please contact me. Or maybe send me somebody I can contact, it will be fun, I promise!


So, this is about periods. And how we use them to gross out dudes who find them gross enough to avoid.


See what I did there?




So, Brock, if you’re not grossed out by periods, guess what, young man?






So before you spark up your forearms for something other than your embarrassing browser history that you even have on your phone……


Realize that this isn’t about you. In fact, sweeping in to defend your fellow man when it comes to us using our periods as a defense mechanism towards unwanted sexual advances (by the way this is often the last resort) only shines a bright waving red flag letting us know that we need to stay away. So if you decide to comment an argument or explanation as to why I’m wrong, please ask yourself and maybe even type yes or no in the comments


Do you want all of us to know that you’re offended that we are speaking publicly about something you may have experienced yourself?  If this is where you’d like an apology for every girl who refused sex because of her period, let me give it to you.

Just Kidding.

Ask yourself. Is Shannon talking about me, as a person? Does Shannon know who I am, and do I care about Shannon that much that I need to tell her why she’s wrong? Or am I just swingin in like Tarzan to take a swing at a woman with my bare but possibly dirty thumbs? Yeah, you sound like a great guy. ” Not all guys what?”

One, two, three, four

I declare a thumb war.

Okay, Tarzan.

Me, Shannon.

You, Person No One Asked.

I get told that I hate men a lot, it’s usually the last thing they yell. It’s truly not that; I just hate when people, in general, overstep my boundaries and get offended when I want the boundary honored. It’s easy to sound and look angry when you’re saying something people don’t want to contemplate to the point where they explain why my EXPERIENCE is wrong.


This isn’t even an opinion for you to argue. It’s an experience that most women have endured.


In fact, ask ya boi Google about the women who cut their thighs to make men think they’re bleeding. They mutilate themselves so that men won’t rape them. You ever have to cut yourself to make a person think you were too gross to rape? OOhh or the ones who even wore tampons to keep from being molested by a family member. That’s a thing too.

Take a look at that meme. Got shared way more than anything I’ve ever written, and my ego is taking it hard. It was shared by mostly women who felt the same way but argued by men who felt targeted.


Yo, me and Sam are about to talk about online behavior soon. If you didn’t see that shitshow of dudes explaining their right to harass a woman in her DM’s on his page you should check it out.


After that, I’ll have a chicken or the egg conversation and see who is protecting themselves from whom because I know that I’m a dangerous one to play with and no one leaves me unscathed. I’m not perfect and I’m terrifying but so is everyone else. We are all out here trying to get hurt the least but at some point where do we all make it safe for all of us to date?


I’d rather be smashin’ a dude than bashin’ him.


But ya’ll out here playin, and some of us are strong and hurt enough to play just as rough.

So here’s the deal, we been having our periods under control

When the F are you gonna get the rape problem under control?

Unless you’re trying to get us raped less please take a seat.