A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

I have an announcement to make.

Last Wednesday I shared with you that my semi-anonymous blogging cover had been blown and I was struggling with what to do about it.

On the one hand, I was very uncomfortable with the notion of my kids’ friends reading my blog. I definitely don’t want to have to censor myself, but I also don’t want to be responsible for teaching children about things like the most cost effective way to remove butt hair.

The other issue I’ve wrestled with for several years is how to write from the heart without getting my family ostracized by our community. We live in the quite provincial suburbs of Atlanta…a place where women call their vaginas their “down there” (while pointing at it and making the same face I make when I find a headless chipmunk on my back porch).

I mean, what if the good Christian mothers of my daughter’s scout troop discover my writing and conclude I’m unfit to lead their girls on an outing to the nursing home? Or what if my son’s preschool teachers don’t invite me for animal show-and-tell because they’re afraid I’ll say something inappropriate? Or worse, what if people treat my kids differently because of my opinions or drinking habits or odd hobbies?

I have to be honest with you, I was leaning toward something drastic like closing up shop per my motto: when the going gets tough, get drunk and cry.

But then I went to The Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop in Dayton, Ohio last weekend.

And three very Erma-esque things happened:

1.) I was surrounded by my tribe of humor writers who embraced me, energized me, and gave me wonderful support, encouragement, and advice.

    Tricia, Nicole, Iris, and Ernie at our “Last Supper” of EBWW. (Photo credit: Kristen)


2.) I had the incredible fortune of hearing a number of inspirational keynote speakers like Dr. Gina Barreca, Adriana Trigiani, Connie Schultz, Ilene Beckerman, and Alan Zweibel who all resonated the same universal message: tell your truth without fear.

Iris with author Adriana Trigiani at her book signing Friday night.


“Don’t be afraid of what anyone thinks of your writing, EVER.” ~Adriana Trigiani


3.) And a first-time commenter named Kristen wrote this to me:


In July of 2011 my husband was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, since then our lives have been turned upside down. Some days I don’t know whether I am coming or going. He underwent a stem cell transplant in February 2012 at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the kids and I spent many, many hours at his bedside.

It was during this time of relentless hours spent trolling the internet that I saw a post my friend shared on Facebook. “DIY Feminine Hygiene Tips” was the heading, of course this sparked my curiosity, who wouldn’t have to see what this article consisted of?

I have to tell you that I laughed so loud that the nurses came in to see what was so funny, and I believe your blog now holds a spot on their board in the stem cell transplant unit. I do believe you have some faithful followers there as well.

The whole point to this story is to share with you the epiphany that you brought to me on that day. My 13 year old daughter started crying and said Mom, I haven’t seen you laugh in a long time. You, it was you Iris, that brought me back from the underworld. From that day on I vowed to smile every day and laugh at least once (which you so often help me do).

So I will SELFISHLY say D is my final answer. I can appreciate your predicament and completely understand if you should decide against it, I will follow you no matter where your jokes take me. You are my prozac!


Sorry – I know you like when I give you a tissue alert.

I swear I have read Kristen’s comment at least 50 times in the past 72 hours. I shared it with my friend Janet (Muffintop Mommy) while we were sitting next to each other in a stand-up comedy workshop and we were both blotting mascara off our cleavage. (No offense to the dude juggling mewling kittens and chainsaws, but we weren’t crying because of you.)

This comment perfectly illustrates another gem I heard this weekend at EBWW:

“Writing comedy is the greatest spiritual gift you can give to anybody anytime.” ~ Adriana Trigiani

I am so deeply humbled by the outpouring of love and support you – my regular readers –  gave me with your comments last week. My cup truly runneth over.

So instead of shutting down my blog and/or starting over anonymously, I think I’ll try a different approach.

“Bad girls are the only ones with stories to tell.” ~ Gina Barreca

Hello. My name is Leslie Jeanne Marinelli and I am a writer.

Leslie with EBWW roommate Nicole of By Word of Mouth Musings.


  1. Lara Young


  2. Erica M

    Wow. Wow. Wow.

    Thank God for Erma Bombeck. Not only are you not shutting it down, you’re coming out of the pseudonym closet. I have some fabulous silver lam-may skinny pants you can borrow if you’re into it.

    You are wonderful, Leslie. I’m glad to meet you.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Don’t tease me Erica! You know I have a thing for silver party pants. Thank you for the kind words – I’m glad you’re here with me!

  3. KymberlyFunFit

    You will always be the best Bomb(eck) Bearded Iris in my book! I love your sense of humor and promise never to snub you in the grocery store line. Of course we are states apart so that was pretty safe for me to say. Now I have to go do something bad so I have something to write about. http://funandfit.org/2012/04/weekend-fitness-is-more-than-exercise/

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hilarious, Kymberly. I love a good empty promise! 🙂

  4. pendy

    Love it! Welcome back, bolder than ever!

  5. Deanna

    Get it, girl. Thrilled to pieces that you’re sticking around.

  6. MommaKiss

    covered. in. goosebumps.
    do they call them gooseflesh down there? I mean, down south – not “down there.”

    kudos to you, and keep writing your truth.

    • The Bearded Iris

      DOH – that would be a sight to have gooseflesh “down there.” 🙂 Thanks!

  7. Missy @ Wonder, Friend

    This. Yes.

    Loved meeting you at EBWW. Keep writing, and never, ever mince words – even when you’re talking about “down there.” Here’s to shouting “vagina!” from the rooftops.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Haha! Thanks Missy! Loved meeting you too. I have your gorgeous business card on the very top of my stack for inspiration. Now that I’ve figured out what name to use, I’mma need some proper business bling!

      VAGINA! 🙂

  8. Melissa

    Pleased to meet you!!! ^_^ Congrats on “coming out” & best wishes! We love you!!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      OMgosh…look at that cute little smiley face you gave me! It’s so simple and joyful. I love it, and I love you too. ^_^

  9. TishM

    Well, first of all…THANK GOD! If you had of closed up shop I, along with MANY others would have been so, so, so, so sad. Second of all, that ending? Just now? Woman, you literally sent shivers down my arms and back. Wow. You are talented and brave and you absolutely should not let narrow minded people hold you back. You have too much to offer to put up with that crap. Even though you don’t know me (Tish Menyhart) it is so very nice to know you Leslie.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hiya Tish! WOW – I’m so glad I didn’t change the ending at the last minute like I was planning. Glad you liked it! Thanks for being here.

  10. Robbie

    I was a little nervous when I saw you were making an announcement as I had followed this saga on Twitter. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for not quitting or going into hiding. Sounds like the Erma Bombeck conference came at exactly the right time.

    Also nice to meet you Leslie. Would you be offended if I continue to call you Beareded Iris in my head?

    • The Bearded Iris

      Absolutely not…I love my Bearded Iris moniker and would be honored for you to call me anything that’s not too terribly crotchety. 🙂

  11. Mere


  12. Steph

    This is truly wonderful. So glad you’re here for good.

  13. Emily

    Hooray!!! You are awesome and wonderful and hilarious and beautiful and funny and amazing and YOU’RE GOING TO STAY!!!! I’m going to just ugly-cry a little. And I’m going to forget and keep calling you Iris, because the children have ruined my brain. I will tell you right now that my daughter is in the other room making fake poop. AGAIN. Like she does every time we have an empty toilet paper roll now. And every time I see one of those little fake turds drying next to the sink, I think of you and smile. Yes, that sounds stupid and gross and a little questionable, but I mean it in the most touching and heart-warming way possible – like pretty much all of motherhood.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Aw! You think of me when you see something that looks like poop? I want that on my tombstone. I’m so pleased that my twisted crafting has found a way into your home. You must be a really fun mom! Thank you! 🙂

  14. Time with Tracy

    I love you, Leslie! I mean, Iris! And I’m stealing your motto (I had a drink and cried last night as a matter of fact…coincidence?).

    I have a disease with no cure and have had the most challenging year moving across the country, my new house flooding, and trying to make new friends. You always make me laugh so hard and your posts have made my day so many times I’ve lost track. I love your authenticity and transparency. And by the way, you might consider me a southern Christian mother (shhh, don’t tell anyone!) and I would hand my kids over to you for a trip to the nursing home in a heartbeat. Why? Because you’re brilliant, fun, and a wonderful mother. Anyone who reads you regularly (without a stick up their butt) knows that.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh Tracy – I love you too, sister. I didn’t realize you were going through so much this year. I’m honored that I’ve been able to ease the burden in some way. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life! And I’ll take those kids of yours to the nursing home any time. If they are anything like their lovely mama, I bet they are a joy.

      Fondly, and without a stick up my butt, Leslie (Iris)

  15. Aubrey Anne

    Woo hoo! Best decision ever. xoxo

  16. Kim

    After perusing facebook and seeing nothing but “My child is on the honor roll!” or “My husband got a raise” or “Living large on the beach in Cancun!” it does wonders for this mom of a child with a learning disability, who hasn’t had a vacation in years, and whose husband hasn’t seen a raise in I don’t know how long, to be able to read how to make dog doo out of recycled toilet paper rolls. Keep ’em coming, Iris!

    • The Bearded Iris

      I so get that, Kim! Facebook braggers like that are the reason I think about poop so much. Let’s say a prayer for those bitches that some day their real lives may be as wonderful as the lies they tell the world.

      Say it with me now:


  17. Karine

    1) I’m so glad you’ve decided to stay the course.

    2) That comment was absolutely beautiful, it made me tear-up.

    3) If anyone gives you any trouble, my butt-kicking services are at your disposal.

    Thanks for making my Monday morning (woke up to SNOW, bleh!), you’re awesome!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Karine! I’m putting you and your butt-kicking services on speed-dial.

  18. Rachel Fruitloop

    Hooray! Thank you Iris/Leslie! I am so glad to hear you are going strong! You are so inspiring and entertaining, I definitely would have missed you too much if you’d closed up shop!

  19. Miranda

    Oh Iris!! Thank goodness!!

    I don’t talk too much IRL to people who I don’t know well for fear of those same judgments. In my ODD’s class, I’m a young mom, so Lord knows I already get “the look”. You’ve given me a new perspective. I’m going to work on that! 🙂

    • The Bearded Iris

      Those old bitches are just jealous. I know I would be if a hot young mom without gravity issues showed up at my classroom potluck! 😉 Tell you what you do, you just be your beautiful self and the right friend will find you. One of my best friends in my neighborhood is a woman who is young enough to be my redneck daughter. Do I look at her and wish I had her body? Hell yes, but I can’t imagine my life without her, and not just because she keeps me young (at heart). Hang in there honey! I know it’s hard now, but in the end, when all those crones are having multiple procedures to look more like you, you’ll still be younger and hotter and still have the rest of your life ahead of you. Win win. 🙂

  20. Jenna

    Well color me confused! Just a few weeks ago I discovered that the Bearded Iris was actually a flower…i have no green thumb, so what the hell did I know?! Here I thought that you just coveniently had the name Iris Beard and found a cool way to flaunt it. Now you come out of the comedy closet with the name Leslie….crazy. Whatever you want to call yourself, you are as funny as a fart in church…just keep us laughing lady 🙂

    • Monica

      What she said! Ha!

    • The Bearded Iris

      “funny as a fart in church”…I’m totally stealing that! Brillzy.

      Yes, a bearded iris is a flower – a lovely large attention-grabbing bloom on a long stalk.

      But also, Iris was my great-grandmother’s name. And “bearded” means “in disguise” (among other wonderful things). So there you have it. That’s the story. You can still call me Iris if you want, I’m very fond of that name! But yes, my birth name is Leslie.

      I’m glad you found me and will be sticking around for more! 🙂

  21. Crystal

    What an amazing note from Kristin!!! & I just can’t tell you how glad I am that you will be forging on with the blog!! I look forward to it and so relate…..thank you!

    • The Bearded Iris

      So nice of you to say! Thank you for being here Crystal!

  22. megryansmom

    You shaved AND cut your hair!

    • The Bearded Iris

      OMG, you can see through my pants?

  23. Southern Girl

    Preach it, sister! Thanks for staying. You are fabulous. SG

  24. By Word of Mouth Musings

    I know I don’t really have to write a single word here for you to know how happy I am to read this post …
    I would room with you here,
    I would room with you there …
    Gawd knows I would room with YOU dear friend – anywhere!

    You bring out my bad *ss sass, even if I still can’t actually type *ss 😉

    • The Bearded Iris

      By the time I’m done with you sweetheart, you’ll be talking like a sailor and shaving your face.

      I am really missing you! Best. Roommate. Ever.

  25. Karin

    Hell yes, girl. You rock the casbah. So nice to know your real name, although I have to admit that I just assumed it was Iris.
    Glad you’re keepin’ it real. XoXoX

  26. Crista

    Leslie is the Celtic name of a warrior: It means Keeper of the Grey Fort. Have you ever discussed how to keep “the fort” from greying? I think that should be your next topic.

    Much love to you!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Okay, that’s just amazing! I have a thing for Scots (or Celts, or whatever you call them), so it is perfect that I would be named for one of their warriors. And girl, the minute my fort starts to grey, I will wear purple and a big red hat and shout from the mountaintops that I am woman, hear me roar. And/or buy an econo sized tub of Betty Beauty and dye that bitch.

  27. Crystal R. R. Edwards

    Leslie, I’m in your corner. I came out of the anonymous closet a few years ago, and I cannot tell you how liberating it actually is. I don’t feel pressured now, although it’s difficult to explain exactly what those old pressures were and who they were coming from. Probably from me. I’ve always been the only one holding myself back.

    I decided to unmask when I read this, from Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata”: “But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.” I was lonely, and making myself lonelier by having this sort-of secret life. When I opened up, and when I was immediately embraced, I was no longer afraid. When I came out, I gained courage. One begets another.

    It was a pleasure to meet you at EBWW, and I’m excited by this next phase of your journey. I’ll be emailing you privately about applying twinkly rhinestone stickers to my down-there. I’m pretty sure you’re my go-to source on this. xo, @crredwards

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh Crystal, thank you so much. That quote is perfect! So nice to know that others have grappled with the same issues and that there is light at the end of the tunnel! Funny how loneliness makes us do things that only leads to more loneliness. The mind is a terrible place to get lost.

      And guuuurl, I only vajazzle my cookies, not my REAL cookie. But I’m gonna go ahead and guess that a hot glue gun isn’t the way to go.

      So nice to meet you at Erma too! I’ll be in touch!

  28. Deidra

    Yay! I’m so glad you’re staying and not changing!! Was a little nervous about “the announcement!”

    By the way, love the new hair!!

  29. Megan at declutterdaily

    Good for you Ms. Beard, ah…I mean Leslie. So jealous of that workshop you attended. You are gonna be big, lady. I am so glad that I have been along for the ride from the start-ish. 🙂

  30. Lisa

    Bless you! You are a strong, courageous, hilarious lady that I really admire and I love reading about your adventures. Hmmm, much like another favorite author of mine, Erma Bombeck! 😉

  31. kristen from motherload

    wow. UH-mazing letter.

    but even if you *hadn’t* gotten that, i’m so very happy that you haven’t decided to throw in the towel. or the wipe. or what have you. you clearly have something to say, and an incredible knack for saying it.

    i have not yet read the DIY post… very excited. heading there now.

    so fabulous meeting you chez erma! hope our paths cross again soon. xoxoxo

  32. Heather

    Wait… if I know your name is Leslie does that mean I have to stop calling you beyotch, whore, and the likes?? 😉 No matter what name you go by, I am a follower. A believer in the truths you speak, toots. You make me laugh. You make me cry. I, for one, am incredibly thankful you decided not to close up shop. Rock on, lady!!

    • Heather

      … and your hair looks fan-tab-ulous!!

      • The Bearded Iris

        Thank you Heather dear! Of course not, call me whatever your heart desires! You know I respond to anything but “no.”

  33. Muffintopmommy

    Gurl! Beautifully put, my fine friend. As I said, I’m just thrilled my triple chin didn’t impede the floodgates from raining down on mah size B.5 boobies.

    And hell yes to all of this. We put ourselves out there and yes, it is a risk. But you know what? Knowing you touched someone like the commenter whose husband is sick has to make it worth it. You have a gift, you’re sharing it unconditionally and with a full heart, and you, in a very real way, are helping people. So if someone has a stick up their arse and you get invited to a few less ham n’ bean suppers (do they still have those?) then, eh, who needs ’em?

    Leslie, it is very nice to meet you. And I loves your Italian last name! 😛

    • The Bearded Iris

      We Italian-by-Injection broads have to stick together! Love you, Janet. Thank you for all the great support and laughs you gave me at Erma.

  34. Julie Ott

    Yes, Yes, YES!!!! I will read about butt hair removal and will NOT make funny faces when we talk about vaginas. Well, maybe slightly funny faces cause vaginas are funny, funny things….

    And I will be glad they are coming from the lady with the beard at EBWW. You’ve made the right choice, Leslie Iris Bearded Lady!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Yes yes yes! (We sound like we’re really enjoying this conversation, if you know what I mean.)

      Vaginas ARE funny, funny things. Well said! SO nice to meet you. Please call me on your banana phone ANY TIME.

  35. tracy@sellabitmum

    Wait..mascara on cleavage? Count me in. Laughter is wonderful. Simply wonderful.

  36. Delilah

    WOO HOO! I was so afraid that you were going to close it up and then I would have to cry and get drunk too. The post you speak of was actually the very first post I read on your blog and I was hooked by the end of the first paragraph. You have something special Mrs. Leslie Jeanne Marinelli and I’m glad you choose to share yourself with us. Oh and if you take Erica up on the offer to borrow those silver lam-may skinny pants, I’m gonna need to see that in a vlog. Thanks in advance.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh, there WILL be more vlogs and ridiculous outfits. You better believe it. Gosh it feels so good to see my real name in a sweet comment like that. I FEELS LIKE SANGING, MS. CELIE!

  37. Abbie

    I use my real first name but only because I used my husband initials at the very beginning and he insisted I use his actual first name and that means I HAVE to use my own real name! Even my dog is hiding behind a beard. I know that every time someone meets her or sees a picture they immediately have felonious thoughts of dognapping. I am not going to make it easier by giving anyone her name to lure her into their car. My kids, a kidnapper would bring back or probably just leave on the side of the road when their pockets start croaking and something slithers out of their pants.

    • Abbie

      Ok, since I just discovered you today I have stuck my nose all up in your business all over this site….I AM SO HAPPY YOU’RE OUT AND PROUD!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh I love that image of croaking pockets! My mom surely relates to that…I have a brother who frequently misplaced his snake. (Not a euphemism.) Glad you found me and thanks for being here all up in my bidness.

  38. Debbie

    First let me say I’ve been out of the loop with a major project so I was unaware of the conundrum you found yourself in. Second, thank GOD you are sticking around. Third, it’s too early in the day for a mascara refresh, so early tissue warning the next time, but thanks for sharing the comment. What a wonderful testimony to the gift of humor and laughter.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh God, yes, so sorry about the late warning on the tissues! I kinda wanted it to be a surprise though. Crying is always better when it’s an ambush. Let’s just all commit to buying water proof mascara… I think it will make our lives easier all the way around. 🙂

      Thank you for being here with me!

  39. Amy

    YES! I think the chord that ties all writers together is our inherent desire to touch people’s hearts. And to do that by lifting them — even momentarily — from a place of despair is a double blessing. Write on, friend.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Beautifully said, Amy! Thank you.

  40. Alexis

    As they say, go big or go home! Cheers to your wonderful decision 🙂

    • The Bearded Iris

      Amen sister! In fact, my friend Emily gave me that exact same advice, and it truly resonated! The bigger the better, and I don’t want to go home…it’s too messy there. I thank you for the support Alexis!

  41. Elena

    Yay, Iris/Les! That workshop came just in time 🙂

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hi El! Yes, “just in time”…funny how that happens, isn’t it? God works in mysterious ways. Hallelujah!

  42. Kathleen

    YAY!!! I am so thrilled you’re staying with it!
    It’s nice to meet you, Leslie=)

  43. Brianne

    Woot Woot! So so glad you’re stickin’ around. I need a good dose of vagene nonsense every once in a while!

    And thank you to the ladies at that conference to helping you realize your great potential!!

  44. Amy

    YAY! YAY! YAY! It makes my week to read your posts – in all of their unabashedly (is that word?) honest glory. So glad you are sticking to your guns and being you. Oh, and the hair looks FAB in the pictures!

  45. Julie

    This is definitely your gift and I’m so glad you’ve decided to continue sharing it! You’ve been my bloggy idol since the beginning.

  46. Ann

    YOU GO GIRL!!! You look gorgeous with the new ‘do!

    (Can I still call you Iris?)

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Ann! You can call me ANYTHING but late to the bra burning. Wait, never mind, I really need my bras. They keep me from stepping on the girls.

  47. Rita Anderson

    Yippee!! I, for one, believed you were a writer all along!!

  48. Eric P

    A writer? Well, they say the first of the 12 steps is admitting that you actually HAVE a problem. 😉

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh, I have a problem alright. And the only prescription is more cowbell. Help a sister out? Oh man would I LOVE to see you work a cowbell in one of your Dr. Huxtable sweaters.

  49. just keep swimming


    • just keep swimming

      It seems to me your biggest problem will be finding blog fodder from your neighbors. They’ll get all hush hush around you.

      • The Bearded Iris

        SO TRUE!!! I have already had friends ask me to promise not to write anything about them. Good thing I have such a large, colorful family! They can’t disown me as easily…I’m the gatekeeper for the grandkids.

  50. yakmom123

    Goose bumps on your last sentence! Whew-to-the-hoo! Way to step out and embrace what you have created and who you are! Nothing more important than owning it girl!

    • The Bearded Iris

      YES! You totally feel me, dawg. “Owning it” is exactly what I was going for this time. Thank you!

  51. Mandi

    Yay!!! I…for one… am so relieved!!! Your blog posts always brighten my day 🙂

  52. Rebecca

    OMG, Iris Beard isn’t your real name??? I feel like such a dunce! Your blog is literally the only one I keep up with anymore and I often find myself thinking WWID during the week. I admire your grace under pressure and I am so selfishly excited that you’re keeping up with your blog! Looking forward to your new posts!

    • The Bearded Iris

      “WWID”!!!! *Snort-laugh* I love it! Thank you!

  53. Rebekah

    Rock ON! I absolutely love this: “tell your truth without fear.” Beautiful.

  54. Jessica O'Neill

    Yay! I am so glad you decided to keep writing! And big props for ‘outing’ yourself with your real name. I totally understand the fear of shunning by the ‘others’ at your kids’ schools, heck, it’s almost a sport for some of the parents at my dd’s school. Your loyal (and ever growing) band of readers will kick whose ever’s arse as needed. Just give us a name…heheheh.

  55. Robin

    Yay, Yay and Yay!!! So glad to hear that you are staying. I am attending college and your blog is about the only thing I take time to read on the Internet anymore, I need the laughs and your inspiration. (You were in Dayton last week and that’s my neck of the woods, hope you were treated well while here!!) Thank you for being truthful and honest in your writing. It makes me feel like being a normal, not so always couth, NON-super mom is OK. Looking forward to your upcoming posts!!!! 🙂

    • The Bearded Iris

      Guuurl, I LOVED DAYTON! I’m from Pittsburgh, which isn’t TOO terribly far from there, so I expected nothing less. Everyone we met was so kind and hospitable. Great town and beautiful campus!

      And yes, it is MORE than OK to be a NON-super mom who is not always so cough. REAL is much better than perfect. (Like in The Velveteen Rabbit!)

      Thanks for being here and STUDY HARD! If I could turn back time I would have studied more and partied less. Just saying.

  56. Jill

    Erma would be proud!! Can you imagine what her neighbors said about her?! 🙂

    And seriously if you ever make me cry without warning again, I will cut you.

    Selfishly elated that you will be staying with us. 🙂

  57. Kat1e

    crying a little bit and clapping a lot!!!

  58. Brett Minor

    Good for you. I am behind you 100%

  59. Daryce

    Who gives a rat’s ass what anyone else thinks?! Keep writing. Your children will be all the better for knowing their mom is doing what she loves and she does it so well and entertains millions (maybe not millions…yet). Keep on writing. Write, Iris, write!

  60. NanaBread (Jeanne)

    What an emotional roller coaster! Last week I was wringing my dishtowels thinking that I might have lost you forever. Now I’m leaning out of my upstairs bedroom window screaming “I love Leslie Jeanne Marinelli and I don’t care who knows it!” I could not be more proud of you. I may still call you Iris from time to time out of habit, but I’ll work on it. How lovely that the Erma Bombeck workshop brought you back stronger than ever. If she were still with us, I’d hug her, too. I’m beyond happy for you. Way to rock it.
    -NanaBread (Jeanne)

    PS – Speaking of rocking it, that haircut is totally bitchin’, Shorty.

    • The Bearded Iris

      I love you Jeanne, and not just because we share the same name. If I could just get a video of you leaning out your window screaming about your unabashed love? That would pretty much sustain me for the rest of my days.

  61. Kate Takes 5

    What an amazing comment to recieve. I was going to suggest a sideline in Barry White tributes but I can see you have the future covered. x

    • The Bearded Iris

      Aw, shucks Kate! Some day we are going to dance to Barry White together in an Irish pub. Promise me we’ll do this. I’m putting it on my life list RIGHT NOW.

  62. KeAnne

    Yay! I am so glad you are staying! Oh, and nice to meet you, Leslie!

  63. JayMoney

    You go, girl! Walk, skip and run in your truth. Own it and love it! I support you.

  64. Bernie Bickers

    Scatological Humorists 1, Prudes 0

    BTW, didja notice the decoration along the top of the Ohio History Erma Bombeck plaque makes it look like you are standing beneath a wreath of vaginas…tres apropos…

    Proud of you kid! Now go make me laugh…

    • The Bearded Iris

      You are right. Those buckeyes or whatever they are sho-nuff do look like little baby makers. You cheek! That does it, I need to be buried in Ohio under a wreath of vulvae.

  65. Michelle

    First of all, super cute top with the rosettes on it!! Second…..Yay!!!! Never stop writing. You are awesome. I LOVE reading your work. Congrats on coming out of the closet 🙂

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thank you! Love that top. It’s taupe colored and the layers on the front go all the way down (hides all the belly rolls). Anne Taylor…three years ago. One of my favorites!

      Glad you’re here with me!

  66. Sarah

    I’m sitting here reading your blog, and my 5 year old just said, “THAT’S what I want – a laughing mom.” I love you, Beardy, uh Iris, no wait, Leslie! Yeah, I love you, Leslie! (And my 5 year old says thanks.)

    • The Bearded Iris

      OMG, “a laughing mom”….YES! Every child should have a laughing mom. My little Bucket Head told his whole preschool class last year that his mommy is “the prettiest when she’s laughing.” I’ll never forget that. Ever. LAUGH ON, SISTER!

  67. Wub Boo Mummy

    I bet the women who call their vaginas their “down there” (while pointing at it and making the same face you make when you find a headless chipmunk on my back porch) secretly read your blog and wish they could be more like you.

    Yay for having such an inspirational weekend and for realising that it’s all worth it. We need your writing. We really, really do 🙂

  68. Kristen K

    So. You’re really not a fat man from Spokane? Shit. I feel like I’ve been living a lie.

    Ever since the first time I read your posts, I’ve loved you. You don’t blow smoke up our asses and you are funny…like, Poise pad funny. Don’t ever change anything. Well, maybe your undies. That shit STANKS.

    Love you, Leslie. You are a writer, and one of my favorites.

    • The Bearded Iris

      I love you too Kristen K. I frequently say a prayer of gratitude to Bad Mommy Moments for that magical day when I left the comment on her blog about the time my daughter stuck a piece of gum on her vajayjay…and you clicked on it….and we became friends. All because of a comment. About a vagina. This is why we are friends. Because we are both whacked. In a good way. Vagina. Sometimes I just like to say it for no reason. That is all.

  69. Tom Musial

    Congratulations! I’m glad you’ll be sticking around!

    I’m curious as to what you learned about stand-up at the EBWW and if you’ll be taking the stage anytime soon…

    PS. Are guys allowed to comment here?

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hi Tom!

      Oh I learned so much at that workshop. It was the first time I’ve ever thought about comedy technique. I still have SO MUCH to learn though before I will take the stage, but yes, it is definitely on my list of things I’ve always wanted to do. Are you available for tutoring? I need a mentor!

      And no, NO BOYS ALLOWED! Kidding. Where’ve you been hiding? Is it all the vaj talk? Is that what’s keeping you away? Do I need to write more Steelers jokes? Serve pigs in a blanket? Host Fart Joke Friday? TELL ME.

      • Tom Musial

        Oh, I’ve been here all along, lurking behind the potted plant, sipping on my IC Light and learning all kinds of new facts about lady parts and hair removal.

        Regarding stand-up: like everything else, the only way to learn is to do it.

  70. Dawn@LightenUp!

    Well, hello Leslie Marinelli! Nice to meet you. Again. 😉
    So glad you enjoyed EBWW. And thank you AGAIN for putting your Bert in my hand. It was good for me.

  71. Gappy

    Oh that was brilliant. Loved that post. Really inspiring. Let’s just all write our hearts out and not give a shit. Absolutely.

  72. Anna Lefler

    Lovely! It was so great meeting you this weekend!!



    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Anna! Great to meet you too. Loved your workshop and have lots to think about regarding my “house rules.” Glad to know I’m not the only one who almost misses great opportunities in the spam folder. 🙂

  73. Mama Donn

    You made Mama Donn laugh, cry and change my depends!
    You go LJ
    Good choice by the way.

  74. Janet

    I completely understand your predicament. I teach in a conservative Catholic school and have for 15 years. I don’t blog the way I would like because when (not if) found, there could be repercussions that would have a serious effect on my family. So I blog about the light stuff…not the funny stuff. I’m glad you do. 🙂

  75. Alicia

    YOU GO, GIRL! I’m so happy for you that you were able to find the right answer and all this amazing energy. I look forward to an excess of bawdy humor in the near future!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh I LOVE the word “bawdy.” It is so powerful and sounds a tad bit classier than “raunchy,” not that there’s anything wrong with it. Thanks for being here and getting my schtick.

  76. Amanda Andrus

    First I want to say that I love your hair! Second I want to say Hi Leslie! I am so glad that you have decided to move forward and continue with the your wonderful blog in all of its glory. I love reading your blog and don’t mind the tears mixed in with the laughter.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Amanda! “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion!” ME TOO, sister. Me. Too.

  77. Anne Alexander

    So damn proud to call you friend.

  78. Cath

    Thanks for sharing.
    Thanks for the laughter and tears. A classic combination.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Constant love and courage,

    • Cath

      Oh, and…

      “If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.”

      Erma Bombeck.

      • The Bearded Iris

        AMEN! Long live the wisdom of Erma. Thank you for sharing!

  79. Glen

    If nothing else, write for me – surely that’s all the reason you need?

    • The Bearded Iris

      It absolutely is. I would write for you any time, any place, any style. You, sir, are a prince. What’s our next project?

  80. Tiffany

    Damn it, Iris! (Leslie would be like calling my high school teachers by their first name! the horror! 😉 ) You made me cry…there’s no crying in Iris-town!!! I’m so happy! Truly. Amen.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hahaha! That made me laugh, Tiffany. Thank you! Oh shudder…the thought of a real “Iris-town” is something only Stephen King could produce.

  81. Lara

    Your post just made my day-tears and laughter all rolled into one.

    • The Bearded Iris

      SCORE! Thank you Lara!

  82. Karen

    So happy you have decided to stay in the trenches w/us “normal” moms! All I can say is “Les” is more! Keep ’em coming “Iris!”

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh honey, we’re not “normal.” We are SUBLIME! You do NOT want to see the kids of those “normal” moms 20 years from now. Trust me.

      “Les is more.” Do I smell a new tagline?! Fabulous! Thanks for being here Karen!

  83. Mary Lou

    Leslie! I am just sobbing! (It isn’t pretty.) I feel like we have been friends forever, yet we’ve never met. I am so happy for you! You go, Girl!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh Mary Lou, now you’ve got me crying again. Dammit! We HAVE been friends forever, and we will be forever more. You’re stuck with me. XO.

  84. Angie K.

    This. Is. Awesome. Make your voice a mighty roar.

  85. Lisa Hewitt

    You made me cry Leslie/Iris bitch. I love you, in a totally non-stalker, never met you, non-creepy way. So happy The Bearded Iris will continue.

    • The Bearded Iris

      I love you too Lisa/Lynn. Thank you for all the glorious support and comments!

  86. Cathy Cech

    Hi Leslie,
    Long time reader, first time commenter here…. I write a blog called LucyAbroad in my hometown of Edmonton Alberta. My husband calls me Lucy -as in, You got some ‘splainin’ to do….. I write it anonymously, just because I wasn’t sure what the hell I was doing. Now I kind of like it. I write another one for our community paper under my real name. I found that though my young kids have read, and shared my blog with their friends, they really aren’t that interested in it. They would rather check out YouTube, FML or a hundred other sites. I wouldn’t worry about the kids. Your neighbors, maybe, but the kids, no.

    I just put myself on the waiting list for a future EBWW. Good God – Ohio! Maybe we will meet in person one day. I am glad that you haven’t closed up shop. I look forward to future posts and vlogs. You make me laugh. I especially liked the dancing video.

    As a gardener and a lover of bearded iris’, I am a little disappointed to learn that the coolest name ever – Iris Beard – is not your real name. Good luck out there without the cover. Keep up the fine work.

    Lucy, a broad

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hi Lucy! Thanks for the great comment! As a blogger yourself, you know we writers absolutely LIVE for the feedback and acknowledgement that something we wrote struck a chord. I don’t always comment on every post I read either, so I totally get it. But I’m really glad you’re here and finally said hello!

      Looking forward to meeting you in 2014! Don’t be a stranger! 🙂

  87. Cameron

    I’m so glad.

    I only just got here, and then you were talking about shutting down the store!

    I owned my name last fall (I hid for different reasons), and it was rockin’, so I wish you nothing but laughter and joy in yours!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Yay! So glad it rocked for you to come out too. It is so comforting to hear stories like that. Thank you!

  88. Kristy

    Leslie has a new fancy fab do and Iris Beard…

    I JUST LOOOVE YOU!!!! Giddier than all get out you’ll be stickin around!! On days I’m not hysterical with mehself… I’ll be relyin on you friend!
    Cannot WAIT to see you in June! xo

    • Carrie

      I’m really not liking the “June” part of this.

      I told Kristy I’d send a little sompin’ sompin’ for you though.

      However, it doesn’t ease the severe jealousy.

      • The Bearded Iris

        Okay, that does it. We need to schedule our own little bloggers’ retreat in Texas. I’ve been meaning to get there FOREVER to see my dear old friend Emily, so let’s just make this official, shall we? Have your people call my people and let’s book this MFer.

    • Kristy

      Ok… so not to bog your blog down with ridiculousness… I think I was so giddy with reading your decision that I TOTALLY fumbled my first comment. WTH does “Leslie has a new fancy fab do and Iris Beard”????? Weren’t you like “dumbass”?!?! hahaha… I think what I was mayyyyybe trying to say was


      for the record, I may have to actually call you by your given name, but you’ll ALWAYS be my Iris Beard! (especially since I grow iris’s and I think about you every time I walk in and out of my front door! weird.. yep.. but that’s ok)

      Ok. I’ll take my ridiculousness and go now 😉


      • The Bearded Iris

        I love you Kristy and you better get your back aligned before June because I am most likely going to hug the shit out of you.

        I love and grow Irises too (of course) and it makes me blush and giggle like a school girl that a flower as magnificent as that would remind you of little ol’ me. Damn, I done good choosing that name as my nom de plume! Whooo-HOOOOO! (*happy dance*)

  89. Christy

    THANK GOD!!!! I do believe this is your calling. If you make so many people happy how can it be wrong. I am looking forward to many more years of reading.

  90. Jane

    Yeah! You came out! I am so happy Leslie- your writing is wonderful and the fact that you bring joy to people everyday is so much more important than anything else. Your children will be proud their whole lives! I did get worried at first that you were going away and then of course I got teary when you shared Kristen’s post but I am so happy for the outcome! woohoo.
    Also, I’m so jealous you met Adriana Trigiani

    • The Bearded Iris

      OMG Jane, she is DREAMY. You would have peed your pants listening to her speech. Hilarious, as you know, because I bet you’ve read all her books. My favorite so far is Rococo! Oh she makes me laugh! Thank you for being here with me all this time, Janey! XOXOX!

  91. Anne @ Domesblissity

    Great news Leslie! Iris who?

    Anne xx

  92. samatwitch

    Thank you for making such a courageous decision. I’m so glad that everything came together for you. I just found you recently and have enjoyed everything I’ve read so selfishly I didn’t want to lose that. Keep it up.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thank you! Glad you found me and hope you’ll hang around! 🙂

  93. Joan

    I’m so beklempt I don’t know where to start.

    I’d almost forgotten how much I’d always loved Erma Bombeck. I wanted to grow up to be her for part of my childhood.

    Wow. What courage and what a surprise twist ending. And isn’t God amazing? He gives us just what we need when we need it, even though sometimes that’s REALLY scary.

    And, yay! I’m so glad you’re going to keep writing. I really enjoy you’re blog.

    • The Bearded Iris

      YES – it IS really scary, but God is so good and is always there just in time with exactly what we need. A to the MEN, sister! XO.

  94. tracy Beckerman

    So glad to be there to witness the transformation! You go girl! You are one talent SOB and I am so thrilled to be a new part of your fan club and blog posse!

    • The Bearded Iris

      You said “blog posse.” OMG! I love it! Thank you Tracy. You are an inspiration to me. LOVED getting to meet you at Erma and look forward to getting to know you even better.

  95. Lisa Rae @ smacksy

    High five, Lady.
    Highest five.

    • The Bearded Iris

      WHOOOOO-HOOOO! You can’t see me, but I’m jumping up in the air, holding my boobs down with one hand, and extending my other as far as I can reach to receive your highest of fives! Thank you!

      Pleasure to meet you at Erma! Thank you for stopping by!

  96. Stacey H.

    I am so thrilled for you…your vagina grew testicles and they look GREAT on you! I have tears pouring down my face as I felt the strength you demonstrated. People will love you for the brilliantly funny writer you are. God bless and your legs just grew 5 inches taller!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh God, you kill me Stacey. I love you and your big boobs and your hilarious faces. You are a HOOT! Call me on your banana phone ANY TIME.

  97. mrs.frisbie

    WOOT! (for you) and WOOT WOOT!! (for your hair do)

  98. Lea in GA

    Hooray!!! All of my excitement has been expressed by others in the above posts. I just want to add my name to the fan club.
    Thanks for airing it out in such a public forum.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hahaha – you said “airing it out.” Love that phrase. It always makes me envision stinky things. Thanks for being here!

  99. Kathleen

    WHOO HOO!!!! Nice to meet the REAL you, Leslie! I am so proud of you and so happy that you are here to stay. We need you, girl!

  100. Abby

    LESLIE! LESLIE! LESLIE! WOO WOO WOO WOO! (That was the typed version of the Arsenio Hall chant.)

    I have to say, I’m THRILLED that you’re not going anywhere. I troll the internet for HOURS looking for humor writers who inspired me. You’re at the top of the list, sister. I love knowing I’m not the only one who would rather print a fart joke than a long-winded diatribe about how much I hate my job. (YAY flatulence!!)

    Also, I just saw the “What would Jesus do” copyright thing at the bottom of your page. And I’m falling in love all over again.

  101. @sherib0bbins

    WORD!!!!!!!! you can’t deprive the world of your hilarious view! kudos, girl!

  102. Nancy Davis Kho

    You did it! You did it!

    Atta girl. Will look forward to following the journey from here on out.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Garsh – I know, right? Thank you for listening to my hemming and hawing that day at lunch. It was so nice to have other writers to bounce my situation off of and look to for guidance. Thanks for stopping by to say howdy too, Nancy! 🙂

  103. Lisa Cleland

    You go, girl! I purposely did not respond sooner because I didn’t want to influence your decision with my selfish reasons for continuing what you do so brilliantly! I am so proud to know you and I am so jealous that you got to meet one of my favorite writers..Adriana Trigiani!!! Love the pic! Two women that can make me laugh out loud! Thanks for all you do!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh Lisa, friend, thank you so much for being here and not trying to influence my decision. The fact that you are one of the few local friends I invited into my little secret world so long ago is a huge testament of how much I like and trust you! Thank you for everything. 🙂

  104. Mary the Oinkteller

    Excellent news, Leslie!! You rock, girl – so glad you are pressing on! I look forward to reading and laughing more with you soon!!

  105. Lindsay @lilloveandluck

    I knew I was a lucky gal when you told me we were going to be friends.

    Hell to the yeah, preach on, sister.

  106. Cynthia of Sewing Machine Fame

    wow – so inspiring! looks like you just utterly nailed it.

    now thinking, yeesh, i guess my thoughts were not so helpful or accurate!

    but most importantly: loved what you said and so glad we can all still read your posts.

    really wonderful post and just love the erma bombeck connection!!

  107. Jennifer

    I have the chills. And tears. SO PROUD OF YOU!! I love you so much & am always inspired by your honesty and amazing ability to make me laugh every stinkin’ (that’s my crotch) time. Go, Leslie, GO!!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      I love you too Jennifer! And your crotch. And your hilarious blog! Thank you for all the support and laughs and awesomeness. Having a friend like you who blogs without fear is so inspirational to me. XO!

  108. Tisha

    Whenever I need to laugh, your blog is inevitably where I turn. Glad you’ll be sticking around….and more dancing videos, please!

  109. Kristy

    You make me happy when skies are grey!!!!! Thanks for all the laughs and I’m so glad you’re going to keep them coming!!! 😉

  110. Jen


    Look at you coming out of the closet.

    At least I think that is what you did.

  111. ghfool

    The grass is always greener on the other side of the septic tank. Thanks for staying on this side.

  112. busymommybum

    I am so grateful that you have decided to stay the course! I check your blog faithfully every day in the hopes that you will make me laugh out loud as you usually do. I have often thought you must have been a long lost friend, but alas, I don’t know anyone in Atlanta. However, my three favorite childhood friends were all named LESLIE! 🙂
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for being REAL and REFRESHING. Losing you truly would have been like losing a very dear friend!!

  113. Ninja Mom

    Fuck you, Leslie. Now I’m crying! (So that was an emotionally embarrassed “fuck you,” not a legit, angry one.)

    You have talent. And honey, talent will out. Glad you’re letting out instead of hiding it inside until it bursts forth from your abdomen like in Aliens. You have talent, but you’re no alien murdering Sigorney Weaver. Remember that, Leslie Jeanne.

  114. Michaela Mitchell

    First, yayayayayay!!!

    Second, I had my own run-in with that kind of decision this weekend (on a muuuuuuuch smaller scale), and made the same decision. 🙂

    I’m so glad you’re here to stay, Iris/Leslie/Teacher of new terms for vagina!

    And yeah, I’m from the panhandle of Florida, so I know what you mean about the suburbanites not being able to refer to their “down there” with a little humor…quite sad, really…

  115. Neal

    Not many guys posting on this but I enjoy your blog. In the immortal words of somebody famous, “F*ck’em if they can’t take a joke.” I hope I never have to rad your feminine hygiene tips, though.

    Keep up the good work.

  116. Julie the Wife

    Iris (may I still call you Iris?) – First, I am insanely jealous you went to EBWW, I was there in 2010 and couldn’t make it this year but loved it. Second, your post about having your cover blown is something I have struggled with since I started the blog, and I have teens. I just blogged about your blog and my struggles with it at my blog, at http://www.adayinthewife. I think you nailed it, and LOADS of moms deal with this same shit. Third, I’m afraid I’m going to have to stalk you now.

  117. Neal


  118. Jef

    My mother would have been grateful to anyone who had explained the most cost effective way to remove butt hair, so that she didn’t have to sit down with me to have that conversation with paper strips, hot wax, and a peach. Consider your blog to be a public service.

    I’ve learned over the years that there is little difference between creativity and spirituality. How you express yourself is as uniquely you as the color of your eyes. An iris controls the amount of light that reaches the retina, so perhaps you’re just shining light on the things that are matter to you. They may not be important to everyone, but they will be important enough to someone for whom it will make a difference, like Kristen.

    There will always be someone who will be looking for something to be offended by, but why worry about it until it happens? Remember, the only person who can really make us feel about what we write is ourselves. It’s none of our business to judge what we write; our only job is to write authentically. Just take it word by word.

  119. JD @ Honest Mom

    Good for you, Iris. Er, Leslie. So happy you made a decision and are excited and proud about it. Yay, you!

    So … inquiring minds want to know … how’d you pick Iris Beard as your pen name? And is Iris Beard no more…?

  120. Ellen at Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

    Hooray! So glad you are rejuvenated and that you will continue to blog! And girl, I got here from your mention on the Huffington Post. You’re all kinds of famous all over the country! Ellen

  121. Cincy Sarah

    Pft, I totally saw you at the EBWW and did not go up to you lest I appear a stalker, plus I’m really, really bad with faces and didn’t want to get close enough to stare at your chest to see if your name tag indicated anything about hairy irises. I definitely regret it! But I’m so glad you’ve decided to stick around, and way impressed that you’re being so open about it.

    Also, my god that conference was amazing. I’m pretty sad that today there wasn’t a super-inspiring speaker at lunch or some guy that wouldn’t stop talking to me about funny shit following me around. Well, my 5-year-old did that, but we’re still working on his timing and delivery.

    Anyway, in 2014, dagnabbit, I am definitely going to just out myself as the Internet stalker that I am and say hi. 🙂 The internet thanks you for your continued presence; I promise.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Darn it, Sarah! I wish you would have said hello. I’m totally used to people staring at my whiskers and sweater puppets, so don’t be shy next time! It definitely was tough to get back to reality after such a great weekend, wasn’t it?! Looking forward to meeting you in 2014. 🙂

  122. HouseTalkN

    Speak it, sister!!!!!!!! I am so happy to hear that your voice will still be loud and clear!
    You rock, your blog rocks and your new ‘do rocks!
    Kerry at HouseTalkN

  123. Lisa

    Glad you are happy with your decision! Looks like a lot of others are too 😀

  124. Naptimewriting

    Goddamned right you are.

    Yee haw.

    (And don’t ever pull that bullshit about skipping the tissue alert again.)

  125. Laura

    Wow! Way to be bold and unafraid. I feel like I “know” Iris and i just met Leslie, it’s so strange. This is my first comment on your blog but i love it and read all the time. You are so real and honest. As a writer and a person I love that. I would have dearly missed your blog. I use a fake name for my writing (lily, oh my gosh we both pretend to be flowers. Amazing.) as well, way to inspire me to actually connect what i say with who I am. Iri-er, Leslie, you are awesome.

  126. Terri Spilman

    Congratulations! Really beautiful post. So glad I had the chance to meet you last weekend and you are comfortable with your decision. Whooosh!

  127. Ade

    AWESOME!!! I was sooooo scared to click on your blog today and see if you had made a decision. I came to you in much the same way as your completely kleenex-worthy friend, in the darkest moments of my life. My life spun out of control on a dime when, one Thursday night, my husband attempted to commit suicide in the kitchen while I cooked. With 3 of our 4 children watching. Many many moons later, he left our family and there I sat, alone with no job or skills, no idea if he was safe (still don’t know) and no clue how to keep my head above water. The healing process has been slow and scattered with all kinds of broken glass but we’re making it. I ran across your blog on fb, from a friend that reposted the exact same title, and I am pretty sure I peed my pants laughing at you. I come here and read whenever it seems like there is more glass than road, which is less and less but, I read all of it until I’m caught up. You’re strong and hysterical and I LOVE it.
    Don’t ever stop writing. You really are bringing a smile to people you have no clue about. I know I thank you, and I’m sure they do too!

  128. Kim at Let Me Start By Saying

    I love you, Beardy. Lots.

  129. Betsy

    Love your site and have shared it many times with Moms who need a laugh and to brighten their day! It always works.

    I do have to say that when I saw what blog event you went to, it made so much sense. My Mom loved Erma Bombeck and I remember her reading exerpts from her book and crying and trying to explain it to me with me not having the same reaction. What’s so funny about that, Mom?

    I’m a Mom now and I understand that you either laugh or cry. I choose to laugh and your blog helps me laugh, instead of cry, at myself. My Mom chose to laugh. Don’t stop blogging now or I might cry.

    • Betsy

      I meant to say my Mom was crying from LAUGHING so hard…..

  130. laura


  131. Allison @ Motherhood, WTF?

    Awesome. Brave. And more awesome. I’m so excited to see what comes next. But you’ll always be Iris to me. (Or, possibly, Mulva.)

  132. Kristin @ What She Said

    OK, so wait… you’re name really isn’t Iris Beard??? No, I’m totally serious – I really thought it was Iris Beard. I mean, I’m friends with you on Facebook and YOUR NAME IS IRIS BEARD.

    I’m glad you’re going to keep blogging. But I’m so confused.

    (And that comment – WOW! Every writer should be so lucky as to get at least one note like that in their lifetime.)

    • Kristin @ What She Said

      Damn it. Now you’ve got me making grammatical mistakes in my confusion. Fuck you, Iris/Leslie. 😉

      • Kristin @ What She Said

        OK, and now I can’t get Ace Ventura out of my head: “Finkel is Einhorn? Einhorn is Finkel???”

  133. Sarah C.

    I am so glad you chose D. My thanks to you for the reliably real laughs and knowing someone else sees the absurdity of everyday life. Thankfully, you have a gift for making that absurdity really really funny.

  134. Jester Queen

    Yeah. FUCK YEAH. Also. HOLY FUCKING SHIT. I completely missed your near blogicide!!!! I am BEHIND in my blogging. But also, I think that wordpress hates me. I probably pissed off some wordpress god and now it disallows my subscriptions. I shall re-subscribe and see that I receive your posts once more. Because seriously. I would be very unhappy without your site.

  135. Jellyhead

    I’ve been charmed by you since we first met. I’m so glad you are sharing your talent with the world!

  136. Lynne

    Yay! I’m so, so glad you decided to stay with us. I stumbled across your blog early last year when I was hugely pregnant and on bed rest. I joked with my husband that I read your blog hoping my belly laughs would kick my labor into gear. Ever since, not a day goes by where I don’t check your blog for an update. You are, by far, my favorite blogger – for your humor, honesty, and devil-may-care attitude. So I want to thank you, Iris…Leslie…vagina ranter…poo maker, for doing what you do and sharing it with all of us.

  137. EmmaK

    You show em what you’re made of! Keep on truckin and makin us all pee our panties!~

    You are a far braver lady than moi though….since my blogging cover was blown I’ve lost the will to blog because of thinking of what the brownie moms might think about some of my really filthy posts. But I didn’t even hide my identity very well so what did I expect!

  138. Anne

    I just discovered your blog…Hilarious!!! Where have you been all my life??!!!

  139. Peyton


  140. Shirls

    Iris/Leslie you should be awarded the Legion of Honour (whatever that is) for your courage. Oh I think it’s a Purple Heart in the USA? Or is that a drug? Whatever – I love your blog like I loved the Erma Bombeck books as both make me laugh out loud one minute and have a little weep the next. I am so very glad you will continue.

  141. julie gardner

    This post is everything awesome all at once.

    I knew your name wasn’t Iris. (I figured you picked “Bearded Iris” because it sounded vaguely vaginal. And by vaguely I mean totally. And by vaginal I mean downthere-ish.)


    Anyway, yes.
    Holy shit. Yes.

  142. Jessica B

    OK (a), this entire post gave me goosebumps, and (b), that reader’s comment about how you made her laugh when her life was falling down around her gave me a tear in my eye. Even though I am a pretty new reader, I want to say GOOD CHOICE. I’m so so happy you decided to stay, to be heard, to put yourself out there with humor. I need to take a page from your book. So anyway, hi Leslie, I’m Jessica. Nice to meet you. 🙂

  143. Hollow Tree Ventures

    AWESOME, except you made me ugly-cry. But that’s okay – this was so inspirational, and I’m beyond thrilled that you’re not only sticking around, but that you’re sticking around as the really real you. Bravo!

  144. Kristen

    Leslie! So nice to meet you! Love, love you. Glad you are keeping it up!

  145. Kate

    You’ve got HUGE balls, and I love you for that! You are a fabulous writer, and make me laugh so incredibly hard. I wish you were my neighbor… Congratulations on coming out, and best of luck in the future. I’m so happy you aren’t going anywhere. (BTW, when does your movie come out, and who’s playing you???)


  146. Amy Jones

    I am so proud of you, and so relieved! Everything else I could say has been said by others above, but I, too, wanted you to know that I am among your grateful and loyal fans. Love your blog! Thank you for the laughs and for your decision to KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON! 🙂

  147. Meili

    You’re damn right you’re a writer, Iris… uh, I mean, Leslie (that’s gonna take some getting used to.) Because if you’re not a writer, then I’m not a wine loving, frequently innappropriate girl scout momma, who struggles to be a good wife and a better Christian, while dealing with the realities of the world in the best way I know how… with a little humor. I get why it would be oh-s0-disturbing to have your kids’ friends know stuff they shouldn’t know about you, and why its not entirely safe to have the world know too much about your family, but the CALLING to help those of us who love you, the power you have to make people feel a little less alone, less weird, less ordinary… well, dear, that’s worth the risk. Don’t you think? Protect yourself, but be you. And keep on truckin’.

  148. christel

    Proud of you…as usual!!! So important to find fulfilling things for ourselves…and what a relief because we shouldn’t have to make major life changes based on other mothers lack of parental supervision on the internet…Remind me to fill you in on our latest that just happens to be on the subject…It involves porn and you can probably guess which child!!! OY!!!

  149. Nikkole

    I saw your headline yesterday and knew I shouldn’t read it until I was 1.Alone,
    2.Lubricated/Inebriated, 3.Armed with another fresh glass of wine. Sadly I had company till late, and didn’t want my husband to witness whatever fallout resulted so I had to wait till now to read the verdict.
    So now I’m sobbing into my wine, thankfully, happily, joyously, and all that jazz. Many a night I count the minutes till I can pour me a glass (okay-goblet) and sit to read what’s going on in your world- and it gets me through, I would miss you terribly if you left.
    Bless you and your family for being so awesome, and thank God for those who were put in your path to get you to come to this decision!

  150. Ado

    Read this – it is such a moving post. I’m so glad you went to the Erma conference and heard “tell the truth”! Love this, love your blog, love your little goatee. (-:

  151. Kristi at My Cup Runs Over

    LOVE IT.

    When I started blogging, I toyed with the idea of going anonymous, too. I decided against it because I knew that if I felt anonymous, I might be *too* honest. Anyway, you’ve got a new follower in me!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Fabulous! Pleased to meetcha! Yes, being *too* honest can really get us into hot water. I’m going to have to learn how to speak my truth without being too harsh. It will definitely be a steep learning curve. Wish me luck! 🙂

  152. January

    OMG PHEW!!!! Ado just shared this on her fb and I kinda freaked out. The blogosphere simply would never be the same without you Iris…er Leslie. 🙂 Bring on the ass hair and vagina jokes!!!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hahaha! Aye-aye, cap’n! I couldn’t imagine blogging any other way! 🙂 Thank you for the support, January. It’s so nice to feel like I’d be missed.

  153. Alison@Mama Wants This

    Go you, Iris! Er, I mean Leslie!!

    That comment? Seriously, how good can it get?

    Yes, yes you are a writer and a brilliant one at that.

  154. Kathy Wooton

    Hey, Leslie – I met you at the Erma, while you were dancing like nobody was watching in front of your webcam. I am glad you had your epiphany at the Erma – that conference changes lives. You go and OWN your writer title, you earned it, and no one can take it from you. Never let that writer’s voice be silenced.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hey Kathy! Of course – we sat together that night at dinner too! I hope you were able to enjoy the rest of your Erma weekend without worrying about your son too much. That sure was a pickle for you. So hard to be a mom away from home, isn’t it?!

      Thank you for the support and the sweet comment! Hope to see you in 2014.

  155. kmarie

    LeslieIris–You inspire me! You rock! So glad you are staying!

  156. Ali

    Wait, what??? I always thought that was your real name! I’m shocked. Seriously. And now I feel really stupid because upon Googling Bearded Iris I see that it’s actually a KIND of iris. P.S. I’m educated and feel like a total ass. I just thought an iris was an iris. Anyhoo – I’m proud of you. I haven’t used my last name on my blog and haven’t named my husband. But I did tell my boss about it yesterday so now I have to wait until he gets bored of it to talk about my obsession with boobs.

    • The Bearded Iris

      …or not, it might get you a raise!

      Girl, it is SO freeing to be out of that writer’s closet. I can’t even begin to tell you what a relief it is. (aaaahhhhhh)

      And yes, a bearded iris is a flower…a very showy, lascivious thing! Raaarrrr! Get some for your garden. No maintenance!

  157. Karen

    I’m so glad you are staying as I type through my tears from reading Kirsten’s comment about laughing out loud in the hospital.
    You are a beautiful person Leslie.
    from the other side of the world (nothing exotic, just Australia) Karen

  158. Kristin

    Spent and energized by this post. It really is true that it’s the people who are touched and helped that make all the foolishness worth it. What a wonderful weekend, and what a stunning rebirth.

    Welcome to the World, LJM.

  159. Yuliya

    Fabulous to have met you, looking forward to getting to know you, the unmasked you!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Loved meeting you too, Yuliya! Thank you for stopping by!

  160. Alexandra

    Writing. Writing.Writing.

    I will always write, even if people in town whisper about the depression and suicide history in the family that I write about.

    I will always write, even though neighbors across the street nod toward me when they see me, the one who has written about “growing up in a very sad way.”

    I will always write because if someone feels happier, or more included, or less lost alone on this planet because of something I’ve written: What higher honor could there possibly be?

    I already spend my days talking to myself so what’s the big leap, right?


    I love writing, I love being a humor blogger, I love having a place where I can lay the truth out about living with depression and surviving through it, and knowing that people have been helped because of my words.

    I am a very, very lucky woman who lives a blessed blogging life.

    And while it hurts that people in my small town whisper and nod as I walk past, rather than ask me about a post…what can you do.

    There are those who Whisper, and those that Befriend.

    I want to be that B word.

  161. Susan

    As I told you when I first started reading your blog, I’m certain I will see you on tv someday. You really do have the gift of making people laugh, and who doesn’t need to laugh! I’m actually a pastor’s wife and a hospice nurse and I NEED to be able to laugh at your audacity! You are able to say things I don’t dare, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think them!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Haha! It’s true – you’ve been saying that forever, and I sure do appreciate the vote of confidence! For a pastor’s wife and a hospice nurse to enjoy coming here, I can’t be all that bad. I need to remember that when I start to get down on myself. Thank you for being here with me Susan!

  162. KC

    Leslie/Iris – Love your work. And so pleased you are finally getting the recognition you deserve. Your writing is hilarious, creative and utterly engaging – and therapeutic.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thank you KC – that means so much to me, particularly since you have been here, and stuck around, from the very beginning of my journey. LOVE!

  163. Kyran Pittman

    I love everything about this, and especially the part that the EBWW played in it. What a great testimony to the energy and spirit of that event! Have a blast in your new writerly incarnation.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thank you Kyran! So nice for you to stop by. I’ve heard such awesome things about you and your session at EBWW and wish our paths had crossed while we were both there. Next time!! 🙂

  164. Kadie

    Hallelujah!! Sooooooooo glad you are sticking around!! I couldn’t put an eloquent messate together to beg you to stay, so I’m glad someone could & did! Looking forward to more fun & shenanigans with the Beard/Marinelli clan 🙂

    • Kadie

      And I can’t even type today. “Messate” should be “message.”

  165. Barbara Falconer Newhall

    Hello Bearded Iris!
    I found your blog because I was looking for pictures of bearded irises in order to identify the (rather lascivious looking) parts of a bearded iris I’m photographing for my blog.

    I began writing about my kids for an actual newspaper back in the 1980s. I was a lone voice at the time, but since then mommy blogging has taken off. Interestingly, I stopped writing about my kids right when they were hitting puberty. It wasn’t working; their friends could read.

    But now they’re totally grown up and I’m back to writing about them. And my newspaper is giving me permission to reprint the old columns. My kids love reading about themselves as kids, and they’re OK with me writing about them as adults.

    But I do think that writing about them as teens would have been tricky. As for writing about yourself during this time period — I think you can do it, but you probably will have to edit yourself heavily for the time being. And that’s OK. You’ll get your full voice back later.

    Good luck. Come visit me and let me know what you think. And check out my — erotic — bearded irises. Barbara FN

  166. MikeP

    A brilliant, moving watershed post. I sense big things for you (or did my home planet just explode?).

    You writer you.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh Mike – thank you so much. Very high praise from the likes of you. Gosh, I hope your home planet did not just explode, or else there are going to be big chunks of Kryptonite falling to Earth any minute now. DUCK AND COVER, man!

  167. Leighann

    What a wonderful message to receive from a reader! You are one in a million and we are so blessed to have you

  168. Barbara Falconer Newhall

    Hi Oh-So-Bearded-Iris — You inspired me to write about my actual irises, and I’ve included a link to your site in my post. I hope some people find their way to you. Here’s the link to my piece about you:


    Cheers! BFN

  169. Barbara Falconer Newhall

    Ooops. I meant to write this comment to let you know my iris post will appear on Tuesday, May 8. Sorry, I’m bleary-eyed. Too much web surfing today.

  170. Andrew D'Cuzzin

    No! Don’t stop. As for the kids’ friends – it may not be too late to just deny it’s you. For one thing, Iris has a goatee in her picture, and you don’t have one. So it’s not you.

  171. Just Jennifer

    This kind of awesome. Good for you! 🙂

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