That's What She Said

Episode 62: Visiting with Ray Hatch of Bloomington, IL and her story, “W.I.M.A.W.W.”

Woman holds microphone with other hand out stretched
                                     SSPP ep 62 RAY HATCH “W.I.M.A.W.W.” 
Jenette and Kerry visit with Ray Hatch, who coined her title of "W.I.M.A.W.W." during her performance onstage in Bloomington in 2022. Laughter abounds as the three ladies share "well-intentioned" stories. 

ANNOUNCER 00:00 Raising women's voices. One story at a time. 
Welcome to The She Said Project Podcast.

[music: The She Said Project Podcast Theme]

JENETTE JURCZYK 00:28 It is all about women supporting women here on The She Said Project Podcast. I am so excited to be back in the WILL studio. This is Jenette Jurczyk, National Director of The She Said Project, here with my lovely and phenomenal co host [Kerry laughs] Hi, Kerry Rossow!

KERRY ROSSOW 00:45 Hi Jenette Jurczyk! Kerry Rossow, co-founder, your number one fan.

JENETTE 00:49 Co-founder, but we're talking 10 years ago, 10 years. I know our podcast is you know what we'd consider evergreen, but it is 2023 that we're sitting here in the studio. And it was 2013 when this this spark, this idea popped into your head to create a platform for women stories. Tell us about that [Kerry laughs].

KERRY 01:10 Well, honestly, I was in the trenches, those years of motherhood with my girlfriends, the women in my neighborhood came up with the Moffice, a ‘mom office.’ Where really it was just a way for us to have an outlet, you know, somebody that was over three foot 11 and our kids were all running around. And we came up with this idea to do something to use our brains and to be able to work together and to spotlight women. And now it's sort of a sentimental year, it's our 10 year anniversary. But all of us are on the brink of becoming empty nesters. And here we are all those kids that were running around and, you know, wreaking havoc upon our neighborhood are now either already off in the world making their way or we're on the last one. And so it's really kind of special. Like all the things that we had said we wanted to show them. We, we've done it, and so it feels great.

JENETTE 01:59 And your mission and your legacy has lived on, and grown. Just like, just like a baby child, just like a little one. Since that first year in Champaign-Urbana That's What She Said has become this community and the safe space for women to share stories in cities like Bloomington-Normal, and Peoria and St. Louis and Columbia, Missouri and Indianapolis, and Danville. And there are more on the horizon. I'm telling you, your vision to make a difference is already happening. Hundreds of women have either heard a story, seen a story, felt the power of a story. And the world that you are sending your kids out to is not the same world it was 10 years ago. Do you feel that?

KERRY 02:37 Yes, the environment, our country, women's roles, everything looks very different than it did 10 years ago. But one thing to brag you up for a second is I think about our story, we have a story. You know, the actual, She Said Project has a story of women supporting women. And you know, we started that. And then we got to a stage where we had teenagers and for lots of different reasons, we thought we were gonna have to put this part of our lives to bed; and you swooped in and helped us out and took over, and took it to places we could have never imagined or found the time. Because I'm pretty convinced you never sleep. We often joke that we're the birth mom and you're the adoptive mom, and you took our baby and just cared and loved and nurtured and helped it grow into this beautiful thing. So I love that that's also our story.

JENETTE 03:26 And stories is what we are all about. And you're right that She Said has a history, a dynasty, a legacy. I mean, it's just, it's been life changing for me and the work that I get to do, because of what you guys created. I get to meet with a group of women in a community and get to know them and work one on one with them personally, but also engage in the community as a whole, bring our mission forward, educate the world on the power of what we do with women's stories. But it always, always comes back to the relationships that I've had the privilege and honor to build that I know you've enjoyed and you continue to enjoy. 

Each cast is special in its own way. But I'm gonna brag on our guests today, because our guest today said yes to being in a show in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, which is not too far from where we sit today. And this was 2022 and I met her at a networking event. I was introduced by a mutual connection, who was also a She Said sister alum. But the sparks flew, I'll just, there is no other way to say it, the sparks flew when Ray Hatch and I and our eyes met and she said yes to being a speaker and That's What She Said. And so you've gotten to experience the joy that she brought to the stage and now I'm really excited for our podcast listeners to get to enjoy that as well. So let's bring her on the line: Rachel Hatch, also known as Ray. Our dear friend Ray, welcome to The She Said Project Podcast.

RAY HATCH  04:52 Well thank you, I feel as though I'm in fabulous company with the what we were talking about before. I'll try to be worthy of this moment in time,

KERRY 05:00 Oh well, no pressure, you probably don't know this story. But when Jenette had met with you for a couple of times, she said to me, “You are going to love this woman, you are going to love this woman.” Which, you know, the defiant side of me is, you know, like, no, I'm not I'm probably we're probably not gonna like each other. But literally 30, 30 seconds in, I was such a smitten kitten. I was laughing, and then I, my head about fell off of my neck from nodding so hard during your piece., I couldn't help myself.

JENETTE 05:29 Ray brought a perspective to motherhood and being a woman that you and I both related to very, very much. And I know so many do, right? Do share with the audience. What did you call yourself at the top of your story there?

RAY 05:42 I refer to myself as a W.I.M.A.W.W. And the W.I.M.A.W.W. is a well-intentioned, middle-aged white woman. We try really hard, let me tell you that [everyone laughs]

KERRY We try so hard!

RAY 05:57 People are like, oh, sweetie. But you know, we try really hard. [Kerry and Ray laugh]

KERRY 06:04 It's true. It's true. But, I that's when I was nodding. It was hilarious. But it also was like mhm, Yeah, facts, true story can confirm? [Kerry and Ray laugh]

RAY 06:13 Well, I think and I've known so many others, and honestly, being a well-intentioned woman from, you know, from being a well intentioned-child, unfortunately, I think I was, I was at that age, just growing up with this intensity to do right, you know? And to be able to make sure everyone was okay. And that develops and grows. And then I was very excited when I turned 50. Because that meant I was a middle-aged, well-intentioned woman. So that was it was a victory for me at that point,
JENETTE 06:41 I think the W.I.M.A.W.W.’s of the world get a bad rap. I'm just saying [Ray and Kerry laugh].

RAY 06:48 When I was thinking about doing this piece and talking to Jeanette about it, I kept thinking are my, are my boys gonna let me do it because I talked about my sons. They're young men, they're not boys. But you know, they're always boys to me. And they're in the around 20, you know, a little over 20. And they were just so laid back with it, "whatever Mom" I thought, oh, I want to be that laid back someday. But I never will be. Because I'm well intentioned [everyone chuckles].

JENETTE 07:11 No, things are too important to be laid back ever. [Ray laughs] We have work to do, we have lives to change and impact. It's interesting to me that you did raise two sons that are so laid back knowing you and your personality, and how a little bit extra you can be and, and strive to be?

RAY 07:29 Well, you know, my husband is not, he's very, very laid back, which is very helpful. But we always joke that if it weren't for me, you know, if we weren't holding each other hands, I would fly away. And he might sink into the mud. But together, we walk a great path together. So he is he is six, three, and he looks like a big Viking, you know, and people are almost afraid of him in line. And then there's little me dancing around him thinking is the most adorable thing on the planet. Because he is, because you know, I think it's, it's fine to have a crush on your husband, I have had one for about 27 years. So he's, he's a doll. And he hates my talk about that, too. So I'm glad I can put it on a podcast [all the ladies laugh].

KERRY 08:10 We're gonna put that on a loop [Ray laughs].

JENETTE 08:13 We're gonna celebrate that all day long around here [Ray continues to chuckle].

KERRY Oh, that’s so great.

RAY 08:18 But I mean, I think it's that balance. And I think at some point in time, you know, the boys will always have that look like, oh, here she goes again. There she goes, all right. But they also are willing to talk about things that other people might not be able to talk about. And we're, we're able to at work, you know, one of them is very outgoing. And, and we'll talk about those things, and the other will make very, he's very, very introverted. And he'll make just very basic comments [Kerry chuckles] and, at that point, and we all kind of listen and stop, because he doesn't say them that often. So when you get them, you're like, [gasp] he has spoken. I mean, it's a fun dynamic. And I think our family, especially the way I was raised, I was raised with two sisters by two very fun parents, and our way of achieving was to make each other laugh. So you would always kind of go beyond you know, and when we get together, I feel bad for all of the sons in law's because we talk 1000 miles an hour, we talk over each other. My husband said, "How do you know what anyone's saying?" And I was like, oh, yeah, well, yeah. You know, I mean, we're telling the same stories we've told for the last 10 years. So you know, you catch on a little half things you talk about. [Kerry laughs] But yeah, so I mean, I think that they appreciate that too. It was fun, though, because one of my boys looked at me went, "You know what, you are funny." And I thought, like, thank you. I think, I don't I don't know what to do with that at this point.

KERRY 09:45 Oh, yeah. We have in our family, we were the same. And we have humor rankings, you know, at the end of dinner than we'll do, because we are combined with we value humor, but we also are a crazy competitive family. So then you get rated on on content, delivery [Ray laughs]. Like for example, I always lose points because I laugh at myself before I get the punchline out. But I just cracked myself up. But I, I can totally relate to that.

RAY 10:11 Wow, it sounds like a an old pop-like tv show. It's the only it's great, but it didn't have a beat I couldn't dance to it. [Kerry laughs] Yeah, I think we each have roles. My husband was very good with the kids about doing, doing voices. He would always have characters and I was always the, the straight person next to it. So there was one point in time when he was actually had one of the kids stuff monkeys and was talking and was having an argument with me. And my sister said, “I don't know what is funnier your husband doing the voice of the fact that you're treating it like a real thing, Rachel.” [Kerry chuckles]. I don't know I just go with the flow. Kids, you gotta go where the comedy leads you at that point. 

KERRY 10:47 You gotta jump in!

JENETTE 10:47 I could just sit and listen to you to back and forth. [Ray and Kerry laugh] This is heaven. I feel though, that our listeners will probably want to get in on some of this comedy and delight. And the best way we can do that is by sharing Rachel's story, The Well-Intentioned, Middle-Aged White Woman that appeared on stage in our That's What She Said performance. So we're gonna listen to the clip, and then we'll come right back. So please enjoy Ray Hatch from 2022 on stage in Bloomington, Illinois with her performance of W.I.M.A.W.W.


RAY HATCH  11:19 I have an announcement to make: Two days ago, I turned 50 years old. Yes! [audience cheers] I love birthdays. I love birthdays, because they invoke joy even from random strangers, you go up to anybody and say, hey, it's my birthday. And generally they say (inaudible) instant joy is shared. Now that's a very special birthday for me. Turning 50 means I am a middle aged, well intentioned white woman. I have been a well intentioned white woman for years. Now you can tell because I care. I mean, I reeeeally care. About people about ideas about ISSUES. And if I don't understand an issue, I'll read a book or six or seven. I'll read articles and research it. I'll attend the speaker, I'll take a class I'll earn a certificate. So yes, my name is Ray. And I am a well-intentioned, middle-aged white woman.  A W.I.M.A.W.W! 

Well, technically, actually, I am a middle-aged, middle-class middle-child, Midwestern, straight, white, cisgender woman. [audience chuckles] This means I am the social and cultural equivalent of mayonnaise-not Miracle Whip! Let's not get crazy now, just regular old mayo, with a dose of insatiable curiosity and an overdeveloped sense of justice. Now, I will admit, me and my fellow W.I.M.A.W.Ws can be a bit much, not too much. Whenever I hear someone call an intelligent woman too much. I always think, Oh, sweetie, [audience laughter] maybe you're not enough [audience cheers and claps].

But I will admit, I'm a lot, you know, especially for my family. So you know, I wouldn't want to be married to me. Too much there, so power to my husband and to my wonderful boys. I have two amazing boys actually, they're, they're young men. You know, and it's not easy to grow up with a well intentioned mom, you know, I, for me, it was always an issue... for them to, you know, maybe not think that sexual preference is a big deal. You know, I would say I'm straight, your dad's straight, but it doesn't mean you have to be straight. I would try and tell them this in in subtle ways. You know, I would say things like, when you get married your wife or your husband. Now you caught that? Yeah. Conquering society's expectations. Or so I thought. One day, my nine-year-old came to me with this five-year-old brother in tow. And oh my gosh, he had a serious serious look on his face. He said,  "Mom, we have something to tell you." You know as a parent, I was thinking okay, broken family heirlooms, indelible stains on the carpet. What's going on? He looked at me and said, “Mom, We hope we're not disappointing you. We are NOT gay..." [audience laughs]

I think my face did something like this. What? Okay, seeing my five year old look at me with a somber expression. I decided I better add something into the mix here. So I said, "Oh, honey, I'm, I'm not disappointed. I just want you to be you." They were completely unconvinced by thargument. But, satisfied their point was made, they went upstairs to watch SpongeBob SquarePants and play with Star Wars figures as everyone does after a life declaration. I was stunned. 

Quick fact, whenever things don't go as intended for a well-intentioned woman, [whispers} we're always stunned, always. I wanted to free them from society's constraints. Instead, I essentially forced my children to come out as straight. I wanted to open doors, but the way I was presenting it made it about the size of a pet door, you will get married, it will be to a man or a woman and apparently I want you to be gay!... Still, I was really relieved they were even listening to me. And for me, that day made me re-look at that door, it made me start to think about gender and identity, and sexual preference as more than an either, or not one or two notes, but a whole symphony of possibilities. I escaped it being an [in a deep voice] issue, and began to see it as a spectrum as different, as varied, and as beautiful as people themselves. 

Now, when I tell the story, people are like, Oh, it's so great that your kids can openly talk about sexuality. Well, about a year ago, one of my boys came to me and told me he is aromantic, not a-space-romantic but aromantic or aero, all one word. Now, what this means is that he loves. [sighs] He loves, He loves his family, loves his friends. He loves video games. But he doesn't form romantic attachments. He's not broken, doesn't need to be fixed. He's not waiting for the right person. He loves without being in love. It's just part of his makeup. Now, me ohh I love romance. I root for imaginary characters in books, and TV and movies to get together at the end. I read romance novels, I even dabbled in writing a couple. I read fan fiction, people! So I think he saw a familiar face that day. What? Huh? Well, I think I was able to stumble out something like, I'm so honored, you told me. 

But really, it took you know, a couple more conversations and a really funny YouTube video for me to actually begin to fold the idea of aromanticism into my thinking. And that made me realize that being a W.I.M.A.W.W. isn't about how you talk about your passions. It's about how you listen. And you let them evolve. Oh, and if anybody really wants to know more about aromanticism, got some great books for you, got the link for the YouTube video and a journal. [audience laughs] 

Here's to the W.I.M.A.W.W.’s of the world. May we keep learning.


JENETTE 18:42 So I'm taking notes, I have asked Ray for the link to that video. [Ray laughs] Because I think you had a great opportunity to open some eyes and open some minds that night on stage in Bloomington, you brought some heavy topics, but you brought them with such charm delight, humor, and showed a side of the world and, you know, sexuality that that a lot of people don't comfortably talk about often. And you went there. And I'm so proud of you.

RAY 19:17 Well Thank you. Honestly, I couldn't have gotten there if either the boys looked to me and said, No, don't do this. Don't do this to us [Ray laughs].

JENETTE 19:26 What we do always encourage all of our speakers do get permission if you are sharing any details from the lives of others in your story. And so I'm so glad that you did. And I'm so glad that they said yes because then we got to enjoy the full spectrum of what makes you the perfect W.I.M.A.W.W., right? [Ray laughs]

KERRY 19:43 I always knew I wanted to have a big family and lots of kids and the way I envisioned it was you know that I would sort of be holding court and I would be passing down all of my wisdom, and I would be teaching them and then reality arrived. And the beauty was I have learned so, so much from them. And on topics like this, I love that I have kiddos I can say, you know, we first started having conversations about pronouns, I went to my kids, I didn't go to Google, I asked my kids and asked people in my life. I was so grateful that these people that sometimes get misrepresented, really knocked it out of the park with sharing links or finding stuff and like, Hey, Mom, this is what you were asking about, this is what you were talking about. I love that.

JENETTE 20:27 The fact is kids today, if you just normalize all the conversations, there's not even a stigma, there's not even a doubt that they get to be them, and they get to be them and they get to love whoever they want. It's not an awkward thing at all. Because for the kids who are raised in a family or a culture where it's okay to talk about it, it's okay to talk about it. That's as simple as it is. It hasn't become some some taboo topic

KERRY 20:53 Well, or doesn't remain, right. And one of my daughter's really good friends had come out. And I said to her, because I was projecting what it was, like, just a few years ago, when I would have been in high school if someone came out. And so I said to my daughter, “You know, did you reach out with words of encouragement or support?” And she was like, well, that would be weird. Like, like, of course, we

RAY 21:17 Like would you draw attention to this Mom? 

KERRY 21:19 Right? Like, why would you?

JENETTE 21:21 It's not even a weird thing. 

KERRY 21:23 The implication of saying that you should do that, like that had not occurred to me. And it was like, Oh, my gosh, yeah, sorry, I'll just show myself out. [Ray laughs]

RAY 21:32 I think I think too, there's always that line, because especially when we're talking about sexuality, or identity, you know, I want to know, I want to understand, but I don't want to know everything. I'm your mom, and I don't, there are things that you can keep to yourself at certain points, you know?

KERRY 21:48 Do it behind their back like a normal person.

RAY 21:50 Yeah, seriously, what's going on? [Kerry chuckles] But the idea so I mean, there'll be times when whatever, we would hit that moment where it would be it. What are you even asking us, it would be like, it's a spectrum, mom, everything's a spectrum that just kind of became the catchphrase of, Oh, my God, you've gone too far just stop. Like, okay it's a spectrum. I'm gonna go and do something else over here.

KERRY 22:13 When in doubt, just start throwing spectrum talk around, you'll be okay.

RAY 22:16 Yes, yes. It's, uh, yeah, I have a, I have a lot of Okay. Okay. You know, it becomes our kind of go to catch phrase at that point. Is it a spectrum, it's a spectrum mom, [Kerry laughs] which I appreciate a lot more than Yeah, oh, my God, butt out. [Ray laughs]

KERRY 22:31 Yeah, yeah.

JENETTE 22:33 It's giving you something to consider, you know, giving something for your middle-aged, well-intentioned mind to process. I'd like to take a moment to celebrate women who view the world like you do, and allow space for their children to figure out who they're supposed to be and who they're meant to be. Because that's not easy. And it also for, you know, in many cultures, in many times is not acceptable. And so whenever I do come across a family where you know, parents get to be their true selves, and kids get to be their true selves, there's something really special about that dynamic. And so I just want to take a moment and celebrate that like that you chose, that was a choice, to create environment. You know, you had a little learning curve on the way, but 

RAY 22:34 There's a continual learning curve. 

JENETTE 22:43 Yeah

RAY 22:43 I think you're so sweet to think it's not done. [Ray and Kerry chuckle].

JENETTE 23:22 And the learning continues. 

RAY 23:24 And the learning continues.Yeah.

KERRY 23:26 So what kind of feedback did you get from your friends or family or people in the community? What did you hear?

RAY 23:32 I just mostly heard that was so funny, you know, and at first, it was like, Oh, that was hilarious. I loved it, you know? And at first, I thought, Well, does that mean like, the message didn't land at all, it was just like a comedy routine. But I think a lot of people already knew, the people who knew me who were responding to that, Were generally saying, “Oh, my gosh, you know, that's so you.” Like, I felt like I was just hanging out with you, except a bunch of other people around us, too. So that felt good for me to know that too. And I think it was, again, the biggest compliment was one my son who is very funny, he looked at me and said, "You are funny." You know. Thank you. Why thank you. You know.

RAY 24:10 See Martin was funny, you know, next to, next to my husband, who was the Jerry Lee Lewis of us [Kerry and Ray both laugh]. So, I mean, that was a great one. I have heard from people who are, who have kids who are coming out or have come out, saying, "Yeah, I totally got that, you know, I didn't know what to do." And at that point in time, you know, you just listen and you sure you look like a deer in headlights at that point. But the fact that you're actually sitting there and listening and saying, "Okay, thank you for sharing that." You know, I mean, that was that was a moment I think that connects with a lot of parents who have been in that situation where they you know, you grew up in this heteronormative society and you assume all these expectations on your kids and, and then suddenly, oh, my gosh, they're people! They're their own people. I don't understand this. You know, that was something that I think people came in and told me about and connected with me about.

KERRY 24:41 I am funny.

JENETTE 24:53 And that connection is so powerful. I love that, that you found people who heard something in your message to take away. My biggest takeaway in all honesty was, Oh, sweetie, maybe you're just not enough? Maybe a line that I have borrowed since your performance? Yeah.

RAY 25:23 I think everyone should. And I felt bad because it was always something I had in my head that I was saying, you know, it wasn't anything I had been saying out loud. And after this? I think I have, I have actually Oh, really? You think she's too much? That's adorable. And then well, you know, I mean, I think she's great. But But what dear so there is an empowerment on my end to that those conversations no longer just happen in my head.

KERRY 25:50 Yes. And in the south we just say "Oh, bless your heart." [Jenette laughs] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Thank goodness our thought bubbles are often invisible, usually.

JENETTE 25:59 Well, to quote Kerry Rossow you have decided to, you know, let your freak flag fly and not care what people think anymore. 

KERRY 26:05 Love it. Love it. 

JENETTE 26:06 Loud and Proud, ladies. Well, that is all the time we have today to chat with you. I cannot tell you what a delight it is to hear your beautiful laughter to hear your beautiful voice to remember that awesome night. You had such a beautiful cast. These women really came together to support each other. And you were just this. Yeah, the star. You're this comedy star. I think you should take the show on the road.

KERRY 26:30 Yes. You heard it first here Folks.

JENETTE 26:33 it's time, our own Mrs Maisel on the road. [Ray Laughs]

KERRY 26:37 That's right. Here we go. 

JENETTE  26:38 Mrs. Hatch. Here we go. 

RAY 26:39 Mrs. Hatch All right. All right. 

JENETTE 26:42 Well, Ray, thanks for making time for us both for being in the show. And here on the podcast. We're exactly where we want to be sharing these stories with an even greater audience. So more women can enjoy a piece of your story and perhaps identify themselves as you know, a W.I.M.A.W.W. and own it with pride, because there is nothing wrong with it. Thank you for being here. Thank you for your joy, your dedication, your laughter and thank you to our friends who show up and support all of our sisters at The She Said Project, Thank you to our partner, WILL in Urbana, Illinois for letting us record our awesome podcast. Thank you to our sponsors, and thank you to you, our listeners. That's it for today's episode of The She Said Project Podcast

KERRY 27:23 Over and out!


[Music: The She Said Project Podcast Theme]

ANNOUNCER  27:28  Thank you for listening to The She Said Project Podcast in partnership with Illinois Public Media. All materials contained in the podcast for the exclusive property of The She Said Project and That’s What She Said, LLC. For more information on our live shows go to [url=][/url]

This podcast was made possible with support from Carle and Health Alliance and presented by Sterling Wealth Management, empowering women to live their best lives.


Jenette and Kerry visit with Ray Hatch, who coined her title of "W.I.M.A.W.W." during her performance onstage in Bloomington in 2022. Laughter abounds as the three ladies share "well-intentioned" stories.

The She Said Project Podcast is recorded in partnership with Illinois Public Media. All materials contained in this podcast are the exclusive property of The She Said Project and That's What She Said, LLC. Learn more at