//🍂

i have a tendency to fall in Fall

head first in ecstasy

and it reminds me

of your sweaters, losing track of time, and all

of warm Chai musical moments

that pulled out the crazy in me

the blind in me

the “i don’t mind” in me

the “never enough time” for me

so yes i have a tendency

to fall in Fall

face first in bittersweet agony

and it reminds me

to believe in me.

an august in-between

it’s been a hot minute since I actually sat down and took stock and did an “update” in this space, so here we are.

I started August on the beach– running & sunning & trying to be present ahead of spending the last few weeks at home before I made The Big Move™.

And then The Move™ The short version of the story:

I hopped on a plane to LAX to Denver, CO on the 23rd of August to start a year of service within a program that is similar to the Peace Corps, but instead within the Episcopal Church. After almost a year of deciding, discernment, interviews & placement I decided upon Denver– and will be serving within a partner agency that supports homeless populations in finding work & giving them a hand up where they need it.

But of course, COVID had hit.

The plan was to continue with the year– the previous corps group had their year pulled out from under them, it seemed. But they got through it and urged us to do the same. In order for our program to be successful, we developed painstaking COVID planning, part of which included with us getting to Denver to drop off our living supplies & then all 5 of us quarantining at a lodge in the woods for 2 weeks, to make sure we could operate as a pod (seeing as we would be sharing a house among the 4 of us later.)

And so, with packing and moving and finishing up my summer work position and saying goodbye to the people & places I’ve lived for the biggest, most important chunks of my life thus far… it’s been a ride.

And this summer has just, all in all, felt very in-between.
When nothing is certain, anything is possible and I have no idea what to expect after this and I’m not planted anywhere or with anyone permanently right now and it’s all just sort of….suspended in air.

Exhilaratingly, immensely freeing.

With that said, here are some happenings in those categories I used to do in this space:

read/reading/re-reading // We were shipped a few books to finish ahead of the start of our service year– all great titles in their own right, though there is pLEnTY of room for criticism (esp. when it comes to Daring Greatly, written in like, 2012). But all books, reading them now, in this time, offered some great critical perspective:

So You Want to Talk About Race
by Ijeoma Oluo
Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray
by Rosalind Rosenberg
An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

Another one I’ve been reading is:
From Social Media to Social Ministry by Nona Jones, as well as The Gift of Being Yourself by David Benner

writing // this POST! [<3 finally, it’s been so long!], reflections, and letters home.

learning // to hold and sit with a variety of opinions, experiences, and Truths at one time. And learning when to step away, when conversation is no longer respectful nor constructive. And learning to lead with love & trying to assume the best in people from the outset and if it goes down from there, then let it down gently. Firmly, but gently.

doing / working on //

  • getting better at napping
  • journaling
  • filing & paying my taxes
  • celebrating the artistic work of friends
  • photography as a spiritual practice
  • editing services (well, I was, for the majority of August, I’m done now.)
  • Getting adjusted to this altitude!
  • Building a labyrinth! 😀
  • Climbing mountains.
I’ve never set intentions upon, or blessed, or smudged something so special. This is a “goddess labyrinth” within a grove of Aspen trees (also called “goddess trees”!). It was imagined, planned, framed, blessed, & built by the goddesses gathered together today in this thin space.

eating // the delicious cooking of the chefs of Cathedral Ridge, which has been a wonderful whirlwind of vegetarian & vegan options.

drinking // coffee, LOTS of water (altitude sickness is a thing!!!), & La Croix

listening // to so many new, beautiful things.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/playlist/5ox3cXmbDGmk4xYIT9hUvv

being inspired //  by this space, and the people who fill it. We’re all from different places, bringing our own lives & experiences to one table and doing our best to show up for each other in this *iNsANe* world we are occupying right now.

laughing // with my newfound community — at bad first date stories, happy-wholesome moments in The World’s Toughest Race, and just at ourselves as we navigate the wilderness.

thinking // about ~so many things~. The pandemic. This experience. This experience within a pandemic. the joy & pleasure of slowing down and not having to work at break-neck speed every day. About my family back home. About my smoller brother starting college.

trying // to take it slow, get used to the altitude, stick to a decent sleep schedule, mentally prepare for the weeks ahead, compile a list of last-minute house things I’ll need from Target, and, as lovingly as I can, interject & interact with the racist things people have been putting on social media. Between the conventions going on right now….The RNC definitely has put a LOT of shit on blast and some of this fear-mongering & hate-provoking rhetoric has to stop. It’s so….dehumanizing at times and I hate that the political arena is so focused on slinging that mud and hate around.

hoping // that this too shall pass, that we innovate with love and consideration, and that we have the courage to collect our siblings and forge a better way, using what we now know and what we have within us.

loving // this time to disconnect & connect in nature, finally being able to see that Colorado blue sky that I’ve merely been hearing about– with some rain, the sky has cleared of smoke and we can finally see a jagged mountain range off in the distance that before I had no idea was there.

praying // for the people affected by fires, for those suffering from flagrant injustice, for those enclosed in drought, for those traveling, for those affected by COVID-19, and for our country, as we navigate hostile & triggering media & political environments.

a smol rock cairn in the outdoor cathedral.

takeoffs

I cried when I hugged my mom before security and the gate.

I have a whole row to myself, a window seat, a plastic bag “snack” kit, the world’s smallest cup of coffee and 3 sugar packets.

The airport was like a graveyard. In this respect, I’m thankful. I don’t know if I could have arrived 30 mins before boarding, still in enough time to get my bags checked AND do security. Everyone was wearing masks, and

I can see out and down, and notice just how starkly the geography changes, from staggering roads and winding suburbs to geometric plots and winding rivers. And smoke. The visibility is not very good, because of the fires that have, quite literally, been burning up the atmosphere.

The hills of Virginia undoubtedly will pale in comparison to the towering rocky mountains of Colorado. 

The last time I was on a plane, I was headed to Ireland, with 6 weeks of supplies shoved into a carryon and a backpack.

This time, I spent way too much on baggage (annoying) — all I have brought is my best estimate at what will be enough to last me a year.

With the window as my main form of entertainment (after boarding we were informed that the “Wifi doesn’t work on this aircraft”) and my mask snug on my face for the next couple hours, I find myself rolling around in my own brain and trying to process the past 2 – 4 weeks.

After a few months of pretty much straight, vigorous work in a job within my field that was half handed to me (??like omg wow?), I have a moment of breath.

…With the exception of last night, as I searched FRANTICALLY for my passport for an hour as I simultaneously tried to finish my last bits of celebratory rosé while The Incredibles played on our boxy 2000’s TV.
(I practically know all the words to that movie.)

But I can breathe, in and out, re-organize the books in my brain shelves and take stock of all the “yes ands” and “while also’s” that, naturally, accompany the multitude of feelings passing through my body right now.

I felt out of my body this morning— perhaps it was the stress of getting to the airport, or only being able to sleep from 2:30am to 6am, or just the general fatigue-numbness that comes as a result of literally everything being so uncertain right now.

I have no expectations because if there’s anything this season has told us is that we can’t expect anything, that plans change, that plans fail, that there is turbulence that just prompts you to strap yourself in and power through it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It’s an incredibly exhausting space to be in. However, for my slightly ADD self, the fact that it seems there’s always something different happening keeps me engaged and curious. Two sides of the same coin, I suppose.

We’ll land 30 mins early, according to the pilot. I’m praying for some deep breaths, no luggage mishaps, open eyes & an open heart.
xx

a cool way to see the difference in these window views.

i don’t think you get it.

I don’t think you get it.
When, with justified unrest turned on “high” outside your windows, you turn to tell me in your driveway that you “feel bad for not doing anything”.
That you are scared of phone calls and sending emails. Could you hear it? How heavily those words fell, covertly cloaked & dripping with privilege?

I don’t think you get it.

I don’t think you get it, when your chosen words, buried in bias and blinded by whiteness, cut like knives even from 2 hours away. How your chosen words pulled out tears of anger out of a friend whose pure existence is light, strength, and love.

Have you felt second-hand pain like that? Feeling someone else’s heart snap in your own body?

I don’t think you get it. How hard it is for them to speak up amidst “just joking”s and “that’s not what we meant”s, and “sorry they feel that way”s.
How often they want to. How often it’s a calculation of risk.

How easy we fail, cowering back into “comfort”, falling back on fragility.

I don’t think you get it. How important it is to try. Over and over, in any way you can. Because if you don’t, you’ve sold your soul to the oppressor. Discomfort is not dangerous. It is the catalyst of growth.

I don’t think you get it. The kind of anger that is hot. Wet. Scared. Shaking. Crystal clear & razor sharp. The anger that is at-wit’s-end, torn between being too scared, and far too tired to even bother to surface.

I DON’T THINK YOU GET IT! Just how your failure, and my failure!
Are the very sick roots of the problem, and just how important it is to SEE someone– truly see someone– without calling the Tone Police.

I don’t think you get it.
But I hope to God
that soon you will.

unfinished business

….since my last post, I have felt like a sponge that has been doused in lighter fluid — I am soaking up as much as I possibly can, and yet simultaneously feeling like everything could go up in flames at any moment. Some new thing popping up, another exponential spike in COVID, yet *ANOTHER* completely evil, unjustified piece of police brutality caught on tape that leads to zero arrests or people being held accountable for their actions…

But this time is important. So important. Yes, I feel like there were moments of complete paralysis I’ve tried to keep written record elsewhere– to note, to process, and to understand everything that is going on. And it’s taken far to long to finally get into this space– because there is a *lot* swirling around. And a lot to process.

But. It’s meaningful processing work.

This is going to be a long post, so grab a beverage.

So I’ve been thinking about it. And when I say “it”, I mean the whole movement. The movement among people (rather, the mobilization of people all over) and the gusto into the movement itself– what started as the Black Lives Matter movement 8 years ago and what it’s bubbled into now. How, the way we’re witnessing it right now, the way it’s unfolding here and now, is *long* overdue. And I’ve been unpacking a couple things.

My white privilege, for example.
How I’ve long benefitted off of a racist system. One of my clergy friends articulated it in a rather simple, yet powerful way:

“I benefit from a system of White Supremacy. And I am working to dismantle that system on an individual, community and systemic level. More times than not, I accept Whiteness as “normal ness” which is not right.

Whiteness is a racial construct as is any other racial construct. According to my Christian identity I strive to be part of a community which does not distinguish male from female, slave from free, Roman from Jew.

But according to my 20th and 21st century American Whiteness I have been granted certain privileges that are not given to my Black siblings in particular. These differences include but are not limited to:

1. Feeling that it is safe to call the police for help
2. Being able to wear my clothes, hair, jewelry or accessories in any way I see fit.
3. Being able to get adequate health care for myself and my children
4. Having the choice to send my kids to “better” schools which have more `money and less people of color
5. Having access to 5 grocery stores with in a 2 mile radius of my home – Having a job which allows me the flexibility to work from home during global pandemic

….And so many more benefits to my whiteness.”

~KR, Facebook

I can’t just put blinders on and “not see color” and pretend it doesn’t matter. First, “not seeing color” is such a privileged thing to say to begin with, and it’s harmful because it’s a blatant disregard for the fact that, YES, people are STILL discriminated against because of their skin color. This is something we need to “check in” with, within ourselves, every day, in order to consciously take steps to be anti-racist. Because in this case, being neutral is taking the side of the oppressor. In this case, it is the systems that are inherently racist.

Some of this realization for people, especially if they’re just now coming face to face with it, triggers feelings of guilt and being “under attack”.
It’s important that we sit with this discomfort.

Which brings me to the topic of white guilt. I’ll start by saying that it’s a thing. And a lot of people feel like the #BLM movement is a ploy to “make white people feel bad”. Which is….not correct. What the #BLM movement is calling for is accountability. Acknowledgements that our systems and words and actions have caused harm and that we need to do better at owning up to that harm, and then doing the best we can to repair it, with the preferences, the feelings, & the emotions of the hurt party as the primary focus.

For some, the guilt response swings another way— with these feelings of immediate need to take all of our “guilt” and unload it onto someone (I think now of the massive amounts of DMS and comments that Black educators on social media are receiving– full of the “I’m so sorry’s” and “I didn’t know racism existed this bad” and perhaps the more subtle “I never talk about politics on social media but……” along with whatever other examples I’ve seen. There’s bound to be discomfort here. But it’s our job to sit with it. In private. Deep down. Where it counts. We CERTAINLY should not be burdening the Black community with it.

There is an excellent piece of social media that was very eye-opening to me that I recommend to anyone:
How to Commit to Doing Anti-Racist Work Without Causing More Harm

And because PAYING BLACK ARTISTS, EDUCATORS, & CREATORS is PARAMOUNT, you can go to her site to figure out how you would like to financially compensate her for this work that is *not hers to do.*

And though right now it’s crucial that we work to center & amplify melanated voices, I did want to share also Alexis Rockley’s resource video on Discomfort. (Because sadly, we learn best & are more accepting of information when it’s shared with us by people who “look like us”):


Now that you’ve seen that, I want to clarify that as I’ve moved through this journey, there is some nuance to that. That being how to get involved in racial justice work & who to amplify and when and how.

I’ve heard from many Black educators that they are tired. Tired of doing this work and educating people. That they shouldn’t have to be out here calling people out. That we should be taking initiative to teach our fellow white people how to be anti-racist. I’ve also heard from many that we should be staying in our lane. That we should be shutting up and listening for a hot second about what the community has to say. That we shouldn’t be trying to jump into work we’ve had no experience in, or to lead a movement we don’t know anything about.

All of these assessments are equally valid. There’s a lot of This is not our work to lead (as in, start from the ground up with little to zero education), but rather, our work to engage with this work with an open mind and an intentionality centered in love & compassion that does not do more harm.

I found the below to be a helpful graphic as we unpack these dichotomies & dualities:

From https://www.instagram.com/p/CBjLJ4SASEB/ @decolonizeunconference, a repost from @malefragility

Text reads: contradictions for white people in racial justice work.
White people are a particular liability in racial justice movements <-> White people have specific and critical roles in racial justice movements.
It can feel humiliating to have not participated meaningfully in racial justice work before now, and suddenly want to join <-> In order to grow stronger and win, the movement requires new people to join.
When you’re working on ending an oppression that you benefit from, people will rightly mistrust you and be hard on you <-> When you’re working on ending racism, it’s good to be nice to yourself and patient with yourself.
White activists need to listen to, defer to, and take leadership from POC <-> Because “POC” is not a monolithic identity that all believes one thing, white activists need to cultivate their own analysis and judgement over time.
One specific role for white people is being tough about holding one another accountable <-> Another key role for white people is extending compassion, care, and patience to other white people.
Racial justice work involves white people giving up or giving away their power <-> Another part of racial justice work is white people strategically using their power rather than hiding it, denying it, or pretending it doesn’t exist.


So as I’m learning about all of this, it’s made me aware of patterns. Patterns of people, patterns of words, patterns of brands, patterns of organizations in response to all of this massive shift in opinion.

I’ve looked to my IRL role models. How they’re acting. What they’re saying. Who they are standing behind, what they’re standing for, the actions they’re taking to be & do better.

But I’m also looking at their silence.


Very telling for me were a couple influencers I’ve followed on Instagram for a while. A crazy eye-opener (and an example of how so much racism is baked-in and goes on behind the scenes in the corporate world) for me was the Jenna Kutcher Case Study, made public by Toi Marie which you can read the whole exchange here. Context can be found here.

And that…. is not what we want to aspire to. We can and MUST do better in supporting our Black brothers and sisters and their communities. And because I’m not an expert on racial justice (I really am new to this work, and it’s going to be a lifelong journey of committing to it) it is not my job to lead, but to listen, to amplify, and to follow.

And with this realization, I thought (and you may be thinking now)–

Now what?

Well, first off, let’s not fall victim to performative activism and virtue signaling. A lot of this work is rooted in changed behavior which is action. So it’s important that we find opportunities that allow us to show up this way.

What was a nice example of performative activism was when millions of people flooded their instagram timelines with a black square accompanied by the caption “#blacklivesmatter”. What was suppposed to be a very visual “movement” was actually harmful– protest organizers and movement leaders relying on the availability of the hashtag #blacklivesmatter to direct them to meaningful, useful sources were bombarded by streams of blacks squares.

It was hard to watch– something that was supposed to bring awareness to the movement ended up *hurting* the movement. And this is why we have to be careful.

Another nice example of performative activism would be D.C. Mayor Bowser’s “support” of the BLM movement by painting “BLACK LIVES MATTER” on the road in Washington D.C.. But, since it was not backed with reduced police funding, it was performative. Even the painting was altered by Black street artists to include the words “DEFUND THE POLICE” right after the “MATTER”. The crazy thing?? A Conservative group is now *suing* the mayor for having painted it on the street….

And the virtue signaling can’t just be us, going on Instagram and Facebook and sharing things to prove how “woke” we are. Unless we’re backing that activity with petitions, phone calls, deep-seated change, and commitment to do better…. it’s performative. We can do better. We also don’t get “cookies” for this stuff. Just now waking up and coming to the “antiracism party” doesn’t get us gold stars. We need to do this work because well, we need to do this work. And it’s the “bare-minimum” to be just “not racist”. We need to work to be anti-racist, to fight against those systems that are steeped in white supremacy. And because it’s these systems built by white supremacy, it’s going to take white privilege to help dismantle them.

Part of the proposed ways to do this is by de-funding the police. Some even advocate for abolishing the police. Many people can’t seem to grasp this idea because “the police” as we know them just seem to have just…existed. But I encourage you to read Are Prisons Obsolete by life-long activist Angela Davis to get some perspective. One of the main arguments (besides police showing their abuse of power over and over) is that we ask our police force to handle too much. Too many things that they’re not specialized in. If we were to re-direct funds (even just a fraction!) toward more community minded funds, think of the impact that could be taking place. Minneapolis is one of the front-runners here, experimenting with defunding the police and more community-minded systems. I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful that, if this works, it can be implemented across the country. Exploring how we can better revise/abolish prison systems, make more room for meaningful funding of community based procedures for safety and public health as a result of the redirection of funds could be monumental. The conversation has started– and it’s up to us to contact our *LOCAL* legislatures and bug them about these concerns if we’re going to see ANY change come of this whatsoever.

Speaking of monuments & starting the conversation… this carries over to our monuments. The things we make shrines of to “remember” the past and “honor” those who were “important”. The thing is, what if who you’re “remembering” and “honoring” was part of a crafted history by a dominant race? There’s a thing I read somewhere that I thought was very true:

“All history should be remembered, but not all history should be honored.”

The deep dark, black stain on Germany’s past that is White Supremacy and Nazi ideology is in history books. This is something that Germany has made clear must never happen again. Their monuments are not those of Nazi “heroes”. Rather, they are monuments to the persecuted Jews, the masses of those slaughtered by Nazis.

A lot of people disagree with the toppling of monuments of “Confederate heroes”. And as we engage with those conversations, it’s important to remember that echo chambers are no good. Simply surrounding ourselves with the same ideas and opinions, while comfortable, is not where the growth happens. We have to remind ourselves that listening to the opposing sides & conflicting opinions is part of the work, too– no matter how frustrating it may be.

One of my professors always would say to us: “We force you to sit in classrooms and listen to the folx and people you don’t agree with, so you can reinforce or improve your beliefs.”

This is important. So very important.

So when Aunt Karen starts spouting off racist comments and logical fallacies at the Thanksgiving table, you can sit there and *listen* to her actively, ask her questions to gain understanding, all while corroborating what she’s saying with what you believe and weighing it all against each other to finally arrive at your conclusion.

True democracy has to have space for this discourse. That doesn’t mean, however, that that space needs to be hostile. I agree with the fact that some morals, are, at their base, fact and necessary. Caring for Black lives, for example, is non-negotiable for me. Basic human rights are non-negotiable for me.

To all the people screaming “All lives matter!” at the top of their lungs– yes. All lives *do* matter. No one said they didn’t. But that’s not the point.

One of my fave analogies I’ve seen circulating around the internet is that from Luke 15, the Parable of the Lost Sheep:

15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

It was illustrated as:

“Jesus in Luke 15:
100 Sheep, but one goes missing.
Jesus leaves the 99, and goes after the one.
The 99: “But…what about us? Don’t we matter?”
Of course the 99 still matter, but they are not the ones in danger.
The one is.”

Which brings me to the point about religion & how it very much informs our beliefs & votes.

I can’t call myself a follower of Jesus if I don’t follow his most urgent, basic, commandment– and that is “to love one another as I have loved you”, and do “for the least of you that which you’ve done for me”.

I witnessed a sermon a few weeks ago that talked about how this world is on its own trajectory. Of though, of ideals, of priorities… Jesus’ priorities don’t often “fit” into our pre-packaged, neat, divided, fast-lane ideals. Jesus’ priorities are “radically compassionate: and seemingly non-conventional– but we’re called to UPHOLD those high standards for ourselves & other HUMAN BEINGS with DIGNITY.

from https://www.instagram.com/p/CCBOyTDJVr_/

And this means showing up, best we can, for our brothers and sisters, of all creeds and colors, and diligently denouncing, with grace, fervor, & compassion, the systems that are faulty, broken & racist in this country.

And once we’ve stood up, learned, and educated ourselves and attempted to educate otheres, we have to act.

Because this moment demands accountability.
This movement demands passion.
This movement demands attention & dedication beyond a shingle news cycle. (Your timelines & feeds may have gone back to “normal”, but we CANNOT STOP HERE.)
This movement demands intentionality, sincerity, honesty, introspection, deliberation, discernment, and joyful, earnest, relentless momentum.

Take note of who is quiet right now. Actions speak louder than words.

And while it’s not our place to judge or condemn or shame, it is our job to lead by example, to amplify what is right, to educate others, and pull others in with compassion & understanding. “Collect our Cousins” , if you will. And engage in bold conversations with our family, friends, & co-workers.

And then we have to rest.

Because we won’t be any good to anyone if we don’t look out for each other & cherish each other in our periods of rest– we have to take care of ourselves, in order to keep the joy, keep the passion, keep the momentum, to do this work correctly & meaningfully, to carry our weight in every part of our lives, every day.

I’ll end on this note of hope, leaving with you a series of resources, links & accounts to follow so that you can start on this journey as well.

ANTI-RACISM READING LIST:

ACCOUNTS TO FOLLOW:

Color of Change  @colorofchange
Black Lives Matter @blklivesmatter
NAACP @naacp
Equal Justice Initiative
@eji_org
Move to End Violence @movetoendviolence
Center for Black Equity @ctr4blackequity
The Okra Project @theokraproject
Embrace Race @embracerace
Rachel Cargle @rachel.cargle
Ijeoma Oluo @ijeomaoluo
Monique Melton @moemotivate
Michaela Angela Davis @michaelaangelad

OTHER RESOURCES:

– White Allyship [Co-Conspirating!] 101: Resources to Get to Work https://www.dismantlecollective.org/resources/
@dismantlewsc


the quarantine diaries: day 6: COVID-19 and online learning.

The day is boneless. No bones, no structure. I have to fill it in myself. I oscillate between my to-do list and talking to my refrigerator (…I wish I were kidding. We’ll skip the part about filming embarrassing short film dry erase stop-motion animation on the smooth fridge surface).

I didn’t realize just how many emails landed in my inbox until I was not distracted all day enough to notice them all come rolling in. Half of them, it seems, are university emails, asking for student input (which is great), updating us with revised schedules, or simply words of consolation as the semester seems to be singlehandedly imploding.

Professors (some of them who hate touching computers) are scrambling around feeling helpless not knowing how to best help their students, and trying to wrangle their courses into a neat, digestible package for online use.

This is wild to me, partially because now that “online learning” is thrust upon it, it doesn’t have this glowing, golden halo that a lot of people says it does. Is properly curated online learning a great way to have content without walls? Absolutely. Does it give people who are unable to travel a way to participate and learn and discuss? By all means. But it feels like, as of now, there are holes– gaps, which leave out the nuances of face to face instruction. I just saw an instagram account: @dontwasteyourcollegetuition (haHAA too late) that put out a post re: “how to stay focused in online classes”. There are a lot of vaguely good tips in there, (“create a structured schedule, be clear about deadlines, keep in contact with peers and professors on a chat/video platform”), but nothing really related to our attention spans, blotting out actual distractions, plus the effects on mental health and social relationship building.

It’s crazy to me that so many people are making this transition practically overnight…including those who don’t learn that well in an online learning environment. I am personally frustrated about this change, and while I wish it could be different, I know that this is how it has to be for a bit, and so I’m seeking a way to make peace with it. In a way, part of this process is taking it apart, looking at it and its implementation, and treating it like a learning experience, like an experiment.

And when our university (and subsequent universities) made their big announcement the decision to do this, it hit me. And since I’m trapped inside with much time to stew and speculate, I can write about this realization: this move to Online Learning relies on 2 bold assumptions:

  1. That students have access to a reliable, fast (enough) internet source while they are self-quarantining.
  2. That those in quarantine have devices capable of handling online class environments

I remember how THRILLED I was at the dawn of 2020, knowing my fam had *just* made the switch from DSL to Fios, and the upgraded speed being so much faster than it had been before… I can only imagine, had we not made the switch… relying on 1 modem to handle the bandwidth usage of the entire family, who also need to be online for school. Our system definitely would not have been able to swing that. But I know in my county back home there are those who definitely benefitted from the school’s internet connection, from the library’s internet connection, who will most likely be struggling through this time of online conversion.

Last semester, in one of the most fascinating classes I’ve ever taken, we spoke about the digital divide and the ideological battle for a free, (perhaps mildly regulated) internet. There are so many posts about how this pandemic is, in a way good, because it’s forcing us to reckon with the institutions we’ve built, the outdated systems we have in place, and “the way we’ve always done things!” And part of this is exposing the issue of people’s ability to access the Internet in a way that doesn’t make them bankrupt, or break their backs and sell their souls to tech giants and broadband moguls.

What institutions need to realize is that they are putting the spotlight on the digital divide — the gaping hole between those who have ready and ubiquitous access to the Internet, and those who don’t. This isn’t new. People’s access to the rapidly expansive internet relies, unfortunately, on education, & income, and even race & gender (a product of socioeconomic status), and even attitude concerning technological adaptation. It’s just wild to me how, every day there seems to be a part of the machine that has fallen apart, or broken in front of our eyes. It makes me wonder why we’re not building our own Internet infrastructures, being self-reliant to avoid these system-imposed boundaries and just doing it ourselves, like many successful communities have done.

Some are saying that once this is all over, everything will just go back to the way it was like nothing happened…but I hope for my life that that’s not true.
We’ve learned so much. There’s too much been unearthed now for us to turn back.

covid-19.

I’m sort of at a loss.

And this is WEIRD.

5 days ago I was leaving spring break in South Carolina in a big white van with my mission trip members with so much in my mind, so much unknown, and so much weighing on my shoulders.

…I’m now Day 4 in COVID-19 quarantine, unable & not allowed to return home, and the gravity of everything is settling in. A week ago, I don’t think we really knew what was going on, the scope of this whole thing, how important the distancing was…

Classes have been cancelled. They’re moving courses online. Graduation has been postponed until further notice (which I know has hit hard in the hearts of the ones I know who’ve spend the past 4 years looking so forward to this.

So we take time, and we process it all). Family, friends and I are having to create our own routines, avoid going crazy, fighting boredom with ingenuity, and we are still trying to wrap our minds around everything.

Professors, some of whom hate touching computers, are running around in a frenzy wondering how the heck they can help us from a distance. And everyone is just out here, doing the best they can with what they have. (Including myself. Let me know if you want my Saltine-Cheddar nacho recipe…)

I had a work call a day ago with my boss and the first 30 mins felt like a friggin therapy session, talking about how nothing is certain, that yes, I will graduate, commencement ceremony or not, and that the accomplishment is not something they can take away from you. This is all true. And she is very wise and I know that the cloud of feelings I felt during that time d e f i n i t e l y impact how I feel.

Point is, I don’t think any of us pictured it like this. My heart breaks for family and friends, medical workers, patients, & The Helpers across the nation—for their health, for their isolation, for the feeling of having closure and perhaps your “lasts” & culminating evidence of your accomplishments pulled out from under you…

But this…is our reality now. Our eyes are open. To ourselves, to others, & our society. And we get to trail-blaze, slow down, invent, laugh, make messes, and try new things…and hold on to hope in the meantime.

Some fave words I’ve seen around recently:
Faith is not cancelled.
Hope is not cancelled.
Joy is not cancelled.
Love is not cancelled.

Amidst trying to flatten the curve, this pandemic has uprooted the lives of so many.
We’re called to rest, to slowing down, to creatively problem-solve, to be with ourselves, to sit with ourselves…

And that’s not to say that we have to immediately jump into positivity or optimism right away.
I, among many, am heartbroken for those infected, for those suffering, for those who are out of work or isolated or having a tough time. We need time to process, and that is okay.

But there is freedom, I think, in this time, and in knowing that with this uncertainty comes all this space, an open door of possibilities, even if we don’t see it right away.

We have an opportunity to open up, to relax, re-examine, re-prioritize, and reevaluate the way we do things, to pray, to go within, to break free of routine, to reinvent ourselves, clean, create, and care in novel ways. I’m so thankful for all who are doing their best, helping with all that’s going on, even at the risk of their own health (stellar healthcare workers we’re looking at you!)

Some things I keep seeing and reading and trying to internalize for this time apart:
• Check in on your friends & support em!! (DM me on social media because my phone # be broken!)
• Tell them they’re loved
• Know that *you’re* loved, if even from a distance by people or your Creator
• Get creative & weird & annoying!
• Make things unabashedly & fearlessly (screw perfectionism!!)
• Be smart! Wash ur damn hands!
• Take it easy on yourself!
…Because this rollercoaster of feelings of uprootedness & isolation can be pervasive & massive, but *VALID*.

I hope everyone’s staying safe and healthy… and know I’m sending good vibes your way.

When nothing is certain, anything’s possible.
This too shall pass.🌿

♥️ much love

dear you

dear you
you found the small, double hoops she gave you
you tried them on
and found that they were too small
this winter, you upgraded
this year, you upgraded
moved out
moved up
to slimmer, more delicate, bigger, more zesty hoops that have this thing about them that just
make everything complete
dear you
oh, dear you
look at you, being caught up on your homework
sending letters to your future self
meal-prepping
clock-checking
and not side-stepping
the important conversations
dear you
yes you, dear
welcome to your now.

2.0.1.9. // a look back

 

…And just like that, I find myself back here, at the end of yet another year. How crazy. If there’s anything this year taught me, it is to write it down. Take the photo. Notice how it feels. Because then you can look back on it all, which is such a critical, beautiful thing.

It’s been hard to be active in this space with my demanding schedule in school, but I’ve been blessed with a wonderfully long break to rest, recharge, and reunite with the important people and things in my life.

I feel mildly like Billie Eilish in her year to year interviews, which I [shamelessly] love watching because it’s literally like an interactive time capsule– you can see the fruits and labors of the years, the growth and the change practically *unfold* before your eyes– which is probably the reason I’ve loved doing these sorts of wrap up posts over the past few years.

*NOTE: I realize that it’s this time of year, and with every recap and win and humble brag, it may be easy to play the comparison game, to feel stressed about where you are, feel like you’re “not doing enough”– but oh my goodness you have come this far. You woke up today, and you are here, alive, reading this. And *that* is enough.*

This year has been beautiful, humbling, and life-changing.

…shall we?

If you had to describe your 2019 in 4 words, what would they be?
Surprising. Frantic. Adventurous.

What new things did you discover about yourself?
I discovered that I am more of an omnivert more than ever now– though I am generally extroverted, I am more in touch now with my limits and when I’ve had enough, when I need to step back and sit out.

I discovered that I am not fundamentally broken. At all. That “needing to love yourself before you love someone else” is not… it’s a flawed trope.

I discovered that I *love traveling* [even more so than I already did] and that I want more of it!!

I discovered that I am capable to making and sticking to a budget ^__^ [and that when my financial life is a mess, I’m a slight mess.]

I discovered that I cannot, to my chagrin, do it all. That saying no is something I can do and get good at, that asking for help is good, and that being open about your struggle is not a bad thing.

I discovered I like hand-washing dishes– it’s cathartic and a lovely, productive way to let the mind wander.

I discovered that I am, and always have been, enough.

I discovered that I actually love broccoli [my 10 year old self would be horrified]

What single achievement are you most proud of?
Loving myself. That’s not to say the journey is anywhere near complete, but it’s an achievement. Loving what I am, what I can do, where I can take myself when I put my mind to it… all cause for celebration, tbh.

What was your favourite place that you visited in 2019?
IRELAND. As a whole, really. But if we’re gonna be specific….:
the Cliffs of Moher, Malin Head in Co. Donegal, and Galway! Such stunning places of charm and personality… they call it the Emerald Isle and I understand. I understand fully now why.

Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?
My creativity. To create something from nothing, the ingenuity that has helped me make it through many paychecks, meals, and projects.

My persistence. Probably annoying to some. But if *you* don’t speak for you, who will? Being assertive and going after the things I want for myself was a huge goal for me for 2019, and I like to think that, if I went down, I went down trying.

Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
My mom. ❤

Which new skills did you learn?
I feel like I’m blanking a lot… there’s no way this list is limited to just 6 items, but here’s the ones off the top of my head:
How to give a diabetic cat insulin injections, lol
How to set boundaries.
Some bits a pieces of Japanese!
Adobe Lightroom!
How to go to the gym and not be self-conscious
How to Bachata & Salsaaaaa

What, or who, are you most thankful for?
This past semester, I started adding a few things to my to-do list– before I set up my tasks and my meetings and my obligations, I take a second to answer the following:

“TODAY, I’m thankful for…”, “TODAY, I will focus on…” and “TODAY, I will let go of…”

Looking back on those, I found I was most thankful for:

my roommates, my close friends, projects that demand my creativity and passion, the people and experiences that teach me who I am, the ability to travel, my health!, community building, coffee, a new week, a new start, my breath– my life, my university, music, catching up with friends, my BODY and all does and CAN do for me, strong friendships, patience, stellar group mates, moments of clarity, my work, choir rehearsals, the love and support of family and friends, the peaceful passing of my grandmother…

keeping a physical list of these things daily make it quite clear to me all that I have to be thankful for in this life. I am so blessed, and I want to carry this habit with me into the new decade!

If someone wrote a book about your life in 2019 what kind of genre would it be?
It would be a self-help/free verse poetry book– kind of like if Malcom Gladwell, Cleo Wade, Chris Bailey, and Nayyirah Waheed had a book child [wow what a foursome…..!!]

What was the most important lesson you learned in 2019?
I hate singling out a single lesson for this one, so I’ll cap it at 4 for now:

1) I am, and always have been enough. Point blank, periodt.

2) My happiness is up to me, not someone else.

3) You cannot change the minds of others, their biases, their conception of you, their prejudices, their opinions, their character. All you can do is simply live out life unabashedly as yourself, let that other shit remain detached from you, and let that speak for itself. (You could be the tastiest apple in the orchard but there will STILL be that someone who doesn’t like apples.)

4) Communication is the key to everything. People aren’t mind readers. How can you expect someone to know something if you haven’t effectively communicated it??? If you don’t like something, speak up. If you are feeling a certain way, speak up. If you aren’t feeling it, speak up. If you feel like you need to clarify something, clarify something. Because the “worst thing that can happen” is always so much worse in our heads, in the imagined scenarios we think up for ourselves and play on repeat until the fear outweighs the simple action itself.

Which mental block(s) did you overcome?
Mental block 1: That you have to have to love yourself first before loving someone else.

I feel as if I used to buy into this trope. Yes, self love is so *SO* encouraged. But this also seems to say that you have to perfect that one step before you even consider receiving love from someone else. In reality, love is all around. You’re worthy of it, always. Not just at the end of an “if, then” sentence.

Mental block 2: It has to be perfect the first time.

As a perfectionist who felt like they lived and breathed by this rule I have exhaled *considerably* throughout this year. Sometimes it just has to be “good enough”. Sometimes it’s just going to be unfinished. But the most important thing, no matter what “it” is, is that it gets *started!* That you spend time bringing it into existence, in all of its progress and all of its imperfection and all of its learning.

Mental block 3: The idea that you are responsible for the happiness of others.

It pained me this year. Pained me to the CORE. When you care so much for other people and want them to be happy, it’s easy to just ignore the fact that the circumstances aren’t right, or they’re downright toxic, or that you can put *your* happiness on hold [or flat out ignore it] for the sake of others. It’s a delicate balance. And you can do all you can, you can try your hardest, and it *still* may never be enough. And that’s okay, because it’s not your battle to fight. You can still show you care without burning yourself out.

What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?
Practically being one of 2 people to run a digital consulting program

How did your relationship to your family evolve?
Holy crap. A year ago I probably would have been continuing on that “stagnant but improving” bullshit, but. This is one thing that kind of did do a 180 this year. From setting boundaries, to getting closer to my parents and my siblings, to being cognizant of the fact that we’re always, always a team and can get through anything together. I marveled at the fact, two weeks or so ago when my grandmother passed away, how it seems like the only time extended family and immediate family get together is for weddings, reunions, and funerals. Grieving in a group is something else, let me tell you. My heart breaks for my mother, who is taking it hard, but her strength and grace through and despite it all inspires me so much and I want so bad to take those lessons, that strength, that simple, clear, pure, and sure outlook on life…. with me forward through this year.

What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?
OOOOH I have a few to put here, mostly books but if I think of movies I’ll letchy’all know:

1. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson [bought this and burned through it in Ireland… def a monumental book for me and 12/10 would recommend.]

2. Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey

3. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

4. Four Seconds by Peter Bregman

5. How to Be Here by Rob Bell

6. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

7. G’morning & Gnight: Little Pep Talks for Me and You by Lin Manuel Miranda, illustrated by Jonny Sun

What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?
The coffee. Walking into work and seeing smiles of the people I love working with. The greeting of my own dogs and the dog of my roommate. The naps! My daily, deafening jam to classic rock in the mornings on my way to class,

What cool things did you create this year?
– A video promo for a new learning technology within my workplace!
– A pretty enthusiastic personal brand aesthetic
– Promotional postcards for our campus ministry
– A professionally recorded song to accompany a university module for Ethical Reasoning
– A website that gives information/background to the issue of Food Waste in local communities in Galway, Ireland
– A lovely branded hypothetical design content solution for a local-farm-to-table food delivery co-op
– A cool music video featuring/promoting the patients and staff of a local Health Care/Rehab center in my university town
– an updated portfolio with some updated portfolio pieces!
– some new logos for some clientsssss woo!

What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?
I would say a mix between excited and stressed. Manic, almost sometimes. LOL
Come to think of it, I spent way too much time being stressed this year. Time to just sit back for a bit sometimes, and take it *E A S I E R* sheesh.

Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?

  • See Brendon Urie in concert!!!!
  • Used a dating app [with some nightmarish, some wonderful, some bizarre results]
  • Studied abroad/visit Ireland! (fly internationally alone, etc…that whole trip was LOADED with firsts!)
  • found a $100 bill on the floor of a bar LOL
  • designed a program for / attended a Mindfulness in Higher Education conference
  • Use false lashes! [they’re all the rage for evenings out in Ireland and I wanted to try them!]
  • Went camping in the pouring rain!
  • Visited a gin distillery!
  • Dyed my hair a crazy blue teal at the recommendation of one of my treasured and adventurous friends <3. Working on a progress vid for it, actually!
  • Got in a minor car accident [literally like 2 days before I finished this post– didn’t think I’d be adding this one on here but ): here we are…]
  • Applied to jobs [!!!] wow, shit’s real now!

What was your favorite moment spent with your friends?
I can’t name just a favorite– so I’ll stick with the top 3:

My 22nd birthday celebration
Seeing Panic! at the Disco in concert
all of the film-related things I’ve gotten to see with friends/roomies!!

What major goal[s] did you lay the foundations for? 

  • Ireland!
  • Weekly workouts!
  • obtaining student loans [w/o a cosigner!!! it’s possible y’all] I may write a post about this later, actually!!
  • pursuing a Service Year in Seattle
  • recruiting the heck out of freshmen for our campus ministry [with much success!! (,:]
  • de-cluttering & downsizing my living space!

Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?

  • Having enough $$ to cover tuition for fall/spring
  • fearing that I would miss my international flights
  • Insecurities about myself and my abilities as detailed by other people ahah

What experience would you love to do all over again?
Ireland. Hands down. Such a loaded, rich, and eye-opening experience, and I did my best to document the *shit* out of it, all here:

What was the best gift you received?
Gonna drop everything and be wholesome for a sec… but the best gift I received this year, by far, has to be the friendships I’ve come to know and love and cherish. Y’all know who you are and DAMN I am *SO* so lucky. Coming in 2nd would be the blessed donations of coffee over the past 12 months by friends and fam ❤  (:

How did your overall outlook on life evolve?
I think it has only positively improved, and I’m so thankful for this constant evolution of my outlook through time. I think about years past where, in a hard time, it’s been so quick to say that everything is terrible and that everything sucks, that I will never find love or happiness and blah blah blah when that is SIMPLY not TRUE! My goodness. If there’s anything this year taught me, it’s this brighter outlook. That there continue to be people who WILL love and cherish you, and put effort into doing so. There are so many places to explore and things to do. There exists so much beauty in the mundane, and part of seeing it is appreciating it. That life is short, time is fleeting, and if you have something to say you better say it, before it is too late. That true friends are hard to come by, so when you find them, fight for them. Hold on to them. Tell them you love and support them and that you’re thankful for them every day.

What was the biggest problem you solved?
HMMMM I’m torn between somewhat conquering the constant struggle/battle of balancing my bank account and managing my time [I had to say “no” to a few things this year because, much to my chagrin, I definitely *cannot* do it all, despite my desire to.], and then literally duct-taping/tying the front bumper of my car back on. I may or may not have used my engine oil stick to “thread” the rope through the inner workings of my engine but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

that’s life, shoulda been an engineer, I guess.

What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?
Looking back… there’s so much but one sticks out in particular– I was leaving my old apartment for summer break, and I’d asked if I could leave a piece of furniture behind at my friend’s apartment, as she was staying there for the summer and had room I didn’t have. In the process of moving said piece of furniture into her house, a bird flew in her front door and there is video footage of me chasing the bird around the living room, trying to get it out. My good friend and I *D I E D* laughing and she just has to start the first few seconds of the vid to get me cackling [and even as I write this I can’t help but smile].

What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?
My MacBook Air! Purchased it literally *the day before* leaving the country to study abroad and it has made my life… indescribably easier. So portable, so convenient with the software I need, so sleek, so light— no cables to fuss with like I did with my desktop and tower for *years* of my college experience. A bit pricey but I feel as if it’s paid itself off twofold.

What’s one thing would you do differently and why?
I would put a damper on my spontaneity [where appropriate] as well as my tendency to make rash decisions. I would say “no” more consistently, investigate true intent more thoroughly, and spend more time living in the present and not drowning in worry or anxiousness for what is [or isn’t] to come.

What do you deserve a pat on the back for?
Not failing my philosophy course in symbolic logic. I swear to goodness. Between a rather annoying professor and content I was ill-prepared for [apparently there were 2 pre-requisites for the class that I hadn’t taken and somehow still was able to take the class…??], I am proud of the grade I took away from that class. But I think it goes beyond the grade, too. That content slapped me in the face and there were many times I had to sit down with it for hours and force myself to do it over and over again until I understood it. That class taught me to take ownership of my needs [to over-compensate when studying], and to not be afraid AT ALL to ask many, many questions in the middle of class to seek the clarification I needed, instead of just brushing it under the rug and moving on like I knew what was going on when perhaps I didn’t.

What activities made you lose track of time?
Spending time with friends, editing video footage for a community member, designing for fun, cooking,

What did you think about more than anything else?
Hate to say it, but finances. It was a really hard year and though I made some good strides in terms of trying to get my shit together, there’s still plenty to do. Let’s just say I can’t *wait* to make that a d u l t  m o n aaayyyyyy $$$! 2nd in line would have to be myself, and my ongoing struggle to get the work-balance thing right. There’s a lot going on, and I just have to stick with it, create routines that work for *me*, and ask for help when I need it.

What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
The entirety of my New Media & Society class — how we as humans interact with & create & use and perpetuate new technologies, how it impacts our institutions, the price we’re paying for it (monetarily and otherwise), privacy concerns…. you name it. Such a monstrous, fascinating [and slightly depressing!] topic that’s really opened my eyes to my digital hygiene and what I need/want to alter in the coming year.

[FREE PRO TIPS real quick tho so you can start right away:

1. Back up your system often onto external hard space!

2. Use a password generator [I use Dashlane presently, but thinking about making the switch to Bitwarden, an open-source alternative. Apparently, you can import from Dashlane too if you export as an unencrypted spreadsheet thing of some sort!?! cool]

3. Go into your privacy settings / location settings on your mobile device and wipe that shit clean often

4. Throw your Google Home and/or Alexa *AWAY* [non-negotiable].

What new habits did you cultivate?
Good and bad, here we go:
– Going to the gym with my roomie 2x (sometimes more) times a week!
– Drinking a whole glass of water right after waking up (14/10 would recommend!)
– Integrating a gratitude practice atop my to-do list
– singing in the morning every morning on my way to school
– using tupperware, reusable straws and cups
– going to bed rather consistently
– reducing my tendency to be late to work/class [by a small, yet sizable percentage!]
– more consistently putting my phone on silent or airplane mode when necessary
– sending lots of memes to close friends
– keeping library books for too long >.<
– scrolling through instagram even after my “30 min limit” expires

What advice would you give your early-2019 self if you could?
Dear bright, bushy-eyed, early 2019 steph:

First of all, thank you. For being you. You have survived and you will survive. Even on your darkest days you have gotten out of bed and experienced the day. Sometimes, that’s enough. Be prepared! Hunker down! LoRDy change is coming, and you need to be ready, flexible, adaptable!! You have settled more into yourself and I love that– keep on keeping your sense of humour about you.

Slow the HECK down!! My goodness. You toggle between not worrying about anything [and not planning, and procrastinating, and saying “it’ll all come together somehow!”] and obsessively needing to know what the outcome will be. Be stiller. Your time will come, and it will make sense.

Speak up more often. I know it feels like, in the heat of it, like your mouth is glued and words will not come out but those are the moments when your words *do* need to come out. You can clarify, modify, and apologize as needed but please, when you need to say something, do not stay silent.

Do not be afraid to ask for help. Do not be afraid to say no. You’ll get a lot better at it, I promise, but it still takes practice.

I see that you’re *still* procrastinating on your homework. I don’t know if there’s much I can say to convince you to do otherwise, especially because yourself right now knows that the homework-less, beautiful life-balance that comes with adult career life means that you will have freedom after 5pm… but try to do better, k? Also work on showing up to places on time LOL.

Take more time for yourself! Working out, reading, writing, blogging, doing things with friends– all those things that fill your heart and soul and life with joy? You need a heavy dose of that. You can sleep, slave over your GPA when you’re dead. [But sleep is important. Please continue valuing your sleep!]

Take more chances. Trust your instincts. Go on dates. Be open, up-front, forward and confident like you are. Be easy. Have faith. Be open to the possibilities, and trust the process.

Cherish your friends every day, hug often, give freely, and laugh as much as you can. Look forward, look past and/or smile at others who try to cringe-shame you, humiliate, or belittle you–such attempts are mirrors of their character. Besides, you have more important things to look after.

I know you are stubborn as fUNK and you literally chase what you want into the ground but… try, this year, to give it a rest. What you need will find you, and what you want will make itself clear. Trust that instinct, and show gratitude always.

Show love, always– regardless of the circumstance. Have faith. Be bold. Be brave. Seek truth, seek healing. You’ll be just fine.

all my love,

steph

Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?
For sure. I’d be disappointed in myself if that weren’t the case. From relationship statuses, to realizing what I need and want for myself, to coping with loss/grief… it’s just shown me that all we really have is the moment we exist in *right* here, *right* now. Nothing past that is guaranteed.

What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?
These may seem cliché– but it’s true– but going abroad with new experiences and a completely different environment was so *SO* good for reasons that I’m still uncovering still, quite honestly. There’s something to be said for 6 weeks *away*, anytime, anywhere. I’m not one to be too specific on here or delve into too much detail BUT. I feel as if the entirety of my most recent relationship had one of the biggest impacts on my life this year– it was a beautiful, overwhelming, and just… a really eye-opening, and positive look into what *can* be. What I want for myself, what I deserve, what love is, and what it certainly isn’t.  As if I were watching a metamorphosis form the outside, wrapped in friendship and warmth, good humor and patience, deep caring and understanding. An an endurance, a bravery, a bittersweet; to work through the hard, to speak up, to feel heard. For all of it, I am so, so thankful.

Well anyways. Here’s to reflection on the old, and embracing the new– new hopes, new joys, new possibilities.

[:

Have a blessed New Year’s, everyone ♥

xx

a breath rehearsal

we sit

feet on the floor, flat

heart fast, mind fast

the goal, he said
is to manually override
the breakneck speed of the feedback loop
that courses through the brain
wrapping itself around the heart
tagging the stomach
and chasing it back

now

put your hand on your stomach

gather
___your
_____breath

on the count of three

like the gently fizzing bubble clusters
in your coveted, glimmery #selfcare bath
adorned with rose petals and rosé
that are immediately discarded
after your Story is posted–

notice your mind

it’s beautiful
and complex detours

if this, then what?
if I had only
if we had only
if he had only
if I had only

tug it back
take its hand
smile and nod
at its beautiful
and complex detours

on a count of three

gather

___your

_____breath

I have to
I must
I should have

give them a small wave

and let them go
on a count of three

notice your mind

heart slow,
mind slow.