NEW BEGINNINGS

Today is strange. Today is tough. Today feels foreign and I’m nauseas, like I’m on a rocking ship at sea and the waves won’t stop. I’m homesick. I miss NYC. I miss my friends. I feel very far away today, and as a very physical person, that’s hard. I woke up needing to tell the people closest in my life how much I miss them and want to be with them today. It was instinct to grab my phone and reach out. Thank the goddesses that we live in the age of technology and staying connected is that easy.

There’s no separating yourself from the electric currents running through the collective today. It’s that easy to tap into. All this energy is obvious and out in the open. You can feel it on the most microscopic level. All feelings are amplified for me today. I got a notification on my phone from an app I use to track my menstrual cycle, and it said, “your new cycle is about to begin”, and how ironic is that… Because today is all about beginnings. Not just in regards to America, but also, in my personal life… and even in my body, apparently. Within all these new beginnings is a deep sense of uncertainty.  But I’m fired up and I’m strong because I know better than ever who I am, and it all just keeps unfolding. I have no idea what the fuck is going on. Anyone promising doom and anyone promising that everything is just dandy is delusional. We don’t know what the future holds and to promise anything is silly. All I know is uncertainty. That’s all I know. And I’m sitting with the discomfort of that. I’m using that uncertainty to get clear with myself about what kind of life I want to create for myself and in turn, what kind of world I want to live in.

One thing I’m certain about is how much I miss my friends and home in New York City today. I’m sure the energy there is bonkers right now and I wish I could transport myself there for the day. I feel connected to my friends. I know how fired up they all are right now and I wish I could be there to hug them and smoke a joint and talk about the world and tear shit up.

The end of the summer 2016 brought on a lot of confusion for me in regards to where my life was headed. I wanted to feel security… not just financial security, but the security of the approval of others… and what a poison that is... What a way to forget about yourself… to live your life for others. The idea of, hey, I HAVE A REAL GROWN UP JOB felt good, and it definitely works for a lot of people, but I don’t think that’s really my personal path. As I tried on those clothes, I realized they didn’t fit me, and I felt even more confused… and insecure. And I was like, who the fuck am I? What am I supposed to be doing? (by the way, I still kind of ask those questions on the daily lol) And I was feeling more creative than ever and I thought, hmmm maybe I should follow this flow, even though the path is foggy, unclear, unwalked. And finally, I decided, no excuses. I’m going to at least go for it. And maybe I’ll fail, but I’m not going to halfway dip my toes; I’m jumping in… naked. And I’ve committed myself to uncertainty. I know what I want in feelings. I have big dreams. But I don’t want them to keep existing in my mind and in my heart, living in some future scenario. It’s time to tether a rope to the future and pull it down into the present. And so I decided to challenge myself. Cut myself off from the beautiful distraction of NYC for just a short time, and work on this book I started to write. It’s a mountain in my mind. Larger than any mountain I’ve ever climbed, but I’m just gonna at least go for it. I’m scared to even talk about it sometimes because what if I can’t do it and then I fail? Well, I guess it’s possible. But I think being open about it helps hold me accountable and motivated, but more importantly, I’m trying to be vulnerable. I want other people to feel like it’s okay to go for whatever they want, even if it’s a little bit wacky. I’ll be wacky with you. I got you. Let’s be terrified together. It’s now or never.

So today is my first day of sitting down and having a full day of writing in my little retreat. Today I start putting some flesh on the bones. I grew up on dystopian fiction. I loved Ayn Rand and Aldous Huxley and I can definitely feel their influence in the story I’m embarking to tell. And like most dystopian worlds, there’s a sense of uncertainty and strangeness… and that’s exactly what’s going on today. Uncertainty and strangeness. I feel as though we’re all children and our parents left us with a babysitter who is high on meth and mentally unstable… and it’s like, uhhhh, are we gonna be okay? Is our house gonna burn down? What do I do? Where’s my mom and dad? Yeah, that’s the feeling.

The earth is rumbling beneath me, the air is foggy, and deafening thunder rings through my  ears. I stand here on a rock, trying to find my stillness. My clarity. A sense of direction. And I carry on into the life I want to create for myself. I am part of this world. There is no separating myself from it. I care about this planet and the people and creatures on it, because I am, in the smallest of ways, just a reflection of all of that.

 

THE ATTACK

Tonight I was attacked. I kid you not… I was physically assaulted. In the 6 whole years I’ve lived in NYC, lots of potentially scary and creepy shit has happened to me, but never has someone laid their hands on me that way someone laid their hands on me tonight. I’m fine. I’m in one piece and I’m okay, but it was fucking jarring. It was random. One of those random things that just… happened.

It was about 7pm and I had just gotten off the subway at 8th Avenue and 34th St. I was meeting my friend, Jess, who was taking me to an event that was in that neighborhood (because let’s be real, I have absolutely no interest in hanging around Penn Station… like, ever). I was one block away from where I was meeting her. I was actually in a pretty good mood, minding my own business, just walking down a busy street during rush hour when I simply decided to look up, and in that moment, I locked eyes with someone you just don’t want to lock eyes with... you know, the kind of person you can sense with your spidey-senses that something is terribly not right with them… and you do everything in your power to vanish from the vicinity of their human experience (or perhaps you do everything in your power to banish them from your own human experience). It was for a quick second, and I looked away. But in that second I looked away, she jumped on me. It was fight or flight mode. When you’re in that kind of survival mode, there is absolutely no thinking... You’re not making decisions. You are running on instincts. Every move you make is a reaction to what’s happening. You are completely sucked into the moment… into every micro moment. I had one goal… and that was to get the fuck away.

She grabbed me by the top of my head, gripping the majority of my hair in her hand. My body was smart, and immediately softened up, making it harder for her to control me. She had trouble pulling me to the ground as she tried to do a few times. She was pulling me back and forth by my head screaming, “Don’t say anything. Don’t you dare say anything!” amongst other nonsensical phrases and noises. From the second she touched me, I screamed… and I didn’t stop screaming. It was a guttural scream; the kind of scream that I can’t even reproduce if I tried. It’s loud and powerful. It’s not a shriek… it’s like a bulldozer scream that reverberates. The entire attack lasted about half a minute, if I were to guess… of course, I wasn’t experiencing time like I normally do, so it felt like a very long half minute. I didn’t know if she was going to try to choke me; I didn’t know if she had a weapon; I didn’t know if she was going to try to do terrible things that I don’t even want to write… but I could feel my body preparing for it all. Finally, she gave me one last yank and charged away down the street. I looked up and everyone on the block was looking at me. Everyone’s jaw was dropped. I was shaking and my instinct was to move toward the most condensed area of people.

I could hear people asking me if I was okay, but I couldn’t even answer with words because I was still processing what had happened. Two policemen happened to be about 10 feet away and they immediately came up to me and asked me if I was okay. I just stared at them… they had to ask me a few times and I just took a few deep breaths, actually wondering if I was in fact, okay… and I was. Yeah, my scalp hurt… it still kind of hurts… and my neck had major whiplash. My legs felt like jelly and I was shaking… but I was okay. My body was simply processing the trauma.

Rewind to earlier that day: I had a day off and decided to spend the whole day writing. Usually if I am spending the day working on a creative project, I like to engage in a physical activity first, like yoga or spinning… but today, I felt such a high intensity burst of creativity, I didn’t want to take away time from my creative flow. Sometimes, when I get into these kinds of flows, it’s like I’m existing in another dimension. I forget that I have a body; I forget about other people; I forget to eat and drink water… I’m just writing and I can’t stop. I know it sounds like a “good” thing, but it’s not good to be so out of touch with your physical body and surroundings, because it’s important to be aware, for safety sake.

I was writing all day, and even now, I can’t wind down. It’s past midnight… and I just can’t stop writing. Anyway, I’ve been working on this book. I sort of cringe when I say that I’m “writing a book”. First of all, to be completely authentic, I feel like it might sound pretentious to other people and then I’ll be judged… and since I still care about what other people think to some degree (even though I’d like to pretend like I don’t), I’m afraid I’ll be misunderstood. Secondly, I’d rather not talk about the things I’m in the process of making before they’re completed. I’d rather say “I wrote a book”… like, past tense. As in, it’s already happened. It’s such a huge project that I’m afraid that if I don’t finish, I’ll let everyone down… but mostly myself. So for the sake of authenticity, that’s why I don’t like saying “I’m writing a book”. But fuck it… that’s what I’m doing… and I fucking enjoy it. In the moments of the day that I’m not writing it, I want to be writing it. I love it. It’s my happy place.  

So I started writing a couple of months ago, and as to avoid any further “plot blockages” as I like to call them, I did something that I normally don’t do: I invested my energy in creating a more left-brained structure. So I went back a created a 30 page detailed SparkNotes type outline.

Right before I went to meet Jess, I was working on all the character descriptions. I was focused on a supporting character who happens to be a paranoid schizophrenic in a “perfect” utopia of a society. She’s not a major character, but I was honing in on her. I was imagining who she was and what she felt like and why she felt the way that she did. I was imagining what it must have been like for her to be marginalized in a society that seems to be inclusive of “everyone” … except of course, the people who are difficult to understand.

And as synchronicity has it, of course I have this horrible run-in with this mentally ill, emotionally disturbed homeless women… probably a paranoid schizophrenic. Now, I’m not about to group together all homeless people. There are many different reasons for homelessness. Sometimes it’s a choice, and very often… it’s not. How you get there and why you get there… well, there’s a million different reasons and I’m no expert, but having lived in NYC for quite a few years now and having witnessed so much homelessness that I’m almost numb to it… I can tell you that very often people are homeless as a result of mental illness and poor resources.

After this woman attacked me, it would have been really easy for me to jump to rage and want justice and to have her locked up. And then to further this anger towards all homeless and mentally ill people at large. I could have said,  throw them all into a fucking cell because they're dangerous… and yes… mental illness with little resources can be a MAJOR danger. BUT… that’s not the problem. That’s just the surface of the problem.

What’s funny is that when I was on the subway, I was thinking to myself about the chelsea bombing and how I’m almost numb to it. It was like I read about it… and then was like… oh, that sucks. It’s like I disassociated because honestly… what am I supposed to do about it? This dude puts bombs in a bunch of dumpsters. Like what am I going to do? … Look into every dumpster I pass on the street? Fear all dumpsters? No… I’m just going to live my life because honestly anything can happen anywhere at any point... and I can’t control it. We like to make sense of everything. (Ironically, I’m probably writing this blog so as to make sense of what happened to me). Scary shit happens. The world is unstable and we’d so like to place the blame on something… we’d love to place the blame on entire groups of people because at least then we can compartmentalize and make sense of the mindless violence. I think what humans fear most is a lack of closure and certainty, so we try to bring closure and certainty to everything that happens…. but sometimes, we can’t. And trying to compartmentalize rage creates more separation between ourselves as human beings. This isn’t some hippie philosophy. To me, this is my practical perspective.

After the woman attacked me, I didn’t feel anger toward her. Yes, I was worried she would attack other people… and no, I didn’t want to be her friend… But she was mentally ill. It would be easy for me to hate her for attacking me… to place the anger on her, but that would be escaping the truth of what I’m really angry about. What angers me the most is that we live in a society that completely ignores mental illness; that completely ignores homelessness; that completely ignores anything that makes us emotionally uncomfortable… You have to feel good all the time! It’s a society of turning a blind eye, and I don’t want to live in a society like that. Like, if you’re mentally ill, good fucking luck…  Have fun fending for yourself if you don’t happen to have been born into a good support system. Mental health isn’t taken seriously and any sign of emotional disturbance makes everyone run. Well… I grew up in a family with a bipolar sibling and a genetic history of mental illness, so I’m no stranger to this stuff.

I’m not trying to get all political, but whatever. I don’t know shit about shit, but I can tell you this... There’s so much we don’t talk about… and part of this issue is the issue we have with ourselves individually. We’re afraid of emotional discomfort. We’re afraid of what we can’t make sense of. We’re afraid of a lack of certainty... But worst of all, we’re afraid of our own emotions… we’d love to pretend that everything is okay all the time, but that’s not how life works… and that’s okay. Don’t endure pain because that’s just the way things are, but also don’t escape it and pretend everything's just dandy… Be honest with how you feel. I’m no master. I work on this everyday. Just get to know yourself and just be real… that’s it. Just be real.

TWENTY FIVE

Yesterday I turned 25. To even say that feels strange. Strange because I used to think that 25 was such a huge number, but stranger because I feel younger and lighter as the days pass. My mind tells me I’m old, but my heart tells me I’m young. But since I tend to follow my heart more than my head, I’ll go with, HOORAY! I’M 25!

I made a wish on my birthday. Ironically, it was to stop feeling the need to wish. To stop feeling the need to control. To trust that everything my heart desires will come to me because I simply am everything my heart desires, and I'm brave enough to allow it. I'm no longer afraid of judgement like I used to be. Perhaps I'm still afraid, but the need to self-express has surpassed my fear of judgement. Life is fragile. I exist in order to be myself. I have made happiness a priority, no matter how difficult that may sometimes seem.

 Yesterday was the most spectacular birthday I’ve experienced thus far. I was doing what I love to do… play! I spent the day on an adult playground at Panorama Music Festival with a handful of some of the closest people in my life, bouncing on strange interactive-art bubbles that make underwater sounds, putting sparkles on my face, lying under a dome watching a simulation of outer space, and listening to gritty, raw emotional live music by Sia and LCD Soundsystem. I didn’t have a care in the world. I was having pure, unadulterated fun.

 This morning I cried tears of joy. I cried because I felt my being fill up with so much gratitude, becoming so intense that it needed to be expressed. I feel so grateful for my life, my friends, my family, the neighborhood I live in, my closest friends, my circumstances, music, laughter, the sun in the sky, donuts, the feeling I get when I look at the stars, my health, the sound the ocean makes, the fact that hair still grows, even after you cut it, my ability to connect with others, youtube, having legs that can walk and dance, sunsets, dolphins, the existence of Google, being female, pizza, movies, and everything else that I love. But mostly, I feel grateful to myself. I’m grateful that I’ve become my own best friend. It hasn’t been easy. Sometimes I feel like the luckiest person in the world and sometimes I completely forget that I AM the luckiest person in the world… and that’s okay.

 My 24th year was unimaginable. So much happened internally, and even externally. I’m still me, but I’m MORE of me now.  I feel like I’ve expanded and I’ve become lighter. Old habits have completely left me, baffling me at times, while other new ones have set in. I find it more and more difficult to describe myself as a person. I’m just me. I can’t say things like “I wouldn’t” or “I would never” or “I couldn’t” because those limits do not make sense to me anymore. I’m literally changing and expanding at such an accelerated rate that sometimes the old me would have never done something or thought something, but the new me, in this very moment, is a completely different person and would totally want to do that very thing. How I spend my free time has completely changed, the foods I eat and crave have completely changed, my opinions have completely changed, my emotional sensitivity is at an all time high, my need to create is never ending, how I spend my money has completely changed. Everything is changing and unfolding and sometimes I feel like I’m on a ride. It really is a roller coaster. But don’t let all this positivity fool you. Some days I am at war with myself. After I turned 24, I gave myself permission to feel all that I feel (to the best of my ability). At first, I was on such a high that I couldn't even consciously think a negative thought, even if I wanted to... but after a few months, I was like, okay, I'm ready to feel more of what I haven't let myself feel yet. Bring it on. And I got what I asked for. A lot of things have (re)surfaced in the past few months. Darker feelings that I had completely repressed for who knows how long, scary feelings, doubtful feelings, self-defeating feelings, unloving feelings, feelings that feel terrible but I don’t even know how to describe them. Most of these feelings felt old, felt like I had hidden them in the basement of my awareness; so repressed I didn’t even know I had them. I couldn’t even tell you what would trigger them. Sometimes I’d be going about my day happy one second, and would literally just have to take a minute in the bathroom and cry. I had no way to pinpoint where they were coming from, or what they meant. I simply would feel them, and that’s it. But just recently, I've allowed myself to feel without judgement. And that’s what’s been so great. Even in the most painful moments, I allow the feelings to move through me… I even just started to appreciate them, weirdly. I’m like a snake, shedding the old skin… but you can’t ignore the shedding process. It has to happen. You have to become aware of what’s here in order to release it. I simply invited it all in. The light and the dark, and I feel braver because of it. I feel like I can finally be the artist and HUMAN BEING I want to be.

 The message society has given us regarding emotions is poison. There seems to be this overarching message that is:  you should be happy all the time and if you’re not, then something is wrong with you. This very message is what causes people to shut off completely, to repress, to deny, to reject. I’m over it. I am done with that message. Let’s all feel feelings, no matter what they are. Let’s stay present. Let’s support each other and be okay with how we feel moment to moment. I’ve stopped saying, “what’s wrong?” when someone seems uneasy. The fact that you’re asking what’s wrong with them is feeding this message that something is wrong with them just because they’re feeling something unpleasant. I try to just ask how people are feeling and if they want to talk about it.

 I’ve decided that the worst feeling I can feel is doubt. A lack of faith- or rather, faith in something that I simply would rather not have faith in. The systems of the world are breaking down right now, and spliced between all the suffering is so much beauty. I feel tremendous purpose in being here on this little blue dot at this time. I don’t know what it is. I just know it, because I can feel it. There are days where I’m literally like, when is it all going happen?! When am I going to reach my goals? When will I be a successful writer, artist, actor, human? When will I get to stop worrying about money? When will I feel the limitless freedom and joy I want to feel all the time? It’s all unfolding right now. I’m in the thick of it.

 Right now I’m walking down a road. I can’t see behind me and I can’t see in front of me, but I keep walking because the wind blows in that direction.

 

How To Stay Healthy... ON THE CHEAP!

I ain’t no Gwyneth Paltrow. I’m not going to dictate to you how to eat healthy by shopping at the bourgiest organic health food store for under $1,500 a week. Hell no. I’m a 24-year-old artist who lives in NYC and works at SoulCycle and babysits for a living. Not much money is flowing in right now... let’s be real. Regardless of the fact that I don’t have an overflowing abundance of disposable income at this very moment in my life, I am an incredibly talented budgeter. I know how to make the most of my dollar. Even with my income (along with a few chunks of money I’ve landed through writing gigs), I manage to save.

I don’t spend my money ordering delivery or buying worthless shit. I spend my money on experiences. A large portion of what I save goes to shows, concerts, drum lessons, festivals, and travel. I have severe FOMO, in case you couldn’t tell. Having fun, following my heart, making art, and enjoying life is my top priority.

Because traveling is so important to me, I go through massive ebbs and flows financially. I’ll be working a lot and building up my bank account, then I’ll take a trip and start back at square one…. sometimes with literally $100 to my name. For example, I was steadily building up for a few months and then I landed an awesome writing gig and with all that money, I was able to take a week vacation in Jamaica in March, I took two weekend trips in April, and I went to a music festival + New Orleans in May. I even bought a ticket for a Euro trip for my 25th Birthday this August. Right now I am LIVING. But my bank account has been f*cked so hard it’s limping. I’m building it all back up again.

Within this fairly unconventional lifestyle, it’s very important to me to stay fit and healthy. I can’t do anything very well if I’m not taking care of myself. It’s not a purely superficial thing for me. It's not about being trendy. My work suffers if I don’t. I literally cannot focus if I’m not eating right, working out regularly, and sleeping well... and don’t get me wrong, I like to drink and have fun and eat some doughnuts and midnight pizza here and there… I’m just not doing it every day.

There’s a common misconception that being healthy is expensive… especially in NYC.  And there’s a lot of truth to this… you can order a healthy salad for $15 (which might not even keep you satisfied for very long) or you can eat a slice of pizza for $2. You’ve also got this culture of trendy, expensive fitness destination crazes. I work at SoulCycle, so I get it. It’s alluring. But I promise there’s other enjoyable ways to stay active for little to no money. And there’s other ways to eat healthy for very little money. Staying healthy is only expensive when you’re lazy about it. To do it on the cheap requires time and effort, but after a while, it becomes such a part of your daily routine, that it’s almost ritualistic.

I love that I I get to go to SoulCycle for free. I love spinning and there are also a handful of fancy yoga studios and barre classes I get to go to for free because of it. Since this is not accessible to everyone, here’s my advice on how to stay physically active:

1)   BIKE! Start biking to get to places. Especially if you live in a city. I just bought a year membership to Citi Bike ($14.95 a month) and I’ve probably biked 40+ miles in the past week. Not only is it healthy, but it’s meditative. You just zone out. It’s such a pleasant experience. And it’s so much better than waiting for the train… it’s also much cheaper than an unlimited metro card.

2)   YOGA.  There are quite a few places around NYC that are donation based yoga classes. It’s a pay-what-you-want kind of mentality and I actually find these classes to be very good quality. You just have to keep in mind that it gets crowded. You’re sharing space with a lot of bodies. I know Yoga To the People is a great donation based class that offers many classes throughout the day.

3)   RUN (Forrest, Run). Not everyone is a runner. I get it. I don’t ever run… unless it’s for my life. But if you feel like you“just don’t have the time” to work out, then make this your ritual. Take 20 minutes every day to just run. It’s not a lot of time and it’s probably the best work out you can do. All you need is a pair of running shoes.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost you a lot. You might not believe me when I tell you that I spent $30 on groceries this past week and that’s pretty much all I’ve spent on food since then. Here’s my secret: Eat vegan(ish). For groceries, I don’t buy dairy or meat. If I’m buying something quick or treating myself elsewhere, I’ll eat whatever I want (though it’s almost always vegetarian). Eating predominately vegan has come naturally to me. It’s not some political statement (even though I do believe much of the food industry is incredibly unethical and sociopathic towards animals). It’s actually about being cheap, believe it or not. And the I couldn’t be vegan because I need protein is the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard. I probably eat more protein now than I ever have in the past. Here’s a typical overview of my grocery list (some items are weekly, some last me way longer):

  1. QUINOA. This is not a cheap grain, but I’m addicted to it. It’s filling, yet doesn’t make you feel overly full. It also goes a long way. But don’t buy it packaged if you don’t have to. At the grocery store near my apartment, they sell it loose for $6.99 a pound. That’s approximately $3 for 3 cups of quinoa uncooked. I eat quinoa (or another grain) in 1 or 2 of my meals per day and this is plenty to last me through the week.
  2. TOFU. I eat obscene amounts of tofu. It’s cheap, filling, and high in protein. I buy a block of it for $3 and it usually lasts me 3 meals. I also love the Tofurkey brand of sausages. They’re a bit more expensive, but they’re delicious.
  3. EGGS. If you’re actually a vegan, then ignore this. I don’t buy dairy or meat, but I love me some eggs for breakfast. I buy cage-free, even though it’s more expensive. The extra $1.50 is worth it for me.
  4. BLUE CORN TORTILLAS. I’ll eat these with some eggs, veggies, and hot sauce in the morning. All you have to do is toast it for a few minutes on a pan. Or sometimes I’ll make vegan tacos. They come in packages of 30 for about $4. This lasts me the month usually.
  5. LENTILS. I love green lentils. A package of these is about $1.50. Just make sure you wash them before hand. Sometimes if I’m lazy, I’ll just eat them with a veggie and a grain as a meal.
  6. AVOCADOS. Need I say more? I’m so lucky. There’s this super cheap produce place around the corner from me. It’s literally $1 per avocado. I usually cut my avocados in half and use only half of one in a dish for a meal. So 3 avocados is spread out amongst 6 meals for me.
  7. TOMATOES. I’m addicted to tomatoes. I honestly can’t remember the last time I went a day without eating a tomato. My body craves them. I especially love cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, plum tomatoes, and vine ripe tomatoes. At that same cheap produce place around the corner, they sell packages of 6 plum tomatoes for $1. Like, how do they even make money? I don’t know…
  8. SPINACH/KALE. Choose one… or both. I like to sauté spinach with some olive oil and salt and add it to a dish. I also love to steam kale and put some cherry tomatoes on top with some garlic salt. Yum.
  9. SWEET POTATO/ SQUASH. If you’re getting sick of boring grains, eat this with some protein and greens. I personally like mine crispy.
  10. BROCCOLI. Just add some salt and spices. Goes well with most things. I usually boil it. I also buy it frozen. That way, you can eat it whenever you want and it won’t go bad.
  11. BANANAS. Excellent snack. Great for the sweet tooth. Amazing post-work out.
  12. CEREAL. I like to go for the Trader Joe’s Vanilla Almond Clusters. I only eat cereal every few days so this usually lasts me a while.
  13. ALMOND MILK. I love vanilla almond milk. It’s great with cereal, oatmeal, or basically anything. It’s gentle on your stomach. I also love to add this to my smoothies.
  14. FROZEN FRUIT. The reason I like frozen fruit is because it lasts. I love putting frozen blueberries in my cereal. If I’m in a hurry or just need a quick snack, I’ll make a smoothie. Trader Joe’s has super cheap frozen fruit that lasts me a really long time.

 Essentials: olive oil, garlic powder, pink himalayan salt, lemon pepper, chili flakes, honey, and hot sauce… tons and tons of hot sauce.

Sweet tooth: medjool dates, dried mango, vegan ice cream, and candied almonds.

If you’re like me and you're out and about all day, meal prep the night before. If you cook in bulk like I do, this is easy. You can pretty much just throw some stuff together. Tupperware and plastic-ware are essential.

The above is just an idea. What’s nourishing to one person isn’t necessarily nourishing to another… we all have different bodies that function differently. Start listening to yourself. What is it that you need? Try to practice separating psychological hunger from body hunger. Give yourself what you need… if your body is begging you for ice cream, then fucking eat the ice cream and don’t feel bad about it (I struggle with this all the time). Just listen to yourself.

The idea that it’s expensive to be healthy is an unhealthy idea. Staying healthy on the cheap requires research, dedication, and commitment. That’s it… and I promise, it’s worth it. You start putting love into the food you make rather than mindlessly eating something you got from who-knows-where. There’s something so satisfying about creating something for yourself and enjoying it for yourself. It feels real…. like you’ve formed a personal connection to the food you’re nourishing your body with. It feels… human.

AVOCADO

What do you want to be when you grow up? This question is a familiar one to most. It’s a question we’re all asked as children, probably before we can read or write our own names. As children, it serves to spark curiosity about life at large. Who are you? What are you interested in? What would you like to learn? What role would you like to play in this lifetime? But as we grow older, this question serves as a platform for existential anxiety and limitation.  This question takes the form of a whistle (or a horn, for that matter), telling you to hurry up and figure it out. At a certain point, if you know the answer, then you’re most likely at odds as to whether it’s “realistic” or not…. If you don’t know the answer, well then, there’s something "wrong" with you. Then you have the vast majority of people who are so overwhelmed by this question and the implications of its answer that they forget about the question completely. It’s no longer relevant. The question ceases to be what do you want to be when you grow up? It becomes, what SHOULD you be when you grow up? They would rather just pick something that they “should” do and live their life without risk or worry. I don’t say that with judgment. They have all the reason to feel the way that they do. In fact, this world is super demanding and survival is not easy. Perhaps all you want is financial security and there is nothing wrong with that! If that's what's true to you, then by all means! I don’t want to come off as judgmental and ignorant. Not everyone has the support of his or her parents and friends. And I feel super grateful for all the support I have. I can’t imagine how much harder it would be without it… but that doesn’t take away from the fact that perhaps you lose a big piece of yourself when you settle for something that isn’t true to you…. in the process you lose the ability to discern what feels true to you in all aspects of life. You fracture into a million pieces.

Because I love telling stories and painting pictures, here’s a metaphor for you: There’s two trees. Tree #1 is an avocado tree; Tree #2 is a lettuce tree (Yeah, I know lettuce doesn’t grow on trees, but for storytelling sake, bare with me). The avocado tree is massive. You can’t even see the top. You’ll have to jump from branch to branch and you’ll risk falling. It’s a dangerous climb. The lettuce tree however, is decently sized, but you can see to the top… and it's a pretty steady climb. In fact, you know many people who have climbed this tree. They’re your teachers and friends and family, even… and they highly recommend climbing this tree. In fact, they might even judge you if you don’t climb this tree. Moreover, they’ll tell you myths and legends about how scary the avocado tree is… and if you listen long enough, you’ll begin to take those myths and legends as hard facts. They eat the lettuce from this tree. It fills their stomachs. Their basic needs are met. It’s food after all… but does it taste good? Is it as scrumptious as an avocado? Certainly not…

I remember as a child playing in my room for hours and imagining myself as an adult. I never fantasized about a husband or a wedding (not that there’s anything wrong with that)… I always fantasized about who I was going be in this world and what I was going to do. I felt a deep, unwavering sense of purpose… I still can tap into this purpose when I allow myself to… It’s been polluted over the years, but I haven’t let it disintegrate. It hasn’t changed much, it’s just sometimes hard to find.

When you ask children what they want to be when they grow up, they have no reservations about their answers. They’ll say whatever they feel like they want to be in that given moment. There’s no limitation. In my journal from 1997, I wrote that I wanted to be a movie star, a sea captain, a mother, and a marine biologist. Anyone who knows me well knows that my interests haven’t changed much. Perhaps they’ve just evolved. But someone can look at my journal from that time and think, awww cute…. but you can't be ALL those things.

And that’s when limitation begins. You have to choose one thing and stick to it. You always have to be one thing... But I am so many things. I do not feel capable of fitting into the box of one particular thing. Since graduating, I’ve been so resistant to the label of being an actor, because yes, I am an actor, but I have not subscribed to the typical lifestyle of one and I feel like I am so much more than that. I’m a storyteller. I tell stories and express thoughts and feelings in whatever medium is available to me in the moment.

I think there’s something inherently misleading in the question: what do you want to be when you grow up? It should be, what do you want to do when you grow up? To me, being is a feeling. Doing is an action. So when I think about what I want to be [when I grow up]… I want to be joy. I want to be freedom. I want to be excitement. I want to be adventure. I want to be creative. I cannot be one thing. And I cannot do one thing.

To be honest, at this point, I’ve surrendered my control in regards to how I’m going to be those feelings… and what labels and boxes I must fit into in order to be those feelings. I give up. It’s exhausting. I’m just going to follow my joy. I’m going to follow those feelings. I’m going to do whatever brings me closest to those feelings, even if it has to happen in little steps. Even if I end up doing something I didn’t expect. My life doesn't exist as a movement from point A to point B to point C and it never will. It's a bunch of zig zags and swirly lines, and you know what, I'm okay with that.

I’ve already started climbing the avocado tree. Sometimes I get confused about how far up I am. I can’t see the top and I can’t see the bottom. Sometimes I imagine all the people at the top who must be enjoying their avocados and I spiral into self-doubt. Sometimes I stall between branches because I’m overwhelmed and afraid.  Sometimes I stall so long I wonder if I’ll ever reach the top. Then I wonder if there even is a top. I don’t really care if there is. I just want to taste an avocado.

Because fuck lettuce, man. Lettuce sucks. It tastes like nothing. I love avocados…. and I promise… Once I get my avocados, I’ll share them with you all.

I love you.

STUBBORNNESS

You know those days where it just feels like everything is going wrong? Yeah… I had that kind of day today. Nothing in particular “went wrong”, everything just felt wrong… and I actually felt frustrated for having no particular event to place the blame on. No bad news, no injuries, no sleeping through the alarm. To an outsider, my day probably seemed pretty ordinary. But it wasn’t… because I wasn’t feeling myself. First, I woke up feeling like I was still asleep. I couldn’t shake the sleep from my body. I felt like I was still in a dream, paralyzed. I felt contained. Stuck. Like in a nightmare, when you try to scream, but no noise comes out. Or when you try to run, but it’s like you’re on a treadmill. Your running leads to nowhere. I felt claustrophobic. Restrained. Heavy. Every ordinary task seemed to take ages. As I got out of the shower, I felt a huge delay between the decisions in my mind and actually doing them. After I was done with my shower, I stood over the bathroom sink distracting myself with some youtube videos until I couldn’t bare it any longer. “OKAY! GO GET DRESSED, FELICIA! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR?” And even after that little internal monologue, it seemed to take me an entire 5 minutes just to walk from the bathroom to my bedroom. So I decided to get present with myself and ask, “Okay… What is it that you're feeling right now?” The answer was resounding frustration… but frustration is reactionary. There’s always a deeper feeling beneath it.

In the past, I would often try to do everything I could in order to avoid negative feelings (welcome to Planet Earth, right?), but since I’ve made a commitment to authenticity, I find it simply dishonest to run away from any emotions at all, positive and especially negative… So I dove right in. I gave myself permission to feel frustration… that led to more frustration, of course… but I let it in. I had a whole hour to get ready for my day, and yet I felt like time was running out and that I was being rushed. After I put on my clothes, I immediately felt overwhelmingly uncomfortable in the outfit I chose. I looked in the mirror and thought that I looked pretty good… “But you don’t feel good,” I thought to myself. I decided to ignore that thought and proceed to put on shoes. I had two choices. I chose the shoes that I thought would look best with the outfit (that I didn’t even feel comfortable in). Of course the shoes I chose were the more uncomfortable ones. “But hey… At least I look good,” I thought.

Well… the second I walked out the door, I started reprimanding myself for my stupid decision. I was wearing clothes that I wasn’t comfortable walking around in and yet I had a whole day of walking around ahead of me and there was no time to change. I decided to just stay with the feeling of frustration and so it began to build. I felt myself resisting the tears that were trying to burst from the corner of my eyes. I put on my sunglasses and let them flow (just a little bit though). The frustration was building and I realized I wasn’t truly dealing with my feelings. I was letting them percolate on the surface.  It was time to go a little bit deeper. I asked myself what I was feeling… but there was too much chaos in my mind so I decided to simplify things and figure out what was going on in my body. I truly believe we store our emotions in our body and if you can get in touch with how you physically feel, you can open the door to how you emotionally feel.  I felt exhaustion, like I was a car running on empty; I felt heavy like led; I felt slow like I was walking through tar; I felt stiffness in my upper back; My muscles felt like they were being subtly tickled… and anyone who is ticklish knows what a horrible feeling it is to be tickled. You’re laughing, but it’s totally NOT funny. It’s a very helpless situation to be in. There!! I was feeling helpless!  Why? Not sure… but at least I knew what I was feeling.

Once I surrendered to the feeling of helplessness, I decided to do a little meditation on my subway commute. I followed my breath and closed my eyes, and within seconds I saw what I needed to see:

It is a vision of a ram at the top of a steep, grassy hill. He is pointed towards the bottom of the hill. Gravity wants him to run down the hill, but he has his left hoof stuck in the ground and he keeps burying it deeper and deeper. As he continues to press his hoof into the ground, he starts muddying himself, but he refuses to move. Above him, I see in block letters: STUBBORN.

This was my obstacle for the day. Stubbornness… total resistance. I was the ram.

I immediately was taken back to the memory from earlier that day of when I had put on my clothes. I decided to wear them because I thought they looked good, regardless of how I felt in them. I didn’t listen to myself. I knew how I was feeling, but I went against it. I was resisting my own true feelings. I was stubborn. I had already made a decision to wear the outfit and I wasn’t going to budge. It felt too much of a hassle to change. I stuck with it; regardless of the fact that I knew it wasn’t right for me in that moment. 

Perhaps I fear being a “quitter”… a total failure. There’s something in our society that tells us that if you stick with something long enough, you’ll finally find success. Or the flip-side of that: if you give up on something, you’re a failure. Well I want to toss that notion onto Garbage Island because that is total bullshit. If something isn’t working for you anymore, let it go. You’re not a failure… you’re courageous. You’re courageous for recognizing how you feel and acting on it. Stubbornness leads to stagnation, not to success.

So wear the clothes that feel good to you and looking good will surely follow. One day an outfit might be your favorite, and the next day, you may feel like shit in it… and that’s okay. It means you’re open. In fact, you’re so wide open, you may just get what you want ;)

GUEST BLOGGER: Paulina Siegel, MSW, CAC II

THE GOOD BODY

Every woman finds an element of her body that she feels contempt for, or a deep repugnance. Not only does this contemptuousness possess her mind, but creates a feeling of “badness.” Typically, ones thighs, ones buttocks, ones breasts, or even the non-sexual parts, a nose or chin. The inferior emerges and penetrates deep into the twisted world of self-doubt. Within the American culture, there is a central or overarching theme of “shrinking.” We crave contraction, reduction, recoiling, and diminishing. Women everywhere generally hate one particular part of their bodies. We spend most of our lives renovating it, shriveling it. We live and dwell in an environment or better yet an atmosphere that demands we either cover or improve. These demands are carved into our psyche, and we behave as creatures that drive to supplement, augment, boost, raise, lift, and lastly elevate. In order to combat these internal struggles of absurdness, we convince and use our powerful minds to control the one aspect that we lack control- thinness.

Supposedly, thinness is what gives every woman bliss. Bliss in return transports a synthetic euphoria. Control has now been achieved, but this synthetic euphoria disappears, once reality sets in, the perks of a vicious cycle. One will never be able to achieve the unachievable. The woman at the top of the apex, or better known as G-d, looks down with criticism, condemnation, and disapproval. She strives for a complete society where flaws are nonexistent, and the female bodies are tight, fabricated and faultless. One’s breasts protrude past the abdomen, while the waist and hips create a perfect hourglass shape. Of course the legs are qualified for a gold metal, and the ass is smooth, lifted and round. This woman makes every real woman feel inadequate, and our confidence in our own worth or abilities go down the shitter.  

Social comparison, another facet of our beautiful world. Other women are probably starving too, but the comparisons are happening repeatedly; happiness is jeopardized. We enter into social situations with a ‘comparing’ hat, giving a distorted picture of reality, as we tend to see what we choose to see. We are all keenly aware, but the parallels and dissimilarities cannot be stopped. And yet, comparing yourself to another person is pure objectification! Social comparison is the evil villain that grants the innocent a negative self-concept. We walk down the street and think to ourselves, “wish I looked like that chick” or “wow, she has amazing arms and legs.” The social comparison is a relentless and often troubling drive within us all, and this continual subconscious process sets off the emotional turmoil.  

Another dimension of our charming world is the idea of hiding, which in turn brings temporary relief. We walk down the street and there is a deep hole in the sidewalk, we all fall in, lost and helpless, and it takes forever to find a way out. If only we as women could realize that the short-term is very short. We seem to emphasize a measurable, but limited duration. These solid feelings are transient and last or stay only a short time. We are all under the impression that perfection equals ecstasy. We desire to be the creation of societies design. We lust after the idea to fit the “blueprint” of expectation.

It all started at Oakwood swim camp. I walked out of the locker room wearing my one-piece swimming suit, repulsed by my gut, flabby and tubby. I was surrounded by 10 and 11 year-olds who instead wore adorable bikinis and flaunted their prepubescent bodies. Although they had not developed the ideal womanly parts, I felt I did not fit in with the pre stages of perfection. As we approached the diving board, one of the blonde skinny bitches behind me whispered to another skinny bitch, “Can you believe she is wearing a one piece!? Its probably because she is gross and chubby.” I felt my heart sink into my middle and nausea overcame me. I wanted to jump into the pool, swim to the bottom, and never come up. On second thought, I should have turned around and punched her, but instead sulked in my misery. From that point on, my idea of self became purely constructed from the beliefs of others.

My two major boyfriends in high school were additional culprits of my insanity. I strived to become the ideal in order to receive an abundance of acceptance and love from two dicks. I entered into a world of starvation, binging, restriction, and hell. I basked in the compliments that were all weight oriented, and persisted with my unrealistic goals. As the number on the scale decreased every week, a sense of security embraced me, a false security. If only I could be 5, 10, 15 pounds lighter. The world would be my oyster.

The summer before my first year of college, I put on heaps of weight. I decided that the skinny angel on my shoulder could fuck off. I indulged in every fatty food imaginable. Cake, cookies, ice cream, and pasta were all my new best friends. We did everything together. We laughed, cried, and hated each other. Our hate-love relationship did not last long, and soon the skinny angel gained control. My entire first year, was a combination of internal struggles and a desire of acceptance from the world.

By the summer of 2011, I had had enough of destruction. I sought a therapist who was an eating disorder specialist. She is the woman at the top of the apex, but she only expels love, acceptance and positive thinking. I am now on the road of recovery and embrace the fullness of my body. I promote womanliness and a curvaceous shape. Fitness and overall health is my new angel. Lets all delve into the richness of true beauty.

Liberation

Expansion is occurring at an exponential rate. Yesterday was life-changing, although externally nothing of much significance happened... internally, however, an explosion of understanding and realization occurred. LIBERATION. This is THE theme. This is the driving theme of my life... but not just Felicia's life, it is my Soul's theme (perhaps every soul's theme) since the beginning of time. It flows through every breath I take and every cell in my body. I crave Liberation. Freedom. In a world that is set up in total limitation, the collective desire is to find Liberation... right? It's actually exciting to navigate this puzzle. Within every desire I have, the overarching desire is Liberation. It is my Soul's only desire. Under it are many sub-desires, but Liberation is IT.

I find it so funny that this theme keeps popping up casually in my life... My friend, who I'm going to visit in DC for Passover told me that the theme of our modern Seder is going of be Liberation... I keep hearing this word spoken in passing conversations and videos I watch. It's all around me. I had a lot of realizations of an emotional nature yesterday... I love friendships. I love them because I find it effortless to have an incredibly close bond with someone while easily maintaining my independence and sense of self. I resist romantic relationships because I have some sort of belief that says, "To enter into commitment, you must sacrifice a part of yourself" + "relationships are almost always to fill voids in those who are empty within themselves" + "relationships are a filler for stagnant potential creative energy" + "relationships are often a good distraction from actually living the life you want to live". I recognize these beliefs in me and while they certainly have aided in my personal growth, I want to set them free.

I often find myself judging others and their relationships. It's so rare that I see a relationship that is #goals. I find that the majority of people I come across in relationships seem to be shrouded in a shadow of discontent (Hey... I've been there too). It sounds like I'm being cynical but this is just what I observe. Perhaps the way society is set up assumes relationships to be a certain way and so the participants in individual relationships set up expectations of the other person, that after much time, they often are just holding each other back... 

But I want to expand in my relationships. All of them... whether they are family, friends, or lovers. If I'm feeling like I'm shrinking, it's time to address that. Did I feel held back in my last relationship? Totally. Does my last relationship give these beliefs validation? Totally (nothing against that person, he's wonderful)... But it doesn't mean it has to be like that in the future. 

A huge point of contention in my inner life is the contradiction of a deep desire for intimacy and a deep desire for independence and freedom. I've given independence the upper hand and have often shut down my desire for intimacy by filling the void through friendships and "self-growth". However, avoiding this desire has caused me pain, which I've directed into the subconscious mind. It's as if I've locked my desire for intimacy in a cage in the basement of my psyche. It's like a puppy I hardly ever bother to feed, but when I do, it becomes alive again and starts barking and then I just leave and ignore it until it wilts again. I'm not craving any sort of committed relationship with anyone right now, but what I've come to realize is that I've totally shut off any openness towards that idea... Yes many romantic relationships I see are either restricting or just boring, but that doesn't mean it has to be that way. It doesn't have to be a cause for me to shut myself off completely especially when there is a part of me that really craves that kind of intimacy and connection. I don't have to know what the kind of relationship I want in the future needs to look like or how it's gonna be. All I know is the feeling I want to have and that is intimate connection AND independence. So I'm going to take charge and say that I can have my cake and eat it too.  I want to bridge the polarity. Life is full of contradictions. (I want to be an artist vs. I want to feel secure... I want to be a mother one day vs I want to live my life for me) Today, I commit to Liberation.  Liberation makes space for ALL of me to exist. Liberation is inclusive of all my desires, no matter how polarized they may seem.

FEMININITY

Why do we find it necessary to describe certain women as strong females? Is there something inherently not strong about being female, in which one must emphasize, no she's not a female, she's a STRONG female? ...Implying that simply being female is not conducive to being strong?

What is society telling us? What are we telling ourselves? Are we all supposed to be a bunch of Katniss Everdeens and Meridas holding a bow and arrow and shooting things? Well maybe some of us... But first thing's first: What is Strength?

Strength is not flexing your biceps or masquerading around as "manly" (whatever that means). Strength is knowing who you are. It takes a lot to know who you are. And it's a process that never ends. You are infinite. You're always changing, always unfolding, and therefore, there's always more to discover. Knowing who you are requires a constant curious questioning of yourself and the world you participate in. It requires one to ask, Why do I do the things that I do? It also requires coming to terms with your emotional self. Emotions are the gateway to the subconscious- everything you've ever suppressed... but that is a subject for a different blogpost.

Lots of people say women are more emotional than men... perhaps there's an inkling of truth to this huge generalization... so let me explain. We're all human beings and we're ALL emotional... But let's go with that statement for a second... Of course everything is case-by-case, individual-by-individual, but let's just say, Ok... women are more emotional than men... I'd like to challenge that generalization and say that men are just as emotional as women, but women are more IN TOUCH with their emotions than men... It's more socially acceptable for women to be emotionally on the surface than men... But truly, we're all emotional... and knowing and learning your emotions is the KEY to knowing who you are... and that requires courage. That requires strength... So to me, I'd like to flip that generalization on its head and redefine it: women are strong.

Am I a feminist? Loud and proud... I'll say that word without an ounce of shame. I see a lot of women tip toe around that word because they're afraid of the negative connotations or false associations with that word... And that's fair, given that so many different individuals have different definitions of that word... So let me simplify it in my own way: Feminism = The belief in the political, societal, and economical equality of women. Pretty simple. Pretty basic. Shit dude, even Beyoncé defines it as such in one of her songs. Given that definition, I'd say most sane people can get on board with that. Equal pay... equal job opportunity... Sure! Easy. But the idea of femininity... on an individual level and on a collective level, is so much deeper than that.

I wear a yin yang necklace. A symbol I was obsessed with drawing as a child. I've always connected to that symbol, even before I knew what it was. The symbol is an expression of the equal aspects of the feminine and masculine energies that exist in all things. This transcends far beyond gender, but since we're living as humans on a polarized earth and gender is probably one of the most core aspects (and polarizing aspects) of our identities, let's talk gender.

On a collective level, it's fascinating to me to examine the history of the role of women through the generations. My mother's generation to her mother's generation was vastly different and as I grow, I find that my generation to my mother's generation is vastly different.

My grandmother's generation was the homemaker and baby maker. Most didn't seek higher education... my grandmother didn't. I don't say that with judgement... that's just how things were... but there was definitely a suppression in that collective identity.... and because of that, my mother's generation (the 60s-70s) completely rebelled against that. They burned their bras... many chose not to get married or have children. There was a sexual revolution. Many went to college and decided to raise their status in society, which is pretty awesome.

I am grateful for that rebellion because it set the path for my generation. However, there was something seriously missing about it... What I think happened on a collective level was a total rejection of feminine identity. It was almost like because women wanted the freedom that men had, by rejecting their femininity completely, they masqueraded around as men... trying to be men.

So what was happening between these two generations was a complete polarization. One generation was this suppressed, subservient version of a female and the other was enamored by BEING a man and embraced this total rejection of anything associated with femininity. Neither version is healthy.

What I believe the role of my generation to be, is to heal this polarity. To reshape what feminitiy means without suppressing our power and without rejecting ourselves. I think about this a lot and I'm still discovering what it means to me.

So what is femininity? There is no single answer. It is expressed differently in every individual. And we must celebrate and encourage those differences! One girl may buzzcut her hair, wear trousers and Timberlands, while the other girl wears her hair long with a tight dress and stiletto heels. One woman may choose to not have children and live in the woods on a farm while the other lives in the burbs, is a stay at home mom who pops 3 out. All are equally valid expressions of femininity! But on an individual level, it's important to examine why. Are you expressing yourself this way because you feel outside pressure to conform to certain expectations... or are you expressing yourself this way because it makes you feel good and is an honest expression of who you are? Only you can know the answer to that. So let's stop enforcing expectations and shame on any of these choices. There's so many traumatizing messages that society feeds us and that we feed each other. For example, "real woman have curves". UGH. I CAN'T EVEN. I see where this is coming from... This is a rejection of the societal expectation that all of our bodies look a certain, slimmed down way... And while that expectation is traumatizing and cruel and simply unrealistic... there are some body types that are naturally slim, and to put that to shame is wrong. Again! It's about celebrating all different aspects, whether you a skinny woman or a voluptuous woman. We come in all different shapes and sizes and that is beautiful. Real woman are real woman. Okay?!

I went to a women's circle for the first time this past new moon and the theme of it was: The Wild Woman. I thought about who The Wild Woman is. She exists in all of us. The Wild Woman doesn't ask permission. She isn't told what to do. She is passionate. She howls at the moon. She is a creator. She is wild. But most importantly, She is free. Because in the end... it's all about freedom.

 

**i know this is a touchy subject and I welcome all thoughts and opinions on the matter. I welcome other viewpoints that challenge my own. Part of putting myself out there is being open to criticism, being open enough to changing my views ... so please, do share, challenge me, and teach me something new :)

 

FIRST POST: Authenticity.

There's something terrifying about starting something new. However, terrifying can be coupled with excitement... and that's exactly what this is. Perhaps no one will even see this blog and I'm sharing it merely with myself. That is enough for me. The fact that I'm putting it out there for anyone to see is exactly the driving force in this... authenticity. Being vulnerable enough to be authentic... This is the beginning of something new.

In the past 6 months, I have changed more than I have ever changed in such a short period of time. It has been an emotionally, spiritually, and creatively potent half a year for me. It's been incredibly intense... yet this has all been going on internally. This is my internal life. Although I'm sure those close to me have picked up on some noticeable changes within me, this is not something that dances out into my external life. This is subtle, yet explosive.

The theme of this transformation for me has been: Authenticity. But what does that mean? Well... for starters... it means speaking your truth. Living your truth. Being your truth. It means having the courage to face your shadows and your shit and stare them straight in the eye and transform/release them so that you can make room for more of yourself to come through. I have done a lot of personal work... especially since 2012. I was going through a lot of inner turmoil during that time, lots of it coming from the subconscious so I wasn't even able to pinpoint what was happening. But it sparked a desire in me to expand... expand my knowledge and understanding of my own reality. I suppose what this desire set in me was courage... something I felt I had lost at that time in my life. I slowly was building that courage back up over a few years and finally it came flooding back to me this past summer. It was as if a dam had broke. The dam was slowly cracking over time and suddenly it shattered. At times, it was a lot to handle... it is a lot to handle. I would just have to pause what I was doing and breath deeply (I still have to do this... it's still happening).

I think this courage has come in the form of giving myself permission to be myself. To get out of my own damn way. To stop CARING what people think of me. To stop questioning if they're going to like me if I portray this image, or write this comment, or take this photo, or share this opinion. How fucking draining is that? I don't have time for that shit. I have so much to offer. So much to give... and I can't give and share if I'm not being myself. I'm soooo over curating myself. Of course, I catch myself trimming myself along the edges, crafting exactly how I'm going to say something, ALL THE TIME... but at least I notice when I'm doing it (or at least I try to)! Now this sense of not caring does not mean being an asshole (#defensemechanism)... or being inconsiderate of other people. It means letting yourself say, "This is me. Hello!" No matter how naked and vulnerable that might feel. I'm tired of hiding aspects of myself in order to not offend people... or out of fear of not being totally accepted, or laughed at. I'm not living my life for other people. I'm living my life for me. 

This is very different from someone saying, "pshhh... I don't care what they think." *rolls eyes*. This is very much a sure sign that person DOES in fact care what they think. It's simply a defense mechanism. It is a dishonest thing to say when you do in fact care what other people think. It's okay to care... but be honest! The first step to becoming more authentic is to be honest with yourself and especially how you feel, no matter how painful it might be. 

Blogging is scary. Sharing myself is scary... but it is simply what I must do in order to be myself... because what is the point of life if you can't be yourself? In order to be my truest self, I must live a life of authenticity. I'm not perfect. I'm not even going to pretend to know the answers... I only know my own answers. I'd love to share them with you in hopes to inspire you to find your own answers. 

I love you!

Felicia

The Radioactive Festival

I wrote a One Act play called The Rooftop which has been accepted into The Radioactive Festival celebrating female playwrights. The play is directed by my beautifully talented friend, Marcela Biven and performed by myself and Jason de Beer. Performances are June 10-14 and will take place at the Gene Frankel Theatre in Noho. I'm so excited to share this with everyone.