Alright

create, soulfood

I’m learning how to make
coffee for one.
Three cups instead of six.

How to ask for help
from people who haven’t promised
to love me.

How to look in the mirror and see promise,
instead of the steeled look of
resilience
and the hollowness of failed aspirations.

I’m learning the balance between
woman and fear
woman and trust
woman and vulnerability.

So much to learn in a world set up for twos.

Born of Fire

create, Love, save the whales, therapy

There’s this picture that my boyfriend took with his arm splayed out as far as he could stretch to fit our whole family in the frame. That photo, four wide smiles all piled on top of each other, that’s my life. Do you know that Jos Stone song, Spoiled? It’s that kind of love. And now he’s sick. I want just one person to tell me how I’m supposed to feel okay about that. In my heart of hearts I’m just so sad.

The Galapagos Islands are an active volcano hot bed. The islands move at rapid speeds, they survive for millions of years and then slowly prepare to die. As their land turns barren most of the native species leave to live on the other islands. But the problem is that some of them have evolved on that island. The Waved Albatross and Sea Lions still travel to the desolate seaside cliffs of Espanola’s  south side. The Waved Albatross, is a huge bird with an eight foot wingspan. They fly for six months to reach the island once a year. The way back to those cliffs is ancestral and instinctual.

These birds can live for up to fifty years and they pair for life. They will wait on the shore for days until their partner to arrive from another part of the world. Once a year the world’s entire population of Waved Albatross are on this island at once. A blanket of white dots stretched across the rocky terrain. When the mates find each other they start executing a dance of sorts where they clack their beaks together in a way that reminds me of the gentleness that takes over when playing swords with a kid, gentle but playful. They take turns incubating their egg, each one sitting for two weeks at a time. They raise the baby and then fly their separate ways. Until they meet again the following spring.

That’s what this love feels like. Like coming home. An old familiar home that I can feel in my bones. This is simply not our first spring together.

I would fly for six months without stopping to see you again.

I want to tell you

create, Love, soulfood, therapy

Once upon a time there was a little blue eyed baby born in Kansas.

Why the universe decided that this lifetime was to be spent with you people I may never understand.

It is probably for all of the right- hard- reasons
that with time will start looking more and more like a perfectly executed ballet

bad choices and consequences on point, stippling around all of the majestic parts, waving their arms.

I sit down and have breakfast with death every single morning.
It resides in the belly of a man who likes an over easy egg and a piece of toast.
I think about legacy, leaving one, mine, and what that even means.
It feels like the only why,

but then again Walt Disney turned out to be an asshole.

And somehow she lived happily ever after.

The End.

Real Free Christmas Gift Ideas That Don’t Suck

create

Are you B-R-O-K-E and feel like you have been emotionally steam rolled by 2016? Is Christmas a surprisingly pleasant distraction except for the piles of money that you need to have to keep up with the Joneses? Okay the piles of money that you need to not feel like a total failure asshole? Yeah me too.

Thus far my Christmas shopping has entailed picking up a couple of super cheap slightly damaged items from the TJMaxx clearance section for Ev, because she is still the age where quantity is much more important than quality. And I sent out Christmas cards, which suffices because stamps ‘aint free.

But other than that, no one is getting anything that cost money because I have none to spare #reallife.

So I complied a list of gift ideas that don’t suck for my poor comrades and well those of you who don’t want to go into Christmas debt or buy more shit, yay consumerism!

 

First and foremost Regifting:

This gets a little complicated for me because I generally don’t hang on to things that I don’t love for very long because I move every other year and am the purge queen. So here are ideas for gifting things that you actually like, but can live with out that- surprise-someone else will actually like:

-An (alive) plant.

-A favorite mug, dish set, knife set, small kitchen appliance (let’s be real you never
actually use that juicer…. And Ari your Vitamix is actually just taking up room and your friend Reagon would really love one ahhemmm. )

-A winter prep kit, gloves, hat, scarf, window scraper, snow shovel.

-DVDs or CDs that you don’t use anymore because it’s 2016 but your older relatives still think are cool.

-Pass on some jewelry, Okay so you don’t own the Hope diamond or anything
that wasn’t bought at Claire’s but that’s okay. I’ve been wearing one earring all week, please send the bottom of your jewelry box.

-A carefully selected dress, outfit or pair of shoes, from your closet that you know a friend would look great in. I have let friends borrow clothes and inevitably they fall in love with something and I decide you know what keep it, I may wear it once or twice but you love it. Then every time you see them in it, it gives you warm fuzzies. Dawwh.

The absolute laziest free gifts that people will actually love:

-Your password to a subscription service: Netflix, HBO Go, The New Yorker Online, Spotify, the options here are endless.

-A music play list, dare I say a mixed CD if you have a CD burner still I’m jealous.

-A youtube play list of videos, spoken word poems, ted talks, bloopers, what ever floats your boat, and you can email it.

-A piece of art from your wall, will you really miss it that much? Bonus already framed.

-Give away your kids school projects. You know that they came home with 101 Christmas ornaments this month, pay them forward Grandma will think it’s adorable.

-Do you or your kid have a rock obsession? Is it only me who has tons of beautiful stones and rocks lying around their house? I  blame Ever. Sort them into collections, bless them with positive vibes wrap them in a pretty scarf, box or other vessel and give them away.

-Regift some beloved books or unused journals and a nice enough pen.

Free gifts that require you to exert effort: 

-Offer to do some free lawn care, gardening, snow shoveling.

-Offer to babysit, just don’t be an ass and actually never come through.

-Make a funny picture of you and your friend, or your friend and a T-rex. There’s an app for that. Print it, throw it in a frame you have lying around. Or just send it to them digitally, they can set it as their screen saver.

-Offer to take their family photos, I mean we all know that you know that your Instagram is poppin. There’s nothing that a good filter can’t take care of.

Creative gifts that keep on giving:

-Write a thoughtful letter.

-Write 12 nice cards for someone to open every month, put in a box with instructions about opening one a month. I also think it would be cute to do 12 date night envelopes with an idea and a gift card to somewhere but ya know that requires money. 

-Write a poem.

-Make some art, or regift some old art that you made once upon a time.

-Have a bunch of old art supplies laying around, compile them in a box or container and give them as a gift of creative inspiration.

Ideas for kids:

-Have a baby, just re-wrap things from the bottom of the toy box they’ll never know.

-Get on a Mommy board on Facebook or where ever else on the internet people do those things and see if someone is giving away free things or is interested in swapping gently used toys, clothes, gear. Win win.

-Make them non-toxic yummy smelling play-dough. Here’s a recipe for peppermint but one year my mom made a bunch of fruity ones with kool-aid that were amazing. Throw in some cookie cutters and bam.

-DIY mobiles for all ages, these ideas are super crazy cute, just looks like it requires patience. I can’t choose!

-Printables. There are so many great free little paper gifts that you can print on the internet for all ages of children. Here is one of my favorites, printable cards that they can sew with. Include needle and thread, done and done.

DIY super hero costumes from old t-shirts. These totally work for any gender!

-A hand puppet tutorial, print this off, add a flashlight and spend 30 min with your kid. Ev can’t be the only kid obsessed with making shadow puppets.

And those are just the ones off of the top of my head. Happy gifting!

The Fear of Change

create, science says, social awareness, your body

Good golly. I really can’t say this in a brief way.

In a nutshell: I’ve been studying Existential Therapy and Carl Jung before that and have essentially called to question every single aspect of my reality in the past three weeks. (Which is not separate from LIFE that keeps happening to me…. that I keep attracting/creating). Part of this process has been creating art work that explains the concepts. What a beautiful challenge.

So yesterday I realized that social media is a giant crutch/addiction/detriment to my self-actualization so I’m on a indefinite Facebook hiatus. And then I started looking at the WHYs behind my use of Instagram because I don’t want to give that up aka I’m extremely resistant to that change and wasn’t sure if it was even something that I wanted to potentially ever put on the cutting block.

Long story short my response was to create a new Instagram called @reallifereg that only has pictures from my trash bins. This was a huge wakeup call about my own lingering body image issues and self depreciating beliefs about my own appearance plus called into question the WHY was that picture not good enough. I explain in each caption why I chose to delete the photo.


I created a one image representation of all of this :

____________________________________________________________

Here’s the more polished explanation with references if you wanna geek out:

My piece is the most succinct visual representation of a rather convoluted but powerful experience that I had considering James Bugental’s contribution to existential psychotherapy. In Corey’s explanation of Bugental’s approach to resistance on page 144 he shares that, “Forms of resistance include intellectualizing, being argumentative, always seeking to please, and any other life-limiting pattern.” I have been processing that one line for over a week because of my constant employment of those tactics that I had never viewed as self-limiting before.

After researching Bugental’s explanation of resistance which included reading a powerful article entitled, A Fate Worst Than Death: The Fear of Changing (1984) I sat with why I am resistant to a career change. That boiled down to perfectionism and always seeking to please. From there I explored all of the myriad of ways that I am a perfectionist and what that means to my self actualization as well as my short and long term goals. This lead to re-evaluating my use of social media, specifically the visual perfection that I have curated on Instagram that serves my public persona but does absolutely nothing for my internal self.

After deleting my Facebook account I created a new public Instagram feed that has only has pictures that I had previously deleted found in my trash bin on my phone. In each caption I wrote the reason why I chose not to post the photo and delete it. In this very revealing exercise I realized that so many of my deleted pictures were “selfies” and how intertwined those deletions were with my ego, being self-conscious, old patterns of body dysmorphia and a general malaise with the changes in my face as the result of aging. The large piece that I printed encapsulates that entire process of self-exploration in one image. Referencing a time in my life where I was extensively studying anatomy and had a very different relationship to all bodies, mine included. My piece is an ode to a real, non-resistant, surrendered acceptance of my self entirely and the necessity to be honest about that process.

Things That Live In My Womb

create, soulfood, your body

I inherited the blood, cells, DNA, tears and sweat
of thousands of women.
Four of us have shared a table,
broke bread and called ourselves mother.

 

My great-grandmother
an elusive and frigid woman.
Not the first in the chain of insecurity I’m sure,
but my first reference point.
I have never understood how my own mother loved her so.

 

My grandmother,
well she’s had two lives. Is of two worlds.
Children were a textbook endeavor.
Philosophy and materials were much more suitable.

 

My mother, sensitive and callused.
The product of confusion and regret
Gilded in an oily slick of redemption.
The child to make up for the one given away.

 

The child of confusion.
She has stumbled through life
trying to fill holes of inconceivable depth.

 

To fill them with:
babies
bread
flora and fauna.
Tucking herself into a flower bed of lonely each night.

 

Born redemption,
grew to be shame.
Mouth covered and the last morsels raped away.

 

One- two- three
We never healed you.

 

One- gone six years too soon.
Two-gone six years too late.
Three – forever at your heals.

 

Here’s four mama. Born redemption.
Hold her with me.

#best9

create, intro

Because I’m just this cool and I love to reminisce here are my #best9 from 2015. It was a sparse but solid year for my little blog. If you’ve got some time to kill these won’t disappoint. Cheers to another year of sharing.

1- THE CHILDREN. This came from a deeply hurt place. Maybe one of the most emotional things that I’ve ever written. On the death of everyone that you will ever know and one that struck too close to home.

2- HOW TO LOSE 7 POUNDS IN 12 DAYS. About that one time that my insides exploded and why my boyfriend has never looked at me the same. If you would like to laugh really hard at my expense click here.

3- PASSING AS RACIALLY TOLERANT. This was by far the most labor intensive post of the year. I did like real research and spent a lot of time fact checking everything. If you only read one thing may it be this one.

4- HOW I LOVED YOUR FATHER. A healing post that was truly written for my baby. It touched a cord with a lot of you past children of broken relationship.

5- SO YOU LIKE BLACK GUYS. I still wish that I had a print out of this to hand out to almost every new person that I meet. Ugh.

6- EVERYTHING WILL KILL YOU BUT YOU WILL KILL YOU FASTER. This one stirred the pot. It wasn’t easy to put out there but it IS important. We are not invincible. On being accountable for how you treat your body.

7- OHH INTERNET THAT’S CUTE. On accepting and celebrating your body as a BEAUTIFUL woman. I haven’t always felt this way about my self. Opening my eyes to my own beauty has been some kind of liberation. If you need reminded, because we all do.

8-I’M GETTING MARRIED AND HAVING A BABY. A year later it’s not really funny any more. But it was funny then. You’ll probably enjoy it.

9- COMING TO A MAIL BOX NEAR YOU. Our Christmas letter that I unapologetically sent to a lot of people who probably weren’t real excited. Sorry not sorry.

 

We’re a Little Obsessed With Our Elf

create, Ever Sophia, Love

snowey66

December 1, 2013 is a day to remember,
For it’s the first time we met our newest family member.

Declared by Ever, Snowey shall be his name,
Quickly we learned of his love for games.

That little mischievous elf, all day sits in the house,
Eavesdropping for Santa while being quiet as a mouse.

Then as all of the humans fall fast asleep,
Snowey dashes off with out a peep.

To the North Pole to frolic with his playmates,
Sipping hot chocolate, singing and gliding on ice skates.

With Santa he stays for just a little while,
For the sun is rising and he owes a little girl a smile.

Back to the house, quick as a whip,
He pulls off a little trick and then listens in for Saint Nick.

During his second year here,
This is where we found him as daylight grew near.

1His first night back, he arrived on a trusty steed. Ever missed him a lot.

  2

Julius was slow to Snowey’s game, he thought that Ever’s mom left this note for him. Foolishly he rewrote the message I ❤ U. Snowey didn’t have time to fix it before the little one found it. Ohh well it’ll do.

3

Clearly the work of a human. But he is right, Snowey does love you.

5

Snowey was feeling extra rambunctious this night. He stayed on the tee-peed tree all day.

7

He made a winter wonderland, out of powder (flour) and brought Ever a little Christmas tree to keep.

9

Business meeting? Conspiracy? Poker tournament? We’re hoping that the Buddah kept this evening of debauchery under control.

10

That silly guy climbed up on Ever’s window chime and hung around with a little monkey all day.

121

After school we came home and Snowy and the cat were in the midst of a battle royale with all of the toy dogs in the house. He was riding the statue of Friday like a horse. He even made a little sword.

11     13 Not to be defeated the next morning the dogs got their revenge and locked Snowey into a container.

elf88

Phewwww, it was about time for Snowey to take a bath, he was still covered in flour from his silly night making snow angels. He brought Ever little snowman and santa shaped bubble baths.

        snowey23

Ever wasn’t too happy about this night that Snowey crossed her name off of her stocking and put his name on it. She had put up a special Snowey stocking just for him, but I guess her’s seemed nicer.

      snowy100

Today while we were at work and school Snowey had a little fun playing trains. Ever gave him a lecture about sitting in unsafe places, silly Snowey is too big for toy trains.

elf99

snowey111

Only 9 more days of having Snowey around, we sure do miss you while you’re gone. It’s been fun little buddy.

_________________________________________________________________________ We’re really into the Elf on the Shelf if you didn’t notice. In fact I have a hard time touching him when I have to move him. I don’t want for him to lose his magic on account of me.

The other night I thought it would be fun for us to watch the DVD that he came with. I was quickly informed that we no longer had the DVD. Where it went? The little (slightly older) neighbor kids weren’t buying that Ever actually had a magic elf. So she gave them the movie,

“So, that they could believe”.

This is seriously the best part of Christmas.

*A completely unpaid endorsement for Elf on a Shelf