Purgatory

Have you ever done something that you automatically regretted? Maybe you were a child and you pushed another kid of the playground, without thinking, and right away you knew that didn’t feel right. Eventually you go through enough of these experiences that you begin to learn the differences of right and wrong. Hopefully, you get to have these trial and errors in your early childhood, before you are set in your ways, but if you don’t the lesson will come and with age it becomes harder to discern which is right and which is wrong.

Last night was my first night of many to come sleeping in my van on the side of the road. For years, I had dreamt of living on the road and feeling the freedom of not being tied down to anything, or anyone. But what I did to get here took many errors indeed.

Summer is over and the rain has begun to fall heavily, welcoming fall and reflecting the journey of solitude and retreat I have chosen for myself. I look forward to this adventure and I will have plenty of time now to share my insights and tools to keep my going. Now its time for me to go to work.

All my love

 

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Chapter 2 Part 2

 Now where were we? Ahhh yes, it was a long approaching winter and I was still without a license to drive. That didn’t stop me from getting myself to work everyday though. I had my van and I arranged to have a lesson with the local driving instructor so that I would be able to use his vehicle since I couldn’t use mine being that it was from out of provence. I couldn’t register it until I had my drivers license. So there was a bit of a dilemma there.  I was still off the chron, and ironically, keeping myself busy seemed to be the best way to keep my energy levels up.

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December came quickly and I was already comfortable at my work place. I decided not to go home for Christmas, and instead I worked everyday, but Christmas Day. While everyone lounged about in their pjs I went to work and came home drank a few glasses of cider and went to bed fairly early most nights.

I did make time to go on one hike and walks here and there, but I must admit I was pretty cranky somedays, I couldn’t talk to people about cannabis because it would just make me feel angry. Most likely because I was frustrated with myself that I had wasted so much time and energy with it already. It’s like breaking up with someone and then having your friend mention their name. I just didn’t want to think about it. Obviously I have never been good at break ups.

New Years came around and I figured that if I didn’t want to get drunk and I didn’t want to smoke, maybe I could eat a chocolate that was infused with cannabis and that would be okay. As if to say, let’s just be friends, but I think we all know, that doesn’t always work either. It ended up just making me really sleepy and before the clock struck midnight I was in bed getting a great nights sleep. I did, however, stir to the commotion of my island family burning the Christmas tree. It was HUGE. I smiled and fell asleep peacefully thinking about how happy I was to leave 2016 behind. 

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Life went on and I continued to work hard everyday. It wasn’t long until I offered up my services of photography and social media management. I began doing contract work on the side of my floor sales job. This was a big deal for me.

I finally started beginning to see myself having a future doing something I went to school for and really enjoying the process! I started up an Instagram account for the clothing store and made plans with a co-worker to tackle promotions and advertising on Facebook. I was a little too excited at first, because everyday, all day, I would be on my phone looking at the accounts and trying to always be engaging with the public. I began to see myself starting to disengage with the people I loved and cared for most and so began my balancing act.

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Meanwhile, my partner decided to give his notice to his roommates in the city and took a huge leap of faith that we would be able to find a place to live and make it on the island. Mind you, he had lived here before and done very well for himself so we both knew that no matter what we were going to be okay.

Now this was not an easy decision for him to make. He really felt torn between the city life and the island life, for awhile we thought it would be best to have two places and travel back and forth, but we both came to the conclusion that it would be too costly, and so, he let go of his little space in East Vancouver.

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It’s times like these, where we are able to make a change, but aren’t sure if we can let go of what we have already, that challenge the foundation of who we think we are. We have to become the Fool that jumps off the cliff into the unknown with blind faith that we will be okay, because in the end we have ourselves and we are enough.

I jumped and I knew that no matter what, I would adapt. I had no idea what I was going to do, but I threw myself in the direction I thought would be best. When it came time for my partner to jump, it was much more of a struggle. He didn’t KNOW and he couldn’t know, no matter how much strategizing and planning we tried to come up with. In the end, we had only one lead on a place to live and we “put all our eggs in one basket”.

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Lesson there, patience and perseverance are key to making big changes…and you should probably make sure you have somewhere to land once you take flight. When it came time for my partner to move out, snow was sticking to the ground in mounds, and we had nowhere to move his things into besides storage on the island. So we did.

 Soon to come was an seemingly endless search for a home, my partner’s adventurous Van life, a last minute trip to Palm Springs, and a crazy ride of a trip to Las Vegas.

-To Be Continued-

❤ Much Love

Let’s Catch Up

 I am learning what a luxury it is to be able to “take your time” and that’s not the only thing I’ve caught on to. Hello again world, how has life been treating you? I know it has been some time since I was actively writing and sharing my thoughts with the public, it’s so easy to live without taking pauses for self reflection. That is what I have been doing for the past 6 months, moving without stopping, at least, that is how it has felt.

 Let’s catch up, shall we? My last post was September 13th, so about 8 months ago, I
was unemployed, living off the money I had saved up while working, selling dreamcatchers, living at my apartment (owned by my mother) in downtown Vancouver and to be honest, I really had no clue what I was going to do with my life. I had lots of ideas, but no way to execute any of them. Then something happened, my mother was laid off her job.

  Up until then I was not paying rent and my mother was helping me pursue my career as an artist. In the back of my mind, I knew I had to do it on my own, so when she was laid off I knew it was time for me to cut the cord. Everything happened very quickly after that. One of my first friends from Canada had moved to the same city as me and needed a place to live. SO bada bing bada boom we set the date for November and she moved in as I moved out. We actually had a week where we lived together, with all my things packed up and all her things being unpacked. It was perfect.

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 The hard part was telling my partner that I needed to move out of Vancouver. We had lived there for four years and he was just beginning to really enjoy the city, but I needed to do this on my own. Being the supportive partner he is, he understood that this was something I had been wanting to do for a long time so when it came down to it we would make it work one way or another.

 My most generous mother had already left me with the mini van that I had used for summer road trips across the islands and debated living in the entire time, and still to this day. SO I called my family friends living on one of the Southern Gulf Islands and asked if I could rent out a room while their youngest was away at college. They said “Of course!” and I used the rest of my money to pay 3 months rent so when I arrived to the island all I would have to worry about was getting a job.

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 The first two weeks I used to get settled, and then I did something else drastic, I quit smoking the sacred herb. Most people are aware that I have been smoking cannabis for some time now, but I usually kept it on the down low. Growing up with a military brat as a mother and an all American family I was always terrified of getting caught being “a stoner”, but still did it anyways. It began when I was in high school where it was more fun seeing what I could get away with, and of course the euphoric effects seemed to calm down a lot of the anxiety I was dealing with at the time. Actually when I think back to it, THC really helped me out of the days of anxiety attacks and hormonal imbalances.

  But it is obvious really, anything can become an addiction if we let ourselves fall into a  relationship with something and not someONE. And clearly we cannot have healthy relationships with its’. Why am I describing an addiction as a relationship? Because we develop attachments to things, habits, and/or routines. We can grow to like someTHING so much that we want to be in a relationship with it. We want to have it in our lives all the time because we feel it gives us something we don’t already have. That void can be just about anything, maybe we feel like we aren’t as creative without it, or maybe we feel too lonely, or maybe it’s too painful to deal with and this is the only thing that will get you through it. Well I am here to say, no one’s going to save you from yourself. It can’t help you fill the void within yourself, only you can. You have to do it alone. You have to develop the relationship you have with yourself. That really terrifies people that aren’t ready to let go of their its’.

 For example, I had accumulated so many clothes, shoes, and random knick-knacks that I held onto for years and years even after they no longer fit me or were completely worn down, why? I had attached a feeling or a memory to an it and fallen into a relationship with these things that I hoped would give me that same feeling that attached memory had given me before. Or if someone had given me something I held on to it because I felt like I should or it reminded me of them. But then I realized that these things don’t hold memories and feelings, only I do.

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 I should mention that when I was packing up my belongings to take to the island, I watched every youtube video, TED talk, and audiobook about minimizing what you own. The most useful out all of them was the Audio Book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” By Marie Kondo. Not only did I greatly decrease the amount of clutter, I cleared my mind at the same time. As I went through all of my belongings I asked the question “Does this bring me joy?” it was later that I began to ask the same question from non materialistic things. 

 So by the time I was on the island settling into my room, I was ready to let go of another it that no longer brought me joy. As soon as I let it go I opened up a door that had been shut for a long time. I printed out my resume and dropped it off at the one store I could see myself doing really well at and a week later, I got the job. There was no looking back from there I starting meeting people and making contacts. I got contract photography work on the side. I starting feeling more and more energized and from there I kept the ball rolling.

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 By the end of November I had a job, I was smoke free, I still didn’t have my driver’s license and would have to ask for rides into town to get to work. My partner and I were traveling back and forth between Vancouver and the Island whenever we had the chance. And the longest winter was lurking behind the corner.

 -To be Continued-

❤ Much Love  

 

6 months later

It’s hard to believe that half a year ago I decided to go 30 days without makeup. My entire life changed after that. I quit my job first and foremost and that changed how I began to think about how I will be in the work environment. SO far I’ve slowly been building up a small side business, making dreamcatchers and flower crowns. I have done a lot of traveling as well, but mostly I have just been trying to “figure it out”.

 After not wearing makeup for 30 days I didn’t rush back into wearing it again, not right away at least. At some point though, I did hit a hard wall of self consciousness. Before I headed to a wedding in May I started worrying more about my appearance. I began feeling like a child again. This could possibly be because of my lack of employment, but I often am told I look like I am 14 years old. Everyone says its a compliment, but I want to be taken seriously and I highly doubt anyone is going to take a child seriously.

 I bought a whole starter kit from an all natural mineral powder line. I arranged to get my hair dyed and full extensions, after almost 3 years of not dying my hair. I had let my natural hair completely grow out, yet I couldn’t accept that this was self acceptance. I was so bored of my appearance. I felt like a dulled light. I felt like my womanhood had been taken away from me because I refused to partake in any beauty applications.

 How could I let these material items and aesthetics get to me?

I went to get my hair done, but I wasn’t able to get extensions right away, which left me doubting my spontaneous decision. When I got back to Texas I canceled my extensions appointment, because I felt like it was going too far. I had my eyebrows waxed and dyed and my hair returned to its blonder state with dozens and dozens of small thin highlights. I posted a picture of my new hair and got more likes and comments than I had expected for a simple photo of my new blonde, and it felt good. But deep down I felt like an imposter. I want to be all natural and all vegan and balanced and accepting of my natural form, but now Im manipulating myself to feel better about my appearance and its making me feel like I just opened the door to an endless hall leading to something unattainable.

Lately, I have been feeling pure dread each time I look at the condition of  my skin. The scars, the scars, the soul sucking scars!!! The one between my brows thats enabled a wrinkle to come through a deep wrinkle that will one day be the feature of my face forever. Or the terrible scar from a nasty cold sore that actually went off my lip…fuck!!!(pardon me). This may be a bit too much, but what the hell, I am sure someone else can relate. The scars are inevitable, but sooo hard to accept for me.  I bought a bottle of pure vitamin E oil, a bottle of essentials oils called “scar-b-gone” and I put that shit on my face every day and night… Which has caused me to break out in other places, and thats really bothering, and of course I still pick them…ahhhhh!!!!

 The woman at the hair salon told me that, often what happens when buying an all natural brand is that they can actually harm your hair more than helping it. It appeared that my hair was damaged from the heat of an old shitty hairdryer( literally called “Son of a Gun”), over washing (everyday), product build up (not washing well enough), and never getting a trim. I was trying to be good, but I was just harming myself more! #whatislife

This seems to be the theme of my all natural pursuit, as long and as hard as I’ve tried with my hair and my skin, it seems like I need more help from the professionals. Currently I will brush on my mineral powder and fill in my brows and darken my eyelashes, but it’s very minimal and I feel comfortable with or without it on. I have a beautiful face and body scrub from Gardeners Dream and I have been using Pureology Hair products and I think they are actually restoring my hair cuticles.

Honestly though, my attention has gone down from just below my chin, to my breast. After gaining weight and losing weight, my body grew too fast and then shrank too quickly and now I am covered in stretch marks, and my breast went on the same journey growing much larger and then returning to their smaller state. So now I have to live with this? Before the wedding, I bought a new strapless bra for my dress and ever since I’ve worn a bra more than ever before. I feel like I am more proper with a bra, but again it just doesn’t feel natural, it’s not real. recent articles have revealed that wearing a bra is actually not even good for your breast, your circulation, your posture, and most importantly, the perkiness of the twins. It doesn’t even matter, it’s just there to be proper. The only reason I wear it all the time is to protect my nipples from embarrassing me when it gets too nippy out. I also enjoy the upgrade status, but I would love to do a 30 days no bra challenge.

Why is it so hard to accept our bodies? I would never rely on a blade to save the day and hopefully make me feel better about myself, because I know in reality it is much deeper than that blade will ever go. I won’t lie though either, I’ve contemplated what it would be like to artificially manipulate my skin.

I love my skin, but we are going on a long journey together and I would really like to get on the same team if we are going to make it to the end in one piece.

I hope you enjoyed my blunt honesty.

You are more than beautiful

Days 8-14 of 30 Total Fail

 You might have noticed my lack of posting for the past week and I would like to officially announce that I have failed this challenge. Partially because I did not succeed at establishing a guideline as to what this challenge required in the first place, and the latter half being that I have gotten distracted and not really given it enough thought.

I am somewhat disappointed in myself, but I also see this as a simple trial and error in a long journey that is bound to have many mistakes. Those failures enable me to build upon them and set a clearer path as for the do’s and the don’ts.

The most important don’t being, don’t stop writing. If I stop writing then I cut short the circuit of momentum that I have been striving to build upon and then I have to start all over again. So it’s better to keep writing even when you have no idea what you are really writing about.

For the past week I’ve kept to myself more. I have been doing a lot of self reflection, figuratively and literally.

On the weekend, my partner and I went to the island for two nights to visit family. We saw orcas on the small ferry to the island then we went for a hike before going to dinner and then out for a jam, where the boys played fantastic live music while I drew and doodled on blank printing paper while watching the sunset over the bay.

The next day my partner and I hiked around the island some more in different areas and at one point we were walking along the ocean side getting pretty heated up so I let loose and  took some layers off to cool down, leaving me in a bra and blue jeans. It was just me and not my partner. It felt rather comfortable being that it was a pretty secluded place  and no one that I was going to run into here would have a problem. And then the most awkward thing happened and this older couple comes hiking on up right to the log I was sitting on and walks right on by super friendly. “Hows it goin? No complaints eh?” I felt pretty naked then and would have blushed if it weren’t for the wind picking up. I grabbed my shirt and threw it back on only to come back to see the couple taking off all their clothes and swimming in the ocean!!! It was just me that felt uncomfortable, it was all in my head. Maybe if it was warmer I would have taken a dip, but lets not push it.

I got back on the 11th and instead of writing about my journey I started into an endless mess of trying to downsize my belongings. I have been doing some dabbling into minimalism and I see how beautiful a simple home can be and wish that I was more organized and less of an emotional hoarder. I feel like these needless belongings are weighing me down. The more I let go of the lighter I feel.

In a way this is also a liberation from materialism and feeling the need to hold onto the past, a memory that is signified within the appearance of items. If you love it, but you don’t need it or cant use it anymore, take a picture, or scan it, then let it go.

I have ripped everything out of my walk-in closet where most of my clothes are, as well as my bathroom, and now I am getting to the kitchen right after I make space in my storage room downstairs. I have boxes everywhere and my goal is to fill up boxes with things to sell, get rid of, or put into storage.

I have way too many books, so I will be walking around town for places I can drop mine off into.

I could do an entire challenge on getting rid of one thing a day and I am debating now whether I should stop what I was trying to do, do something else, and save it for later.

I would like to keep pushing my body out of my comfort zone, but Im not sure what that means. I think going to yoga, going swimming, going to a belly dancing class, going running outside, wearing clothes you usually wouldn’t wear,or wearing less clothes than you would usually wear, or walking around naked in your own home, or simply dancing are all great things to do in order to feel more comfortable with your body and breaking the barriers. The problem for me is that I haven’t developed a set rule as to what I should do and how much of it I need to be doing in order to accomplish the development of a healthy habit.

So I will conclude today’s post, my approach needs more thought and diligence.

I see these post and challenges as parts of a larger project I am going to be working on for the next year. This month would include my failure to write, my struggles against myself, and to make a statement or thesis for each challenge.

I will either keep going and try to figure out exactly what I should be doing or I will start over and do something a bit different.

All thoughts are welcome

Much Love

 

 

Days 6 and 7 of 30

 After not wearing makeup for a month, this challenge has been a breeze. Since coming off of the first challenge I have noticed that I have no desire to wear makeup anymore. I’ve put on mascara only three times since the beginning of this month. And the idea of putting on foundation on top of my pores is really just revolting. Instead I have grown accustomed to letting my pores breathe.

 The weather has been beautiful lately so it’s affected how I dress myself and made it easier to get out of bed in the morning.

Day 6 my partner and I went to the swimming pool together in the morning after having a big smoothie and big pot of oatmeal. It felt good to just get out and it before noon. I wore my boyfriends sweatpants and his hoodie and he teased me a bit for looking like a grub. I like to dress up and push myself out of my comfort zone, but I also like to dress extremely low key and surrender my ego to my nonconformity.

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At the pool I changed in the change rooms again. And of course as soon as I walk in theres naked ladies all over the place. Still feels weird to me, maybe I just need some good sandals.

I swam laps, but not as strenuously as I did a couple days before. I felt comfortable and at ease. I love my new bathing suit, and although it was pricer than I hoped to spend 90$, it’s opened up my abilities to swim as fast I want without worrying about any pop outs.

It wasn’t until my partner and I went to jump off the diving board that I was actually pushed out of my comfort zone. It wasn’t as high as it seemed, below 5 meters, but just walking out onto the board suddenly made my whole entire being tremble in terror. I couldn’t stop picturing myself slipping off the wrong way and hitting my chin or somehow cracking my head on the concrete.

Everything in me wanted to do it I wanted to jump I wanted to feel that feeling, but every time I walked out on the board I felt like I was completely off balance, and I usually am very well balanced! It was my head, my mind, working against me. My partner went three times to show me it’s okay it’s safe. Another man did the same. The lifeguard even shouted some encouragement, but I by this time I had built it up so much that I just wanted to get down. I climbed down the stairs twice but my partner was relentless and he knew I wanted to be able to do it.

The first time I got naked in public was last summer, not since I was a little girl who didn’t have this built up perception of herself. My girl friend and I bought huge sarongs/wall hangers, and we wrapped them around our bodies. Then we walked to the ocean and I revealed my bare breast to the ocean before plunging into the cold. It was completely invigorating. I felt like I freed myself from bodily confinement, finally, after so long I could let go of the image I wished to be seen as and I returned to a more youthful state.

When I finally decided that I was going to walk to the end of the diving board I had to let go of my thoughts. I had to let go of my doubts and fears and trust that I would be okay in the end. Bouncing off the end and traveling mid air my stomach felt like it did on a roller coaster ride, but as I hit the water, BAM, freedom.

This is how it feels to liberate yourself. This is the feeling of the journey it takes to get there. It’s scary at first, but after you decided there’s no looking back, you keep moving forward, and then you just jump. JUMP. Take that leap of faith in everything, but mostly in yourself, because you know deep down that whatever it is, you can handle it, you can endure this feeling and once you do the fear you built up comes crumbling down.

As soon as I fell into the water I felt lighter. Like I had ridden myself of one more burden that didn’t need to be carried. And so, I did it again. This time I hesitated for once, but now I knew better, so I jumped. I went again, this time without hesitation without doubt without fear, now I was excited. So just like that, the one thing that held me back, now lifted me up.

I went to try the 5meter diving board, but after looking down a couple times, I decided that this would be my next goal to overcome, and Im saving it for next time I go with my partner.

After getting in the sauna and then doing more laps. I bravely put my towel and dry clothes outside of my shower to where I would have to walk to them to get to them. I took my suit off in the shower and after rinsing off tip toed out from my shower. I peaked to see if anyone was around and as the coast was clear I quickly grabbed my towel, pat down, and awkwardly put on my undergarments before walking to a less damp floor area. Another small victory.

More later

Much Love

Day 4 and 5 of 31

I am beginning to feel a bit burnt out on trying to post every single day. My goal now is to post every other day and keep myself and those following up to date.

On my 4th day of taking small steps towards releasing any inhibitions from bodily acceptance, I went to the swimming pool. TO be honest though I spent the entire day doing almost nothing but sitting on my ass and tidying up my apartment. At 6:40 I decided to get my ass to the pool and so I popped on some sweats and a hoodie and walked down to the aquatic centre. It’s so much easier to just go then to think about going and this really is the problem that limits me the most. I get stuck in my head and I build up the smallest events to be huge obstacles.

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As soon as I was in the women’s change room I was bombarded with the sight of naked women of all ages, but mostly older woman who didn’t care less. I use to feel really uncomfortable in change rooms and I still do to an extent because I couldn’t find it in my to strip down in front of everyone and instead opted for a changing stall.

As I got to the pool though I let those thoughts go and I went into a sort of meditative mindset. Instead of thinking about the things and the people around me I let the noises fade into soft murmurs and it brought me back to when I was a girl swimming in competitions. I was never the greatest swimmer of all time, but I did excel at the breast stroke and it has always been my favourite stroke. I timed myself and how long it took me to get across the pool and each time it took me between 50-60 seconds. That’s double the amount of time it use to take me, but I thought it was pretty damn good for being so out of shape. I kept doing laps with hardly any resting periods besides to catch my breath. I tried doing some freestyle, and backstroke, there was no way in hell Id be doing the butterfly, so breaststroke it was. For just over half an hour I continued to do laps and though I should have done some cool down laps, when I hopped out of the pool to get a drink of water I got my first feeling of just how much I had exerted myself. I sat down on the bench and decided I was done for the day.

As I found my way back to the change rooms I ran straight into another naked lady with nothing on but some water sandals doing some very deep lunges completely blocking the hallway. I took a long shower and did some deep breathing and sure enough when I got out she was still there in a deep lunge. I must say for an older women she was definitely in much better shape than I.

I wanted to take my wet suit off then and there but I just couldn’t find it in me to let go. SO I took it off in the changing room and forgot my dry clothes which inevitably forced me to go out baring it all ready or not! I was absolutely A-Ok and no one was even there to witness my rush to find each of article of clothing.

I walked home so slowly, very aware of each limb, and so happy to have finally got myself back in the water. I spent the next day also sore and did absolutely nothing but resting and eating healthy foods.

I love my body and am very grateful for the places my legs and feet have taken me.

Until next time.

Much Love