Worth the Time

To the outside world he looks like your typical ‘at-risk’ teenager: greasy hair, sagging jeans and a quiet demeanor that is a little rough around the edges. He’s been labeled a ‘lost cause’ in his community because he barely speaks English, he lives in a trailer park and his closest friends spend their time smoking pot and trying to imitate the next generation of new age thugs.

For every adult figure who takes the time to engage in a conversation with him, or even make eye contact for that matter, he is overlooked by a hundred more. That is until today.

Today this growing young man was suspended from school for having drugs on campus. Today was the day, he needed someone to pay attention…and so I did.

Greeting him and his mother outside of his house may be deemed an unconventional method of intervention, but I needed them both to understand the severity of the situation and all that is at stake; his future.

He immediately looked to me for a way to help him because he and I both knew he wanted more for himself.

“What do you want? What do you see happening with your life?” I sincerely asked. “Do you want to graduate high school?” (At the rate he was going, statistics say he wouldn’t have even made it to high school).

“Ya, I want to stay in school. Can you help me with my English and help me learn to read and write?” He stuttered as his head nervously looked down at his worn-in Nike’s.

Already knowing how difficult it was for him to even ask, I happily agreed.

“You better not waste my time though,” My smile now transforming into a fierce grin, “If you really want me to help you, then you better never pull something like this again.” He looked up and made eye contact with me this time, “I’m serious”

He silently nodded his head in agreement and then transitioned his eyes back down to his shoes. I could tell we were both feeling ashamed, but for such different reasons. I felt that I should have paid closer attention to him and worked harder to prevent this from even happening. And from the looks of it (only time will tell) he appeared to feel disappointed in himself for the decisions he made.

I walked away that day wondering how many people ever paid close enough attention to him to help show him a more positive direction in life. Maybe one or two people, or perhaps no one ever did.

What I do know is that we can’t always save everyone, especially if they won’t even help themselves, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t hurt to try. So if there is anyone in your life; a friend, lover, family member or even co-worker who you know is being overlooked, take the time to pay attention…I promise you, it’s an effort you can ALWAYS afford.

Something's Burnin' Up

Coffee shops always take me back to NYC.

With every sip of my hot cafe' Roma, I can taste the energy and power that fight to consume the big cities crowded streets. It makes me wonder what my life would have been like if I chose to stay and continued working in 'Corporate America'...
If I continued to to focus my attention on something intangible, something I enjoyed doing, but that did not define me.

Although I truly miss the city lights, cobbled streets and late nights at Jack's,

There is nothing more powerful than the human soul on fire...So light me up and watch me shine...

What Defines You?

So many of us spend our entire lives trying to fix or forget small insignificant moments in time that have somehow managed to redefine who we are.

Whether it is the moment we foolishly got behind the wheel of a car while we were under the influence, or when we first saw our father's lay a hand on our mother. Or maybe it is the moment we gave away our innocence, cheated on a test, or the time we watched in silence as the person we loved walked out of our lives.

We go through our day's replaying these small moments over and over in our heads, wishing we could change or even wish them away altogether. We allow them to torture and build walls of resentment against us and no-matter how hard we try, we never seem to wholeheartedly forgive ourselves, even if it happened a really long time ago.

For anyone who is still holding a grudge against those small moments where you made a mistake, left someone behind or forgot who you were, don't allow these fallen remnants of time determine who you are and what kind of life you deserve... Leave that to all of the millions of seconds that follow after... for those are the moments that will truly define you...Those are the moments that matter most.

Not Alone

Last night while putting my car's daily fuel injection in at the gas station, a stranger approached me. He asked me how my night was going and proceeded to tell me about his. Naturally you would think this gentleman was trying to hit on me, but as the conversation continued, I realized he simply wanted someone to talk to.

He told me about how lonely and difficult it has been for him since he has moved here from NY a few months ago and proceeded to speak about all of the things that had been bothering him. I simply listened.

Later that night, I found myself at the local Denny's at 12am sitting in my favorite corner booth nestled up to a strong cup of coffee. I was trying to finish some work, when yet another complete stranger approached me,

"Do you mind if I sit with you?" he asked.

As I nodded my head in agreement, he let out a sigh of relief and made his way into the seat across from me. Two hours later, we were still in deep conversation about his life and the current struggles he too was dealing with. He had literally just gotten out of jail and came straight to Denny's to clear his head before having to go out and face the world. As I listened intently to his stories and current predicament, it made me realize how vital human connections are in this life.

Even if it is something as simple as a random conversation or smile in their direction, everyone needs to feel that they are acknowledged and alive at times. Because in a world full of billions of people, it's truly insane how alone so many people feel.

Someone once told me that life is about building relationships and feeling like you have a purpose. After last nights unexpected connections, even if they were only for a small fragmented moment in time, I was reminded just how important human connections really are.

So no-matter where your destinations will take you today; filling up your car at a gas station, eating at a restaurant, working out at the school gym, sitting on a plane on your way to a business trip or even while watching a sunset on the beach in Oyster Bay, make sure you find the courage to reach out to one another and put your energy out into the world...

For you never know who or what the world will give you in return...

Worth the Fight?

Why is it so EASY to be HARD on ourselves?

I'm too fat!
My hair looks gross!
I'm so stupid!
Who would ever love me?!

It's as if being hard on ourselves is a full time job that we can't afford to miss the pay cut for.

But when it comes to being positive and confident, it can be the single greatest challenge of our day.

I am beautiful?
I look good in these jeans?
I deserve a good man?
I deserve a raise!?

It's as if the second we start to believe we're talented, or God forbid beautiful we tense up like a ball of frazzled stress and start running back to our old BFF Negative Nancy. Do we enjoy torturing ourselves or is it something we've grown so accustomed to that we don' know how to reverse the painful cycle?

I figure if self-worth and confidence is something I can only achieve if I work at it, I mine as well put up a really good fight in the process. Because let's face it ladies, we are feisty little creatures already! We constantly fight each other, fight our men, our parents and siblings and even the employees at work get a little of our wrath every once in a while...So why not redirect some of that energy and start fighting for ourselves?

Who Knows? We may even find out we're worth it!

Finding the time to find myself

Well hello! It has been quite some time since my thoughts have traced over these blank pages. I hope you don’t feel neglected, it is just that I have had so much on my mind lately, but at the same time it has been completely blank!

Why is it so easy to forget about or forego the simple things in life that make us so happy? If you think about how many hours are in a day (24 for you math magicians) why is it that we can hardly find even 5 minutes for ourselves????

I know the easy excuses are that we get caught up in everyday routines and obligations from work, to kids or spouses, to pets, the trip to the bank, grocery shopping, laundry, dishes and of course the phone that won’t stop ringing! But when do we ever get time to soak in the moment and sunbathe under a ray of self-reflection and worth?

I recently moved into my very own apartment and even as a young women without pets or children, I still find it near impossible to enjoy a moment to celebrate and love little ol’ me.

So whether you are single or married with five kids, a science major or even a math whiz, find the time to add up enough hours in the week to dedicate to you and only you! Whether it’s relaxing with the paper, taking a jog, reading the twilight series (yet again), or even taking a well deserved nap in the middle of the day… just make sure you make the time!

Because as we all know time fly’s by sooo fast and we don’t want to wake up one day jetlagged on the runway wondering why our life has left us behind...

The Easy Way Out

Right before I turned to run away, something brought me back... back to myself.

Why is it so easy to run from the possibility of failure or even better yet, the idea or success? In this rat race of self-discovery we fight any possibility of ever becoming more then we are right now and we act as if our potential isn't 400 feet in front of us, about to lap us on the track.

Yes we have those moments where the finish line is in sight, but we are so afraid of what is on the other side that too often we take ourselves out of the race altogether. And this way we never have to know if we were going to make it or not and we can go through life without ever having to risk anything at all, especially failure.

So we put our hands over our head and choke up a few excuses of exhaustion or bad running shoes and proceed to throw in the towel. We retreat back to the starting line where we may or may not have the courage to begin again, but at least this way we won't have to watch as others finish in front of us.

We are safe in our resting place and have nothing to lose. And because we have nothing to lose, we will never have anything worth gaining, so we must ask ourselves which is worse... the risk of failure or the risk to succeed?

My Nana

There is this beautiful and incredibly talented young woman who reminds me everyday who I am and even more, what type of person I want and deserve to be.

She brings color and laughter to my world as she forces out the best parts of me. Her mere presence takes me back to my inner child that I so often tend to neglect....There is never a dull moment when we're stuck together.

This morning, I had to watch as this crazy little ball of energy flew away on a plane that will bring her that much closer to her dreams. She will be moving to the University of Hawaii where she has dreamed of playing soccer for a long time. And although it is insanely painful to watch her go, her ability to fight for what she wants in this life has inspired me to never settle for anything less than everything!

I have watched her fall, break and sacrifice everything to make this dream come true and even though there were many times she wanted to give up, through it all, she has finally made it happen! It wouldn't make a difference if she dreamed to be a movie star, a dancer ("Heeere's Breezy") or the secretary of state, what matters most is that she had the courage and passion to follow her dreams wholeheartedly. She didn't take the easy way out and she didn't give up when things got hard. She never once waited around for life to hand her anything, she made her dreams come true all on her own.

This amazing young woman is destined for greatness and this journey of hers is only the beginning...

And I am so grateful and proud to be able to call this kooky little person who I look up to most my baby sister.

Te quiero mucho Bobby Boy

Steroids + Scrawny

su estrella estaba destinado a brillar hermana, así que ve la luz de este mundo en el fuego .

A Party Poopers Pity Party

Permission to feel sorry for myself for the next hour…

Every once in a while we all deserve the right to dance the night away at our own pity party. It just so happens, my fiesta is tonight.

I would invite you all to share in my sappy sulking, but I think this dance floor is only big enough for one of us and I didn’t bring my dancing shoes for nothing.
Although I typically pride myself on positive self-affirmation, tonight I am going to allow myself to just feel whatever it is I need to feel in order to move beyond this evening in one piece. And if that means putting on my favorite party dress and accessorizing it with the latest trends of self-pity and mascara stained pillow cases then count me in!

My VIP guest list will consist of your favorite love to hate emotions misery, discourage and loneliness and if anyone knows how to throw a pity party it is these guys. They are the first to show up and always the last to leave and lucky for me they travel in packs.

They are heavy drinkers when it comes to taking shots to the ego and can down any forty from my wallet in a heartbeat. By the end of the night they will leave you empty handed in a puddle of your own word vomit while country’s music’s latest depressing top 20 is on repeat in the background.

Together we can throw one hell of a party and maybe if you’re lucky, next time I’ll at least save you a dance

How Far Will You Go...?

What are you willing to give up to get where you want to go? How long will you fight for a dream if there is no evidence of it ever coming true?

To get to where we want or become that person we know we can truly be, it takes a lot more then being talented or passionate…it takes sacrifice. You can usually determine how bad you want something by how much you are willing to give up in order to get it. We sacrifice our time, beauty rest, money, personal needs and overall self-satisfaction, but what if that is still not enough?

What if we have to sacrifice living our comfortable and moderately satisfying lives in order to become more then what we are right now?

Too often people fall victim to their current circumstances and throw away their drive and ambition to the expectations of others. They lose themselves in the familiarity of relationships, friendships and even jobs, because it is much easier to stay comfortable in a situation then allow ourselves to venture out of our all too familiar comfort zone.

Take a look around at the circle of people in your life right now and I guarantee the majority of them stopped fighting (or never even began) for what they really wanted for themselves.

Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to the dark places where it leads

So what are you willing to give up and how far are you willing to go to get to where you truly want?

Because in the end, it is all up to you how far you will go...

Abandon ship even though it's scary as shit

I wish we could tear out pages in our lives as easily as we do in our journals. Leaving little to no trace of its painful existence.

Perhaps beginning a new page entirely is better then trying to twine together all the missing pieces. Accepting that what was lost is now gone forever and all we have left is the empty spaces of a new blank page… awaiting our arrival

Change is scary as shit. Charles Darwin once said,
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change”

Eventhough change is never easy for anyone, how fun would life really be if the tides didn’t throw us overboard every once in awhile?

So what if you are a horrible swimmer and prone to sea sickness? It doesn’t matter if you have to pant like a dying fish until your floppy fins turn into wings, sometimes that is what it takes in order to fly.

We have to be willing to go outside of ourselves in order to tap into who we can truly become.

And if pain is what it takes to redefine the mess we've made of our lives, then I guess its a good time we start toughenin' up

Imma Do It

We are our own worst enemy. Make no mistake about it, our skin is the prison we are in.

We are the ones who build bars of seclution and isolation from the people we love and dreams we have yet to allow ourselves to pursue.

Sure we can come up with a laundry list of excuses as to why we can't do or be with the people we really want, but at the end of the day...we know we are the only ones who stand in the way of ourselves. So why do we so often torture ourselves with a lifetime sentence of confinement?

Perhaps we are afraid.

We are afraid to fail, and yet we are afraid to succeed. We are afraid to venture outside of our comfort zone and at the same time we are afraid of standing still, or even worse-standing alone.

But what will happen if we break out of the steel bars and barbed wires we so cowardly place in front of our fear and actually fight for the person inside we know we can be?

If we are all hidden or driven by fear, who would we be...?

Un Momento

Everything changes in a single moment of realization.

And it is in this moment, where the defining line that once divided you from your future will begin to slowly fade away.

It will fade right through the past which no longer can define who you are or what your worth.
It will fade along with all of the so-called mistakes and heartbreaks you've felt along the way.
This moment will fade out all of the voices who told you that you weren't good enough
And this moment will keep you fighting, fighting for another day

You'll fight for all the people who no longer have the strength to.
You'll fight for all of those whose spirits are all that remain.
You'll fight for the little girl or boy inside of you who used to believe anything was possible.
And you'll fight until there is nothing more standing between who you are and all that you are meant to be

And once that moment truly hits, you'll realize.... everything you are is all you ever needed to be

My Lil' Miracle Man

Whatever you are doing at this very moment, whether your eyes are anxiously scouring over these words, or your fingers are fiddling with a piece of paper, if you allow yourself to fall slowly into each passing breath you can actually feel the presence that reminds you that you are here.

"The rest of my life is going to last as long as I can hold my breath"

Each day we find ourselves struggling for purpose, paying the bills, fighting with family members, laughing with friends and yet how often do we actually feel that we exist?

Yesterday I found myself watching an 8 pound newborn take his first breaths and for a brief moment, it was as if nothing else in the world mattered but his presence. We had only just met and I could already feel the love I had for him fighting back tears of joy and appreciation for his mere existence. I immediately wanted to protect him from all of life's inevitable pain, capture all of his innocence, lock it away in a safe and throw away the key.

How could I possibly love someone so much? Especially since this person has yet to know I (or even he) even exists yet! I guess this is what life is all about...

These miraculous moments where we care more about each other then we do for ourselves. Where we can actually feel a love so powerful that its pain can bring you to your knees and yet its beauty can take you to a place in yourself that not even you knew existed.

Here's to my family's newborn Miracle Man and all of the other miracles we keep breathing for every day...

And they said it was impossible!!!

What started out as ideas scribbled on napkins and torn up notebook pages has somehow managed to become the root of my being.... A few years ago I would have never imagined I would be where I am now and after last weeks assembly and our amazing workshops today, I am more confident then ever in the future of TRU.

I want to thank all of the incredible students I have met in the past week for sharing your powerful stories and reminding me and my TRU Crew why we do what we do!

Stay TRU and always remember YOUR possible!

Dream Walkers

When your dreaming with your eyes wide open it is near impossible to find time to rest. With your heart on your sleeve you wipe away tears of frustration and fatigue as they fight their way down your face. You know there is no real place to put those moments of weakness that tempt you back into complacent sleep, so you just tuck them away for another day.

As the hours fade into the night, the only thing keeping you awake is that pen and your dreams. Its ink will leave trails of a fortune to follow and you'll lose yourself within its pages. And soon you'll find yourself in a sea of dissembled words and forgotten phrases that leave you standing alone on the last page. But you can’t trace back your steps, dream walkers never can.

So you’ll open your eyes once again and dream while your wide-awake.

You’ll dream of a new beginning, or even a better end. You’ll dream you knew where you were going or better yet where you’ve been. You’ll dream of the day you weren’t standing alone, or even more, you’ll dream of a path that could lead you back home…

Just make sure you dream with your eyes wide open and that this dream is all your own.

I Dare You...

I dare you to tell every person you care about that you love them (right now)

I dare you to eat your favorite dessert with an extra slab of whip cream

I dare you to tell yourself you’re pretty when you have no makeup on

I dare you dance around naked in your room

I dare you to believe that you deserve more then you give yourself credit for

I dare you to sleep alone tonight and enjoy the time by yourself

I dare you to pay attention to each breath you take for a whole minute straight

I dare you to go a day without your phone, ipod or computer

I dare you to not feel sorry for yourself

I dare you to wear bright pink or bold red (anything that doesn’t resemble black)

I dare you to buy yourself a rose

I dare you to smile at your own reflection

I dare you to laugh out loud in public

I dare you to light a candle and soak in a luke warm bath (by yourself)

I dare you to smile proudly as you put lotion on every corner of your body

I dare you to let yourself cry

I dare you to be brave

I dare you not let someone else define your worth

I dare you to let yourself be happy

I dare you to be TRU

I tripple doggy dare you to love yourself

But even more, I dare you to let go and let in...

The Wall Between Us

Why is opening up such a difficult concept for me to grasp?

I preach all day to others to be open and TRU, but at the end of the day it is one of my greatest flaws. I have had three separate individuals approach me this week with the same exact concerns. They confessed their frustration with my inability to allow myself to become vulnerable with them. As I am listening to what they are saying I can't help but wonder how it got this bad.

I guess I have somehow grown accustomed to the wall I place firmly in front of my emotions and have consequently become numb. I figured if I painted the picture brightly enough, no one would notice the cracks in the wall behind it.

Why is it so hard to reveal how we truly feel? Why do we build walls of security and refuge in a war that is only being fought within ourselves?

I am concluding that despite all I believe to be true, that in fact, I deem vulnerability as a weakness in myself. While in reality, I know it is the single greatest factor in building meaningful relationships and even more in being TRU.

So this message is my first official attempt to break down the wall inside of me that is keeping both you and me out.

You're A Jerk!

While attempting to catch up on some work yesterday at the park, two young boys decided to plant themselves under the same gazebo I was sitting under. At first glance these boys looked like two little thugs who wanted to start trouble, but after a few minutes of them invading my newfound territory I discovered that they simply wanted someone to talk to.

I could have easily been a jerk and stuck my head in my work, but instead I gave them my full attention. After a few minutes of random chatter they asked what I was working on and I handed them a link to my website…. and that is when it happened. That moment you have been waiting oh so patiently to occur for what feels like forever.

One of them blurted out “I know Truality they are tight as hell!!” and then continued to tell his friend how ‘cool’ we were.

It was in that moment where the smile I tucked behind my eyes had to be as big as my college debt (which let me assure is quite a lot)! It was such an unexpected response that can only be compared to the first time you hear your song on the radio. Its as if that dream that has been nestled up next to your tireless work hours, countless sacrifices and unwavering faith has finally made its way out of your head and into the world. That your dream is no longer a figment of your imagination, it has successfully flown out of the nest.

The boys and I continued to talk about their dreams and reasons behind their constant need to get suspended from school and seek out trouble. It was easy to have them open up about their anger and frustrations at the world because I think they sensed I was not judging them. They even got comfortable enough to show me some hip dance moves (how to jerk) and although I didn’t win America's Favorite Dancer, I felt a long awaited sense of validity in my work.

They asked me a few times “Why are you so cool to kids?” And I quickly responded “Why shouldn’t I be?” and with their heads turned down to the floor they became silent. I often wonder this same question myself and as my Aunt once told me, she says its because I don't want anyone to go through what I did growing up.

Either way, I think it was a monumental afternoon for all three of us. They felt respected by an ‘adult’ (which is clearly something they did not feel on a regular basis) and I felt grateful for their ability to show me what I have been needing to see for quite some time. They reminded me that what I’m doing does have meaning and although I am not at the highest point in my career yet, I know I am for once on the right path to get there.

It's amazing what a lil jerkin around can do :)

Where All The Real Women At???

Why do I always find myself seeking powerful women through fictional characters, deceased authors and famous musicians and entertainers? Is there a shortage of real women out there or is everyone hiding behind their 9-5’s, relationship partners and private journal entries?

Last night was the first time in what feels like forever that I didn’t have to search Utube or Google to find female inspirational success stories. I was able to sit down with an actual women who “walks the talk.”

This women (and you know who you are), was a perfect dose of strength and independence to get me through what appears like a dry season of powerful women. She does not sing and dance at the Grammy’s or write bestselling novels about the women she wishes to be…She is real, she is strong and the best part is, she has a vagina!

So this is a public service announcement calling all REAL women to rise up and ‘be about it” (myself included)! I’m tired of feeling as though our gender is surrendering our tru potential to the men we date, children we have, jobs we suffer at and bills we have to pay.

When did we forget to remember ourselves? The women we wanted to be before tainted by societal norms, broken hearts and girl on girl crime.

When will we stop excusing ourselves from a life much different then the ones we truly want?

And lets face it there is never a good time to start, but if we don't go after the things we want now...Will we ever?

And as Maya Angelou would say “Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass.”

What Does It Mean To Be An American?

During my graduate program, I was recently asked "What does it mean to be an American?"

The answer might appear obvious at first, but the more I tried to answer what should have been a simple question, the more I found myself researching what others defined an American as. Her are some of the responses I found:

"Anyone living within the geopolitical boundaries of the United States."

"I suspect that most of us believe, like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in describing pornography, that we "know it when we see it." For example, John Wayne, Amelia Earhart, and Bill Cosby definitely are Americans. The day laborers standing on the street corner probably are not."

"Being "an American" is not the same thing as simply living in the United States. Nor, I would add, is it the same thing as holding U.S. citizenship. After all, a baby born on U.S. soil to an illegal alien is a citizen. This hardly guarantees that this baby will grow up to be an American."

"Unlike most other nations on Earth, the American nation is not strictly defined in terms of race or ethnicity or ancestry or religion. The inescapable conclusion seems to be that one chooses to be an American by adhering to the principals laid out in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. By choosing to become part of the body politic and by agreeing to live in solidarity with the rest of the polity."

And as Mr. Webster likes to define it "a citizen of the United States of America."

Even after my research, I still have not concluded what I define an American to be. Perhaps it is because some of my closests friends (from various Countries) and family members (including my late Grandparents) have lived in the Untied States the majority of their lives, worked everyday, were educated in the same school systems, played in the same parks and yet because they don't have 'citizenship' they are not considered real 'Americans.'

I know it is easy to say "well if they don't have their papers then their not Americans. Simple." But is it really that simple?

For many who are not born with the privilege of being a "documented American Citizen" the concept of being American is so much more than obtaining a few papers that says they are qualified to be American... It symbolizes their freedom.

Even for those patriotic US citizens, I guarantee when the word American comes to their mind, images of our soldiers fighting for our freedom and our Country's red white and blues waving above our Nations Capitol comes to mind way before an image of their drivers license or passport.

But as I said before, I may have a biased opinion.

And although I may not be politically correct, I can't help but believe more what I feel is right as oppossed to what others tell me is.

Being American is a word that only holds power if you believe it does. Same thing as the word man, Chinese, black or gay. They mean nothing unless people say they do. They are used to commonly distinguish something from another, but in reality they all fall under one unified umbrella…that they are all human.


This video is a little 'trailer' from a documentary my colleagues and I shot on being homeless. The idea was first sparked a few months ago when we were invited to present a segment on poverty at a diversity camp for high school students. While brainstorming ideas for the event, we quickly realized that this topic touched way too close to home for one of our very own TRU members.

As he began to reflect on some of his past experiences actually sleeping on cold cement floors and spending his days begging for money at a local Circle K, we decided to try and understand what he was talking about on a much deeper level: We wanted to experience it ourselves. Therefore, we set out on a unforgettable journey to not only learn more about our friend but also the life that millions of people all over the world live everyday. Coincidently, we ended up learning more about ourselves.

-This video is only a fraction of the shocking and emotionally draining journey we set out on. It was a painful and yet, "beautiful" experience of walking through life in another persons shoes...

A Hidden Light

Hope Balloon Small Girl Images
As I sat cross-legged on the cold cement floor I could feel the pain rising from above my head. It was pouring from the words and tears of the broken young women who surrounded me. This pain is what silenced most of us into self-destruction, but at this very moment, in this very room…it is what connected us all as one.

For those young women (and you know who you are) I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for opening your hidden wounds and sharing them with me.

I myself, have never shared out loud such intimate details of my past pain and experiences. But by doing so, I feel that much closer to rebuilding the pieces of me that have been stolen; I feel that much closer to you all.

There is a reason you were in that room that night and a reason you are reading this now. Remember who you were before a part of you was stolen and fight your heart out to bring yourself back to life. And as cliché’ as this may sound, know that you are not alone.

"What is to give off light
must first endure burning"

I Can't Convince Myself I'm Beautiful

I had to recently design a workshop involving high school girls and the concept of self-perception and beauty. One activity in particular required the girls to look directly into a handheld mirror and confidently tell the eyes of their mirrored reflection that they were beautiful. I dare you to try this, because let me tell you it is not easy.

Which leads me to wonder, why is it so difficult for women to admit out loud or even believe within the hidden confinements of our hearts that we are in fact beautiful?

I know for myself, just hearing the word makes me uncomfortable, never mind trying to accept it. I believe this very well may be a difficult concept for many women to grasp. The idea that although they are not blown up in the latest magazine editorials or runner up for America’s Next Top Model, they are too beautiful and deserve the right to be.

I once wrote in a journal of mine “I can’t convince myself I am beautiful” and although I have come a long way from that exact feeling, I still and perhaps always will struggle with this word. I used to hate my smile, but have recently grown to admire the distinction that makes it all my own. My petite figure used to make me crave breast implants but after many years of trying to fall in love with the skin I am in, I have confidently reconsidered.

What I discovered thus far in my elongated journey to self-acceptance and even love is that maybe my concept of beauty has been skewed into something that is not real. That in fact, true beauty is hidden behind the many insecurities and imperfections we try so hard to conceal.

I think much of my self-hatred came from the battles I struggled with within myself. The pain I felt underneath the confined layers of makeup and designer purses helped cover up the hidden tears and bruises I was hiding along the way. It is not easy to share these past insecurities out loud, but either was it to admit I was beautiful.

What I’m discovering is that no-matter what I am unraveling about myself, good or bad; it is never easy if it is real

It's been a long night in New York City

An unthinkable week and thousands of flyer miles later, lyrics are all I have left to say…

"Gonna free fall out into nothin'
Gonna leave this world for a while"

"There I was at the bus stop beggin’ you just to stay
If you’re out chasin’ all your dreams
Tell me where does that leave me"

"Pretty little thing
sometimes you gotta look up
and let the world see
all the beauty that your made of
cause the way you hang your head
nobody can tell"

The Winds of Change

It shines bright enough to battle the stars and yet, all I feel is the darkness from its shadow. It stares directly up at me, begging for an explanation. I have no answer.

I can't look forward and I can't go back: I am caught somewhere between yesterday and tomorrow.

With my bags at the door and ticket in hand; I am alone. My one way ticket will force closure and my destination will be unknown.

The winds of change have finally forced the colors of the sky to merge together. As the world begins to fade into the sunset, all I can hold onto is the sound of my faint breath. I have to keep breathing.

Now I will never see that light that kept me holding on for all those years. Everything we could have been, now I'll never know. All because forever is a place I am not ready to go...

The Inevitable Crossroads

There comes a point in everyone's life where standing still is no-longer an option. It is the point where you must decide once and for all which direction your life is going to go. The tired excuses of why you shouldn't do what you want begin to drown out in the distance and you are left with nothing more than the silence of this moment and the decision that only you can make. You are officially at a crossroad.

Going left may appear never ending and run you into a whirlwind of turns that have you befriending your closest friend 'curiosity' and 'dare devil.' While continuing straight may bore you into your love to hate buddy 'rebellion'.

Perhaps if you flip a bitch and go backwards you may just find a safe landing space right next to your good ol pals ' 'comfort' and 'security.' Or maybe its best if you just steer right, right into your 'good intentions' and 'safe' amigos. Either way, you'll be the one sitting in the drivers seat and manning the radio station of your favorite muses to help guide you along the way.

Wouldn't life be so much easier if such decisions never needed to be made? As if we had a life chauffeur who would direct us on our journey through life and objectively make all of our big grown up decisions for us?

We turn to our closest friends and relatives when we are faced at such a crossroads, begging with the desperation behind our eyes for them to help us. But in the trunk of our hearts, we know the answer is buried beneath all of the old rubbish and spare tires; it has been waiting there the whole time for us to discover it.

We must fight through the clutter and empty thoughts that swell in our mind of what society's vision of what is best for us. We must throw out others opinions and simply ask ourselves what we want.

But I can guarantee the answers have been there waiting the whole time. It just takes the courage to unravel the truth to get you there. So strap on your seat belt and get ready to enjoy the greatest ride of your life... and for once let go of the wheel and let fate take you where your heart wants to go...

Relationship Dodgeball

Relationships: Holy hell are they difficult complex and downright messy! But why is it we always find ourselves trapped inside their never ending webs of confinement? Why waste your time at all building REAL relationships with people when life is so much more simple without their added complexities?

I know for myself, I have had many relationships throughout my life; some lasting, while others only survive long enough to catch the final credits rolling at the end of the movie. I figured that if I kept all relationships in my control then I would never have to become vulnerable. Better yet, I would never have to face the one most dreaded feeling of all mankind...rejection.

Strategically, rejection can only be felt if you 'put yourself out there' (good thing I am an expert strategist). I am not saying these methods of playing dodgeball with heartfelt emotions won me any awards, but at very least it kept me in the game longer (or at least without injury).

It wasn't until I was faced with an unthinkable choice to move back to my hometown and pursue my business full time where I began running out of fuel in this neverending game of emotional dodgeball. Somewhere in the past 9 months I began building relationships with people without even realizing I was doing it.

I always loved my friends and family, but I guess I was never really around enough to build actual 'relationships' with them. Now after countless fights (with literally all of them), I am finally beginning to understand the true meaning of love and relationships. And as stated before "holy hell are they difficult!" They cause you to sacrifice, admit you are wrong (ouch that one hurts), go out of your way, laugh out loud, cry in public (man I have become such a sofety lately), talk until your lips go numb, stay up til sunrise, have someone to watch your love to hate girly shows with (its all about Grey's n the Bachelor), drink a lot of wine, sit for hours at your fav coffee shops, have a running partner, have a rock band partner ;) someone who will listen to your life melodrama, someone who will fight on your defense even if your wrong (but then afterwards tell you that you were wrong), someone that you know has your best interest at heart (we all have been blind sided too many times by this crazy curve ball) and most importantly someone who will love you for all of your faults, believe in your strengths and who you can trust with all of your heart.

We have all had our guards up in terms of trust and vulnerability, but how is life ever TRULY felt that way? My walls of defense are finally crumbling down and for once, I am ok with that. For true love is supposedly unconditional, so why waste your time with any relationship if it is not bound by the endless seams of love? What is love if its never felt? What is life if there is no sacrifice? What is faith if there is no risk?

With my oversized helmet and yellow stretchy pants in toe, I still consider myself a solid Dodgeball contender. But instead of always fighting my own battles, I now have a pretty sick team on my side, however crazy difficult they can be, I know they'd take any hit for me (and if thats not love I don't know what is)!

The Ring of Life

I always thought I knew exactly what I wanted in life. Well not exactly, but I knew I would fight my lil heart out for whatever I thought it was.

I have never been someone to make excuses or to back down to any challenge that corners me in the ring of life. No-matter my opponents size, I fearlessly strap on my mismatched gloves and swing away at the careless blows life throws my way. Every now and again I get a left hook to my right eye, momentarily blurring my vision and forcing me to retreat to my corner and catch my breath. But as any strong fighter knows, you must never back down.

So when life attempts to knock you out with its relentless force, what will you do? Back down and return to that place of comfort and security or fight with one eye closed?

I have somehow managed to carry my weight to the 6th round, but I'm not sure how much more strength I have left in me. My feet have begun to drag and my arms are weighing heavy on my shoulders. With only one eye left I am trying so desperately to keep it on the prize, but between dodging punches and gasping for air...I am feeling defeated.

It is incredible how quickly we can become dethroned from our fearless and strong selves and wind up tackled onto the hard floor of discouragement and defeat. How many battles must we fight just to win one war? How many blows to the heart must we endure simply for a real chance at love? How much longer must we prove ourselves before deservingly winning the title? How many more lessons must we learn before finally catching a break?

We have been training our entire lives for this very moment. The moment where we get a chance to fight for who we are and all we believe in. But don't think for a second that life isn't fighting right back against us, showing no mercy.

In the end, it is not the judges who determine our fate, but rather the power and passion behind our eyes that keeps us in the ring. It is up to us to step up and take from the world all that is not given to us, or fall back into the corners of complacency. Either way, the fight has already begun, so what will it be...?