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...?