How To Love One’s Demons

Demons. Monkey chatter, the ego, fears, self-doubt, that voice inside your head that tells you you’re not good enough– we all have them.

It wasn’t until an honest conversation with a best-friend-mirror last night in which I realized my demons were paralyzing me from writing.

I am well-versed in embracing the light. In loving it, channeling it and sharing it. I am much less comfortable and fluent in loving the dark. I knew deep down that an error in a recently published article of mine was instilling such fear in my mind that I had been avoiding Good & Grateful and neglecting the addressing of these deep-rooted emotions, and everything I had been trying to write in recent weeks felt inauthentic because of it.

It felt inauthentic because it wasn’t the piece that needed to surface; they weren’t the words of love and acceptance that my very demons needed more than anything, and anything else was neglect. And healing holds no space for neglect.

This morning, I embraced a healing first: I have journaled my demons in tangible written form for my eyes to see. I acknowledged them instead of neglecting them. And I went through each demon-fear and without judging it or trying to change it, I thanked it for being present, and I told it that I love it. Holding my heart, I went through each fear and thanked it for being here, because each of them have taught me exactly what I need to heal. I spent generous time with each demon until the flutter in my heart ceased upon reading it and instead transformed into hosted contentment, and I thanked them again.

I share this with you all because it was a powerful experience for me in working alongside my demons in the process of healing. It was an expression of love and light to the places that need them the most; the icky, messy, uncomfortable places to reach and hold onto. I also chose to embrace a further layer of vulnerability by sharing my particular demons, the ones preventing me from writing.

We are not strong, admirable or beautiful for the light we give alone. We are magic because of the way we light-work alongside our darknesses. The mind is incredibly powerful, and often times we forget that we are our toughest critics. Thank you to an inspirational, talented best-friend-mirror who helped me see this by sharing her own demons with me.  I encourage us all to explore the heart space in offering love and gratitude instead of avoidance next time our demons surface, for they will– and I know that my heart and I will be waiting.

My demons:

  • I’m terribly insecure about the title error in my elephant journal article
  • I’m embarrassed
  • It makes me feel like:
    • I’m really not a good writer
    • I shouldn’t have been and don’t deserve to be published
    • My writing is emotional fluff and I have nothing substantial to write about
    • All I do is share my feelings like an over-emotional little girl who’s trying to make up for 24 years of silence, misunderstanding and repressed expression 
    • My followers, the editors at the journal, and I think I’m not credible and that I have lost my credibility as a writer
    • My blog and Good & Grateful Instagram are now tainted with the error and they are no longer “clean” and attaining to be perfect 
    • I have nothing to write and I know nothing worth sharing that brings value to other people

And after it all, with love for the darkness and the light that makes it so,

XO, my Good’s & Grateful’s

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@Goodgrateful: Journaling + making vision boards with a soul sister = a solid Friday.

Edit: Why I’m the Last Millennial to Not Use Tinder

When it comes to mistakes, I’m turning away from self-blaming and toward self-loving.

Sometimes, we make mistakes. We aren’t perfect. We aren’t without flaw. We are human. How often do we allow ourselves to work through those mistakes with love?

I rarely ever have. I’ve most recently shared with you all my second published article. Unbeknownst to me, there was a typo in the title. I am not of Generation X, and while the title of the piece was first published as, “Why I’m the Last Non-Tinder User of Generation X,” it now accurately reads ‘millennial.’ On behalf of elephant journal and for my own credibility, learning and self-forgiveness, it required an accurate change.

Am I going to beat myself up over it? For a minute, I wanted to. I thought about all of the times I reread my article, all of the anal fact-checking I do and how this one slipped, and all of the people who proof-read or heard me speak the title who didn’t catch the error either.

Alas, a lesson in self-love and letting go of harsh, unhealthy tendencies. The edit is now published, and I thank you all for reading it anyway!

This holiday weekend, I sit deeply in my self-love and I hug myself just a little bit tighter.

Why I’m the Last Millennial to Not Use Tinder,” in full force. Check it out, but regardless, I encourage a squeeze of self-TLC. When was the last time you gave yourself a hug?

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Mansplaining Yields Healing

Mansplain, verb: (of a man) explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing
(Source: English Oxford Living Dictionaries)

Last night, at a client event for my internship, I found a chocolate fountain. I couldn’t resist dipping a second stick of extra-puffed marshmallows under the melting deliciousness, and I paid for it by staining my white top.

With an escape to the restroom and quick wardrobe innovation involving my kimono-shawl knot-styled to cover the mess, I was right back to find my girlfriends (the ones whom I had originally left for the chocolate fountain).

I approached them with a how-ridiculous-does-this-knot-look hand motion and skeptical facial expression inquiry, to which a nearby male interjected, “You look great, that looks awesome.

“It’s her outfit,” nodding at my friend, “we were making fun of.”

His initial comment was telling enough– despite the event’s complimentary Prosecco (or maybe because of it) our two energies were not aligning.

“What’s wrong with her outfit?” I snapped. Besides nothing. My comment was a misfire however, considering he ignored it to continue talking at me and in my direction:

“I have to say I’m not a fan of that necklace though. Maybe because I’m a guy, I don’t know.

“But you know girls only wear necklaces like that to impress other girls, right? You know that’s the only reason why girls do that, right??”

“Are you trying to tell me what I may or may not be doing intentionally?”

“I mean it’s not for us guys, it’s for each other, you must know.”

Is this what that socioculturally-derived 21st century term mansplaining was all about?

“No, no,” I interjected.

“Are you telling me, as a man, about something that my entire sex supposedly does? Are you trying to mansplain to me my own intention behind wearing this necklace?”

The complimentary Prosecco was getting me a little bit feisty, and I knew my new rooftop-friend wasn’t prepared to get such backlash.

Mansplaining,” he scoffed.  “Yeah– yeah, I was mansplaining!” he retorted back, matter-of-factly.

With a Champagne flute in hand and a knotted-kimono covering my chocolate stain, the words well don’t flew off the tip of my tongue, spicy and sharp, and I glared into his eyes until he got the hint and turned away. I faced my new friends, almost uneasy about how they might handle my moment of fiery spirit. They thanked me, and we continued laughing and dancing about.

Though we had moved on, the man came up to me minutes later.

“I’m sorry,” he said, passing by.

“Thank you,” I said curtly.

It was my turn to speak matter-of-factly.


I share this story as a reflection on the way I could have better handled this situation. I got the man to apologize, yes, but aside from temporary egotistical victory, what good is that really?

Sans the mind-alternation of the complimentary beverages, I could have helped this man see that his insight was not only unsolicited, but unjustified and even condescending.

That maybe, this was my favorite necklace and I wasn’t wearing it for anyone but me, regardless of a male or female audience.

And that at the core of it all, he wasn’t speaking from a loving place, or to me as his equal. I could have agreed that he had every right to have his own opinion, but shared that his extended, entitled, so-claimed awareness over a population of humans whose experiences he could never empathize with was unjust and unfair and even ignorant.

And if I could have connected with him and helped him understand that in a calm and loving manner, I could have engaged in healing with just one person; healing that would ripple in his future engagements and in mine, too.

I reflect back on this interaction last night as a lesson of mine in patience and boundless love. A lesson in embracing courage and speaking my truth yes, but doing so in a kind, constructive and empathetic manner.

It appears to me that with every pained, frustrating or instigating experience, there is an opportunity for healing. Life will continue to present us with chances for healing, though they don’t often show up beautifully upon the first glance. I am learning to pay attention to the triggers, for they are some of my best teachers in this healing journey.

I hope we meet again, rooftop party friend. Because next time we do, I’ll be wearing one of my many flashy necklaces, and I will welcome you with a hug– or at least a cheers to healing.

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@Goodgrateful: The beautiful nature-mirrors that aided in my reflection the following morning. La Jolla, California.

When In Venice: Life Advice from Street-Strangers of Los Angeles

I love discovering secrets. Answers. Treasures. I love connecting with people– old friends and strangers– and searching deep into their past experiences to read empathetically into their present. And oh, do I like advice– really, any form of guidance– on this journey that is my wild, winding life.

My first time in Los Angeles was filled with many highs (think: riding the Santa Monica ferris wheel, sunset-dancing on a rooftop with new friends, recovery-Sunday brunching) but this spontaneous interaction with soul-strangers on the canal-backstreets of Venice Beach takes the cake. Good’s & Grateful’s, meet Leigh and Richard.


“Hey, before you all go, can we ask a favor of you?”

The five of us, recovering slowly from a luau-themed, June-gle joint-birthday-party the day and night prior, were about to trek back to the car to assess the debris-damage that awaited us back home. We had just mustered enough energy to cap off our sunbathing on the bridge of one of the euro-inspired canals in Venice Beach, California, when Leigh approached us.

“Can you take a picture of us, but make sure you get the water in the background, all right?”

The 60-something-year-old woman with soft, pixie-cut blonde hair and layered gold and silver necklaces handed us her phone.

Leigh and her husband, Richard, in an all-white denim ensemble with slick-tousled silver curls and a gold-link chain on his right wrist posed. They posed with the smiles and comfort of two human-souls who have lived out their own dreams and lives, learned lessons along the way and laughed years alongside each other in moments leading up to this very spot on the Howland Canal bridge in the culturally rich Los Angeles neighborhood of Venice Beach.

The duo stood to return the photo-favor with stylish, matching, double-shade sunglasses with the outer lens’ flipped up, and we decided that they were way cooler than we were and consented to be adopted by our new grandparents.

I got to talking with Richard as his beloved ran with energetic youth to the water below, throwing up two peace signs in pose for another picture.

 

With a kind, seasoned disposition, he told me that all of the jobs, experiences and chapters of his life in production design, film studios and travel led him to where he is now– where he likes to be. At his 70-something-year-old age, he’s just gotten into real estate and is learning the business side of all of his prior professional endeavors.

“I almost went to RISD,” he says when I tell him I hail from Rhode Island.

“I chose to go to NYU instead and I’ve often wondered how such decisions play a role in changing your life. You kind of wonder what could have been… it’s oh, well, though.”

The nonchalance in his voice expresses his contentment with the way his life played out. His “whatever” is genuine and soothing. Maybe it all being “whatever” at the end of the day really can be a beautiful thing.

By the time Leigh returned and had gone back-and-forth about living the L.A. life with our token local in the group, the curious journalist in me was arising.

“So, one piece of advice?” I started, my state of dehydration from the night before altering the emphasis on all of my syllables.

“One piece of advice for us? Alright!” Leigh said, sitting back and intertwining her fingers palm-to-palm.

“Oh no, no. I meant if you two could give us millennials one piece of advice…”

Leigh enjoys this.

“Oh, that’s good! Ok, here’s a good one.

“All those hang-ups or insecurities or feeling like you’re not pretty enough or fit enough, forget about them. All that thinking your thighs are too big, etc., throw it out. I remember lacking that confidence all through my 20s and when I look back at pictures of myself from that time, I was smoking hot!

“You are beautiful right now, embrace it, enjoy it while you have it. Because you won’t have it forever!

“And enjoy the ride down,” she tells us.

Save your money. Think about retirement early on. Calculate your risks and invest in something that will offer a safe financial return for later.

Richard chimes in in response to a, “What about you honey, what’s your advice?”

“Save money, but also remember that money isn’t gonna’ do it all. It’s not what it’s all about. Do something that you’re passionate about… don’t do a job you don’t like, just for the money. Then you end up miserable living in a nice house.

“I remember being young and not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I was quiet and insecure and I didn’t talk too much. I didn’t know. I tried a little bit of everything, and I knew that whatever I did I wanted to be the best at it. And that meant working with the best.

“You know, there is value in formal education but start working different jobs, get your hands dirty.

“And travel while you can. Travel teaches you everything.”

Though the five of us had planned to trek back to the car more than 20 minutes ago, we are content.

“Thank you for speaking with us,” I say.

“This is the kind of stuff that I love. Maybe I should just keep traveling to new cities, interviewing people and write a book, after all.”

“That’s a great idea,” Leigh says, “write a book!”

Richard and his kind disposition laugh.

“Alright, your turn,” says the ever-spunky and ever-lively Leigh.

“What’s one piece of advice you have for us?”

“Never stop sharing your advice,” I say.

 

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Leigh and Richard on the Howland Canal, June 11, 2017.

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A special thank you to the collaborative dehydrated-brain-efforts of this crew for helping me recall all of Leigh and Richard’s amazing life-advice!