staring contests with my cat in downward dog

I can’t speak for anyone but myself here obviously, but this is my take on a particular issue:

Yoga.

Oh yes. Wonderful yoga that turns its adherents from clumsy ducklings to ethereal swans.

If that’s what it’s supposed to do I’ve certainly missed the memo.

There’s days… as in days I’m not following a video where it goes ok, I manage to do dancers pose (the wimpy kind, thank you) without teetering and knocking something over.

Then there’s those other days when I’m *trying* to follow along with a video.

“Okay now breathe into (insert crazy pose I’ve never heard of)” says the instructor on the screen, while I lose my balance, fall on my ass, and watch her go from one contortion to another effortlessly. I purse my lips and say “yeah, you go girl” as I watch stunned and annoyed wondering now how the hell? Still having not gotten back up from my thirteenth fall.

I know. Big time first world problem.

Says a lot though, doesn’t it?

Meaning everyone, provided you’re not living in some blissful black hole that cloisters you from society (I dream of that some days) is probably being bombarded with a variety of messages about what you should be. It differs from person to person, either way they are ideals that represent where we’d like to be but are no where near. On the one hand that can be a great thing! A wonderful little fire to place under your rear when you’re in dire need of motivation. On the other? Discouraging, especially if you’ve been trying a lot to make things better. Why? You’re. Fucking. Exhausted. You want to not try, throw in the towel, and sleep.

Me and my mom talk a lot on the phone. She’s one of those people whom I can’t fully understand, nor can she fully understand me, but we’re there for each other as much as we can be. And she’s awesome. This lady has gone through so. much. shit. But you’d never know it by her smile or her personality, things that would devastate most she’s gotten through and though she’s shed her share of tears she’s glad to be alive. After years of fighting foreclosure on the family home, job loss upon job loss, and a great many other struggles she’s finally in a good place. She’s got a home she loves and a job where people love her and what she does (yes I’m proud). On the phone she’s telling me “yeah, I’m happy, but I’m so damn lazy, it’s frustrating”.

All I could say to that was this; “Mom. I think you need to get used to peace.” She thought about it a little and in her cute, cheerful way nodded.

We’re always told to work hard, hustle, if you don’t like where you’re at then get to work! Yes, there’s some truth to that.

Yet again, maybe where the real struggle lies is the addiction to chaos; if we aren’t running our asses off for something we feel like we aren’t doing enough when really? All we have to do is pour ourselves a cup of coffee and watch the sun rise, take in the fact that maybe we aren’t where we want to be but we’re a lot better off than we might have been in the past. If you aren’t the day will come, but still, it’s okay to breathe.

And breathe I shall, after I shut the yoga instructor up by closing out the tab and just settle for downward dog. šŸ˜›

I wrote this before I woke up

I glare at the computer through my prescription Rayban glasses, you know, like all the cool little hipster girls- except in no universe could I ever be pinned for one. The individual who types at this laptop, smoking her cigarette and hoping she remembers to ash in the tray and not accidentally in her morning coffee feels like 100% undiluted dork. All those pretty self-portraits? (thanks to the work of some very nice filters) are me after I’ve had time to wake up.

I’m still waking up, and I look like a homeless person.

Just wanted to write. This past week was exhausting in some wonderful and hard ways, each taking their turn on a little roller coaster. If I sound like a drama queen, maybe that’s because I am. In my defense, when you face things alone more often than not, things can feel a lot more tumultuous than if you had someone holding your hand through it. Yes it’s self-inflicted, no this is not some desperate plea across the web for someone to “please love me”. God no I’m fine.

Probably the hardest part about this past week is a realization I keep slamming my head against- that though your best intentions may inform your decisions, the people on the other end will not necessarily understand where you’re coming from. People are going to interpret things however they wish or best suits their worldview. Even as I try to express my heart for someone, it doesn’t mean they’re going to get the message.

This has been the case most often with (gulp) my family. Every relationship has an element of this that takes its turn going one way or the other, but when you can work it out that’s when you know you have a treasure in someone. In a perfect world everyone loves each other and gets along, in a perfect world your family is the one who has your back no matter what kind of shit is going down or around. But we all know the world isn’t perfect.

I saw my dad for the first time in two years this past weekend, and lord was I freaked out. I was the perfect picture of someone trying to sabotage themselves- projecting every unpleasant outcome as if to beat my heart to the punch so I wouldn’t have to be disappointed. Instead, I saw a quiet old man who barely spoke over a whisper. We went off and had coffee- just the two of us and somehow what I thought was lost forever quietly entered my world again stilling a storm in me I’ve felt for a long time. The questions, the way things weren’t right before, they all faded away as we talked (okay, I talked, and he listened) and by the time we said goodbye I hugged him several times before I had the strength to drive away.

As I drove away I was filled to the brim with gratitude, but be damned if I could manage any more than silence. That’s how things feel when the wind and waves no longer roar and a setting sun turns the water into an image of golden glass, you just want to enjoy the silence.

shaky

Processed with VSCO with b5 presetOn this day, “A day without Women”, I want to walk on some shaky ground here.

As a preface, I do believe in women’s rights in the classical sense. Believe me, I love the fact I can vote, that I don’t need to be under the house of a man (my father or otherwise) to be able to take care of myself. I love the fact I can write about my personal beliefs without fear from my posh little perch in a coffee shop. It’s nice to be able to walk down a street by myself, that I don’t need a chaperone and provided I’m smart, I don’t have to worry about getting raped. I love my independence.

However.

I would be a delusional mess if I thought I had only women to thank for these rights. If it weren’t for the upstanding men who passed the laws that insured my freedom and safety, no one would even be able to take part in a national hissy fit. I get it, in a perfect world women shouldn’t have ever have had to plead with said upstanding men. But this is no perfect world and I don’t think it’d be too much of a stretch to say that women have these rights because the men who voted had women they loved, daughters they wanted to protect, sisters and wives whose opinions and support they valued.

The idea behind A Day without Women I suppose is an attempt to get others to realize what we are and what we do, that men wouldn’t be able to do it without us.

Okay.

Ladies, if you are really there, chances are the men in your life already know they can’t do it without you. The funny thing is when you’re more focused on supporting someone than you are on making a point, you end up making your point without saying a word. If you’re focused on making your point- preaching, bashing, posting an endless stream of articles on your feed, chances are pretty good that the men in your life don’t need to imagine what life would be without you because they already know and your message is far more likely to fall on deaf ears.

I wish as a woman I could stand in solidarity with other women, but in this instance I can’t. I see one thing being preached from the pulpits of politicians, the media, and a lot of my friends, but what I experience is quite different. Once I stepped out of the echo chamber of disgruntled women and formed friendships with more men in my private and working life, the whole idea of feminism fell apart for me and it wasn’t because we talked about politics. It was because I heard their stories and saw what it was like on the other side of the fence. There will always be some jerks no doubt about it, but after hearing where they’ve been I felt like I was on the greener side of things.

The point I’m trying to make here is not to bash anyone (though I confess I’m more than a little frustrated) but that both men and women are far stronger if they are supporting each other. If you want love, then give it. If you want appreciation, then appreciate others. If you want freedom then let go of other peoples lives. This is true in all relationships. And if you do that and they don’t reciprocate? By all means, take no shit and walk away. You have that freedom.

the nature of home

This.

by Hannah Kemp
Photographer Hannah Kemp, check her tumblr out here…

I’ve never took a step past my front door without the intention of looking for something.

Twice I’ve been out West, the first experience was for all intents and purposes solitary, most of that trip was spent walking unfamiliar streets and enjoying being a stranger. It was bittersweet, some things were going on in my life that were hard to process. One moment I’d be stealing away to a hiding spot to cry my eyes out, the next I’d wipe my tears and wear a genuine smile as I interacted with people or saw something beautiful that I suspected most people living there had grown to take for granted. The luscious red rose that had wrapped itself aroundĀ telephone pole in a derelict part of town, the wild gardens that seemed to spring up in the oddest places, crossing the river on a huge bridge taking in the expanse of the Colombian, or walking in downtown Portland after the fall of day (that got to be a little creepy).

The second time was to spend time with a friend. I’d missed him so much and the moment I saw him it wouldn’t have mattered where we were, but we were in a beautiful part of the country. That time, thanks to him I got to see a lot more of the place. Waterfalls, the ocean (it was stormy, cold, and fucking glorious thank you very much) after driving miles through mountains and trees, and the bits and pieces of a city which the natives, as I’ve mentioned before, learn to take for granted. Both times I enjoyed, and both times I fell in love a little more.

Today I sit in my crazy mess of a house in the midwest, missing the West terribly. What’s odd though is this sense that I’m looking for something I don’t have. The West is beautiful beyond doubt, and where I sit things are finally thawing out, it’sĀ flat and white. There isn’t much going on really. Like I said, every time I’ve left it was because I was looking for something, and now I realize it’s a sense of home. Here’s the kicker, whether I was in Portland, Duluth, Minneapolis, or stranded in the middle of downtown Fargo due to a storm with a friend’s apartment as the only place to go to, I carried a sense of home with me. I felt comfortable everywhere I went, and sometimes when you’re looking for something all you have to do is sit still long enough to realize you have it.

I hope to go out there again and see far more, other places too, I’ll leave this place for a week, or maybe months or years and it won’t matter. Home at the end of the day is something we carry, a sense of ourselves that is not affected by exterior factors. This is what I hope to remember wherever life may take me.