Don’t worry if they don’t like you, worry when you despise yourself. In a world where you’re taught that pretty fits inside some prefabricated box, grab some scissors and create your own unique shape, one that your most comfortable in. Leave room for growth and femininity, as you navigate the highs and lows. Do not cower, quiver or apologize for being a strong woman with a voice, dream and vision. Do not change because someone makes you feel dirty or uncomfortable with the way you dress, wear your hair, or the sky-high pink stilettos you pair with a camouflage skirt. Personally, I prefer some kicking ass and taking names combat boots. In time you’ll learn to sit silently with your body in a crowded room without flinching, self-confidence your trusted companion. The gut will never lie, abuse or desert you. Nor will the truth. It won’t always be easy, the arduous journey or the various compromises being a woman presents. It won’t always be easy loving yourself. It’ll be hard, and there will be mountains of shame and self-doubt. You’re only human, girlfriend. Be authentically you. The you that has earned a well educated, thoughtful, and respected opinion is your sexiest asset. Be kind, but firm and take nobody’s bullshit. When a man tries to violate your sacred body, or whistles when you walk past, you have the absolute right to say nope, not today, not ever. And, fuck you. To the fathers and mothers who raise decent, respectful daughters and sons, I commend you. To the fathers, mothers and others who enable cowards, perverts and predators, I say fuck you. Fuck you for excusing disgusting behavior, and locker room banter bullshit. You, beautiful girl, did nothing wrong. Never apologize for being the lady you are, or the awkward young girl still becoming. Every single time a woman annihilates Pandora’s square box concealed with lies, abuse, rocks and shame, she frees others to do the same. You are worthy, and your story does not end with blame or shame. It begins anew, your body and innocence, reclaimed.
When life throws shit at you, and most assuredly it will, remember this.
I see you.
You are stronger than you think.
You are kinder, graceful, brighter, smarter, funnier, richer (and not monetarily), and unique.
On the days I forget and think manic depression will most definitely kill me, I dig deep. Who the hell knows where or when life’s reservoirs will dry up.
I don’t, neither do you.
Then, I remember. I am a goddamn, strong ass warrior and there are people who need, support and love me, same as you.
It’s okay to feel down, overwhelmed, anxiety ridden.
We all do, even the ‘normal ones.’
It’s okay to feel all the feels, cry, scream and curse.
I understand it is a hell of a lot harder living with a mental illness.
I was normal once, too.
You know what?
I’m no different than you.
You have your own set of problems and heartache, so remember – I got you.
I see you, I feel you and I’m rooting for you.
In this shiteous, chaotic, beautiful place that is the world right now find a little piece of joy in your heart.
Take care of it and watch it explode.
There is beauty in pain, and healing in holding on.
Surviving, thriving, living.
That’s life, that’s me, and that’s you.
You are the miracle. Rinse, and repeat.
Hate, resentment and anger have left the room.
It is after all, just a life.
No bigger, no better.
I have breathed more shades, more pain, more joy, more crazy, more fear, more sadness than I thought possible to carry in this one body.
Death, song and daydreaming are my respites; temporary escapes from this swirling madness.
I inhale deeply, the rich, sweet smells of nature flooding my senses.
Music coursing the veins like venom.
I wait for signs of immortality, silly I know, settling for small inklings of hope.
I look down towards the dirt knowingly; seasons must change.
Time only cares how well we lived, and how much we’ve gifted away.
Haunting fading voices become chilling echoes of emotion, as new blossoms of possibility push their way through.
God must be in control of something, I pray to the sky and the sun and the music that lingers sweetly on the tongue, this underlying beauty and all her seasonal shifts will carry on.
We are nature’s finest and saddest creation, faceless shadows over time in all her mysterious pain and glory.
I don’t know how my story will end.
I can’t see it, but I can feel the sun inside the melodies of another.
I soak up the light on my face, my bones, on my skin breathing in the sultry colors.
Summer hangs out around the corner filling the abyss, mending the dagger chards of the scarred and broken hearted.
In my dreams, I already forgive you dying, leaving me here to navigate how many steps I must take in this imperfect body.
And I forgive myself too, for understanding far too well the aching need for the quiet night, and dark, brooding silence.
Some respite from the tortures of feeling too much.
And yet, I don’t stop breathing.
I am alive.
I wait patiently for the perfect cosmic moment, when the stars align sprinkling the earth with your beautiful essence, wisdom and woe.
You are all the raw diamonds left behind, and I catch goose bumps of you in between the summertime rain, on the winds of time.
You are home, and I am here, happy, hanging out for now.
Image Copyright: Tim Hale
Young girl filled with big dreams it’s fine to carry on, all grown even when you cannot do it alone.
There will be others just like you who’ve survived the awkward teenager years, pimples, bruises and broken hearts.
They’ll care enough to remind you how perfectly precious you are.
It’s okay to fall or fuck up; when you’re doing your best.
Life will get harder than you can manage, but none of us carries the burden or heavy lifting alone.
I’ll be right here to remind you to soar.
I’ll be your gravity when you’re down in the dumps, spiraling out of your comfort zone.
Silly girl, your dreams will become quieter with age but never less full.
All the colors are yours to suit your mood.
I love you colorblind, and the blackest of Neptune’s blues.
You are prettier than the atmosphere three billion light years forgotten from here.
I will whisper in your ear when you’re fast asleep to always, always care.
To emote, to feel, to share.
To gift away love.
I hope you always, always care more.
Never, ever less.
No matter the cost.
Or the climate.
There are no grand secrets to surviving tragedy; it’s okay to experience pain and fear.
I will be here to keep your feet planted and your arms outstretched towards the stars, while tears cascade down your cheeks.
There will be many joyful, magic moments to sustain you.
Living is pretty even when it hurts.
You are loved because of your flaws; more than rainbows, puppies, unicorns and silly human things.
I am gravity and I am here to help you stay grounded to the earth.
You are the cosmic miracle of constellations and suns and moons colliding and exploding in the stratosphere.
You are the happy accidental human, dying since way before birth.
There is a lack of elegance, sexiness and mystery missing in photographs of women today, especially celebrities and the overexposed, blasé way they brand themselves and how they are portrayed through the lens.
Social media and fashion have made women seem like untouchable objects, loud, fake and even desperate at times.
The “look at me” culture screaming for more and more attention.
I have always had a more hate than love relationship with modeling and fame.
Yes, I realize that sounds trite.
I was a model, white and privileged.
But I was a young, impressionable girl, who today is a woman with decades away from the spotlight by choice and a fresh perspective.
I wonder when future generations look back at images of women will they be curious, or exhausted by the sheer volume?
I can only appreciate now the mystique of a three am shoot in Milan,
a lost era and the simple gesture of adjusting a dress, caught and frozen in time by the keen eye of a sharp photographer.
Women are magical creatures, real and raw and the most beautiful when unaware of themselves.
They do not need a movement to define their power; they have been beautiful, raw, strong, passionate warriors for centuries and centuries birthing ideals, children, and nurturing souls.
Less is more, so do not ever undervalue or compare yourself to someone else’s million followers.
Find your own unique way, and remember true beauty is forever more.
All I ever wanted was for you to be happy.
Without the clothes, the bling, the boys, all the heavy stuff.
To be deliriously happy without watching the tick-tock of the clock, afraid that your time for bliss had past.
It has not.
You deserve to feel joy, wonder, love and laughter until your heart beat’s quiet.
All I ever wanted was to see you smile wide and large, for you to feel the beats of your most favorite, carefree, wild and meaningful dance songs.
All I ever wanted was to make you a joyful and triumphant playlist to drown out the bullshit, the chatter and the background noise.
All I ever wanted was for you to forget about the world and her woes for a minute, and dance around in your big girl briefs out of the shadows and away from the dark.
Alone, and A-ok on your own, little darlin.’
Happiness is allowed and encouraged, it’s alright to wear your pain on the inside out, like an armor of loud love.
The gospel choir sings and claps jubilee come Sunday afternoon.
You can’t help yourself, you join in, a little lighter than yesterday.
There’s collective faith vibrating in the room.
You and you and you and me, right here and now, feeling free and a hint of happy, touching your fingers while tapping your toes.
Don’t ever let go of the soundtrack of a kind life that fills your heart and replenishes the soul.
I’m done with the trolls and their hollow, spewing hateful opinions.
I am over the ambivalence.
I’m done with people who say they don’t care about politics, only the value of their stocks, guns and the art of the deal.
I’m done with friends and family who live under the crowded veil of ignorance.
I’m done with the bullies, the posturing, the greased palms, the narcissists.
We won’t recover from the great divide or reign of terror.
I’m happy I don’t have kids who’ll have to clean up the hate, greed and arrogance.
Will there still be a world with flowers in bloom and clean oceans to traverse, or will we be buried under a mushroom cloud fast forgotten?
If I could I would foster ten million lost children from the poorest, farthest, gang infested, malnourished corners of this earth.
I would shelter them all and tell them everyday how truly beautiful, strong, brave and tolerant they are.
Every single day, I would tell them over and over they were safe and loved showering them with pride filled kisses.
I would raise them up to be kind, curious, doers, artists, empaths, dancers, deciders, givers and leaders admired for their tolerance and passion.
I’m done with the assholes, “adulting.”
I’m not done with the belief that all children are born good.
I’m not done with our best and wisest hope for the future.
I’m not done with them; I’m down with that.
It seems there’s a whole lot of hate, shame and blame going around along with a whole lot of judgment.
Here’s the thing, I only care about what side you’re on politically because I care deeply about all human beings. Shocker, I know. I try not to care, not to get involved, to go about my day oblivious.
I can’t help myself; I can’t avoid the man literally standing on the corner waiting at the food bank, who won’t make eye contact because he’s embarrassed. He’s embarrassed, can you imagine?
Well, I can. I am not homeless, I have a very comfortable roof over my head but I am middle class, and perhaps even what’s considered below the poverty line. Because that is my current situation and that’s all right. I have been rich, and trust me life is not much different. The only true commodity that has changed is time. I have more of it now, go figure. I have more time to think about the atrocities that are happening in the world.
Sometimes I wish I didn’t, but then perhaps I would walk right past that man completely indifferent. Can you imagine?
I wonder, would Trump see him? No, he would tell him in a tweet to ‘get a job’. I’m not worried about the red state or the blue state; I am terrified of the ugliness, immoral man and his cronies leading our country. My country, my parents’ country, and my grandparents who were indeed proud immigrant dreamers. Your country.
This is our country. The United States of America. How did we become so divided, heading backwards in time? We don’t have to look so far back when America was a proud, envied nation, Camelot. A time when we were not a global farce, an embarrassment. I can’t explain the logistics or the inner workings of politics; it’s way over my head.
But people, yeah I know people. After traveling the world immersed in other cultures, I developed impeccable bullshit instincts. I am a serious, first-rate bullshit meter reader.
And Trump is the ultimate bullshitter, con artist and grifter. He doesn’t care that women are being sexually assaulted, he doesn’t care about the dreamers, the mass shootings, he doesn’t care about the mentally ill, homeless, elderly, or that all lives really matter, black, gay, poor, female. He doesn’t care about the environment. (Global warming isn’t real, remember).
He doesn’t care, plain and simple. I call bullshit. He cares about money and power. He cares about narcissism and taking as much as he can with his opportunistic, dirty little fingers. He cares about divide and conquer. He wants to tear us apart, make us hate each other. We are so much better than hate. We are so much better than judgment, pointing fingers.
When you tell me you don’t care about politics, you’re telling me you’re indifferent, that you don’t care about everyone’s right to life. When you tell me your stocks are ‘the highest they’ve ever been,” I say how about that recent nosedive? Did you lose precious dollars?
How about pride? What about honor? Decency?
I ask myself every day, even though I can be selfish and wrapped up, did I do one good thing, something kind? Did I show respect, because that is how I was raised. Did I help others without showboating and broadcasting, puffing up my chest? I’m not famous, powerful or important. I’m just a girl, a grown up woman who’s been around the block and seen some horrible things. Some not so nice, but some positively mind blowing beautiful things too.
Trust me I have a big enough mouth, with my very own well-informed opinion.
I hope that Trump never finds himself outside a soup kitchen, head bowed in shame, penniless and broken. (Actually, I kinda do). Humility is the ultimate life-lesson, as well as sacrifice and service. I know in my heart that some good, decent human will be on the other side with a hot meal and a smile, nodding and happy to serve him.
Yes, I am a feminist. Yes, I am a liberal. I have never been prouder to be a liberal who believes everyone deserves the same respect, decency and empathy. That is my God-given right, freedom and my choice.
Let’s cast politics aside.
If you are desensitized over mass shootings and more preoccupied with Entertainment News, you are not listening at all.
I’m begging you not to turn away from a corrupt government, greed, and the narcissistic, evil billion dollar machine that is the NRA .
Violent acts happen every day.
I do not want or need a gun in my home, schools, concert halls, or vacation suites.
They won’t protect me, they won’t protect you.
They’ll leave you riddled with bullet holes, tears and blood spilt on your shoes.
To the motherless child who grieves the loss of her child by the barrel of a loaded gun, I’m sorry.
My prayers mean a goddamn, fucked up nothing.
I promise you are not a fifty second afterthought blip on the tube.
Or some shallow, vapid, ridiculous Trump tweet.
You are pain.
You are love and loss.
You are heaving sobs on Sunday afternoon, and hollow grave visits.
You are lies and propaganda, buried six feet deep.
You are humanity gone haywire and modern time’s biggest failure.
Borrow my voice, my disgust and shame too, so that we might stand strong, peacefully united and stop ripping each other apart.
Future generations will breed empathy, novelty and grow flower gardens from empty shells strong.