{Picturesque}

I met you in a photograph

And we didn’t know what to expect

Except pretty faces

-maybe-

Hiding behind shy dispositions

Masking doubt and fear.

And buried six feet under,

With ambivalence and neglect,

Is the cycle of broken love

We hoped to give to each other.

Me // Chicago, IL

{Priceless}

A man can spend every dime

Showering you in sparkle and shine

Telling you how much you’re worth.

But, in your weakest, toughest moments –

You need respect, love, and care

And you consistently wonder: “will he be there?”

As you’re watching how quickly he turns his back on you,

Disappearing into thin air,

The truest fact is now unearthed…

…he’s showing you just how much you’re really worth.

Me // Chicago, IL

{For My Tribe}

SurvivorOrVictim?

LoverOrHater?

WinnerOrLoser?

Enough?

I use my voice to make that choice

Then continue to fight for the voice of others.

With strength and pride

My doubt subsides

And I find myself rising above the water.

The times, though,

They get tough

And I find myself stressed as fuck

Swallowed in the sea of madness.

The people – my tribe – they stand beside

Laying in wait with a warm embrace.

For each moment when my heart panics

Fears

Sheds tears of pain, hurt, and suffering.

A sheath of blanketed arms,

Soothes my manic heart.

The voices of my loved ones nurture my soul;

My spirit swiftly gallops through;

Grateful, once again, Her tribe has broken the fall.

The Queen of the Tribe (R.I.P.) // Gracie aka Grace

Free Floating

Do you ever just want something exciting to happen in your life that’s going to make everything all better and give you purpose? A new passion, maybe? Something to prove to the world that YOU matter? Do you ever wonder: “If only _________ would happen, then I will be the happiest I could ever be.” Or: “I’m going to try this out and see if that’s what will be my calling.”

I have always wanted to be a teacher; I knew I had a passion for teaching and working with kids when I was 16 years old. I became super ambitious, bright-eyed, and eager to overachieve all obstacles along my path to have that dream realized.

As my college graduation date loomed near in 2009, I had feelings of excitement and nervousness, but I was more driven than anything to finally have my dream become a reality. Teacher College had been a great experience and I felt adequately prepared for the real-world education system…whatever that meant.

Oddly enough, Teacher College did not prepare me for how the word “recession” was going to affect my life, which it did immediately upon graduating.

As a result, I didn’t end up getting that dream teaching job because, even if it existed, I got the ole reject button every time I set foot inside of an interview panel. I became so bitter and angry by the overpowering number of rejections that I was defeated enough to give up. I mean…when you hear “NO,” enough times, it gets to you. Not only do you start to doubt yourself, but I needed to start making money somehow.

This is the point in my life when I started Free Floating. I began opening and “closing” chapters, but sometimes it felt like I didn’t really “close” those chapters. So much of my life felt unstructured like having bits and pieces of 5 novels started and blank pages in every single one. I never completed things that I started and wanted to finish because my passion for my dream had been lost. I thought finding a new passion to replace it would finally get rid of that rejection feeling. But, that method just made me feel more lost in the end.

I described myself as “Free Floating.” This is when you feel like you are in the middle of the ocean and there is nothing to grab onto to help you stay afloat when you get tired of treading water, so you just keep treading (just keep treading…just keep treading…).

Every once in a while you try to grab onto things that float by thinking, “This is the thing that’s going to keep me going for while.”

  • “This is the thing that will be my purpose, my passion….my identity.”
  • “This is the thing that I will identify with because…
  • …it’s going to get me followers, make me rich quick, replace my old dream, get me back with me ex by showing him/her that I’m happier than they are, this will impress people from my high school…
  • …THIS is the thing that will MAKE me happy because the last thing didn’t work…and ROSE didn’t make room for me on the door in the middle of icy fucking waters.”
  • “This will bring me home, to shore…and, this will make me whole.”

Whether it’s relationships, jobs, places that you move to, taking on new degrees, or even thinking that you need to have a baby to fix your marriage…filling in voids just for the sake of checking them off your “to-do list,” doesn’t make your needs filled fully. This is why divorce happens, people.

In a Free Floating experience, I found that you would be grabbing ahold of things to find an identity and purpose because others around you seem like they “have it all” and/or you feelings like you are inadequate in some area of your life. You grab a shark as it passes you by; then you become/date/work for that “shark” for a while. Eventually, you just can’t hang on to the shark anymore; maybe it’s swimming too fast, maybe being/dating/working for a shark personality makes you more uptight, anxious, and/or mean to people so your inner spirit starts to speak. You start to feel that icky feeling of awkwardness and you just need to GTFO because deep down inside you know something just ain’t right.

You just let it go (closure or not). You’re free floating…again.

A buoy passes by…maybe that’s more calm. Something or someone to rest your head on. Your next job. A new hobby. Okay. Exciting at first. Ugh…that gets boring real fast. So, you release it…you’re purposeless and passionless once again. Floating…just…floating…

Oh! Oh! Cutie dolphin! That’s totally the playful new guy/girl on Hinge…will he/she be the one to take me to shore?

I have spent many years Free Floating and in my experience the first few months of grabbing onto new ventures evokes an exhilarating feeling. But, after a while the truth of your spirit will begin to surface reminding you that you’re not where you should be – nothing is sticking. Nothing makes sense.

It’s important to be honest, vulnerable, and accepting with yourself at times like that. They can be really depressing. It took me years of therapy and self-searching to finally reach land. I have found self-awareness; I know what it is. It wasn’t easy to find it.

I know how challenging it is get out of that rut; treading water is very exhausting. But, do yourself a favor: finding your passion, purpose, identity, and truth starts from searching inside yourself. START.

If you are currently Free Floating, the first thing that you need to recognize is that you are are free. Always remember that YOU ARE FREE. You are free to make choices in your life. Your spirit will always be true. During this time, you might have let some water get into your lungs and maybe you’ve lost sight of that spirit and where you belong. Don’t let the ocean take control. Instead of letting it drown you in sorrow, be grateful for its presence and listen to the waves while being at peace with the water and the sunset. CHOOSE to swim to shore and hustle your way to the land. SET GOALS. Don’t just wait for opportunities to come to you.

That shark, that buoy, that dolphin. DON’T JUST FLOAT waiting for those things to be there OR for someone to save your life. You have to save you. You can play victim for only so long…then, move on. Swim. You just gotta swim there.

Québec, Canada

Confessions

When I first started seeing my therapist 3 years ago, I was a hot mess. In fact, there are still many sessions when I’m on that couch and I wonder if he changes my diagnoses to “bipolar” or “not sure” after I leave an hour later.

Confession #1: I am proud to admit that I have more good days than bad days; but, having bad days is still something that I proud to admit. Society has this mob mentality that “everyone should be happy all of the time and if you’re not…you’re doing something wrong.”

Confession #2: I started therapy, initially, because of another failed relationship. (Yep…add that notch to the belt). At that time, I was so miserable. That breakup was the final push I needed to get help and I am so glad that I did because I felt so sad and unhappy. I felt like everything in the world (including the relationship) was my fault. I ran into him at a street festival here in Chicago some time later and he asked me, “Are you happy…I mean, are you happy now?”

Confession #3: I realized in that moment that I was happy…in THAT moment. I was happy to be with my friend, I was happy it was a beautiful summer night, I was happy that I ran into my ex in a HOT ASS OUTFIT. But, I was also nervous, uncomfortable, and…just a little bit weird.

Confession #4: My first session after that breakup I said to my therapist, “I just want to runaway, disappear, go someplace else.”

His response to me was, “Okay…you could do that. But, keep in mind that wherever you go…there YOU are.”

When shitty things have happened to me (a breakup, an argument with a loved one, a bad review at work), I feel shitty. I feel sad, miserable, angry, upset. Even worse, those icky feelings…I just can’t shake them. They seem to stick around forever. I always felt like a good solution would be to just runaway from it.

Confession #5: Your problems and emotions will follow you wherever you run to. ALL emotions are valid – including happiness. Expecting sorrow to turn to happiness, magically, if you move from the city to the beach is highly irrational and it’s unfair to our friend Mr. Sorrow to not validate its existence in your world.

Your problems will find you wherever you hide. If you simply avoid the uncomfortable upsets that have interrupted your peace, you cannot be successful in finding happiness and tranquility in your life. Your environment doesn’t create change – you create your change from within.

Selfie // Me

Chill Pills

I’m a high school, Special Education teacher and this year, more than ever, I really needed that holiday break. However, for some reason this year the break seemed to drag on a bit long and I got cabin fever and, like many of my colleagues, I was itching to get back to a “daily grind.”

Going back to the school after break is always the same old routine…

“How was your break?”

“Did you go anywhere?”

“Just relax, did ya?”

The security guard of my hallway was like, “So, what are you thinking about for this summer then, Ms. B? Got any plans?”

The “me” from a couple of years ago {even one year ago} would have anxiously tried to think of something to say like…New Zealand! and/or then tried to make my plans to New Zealand actually happen within the next hour.

However, a flash of New Zealand came and went in a split microsecond only to be followed by the words that actually came out of my mouth which were…

“Nope, just one day at a time.”

About 3 days before my holiday break, my relationship unexpectedly ended and that turned my world upside down. I spent many days and nights in a dark place that I just didn’t expect to be in with a light that I could not find let alone turn on. But, at least there was a light in that place. I just needed to choose to get it glowing…if even the littlest bit of a flicker.

I started practicing mindfulness about 3 years ago, but the idea of living in my present moment is more alive than it has ever been in my life right now.

Honestly, nothing in this world is permanent or predictable. All you can do is practice living freely, meaningfully, and in the now. Don’t take your future for granted by trying to relive the past in a different way and, therefore, missing out on what’s in front of you.

Practice your patience – every thing has its time.

Take a chill pill!

Photo by: @priyankarpatra // Model: Me! // Chicago, IL

{Unprepared}

We weren’t ready for {you + me}

But the universe was throwing us both a break to catch.

So, what do we do now that

We have to throw it back?

I don’t think either of us

Will ever be ready for that.

Paris, France

{Vacancy}

Do you want to go out tonight?

Do you want to stay inside?

Will you me show your soul no matter what we decide?

You see, being with you is my favorite past time.

In wistful daydreams, I see our adventures.

But, in the eve of my sleep, I know for sure…

…that something is missing.

Please let me in.

Let our love in.

Show me your spirit.

Just let me love you.

Custer, SD

{The Wonder of Lonely}

She wonders,

“Why this fear in being alone?”

Alone is why, where, and when reality exists.

From never being alone, she could never really feel, express, or understand what her true desires are.

Loneliness is a blessing that allows her the discovery of:

Self-love,

Concept and true talents.

There’s no way to love, cherish, care for, respect

fully

whole

hearted

without first

standing

alone.

Colorado Hiking