Toxic City

It has been a while since I last wrote. I have been on a much-needed hiatus from social media, electronics in general, and most importantly–I’ve been focusing on my health in every aspect. Experiences that highlight our mortality have an interesting way of making us take a long hard look at ourselves.

 

With my mental, physical and emotional health under a metaphorical microscope, it has certainly been a time of deep introspection and healing. It may have something to do with the kickboxing classes I enrolled in, but I’ve really been embracing my inner Buffy and slaying energetic vampires and toxic situations from my life.

 

And in order for one to heal, one must first locate the root of the ailments within. Every so often, you have to go really deep. The sickness must be treated. It must be removed, sometimes with a shaky hand and scalpel, leaving behind a mound of scar tissue.

 

We all hurt. We all have wounds rooted extensively within ourselves. Sometimes it as though we are scanning the ocean floor for a single spec of sand in order to locate the source of our pain. We are powerful and vast beyond measure, as the sea.

 

While at the beach the other day, I watched closely as people took dips within the depths of the source of all there is. As some floated effortlessly with the waves, others took tumbles and lost their shorts in the process. I noticed that it was only when those were not paying any attention to the swell heading their direction or tried to fight the waves, a wipeout would take place.

 

And I couldn’t help but think, this isn’t much different from life, is it? If we are un-present, unaware, and try to resist what is beyond our control, we are guaranteed to wash away. Some of us, never again to return to the surface.

 

It seems we are amongst a time of abysmal addiction. Addicted to our phones, addicted to suffering, addicted to substances designed to make us feel nothing at all as a result of such suffering. With this realization, my heart breaks. Shatters, like pieces of the most delicate china thrown against a brick wall.

 

The traumatic truth that not all of us are equipped to navigate such feels. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves at times. And in those moments, it is our moral duty to love the fuck out of ourselves every chance we get. To love the fuck out of those who are hurting. To set clear, energetic boundaries and have no remorse when untangling cords of venomous vultures of our joy. But, the ability to show up in such ways first begins with the capacity to show up for yourself.

 

I am currently in this interesting place of being addicted to being present. Addicted to learning. Addicted to showing up more. Addicted to healing deeper. Addicted to accepting my completion, embracing my wholeness. Returning to Source.

 

Because at the end of the day, as the sun sets and the ocean glistens like a field of diamonds, that is all that matters. You. Your happiness. And the connection to everything.

 

 

 

 

Image by Pietro Tenuta

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The Ever-Perplexing Paradox of Existence… and Coachella

 

I have just returned from Coachella. These are words I never imagined would dance upon my lips. But, life is funny like that, isn’t it? Things change. You change. Everything is changing.

 

I never once thought I would live in Los Angeles, either. Yet— here I am. I was always under the impression LA was full to the brim of soulless, shirtless narcissistic toolbags.  This notion was based merely on a hunch, having never actually spent much time there.

 

Since moving to LA, I can now confirm this rumor as truth. Though, there is, in fact, a lot of particularly cool shit here capable of elevating your dream life to the next level.

 

And to be quite honest, the same goes for Coachella. Trust me, I know what you’re thinking.  “Ew. What a basic fecking betch!” But I’ll be the first to admit that the infinite sea of poor sweatshop fashion choices tickled my gag reflexes.

 

I watched a woman eat a bag of chips with a fork. I nearly had an aneurysm from the infinite selfie captures. The monstrosity of litter left behind actually made me weep.

 

People were entitled as fuck. Someone eloquently told my girlfriend they were “gonna fuck [her] up” if she didn’t “get the fuck out of the way.” Stay classy, Coachella!

 

This is the type of shit one would expect from attending such an event, perhaps the greatest gathering of trust funds the world has ever seen. Yet, despite the next level of fuckery, no ‘bos were thrown.

 

What did fuck me up in the best of ways, was the overwhelming amount of women and people of color speaking their truth like absolute royalty. It was a strange and beautiful thing to see such diversity in what seemingly was the epicenter of white privilege.

 

In these bizarre times, it seems the empire has fallen. Basic bitches were de-throned. Those once forced to the back of the bus are now forerunners of a movement of empowerment, making and changing history right before our eyes.

 

Leading this crusade is no other than the Queen Bee herself, Beyonce. Yes, I said it. Judge me, hipsters. But- if you saw what I saw that spectacular Saturday night, you wouldn’t dare.

 

The drumline, the twirling, the twerking… the stank faces! Few things excite me more than a beautiful woman unafraid to look ugly. My southern belle-self was transported back to Mardi Gras and football season and I have never been so proud to be from Louisiana. Who dat?! Bee dat!

 

In addition to being utterly mesmerized, an unsolved mystery was decoded this night. I now know the source of Hurricane Katrina to be undoubtedly rooted in Beyonce’s wild and whirling luscious locks. I have never seen anything like it! I was blown away, literally!

 

But more importantly, the testament to black magic and power was of a caliber I have also never had the privilege to bear witness to. The most creative and talented people, all born with less privilege than I, simply because of the color of their skin, were on the biggest stage with an astronomical audience, owning their power more than most… more than any.

 

One would likely not expect this from a stereotypical event such as Coachella. But the thing about stereotypes is they begin to lose their power when the world is found to be more complex than the stereotype would suggest. And that simply is the joy of life. Everything is a paradox. Even Coachella.

 

Remember that, the next time you choose to spew hate towards something you may not understand. Because rarely are things exactly as we may think. Tap into your inner queen and ask, what would Beyonce do?

 

As the Queendom rises and tears drip from my cheeks, I am ecstatic to be a woman amongst these potent times. It is our duty as women, as people, to share our truth and empower ourselves and others. In moments of self-doubt and negative talk, look yourself in the mirror and repeat,  “I am the dragon breathing fire. Beautiful mane I’m the lion.” Now go, and release your roar! Don’t be afraid to get dirty, because “a little sweat ain’t never hurt nobody.”

 

Precious Moments

 

My inner peace, as much to be achieved whilst living in Los Angeles, was hijacked by a bizarre sound, jarring to the nerves. It was distant but immensely invasive. The regularity of these reverberations was truly startling. They certainly weren’t fireworks or motorcycle braps.

My mind immediately started to think the worst. Anxiety consumed me. Is that an automatic rifle or some shit? What the fuck?! What do I do if there is, in fact, some crazy person on the loose? Holy shit.

How did all those kids feel when they discovered their terror was a reality? I can’t imagine. But then again, I kinda just did. The feelings; tangible sensations, consuming my being were too much, trippy to the touch.

We know all this horrendous shit is happening around us at all times, yet do we ever stop to really empathize? Or are we too damn busy over-exerting our thumbs from behind an illuminated screen with someone named Larry or Debra about how Jesus says we need more guns?

Life is weird. And us humans are really fucked up. This can be a terrifying truth to accept. Yet, there’s always a flip side–the ever-perplexing paradox of our human experience.

This is why we absolutely MUST practice compassion. Take a damn breath every once in a while. Tell people you love them every chance you get. Be in the motherfucking moment. Because frankly, that’s all we got.

 

 

Image by Gabriel  Levesque

LA Mornings

Another day waking up in paradise. And by paradise, I mean arising to the sound of a 4 pile car crash outside my window, hours before my alarm intended. Living across the street from one of the Pacific Northwest’s busiest roadways doesn’t have any perks, just lots of irks, like constant screeching and hollering, a thick film of pollution that consumes every surface in your home– like a secretion from some dark lord– and a constant reminder that everyone is always going somewhere, perpetuating a steadfast state of anxiety.

As my one year anniversary with Los Angeles quickly approaches, I find myself asking, “What the fuck are you doing here?” I know, in theory, why I moved here. But nothing of that sort has quite gone to plan. I guess that’s the way life works, huh? I know, though- I often forget, there is a shit ton of magic happening here. There’s also a shit ton of shit.

I’m partially convinced LA is some kind of purgatory, like a hellacious Disneyland for insane adults. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. But the question is, can you? Should you? And if not here, where?! THAT is the ever-perplexing question that continues to rear its ugly head, time and time again.

Is there a place that exists sans such torture? What does it look like? Or, is that place just really inside of us after all? As my coffee starts to kick in, this is what I’m convinced to be true. We’ve seen some bedazzled Pinterest quote a time or two telling us that everything we seek is inside ourselves. That’s where the real nuggets of wisdom are. Somewhere, inside of me, there is a crystal clear ocean, with the perfect ocean breeze and a steady flow of piña coladas, preferably served via bronzed babes in minimal bikinis.

Am I alone in this thinking? If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be? What is stopping you? What would it look like if we helped each other get there?

Think about this, as I go rinse off from the coffee sweats currently brewing inside my love’s fuzzy robe. And remember, “darling, the moon is still the moon in all of its phases.”

Pussy Power House: Why We Need More Events Like This

Recently I had the ultimate pleasure of attending Pussy Power House,  the vulvacious brain child of Corinne Loperfido–a sensuous haven where you are given a golden ticket to delve deep into the depths of your truest and most authentic sexy self…quite literally. Or shall, I say… cliterally! Yasss mama!

Upon entering, you must first journey through a labyrinth of sorts amid one of LA’s most kick-ass shops,  Pskaufman. There’s cool art, plants, tons of shoes, and even more beautiful people. Under the floorboards and around the corner, you arrive to a room full of all your dreams come true. Seriously. The smell of leather and cannabis tickle your nose. Pot Priestess, Lizzy Jeff, greets you with her radiant smile and a wondrous assortment of creations infused with love and 420 magic. Elixirs, herbal blends, tinctures. All the things. All delicious. At this point, you might be thinking, “Damn, that’s good. How could it get better?” But, don’t you fret sweetheart, it does.

Nearly every inch of the space is full of handmade art, all made by badass babes, all ready to take your pussy-powerdom to the next level. In the back corner, there is a gold mine of literature all dedicated to learning more about how amazing your vagina is and how wonderful it is to be a woman. You can pick up an instrument to play if you’re feeling in tune. You can learn how to make your own toothpaste and other apothecary goodies. You can sip tea out of cute little cups. You can get lost in a painting. I think I came and went cross-eyed from looking at one of Dana Peters’ pieces.  You can try on a magical kimono and get a hand massage. Curious as to what’s in the cards for your future? You can find out. There’s a lady there that can tell you such things. I mean it.

Personally, these things are all my most favorite. All of which, I generally have to seek out on their own, and sometimes have a difficult time doing so. But thanks to Pussy Power House, I have access to all of my beloveds in one charming place. There’s pussy. Weed. Chocolate. Music. Pussy Poppin. Art. Education. Activism. A strong sense of community. All under one roof. All for you. I mean, cum on… what more could you want?  The vibes are high, y’all. And most likely, so are you.

I have been blessed enough to attend many of Corinne’s events and they are all masterly curated. This queen knows what’s up in every sense of the term and wants to share that knowledge with those who are willing to listen and hungry to stay woke.  Despite these events being unique in their own way, there is always one common theme: empowerment. By attending these events, you are not only given the opportunity to educate yourself about your body, and soul, but you are exposed to other boss ass witches who are all on that same tip of loving themselves and wanting to cultivate that further. To be surrounded in a room of like-minded women, coming together to support one another and share their gifts is nothing short of magic.

Some of you may have the misconceived notion this is just some kind of lesbian gang bang where we all pull out our snatches and bash men. I may have a lady crush on every one of the featured artists, but it’s a misandry free zone. All are accepted here. And all are guaranteed to walk away feeling a little more in love with themselves. In these crazy, fucked up times we need this sense of unity and liberation more than ever. How often can you say you went out for a night on the town and left feeling better than when you arrived?  So, if you have the pleasure of attending one of these events sometime in the near future, do it. Treat yoself. You deserve it.

Viva la vulva!

Art by Alyssa Morang-Pavlock 

Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride

 

Music, like love, is one of those things that has a way of leaving an everlasting imprint on the depths of our soul. It’s there for us when no one else is. It’s there to conduct the vibes for some of our greatest times. Music is a means for us to express ourselves; it carries our minds to other realms, to allow us to feel everything or nothing at all. Music serves as a means of teleportation, since jet packs aren’t a thing yet.

All lovers of music know this. When we listen to our favorite album, sometimes we imagine ourselves in these environments that only our wildest dreams could think up. We start to feel the wind on our face, start to smell the trees or ocean breeze. Enough people must have experienced this, too, and finally got together and said, “hey, let’s create an entirely immersive experience for the music aficionado.” Of course, concerts alone can achieve this at times. But, this is merely grazing the surface. Music festivals take this to an entirely different level. They immerse all of our senses and take us on the ride of our lives.

Festivals have this way of blowing our minds completely open and imagining things we never once before dreamt possible. It opens our eyes to the infinite possibility of this existence and leaves us wanting to push the boundaries like never before. Wait. What? Did I just see a unicorn riding a pirate ship whilst eating a veggie burger and listening to my favorite DJ with thousands of my closest friends? Yep. You sure did. This is a dream you never have to wake up from. It is reality. And it’s awesome.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Festivals are no walk in the park. They can be uncomfortable. And at times, downright miserable. They are typically held amongst rugged terrain, extreme temperatures, dust and wind and all the things in between. You’re sleep deprived. You lost a shoe and your car keys. You’re sweating your ass off one minute and freezing the next. You have dirt in places you wish you didn’t. But it is in this uncomfortability that we are forced to step outside of ourselves, crawl out of our shell a bit, let our guards down and just dive in, head first, to the weirdness. For it is at the end of our comfort zone that life begins. And it is in these moments when we can surprise ourselves the most.

In fact, my first time ever visiting California was to attend Lightning in a Bottle. I was turning 21 and wanted to treat myself to an adventure. I decided to take a Greyhound bus from New Orleans to Los Angeles, where I then hitchhiked my way to the festival. I had no idea what to expect, but I was ready to experience whatever was thrown my way. And my-oh-my what an adventure that was!

I saw things I never knew existed. I heard music that made my body move in ways it never had before. I experienced anxiety when throwing my garbage away because I didn’t know which part of my meal to put into which bin. Reigning from the land of all things fried, I had never heard of compost. The people were breathtakingly beautiful. The food was deliciously fresh. Everyone treated you as family. No matter where you came from, no matter your story, you were home. My mind, body, and soul had been totally set aflame.

I started to completely change my mentality and way of life after that. And no, this was not as a result of the intake of substances. This was pure observation turned into extreme motivation and inspiration. I wanted everyone I knew to experience this. This was the future. This was hope for humankind. I started thinking, if we can live our everyday lives the ways we conduct ourselves at festivals, what a beautiful world this would be. The sense of community, the love, the self-expression. Wow! All the things, full force, in all its positive glory.

The Do Lab are masters of this craft. Their events, particularly Lightning in a Bottle, are seamless. It is beautiful. It is damn near perfect. Despite their massive growth in recent years, they still manage to uphold their ethos. A place where music, art, sustainability, and intention fuse together, magnificently. People come from all over the world to experience the magic they create and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. LIB has a special place in my heart, as it was the first west coast festival I ever experienced.

I loved it so much I kept coming back. It became an annual pilgrimage of sorts for me, a soul pilgrimage. After graduating college and moving abroad, I eventually found myself yearning for that sense of community and inspiration immersion I had yet to experience anywhere else. With time, that desire increased and I decided the only way to cure my craving was to move back to the states and make the west coast my permanent home. And here I am.

Dozens upon dozens of festivals under my belt and hundreds of new best friends later, I am reminded time and time again that humans are awesome. When we come together with the right mindset, we have the capability to create really, incredibly beautiful stuff. Music makes the world go ‘round. Festivals show us that we can, in fact, live in a world based on acceptance and connection. If you don’t believe me, find out for yourself. In the words of Hunter S. Thompson, buy the ticket, take the ride.