So the seasons shifted, there was another gorgeous full moon and my birthday happened; one right after the other. These events combined left me feeling quite powerful and I believe the energy flowing throughout me is more present than ever.
As I age further, I never know what exactly to do in celebration of completing another year of life in this crazy world. What I’ve found is that all that really matters is appreciating what you have. I embrace all the little things that make me smile and take comfort in knowing that I am living to my fullest.
I decided to give myself a full week devoted to myself and of course, with the help of all the wonderful people in my life, had a blast. Live folk music, dancing, yoga, running, lots of wine, beach time and an absolute perfect park picnic by the water overlooking the Manhattan skyline.
Another year of learning. Another year of living.
Another year of me.
Grateful for all that is. Hopeful for what lies ahead.
Sometimes you need to slow down and appreciate just how far you have come.
That’s exactly what I made time for this morning. Sitting at a french cafe in the heart of Chelsea, I reflected on the past few weeks. There is definite evidence of progress. I have been participating in and enjoying Bikram yoga for close to three months now. My friend and I signed up for a 5k Summer series in Prospect Park. Every other Wednesday throughout the summer we will run a 5k. Ran one so far and although it was rough getting back into it, I felt proud to be doing something I love again. Running always makes me feel so strong. I made a commitment to cut sugar out of my diet and successfully went a whole three weeks without a drop of it. During that time I also consumed no alcohol and while I did have a few beers after my detox was over in honor of celebration, I have decided to quit drinking almost indefinitely. I don’t feel that need to escape that I once did which alcohol used to provide me and mostly just feels like I am poisoning my body whenever I do drink. I always feel worse. I only want to participate in activities that are beneficial to my body; I want to be good to myself. I established a personal doctor again and have been in for a few visits, it has been years since I’ve paid any attention to those important details of my life. This morning I was informed that I lost 12 pounds and drastically improved my blood pressure since my previous visit. I can only continue to work hard at boosting my health. Because all that matters to me is that I am healthy; physically, mentally and spiritually.
Aside from the focus on my health and wellness, I also recently received a raise after I obtained my New York City Health Academy certification in Food Safety. It feels good to be able to buy a few more groceries and not work so hard to pay the bills. I’m also looking forward to being able to travel a bit more often, so long as I can afford it.
I’m close to a month away from a trip home. I cannot wait to see my loved ones, have some fun and laughter and recharge my spirit.
I believe that life is mostly about timing. Sometimes things happen at all the wrong moments. But then again, sometimes it all works out. I feel strongly that there are amazing things about to happen in my future. I’m not waiting around or anything. My everyday adventures are more than I could ask for. I have the best friends, most supportive and loving family, an open mind, a big heart and the desire to always experience new things constantly and learn as much as I can. I believe the universe is taking good care of me as well as all of the hard work I have been doing.
Oh and it has officially been one year since I moved back to New York. I am still so in love with this amazingly versatile city.
I am a very lucky and grateful woman.
I guess we can call this a rough draft. I am sure to re-visit this at a later date but for now I just need to get it out. Because I feel very strongly on the topic.
I wish to discuss some things very important to me. Body image and respect.
First off, body image, especially in today’s society. Let me first say that I am pleased with the direction that the everyday depiction of a real woman’s body is headed these days. I see more and more full-figured woman in the media, advertisements, tv-shows, etc than ever before. But I believe there is still a real problem with society’s expectations of what size we should be or how we should look.
I believe much more emphasis should be put on the health aspect instead of “weight” and “size”. I’ve battled with my “weight” for a large portion of my life. Now that I have spent the last 5 years or so learning what it means to be “healthy”, I wish someone had introduced me to this lifestyle sooner. Instead of drinking slim-fast at age 9 (which is just fucking horrible now that I look back on it) or basically starving myself and taking very dangerous diet pills at age 21, I could have just learned how to eat real, whole, healthy foods and just be good to my body.
These days I am so proud of my body and I have no problems saying that. I embrace every little imperfection and make an effort to appreciate my whole self with every glance in the mirror. Maybe it’s wisdom that’s come with aging, maybe it’s so many empowering conversations I’ve had with my close female friends, or perhaps it’s all those times I spent changing in locker rooms finally realizing that no one is perfect and we all have our faults. I don’t know exactly but I am thankful for everything I’ve learned about myself.
Here is the problem. Now that we are approaching warmer temperatures, everyday clothing choices are no doubt more revealing. Especially when you’ve previously been bundled up with 3 or 4 layers. In all neighborhoods that I’ve resided in since my move to NYC, there seems to always be those men. The ones who stand around in groups just waiting for a girl in a skirt, dress, shorts, whatever to pass by. Then the filthy, disgusting, inappropriate, grotesque and degrading comments begin. It could be anything from a statement, a whistle, a look, a kiss noise or beyond. Either way, it’s uncomfortable and unwanted. This happens every year and at times it actually makes me question what clothing I choose to wear for the day. I think if I were in any other city I would be quicker to speak up and express my dislike of this. But to be on the safe side, I usually do everything I can to modify my path so that I do not have to come in direct contact with these men. This is difficult in a city where I rely on walking and public transit for all my travels.
I do not deserve to be treated in this way nor does any other woman. The lack of respect makes me sick and I wish I knew how to change it. Just because I am tall, have long legs and decide to wear shorts for the day, doesn’t give some creepy guy the right to say derogatory things to me.
So I vow to wear whatever I want to this summer. Without worrying about what disrespectful comment I might receive. Because it is my body and my freedom to be me. I will never again let someone else make me feel bad about that.
With the twinkle of both Freedom towers visible just outside my third-story apartment window, I feel things inside of me burning. My insides are on fire yet again. I guess when all is lost sometimes that is when you have the most to be thankful for. Feeling everything completely is the best thing for me. Letting it all consume me in every which way. It’s important that I face it. I embrace this newfound realism. The dreamer in me needs a rest sometimes. Everything will not end in rainbows and roses. I will not get all the things that I want. But every broken dream will teach me more about myself.
It’s those games we play. We tell each other we want what we have when really, we want something else. We settle for things because we run out of steam to keep up the chase. Life is exhausting. Especially among all the wicked. Are things ever as they seem?
Those lights are calling to me, always singing me to sleep.
At least I have my city.
If you are not lucky enough to feel it already, one day there is going to be that person that comes along and changes everything. You might view the world differently. Parts of you will change. You will understand things you never did before. You will learn more about yourself because of this person than you every imagined was possible. Until then, enjoy the ride.
For me, this brand new year is about living in the moment as well as challenging myself beyond my previously established limits. I have never felt so alive and open to so many possibilities. Sure I have always held the power to do anything I desired, but I continued to hold back. I was afraid of where I might end up.
I’ve started a project that is incredibly important to me. For months now, I’ve considered the idea of traveling abroad to teach English. I finally signed up for the TESOL online certification and began completing the lessons. I’m filled with a new sense of importance and purpose. I’m not yet sure which country I am the most interested in relocating to but beyond excited for the adventure.
Understanding my true self, not who I think I should be, has always been a daunting task. As I progress in life and continue to meet new people and hear their own stories I feel as though it helps me understand the world in a different way. I’m not sure why but I felt completely misunderstood from a very young age. Being so disconnected caused me to fall into quite a few stages of self-isolation over the last several years. I’m starting to believe that the part of me that used to feel so awkward is slowly disappearing. I suspect this newfound confidence happened for a few reasons.
Living in New York City as a single female gives me a lot of independence on its own. But honestly I’ve gained so much strength and perspective from all the strong females I have met along the path and who I have the pleasure of working with on a daily basis. Most importantly and thankfully, these wonderful women are my friends. These newfound friendships have really opened my eyes to the world around me. It seems females are always wanting to compete against, be better than, prettier, smarter, richer or get the same guy as each other. Once you learn to respect each other, hopefully all that unnecessary jealousy, anger and pettiness goes away. I know it has for me.
Life is one hundred percent what you make of it. You always have a choice. I choose to make mine wonderful.
Tonight I walked the streets of New York, uptown where tall buildings surround your every move. Holiday music and brightly lit displays stimulate the senses. It seems I always fall back into that feeling, the same one I first felt overcome me back in May of 2010. I’ll never forget it as long as I live. I was certain from the moment I arrived; this is where I was meant to be. I had waited so long to feel this way. I finally belonged. I was home.
I feel grateful to occasionally have that same “new” feeling radiate through me. After all this time, the gleam remains. My love for this city still burns rapidly.
The universe always seems to take care of me in its own ways as long as I continue to believe. Things just work out. A little bit of luck is always looming not too far behind. Independence suits me but I still know when to ask for help. Most importantly, I’ve become quite the problem solver. Things that used to have me anxiety-ridden or perhaps in tears now simply presents something new to research, strategize and conquer. I look forward to every new token of knowledge and experience. It’s kind of like playing a video game. But its real life 🙂
Officially I will be a New Yorker for at least another year. I have committed to that via my new lease that just began. I am excited beyond belief and I know this shall be the best year ever. I can’t help but smile.
I wish there were a way for me to fully capture this moment in which I am currently existing, at least so I could share the feeling with someone; anyone really. Jazz in the background, candles lit, safely snuggled under my heated blanket while I lounge here to document this next stage of me.
Rewind back to last year this time and I was living in a beautiful world called Columbus, Ohio. My job was high-stress, friends were scarce, resources limited and I needed something big to happen. For me. I was longing for a new outlet. I made the decision back then that I would someday run a half-marathon. Running was still somewhat new to me at that point but undoubtedly something I had grown to love. I pushed myself so very hard for the next 6 months, although not quite as intensely as I had hoped for. So instead, this last May, I ran my first 5k. One of the most rewarding moments of my life.
Fast forward to now. My wonderful friend Johanelli and I have decided to really start training for a Half Marathon next May. Now that I have an actual partner in crime to share this amazing and excruciatingly difficult journey, I feel more motivated than I ever have. I know all too well how painful this process is sure to be but at the same time the end results are guaranteed to be powerful beyond measure.
On top of marathon training, I will also be moving apartments in two short weeks. Words cannot describe how thankful I am to be moving on from this unfortunately poisonous living situation. Not to mention this new place will be a definite step up in my world and I can’t wait to start over again. It seems I do that often.
I could be the heated blanket, the Jazz, the endorphins or the fact that the moon is finally in my sign. All I know is that I’m on top again. Queen of my ever-changing wonderful world.
So yeah, I cannot draw. Not even a little bit, which was more than evident from all those past games of Draw Something…
Either way, Happy Thanksgiving.
I’m thankful for anyone who has ever made me laugh, pushed me, challenged me, taught me, listened to me, understood me, changed me for the better and most importantly loved me.
I’m also thankful for New York. It was my ultimate dream to live here and, no matter how much I have to fight to keep that dream alive, I’m living it every day.