Growing up I was always in the public school system in South Florida, and truthfully I always felt safe. I knew the adults and teachers were there to help me and to provide me with an education that would eventually lead me to college and so forth. I was fortunate because I not only have great teachers, those that cared, but I felt protected in my environment and showing up to class every day.
After my public school education, I attended The Florida State University (FSU) and into my 3rd year there was a shooting on campus, at the library. I remember when it happened and how the university felt and reacted after. When it happened, I was fortunate to be in my apartment off campus, and I was getting ready for sleep when I heard the gunshots. It was ominous. Somehow it felt different from all the other loud bangs you might hear outside, Tallahassee is a college town after all, but to see how FSU came together as a community after was heartwarming. People were reaching out to the victims and their families offering help and monetary support, we held walks, and memorials, and when you are a young adult, and far away from your families back home it is easy to feel unsafe and alone, but the FSU community didn’t allow for that to happen. It was nice to see us all being there for each other and those that needed it the most. The Seminole community, be it what it may, but it is a family. One that cares, supports, and in times of need helps out, and we occasionally party hard too, but we celebrate our wins just as much as we give back during losses.
Before showing up on the doorsteps of FSU, I was apart of another community the Atlantic Community High School Eagles (ACHS). I loved my time in high school. In high school I was part of the IB community at ACHS, and that in itself has always felt like an extended family. IB is a tough program to get through, and I couldn’t have survived and gotten through it without the help and support of great teachers and my classmates. Even now if any of those kids from any of my classes reached out to me, I would do my best to help them however I could.
During my time at ACHS, while I loved the school and the fact that my teachers always encouraged me to speak my mind and argue my thoughts, there were a few rules I could have lived without (me and the administration did not agree on dress code, so I pushed the limits when I could), but I never once felt threatened or like my voice was silenced. I wrote for the school newspaper while in high school and even then it didn’t feel like much was off the table regarding publication, we just had to make sure we always got our facts and represented the truth. That’s why it is so sad for me to hear that the same high school is silencing the voices of their students when it comes to the issue of gun control.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is a school in South Florida, and what happened there is a result of adults, I guess I am an adult now, that have failed to address and take an issue seriously such as gun violence to protect the youth of this next generation. We haven’t done enough, and for that I am sorry, so, so, so, sorry! I know those words will never bring back those brave angels that were lost or mend the hearts that broke that day, but I am sorry and promise to support you all in your fight to bring towards stricter gun laws by echoing your voices and assisting you.
ACHS is a magnet school meaning kids anywhere in the Palm Beach School District can attend that school if they get into a program. So it is quite likely that kids are attending ACHS from Parkland or who have friends that attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. So for the administration at ACHS to tell the students there that any kid participating in or planning a walkout, exercising their rights and standing with solidarity with those lives that were lost, will be kicked out of their program is a slap in the face. And the best part, the principle is holding a prayer circle in substitution.
What is going on ACHS? As administration at this school, you should be well aware that thoughts and prayers are not enough to keep your students safe. Does it not feel wrong to keep pushing your old aged agenda of thoughts and prayers when students around the country as asking for action? Do you not feel as though you are failing to help prepare and give these kids the skills they need for real life by pushing them to be bystanders? Do you not want to empower and support the voices of your school showing them that you are there for them and help their dreams (which calling it a dream sounds utterly ridiculous) of feeling safe while getting an education not just for them but for those that follow them? I especially can’t get over the fact that you are threatening to kick kids out and alter their future for them to support your agenda, why?
Now it should be stated that I believe everyone has their right to religion and to pray to the G-D of their choice and I think many kids have already expressed their concerns through prayer, but this generation wants more, and rightfully so. They want action.
So please as the alma mater that gave me such a strong voice and supported my dreams and projects please don’t discourage or hold back this generation. Support them and empower them as you did with my ideas, which in comparison seem minuscule compared to the dreams this upcoming generation has.
I know you mean well, but please give them the opportunities to take control of their life and make the changes they need to better it. Call it tough love ACHS, but it’s because I expect more from you.
I guess I should explain what’s going on.
About six months ago, during the Eclipse in August, I read this quote from Stevie Nicks about a journal she keeps that said, and I’m paraphrasing/rewording, keep a journal and on the right side of the page share all the thoughts and moments of the day, highs/lows, etc. and on the left side of the page poeticizes it for songs. I love that. I loved it when I read it so much that I implemented this technique into my own life.
Now I don’t write music, but trust me if I could I would (and I'm already a karaoke queen, so if I could actually sing, it would be done), but I started keeping a journal with the same technique really just for myself and to help me with my writing and just to put my thoughts out on paper vs. keeping them bottled up. I haven’t written in it every day, and some weeks are more consistent than others, but looking back and seeing how I’ve grown during specific moments in my life has been what I’ve needed to see, to appreciate the growth of life. I think we can often brush over our growth unless we feel like it is “transformative,” hence why girls get bangs. You get bangs when your life's falling apart in hopes by the time they grow out you’ve figured it out. A reflection of the growth, but bangs aren't my style, journaling is (anyone surprised I was a angsty teen with a diary in middle school? You shouldn't be.)
This journal has basically been my diary (see, old habits die hard), one that I never thought I would share pieces of, let alone in bulks. However, I have shared moments of my journal in my fashion posts. The top two lines in color and italicized are all from that journal, sneaky, I know. My journal to me has helped me process my emotions and in turn become better at accepting my feelings rather than keeping them bottled.
Now, this is where Mark Rothko comes into play. There are few things in life that I love more than a Mark Rothko painting. I love the size, most 27" x 25", and the use of color, so much color. If you ever seen a Rothko in person, you know what I am talking about, the painting takes up a good portion of the wall it is on, and the way you are meant to view the art, is not from afar, but rather from 18 inches away. At 18 inches you are completely embraced in not only the color but the emotion that the painting gives. Rothko's art is meant to make you feel something, whether it be happiness, peace, sadness, guilt, just as long as it's something. Any work of art, painting, music, writing, should make you feel something. I think the beauty of a Rothko is, the fact that when you are standing up close and personal with it, you are facing your emotions and letting them take over. Sidebar, while I don’t think you should let your feelings control you, it can lead to some pretty careless actions, I do think you should feel them, every last one of them, and feel them till you understand why you have that emotion and then let it go.
A Mark Rothko painting can help share a mood or feeling that you can’t yet put into words, or words that you don’t yet have. A few posts ago I talked about being vulnerable, and how I want to give more of myself and open myself up this year, well this is the beginning (well I guess the second step technically, step one was the post but still the beginning.)
I just finished my journal and pulled out some of my favorite quotes and pieces that describe every feeling and emotion I have had in the last six months, If you think it’s been all OOTD pics and brunches, boy have you been fooled. I paired these quotes and excerpts with Rothko paintings that either helps to display the emotion I want to get across or inspire the emotion I am feeling or was feeling when I wrote the piece. While we might not go to museums every day or own a Rothko in our own home, I think there are different ways we can learn to manage and feel our own emotions. We shouldn't fear emotions, but rather express them in a healthy way where we feel them, recognize them, and let them go, and to me, it is what the Untitled. series inspired by Mark Rothko represents.
Fair Warning Rothko has over 300 paintings, and I have a lot of emotions to express, so this might be a long ride, but if it matches your mood and vibes, welcome along.
In An Alternative Universe…
We fell in love the way all lovers do.
Quickly, and over red wine and pasta.
In an alternate universe, it’s the 80s, and I am a Sicilian mob boss’ wife. It really is the only thing that makes sense for my undying love of pasta, mob movies, and oversized blazers. My name would be Maria-Isabella (hyphenated), and I would still go by Mia, perfect for the Italian boys to bring up the comparison between Mia meaning “mine” in Italian, but I would roll my eyes because I had heard it all before and was spunky like that. My mob boss husband and I met the way all good Italians would, at Sunday brunch after church he was a friend of a friend that was visiting. It would be love at first sight and at first "Ciao," we’d fall in love (before I found out about his mob ties) but once I did, I would love him too much to leave him. He’d call me Amore Bella, and we’d marry in the same church we met.
We’d eventually set our sights on New York, build a community there. That would be hard to do, leave our families behind and most of our friends except his brother and cousin. I’d wear tons of Versace, Valentino, and Dolce & Gabbana and while there were a few brushes with the law (one in particular that almost gets us arrested, think Bonnie & Clyde but more shoulder pads and pasta). We would mostly escape the breakup of the mobs and the government crackdown on crime in the late 80s untouched, of course, if anyone asked I knew nothing and was a stay at home wife. By the 90s we had both gone to too many funerals and decided to cut back on the life of crime after his brother was assassinated by becoming an agency that outsources Italian leather to fashion houses with the help of Domenico & Stefano this would allow for tons of travel between Italy and New York, and Miami in the summers to visit Gianni, rest his soul.
I mean it kind of works. It needs a bit more character development and backstory, but until I work out the details allow your creativity to wonder while I set the scene with some photos.
I may have also watched Goodfells, very recently and it might have sparked some inspiration, but let's be honest this has always been in me. Also, how I went so long without seeing it I am very surprised and also disappointed in how it never cam up in conversation before.
*Update* per suggestion of Andrea, it is me. I am the mob boss taking over. The end.
All photos are raw, unedited, and by: Emily Bofelli
Vulnerable x 20(18)
To be quite honest, I know honest people don’t say that, and maybe that’s precisely why I’m saying that. 2018 has been hard. I think it’s LA, it’s always weird to be back and to adjust, and maybe in some ways, I didn’t want to come back, so I have been reluctant to accept it. It’s been an adventure, and I have had some amazing opportunities, but it’s been hard. However, New Year’s 2018 I’ll always remember, besides the whole Vegas being up for 24 hours thing, is my yellow rose I got while at The Bellagio. While so simple and so beautiful, but me being who I am, I made it a symbol. A symbol of the year to come. Beautiful, welcoming, friendly, loving, self-loving, and while I might hit a few thorns it’ll be lovely, absolutely, undoubtedly lovely. And I believed it and still do.
This yellow rose survived me and 2018 for 24 hours of dancing, casinos, and desert heat with no water and once finally back in LA I put it in a mason jar, and it bloomed, and bloomed and filled my room with the subtlest hint of rose for the whole month of January. Truthfully, it still looked lovely up until today, but just got a little dried out. My plan was to dry it in between the page of my notebook so that I could save this symbol, my symbol for 2018. However, to my disappointment I waited too long, it was too dry, and when I closed the notebook, it entirely crumbled. My first thought: wtf. My symbol for 2018 gone because I waited too long and then tried to preserve something that had already served its purpose. That is inheritably one of my most significant flaws, the fact that when it is time for something to leave my life I try to hold on to it even stronger and preserve it, and it crumbles. However my second thought: content! I mean I do work in social media, and some habits are hard to quit.
So after I created my A-1 content, peep below. I got to thinking (not to go Millennial Carrie Bradshaw on you all, and get carried away) but I figured if I made this yellow rose and arbitrary symbol for 2018 why not stick with it. I thought about the person I was in 2017 and how in so many ways I had become so strong and tough, and not in a good way, but in a way that was hindering to my life. 2017 was hard, like call your parents crying at 3 am, find a new place to live, process childhood memories and ending your relationship of 2 years hard. It felt like one life lesson after another. And because of that, I became resilient, but I also lost a lot of my humanness, my ability to be relatable and put others before myself. I felt as though so much of my year was focused on staying alive and “making it” it was hard to focus or think of anyone besides myself. Not to mention moving to Europe that was literally “me, myself, and I,” melodramatic, sure, but much needed.
2017 taught me in many ways to love myself and to learn to spend time with myself and not to feel reliant on others. I felt as though I didn’t need anyone else because relying on others is weak and it often leads to hurt and that I couldn’t do, it scared me. I figured I would just be this badass babe, CEO and I would do it on my own without anyone’s help. Sure, cool still the plan, and doable but like the yellow rose that shattered to its core maybe it was time for me to destroy the walls I built (how happy are you all that I’m not auditioning for the Bachelor because this is TV gold right here) and be vulnerable again, vulnerable to my core.
I want to be vulnerable again. Genuinely vulnerable because I think that is the only way to experience life. I don’t want to look back on my life, on my deathbed, and think about all the should-have, could-have, would-have moments if I would have just been more vulnerable in that one moment how things might have turned out. I envy the people that have been through hardships in life and have managed to stay vulnerable. Not the fake, happiness, everything is fine facade vulnerable that I am guilty of, but genuine vulnerability. Often many of the hardships that we go through in life, when we turn up on the other side we have built up walls or become scared. This idea of fear is one that I think is the most detrimental because that is the one that will keep you in jobs you hate, in friendships that drain you, and in relationships that make you unhappy. That fear that this is how things are meant to be and this is the best it’ll get because you are too afraid to leave it all behind and feel alone, even just momentarily so you suffer. If 2017 taught me anything it was that that fear wasn’t worth it and sometimes setting your whole life on fire just to cut off the dead ends, it’s worth it, but I also set my vulnerability on fire in the process.
My goal for 2018 is to break down my walls, not wait for someone to do it for me, but to break them down so that I can embrace others with honest and genuine vulnerability. I think it is funny, and something I am guilty of too, but this idea that we are afraid of other humans. We are scared of feeling rejected by them or saddened by them. Why? They are just people just like you, and I and at their core, they want the same things that we do, love, acceptance, and happiness. I think that if we work to bring out our vulnerability, we will bring it out in others too and work together to be loving, accepting, and happier.
So in 2018 (I am putting this down in writing so you all can hold me accountable) But I vow to be more vulnerable. I want to be vulnerable enough that when I see a cute guy at a bar to go up to him, not stand in a circle with my friends talking about him. I want to embrace every emotion fully. I want to be open enough and silly enough off first embrace I don’t want first impressions to be built off of reservations that need to be broken down but rather embraces filled with engagement and interest. And I want to be vulnerable enough to cry if I feel like crying and not feel the need to say, “sorry that I’m so emotional, I’m getting my period soon.” No, I am emotional because I am human and have emotions, and sometimes they are sad, sometimes they are happy. During a time where we have an administration that considers “vulnerable” to be a dirty word, I think it is even more critical that we are more vulnerable and kind with ourselves and others.
I know that every dream and plan I have for my future career I can accomplish on my own, but I don’t want to do it on my own I want to do it with the support and love of others and for others that builds a community along the way. I especially want a love that is so pure it’s boring, and I don’t want to settle for anything besides that. No sleepless nights, fights, and doubts. I’ve experienced the loves where you feel like without that person you can’t breathe or the passionate love and the emotional fights. I don’t want it. It’s draining and burns out quick.
I also want to be more vulnerable for my writing. Writing like any form of art is exposing yourself and your life to others and building a human connection or sharing a story that they can relate to. I think for the longest time I have had writer's block and I always wrote it off to be that “I only write when I am in love or falling out of love.” That’s bullsh*t, and a crutch or I can’t write because “I’m too busy” that’s also bullsh*t. It was because I didn’t want to be vulnerable at least not in an honest way. I tried to paint this picture that everything was chill, it was cool, and under control. I can handle it. Whatever. I was a total whatever girl, nothing could hurt me, and nothing could phase me, it was safe. Opening myself up again to write is scary, you never know how others are going to relate or react, but I want to do it, for the art and myself. And for me sharing all this with you all is vulnerability in its purest form.
So let’s be vulnerable together in 2018 *barf* I know, but I kind of love it.
Me in middle school. Old MySpace photos for authenticity.
Today was one of those days when I woke up with a headache, to a sky filled with smog, where I couldn’t see past what felt like 3 feet, and I just overall felt tired and over it. Half hoping I just passed out midway through getting ready in the morning so I'd actually have a reason for feeling the way I did; obviously I didn’t. This mood of just feeling “meh” carried on into my day until I finally ended up in Whole Foods, unnecessarily shopping for lunch and things I didn’t need.
While at Whole Foods, I decided to call my mother and just basically, complain. I had no real reason for calling her, nothing urgent, nothing catastrophic, but instead, I couldn’t shake my morning mood of “meh” along with to current state of uncertainty that fills my life. I am 23 and life is filled with making decisions and quite frankly the idea of failure or making the wrong decision freaks me out. I am beyond worried that a choice I make now will have a snowball effect on my life 20-30-40 years down the line. In fact, no decision of mine holds any real weight. I am 23. And even if what might momentarily feel like the wrong decision will either correct itself or I can change it, time is on my side.
So while I was strolling through the aisle of Whole Foods deciding which brand of organic quinoa I was buying this week, and my mother was listening to me debate the same two things back and forth. Bless my parents for answering my calls because in most cases I am deciding between two lunch options; my mother decided to share a current event with me.
There is a women that is Freelancing at the company my mom works for who my mother has become close with for two specific reasons: 1. The woman is a single mother, and for the first three years of my life she raised me on her own. Than when we came to the US my parents both worked two jobs in the beginning or were balancing work and school and the fact that they didn’t have any real friends or family in the US to help out (typical immigrant stuff). Plus, moms always relate about being moms and raising kids. 2. Because as many of you know my little sister was bullied intensely in middle school for being petite. While she isn’t as short anymore, she is still significantly skinnier and looks about 12. My parents know the battle of fighting the school while your child is being bullied and nothing happening. The woman that works with my mom has a 13-year-old daughter in middle school who is being bullied. Recently it escalated to the point where it became a physical altercation. Now I don’t know who started the fight, why it started, or any of the details, but I do know, during the fight, the bully managed to rip out 3-4 braids out of the girls head, HER ACTUAL HAIR WAS RIPPED OUT. Then after the fight got broken up the little girl, 13-year-old, who was bullied, and just had her hair ripped out, got put in handcuffs.
Now I don’t know what is the protocol for school fights, I don’t know if that is normal. I couldn’t imagine that the policeman/school security/teachers who broke up the fight couldn’t manage to keep two 13-year-old girls apart without having to handcuff one of them. I mean 13-year-old girls are tiny probably weigh around 120, but again I don’t know the protocol. Now that part of this story that has been on my mind all day, and motivated me to write...
The little girl that just had her braids ripped out of her head, who I am sure was bleeding and in pain told her mother after that she wasn’t concern about her hair, and it being ripped from her head, but she was worried once she got handcuffed that she was about to get beaten by the cops.
The little girl is black. And while I have never pretended to understand the extent of racism and race issues in America, or globally really, and I hope no one has ever thought I have pretended to know or “act black” or “think I was black” because until hearing this story I knew there was a race issue in America, but I don’t think I entirely got it, and probably still don't, but while I have never been black, will never be black, and will never understand what it is like to be black, I have been a 13-year-old girl.
I have been a 13-year-old girl, and I know that during that time in your life you have so much going on in between hormones, and guys sucking, and other girls can just be b*tches, it’s tough, and you cry all the time for no reason. My point is, being a 13-year-old girl is hard enough without being handcuffed and being fearful for your life. And even though I haven’t been bullied first hand, I’ve seen it from my sister’s perspective; I know how hurtful it is and how much it sucks.
And I also know one thing for sure that if at 13, or truthfully now, if I got into a physical altercation with another girl, where my hair had been ripped out, and the police handcuffed me. I think I would be more worried about my hair than the fact that I was handcuffed and what was going to happen next, and that folks, is white privilege. The idea that at that moment I can be more concerned about my physical appearance than to be fearful for my life is the perfect example of privilege that I could have never made up.
I did not write this to share my privilege, and I don’t know why I wrote it besides the fact that I have had friends, white friends, share with me the idea that they don’t think there are race issues in America or don’t understand the situation with cop XXXXX and XXXXX. White friends have asked why I don’t say the “n-word” and why there “isn’t a white history month?” People who very clearly don’t see their privilege and think in some way think that by minorities getting a voice they are losing theirs and “their power.” For those friends that have done the above I just want to ask you, if you got into a fight and got your hair ripped out would you be more worried about the status of your hair or your safety after you got handcuffed? And until you can tell me wholeheartedly you would be more concerned about your safety than until that moment you have to acknowledge your privilege and know that you are not “losing your voice.”
I hope, I really hope that you will always be there for your friend's of color and other minorities and work to improve their quality of life. If nothing else listen to your friends and their stories and their side of things, and do not feel threatened by their voice but rather feel empowered when those around you feel powered. Until that moment comes, I hope you help to echo their causes and explain to those that don’t understand, what you know and what you can explain to help bridge the gap on our experience on earth and life for those around you.
Because I am going to try, try more.
A glimpse into my ever changing life through the words I've typed.