As I sit here in the garden and let what feels like the first warmth of Spring fall over me, I wonder where I’ll migrate to next.
What path will I follow and where will I plant my feet next. Will I wander with the wolves in the desert or flow through the next city like a river.
I want an environment that will help flourish my growth and water my ideas.
But in life, you don’t often get what you want, but rather what you need, so until then, I’ll get lost in these adventures, and always end up longing for you.
Is it cliché if... I think the person, better yet people, that live in 3305 are a couple, one that has been together for eight years, had a courthouse wedding last year with a dinner reception in their backyard. Their friend's and family enjoy them together because they are honest with their love they admit that love has hardships, cultural differences, and even while they lived coast apart, they have always managed to stay honest, honest with themselves and honest in their love.
They have a five-year-old Dalmatian, and one of them is a scriptwriter, who is a bit unorganized, and the other is an architect, that always calculates every risk and plans ahead. On the weekends you can find them at the dog park or on Sunset Blvd. just going to grab an afternoon coffee with their dog. The first thing you notice about them is their embraces between one another are sweet, soft, and filled with love. You might catch them walking down the street hand in hand or gently moving the other's hair when it falls in their partner's eye, not to mention they are unbeatable in couples charades, just ask their neighbors in 3305.
They love to watch old bond movies together, tend to their garden out front, and take trips to Malta or Morocco together. They are always bringing back souvenirs for their dog watcher and a camera roll full of film that they showcase when they invite over friends for dinner, cooking a meal they learned during their vacation. On Sunday mornings they dance to Marvin Gaye together, and as they dance you get a snapshot into their life together. While blending so effortlessly together, they still have their flair that they add as they move to the rhythm, but there is never any doubt that their partner is there after that each turn and dip.
I’ve always believed as a woman the most empowering this you can do is to authentically be yourself because when society and culture have these boxes, labels, looks, and beauty standards they want you to fit and mold to, I think breaking them and making your own path is more fun (and great for the soul.)
Happy International Women's Day to all the fearless women in my life (especially my mama) who all forge their own path and follow their dreams because now more than ever it’s so important we all do, and I hope you all know I’m rooting for you all. I hope you set the world on fire and if anyone ever stands in your path and holds you back I hope you never second guess burning that bridge because out of those ashes the wind will show you a new path.
Flame by me inspired by Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1958
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.
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.
If you want to be great you have to do two things: 1. Surround yourself by greatness, and 2. Always learn. This idea of being a lifelong learner is what makes so many immigrants so successful. When you’re an immigrant in another country it completely humbles you. Whether you have a college degree or not, if you speak with an accent most people will doubt your credibility. Most immigrants move to another country alone or with a spouse in hopes of a better life. While people that are born in a country and also raised there, they have the benefit of having family at any given turn and for all of life’s hiccups and connections, immigrants don’t have that, and need to build it all from scratch. Immigrants are humbled from the beginning, and every time someone laughs at the way they mispronounce something, they are always learning and adjusting their skills to better their life, and while they are doing that and moving forward, many of us are staying comfortably in place, stagnate.
If you’re not already pissed at me for what I have written, then brace yourself because this might just be the twig the breaks the camel’s back. WE NEED MORE IMMIGRANTS.
See in countries like America and Estonia (I’m only picking on America and Estonia because these are my homes) the locals and the citizens are becoming a little too comfortable. They are becoming complacent in their 9-5 jobs, in middle management, with a decent retirement plan, and aren’t really learning any new skills. (*This idea is a generalization and is not reflective of the full populations) So when an immigrant comes in, one that has fought, literally has the blood, sweat and tears of their struggles and their parent’s struggles, to get to said middle management position and then get promoted over you, someone that has been there for some years just plugging and chugging away at your daily task, you get mad. You then say immigrants are given free passes and are stealing your jobs because it is easier to blame a random person, who you don't know, than to look inside yourself.
I’m going to let you in on a little immigrant secret. Our grit comes from the idea that we essentially have no safety net, whatever decision we make we have to endure those consequences good or bad and move forward. My parents for example, their retirement plan is my sister and I, they have put everything: time, money, effort, and their youth into giving my sister and I a better future, so you better believe that I am willing to work twice as hard and not complain because I know where I stand, where I came from, and what happens if I don't accomplish my goals. So that immigrant that just passed you, did so because you lost your grit and if you want to get back your grit, you need more immigrants and you need more competition because you also need that push to get out of your comfort zone and feel the healthy pressure that makes you want something more. Competition makes you hungry, competition brings out the best in you, and competition is capitalism.
Most countries believe in capitalism and capitalism is all about competition and supply and demand, so essentially if you have someone that is willing to do better quality work for a better price you’re going to choose them, assuming the other person isn’t a Rockefeller or Kennedy. Essentially immigration is the business of people. So while right now immigrants are the hardworking, grit fueled, dream chasers, this doesn’t have to stay as such. If enough citizens begin to feel as those the balance has been turned out of their favor they shouldn’t get mad, and scared, and fearful. The citizens need to become capitalist and learn skills that’ll improve their work and passions and essentially give them their grit back.
Life is all about balance and while sometimes you might be the smartest, funniest, strongest person in the room, other times you might not be, and when you’re not, don’t get scared and mad and want to kick all the immigrants out, no. Sit back, gather your thoughts, learn something, humble your ego, and then get better, always get better. Continue to fuel the competition, so when immigrants think they’ve “finally made it” you can pop up and give them a run for their money.
While this won’t be the end all and save all on the topic of immigration, in fact, this is only the surface, and something I think I will continue adding too from my experiences. I hope it makes a dent in at least one person, and instead of fear toward another person or culture they would rather try to embrace them with curiosity, because in the end of the day we’re all human, and we just want to be accepted. And me, just maybe I'll accept that I am a permanent immigrant and in a way if makes me a citizens of the world, and that sounds beautifully to me.
No photo for fear, because we don't need to manifest it, but rather forgive it and let it go.
I understand why people fear immigrants, sometimes they look different than you, or speak another language in front of you that has you worried, “are they talking about me?” or maybe they cook with ingredients and spices that you’ve never heard of and “that’s just weird, ew.” Fear is rooted from the idea of not understanding and it is easier to be fearful and maybe even to get mad, than to accept that maybe you can be more open or learn something new about someone else. Because why should you change or learn anything new it’s your country right? No, wrong.
Immigrants are just the change that we need to make things better. For example, when I look at a country like Estonia it baffles me that they are so afraid of immigration, if anything they should be ushering in immigrants with open arms, there are only 1.5 million of them and if their culture doesn’t get new blood, eventually they’re going to die out. The younger generations will want to move abroad for more opportunities and when the older generations pass, then what? Instead of standing at the boarders arms crossed and refusing to allow anyone in that doesn’t speak about the hardest language ever, why not open your boarders to people that are excited to come to your country and want to learn about your culture and your language.
Yes, there will be changes. I am not naïve. Immigrants do just bring themselves, they bring their memories and their cultures too, but what is so harmful about someone bringing their culture? The more cultures that arrive, in a way the less you have to travel? You get to experience the best parts about people’s cultures through their showcases, foods, stores, events, and if you can’t afford travel, you’ll still feel like you got the see the world, but never had to get on the plane.
We need to let go of this idea of wanting to be the strongest, smartest, funniest person in every room we are in. When we are constantly the best in every way than we stop learning, and that's not the end goal. The only way that you continue to learn post school is by putting yourself into situations where you are out of your comfort zone and forced to learn. The reason to be a lifelong learner is why we are on earth, we all need to let our narcissism and hubris chill for a minute and humble ourselves.
Now don't get me wrong. I don't live in a cotton candy filled world where racism doesn't exist, it does and while a good portion of the people that dislike immigrants do so, due to racism, I think even racism is rooted in fear. The fear that someone that doesn't look like you that you are taught to hate, might not actually be that person, and they might be better at a certain skill than you are. I don't know how to undo years of taught hatred and racism, I don't, but I think it is something if we can all recognize we can begin to be conscious of, and call it out, and stand with and on the side of those that have the fear and hatred placed on them.
I’ve been thinking about writing this piece for a while, and I figured why not now? I am just laying around waiting for my face mask to dry. Rather write than try to start my budding career as a Insta story comedian, ya feel?
The idea of being an immigrant is something that I consider to be a part of my identity and something that has contributed to me becoming the person you know today. Being an immigrant has given me my grit, it has given me an edgy, and the passion to prove to myself that I can accomplish the “American Dream.” I am literally waiting for the day that I have “made it” and can caption a photo, any photo, “not bad huh, for some immigrants,” like literally WAITING, and partially because of that, I take being an immigrant very seriously. Up until recently I considered my definition of being an immigrant simple, I was an immigrant in the US, document wise, but unless you really knew, you wouldn’t have really known. However, by spending some time abroad, in Europe, my idea of being an immigrant has slightly changed.
The reason for this is in America, where I have lived for 20 years, I speak the language perfectly, and am immersed in the culture, I know the slang, I get the jokes, but by rule of the government I am still an immigrant. I have my green card, and because of that I can’t vote, hell my dad even came to the US on a refugee visa, and while most people would never guess my immigrant status off of first impressions, when they do find out, there is a little shift in their attitude. I can’t describe it, but it is something and it comes with comments like, “oh so it must have been easier for you to get into college than…” “yea but do you even pay taxes?” and “every school needs an Eskimo.” I realize that to some friends I am that token immigrant friend, you know the friend’s that voted for Trump, knowing his stance on immigration, but then they use me as a cop out, “like I’m not racist, I support immigration. One of my friend’s even has her green card.” To clarify I pay taxes and having immigrant status didn’t give me a free pass into college, I still have loans and by no means did I get into my dream school. Don’t get me wrong I love FSU now, but it took a while to get there.
On the other hand, I am Estonian, born and raised, and that is the country that holds my citizenship. However, I could not feel like more of an immigrant. I speak with an accent, a very heavy one, and often mix in some English words because I forget the Estonian counterparts, I don’t know the culture, I don’t know the slang very well, and I can’t differentiate between the 8 different political parties there, which in my defense for a country that has 1.5 million people 8 political parties seems excessive. In Estonia I get comments such as, “you have a strange accent, you’re not from here right” “you’re living in Estonia you really should type in Estonian” and just the overall doubt in my ability. This overall doubt in my ability comes from the fact that I speak with an accent, so family and strangers question my intelligence and credibility just because I forget a word or two or it takes me longer to explain my idea, so they feel the need to tell me that maybe it’s too difficult for me to live in Estonia and I should just go back to the US.
In a time where the world is beginning to focus more on nationalism and anti-immigration, my status of essentially being a permanent immigrant gets to be frustrating. I find myself wanting to constantly scream, “I BELONG HERE!” because I belong in both countries and am contributing to making them both great again (I couldn’t resist the plug).
While I have faced challenges with both backgrounds, they have both added a lot to me too, and given me experiences that I otherwise couldn't have been a part of. For every one negative comment I have ever received I have been embraced and welcomed by families and friends that have wanted to learn about the other culture or about how life is on the other side of the world. And as they've learned from me, I have learned more from them and from the culture I am a part of and call home.
I figured it was time for another life update, so by now I am sure many of you have noticed I am still in Europe. What originally started off as a two-week trip, turned into a month, and now has turned into “I’ll be back in LA for New Year’s.” I didn’t really plan for this, I only brought one suitcase full of clothes, and none of them are "real" Winter clothes; truthfully, I don’t know if I am ready for the possibility of snow, so please send hot chocolate and your best advice!!! Nonetheless, I have decided to extend my trip for a few reasons, and since I am become quite the list girl, here’s a few reasons why:
I guess in a weird way it's a reminder to me that I am only 23, besides being able to provide for myself, I can pretty much be as selfish with my time and decision that I want. If anyone is currently going through the stress of having to graduate and not know what is coming next. I will be the first to tell you that it is going to be a rollercoaster, but once you're on you won't want to get off. You'll figure it out, we all will, and we do, but for now enjoy it all, and stay gold, Ponyboy!
I’ll see the rest of you in January!
Is it cliché if... I think the person that lives here has lived a full life. Filled with love and laughter, and while sure they might have had their fair shares of heartbreaks or lessons they never stopped loving others or them self. They get dressed up everyday, even if it's just to buy their morning coffee, but their hat always matches their shoes and they are wearing vintage Chanel or Dior. They make sure to meet with their friends weekly because as they've gotten older they value those around them even more, and they talk about life, love, the book they just finished, and their families. They know all the boutique and shop owners on their street.
They make sure their garden out front is always well kept, watered, and organized. And when they travel to the South of France to spend their summers with their family their neighbors all chip in to help upkeep the garden in exchange for stories of Paris in the 60s and a pastry or two. In fact, you might have seen this person on the way to the train station, you might have actually passed them on the street, the person that caries them self with elegance, not in a way that they are better than you, but rather reflected of their life and when they grew up, with soulful eyes, a genuine smile, and a soft "bonjour," as their scarf waves in the wind, and the wrinkles on their face beautifully tell the stories of years of laughter and love, and you can't help but wonder where they're going, and if you'll age just that gracefully too, but spoiler alert, you will.
A glimpse into my ever changing life through the words I've typed.