Pedestal

What is ego anyway? The textbook definition says; “A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.” What is self-esteem? What is self-importance? A pedestal of sorts, where we all sit perched. While our ego delegates the day; what to wear, where to go, whats in, whats out, who’s hot and who’s not. She’s a slut and he’s never cried. She must be crazy. His dick must be big. Everyday we make judgements. Everyday we assert some sort of power to make ourselves feel better, usually at the expense of somebody else.

The stench of this trash is so rancid, we no longer remember what it’s like to be nice. Women compete with other women, rather then rally with one another. We have the same parts and we are on the same team yet, we would cut our sister with a knife for a man? I’m not claiming to be a saint. I have done things I’m not proud of. I am not perfect, nor am I better than anyone else. There is however, a sense of real pride that comes from standing on your own. Standing up tall and proud; using your sense of self-esteem and self-importance to perpetuate the greater good.  Patti Smith once said, “In art and dream may you walk with abandon. In life, may you walk with balance and stealth.”

This is my pedestal.

Pedestal

 

 

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Spider

In reference to some older posts titled, My Chastity Belt and Spider Plant and I, I’d like to take a minute and talk about the spider. To me, spiders are absolutely fascinating. I once went to watch the sunrise on top of this old landfill turned forest preserve near my house. The sunset was divine, and the mosquitos were the absolute worst. On the long walk back to the car, I stopped and noticed a spider weaving its web in the brush. I sat and watched that spider for what seemed like hours, but was only a few minutes. How simple its life, up early working, building its house, in a what was pretty misty morning. I was in awe. I completely forgot about my seemly silly life, always rushing here or there, doing this or that, yet not really doing anything. Somewhere, little spiders are diligently working just building their house. I remember feeling wasteful in this moment. Wasting my time and my energy on things that didn’t really pay off, that weren’t for the greater good. I envied the spider. I wished for such simplicity in my own life. I wanted to do something more by doing less. Marry simplicity with a work ethic.

I view the spider plant as an abstract symbol of an actual spider. The resemblance is almost uncanny! And just like the spider, the spider plant diligently works to make its babies in order to spread its seed. Here again, simplicity and a work ethic in perfect harmony. This plant in particular I have had for over ten years. I absolutely adore this plant. On several occasions I have clipped the babies off and transplanted them in to smaller pots, only to give them away as gifts. Its a very rewarding feeling; gifting. Some places build an economy around it. Simplicity along with a work ethic are spiders’ gifts to the rest of the world.

We could learn a few things from this glorious insect.

Spider Plant

 

 

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Shedding

How many times undone can one person be? Ani DiFranco once said. The skin will always be there, until it sheds. Shedding is destruction on the most molecular level. The dead cells of our skin flake away slowly over time until, every seven years or so, our body has completely regenerated itself. Every cell has been replaced by a brand new cell. Every seven years, we essentially become new. Reborn.

We shed more then skin.

I bleed for several days, once a month. I shed the lining of my uterus because I’m not having a baby. Metaphorically speaking, what is washed out with my menstrual blood is more than just the lining of my uterus. It sheds the bad day I had last week, it sheds every time I allowed a person to hurt me, it sheds my vulnerability, my fear, my regrets, my loneliness, my anger. It reminds me that I, in fact, am still human, it allows me to feel and let go of things that don’t deserve my head space or emotional energy. Every full moon, I bleed. Every full moon, I start over. Female sex organs are located in the second chakra, The Sacral Chakra. This is the epicenter of feeling, emotion, pleasure, sensuality, intimacy, and connection. The energy of this chakra allows you to let go, to move, and to feel change and transformation occurring within your body. It allows you to experience this moment as it is, in its own fullness. This is also the chakra in which life is made. Every month I am reminded of my feminine power. I can make life, I can make breath. Whether I choose to or not, is not the point. The point is that I can.

In this world, in which we all live, it’s easy to forget. Us girls are still considered second class, and once upon a time menstrual blood was considered sacred. Our uterus is in the sacral chakra after all.

This is me shedding.

Shedding

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Rocket

There is this Sylvia Plath quote from her book; The Bell Jar, that has resonated with me ever since I read The Bell Jar in high school. I adore Sylvia Plath, I feel it is the most tortured women that have the courage to reach deep down inside of themselves and transform real pain into true genius. Sylvia was one of them, along with Virginia Woolf, Francesca Woodman, perhaps even Nan Goldin and Cindy Sherman, yet they remain among the living. Having that said, the quote that I have carried around with me in my pocket, as my mantra and philosophy for so many years goes like this.

“The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Forth of July rocket.”

I have sprung from all directions in life, some have been treacherous and some have been magnificent. Not a single experience would I trade in hindsight. If it were not for all the living I have done, who would I be? If one event in my life were altered, who would I be? I believe so faithfully that every experience we encounter makes us who we are. If one were different, our entire being, along with our destiny could be drastically different. Therefore, I don’t believe in regret. I think regret is a waste of time. I prefer to learn from my mistakes, not regret them. In regret, there is no growth, no room to become something more. If I had a dollar for every time I was the Phoenix rising up from the ashes, covered with soot and sweat, blood and tears. Crying and laughing as I fly by… I’d be a wealthy woman.

My father always told me that, I preferred learning things the hard way. He was right. I don’t remember many things my father told me, our living relationship was not the strongest. I do, however, remember that. Simply because it remains true. I need visceral life experience in order to get anything out of it. I am easily bored, so I make a mess or run carelessly into the eye of the storm bashing around for a bit, only to be reborn sometime later on. Its exhausting, and I shed a lot of pain at times, but I become strong where I was once broken. It’s a beautiful thing.

This is my rocket. This is me exploding.

Rocket

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How I Fall

I used to have this recurring dream where, I would get catapulted out into space and almost instantly start to descend. Right before I hit the sidewalk, I would wake up. I haven’t had this dream for quite a while. I’m still not sure I ever knew what it meant. The concept of falling; we fall in love, we fall off our bike, we fall for bullshit, we fall short of someone’s expectations. We just fall. People choose to jump off of buildings to end their lives, as dark as that may be, it happens. The feeling of when we physically fall, or fall in love is practically identical. Both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Butterflies and nausea all at once. Fear and acceptance.

But when we make the choice to “jump ship”, in whatever metaphorical sense we decide, we always have the choice. It is ours to make. It is a bit like falling, after all, the uncertainty that comes with making a radical change in our lives leaves our tummies turning; the excitement is just as real. We are never sure exactly where we will land, while we fall into place in our lives. It is good, it is hard, its sporadic and it is rewarding in the end. The fear will eventually subside and acceptance of ones fate is allowed room to breathe. When the pain of not changing is exceeded by the pain of actually changing, the change will manifest itself and take shape.

This is how I fall.

How I Fall

 

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Breaking the Spell

Stand the fuck up and dust yourself off.

The goddesses are still working hard.

Open your eyes and relearn to see,

you’ve been asleep for far too long.

There is a great big world

waiting

for you to make your presence known.

Get down to business, girl

after all

you only get one.

Shake off the spell thats been cast on your soul.

Peel back the layers of skin;

reemerge from the ashes and flames.

Dance again

Let the wind take you higher than ever before.

This is life,

after all,

this is living.

Breaking the Spell

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Things He Said

There once was a girl, who once loved a man.

She gave and she gave, with very little given back.

She saw through glasses made of roses,

while washing the world with good intentions.

One winter evening at a party with friends,

her world fell apart with the things that he said.

“I tell you I love you, but I don’t love you,”

He said.

She sat staring

Her eyes glazed

Her face contorted

In confusion

“I think you’re stupid; I think you’re the devil,”

He said.

She staggered to her feet

Failures complete

Her body felt heavy

Her head was dizzy

“There is nothing for you here, girl.”

He said.

“Just big dark love, girl.”

She felt lost and alone,

with nothing to do but run.

There is hope for the flowers,

in this great big world.

There is lots more living to do,

for this caterpillar girl.

She built her cocoon and is ready for change.

It’s only a matter of time

Til she emerges as a butterfly.

Things He Said

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She Waits

Imagine living in a box,

wanting to so desperately to break free.

Imagine waiting so patiently,

for something founded on fantasy.

If only she could destroy reality,

by washing her hands clean.

“Remember to breathe,” she said,

“when you break all the locks.

Pry open the source of this madness.

The bathroom mirror does not lie.

Find solace in this sadness,

allow yourself to be free.”

She said

She Waits

 

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Completely Me

I recently went to my very first burn. LOF 2015. It was such a transformative experience, that I decided to stop shaving my armpits and stop wearing deodorant. Something shifted within and I embraced my true self. Animal instincts, flaws, awesomeness and everything else that makes me, me.

I began contemplating the concept of gender. The more I tried to decipher the difference between men and women (for mere observational reasons) the more the differences seemed to disappear. Simply, we are all human, both animalistic and intelligent beings alike. We have hair in “unwanted” places and repress some of our most basic instincts to keep up appearances with society. Where is the freedom in that? Nina Simone recently taught me that, “to be truly free is to live without fear.” It doesn’t seem to get more real than that. It also takes guts, to push the boundaries of what society says is acceptable and unacceptable.

Furthermore, gender roles are learned behavior, we are taught what “being a lady” is supposed to look like, what “being a man” means. I’m here to tell you, its all bullshit. All babies begin as female, for lack of a better term, men have nipples because they develop faster in the womb than the rest of our sexual organs.

So this begs the question, what really separates us, if anything at all?

Completely Me

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Loving Cup

After staying up all night, the evening of July 4th, in the early morning hours I took this image. It was slightly accidental, yet it was the best photo I took the whole trip. It is excessively feminine, as it reminds me of female genitalia… Does it not? The color red just adds a fiery intensity that works exceptionally well, in my opinion. Very Georgia O’Keeffe, which I’m ecstatic about, as she is one of my many heroes. I respect all women quite a bit, however, there are a few select women in history, that have a very special place in my heart. Georgia O’Keeffe is one of them. I used to be in a somewhat “teacher/pupil”  intimate relationship with one of my old friends and mentor a few years ago. The intimacy ended up ruining the friendship in the end, and during that time I struggled with losing both my mentor and my friend; while also preparing for a show in New York. It was an odd polarization to be experiencing. At a bar one night, a friend of mine reminded me, “You outgrew your mentor. Even Georgia O’Keeffe outgrew her mentor.” As a photographer, I was and am aware of the love affair and mentorship that happened between Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. Alfred was a photographer, he photographed Georgia often. But, eventually she did outgrow him, and went on to make some of her best work, on her own. I respect her fiercely for this very reason. Whenever I struggle with letting go, I think about her.  

Loving Cup

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