The Old Lady Doth Protest Too Much

pink

I will never be 20 again.

Or seven.

I have been thinking and grieving this fact over this last week since I turned 31 almost a week ago.

I was at a Las Vegas pool party where the guys were all tightening their pecs and upper arms and EDM spilled through the speakers. I was completely sober (had a little too much fun the day before). As I drifted through the increasingly crowded pool on the inflatable I stole away from a bearded dude who was definitely on more than alcohol, my mind had to marvel on how quickly time passes.

When I turned 21, I went with my siblings to the movies near our house. I was assigned to the USNS Henry J. Kaiser as a deck cadet which had its port in San Diego. On weekends, I took a 2.5 hour Amtrak ride to Fullerton. I don’t remember what movie it was, only that I felt like the biggest loser in the world because I wasn’t circling around a Las Vegas pool on a giant inflatable unicorn.

Continue reading The Old Lady Doth Protest Too Much

Flower Power : An Ode and Reflection on Spring

flowergirl
My dear friends, Spring has arrived.
Of course, for those of us some parts of the US, this can seem like some cruel joke as we still are buttoning up coats and the skies are a blanket of grey.
The Spring Equinox of 2017 occurred on March 20th and marks the official start of Spring. Spring is “yang” energy, outward displays of power, a grand awakening from the slower, deeper rhythms of Fall and Winter.
I am an Aries baby*, so I kinda love Spring.
I get seasonal allergies, so I also kinda hate Spring.
Nevertheless, she is here in all her glory. I see the green buds starting to show themselves on the once naked branches outside my window, the temperatures are finally starting to heat up with some consistency, and there’s a more fast-paced energy snaking around the world.
I also love Spring because she represents new beginnings and a chance to acknowledge all the work we put in during the Winter season.
The sign of Aries coincides with the beginning of Spring for good reason. Aries of childlike wonder and leadership, of inspiring individuality, and the start of creative projects (not always good at finishing le sigh…)
So, the question is, how can we harness this energy of Spring and move with nature rather than against it?

Continue reading Flower Power : An Ode and Reflection on Spring

The Self-Love Rebel

ria

The more I practice self-care and self-love, the more I realize just how key being a rebel is.

No, I am not talking Molotov cocktails or saying the word fuck in polite company.

(At least not all the time…)

The more I live, the more I realize that the current culture will never give me the permission I long for to live a life of inner wholeness, external integrity, pleasure, and fun. I will be forever standing on the corner of life with my hand out, waiting.

When I first got into body positivity, so much of my energy was focused on changing the view of mainstream America on what constituted beauty.

I thought if I just showed enough statistics that fat was not tantamount to unhealthy, outlined how white supremacy contributed to the idea that dark skin was ugly, and assembled the perfect powerpoint slideshow on the ills of the patriarchy, people would understand and change their minds.

And I could love myself.

ria2

I didn’t always know I was doing this. Sometimes my waiting was really unconscious.

I stressed self-love but inside I was waiting on Sports Illustrated, the dudes I saw at the club, Ford Model Management, and Vogue to agree with me before I set forth on truly living and believing in my beauty.

Believing in myself before and away from the permission of the greater society felt dangerous and every time it seemed like the external world disagreed with my inclusive idea around beauty I was shook. I so needed their agreement.

Today, I know better.

Continue reading The Self-Love Rebel

Be Your Own Lloyd Dobler -A Playlist Recipe for Self-Love

 

To me, there are few deeper displays of love than offering someone a personalized playlist authored with full adoration and attention.

People don’t really make mixes like that anymore. And I miss it.

I love making mix CDs and will still will buy an actual CD (I know…I know…I am definitely not cool) if the mood strikes. I make mixes for friends and dinner parties (when I’m not being lazy and letting Spotify do all the work…)

I love a good playlist. what can I say?

I consider this playlist recipe a digital manifestation of John Cusack circa Say Anything, dedicating his arm muscle strength and a song to the girl of his dreams (sans the creepy/stalker intonations).

Here is my recipe for creating that perfect, self-loving playlist:

Track #1

The Alter Ego Song

The song that best expresses your own Ziggy Stardust/Sasha Fierce. What is that side of you hardly shown to the world? What does she listen to? Is she a spy or a princess? Pick a song for her.

Brand New Life – Young Marble Giants

Track #2

If You’re Angry and You Know It, Stomp Your Feet

We all get angry and it’s associated aspects of frustrated, annoyed, or full rage. What song helps to release this energy? Is it a righteous political anthem that gives you fuck-the-man vibes? A rousing beat that makes you want to mosh against a crowd of other energized bodies?

Tubthumping – Chumbawumba

Track #3

Your Theme Song

What song would play during the opening credits of your TV show? For me, it’s the 2:21-2:52 portion of Ladies Night. I see myself walzing down some city avenue, ending with me throwing my red hat into the air in the manner of Mary Tyler Moore of Blessed Memory.

Ladie’s Night – Kool and the Gang


Track #4

And Gosh Darn It, I Like Me!

This is the track that puts a little strut in your step. Maybe it’s hip hop self-celebration. Or some rousing Disney song about overcoming great odds sung alongside a talking animal. Do you. Celebrate yourself!

Just Fine – Mary J. Blige

Track #5

Dance (Naked) Like No One’s Watching

The jam that makes you want to recreate your own bra-and-panties or boxers interpretation. The song that you would dance to at a wedding where you knew no one.

Cheap Thrills – Sia

Track #6

The Song of Happiness

We all have those songs that make us grin without even trying. Even if we hear it in cheesy car commercials, it just makes our hearts sing with uncontained joy. Different strokes for different folks? Why can’t we just get that?

Everyday People – Sly and the Family Stone


Track #7

I’m Sexy and I Know It

A song that makes you think about all the good, silly, sensual fun of sex. I think every first-generation Nigerian child had the experience of hearing their parents hum Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye. And now that I’m a grown woman, I can definitely see the appeal

Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye

Track # 8

An All-Time Favorite

Number ones come and go, but some of songs stay in our hearts forevermore. What song will you love forever?

Ghosts – The Jam

Track # 9

Song that You Wish Was Written About You

You ever listen to a song and you’re like damn–I wish I was the muse to that? The pained longing, the sexual desire, the heartbreak! Well, when I was a junior high school girl, I always wanted a boyfriend to adore me and secretly believe he was not good enough for me. LOL little Hannah, LOL.

She’s So High – Tal Bachman

Track # 10

Good Times

There are those songs that bring back delicious memories like nothing else. Songs that perfectly encapsulate an era of beauty. My choice as cheesy as fuck, but every time I listen to it, I am reminded of my crush on Terrance Johnson, pizza Fridays, and lip sync battles.

Summer Girls – LFO


Track #11

I Want to Eat Your Sadness

The track that you can get weepy eyed over in no time at all. The song that lets you know that someone out there knows exactly how you feel and that it’s all okay. This is one of my (literal) favorite sad songs of all time.

Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song) – Otis Redding

So…what’s your playlist looking like? Share in the comments or on Facebook what your John Cusack playlist looks like. I’d love to know.

Onward,

Hannah
**Art**: 

Soul Sister by gkaiou

Untitled from blkwomenart.com

Untitled from blkwomenart.com

Afrosyntrik by Eric Dixon

 

 

Divine Feminine Fallacy Part I – I Hate Successful Women

You know those memes that nimbly point fingers at some ubiquitous yet unnamed hater? Like:

Meme: haters are my motivators

And:

I'm not jealous, I just don't like that dirty whore

I am that Hater.  I don’t want to utilize this blog as a sphere of severe self-flagellation. (That’s what Facebook posts are for right?) But, as part of addressing the Divine Feminine Fallacies of my own life, I need to get real.

For many years, I thought my bouts of frequent comparison and envy were gender-less.

But, then I started to notice something when that familiar closed-chest feeling hit as I heard about someone’s creative career success or picked up a magazine with a gorgeous woman on the cover.

I was hardly ever jealous of men, no matter how many “30 Under 30” lists they appeared under.

What was it about other women that made my innards curl into coils of envy when I saw their successes?

In real life, I cheer my women friends and love seeing women leaders.  I played basketball (and loved the teamwork aspect) for over ten years.  I’ve mentored young girls and believe all those memes about helping one’s sister.

haters3

Sadly, my unconscious was like, nah bitch…You Are Indeed a HATER.

It was tough:  I felt (and still often feel) incredible shame about these feelings. I want to be a “good feminist”. I am inspired by so many women. I love all things women’s empowerment.

The thing about self-love and acceptance is that you don’t get to live in la-la land if you’re practicing it right. You have to face some hard shit, like how you have internalized the patriarchy. You have to face the not-so-pretty aspects of who you are, the ones that don’t line up with what we profess on the outside.

After lots of meditation, serial-killer like scrawling in numerous journals, and a general openness to what my body has been trying to communicate to me for years, I discovered that I am a Hater of epic proportions.

So appropriate for moi
So appropriate for moi

I could have stopped there, decided I was a terrible person and a farce of a feminist, but I pressed deeper until I saw the story-lines and beliefs that were driving the feelings and thoughts.

I learned that believed in Scarcity in every definition of the word:

That there isn’t room or enough for me “out there”. That I don’t I have what it takes to be successful (not disciplined enough, not photogenic enough, not good enough mixture of witty-intelligent, that I didn’t grow up in the “correct place”...)

I believed that women are my competitors and that I needed to outshine them at all times.

THIS is what I believe in that deep, deep murky grey level of unconscious thought. This is what drives me to Instagram comparison and stalling in certain areas of my life when it comes to building my dreams.

Thankfully, jealousy is also a clue.

A couple months ago, I decided I was going to stop running from this feeling and letting it define who I am. As soon as I decided to do this, all kinds of synchronous happenings entered my life on the nature of female comparison/envy and how jealousy is not the end.

Competition and a belief in lack are some of the greatest bargaining chips the patriarchy has.

I remember hearing from the age of about ten onward that women are just naturally jealous. I heard my own teammates bemoan how women were just catty and that they “wished they could play basketball with the dudes, ‘cuz there was never any drama.” (LOLZ to those of us who remember the Kobe-Shaq Lakers days…)

The values of the patriarchy which so often blend into the tenets that uphold Western civilization espouse constant competition and the Marlboro Man mentality–the lone hero divorced from community and better for it.

Our media never ceases to tell women they are not enough in beauty, brains, or talent. That there are the “stars” and then there are the rest of us: ugly in our ordinariness and imperfections. Our society tell women that there is only so many accolades to go around.

And as much as feminism and my own critical thinking skills helped me resist these ideas to some degree, I had to admit to myself just how much I had internalized them.

Self-love means accepting that I am not the only person with this issue, especially in such a social media saturated world. Hopefully by shining a light on my own struggles, I can more honestly assist other people who feel this same type of cognitive dissonance.

When I feel the anxious stirring of jealousy or comparison today, I don’t wish or will it away.

Here is what I do instead:

  1. Admit When I Am Being a Hater:

I pause. I put my phone down or close out of the article. I listen to my body, the tightness of my chest or upper shoulders. I breathe into it this feeling and allow it to be as big as it wants to.

2. Dig Deep as to Why I Am Hating:

I ask myself some questions. What exactly am I jealous of? What is the Story I am creating? (i.e. I never earned an MBA, therefore I can’t start my own business, Good writers are recognized by age 30, etc.) Why do I think possessing said trait or thing will make me happy? Why don’t I think I can?

As I said before, Jealousy is a HUGE clue for what we actually want. It’s honestly nothing to be ashamed of, no matter how trivial the desire may seem. Perhaps we want to write more or travel to tropical islands or speak our political views without caring what our friends think. By engaging and being honest about where and who we are jealous of, we can start to build the life we want for ourselves. Usually, it is not that we want to be another person, we just want to feel such good things are possible for us too.

3.Tell the person!

Yikers. This one takes ovaries but once you do it, it bizarrely feels good. Sometimes, if the person is someone I know, I just admit it to them. I don’t blame them and I am not expecting or needing them to babysit my emotions. Being vocally honest allows my hater-ade to dissipate. I am able to feel more and move beyond the super grips of envy. Plus, the other person gets to see just how awesome they are.

You don’t need to drag it on forever and turn it into a self-pity session. (Please don’t do that.) Just a simple, “I’m mad jealous you got to meet President Obama,” will do. Many times, you may even find out they are jealous of you for some reason!

We humans are very funny.

4. Remember the Patriarchy Sucks:

It exists to divide and to stifle. It sells a story of Not-Enough and perpetuates a deep feeling of lack. It divorces us from people who can help us. Jealousy is almost always about feeling we are not enough on some level.

There was no way I was going to be able to fully embrace divine feminine principles without examining and discarding these vestiges of the patriarchy. I wanted a deeper integration of feminist values in my life and desired to support women in all their ways of being—not just when it was convenient for my ego.

Addressing my jealousy is steadily helping me to be a whole-hearted person, integrated and truly alive.

5. Take the simplest action:

Delete the app. Practice four square breathing. Take a walk. Actually write down the whys and who’s of your envy. Take the smallest step toward building your own version of success: look up those ticket prices, go to the Zumba class, write down 10 accomplishments you’re been proud of, dress to the nines for work the next day.

Above all else, love who you are in this moment. You are doing the best you can.

Don't know who "Jakee" is, but you are loved!
Don’t know who “Jakee” is, but you are loved!

Jealousy did and does not make me defective. It is not my whole story. I wish I knew this sooner, but I know it now!

If you struggle with jealousy or comparison, it’s not your entire story unless you want it to be.

Let’s get to that revision, shall we?

Onward,

Hannah

Allergic to Self-Love

pink children's book cover of "i like myself" with little brown girl with jumping in air with hand up
Required reading for all young brown girls?

I’ve been wondering: what part of self-love I am allergic to.

Is it the Self?

Or is it Love?

Self: a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others, especially considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action.

Of course, this is the stuff that has been argued and wrestled over by philosophers and theologians since people could argue and wrestle. Is there an essential self? And if so, who is she? Is my cocktail party self and my teaching essay writing self a part of this definition? As a woman, do I have a self separate from procreation and my relationships to men? (Seems like society is mostly like, nah, to that question…) Is it okay to  talk about this Self with anything other than deprecation post-1999?

Or, perhaps I am sickened by Love.

Love as a verb is popularly defined as: feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone).

I’ve always felt more connected to bell hook’s definition of love which she takes from noted self-help author M. Scott Peck,

“…the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth…Love is as love does. Love is an act of will – namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.”

I have been on the path of intentional self-love for about seven years now. \

As a kid, I saw myself as weak, ugly, stupid, overly sensitive, inferior, and a burden.

These stories started mainly when I was in foster care for about a year between kindergarten and first grade.

I cried a lot as a child and didn’t really make friends very easily for much of my secondary school years.

I was often the only black kid in my class and almost the same height as the teachers who taught me as early as sixth grade. To say I didn’t fit in at my Orange County schools would be grand understatement.

At home, I was the oldest kid in an immigrant family striving to be perfect and never give my parents any trouble.

These stories followed me into military school and once I graduated I knew I had to take concrete action to prevent them from stifling my entire life and making me a bitter asshole.

I started reading self-help books and going to therapy in earnest, but there was something about the words Self-Love that made me cringe.

Why was I so afraid to extend love to myself? What was so embarrassing about that?

dark skin woman with long braids with slight smile on purple lipstick lips taking selfie in park. autumn leaves decorate the ground
Unadorned self-love.

I have come to see that self-love is not the normal way people in our patriarchal society are supposed to relate to themselves. We are supposed to be driven, logical, stoic, and “get on with it”. Self-love is flowery and for the intellectually naive.

This way of thinking seeps into our consciousness in so many ways, at the family level, in our greater societal organizations, and finally in the ways we treat our selves.

Heap on an extra layer for those of us who are of color, who aren’t straight, whose bodies are classified as disabled or “non-normative”. The world tells us everyday in ways implicit and explicit that we are not only not loved, we are actively hated.

All of this explains why self-love still can simultaneously feel like infantile preoccupation and crazy dangerous.

Thankfully, there was always that microscopic unhardened part of my soul which knew that self-love would be the most revolutionary action I ever consistently took. As a daughter of the patriarchy in so many ways, I have somehow chosen over and over to practice self-love.

My self-love looks different everyday. Sometimes it’s boring trips to the optometrist to get a new prescription. Sometimes it’s refusing to teach white people about race. Sometimes it’s posting vainglorious selfies or long-winded quotes on Instagram. Sometimes it’s surrounding myself with friends or donating to Emily’s List.

I don’t want to be allergic to self-love anymore. And I think I have the antidote.

It’s one of my favorite tools for moving past stubborn mental blocks.

I call it the fuck-it button. It’s when I decide that my mental anguish is so not worth the amount of space it is demanding and I take a decisive go-forth action.

So….

I love my Self.

dark skin hand holding yellow watermelon with choose love tattoo on wrist
Choosing love each and every time.

I will fail at this proclamation sometimes. I may even start to anguish over the “correct” definitions of Self and Love.

I will then press the button again. (A great thing about the fuck-it button is that you can press it repeatedly and with great glee.)

Post-election, I wanted to write something more acceptably “political”. Then, I remembered that loving myself fully and without reservation is indeed a political act. Even if it only matters to me.

I choose to believe in the power of self-love.

Onward,

Hannah

 

 

Self-Help That Doesn’t Suck # 3 – Everyday Self-Love Course

Over-achieving knows no bounds.

I used to read Racialicious, Feministing, Everyday Feminism and Crunk Feminist Collective multiple times a day, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

I was thirsty for knowledge after leaving the US Merchant Marine Academy, which while training future officers and merchant marines, isn’t exactly high on the humanities and social justice classes.

After a point, I cooled down on my theory love. The comments got a little too discordant and filled with petty arguments. Sometimes it was emotionally exhausting to read and then go and experience the difficulties of being a modern day black woman. Sometimes I just wanted to read Junot Diaz.

Everyday Feminism remained on my list for a longer time than the others. I liked how the site crunched down pretty difficult topics for mainstream audiences. It was also the first time I read a consistent analysis of self-care/love that included a social justice awareness. I learned so much about my patterns, limitations, unhealthy mental blocks through this course, had so many a-ha moments that Oprah would’ve been proud. And that’s why it is Self-Help The Doesn’t Suck #3.

Everyday-Self-Love-Image

 

Title: Everyday Self-Love Course

Author: Sandra Kim

The Break-Down: Creator of Everyday Feminism Sandra Kim digs deep into the unhealthy and limiting self-negating behaviors we practice. The course is self-paced over four weeks and has over 1,500 alumni. You also get lifetime access to the program AND there are scholarships available. (Though I will say the course is pretty affordable considering what you receive.)

Why I Loved It: Kim’s down-to-earth truly authentic spirit really held the course well. She didn’t pretend that she was perfect or hide her healing. You could really choose to take your time over certain aspects and the meditations included were pretty eye-opening.

“Self-Love” and “Self-Care” are thrown around so much these days that they have quickly become parodies; as if hating the shit out of yourself or perpetual self-disparagement was “cool”.

It is not.

Hating and judging yourself harshly is a time-waster and a deeply sad, tired way to live. There is so shame in being like, well, fuck that.

This course was all about facing these self-hating parts of our minds and emotions with compassionate ease.

For You, If…: You dig on-line courses and want more of a community than a book. You want to learn to love yourself more but don’t know where to start. You want a self-care approach that takes into account the toxic elements of the society we live in.

Woo-Woo Factor: 1 out of 5 aromatherapy vials:  There isn’t a lot of “woo” in this course. Most of what Kim presents is secured deep in trusted cognitive-behavioral psychology and feminist/anti-racist theory. You will NOT need chakra charms.

Onward,

Hannah

What Grace Jones Taught Me about the Word Entitlement

Grace Jones Livin' It Up Wikimedia Commons: Madinka 22 June 2007
Grace Jones Livin’ It Up
Wikimedia Commons: Madinka
22 June 2007

“I was an outcast because of my funny accent, the color of my skin, a strange-looking face according to the New York fashion world, and because in so many ways I didn’t fit in. Black, but strangely full of myself. Oddly entitled seeming, which the African-Americans weren’t. I was expected as a black model to act a little humble, a little grateful. No way.”

-From Grace Jones biography I’ll Never Write My Memoirs

I always hated the word entitlement. It brought to mind technology crazed millennials who had parents on speed-dial and 7th place soccer trophies. It brought to mind #firstworldproblems and blatant chauvinism.

Entitlement.

Ew.

And then I read this one part in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. The book is all about the why’s of success stories, the social reasons that are often left out of the equation of rags-to-riches legends.

Entitlement was not painted as a four-letter word here. It was one of the many behaviors that separated those who succeeded in life and those who did not. When you are entitled, you expect good service, you expect people to take you seriously, you are not afraid to make choices that benefit Y-O-U. (Stay with me here, I promise this is not Donald Trump speaking.)

BUT. Entitlement can also veer out of course, resulting in everything from grown-up tantrums to chaotic violence.

So what’s a girl to do?

Enter the Empress of Weird. I’ve always admired the craziness of Grace Jones. There aren’t that many courageously zany yet elegant black women who did what she did (and does). She was completely unapologetic in the way she created herself and credits her childhood in Jamaica for instilling this pride,

“…I grew up in a world where our family was at the pinnacle of everything, in religion and politics, so discrimination didn’t mean anything to me. Being black didn’t hold me back in Jamaica, and I rarely thought of it in America.”

I wish I could say I had the same experience, but I myself have been painfully aware of the politics of gender and race for as long as I can remember.

What's in a word?
What’s in a word?

My parents raised me and my siblings to be proud of who we were, but living in this country and being presented with redundant often uninspiring, dangerous, and downright idiotic ideas of blackness is a hard thing to ignore.

Still.

I think I want some Grace-Jones-entitlement in my life.

Even a sprinkle of what she has going on would benefit me.

For way too long in my life, I have expected to be treated in ways that don’t benefit me—or anyone else. I have been hesitant and yielding. Politeness and reservation were also behaviors which my parents taught me. Service above self is a motto that my time in the Coast Guard branded into my consciousness.

And I believe in these messages. I really do.

However comma: I also believe in self-care and self-respect.

And a little bit of entitlement.

My favorite piece within the definition of entitlement is the fact of having a right to something.

I don’t have a right to everything. Like, duh. That’s just bananas. I know there will be experiences I don’t get, places I’ll never venture, prizes I won’t win.

And I am not Grace Jones (insert crying emoji…)

I do have a right to a LOT more happiness, silliness, glamour, and weirdness than I have previously allowed myself. And it’s totally okay to enjoy the fullness of these desires out loud.

Entitlement doesn’t feel like a curse word to me. Not anymore.

Entitlement feels like a life where I take responsibility for my desires as much as I can. Life is short and I am not going to be around forever. So why not enjoy this ride while I can? Why not expect to enjoy life as much as I can?

Entitlement. It’s beginning to have a bit of a ring to it.

My So-Called InstaPerfect Life

A reminder
A reminder

I wake up each morning at 6 am. I meditate for 20 minutes and complete a 20 minute cycle of yoga. I say gratitude prayers over a candle and my boyfriend lovingly smiles at me as he fixes breakfast. I drink my daily warm lemon juice and green smoothie. Yum! This is my  daily ritual. Nothing messes with these events.

I write for 20 minutes and am astounded that my words resemble the opening chapter of a Toni Morrison novel. I rest secure in my artistic gift.

I shower.  I only use organic soaps and jojoba oil once I’ve toweled off with my natural fiber towel. My locs are always supple and bouncy. My skin is clear and radiant. I look at my phone and take in my daily Deepak Chopra affirmation. I feel supremely connected.

I kiss my boyfriend goodbye as he hands me my vegan lunch. I am impeccably dressed by the way. It is near freezing outside but I look totally chic with a brilliant pop of red lipstick. My hair is perfect and my liquid eyeliner lined eyes are without mistake.

My I-Pod shuffles between walking meditations and upbeat 90’s music. Everyone smiles at me as I walk towards Atlantic Center. I hand out several dollar bills to the homeless I see. I am light, peaceful, and open.

On the train, a man walks up, “You looking fine! I love a woman in red lipstick! Do you have a boyfriend?” he says.  He sits close to me and starts talking more. I put down my Oprah’s Book Club pick and look him square in the eyes and speak in a level, assertive voice,

“Sir, I appreciate your comments but I do not want to talk right now. I am reading. Please be wary  of commenting on a stranger’s looks in public spaces. Namaste.”

“Wow, miss, you really taught me something. I’m going to read some bell hooks tonight.” He walks away with a grin.

I smile to myself, happy to insert loving feminism into the atmosphere.  The R train car smells like roses and is a nice temperature. The people in the train car have countenances full of sunshine.

Once, I arrive at work, I am greeted by my supervisor,

“You are awesome!” she says, flashing a thumbs up.

I smile but know that my true worth resides within me.  I am ego-less and free. All day I work in complete dedication at a good pace. I spend one hour in the nearby gym in a high intensity spin class. I walk past the candy laden food machines all day without stopping for a Snickers. I eat my lunch slowly and mindfully while sitting down.

Once I depart work, I conduct a series of errands easily and all in a row. Whenever I am waiting in line, I breathe deeply and feel the genuine deepness of God in my heart.

Later, I meet a friend for dinner. I expertly pick a place not too expensive and spend wisely. (No dessert!) When my friend announces she has made 100K from her blog and is touring South America next week, all I feel is a supreme joy. We hug and I feel the interconnection of our souls.

On my way home, a modeling scout hands me a card and says I should really hook up with his agency who are looking for Amazonesque dark-skinned women.

My boyfriend greets me at the door of our apartment which now smells like chocolate. He has made flourless cake! I cut a tiny piece and feel completely satisfied.

We watch an educational documentary on Netflix. I meditate for 20 minutes after the movie concludes and am in bed at 10:30. I and my boyfriend engage in loving sexual relations and both of us orgasm simultaneously. I fall asleep to lucid dreams where I find out my life’s purpose and talk with my late grandmother.

The end.

Sometimes I really wish my days looked like this. As I wrote this, I couldn’t help but chuckle out loud. While some of these practices and experiences are indeed very possible, the level of pressure I put on myself to conform to them ALL THE TIME is ludicrous.

I may not explicitly think I am doing so, but usually these experiences are what I expect my life to be.

I am a human being.  Sometimes I feel anxious. Sometimes I am crazy jealous. I often eat too fast and ignore the fact that I and milk chocolate don’t agree. Sometimes I am  bitterly disappointed by my failures. Sometimes I am eager for attention in a way that scares me.

I have moments I grow so despondent over the state of the world I don’t know what to do with myself.

Sometimes I think I am deeper or better than others.

I am a work in progress.

When I write out the lofty expectations I have for my life here, I can laugh. Who can be that perfect every single day? Instagram and whatever social media app will have us think everyone is. But, c’mon, now. Every day?

I hope this made you laugh too. We all want perfect days. But, maybe the harder work is seeing what is already perfect. What is already so very good right now? I don’t know about you, but I am tired of acting as if my present life is a prequel to the Next Better Thing.

I wish you the ease of being you in all your imperfection. And remember, I write this because I need to learn it myself.

Love,

Hannah