How blessed I am, I cannot begin to comprehend

My life outstretched in front of me, I decided to extend my arms longer although I thought my arms had made up their mind. No farther.

I hijacked my body for hundreds of miles, although each fiber conspired to remain.

I lost everything that ever meant anything to me and found my meaning in having none of it.

I laughed at how painful it was to keep moving, and moving, and abandoning the world I had claimed previously.

Realizing, the world is not mine to claim.

I am simply its pawn.

It has claimed me and assigned me to this mission.

So if you love me, let me go far-

Let me go tell the others the heaven that awaits them

When they take that next step, and

Grasp their chance at living.

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Am I a Fake Minimalist?

Moving back into my father’s house, I was unpacking suitcase upon suitcase. It wasn’t an extreme amount of stuff, since it could fit in my car to make the journey home, but it was enough to take me over an hour to organize. It was too much.

After downsizing my life and trying time after time again to sell and responsibly ditch my possessions, I had too much.

Was I a fake minimalist?

What is a minimalist anyways?

You apparently must buy a very small number of things from the day you start bringing things into your life. I will be twenty this year and I am still drowning in possessions.

This is a warning to everyone: stop buying stuff. You don’t need even half of what you buy.

Re-evaluate why you bring things into your life. Do you feel better when you buy things? How long does it take for that feeling to fade? Then you’re stuck with less money and more junk. More things and less space in your home, and less time since you must spend some of your time organizing and tending to your possessions.

Your possessions will possess you.

It happened to me.

I went through an emotional process of purging myself of possessions, and I still have too much. I have repeatedly had to confess my sins: my past prioritization of possessions and my past purchases from unethical businesses. The businesses I paid to enslave other humans for my benefit.

I have been disgusted and disappointed with my former, ignorant self. And I have drastically transformed my habits. Now, I only buy what I need. I shop from responsible retailers, and I promote sustainable choices to others. I try to repent for my sins, but I still have the evidence of my former self.

I have realized nothing I do now can erase my past mistakes. I will be shedding these remains for years to come, as I learn, my style evolves, and I let go. I realize I am more myself, less stressed, and can travel more easily with less stuff. I can’t erase my past mistakes, but I can make better decisions today. Now, I am extremely hesitant to purchase anything that is not a necessity. Now, I stay woke about the movement for fair labor, and I stay active in pushing for this. But still, I can do more. I can write to companies asking for better. I can use my voice to speak to mainstream companies, rather than just opting for ethical alternatives (a boycott might not always be the best solution- more on this later).

I am less concerned about the “minimalist” label, and more concerned about the role I play in the overconsumption that swallows this country whole. Now when I stumble upon my mindless purchases, I can acknowledge where I was when I made the decision to bring that item into my life. I realize how far I have come, and how healthy it is for me to keep letting go of my old possessions. When I brought these things into my life, I was trying to fill a void. Now, when I let go, I can fill that void with something more meaningful: travel, introspective time, and exploring. The less I have, the freer I am.

Heed my warning now and save yourself some heartache: stop buying so much stuff.

 

To become more aware of the impact of your consumption, visit:

Slaveryfootprint.org

Dream House

What do you have to say for this love we built like sand castles

For the way you let my legs drape over your shoulders so that I could use our combined height

To create our dream house

For the way you stood on your tip toes and stretched your arms longer than I have ever witnessed

To build our dream house

For all of the wind and the weather and the waves we ignored to keep building and building, building

To create our dream house

What do you have to say for the fact that we chose a beach and we chose sand

To build our dream house

What do you have to say for the fact that we chose the water but we live in Michigan where it’s cold

What do you have to say for the fact that we took our separate dreams and amputated them from our bodies

To birth our dream house

What do you have to say for the fact that we let these limbs wash away

To create this dream house

What do you have to say- what do you think- what do you think about the separate realities we have attempted to merge

What do you have to say for the fact that I was building a sandy ranch on the beach and you wanted floors, and floors, you wanted a palace

What do you think about the fact that we were both working on the same house but a different dream

What do you have to say about the names I wrote in the sand, how I perfectly merged our names

How nothing ever really stays

in sand- it either blows away, or is crushed, or washes away

What do you have to say. What do you think about the fact that we have not washed away

But the floors of this dream house keep collapsing

Each gust of wind is like a spell against us

To build this dream house

What do you have to say of all the sand covered spells we cast on each other with eyes and tongues

What do you have to say of all the sand covered love we have shared in the sun

When the winter we live in has crept up slowly on our backs

And the tingle on my spine has a name written in the sand but it washed away with ours

And what do you have to say. What do you have to dream about anymore?

Now that the water has come and gone are the walls and the floors and every imaginary door

Of our dream house

sandcastle

 

Unraveling

You came to me in a dream

I saw a light and followed it like a moth without a reason

Other than it’s light. And this might

Be the sun from which I radiate

I unraveled my skin and bones to let you in

But you quickly realized blood is thicker than water

And you can’t even swim

And within this likelihood of finding hope and finding home

I lost my voice by failing to scream when I needed to the most

There are objects that felt my rage passion and desire stronger than you did.

Now my dreams are flooded with other men.

I wake up in a sweat and cry in the darkness.

No one really knows how much I am-

Unraveling

Unraveling

Unraveling

For you. To give myself to the light and not the moon. To tell myself that constellations connect stars that are millions of miles apart and there is a reason I was drawn to you. Even if I forgot it.

And there’s a reason for everything right?

And why do I feel like this, why do I charge myself with crimes I didn’t commit why am I not committed

How does one be committed

How do I keep a promise I never made?

To you. Because truly it’s true I made every single promise to me and not you because I am just that incredibly unsure of my words when I am around you. and I hold them in until I am away and can let my mind run free and play and proclaim myself a sunflower, a shining star in the night sky on her own, in her own poetry, in her own galaxy, in her own darkness. Lost in her own darkness.

And I am sorry if I didn’t spin on my head for you or turn the world upside down.

Magic does not come from me when I am numb, you took my words from me and escape was the only method of liberation. With you I feel tied down like you are my only obligation. Like I cannot even fall off the face of the earth without dealing with some sort of repercussion. Because there is a whole branch of you that is me, and to me you are leaves.

And I am devoid of hope and there isn’t a fire in me now because I tried to clear my mind out to love you. I folded in my limbs and made myself compact so if you ran me over I wouldn’t be crushed, I could still walk again. Remember I gave my spine to you. there is nothing to break. Don’t try there’s no use

And is it wrong to say I could never protect you?

And if there was a bullet I wouldn’t let you

Save me. There is no saving a woman who is her own hero, her own lifeblood, who breathes fire, and can expand and contract herself when needed. I contracted myself but you never see it

Your eyes are pointed downwards and you are encumbered with yourself. I am a world to you, but I am not your world. Love comes in waves, but is no ocean. When I found the source I thought it was never-ending, but it really was just accumulation from a storm. There isn’t enough clean drinking water for all of us

Each day I bend my back over to look at the world, burn holes in my eyes to withstand the collective pain of humanity. I ache for others, and repair myself-

You ache for yourself and I will never be able to accept your lack of investment in the living of others. I carry their weight on my back.

But I do not want to carry yours much longer. I am weary from the long winding road and I have much time ahead.

This vision had prospects but lost itself midway. Neither of us wanted to get wet we just dipped our toes in and I wanted to be fearless but I don’t think that you are ready to release yourself like I have

You cling to your bones like your name is engraved in them

I lost my skin years ago

The beauty of breaking regime

             For as long as I can remember I have had kept track of my food and activity levels obsessively. I have structured my days around a strict schedule of eating and working out. Even if I was really active in a day, I would still have to complete an actual fitness routine at days’ end to feel okay. I have guilted myself over eating foods laden with sugar and salt, although I eat almost an entirely whole foods vegan diet.  I have trapped myself in a mentality of perfection. Perfection morally speaking, healthfully speaking, and aesthetically speaking.

                I am beginning to finally break these habits and throw my toxic thoughts off their course. In the past month, I have worked out less than I have in a very long time. That’s not saying I haven’t been active- as a new yoga teacher, I practice almost every day, and add cardio days in between. But I have ceased the constant obsession with physical activity and its visible “gains” on my body. I have also veered off the raw vegan path. It has been strange to me. As I have rejected regime, I have been confused. I have tried to make myself feel bad, but I can’t. I am too awakened these days to cry over cookies with almond milk.

That being said, I still struggle with orthorexia every day. It has taken so much mental strength and awareness to not pressure myself into keeping this routine. Instead of following a predetermined fitness routine, I have been listening to what my body needs each day and following that. As a full time college student that works two jobs and has numerous extracurricular, I need to do this. It’s not just more sensible and time- conscious. It’s for my mental health- something I have always struggled to care for and to maintain, and something I strive to better each day.

Although I am already beginning to see room for improvements, I cannot say I regret the way I have been living this past month- not obsessing over food and fitness. I am healing with time. I am learning to only adopt routines that feed my mind, body, and soul. I am learning to reject societal ideals of what is beautiful, and not hate myself for not having the abs of Instagram celebrities.

I am learning to respect myself for all of the goodness I am bringing into the world, and realize so long as I am healthy I do not need to run myself into the ground. I am learning to treat myself as I would want others to be treated- dismissing self-criticism and comparison. I have found happiness right under my nose, so it seems silly to continue to desperately strive for an ideal that just isn’t me. Deepening my journey with yoga has been a huge part of this newfound self-worth. I bow to what my body can do, and the ways in which I am capable of transforming lives simply with a change in mental attitude. The mind is everything. So I am thinking of myself as a work of art. Not meant to be dissected, but meant to be celebrated, and to provoke thought and ideas in others.

I am proud to say I have broken regime. I haven’t tracked my food or fitness so closely in over a month, and I feel great about it. Maybe I will come back to these habits at some point, but right now I know I must provide the most care to my mental health, allowing myself to not just have a strong and effective body but a strong and successful mind as well. As I discover more and more what I value in life, I veer off farther and farther from previously held ideas of perfection. I am rejecting consumerism, materialism, and excessive technology, stress, and chaos. I am clinging to kindness, truth, nature, words, self- love, and gratitude. I am grateful for what I am. I am learning to accept it.d098695bc6cca645db901833ed1b2780

Comfort

Comfort?

What is comfort?

I do not speak of comfort.

I am not well versed in the language of death.

I am alive-living.

More than a shell, very well beyond a shell.

Comfort reeks to me.

I can smell it a mile away.

I see you dragging your bones along like you don’t have a life to live any more.

I see you letting your body be a tomb.

I know I cannot do this. I can never ever do this.

I can revolt.

I can do what I can to touch the heavens, even if it means forever walking on my tip-toes.

I can keep my own universe, my own mountains, and plains, and rivers, and valleys.

I can run without interruption, escape the soul-crushers, and ascend.

Atlantis

Nothing makes sense

In my daydreams clouds are pink and the grass sways like water

Only, this is real life

In my dreams I am awake, breathing, and alive

I am striding across a territory that is not mine, and never has been

It is not my ancestors’, nor their ancestors

I am walking, waking, over my head, deep

I am wading in all that is possibility

Built upon the atrocities of the dreamers before me

The dreamers who were cut like beanstalks from the sky

Cut down, drowned out,hushed, unwritten

Who will tell their story?

Better yet, if they tell their story, bare their bones, unveil the remnants of a civilization-

Who will listen?

When I remember I stop and drop my ear to the earth and listen to the rock and roll of the earth on its axis

Muffled chanting mistaken for party music. Thievery mistaken for livelihood.

Everyone who has entitled themselves to this land has poisoned it, and for that we are guilty of not only genocide- but suicide.

You took everything. There is nothing left to make of this blue planet.

There is nothing green.

Only the sea, that washes me away in no time- reducing me to the minor, insignificant microorganism I am, shooing me, discarding me, replacing me, and erasing me.

I have never existed in a world the way it was supposed to be.

I uncover what I can in the lost world of the sea, Atlantis- moaning to be released, crying, and screeching at my feet.

Drowned, I am lost. I am nothing compared to what was here before me.

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the journey.. thus far

2013. I started this blog as an ode to fashion.

2016. It has evolved and transcended what I ever thought it would mean to me- it has become an oasis for my words.

An island of poetry and forbidden fruit.

Thoughts I can’t shout anywhere but in an online space.

I have grown and changed immensely and part of that was giving myself up-

giving up my pain, to be discovered by others

even if I have not amassed a large quantity

it means the moon and stars to me

that someone has found solace in my words

in my scatterings of a life, my attempt to make something of myself

my efforts in rearranging pain

to create a constellation of hope.

SO thank you-

if you have just stumbled upon my page

or have returned time and time again

Thank you for supporting my art

thank you for this space for helping

support my life’s work.

much love,

s.m.

home

It came to me like in a dream

It woke me gently with a whisper

A soft spoken slur of words-

Something is different about you

Your walk has a groove

And your thoughts are riotously joyful

What is it?

It’s like you’re infected or something

It’s like something has changed within you

Your internal chemistry is-

More aligned. More defined.

It’s like every move you make is a celebratory dance.

It’s like all of your poetry has a certain tinge of romance.

It’s like your puppy dog eyes are gone, and this is a deeper kind of love.

It’s like-

Everything you eat tastes better and everything you dream seems realer

And everything you read reminds you of a person and a place

And one face.

And you’re on the face of the earth, but the surface of the moon when it’s you two.

When it’s you, too.

You gaze at the sky in a different way

You think maybe God didn’t create a perfect world

Maybe he left it incomplete so you could fill it

Maybe he etched the lands and left a crater the size of two bodies.

So you could fit just right.

It’s like-

Nothing will ever be ordinary again

It’s a strange feeling being so high up in the universe

But it’s something more satisfying than certainty

It’s home.

8/1/16

Coming Clean

I have struggled for many years- unable to combine a few sentences and break the silence on the emotional pain I deal with over food and obsessive exercise. Even writing this, I am questioning myself and dismissing myself, even though I know this has been heavy on my heart for far too long.

I would say it began around eighth grade- I got really really into exercise and healthy eating and so I became a super health nut and began to work out. I ran with friends, danced a lot, and basically did a ton of cardio but without purpose other than to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I quit everything unhealthy- anything with artificial colors or flavors, candy, soda, junk food like chips, etc. over night. Once I devoted myself to my health, I never looked back. I fell in love with the feeling I would get from working out, or the pride of having a strict code of foods I would and would not eat.

As the years went on, I became more and more obsessed with living a healthy lifestyle, especially because no one around me was the same. My family has never been that into health, nor my friends. Most of the people I know eat healthy on occasion and exercise in recreational ways, but I built my days upon a fitness regime. I started following workout plans and guides and ripping out the pages of Self and Shape with the little workout guides printed. I loved it, and as I continued to learn more and more about fitness, I pushed myself harder and harder. Around high school, I was working out with a more definitive goal in mind. It was also around this time I went vegan (senior year). By then, fitness was hardly just a part of my life- it was my life. It defined me. Going vegan is the best decision I have ever made, and it definitely helped boost my confidence in my healthy lifestyle, since a balanced vegan lifestyle is the healthiest way to live and eat. I could never look back on that decision, because I do feel that veganism helped my relationship with food.

By college, I was still in this mindset. I worked out almost every single day, often doing yoga plus a workout daily, after biking or walking to class, and sometimes running on the same day. Thankfully, we have free fitness classes in our residence halls at school, so I would attend those all the time, unless something legitimately important prevented me from going. I was definitely, definitely obsessed. I often skipped club meetings or other cool campus involvements just to go to fitness classes or work out on my own. I tracked all my food and activity on my Health app on my phone, and felt like I was in control of my life. I can definitely see now that there were some unhealthy aspects to my obsession. I still continue to struggle with this to date. There is an issue- I work so hard and I run my body like a machine, yet I still never feel like it is enough. I stopped loving my workouts and started simply doing them repetitively because my self-worth is directly correlated with how active and healthy my lifestyle is. It absolutely is. I was traveling for a week and a half recently, and I had no time to work out, although it was a very active trip in general, but I still felt so guilty and like my body was not fit enough. I have always struggled with this obsession to be the best and fittest I can possibly be, and it has left me scrambling to find time to work out on days it doesn’t even make sense and I end up making myself late for something, just so I don’t feel like a worthless human being later on.

I have dealt with this for so long. I decided I wanted to come clean, and tell my story to someone-anyone who would listen. Recently I was raw for two weeks. I was inspired to go raw by all the raw vegans I know. I felt great doing it and truly believed I had reached the pinnacle of perfect healthfulness. After doing some research though, I discovered that eating raw can be very dangerous, because it doesn’t include as many varieties of foods as it should. It is also very dangerous mentally, because the people who made the diet demonize ridiculous foods that no one should cut out from their life- like nuts, seeds, and avocado. While it may be right for some people, I don’t think it is for me. My mindset was out of control on a raw diet. I felt so incredibly healthy just eating raw fruits and veggies, and I will say my energy felt great and I was not bloated, but I do not believe I was getting adequate nutrition, and I too started demonizing anything that wasn’t a raw fruit or veggie. I didn’t eat bread for two weeks, and I wasn’t sure if I ever would again. (I have.) I do this a lot. I have been vegan a year and a half, and at this point, it’s almost too easy to find vegan treats anywhere. I got to the point where I felt I was consuming too many sweets, so I cut them out completely. I did a month without added sugar, and I have kept with it. While many of my behaviors are points of pride for me, I can also recognize that I am someone who can very, very easily fall into a trap with my healthy lifestyle- every time I think I have achieved perfection, but I somehow veer off that path, I lose my mind.

I love to talk about working out and healthy eating partly because I want people to admire my physique. I want all of my hard work to be noticed. I look in the mirror and I like what I see most of the time. I am notoriously obsessed with my abs, and when my stomach is bloated I get so distraught. I want to be toned and fit and trim, and I want to be known for being fit. I guess I have defined myself by my fitness for so long that I get offended when people are surprised I’m so into working out. Just because I don’t have giant guns doesn’t mean I am not incredibly strong and physically adept. I feel like when others (especially sexist jerks who think I can’t lift heavy objects) don’t notice my athleticism, it’s really a personal blow. I don’t know what I would do if I hadn’t worked hard to have a fit body. It really is a huge part of my life and my identity, and this is both a positive and a negative thing. It is positive because I know I will always be devoted to living a long, healthy, and happy life, but it is also negative because it has caused immense emotional pain when I feel I don’t live up to the standards I set for myself. Basically, fitness will always be a part of me, but I am just trying to not make it all of me.

After realizing I was dealing with emotional distress every time I felt I ate something I shouldn’t have or missed a chance to work out, I researched what I was going through. It turns out there is a name for it- orthorexia, obsession with healthy eating and exercise. I read the stories of many others who have struggled trying to balance the positive and negative sides to being obsessed with personal fitness, and I wanted to cry and shout from the rooftops. I felt like my pain was validated, like it was something real and tangible and mine to own. Now, I don’t like to go throwing around names of disorders just to gain sympathy; that is something I will never do, but I am so glad I was able to recognize within me something potentially dangerous. Orthorexia is closely linked to anorexia. I distinctly remember times in my life where I did purposefully starve myself, or feel so guilty from eating something that I so badly wanted to induce vomiting. My mother survived anorexia when she was around my age, and that is a treatment process I never want to have to go through. I probably do not have the worst case of orthorexia ever, but I am so glad I see the red flags now, which may have potentially saved me from a lifetime of even more pain and suffering.

Every day is different living with orthorexia. Typically, I keep a very strict eating schedule- one I have probably thought of the day before or hours earlier, and workout for up to two hours. Once I start working out, I don’t want to stop. I often do squats and ab exercises in the bathroom and shower just because any idle moment I have I feel obligated to use in my physical benefit. If I ever get fat, it will be my own fault. The saddest thing is I have allowed that to be my worst fear. Not starving, not throwing up, not fainting, not being infertile because my body has been in starvation mode for years. My worst fear has been getting fat. It is highly impossible to get fat with the way I eat and live, but I feel like even one day without working out is risking it. I often slap myself out of absurd ideas like this, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t feel guilty lying in bed at night. I constantly wrestle with my own mind- is it okay to not work out today? I need sleep- isn’t that important to my health too? I am trying so hard to not be superficially focused on the benefits to my outward appearance, and remember that my incredibly active lifestyle is keeping me alive longer. That should be the real goal. I want to meet my grandchildren. I want to be a thriving old woman, but this won’t happen if I don’t start treating my body like the temple it is.

I am not a machine. I cannot wake up and grind every single day without an ounce of passion. I need to bring the love and the fun back to my fitness regime. I need to be more proud of my ability to stick with something so crucial to life than my body. I need to stop becoming obsessed over gains in certain areas of the body, and I need to stop putting fitness first, meaning don’t turn down plans with someone just to work out. I need to love myself, truly, wholly, and unconditionally. No matter if I look in the mirror and my stomach is bloated because I ate some God forbid bread. I need to remember that healthy habits become unhealthy the second your mindset turns toxic. I can’t have this toxic mindset anymore. I need to cherish my life and my strong body and the blessing it is that I am a mobile person, and even have the ability to work out without abandon. I am unlearning bad behaviors and relearning new ones every day. I am learning not to beat myself up over eating a cookie or bread, or skipping a day of working out. I was incredibly tired today and did not work out. I went to work, I read, and I napped. I listened to what my body needed, and I fulfilled its wishes. And to me, that is worth a heck of a lot more than a workout I would have thrown only half of myself into. Whatever I do deserves the whole of me. I deserve the whole of me.

Orthorexia resources:

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/orthorexia-nervosa

http://www.orthorexia.com/