lost again, but who’s really looking

It’s happening again.

I’m feeling lost.

I’ve been ringing my neck, surrounding myself with a plethora of certain people.. er, people who are certain. But I’ve come to realize that.. not everybody really knows what they’re doing. In fact, I’m not sure if everybody even really does.

January 2017, I felt like a stray. I had no path in mind, no place to be. Following routine like it were my only belongings. Turns out these feelings of inadequacy go far deeper than having no place to be.

During high school Anthropology, I found out about this structure. This guideline in which we have to follow and fulfill these needs to progress. Who knew they’d actually be helpful.

maslow-pyramid.jpg

This is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We can surmise the basis of our struggles. Have we successfully fulfilled one portion to be able to concentrate on accomplishing the next? As for me, I’m finding holes.

I feel as if I’m being held back from life.. or at least I’ve let myself believe this to be true. For the basis of my physiological needs.. I may have water, warmth and a place to rest for the night, yet, I’m still convinced my circumstances can be better.. and that it’s up to me to change my life in every way to finally achieve it. But above all, why am I discontent with what I have now? Maybe my privileges aren’t appreciated because I’ve had them all my life. A simple comparison to a life I could be living can transform this mindset into one I should already embody. I have all the tools I could need and still, the biggest block is my mind. Nothing’s stopping me, but me.

Every sector of this triangle goes hand in hand with this mentality. Some things take time to achieve and opportunities to pursue. When really, that’s what life is all about. It would be boring to have it all laid out for us. We need the struggle to appreciate the bliss.

Thus, financial success (the main motive for most) may grant us a feeling of security. When truly, it may not be enough.

A friend I recently met told me that art is the only reoccurring form of fulfilment. You can buy whatever you want and eventually have that happiness wear off. In contrast, once you create something, it’s like biting into an abundance of sweet fruit. It’s satisfying and endlessly fulfilling. You can only grow from there. Our main goal isn’t money (at least it shouldn’t be). Money comes and goes, we’ll find ways to make ends meet. It’s in creation.

I know now how important it is to care about creation.. with no pressure of deadlines, where creation is meant for development and awareness.

I’m done stressing out about the constructs placed on me. I’m not lost. This fear isn’t real. I’ve only just allowed myself to believe it.

Fuck it. I control my destiny.

money isn’t everything, stop stressing about it

Could you imagine a life where you had nothing to work for? Where everything you could ever want was already in your possession? Where there was never an end goal? No risks. No reward. Only monotonous repetition.

I’m steps shy away from a day of stress and anxiety. The negative numbers glare back at me as I stare back in submission. “You owe me.”  “You need to get your shit together.” Yet, it’s the bittersweet satisfaction of swiping those plastic cards that make me feel as if anything (within reason) is within arms reach. Nonetheless, this goes beyond paying for protein bars and tandoori butter chicken (with naan!!!). It’s the cost of major life events that are seen as rites of passage into adulthood.

  • moving out (first and last)
  • getting your driver’s license (driving school)
  • getting a car (a car)
  • looking good (to feel good) like.. all the time (clothes, make up, hair)

Beyond all these major events, I still have a social life, education, food, shelter and clothing. Even still, no matter how much I have, I never feel like it’s enough.

“I can balance 2 jobs and a social life! No problem!”

the life tri

Well. Put simply, this is the triangle of young adulthood.

Choose two.

You can push all you want, but one can only be stretched so far and so thin. Pace yourself while you’re still young. Understand that the decisions you make and the care you take upon yourself will reflect your future self. There is so much time to do and receive what you want.

Why do we need money to feel good when we already have enough to eat/wear/do? Have you ever basked in the weightlessness of less (or even no) responsibility? Is it worth working another job as opposed to enjoying that extra freedom? When you’re careless, debt is a silent killer. You’ll never notice until you’re fucked.

How long does the high of materialism last? Do you still revel in glory about your cell phone all this time later? Nah. You probably want a new one. Well, I’ve spent my money on travels and late nights with friends. But it was all borrowed time, because my credit card granted me that freedom. Nevertheless, the time is now… to be responsible and earn what past me borrowed so carelessly. Even though I would never give back any of those experiences, I’ve made a promise to myself that I will never take or spend what hasn’t been earned first.

There’s much more satisfaction looking at a savings account that can be put towards investments, travel, a house or a car as opposed to a closet full of clothes you probably won’t even wear anymore. Materialism in moderation. There’s a balance for everything. However, that yearning for more when we clearly have enough is what will drive us into the ground. What happens when we reach that point of (financial) success? What will we look forward to when we have everything?

Save your money. Bring a lunch. Pre-drink. Have a picnic instead. Use coconut oil. Use vaseline. Buy from a thrift shop. Borrow it from a friend. Stick to generic. Make it yourself. Work more hours. Take that shift. Stay in the night. Get it at the dollar store. You can live without it.

There’s always a way. Live a wholesome and moderately frugal lifestyle. Make use of everything you have before you buy something new. Earn what you want in life, you’ll appreciate it harder. Make it your conscience effort to live a life free from material toxicity. Realize that owning everything isn’t everything.

 

solo travel was the worst decision of my life

*How I managed the stress of judgement and being alone in a foreign country.

As I scrolled through the countless photos I’ve posted on Facebook, in an airport home at 4:33am wiping the lack of sleep off my eyes, my empty stomach churned with the remnants of that last chiliguaro shot. I thoughtfully reflected over the past 10 days of my first solo adventure in Costa Rica. And boy, let me tell you… it sucked.

In the span of 10 days, I’ve encountered a whole other world. I barely slept due to late nights with new friends and early mornings at the beach. I spent all my money on delicious food and heart racing excursions. The last time I washed my hair was in the ocean and the absolute worst of it all… was the people. I’ve made so many new friends.. that I grew accustomed to saying goodbye.

Looking past the negative positives, it wasn’t always sunshine and young people helping old people with their groceries. There were definitely points in which I’ve felt completely alone, unattractive and straight up dumb as hell. Albeit being such an advocate for carefree living, I’ve managed to pull most of my insecurities out of the box. “I feel so gross and ugly.” “How will I make friends here?” “Nobody likes me.”

I felt incredibly disheartened being away from my daily routine. Coming from an environment of loving and accepting friends, full access to self care and hygiene products and a swipe right away from a compliment (not that attention is important), I felt mentally dehydrated. The moment I was completely alone in a hostel (tip: always check reviews. Stay at the best hostels, good people tend to flock there), I felt just as lost as I did in the beginning of this year. Except, this was more of a survival kind of lost, not the existential type.

Well then.. what did I do?

Pulled myself the fuck together. I spent the day lounged out by the beach, reading about my handsome boy His Holiness the Dalai Llama (The Art of Happiness), which was actually pretty great. I wasn’t aware of how important alone time can be. Plus, it took only a matter of hours to be back in contact with real human beans. So, I pitied myself for feeling so inadequate. Coming to a foreign country filled with other solo travellers, what fears could I possibly harbour about judgement? I’ll likely never see any of these people again. What value do their opinions have to me? So, something as simple as pulling out my little journal turned this car right around. I grabbed a beer and sat at the bar alone to write my own advice:

“Everybody is facing their own internal struggle. I spend way too much time worrying about others and trying to get people to like me, that I’ve never fully taken the time to appreciate me for me. Sometimes I say weird shit I can’t help because my mind has decided to show this part of me. When it happens, embrace it. If someone chooses to judge me poorly for it they obviously aren’t the kind of people that deserve me in their lives. Organic. Life should be occurring naturally. Never forcefully. If I pull some Tyler love (pseudo name) and carry on forcibly shallow and meaningless conversation, eventually this transparent glass plane will break. And I’ll have had wasted my time investing into something that offers me no real joy, happiness or fulfillment. The right people will come into my life eventually. It will all be so fucking natural. Let life happen.”

i met the love of my life last night

There was this transformative moment, during the most profound Saturday of my life so far. We were running down a hill, watching the different nuances of the sunset drift behind grey clouds. As we ran, it felt like a movie, a movie I would relive over and over again as if I could just press rewind.

So I left my girls and trekked back up that steep street paved hill. I didn’t want to miss a second of that transcendent sky. So, I walked backwards into the empty street, stumbled upon a telephone pole and made myself at home. The black denim jacket covering my bare back was just enough to make me feel comfortable. And just as I thought I was about to run down once more, to relive the last few minutes of my life over again, I had to stop. This view was nothing like I’ve ever seen before. I had no words, only time and contemplation. And that’s when it happened.

There were a million thoughts running through mind. A time of reflection, as if my life were flashing before my eyes. But this single thought struck me harder than the rest. I finally confronted the most important figure in my life.

Despite all these years of introspection, conversations with my inner voice and emotional fabrication, with the body and mindset I’ve always possessed.

I realized…

It’s me.

It was me. And it’s always been me, but in this moment, I’d finally taken notice.

I understand you. I see you. I feel you. And I’m finally here with you now. I’ve never felt so at peace with being by my self. There was this comfort. Like old friends reuniting, but this time, was the first time. I appreciated myself as an actual being, beyond all the negative thoughts that have pervaded my mind.

I thought to myself, “Everything you ever do is for others. You are constantly giving yourself and caring so much about what other people think and how they feel that you’ve never taken a moment to understand yourself. To appreciate yourself. To love yourself.” I’ve been craving the attention and adoration of others when I already possess that worth and adoration within myself. Especially when it comes to my creations and how thoughtfully passionate I am about them. If I can appreciate things for what they are, creations, by me and for me, then there is certainly love to be felt in the same way by others. That commonality grants me fulfillment. And all I ever really needed was my own confirmation to know that. I have my own standards to satisfy. Everybody’s will be different. But if I’m proud as hell to make what I make then that is good enough.

I wiped the slick tears off my face and started daydreaming about myself. Moments in which I wish I were admired by others. Moments in which I felt beautiful and yearned for someone to take notice. Beneath the red-orange sun set behind gloomy clouds, I became my own lover. I admired myself. I took notice of myself. And I vowed from that day forward to respect and love myself first before I ever let someone else do the same.

If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love someone else? – Rupaul

never let someone have you question your worth

I’m a hopeless romantic and lover of people. I put my all into every new relationship in the hopes of having amazing friends for good times, positive vibes and the right influence. With that, I’ve always seen the good in people, to a point in which I’ve been ignorant to disappointment and never let it define the future of these relationships. But to no avail, I’ve let stupid shit happen to me time and time again.

I hit this ultimate realization when I dated someone for 365 days, presumably a long distance relationship, but barely one at that. This was the longest I had ever been romantically involved with another person and my goodness was it a shitty way to start the streak. He feared the distance, didn’t want to risk the heart break and was relentlessly avoiding the effort of communication. I let him ignore me, let him put in half assed effort and basically let him control my life. I thought I could change him. And that really should have been the first sign.

I was so hopeful that it would get better. I stayed patient, giving him the benefit of the doubt. But hitting that one year mark was the final straw. How did I let myself play through this torture for so long? So… I ended it and knew from that point forward that I deserve so much fucking more than whatever the hell that was. Now, through all walks of life, I’m more mindful of how I’m treated. My love is endless, but exclusive. You must deserve it to receive it. And if he’s good enough for my mind, he’s good enough for my body.

The same shit happened with former friends. I would pour myself into them and let their lives consume me. I gave them my empathy and advice. I listened to so much pointless ranting that my mind yearned for genuine conversation. I’ve slowly become absent.

There’s this incomparable fulfillment in giving… But can I just ask you a question? Yeah? Okay… am I a fucking library book? Waiting to be checked out? To be used, put back and only taken out when it’s convenient?

Fuck no. I understand my worth now. Familiarize yourself with your own.

“But do you think maybe in this important period in your life (where you’re beginning to grow a lot and making a lot of changes), that it would be more beneficial to focus on yourself? And if you were to let someone in in that way, that it would be someone who’s strong enough to help you grow. Someone who could help balance and strengthen you. Instead of someone that you would have to hold up and who has up until this point only made you question your worth?”

Absolutely. Your future partner should NEVER make you feel any less attractive, intelligent or important.

(Thank you, Juniper. I needed that.)

Never let someone have you question your worth. Know it, familiarize yourself with it and stand by it, always.

hey mom and dad thanks for smashing pissers and giving me life

I believe in a spiritual guide. An entity that grands me good will and leads my way through life. I’ve thought about the fact that I might die soon. (If it happens my last words will probably be: “hide my dildo.”) But something instantaneously calmed me down, letting me know I’ll be fine.

Death sucks. For someone who wants to fulfill the most basic goals of life.. if i were deprived of it all now.. I’d be sorta mad (or nothing at all). But it happens. People die young. We can’t fathom absence. We plan a future and forget that we may not even live to see it.

Life is just survival, reproduction and for most.. making money. A lot of us never take a minute to appreciate the space in between all of those things. We’re so caught up in being perfect that we pay little attention to the things that actually matter.

“Thank you for giving me this life”. Have you told your parents that lately? Even if you did, you should do it again.

I’m sure you’ve heard of people your age who have passed away. Maybe even someone you know. Now, how did you feel when you heard that happened?

…what made you forget that feeling? What made you lose sight of your respect for life? A person or work or school or a thing to buy? What’s distracting you?

Bring back that pain. Bring back that fear of uncertainty. Bring back your awareness of life. Take a minute to yourself. Be mindful of death. Embrace it.

“When mortals are alive, they worry about death. When they are full, they worry about hunger. Theirs is the Great Uncertainty…”

– Bodidharma

comparison will kill you, sometimes that’s a good thing

Dissatisfaction is human nature. Without it, there would be no attempt to improve.

But this feeling of dissatisfaction can be so overwhelming sometimes. It can exceed your need to improve. To a point where I’d rather just watch Sex and the City than work on my creative endeavours. Thus, I write for you. To the envious and the insecure. Swallow your pride and accept it.

“I have no apprehension in my peers having success. It doesn’t make me any less talented…” – John River

The moment I read this, I felt this wave of respect for the truth. I’ve been confusing productivity with creativity all my life. I’ve watched art and skill set for the Gods and I’ve kicked myself in the ass time and time again for being a suck. I feel the internal stabs at my ego, knowing someone out there is doing ‘better’ than me. Yet, in the grand scheme of things, the only disparity is the fact that they’re actually DOING something. We can’t expect our future to fall into our laps.

Do not mistake this as motivation. Envy and hatred should NEVER be a central focus to success. As Mark Manson states in The Art of Not Giving a F*ck, finally achieving shallow or vengeful goals will lead to quarter/mid life crises. Once we fulfill something that provides no fulfillment at all, we’re faced with a greater reality of the end. “What now?” (Be conscious of your definition of fulfillment). Goals are our livelihood. They will constantly be in pursuit. That’s what life is about. Otherwise, we’d all be bored.

Embrace dissatisfaction. Continue kicking yourself in the ass. Remain awestruck in the growing success of those around you. There is no greater drive to move forward than to have someone push you back.

EVERYDAY IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN. No matter what in the heck you’re doing.

“Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better.”

if you died tomorrow, would you be okay with today?

“There’s a massive meteor headed for the earth. We have 10 years before it destroys us all… What is the first thing you will do?”

“I’d drop out of school.” “Experience love?” “I’d go to burning man.” “I’d travel the world.” “I’d blow all my savings.” “I’d get a dog.”

“Okay, let’s say it’s 5 years… now 2 years. Now 6 months. Now 1 day. What now?”

“I’d call my mom, tell her I love her, then head to the bathroom for one last shit.”

I shouldn’t have denied the intensity of discussion in my ‘Death and the Afterlife’ class.

Now, to put things into perspective, we’re a class of 20 something year old college students varying in programs and interests. A glance around the room would show you blue and green and purple dyed hair, young men rocking some sort of sports related paraphernalia to girls in expensive coats hunched over their iPhones. We are all so very different. Yet, in death, we are all the same.

I wanted to make peace with our ultimate fear. I signed up for this course in the hopes of becoming closer with myself, my future and my desires. And, easily enough, this one single truth snapped me into a greater sense of reality.

What’s stopping you from doing all those things? Go to burning man? See the Northern Lights? Get a dog? You can do that all now.”

Not to say I’ll be blowing all my savings to travel the world to fall in love anytime soon. But I shouldn’t shy away from these desires. Instead of a meteor, what about cancer or a debilitating spinal chord injury? We lack the drive to be spontaneous. We need a push to pursue our most authentic selves. In the final stages of life, there will be nobody to please or impress other than ourselves. In those final moments, can you say you’ve lived your life in the greatest most authentic way possible? Or for this fake people pleasing version of yourself. With this in mind, will you continue doing everything in relation to another opinion, demand or desire by someone other than yourself?

Your answer should be no.

This is much easier said than done. But any step taken in progression of these goals will lead you closer and closer to a better life. It can be as simple as deciding what you want to wear tomorrow. Someone once told you you didn’t suite a shirt you like, well then.. fuck what they think. If you like it and feel confident wearing it, then just do it. Same rules apply to everything in life. Stop worrying about an opinion.

A freak car accident, a stroke, an aneurysm, disease.. anything can happen. All I’m saying is that if you die tomorrow (which you might die tomorrow), do whatever you can to be okay with today.

fuck nostalgia, your life is still happening

“Don’t be sad that it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Actually take that in. Ignore how cliche it sounds.

It’s true. Don’t be sad that’s over. There’s nothing that’s stopping you from living a moment like that (or ever better) again. Be joyful that it even happened.

I am the worst person when it comes to nostalgia. I run past a phenomenal moment, an amazing night and a lovely memory thinking about when I can do it again, constantly chasing the next good time. But there’s no reason to over analyze shit that’s already happened. I personally don’t find it very healthy to replay memories over and over in your mind because you end up sensationalizing specific points that may not have even happened. It’s loads better to live in that fucking moment, to be with your friends, appreciate your age and have those stories be recounted when you’re reminded of them in a round of story times. Seriously, there is no reason to dwell on the past. Especially when nostalgia can make you feel so bummy.

I just had an amazing weekend with a bunch of stranger turned friends from Montreal. I never expected that to happen but it did. I tend to always be the youngest in a group, thus the most inexperienced. So, I live through the stories they’ve experienced and I’m panged with this tiny sense of envy, this emptiness that I haven’t done anything with my life. I’m left with no room to appreciate the fact that I’m with them right now. But who the frick cares. Thailand will always be there, Barcelona will always be there, the City and the nights to explore will never go away, but you will, one day. Maybe that’s why I possess this sense of urgency. Age seems to play out like a time line. You have to do all these things now because you have to get married in 5-10 years and have babies 2 years into the marriage you’ve yet to have with a person you probably haven’t even met yet. But truly, everybody goes through the motions differently. We have more time than we’re lead to believe. Pace yourself. Everything will run it’s course if you’re on the right path.

Overthinking is the monster within us all. You listen to music in the car, on the bus or before bed and suddenly your minds running a million miles a second. There’s no sense in this… but, I have a solution for you folks… PODCASTS. Listen to a Podcast and suddenly this friendly stranger is telling you all about the marvels of life or how the economy’s going and you feel like you’ve just spent an hour talking. Listening is also a skill you should master. Take each moment as it comes. Don’t leave an experience lined up in a queue, reserved for your next moment of solitude. There is no sense lingering in the past.

This is now. Fuck before, fuck later.

Also listen to podcasts.

you’re hot, you don’t need an anal bleaching

Ever since I was a wee child, I had this small distinctive brown splotch on my right ankle. I always bore it proudly to fellow classmates as we shared this feature that made us all wonderful little snow

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-12-31-39-amflakes. And, as the years passed, I never took a second to look at it. It was insignificant to me. But now.. looking at that little spotchy stain.. it’s like a second tattoo.

I’ve heard that a birth mark is a sign of where you died in your past life. If this is the case (and past lives do in fact exist) I think that’s pretty lame as heck that I died by ankle, word to Achilles.

The coolest part of remembering my birth mark and looking at it thoroughly after a few years, is noticing that it had changed places. The first time I showed it off to my little school friends, it rested in the nook of my heel and ankle. Now, as shown in the photo, it rests high above my ankle bone. How Gwen is that? (bananas). Your body is constantly changing. Your nose and ears are always growing. Your eyes stay the same size from birth but the ends of your hair were once at the top. You will never stay the same. The cells on your body are dying and regenerating as we speak. It’s a natural and very necessary part of life.

Laser hair removal. Bleached blonde hair. Jaw bone shaving. Anal bleaching. People have come up with incredible methods to achieve ‘beauty’. By all means, self expression is a beautiful thing. But there needs to be a point of understanding that it’s more than okay to be who you are and look the way you do. So many pretty people are out there, yeah that’s cool, but that doesn’t make you any less of a marvel to look at. I’m sure you can vouch for having been stabbed in the self esteem organ every once in a while. But the second we start to compare ourselves, we lose sight of who we really are.

Your body is an incredible thing. Every scar is a story to tell. Every stretch mark a display of your growth. It’s amazing how much the human body can endure. You are forever changing. It takes 7 years, in fact, for your body to completely renew every cell and hair. Even your personality changes. This is why it’s so important to appreciate everything we are capable of. All of your working senses. All of your able body parts. Your health and your consciousness. Your ability to listen to music or binge watch GoT or something. Your hands. Being able to wipe your own ass. Especially not being sick right now and breathing through your nose. Things could be worst.

There are hundreds upon thousands of people who would do anything to be you and have what you have (like the boy with the butterfly skin or the girl who’s ALWAYS SUNBURNT). Don’t take that for granted. You are you and that’s fucking phenomenal.