I sit alone in my home but I know it’s just momentary. I close my eyes, take a breath and for what feels like eternity I am stationary. I play a game, write a poem and speak to myself mentally. I pick up the phone, think of calling someone…anyone, but don’t have the energy.
And through the fear of uncertainty I open my arms and ask “what do you want from me”?
Wind goes by and grasps my hand all in this very still house.
A butterfly flutters over my head and I knew I’d figure it out. I meditate daily now, and try to find peace with myself. I miss my loved ones, and the time I had less self-doubt…but right now I’m learning to go in, to find what it really means to go out.
20th page to my open book:
The greatest mother of them all…is that of Mother Earth. She is infinite, eternal, yet both small and tall. She is found within the mountains, and within each star in the night sky. She is found both within you..and within I.
If you pay close enough attention to her care…you’ll note her signature can be found everywhere- this tattoo withholds “MAMMA” in the mountains and is with 2 “M’s” because the universe blessed me with not one, but two Mamma bears! I look up to them as I do the stars and see the strength of motherhood so clearly- oh how I hold their love ever so dearly!
The Scorpio constellation is for my mamma @kick_ass_kinahan and the Taurus is for my Aunt mamma @stacekinamort!
19th page to my open book:
In one arm a woman holds a snake. Something she has been fearful of her whole life; not because of its mere existence or the way it stealthy moves its body between soil and earthy tones but rather its symbolic representation of transformation. To shed its skin and begin anew. Too many times has this woman been fearful of change, fearful of losing who she was and becoming someone she never thought could exist. So this time she holds that snake, holds that fear…in her arms and decides to own it, welcome it, and let nature do what it is supposed to. Our bodies too shed skin, we are not supposed to be who we are in this moment forever. So in the other arm lies a bouquet of flowers, to not only welcome such transformation but to thank it and perhaps even entice it. Sometimes we get so caught up in smelling the “roses” we become blind to the snake that is so ever quietly staring right at you ready to change your life…change you..and although scary, it’s a process that brings growth and renewal. For every time my soul has experienced a rebirth a new flower grows and by the time of my death I hope to have a beautiful garden where my snake can flourish.
18th page to my open book:
Spoken Word Edition
Oh my mamma is like that of wind
She knows how to make you feel kisses from a distance
Take a falling leaf and let its veins write you a love letter
Oh my mamma can speak to birds
She makes sure they say good morning from my bedroom window everyday
Let it be known…my mamma don’t play
And on the day’s I’m feeling lonely
She’ll make sure the world has a playlist ready to make me dance
Twirl around and remind me that I’m my greatest romance
Oh my mamma resembles trees
Home to many, but has embedded its roots within me
She says, “Never forget the women who have given you life”
Oh my mamma is a river
A place to bathe in love, but come out an Olympic swimmer
Oh my mamma knows the ways of the sun
Whispers its warmth in her original mamma tongue
A line of women that bear the world, and yet see it in you
Oh my mamma has made mistakes
She learned the ways of a needle and sewn them beautifully on her cape
No she cannot fly
She taught me how to stand my ground and when to stride on by
But most importantly, my mamma says shes proud of me
Tells me I’ve helped make her into the woman she never thought she’d be
And I’m so happy to see
Little parts of my mamma sprinkled in me
And I know a day will come
When I too will have to learn the original mamma tongue
And I will send the wind, drop a leaf, speak to the birds, and be a tree
To be all the amazing things my mamma was for me
Because each time I share the story of how my mamma was that of mother earth
A flower is planted, and love is birthed.
17th page to my open book:
As I turn 22, I find myself reflecting on this past year. Last year, I was celebrating my 21st in Rome, Italy with both my host mom and real mamma! Between then and now I have been to Ireland, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Australia. I’ve met countless people, made a handful of beautiful friends and have laughed and cried through it all. I’ve had moments where I felt empowered and I’ve had moments where I felt broken; but with such pain comes great strength. I’m blessed for my experiences and I cannot wait to continue my growth into the woman I wish to become.
16th page to my open book:
To all those I was infatuated with,
I’m sorry for loving you for the person I thought you were rather than the person you really are. I’m sorry for painting an illusion that you were never meant to embody. I’m sorry I picked up a brush that was never mine to use. You are more than I could ever picture you to be, and I hope for the both of us, I see your true colors.
I’m sorry you felt the need to create an idea of someone you never thought was possible to exist on its own. Infatuation is an attachment that leaves you feeling empty. Love is a gallery; walk through it, appreciate it, and learn to understand it the way you are meant to but never alternate the beauty on the walls. Love is love and should never be forced, let it be as it is.
15th page to my open book:
I’ve been in this weird place recently where I struggle with balancing my feelings. I find that this is one of the many things that comes with traveling as you begin to feel A LOT. Sometimes it’s as if you’re feeling everything, and instead of it being this “high” it’s a new found low. I’m thinking of those back home and I have a greater appreciation for them and yet, my care for those I’ve just met traveling is profound as well. It’s like I’m constantly thinking of and loving others, I’ve forgotten how to think for and love myself. I used to be so good at not caring; I used to be so good at not loving and now all of a sudden, I’m doing a lot of both.
I feel that my love for others is so strong, there is this invisible hold they have on me. How can I love someone and yet…let go? People say “you have to love yourself first before you can love others” and as true as it is, learning to love yourself is a forever journey. I believe you have to learn to love others, in order to love yourself fully. It’s a balancing act, and sometimes you may slip. But to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say “I love you, now share that love with the world”, that’s perhaps the greatest self love you can have, because you understand that others, including yourself are deserving to receive what you have found within yourself.
14th page to my open book:
I’ve been in a complicated relationship with the world for a year and a half now and it’s been one hell of a journey. Every adventure I’ve gone on, I’ve learned new lessons. This one, in SE Asia, has been a lesson on love.
I’ve fallen in love with the world, the people in it, and more importantly with who I am and wish to become.
I thought that I would never find love, so I never bothered with it. I would push away any and all love to protect myself. But when you stop yourself from feeling love, from giving it and receiving it, you stop yourself from feeling anything- and what a sad world to live in when all feeling is numb. I’m not looking for love, but now, I’m open to letting it in, and letting it out…I’m more vulnerable but it’s worth it.
Be safe, be kind, feel love and give it…I’m doing it with open arms.
Happy Valentine’s day to you, myself and the world
13th page to my open book:
I think we like to dance close to the edge because a part of us would rather fail than live up to the pressure of being successful.
Because we know what to expect when we succumb to failure. We rather be scared in a world of knowing than in a world of unknowing. Live in sadness, instead of hitting unexpected low points; even if that means we sacrifice our will to live a life of deserved happiness. Because the truth is, none of us feel we deserve happiness. We believe it is something we should painstakingly work for. The idea that you have to be pained, to receive joy is the pure falsification of what happiness really is and ought to be.
I am slowly moving away from that edge and will dance my way to success. I am shaking, but I will still go out and perform the life I deserve to provide myself. I am going to take the risk of being happy because I deserve that. We all do.
Dancing close to the edge is hoping for the best but being prepared for the worst. You need to walk away from it, and fully dedicate yourself to being the best version of you. Your life is 100% your mindset. If you’re half on one side and half on the other, your outcome will either be the 50% good you sought after, or 100% of the bad you were NOT prepared for. Step away from that edge and strive for the happiness you DO deserve.
12th page to my open book:
A girl in a red dress sits in her home with tears running down her face. Only she knows the color is a scream for the pain she feels inside. But all anyone sees is a beautiful girl in a beautiful red dress. So she continues on, feeling everything but understood. Alone she decides to invite her dying plants to the table. Not sure if their sadness was due to the grey weather, lack of water, or her upsetting energy, she feels as though these plants are the closest things she has to relate to, as they too are barely holding on. In the mists of such darkness, an ivy plant hangs above her, and as proud as she would be to take credit…the plant is fake.
That seems to be the theme lately. When things seem real, seem okay, they aren’t. So she sits there with her sad friends and showers them with wine. If wine can shed the weight she feels, why can’t it shed the death that lays upon them? If she cannot help herself, she will keep going on to help others, because no matter how exhausted she may be, she knows everyone is deserving of life. So she will finish watering her plants, stand up, and provide herself with a deserving hot shower. It is the only time she truly enjoys being alone. There is something about feeling water run down your face for reasons other than sadness. To feel the steam release the toxins that burrow themselves within you. To…for a moment…feel new.
There are highs and there are lows. For the person who understands just how dark it is in the deepest parts of the ocean, and how blinding it is when the sun beams down on your blue soul; it feels as if the waves are in constant battle on which part of the sea you are meant to live in. Speak to one another, listen, and love. Although mental awareness week is over…it never really is.
11th page to my open book:
Tired, anxious, and yet relaxed, this hand has reached the top. Finally feeling relief at the edge of a very high cliff. It does not clench too tightly, as this will only last for what it is…a moment. It is there to enjoy the view. Take it in for a few seconds and succumb to the thing that stands before it. A flower. A periwinkle to be exact. A flower that can thrive in mountainous terrain, come in so many beautiful shades and be used for medicine. It is simple, yet strong and it stares straight at you. Yes, you may have climbed for what felt like forever. But you cannot conquer this world. You are to live in harmony with it. Find the balance between man, and mother earth because we are all one. In this moment you and the flower are open, vulnerable and mighty. This moment is raw, and acts as a mirror; you see yourself in that flower just as much as it sees itself in you. Your time is up. The pinky raises and the hand is ready to unclench its grip. You do not live by holding on, but by letting go. I promise a new seed has been planted and will begin its growth once you do. Allow yourself to be reborn an infinite amount of times and surely the view on top will be just as infinite as you.
10th page to my open book:
I have seen things in this world I didn’t know to exist. I saw things I never thought I would and as I reflect back to the fleeting moments of standing before something that felt so much greater than me I have learned the value in touch. In my time of travel I have SEEN the Colosseum, the Sahara Desert, the canals of Amsterdam, hundreds of mosque’s and so much more. All of these things are memories now. But with touch, I get to take those fleeting moments and physically grasp onto them. Own them. Share them. Whether it is a tree I happen to walk by, or a building, I try to have these moments in which I feel the existence of something else. A moment where my energy is intertwined with the energy of another. It’s as if you can FEEL how young or old a plant is just by touching it. Like you can feel all the other hands that have used their own individual touch to build something as astonishing as the Parthenon. I cannot describe what it feels like, but it is almost like a handshake. That I am able to appreciate something other than me and say “thank you for being”. When you take the time to make yourself known, and acknowledge something else you enable the rare possibility to physically feel time as it’s moving. It is no longer just a memory, it is a moment that is felt forever!
9th page to my open book:
I’m beginning to think the less I try and the deeper I sink, the more I learn about who I am and how my soul and this universe interlink. There are times I need to close my eyes to intimately feel and see. The tears fill an ocean that begins to suffocate me. But I need not panic. No need to freeze. To gasp for air, means I still desire to breathe.
It’s okay to have an internal battle with who you are and wish to be as a person. I still continue to struggle being organically me, in such a processed world. Yet I’ve come to terms that I wouldn’t be as genuine if I didn’t find myself worth fighting for. If someone doesn’t like me, then that’s fine. There are times I don’t like me either so they can join the line.
8th page to my open book:
Studying abroad was a beautiful experience but it came with hardships as well. Between discussions on religious thought, gender issues and self expression I found myself having an existential crisis multiple times a week. I was becoming aware of my own biases and the biases of those around me. I began feeling like nothing mattered because every god damn thing did! Every argument, every issue can be shredded into small fragments of nothing. There is no right or wrong answer. So what was the point? I’ve come to terms that there will be days that I feel like certain things are pointless, but maybe that’s the point, the reason-the freedom and learning that comes from the simple act of trying to understand. The idea of nothing has so much value we acknowledged and created the number zero to symbolize it. This world, this universe is free for us, zero cost and yet it has given us our very life. So whenever I feel like nothing matters, I can look at my arm and remind myself that zero is a crucial part of us and this universe fits within it. It’s okay to question things and not understand and it’s okay to get frustrated when trying to understand. Just don’t think it’s worthless because you can’t grasp it today, or maybe ever; that’s the complexity and beauty of life.
7th page to my open book:
As I hand my house key back to my host mom I’m forever grateful for all this program has given me. By meeting new people, and experiencing a new culture I have learned so much about myself and who I want to be as a person. I have gained a family, and a second home. I have experienced the beauty of Islam, Morocco and its welcoming people. Going out of my comfort zone was the most rewarding thing I’ve done, as it has allowed me to love and be loved by so many.
Go out, explore, try new things, leave a piece of you wherever you go and bring a new piece back. Crying and already homesick for Morocco, I’ll be back soon! إن شاء الل
6th page to my open book:
I fall in love so easily and I’m grateful to have love, of all things, be my Achilles’ heel. Should I be pained for loving too soon, at least I loved. If I gained a petal for each moment I felt love towards someone, or something, I’d have a garden so rich you’d confuse a bouquet for a cloud. When I die, I hope to be laid in this garden, with each petal of love kissing my skin. Surrounded by each memory of pure happiness, thrill and mystery so natural that it can’t be replicated but only remembered. A time for the love I gave, to love me back just the same. Imagine the flower that would grow. Be a flower of love, and be vulnerable in giving and receiving. A bee will take, and a bee will give and honey your sweet love will be indulged. This world would be tasteless without you.
5th page to my open book:
I can’t help but wonder who I would be if I grew up in a different place, surrounded by different people. Every person I have crossed paths with has shaped who I am and how I think. Every little gesture, and conversation, is a moment of time that makes up my life; and in turn I do the same. We hold this responsibility we aren’t even aware we have. Our individual selves are so rare, and yet we are all so much alike. We all hold vulnerability in wondering our purpose, the meaning of life. You can’t tell me you haven’t looked up at the night sky and wondered about it all. We share a curiosity that is deep and wholesome. The universe is a powerful thing; when you question it you question yourself. We are the universe. As Neil D. Tyson said “We are all unique, because we are the same”. Be humble, you are a rarity-each dot special in its placement- and when you hurt someone, you truly hurt yourself for the lines connect us all. Spread love.
4th page to my open book:
Today I turn 20. Today I reflect on where I’ve been, who I am, and who I’ve yet to become. I hope to face new challenges, let loose and truly enjoy my own company in my 20’s. I’m throwing a HUGE middle finger to all the pressures your 20’s bring cause imma do this shit my way. I want to experience new things by myself and with those I love. I want to travel, learn, and truly just laugh. I’m so eager to meet new people, and reconnect with others. I never would have thought I’d be who I am today and I’m proud of that. If I could look at mini me way back then and tell her one thing, I’d say “keep doing what you’re doing because each day you stand true to who you are, a new flower blossoms in your garden, and with that a more colorful and sun kissed life…ohh and thank your mamma, dad and brother for being your everything”.
3rd page to my open book:
I have started something I have never been more proud of. I am learning what it’s like to be a part of something many people don’t like. What it’s like to create something that may have consequences; but to DO something that makes me this happy is the greatest reward I can ask for.
I photograph people who use cannabis whether it be for recreational and/or medicinal reasons and tell their stories. The whole point of this was to start a much needed conversation and I think it’s doing just that. Welcome to the launch of my new project/business better known as Faces of Mary Jane. If you are interested or have any questions please feel free to reach out to me.
2nd page to my open book:
Self-love is something I have recently found. I have felt the power of what it means to love who you are, and love others. Yet, my current largest fear isn’t failure, isn’t letting others down, but rather the limitless capabilities of love. Shit, I fear love more than hate. You can never be let down by hate, but you can be by love. I can tell myself how much of a boss bitch I am (which I am) but to love, you have to be vulnerable, open. What if I don’t find it in its rawest form, or it’s not reciprocated? There is a loss of control when it comes to love which I believe is the point. So in the mean time, I will love who I am, love those around me, and appreciate the time I am given to do so. The day I surrender to love, put my arms behind my head and look it straight in the face, (I hope) is the day I fall for love, the way love keeps fighting a way to fall into me.
1st page to my open book:
I’m enjoying my single life, basking in my own thoughts, hearing what I have to say. I love my independence, and yes I am madly in love with myself and who I am. I write poetry, hoping my words will speak back to me and start a conversation. I am in my head and it’s doing me well. I am happy, but I want so much more from this world. I wish to get to know YOU, speak with you and laugh. Though when I reach out not everyone reaches back. I’ve learned only those worthy deserve to put these hands I hold up, slowly down to my side.