Poem of the Week

Sydney, Australia

 

Recounting past lovers of ancient days
Whose remnant love left me in a rushed dark haze
Some of these memories,
Are hard to digest
Especially when one
seems just like the rest.
My heart shrinks, my arteries burst
My body feels drained
My heart overwhelmed
It seems that nothing will change
I feel alone in my sorrow
The only one in my boat
My soul feels lost in space
& my body afloat.
But I realize it’s not darkness around me
It’s the hand of my maker
A voice says aloud,
“This is my child, let me shape her”
As my body drifts in currents of stars
His hands work as he whispers
This is what you are” A beautiful gift, a warm light,
Nothing will shake her
A woman of force, a bright soul,
a power of nature
A gentle smile with big dreams
She is a human worth
much more than she seems.

Here is the breakdown of this poem & what it means:
The beginning part sets the stage. The poem came to me after talking & laughing with a friend as I shared funny ex boyfriend & dating stories. Like how every single one of my college boyfriends ended up dropping out or in the hospital for some kind of mental illness.
The stanza
“Especially when one
seems just like the rest.”
Points to a recent dating situation I had that showed me a new pattern that I have developed recently in my love life that is equally embarrassing & painful.
I continues to talk about this feeling in the next few stanza’s but then at stanza 8 something shifts & God comes into the pictures.
His hands shaping me is really how my faith has already redefine my identity. That my relationships don’t need to be rooted in brokenness anymore.
The rest of the poem I wrote to remind myself of the truths that I’ve forgotten after the lies that brokenness has led me to believe.
That I am loved & I am worth it.
It’s to remind me that even though a boy chose to disregard my humanity, it doesn’t strip me of my right to deserve it.

Bella

Photo By: Alex Radelich

INTRO:

I skipped over to Alex & peeked over his shoulder to see the shots we had just taken.
As he clicked through the photos on the camera,
I shuttered in disgust & my stomach tied in a knot.
“Really?” He asked.
“I didn’t think that’s what I looked like” I said.
We were set up in a small apartment photography studio with a giant light, a stool, and a dark backdrop.
I met up with Alex earlier that week and when he suggested that we do a shoot together I said: “Let’s do some portraits in a studio with no makeup.”
He told me that was the craziest thing he has ever heard a female say.
Usually, you wear a layer of makeup to cover up imperfections that would be blown up under the studio lights, & highlighted by the zoom feature on a camera. Then you wear another layer of makeup to accentuate & “sex-ify” your features. (You know, make you look flawless & attractive)
But doing that for this shoot would have defeated the purpose of what I wanted to capture.
This shoot was to celebrate my make-up-less month of travel and also share what I’ve learned from the experience.
It also served as a challenge. I wanted to see if I could accept myself when a spotlight was pointed at my insecurities. I wanted to literally shine a light on my face, to learn how to REALLY love me.
Photo By: Alex Radelich
CATALYST: 

I was first inspired to put down my eyeliner after being in Haiti.
It was really hot in Haiti, and the make up I wore the morning that I arrived had melted off my face by the afternoon, and made the dark circles under my eyes 8 times worse, so I decided to take it all off.
Later that same day, we met up with some women who also weren’t wearing ANY makeup. Not even wear mascara. They were tanned & had messy hair and wore big dangly earrings. I was shocked to see that they didn’t even care to put concealer around their eyes! I remember looking at them and feeling so encouraged.
That’s what I look like too. That’s normal. I thought to myself.
The first 2 days without any makeup was really hard. I felt like I looked tired, and I wanted to cover it up, but I knew that if I did it would look a lot worse in a few hours so I sucked it up and eventually I realized the people I was with didn’t notice or care, which was nice.
After a little sun, my skin looked better and by the end of the week I felt much more comfortable & decided I could do away with make-up for the rest of my travels to save more time for adventuring.
Later that month, I hit, London, Ireland, and Colorado. And while I was traveling I began to discover new things about myself. I started to realize how I really felt about my appearance.
There was a distinct moment in Ireland when I literally avoided conversing with people because I was feeling insecure about the circles underneath my eyes that day.
Yes… REALLY.

Photo By: Alex Radelich

FACE IT:
On Thanksgiving, I face-timed my family and that insecurity was shoved in my face. My stepdad said “Have you been sleeping enough? You look tired”
I was offended immediately.
Later, I took a second to think about it… what’s wrong with looking tired?
I was hurt and upset because in my mind “tired” translated to “not beautiful” which translated to “not attractive” which translated to “not worthy”.
And then I asked myself, so what if I look tired? Does that really mean I’m not pretty anymore? Are my beauty and worthiness THAT fragile?
I know some people who are SO freakin beautiful & it doesn’t anything to do with what they look like.
I want that kind of beauty.
I want the kind of beauty that a sleepless night or a long day can’t destroy.
I want the kind of beauty that eyeliner can’t enhance.
I want the kind of beauty that doesn’t disappear when I wash my face.
But to get that kind of beauty I need to love me the way I am.
I have to remind myself that…
It’s not makeup that makes me desirable or beautiful.
It’s  the way I love people
It’s who I am at rest & at ease.
It’s the way I feel when I do something I love.
It’s me, being me, fully and authentically.
Photo By: Alex Radelich
THE TRUTH:
I realized that the more I covered up with makeup, the more I was ignoring a major problem & the farther I got from being the healthiest, happiest version of myself. 
I realized in that moment that I had internalized a lie…
“if you are not beautiful by our standards you are failing at your purpose.”
BUT we HAVE to realize that these standards aren’t real & this “purpose” is given to us by society, not our creator. Your true purpose is only something you can discover for yourself.
The photo-shoot I did with Alex that produced the photos you see on this blog post was at 8 in the evening. I was up at 6 that morning to work a 12 hour shoot day and went straight to the studio after we wrapped. I got there, took my hair down, washed my face, put on moisturizer, switched my shirt and got in front of the camera.
Literally.
It was terrifying because I realized I was facing this lie straight on.
& I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to reverse something you have internalized, but it’s hard, which is why I winced when I saw the photos.
I wasn’t judging these photos by divine beauty standards; I was looking at them the way I had been trained to look at them.
Photo By: Alex Radelich

Yes. Trained.
By commercials and photos and videos and movies and magazines.
Have short eyelashes? Use this! Want bigger lips? Use this! Get rid of that hair! Use this! Get even skin! Use this?
Think about this: How do I know if I need those things if I don’t know I have those “problems”? What if I don’t see them because I’m not looking for them?
We are trained to look for imperfections the way artists are trained to use colors.
But the sad thing is, most of us can’t we see ourselves as a creation the way a creator would.
I want to share with you what unedited, untouched, uncovered skin, face, hair, human looks like. 
Photo By: Alex Radelich
And now I get extraordinarily pissed off when I run into ads in the beauty world.
A hypersonic de-puffer?  (Literally saw that today, while I was writing this post)
Didn’t know I even needed that! I thought I looked pretty good today.
But there you have it, the beauty industry training me again.
Now it’s December & I decided to continue to challenge myself through the end of the year, or until I feel completely comfortable without makeup on.

Until I can see myself in the mirror aisle at target & WANT to take a selfie ‘cause I think I look so damn good.

And we are almost there… so far I’ve gone to a party, gone to a few business meetings, gone to a bar, gone to work, gone to the grocery store all without makeup on and I’m actually finally feeling much better about it. It feels SO damn good to like my face so much I don’t want to change anything about it.
Photo By: Alex Radelich

CLOSING THOUGHTS:

#1 There is absolutely nothing wrong with liking or wanting to wear makeup. I’m super excited to go out for a night all glammed out. The main purpose of this post was to share a journey with you & some lessons I learned cause I want you to love & care for the bare naked face you were given. You are normal & perfect the way you are.
#2 I am passionate about marketing business and communication and because of that, I can SEE when it is being used to influence in a NEGATIVE way. I want you to empower you so you can recognize when you are being manipulated and LIED to by people or corporations that want to make MONEY.  I want to empower you to ask questions and challenge what you encounter. Decide what your own truth is & recognize the real source of your value.
#3 Challenge yourself to go a few days without makeup on. You might learn something new about the person underneath it.

Photo By: Alex Radelich

A Puff of Smoke

Photo by: Logan at the Beverly Hills Farmers Market

 

“Our moral economy went bankrupt long before our financial one.” 

 

 

I’ve been processing a lot lately and church yesterday definitely kicked me back into the game so I’m going to share all of it right here in one blog post. GET READY IT’S GONNA BE GREAT.
1.    The Valley
As you probably have seen, I’ve been traveling all over the place. Like I actually hit up 9 cities in 4 different countries in about a month. Pretty intense.
I learned a lot about myself in that time. I learned what it felt like to travel to a new country alone. I learned I could take care of myself. I learned that I didn’t want to chase someone down someone who didn’t really want me. I gained confidence and saw the truth about myself. I learned what my face looks like after going without makeup for a month.
I liked it. I liked it all.
Then I fly back to L.A. & head straight to San Diego to have some business meetings. Unfortunately, what I was initially excited forgot buried in miscommunication and frustration. And on top of that, I’m realizing for the 100th time in my life that my sexual relationship isn’t what I want it to be.
I had to take a step back to analyze a lot. What do I see in my bank account? What do I want? What do I see in my personal relationships? What do I want?
What do I see in my work? What do I want?
And I realized, I wanted something different in all of that.
I came home from all of these adventures and felt stuck. LA. , the place that I took a leap of faith to move to, felt dark. I looked at my bank account and compared it to what it looked like before I left. I am $5000 down that amount. More off track financially than I’ve ever been.
And on top of that, the work I was doing consistently before my travels, got pushed back. So that means, no work until January. * insert panic attack *
On the way back from San Diego I listened to a podcast that really shook it up for me. (Undefeated: Pastor Sarah from OneChurch LA. If you want to be inspired, freakin listen to this)
I realized in this moment that after a high there is always low. And wrote some notes:
What goes up must come down. It’s about how your mind is. Want to get out of your stuck? Do something radical, shake it up. Don’t play it safe. Praise God the whole time.
What is this low? Analyze it & step out.
We are so easily defined by our painful emotions why is it so hard to hang on to the truth? Let’s get your mind right. Gratitude.
2.    Twenty Dollars
A week before all of this, I went to church in Denver and the pastor talked about finances… “You know what goes up after I preach about finances?’ “Offerings?” “No, baptisms. Because when you can let God control that part of your life, you can trust him with anything”
Cut to the day after I got home to San Diego, a week after Denver, I went to church with my roommate. Before the pastor comes up to deliver the sermon, they did the offering, which means they pass these little baskets around so people can put money inside. Not me though. I never do.
But this time God said “I want you to give me the $20 bill that is in your wallet.”  & I’m like but that’s the only $20 bill in my wallet. The only cash in my wallet, & I didn’t even think I had that much. In that moment I realized that I didn’t trust God. I was clinging to the $20 bill tighter than I was to His promises & I realized where my anxiety & scarcity mindset was coming from. I was creating it for myself because I wouldn’t let go. I reluctantly took the $20 bill out of my wallet and watched as the baskets went up and down the rows. I prayed & said, when I drop this money in the basket I will let go. I will let God take care of me. I will let go of the control & my anxiety. The basket finally got to me, I put my only $20 bill inside, passed it back and immediately felt the tears well up from the pit of my stomach all the way to the tip of my nose and out my eyes. I had a pure moment of panic. “Oh my God what did I do – that was so stupid. I’m going to regret that.” I cried hard with my head down in my hands. And then I felt peace. I reminded myself that I was letting this anxiety go.  God’s got me. I have enough. I allowed myself to feel the fear and then pushed it out. I am fine. And I was. I am. And this is where the real shift started…
More notes…
 
Zoom out – keep your focus on the journey – life is so beautiful + complex + crazy. No one who ever enjoyed the ride had white knuckles.
Get out of your own way. Ask God to move the flesh + bones over so you can see the blessings.
We operate from such a place of physical need for survival sometimes. We react to situations and people. I cried in a meeting when I was in San Deigo because I was operating from a scarcity mindset. It was about survival for me. I had forgotten that I actually have what I need… cause all I could see where numbers dropping in my bank account.
When you’re stuck in an “is” + looking back at a “was”. It’s hard to see what will be.
What “IS” doesn’t define what will be.
I have the strength to walk through because God has laid a foundation in me.
3. Stand Up.
All of this came full circle. Right before I left I had a feeling that I was about to “level up” in a sense. That I had enjoyed a season of comfort but knew that something needed to really make me uncomfortable again if I was going to keep growing. I knew another lesson was coming.
After chur, h I empowered & supported. I reflected back to those questions I had asked myself the week before. What do I want my bank to look like? What do I want my relationships to look like? What do I really want?
& I knew.
& I had some hard conversations with a few people. I reminded them of my worth. I reminded myself of my value.
So my lesson wasn’t a big painful, dramatic thing, it ended up being an accumulation of little frustrations throughout the different experiences I’ve had in the past month and a half.
And I’m still working through it.
Most importantly, I was able to get my mind right. I shifted my focus and from there was able to command my life again. With God by my side, I know I can do that & he will provide abundantly.
It’s not this big aha moment when God reveals himself. It’s not a puff of smoke. It’s the moment you open your eyes & see the energy that is woven into the very air you breathe.

Feel All the Things

Yesterday I went to a mid week church service and got to listen to Judah Smith preach!
If you’re wondering why that name sounds familiar it’s because he wrote the book “How’s Your Soul?” That I’m a fan of.

I was standing with everyone during worship and let the music sway my body side to side. The perk of going to church in Los Angeles is that everyone knows how to sing. The girl next to me was rocking my ears with an incredible harmony and I felt #blessed.

And then the tears welled up in my eyes and I started crying. 

HOLD UP – WHAT’S GOING ON?

Judah had just preached about Joy and how God is joy and how important joy is.
We literally had listened to a 40 min sermon on joy and I was crying.
Seriously.

Here’s a Recap:
During his sermon, he talked about the difference between passive joy and permanent joy. The “live for the weekend” kind of joy and then the “I feel loved and am happy to be alive joy”.

That second joy comes with an acceptance of Grace and Love in your life – despite the pain or hardship you feel you can still have joy if you accept Grace and Love. The joy doesn’t make the pain go away – it gives you the strength to get you through it.

So I’m sitting in worship thinking about all of this and saying whaddup to God for the first time in a few weeks and I’m crying.

And I realize, I’m crying because I’m tired. 

I kind of numbed myself a little bit to do this move, which I think is normal. I kept shoving my fear and my doubts down so I could focus on getting everything done. But like I’ve mentioned a zillion times before, if you numb the bad, then you also numb the good. To feel is to feel. There actually isn’t a good and bad feeling for your soul, the way that there are good and bad bacteria in your body. You might feel things you don’t like, but that doesn’t mean they are bad feelings.

Anyway, the point is I tried to feel this joy that Judah was talking about and I released a plethora of emotions along with it.

Then I wrote this:

You can’t let yourself be swept up in grace and love without feeling the strength of the waves.

Meaning – when you start to feel, to accept, to gain strength, you are able to step out of the darkness a little bit, you are able to step out of your situation and often times that’s when the pain hits you the most because you didn’t realize how tired you were until your soul is given a chance to rest.

I always say to Keep Pushing Forward, but sometimes I think the best way to move forward is to pause, rest, and feel.

Day 5, 6 ,7 – Boundaries, Magic, In Tune

Photo By: Adan ( @_citystreet_)

It’s been a beautiful and busy few days, and I gave myself the space to live them without feeling guilty that I didn’t write.

So I’m wrapping them all together today so I can be ready for Day 8, which might also be delivered late in another conjoined post. We’ll see…

Day 5 – Boundaries

Moving into a new home is like a rebirth.
It presents a slight pause to life and an offer to reinvent who you are.

You can BE anything, DO anything.

This was already and has been true, but in this pause, the universe seems to scream it louder than ever.

Who are you? What will you allow in your life?

Asking yourself those questions helps you determine who you become.
Keep in mind that your action leads to habit, and your habits determine your life.

So where are your boundaries?
Will you continue to let people take advantage of you?
Will you continue to lose yourself inside another person’s body?
Or will you stand up for yourself?
Will you give yourself space in your new life to take ownership of the greatness that is bursting out of you?

“He would not let the demons to speak because they knew him” -Mark 1:3

Silence your demons.
Put them on the outside of your boundaries.

Day 6 – Magic

I renamed this day quite a few times because I didn’t felt anything really speak out to me.

It was a day of connection and rest and really stepping into the blessings I’ve welcomed with my obedience and faith.

TBH I got to drink some good beer with some good friends, hang out with some plants, and visit the beach and it was a beautiful day.

Definitely felt like I was in the moment, and there is NO shame in that.

You don’t always have to be giving or perfecting. It’s okay to just live sometimes 😉

Day 7 – In Tune

I spent this day (Today) at church and fretting about my Instagram and then taking a nap that was way too long. But I’m learning to let my body rest when it needs to rest (especially because this coming week is going to be pretty intense.)

Anyway, I went to church this morning and had my bible and a piece of scrap paper next to me – I was scribbling away and a phrase kept coming up “In tune”…. “stay in tune”…

It’s what I’ve been working toward – what Day 4 – Surrender was all about – staying in tune with myself. But today was about more than just me. It was the bigger picture. It was more than just me, it felt like I was dialing in on my purpose.

I wrote this on a notecard I happened to have hidden in my bible:

Aug 20 – Tune
Like scanning a radio – tuning doesn’t work if you’re passive.
Stay active, in praryer and community.
“Every Christian in Prayer”
Tune into each other
Don’t be afraid to feel.
Don’t be afraid to listen. 

There were words that the pastor said today that hit me – “Every Christian in Prayer” Imagine that. Every single Christian praying together?? That would move mountains.

And even if you’re not a Christian and even if you don’t believe in God, you CANNOT disregard the power of intention. The energy that comes with unity. The force that comes with faith.

This is a bright, good, incredible power source to tune into.

And it is your purpose. Your path, is your way of tuning you to be in perfect harmony with the rest of the world. You can either be passive about it, or active. If you are passive the path is much messier. But either way, getting there is tricky – Can even feel hopeless sometimes. But I’m here to tell you that it’s not.

There is abundant blessing on the other side of obedience.

Tune in.