Monday, April 25, 2016

Antelope Canyon

we should love ourselves
so fiercely,
that when others see us
they know exactly
how it should be done."
- Rudy Francisco 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Joshua Tree

At the beginning of a yoga session, you find your intention for that practice. What are you hoping for or needing when you come to your mat. "Bring your attention to your intention", one instructor told us. 

The past week has been long, full of increasing demands and 12-hr work days. I love what I do, but feelings of burnout are overwhelming some moments and I still struggle with adjusting to this adult, office-desk life. There is energy working with college students, but as they prepare their spring break plans and summer adventures, I feel my days are, in contrast, very sedentary and repetitive. 
Wake up early. Drive an hour in traffic. Work for 8-10 hours. Drive an hour in traffic. Go home and cook something (hopefully healthy). Maybe watch a movie or read. Sleep. 

I get restless. Perhaps it was my childhood spent traveling and exploring the outdoors. Perhaps it was my major that constantly allowed me to study abroad and work with communities across the globe. Perhaps it's my way of dealing with stress. I have to move. I have to see horizons. I need something to look forward to on a fairly constant basis otherwise I'm stir crazy. 

So after a 12-hr Friday and looking at a 12-hr Monday, I decided to head to the desert. My safe-place getaway. I went alone and stealth camped far from any road or ranger station. Literally alone with the Joshua Trees and cholla, I could breath and think. What are my priorities? What do I need to establish for myself so that my work-life balance is sustainable and refreshing? How do I create financial security in a job, while still allowing myself spontaneity and adventure? 

Driving home yesterday from this place of vast rugged beauty, I realized that, for me, it's about starting small. This week, my intention is freedom and self love. Freedom to do and ask for that which cultivates self-care and pride in myself.  

And with that, we head back to capitalism and workspace and routine. But we can do this. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tonight's been very....adolescent.

It's freezing in San Diego and it's almost Christmas, which means it's hypothermic and there's so much traffic you run through an entire tank of gas sitting on the exit bypass.

I worked through lunch today so I was starving by 5pm. They say "so hungry I could eat an elephant", but elephants are getting poached at alarming rates and I adore them, so I prefer "so hungry I ordered an entire box of soft tacos from Taco Bell and ate four of them in said traffic".

Our heater at home doesn't work. An entire wall unit that you have to get down on your hands and knees to turn on the pilot light in hopes the rest catches and it'll blow heat for 10 minutes or so. Once you remove your face from the baseboards and dusted off your knees, it'll turn off. So down you go again to play with the gears, adjust the flame, and tweak the gas a little. Then back up to enjoy the heat for long enough for your fingertips to regain feeling. And then it burns out and you're back down. It's like burpies or pushups. My janky home CrossFit.

So naturally, I took a 30 minute scalding shower to defrost.

And then piled every blanket I own on the bed. I am now the royal Princess and the Pea...except all the blankets are on top, burying me in heavy heat. It's divine. A little suffocating, but warm.

Now I'm finally warm with three tabs open on my desktop simultaneously. One is playing Breakfast at Tiffany's and Holly just snuck through Fred's window. Darling creep. Another tab has my resume open. It's been four months at my job so naturally I'm restless and working on "professional development" (i.e. snooping on everyone else's LinkedIn to see where they went to school, what they majored in, and what rungs of the ladder they've climbed to get where they are today). And the other tab is here. Hello.

It's warm, so I'm never getting out of this bed again. The end. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015


When I talk about Patrick or introduce him to new friends, I call him my partner.

I love everything about the term. Weightier than "boyfriend", it connotes a subtle seriousness that implies dependability and security. There is intimacy in "partner" for me, a powerful recognition of the investment to each other we've committed to. A partner has to know your weak spots so they can support you. They genuinely care about your insecurities because they'll be the ones to tell you where you're strong. A partner pushes you, challenges you, comes up with wild schemes with you, and gets you out of the most impossible scrapes.

Long before we were partners, we took ourselves out to fancy restaurants and hidden bars, ran weekly Costco runs and grocery shopping trips. We backpacked in the desert and and stargazed among the redwoods. We'd study together until dawn and take long drives at midnight to nowhere, sharing secrets and worries and shaky dreams (I was going to move to Sri Lanka to work with elephants, he wanted to switch up and study computer science). We'd do movie nights on his bedroom floor, emergency room visits, and secret handshakes. And then, in a teary-eyed phone conversation a year and a half ago - he in California, I on a hotel room floor in Denver - we finally blurted out what had been a reality for months and months; "You're my partner in crime....I love you". And it stuck. Partners.

I also feel privileged to be able to choose to use "partner". "Boyfriend" or "girlfriend" can be riddled with stigma or judgement for many same-sex couples and so "partner" is a safe, vague alternative. As a straight woman, no one questions my sexual orientation or morality if I say "boyfriend". However, my lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friends can't always say the same thing and that's a reality I'm very aware of. And so, I like being able to challenge a system of defined gender roles and social norms by using "partner" to describe my heterosexual relationship. I feel using "partner" allows me to challenge the stereotypes and easy assumptions that ascribe narratives to individuals without allowing them the space to define themselves.

As queer writer Lindsay King-Miller wrote: "If your relationship doesn't depend on a fundamental disparity between the roles of "male spouse" and "female spouse", but on the two (or more) of you approaching each other as individuals and equals, I think you should have access to terminology that reflects that equality. As same-sex couples continue to love, commit, and build families and lives together, regardless of gender, we create space for straight people to do the same....When I hear someone I don't know refer to their 'partner', I no longer assume that means they're a same-sex couple. I don't assume it means they're unmarried. I don't assume anything except that they are sharing their lives and creating relationship models that work for them."

I love it. I love knowing Patrick is my partner through thick and thin, that I can lean on him and we'll be an anchor for each other. I also love the conversations about equality, gendered norms and societal labels that tend to arise whenever I use the term. Partnering in partners.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


When people speak of love languages - gifts, physical touch, kind words, time, service - my mind goes to the word "peace". I've discovered how truly precious this rare quietness is, how hard it can be to cultivate, nurture, and maintain it.

The tours office is a whirlwind. I'm interviewing nearly 80 students this week, scheduling my current staff for numerous special events that are wearing all of us thin, I made a simple mistake that now has over 600 visitors coming for tours next Monday alone, and tour guides keep showing up late to their shifts. I'm one part disciplinary officer, mother, special events coordinator, HR manager, supervisor and one part very, very human. It's a hard balance. Yes, rewarding and exciting, but also draining and I have moments where I don't want to see another human being for hours. I just want to curl up in a hug and a blanket, get a kiss on the forehead, and be told I'm doing a good job. I crave peace. Silence to just think and pause. Peace. It's sacred. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Be realistic, Demand the impossible.

The past ten months have been a confirmation in determination in strength. I moved back to San Diego in January completely unemployed and signed a lease on an apartment in a beautiful neighborhood in blind faith that "something would happen". It was the riskiest financial decision I've ever taken. 

I submitted almost a hundred job apps, interviewed like mad and bounced between four completely different jobs in eight months. I ended up moving again, lost a car, bought a car, went camping once or twice, and somehow the fridge stayed stocked, bills were paid, and friendships remained intact. It was a rollercoaster and an exercise in trusting my gut, unabashedly pursuing simple goals, and leaning on amazing friends. 

It's been ten months and I've gone from being unemployed to a temp employee to a director of 100 staff members. I am so, so lucky. So lucky to have the opportunities I've had. That the right doors opened at exactly the right moment. That my friends and partner put up with my crazy schedules and dogged stubbornness. That I have a support system that allows me to bounce around without cracking. That the sun continues to rise each and every morning. 

"Be realistic, demand the impossible." It works, guys.