Our mission:

Read about A Voice of One's Own, where it came from, where it's going, and how you can join its chorus of love here!!

Also, feel free to contact us at voiceofonesown@gmail.com. Guest posting and new writers are not only welcomed, but encouraged, so please feel invited to send us a little taste of your voice :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

compassion heals.

Compassion heals because it lets us know that we are not alone. It bridges the gaps between human beings as if there hangs in the air, and penetrates our physical bodies, an ability, often beyond the limitations of language, to feel what another is feeling. Compassion heals both people involved as, in my eyes, a spiritual connection is formed. It feels like someone is embracing my insides—you know, my heart and soul, the stuff that matters most.

Last night I was having a beautiful conversation about… well, lots of stuff... the point is that I was overwhelmed by the existence of mutual compassion. Our stories and our experiences are vastly different, but aspects of our journeys have been almost eerily similar. In sharing our stories with one another, she said—I wish I could tell you that you’re beautiful and that you’re gorgeous and that you do deserve love; I wish I could rid you of any doubts. I can tell you ‘til the cows come home, but until you internalize it, it doesn’t matter what I say. I know it’s not that easy, but I wish it was.

She felt so much compassion for me that she wanted to rid me of my pain. She saw in me a human deservingness for love. Simultaneously, I saw the same in her.

Someone once had me do this exercise and I want to share it because I think that if you really surrender to it, it has the potential to bring you a little ray of light:

Think of someone you love to the depths of your heart and soul. Fill yourself with your love for them. Fill yourself with love until you feel as though you could burst. Think of a million reasons why you love them, and don’t think of any reasons not to love them wholly and completely. Now… give all of that love to yourself. Turn it around. Stop sending it outwards for a minute. Hold it; give into love. Give yourself that which you so fervently give to others. Take your own pain away as you give yourself permission to feel, give yourself space to feel, accept yourself as you are, and feel everything fully and deeply. Let it all wash over you and love yourself in it. Heal yourself by means of self-love and compassion.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This Little Light of Mine

So I was forced to take a Strengths Quest a while back, and I now know that my top strength is Achiever (womp, womp). It’s not the outgoing Woo or even the warm and fuzzy Compassionate (I just made that up, I don’t even know if Compassionate exists in Strengths Quest). I mean Achiever is cool, but I really don’t consider myself to be an Achiever, so I don’t identify with that strength. Instead I consider to be an Includer…at least that is what my mom always told me (and Strengths Quest, it’s my fifth strength). Basically, I just like to make people feel like they have a place, that they are welcome. This is where my desire to be a mom comes in. Everyone is special and everyone should feel loved—and as an Includer, I try to make that happen. It doesn’t matter if you like the Yankees (I might make fun of you a little), of if you wear all black, or if you are from Timbuktu, I want you to feel welcomed.

I know what it is like to be the one kid left out. My experiences when I was younger made me HATE (with a passion) my grade school and everyone in it. I don’t want other people to feel the same way; no one should bring hate into their lives.

I can’t really say how I would define myself. If someone asked me who I identify with, I wouldn’t have an answer (which would probably be an answer in itself because I am a pretty indecisive person). But I would like to think that I would say I’m an Includer –I’m not solely a woman, a sister, a daughter, a friend, an ally—I’m an Includer . No matter how you identify yourself, I am still going to love you and welcome you into my community. Everyone brings something special to the table. There is a light inside of each and every one of us. You just gotta let it shine.

Monday, October 25, 2010

putting myself in the box

Last time I wrote about how I didn't like being labeled, but throughout my life I have been (and sometimes still am) guilty of labeling myself. Or, allowing the labels I was presented with to direct my life. In the eighth grade I went to an all boys school with a dress code, one of those schools where you had to wear ties. Of course my friends and I being the wicked cool badasses we were would push this dress code as far as we could just to show 'the man'. We'd show up with ripped black pants, or we would have our shirts untucked and ties loosened. You know, like cool kids. We called ourselves non-conformists and didn't appreciate the irony until years later... I find it pretty funny now.

In college I was labeled a "stoner" because my roommate sold marijuana. I fought the name for awhile but eventually gave in because it was easy and I just didn't care. I fell into the lifestyle and fulfilled the title I was given. I am glad for the friendship that came from our living together but I regret some of what I did. My point is I shouldn't have let what people thought of me define what I thought of myself. I let what I thought everyone was thinking dictate my choices. I don't like when people make decisions for me and thats what I did by allowing that to happen.

I strongly dislike when I am compared with a stereotype, even if it is something I am like. I am me, and I cannot be confined in the box, when I find myself putting myself in it it is just as bad as someone calling me "hippie" or "stoner" I am neither of those, I am Three Feathers and I refuse to be a name. I am so much more than that, and so are you. You are you, and when you find that person in the mirror telling you who you are, just take a minute and see if there is more to the story.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

i am.

So I was sitting in a seventh grade language arts class in a tiny, little Catholic school when I happened to glance upwards. Hanging from the ceiling were poems that each student had written, and each line began with “I.” For example, “I wonder…” “I dream…” “I understand…” and “I am…”

And the statements were filled out according to each student in order to describe each developing identity. They were beautiful to me because of their genuine honesty. I wanted to write one right then and there, even if just in my head…

I wonder what my life will look like—what will my babies be like? Who will they grow up to be? Where will we live? What will we do? How will we fill each day? Will we be joyful?

I dream of a world in which human beings take care of one another, reach out towards one another; I dream of a safe place for us to grow together.

I understand that I am only human and that I can only do so much, but I also understand that with my humanity, I hold the responsibility to live my life as a prayer to the spirit of love I feel moving within me, to live in service to the betterment of the world I am a tiny part of.

I am loving. I am thinking. I am trying. I am reflecting and I am learning.

So much of who I am is defined by what I am doing at any given point in my life. The things I fill my life with make me who I am. I am in need of a space to nourish my spirit and the time to do so without feeling guilt for not doing other things I “should” be doing. I am attempting to embrace my authentic spirit. I am working on creating a more loving and positive body image. I am overwhelmed by both the mundane and the extraordinary. I am angry at the world today, but I am filled with hope for a better tomorrow. I am working towards that vision. I am lacking sleep and therefore addicted to caffeine. I am scared that I will never feel fulfilled unless I am driving myself into the ground. I am worried that I don’t take care of myself, and that sometimes, I might even harm myself. I don’t remember the last time I did yoga. I feel more passion to stop sexual violence than practically anything else in the world. I am silly. I laugh all the time. Loudly. I am constantly discovering who I am and learning that I love that person. I am cooking. I am talking. I am dancing. I am becoming me—mt

Friday, October 22, 2010

me in a nutshell

Who am I? It’s an interesting question that I sometimes struggle with. I mean, I know who I am, but to verbalize that fact is incredibly difficult. What do I say? Is who I am my hobbies, my traits, or my values? Is it what I wear, how I present myself, or my interests? I don’t really think a blog will do my being justice, but this is the best I got. So I figure I would talk about my loves, my beliefs, and myself. I love to read and I love to write, if you couldn’t tell already. I love to lie out on the grass and stare at the sky at 3:00 in the morning. I love to visit my greenhouse during late hours and water my marvelous plants. I love just thinking about life, about how amazing life really is. I love people watching because people are so fascinating. They are amazing creatures who never give themselves credit. I love sitting down with friends and having those conversations that one may call philosophical, (I call it invigorating). I love night walks, I love getting in touch with nature, and I especially love the times at the end of the day when I get to reflect on my life, my day, and myself. I love knowing who I am.

A part of who I am is what I believe in, because for one, I think that beliefs are lived out through everything that you do throughout your day. I belief every human being has the potential to offer something amazing to this world, and that if we all embraced love in its full entirety, things would seem a lot better. I believe in the celebration of love, unconditionally. I believe in justice for all people, I believe that everyone can find happiness, and I believe that, as humans, we are obligated to take action when we see people suffering. These loves and beliefs are who I am.

I could go on to say that I am a human being, beautiful as all human being are, that I am a brother, a son, an uncle, that I wear cowboy boots as much as possible and dance in them all the time, that I have amazing curly hair, and that I am a loving, kind person who serves as much as I can and takes as little as possible. But those are only parts of me, parts of my story. I am a whole, and you cannot separate the part from the whole. I am me, genuine and true, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’ll end with something that sums me up from Gandhi who said, “My life is an indivisible whole, and all my attitudes run into one another; and they all have their rise in my insatiable love for mankind.” Me in a nutshell : ). Oh and one more thing, just so you know, I love you.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

a little bit off.

One of the most amazing (and perhaps one of the most perplexing) things about human beings is our ability to hold within us so much that is vastly different and even seemingly opposing.

I have always said that I am most intrigued and for that matter most attracted to people who look just a little bit off. For example, I dated someone who for the vast majority of his life looked, well, like he had just rolled out of bed. He is known for constantly (and perhaps only) wearing white V-neck tees, and I liked it. Well, I suppose on occasion he branches out into black or even gray V-neck tees. Anyway, I liked it so much that even when we were in separate states, I would see someone who looked a-mess and think that person was him. I struggle to describe this oddity; it doesn’t sound so nice to say: you’re off, maybe even a little bit grungy, and I like you for it.

Today, though, as I looked at myself one last time in the mirror before work, I thought: I’m a little bit off. My hair doesn’t really jive with my clothes and for that matter, neither does my watch. An earring fell out of my ear on Monday and I just never put another one back in. I wear my zebra striped flats even when they don’t match just cause they are super comfy. I like colored eyeliners but don’t really wear any other make-up. I am a little bit off. However, each little inconsistent piece reflects me, and, ya know, I wouldn’t change it for the world. (And I won’t!) I am messy. I am complex. I hold within me total contradictions. I definitely don’t fit into any stereotype or mold. My lace bras with little bows don’t really go with my highlighter-orange shoes, but they are both me—mt

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Won't You Come See About Me....I'll Be Alone Dancing You Know It Baby

“You see us as you want to see us…In the simplest of terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal…”

If I have to check off one more square to identify myself I am going to flip. I am not defined solely by my age, gender, religion, ethnicity, and whatever else can be described on a piece of paper. These words are just labels forced onto us by the man. I don’t want to be a statistic that makes some institution look more or less diverse. I want to be me.

That’s how I am going to identify from now on…I am me.

I am the shy girl who lets lose when she is near the ones she loves. I am the person who likes to speak in the third person. I am the Catholic who wishes she was Jewish who wishes she was Quaker. I am the little sister who is only happy when feeding her brothers peanut butter blossom cookies and banana muffins with a honey cinnamon frosting. I am the person who will not tolerate when people say “that’s so gay.” I am the movie loving, flip flop wearing, environmentally friendly hippie who just wants people to feel loved.

A box cannot define who I am.

I can’t even define who I am.

My identity is constantly changing…. Inside I am a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.

I am beautiful.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Label Maker

For as long as I can remember, I hated standardized tests. You know, the ones with all those stupid bubbles specifically designed to weed out easily confused and semi-dyslexic kids like me. I could go on forever about the evils of standardized testing, but don't worry I won't. I want to talk about that first sheet you have to fill out, you now with your name, gender, grade... and worst of all race. Now it seems like a simple enough question, and I know it's just for statistic reasons but it made a crappy test even worse for me. See, I always put something different on those tests, not really on purpose, and not to screw with anyone or 'the system' or anything, but because I don't really know what to classify myself. You can imagine what effect this had on me as a little third grader taking those stupid ERB's or whatever they were called.

I didn't even realize how complicated this question was for my sister and me. I mean, I knew my grandmother spoke with an accent, my mothers maiden name was Montoya, and my dad had lighter skin and hair. But since I had grown up with all this I didn't think twice about it. It wasn't until the typical "Where is your family from" project that I realized my family was different than many others. My mother's family is from Colorado and goes back before statehood, before it was apart of the US, and even before it was a part of Mexico. We have blood from the Apache, Hopi, and Lakota, as well as Hispanic as the centuries went by. My father's family is mostly German and English and were among some of the first European settlers in North America. I got my height, eye color, and nose from my father's side, and my complexion and hair color from my mother's. So people generally can't place where I'm from I've been asked if I am Italian, Jewish, Mexican, or Arab more times than I can count.

Years ago when visiting my mom's side of the family my sister and I were teased by our cousins because we talk and look white. Our parents taught in private schools so we usually got reduced tuition, so we were raised with a strong education. Most of our classmates were white.

I still don't know what to put down as an answer.

--Three Feathers

Sunday, October 17, 2010

i am human.

I was once asked who I identify with, and my response was as a woman and as a human. I identify as a woman for reasons that I won’t get into right now (because it would be a novel), but I identify as human because of my belief in solidarity and in community. My vision for a loving world is a world in which my community extends to every human being on the planet just because we are human. I believe in love just as I believe in justice because loving all humans would manifest itself in justice. A just world would be a loving community. A just world would celebrate all of humanity in its mere existence. Imagine humanity as one, universal community:

"We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been — a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free"-Starhawk

Behind my eyes exists this vision of home. The glimpses I catch are in the love I see all around me--within human eyes, within physical touch, within lips curling into uncontrollable, unstoppable smiles, within action, within voices, within each of us whether or not we choose to express it. This is my dream. I want to create it day by day in the limited scope that I can control. I want to create it day by day in utter solidarity with all of humanity.

Friday, October 15, 2010

liberation through a story

I talked before about voiceness and how that if I had no fear I would tell the world my story. I think story is one of the most important things we have. Your story, whether it contains beautiful bright elements or the darkest of days, is something that has shaped you into the person you are today. I believe this fully about my story. But stories aren’t just things to look back on or to learn from or to keep to yourself. They are filled with power, emotion, and a universal language that everyone understands. This is why literature is such a beautiful and powerful way of expression. People get into a story, relate to a story, and really feel for the person whom the story is about. That character’s voice rings though the listener’s ears and is heard loud and clear. This lets the domino effect of voiceness live on. When you tell your story, when you completely open yourself up to people and lie there absolutely vulnerable, it gives that person a sense of understanding and love they may have never experienced. It allows them to gain the courage to do the same for someone else. That is the gloriousness of voiceness. Last year when my school had Take Back The Night, I got up to the lectern, took a deep breath, and in front of over 100 people, talked about my depression, and how I was silenced, much like people are silenced when they experience violence. And I expressed a universal pain and aloneness all sufferers feel. I connected with people, I felt connected with people, I felt the love in the room, and I felt loving. Finally sharing my story with strangers was one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had. It was truly rewarding in so many ways.

“Swept up by a WAVE”

I spoke tonight,
About the pain—
About the loneliness and the pain.
The story’s been told before—

But not like this.

It’s been told before to men and women
In their glasses and dresses, suits and ties,
Lab coats, furious pens,
Questions and answers that never seem to end…

But not like this, no not like this.

To friends and family God knows how many times,
Crying and weeping till the tears roll on by.
To shadows and strangers who’ve heard it the most,
Yet say nothing back; they are far too close.

But not like this, no certainly not like this.

This time I spoke to the huddled masses
With long hair and a beard riding in on the asses.
I spoke for change, for radical noise and speech,
I spoke for Angela, Mary, Stacey, and Pete.

Yes, this was different. Painful but a great release.

I spoke of my story and my struggles and falls,
I spoke of my inspiration for it all,
I spoke of success and the afterlife,
I spoke of what we can do to fight,

Yes, this was certainly different. I finally had it right.

I spoke for all those that have no voice,
I spoke for all those that have no choice,
The ones that lie in fear and wait,
I bring them to the light at the tunnel to escape.

My god was this different. This was change!

Yet through all my efforts and all my strengths
The greatest of those came not from me.
I had the greatest of help from the greatest of souls,
And their collective hearts were more beautiful than gold.

How I longed this to be different. And they all made it so.

There comes a point where a person must see
Who he really truly loves the deepest in his heart.
And I really must say, it’s the people like me,
Wearing pink and teal.

How I wish I were with them from the start.

As you know, I spoke tonight,
About the future,
The future looking bright.
“You are the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

Tonight is our night. Love will set us free!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery"

I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to imitate people. I pick up their behaviors like a common cold. I can’t say that it is a conscious effort to mock the actions of people I know – it just kind of happens and there is no stopping it. Even when I was a baby I used to imitate the faces people would make at me. You can just imagine little Pony, playing with her brothers, making extremely ugly (which by definition, a baby should not be making). Now a days, My mom—very annoyingly—always seems to say “Stop making that face, you’re acting like your brother.” Whenever she says this, I first have to question if I am actually making a face. What if she is just looking at my normal face? If I wasn’t making a face my mom would be burning me (One point for mom). Somehow every time, my mom is right; I look in the mirror and sure enough the weird faces my brother makes magically appear across my face (One point for mom).

But at what point does that face become a Ponyboy face and not a Sodapop face. If I am constantly making it, isn’t it mine? DO I HAVE ANYTHING THAT IS MY OWN? Or are all of my faces and amusing behaviors (that people admire me for) really the behaviors of others? EEEEEEk.

Should I even care? Obviously, if I am imitating a funny behavior, it is because I thoroughly enjoy that behavior. Besides the things I do unconsciously, there are some things that I realize I am copying when I am in the moment. So, when I am imitating a certain behavior, I automatically think of the original source of the behavior and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

My imitations are constantly changing depending on who I have been spending time with. Sometimes, if I am not home, I will forget certain things I say during the summer and I will pick up new sayings. I just wonder if this means that I don’t truly have as unique of a voice as I thought I did. I’d like to think that being a copycat just really means that I am expressing what makes me truly happy, and humor is one of the things I value the most. So in my opinion, I am being truer to myself because on a daily basis I am incorporating into my life the things that fill me to the brim with joy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Voice that Inspires

As I wrote earlier, this month is the anniversary of my friends death. Although it was quite an awful time, I was helped through it not only my friends that knew him but when I came home from his funeral I had the support of one of my closest friends. She never actually met him, but she had spoken to him on the phone and probably shared emails. This is because she was my girlfriend when I lived in that farmhouse spring of sophomore year. Not just that but I was lucky enough that we remained friends after we broke up. We have shared experiences that will forever tie us together, both good and bad. She is amazing and I can fill pages with what we went through but that is not what I am going to write about today. We also share a personal hero, someone whose words speak to us to this day. Someone whose words helped me cope with my friends death, Robert F. Kennedy.

Now before I continue, I am not trying to change your politics. Nor am I saying you should even have a political stance. All I am saying is this man's words have moved me. He had seen his older brother killed a few years earlier for following what he believed to be morally right, and yet he refused to give in and he continued to strive toward what he believed to be right. Using him as an example, my challenge is to find words that inspire you.

"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
-Robert F. Kennedy

My hero, Robert Kennedy was assassinated on June 5, 1968. This is the audio from his eulogy delivered by his brother Edward using excerpts from Robert's speech to the students of a South African university in 1966. It is long but I encourage you to listen to the whole thing.

‎"Some men see things as they are and say why, I dream things that never were and say why not?" -Robert F. Kennedy

Peace, Love, and Hope
-Three Feathers

Sunday, October 10, 2010

voice as power.

“Lend your voices only to sounds of freedom”—Jewel

Yeah, I am going to get all ethical on you. I’m going to rant because I believe that human expression holds power and that therefore every, single thing we say holds power. Shoot, Ponyboy, I should probably seal my lips more often to make sure that I lend my voice only to sounds of freedom.

Two years ago tomorrow, someone made a comment that I have been reflecting on a lot lately. In an elevator full of men riding up to the floor on which I was an RA, someone said “Oh, we’re all going up to the top? Party in mt’s room!” to which another man replied, “Nah, orgy in mt’s—I shotty her mouth.” Those words, that voice degraded me. Those words encouraged others to degrade me. The silence of voices that could have lent themselves to freedom, to respect, to love, to humanity allowed me to remain degraded. The power of these voices were used to harm another being.

I suppose it’s for reasons such as this that people (me included) cause such a fuss about being “PC.” Language holds power and can be used to humanize or dehumanize, honor or degrade, love or hate. Things that just fly out of our mouths before we even stop to think have the potential to affect lives, to affect living, breathing people.

Yoga breaths. Deep, calming, yoga breaths. Enough with my ranting. I want to use words to love, to free, to empower. I want to use words as mantras so that I am constantly growing more deeply in that love. That is why I shared a doodle of some of my favorite words from June 2008. For those who can't tell what the hell it says since they're all jumbled, they are:








Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed

I don’t really know what defines my voice. Is it my sarcasm? My wit? My desire to speak like a British person?

Perhaps it isn’t my voice but my silence that makes me unique. You probably wouldn’t be able to guess this from reading my rants, but I am a quiet individual. I just don’t find mindless gobbets of chatter essential to my daily life. When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed (I would like to personally acknowledge the Talking Heads for their eloquent passage… you truly understand my core values). I’m comfortable, and at home in silence – and I would like to thank the Society of Friends for shaping that aspect of my lovely personality.

Quakerism teaches you to mind the light and be moved by that light. Once you are moved to speak, you do so. Quakers value self reflection. As human beings we learn more about our voices when we reflect upon what we value, then when we tell the person sitting next to us on the train about every single thing we did that day.

My embrace of silence doesn’t mean I won’t tell you when I think you are being a complete idiot; it simply means I would rather experience an internal reflection in which I can formulate my own thoughts then engage in a meaningless conversation about the weather (obviously the sweat and look of disgust on my face show that I know it is hot out, I don’t need to have a twenty minute conversation in which the farmer’s almanac is referred to). Now, once I have reflected in silence and I can fully grasp my own beliefs, I feel moved to share my opinions with the people around me – it just takes some time.

So I may live in my head most of the time, it doesn’t mean that my voice isn’t as loud as yours. If anything it makes me a more interesting person because you never know what I am thinking. Take that! There is one downfall; my silence has created some minor issues with people I love – mainly because they believe I don’t like them since I don’t speak to them. But if I were to fill the silence with word vomit, I wouldn’t be true to my voice – or lack thereof.

My advice to you is to embrace the silence.