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 :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

new location.

Hi, lovelies!

So I decided to move on over to tumblr. Mainly because I think it is much, much prettier (and easier for my computer-illiterate self to use). That being said, I will be posting much more often--both new and old posts--to get it going. I apologize for repeats, but then again, returning to them is doing me a lot of good:) Come give it a peek: http://voiceofonesown.tumblr.com/ !


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Who are you?

Sometimes I can get so caught up in the illusion of everything that I forget who I am. I made this list on retreat a few months ago and thought I'd share it with you.

I love bananas and parker pens
I love driving around Baltimore and blasting music
I love Moleskine journals and acoustic guitars
I love argyle prints and earth tones
I love Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver
I love campfire but more importantly I love fire.
I love kayaks and kayaking and the color yellow
I drink too much black coffee and I love staying up late.
I love sunsets and sunrises
I like being outdoors and the smell of nature minus the allergies
I love wearing glasses and I love that people think I'm a nerd.
I love the sounds at a beach: waves crashing, kids crying and seagulls flying
I love cooking and feeding my friends
I love a great micro-brewed beer
I love graphic design, color theory and typography
I love politics, international relations and the Constitution of the U.S.A.
I love my name, JADS.
I love my voice, because it is my own.


Sunday, July 17, 2011


What if I stopped choosing and started listening?

So I have this obsession with concepts that can be summed up neatly and nicely in one word. You might have gathered this... Love. Compassion. Liberation. Hope. You get the picture. Well, thanks to J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series, choice has been one of these obsessions for me for a while now. The idea that we all, as humans, have light and dark inside of us and that we can't choose that fact, but we can choose how to respond, which to express, which to allow to motivate us in our actions each and every day. I think that it is these choices that, over time, begin to define our character. Great. Super. Except, maybe I have it all wrong...

So last night I had a four hour conversation with a dear, dear friend about El Salvador. (Can someone explain to me why I'm not there right now? 'Cause I'd really like to be. I digress...) This friend has been a witness over the years to my struggles with my faith and spirituality and was very aware of the way I was talking about god openly and naturally... in a way I hadn't in just about three years. I've been so particular about the language I use to describe my faith because I was so afraid of being associated with something I'm not. Well, I don't know who or what the hell god is, but I do know there's something that has lived inside of me for my entire life, something that lights up my eyes, something that pulls me enthusiastically out of bed in the morning, something that drives me when I don't think I can go anymore, something that takes me over and flows through me, something that allows me to love in ways I didn't know I was capable of, something that brings me peace in the midst of surrender and break downs, something that transforms my dark into light, something that gives me both hope and hunger for more, something that draws me forth into the woman I was made to be, something that breaks my heart, something that drags me into the discomfort of really difficult questions, something that holds me tenderly while I'm there, something that has laid out the journey which has brought me to the place I am right now.

What the hell does this have to do with choice, you ask? Lately, I don't want to make choices anymore. Lately, I want to surrender to this something inside of me. I don't know what that means all the time, I don't know how it will look, or feel, or turn out. I don't know for sure how to do this. But I do know that I trust it and that I want it. I don't want to choose the light. I want to be a vessel of it, I want to surrender to it, I want to allow it to flow through me--no matter what that means.

I had a spiritual director who taught me a little bit about listening to other people, about what it means to be present to people, about what it means to practically love someone, about understanding, and about compassion. Until now I never thought of how badly I want to listen to my insides, to my spirit, to the divine presence I want so badly to be constantly aware of, to my body, to my being, to the miracle that is my unique life. So... hey, I know you're listening. I'm surrendering to you. I know it's not that easy and that sometimes I'll wanna take control right back into my own little hands, so I'm asking for the strength to give myself to you. That's the only choice I want to make, and I want to make it over and over... every moment of every day. I want so badly to be yours, to be authentic, to be the woman I was purposefully made to be, to be a vessel, to be one with you. When you call, I want to be listening so that I can answer.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Are you afraid of difference?


I was mobbed by spiders though they didn’t know,
they didn’t know because spiders don’t think
“Hey there’s lots of us,
maybe we can take on this giant beastly thing.”
They didn’t know because all they thought about
was how I was an enemy to them,
bigger than them

What’s the saying?
I could squash them like bugs?

Did you know I’m scared of spiders?
How pathetic am I to panic at the site of
those creatures?
Those little tiny creatures that would never hurt me,
or so says my friend Bob the arachnologist (arachnophile if you ask me),
“They are just misunderstood”
Right Bob...

Murder next door, and I’m afraid of spiders.
The flies took her life, and I’m afraid of spiders.
Spider genocide in the streets, and I’m afraid of spiders.

The mob dispersed and as one lone spider walked towards me
my defenses rose and my heart started to race.
Suddenly in a foreign accent he asked
“where is the toilet?”
I smiled and started to laugh.
No matter what language you speak,
You know how to ask for the bathroom.

Today I saw a spider eat a fly.
Today I saw a spider clinging for life
as the storm came.
I picked it up and brought it inside.
Made it dinner, had a chat, learned its story
Brought it back to life.

He told me, no one listens to us spiders,
we have no voice.
I told him, he had a beautiful voice,
it’s people who are too afraid to listen.

Guess they didn't think I was an enemy.
Guess all they wanted was a friend.


So while I was leaving Pisa packing up my things at my hostel, I realized that I lost my tickets that I ordered months before to go to Nice. Luckily, the train was running late so I had time to buy another ticket. However, once I got on the train I realized that it was not at all great that the train was delayed because I had a connecting train to catch, and there was only a 10-15 minute layover. Once we got to the connecting station, Ventimiglia, I saw that I had missed my train. It was the last train to Nice for the night, so I had to stay the night. But the interesting thing was that the second I got off the train there were swarms of people, cops, and news crews. It was crazy. There were over 200 people staying in the station with me waiting to get on the next train to France. I had no idea what was going on. To be honest I was a little scared for my life, my passport, and my identity. I mean the police were everywhere, and they were packing some serious firepower. And all the people around me were speaking a language I could not recognize.

About an hour into being stuck there, I learned from another student who was traveling that all the people were refugees from Tunisia. After hearing that I freaked. I didn’t want to be stuck with a bunch of refugees. What if they want to hurt me, take my passport, kidnap me for ransom? There were so many thoughts going into my head. Then suddenly someone walked up to me and asked if I had a cigarette. I said no. I sat there after that and thought to myself, well that went fine. Then I looked around and thought no one is trying to kill me or anything like that. I felt foolish. The looks on their faces said it all. All they wanted to do was get somewhere safe. They ran away from home and were as much a foreigner as I was. They were just as scared as I was. Scared they may not get into France, scared they may have to go back to the country they left to find a better life, and scared that they may never see their families again (there were only men). It was such an experience for me. I often regret not going up to one of them and asking them what they were doing. I don’t know if any of them spoke English, but I should have tried. I should have learned their story. Because after reflecting I now see that they are more than just refugees, they are people, with husbands, wife, mothers, father, jobs, and lives that go far beyond the refugee part. But even without talking to them it was an amazing experience that I will never forget.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Last Thursday, I did something I haven't done in quite some time. I cried during class. Just right there with a bunch of random people I don't even know, I cried. I cried over a film about suicide and the war in Iraq. I cried over the way in which we value (or don't value) human lives... and the way in which public policies reflect these values. I cried over dehumanization and structural violence.

In most cases of my life I would find this to be terribly embarrassing, but lately I have been valuing my humanity so much, I just took a deep breath and embraced my tender-heartedness. I thought: time to practice what you preach, little one; those tears are a physical expression of your compassion, and your words, a refusal to accept the world as it is. So just let the tears fall and calmly explain why they are falling.

They were falling because it hurts my heart every time I am hit with the reality that each human life is not given the same value in our world. Who matters and who doesn't? Who gets to decide who matters and who doesn't? How do they decide? Why? And, more importantly, can this ever change?

Then I read Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and now I'm just pissed. (If you haven't read it, I suggest reading it, or even a summary of it just for the purpose of the thought experiment it evokes.) We, societally, judge people so easily, but, even worse, we allow those judgments to stick, to mark a person, to identify human character in a way in which, realistically, doesn't happen, doesn't line up, doesn't make any freaking sense. Maybe it's easier to categorize people in this way. Maybe it's safer not to take risks. Maybe it's less scary to shut out entire segments of the human population. I don't even know!

All I do know is that I might actually believe each and every human being is worth the risk of knowing, of accepting, of learning about, of open-mindedness and understanding. That, and I might spend the rest of my life questioning taking the easy way, especially when it involves human beings.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Trying to live a dog's life

So my girlfriend has this thing about calling me a puppy or dog and joking that she feeds me treats. I always thought of it like wtf…why do you keep calling me that…but after listening to the radio I kind admire the nickname. I was listening to WPOC Baltimore’s Country Music Station (obviously) and the person who was hosting the show said something that caught my ear. She said that if people greeted each other every day just like dogs greet people, everyone would just get along much better and be so much more loving toward each other. I thought that was simply amazing. I mean when I go over to my sister’s house and see her little Boston terrier he runs wild. And yeah it may be some natural uncontrollable instinct for a dog to go wild when someone walks in the door, but doesn’t that just sound amazing. Like I had this uncontrollable instinct to run over to my mom when she came home. I had this uncontrollable instinct to tackle my friend to the ground out of love. I had this uncontrollable instinct to squeeze my partner when I got home from work because I miss him or her so much. I had this uncontrollable urge to show my love to a complete stranger yesterday because I just simply wanted to. I had this uncontrollable urge to greet the person working at Starbucks like they had been my friend for my entire life, even though I never met them in my before.

What a world that would be. If everyone greeted each other like their dogs greeted them. More ecstatic to see a human face and be touched by human hands than all the dog food in the world.

That’s something special.

That’s something to think about.

That’s something simply amazing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

redefining faith.

I find my faith and hope both in immense joy and in the acknowledgement of pain; together, they show me the power and resiliency of the human spirit, and honestly, what is more beautiful? That power, that resiliency, that strength is divine. It reminds me that the spirit never leaves me. I am constantly in the presence of the divine. It is the "love of god working in the lives of men," as (my man) MLK said. I want to be aware of it constantly. I want to bear witness to it constantly. I want to live inside of it constantly.

I want to walk and to live in full awareness of my own humanity and, for that matter, of others' humanity, too. There is something healing, something hopeful, something restorative in humanity. I feel human lately--beautifully, peacefully, imperfectly human. I am so grateful to be in this space.

Thank you, spirit of love, for moving through me. In all my spastic ways, in all my anxiety, in all my emotion, in my need for healing, in my ever-dreaming eyes, in my timidness and in my courage, in my fear and in my loving heart, in both my giving and my receiving, in my struggles and in my freedom, thank you for moving through me always. Fill me. Without you, I am incomplete. Without you, that light in my eyes is gone. Without you, I lose that bit that makes me my most fiery self. I want to surrender to you with every breath, every step, every moment. Give me strength that I might best serve the world as a vessel of your ever-flowing grace. I am yours.

Oh, and, spirit, thank you for the skies.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


I have a (somewhat) newfound love for the color green because it reminds me that all around me is LIFE. There is something sacred, something hopeful, a breath of fresh air, something rejuvenating and refreshing present in my ability to peep out my window and see: GREEN. It causes my eyes open a little wider and my breathing to slow as I remind myself that I, too, am a part of nature, a part of this brilliant life.

I am well aware that my head is in the clouds, but I pray that my feet never leave the ground and that my hands never stop reaching out to those around me. By that same token, I hope my feet and my hands never hold me down and that my heart can keep soaring, my mind can keep dreaming and my spirit can keep hoping for more.

There is a fire inside me that will drive me to do whatever I am called to do. Problem is... I haven't been called yet. So I suppose I should spend my time preparing to send forth my best self whenever that time comes.

The most brilliant light comes forth from darkness.

I love human beings because we are all walking contradictions. We, both individually and communally, hold within us so many contradictions. I am both weak and strong. I am both loving and fearful. I am both hopeful and despairing. I love my ability to be both (as scary as it is, as vulnerable as it makes me). I embrace humanity in its both-ness, in its completeness, in its wholeness, in its vast, diverse beauty.

Some days, I want to run away. I often envision a rustic cave or an empty room with windows letting in an overwhelming amount of sunlight. I would bring tons of books, an endless supply of blank paper and writing utensils (preferably pencils), paint, brushes, fruit, cheese, green tea, candles (and therefore my inhaler), my yoga mat, my water bottle, something with which to play music, only excessively comfortable clothing to wear over panties that make me feel gorgeous, and I would invite the people who nourish me the most to join whenever they needed refuge. Then, on other days, I realize I am fully capable of creating both physical and metaphysical spaces just like this. If you ever need refuge, know my arms (and heart) are wide open.

I love you.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

uninspired? or over-inspired?

So I may or may not have some serious writer’s block. What’s up with that? I wasn’t aware that I ever ran out of things to say. I suppose in some ways I didn’t since I am sitting here typing away about my inability to write. I tried to write about why I love human beings, why I love life, the things that make me smile uncontrollably, but nothing I wrote could fully express either the visuals or the joy that they give me. I couldn’t do any of it justice. Even now, I feel like I can’t express the inexpressible nature of my joy. How do you just sum up what makes you glow? How do you sum up the glory that is humanity? How do you describe the indescribable?

I also tried to write about my sisters. I ran into a similar problem. If you think I could ever put in words everything I love about my sisters in a way that would give you a fraction of an idea of my love for them, you clearly haven’t met them. I thought about publically writing to each of them, thanking them for all they have done for me, but I didn’t even know where to begin, and whenever I tried to begin, I was not satisfied with anything I wrote. Instead I have decided to complain to you about the limitations of words…

I love words. So freaking much. There is poetry I love so deeply that I weep at the sheer sight of it on a page. But, alas, words strong enough to describe certain aspects of life just don’t exist. I suppose I have been experiencing a lot of that lately. How do I describe my time in El Salvador? How do I describe the transformation it caused in me? How do I describe how socially awkward it’s made me? How do I describe how hard I’m trying to remember that I really am constantly in the presence of the divine? How do I describe how meaningless certain aspects of my life seem in comparison to the aspects that nourish me so deeply? How do I describe my love for the people in my life? How do I describe my love for my life itself? How do I describe the fire within me? Words are failing me. I am so on fire, I am so transformed, so intensely feeling, that I cannot find words to tell you much of anything right now. Although it’s kind of fantastic, hopefully one day soon I’ll settle back down and have something of use to say. Until then, I’ll be sending my love and channeling all this inspiration into my dreams.

i love you.


Friday, June 24, 2011


I don't know if mt has shared this video with you, she probably has. These past few weeks I've been in awe of my hands. Not in a weird, conceited and creepy way but in a "holy crap, I made that" kind of way. My absence from writing was a result of a super intense design class. On MWF from 9~4, I designed and I created. One of our projects was to actually build a mock-up of a package. As our teacher described the assignment, I had an enormous grin on my face. I looked like an idiot, I was equally excited and anxious at the thought of using my hands to bring my designs to life. But building and creating form was extremely empowering. Seeing my ideas and making my ideas come to life with my own hands gave me a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

I guess my point is that our hands are amazing and endless in their potential to create and make great things (and sometimes bad things). I have taken my hands for granted for 22 years so this is for them:

For all the nights you danced feverishly across my keyboard
For the times that I picked away your dry callouses
For the meals you have prepared
Wounds you have treated and healed
For the music you produced
The countless pieces of paper that cut you up
For the tender caress
For planting seeds that may one day bear fruit
For guiding me and others in the right direction
For your warmth
For touching lives

I thank you.

mt once said something along the lines of "I like to touch people to show them how much I love them." This is me touching all of you (with your permission of course).


Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'd be happy to take your picture

mt once told me that you can laugh with someone without having to speak the same language. It’s so interesting to look back on that moment. I thought to myself, “WOW, YES! That is so true,” but it never really hit me until I experienced it myself.

I took a hiatus from writing for a while because I went to Ireland for a semester. Let me tell you, it was amazing. I went to the Blarney Stone, naturally, and was able to see the beautiful Irish countryside with amazing lakes, rolling hills, and scenery so picturesque it could make you cry. I now understand what Yates and all Irish poets mean when they speak of Ireland as this breath-taking beauty. I sampled the local beverages from time to time, overindulged at other times, while having a great time and never caring about the time. I learned a lot about Ireland and Europe in my classes. I went to Spain, Italy, France, and other countries and loved every minute of it. I could spend hours writing about what I learned, felt, and experienced. I could talk about my new knowledge and appreciation of other cultures I found while traveling, but since having to write my immersion project I’ve been reflecting on my time abroad and have picked out moments that I think are the most special of all.

The moments involve pictures, laughs, and smiles. I’ll try to sum up all of Europe into what I think are the top three most beautiful sites i visited (you can imagine how hard this is) but I would say Corniglia in the lemon orchards, Nice looking down on the city, and La Rambla in Barcelona. Now I have a picture of all of these places, but the thing about pictures of yourself is that you have to ask people to take them for you, and when you travel in Europe, you don’t also find someone that speaks English. But the beautiful thing about it is everyone knows that when you walk up to them and hold out a camera, they want you to take a picture, and then you usually return the favor. What a delightful friendly system that is. You are storing memories of beautiful moments in the form of a picture and making friends in the process. I’ll never forget the faces of the people who I took pictures for and who took photos for me. You may not speak the same language, but beauty can act as a common language, and it’s perfect when you see it with your eyes and capture it in a picture.

In Barcelona they have street performers. There were two in particular that stick out in my mind. One was a headless man and the other was a baby in a carriage. Both times someone walked in front of the street performers and the performers scared the shit out of them. Everyone who was around started laughing. I looked around at people and people looked at me, and there was that moment of connection where you understand someone through laughter. It was nice to laugh with people. It felt good. I didn’t need to talk to them. I don’t even know if they spoke the same language as me; it didn’t even matter. It was a great moment.

And in Corniglia I looked at someone on the cliffs who turned to me and we smiled at each other. We smiled because we saw how much we appreciated the same beauty of nature. It was a wonderful moment with no words needed.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

the peace you long for exists within you.

I talk a lot. And I really do like human beings a lot. So much so that sometimes I forget to be alone for extended periods of time. And yes, I do yoga (of course), but even during my practices I sometimes get so wrapped up in what my body is doing or in thinking about or praying for one of the people I love so very dearly that I forget to reflect on myself and my own life. This of course is not very good for me and so I eventually find myself having a complete and total melt down in which I feel as though I can't hardly function and therefore will probably never be okay again. During such melt downs, you can usually find me fully clothed (shoes included) in my bed under the blankets in a state of panic because I can’t figure out how to begin to sort out the mess that I have found myself in. People try to talk sense into me (for example, my mother telling me that figuring out what to eat for dinner should not distress me this much, but regardless, I do need to eat), and I respond by spewing out dramatic, snarky, hopeless, and usually illogical arguments… until I realize:

the peace you long for exists within you.

At which point, all the tears abruptly cease, my body suddenly begins to relax, and I find myself seemingly involuntarily praying. I don’t mess around; I pray directly to the spirit that I know exists inside of me. I acknowledge her (and the fact that I haven’t been doing so enough lately), I chat with her, and I give her some seriously well-deserved and long-awaited loving.

The most recent prayer went a little like this:

“You, my dear, are stronger than this. Stop coping. Start living. You have the strength to be the woman you so want to be. It will be hard. And, to be honest, I am not quite sure what it will look like or how it will take shape, but you must do it. You don’t really have a choice. You will never forgive yourself if you give into difficulty, pain and fear. Plus, you’re going to be okay, I promise. In fact, I think that in a lot of ways you are better than okay. Think of how much healing has already occurred within you! Forgive yourself for not having it all figured out. You're not supposed to. And more importantly, my love, have patience with yourself.

“‘Human beings are not like bread. We are never done.’

“Embrace the journey. Take time to remember how much value you find in discomfort, in overcoming fear, in acts of liberation, in growth, in learning, in challenging yourself, in living fully, in motion, in uncertainty, in trusting, and in letting go. These things will only bring you closer to your authentic self. She is waiting for you with open arms. More importantly, she is waiting with more joy and more love than you can imagine. Trust in her. Run full speed towards her. And don’t look back. The past cannot define you any longer, sweetheart. Set yourself free. It’s time. It's time.”

Also, for your viewing pleasure, here is a slice of inspiration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATC5OGh3adg

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

if I ever get married...

If I ever decide to get married, my life partner better be okay with hanging all of our laundry on a line outside, hearing me sing loudly--no, at the top of my lungs--while I do the dishes (I mean, really, I learned it from my dad), with long walks late at night, with hysterical laughter and the full body spasms (and dance moves) that accompany it, with tears of both deep joy and deep sadness, with feistiness and sass, with passionate arguments and even more passionate expressions of love, with my undeniable need to write, with a room in our (teeny) house dedicated to yoga and all that which stems from it, with my need to cook in the middle of the afternoon while jamming to fantastic music just 'cause I fucking feel like it, with the fact that I bake for people just to show them how much I love them, with my--at times overwhelming--intensity, with my openness, with my need to be independent, with the fact that I doubt I will change my name, with travel and with exploration, with my tender-heartedness and the passion it brings for sometimes seemingly everything under the sun, with my obsession with freedom and with child-like, almost-naive honesty and authenticity, with my utter refusal to be jaded or cynical no matter how bad things sometimes appear, with my crazy, unpredictable spiritual journey, with my moments of reclusive thoughtfulness, with my outbursts--all of them!--with my willingness to give my life to something greater than myself, my family or even my capacity to envision, with my profoundly deep desire to be a mother, but to maintain my self and my individuality in doing so, with my dreams, with my love of risks--only when they hold the opportunity to realize those dreams or to become a more authentic version of myself, with my weakness, with my darkness, with my struggles, with my past... and my present... and my future, with my endless drive to--above all else--live each and every day of my life as no one but my most genuine self and to grow into an ever-more-loving individual who can better serve the world around her.

These are my requirements. I just thought you should know.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I'm starting with the man (or woman) in the mirror

O.K. This is going to be a long one, so microwave some organic popcorn (it’s delish) and enjoy.

So, I recently moved into a new apartment. And there isn’t a full length mirror. EEEK. I know. A girl needs a full length mirror. I have one at home that my brothers frequently storm into my room to use. I have one in a dresser that is in my usual dorm room. I suppose this is the first time I have never had a full length mirror in my room. But to tell you the truth, I find myself not caring. Does it really matter if I don’t look perfect? Oh, no, my shoes don’t match my shirt. What to do? And this is a big deal considering the fact that I always used to prefer my ensemble to match. I like to keep it classy.

Recently, I went to a little shindig for my father’s prosthetist. No not prostitute. Gross. My dad is an amputee; I hope that clarifies your confusions.

Anyways, we were talking to his prosthetist who said that the worst age and gender for someone to lose their leg is a 13 and female, because as a 13 year old female they are already undergoing so many body issues. When you are 13, you just want to fit in and be normal. You by the clothes that the cool kids wear. You cut your hair like Taylor Swift or someone else teenagers now adore (I really have no idea…Justin Beiber?). My dad meets grown women in parking lots who are too afraid to wear pants because that would show their prosthetic limb. They always ask my dad the same question, “I can’t believe you are wearing pants, aren’t you afraid of what people will think?” And my dad’s response is always “Why should I care what others’ think.”

I never think twice about the way my dad looks, or any other amputee that I see out and about, if anything I checkout what model prosthetic they have, but I always would think twice about the way I looked. So as I was standing in the prosthetist’s office listening to him speak about 13 year old girls with body image issues, all I could think was that it never really changes, no matter the age. But to me, that 13 year old girl is beautiful, every woman is beautiful. My worry in that moment was how can I tell a 13 year old girl wearing a prosthetic limb that she shouldn’t care what others think; when I care what others think?

I’ve come to the conclusion that we should just remove all of the full length mirrors. I mean don’t break them because being Polish, I believe that to be bad luck, but don’t put one in your daughter or son’s rooms. In fact, take yours out right now.

And I’m not saying that mirrors are bad. Hey, we need them for driving and such. Maybe looking in a mirror occasionally even helps you see yourself clearly and you end up liking what you see. But we shouldn’t waste our time standing, observing every inch of our bodies from our heads to our toes.

I’m going to trust my decisions from now on and I won’t second guess the way my jeans look, or if the color of the shirt matches the color of the skirt. They only real reason I did so before was because I didn’t want people to think I looked like a fool…but why should I care what they think?

Friday, June 10, 2011

time to take flight.

"Have an open heart and it will be broken."

I cannot wait to wake up every morning and live. I want my open heart to be broken so that the spirit I so cherish can have space to fill me. I want it to be broken for humanity. I want it to be broken for myself and my dreams. I want to focus on what really matters to me. I want to face and let go of the things that don't. I want to be rejuvenated. I want my passion to grow more intense with every day, every person I meet--and learn to love. I want my joy to deepen in light of the pain that I both experience and witness. I want to grow into an ever-more-loving individual. I want to find, and live in, peace. I want to let go of fear especially when it gets in the way of loving human beings fully. I want to heal and in doing so find the strength to give more fully of myself than I ever have before. I want to become a little bit more liberated with each passing moment (why have I not pierced my nose yet?!). I want to witness and receive love. I want to be nourished by a community who cherishes the things I cherish freely and openly. I want to explore my faith in this community and in doing so, I want that faith to grow and change into a more authentic version of my spirituality. I want to be smacked in the face with the reality of hate and violence and find restoration there anyway. I want to be able to say with faith that my past does not define me or my future because of having witnessed resiliency, strength, courage, joy and love in the human spirit.

"The longest journey is the journey within." Ah, it is time to take flight.

Monday, June 6, 2011

i'm backkk

I wrote a poem while I was gone! It's not my normal mode of expression, but I hope you like it at least a little bit :)


I want simultaneously to be alone and be held
Just as I feel simultaneously deep despair and endless hope
Just as human touch has power to both damage and heal
I want my touch to have the power
To remove the damage
Another's touch has caused.

I want to hold you and in doing so
Take the pain from your body
To mine
Because the fire within
Each molecule of my being
Will be strengthened by knowing
The pain touch has caused.

And don't worry when you see my physical reaction
The vomit and the tears are not weakness,
But love so strong my body cannot contain,
But grace so strong I am entirely consumed,
But an answer to my prayer:
Transformation to a vessel
Which can be filled with a courage and a strength
I, myself, do not possess.

Grace draws me forth,
Grace leaves me just one choice,
Grace fills my brokenness with light
As I walk,
Step by trembling step,
Out of the dark.

Monday, May 23, 2011

El Salvador.

Hello, my loves,

I am leaving for El Salvador in less than 12 hours and will not be back until June 3rd. I cannot wait to share my experiences with you.

First, though, there is something I want to share as well as a question I want to ask. Three years ago, after facing an intense depression, I gave up all faith in religion or in the god I had once so fervently believed in. For these past three years I have been missing this part of my life. I don't want to go back to who I was because that would be dishonest in light of the transformations I have experienced since that depression, but I do want this lack within me filled. I am going to El Salvador filled with a hope for rejuvenation and for opening a new door to a new faith, one that honors who I am and where I am today. This all being said, I ask that, if you wouldn't mind too much, you send a warm wish in my direction over the course of the next eleven days in hopes that I am refreshed and am able to more fully serve my purpose on earth and to give more fully the love that I so wish to share with the world.

In immense hope, love and gratitude,

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Near Life Experience

First, I want to thank mt for allowing me to write for this wonderful blog.

A few days ago on a particularly gloomy and rainy day, my car fishtailed while I exited off a highway. For a few tense moments I literally saw my life flash before my eyes. Thankfully, I’m fine. I regained control of my car after my ABS (anti-lock braking system) kicked in, thanks Honda! After recovering from the initial shock of almost skidding my car into oncoming traffic and possibly dying or really hurting myself, I realized how SACRED my life actually is. It was like the universe shaking me up and telling me to LIVE.

I graduate in a few days and I’ve been running on emotional autopilot. My almost accident reminded me that life’s too short to not be present in every second of our time on earth. In the words of the beloved St. Iggy, “Go forth and set the world on fire.” LIVE & LOVE.

"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly."



Monday, May 16, 2011

nature and motherhood.

I have this weird habit of not talking about some of the things that are most important to me. Once someone asked me if I want to be a mother, and I was so startled by the question. I so badly want to be a mother! In fact, I get giddy when I talk about my future babies that I cannot wait to meet and love and adore and dote on. Who will they be? I don’t know, but I get uber excited to find out!!! I can’t wait to get to know them and have the opportunity to watch them grow into the people they were born to be. What a gift.

The other thing I don’t talk about, but cherish very much indeed, is nature. Just take a peep out the nearest window. IT IS SO FREAKING BEAUTIFUL OUT THERE! I swear the color green has a power over me; seeing it--really seeing it--causes a pulse inside me, intensifies my heart beat, deepens my breathing, sparks the very life force within my spirit that keeps me going day after day.

I get confused when humanity, or maybe I should say society, exists apart from nature. I get confused because… well, we are nature. We can pretend to separate ourselves from it as much as we want, but we are one with it just as we are one with each other. Sometimes I wonder what society might be like if we existed in these two realizations. I could be very wrong, but it seems to me that love might reign.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


OUR FIRST GUEST POST--get excited!! I am honored to welcome Jas as she celebrates and shares a voice of her own:

After a very untimely “wardrobe malfunction,” a friend asked me why I had such a hard time with people being naked. Said friend was trying on various outfits when the malfunction happened and I, in my infiniteness awkwardness, stared directly at my laptop in an effort to avoid as much eye contact as humanly possible.
I come from a small family and for most of my life I have lived only with three other people in the house; my older brother and my parents. I never grew up around women despite the fact that my mother had 3 sisters and a number of nieces. I suppose the lack of an estrogen bath when I was younger can explain some of my discomfort with my own body.
When I was 8, my parents decided to move our family to the Philippines. If you don’t know anything about this beautiful island nation, Google it! The Philippines is a sub-tropical island located in southeast Asia, it’s close to the equator so the weather is typically hot. While there, I attended a conservative Catholic school in a neighboring town that had very strict dress code. We had the typical plaid skirt and white blouse uniform from Monday-Thursday but on Fridays the girls were forced to wear the most God-forsaken outfit ever. Since Fridays were “gym” days (we didn’t have anything close to a gymnasium), girls’ uniforms were white cotton sweatpants and a white cotton t-shirt. Sweat much?
I became accustomed to this very conservative style of dress. Administrators (aka Priests, one of whom fathered a high school senior’s child at our sister school) were trying to maintain decency with the young women at our school at a time when salaciously dressed teenyboppers like Britney Spears and the Spice Girls were infiltrating Filipino culture.
So what’s all this have to do with me hating nakedness? I never knew how to appreciate and love my body. I was taught at a very young age to hide. Hide everything! Hide the precious jewel that is my body! Even after moving to the States, I carried this mantra with me. You best believe I wore jeans in the scorching heat because I didn’t want to be “indecent.” To this day, I do not have a mirror in my room at home because I’d just rather not see my body but I’ve slowly but surely come to embrace nakedness. For a very long time, I found it very difficult to change in front of my roommates but I’ve been more intentional about doing this lately.
I was 20 years old when I first wore a 2-piece bathing suit. (Despite being a tropical island, it is common practice for women in the provinces to wear shorts and a t-shirt while at the beach or swimming pool in the Philippines.) I can’t tell you how insanely liberating that day was, feeling the wind and sand on my skin instead of a sopping wet t-shirt made me feel deep gratitude for a side of Mother Nature I had never experienced. Last summer, while on a road trip with my mother, we stopped at a beach. My fashion-forward mother had never seen me in a 2-piece bathing suit before and she was amazed when I nonchalantly took off my shirt and revealed myself to the rest of the beach. Roughly translated, my mother said, “You’ve got balls.” I responded, “I can’t have fun if I keep hiding.”


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

vision. hope. driving force.

"In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world.

"This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. And i suppose my happiness could have taken the form in the words: "Thank God, thank God that I am like other men, that I am only a man among others.

"I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.

"If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed...I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.

"If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed - but hate these things in yourself, not in another."
-Thomas Merton

Monday, May 9, 2011


I’ve realized that I am much better at extremes than I am at balance. If you want something done big, I’m your girl, but otherwise, not so much... I need to work on this. I think it’s about time that my mantra shifts from consistency to balance. I don’t really know that I have achieved consistency, but, similarly, I don’t really know that consistency is something one can achieve per se. I suppose consistency, like so many other concepts I value, such as love and forgiveness, lies in the choices and decisions one makes time and time again, day in and day out. Time passes and I’ll just wake up one day and say: oh, man I’ve gotten pretty good at this whole consistency thing!

In other news, my newest addictions (speaking of my extreme personality) are: green tea, Ani DiFranco, desert boots, fruit pizza (see picture), Kashi cereal, Adele, chunky bracelets, painting my nails, and writing. Here is “Both Hands” by Ani DiFranco:

I am walking out in the rain

And I am listening to the low moan of the dial tone again

And I am getting nowhere with you

And I can’t let it go and I can’t get through…

And the old woman behind pink curtains

And the closed door on the first floor

She’s listening through the airshaft

To see how long our swan song can last

And both hands, now use both hands

Oh, no don’t close your eyes

I am writing graffiti on your body

I am drawing the story of how hard we tried, how hard we tried

I am watching your chest rise and fall

Like the tides of my life and the rest of it all

And your bones have been my bed frame

And your flesh has been my pillow

And I am waiting for sleep to offer up the deep with both hands

And in each other’s shadows we grew less and less tall

And eventually our theories couldn’t explain it all

And I’m recording our history now on the bedroom wall

And when we leave the landlord will come and pain over it all

And I am walking out in the rain

And I am listening to the low moan of the dial tone again

And I am getting nowhere with you

And I can’t let it go and I can’t get through

So now use hands, please use both hands

Oh, no don’t close your eyes

I am writing graffiti on your body

I am drawing the story of how hard we tried

How hard we tried, how hard we tried.

I would really suggest giving her a listen. I added her to my yoga mix, which is really saying something. Y'all know how I feel about yoga ;)

Monday, May 2, 2011

in honor of humanity.

A couple recent events, one personal and one global, have stirred something in me. I feel the need say some things….

First, I believe in the dignity of each and every single human life. I believe in the value of life. I believe in the deservingness of love that lies within each and every human spirit. I worry that we, as human beings, think that peace can be achieved at the hands of destruction, at the hands of murder, at the hands of hatred, of cruelty, and at the hands of disrespecting and degrading a human life. I don’t know that peace, or justice for that matter, can be achieved this way and therefore I fear retaliation. I believe justice lies in realizing the value in human life not in punishment, retribution or even murder. I am worried about our nation. I am worried about the world I might one day welcome my children into. I am worried about humanity. I am worried about us all.

I am not into creating controversy, but I am into creating space for love, questioning, contemplation, reflection, and growth. I do not have the desire to force these thoughts or beliefs onto anyone, but I do feel the calling to express them for myself and for anyone who may feel similarly but may also feel silenced for whatever reason. When I am worried about the world, as I am today, I feel called to discuss and then to act.

Second, I have endless hope in healing. The human spirit is resilient. It amazes me how much we can endure, but it amazes me more the magnitude of joy and love we can experience in our endurance. I have mentioned before my own darkness, I have told you about my descent into depression and about the ways in which I slowly but surely climbed out. I have told you, too, about my joy. I have been thinking back to my darkness quite frequently in the last 5 or 6 months and here is how I feel about it:

Grateful. I am so grateful that I had the support to help me climb out of depression, grateful for all the days I have lived since then, grateful for all that I have experienced since then, grateful for all the love I have know, grateful for each time I have laughed, for each hug I have received, for each sky I have witnessed. I am grateful for my life and everything in it.

Youthful. I feel young. I am much more aware of the power that time has to heal the human spirit, and therefore am much more aware that no matter how dark night seems, the sun will rise again in the morning.

Excited. I cannot wait to continue healing, processing, growing, loving, laughing, and living. I look forward to falling more deeply in love with myself and everything around me while growing into the woman I was born to be. I look forward to honoring my resilient spirit for the rest of my beautiful life.

Friday, April 29, 2011

dear friend,

Slow the heck down. Take some time to think, to care for and love yourself, to reflect, to grow, and to decide who it is that you really want to become. Don’t you dare lose yourself in the busyness of life—we’ve come too far.

Stop second-guessing yourself. Believe in your power, in your wisdom, in both your light and your darkness. Forgive everyone. Forgive yourself. Know with faith that the universe will call you forth when the time is right and only then will you know how to best serve the world, how to best meet the world, how to best love the world. This time is not wasted time, it is a time for growth, a time for chance, a time for opportunity, a time for loving and forgiving oneself.

Stop questioning who you would be if life had turned out differently. It didn’t. And you aren’t anyone else. You’re you. Find gratitude for the life and LOVE you have been given, for your tender heart, for your open spirit. Look at me. You will help light the world.

I love you,


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

letter to myself. 9:30pm 4.25.11.

Your whole life you have been different, felt different, felt somehow simultaneously lonely and chlosterphobic in your surroundings. People always tell you that you will do great things, that you just might have the ability to change the world--even if only a little bit--and you give them an awkward giggle or a pitiful "thanks." For years, though, you have been afraid. Afraid of trying and failing, afraid of never being enough, afraid of your endless hope and your youthful naivete. It is time to let go of these fears. It's time to step out of your own way. It's time to take flight. It's time to soar. You are different, but you were made purposefully. Failure only exists in holding yourself back. Otherwise, you know your determination will pick you up and push you to try again and again... and again. It won't be easy, but your life never has been "easy"--whatever that means--and that hasn't stopped you from loving, from learning, from growing, from laughing, from singing, from dancing, from breathing, from LIVING. It's gonna be okay. In fact, it's gonna be better than okay; it's gonna be beautiful and full of joy that you can't even yet imagine. You might lose people whom you love along the way--people who might not yet understand your spirit--and it will hurt you. Badly. (But only because you love them that much, and let's be honest, you wouldn't have it any other way.) But guess what. You will heal. You always do. You are just a seed, and the tree you will become is calling you forth. It is begging for you to grow into it. Answer it. It's time to run full speed into the water, into the night, into that uncertain darkness you most fear. But, mary, do it with your eyes wide open, your arms outstretched, your lungs sucking in all the air they can possibly hold. Fill yourself with breath, the absolute essence of life, until you think you may burst. Take time to be breathe, to be good to yourself--'cause in the end, I'm all you've got.

Oh, and in case you're unsure, I love you with all my heart. With all my being, dear, I cherish you.

PS--this weekend, make time to get your nose pierced. You know how much you love a surge of liberation.

Monday, April 25, 2011

"the danger of a single story."


Okay, so I know this is almost 20 minutes long, but it’s a glorious 20 minutes and therefore totally worth your time.

I decided to share it specifically because she says she heard that to be a successful writer, one must have had a rough childhood.

In some ways, I did have a rough childhood, but in a lot of ways I didn’t. I think this may or may not be a human experience—the oscillation between joy and pain and everything in between. Rocket science, I know. Some things are hard and some things are easy, imagine that. Anyway, in listening to this woman’s thoughts about “a single story,” I realized that I am allowed to experience and express both that pain and that joy. In fact, I value in myself the fact that I so intensely experience both these emotions, as well as a full gamut of other emotions. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that my story is one of vastly varying emotions, each transforming me in its own right.

Enjoy. Love, mt

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I See Your True Colors and That's Why I Love You

I noticed lately how hard it is to talk about all the things we take part in that may stand out. I thoroughly dislike when people ask me to tell them what makes me a leader. I DON’T NEED AN AWARD TO TELL ME THAT MY INVOLVEMENT IN THE COMMUNITY IS WORTH DOING, SO STOP TRYING TO MAKE ME SHOW MYSELF OFF LIKE I AM A PAGEANT CONTESTANT. I AM NOT A TODDLER AND I REFUSE TO WEAR A TIARA. GOT IT!

When we participate in activities, we don’t stop and think, “Gee will this make me look better to a company when I am applying for that internship in the Fall.” We just do them (while wearing Nike sneakers). I mean maybe some people do things based on what they will gain…I am not judging you if you are one of them. Don’t hate me.

I suppose my main life question is why do I need to talk about myself? Don’t my actions shine enough without words? Doesn’t my smile say enough?

But at the same time the question remains, “Why am I not comfortable speaking about myself?”

I don’t really have an answer. Maybe it is because I am the youngest child and I never got a word in, although I did get quite a few tears in. Maybe it is because I lack the words to describe how brightly my true colors shine. JK. Maybe it is because we all shine brightly and no one is better. I recognize the light in every individual. Holla at me, Quakerism. Get it. Or maybe it is because my actions aren’t about the praise I may receive from others. Why live your life based on what others will have to say?