Letting Go


Since I was 16, I have moved 20 times. Yes, literally 20 times. Needless to say, I became slightly obsessive about holding onto things. I didn’t have much to begin with, so it felt really important to hold onto everything I could. Everything from the dresser my parents got me when I was 11 to a hideous photo of a sunflower my father stole from work and presented me with when we were too poor to re-do my bedroom in a sunflower theme. This was incredibly important to me at 11.

flowerI settled for floral boarder my grandma had laying around and this photo of a dying sun flower that my father proudly hung on my wall like a trophy. It’s in a wood stained frame and the glass has a permanent black scuff I could never get off. The flower stands sadly outside a window wilting in the sunset, its life coming to a tragic and beautiful end. I have been a witness to its death now for 20 years. Currently, it hangs behind my bathroom door and every time I wash my hands, I truly feel for this flower. The reasons as to why an artist would choose a dying flower in a sunset as an expression of themselves and their art is truly beyond me, but yet, I carry it around, on every move. This photo has few fans, actually it has no fans, and everyone seems to want to let me know that they hate this photo. It doesn’t even have a cult following. I’ve had many live-in boyfriends in the past that all threated to toss it at one point or another and yet, it remains and they do not.

I’ve also carried around a tattered and half broken wood dresser to accompany the dying flower. The top is stained from a pink candle I made when I was 12. No one thought it was a bad idea to put real popery inside something that was meant to burn. So, one night while listening to prince on repeat, far too long and while chatting with boys online while my girlfriends on looked and giggled, I suddenly was aware of the silence. I discovered after entering my bedroom to continue the prince marathon that my incredibly stupid, but arguably genius, homemade popery candle had caught on fire and was now currently burning the wall, my dresser and my brand new stereo system. My father swooped in out of nowhere like superman on steroids and picked up the entire fiery mess and promptly ran outside with it where he doused it with the garden hose as I watched in horror fearing the worst, not only for my Prince CD, but also the stereo system. Oh, stop it. My dad was superman on steroids, remember? I don’t need to worry about him.

Anyway, I am not totally sure why he thought this method was the best idea, but it seemed to do the job. In case you’re wondering, the stereo still worked for years after that, even though the top part that played records had been sealed shut by melted plastic. I always told myself one day I’d sand that dresser and it would be good as new, that was 20 years ago. Why do I insist on caring this around with me?

I’m getting ready to make yet another move and I’m looking at all of these things I keep holding onto and taking some serious notes on the emotional stake I have in them. It’s interesting, I never considered myself a particularly materialistic person. If fact, I always imagined I’d be most happy with nothing but a few changes of clothes and a back pack traveling around the world. So, why do I continue to hold onto these “things”? It occurred to me as I stared at the pink waxy stain that I wasn’t holding onto these things, I was holding onto what they represented. I was holding onto those moments when my now deceased father was my hero and it felt almost like a betrayal to be rid of them. It was also emotionally charged with the memories of when he was my nightmare and since that was also part of who” I am”, it felt like I would be giving up my childhood identity by giving up these things.

It occurred to me that by having these things around all the time, to touch, to see, to experience I was never really leaving those emotions behind. Now, that’s not to say that I don’t have a box of “things” that hold emotional charge and fond memories, you know you have one, but do I need THESE things? Do I need to continue to identify with this time in my life? I think it’s time to give them up. It’s time to clean house. It’s time to be OK with letting go of it all, the things, the emotions, the past.

So, with this move, I say goodbye to the baggage, the dying sunflower and the pink stain. What baggage do you need to say goodbye to?

Thank you,
Tiffany Grace
https://allbutconventional.com/

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Rape Culture 


When people say we are living in a rape culture, they do not mean we live in a culture which advocates and accepts rapist.

They mean we live in a society where being assaulted isn’t first considered a crime, but a symptom of our own choices. 

 They mean we are living in a society where news papers can glorify the accused and re-victimize the victim. 

They mean victims can be brave and voice their assault, less they remember not to shower away the evidence and agree to being dragged through the mud publicly and reaptedly scrutinized for their choices which led to their inevitable “symptom”. Leaving them feeling dirty over and over. 

They mean that while others have been wrongfully accused and convicted of an array of crimes over the years, rape is somehow an “inflated”number. 

They mean that your entitled to your day in court,  but you, not the accused, will be on trial. In the court, in the media, in the public. 

They mean that we are asked to consider the future of the accused, but not that of the victim. 

They mean that we have a long long way to go. 

My Invisible Frenemy…


untitled.pngMy mind and I have a dysfunctional relationship, it is my invisible frenemy. At times, my mind will create wonderful things, have the best of intentions and share wisdom. My mind can be beautiful. Other times, my mind is an abusive relationship from which I am quite literally unable to free myself of. My mind will beat me down emotionally and physically with exhaustion from the berating that can last the night long.

I have studied different methods of mediation and worked towards inner peace to quiet my mind for years. At times, if I have not broken any of my own “rules” there may be weeks at a times that I am quite friendly, even BFF’s with my mind. Today is not one of those days. Today the chatter is winning. The disease of self doubt and insecurities is about to cross the finish line in record time. Why? Maybe it’s because I’m out of practice on my meditation or I’m ignoring the true callings of my soul which is rebelling like a teen or a toddler having a total and complete public meltdown. The kind that makes you feel like a bad parent. Have I neglected my inner child and soul to the point of disarray? Perhaps my mind is manifesting all of this anxiety and guilt and shame to will me into the “right” direction.

Outwardly, I would be considered quite successful. I make a good living, I own a home, I am debt free, I travel the world, I have a wonderful marriage, I am a good upstanding citizen god damn it. My mind is not having that today, no, my mind says “not good enough”. I wonder, what would be good enough for my mind, my ego? intellectually, I realize how absurd this is, but emotionally it’s rational to me on days like today. On days like this, my emotions own me. I am unable to convince myself of what I know to be true, that my emotions are simply a symptom that I am able to overcome, but not today.

So, I say to my mind and my irrational ego on this day, you win. I will let you have this day. I will give into the caving chest and nauseous knots in my stomach. I will feel the heart burn and the shortness of breath fully. I will not tamper with the minds will to bring me to my knees on this day. Tomorrow, my dear mind, is mine. Tomorrow I will begin my breathing, meditation, yoga, chanting, singing you back into submission. Just not today as I wave the white flag of surrender. I am oddly comforted by this complete humility.

Tomorrow.

 

OK, Fine. I’m a Feminist.


There will not be a trigger warning.

I am what one might call a “closet feminist” meaning, I am very passionate about women’s rights, but would refuse to identify myself as a feminist simply because I didn’t want to be pigeon held with the “extreme” feminist. At least, I used to be a closet feminist.

I recently finished reading “Bad Feminist” by Roxane Gay, who by the way is anything but a bad feminist. In all the reading I’ve done on the topic, I believe this is the first time the subject matters, even the extreme ones, have been explained to me in a way that did two things:

1.) Bring me to the above conclusion that I was in fact a closet feminist.

2.) Give clarity to the fact that sometimes extreme measures are needed.

Everything from the control the government takes on women’s bodies to the culture we live in surrounding rape. Should you be a victim of both above circumstances, my heart goes out to you. We should all stand together, outside the dark closet of denial, media, marketing and government. Divided on our personal version of feminism, will only bring more opportunities to tear us all down, one at a time.

While it’s true, I  cannot personally agree with all “feminist matters”, as many things that people don’t understand tend to come with this title, I will no longer use it as a dirty word. I will no longer be afraid that identifying myself as a feminist will somehow hold me to each and every act in the name of it. While we are still working to truly define what this word means, I urge you to be reminded of it’ simple definition:

fem·i·nism ˈfeməˌnizəm/ noun                                 
The advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to menfem·i·nist ˈfemənəst/ noun
feminist; plural noun: feminists

A person who supports feminism.

Any woman reading those simple explanations can surely get on board with the concept of feminism. I think that where things get fuzzy is when we all start to personally define beyond this. We decide what rights to get behind, we decide what the word means to everyone. It’s not to say that any of us are necessarily wrong, but where we do go wrong is when we begin to fight against each other for the same cause. Can we all identify as feminist with different agenda’s in mind for what “rights” we intend to advocate?

Hell yes we can!

 Could our minds potentially be changed with intelligent and open conversation on the matter? Conversation without judgement, without raised voices and instead raised consciousness?

Hell yes they can.

feminist-as-fuck-1-white-ladies-tee_grande
             

               Changed minds are a bonus…….

What we need is changed approach. 

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 This is what a feminist looks like. 

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Thailand – Why I’m still Going


“Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) A huge bomb explosion that appeared to target a popular Hindu shrine in central Bangkok killed at least 22 people Monday and wounded about 120 more, authorities said.”

I do not travel in the same way that most people do. Most choose a destination, plan, save and travel when convenient and desirable. I love to travel. So, I actually do not particularly care where, when or how I get there. I found that if I am flexible on where I go, I can travel much more. I simply wait until I find the best deal and have little concern for where it takes me. Not only does this enable me the freedom and funds to travel more often, but it really adds to the sense of wonder and experience.

This method has taken me to many places near and far over the last few years, such as  Ireland, Jamaica, Bahamas, Vegas,  China, Hawaii Puerto Vallarta, and most recently Thailand just to name a few.  I certainly have dreams of visiting specific places, Africa is on my list for sure, but I trust that in time, this too will become available at a reasonable price my frugal instincts will allow. In reality, I could potentially travel on even less if I choose to stay in hostels and minimize my excursions, but who wants to share a kitchen? Just kidding; I think that would actually be great, but for now I am enjoying my private hotels on the cheap. Eventually, the goal is to have a career that will encourage more travel and free up much more time, but for now I take what I can get while maintaining my day job.

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When I received a text message from my best friend warning me to be careful on my upcoming trip to Thailand with a link to the CNN report regarding the bombing, I’m almost reluctant to admit I didn’t even bat an eye. While I felt deeply for those involved and their families, I was somehow not detoured from visiting their beautiful country. In fact, I felt almost as if it was even more important now to go in light of the recent events. Most travelers would surely cancel plans or at least postpone at this point as my trip is just a few short weeks away. However, I have never shied away from the possibility of injury or death. In fact, in many instances I have intentionally put myself in situations where this was a real, albeit it slim, possibility. In my travels I have sought out things like Sky diving, cliff jumping, zip lines up to 450ft in the sky, swimming with sharks, and a 100 foot free fall into an awaiting net below with only a harness and without a bungee for extra security. Anywho, the point is I guess I am a bit of a thrill seeker. So, when friends and family expressed concern for my latest endeavor I didn’t think much of it. Granted, I am aware of the severity of the situation and that it’s quite different than the well planned and mostly secured thrills you can pay for, but I think it’s just in my nature to proceed confidently with the attitude all will be fine.

Everyone is always so worried something bad will happen, they often times fail to experience the world. Look, we are all going to die, that is a fact of life.  I know that you can make the argument that we can potentially prolong our lives by making smart and strategic choices, but the truth is no one knows that will in fact help anything.  The truth is that bodily harm and death are very real possibilities every time you get into your car and drive to work. In fact, you’re probably more likely to die in a car crash than a bombing in Thailand, but at least with the latter you’d die feeling alive knowing you’d lived your live to the best of your ability in fullness. I realize how irrational and potentially insensitive this may sound given the circumstances, please do not misunderstand, I am genuinely affected by what has taken place. It’s difficult to explain, but I somehow feel standing there in that space of tragedy is an experience that I will bring home and with me forever. Often times, we read these news reports, we post them to our Facebook, we talk about how sad it is and then we get our morning coffee.  I feel like having the opportunity to be there with the people of Thailand, to share food with them, to smile with them, to hear their stories at this time is a gift that I hope we will all share together. I really think that the last thing that Thailand needs right now, is for its entire tourist population to be too frightened to visit. Tourism is a huge contributing factor to their economy and especially in a time where repairs and medical resources will be consuming much of their time and money, they need that 9% of revenue that tourism contributes to their economy annually.

So, my reply to my best friend’s text?

Me: “Promise me if I die abroad someday you’ll tell the truth at my funeral, none of that fluff stuff just because I’m dead”.

My Best Friend: “I Promise”.

While slightly morbid, at least it’s honest. I intend to have her make the same promise regarding my mortality in the states.

Travel well, travel often, and travel in spite of.

Letting Go Of The Baggage…


Since I was 16, I have moved 20 times. Yes, literally 20 times. Needless to say, I became slightly obsessive about holding onto things. I didn’t have much to begin with, so it felt really important to hold onto everything I could. Everything from the dresser my parents gave me when I was 11 to a hideous photo of a sunflower my father stole from work and presented me with when we were too poor to re-do my bedroom in a sunflower theme. This was a very big deal to me at 11.  I settled for floral boarder my grandma had laying around and this photo of a dying sun flower that my father proudly hung on my wall like a trophy. It’s in a wood stained frame and the glass has a permanent black scuff I could never get off. flower

The flower stands sadly outside a window wilting in the sunset, its life coming to a tragic and beautiful end. I have been a witness to its death now for 20 years. Currently, it hangs behind my bathroom door and every time I wash my hands, I truly feel for this flower. The reasons as to why an artist would choose a dying flower in a sunset as an expression of themselves and their art is truly beyond me, but yet, I carry it around, on every move. This photo has few fans, actually it has no fans, and everyone seems to want to let me know that they hate this photo. It doesn’t even have a cult following.  I’ve had many live-in boyfriends in the past that all threatened to toss it at one point or another and yet, it remains and they do not.

I’ve also carried around a tattered and half broken wood dresser to accompany the dying flower. The top is stained from a pink candle I made when I was 12. No one thought it was a bad idea to put real potpourri in something that was meant to burn. So, one night while listening to prince on repeat, far too long and while chatting with boys online while my girlfriends on looked and giggled, I suddenly was aware of the silence. I discovered after entering my bedroom to continue the prince marathon that my incredibly stupid, but arguably genius, homemade potpourri  candle had caught on fire and was now currently burning the wall, my dresser and my brand new stereo system. My father swooped in out of nowhere like superman on steroids and picked up the entire fiery mess and promptly ran outside with it where he doused it with the garden hose as I watched in horror fearing the worst, not only for my Prince CD, but also the stereo system. Oh, stop it. My dad was superman on steroids, remember? I don’t need to worry about him. Anyway, I am not totally sure why he thought this method was the best idea, but it seemed to do the job. In case you’re wondering, the stereo still worked for years after that, even though the top part that played records had been sealed shut by melted plastic. I always told myself one day I’d sand that dresser and it would be good as new, that was 20 years ago. Why do I insist on carrying this around with me?

I’m getting ready to make yet another move and I’m looking at all of these things I keep holding onto and taking some serious notes on the emotional stake I have in them.   It’s interesting, I never considered myself a particularly materialistic person. If fact, I always imagined I’d be most happy with nothing but a few changes of clothes and a back pack traveling around the world. So, why do I continue to hold onto these “things”? It occurred to me as I stared at the pink waxy stain that I wasn’t holding onto these things, I was holding onto what they represented. I was holding onto those moments when my now deceased father was my hero and it felt almost like a betrayal to be rid of them. It was also emotionally charged with the memories of when he was my nightmare and since that was also part of who” I am”, it felt like I would be giving up my childhood identity by giving up these things.  I know now, by having these things around all the time, to touch, to see, to experience, I was never really leaving those emotions behind.  Do I need to continue to identify with this time in my life? I think it’s time to give them up.

It’s time to clean house. It’s time to be OK with letting go of it all, the things, the emotions, the past.  So, with this move, I say goodbye to the baggage, the dying sunflower and the pink stain. What baggage do you need to say goodbye to?

Residual Feelings


You know when you take a glass out of the washer and you’re expecting it to be totally clear, clean and ready to put away, but suddenly you notice ugly residue on it? Our feelings are much the same. Unfortunately, we can’t just wipe them clean and close the door on the matter. So, we end up with residual feelings that just stick around. Most of the time, we can mettle through and figure that a little residue never hurt anyone. However, as life goes on you’ll grow less and less tolerant of the taste and you’ll need to finally address it.

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The only way to wipe the feelings clean is to face them right on. Stop holding uncomfortable feelings hostage and allow them to rise to the surface. Allow yourself to finally and truly feel them. Recognize how you feel them in your entire body and how you’re physically responding to them. Are your cheeks burning? Is your chest tight? Honor those feelings. Allow your amazing body to work through them in all it’s glory. Take deep breaths as you release the tension in your mind, body, heart and soul. You’ll be free from the restraint when you acknowledge those feelings instead of pushing them down and continuing to have the bad taste in your mouth. By honoring the memories and feelings, you can begin to release them with every exhale. Suddenly, you will welcome the memories, you will allow them to surface. You will be free.

What you will be left with is pure love and light. We are not meant to be a slave to our emotions. Accept them. Just as they are. Because they are a perfect reminder that we are, after all, only human. The more you resist this truth, the longer you’re held captive. Speak, breath, exhale, release.