a quick may check-in

Hi friends,

Happy May to you. 💛 I just wanted to pop in and say hi and see how you’re doing.

I typically plan these little newsletters further in advance. But today, I’m writing to you in real-time. Sitting in a window-filled café, sipping a chai tea latte, feeling the sun on my skin… and wondering why I don’t take myself to cafés to write like this in the mornings more often.

And I’m now quickly realizing it’s because, one, I normally have to work in the mornings (I happen to have today off).

And two, (there’s just no way to say this nicely) caffeine makes me need to go #2.

So, like, clockwork, I inevitably need to use the bathroom about 5 minutes after I start drinking my cute little chai.

Which means I then need to lug my laptop and phone with me to the bathroom (because I’m scared they’ll be stolen if left unattended), and I also find myself nervously hoping that no one drugs the drink that I’ve left sitting on the table to save my spot while I’m doing my business (because that’s a thing that could happen, right?).

Anyway, today’s newsletter will be shorter. All I really want to say is, hi, 👋 how are you? I’m tired. Are you tired?

It’s not bad-tired. But the busy-ness of spring and soon-t0-be-summer, especially contrasted with the hibernation-esque winter I’m coming out of, has done a number on me. 😅

What about you? How was your April? What was your fav part?

I’d love to hear from you (truly). And regardless, I hope you find ample pockets of rest for yourself this month of May.

If you’d like to connect more this month and/or support my work, here are a few ways you can do that…

LinkedIn

I’ve been posting more on LinkedIn these days. Trying to write things that feel honest and true to me, and perhaps don’t fit in with the usual, ‘Rah rah, I love my career’ posts that seem to fill my LinkedIn feed these days. (No hate to those posts, btw).

I recently wrote on LI about:

  1. Why companies should stop referring to their employees as ‘family.’ Read it here.
  2. And 5 things to do if you work remotely and feel like you’re losing your mind (🙃). Read that one here.

Connect with me on LinkedIn if you haven’t already! I’d love to hang out.

Youtube

We’ve come a long way since I posted my first vlog back in 2018. (Don’t even try to find it; I’ve since hidden it from the general public 😛).

But the video interviews for my podcast – who are you, and what are you doing here – are up on Youtube now. My hope is that when you watch them, you feel like you’re sitting in a living room with us, just exploring the answers to these two questions for yourself, as you learn how our guest answers them. (Find links to the pod on all streaming platforms here).

Our most recent episode is with my dear friend Emily Wilson. We share about our experiences growing up in religious institutions, and what it’s looked like to find our way out and outside of those institutions in adulthood.

It’s a vulnerable conversation, and I think it’s nuanced in a way that these conversations often aren’t (CW: religious trauma). Watch it here (or below).

And check out Emily’s art and Etsy shop here!

Patreon

If you’d like to support this work on Patreon, I’d be so grateful! You can donate as little as $3 a month, and all of the money goes towards keeping the pod, this newsletter, and all other bibs.live content alive. 🙂

Thank you all for being here. I appreciate those of you who read my musings here more than you know. Sending love to each of you. 🌱

Bibs

making things when you’re burnt out // creativity & privilege.

Creativity as a privilege.

I quit my job back in May.

Which, speaking of privilege, was a huge one.

I had some money saved up, and was hopeful I’d be able to take a few months off before finding another job. So after weeks and weeks of contemplating it, I finally gave my notice, and left.

My main goal with quitting was to recover. I was burnt out, felt like I was constantly in survival mode, and most days, I barely recognized myself.

My second goal was to hopefully get back in touch with my creativity, which I hadn’t given much of any attention to for the greater part of 3 years.

I’m not sure how common a goal it is to ‘get in touch with your creativity.’ My guess is many people naturally integrate creativity into their lives, so don’t need to make it a goal.

Others, I imagine, are like me before I quit: running so fast in their pursuit of survival (and perhaps success) that a seemingly frivolous goal like ‘getting creative’ does not, or literally CANnot cross their mind.

Capitalism & privilege.

And this is what I can’t get out of my head. How capitalism has turned creativity — what should be a birthright — into a privilege.

When we’re young, and if we’re lucky, our needs are largely met for us, by parents and caretakers. Our creativity is more easily accessible, because we have the space for it to exist.

We play, we make bad art, we use our imagination.

Then we get older, the responsibility to care for ourselves becomes ours, and oftentimes, we become stressed at best, or in my case, entirely burnt out. We swap the natural desire and space to express our creativity with the desire and need for survival.

This especially goes for those that are marginalized: POC, minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, the disabled, women…

Many of us can’t possibly integrate creativity into our lives, because we’re too busy running for our lives. Trying to keep or find a job, make money to pay for a roof over our heads / for food / for survival.

Never mind if you’re dealing with any kind of crisis or other significant challenge on top of the challenge of surviving. A breakup, a layoff, a health scare…

Reaching rock bottom at the worst of my burnout got me thinking about my life before capitalism ruled it. And how I used to make stuff… because I wanted to. And how good and glorious that felt. 😏

Creativity as a birthright.

This is what I want for all of us.

The space (and consequent desire) to make stuff, and the joy and fulfillment that comes with that.

I’ve heard it said that at our core, we’re all just mammals who like to make beautiful things and look at said things. (And when we’re not doing that, we like to cuddle and groom the other mammals that we love). And I tend to agree.

So I think we should all have the right to do these things.

It’s only fair, given that none of us even asked to be here (not literally, at least).

And yet, what I have a hard time reconciling, is the fact that we’re all born into these systems, often rigged against us, causing access to these things to be reserved for only those that have significant amounts of privilege (read: money).

And for the rest of us… well, we’re hustling to survive. Thus causing the notion of making shit for fun to sound almost silly.

Like I’m sorry, but I’m worried about paying rent next month, and buying groceries to feed myself. And at the end of each day, I’m so wiped, I’m lucky if I can make a meal and zone out in front of the tv before doing it all again the next day. So no, I do not have time to draw or color or do whatever else it is you mean by ‘create.’ 🙃

^ me, if you asked me if I create, in the thick of my burnout/job searching. And this is and was me coming from an already incredibly privileged place myself, relatively speaking. I can only imagine how much harder it is for people for whom the system is so much more aggressively rigged against.

Reclaim it with me.

Still, I believe, creativity IS our birthright. Or else, it should be. It’s only become a privilege since survival itself has become a privilege. And I want to change that.

So. What do you say? How do we do it? Should we overthrow the government? All live on a commune and care for each other like family? 👀

Kidding.

For me, and for now, it starts with the little things.

In the middle of a busy day at work, or looking for jobs, it’s cutting up a snack for myself, and laying it on a plate, just so.

(Art)

It’s journaling about nothing for 3 minutes in the morning, in handwriting so messy that I know I’ll never be able to read back what I wrote. (I’m always amazed at how time slows down, even in those 3 minutes).

(Art)

It’s saying no to shit I don’t need to say yes to, towards the end of a long work day, so that I can log off to make a nice meal for myself and my partner instead. (Art).

It’s folding the clothes beautifully, after a big load of laundry… that’s right. Chores are art, damn it.

(Art)

The question for me (and for you if you’d like) is: how can we invite art and freshness into our existence as it is?

And if that doesn’t feel feasible to do on your own: how can you rely on the support of those around you, or perhaps seek out support from those you don’t yet know, to help invite it in?

It’s not fair that we have to work to create space for something that — survival mode aside — would be so inherent to our existence. I’ll say it again, creativity is our birthright, and I wish the world (or at least the US) saw it that way.

But if fighting for it is the only way, then fight for it, we must. Right?

Wait, why do I sound like I’m about to start a revolution rn?

The cool thing about taking this approach, is creativity begets creativity. Life creates life. So doing these tiny things, I notice, naturally feels so good that it encourages me to do more things like it. Capitalism may have 40+ hours of my life, but I will find ways to build creativity and thoughtful intricacies into it, no matter what. That’s how I feel right now at least, caffeinated and heading into a weekend. (Ask me again on Monday and perhaps I’ll have a little less pizzazz and fight in me, for this so-called revolution).

Anyway… that’s what I have to say this week. Stepping off my 🧼📦 now. What do you think about this stuff? How do you create space for creativity or whatever it is that brings you joy in your own life?

Btw when I say creativity, I really just mean anything that brings new energy and life into your own life. Playfulness, joy, laughter, writing, drawing, coloring, knitting, photography, posting on social media, having a conversation, sex, dancing, resting, reading, (as I said) laundry, making snacks or food for yourself, journaling… the list goes on. All of these things involve creation of some sort. Making something exist that wasn’t previously there. And they’re all equally beautiful and valid. 🎨

Okay, I’m signing off now. Would love to hear from you, as always!

LOVE TO U ALL,
Bibs


🎙️ Did you know I have a podcast? 🎙️

Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or Youtube.

Pro-tip 💡: On Youtube & Spotify you get video, too!

💫 This post is brought to you by… me! 💫

If you feel so inclined, you can support my work on Patreon.

Before I was afraid // creativity & ignorance.

Some reflections on writing and making stuff.

I just went back and re-read some of my old blog posts on here.

I remember how happy I was to be creating back then.

Just writing for writing’s sake.

Because I wanted to, needed to, and knew I was meant to.

So I did. Simple as that.

I remember a time when writing came so naturally to me (and I thought so little about why I would or wouldn’t write), that when I came across a motivational message online, encouraging people who were feeling stuck in their creativity to ‘overcome their fears’ and ‘do the thing anyway,’ I was fully confused… wondering why people wouldn’t just make the thing that’s on their heart, if it’s clearly asking to be made.

Then & Now.

My creative process used to be so simple:

  1. Get an idea.
  2. Write about the idea.
  3. Share the idea.
  4. Feel good afterwards. (Because being creative and letting that creativity be seen generally feels really good).

Now, my creative process looks something like this:

  1. Get an idea.
  2. Get distracted, usually by some form of fear or anxiety, oftentimes rooted in something entirely unrelated to said idea.
  3. Forget the idea.
  4. Remember the idea again a few days later.
  5. On the rare occasion I have the time/energy for it: write about the idea.
  6. Think about sharing it.
  7. Think about all the reasons I shouldn’t share it: I’m probably saying it wrong, it’s already been said before, nobody cares, what if I get canceled, I shouldn’t write until I’ve figured out a way to monetize it, if I’m gonna write then I should start by responding to the texts and emails that have been sitting in my inbox… the reasons are endless.
  8. More often than not: I don’t share the idea.

Ignorance really is bliss.

My creative mind used to be so untainted by the world, and by the other, darker parts of my own mind, that it was as if I had never encountered creative procrastination or fear at all.

Or… maybe I had, now that I think of it. But it wasn’t a lot. And when I did feel some hesitation, I recall now that I’d rely on my religion to remind me that I was allowed to – even urged to (by god*) – to share whatever it was on my mind, in order to help the world see the way (…the truth, and the life).

Oh my, there’s a lot we could unpack here.^ But for now I’ll just say: for the first 20-something years of my life, I was a pretty devout and unquestioning Christian. And at the time, this certainly made me more compelled to just share the thing, rather than not. More reflections on how my interpretation of faith affected my life in future posts, I’m sure… ❤️

Anyway, religious or not, the bottom line is: I was naive.

I was young.

My world was quite small.

My sense of reality was limited.

And in a lot of ways, I was ignorant.

And that, incidentally, made making stuff and sharing it really easy.

On keeping posts up that I no longer believe in…

Reading my old blog posts back, some of what I said I still agree with.

But a lot of it I don’t.

Some of it I really don’t agree with (peep some of the religious stuff).

You’d think, because of this, I’d want to hide or archive the older pieces, for fear of people finding them and misunderstanding who I am today because of what I said back then…

But you know what’s weird? I can’t bring myself to take them down. Not right now, at least.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, I feel so proud of past Bibs, for writing all that stuff.

For daring to let herself be seen, as she actively processed and tried to understand herself and the world.

And for no reason other than, she felt like it (and/or felt like she was meant to).

Creating for creating’s sake.

Especially now in the age of social media and coaching – there’s so much writing shared to try to get something.

To get clients, get followers, get you to buy a program or a product…

And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t dream of my own writing funding my life someday.

But there’s something so precious about the fact that I wrote back then primarily for the love of writing.

So for now, the old stuff stays. If for no reason other than to inspire me to try to do the same from time to time.

My oldest stuff on this blog I wrote back in 2015, 8 years ago. I can appreciate that 8 years from now, I’ll likely (and hopefully) have evolved to a point of disagreeing with some of whatever I might post between now and then. That’s part of any growth-oriented life.

But it’s no reason to keep quiet, right? Life is so much richer when you let people in on the journey.

For anyone reading: thanks for being here. Some of you have been here since 2015. And others for even longer. I know I had at least three other blogs before this one…

  1. Bibs in Berlin (study abroad semester in Berlin, pretty straightforward).
  2. Bibs’ Bread (I used to bake bread for food pantries, and write about it. This was before I realized I was severely intolerant to gluten. Joke’s on me 😏).
  3. And Love Your Neighbor, Love Yourself (the prequel to Bibs.live).

Speaking of Bibs.live, what do you all think: if I want to share some writing like this, this year, would you prefer I do it like this (on my site), or on substack (which seems to be ‘the new blog’)?

Thoughts are welcome. Also, how are you? Have you ever experienced ignorance as a catalyst for creativity? I would love to hear from you. 🌱

P.S. In this piece, I originally planned to talk about creativity as privilege, and how, over the years, the internet has changed how and what I share with the world, but I’m realizing now that this creativity stuff is a multipart series, and I want those things to be their own post. So if you came here for that, I hope you’ll stick around in the coming months to hear it. I sincerely thank u 4 ur patience. 😌


🎙️ Did you know I have a podcast? 🎙️

Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or Youtube.

Pro-tip 💡: On Youtube & Spotify you get video, too!

💫 This post is brought to you by… me! 💫

If you feel so inclined, you can support my work on Patreon,

at Patreon.com/bibslive.

2022 Holiday Wrap

Happy New Year, friends! How are you feeling now that the holidays are over? I said this over on Instagram, but I always feel so many mixed emotions this time of year.

Gratitude, for the joy-filled memories, the carrying on of traditions, and the time to see family and friends.

Grief, for a myriad of reasons. Holidays often come with so many hopes and expectations, and it’s nearly impossible for all of them to be met. (If you’re feeling grief particularly strongly this year, I see you ❤️).

And then, once the celebrations all come to an end, I just feel exhausted for a while.

It’s interesting because I know all my body, mind, and nervous system want to do is rest, after the month+ of festivities; but I actually find it hard to do that. It’s not until I’m well into January that I experience all parts of me feeling the permission to slow down again, and embrace the deep calm and rest that I know I need. Anybody else?

The holidays bring with it a sort of buzz, and it just takes time for me to come down from that.

Anywho, are y’all ready for the annual virtual holiday card? As always, I’ll leave a couple questions at the bottom of this, encouraging you to reflect on your year. I really hope you’ll comment/email/DM your answers to me if you feel comfy, because hearing from you about your year is always my favorite part of this. 😌

January

Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois, January 2022

Starting with January. Remember this view from last year? (This is the view from my covid-priced rental looking out onto Navy Pier and Lake Michigan). My lease ended at the end of the month, so I made it a point to soak up the views and the space as much as possible. Side note: moving is such a drag. If you’re moving this year, god bless you. You can do it. And I know it sucks. Shoutout to Dolly who made it all possible, on a budget.

February

I <3 short hair.

For anyone wondering if the buzz cut was an impulse decision (perhaps spurred on by an existential crisis?) thankfully, it was not. I’ve been wanting to shave my head for over a year, but hesitated because I thought I ‘didn’t have the face shape for it’ and ‘only certain people can pull that look off,’ which, I have now come to realize, is simply patriarchal BS. If you’re lucky enough to have hair, and to live in a place where it’s safe for people to have a variety of hair lengths (regardless of gender), then honor what you want to do with that hair. Confidence comes from within and honestly? I have never felt better. 😏

March

Sunset cliffs in Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA

Mid-March, Dan and I escaped the seemingly never-ending Chicago winter and spent a week vacationing in Ocean Beach, San Deigo, CA. Aside from the steep California prices and the current and impending affects of the climate crisis on the west coast (💔), San Diego is arguably one of the best places on earth. The weather is mild, the landscape is perfect (beaches + mountains), tons of food for all dietary preferences, and OB in particular has so much character. It’s a quirky little neighborhood with big hippy energy.

April

Claude takes on Chicago!

My sister came to visit! It was her first visit out here, and it was so special to have her. She surprised me with the most relaxing birthday gift I’ve ever received while she was here, too, and took me to Aire Ancient Baths. My favorite part about the experience was when we sat under a waterfall meant more for viewing, and laughed hysterically as the water matted our hair; all while the couples in the pool just stared in disbelief. I also gifted her a pair of matching pants… almost as cool as a 90-minute spa experience.

May

We started a podcast!

Well, first I quit my job. Then I started the podcast. More on why and how in a future post, perhaps. But this was something I’d also been wanting to do for a while, and all I can say is: if you have the privilege to be able to make the time for things that you want to make (even if just for a season), simply because you want to and not because you need to – do it. Capitalism will try to convince you it’s not worth it – that your time is best spent producing in a way that will provide immediate monetary compensation. But there is nothing like making something and learning something new just because you want to. It’s liberating and empowering.

Also, is it just me or do these headphones make it look like I have cinnamon rolls on my ears?

June

The Narrows in Zion National Park, Utah

A college roomie trip! Two of us former roommates flew out to meet our third roommate in Salt Lake City, Utah for a week. The company was absolutely unmatched. As a YouTuber once said, ‘I love my time with my girls!’ The location was also unmatched. 🥵 Literally. The nature, of course, is unreal. Plus, I have to admit, SLC itself is hands down the strangest city I’ve ever been to, and I say that with no hate, and much respect. Have any of you been? What did you think?

Sadly, the girls trip was cut a little short due to a surprise visit from c*vid, but we all made the most of it (and are all feeling better now!).

July

Duxbury, MA

I spent July in MA and got to see some of the many beautiful humans I love there. Something I seriously wonder: will Claude and I ever stop taking handstand pics together? As unfortunate as it is that we’re not exactly vertical, I am impressed by our synchronicity.

This day was a really special one to me. We went to the beach with my nephew and I got to push him around on a boogie board in the water with my dad, and it was the most fun. This winter I asked him if he remembered when we played in the water, and he said ‘yes,’ and ‘maybe we can do it again sometime.’ So, yeah, I pretty much can’t wait for summer now.

(And if I’m being honest, I anticipate Claude and I will keep taking pics like this, as long as our bodies allow).

August

Smashed coconut in Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL

August was a relatively quiet month, which was much-needed after the active July trip to Mass. Lots of beach trips and lots of time outside, soaking up the beautiful Chicago weather.

One weekend, I went to a little meditation circle in Lincoln Park, and we did an exercise where we symbolically released some shit we didn’t need by smashing coconuts on the ground. Incidentally, I couldn’t bear to just throw away my perfectly good coconut afterward. So I contemplated eating it. But since it had been on public park grounds, I opted to carry it around with me for the rest of the day and photograph it in cute places instead. I even took it with me to the beach after, and we both went swimming. I suppose you could say this coconut became my pet for the day.

September

Good old Chicago.

More time outside! This view is from a park not far from our neighborhood. Dan and I love to come here and sit in ‘our spot.’ We bring a blanket to lie on, a book and some headphones, and just relax, talk, and dog-watch for a couple of hours. It’s one of my all-time favorite activities, and one of the few places by us that’s really quiet. Needless to say, I’m very excited for it to become warm enough for us to be able to start doing this again.

October

County Line Orchard, Hobart, Indiana

Okay, this was one of my favorite things we did all year. WE WENT APPLE PICKING. As a born and raised New England girlie, apple picking was a classic fall activity growing up. Every year we’d go, at least once. The last few years I haven’t been because I don’t have a car in the city. But recently, we’ve started using Turo (think: Airbnb for cars), and it’s been amazing.

We got up really early one morning, rented a car for a few hours, drove to Indiana, and had our picking done and apples in-hand by the time the crowds were getting big at the orchard. We ate a little lunch together afterward, complete with apple cider. And I baked, I want to say, 10+ apple pies this season, in order to use up all the apples we got. 😅 (Thank god for pre-made gluten-free Trader Joe’s pie crust).

November

Too Many Zooz Concert, House of Blues, Chicago, IL

Happy birthday, Dan! For Dan’s birthday this year, we went to a Too Many Zooz concert at the House of Blues. It was sublime. If you’ve never heard of Too Many Zooz, give them a listen when you’re needing a little pump up. As the kids say, the energy was LIT (… do the kids actually say this?). Truly, the energy was so good, and I left remembering the magic that comes from listening and bopping to music with hundreds of strangers. It’s something I hadn’t experienced since pre-covid and even though I’m not a huge concert person, I was surprised by how much I had missed it.

December

Wedding at La Brasa, Somerville, MA

My friends, Jenna and Mike, got married in December! This was a really sweet evening, getting to witness their love, along with all of their loved ones. I had never been to a restaurant wedding before – I loved the intimacy of it. Congratulations, Jenna and Mike. And shoutout to my mom for always letting me borrow her clothes so that I don’t have to buy a new outfit every time I’m invited to a special event like this (which is a LOT by the way) (jk).

Phew. Another year, come and gone. Thanks for journeying with me through mine.

I have to share my usual disclaimer: this is fully a highlight reel. (Tears, lowlights, struggles, sleepless nights, and anxiety not pictured). AND, I recognize the incredible privilege I have, to be able to have experienced all of these things, and also talk about them. I am continuously blown away by the complexity, beauty, and injustice of this world.

So, tell me.

How was your 2022? What’s one thing that happened that surprised you last year (whether in a good way or a challenging one)?

And/or, if you’re more into looking ahead: what are you looking forward to in 2023? What’s one thing you’d like to do this year, just because you want to (and not because it’ll make you money or look good on a resume)?

Email me at bibs@bibs.live. I mean it when I say I would love to hear from you!

Talk soon,
Bibs

2021 Highlight Reel

Hello friends! It appears this blog has turned into a virtual holiday card of sorts. 👀 How have you been since I sent over my ‘2020 year in review’ post? What did you get up to in 2021? What were your highs and lows? I would love to hear from you. 🤗

Here’s a little summary of my year…

Note: it’s important to acknowledge that there were many challenging, ‘darker’ aspects of 2021. Things that happened on a personal and/or collective level that have been omitted from this reel. That’s not to discount the importance of these things, but I did intentionally keep this ‘light’ for the purposes of this post. I typically (not always*) talk about things with a bit more substance over on Instagram. Still, I hear the privilege in this statement and in this blog post and I’m committed to continuing to navigate the best way to show up in the world given the position that I’m in. I welcome thoughts or advice on this topic if you have any.

January // Baby gets her first apartment.

Started the year off with a bang. I rented my first ever apartment (solo), in Chicago, Illinois.

Covid was raging, vaccines weren’t a thing yet, and as a result, I lucked out and found a place in the heart of the city, for a price that was about one third what it normally would be.

Biggest personal takeaways from living alone during covid: solitude is glorious. Loneliness comes and goes, and living alone provides you with space to face that loneliness and honor it in a way that living with others often does not.

It’s also empowering af to prove to yourself that you can count on you to take care of you (and that includes knowing when to ask for help from others when you need it**).

February // Yoga with Bibs is born.

About a year into the pandemic, I started my own virtual yoga studio, Yoga with Bibs. Teaching these classes has quickly become the most rewarding thing I do and one of the things I’m most proud of.

This was taken back in India in 2019, when I did my YTT, but the spirit of YWB is there!

Takeaways: I love creating spaces for people to be, to breathe, and to honor their bodies together.

Starting something is HARD and imposter syndrome is real. I remember crying in the shower the morning before teaching my first class thinking, what the FUCK am I doing. I’m grateful I did it anyway. And I’m deeply grateful that people continue to trust me to co-create this space with them.

Quick plug: If you are reading this, I would love to invite you to try out a class. Email me or fill out this quick form and I can let you know when we have upcoming classes. ☺️

March // I turned 28. And it went really well!

It actually really DID go well. 😂 I know these photos may concern some, but as you can see by the words on my tear-stained shirt, I am indeed a sensitive creature, and crying is as natural (and beneficial!) to me as breathing.

The backstory is I got up early on my birthday to journal, started reflecting on the beauty and brutality of life, and not long after, my partner walked into the living room to find me staring out the window, like so. Honestly, I couldn’t think of a more on-brand way to start my birthday and while I can’t recall what I was processing, I’m glad I processed it. 🤷🏻

EDIT: pretty sure I was writing this at the time of the tears.

April // Vaxxed and visited.

In April, I got the vaccine and had my first visitor in my new, big kid apartment! Seeing a friend and leaving my apartment to go places other than the pharmacy or grocery store (even masked!) felt wild and reckless, but was so incredibly fun and also so nourishing for the soul.

May // Outdoor fun.

Anyone that’s lived in Chicago knows that May in Chicago is just the absolute best. The city comes to life again, everyone emerges from their six-month-long winter slumber, and the vibe is just JOY. All around.

June // First dip(s) in the ocean.

Dan and I visited our families in Massachusetts, and also visited the ocean quite a bit. There is just nothing like going in the ocean in the summer time. Some days we’d walk to the ocean and even go for a swim before or after work. Cannot recommend this enough if you have a body of water at your disposal.

July // The one month that things were normal.

I stayed in Massachusetts for several weeks and got to see so many humans that I love. This was during that beautiful post-vaccine, pre-variant stretch. It was surreal to be able to hug and have meaningful conversations with all of these people (not all are pictured). I hope we have more times like this in the future where things are safe(r) than they are now. 😭

August // A little bit of everything.

August was a nice litte mix of things. Lots of walks outside. A much-needed haircut. A visit from my other friend also named Sarah. A night out to see Meg Stalter perform. And that photo in the upper right, idk what exactly was happening there. It was after a long day at work, I remember that much.

September // The start of a 4-month long wedding season.

It seems that everyone rescheduled their 2020 weddings for Fall of 2021. Pictured below is the first one I went to. It was so sweet to celebrate the people getting married. And also kinda cool to put on real clothes for the first time in 2 years.

October // more odd ‘n ends.

October was a solid month with unseasonably warm weather. Flew through ‘Somebody’s Daughter‘ by Ashley C. Ford (excellent read). Went apple picking. Bought vegan Doc Martens (psa: they’re not comfortable). Got brunch with friends who were in the city for the Chicago marathon! And saw one of my OGs, Rob Bell, live. Grateful for each and every one of these good timez.

November // mini high school reunion + more weddings.

That middle photo was just a typical post-wedding glow-down moment. Yk I like to keep it real.

December // dodging covid.

December included one wedding in PA, two Christmas family gatherings, two covid exposures, and one wedding in RI to close out the year. December was probably the most stress-filled month tbh, but was also filled with lots of sweet moments that I’m so thankful to have experienced.

I am utterly exhausted after putting this little post together. Maybe it’s because I started it at 5am and it’s now 10am. Or maybe it’s because 2021 was just a wild year and I think maybe we’re all a bit tired…? Tell me. How was your year? I would love to hear from you.

I hope you and your people are healthy and safe. 🌱

Sending love to you,
Bibs

P.S. Link again to sign up for yoga class info is here. 🕉

2020 in Review

Dear humans who are still subscribed to and/or interested in this very sporadically posted-on blog,

Happy 2021! Whew. What an effing YEAR.

I wanted to write a little something to first and foremost, check in and see how you’re doing. I hope that you are well and your people are well. If you or someone you know has been affected by covid (and/or other health concerns or hardships) know that I am thinking of you and am sitting with you, in whatever you may be feeling or experiencing. If there is anything I can do to support you, please please let me know (by texting or emailing me at bibs@bibs.live). 💙

Second, I thought it might be nice to share a bit about what we’ve all been up to this year, similar to what I did last year. A virtual holiday card if you will. I always get so sappy this time of year; I love a good opportunity to reminisce and reflect.

A couple of things I want to acknowledge first:

One, part of me is hesitant to put this out there because I don’t want the contents of this little note to come across as minimizing or diminishing any of the truly horrific things that have happened this year (that I’ve experienced, that you’ve experienced, or that we’ve experienced collectively). I recognize I’m coming from a very privileged position and to that end, it feels inappropriate to just share a highlight reel of my year without fully owning that.

Even so, while I will spare the details of my personal ‘lows’ of 2020, it has been a challenging year, and as important as it is to sit in the grief, heartache, and pain of it all (which I have and continue to do), for me, it’s equally important to talk about all of the other stuff that happened this year, too. Even if only to help myself remember it wasn’t all bad. So consider this a wildly selfish act, but here’s a bit of what my year looked like.

By the way I would really love to hear what you’ve been up to and how you’re feeling after this year if you’re up for sharing, too. Community and connection are so important right now (now more than ever), and while emailing isn’t quite the same as sitting across a table from you and catching up (which is what I’d really like to be doing!), I will take what I can get. 🙂 I miss you!

2020 Highlight Reel

January 2020: I visited my fam.

At this point in the year, I was preparing to move out of Chicago and do some traveling starting in February. Before I hit the road, I took a trip back to Massachusetts to spend some time with my family, including my (most adorable) nephew. It was a grand time.

Face of nephew not shown due to misunderstanding of where to look at time of photo being taken (which incidentally works out great for privacy purposes).

February 2020: I published my e-book, and traveled to Puerto Rico to help build earthships for 2 weeks.

Earthships are self-sustaining homes made of recycled materials that encourage autonomous, communal, and sustainable living. Participating in this project was one of the most life-giving and empowering experiences of my life, and I’m so thankful for all that I learned and all of the beautiful humans I got to work alongside and get to know there. I never knew pounding tires and building bottle walls could provide such a sense of purpose! I hope to help with more earthship builds in the future. ⚙️If you ever have the opportunity to participate yourself, I highly recommend it! They do these builds all over the world. And if you have any questions on it, let me know!

I also published my first e-book, all about holistic healing and how to enter the world of natural health in a healthy way. 🤓 If you’ve read it or do read it, I’d love to know what you think!

March 2020: After Puerto Rico, I spent a week in Panama.

This trip was supposed to be a couple of months long, but ended up being cut short due to some differences in expectations between us and our host. It ended up working out because the day I flew back to the States (on my birthday, actually) was right around the time that lockdowns started happening due to covid. Had we not flown back when we did, we may have gotten stuck in Panama! I do hope to go back someday when things in the world aren’t so crazy. Panama is a beautiful place. ☀️

Standing in a farm in Panama, watching the sunset.

April 2020: I spent some time in the state of Colorado.

There is nothing like the sun shining in Colorado. I am grateful for the time I had here to familiarize myself with ‘quarantine life’ while also still being able to take walks outside (since we weren’t in a super city-ish area). Can’t wait until the next time I can visit.

May 2020: I traveled back to Chicago and felt many, many feelings.

I was going through some stuff in May. I took time to retreat, grieve, go outside as much as possible, and take lots of moody selfies. It was lovely to be back in Chicago and meet up with folks I hadn’t seen in-person for a while, and give myself space to feel.

June 2020: More time outside and more grieving in Chicago.

I stayed in Chicago for the majority of June, and spent more time outside with people I cared about. More importantly, June was the time that the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless other POC came to light. While police brutality against the black community is certainly not new, this was a month where many of us (finally) opened our eyes to the reality that we are living in a country in which systemic racism runs deep, right alongside colonialism, capitalism, and white supremacy. 2020 has served as a potent reminder that we have so much work to do, in 2021 and beyond, in moving the needle towards real, lasting equality.

July 2020: I spent the month exploring in Colorado with one of my best friends.

It was so special to spend a month in a nature-filled space with Sarah, who was one of my old college roommates and is one of my very best friends. We spent a lot of time hiking and talking and eating home cooked meals. There were lots of animal sightings, along with doing laundry by hand, and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. There may or may not have also been a few hikes that ended with in me in tears, begging Sarah to help me make it through the hike. Sarah is an expert hiker and I… not so much. She was such a good sport, helping me through the extra steep parts and encouraging me as I screamed for my life intermittently. Bless you, Sarah. 😂

August 2020: I saw family and friends (socially distanced) in Massachusetts.

It was so special to see my nephew and other people who I hadn’t seen since January of that year. There were lots of walks outside, along with talks of how our years have been so far.

September 2020: Back to Chicago.

I spent this month doing more of the same: lots of walks outside and time spent in nature. That’s one of the things I love most about Chicago; you can’t travel too far without running into some sort of park or body of water. You get a nice balance of nature + city life.

October 2020: You guessed it… more time outside in Chicago.

The pictures speak for themselves. So thankful for the time to be in nature, especially before it got more wintry. We had some really warm October days this year!

November 2020: A 2020 attempt at flying home for the holidays.

It was a successful attempt, thankfully. I made it to Massachusetts on November 22nd. There was a slight change of plans since I was supposed to spend Thanksgiving with my family, but was unable to due to covid. I ended up spending Thanksgiving down the Cape instead though, which was lovely, and my family and I had a belated Thanksgiving later on in December. ❤️I will say, trying to get a rapid covid test on short notice around the holidays was not easy (it was an 11-hour affair that started by getting in a line at 4:30am and waiting there for hours in the pouring rain). But alas, I got my test eventually, and it was negative. 🙏🏼

December 2020: Christmas in Massachusetts.

I spent the rest of the year in Massachusetts, so I could avoid flying twice for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. The holidays always seem to go by so quickly. I spent Christmas with my family. It felt like a particularly big gift this year, with all that’s been happening in the world. I was also able to go on some walks with friends that I haven’t seen for ages, and was reminded of how glorious it is to be able to go a year without seeing someone and catch up like no time has passed. So thankful for to time to connect amidst these crazy times.

If you’ve make it this far, you are a champ! Okay. Now your turn. 😊 What have you been up to this year? If you’re not sure how exactly to answer such a broad question, here are some things I’m particularly curious about. 😉

  • What is one thing that you are proud to have accomplished or gotten through this year?
  • What is one moment that brought you joy this year?
  • What’s one lesson you’ve learned this year?
  • What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this coming year?

Shoot me a text or an email (bibs@bibs.live) if you’re up for it! I would love to hear from you. 🙂

Wishing you so much goodness this coming year. I know it has been a challenging one… if no one else has told you recently (and even if they have), you are doing a great job, and you are so so loved. 🌱 Happy new year to you and your people. 💛✨

Love, Bibs

Happy 2020, Friends

Hi everyone,

Bibs here. 😊 Long time no speak! Happy, Happy New Year to your and your people. 💚 I wanted to send you all a quick note to ask how you’ve been doing, and to share a bit about what I’ve been up to this past year and a half.

It’s crazy… the last time I was consistently writing to you all was in the summer of 2018, and in so many ways I feel like a different person than I was then. It’s hard to believe so much can change in so little time. Here’s a little of what I’ve been up to…

In 2018, I was working remotely for a start-up in Oakland, California and was living in Lexington, Massachusetts.

The cute lil’ nook in my apartment in Lexington.

In June of 2018, I sold most of my stuff, left my apartment, and began living the “digital nomad” life.

I started by living by the beach in Danvers, Massachusetts for a couple of months with two college boys. Living with them reminded me of how different life is in college versus out of college — it was a lot of fun. 😊

Beach in Beverly, MA

In August of 2018, I made my way to Cambridge, Massachusetts to stay with my college roommate and her husband for a couple of months, which felt like the good old days all over again, only somehow even better this time.

My college roomie Maggie and I drinkin’ some smoothies in Somerville, MA.

In September of 2018, I started staying with my high school friend Miki. It was a dream come true to be roommates for a bit, and to be so lovingly welcomed into her and her family’s home.

I regret not taking more pictures with Miki, but man, isn’t this bed beautiful?

In October of 2018, I flew to Iceland and met my remote teammates for the first time. I had an absolute BLAST and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the amazing people I got to work with every day face-to-face.

The Suiteness crew, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 2018.

I also met a very special human on that trip – we’ll call him Larry – who you’ll notice shows up quite a bit in the rest of the places traveled this past year…

Fun fact: I met Larry precisely as I was snapping this selfie.

In November of 2018, I spent a few weeks in Ocala, Florida with my friend Jerica and her family, whose love and encouragement and honesty was so healing — I can’t even begin to explain.

Hangin’ with Jerica’s fam was the funnest.

Later that month, I took a trip to Chicago, Illinois to visit Larry, which was really wonderful and lovely and amazing and beautiful in every way.

Here’s a cool pic from a rooftop in Chi-town.

In December of 2018, I spent a few weeks in Germany, where I was able to connect with my dad’s side of the family and soak up beautiful quality time with them and with friends.

At the end of the year, I spent a few days in New Hampshire with Larry, and got to spend Christmas with my mom’s side of the family, which is always a party.

On New Year’s Eve, I got on a plane and began a 24-hour trip to Mysore, India, where I spent the month of January getting my 200-hour vinyasa yoga teacher certification and learning what it means to live in community with beautiful people from all across the globe.

In February of 2019, I flew back to Boston to visit family and friends.

A couple o’ beauties I am grateful to call gal pals.

Later that month, I flew to Chicago and moved in with Larry.

Chicago is a really cool city, but is it cooler than a comfy-looking bed?

In April of 2019, Larry and I flew to Colorado and spent a few days there.

Later that month, I flew out to Oakland, California for a work on-site, which, similar to Iceland, was also a blast and so awesome to be with teammates in real life.

After that, I went back to Boston for a week to visit family and friends before flying back to Chicago.

In May of 2019, Larry and I went back to Colorado for his sister’s graduation, which was a great time.

Posing with Larry’s van.

In June of 2019, I went to Fort Lauderdale for a week to spend time relaxing on the beach and catching up with two beautiful friends, Angela and Pam, who I hadn’t seen for quite awhile.

Work biddies 4 life.

This isn’t travel-related, but later that month I got laid off and was able to spend the warmest months in Chicago fun-employed, hanging with beautiful people in the city.

Peace ‘n love yo, peace ‘n love.

I also started teaching yoga this year.

I clearly don’t enjoy it very much.

In July of 2019, I went back to Boston for a few days for my nephew’s first birthday party, which was just the best.

I love him so much. 💛

In September of 2019, I had a solid week of quality time with friends and family in Boston. A HUGE shoutout and thank you to everyone who made time to get together and who hosted me. I love you all more than I can say!

My friend Sarah scheduled her layover in Boston and got up hella early to meet me for a few minutes one morning before I flew back to Chicago. 😭

I got a new remote job at the end of September, and in October of 2019, I went to Boston for a few days before flying out to Miami to meet my new teammates. It was so fun to get to put real faces to the little avatars I talk to every day on Slack.

A couple of my teammates. 🤗

In November 2019, Larry and I went to Colorado to visit his family for Thanksgiving, and in December, we went to Massachusetts to visit my family for Christmas.

This brings us to January 2020. I’m currently in Chicago, but just for about another month before I pick the nomad life back up again. Details on that to come. 😉

PHEW. So this is where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing! I’ve taken a step back from social media and blogging in an effort to be more present with the people in front of me, but I do hope to keep things a bit more active here this year, and to post when it feels right to. 🙂

There’s a lot more I could share here, about personal evolutions and experiences, and other things that have happened, but I’ll leave that for another time. For now I’ll just say, a lot has changed, but one thing has stayed the same…

I’m still doing my best to keep things weird. ✌🏼

Anyway, ENOUGH ABOUT ME. How have you been? I’d sincerely love to hear from you. What was one of your favorite things about this past year? What is one thing you’re looking forward to in 2020?

Comment below, DM me at @bibs.live, or email me at bibs@bibs.live. Can’t wait to hear from you!

P.S. Remember that e-book on holistic healing I said I was going to have out over a year ago? Well 2020 is the year… I’m actually going to publish it. (Honest.) Stay tuned!

“I’m gonna get out and give you a kiss now. And then I’m gonna show you what I keep underneath the floor of my trunk.”

// Words from My Lyft Driver

Taking a break from the existential questions and holistic healing stuff and telling a story today instead.

I don’t take Lyft rides very often. I almost always take my car when I’m going places, and I’ll sometimes take public transportation but I’ve only ever taken an Uber or Lyft maybe 10 times in my life. I know, I know… What kind of millenial am I?

A few months ago though – scratch that – a year ago now, I was hanging out with a friend in Gloucester and found myself in need of a Lyft ride home to Lexington.

It was around 11 PM. I was pretty beat (those of you who know me know my bedtime is usually closer to 9 or 10 PM 👵🏼) so I figured I’d just hop in the back seat and not say more than hi, thank you, and goodbye to the driver. Alas, the Universe had different plans.

Do you ever have those moments that feel like there’s some sort of divine force orchestrating the situation you’re in, and somehow you wind up having a wildly deep and profound conversation with a total stranger?

THIS WAS ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS FOR ME. I don’t remember who started it. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me God herself came down, tapped us both on the shoulder, and whispered in our ears to get the convo going, but my Lyft driver and I wound up talking about all things faith, God, and spirituality throughout the whole ride home.

And it was amazing. I even heard about his wife, who I saw a picture of (she’s beautiful). And I heard all about how he’s working hard to provide for his family. And on the weekends (get this) he sings opera at a church in Rhode Island. And not only that, but he was so excited to tell me that a guy who knows how to professionally record music just happened to walk into the church he sings at a few months ago, and now he’s recording his first opera album with him. COULD THIS GUY BE ANY COOLER?

He also is around 65 years old (I’d guess), has a heart of gold, and is one of those people who you can tell has been through a lot, yet STILL has this relentless optimism that just emanates from his very soul. I wish I could remember everything else we talked about… At one point he even gave me his number in case I wanted to visit his church. But the bottom line is, this man was an angel. Had the stars not aligned in the way that they did, we could have very easily sat in silence the entire 40 minutes to my house. I’m so glad we didn’t, and I’m so grateful I got to talk with the kind-hearted, hard-working, cute* Lyft-driving opera singer from Rhode Island that night.

~~~

Oh right. The title. DOY. I almost forgot the end of the story. So when we finally pulled up to my house, he said all these really kind and encouraging things to me – which made me promptly want to weep – and then he said, “It was so lovely talking with you sweetie. You’re a good woman. Keep the faith. I’m gonna get out and give you a kiss now. And then I’m gonna show you what I keep underneath the floor of my trunk.”

Now, this was one of those moments where I had to really check in with myself, because the paranoid part of me that watches the news and also took that line out of context told me to run for the hills. But the other part of me (my core) didn’t feel threatened or unsafe in any way, so I didn’t run – although I will admit, I was wondering what the EFF this guy was keeping in his trunk.

So we both got out of the car and he gave me a hug and a kiss (on the cheek guys, geez), and then he walked around to the back of his car and opened his trunk. This was the critical moment for me… the moment where I was either going to be kicking myself for trusting in the goodness of humanity, or I was going to be pleasantly surprised. THANKFULLY, it was the latter.

The cute old man lifted up his trunk floor, I hesitantly peered in, and I saw….

A Bible.

A BIBLE YOU GUYS. He told me he never goes anywhere without it. I almost threw my arms around him again. As if I didn’t already think he was adorable enough.

So that’s it. I don’t really have anything more to say except: sometimes it is okay to trust in the goodness of humanity, and as long as you really don’t sense you are in harm’s way, I think it’s good to have a little faith in people. I don’t know where the Lyft driver is nowadays. I never did call him or visit his church. But I sincerely hope he’s loving life, singing at church, and well into recording his second opera album by now.

Thanks for reading! Have you ever had an experience where you have a conversation or interaction that seemed extraordinarily sacred or divinely orchestrated somehow? I want to hear about it!

*(in a dad/grandpa kind of way)

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Withholding Joy… Why do we do it?

I’d like to bring you back to my junior high days for a second. Allow me to paint you a little picture of a classic “Bibs in junior high” scenario: I’m sitting in class, and the teacher is handing back our tests from the week before. My palms are sweating, my face is anguished, and the narrative repeating over and over in my head is,

“I failed. I failed I failed I failed I failed. I knew I failed it. I’m prepared to fail. I can’t believe myself. Why didn’t I study more? Maybe if I had studied more I wouldn’t have failed! UGH HOW COULD I HAVE FAILED AGAIN???”

This is all running on a loop in my head until the teacher comes to my desk and puts my test face down in front of me. I pick it up and as I begin to flip it over the thoughts in my head are going strong,

“I failed. I failed I failed I fai– a ‘B’! I got a ‘B’! Holy crap I didn’t fail! How did this happen? It’s a miracle! It’s a true Christmas miracle!”

This happened every time I took a test in junior high. (And I do mean every time). And actually also throughout high school, and even a lot of times in college. (Anyone else???)

Basically, I spent the majority of my younger years expecting the worst in not only my test grades, but in most areas of my life if we’re being honest. 😏 It’s like I was so scared of being disappointed that I would preemptively disappoint myself whenever possible, just so I could avoid the potential of disappointment (and be “pleasantly surprised” if the outcome ended up being good). In other words, I was the poster child of a Debbie Downer 💁🏻‍♀️ even in situations where, in the end, I had no need to be disappointed (i.e. Had I just expected a non-failing grade on my exams, when I got a non-failing grade back 90% of the time, I could have bypassed the disappointment stage altogether!)

Why do we do this to ourselves? Brene Brown talks a lot about the topic of suppressing joy. (So does my therapist incidentally. 😄) And they both come back to this question of, “Why do we pretend we’re not invested in something, when we’re clearly already invested?” Or, “Why do we prepare for the worst when what we’d like to do is hope for the best?” It could be something as simple as a grade on a test, or something as big as wanting that job you interviewed for, or to date that person you like, or to get pregnant, or to get that clean bill of health (or a million other things in between)…

If we’re being truthful with ourselves, for all the times that we prematurely prepare ourselves for the worst and pretend not to be invested in things that we actually care about deep down, what we’re actually doing is refusing to grant ourselves the opportunity to hope and experience joy, even if just for a time. Because at the end of the day, we’re either going to be disappointed in the outcome or we’re not. The only difference is, with premature disappointment, we will find ourselves either disappointed for a whole lot longer than just the actual period of disappointment, or for no reason at all if we do actually get the outcome we were secretly hoping for.

So I guess we get to choose really. Do we want to experience true, immeasurable hope and joy as we anticipate the outcome of things that matter to us (with the potential for true disappointment in the end)? Or do we want to experience feigned disappointment as we wait for the outcome of things that matter to us (with the potential for true disappointment in the end)?

I’d like to choose hope and joy more during the waiting periods of my life. To hope is just so much more fun that to willingly and pointlessly dive into a pit of disappointment before I even know if that’s where I belong yet.

Why are we so afraid of negative outcomes anyway? Why can’t hope that is either fulfilled or not still be GOOD and celebrated and enjoyed regardless of the outcome? My hope (lol) for us humans today is that we wouldn’t be afraid to hope and celebrate HOPE as one of the very things we want, rather than just certain outcomes. Because more hope is what keeps us moving forward and upwards. And we’ve been taught to fear disappointment, but I think it’s actually what makes us strong, and resilient — the combination of that with hope (and of course, some positive outcomes along the way).

I mentioned in my last post that our hearts were made to be break. I think it’s still sometimes a foreign concept to me, that it’s possible to experience immense, intense joy, and also experience immense, intense sadness and heartache, sometimes within the same day, sometimes even within the same minute. Incoming sadness does not take away from or need to cause us to fear any preceding hope. I wonder why I so easily forget this.

Another way I’ve caught myself withholding joy is when I’m enjoying one area of my life and not another. Let’s keep it super general and say I’m really finding joy in my job, but experiencing disappointment in the area of a friendship — all hypothetical. So I’ll find myself enjoying my job but then as I’m working will think, “Wait, I forgot things with my friend are really sucky right now. I can’t be happy about this!” and I’ll actually try and suppress my happiness about my job by re-membering (over and over) the situation with my friend almost as if to imply that if I did dare to be happy about the work situation, I wouldn’t be honoring the sadness of the friend situation.

Now, as always, there are exceptions to everything. For example, I would say that if I was ALWAYS focusing on how happy I was in my job, and pretending that the thing with my friend didn’t exist (otherwise known as denial) then it probably would make sense for me to spend a little more emotional energy on the thing with my friend. (As I’ve mentioned on Instagram, living in reality is important) BUT regardless, that still doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy my job situation as it truly is.

I guess my point and my note to self here is everything in life doesn’t have to be good or even mostly good for us to feel really GOOD in a certain moment in time. We should all dare to experience joy and hope even when not everything around us points us to doing so.

3 takeaways:

 

  1. Get comfortable with disappointment. Don’t expect it, but acknowledge before you begin to hope, that if your hopes are dashed, you are more than capable of handling the heartbreak and disappointment that will come with that, and you are strong enough to fully and truly grieve the loss of what you wished would be rather than pretending you weren’t invested in it in the first place.

 

  1. Get comfortable with joy. And get comfortable with it coming and going. Don’t view it as something you have the right to “have” all the time (it’s not a commodity that you own), but view it as something you’re gifted with along the way, as you continue in your journey. This way, you can let it come and go with a certain lightness and gratitude for it in your heart, knowing with certainly that even after it goes away, it will always come back to find you again.

 

  1. Have the courage to hope. Not with the expectation that you’ll definitely get the outcome you desire, but with the intention of giving your desires the space to make themselves known honestly. Not only does it tend to sway things in your favor (and minimize the cynicism that is rampant in this day and age), but it also allows you to live a more honest life, and not pretend that you actually like expecting the worst all the time. (Nobody likes a Debbie D).

Okey doke. That’s my brain dump for tonight. Happy hoping, y’all. ✌🏼 As always, let me know if any of this resonates with you (or not)! Always interested in your experience.

“May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!” Romans 15:13

Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash

Let’s talk about BODIES.

Something weird just happened. I was sitting in the car with my friend. We’ll call her Light. Light’s driving and she’s telling me about how she’s going away with her boyfriend to someplace warm and she’s going to be going to the beach a lot (#jealous). I asked Light if she was excited and she said she was, but she told me that the thing that was on her mind the most, of all things, was her body.

It’s funny, because a few years ago I would have been right there with her. I would’ve nodded my head in agreement, said something like “I hear that” and would’ve moved right along with the conversation… because what she said was very normal. And before I discovered (and promptly proceeded to drown myself in) the body positivity world a few years ago, thoughts about my body were totally commonplace. Especially if I was about to go someplace where I was expected to wear a bathing suit. 👙

Anyway, back to the conversation. After Light told me that her body was on her mind, instead of nodding in agreement, I asked her why it was on her mind instead. I was curious. I wanted to hear her take. And I was surprised actually, as someone who is newly acquainted with getting angry, at how unexpectedly pissed I found myself, as I realized how NORMAL Light’s comment was, and how just a few years prior I would’ve done nothing more than nodded in agreement… and in the process also affirmed that YES, Light was right to keep using a significant amount of her brain power worrying about what her body was going to look like on her vacation.

I wasn’t angry at Light of course… How could anyone be angry at Light herself? 

But I was angry that this is the world we live in. One where women are expected and encouraged to spend large amounts of their precious time and energy worrying about how much physical space they take up in the world. That fact to me is infuriating. And the fact that it’s not infuriating or even questioned by so many men and women actually only makes it that much more infuriating.

So I asked Light why and we went on to have a great conversation… about how we both are very aware that society has warped our views of bodies. And this is not how things should be. But how it’s still hard to live from a place of having genuine love for our bodies because of how we’ve been conditioned.

It made me sad and mad and most of all MOTIVATED to do something about this. What can we as women do to change the world we’re living in? (Serious question). How can we say with our actions that enough is enough already? We refuse to waste another ounce of our energy focusing on the size of our bodies and we pledge to start celebrating bodies, our own and our sisters’, for how inherently beautiful they are.

I know there is a lot we can do when it comes to activism and really making our voices heard in big, loud ways, but I think the most revolutionary thing we can do every day is so so simple.

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It is to stand in our bodies, out in the open, just… proud. As is. And say HERE I AM. Look at me if you want. Or don’t. But look at me with eyes of RESPECT. I look different than every single other person on this beach (and on this planet) and I LOVE that. And you don’t have to love my body if you don’t want to, but you DO have to respect it. And you are not allowed to shame me through encouragement or complacency of body hatred, objectification, or anything of the like.

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I’ve done a lot of work the last few years…. Through therapy, immersing myself in the bopo world, positive affirmations, prayer, etc. and I have only recently come to a place of TRULY loving my body, and TRULY loving everyone else’s bodies. Of course I am not perfect, but I am so happy (and proud and grateful) to be able to honestly say that the first thing my mind jumps to when it comes to my body and others’ bodies is not judgment. It’s beauty and appreciation and celebration, which I think – I REALLY THINK AND BELIEVE – is how it ought to be, and dare I say is how it WAS once… for all of us… before we first realized that our society categorizes bodies into fat, skinny, good, bad, healthy, unhealthy, worthy, unworthy… There was a day before our minds were tainted, when there was a lack of judgment when it came to our bodies. And I think I’m coming back home to that place. And can I just say that damn it feels GOOOOOOD to be home. And it’s for that reason that it makes me infuriated and heartbroken when friends like Light (when I ask them what they’re excited about for their vacation with their partner) say to me that they’ve actually been thinking most about their bodies.

Mind you, I recognize that I am coming at this whole topic from a place of immense privilege, being on the relatively small side. It makes me ALL the more infuriated to think that my friends of size have not only been subjected to this societally fucked up world where thinness and smallness is praised, but also where they are bullied, harassed, looked down upon, and judged openly, verbally, and cruelly because they are not what mainstream media/culture has deemed ideal this century. It’s beyond heartbreaking that this is the reality we live in.

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With things like the body positivity movement, I do still have hope though. And I believe that things are changing when it comes to bodies and body image, slowly but surely… just as I believe they are also changing (again, slowly but surely) when it comes to the rights and treatment of women in general, minorities, people of color, LGBTQ+, the underprivileged, the differently abled, ++++. I think this is right in line with all of that and I PRAY this conversation looks worlds different in 5, 10, 15, 50 years from now.

STILL. There is a lot of work to be done. And I LONG for the day when all of us know and LIVE from a place of knowing that size does not reflect health or goodness or worth. Some of the healthiest (and HAPPIEST) people I know are people of size. And vice versa. Small does not equal healthy. Large does not equal unhealthy. Skinny does not equal better or prettier.

Beyond that, I long for the day when we ALL, ALL PEOPLE, live in a world where each unique, different body (big, tiny, and everything in between) is revered and appreciated and seen as the unequivocally, undeniably, absolutely BEAUTIFUL creation that it is.

If we keep taking up space unapologetically, I have hope that our world will soon see:

cellulite,

big butts,

small butts,

bellies,

six packs,

rolls,

thigh gaps,

acne,

chub,

arm fat,

jiggles,

bumpy skin,

freckles,

dark skin,

brown skin…

as PURE and UTTER BEAUTY!!!!

This is the world we are headed towards. I feel it in my bones. This is the world we have the power to create. NO MORE WASTING our precious time and thoughts on what we look like, or how we can become smaller, or how we can try to make our already BEAUTIFUL body look like someone else’s body.  

Your creative energy is worth way too much to be wasted on trying to take up less space in such a big world.

And your body is only beautiful if it’s YOURS.

Sigh. I could go on. But for now:

I love you, just the way you are. I hope you know how beautiful you are. (Yes, you, reading this right now).

P.S. Sending love to all the men out there. I know that men have their own set of body expectations (and not all of you are contributing to the objectification or shaming of women’s bodies), but this has just been my experience as a woman, so that is what I can speak to most easily.

P.S.#2 What has your experience been like (man or woman) with body image stuff? Does any of this resonate with you? Not so much? Would love to hear about what it’s been like for you. 🙂

 

Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash.