Threads + Thoughts | Changes of Scenery, Changes of Pace

There is a strange juxtaposition occurring in my internal life now. This odd fissuring of who I was and what I want to be creating an anomalous sense of instability. I suppose I write this in part to define this sensation to myself, as well as to others. I’m only just beginning to comprehend how drastically and suddenly my life has transformed (as it often does) and exactly what that means.

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I grew up in the mountains, on the shores of a lake so big and blue it’s sometimes called “The Lake of the Sky.” I grew up playing in the woods, beneath towering pine trees, in the coarse sand of a dozen alpine lakes. I spent summer nights under stars that burned bright silver in a velvety, blue-black sky, the milky way strung across it like a gossamer veil. I walked home under those stars in the freezing winter, the only sound my own breathing and the crunch of my boots on the snow. I grew up with camping trips and bonfires and hours of hiking trails. With snow days and hot chocolate by the fire place and socks damp from snowmelt. My legs were always covered in scratches from running through the brush in shorts. My arms were always sunburnt and freckled from hours spent beneath the high, hot summer sun. I built forts by the river and spent autumn evenings writing in my journal on a rock in the middle of it’s lazy flow. My youth was an idyllic one, I must admit, with a closeness to nature that made the woods a sanctuary and the wilderness a church. But by the time I was in high school, I wanted nothing but to flee the silence of that cathedral. I wanted light and sound and motion. The rush and press of city streets and the chatter of a thousand voices lulling me to sleep each night. Thats the life I imagined for myself when I was a restless, angst-ridden teen, adrift in a town where I didn’t really connect with anyone. Those were the years I dreamt of San Francisco and New York and a career as a fashion designer or magazine editor. I had grand schemes of a cosmopolitan life full of glamorous parties and beautiful people and opulent clothes. I wanted art and music and lavish parties attended by interesting people from all over the world. I wanted to drink in all their stories, all their varied experiences. I loathed my small town and what I deemed to be it’s small-minded people. I was convinced I belonged elsewhere, in some bright and glimmering city.

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Now I want something somewhere in between. I want the art and culture and creativity that I found dripping off the walls of San Francisco’s multi-colored victorians. I want the community and collaboration of living around a bunch of like-minded people; artists and musicians and writers and creatives of all varieties. I want a bold art scene, a raucous music scene, a plethora of culinary options to choose from. But I also want stars over my head and the quiet of the deep dark night. I want early mornings with the mist on the mountains and the sun creeping across the window panes. I found my soul depleted by the constant noise and rush of the city, by all those people, all those stories, all the endless things to do. I found myself strangely overwhelmed by it all and there was a longing for that old peace, to escape to the solitude and silence of the woods once more.IMG_2616

Ojai is it’s own little bubble of juxtaposition, a tiny town nestled in one of the few East-to-West running valleys in the world. It’s considered by many to be an energetic vortex, and is well known for spiritual retreats and it’s artsy-hippie residents. I have the strange sensation of being called here, summoned by some external force whose intention is still unclear. Before a few months ago, I only knew of Ojai peripherally, vague mentions of this beautiful place from friends, the suggestion that “Ojai and you would get along famously” from a dear friend whose grandmother lives here. And then, as I got closer, the word Ojai came up again and again for me. In books, on podcasts, in movies, in passing conversation with strangers and friends. J visited Ojai with his mother while I was working in San Francisco and he called to tell me “You will absolutely love this place.” As soon as I set foot on it’s soil I knew, this is where I want to be. Everything about it felt so right, from the towering mountains that ring the valley to the eclectic citizens that roam the streets, I fell instantly and irrevocably in love with Ojai.

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I wake up every morning to the sound of roosters crowing and I watch the sunlight stain the mountains outside my window. I go to sleep each night to mockingbirds songs. I took these photos on my porch, as the sun slipped down towards the horizon and the valley filled up with gold. The contrast is sharp to where I was only a year ago, with the sound of the city right outside my window. I am sometimes still surprised by it, the strangeness of how drastically my life has changed in the space of a year, but I also find myself exuberantly happy. Thrilled each morning to wake up in a place so naturally beautiful.

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outfit details | knit top :: thrifted | woven leather belt :: vintage | blue high-wasted shorts :: vintage | flats :: reef

Dangerous Thoughts | The Stories We Tell Ourselves About Our Selves

Annija Muižule

I recently happened upon a post on my sweet cousin, Katheryn’s blog, Good Life Road, in which she talks about her “ideal self”, a concept I’m sure most people are familiar with. An ideal self is the you that you wish you were. It’s all the best parts of yourself and all the things you wish you were and none of the bad ones. It’s the person you thought you would be when you were five. It’s the girl you imagine yourself to be when you’re feeling particularly pretty or clever or powerful.

I write about this person sometimes in my journal, a third person account of my idealized future self. I have entries as far back as my early teens describing this person. Anecdotes of what she is doing, somewhere in the future as she goes about her day, how she keeps her hair or what her apartment looks like. It’s funny, because this girl, this woman I’ve invented who I hope I look like someday, well, she still looks incredibly similar to the woman I imagined I would be when I was a teenager.

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She’s strong and smart, independent and charming. She is the kind of woman you would want to be friends with, the sort of person people enjoy talking to and being around because she radiates warmth and positivity and reminds them of their own potential and beauty. She takes care of herself, eats well, exercises, dresses in a way that is uniquely hers. She does her own thing, and though she has many close friends, she is often on her own. She likes it this way as it gives her time to think, which she does entirely too much, some might say.

Her mind is constantly abuzz with ideas, thoughts, little snippets of stories she is going to tell one day. She can be a bit dreamy, but when she brings her awareness down from those swirling clouds of imagination, she can be unnervingly observant. She spends a great deal of time wandering, taking photos and journaling in cafes, scribbling down these thoughts and observations. She draws well enough and sometimes in the margins of her notebooks are the faces of the people around her, the people inside her head. There are moments she is as clear to me as my own reflection, and I love her and I want to be her so badly… Sometimes I think that I’m getting there…and other times I’m filled with the dread that she is nothing more than a fiction in my head. An unattainable illusion that I’ve created to comfort or torture myself with.

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Is it weird that I envision myself like that? Like a character in a story I am writing? I don’t think that She is me at this point in my life, but it’s who I would like to be, who I hope to be someday soon. I suppose She is the person I hope others perceive me to be. I hope to be the sort of person you might describe in that way. Maybe it’s a part of that whole manifestation thing I’ve always sort of adhered too. If I will it, it will be; so to speak. I’ve always sort of had this secondhand narration of my life going on in my head anyways, a strange sense of watching myself from another persons perspective. I suppose it’s the wannabe film star in me that does this, or perhaps the writer, or maybe it’s my own weird brand of narcissism…or it could be the early symptoms of schizophrenia. It might be all four. Either way, I firmly believe every good story needs solid narration, and maybe if I can explain it eloquently enough my life will be the epic adventure I wish it to be.

Does anyone else out there do this? I think it might be more common than I realize, especially in this era of blogging and social media. We are constantly narrating our own story in a digital format, through Instagram posts and Twitter updates, whose to say we’re not all doing it internally as well? The stories we tell to ourselves, about our selves are ultimately the identity we hold, right? So maybe it’s good that I see my future self as this wonderful, warm, happy and well balanced person…because maybe if I keep seeing it that way, that is how it will be.

Images via Annija MuižuleLaura Leal and Tara Niami

Dangerous Thoughts | Don’t Forget To Ask “Why The F*ck Not?”

WellWhyTheHellNot

I’ve been having this thought a lot lately. Reconsidering these strange notions I have about what I can and cannot do. The limitations I put on myself, for no other reason than I am afraid or unsure. I’ve realized that most of my life I have allowed by doubts and insecurities to get the best of me. I’ve allowed a sense of crippling inferiority or inadequacy to dominate so much of my life that I find myself, at twenty six, utterly and completely adrift. My goals and ambitions put off and self-sabotaged by a serious lack of self esteem and commitment.

But lately. the narrative in my head has changed a bit. I am suddenly feeling compelled to ask this question; Why not me? Why can’t I have everything I want? Why can’t I achieve the goals I set for myself? Why haven’t I allowed myself to be the person I so desperately want to be. And, invariably, the answer is always just that. Because I haven’t allowed myself to. Because I’ve allowed my self-doubt and insecurity to trample my intentions and ideas. Because I’ve put aside my long term goals for short term pleasures. Because I haven’t really pushed myself past the procrastination and the uncertainty and allowed myself to see just what I am capable of.

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I’ve read a million and one self help articles, I’ve consumed every magazine I come across that promises to transform my life and make me into the person I ought to be, and while I’ve retained some valuable information that will surely help me along the way, I havn’t gotten a step further along that path. Why? Well, the answer is both incredibly simple and incredibly embarrassing. There is only one reason I’ve not achieved every thing I’ve ever imagined for myself and it’s Me.

There are aspects of my personality I am not proud of; a tendency towards laziness and procrastination. A stubborn streak that makes a mule look obliging. A short fuze and a fiery temper that burns straight through the filter on my brain, so that I say things in anger that I usually regret later. A generally poor sense of self confidence and a serious issue with perfectionism and fear of making mistakes, or worse yet, failing. This all ties together into a lovely little package of anxiety and self doubt that has made it nearly impossible for me to finish or achieve anything. I am constantly second guessing, putting off, or talking myself out of projects and ideas which might, if given the proper attention and effort, be wildly successful. I become so consumed with minutiae and getting every little thing perfect, that no real progress is ever made. I grow frustrated easily, my impatience for results or immediate gratification frequently results in a “well, fuck it” attitude that’s gotten a whole lot of nothing accomplished.

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So, this quote from my girl Mindy Kaling is my new mantra. Why the fuck not me? Why the fuck can’t I go after what I want? Why the fuck can’t I do and achieve and be any goddam thing I want? Give me one good reason….and then I suppose the key is to ignore my overly critical brain and just go and do the damn thing. So maybe I’ll mess up. So what? At least I will have tried. At least I will have given it my all. That’s worth a hell of a lot more than just holding all these ideas and ambitions in my head and not doing a thing with them. It’s certainly more satisfying.

PS; Pardon all the cursing, I’ve got a wicked potty mouth. 

Images via ShopAnnShen, Adam Trageser, LoveThisPic

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