Sunday, December 06, 2015


I never thought I would say this, but we need to talk about Kylie Jenner.
We need to talk about Kylie Jenner posing on the cover of Interview Magazine in a wheelchair. We need to realize that this is not a simple conversation. I cannot talk about Kylie Jenner posing in a wheelchair in a simple way, because this conversation is anything but simple. This is not just about whether it is okay for able-bodied people to use mobility aids and disability as edgy props to shock people. No, this is about so much more.
Kylie Jenner’s photo and the conversation around it made me uncomfortable as a disabled person, but not just because she was using a wheelchair as a prop. I was uncomfortable when I read Tweets that suggested that the wheelchair was used as a prop to symbolize the “limitations” Kylie Jenner experienced through being famous. That made my skin crawl. A wheelchair being symbolic of limitations, because the reality is that couldn’t be further from the truth. We need to talk about what a wheelchair really is.
For me, a full-time wheelchair user, my wheelchair does not represent limitations and restrictions; it represents freedom. Without my wheelchair I wouldn’t be able to leave my house, or even my bedroom. Without my wheelchair, I never would’ve been able to go to school. Simply put, without my wheelchair, I would not have a life. My wheelchair is not restricting; it is the thing that allows me to have some determination about the way in which I move through the world. I am limited by inaccessible environments, ableism, discrimination, and inadequate access to things like personal care, accessible housing, employment, and accessible, adequate medical care. I am limited by a world that does not see disabled people as being fully equal to non-disabled people. We need to talk about the limitations and restrictions that exist in the world for disabled people, in this case, wheelchair users in particular, but we also need to realize that it Is society and social structures that cause these limitations, not the wheelchair in and of itself.
We need to talk about Kylie Jenner. We need to talk about privilege. We need to talk about the fact that for Kylie Jenner a wheelchair was nothing more than an edgy, sexy prop. We need to talk about why I cringe every time I see an able-bodied person use a wheelchair in this way. I promise you it’s not because I don’t think wheelchairs, and the people in them,can be beautiful and sexy, I know they can. Trust me when I say that I know that being in a wheelchair does not make you any less beautiful, sexy, or awesome than anybody else, but I also know that we live in a society that often times has a hard time seeing it. We need to talk about the fact that Kylie Jenner, a conventionally beautiful able-bodied woman who fits societal standards of beauty in almost every way is allowed to be sexy and edgy in a wheelchair, when that reality is so often denied to many wheelchair using women. We need to talk about the fact that disabled people, real disabled people, are still largely missing in media representation, especially media representation around beauty and sexuality.
We need to talk about the fact that Kylie Jenner is allowed to look edgy and sexy in a wheelchair but she has never had her ability to consent to sexual activity questioned because she was disabled. She has never had her sexuality interrogated by random strangers and put on display simply because she was sitting in a wheelchair. That wheelchair has never made her an item on a sexual bucket list that people want to try just to see what it would be like. Kylie Jenner has never heard the words, “You’re so pretty… For someone in a wheelchair.” She’s never experienced unwanted fetishization that seems to be so common for disabled women. She’s never had to balance feeling beautiful,  and sexual and being sexually attractive in a world that sees you as anything but that.
I’m not saying that Kylie Jenner has never experienced anything difficult in her life, but she has not experience what it is like to live and love as a disabled woman. Kylie Jenner has so many different privileges that I cannot list them all, and because of that she has a responsibility to realize that not all stories belong to her to use as edgy, provocative props. There is nothing wrong with realizing that wheelchairs can be beautiful, but one must also realize that they are not simple chairs.
Experiencing life in a wheelchair comes with a unique set of challenges that cannot be ignored. Being a wheelchair user means that you live in a world that is not set up for you. Being a wheelchair user means you experienced spaces on a daily basis where you are not meant to fit. Being a wheelchair user means learning to be proud of who you are in a world that tells you that you would be better off being almost anybody else. For most people, being a wheelchair user means learning to accept the scars or the spasms and the parts of your body that don’t work the way everyone else thinks they should. For me, being a wheelchair user means learning to see beauty, strength, and yes, even sexiness, where most people see brokenness. It means learning to define myself outside of societal standards of beauty, and being comfortable with who I am regardless of what everyone else thinks.
We need to talk about Kylie Jenner because this is not really about her. It is about how disability can be considered cool when used as a prop, but so often the lives of actually disabled people are seen as a terrible fate. It’s about the fact that so often disabled women are not given the opportunity to be seen as sexy and beautiful outside of the realm of fetishization. It’s about the fact that it is difficult to see a wheelchair as nothing more than a prop when it is so intertwined with the way that many people experience and move through the world.
I am not ashamed to be in a wheelchair. Being a wheelchair user is a complicated and beautiful experience filled with challenges, beauty, and a unique perspective on life. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that wheelchair users can be beautiful, strong, sassy, and sexy just like anybody else, and I don’t need Kylie Jenner, or any other able-bodied person to show me that.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

[Worst] Case Senario.

Things are not always what they appear to be. They are often an indicator of something bigger going on deep underneath. Symptoms, red flags, warning signs. Things we should pay attention to, things we shouldn’t ever ignore, things that are bad, things that could really hurt us, things that it might just be too late to fix.

Why do bad things happen to good people? We ask that question so often it’s become a cliche. But that’s because bad things do happen to good people, constantly. You just have to hope when it’s your turn, you’ll know what to do, how to cope, how to persevere. But the truth is, you don’t know how you will react to a worst case scenario. None of us do, not until it happens.

Friday, April 17, 2015

[Simple] Truths.

I lost a friend this year – no he didn't die.

It was a friendship. This was someone I thought would be my friend forever. I didn't see it coming. I can't understand what happened. I am sitting with tremendous sadness about the dissolving of the friendship.

Sadness and then anger.

Angry at myself.
Angry at the situation. 
Anger at him.

I have never felt so misunderstood. I've been dancing with this for a while. Trying to go back-and-forth in time and break things down. Trying to better understand so I can make it better, fix it and make sure it never happens again. I wanted to explain, clarify and fix. But the hurt is still so intense for me to take this action. Normally I would call to talk it out. I would attempt to resolve it immediately. I just can't. I can't figure out why my thoughts are so paralyzed. 

He told me he needed space but I was so very afraid of what would happen in that space. My impulsiveness wanted to stay connected no matter what. To talk it out, work it out, and make it right.

I kept saying...
I just wanted to know what was true for me. 
I just wanted him to know how much I cared.
I just wanted him to understand.

I often think in my mind, what if something happens... what if he never knows. Saying that out loud made me realize that it wasn't about myself and him. This was about myself and truth. And trusting in what I know to be true for me. In that instant I felt my heart beat slow, my mind quiet and my eyes mist. I silently prayed for some sort of direction. 

And I saw...
I saw how my whole life I have only ever known something was real when someone else confirmed it for me.
I saw how while I know what was true for me I was needing him to understand and confirm it for me so I knew it to be true.
I saw how this had been driving me to push myself well pass what I knew was good for me in so so so many relationships.

I am not one to walk away. I have always prided myself on my perseverance and willingness to work through most anything. This unfortunately has kept me in unhealthy dysfunctional relationships. And keeps me coming back for more. But I am finally listening  and being still.

I feel like I just woke up to an alternate reality where I have a range of choices I never even considered. Perhaps sometimes it's just best to walk away. To let go. I didn't give myself permission to do this before. I've spent a lot of time trying to understand people. Trying to analyze their behaviors and make sense of why they do the things they do and really try to understand what my part was, why I showed up the way I did and how I can change myself to be better and do better.

This of course has its place and can be very useful and important at times, but I can see how it has caught me in a cycle of trying to understand and resolve all the time before even checking in first to see if this is even a place I want to put my energy.

I had no idea how drained I was from not letting go.
I had no idea how much I was blaming and shaming myself. 
I have been thrashing myself for the last few years.

Beating myself up for all the places I could've done better or different as if through the process of punishing myself I would prevent anything "bad "happening again.  I have been expecting such a level of excellence for myself crumbling under my own pressure. 

It has been ME hurting ME.

Oh, how humbling. So I tell you this, this is what I am learning, some simple truths...

Trust that people are who they show you who they are.
Sometimes people are just not a match.
Sometimes it is okay to walk away and let go.
Trust what you know to be true.
After all you are always left with you.

I have had so many people speak to me about the pain of friendships dissolving recently.

I get it. 
I so do. 

Thank you God, I hear your message loud and clear. 
God is good. Always good.

Monday, April 06, 2015

[Enough] Is Enough.

Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting it back together. -Unknown

There was a time when I was quite black-and-white with relationships. I either trusted you implicitly, assuming you’d never intentionally hurt me, or believed you wanted to cause me pain and questioned everything you did. Eventually I realized I was limiting my relationships by not recognizing the grey area, where people are human and they need forgiveness and understanding. But this is where it gets confusing. On the one hand, I often create a lot of meaning in my head that isn’t really there. I may feel convinced someone intended to be rude, inconsiderate, or thoughtless when really that wasn’t the case. On the other hand, sometimes actions speak louder than words, and our interpretations may be accurate. Sometimes someone is knowingly hurtful or neglectful. We need to be able to recognize that or we’ll end up feeling disempowered, disrespected, and stuck.
No matter what you’ve done or how you sometimes struggle, you deserve to be in healthy relationships with people who treat you well. The question now becomes: Can you treat yourself kindly and walk away from what you know isn’t right?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Building & Beginning.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the concepts of building and beginning

That focus on one small thing at a time - building to mastery by starting with the basics - isn't foreign to me but I love seeing it play out right in front of my eyes.  
Learning a new skill or sport or art form or way of being takes time and repetition.
It takes doing the same move over and over and over again. That move may involve a paintbrush or a pen or standing on your hands or lacing up your shoes or yelling kiai or sitting at a wheel or looking through the lens over and over and over again. And it takes a willingness to be bad at it in the beginning.

We all have to start somewhere.
Lately I've needed to remember that for myself. We don't begin at the end - we begin right where we are with what we have right in front of us at any given point in time.
At what point in our lives do we forget that it takes work to learn a new skill? Or maybe the more appropriate question is, at what point do we stop being interested in putting out the effort to be a beginner again? Do you have the expectation either that everything should be super simple and you should be an immediate expert OR that it's simply not worth it because there is too much effort involved?
There's so much beauty in the building. 

Burnt & Broken.

This one, this is everything

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Happy [Hearts].

Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of Valentine's Day.  I think people should show their love each and every day. I'm corny like that.  I do love how girly it is though and hello, a holiday that loves the color pink as much as I do? Yes, please. 

A Case Of The [Should] Have Beens.

I have never really been a backwards thinker.  I have never understood the need to.  My past was always my past and then I moved right along.  There was never any room for "what should have been" or "what could have been." ...and then in a blink of an eye, a matter of mere milliseconds, there I was staring down my own beliefs. Without will or want challenged everything I had ever known.  If I wasn't one to look back, then where did my past belong?  It was no longer in my present moments. It wouldn't be a part of my future.  For many many many months,  I wandered along in this world, aimlessly, holding on, with white knuckles,  to every single solitary strand that was woven into my past.  ...and when I was forced to come back to the present, I had to be dragged kicking and screaming. 

It was in my backwards life and I needed and wanted to be there.  It took a long time for me to come to terms with the fact that it wasn't coming back.  I'm not sure how or why or when it happens, but one day something settles and it all becomes a bit more clear.  

Most days, the clarity and I dance along.  
I understand it. 
I accept it. 
I am at peace with the fact that this is my life now. 

This is my story with chapters of empty pages still waiting to be written.  But then there are other days where, for no rhyme or reason at all, the clarity twists and blurs and I am left staring down the hallow.  At the end there is a deep throbbing ache entangled in missing.  I have learned to just go along with it.  If pushed aside or avoided, it does not go away.  It simply sits there and waits for you until you are ready to acknowledge its presence.  So I do.  ...and I am forced to realize all over again that life truly is a delicate balance of letting in and letting go.  

It's constant. 
A gentle cycle.  

As I move forward in this life, I realize that it's up to me to keep it in my present and my future.  

For my sake.
For my family's sake. 

It's here every day nestled deeply into my heart and into my thoughts.  

Most days...most days I do accept it...but there are most definitely the other days where I am paralyzed with what should have been...

Friday, January 30, 2015


"Time it stills and time it for me where the wind me where the wind blows..."

I remember it so vividly, in my kitchen cooking over a glass of red wine and discussing Bon Iver's album,"For Emma, Forever Ago."  We ooh'd and aah'd over the song, Skinny Love in which I mentioned my favorite line, "...and in the morning I'll be with you, but it will be a different kind..." Weeks later, the world grew quiet and life stilled and I was left thinking of that lyric over and over and over again.  

The shift was immense.  


You would think after years, I would be able to grasp onto the reality.  I'm not sure if it's a coping mechanism or a fear that one day I'll have to admit, and I mean really admit, that the time of life really finished.  My brain cannot grasp the concept.  I am cautious about the days that I let myself "go there" because the walk back is a hard and arduous one...

The first year truly was a blur for me.  A slow tiptoe of putting one foot in front of the other and reminding myself to breathe. The second year reality started to burrow in, the blur faded, and  I was left to face the spinning world head on.  The third year my grief took on a whole new longer solely my own, but an ache that was left go.  

...As I have said is a gentle cycle of letting people in and letting others go.  

Constant and revolving. 

The fourth year? Well, that I do not know.  I do know that I made a promise to myself and my family that I would live in the here and now, love the people who are in my here and now,  and be grateful for what I have in my life.  I thank God every day.  I am ever so grateful. 

Today time stills all over again. I don't want to wish the day away for a life that is now unfamiliar to me.  I do want to reminisce about the Good put into this world.  I want to be thankful. Grateful. Happy. ...because I'm here...and for forever how life is better for it...


[Hello] Again.


I strive for simple. 
Adore Pretty. 
Hate clutter. 
Believe life is a gift. 

I have suffered loss and have received many blessings in return. My family and our life together is my reason for everything I do. Little things - tea, bubble baths, vintage, golden light, the color pink - make me happy. 

It has been proven to me over and over again that, if you look close enough, there is beauty in everything.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wobbly In-Between [Space].

Every positive change–every jump to a higher level of energy and awareness–involves a rite of passage. Each time to ascend to a higher rung on the ladder of personal evolution, we must go through a period of discomfort, of initiation. I have never found an exception.
-Dan Millman, author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior

I love this quote and the re-frame he offers: That even in the midst of the discomfort, you can know that this is initiation. This is you growing into something more — deeper, wiser, more awake + more compassionate. It’s a lovely big-picture way to hold whatever big shifts are going on in your life right now.
I spoke with a friend yesterday and when she asked me how I was, I found myself saying, “I don’t have words for it yet, but I know that I am experiencing a shift. I am moving towards a different way of being as a follower of christ + teacher. I am moving toward something more intimate and grounded, something that feeds me in deep ways and creates even more powerful connections to the people I serve.”

After I said it I was surprised by how true it felt. I didn’t even realize that I was in the midst of change until the words came out of my mouth! But there it was.
I would guess that if we are awake + conscious in our lives, that we are almost always in a state of becoming. Becoming more ourselves by honoring who we are in bigger and deeper ways.

But what I want to acknowledge today is that the awkward messy phase of an initiation is full of discomfort and doubt. We will question everything — if we are on the right path, if we are up to the task, or if we should just quit altogether. It’s tempting to judge ourselves especially, to say we are lost or broken. You’re a mess, get your shit together, why can’t you be like so and so… But I’m here to say this: that life is often that messy middle place and our capacity to find comfort (and perspective) there can make all the difference.

I am humbled, once again, by going down the road I didn’t want to go down, but needed too. By opening the door I was afraid to open.  Perhaps if we can all hold each other’s wobbly in-between space, we can find more strength to move through the fire.

[Love] To You.

I love LOVE. 
And I know that Valentine's Day gets a little skewed in terms of commercialisms and relationship statuses and all that weird jazz. But, at the end of the day IT'S ABOUT LOVE. 
Love each other.
Love the earth.
Love life.
Love family.
Love friends.
Love whatever.
Love whomever.
Love penguins for goodness sake.

I don't think it's all that bad to have a day that celebrates LOVE. And truly - some of us never see the LOVE IN THE EVERY DAY... even with a bunch of sugary sweets to remind us.
I feel an overwhelming love for so many things.
I love.

I will be loving as much and as many things as I can.
FOR SURE, there are pink cupcakes on the menu and a couple of adventures on the books. I think I'm going to wear pink, too. Just to keep it real. ;)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Welcome [Distraction].

Work keeps our mind active. It keeps us out of trouble. When we’re not working our hands are idol and the devil will find work for idol hands and when you have an idol mind, that’s the devil’s playground too.

At first, idleness can seem like a welcome distraction, the trouble making, the fun. Everyone needs some idol times to focus on something other than work. Even if it means focusing on something that’s a little bit scary. Stepping back from work is the only way to get perspective and it’s only when we have everything in perspective, that we remember where our hands truly belong.

I'm clear again in the ways I want to inhabit my life. I want to be awake and alive and purposeful and let go of some of the negativity I've been holding on to this past year. It's an ongoing, likely life-long process and I'm okay with that. 

Sometimes those daring adventures of life are really freaking hard and I wish I could get off the ride. It's all about perspective and taking it one day at a time. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

No Capes, Just [Courage].

This is me.
Committed to a life of joy.
I'm a seeker. 
I want to know how to be more brave, feel more connected to spirit + create a gorgeous life.

Never underestimate a woman with a prayer and a plan. She is strong. 
Proverbs 31

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


My One Little Word for 2015 is thrive.
This year, more than any other I can remember, I'm starting off the year with questions. What does it mean for me to thrive? What does it look like? What does it fee like? Are there areas in which I'm already thriving? What's realistic vs. visions of what I have in my head of what it means to thrive?
To me thriving is optimal living. It's being present and awake and stepping up to be my best self physically, emotionally, spiritually, creatively and within my relationships.
It's not a quest for perfection. It's an opportunity to continue choosing to let go of things outside of my control and to figure out who that best-me-right-now really is.
It will be a whole new journey and I'm here to tell you I welcome it wholeheartedly.
Bring on 2015...

[Grateful] Heart.

When you open your eyes each morning - you don't know what the day will bring. But when you close your eyes each night you know how you contributed to the things you couldn't control.
This week did not go exactly how I expected, but I have found a peaceful resolution. I felt heard. At times I felt scared and overwhelmed. I also felt like I made a positive contribution to an important conversation.
I will look back on today and know I did my best, I spoke from my heart and I saw goodness in people.
Thank you from my grateful heart.

The [Spaces] Between.

Hello old friends. I am not lost. I am nestled in a nice spot where I feel very much like all the randomness of my life makes perfect sense. Not easy seamless sense - hard-working working intense sense. Satisfying, exhausting, inspiring. GOOD SENSE.

I've been very conscious of where I put my time, what calls to me, and what that looks like. 
I've been spreading myself too thin and too thick. 
I've been chasing feelings that fit right. I've been standing up for myself. 
I've been laying down. 
I've been learning. 
I've been nurturing my soul. 
I've been loving on my loves. 
I've been finding the space between stars where I simply am who I am... not necessarily who others want me to be.

It's so awesome. And it's hard.
It's always hard to leap after the WHAT-IFs instead of the SHOULDs. 
It's hard to cut a new path - even if that path is very close to the old one. 
It's hard to take risks. 
It's hard to put in the time.
But it's worth it.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Another [Story].

I don’t care what you do or what you own. I just want to know who you are. I want to know your uniqueness, the experiences you’ve had and the learnings you’ve gained. I want to know your story.
What is your story? Everyone has one. No two stories are the same. There are over 7 billion people in this world and none are like you. You are unique. Your entire life journey including your upbringing, challenges, your hard learned lessons, your experiences, achievements and gifts, are all a series of footprints that have brought you to this very moment in time as you read these words.