Weighing in on My Year in Poverty

Last week I posed a question on Instagram. I surveyed to see how many of my followers would voluntarily live in poverty* for a year. The follow-up question was for those who said “no”, asking if  being a community change agent would alter their answer. The 24-hour survey resulted in a close split. The split was 44 percent saying yes they could, to a 56 percent ruling out the possibility of a year under the circumstances.

I was also asked what I meant by poverty* and I planned on outlining that here. I intentionally am using an asterisk to denote I’ve got specific circumstances to my experience. So, how am I defining poverty*?  It’s probably how you envisioned it– but to clarify– I will say that when I talk about it in this post, it’s solely relative to income and teeters on mental capacity, too. By design, it literally translates to  “the state of being inferior in quality or insufficient in amount.” Wowzers!

Continue reading Weighing in on My Year in Poverty

True Life: I’m Plant-Based…

I try not to be one of those aggressive vegans. You know, the super judgmental, overbearing, Peta-subscribed kind that literally only speaks vegan.  And I know at one point I probably was that damn pretentious, so please, charge it to my head not my heart.  Now, I try to be cautious and only mention being vegan when asked, I swear!!!

(Enjoy this cutesy boomerang from us at Jeni’s this memorial weekend)

Continue reading True Life: I’m Plant-Based…

A Poem: Music x Poetry

April is #NationalPoetryMonth. I’ve enjoyed seeing fellow writers on my feed sharing their new, and even old work. I’ve always been attracted to the idea of poetry. It wasn’t until I gave it a try I grew as a person. Poetry helped me realize less is more. I mean, it wows me when I can  read meaningful haikus or four-lined free-verses that take me there. I’m also a hopeless romantic– so I can, and will, read and write a thousand I love you haiku’s.

It’s no secret my art’s a medium I use to heal and connect with others.  I love the freedom of expression and poetic license to do as I feel. I’m definitely a walking cliché when it comes to this thing. Take me to an open mic and cue the finger snaps.

For me, poetry doesn’t always have to be over illustrated, complex lexicon. I appreciate the minimal nature of words, pauses, and rhythm.

As my ode to the 30-day celebration, I challenged myself to complete a 30-poem collection. Can’t wait to share it in full with you! Until then,  enjoy  Music x Poetry. 
Continue reading A Poem: Music x Poetry

I Usually Don’t Kiss and Tell…

Now that the smooch is out the bag, many have asked what it was like shooting my first commercial…

Back in November I walked into my casting ready to give a few pecks to some man unknown.  A little nervous to be kissing a stranger without liquid courage, (judge yourself, not me) I surveyed the room filled with beautiful people–both men and women.

So here I am sitting in a chair while on Pinterest looking up recipes — this is my thing I do in public to calm my nerves– and in walks this tall, milk chocolate specimen whose lips looked freshly exfoliated, and my insides are all like:

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“Oh, there’s your boo!” a spunky, feminine voice to my right blurts. And yet I asked, “who–me?” with my hand to my chest, my temperature began to rise. He and I made eye contact and I smirked. Oh no, butterflies fluttered inside my belly. I’m like, holy crap I have to get myself together quickly! My eyes fall back to my screen, reviewing ingredients needed to make some “30 minute vegan meal” that I’m certain I mastered like 3 years ago. Continue reading I Usually Don’t Kiss and Tell…

Hashtag: New Year Evolved Me

How am I transitioning into 2018?

Pretty darn well I’d say!  As I sat in the house on Sunday, December 31, 2017 contemplating whether I’d switch up my  New Year’s Eve ritual and go out for a night on the town, or do what I know best and stay in, I soon was in a back-and-forth rebuttal with my aunt for some nightly festivities. Here’s the thing, I don’t do long lines and cold weather well. So while she was trying to sway me her way, I could only think about my freezing limbs and said NOPE!

Funny enough, the two of us played this extended game of “lets go out/lets stay in” for nearly two hours (even switched roles for a bit, lol!)

So what did we do? I finally joined #teamporscha and agreed to get cute for a night out. The thing is, after we’d found plans, got dressed, and were ready to go–we both had changed our minds back to my original idea. So like I’ve done for the past decade (or literally all my life) I brought in the new year indoors with a loved one.  I’m not much of a party-goer (anymore) so staying in for holiday’s doesn’t really bother me.

While inside relaxing, I started to manifest my immediate goals for the new year. Asking myself what I wanted out of 2018. All of my goals are intended to make me a better me, as goals should do.

Yes, I have physical goals I set (like last year’s pushup goal I didn’t meet…but I’ll get to it in 2018) and emotional goals, and career goals. All of which I intend to fulfill to live my B E S T L I F E.

This year I’m working on forgiving myself. I’ve talked about forgiveness for those who’ve hurt me many a time and how I’d moved past the pain. What I didn’t realize was that I didn’t forgive myself for the circumstances I had put myself in.

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At my last coffee date with my girls, we were catching up on life: grad school, therapy,  new living situations, relationships, general ups  and downs. Through her story, my sister-friend was discussing her journey with forgiving herself and my brain was like holy hell! I started replaying every “regret” or triggering situation I had been in and asked myself why it was still something that could set me off. It was because I hadn’t forgiven myself.

Without even realizing it, I had still been living in the past,emotionally, and telling myself that mentally I was over it and was fine. And it was convincing for the most part, because I had told myself if I don’t think about it, I won’t get angry about it. But the honest truth is that real healing and forgiveness will allow me to think about a situation that I’d allegedly grown past, and not let it affect me. And that wasn’t happening.

So much so that the thought of certain memories literally caused a physical disruption. As cliche as it sounds, I’m leaving attachments and regrets in 2017. I’m leaving the fallacy  that I own the rights to others: meaning that I’m working on understanding the only persona I control is self.

I’ve shared that my favorite tattoo is probably my ‘agape’ one that’s on my finger. With that in mind, I’ve transitioned into 2018 revisiting my sole reason for getting that specific tattoo in the first place. I yearn to love unconditionally, and with the right tribe around me I’ve been able to learn so much about unconditional love. I’m happy that I have friends who unashamedly share themselves with me, the good, the bad, the stank, the ugly.

They’ve helped me know love–romantic and platonic– through themselves.


A few other things I’m working on in 2018:

  • Reading 1 book a month (already completed January’s read:  James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time)
  • Working out 4x/ week (a flat stomach is fine and dandy but I’m coming for definition in 2018!!)
  • Painting more
  • A second fitness certification (did you know I’m a certified Zumba instructor?)
  • Traveling of course (Austin, Dallas, Portland, Maryland, Philly are at the top of my list)
  • Publishing more books (simultaneously working on a few 😅)

Obviously these aren’t all my goals of the year, but some I thought you’d be interested in! What are you working on this year?

 

Being an Empath: the Hardest Part is Letting Go

Human relations are key. Whether you have the ability to effectively communicate–verbally or nonverbally– determines how well you connect with others.

As a healing empath, I read into what’s unsaid more, than what people actually say.

Because of this, I’m always finding a way to help solve a problem as if it’s my own. Whether it’s professional or personal, I want to help solve it. In fact, I prioritize other people’s problems more than my own. Inherently, I see myself as a pool of unlimited resources for those closest to me. And strangers.

Some days, being an empath is happily walking into Starbucks and suddenly becoming aloof. It’s tensing of the body–shoulders, jaw, and back– at any given moment and overwhelming anxiousness. It’s daydreaming for a long time to escape the realities I’ve emotionally made my own. It’s wanting to be outside–connecting to nature to cleanse and renew myself. It’s giving, and giving, and giving some more.

Even when I don’t got it–time, money, energy– I give it.  You’re unhappy, I find a way to make you smile. You’re in need of a job, I find a way to help you search for one. You need mental clarity, or peace, I give my time and energy to help heal you. And even though this sounds like I’m just being a good friend or person providing sympathy, it’s more than that. If I’ve shared space with you, I feel you. This role of a healer that I play comes at a cost. Overtime, it’s cost me time, money, energy and peace. I’ve always wanted to heal the world.

I’ve always been one to read in between the lines and recognize what’s unsaid. Generally speaking I can pick up on what’s going on in a room before most.  As an empath, I’m forever putting myself in other people’s shoes and walking their walk with them. What a gift and a curse.

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The realization: 

Working in a combination of early childhood education and retail, I obviously surrounded myself with many, many people, emotions, thoughts, and energies. Day in and day out, I became increasingly tired and moody by the day’s end. When the work day was over, I literally had no energy to give. Not to my family, roommate, or guys I was dating. This wasn’t a normal kind of tired either. I had aches and pains in my body, my spirit felt bothered, and I had no understandable explanation for it.

I was just t-i-r-e-d.

And feelings like these weren’t new. Like I said, I’ve always been the “moody” one to my friends and family, but it was chalked up as girly adolescent behaviors or just being a moody artist. I started turning down invites and had made it a habit to stay in bed for as long as I could. Post college, I’d been working through anxiety and depression awhile acknowledging triggers. So I thought that some feelings that I was experiencing were due to natural, fluctuating depressive states and my known triggers.

And then something happened. I had a memory of when I was in elementary school and remembered what I struggled with most : putting others before me.

The past:

In my youth, caring for other’s was instilled in me by my family, and I took this morale very seriously. We all are very giving individuals. I remember during all those canned food drives at school I’d donate every. last. item in our cabinets. #NoLie.

Literally, every last one. And depending on who you talk to about it, I may have went overboard or was just giving without context of what I was doing. But I wholeheartedly knew what I was doing. I knew that I had the means to replenish what was lost And I never thought twice about it. Even though this was me giving something tangible, I knew that I was receiving something that was invaluable–learning the ability to be selfless and understanding community. 

Growing up, many of my elementary progress reports commended me for always putting  others first. The teachers would write something to the notion of:

“Alexis is a great student to have. She’s outgoing, kind, and doesn’t hesitate to help her classmates with  their work.”

Great trait to have, right? They’d continue:

“Alexis struggles to complete her own assignments on time.”

And now I know what you’re thinking, what the hell?! What sense does it make to help others succeed, first, before you do? And I really wish I could tell you. I really do.  All I know is that my teachers and mother couldn’t understand. They knew that I was more than capable of completing my own work because I was helping others with their work on a daily basis. I just wasn’t taking care of myself.

This was causing me to get into trouble. Academically and socially with my mother. That’s until I learned to stop. Eventually I eased out of always helping classmates with their work because I got tired of not enjoying my outside time. So I decided to “be more responsible” as they asked of me, and did my work FIRST so I could be successful.

In hindsight, I was developing tendencies that I later learned were qualifiers for being an empath. Fast forward to present day, when my family communes, I usually am the first to separate themselves from the bulk of the group. Literally happened over thanksgiving break. I used to feel bad for stepping away without explanation, but now that I’m addressing my empath behaviors, I know that I deserve to step away and re-up on my energy.

 

Moving forward:

So here are my facts of life as an empath:

Fact 1: I have to learn that I can’t help others more than I help myself. When I realized there was a burden of always being there for someone, always clocking in emotionally and physically, I knew something had to give.

Fact 2: We are who we are. People who have an innate ability to connect, feel, and discern their surroundings without regards. We tend to love hard–being spiritually engaged in others. We feel the vibes–good and bad.

Fact 3: Self care is highly important.

Fact 4: (see step 3)

Fact 5: I’m not alone.

 

Knowing all of this, and moving into a new phase of self-realization, I’m working on letting go. It’s hard to let go of the feeling that I have to help or heal. Being a helper and healer is literally ingrained in who I am. It’s one of my great traits. But I’m realizing that I’m wearing on my soul more than it can handle. I know I won’t stop being an empath, but I can use my knowledge about life, my empathetic experiences, and the tolls they take on me to remind me to “let go” for the moment.

 

 

Dear Denver: You Did Me Well

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I recently talked about my new found love for hiking. I know, it’s just extended walking–usually at an incline– however, its a great workout and brings peace of mind. I’ve always loved nature and outdoors. I collected rocks for crying out loud! In fact, growing up, I’d always rush outside every chance I got. I made it an effort to finish my homework in class so that I wouldn’t have to do it when I got home.

As I make my way to reconnecting with the earth and outdoors, I’m increasing my time spent in nature. While #adulting I find myself forgetting to just breathe in the air outside and to relax in the grass. If I’m being honest, a rotating schedule of being busy with work, exercising, and dreams is cool… but many times I feel more successful on a day where I’ve done the least.

Like, had coffee and walked barefoot in the grass (aka #earthing). That’s all, that’s it!

Embarrassingly enough, many times I have to plan my R&R time because I think that I always have to be “busy”. So if I can visually see in my planner that I’ve told myself to chill, I chill. That’s why I enjoy traveling. Weekend trips are nice getaways from everyday life. Each year I plan at least three trips, one to a new city for personal exploration and the others to visit family/friends.

As you know, my birthday was earlier this month. And, I’m technically a little late celebrating. Wait, who am I kidding? I celebrate all month long, but my only wish was to go to Denver and hike a mountain.

And so I did.

Continue reading Dear Denver: You Did Me Well

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