The Importance of PAUSE

Breathe. Pause. Reset.

Why PAUSE is so meaningful to me. Not only am I hella proud that I created something from just an idea to a tangible product, (because a lot of things happen in this brain of mine and don’t always come to fruition) but somehow I was able to create this mini meditation deck, eBook, audio + journals during a freakin quarantine under 2 bebes!

Why it’s so special though and why it’s perfect that it launched in August is because that’s my Healiversary! 5 years ago I closed a successful business that I ran from 2009-2015, The Green Queen, an eco-friendly cleaning and organizing company. At my peak, I had 8 employees and 30+ clients. But, in 2015 as I hit rock bottom, I knew I had to close my business before all of my A+ 5 ⭐️ ratings were replaced with all 👎🏼. I had to check out of the world and check into myself. I got a job that paid $10 an hour…in LA. I left my husband, our 🏠, 🚗, EVERYTHING and with only 1 🧳 and my 🐕, I risked everything for my healing. I rented a room that I could barely afford to pay for and eat on with that wage. I needed to just be able to clock in and out,. I didn’t have the bandwidth to think about anything else. And y’know what? By taking that leap of faith and betting on myself, I was able to get to the root of my despair, my substance abuse, my lying, my pain and from that darkness came a spiritual awakening. PAUSE’s meditations come from real-life use during a time that I was alone, afraid and had no idea what the frack was going to happen. Through my fear, denial and with those closest to me telling me that I was crazy for even thinking about doing what I did, I trusted my inner voice that repeatedly spoke so clearly (and LOUDLY) to me when I made room for stillness. And look at me at me now! I’m healthy, I‘m ALIVE, I have a family and I am grateful every single day. I hope that by sharing my story and my art that someone else has the courage to heal themselves.

I’ll end w/the best advice I received from my mentor on one of my hardest days 5 years ago. 

“Sometimes it’s one day at a time but sometimes it’s one hour at a time. If you can just get through this hour, you’ll have survived. You’ll get to the next hour, and you do it again.”

Here’s PAUSE’s version. ♥️

Check us out on instagram and purchase directly here.

– xOx

I Shaved Half My Head!! Here’s why.

Did you know HALF of the world’s forests have been destroyed. doesn’t that just feel like a sucker punch filled with immense sadness or is it just me? 

I’ve been wanting to shave my head for awhile now, a few people who know me, know that I’ve fantasized about this idea for years without taking any action. Lately, I’ve been like, what’s my “why” though? Wondering how I could do something for a good cause or get someone to pay me! Lol. And just last week in a woman’s circle as I was sharing AGAIN about wanting to shave my head, someone shared with me that people were shaving their heads right now to raise awareness and money to save the Rainforests..whaaaa? I immediately googled when I got off the zoom and sure enough I found #halfcut. 

#HalfCut is a fundraising group with one aim – to save our planet from the Climate Crisis. Forests are one of our best bets so they save our forests & plant what’s been cut down. 

Every August #HalfCut raises awareness and funds to protect existing forests and replant trees by asking people to donate and shave or braid 1/2 their head. So I did it!

Currently through today, (I know! I’m so late to the party!) their major project is to Save LOT 155 Ranger Station Daintree Rainforest:

Size: 8.835 Ha

Cost: $220,875.00

Per square metre cost: $2.50

Once purchased this land will be given back to the traditional owners the Kuku Yalanji bama (people) to manage for long term.

I’ll also be donating my hairs to Locks of Love again, this will be my 2nd time in 3 years!

– xOx

Introducing PAUSE: Mini Meditations for Wherever You Are.

Self care isn’t selfish.

I’m SO excited to introduce PAUSE: Mini Meditations for Wherever You Are.

For 5 years I’ve been cultivating & compiling tools on my own healing journey. From that pot of gold during this suffocating pandemic + having a baby + racism magnified + postpartum + election year + aliens landing…(jk…not yet), I went to a practice that grounds me. I then had a vision of making said practice into something tangible and beautiful that I could share with others on their own self healing / self empowerment / “self preservation” journey.

These mini meditation cards, ebook and audio are filled with a variety of affirming words, grounding reminders and physical guidance. These cards were made to be an anchor during life’s overwhelming and often uncertain times. PLUS! They’re discreet, sleek & conveniently pocket-sized, so you can carry them anywhere and privately check-in with yourself. Pair your deck with a matching journal and pen to create space to sit and download/unload.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

― audre lorde

I hope these moments of PAUSE help others as they’ve helped me. ♥️

Our presale sold out almost immediately 🎉🎉🎉 so thank you! It’s so encouraging to a brand new biz that our pre-sale has expanded into a pre-order. 🙌🏼 I’m so grateful!

To order, go here —-> Pause Anywhere

Please check out our page on instagram @pauseanywhere to learn more.

– xOx

It’s my Born Day & I Have a Gift For YOU!!

I woke up full of gratitude this morning. The hubs let me sleep in and made brunch 🙌🏼! As I laid in bed, I gave thanks for everything in my life from small things like the paint on my walls and the tree outside of my bedroom window to the big things like my relationships, my mental health & for the teeny tiny toes that peeked out of the covers beside me. I am truly blessed and grateful.

I’m very grateful for my online community! I started my instagram and blog in 2016 as an anonymous author where I could freely post about all of the things I was into…vaginas, cannabis, psychedelic medicine, crystals, crystals in my vagina, ya know holistic hippie living ish and I made all of my videos with snapchat filters..hence the name The Snappie Hippie. Who knew that I would find a community of like-minded people, many of you becoming real life friends. I‘ve been seen and heard in this space, I’m even using my name now while still posting openly about all of my hippie dippie living! AND best of all, I’m working with brands and organizations that I align with so deeply, thank you Earth Mama Organics, Pranamama.TV and RAINN.

This community has helped me step into my authentic voice more deeply, giving me more self confidence when I’m talking about taboo subjects like cannabis use, witchy rituals & extended breastfeeding with people who’ve always thought I was a bit “extra”. The ones who give me the side eye when I whip out my boob in line at the grocery store! It’s because I know that I’m not the only one, there’s a whole community of people just like me who don’t think I’m some California weirdo schmeirdo and I hope that through my sharing I’m helping to normalize life for others too!

As I begin to expand my developing business, (which is hella exciting, hella vulnerable & feels hella slow b/c babies & quarantine), I want to thank you. As my gift to you, I’m offering my ongoing workshop, Tools to Protect Your Peace, a practice I have been crafting for over 6 years!

So, here it is. I hope you will take some time (40 minutes!) to put yourself first and put self-care on your to do list, nurture that beautiful spirit of yours!

Thank you for seeing me, lifting me up & supporting me. In the spirit of transparency, I was hoping to release my website, my first products & my workshop today, my birthday, but well..it is what it is. I’m over here working on it all with 2 kids on the teats. I will continue to roll it out little by little & maybe even share a little bit of that process.

Tools to Protect Your Peace is a bimonthly workshop. Each session includes breathing, movement, meditation & ends with a writing invitation. Released on the 1st and 15th every month via my website http://www.TheSnappieHippie.com. 

– xOx

Motherhood Realness with a Touch of Surrender, Acceptance & Poop.

and it all falls down.

photo by Lauren Archer

It’s one of those mornings, it’s x-treme. So much so, there’s not even an “E” on extreme because it’s like the Winter X Games up in here. A battle of wills and brains…my brain losing and exploding because I’m trying to be the best Mom I can be, a conscious, communicating with compassion-type Mom, but I have boundaries. Some of which have been in place awhile like “boobies are sleeping while Mommy’s stretching/meditating”. He knows, he always asks, of course, but he knows. I’ve taken the time to make the world’s best oatmeal, (it’s really good y’all). But THIS morning, my son has a full throttle meltdown and I feel bad, guilty. I feel bad about feeling bad aka weak because where is my conviction for my boundaries?  I start thinking how he had a massive poop in his sleep last night, something he’s never done and he isn’t eating his oatmeal, so maybe he doesn’t feel well. He begins asking me to lay down with him, he’s tired. So on one hand I’m thinking, he may actually not feel well and be tired, on the other hand I feel like I’m being played because he knows he gets boobie when we lay down in bed. Then my early childhood development knowledge kicks in and reminding me that every behavior is him trying to get a need met, that it’s not possible for him to “play” me. I don’t subscribe to the philosophy of kids being methodical monsters, there’s science backed evidence that their little brains aren’t developed enough to create a master manipulation plan like that. So I just sit for a moment, silent and confused wondering wtf is the right thing to do. Am I going to turn into a pushover Mama? Am I an evil Mother for saying no? I don’t like judging my kid, I don’t judging myself and I don’t want to feel bad for wanting to have my morning solo time that I’ve worked on for years to cultivate. I’ve never been a morning person and I’m now waking up between 630-730 “before the kids” to have these precious quiet moments that set my mental & emotional balance for the day. However, what is happening right now is so not good for my mental. So what do I do? I “give in”. I choose what feels best for me, for us in this moment. I lay down with him on the couch, I nurse him, thinking maybe he will go back to sleep and then I can finish my flow! I catch myself wanting to be somewhere else, I’m not present, I’m what many people would define as suffering, wanting the present moment to be different than what it is. I ask myself, can I be here right now?

Can I make THIS my meditation? Refocusing on being here, I feel his hair tickling my nose, I smell his head, I see how his toes barely reach my knee in the position that we’re in. Our arms wrapped around each other completely nullifying the audio assault I just endured 5 minutes before. He was hella disregulated and needed his Mama to lay down with him. Over his unraveling cornrowed head that my chin rests on, I give one last look to my pretty purple mat as I release the desire and expectation of what I envisioned my morning to be because I am right where I’m supposed to be. This is my practice. This is exact moment is why I practice, to remain centered in all types of weather. I inhale knowing that this isn’t a preset for every morning and I’ll get back to my flow eventually, even though it may not be today. One day I’ll wish we had more of these no-agenda-having, time-standing-still snuggle fests. It doesn’t matter how we got here today, here we are. 

45 minutes later, he was finally ok with me getting up to get water and he says “that was a long nap Mommy” (he didn’t sleep), but now we are both more regulated and peaceful. 5 minutes later he poops his pants and this is what parenthood is like on some days, it’s effing hard with moments of sweetness and it literally stinks! 🙂

– xOx

A Peaceful & Empowering Home Birth after Previous Trauma…during a Pandemic.

“Birth does not ask you to be fearless. It asks you to be brave.” – Britta Bushnell

This video is my victorious birth!

I was so full of fear at the beginning of this pregnancy. After 2 previous traumatic births, I didn’t know if I’d be mentally able to birth again and was definitely unsure if I could do it at home, though that’s what my heart wanted. 

My first birth at 15 years old, was a traditional feet up / back down vaginal birth at the local hospital. I was voiceless and choiceless. I was told that I needed to be induced early, that I’d be getting an epidural and an episiotomy, that I’d be placing my daughter for adoption and she wouldn’t leave the hospital with me. For my second birth, 2.5 years ago, I decided this time I would reclaim my voice and autonomy and chose to birth my way at home with only my husband, midwife and doula present. Unfortunately, this birth led to the unexpected triggering of childhood sexual assault trauma, I panicked, froze and dissociated during my son’s birth. I was unaware that even after years of intentional hard work on my painful history (see My Healiversary), that trauma could still live in my body. After my son was born, my placenta did not detach (I believe it was pscho-somatic) and I was rushed to the ER by ambulance. If that wasn’t traumatic enough, the entire experience in the hospital was pretty horrendous in itself, the way we were treated, like some backwoods hillbillies who birthed our child in an alley somewhere and were not to be trusted. The hospital staff tried to not let us leave and we were definitely threatened with Child Protective Services before we legally left. I can only imagine how we would’ve been treated if we weren’t educated on our rights, if I wasn’t white and if we both were not English speaking American citizens.

So when I found out I was pregnant this past August (*SURPRISE*), I didn’t know what I was going to do. Abortion was a quick and easy but unwanted solution that popped into my mind for a split second. Next, I seriously considered birthing in the hospital this time so I could have access to an epidural and I wouldn’t have to deal with potentially being triggered from the physical feelings of birth again. I visited a hospital and because I’m low-risk, I was paired with a midwife. I wanted to find out what birthing looked like at the hospital and then she shared with me that two of their midwives were out on maternity leave and they had both had home births, I took that as a sign. Later that week, I saw a forreal sign that read “what would you do if you weren’t afraid” and I knew the answer. Thus began a new chapter in my healing journey as I walked the path of preparing for birthing at home again, learning to move through uncharted territory of “AND”,  being both afraid and brave at the same time.

I had very simple intentions (see below) and am so proud of myself for the work I put in and how I showed up for myself the way I did. I am now able to contribute a positive birth narrative, the powerful tools that worked for me and share with other mamas that it is possible to have the birth you want after trauma and as a survivor. I’ll be sharing more on this topic in coming posts as I am also currently working on a documentary about the long term affects of sexual assault on the birthing person and on the birth spectrum.

My intentions:

1. To remain present in my body.

2. To move my body.

3. To turn off my thinking brain.

4. To listen to & trust my body & my baby’s innate wisdom.

5. To let my birth unfold naturally, undisturbed.

6. To use my voice aloud (talking to my body, baby and any resources I needed to call on).

7. To not say “I can’t”.

8. To catch my baby!

9. To have my placenta detach and deliver without intervention or an ER visit!

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or are looking for some guidance to claim your right to an empowering birth post trauma or not. 

Our Birth Team also my postpartum team! – (this was smart pandemic planning!)

Birth Doula: Daisy Hamony of Monarca Birth 

Sibling Support + Photographer & Videographer: Lauren Archer of Love of a Little One (We also took our childbirth class with her and she is our lactation consultant for new babe)

Midwife: Lauren French Hoy of MadreLuz LA Midwifery Services

———————————————————————————————————————–

*Special thank yous to the following womxn for their various tools that I incorporated during this birth.*

Lauren Archer of Love of a Little One for our childbirth class and SO much off the clock love and support.

Marie Mongon of Hypnobirthing

Sheila Kamara Kay of Ecstatic Birth

Debra Pascali-Bonaro of Orgasmic Birth

Robin McLeavy of Birth Temple

– xOx

How to Not Lose Your Self Care Practice this Holiday Season OR How to Start One!

Bending bamboo takes patience, intention and acceptance.

(This 1 minute video is of me in a guest room during the holidays post flow!)

Traveling and the holidays have a way of shifting us out of our routine and comfort zone and since sooooo many people are about to travel (+ be inundated with a plethora of various conversations, both wanted and unwanted) I thought I could offer one of my most beloved tools for Self care, Glo, (formally known as Yogaglo). It’s a really convenient and ahhh-mazing app. You can use it to take 5 minutes to 60+ minutes JUST FOR YOU…or you can share it, tis the season. Seriously tho, you can tailor the time you have plus your various wants to get to the flow of your dreams! I have been able to stay consistent with my daily intention of yoga and meditation because of their app and I share it with errrreybody, so the publicity continues! 😊

Although I was made aware of and sporadically used the app since 2012, I made a conscious decision in January 2014 to commit myself to a practice of daily yoga and that commitment has stuck for 6 years this January thanks to the existence of Glo! Here are some of the reasons I love it:

  • It has almost 4k classes offering various yoga flows, guided meditations and pilates!
  • I can tailor my yoga flow to whatever my needs are for that particular moment in time! They legit have drop down windows for everything from duration (5 minutes to 120 minutes and everything in between). Body parts- wake up with a crick in my neck? Low back pinch? Tight hips? No problem! I can 100% pick which body part I want to focus. Style…they have 16 styles to choose from, from kundalini to yin to prenatal and postnatal. Choose from teachers, type of focus, level, prop, and then some. THE BEST PART, I can select from multiple drop down menus, press apply and it will bake all that ish together and show me all the 10 minute restorative shoulder-focused flows. I’m telling you this app is good!
  • I can pick programs that will have weekly classes slated for me if there’s something specific I’m working on like abs, energy or handstands!
  • The teachers are bomb.com. They are good and some of them come from different parts of the country and the world to teach on here. Many of the people teaching on Glo are teacher’s teachers, some I’ve seen on covers of yoga magazines. I know I am in the hands of people who really love their craft, know their ish and that makes me feel I’m in the care of masters.
  • I can literally take my yoga practice and flow anywhere via a smart tv, a computer, tablet or phone, whatever device that I happen to be at home or traveling with, it just has to be able to open the app or website. Yes, I can even do it offline as the app allows me to download up to 10 flows
  • It helps me wake up. I am a terrible morning person, it’s been a life long mission of mine to be a “natural” morning person and that will probably continue until the end of my time here. However, I half-open my eyes, sometimes brush my teeth and zombie walk straight to my mat every morning, usually wearing nothing more than my dras and a nursing bra most of the time, all the while planning on when I can take a nap later. It never fails, a few-ish or more minutes into moving my body, I awaken and then I meditate after it sets my tone for every day. I do believe starting my days like this has made me such a better human!
  • I don’t have to think. Another fave of mine. I took my first yoga class in 2004, I can craft a flow together everyday if I wanted to, but I don’t want to, especially in the AM! I want someone else to lead me mindlessly through poses, reminding me which parts of my body to lengthen, open, encouraging me and reminding me to breathe.
  • I have leveled up in my yoga skills through this app, but even if I had never taken a yoga class in my life before using this app, I could have learned and leveled up from beginner to more experienced classes that they offer.
  • They have a 15 day free trial period! That’s a no brainer!
  • It’s only $18 a month, that’s like 1 class in a studio and if I had to go to a studio (remember I’m not a morning person) I wouldn’t do yoga nearly as much. That’s no shade to yoga studios and the practitioners who work in them, I love human touch and I still love to go to an in person class when I can for real life adjustments and connection, for sure. I just like to do yoga whenever I want to as much as I want to and typically in my skimps with a toddler wondering around the house or my body! As a mom, I’d also need a babysitter to go to a studio and I’m budgeting this $18 okay?! I got finance goals over here, this Mama has a dream of Financial Freedom!
  • *IF* you live in Southern California or have any plans to visit, their studios are based in Santa Monica and you can take an in person class for $FREE.99! It’s so trippy to physically be in the space that I watch on a screen everyday!

My only con, which is so minuscule compared to all the pros, is sometimes they delete flows to make room for new classes and it sucks to look for the exact flow I want to do and it not exist on the site anymore…waaaaannhh!

I have used yoga and mediation through this app when going through one of the biggest crises of my life, see Healiversary. I’ve used it through hopeful Conscious Conception, pregnancy, postpartum and now parenting, they got classes for it all! I’ve used this app to get me through injuries of both the body and the heart, losses, wins and to quiet this loud a$$ mind of mine! Now it kind of sounds like I’m working for Glo and really pushing it, but the reality is, my life changed and I’ve benefited so much from my yoga practice because I’ve been able to have accessibility to it because of this this app that I just want to share it with everyone from family to friends and many a stranger because I believe everyone can benefit from yoga and meditation. Honestly tho, I really could be getting a kickback with as many people that I’ve shared this app with, you hear that Glo?!? 🙂

We can close with a quote from glo’s own site that basically sums up all of my gushing “YogaGlo is an online subscription service for yoga classes. You pay a monthly fee and have 24/7 unlimited access to classes from some of the industry’s most illustrious and beloved yoga teachers.” That’s what she said right?

– xOx

It’s My Healiversary

I’m following / quietly now / trusting / eyes closed / holding Your hand / feeling You move mountains / I hear your silence / “trust Me” / fists unclench / I’m ready / releasing control / I follow

series

In fact, today, August 9, is my 4th healiversary! What’s a healiversary? Well, it’s the anniversary of someone’s healing, this person’s healing. It’s the anniversary of the day, month and year that I took extreme action to change the course of my life. I grabbed the wheel of this sinking ship that was my life and steered it out of the miry clay, well more like a blackhole vortex where I was being sucked up and would vanish from this world. I created my healiversary because I don’t remember the dates of any of the trauma I’ve endured (and honestly I don’t want to), but I will always remember the day I took the biggest risk of my life in hopes that I could save myself. Now I hope that by sharing my story, I can encourage others to do the same.

In 2015, I hit rock bottom. Hard. My final moment of clarity came while leaning on a 4th floor fire escape with some random stranger in my neighborhood, drunk as a skunk and high off of…God only knows, I can only guess. I had the “what the F am I doing” moment. It became even more clear when I finally made it home that night at the break of dawn to my husband of 1 year and he told me to get out. I get it. I wouldn’t have put up with that shit either. It wasn’t the first time I had casually strolled in after 2am blacked out drunk. As I stumbled along for the mile it took me to get to a friend’s apartment (pre ride-share days) the creeping morning’s embers were starting to break through and they lit up a fork in the road, one path ended with me dead in a ditch, the other, an arduous path of dealing with demons that I thought had been locked away and “forgotten” about.

I’m still not sure what exactly triggered my downward descent on fast forward in 2014-2015, what I’ve coined my “dark period”. It wasn’t the first time I spiraled out of control in my life, but this time was different. The behavior was worse and having recently committed to building a life with someone else, it was seriously affecting their life as well. I believe it was a culmination of three things that escorted me to my bottom. In 2014, I had begun a daily practice of yoga, mediation and writing, so I was opening a channel and hearing in a way I never had before. Come to find out, marriage can be a huge trigger for unresolved trauma, especially sexual trauma. Lastly, I began volunteering with a budding nonprofit, More Than No, whose aim was and is to champion consent-culture through artistic activism. I thought while I quietly helped others, I could help myself, without actually talking about any of my own deep-seated wounds. Without being conscious of it, I had activated an internal volcano.

You see, (inhale) I’m a childhood sexual assault survivor, from ages 7-14, I was sexually assaulted and raped by 5 different people. I never talked about my past or let myself think about it. I believed it was something that happened, it was over, so I needed to move on. I pushed it to the deep crevices of my body and brain where I trusted it would accompany me to the grave. But, honey, let me tell you, secrets make you sick and what you repress gets expressed. That is 100% truth. 

Through my daily meditation practice, I began to hear a clear voice in my stillness and it went on repeat for months. Every morning I would receive messages like, “you need to leave”, “you need to be alone”, “you need a space of your own”. WHAT?! No. That was crazy. Who leaves a new marriage, where was I going to go? How would I afford to go out on my own in Los Angeles? What would we do with our apartment? And all the how, why, what questions that I could possibly populate. The more I ignored it though, the louder it got and me trying to drown it out showed up in the bottom of liquor bottles, beer cans and wine glasses all across the city. It felt like I was living life moving against sandpaper. I shared these thoughts with maybe 1-2 people that I thought I could trust and they also confirmed that this was nutso and not a possibility. I even shared the idea of me getting my own place temporarily with my husband, but he was obvi not a fan. He told me if I left, it was over and I knew he meant it. I didn’t want to end our marriage, I just needed to be in silence and solitude. So I stayed and the voice got progressively louder therefore the drinks got stronger in order to drown it out. That is until an opportunity like no other came along, a sublet in a friend’s apartment fell in my lap at the exact same time that a family friend was coming to visit and needed a place to stay. I worked it out with them to stay in our home and pay my 1/2 of the rent. I needed to leave, but I wasn’t going to leave my partner without stability.

On August 9, 2015, I sacrificed & risked everything I had. I left my husband, my home, my possessions, my entire life and I moved my things to a sublet in an undisclosed location. I waited for a weekend that he was out of town, not to be sneaky, he knew what I was planning, whether he believed I’d do it or not is a different story, but I couldn’t bare to move my things while he was home. I was knowingly breaking his heart and he was adamant that I was the one ending our marriage. The fear of that kept me home longer. I tried to sell it as a sabbatical, that I thought I would return, but he wasn’t having it and honestly, I didn’t really know what the result would be once I left. I stayed as long as I could, slowly killing myself and torturing him. By multiple miracles, I picked up my broken heart, my suitcase, my dog and I left. Let me tell you, that was hands down the hardest decision and biggest risk I’ve ever taken and as I recount this time in my life, I’m brought to tears again. I had to leave in order to save myself, but no one could understand why. Not even me! All I can say was it was a strong knowing. I had no explanation or knew what would happen, I just knew I had to trust myself and go. I told no one know where I lived, I didn’t talk to anyone, including family for two months. I fasted, I stopped going to any and all social activities, got off of social media, I went to work and therapy only. In the apartment I did yoga, meditated, wrote, read, wrote some more, cried, so much crying. I did as much intensive therapy as I could afford, I chose therapy over food. I was doing double sessions, multiple times a week sessions, I was committed to stopping this fast track to destruction that I was on. And do you know that once I was able to voice what had happened to me 20+ years earlier the negative behaviors ceased. I stopped drinking, I stopped feeling the need to numb myself and blackout. That was all it took. I mean, it was a lot of intentional dedicated hard af work, but saying what had happened to me out loud and sharing with a trusted person in a safe space was the key that unlocked my healing journey. 

I had to risk everything I was and loved to look in the crevices of my own dark corners to become who I am now; a healthy content women whose able to make conscious choices and not ones based out of old survival patterns. 4 years later, I’m so grateful. I’m in the healthiest relationship that I’ve ever been in, by the grace of Spirit, my husband was receptive when I shared with him the details of my past and he was willing to go back to counseling with me as we rebuilt all that was lost in the fire. We were able to purposely procreate and because of the work that we’ve done together, we are able to be conscious gentle parents to an almost 2 year old. For the first time in my life, I believe that I am worthy and that I matter because I exist. Having a healiversary reminds me of how far I’ve come, that I have agency over my life and I am mother-effin strong! Happy Healiversary to me! 

Important sidenote: The photos I used for this healiversary series on IG, were taken under the tree where I was first assaulted at just 7 years old. A couple of months ago when visiting family on the east coast, I asked my husband to go with me to my old neighborhood. It was completely out of the way and we would have to rent a car, but I needed to go and I wanted my family to be with me. I had only lived at this place for maybe a year of my life but I remember everything about it like I had lived there my entire life. I didn’t go there to relive the trauma, what I was hoping for was validation of the accuracy of my memory. I had distinct details burned into my visual memory, but after repressing something for 20+ years you question yourself and your own credibility. What’s even real? Could I be wrong? Did I make it up? And on and on as we survivors do on the same level that we blame ourselves. This pursuit of mine was healing on a variety of levels, especially having my 1 year old son there with me, he helped show me what innocence looked like in that space. What amazed me the most was that after all of these years, everything I remembered was 100% correct, everything minus some updated playground equipment. From the path I used to walk around the playground on to the wooden 2-rail fence to the tall oaks that I used to  catch helicopters from and most importantly, to the tree that I was assaulted under. Through this experience I gained a trust for myself that I had been lacking my entire life and a more profound belief in all survivors’ memory recall #ChristineBlaseyFord. We were there for maybe 20 minutes when the heavens opened up and poured down on us as if saying, you don’t need to be here any longer, you got what you came for. We left, in peace and the rain ceased as soon as we got back in the car. The whole experience was emotional and surreal. Thank you for holding space with me by reading my story. 

If I can impart anything to you, dear reader, if you’re in crisis, find a trusted professional resource like a therapist, there are sliding scale spaces. Also, turn down the outside noise and listen to yourself and what you need, our higher Self is always trying to come through if we just listen. 

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anaïs Nin

RESOURCE SHARES

Books: (PS. these books are available on kindle! I didn’t want people knowing all my business while I was healing, I wasn’t planning on sharing my secrets ever!)

The Marriage Sabbatical

When a Woman You Love Was Abused

The Courage to Heal + The Companion Workbook

Online

A guide to help you figure out how and where to find a therapist

Southern California Counseling Center– low cost and sliding scale services, this is where I began my journey.

RAINN– is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and they have a 24/7 confidential free hotline. 800-656-HOPE.

Pandora’s Project– a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support, and resources to survivors of rape and sexual abuse and their friends and family. They have an online anonymous message board that was uber helpful for me to talk about my experiences and read about others who had similar experiences, this is where I learned that marriage can be a trigger for survivors.

Sunlight Survivors Retreats– I went to one of their retreats in Southern California and I learned and healed so much. They take very good care of survivors. Created by a survivor that I personally know.

More Than NO– is an outreach and educational group. Created by a survivor that I personally know.

Trauma Queen– a podcast series that hosts conversations with survivors, therapists, partners, educators, and experts. The goal of TQ is to normalize talking about assault and healing for us all. Providing a free resource, each episode will highlight active and productive steps forward for survivors and allies. Created by a survivor that I personally know.

– xOx

How to Plan and Budget for a Green Wedding: Part 1

This was an original post from my previous website and blog, The Green Queen! Original date is May 2012.

As the self-proclaimed Green Queen, I’ve always been a tree hugger (and labeled as one). It is and has always been very important to me to be eco-conscious in all areas of my life. This dates back to my early years when I would hide my grandmother’s aerosol hairspray cans so she couldn’t destroy the ozone layer anymore! I was going to save the world, one hairspray can at a time! Now from covert green ops to full-frontal mission: I embark on a new chapter of life, MARRIAGE! I am planning our wedding to be as ‘green’ as possible! I was nudged to share my ideas, tips and the process. Here’s plans from round 1 of brainstorming!

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The Future Mr. & Mrs.
(in 2012!…babies)

Our carbon footprint. My fiancé and I were born and raised in the Washington DC metro area and we both come from GINORMOUS families, (between the two of us we have 40+ aunts and uncles and that does not include spouses or their children- adding those numbers up and you’ve got about 160 right there). I mean we went 10 deep just to view the space which was bare bones! Sooooo, instead of having a crap-load of F&F (friends and family) fly to our home in California, the two of us and *hopefully* a few friends from the west coast, will be flying east for the fiesta!

Our venue. We are getting married on the campus of our alma mater, The University of Maryland, (gag so sweet, right?!) UMD has tons of resources. UMD is in the middle-ish of our respective hometowns so our F&F from the east coast can car pool or take the metro to our ceremony.  The ceremony, reception and the hotel are all located on campus, everyone will be able to use their feet and the clean campus shuttles as modes of transportation! The icing on the cake is…drumroll…that we will be married on the first stage we performed on together, (so sweet, right?), The Dekelboum Theatre, which is located inside the beautiful and nostalgic Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (CSPAC).

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Dekelboum Concert Hall
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A Rabbit’s Tale
(the Future Mr. is inside that giant puppet and I’m on the back of the little puppet!

Sustainability. I have already been in touch with the school’s Department of Sustainability and we are working together along with the campus’s catering, Good Tidings, to create a green catering menu. We will be trying to utilize only local and seasonal fare for the reception as well as having a mostly vegetarian spread (might have some seafood). We will also be setting up different disposal areas for compost, recycling and trash (the latter we hope will be the smallest of the disposal bins!). Within these areas we will post lists to let our guests know what is acceptable in each! Many people don’t realize how many things are actually compostable and recyclable.

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Veggie Gazpacho w/Pabst bear foam

Transportation. We will be utilizing the campus’s shuttle buses (the same ones we used to ride as undergrads!) to take our guests to and from the hotel. UMD has a fleet of over 60 hybrid and clean diesel campus shuttles and they seat about 40 people per bus.

DIY decorations. I’m currently in the R&D stage with decorations! I’ve joined and become insanely addicted to Pinterest– check out my creative flow. I’m looking at paper flowers, broach bouquets, boa altars, painted mason jars, etc etc- there are soooo many eco-friendly options!

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Broach bouquet

No flowers. Also in the same R&D phase as decorations. I’d rather have personal funky and colorful decorations, I’m not into cut flowers and for me, personally, I feel that they’re a waste. I live amongst living beautiful flowers every day, all seasons of the year in LA, I don’t want to see them cut and than quickly die. Cut flowers also have a negative environmental impact. See here.

Gifts. Still trying to figure this part out. For us -sending and/or taking the love home with us. For our guests – I want to have some kind of cute green party favors for all!

Website and e ‘save the dates’ + invitations. Much to the dismay of he, we will be utilizing technology to the fullest for all of our tech saavy F&F, especially those that like to misplace items ;). The website will save paper and time by having one concrete location for all of our information, i.e. reservation links, guest book, directions and updates. The e-‘save the dates’ will def save paper and can allow our F&F to have digital copies of pictures to send on, print out and post online.

So far so good…I hope, I pray! *Fingers crossed* Now off to Robeks in Hollywood to meet a friend and fellow green gal who has expertise in green event planning. Let’s see what ideas we can conjure up together on dresses, decorations, food etc.

– xOx

Normalize Breastfeeding / World Breastfeeding Week 2018

My body feeds / contracts / reacts and breathes // I multiply / I replete / I complete cycles on repeat // I’m from the heavens / I’m from the earth / I’m from the places that you’ve never heard. – excerpt from Celestial Bodies

| n o r m a l i z e  B R E A S T F E E D I N G |

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Photo cred: Mama Niela. Click on the photo for more of her phenom work!

Is it cray to anyone else that we need to normalize something that’s…normal?! So normal in fact that it happens as naturally as breathing. The female body lactates, it’s what it does after giving birth. Yes, I’m aware that some women have issues with breastfeeding, I was one of those women, but my body did produce milk all on its own within days of birthing this big ole baby. For me, it was never a question of if I was going to breastfeed, if I could, I was going to, it’s what I was looking forward to the most, since that’s something I missed out on doing with my first. I did however romanticize the easiness of it. It was hard and really freakin painful. I had no idea how to do it or how much support I would need or that I would need to be taught how to do it. I envisioned birds would chirp around us as deer gathered at my feet and light beams shot out of us the moment his lips attached to my breast in an effortless latch. HAHA! Not quite. Thank Goddess for my midwife, postpartum doulas & lactation consultants (I was seen by 3!) because no one in my family had much advice on the matter as I contacted female family members crying and looking for encouragement only to find out that I was one of 3 out of 23 women in my immediate family to breastfeed. Yup. That’s it. It hasn’t been common, it’s def not normalized and breasts are still overtly sexualized and gross- ew boobs! I am part of a lineage of women who chose to formula feed vs breastfeed. I was a formula-fed baby, so I’m not completely dissing it. I seem to have turned out fine and I have one hell of an immune system. Finding out I was in the minority in my family tho led me to ask why on a larger scale and I began learning that women were sold “convenience” by a big ass *$70 billion industry and lied to about our milk. Women were made to feel that breastfeeding was inconvenient, dirty and that our milk, the one that is chemically altered on the daily to meet our babies needs, is inferior to formula and EVEN COW’S MILK for Goddess sakes! Why would I feed my baby another mammal’s milk if I have the ability to feed them my own…I rant. Scene.

I didn’t realize what a supportive breastfeeding bubble I live in, in Southern California until I traveled to the east coast this spring. I did not expect to feel so out of place, judged and even shunned while nursing my baby.
Here’s a few of the things I heard from my family:
Ugh! He spit up on me! It’s her milk, so gross. (Male to a group of male family members).
Oh god, you’re breastfeeding right now?! (Male. We were in the dark and Baby was in a carrier, but the mere thought of me breastfeeding was enough for him to have to leave the premises).
Could you cover up while we’re here? I don’t think 91yo Grandpa G can handle seeing you breastfeed. (Male).
I thought only my mom did that. (11 year old Female, because she has not seen ANYONE else nurse!)
You can give him some whole milk now. (Female, also a head nurse at her hospital. My son was 7 months old).
What’s your nursing plan? How long do you plan on breastfeeding him? (Male & Female from the east coast to the west coast x100, everyone feels the need to know how long I plan to whip out the titty to feed my baby as if it somehow affects their life).

All of the above and so much more because my son does not like to be covered up while nursing, I mean, would you want to eat blindfolded under an unventilated piece of fabric? This, is why we have to normalize. Our bodies, the female body, the ones that choose to birth, were also created to sustain our babies lives. In fact the World Health Organization recommends “breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.” In Amuuurica, we are dealing with dum dee dum dums in our government that didn’t even want to sign a breastfeeding resolution that basically states “countries should limit the misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes, as a mother’s breast milk has been shown to be the healthiest for children in decades of research.” And yet there’s more, “The resolution was expected to pass easily, but U.S. delegates aimed to remove language that encouraged countries to ‘protect, promote and support breast-feeding’ in an alleged alignment with baby formula manufacturers.” The American hypocrisy-democracy live in the sticky icky green-lined pockets of loyal lobbyists, who they brought WITH them to the damn Assembly in Geneva! Oh and PS., the US threatened other countries into not signing it until they were ultimately foiled by none other than MotherEffing Russia. How fitting?

If I still lived where I was raised, I’m not sure that I would have made it through those first 7+ weeks to my now “lookin hella easy” breastfeeding status. I can do this shit walkin, talkin and chewin gum now, so yeah, I’m a BF-G. To all of the badass breastfeeding Mamas out there, keep posting your beautiful boobies, your stories and the FACTS to support the Mothers that choose to and can breastfeed feel less nervous and more supported! No one should ever be shamed or sexualized (unless you’re into that) when it comes to feeding and connecting with our babies! I will continue breastfeeding (read: breastfeed forever) to normalize it in my own family!

I’ll leave you with this.

“A 2016 study published by The Lancet says breastfeeding could save the lives of 823,000 children and 20,000 mothers each year. In addition, universal breastfeeding could save $300 billion in reduced health care costs and improved economic prospects for children.”

*The Times reported that the baby food market is a $70 billion industry.

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– xOx