The Stars Within

She stepped barefoot through the wet grass,

Green flecks sticking to her toes.

The wind pushed back her hair like invisible fingers,

Tracing the outline of her features.

She held a cross-body bag close to her hip,

Her hand clinging to the top zipper,

Fearful that its’ precious contents would spill out.

She gently undid the top of the bag,

Wedged her hand inside and grasped a small book.

It was drenched in stardust,

Trickling onto the ground and her skirt; sticking to her palms,

There was a trail of wet, dewy stars trailing behind her.

She carried a tiny, infinite universe within her bag,

It held endless possibilities and it was up to her to dream and create them.

She wrote and drew all of her wishes, hopes, and desires in her star-kissed book.

Every time she did, she created more stars, nebulas, and everlasting life and light.

Anything and everything she wanted,

All she had to do was visualize and she instantly created it.

 

She was grateful for her gifts and abilities,

However, there was a loneliness inside her heart,

She yearned for someone extraordinary to share her creations with.

She began to write down all of the qualities she would like in another,

She was detailed in her wishes and a small nebula started to form.

It was tucked away in the corner of her universe, between two planets.

She waited patiently but the nebula did not expand as quickly as others had before,

It seemed suspended in its’ growing state.

She continued on, designing more and more of her unbounded universe,

And soon she put the beautiful, odd nebula out of her starry head.

 

With every dream and star she created,

Another piece of her was unmasked,

Gathered from the lush and vaporous universe.

Soon, her whole heart was revealed as she gazed at her cosmos, satisfied with her innovations.

In the corner of her eye, the unusual nebula began to spread out,

Clouds of colors and light start to form until an immense orb of light shoots out into the vastness.

She shields her eyes.

When she regains her vision, the nebula is gone.

All that remains is the night sky and stars in the distance.

 

Perplexed by the strange occurrence, she scoops up her bag and continues walking.

Tiny droplets start to fall from the clouds up above,

Beads cling to her cheeks and eyelashes as she starts to jog out of the rain.

Puddles form on the ground and she realizes that they are full of stardust.

She looks up at the clouds and they emulate the nebula mist she saw in her universe.

 

She sees something up ahead through the starry haze and her breath is taken away.

On the path, there’s a bright figure of glimmering fog floating in her direction,

As the silhouette glides closer, she senses a sparkling energy in the air, pulsing from the tiny, electrifying cloud.

Distance starts to close in and a feeling of familiarity and intimacy rush and warm through her heart, radiating outwards.

Her legs pull towards the cloud like a magnet,

As she approaches, reaching her fingers out, the mist envelops her in its’ stunning, warm light.

It seeps into her skin, flowing through her body, filling and saturating her.

All at once, she feels full, whole and light as an angel’s feather.

Her eyes are shimmering more than ever before.

She is the most brilliant and radiant star in her sky.

She is complete –filled with all of the love she has given to every starry fragment.

She is her ultimate creation; she is her universe.

 

 

I’ve been working on this short story for a few weeks now. I kept going back to it, changing and revising it because I never felt like it was complete. In the beginning, I had planned to have her meet the love of her life in the ending but it just didn’t feel right after it was all laid out on paper –something was off. It seemed like one of those Disney fairytales where the princess cannot be truly happy or whole until the prince comes to rescue her. In my feminist habits, this is absolutely furthest from the message that I wanted to convey.

However, writing this has been a journey all on its’ own for my own realization that the only true love that you should be looking for is the one with yourself. You know in your heart that you deserve more than the relationships that you’ve had in the past, so why don’t you act with that purpose? Knowing is one thing but acting with that knowledge is true wisdom.

You can only find your better whole when you’ve created yourself first. That’s one of the major lessons of life –we’re uncovering so many different pieces of ourselves along the way. Sometimes our path gets shrouded with missteps and we end up following our emotions rather than what our heart is really trying to tell us. I feel it’s rather simple but we overcomplicate it so much that we lose the true meaning of life and of love.

Create yourself and I don’t mean in the way that you need to make up who you are. You already are who you are –give as much love as you can to every piece of yourself; you’ll unfold and blossom. Use that passion to build yourself up, never tear yourself down; learn what works and what doesn’t; take time to heal when another’s actions harm you –your scars are lessons that make you resilient. But truly, once you find that passion within, it’s like you unveil all of the parts of yourself that you never realized were there. Your own creativity and your love will move the mountains that you place in your own way. And once you fully act with love, there’s no reason for your true self to be covered up anymore. And maybe that’s when you’ll find someone that sees that beauty and loves every piece of you.


 

I have also created artwork inspired by my poem:

SWB1-3SWB4-6

These are all separate bookmarks -high quality prints on crisp, thick paper stock, and laminated.

Purchase at the MS. Art Store!

 

©MoniqueAdrianne

A Toxic Culture Within a Volatile Society

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I had parked farther away than I normally do and was walking across the dimly lit parking lot. The clicking of my boot heels on the concrete echoed loudly off the building walls, emphasizing my presence to others. I noticed glances and stares in my direction as I attempted to soften and speed up my stride simultaneously. This unwanted attention sparked my anxiety as my heartrate rose; my palms started to sweat as I held my keys firmly in between my knuckles. I swiftly closed my distance to my destination, as the panic slowly began to melt away…

For any woman walking alone at night, this description is all too familiar as to what it feels like to live in a society that supports rape culture. We live by a “rape schedule” –due to the constant, immobilizing fear of rape, we attempt to protect ourselves by implementing routines, behaviors, and actions throughout our day.11 While these precautions can make us feel better and occasionally “safe,” they are in no way effective at protecting women from a volatile society. While this election year has illuminated various issues such as, racism, sexism, and xenophobia, the most prominent has been rape culture. As blatant as the current political climate has taken advantage of sexism and other various feminist issues, it has become increasingly clear that: definitions have become tangled, sexual assault and women’s experiences have been reduced to a matter of opinion, the backlash against women has become increasingly hostile, and the acceptance and enabling of violence against women has become normalized.

In the last century, as feminism has gained a foothold in the political sphere, a common tactic utilized by Conservatives and Anti-Feminists is to warp and contort the defining terms we implement to emphasize oppression. Somehow the term rape culture incites fear in the hearts of many Conservatives and feminists end up being blamed for supposedly policing the behavior of men. Rush Limbaugh stated in early November: “The left will promote and understand and tolerate anything as long as there is one element. Do you know what it is? Consent…If the left ever senses and smells that there’s no consent in part of the equation then here come the rape police.”4 It seems ridiculous that we need to have this conversation but what the talk show host described is the exact definition of sexual assault which involves forcible sexual contact or behavior with no consent.7 Rape culture can be defined by the many means in which society reproaches sexual assault victims and normalizes sexual violence.14 “Rape culture includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable.”14 Our society and institutions were built upon not only racism but sexism and misogyny as well. Rather than regarding these realities as the problem, within a rape culture society these issues are perceived as fixed, unchangeable, and considered the norm. Violence against women should never be considered normal, but here we are in 2016 still needing to define and explain why sex without consent is in fact sexual assault and purely wrong in any circumstance.

Every woman has a story –we have all experienced or witnessed some type of sexual harassment or assault in our lives. Yet, why don’t we talk about it? On the afternoon of Friday, October 7th, a 2005 Access Hollywood tape was leaked to the media which depicts Donald Trump bragging crudely about touching women inappropriately without their consent.3 In the following hours, critics took to social media creating a trending topic using the hashtag, #NotOkay.12 In the midst of this social media firestorm, Kelly Oxford, a Canadian author, shared her first sexual assault experience and encouraged other women to share as well: “Women: tweet me your first assaults. they aren’t just stats. I’ll go first: Old man on city bus grabs my ‘pussy’ and smiles at me, I’m 12.”6 In response, she received more than a million replies from women sharing their hostile experiences for roughly 14 hours straight.12 In the days and weeks ahead several women came forward to share their personal accounts of Trump’s unacceptable sexual behavior. As of October 24th, NPR updated a living article to reflect the 19 accusations against Trump for non-consensual sexual conduct.5 This should have been the end of the Presidential campaign –the final nail in the coffin, the straw that broke the camel’s back, the last needle in the pin cushion. Instead, a flurry of supporters came to the President-elect’s defense: “Surrogates on national news platforms rushed to defend Trump’s comments as just ‘locker room talk,’ something ‘all men do, at least all normal men,’ as Carl Paladino put it. Other defenders have gone a step further, arguing that the GOP nominee was simply trying to be manly –his son Eric Trump characterized Trump as acting like an ‘alpha,’ while TV pastor Pat Robertson said Trump was just trying to seem ‘macho.’”8 Trump is the embodiment of toxic masculinity that sustains and nourishes rape culture and male sexual entitlement. Remarks such as “locker room talk” and “all men do it,” are an attempt to normalize sexual assault as being a part of masculinity and to silence the victims that come forward. “Because from pornography to comedy, men learn that one thing will always be theirs for the taking: women.”10 Apparently, in order to be a “real man,” it is societally expected for men to exert their dominance over women –and this dominance is frequently exploited through sexual harassment and assault regardless if women are willing.13 Women’s experiences of rape culture were completely overshadowed and disregarded by the medias’ consistent replaying of Trump’s absurd defense team. This could have been a moment for shared experiences, support, and learning from one another. This could have been the first steps toward “fixing” or “solving” rape culture; however, toxic masculinity shouted louder and the normalization of sexual assault seeped into the minds of young people, further solidifying the vicious cycle of misogyny.

And then in the dark, early morning of Wednesday, November 9th, it came to be that Americans elected an alleged sexual predator as the next President of the United States. If that fact does not scream rape culture, I do not know what else will. The acceptance and support of his violent and hateful rhetoric became more upsetting than Trump himself. Even though statistics show that sexual assaulters are a very small percentage of the population, it is still the larger whole of society that accepts, enables, and condones their actions. “When Billy Bush eggs on Trump’s disgusting behavior, or Trump’s supporters argue that he was not describing sexual assault, they help support a culture that permits sexual violence and makes it easier for perpetrators to walk free. Or, run for president.”2 What’s even more astonishing is that 53% of white women voted for Donald Trump.1 Unfortunately, for feminists, this story is all too familiar and a consistent pattern within women’s history in which white women align themselves with powerful white men for passive self-empowerment. Within a rape culture, it tends to be privileged women that internalize misogyny and racism to help stabilize the unequal and toxic social structure of a society. “This is apparent in Elle magazine interviews with a handful of female Trump supporters after the election, who claim that they are ‘absolutely not racist’ and they really just care about the ‘economy’ and ‘get[ting] a good job.’ These women’s myopic worldview and unrepentantly American sense of individualism is not feminism, nor can they claim that they are not racists if they are willing to overlook the bigotry that fueled Trump’s campaign.”1 It seems that history continues to repeat itself. While there can be many explanations as to why a misogynist racist won the White House –everything from sexism theory, to blaming eligible voters for not voting, or third party candidates –what stands out in my mind is that within a rape culture, both men and women are accustomed to violent, cruel, and sadistic language. “The reason why this year’s election has caused a heightened and exacerbated sense of anxiety among many people is because Trump’s language is not your typical political rhetoric. In fact, the language he employs comes straight out of the handbook of toxic masculinity. He uses toxic tactics of emotional abuse –especially emotional abuse aimed at women –in order to put other people down. The tactics are powerful, emotionally violent, and often disarming against their victims.”9 Our society has become habituated to violence, hatred, and abuse. And how could we not? Toxic masculinity is the root and foundation of rape culture. It sets up women and men to fail: it enables victim blaming and to value a man’s career and future over a woman’s; it ensures that men suppress their emotions and suffer in silence; it validates turning a blind eye to women’s shared hostile experiences and automatically mistrusts any victim that comes forward; it permits homophobia and struggles to put sexuality into rigid, neat boxes; it attempts to regulate women’s sexuality and autonomy and deems uncontrolled women as sluts and whores; and it paralyzes half of the population into fear and thus, inaction, submissiveness, and passivity. There are many of us that knowingly or not, even in diminutive, passive ways, have come to accept, enable, and validate this abusive cycle of society. When the personification of toxic masculinity squawks countless lies, denies truth and facts, shifts blame, manipulates, humiliates, projects, exaggerates, generalizes, shames, and induces fear, it becomes wearing and increasingly difficult for those not familiar with the tactics of abuse to rise above the cycle of emotional exploitation. If we have nothing to fall back on, we internalize and project the very hatred we were trying to combat in the first place. And perhaps those that supported him have learned to fill themselves up with faux values, morals, and ethics from those that they see screaming the loudest because they were never taught to probe and question those in power.

Women in our society live by a “rape schedule” –we implement daily safeguards to protect ourselves from the fearful, unfamiliar stranger; when in reality, it is the familiar structure of society that permits the normalization of violence and misogyny that we should be more concerned about. Rape culture encompasses the many ways in which society chastises sexual assault victims and standardizes sexual violence and dominance over women. It is why today we still need to explain and defend the definition of rape and consent; why victims are dismissed and women’s shared experiences are reduced to a matter of opinion. And most of all, it is the very acceptance, enabling, and validation of emotionally abusive tactics of toxic masculinity that secure and sustain the societal sphere that paralyzes the population into submission, and punishes those that have the courage to question and act. Feminism over the last century has moved two steps forward and three steps back and when it seems like we have made remarkable progress, another mountain is set before us. We are constantly in an uphill battle for equality, bodily autonomy, and the never-ending struggle for basic human respect. We need to take into account that while both women and men are our allies, they can also be our opponents as well. We need to share our experiences and listen to one another and make each other feel safe –to accept our struggles, privileges, similarities and especially our differences –only then will we be able to rise again collectively.

1Bianco, M. (2016, November 14). White women voted for Trump in 2016 because they still believe white men are their saviors. Quartz. Retrieved from http://qz.com/835567/election-2016-white-women-voted-for-donald-trump-in-2016-because-they-still-believe-white-men-are-their-saviors

2Dirks, D. (2016, October 13). Progress would be accepting that Trump’s ‘locker room talk’ illustrates ‘rape culture.’ The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/10/13/what-did-donald-trump-reveal-about-progress-for-women/progress-would-be-accepting-that-trumps-locker-room-talk-illustrates-rape-culture

3Fahrenthold, D. (2016, October 8). Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-recorded-having-extremely-lewd-conversation-about-women-in-2005/2016/10/07/3b9ce776-8cb4-11e6-bf8a-3d26847eeed4_story.html

4Hesse, M. (2016, October 13). It’s come to this: 2016 is the rape election. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/its-come-to-this-2016-is-the-rape-election/2016/10/13/d2a2e326-90bc-11e6-a6a3-d50061aa9fae_story.html

5Kurtzleben, D. (2016, October 20). 1 more woman accuses Trump of inappropriate sexual conduct. Here’s the full list. National Public Radio. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2016/10/13/497799354/a-list-of-donald-trumps-accusers-of-inappropriate-sexual-conduct

6Oxford, K. [@KellyOxford]. (2016, October 7). Description of post content: women: tweet me your first assaults. they aren’t just stats. I’ll go first: Old man on city busy grabs my “pussy” and smiles at me, I’m 12. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/kellyoxford/status/784541062119456769

7Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). (2016). Retrieved from https://www.rainn.org/articles/sexual-assault

8Raymond, L. (2016, October 13). Trump’s campaign embraces rape culture. Think Progress. Retrieved from https://thinkprogress.org/donald-trumps-campaign-is-the-embodiment-of-rape-culture-and-toxic-masculinity-cce0e91fba5c#.6rrtawijb

9Sztokman, E. (2016, September 27). 10 emotional abuse tactics that Trump blatantly used in the first debate. Everyday Feminism. Retrieved from http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/09/trump-emotional-abuse-tactics/

10Tatum, E. (2015, May 20). 4 things we need to stop teaching boys to avoid nurturing their sexual entitlement. Everyday Feminism. Retrieved from http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/05/boys-sexual-entitlement/

11Valenti, J. (2007). Full frontal feminism. Emeryville, CA: Seal Press.

12Wang, A. (2016, October 8). This is rape culture: after Trump video, thousands of women share sexual assault stores. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/10/08/this-is-rape-culture-after-trump-video-thousands-of-women-share-sexual-assault-stories/

13Weiss, S. (2016, February 23). 6 harmful effects of toxic masculinity. Bustle. Retrieved from https://www.bustle.com/articles/143644-6-harmful-effects-of-toxic-masculinity

14Women against violence against women (WAVAW) rape crisis centre. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.wavaw.ca/what-is-rape-culture/

©MoniqueAdrianne

“Never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

I have cried more today than I have in all of my politically conscious life. I do not only cry for myself and how incredibly terrified I feel, but I cry for those around me whose lives and quality of life are in complete jeopardy. I cry for the women that felt it was acceptable to vote for a man that brags about sexually assaulting women and treats the dirt on his shoes with more respect than any woman in his life. I cry for the 49.5% of eligible voters that DID NOT VOTE because they felt that their voice didn’t carry any weight. And I cry for the millions if not billions of lives globally who do not have the security of peace from another world war. But for now my tears have subsided. They are still there, always willing to spill at the drop of a hat or a punch in the stomach by personal accounts from others that have dealt with more racism, sexism, and hatred today than they have ever experienced in recent years. And this is what will fuel me in the days and weeks ahead. This morning I felt absolutely defeated, hopeless, and helpless because I assumed that the majority of this country is full of hate and anger. But from watching these thousands of protesters across the country assemble completely organically…the high school students in CA that staged walkouts, the immigrants that have vowed not to leave without a fight…..this has inspired my faith in humanity again. After we take the time to heal and grieve, (and take as long as you need) it is now time to turn these tears and passion into action and activism. Where am I needed? What can I do? I will volunteer at women’s crisis centers, at Planned Parenthood clinics….we will take this shit underground if we need to. I vow from this point forward that I will NOT STOP FIGHTING TO PROTECT OUR RIGHTS AND OUR AUTONOMY. I will do my best to help those in my life and community that have been made to feel inferior or frightened in the presence of others’ ignorance. My mom experienced the 2nd women’s movement and my dad is a Vietnam veteran. They told me tonight that we will fix this and that they will do whatever it takes to protect our rights and keep us safe…So this is to my community and my friends and my family…what can I do? Do you need a hug? Do you want to talk? Do you want to sit and pray? Do you want to yell at the sky? Do you want to do some yoga? Do you want to take a walk in the woods together? What do we need right now to make each other feel safe? Because I will do whatever I can until my very last breath to make my loved ones feel safe again. Remember that there are more of us that are compassionate & empathetic than there are those that are spiteful and hateful. Love will ALWAYS trump hate. I will never stop believing that. Let’s heal, get inspired, and take action. We will rise again -I promise you that.  
©MoniqueAdrianne
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Stand Up -Not Just For Yourself But For Others

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I will always speak up for myself and others because I didn’t realize how powerful my voice was until I had been silenced.
“Whenever one person steps up and says, ‘Wait a minute, this is wrong,’ it helps others to do the same.” – Gloria Steinem

©MoniqueAdrianne

My Dream

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This is my dream.

Wanting to wake up early in the morning rather than having to.

Fluttering my eyes open casually at the end of my 4th or 6th REM cycle…sunlight filtering in through the shutters onto the sheets.

Grabbing my favorite coffee/tea cup and waiting for the sweet aroma of golden liquid to drip.

Sitting comfortably and leisurely at my desk, sipping the sweet, earthy flavor and letting it feed my inspiration and creativity…knowing that I have inspired and helped others.

My dream is to follow my passion and to wake up next to the one that I love everyday.

Now that I have it so vividly in my mind, I feel that it’s a reality that I can now create and mold to my liking.

©MoniqueAdrianne

Be The Change

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When I think of protests, I think of these images.
Nonviolent resistance. Sit-ins. Rallies. Marches. Picketing. Making love, and not war. Standing up for what you believe in. Influencing everything –the music, TV, film, literature, art…
That’s how real change is sparked. How you inspire millions to move together for a cause.
Anti-war, women’s rights, civil rights…Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, Bob Dylan, Gloria Steinem, Bob Marley…all of these movements and their leaders ignited real transforming action. They influenced an entire generation to take charge and make a difference –peacefully.

Looting and violence is not a protest. Combatting brutality and violence with aggression only creates more hostility. This is not how change happens. Violence produces more violence and bloodshed.

Take note from those that came before you. Realize what succeeded and what did not. Research and get inspired. There’s a better way to create change.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi

©MoniqueAdrianne

Sexual Health Is Your Priority

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I believe that I’ve taken for granted how lucky I am to have been able to grow up the way that I have. My family has always instilled a great education of sexual female health throughout my life. I think it probably helps that my sister is an OBGYN as well. 🙂

So when I come across others, especially women, that are completely unaware of their various birth control options, how their bodies work, & particularly how important gynecological visits are, my passion for women’s health & feminism is only ignited more brilliantly.

Our society unfortunately does a very good job at keeping women in the dark about their sexual health. The reason being is to control women’s lives & to do this, it is necessary to control women’s reproductive options. Thankfully there have been numerous outlets & resources created to combat this problem. However, I have come across far too many younger women that are sexually active, yet have never even thought to go to a gynecological exam. Yes, this has a lot to do with confidence & respecting your body, but this is also a clear representation of the way that young people are being taught about their health options. Too often this topic is glazed over, missing information, & especially introduced as a shameful subject.


All various sexes & genders should have full control of their own bodies, access to reproductive education, options, & services. This is first & foremost a matter of basic human rights & bodily integrity. Yet, if our institutions & society negate these needs, it is ultimately our responsibility to educate ourselves & others. Start a conversation! Use the internet as a tool! Actually walk into a physical bookstore! Talk to your friends, your doctor, your family. This should not be a disgraceful or shocking matter! And this change of perspective begins with each one of us!

©MoniqueAdrianne

(photo found on pinterest)

Do Not Ever Turn Your Back On Her

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Be the woman you want to spend time with.
Inspire, motivate, build her up, be kind to her.
(Do not call her names, tear her down, or be cruel)
When she dresses up -compliment and smile at her. Assure her that she is beautiful.
(Do not glare, roll your eyes, or give jealous stares)
Encourage, support, and speak positively to her.
(Do not call her any negative expletive: “bitch,” “slut,” or “whore.”)
When she is bold and strong, praise her.
(Do not view her strength as cattiness or competition.)

Do not ever turn your back on her.


Feminism is the belief in the social, economic, and political equality for both men and women, all sexes and all genders. (Let’s move past this idea of binary categories- sex and gender are fluid across all spectrums)


If you believe in this, you are a feminist. Do not let the negative connotations that patriarchal societies create deter you from supporting one another and making the world a better place -for EVERYONE.

©MoniqueAdrianne

She Paints Her Dreams With Parts of Her Soul

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I’ve always been encouraged throughout my creative career to sell my artworks or showcase them. Each time, I cannot bear the thought of it. Each drawing, painting, photograph, poem, story, and article that I have ever created, I have infused and forged a piece of myself into it. It’s as if I have chiseled pieces of my soul and placed them in each word, each drip of paint, and each click of the lens.


Every message and phone call exclaiming that you’ve seen these pieces of me encapsulated in my art is precisely (what I feel), every artist truly desires. That acknowledgement, that inspired reaction, the recognition, the…acceptance.
My hugest craving in life is to feel appreciated and loved. And when someone takes the time to notice and acknowledge my creativity, my heart flutters like a butterfly in my ribcage.


Artists create to express, and when their work sparks and ignites more creativity and passion –that’s ultimately what it’s all about. Thank you. ❤ 🙂

(Quote originally by Henry Ward Beecher but I changed “he” to “she” )

©MoniqueAdrianne

It’s All Within You

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No matter what happens, I am right where I need to be. What I desire is not always the Universe’s plan. Sometimes God has something much more marvelous and amazing in store for us.
Now is the time for inner work, meditation, patience, and having faith that the door will open when I am ready for it to be opened. There are clearly more lessons that need to be grasped.
Thank you for all of your love and support. It means the world to me having such incredible friends and family at my side.


“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” -Woody Allen

©MoniqueAdrianne

(artwork by Carly Marie)

 

 

Teach Me How to Trust Myself

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“Teach me how to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner knowing, the senses of my body, the blessings of my spirit. Teach me to trust these things so that I may enter my sacred space and love beyond my fear and thus walk in balance with the passing of each glorious sun.”

-Lakhota Prayer (the indigenous people of the Great Plains of North America)

Learn to trust ALL of yourself. You’re being unfair to your soul if you do not. ❤

©MoniqueAdrianne

 

What I’m Taking With Me -Lessons Learned in 2014 (Part Three)

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3. Tolerance and understanding.

As some of you may know, I am a slightly strong-headed individual… I’m sensitive, take things too personally; I’m open and very honest with what I’m feeling and at times I can come off as a little harsh to those around me.

There’s a difference that I’ve learned recently between assertiveness and aggression. Assertiveness is when you are confident in your decisions without being combative. I am positive and self-assured; yet, I’m particularly aggressive when it comes to voicing my opinions and feelings. My annoyance for those around me has only increased in recent years –even those that are not directly affecting me. If another’s opinions are directly in contrast with my own, I take it personally –I feel that their judgments are aimed straight at me. It’s thoughtless and rash to react in this way and I’ve come to recognize that.

As with any experience, I aim to look for the meaning and the lesson behind it. Of course it can be very difficult to look past infuriating moments to get to the core of its message. For example, in my office, it is quite common for openly racist, sexist, and elitist remarks to fly around constantly each day. It has become a very harsh environment to be exposed to.

I am of Mexican ethnicity and I have never caught on to learning Spanish. When racist comments are made regarding Mexican people, I make a point to remind them who I am. However, their dismissive responses are always, “We know, but you’re not that kind of Mexican,” or “You’re not really Mexican.”

There have been discussions expressing their opinions of impoverished, poor people –they believe that their financial standing is merely fault of their own and that they are lazy.

There have even been appalling statements made to the extent that any woman that claims she was raped is simply lying.

While all of this is discussed in front of me, I sit there, shocked and disgusted, attempting to keep my mouth shut. I know that voicing my difference of opinion will only cause friction and possible combative arguments. I realize that I alone may not be able to change their minds. The cost of speaking up is too high.

There is a reason why I am so passionate about what I believe in. When there are certain injustices in the world and the notion, “Someone should do something about this,” pops into our minds, we are meant to be that someone.

I understand my purpose, yet I am still frustrated with this anger that I feel when these comments arise. Tolerance and understanding is a lesson that I am currently being presented with. It is an open-ended understanding that I have not yet acquired and it could take my whole lifetime for me to comprehend. What am I meant to learn from these unpleasant people?

I’ve been pondering my moral dilemma for a few days and decided to ask a well-intentioned friend for his opinion. He said:

“You don’t have to be tolerant of their views but to get past the anger towards these people, an effort should be made to understand them instead. When we can recognize why another thinks a certain way, we don’t have to agree with them, but we can at least have consideration for where they’re coming from.”

I feel that his response was expressed perfectly! Our opinions, our beliefs, our emotions –they are each uniquely our own. We are shaped and molded by our personal experiences. Learning and growing to understand the distinct differences of others is the first step towards empathy. We do not have to agree with everyone. However, it would better ourselves and those around us –our communities, our states, our nations, and our world –to make an effort to understand each other. Acknowledgement of another’s struggles could be the missing key that is needed to expand our empathy and compassion–at the very least, it could diminish the anger that we feel towards others.

©MoniqueAdrianne

What I’m Taking With Me -Lessons Learned in 2014 (Part Two)

The following is part two of four parts in a series that I will be posting over the next few days.

These are my own personal lessons that I learned in 2014; hopefully you can take something from them as well. ❤

What lessons did you learn in 2014? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

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2. Let it go.

*starts singing Frozen song*

All Disney references aside…this year was very significant for me. Through a very difficult experience, I found another layer of forgiveness. I realized that I needed to stop holding onto things that no longer served their purpose in my life.

I believe that forgiveness and letting go is one of the most trying lessons that one can experience –sometimes others are never able to accept it. We’re only human –when we get hurt, our instinct is to close up like a shell and what hurts us is etched into our minds and hearts. Most of the time, remembering that pain leads us to clenching onto even more of our anger, fears, and other negativities. Our obligation to ourselves is to release these harmful reactions.

There was a very distressing event that I had experienced towards the end of 2013. I don’t think I’ve ever been more hurt or as angry as I became over it. It’s been a very tough process going through the repercussions including post-traumatic stress. Not only this, but the pain and hurt I feel towards the people involved as well as those that turned their backs on me continue to be heart wrenching. I still want to cry as I simply reflect. I feel it now in my heart –the tightening of my muscles as I still grasp onto the little bits and pieces of anger and misery that are remaining.

Letting go is in no way a simple practice –it’s a continuing and infinite progression. Memories spark emotions which lead to going through the process all over again –but it’s as if our weight gets lighter and lighter –chipping away until all we have left is the mere lesson that we were meant to acquire. No agony comes without meaning or depth –why do you think these emotions are so strong and overwhelming?

For a very long time, I continued to contemplate: what good would come from what happened? Over and over again there were still no answers. The only thing that began to make sense was my perspective in retrospect of the situation. The more I let go of my negative emotions, the clearer and less foggy the occurrence and the lesson behind it became.

Letting go and forgiving those that have hurt us is a tricky road but it is needed. We really cannot move forward if we are carrying all of the rocks and stones of the past –it’s just not possible. How can we embrace a loving and positive future when our hands and arms are full of animosity?

©MoniqueAdrianne

What I’m Taking With Me -Lessons Learned in 2014 (Part One)

I am very enthusiastic and motivated for this New Year! So many different possibilities and opportunities that can be created!

During the transition of each year, I personally reflect on what I’ve discovered and grasped from all of my distinct experiences –I find it an enlightening and fulfilling exercise.

At the start of a new journey it can be easier to begin fresh when we have a solid jumping off point; and in order to do so, we need to know what insight we can take with us into our future adventures.

The following is one of four parts in a series that I will be posting over the next few days.

These are my own personal lessons that I learned in 2014; hopefully you can take something from them as well. ❤

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  1. Living with purpose.

For longer than I’d like to admit, I merely went through life’s routines –I woke up, did what was necessary, then I went back to sleep at the end of the day. This is not living –it’s essentially sleeping your existence away; and more often than not, it’s brought about from depression which I most certainly have faced throughout the greater part of my lifetime.

Living with purpose is being conscious of our decisions, as well as our thoughts and feelings. We will not always make the ‘right’ choices –however, slip-ups are part of being human, and learning from these mistakes is part of our spirit and soul.

The last four months, I’ve been running non-stop, persistent in succeeding with my school objectives. I didn’t realize how much I’ve craved it and how much I’m not acquiring from my current job (and the ones prior).

My passions and motivations are clear and vibrant when I’m working towards my goals. It’s become apparent how much my ambitious attitude has been missing.

This determination did not occur overnight. There have been countless catalytic agents over the last year that have led me through confident, love-inducing self-actualization. Our dreams can only grow so far –they need to have roots to stabilize and sprout from. These roots are founded upon the love and the relationship that we have with ourselves first.

Create your dreams, draw up your goals, and spark your motivation and inspiration. You alone know how and when you thrive well. Advantageously, clearer objectives will come to fruition more effortlessly.

Living with intention is only possible after we have become assertive in our actions and this stems from self-love. Envelop yourself in appreciation for the incredible person that you are and everything else will fall into place.

©MoniqueAdrianne

Let Your Love Light Up the World

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Let your love light up someone’s day.
Share as much love as possible each and every day with as many people that you can. Let it overflow through your fingertips; let your love be filled with so much positive energy and intent, that it powerfully changes and shifts those around you.
Remember how much of an unstoppable force you are. Change the world around you with love, passion, positivity, and intention. ❤

©MoniqueAdrianne

Be Like the Moon

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Be yourself. Fully. Entirely. Without fault. With flaws and imperfections.
Never, ever, compromise who you are by pleasing those around you. You’re the one that gets the pleasure of being with yourself always, every day. So make sure it’s the ‘you’ that’s unapologetically themselves. Because that’s the best you!! Don’t tip toe around others, trying not to make a splash. Express yourself exuberantly!! Dance and swim to your heart’s content. It’s your happiness and you’re in charge of it -so choose to be happy!! 🙂

©MoniqueAdrianne

Duty of the Artist

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When I first started my website, I created a business plan. In this plan, I depicted my purpose, my mission statement….even my friend helped me incorporate all types of questions to reflect on. What are my readers’ needs? How do they assess the world around them? What are their desires? And most importantly, what do I want them to take from my writings?
Over the past year, I have strived to inspire, spark passion, & incite you to ask questions about yourselves…I’ve given advice & shared my stories & experiences with you.
I certainly do NOT know all of the answers. However, I am clear in my understanding of what my purpose here in this life is –I am meant to be a messenger. I do my best to share each lesson that I’ve learned, & in turn, I hope that it helps & aids you in each of your journeys.
I aspire to be a catalyst for your inspiration & passion; I do my best to encourage your self-realization & I always have my words come from a balanced, positive, loving, & gentle place within myself. Through what I write, I become more self-aware & continue to learn more about myself & the world around me.
I thank each & every one of you for your many kind words, your support & your love, & most of all, your consideration & awareness for what I attempt to express. This has become such an incredible, healing, & creative outlet for me & I hope to continue to motivate & encourage you in all of your endeavors. ❤ 🙂

©MoniqueAdrianne

6 Months

A little over 6 months ago I was ready to give up on my dating search. Then I received an out of the ordinary, sweet and simple message from a very fetching and handsome gentleman. We spoke continually for a few weeks; he wasn’t at all pushy or insistent, and then finally we went out on our first date. His flatteringly, dazed face when he first saw me in person is still the look he has when I catch him gazing at me. It’s taken about 6 months for me to (almost) get used to how well he treats me –you will be happy to know that I finally “allow” him to open doors for me without refusal. He’s become a person in my life that really compliments me rather than consumes and engulfs me. He’s become my best friend that I can be my absolute and ridiculously nerdy self with. I’m still surprised how easily we get along and how similar we are to one another. I am so grateful every day that he found me and I’m certainly blessed that he is my boyfriend. I love you him much.

Happy belated 6 months!!!!

©MoniqueAdrianne