Monday, August 30, 2010

Motivation Monday - Live Under the Sun

Love under the stars...

This month marks my 10 year NYC-a-versary. I've known this day was coming for ages, but it still feels like a 'pinch me' kind of moment.

I'm a Brooklynite now. I think maybe I've always been one, dormant at times, but forever moving towards this place that was always meant to be my home.

I delight in the little moments that are quintessentially Brooklyn.

Lately I feel a push towards the beyond. I wonder at the fact that I've managed to stay put in one place for so very long. That doesn't seem like me at all. Yet here I am. I keep wondering at where I'll be in years to come. I won't lie. Part of me can't ever imagine shopping at one store for everything I need. I think in my snobby NYC way, 'what a waste!' Food is meant to be gathered at the local bakery, the local vegetable store, the specialty cheese shop. Wine from a grocery store seems like a joke. I know that eventually time will pull me from this magical place, but regardless of where I go, or IF I go, I know that Brooklyn, will always be my adopted home.

When I got back from the magical and tropical paradise that was the Bahamas a earlier this month, I actually felt my pulse slow, my body calm and my lungs sigh a deep whisper of relief and peace to be back in my beloved Brooklyn.

Ten years ago I snapped this picture outside of my second story dorm room in Pantas Hall at Pratt Institute. We couldn't find a plane ticket that would get me in New York in time for school unless I went two days before official check in. Without a cell phone and too scared to scamper to Myrtle Avenue for phone cards I'd managed my first really truly all alone night alone. I woke up to find the campus full of newbies. I grabbed my little disposable camera and froze that moment of endless possibility as the sun came barreling up over the Arc.

I look at this photo ten years later, almost to the day, and I marvel at everything that girl was, more complete than I'll ever be again but so infinitely fragile.

That girl had never really been alone, never really been in love, never had the kind of friends that are family, never knew what it is to make hard decisions that will change the course of your life.

I sat on a park bench in Carroll Gardens on Sunday with my buddy Ashley. She highlighted a truth that I've been feeling but not quite able to put into words.

'We're in a place right now, where we can make decisions that alter the course of our life, and we can make them in five minutes flat!'

I remember what that feels like, it feels like being a freshman in college, with a new city sprawling out in front of me, new people and new places, and so much to learn. So maybe I am still as brave, and a little less scared, but mostly I'm just happy to be here.

So while I feel the need for a change... I look back on this decade with wisdom, love, and so much gratitude. Awww...Brooklyn, I'll love you forever.

Who knows what I'll feel when I look back on pictures from this month ten years from now?
I hope they draw a smile.

My motivation this week is being drawn straight up from the ground. For this entire week I push myself - and you, to pay attention to the world around you. Take the time to find little surprises of joy in your day to day. Step off the beaten path and remember your ten years ago self. You deserve that token of reflection. End each evening with a deep sigh of thanks for where you are and where you are going.

I hope it brings you the kind of happiness Brooklyn has brought me, the kind that fills your soul.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Lately I've been feeling kind of caged. I'm happy and things are good, but suddenly sketching for my supper stopped appealing to me. I just wanted to put the pencils down. With the exception of one week in college when I'd been drawing for about 3 weeks straight without sleep, this was a new sensation.

I stopped and wondered, was it coming all along, after a cumulative 20 some years of drawing here and drawing there, was there a wam-bam day coming where I just wasn't going to want to anymore, and I never knew, and I never saw it coming?! Could I have been so blind?

I started wondering.... what would I do? How would I do it?

I decided to go to the Bahamas.

On day four one of my fellow vacationing city birds said,
'Um. You haven't been drawing. Is that weird?"
Apparently this transition wouldn't be seamless...

On day five I accidentally broke my fast with some doodling.
'Gah! No drawing!,' I reminded myself.

I slammed the sketchbook shut.

Then I had to come home. I went to job-job. I drew some stuff, not in my style stuff, stuff that isn't me. I came home and I read. I tossed and I turned. I itched, literally - that Bahama Sun is hot!'. I itched figuratively.... I grabbed a pencil. I started searching for my sketchbook. Casually at first, whatever - it's just a sketchbook.... Then frantically. WHERE COULD IT BE!? I grabbed my face ala Macaulay Culkin. I tried to calm down. Seriously when have I ever had a better idea of where my keys are than my sketchbook? I crawled on my knees and found it peeking out from under the bed.

I opened it to a clean page. Then I saw these guys:

My Bahama-mama doodles.

The boys I idly sketched when i didn't want to sketch no more. I wonder why elephants were the poison of choice during that week long lead-fast.

Is it because they swim and all my days were spent in the sand and surf?

Is it because they are wrinkly and spoke of my future-forced-ten-time daily application of lotion in attempt to preserve my little island-girl tan?

I thought of this story,
You know how if you cage an elephant when it is very young, you only need tie its leg with a heavy chain. It'll try and try to break the chain, but it will be too little. When it grows and is strong and healthy it will have decided it can't break that chain, after months of trying it just gives up. That is when it is weak. It could snap the chain in two by simply walking in a new direction, but it doesn't. That is when it is truly caged.

So, I am taking heart and remembering this story, that my doodles helped me remember. I am walking in a new direction. Hopefully I'll take another page out of the elephant's book and remember my little drawing fast, because it's silly to start to hate the thing you love best. After all, when you love something you should never forget that you do.

Monday, August 09, 2010


In case you were wondering,

It's a there and back again kind of morning.

The view from our hotel room:

A quick walk to the pool:

The view of said pool:

(I know, right?)

The view of the beach.

Five days of sand and saltwater beats any NYC pedicure.

The view of the streets:

I was shocked to find the Bahamas prettier than I pictured it, and tickled to find that a majority of the buildings are pink.

View of historical natural, national beauty:


The view from the jungle:

A panoramic view south:

A view of the most relaxed I get (hopefully also the reddest):

After a lot of thinking and planning I decided to leave my laptop stateside. This face is the face of a girl who abandoned the internet for a week for the first time since the 90s.

See? Happy face:

(Ignore creepy kinda-winky eye.)

View from the boat!

What? You've never seen a dolphin before?

So here's the stats:

  • I swam with dolphins.
  • Ate infinite carbs for breakfast, every morning.
  • Spent less than five minutes on the internet.
  • Didn't have access to a phone.
  • Got burnt to a crisp
  • Hid from the sun under a hat, a first for sure.
  • Spent every day with some of the people I love best.
  • Ran from smoke INDOORS (what?! people have their Cubans hanging out of their mouths everywhere!)
  • Ate ice cream when I felt like it.
  • Won $8 at the slots
  • Sipped pretty drinks, shore side
  • Spent as much time in the water as the days of my youth.

Now I'm home, and luckily for me, home is one of the places I love best.
Still, you have to admit, "It's better in the Bahamas" ;)


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