Elizabeth Gilbert made me a Relaxed Woman

A love for Elizabeth Gilbert is one of the many unifying bonds that Giuls and I share. Giuls introduced me to her after reading Big Magic and listening to the follow-up podcast, Magic Lessons, where Liz helps creative people push past their personal obstacles and Do The Thing. I loved the podcast, bought Big Magic on Audible, and then bought a used copy of Eat Pray Love. Then I made Giuls read Eat Pray Love. Then Giuls made her friend, Megan, read Eat Pray Love. I don’t even know where my copy of the book is, but it’s out there doing what it needs to.

We both follow Liz on Instagram and when Liz announced that she was leaving her husband to be with her dying best friend who she realized she loved, Giuls told me. And when I saw that Liz was coming to Maimi to speak, I (naturally) texted Giuls in all caps to say that we were going.

We almost didn’t make it to her talk, though. I had obligations at work that I didn’t know if I could get out of until the day before. Giuls was having a Hard Time getting her life in order to leave Gainesville and drive down to West Palm Beach. We’re both broke. We’re both feeling uninspired to follow our art. We had to navigate rush hour traffic on a Friday night. We risked getting both of our cars towed in two completely different cities to see this woman speak, and for once, I wasn’t freaking out about being late to something. We crept in (probably 10 minutes after Liz started speaking) and were immediately transfixed by the soothing yoga voice coming out of Elizabeth Gilbert’s face hole telling us about the revolutionary idea of a Relaxed Woman existing. Specifically, a Relaxed Woman existing outside of the very temporary state that is a hot stone massage.

“I am a relaxed woman,” I said to myself (and everyone else) for the next 48 hours.

Liz also spoke about this idea of how Hustle Culture insists a woman must always be tired and stretching herself thin doing Too Many Things All Of The Time to be good. I don’t know about y’all, but I do not want to live my life that way anymore. My time is worth more than the hustle for a buck.

She spoke about Perfection and how it kills all joy and followed that up with my favorite quote of the day: “Perfectionism is Fear trying to disguise itself in pearls and mink.” WE HAVE NEVER HEARD A TRUER THING. Giuls and I have spoken a lot on the blog recently about our own experiences with perfectionism, and her words were a healthy reminder that perfection is not a quality to be lauded; it’s just Fear being Fear.

If you have the opportunity to hear Liz speak, Giuls and I both STRONGLY URGE YOU to make time to do it. You can check out her tour schedule here: https://www.elizabethgilbert.com/tour/and by God, if you have not read read a book by Liz Gilbert yet, go f*cking do it.

Stop Managing a Messy Life

I work a fast-paced day job as a metaphorical fruit ninja. It’s a ton of fun, but when a metaphorical fruitstorm comes flying my way, my entire life goes on hold. Time to shampoo? NO WAY! Throw that bedhead in a sock bun and run, don’t walk, out the front door. Just got home after a 10-hour day? Better leave those black leggings on the floor where ya took ‘em off, ‘cause you know they’re going back on again tomorrow with a different top! By the end of a week like this, my apartment looks like it’s been trampled by a cat 3 hurricane and I’m left spending precious free time picking up the pieces of my life. It’s ex.haust.ing.

A big part of this chaotic cycle comes from my perfectionist tendencies—if I can’t get the whole damn place clean, I don’t want to bother cleaning at all. The other issue here is the sheer magnitude of crap that I hold onto. If I had less of it, there’d be less of a mess to clean up each week, right? It’s not like we’re talking rocket science here.

So recently, with my twenty-mlehmleh-th birthday rapidly approaching, I made a radical decision to hurdle over my perfectionism paralysis…

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Paralyzing Perfectionism

 
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This perfectionist started her morning off with a satisfying Naked smoothie. Nothing tastes better than being able to finish off the bottle of your mango goodness in one pour!

I’m sure many of you can relate and might identify as perfectionists as well, at least in some aspect of your lives. Little moments like this are just oh, so magical.But I’ve also learned that a lot of my struggles with procrastination and motivation actually stem from a need for perfection. For me, the biggest one is writer’s block. I find myself spending all my energy procrastinating instead of actually writing and then the day goes by and I hate myself for it.

It took me too long to realize this isn’t because I’m lazy. I know when I sit down to write I can be there for hours fixating on each word to ensure my sentiment is received. Once I discovered that my habit of procrastinating wasn’t due to a lack of motivation but, was a result of my perfectionist tendencies, I became aware and was able to focus on that by trying not to put so much pressure on myself. Sometimes you just have to write and allow it not to be “perfect” (whatever that means) otherwise you risk resenting something that is crucial to your happiness. I was, in fact, less motivated the longer I put off writing what I wanted to.

So, relish in these satisfying moments of fulfilled perfectionism, don’t let it be another thing you’re hard on yourself for, but don’t allow it to stop you from being you. It’s not your identity.

What Will You Do, Catholic America?

Oh, man. I have a lot of thoughts about the Catholic Church right now so here goes somethin’. I. don’t. know. how we can keep turning a blind eye. Like, I can’t fathom it. I can’t wrap my head around the idea that there’s no justice for these victims and that priests and Catholicism will just keep on keepin’ on, telling everyone to just ‘pray about it!’

Pardon my French, but what the f*ck? These victims--these CHILDREN--don’t need prayers. They need THERAPY and JUSTICE and a SUPPORT SYSTEM to grapple with the dichotomy of knowing they were wronged by the very institution promising them salvation. If that’s not a manipulation of power, I don’t know what is. We’re blacklisting comedians, producers, and directors left and right for their abuses of ADULT WOMEN and people, but what about these CHILDREN? What about these PRIESTS who have direct access to our communities? WHO will blacklist THEM? WHO will look out for the children? You can trust the Church to protect itself. They’re not going to come forward and say, “We are terribly sorry to inform you that Father Voldemort did a grave, grave thing. If your children are exhibiting signs of abuse or come to you with information, please let us know so that we can wholly correct this terrible situation. WE PRAY FOR YOU, our families, as you cope with this.” No. They’re not going to do that. They’re going to move your priest to a different location, claiming “sick leave” or “a new position.”

Personally, I want to see them all go down. I want to see the Pope say this is the GRAVEST WRONG that can be done on this earth. Not abortion. Not suicide. I want to see them condemn these filthy, despicable, child-molesting priests and I want them on sex offender watch lists and I want them banished from the church the way the church has historically banned women who abort their pregnancies.

GOD DAMN, I AM SO ANGRY. IT IS 2018. WE KNOW THIS IS BAD. WE ARE STANDING UP AND FIGHTING. WE HAVE #METOO AND #TIMESUP AND MARCH FOR OUR LIVES. Catholic America, this is my question for you: how can you show up to mass every Sunday after this? Knowing that this could be happening in your diocese. In your church. To the children sitting next to you. To your children. How can you put money in that basket? How can you kneel in silent prayer? How can you look at your Church and the SHAME and DISTRESS it has brought its youngest members? What will you do to protect your children? Because Faith sure as hell won’t.

Fashion, Paper, and Femininity: Isabelle de Borchgrave

While studying art & culture in London in 2014, I spent an amazing day at Tate Modern and came across a poster so sarcastic, I thought it was serious at first. The poster, created by Guerrilla Feminism, is called "The Advantages of Being a Woman Artist." I bought it for my best friend & woman artist, Shelby Kay. A great deal of Guerrilla Feminism's work focuses on women in the fine arts, the limited recognition they receive, and the exploitation of female bodies in the arts (see: "Do Women Have to Be Naked to Get Into the Met. Museum?"). So when I saw there was an entire exhibit at The Four Arts Society dedicated to female artist, Isabelle de Borchgrave, I jumped at the opportunity to support a fellow woman in the arts. 

Isabelle de Borchgrave is a female artist famous for recreating historic garments and costumes with mind-boggling accuracy and attention to detail. Even more astounding is that these recreations of hers are made entirely out of PAPER and trampleoi. Her collection, Fashioning Art from Paper, is currently on tour in the U.S. Click here to find out where it'll be next and scroll through my favorite works below.