The Age of Instant & Self Gratification

A reoccurring thought I’ve had over the past year or so has been the concept of instant and self gratification. We live in an age where we can upload a pic to The Gram and *BOOM* you’ve got 85 likes within the hour. Anyone can share a meme someone else made and get a dopamine high off the likes we get. We live proudly by the motto “treat yo self” and wonder why the fuck we’re broke all the time.

The rise of technology has sped up the process for EVERYTHING. How are we supposed to know how to think or what to feel when we live in fast forward? So we use social media outlets to fill the void, burn through our own dopamine and serotonin, and are left suffering from existential anxiety day in and day out. We scroll, swipe, like, share, repeat ….

The age of instant and self gratification has been detrimental towards our ability to form meaningful connections with other people as well. We judge people on dating apps based solely on appearances, fall in love with the façade another person wears, and change who we are to become what others expect us to be (even if they have zero expectations). We can hop on a dating app, swipe, message, and have dick delivered within 45 minutes. Easy right? Try hopping on those apps looking for someone you want to be friends with on a real ass level – your messages are met with one line responses and then what the kids call “ghosting.” In the age of instant gratification, we easily become angry, bitter, and resentful when we don’t receive a text within the time frame we deem appropriate, become petty and childish and ignore people for days, jump to conclusions, create our own negative narrative, and act a damn fool.

The decline of face to face contact and the rise of social media usage has created a barrier not only in our intimate relationships, but our friendships as well. We compare our worst to everyone else’s best. We become envious and spend more money on more bullshit (thank you Facebook ads) and wonder why we aren’t happy yet. Our newsfeeds are constantly flooded with engagement, wedding, baby and travel photos, relationship status updates, #mancrushmonday’s and  #womancrushwednesday’s, and any other kind of hashtag that gains more attention and more followers. Social media allows us to lurk in the shadows gathering information on our worst enemies and toxic crushes before giving someone a chance. Everyone is a private investigator. Nothing is secret, nothing is safe.

Can social media be a positive tool? Hell yes. But like with everything else, moderation is key. Western society is built on consumerism – and boy do we fucking love consuming and overindulging. Treat yo’ self after all!

Instead of refreshing your apps every millisecond – try picking up a book. Reading not your thing? Try audible or a podcast. Instead of finding a robot on Tinder – go meet someone at concert or ask a trustworthy respected friend to set you up. Instead of turning on the TV and getting lost in a black hole of streaming – journal more, write more, and create more! Are you a shitty cook? I am and probably will be forever, but pick out a recipe and make a dank meal. Learn more. Instead of reading the news and articles tailored to you on your FaceBook feed – expand your resources and broaden your perspective.

There’s so much out there and I think the biggest problem with my generation is either a) we are immobilized by the overwhelming amount of options and fear making the wrong choice, or b) we have become passive about our own lives and future and have no sense of personal development or purpose. Well newsflash, there is no right or wrong answer. You pick one thing up and if that doesn’t work, you move onto the next.

“If you obsess over whether you are making the right decision, you are basically assuming that the universe will reward you for one thing and punish you for another. The universe has no fixed agenda. Once you make any decision, it works around that decision. There is no right or wrong, only a series of possibilities that shift with each thought, feeling, and action you experience. ” ~Deepak Chopra

For those of us who are passive about life without any goals, ambitions, or desire to contribute to the betterment of all – let’s pull our heads out of our asses, unplug from the matrix, and take our first deep breathe of somewhat fresh air. Actually live a little, and not vicariously through the image people elude to on Social Media.

Treat yo’ self in body, mind & spirit ….

~Jess

11 Important Lessons from 2016

2016 has been a year. Whether you’re on the side that had a blast (if that side exists) or the side that feels hungover from the monstrosities, there has been a little something for everyone.

As excited as I am for the adventures that await in 2017, I felt it proper to collectively gather the notes I had jotted down mentally throughout 2016 …. pause, reflect, and create. What follows are the lessons that had the largest impact on my life throughout the year. Maybe you can relate, maybe you hope 2017 has something similar in store for you, or perhaps you can learn what to avoid.

  1. Don’t just go through the motions – Live fully and with purpose. The day to day tasks may seem mundane and ritual, often times we take the smallest things for granted. Absorb what the universe has to offer. Make real connections with real people. Make it your duty to live with an open mind and open heart, being humble and eager to learn as much as you can, and sharing the knowledge you have learned with others. Be present.
  2. Love hard – You can never have too much love to give. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, to love, and to love hard. Have love for your friends, family, significant other, yourself, the earth we live on, the solar system we are a part of and ultimately the entire universe in which we are interconnected. Love with no limits but without blindness.
  3. Serve and give to others – If there’s anything I’ve learned this year, it’s that serving and giving to others is medicine. But do so without personal gain in mind. For example, do not serve and give to others if the expected outcome is to feel satisfaction for yourself. That is simply your Ego starving. Do so with the intent to genuinely help others and to share love and kindness.
  4. Read more books – Read all kinds of books. Read ones that interest you. Give ones that don’t interest you a chance. Make a realistic book list for yourself and start checking them off. More important than reading books, soak up and absorb the information. Read to understand and expand your knowledge.
  5. Take care of your mind and body – Most years I’ve done quite well with taking care of my body, but neglecting the care of my mind. I began 2016 obsessed with my body and outwardly appearance, counting macros and working out 5-6 times a week with little regard to my mental health. I ended the year fat and happy with a winter roll named Murphy, stopped counting macros, and working out 3-4 times a week, but in the best state of mind possible. This following year I hope to achieve and maintain a healthy balance of care for both my mind and body.
  6. Apologize less and say thank you more – I saw this one on Reddit or Tumblr, but it rings true. Instead of apologizing for being late, say, “Thank you for waiting for me.” Instead of saying, “Sorry I’m such a train wreck” say, “Thank you for loving me unconditionally.” This will create a positive relationship with others by expressing your gratitude instead of negativity.
  7. Forgive – Dwelling on negativity and hate is poison for only yourself. Everyone is human and will make mistakes, you will hurt, you will be let down, you will be disappointed over and over again, but as long as you can forgive, you are free and can move forward.
  8. Step outside your comfort zone – Do something new, something you usually wouldn’t do or puts you outside your comfort zone. In 2016 I spent the year single, learning to be comfortable and secure on my own, making new friends, treating myself well, pursuing new hobbies, spending time alone exploring the city, being vulnerable, and learning to trust.
  9. Create – Whether you are an artist who creates beautiful paintings, a photographer who creates amazing photographs, a writer who creates literature, an athlete who creates their own body through training and practice, or a man and woman creating a child to love and cherish …. create something. Start small. It may only begin with a line on a canvas or a word on a page, but it will become more and it will be a piece of you.
  10. Travel – You can fly across the world and backpack third world countries, immersing yourself in the culture and experiencing another life. Or fly to a place you have never been, just close your eyes and place your finger on the map. If you don’t have the means to up and leave, whenever you feel that “itch” where you need to move and just go…. hop on a buss or a train and just GO. You can come back in a few hours, but go.
  11. Learn from your mistakes and find the positive outcome – 2016 had it’s fair share of mistakes, heartache, and headache, but I’ve learned to dwell on the positive outcome of each challenge placed in front of me. I have many people to thank for helping build the resilience I have for life. For being there at the darkest moments, for encouraging me when I wanted quit, and for providing support, love, and wisdom. I am forever grateful for the lessons I’ve learned.

I look forward do the new year after a humbling 2016! Time for application ….

~Jess

“Thank You Universe”

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I am thankful for the opportunities the Universe presents me to practice patience, express unconditional love, and train my own ego.

Stub my toe? “Thank you Universe.”

Didn’t qualify for Financial Aid? “Thank you Universe.”

Came into work greeted by a shit storm? “Thank you Universe.”

Boy broke my heart? “Thank you Universe.”

Those are mild examples, but you get the idea.

This will sound cliche, but life is too short to spend time dwelling in a negative space, don’t expend energy stressing about the bullshit that won’t matter when you reach the end of your life. There are lessons to be learned in everything around us, the Universe has no fixed agenda.

Sure, I preach about love and ego and so on, but I struggle with these concepts like anyone else. When my pride gets hurt, I know it’s my ego that’s hurting. When I’m tempted to react in the same old way, sometimes I fall into temptation and react before I think. I’m still searching for the definition of love, when in all reality love is different for each person.

What I do know is I am an empath and feel everything around me. I am constantly overwhelmed with emotion and the weight of the world. I wear my heart on my sleeve and love hard. I am vulnerable. I am human. Even when I hurt, I refuse to believe in the intrinsic selfishness of people, even though there is plenty of evidence supporting this thought.

Eat the pain. Emanate love.

The truth is, everyone will hurt you, even the ones you love most. Does that make them a good or a bad person? I don’t believe in black or white. I recently had an experience that tested both my ego and my definition of love. I will admit, I reacted poorly, but alas, another lesson from the Universe. “Thank you Universe.” In retrospect I can think of a million different ways I could have reacted, but my initial reaction was confusion and disappointment.

From that state I quickly escalated to anger and made some rash decisions. Do I regret them? No. What’s the point of regret? Did I learn my lesson? Yeah… calm the fuck down. Did I die? No, then shut the hell up and move on, chuck it in the fuck it bucket and scoot.

By reacting the way I did, I was not practicing love, which bothered me because I’ve been studying love, sexuality, ego, and so on for the past few months. I’m no longer angry. I’ve learned the hard way that holding onto anger and hate is poison.

So what is the lesson learned? Think before I react. Guard my heart. Learn to know the difference between helping someone in need, or enabling someone to use me for my resources, including my time and energy.

In hindsight, I also learned that I am capable of love. I was also surrounded with hope, optimism, and positivity. When you’ve seen the shit I’ve seen, and done the things I’ve done, sometimes a young mind is a breathe of fresh air, a look at the world through rose tinted glasses. I learned to appreciate the small things and to take a deep breathe. I was inspired to study love and the ego and launched into a journey of exploring my own consciousness. I also learned that age and life experience DO matter. However, the positive impact far outweighed any damage to my pride and ego.

So, “Thank you Universe, for the opportunity to challenge myself, to improve, to exercise patience, and to move on when moving on is required. Thank you for the lessons learned, a new perspective, and personal insight. Thank you for the people in my life who practice unconditional love and who are an example to others. Thank you for everything I am interconnected with.”

Thank you.

~Jess

 

 

 

 

Challenge What You Think You Know….

 

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I am beyond excited, I could hardly sleep last night. I’ve been diving deeper and deeper into the topic of love, human nature and our intense hyper sexuality, the flaws in the societal weave of marriage across cultures, and our suppression of free love. The more I study in school and leisurely read books on these topics, the more confident I am in the pursuit of knowledge in Human Sexual Psychology. If that becomes a career, dope. If not, also dope. The more you know.

Over the past year my definition of love has evolved just as much as I have. There have been many times where I thought I finally achieved self love. However, self love is a constant mindful effort, it’s a lifelong journey and relationship with yourself. Although some days are better than others, I can confidently say I have developed a healthy relationship with myself which hopefully emanates through my relationships with others. Having developed a rhythm of love for myself, I started assessing the love I have for others: friends, family, lovers, and everyone in between.

I stumbled upon a burning question as I assessed my love for each individual in my life. In regards to romantic intimate love, is it possible to love more than one person? I felt guilty for considering that perhaps I could. But wait a minute….. what kind of society creates a culture in which a person feels guilty for loving? Call me hippie dippy if you like, but humans have a unique capacity for deeper understanding, this is exhibited through how we communicate using verbal language, how we express ourselves with body language, the arts, philosophy, and so much more. We are complex creatures. Limiting our magnitude to love is a disservice to our species.

In the book I am currently reading, Sex at Dawn, Christopher Ryan argues that the development of agricultural practice is what debilitated humanity and created a less than ideal culture in which we no longer share our resources, but rather we have become possessive and materialistic in a capitalist society. We own things, we want more, we are envious of what the next person has, we OWN our partner, we are shackled by socioeconomic norms.

“What constitutes misuse of the universe? This question can be answered in one word: greed…. Greed constitutes the most grievous wrong.”

-LAURENTI MAGESA, African Religion: The Moral Traditions of Abundant Life

I refuse to believe that greed is an intrinsic human trait. Our ancestors used to live in forager gatherer communities in which all resources were shared: food, water, shelter, protection, and yes… that’s right…. sex. Our ancestors participated in sex with multiple partners to express friendship, to comfort, and to create strong bonds within their communities.

Does that make you feel uncomfortable? Do you argue, “Well that was sooooo long ago, times have changed.” If it weren’t for our ancestors ability to share resources, share responsibilities of raising young, and live in a harmonious protected community where men could trust their children would be cared for by their fellow brothers if they should encounter danger …. I can almost guarantee you we wouldn’t be here today.

So how did we get here? Along with the development of agricultural practice, religion has been no help in the situation either.

“Remember the Tenth Commandment: “Thou shalt not covert thy neighbors house, thou shalt not covert thy neighbors wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox,nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbor’s.” Clearly, the biggest loser (aside from slaves, perhaps) in the agricultural revolution was the human female, who went from occupying a central respected role in foraging societies to becoming another possession for a man to earn and defend, along with his house, slaves, and livestock.”

― Cacilda Jethá, Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality

What the actual fuck?

In a world where we are rapidly evolving: creating new gadgets, discovering cures for diseases (mostly brought on by ourselves), and sending people into space; we are also creating a polluted world, encouraging egocentric societies and cultures, and ultimately reducing the quality of life. Although there is no turning back, those of us full of love and brave of heart have the opportunity to challenge the status quo. Love is free and limitless, it is not possessive, it does not envy, and it is not jealous.

So how can a person romantically and intimately love more than one person? What about jealousy? How does one prioritize their time?

Trust me, as a divorcee, these are burning questions in which I’ve had over a year to ponder. Jealousy, anger, pride, possessiveness…. these are all products of our ego. Who am I to measure the love a man might show towards me and the love he may show towards another woman (or man)? These two separate experiences are unique in and of themselves, I would never ask anyone to limit their love. I encourage free love. I encourage freedom and sexual liberation. Prioritizing time? I love my independence and feel happy and whole alone. Anyone I would be involved with should have the same independence and wholeness alone as well. Everyone should learn to love themselves first, no, it’s not selfish, it’s the first step to loving others.

“Despite how open, peaceful, and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you, as deeply as they’ve met themselves.” – Matt Kahn

I realize most of you reading this now may be in monogamous relationships or may have never considered polygamous or open relationships and think I’m absolutely crazy. Why though? Why is this concept so abnormal and bizarre? Is it the fear of the unknown, are you imagining the worst that could happen? I’ll let you in on a little secret, no matter how much you plan for your future and have an ideal picture of what that looks like, life is gonna come crashing in full force and will challenge any predisposed notions you had about the universe and the complex spectrum of humans. I promise.

“What if economic security and guilt-free sexual friendships were easily available to almost all men and women, as they are in many of the societies we’ve discussed, as well as among our closest primate cousins? What if no woman had to worry that a ruptured relationship would leave her and her children destitute and vulnerable? What if average guys knew they’d never have to worry about finding someone to love? What if we didn’t all grow up hearing that true love is obsessive and possessive? What if, like the Mosuo, we revered the dignity and autonomy of those we loved? What if, in other words, sex, love, and economic security were as available to us as they were to our ancestors? If fear is removed from jealousy, what’s left?”

― Christopher Ryan, Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships

Challenge what you think you know.

~Jess

 

If You Love Something, Set it Free

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I can officially say I’ve been single for an entire year. That’s the longest time I’ve spent by myself since I was 14 years old. The amount that I’ve learned about myself and about other people is incredible. Even with the repeated ego deaths and identity crisis, the past year has been a gift. That being said, of course there have been moments where I’ve missed having a companion, a partner in crime, a team mate; but I’ve found companionship in myself, my closest friends, and a spiritual connection with everything around me.

I’ve been observing relationships around me, asking people questions about their own relationships, the strengths, weaknesses, and foundation. “Do you love this person? HOW do you love them? WHY do you love them? WHAT do you love about them? How do you define love? How do you know you are IN love? Are you really IN love or ARE you love?” When you ask those questions and compare answers side by side, everyone seems to have a different definition of love, and their own ways of expressing that, or BEING that.

Sadly, I’ve noticed a trend with some people in relationships. Many of them are in a relationship with someone for the comfort factor. Everyone wants to be with someone. Everyone wants to feel loved. Everyone wants intimacy, someone who will make them feel safe, someone who can take care of them, or someone they can take care of. Everyone wants to be happy, and some people think that means falling in love. But waiting to “fall in love” means you are depending on another person for your happiness. Depending on another person to make you happy is selfish and unrealistic. Happiness begins with you, and you alone. Once you have achieved happiness and love for yourself, then you can share that with others, and no one can take it away from you.

The mentality of depending on another person for happiness and love creates dysfunctional relationships. People begin having expectations of their significant other, holding them to a high standard, expecting them to do this, or be that. People get in these predicaments because they fear being alone and they think they can change people. I’ve noticed with some relationships, one person will feel indebted to the other person for the security they provide. Some people never took the time to heal after one relationship and still have residual feelings when they enter a new relationship. Some people are so focused on starting a family, worry that time is running out, and settle for someone who’s “comfortable.” Do these people “love” each other? Perhaps they do, in their own way, to their own degree. But these relationships offer no freedom. These relationships are based on feeding each other’s ego and numbing each other’s insecurities.

No one should ever be in a relationship solely because they fear being alone. No one should ever be in a relationship thinking that “falling in love” will be the solution to their problems, bringing them happiness. No one should ever feel like they “owe” someone by staying in an unhealthy relationship. Love is free, it does not envy, it is not possessive, and it expects nothing in return. If you love something, set it free.

This year I’ve learned so much about loving myself and loving others. Love is a state of being.

A year ago I thought my world had ended and I would never trust or love again. But this year taught me that love is unconditional. The emotions that I felt a year ago, the depression and sorrow, they were merely a product of my pride and ego. I depended on Derek for my happiness, and when he failed like all humans do, I was lost and didn’t know how to find happiness again.

I loved Derek and I still do. Sometimes I think I love him more now than I did before because I’ve found love and happiness in myself and I’ve learned to forgive. Am I IN love? No. Am I love itself? Yes.

Rejection used to hurt, but now I know that if I truly love someone and myself, the rejection won’t hurt because I’m not depending on reassurance or reciprocated feelings to “be happy.” I’m already fucking happy, and that’s more liberating than any other feeling or state of being. I’m learning to love freely and unconditionally in all areas of my life.

Starve the Ego, Feed the Soul…

~Jess

 

 

9 Signs You’re Broke AF

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We’ve all been there, broke AF. I don’t consider myself completely broke, obviously I have a home to live in, food to eat, and luxuries such as internet, a dope gym, a dope coach, a dog who’s always well fed, and so on. Needless to say, I’ve been cutting costs where I can so I can eventually purchase a car and still have a comfortable amount in my savings.

Here goes! Just a few signs of me being a penny pinching tight ass:

  1. You have to cancel your PornHub Premium Account – Ultimate bummer for a single lady, but honestly, I hadn’t really used the account after the whole Peeping Tom situation. I can’t even watch porn in the comfort of my own home without worrying about someone lurking around. I’m saving $10 bucks a month, that’s about $120 a year. That’s a decent chunk of money that could go to my car insurance. Alright, alright, alright…
  2. You actually look at the service fees on your delivery app receipts – This one surprised me! All Saturday I Netflix and chilled with my damn self and I wanted some seafood fried rice from the Pho joint down the road. I was scrolling through my apps trying to find the best delivery deal: DoorDash, Eat24, and Prime Now…. yes I know, lazy AF, but it was a monsoon outside and I didn’t feel like trekking through that. I discovered with DoorDash that you automatically pay tax, duh. Then the service fee which is an automatic 18% gratuity for the restaurant. Okaaaaay. I feel like I should choose the tip amount. THEN the $5.99 delivery fee for the company, and THEN the tip amount for the driver…. so your $12.99 fried rice turns into a $20 ordeal…. hell no.
  3. Your savings account has locked you out of transferring $$$ to your checking – First of all, fuck you bank. I can transfer as many times as I please, it’s my damn money. Second, obviously if I’m trying to transfer the money I worked hard for and saved, I probably NEED it for an emergency. Sure, transferring is frowned upon, but I’ve had a lot of friends I’ve helped using my savings, not to mention bogus situations that have happened to myself where I’ve needed to pull from savings as well.
  4. You actually care if people eat your food in the fridge – Usually I’m like, “Whatever” especially if I’m buying bulk from Costco and I can’t eat 800 yogurts by myself. BUT…. my protein shit… I care. Those are my gains you’re stealing. Unless you’re also riding the gain train, please don’t touch my protein. My body physically hurts if I don’t get enough and that shit is expensive. Do you want me to die? Don’t answer that…
  5. God forbid anyone turn on the heat in the house! – I control the heat. End of story. If I’m paying the heating bill, it better be $50 or less a month, because I don’t turn on the heat. If it’s somehow over $100, why the fuck am I freezing in my room and the other side of the house is a sauna and everyone’s wearing fucking shorts like we’re in the Bahamas? No. Put on ski pants for all I care, or pitch in on the bill and we good.
  6. You roll into the weed shop with a budget, no more ballin’– I’m gonna sound like a brat, but when I rolled into the weed store, money wasn’t an issue. I knew I wanted an eighth of an Indica Hybrid and an eighth of a Sativa Hybrid and I would say, “Surprise me with your best shit.” I’d obviously spend over a hundred and that would last me a decent amount, but over the Summer I started burning through it pretty quick. After taking a break I rolled in there again, but this time with a budget. Still got some fire, but actually had to think, “Well I’ll have this much left until my next paycheck. I can eat with that right?”
  7. You wanna go out on the weekend, but remember LYFT prime time rates – Let me start by saying I calculated how much I spent in LYFT rides in August just for the hell of it…. it was $715. WHAT?! How does that even happen?! Granted I was working two jobs and needed to LYFT in between jobs, but other than that, my sheer laziness literally cost me hundreds of dollars. I’ve been doing much better limiting my LYFT rides. However, sometimes I want to go to Seattle and get drunk with homeboy, but I remember LYFT prime time rates. Pretty much an arm, a leg, a couple fingers, and an eyeball. Fuck that. I will become one with my couch instead, you’re welcome to join, it gets lit.
  8. You reminisce about the days you ate steak every weekend – “Remember that weekend you had steak for lunch and dinner on Saturday AND Sunday? Yeah…. that was awesome.” I had no idea what fiber was, I’m surprised all that red meat didn’t wreck me. I honestly don’t remember the last time I had a delicious medium rare home made steak. Sometimes I think to myself, “You deserve John Howie.” Yes… I DO deserve John Howie, but I also want food for the rest of the week.
  9. You’re trying to sell your body parts – Quite literally. Last year I donated my eggs and I’ll be honest, I was a fool with the compensation. I thought to myself, “Woohooooo! I’m single! I can do whatever the hell I want!” I still have a decent sum saved, but I know I could have been much wiser about how I spent it… not spending it at all. I’m trying to donate my eggs again, but with a much better agenda for the compensation: a car, pay off some debt, a vacation in another country, and savings.

~Jess

Why I’m still single …. and probably will be for a while

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O shit, Jess’s favorite topic. This isn’t dreary, bitter, or desperate, this is something I’ve realized about myself, and for better or for worse, I feel compelled to share.

I think the main reason why I’m single, and why I probably will be for a while is because I refuse to date. All year I’ve been trying to figure out, “What is dating?” I looked up the definition online which was pretty vague and referred to any previously planned engagement as a “date.” I went on what I believe to be dates, but never made a connection. I don’t know, there’s something about meeting a bunch of people with the sole purpose of meeting someone to BE with that doesn’t make sense to me. Call me old fashioned, but I want to meet naturally. I don’t want to be looking. In fact, maybe I’ll find them to be an asshole at first. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with dating and wanting to be with someone, share a life with them, and build something together with, but I want to be so confident in who I am, what I want, be able to build it on my own and meet someone who has done the same who wants to fuse their passion with mine and we create something new that is ours.

Another reason why I think I’m still single…. I haven’t found that passion yet, but I feel like I’m closer every day. I’ve been told by few friends and family that I’m easy to talk to, approachable, non judgmental when I listen, emphatic of people’s experiences, and know which questions to ask that help people better understand their own behaviors or gain new perspectives. I’m in love with my Sociology class, and I truly enjoy learning about the human psyche, why we are the way we are, why we act the way we do, our fears, what we find comfort in, and how we interact with those around us. Every day I’m feeling more confident in the pursuit of Psychology and as each day passes, I find myself detaching from social needs. I don’t need affirmations from a significant other or my friends, I don’t even necessarily need affirmations from my family. I’m here for a purpose, to learn as much as I can, fulfill my duty to help those in need, to work hard, and spread love. Easy as that. Simply make the world a better place.

Another reason I’m still single, although I’m not actively looking: I know the type of person I want, and I know they are very few and far between. This kind of ties into the reason why I won’t date. I know this type of person will capture me without even trying. They will be kind, humble, compassionate, yet confident, full of ambition, and full of respect for everything around them. They will be selfless and full of passion, not only for their calling and their vision, but for me, their family and friends, and beyond. Sounds like a perfect person who I most certainly don’t deserve, but I refuse to lower my expectations because I know there are fellow lovers and dreamers out there.

I also don’t respond to booty calls. Even if I did respond to booty calls, I would still be as single as I am now, let’s be real… this generation. Bottom line – casual sex is not my jam. I find nothing satisfactory about casual sex besides, “Cool, did that.” God forbid I want to know the person I’m having sex with is a decent human being! Where do you draw the line between knowing your “casual sex partner” well enough to have sex with them, but not well enough to develop an emotional bond with that becomes a “relationship”? The lines are too blurry and I’m too lazy to compartmentalize and separate my emotions from the bedroom. If I’m banging you, then I’m crazy about you. That’s why it feels so fucking good. That’s what makes it ‘making love.’ If that makes anyone uncomfortable, what a shame because that’s what the good stuff in life is made of.

I’m a believer in love and I believe we will have multiple loves in our life time. You would think having this mind set and approach would open up my options, but I believe it narrows them, but in the best way possible. I find that a lot of people struggle with the fact that I’ve been married before. I don’t blame them, especially since I’m such good friends with Derek, but a lot of people don’t understand all aspects love and how immeasurable it truly is, what different types of love there are, and how love is expressed. I myself am still learning what love is: self love, love of friends and family, and a general love and compassion for others and a desire to fill the world with good. Love is a crazy beautiful state of being, and I would never ask anyone to be any less.

The last reason I’m single…. I won’t change my agenda for anybody. I’m very goal oriented in my career, I will work overtime if I have to, my education is important to me, so I hardly see my friends enough as it is, and my health is important to me so if I’m not working or studying, I’m training or meal prepping. I also value my sleep, I try to be in bed by 11pm every night aside from weekends. The chances of me getting out are slim to none. If I do go out, it’s because I feel like it’s my social obligation to feel even remotely human. This speaks in general to all my friends: If I want to Netflix and chill with you, you’re important to me, no matter how boring that may be. If I want to feed you by taking you out or cooking for you, you’re important to me and this is my attempt to show you I care. If I stay up past my bedtime for you, I’m probably tired and pissed, but I still have love for you and let you keep me up anyways. If I don’t want to see you, don’t be butt hurt, I probably just need to recharge from the obstacles of life I’m confronted with daily. One thing I have to constantly remind myself of: “You don’t need to feel bad for not having a social life, simply crush your goals and meet those who are doing the same along the way.”

There ya have it! More single shit from your favorite single girl. A lot of people look at my single posts, statuses, and memes as sad desperation, but if any of you truly knew me, you would know that I’ve found humor in the situation, and it has in fact been an enlightening experience. I am learning more and more each day and it feels good to start building a healthy relationship with myself. I’m observing how I react, my own thought processes, how I interact with others, why I create and carry out certain habits, how to break unhealthy habits, and how to empathize with others. I’ve learned my own lessons, made my own mistakes, procured my own debt, have dealt with rejection, handled my first flight experience alone, handled my first major surgery alone, have dealt with a Peeping Tom creeping around my house, and have met every challenge head on. I’ve also had some of the most liberating spiritual experiences alone. I’ve experienced my first solo Ego death, I learned how to forgive and let go of the poison in my life, and I learned how to love again.

This chapter has been a blessing and I look forward to experiencing and sharing more from this beautiful stage of life…

~Jess

The Power of Music

As much as I love discovering new music, I also love the power “old” music has to reawaken memories and emotions. Glitch Mob shared an article from the Smithsonian that refers to this experience as “frisson”, a sudden strong feeling of excitement or fear, a thrill. This causes a shudder throughout our body, causing our hair to stand on end. Quite frankly, I like to call this as an “orgasm.” Have you ever bitten into something so sweet and decadent that it literally shocked your taste buds and sent a shudder up the back of your neck and head? I also call this a type of orgasm.

Often times when I’m listening to Glitch Mob’s first album, or even second album, or the old industrial Gothic bands I used to listen to such as Neurotic Fish, Ashbury Heights, Zeromancer, VNV Nation, and especially Assemblage 23…. I ask myself, “Why do I like to subject myself to emotional pain and nostalgia?” Many of these bands I listened to when I was in a dark place, or I shared with someone who is no longer a part of my life. Some are bittersweet and I listen to with fondness, being transported back in time becoming one with everyone around me, moving and dancing in sync with the music, feeling so humbled by the beauty the artists shared with us. Memories so vivid and real as if they happened yesterday.

Having such a strong emotional connection with my music and art makes it difficult to share with new people, but I can’t blame them, they weren’t there, and they don’t share the same memories or emotional connection. Instead of becoming impatient and upset with them, I have to take a step back realize: they aren’t being ignorant and disrespectful, they simply haven’t had the opportunity to experience the art in the same way I have.

Glitch Mob will always remain my favorite and most revered group. My most memorable music experience was attending their show at the ShowBox Market for their “Drink the Sea” tour in 2010. Derek and I worked for USC events and managed to make the guest list for my birthday, we fought our way to the very front where Ooah, Boreta, and Edit donned all black apparel, drawing the attention away from themselves and solely focusing on their art form. Their performance was the most magnificent I had seen. The way they moved together fluidly and the way they inspired the crowd was incredible. When they performed “Between Two Points” Derek and I knew that would be our song. Even when I listen to it today, I still consider if our song, even more so now that we’re no longer together, lyrically it’s a bittersweet goodbye. At the end when they performed “West Coast Rocks” I had never seen a crowd get so thug nasty together, it was dope as fuck! The crowd went wild, everyone was a fucking G. When they ended their performance they came out into the crowd to meet everyone, they shook everyone’s hand, took pictures, talked to us like they were one of us, and genuinely thanked us for attending their show. They were humbled by US. Their attitude and love for their art inspired and humbled me and continues to do so: Starve the Ego, Feed the Soul.

I want to share the below song, not because it is my “favorite” necessarily, but because no matter where I am or what I’m doing, if I listen to this song I am brought to tears and shivers crawl up my spine. Not sad tears or happy tears, but the tears of someone who has experienced an ego death and is overcome with new insight. I feel truly humbled, liberated, and grateful for my own existence, every experience, every opportunity to learn and grow, and should the time come today, tomorrow, or 50 years from now, I feel truly prepared for the next phase of life.

mobsters2

~Jess

 

 

 

Why?

Why what?

Why anything. Why do I do what I do? What is the driving force behind each action and each decision I make?

Let’s take something “simple” and break it down. Warning…. I will be completely honest with myself and with whomever is reading this.

Why am I choosing to compete? The simple answer which is an ego based lie is, “To push my body to the limits and see what I am capable of.”

The truth: I’m empty. I’m broken. I crave fulfillment. I crave purpose. I am burdened with the constant sense of inadequacy. I have never been enough.

Have I preached self love? Yes. Do I practice it? I do my fucking best. Do I fail? Yes. Every day is a struggle, and simply ignoring my subconscious thoughts about myself isn’t gonna cut it any longer.

Why do I carry this sense of inadequacy wherever I go? Let’s take a trip down memory lane….

As many of you know, I was adopted at age 7. My mom was a meth addict who abused alcohol while she was pregnant with me. She gave birth to me at age 16 and my Dad was 26. They didn’t stay together, they took turns trying to co parent and raise me, and I was recycled through countless foster homes, and sexually and mentally abused at a young age. I have vivid memories of being locked in closets, waking up to naked people passed out in my living room, salvaging for food in cupboards while my mom was getting nailed by multiple guys in her room, not having my diaper changed for days, foster families that would beat their own children in front of me, and sexual abuse that kills me to think about to this day because I’m convinced it was somehow MY fault.

My family didn’t want me. Hell, every foster family I lived with didn’t want me. You would think my day of salvation was the day I was adopted, but it wasn’t. It was a new chapter of pain and turmoil. Yes, I was adopted by a Christian family that showed me conditional love, gave me shelter, fed me, clothed me, but I endured a new form of mental abuse. Every day this idea of God was presented to me, if I ever lied, stole candy without asking, or sinned, he was watching me. I was ostracized from the family whether or not they realized it. I was always treated differently. They didn’t look at me the same way. They made me believe I had “attachment issues” and “abandonment issues.” All the church parents would gather round and talk about how fucked up their adopted kids were compared to their biological kids. I wasn’t allowed the same privileges as my older brothers. At a very young age I distinctly remember sitting in church as the pastor read a passage about the sheep in God’s right hand and the goats in God’s left hand. I pictured myself as the only goat in God’s left hand and the rest of the family as sheep in God’s right hand. No matter how hard they might have tried, I never in the 9 years that I lived with them felt like I was a part of their family.

One comment my adopted mom made regarding my weight that will stick with me forever, “Out of everyone in this family, you have the most fat potential.” What the fuck does that mean? She said it with a negative connotation and the word “fat” was in there, so it must not have been good. I learned what the word “potential” meant that day. Usually when you tell your kid they have potential for something, it’s for something good and positive. “You have the potential to change the world” or “You have the potential of a becoming a great artist, keep practicing!” Not, “You have the most potential to be fat.”

I already had a fucked up view of myself by the way they treated me, it quickly became worse with that comment and as I started going to school and socializing with other kids. In P.E. I was always the last kid picked on the team. No one passed me the ball and for good reason, I sucked. I believed I sucked, therefore I did. I always wore big baggy sweatshirts, hoods, and jeans. I hated shorts. I hated being in a swim suit. I hated being seen.

I had my first boyfriend during Freshman year. I remember the first time we held hands, the first time we kissed, the first time he choked me, and the second time he choked me. I wasn’t about to let it happen for a third time. The fucked up part was he had an image and reputation of being the “godly and pure” guy at school. He was a youth group leader and we played in our youth group band together. Everyone thought he was perfect. He wouldn’t have choked me if I didn’t deserve it, right?

High school was stupid as shit. Everyone pretending to be one thing, doing another. Even I pretended to have a relationship with God. Maybe I actually did, but it was short-lived and the only time my family showed me “love” or approval. As a conflicted teen being told I had all these issues, hopping from therapist to therapist, getting diagnosed with this or that, being put on these drugs ….. I started to act out and say “This is bullshit.” My family invaded my privacy, read my journals, took away every privilege including friends, internet, leaving the house, and music! Music for Christ’s sake…

I attempted running away so many times. April 20, 2008 was the day I left home with literally the clothes on my back and never went back. The only times I went back was when I was arrested for shop lifting and drinking in public. I had to drop out of school so the police wouldn’t pick me up and take me home again. I stayed off the grid and under the radar until I was 18 years old – over a year of hiding.

The greatest kindness I have ever been shown has been by complete strangers. People offered their couches, their homes, and the food on their table to me. Friends of Youth helped me obtain my birth certificate and SSN so I could start applying for jobs once I was 18. The true day of my salvation (so far) has been the day I decided I couldn’t live in a toxic environment any longer.

Over a year with no place to call home posed its own problems, as well as the internal struggle and self loathing. I was quickly introduced to the drug scene. I did cocaine before I had a beer, and I became heavily addicted to ecstasy, heroin, and meth. I recall one week long binge on ecstasy where I didn’t sleep, I didn’t eat, and I lost 15lbs. When I finally did sleep, I slept for two days straight and woke up so weak I almost blacked out in the shower. My ecstasy addiction got to the point where I didn’t have any serotonin left, and I would spend hours crying in bed, unable to move, and finding it difficult to breathe. Months later I was introduced to oxy, a drug that numbed your mind, interrupted the constant flow of thoughts, and allowed you to float on Cloud 9. Oxy’s were expensive though, so I turned to tar as a cheaper alternative. No matter how many times my friends tried to stop me, I refused to quit. Nothing they said mattered. Who were they to stop me from relieving the pain and suffering I endured? I got used to the nausea and vomit, all I wanted to do was turn off my brain. Whenever I would try to come off any drug, my weight would shoot up, and I developed an eating disorder. I fell into a vicious pattern of drug binges and bulimia. I still have journals saved from when I truly thought that my value and self worth depended on my self control to starve myself and control my weight.

Only one person’s words carried weight when I finally made the decision to quit everything. My ex husband and best friend. When I met him I was tied up in heroin and meth, coming into work high and puking on my breaks. I couldn’t lie to him. He knew. He looked me straight in my eyes and told me, “I can’t be with you if you choose to continue doing these drugs.” That’s the day I quit cold turkey. Everything. Quitting heroin opened doors to a new life, a life I had the opportunity to share with Derek.

We fell in love hard, so hard it knocked the wind out of me. I didn’t need drugs. We created a love that was a new kind of high, not one you can buy from a dealer. A genuine love that lasted 6 years. In those 6 years we grew together, over came obstacles, we were each other’s rock, and we pushed each other to be great and do more. But like many things in life, it came to an end. I refuse to let the bad outweigh the good, but there are thoughts I can’t deny when I look at my failed marriage….

“You are inadequate” I tell myself. “You are not enough.”

“There is nothing you can do to make people stay. They will outgrow you. They will no longer need you. They will move on. Once you have served your purpose, they will discard you.”

Every guy that has friend zoned me, every person who leaves me, every B that could have been an A, every day I weigh myself and I’ve stalled out, every time I fail to reach a PR, every time I binge or fail to track accurately, every time I make a mistake at work, every time I disappoint someone ….

“You are not enough.” 

I have always considered myself blessed. I hate to believe that I have struggles because I know it could be worse. You turn on the news and you see the world crumbling to ashes, meanwhile I am warm, clothed, fed, and sheltered. But denying I have pain that I carry with me every day is counterproductive for my own healing and internal peace.

So why am I choosing to compete? The raw honest truth, not an ego based lie, “I am trying to fill an empty void. I am striving to be enough.”

This type of thinking is bound to create unhealthy habits and set me up for failure. So how can I change the thought process and dialogue to set me up for success?

“I AM enough. I am MORE than adequate. Everything is inside me and I am capable of achieving anything. I know what needs to be done, and I posses the strength to execute.”

I can only begin by believing that this is true, and that in and of itself is a journey.

Without smoke and mirrors,
Jess

 

 

Twilight Zone of Singledom

The more time I spend alone, the more I enjoy it, and the more I find it difficult to find people I DO enjoy.

I feel as though I’m living in a paradox where I crave another person’s company to keep me warm at night, to laugh and bullshit, and create memories with; but the thought of another person occupying the same space as me, seeing them everyday, and feeling obligated to make time for them exhausts me.

I currently reside in the Twilight Zone of Singledom. This stage has been by far the most liberating and rewarding. I know what I want, but I also understand and can accept the fact that I’m not mentally prepared to enter a relationship. Neither do I want to…

This past year I’ve been in every situation imaginable. Some of which are comedic, others sad and pathetic, and some that are just…. wtf? No matter how fucked up or awkward some encounters have been, I believe each one of them has happened for a reason, helping me achieve peace, acceptance, and a general IDGAF attitude as I aimlessly float about this Twilight Zone.

Let’s start from the beginning shall we?

First guy I really took an interest in was pretty dope and I quickly became obsessed. Fitness guru who partakes in the ganja, nerdy sense of humor, and was pretty much going through the exact thing I was, so we understood each other. Although things didn’t pan out in the relationship department, I have a great friend who respects me and helped me through a tumultuous time. He taught me how to listen and how to be empathetic.

Second guy was basically a GQ model. He was the gateway to becoming more “adventurous” during my period where open relationships sounded like a good idea. I met him off Tinder while he was visiting family for the holidays. When he went back to Cali I quickly invited him to come live with me while he looked for a job. He drove up and it was all so surreal and new, but one week turned into two, turned into three, and I quickly discovered how much I enjoy my personal space and how we did NOT mesh. We were polar opposites. Religious conservative and hippy dippy peace loving liberal living under the same roof. Tensions were high, I became depressed, and I asked him to leave. We still talk and he lives in the area. He taught me that I value my space and require plenty of alone time to recharge.

Third guy taught me I should tame my sexual prowess and practice safety first ….. Nothing like a good scare as a reality check….. An obvious word of advice, make sure your sexual partner checks out BEFORE engaging in any sexual activity. Sure it might be a buzzkill right before they slip it in, but do you really want to carry a disease for life? No thanks. There’s my mommy rant for the day…. Sex Ed is way under appreciated these days… He taught me to be safe, cautious, and honest.

Fourth guy I ended up being the “other woman.” Never thought that person would be me, but I guess there’s a first time for everything. It might sound backwards, but he taught me to have respect for myself, to proceed with caution when I meet people, to truly love myself and see my own beauty and potential, and to never settle. He taught me that I deserve more than many people give me, and one day the person that will offer me the most will enter my life when they are meant to.

Fifth guy ….. all the good things and more. But after months of back and forth, we decided that staying friends would be best. Banging bod, partakes in the ganj, and most importantly someone I can share a strong spiritual connection with. Oddly, after meeting him and beginning to talk to him, my life became still. My once scattered life started to rearrange itself and all the pieces fell into place. I learned how to breathe again. He taught me what it means not only to love myself, but what it means to love others, and HOW to love others. The different shades and dimensions that make love so complex and yet so simple.

So where am I at right now?

At peace mostly. I’m content and I enjoy my solitude. I’m appreciative and grateful. Have I been bitter? Yes. Do the waves of bitterness come and go? Yes. But I know those waves will pass, and I know what I truly want, and I’m okay with waiting. Hell, take your time Universe…. I’m coastin’…..

~Jess