RISK

RISK

My dad used to use a particular phrase to describe my mom’s brother:

“Live fast. Die young. Have a good-looking corpse.”

He was - is - different from them. Real “rebel without a cause” type. I had stars in my eyes over him as a kid. I thought he was so cool. He didn’t give a shit and I loved that. I felt like I understood something in him. My perception of him was that he wasn’t afraid of anything. Wasn’t afraid to die. He took a lot of risks. I wanted to be a rebel just like him. I wanted to be a fucking badass.

I perceive him differently now.
I don’t want to be like him anymore.

A LETTER TO MY FUTURE LOVERS

A LETTER TO MY FUTURE LOVERS

Dear one(s), whoever you are,

There may be many of you.
There may be just one.
We might choose “for tonight”.
We might choose “forever”.
We might connect across a wide, wide spectrum of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual relating. Regardless of the specific makeup of our shared experience, I’d like to lovingly set some boundaries now so that we can come together in the most truthful, authentic, and joyful ways.

LESSONS FROM THE VOICE | PART ONE - ALLOW

LESSONS FROM THE VOICE | PART ONE - ALLOW

*Before you read this, allow me to introduce you to my dear friend Sarah. I met Sarah two years ago in Israel on Birthright. We shared ten of the most significant days of our lives, and then hardly spoke for two years. Not for a lack of fondness, just how our story unfolded. As road life took me out of Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, Sarah offered to host me in Charlottesville. Over the last three weeks, I have come home to one of the deepest bonds of my lifetime thus far. I have swum in Sarah’s beauty and softness and power and wisdom. Sarah is so many things, to limit her identity to a singular expression would be unjust and unholy. However, one of Sarah’s many, many gifts is her voice. As a classically trained Opera singer, something Sarah taught me just by sharing HER truth, was how we relate to ourselves, through our voice. I asked this precious spirit sister of mine to speak on this topic, and it is my immense honor to introduce you to the vast wellspring of love and glory that is Sarah Sherman.

WHEN I GOT "THE TALK"...

WHEN I GOT "THE TALK"...

DISCALIMER - Mom + Dad - if you read this here blog of mine, here’s your warning that you’re going to read some things here that are.…well…you’ll just read some things. Choose wisely.

Journey with me, dear reader, two decades into the past. A tiny, tanned, wondrous version of Stef - perhaps still pretty fresh out of the “bangs” phase of her life, never to return.

“Where do babies come from?” she asks from the backseat of her mom’s car, not knowing what the fuck she’d just done to herself.

I DID NOT GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO TOUCH ME

I DID NOT GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO TOUCH ME

This content could potentially be triggering for some people because of its discussion of sexual assault, so I’d like to offer that warning now and invite you to skip this if that doesn’t feel safe for you.

Other than that, I’m not really sure how to write this. After months of processing that still knocks me sideways sometimes in its active-ness, I’m not sure how to say “I want to talk about being a person who was sexually abused as a child and how that has impacted my life.”

11 More Days

11 More Days

Really it’s 12 more days, but it’s 10pm on October 19th and the day is basically over and by the time I share this it’ll be the 20th. So…11 more days.

I think when any significant change is rounding home base, there are particular moments that deliver you from “idea” to “reality”. When you’re taking all of your stuff off the walls and trying somehow to assign a dollar value to your most precious artifacts, suddenly “I’m leaving soon” becomes “Holy fuck. I’m really leaving." The shockwave of that awareness finally integrating is enough to reorganize the marrow in your bones.

Anxiety and Depression | Science, Spirit and a Story

Anxiety and Depression | Science, Spirit and a Story

It had to have been 2009 or so. A year-ish perhaps, maybe less, into my first long-term relationship right after high school (that would last another five years). He was living with my family and I - long story - and working at a popular pizza spot downtown. I expected him home late but as the hour crept beyond midnight, I began to wonder. Called - no answer. Called again - no answer. After all this time I can recall what it felt like to stand in my room as the TV lit the walls in this haunting sort of way in the darkness. The clock kept ticking and I was worried now. Not that he was doing something wrong - nothing like that in that moment. In my mind scenes of his forest green, Ford Ranger being submerged in a body of water with his lifeless body inside played on repeat, mixed with other images depicting the tragic demise of the boy I loved. Soon his phone went straight to voicemail (I had to have tried at least 30 times). I was terrified now and losing my grip quickly. I called the police station - crazy, I know. I called his friends (it was WAY too late to be calling anyone). I called his job. Before I knew it, it was about 3 AM and I was driving around downtown and past his family's praying for a glimpse of him. Nothing. Around 4 AM I went home and went to bed, on the phone with a sweet friend of his who assured me that he was safe and that there was an explanation of some kind for all of this. By the time I found any rest, the sun had come up. Dis-ease and pure panic still radiating in my bones.

Mental Health, Mindfulness, and the Best Cup of Coffee Ever

Mental Health, Mindfulness, and the Best Cup of Coffee Ever

*story by Dr. Nicole Davis Psy.D., J.D - a gifted teacher and guide for integrated Mindfulness + Wellbeing.

It must’ve been my first year of licensed practice, now that I think about it. I had a client during that time, let’s call her Maria, who was struggling with moderate to severe chronic depression. We’d been working together for a few months with little noticeable change in her mood. She was frustrated with therapy, and (candidly) I was frustrated too. Even armed with all of my years of education and supervised practice, along with a heart full of compassion and a fresh desire to help, we were stuck in a therapy rut and I was feeling a bit hopeless that I could help. One day, out of a combination of desperation and trying to get her off of the hamster wheel of melancholy, I asked her “is there anything at ALL in your day that you find even a teenie tiny bit enjoyable?” And after some serious deliberation, she decided that her morning cup of coffee was pretty much all that brought her any semblance of daily joy…