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ON BEING ASIAN AMERICAN

There has been so much discussion about race in America. I’m not going to make any comments on what I think is right or wrong. I just want to share my experience as an Asian-American. There is an interesting intersection as an Asian in America – first generation Chinese-American, to be more specific. Even though we, generally, do better for minorities, we are often seen as foreigners. Smart. But nonetheless, we are seen as “others.” We are seen as exotic, foreign, even oriental (like a rug…). Growing up, my family was isolated. My parents didn’t know English very well, so they stayed within their own bubble. After my dad immigrated here, he slowly brought family members over, one by one. I can’t imagine how lonely it was when he was here by himself...

LULLABY FOR MOM

When did you first feel like a grown-up? When you graduated college? When you got married? Bought a house? Had a baby? Not me. Adulthood sucker-punched me at age 53, when I had to make decisions about my elderly mom. Mom was a formidable woman. She came from a poor Cuban family of 11 children, the middle child in a family where the four girls were significantly less important than the seven boys. It’s sobering to be faced with the raw realization that you are a witness to your parent’s entire life. No, you weren’t there for all of it, but you heard the stories about her youth, how she was teased by her siblings, how she had to walk for miles to get to school in shoes resoled with cardboard, the heartbreaks that defined her. You begin to uncover the mystery that is the most influential pers...

I GUESS WE ARE JUST FRIENDS

I wake up a couple of hours later because I’m cold. I see you across the room, sitting at the computer. You’re dressed already. You see that I’m awake and you smile. “I was about to slip out. You were sleeping so good I didn’t want to wake you. I’m just checking my email right quick.” I can tell right away that your mood has changed. You’re no longer as comfortable with me as you were before. This change makes me feel naked and it has nothing to do with what I’m wearing, or the lack thereof. I get up and begin to get dressed. Even though it’s spring and it’s warm, I put on jeans and a lightweight hoodie. I’m familiar with this new mood and it chills me to the bone. It makes me feel nervous and alone. You’re no lo...

WAVES OF WANDERING FEET

Riding in the back of a truck where gypsy music soothes in the background Wind blows strings of hair across my face covering my sight and so I close my eyes as I feel the breeze smell the scents of grassy roots hear the Sea, waves crashing Carried by blistered feet due to two days of barefoot walks across the land town, garden, lava, pavement, tile and wooden floors I wait for the strengthened callouses to form   The soles of my feet have wandered streets homes of magical Spirits   We arrive to the sweet wooden Medicine cabin where air flows smoothly through our lungs At night, the lights around the bed light our dreamy state oh and when we wake, it is to the morning rays shining through the leaves of the fruity trees or to the raining sky pouring love onto the land!   Autho...

WHAT I LEARNED FROM MY PARENTS ABOUT LOVE

What does the word “love” mean to you? Is it something that scares you? Or is it a word that puts a smile on your face? Who is the first person that pops into your head when you hear the word? A best friend? A sibling? A family member? A significant other? When I think of the word love, I think of my amazing parents. They pushed me to pursue my dreams and raised me to believe I can achieve anything in the world. On a romantic note, I can’t remember the first time I realized how in love my parents were with each other. Their love was always just something I just found as a normal part of life. When I was younger, I found their PDA one of the most embarrassing things in the world! Until about the age of 14, every time they would kiss in front of me I would cover my eyes and go, “Gross, PG-13...

HOW TO REMAIN SANE WHEN YOUR CHILD IS A MONSTER

My daughter Juliana is deep into her terrible twos. In fact, it feels like she has been two for about 10 years now. Her 4-year-old sister, Clarabella, gave us the false impression that caring for babies and toddlers is easy (ha!).  When Clarabella was two, she would read quietly by herself for an hour or more, and loved to walk around cleaning the walls with baby wipes. Those walls are now decorated daily with food, crayons, and…well, I don’t even know what this stain is. While our home was once filled with the melodic sounds of Raffi and story time on the rug, there is now a cacophony of piercing screams, crashes, toys hurled at the wall, crying, and the occasional evil laughter. And I am losing my shit. I have always been sensitive to sound. In a chaotic and noisy environment, I feel cla...

AN ODE TO A GODDESS

Darling, You are more than the clothes you wear The way you paint your face Or style your hair You are strong With a brilliant mind And an enchanting soul Someone who can’t be contained Nor controlled A magnificent force Such a sight to see A wise woman, A Goddess, free   Author: V.M. Tori Email: medinavictoria14@gmail.com Link to social media or website: Instagram: v.m_tori  

#SUPERWOMAN JOSIE SCHWEITZER | FOUNDER OF THANK YOGA TALKS TO HARNESS

Josie Schweitzer talks to us about finding her calling, letting go of her business and the transformative power of yoga In the early 2000s, Josie Schweitzer took her first yoga class in a basement in the beautiful city of Columbus, Ohio. She was intrigued, but scared because the practice was not approachable. A few years later, in her 20s, she was introduced to a more challenging practice – and that’s when the art of yoga stuck. “The fact that I could go and sweat and feel like I’ve been worked in a lot of ways, kept me coming back to it,” Schweitzer said, who is also a runner and an adrenaline junkie. Yet, she knew there was more to yoga than just the physical benefits. “Once I started practicing, it only took a few months for me to get really, really curious as to why I was feeling...

NEVER REALLY THERE

I never liked Father’s Day for the sheer fact that it often fell on my birthday, and that was a day I never liked to share. The first time I remember it happening, I was 12 and I was forced to go spend the day with my Dad, Mom and younger brother at a friend of my Dad’s house for a cookout. As we all know, 12 is a big age to be accepted by your peers, and birthdays were a big time to shine. I liked being the center of attention and hated that I had to share my day with a man who was absent most of my life. Growing up, my Dad worked a lot. He was successful so it always seemed fine that he wasn’t around much. I was able to do things that I wanted to do and overall had a good childhood. My Mom did all of the everyday parenting, including taking my brother and I to school, p...

THAT TIME I MET GARY VAYNERCHUK

  Monday, July 17, 2017 was a special day. On this day, I woke up in New York City and met Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary is known for his business savvy and entrepreneurial spirit. I do not see myself as an entrepreneur, but I do believe in much of what he communicates. I utilize his strategies in my work at Aboriginal Head Start. I was also raised by a mom and dad who hustled their whole lives, and passed that down to their children. This meeting meant a lot for me, even though it was difficult at first to nail down what I was hoping to achieve from the meeting. BRENE BROWN, HELP A GIRL OUT! As I was getting ready for the meeting, the nerves started to settle in, and no amount of deep breathing was helping. Feeling doubt and the inner critic creep in, I turned to a source that has helped me ...

#SUPERWOMAN AUNT FLOW | 20-YEAR-OLD FOUNDER CLAIRE CODER CHATS WITH HARNESS

Photo by The Wonder Jam Claire discusses period positivity, dropping out of college and entrepreneurism She’s only 20-years-old, but Claire Coder is changing the world – one cycle at a time. As Chief Estrogen Officer of Aunt Flow, a subscription service which mails a customized box of tampons and pads, Coder’s mission is to provide every menstruator access to menstrual products. For each box bought, another one is donated to a select organization or an individual in need. Businesses can also purchase their tampons and provide them – for free – in bathrooms. As the website reads: “Taking care of your flow, takes care of their flow.” Tampons and pads are not covered by food stamps or by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Accord...

BARRICADES

I wrote this piece after a long hiatus from writing. I don’t know about you, but my worst fear is losing my gift of writing. As if time could take away the gift I worked so hard to craft. I think many writers have this fear. The fear of losing their magic. Even more so, putting pen to paper and uncovering things deep down inside maybe they weren’t ready to release.  XX, Ashley – Founder of Harness Magazine. Come find me – @adrelli – @harnessmagazine   “BARRICADES” And I miss the pen and paper in ways you couldn’t imagine An ice has frozen over what once was thick and beating I’ve built barricades So tall I can’t even let myself in And I’ve avoided The ink For its truth would unthaw what I am not ready to face The unknown The breaking without m...

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