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ON GROWING UP AND GROWING OLD

Hi, I’m Riley. I’m 23, and I’m slowly but surely growing up. Though I live with my parents, I went “away” for college (two hours away) and had an adult job for a total of six months before moving back in and taking a wonderful, fulfilling internship. That adult job was a horrendous, anxiety-producing gig that forced me into therapy which subsequently changed my life and helped me make better choices. The job produced a six month low, then a month-long high, but now, I’m on the brink of another low. Life is funny that way: up down up down up up up. While I don’t want to be ruled by my circumstances, it is difficult when you’re learning things for the first time on your own and with minimal safety nets. It’s extra hard not to let your circumstances rule your mindset at my age. This new low i...

WOVEN IN THE WRONG STITCH

And all of these things? They have created space. Allowed me to fill the darkness with better. Trusting that everything I once grasped too tightly to was just woven in the wrong stitch. While I unthread to remake, I remember the new space I’m creating between my finger tips. The way the openness feels in the morning, like you can take on the world. It’s the way the same vast feeling that practically swallows you whole by night time. It’s the power you feed into darling, don’t you know? When the light illuminates the darkness it doesn’t happen immediately. It trickles in, covering all the dark spaces with color. Slowly the colors unravel in the morning sky and you can not only feel, but sense the power. Light always wins, just keep looking for the small threads...

MARTIAN LOVE

A Martian runs in my veins, His strange words reign over my very mind and existence. Trapped in distance. In cages Through all the stages. Fly away they said. All his words stuck in my head. Strange words I can’t understand. In trespassed land. A Martian and his Martian friends, Martian drinks held in Martian hands. The oxygen on Mars will suffocate you he said. You’ll never be a Martian. Not unless we’re wed. This syndrome of conditions. Rules and preceding missions. Not unless. Not unless. Imaginary futures, Somehow different. Nurtured fantasies. Martian love in my veins, in my brain.     Author: Dakota Arkin Cafourek Email: dakota.arkin@gmail.com Author Bio: Dakota is a content creator and travel + art writer based on the East End of Long Island. Link to social media or websit...

ANNIE HASLAM: A “RENAISSANCE” WOMAN

Annie Haslam is the long-time lead singer of the symphonic rock band “Renaissance” that played sold out shows across the globe. She is known for her five-octave voice, recognizable in her band or solo career, and her incredible intuitive artwork. Annie sat down with Harness to talk about finding her career and overcoming obstacles to find herself. Annie, how did your journey begin? My journey began in 1947 in a smoky cotton mill town called Bolton in Lancashire.  We were a working-class family; I had two brothers, Michael and Keith, and Mum and Dad, Annie and George. I had a loving childhood with a few medical situations, but I came through okay except for an ongoing ear problem that I now live with and can deal with. …It’s a long story! My dad was an amateur comedian/singer as a hobby, bu...

MY STRUGGLE WITH SELF-LOVE

I have always struggled with self-love. Of course, I took care of myself (never took any heavy drugs and I have never gotten too drunk and forgot what I did) and I respected myself (I don’t do things that could potentially ruin my reputation) but I never really *learnt* how to love myself. When I thought of myself, all I could ever see were my flaws – why is my face covered with pimples and blackhead? Why am I so skinny? Why do I still look 12 when I’m actually 20? Why do I look like a demented horse when I laugh? Where are my eyebrows? So really, what’s there to love about me? I would find it so easy to love someone else wholeheartedly, and I would always make sure that they were happy all the time, which resulted in me ripping myself apart to ensure that they are kept whole. I would star...

SUMMER’S KISS

There was always a parade of picnics And soul music And posing by public pools And knowing the electric slide   Fair street fights and foot races ran parallel to corner store hangouts And block party hookups   We played Hopscotch in flip flops And fell out of Philadelphian trees   And then I got too close to that beautiful boy at the beach In my favorite blue bikini On the ruddy boardwalk Above stacks of seaweed and salt water taffy   We stood blushing And face to face our knobby knees sticking out from under our second hand shorts our summer kiss already floating On a surface of air At the center of the ocean   Becoming wishes Waiting to be blown away   This is when I was red t-shirts with no sleeves On green bikes With boys who used to be friends watching us like new women...

HOW I FIND INNER PEACE WITH CROCHET

When I was a young child, I would watch my grandmother and mother create beautiful dresses made of silk garments, warm sweaters from yarn and creative images from embroidery. Soon, they taught me how to create as well, passing down their passion for handcraft down to me. I remember the day my mother and I were crocheting. We were sitting quietly in our living room, classical Arabic music was playing in the background, we had some Arabic kleicha on our living room table (Arabic homemade cookies) and mint tea in a glass cup. The vibe was extremely soothing and relaxing. That day, she was teaching me how to make a scarf. We both had our own crochet hooks and yarn. Mine was red and hers was pink. She would start to create the base masks and I would watch and follow her lead. We wouldn’t speak ...

BIRDCAGE

Birdcage is a continuation of my on-going work exploring the complex way in which our society views women and its relation to beauty. These mixed media pieces—employing wax pastel, chalk pastel, and acrylic— place idealized women in isolated, domestic environments, the bright colors and alluring surroundings helping to mask their confinement. With the renaissance of mid-century home décor, the furniture and plant life depicted challenge the viewer to question whether this is a scene from the 1950s or of modern times, further illuminating the recurring nature of a woman’s plight. While creating these works and incorporating furniture and plants from my home, I came to the realization that my own daily routine—hours spent in solitude working in my home studio—in some ways mirrored the isolat...

THE WORLD HUMS SWEETLY: REFLECTIONS OF A DIGITAL NOMAD

Sleeping Naked on Plastic Arriving in Bangkok with no money. At least, not enough to buy sheets for this small apartment. The waterproof mattress sticks to my skin so I cover it with silk scarves. I bundle some clothes into some other clothes for a lumpy pillow. I am so happy. Falling asleep naked. The window looks over the Chao Phraya River as the city moves and I dream of you. Little comfort is needed when you are 24 with love shimmering. ————————- 27 and Sometimes Concerned About Capitalism Otherwise thinking about love or food or myself. I met an Italian girl in Las Palmas and we were both confused about Spanish men. We drank cappuccinos every day at La Olive and talked, frustrated about these bastardos who stopped texting us back. The we...

RECIPE: RAW CHOCOLATE CHIP BROWNIES

I did post this tempting photo last week promising the recipe, so here it is. It’s amazing for kids to make as well, full of fantastic ingredients that will keep you energized and not spike your blood sugar levels. Why Raw? Heat in most food destroys its natural enzymes and nutrients, which can be bad because enzymes help to fight against any illness / future illness. The benefits of eating plant-based raw are amazing as long as you have a good source of local organic produce. Your body will thank you from the inside and out! Walnuts- Great for bone health, metabolism, omega 3- mood booster, Vitamin E- antioxidant, Melatonin-sleep, weight management. Bananas- Soothes stomach, treats depression, aids asthma, helps with allergies, supports insomnia, high in several vitamins and nutrien...

LONG LOST LOVE AFFAIRS WITH MY CAR

Rubbing half smeared-eyeliner farther across my cheek as I rise out of my luke-warm, limp-pillowed, insomnia ridden bed.   Press the chilled doorknob of my mother’s house; as I pull forward I rip open the security and prison of my saffron and sage warmed upbringing:   enter the cold unknown, enter the dampness on the rugged dark path ahead of me, enter the sweet smell of the roses with small teardrop of dew waiting for morning dust to kiss them, enter the cold clinking of keys that I fumbling with determination between my chipped-nails and anemia   Atticus is cold and takes time to warm up to me I turn on my favorite tune-on to break the awkward silence I caress him, my own legs, tighten my ass muscles and sit up straight   Headlights on here we go.   I swerve down...

PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE

We can pretend it’s not coming or keep our head in the sand, but the future will come just the same, bringing with it change, decisions, challenges and new opportunities. If we do not take today to prepare for the future, we run the risk of missing out on all the chances tomorrow will bring. Preparation is the gateway that allows us to achieve our goals, the key that gives us access to the change we so desire. A new year means a new opportunity to prepare ourselves for the lives we want, to build habits that will equip us for success. We work hard every day, but we don’t always work with intention. Preparation requires us to know what we want, to have an understanding of what direction we need to go. In order to prepare for the future, we need to keep one eye on what’s coming while fully i...

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