life

HOW TO SET GOALS THAT INSPIRE YOU ALL YEAR

Sometimes you have to look back to remember where you are going.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I was a college graduate in 2011 who could not find a job.  Similar to any person in that position I took the first opportunity that panned out.  For me, that was working as a full-time nanny for two years. In 2014, I was creating international education programs for the U.S. Department of State.  What propelled me from watching kids to creating and managing multi-million dollar programs for the top foreign affairs agency in the world? The introspective work I did before creating clear-cut goals.    Get To Know Yourself Again We all have an itch to pursue a certain thing.  If we aren‘t careful, life can quickly get in the way causing us to forget what that is. I learned that my goals had...

THE POST-ANGST YEARS

If I cannot be a martyr, Let me have my stake in the earth, a place to stand and burn a little, an inescapable, heroic death that doesn’t make suffering seem cool, but also validates mine just a little.  If I cannot be a martyr,  Give me strong arms and definition. an entry next to desire in the OED, an attitude that shines, halo-like, on my perfect, glossy hair. Please add good hair to the list of demands.  If I cannot be a martyr,  Teach me how to speak in tongues. A nuanced battle of non-words that has neither winner or loser only my mouth and a language of creation. Make it sensual and unapologetic.  If I cannot be a martyr,  Show me the world – a home to fireflies and the thing that inspires the glory of sacrifice. Show it to me in color and good-smelling bakeries. Show it to me...

MORE IS NOT BETTER

We live in a world that glorifies being busy. We’re constantly hustling, adding items to our to-do lists and saying “yes” when we could be saying “no.” It’s normalized and expected. If you’re not insanely busy, are you really living? This is just one way to live, and, I would argue, not the best way. The problem is not that we’re busy, but that we’re busy doing things that aren’t most important to us. We have filled our lives up with other people’s version of success and piled on tasks accordingly. Will this leave you feeling fulfilled and satisfied with your life? Probably not. The danger in this is that we’ll spend all our precious time and energy on achievements that don’t really matter to us. From the outside we may look like we “have it all,” but in reality, there’s a huge gap b...

A FACE FULL OF POESY

My face is full of poesy.   I have a fascination for faces, I have sketch many facial portrait, always of women because I am a woman and I know what it is to carry a feminine face rather than a masculine one.   Yet, my face has been carrying many poems. Those of love when my eyes shines, My cheeks get colored pink. This was true love. “Was” because I don’t know if this love is one to be admired from far or to be lived. It hurts as much at heals and gives life.   My face also painted grey or blue, full of tears of dark khôl running down those cheeks once painted pink. This is heartbreak. “Is” because my heart has not been mended for the past two years.   My face with its curves and lines has a strong layer of skin, under a thin layer of fleur bleu feeling, Lines sp...

A RELAXING REALIZATION

Recently I noticed how quickly I have been falling asleep for the last couple of months and yes, I do not blame you for asking yourself, “How is that a beautiful realization?” I am getting there. Over the years I had unintentionally gotten my body into the habit of sleeping no earlier than 2 a.m. Strange, I know, but I have my reasons which are rather strange too – I was too busy asking myself why I don’t have what others have, why can’t I afford to travel, why don’t I have a clear skin, why am I not getting straight A’s at school, am I too skinny, have people noticed…the insecure questions were endless. Basically, I used to spend most of my nights beating myself up for not being perfect and not having what other people had. However, there are quite a number of things I did not...

PENT-UP CREATIVITY

My fingers glide across the keyboard making a slight melody of words. This is the only music that I ever learned how to make. The strumming of letters and the painting of words dance around me, like they just escaped. The freedom, the airy flowing freedom makes them so much lighter that they can float and fly and I feel completely ashamed as the monster that managed their captivity. Knowing they are locked up, I just kept saying I would get to them tomorrow; or the next day or the next month. Time has always been our enemy. I spent my morning balancing a spreadsheet, then made lunch for my kids, cleaned the kitchen, attempted laundry, picked up another kid from school then started dinner. My creativity would get buried inside the mundane, everyday life tasks. It is the list of things I hav...

LIFE LESSONS FROM OUR TOWN AND STAR TREK

When I was eleven, a televised version of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” aired. Since props were expressly minimal, actors had to work extra hard. They often had to mime actions. Viewers were forced to use their imaginations. At the time my parents got three channels, I’m not sure what it was that glued my eleven-year-old self to the story. “Our Town” starts like most stories: boy falls for the girl next door, they marry, an unfortunate tragedy strikes and she dies giving birth. Unlike most stories, Emily, the newly deceased girl next door, is allowed to go back in time and revisit the day of her 12th birthday as an unseen observer. I was heartbroken as the desperate, time-traveling Emily tries and fails to communicate with family and friends. Sadly, she returns to he...

WHEN MY LIFE CHANGED

It was a typical evening, so typical that I don’t even remember the day of the week. I was watching a documentary on the History channel with my parents in my mom’s office/family T.V. room. I remember the landline rang and my mom let the answering machine pick-up. His voice was familiar. He had been my mom’s doctor since her twenties. He said the result of her test came back, to please come into the office to discuss. He also asked for my dad to come with her. It seemed like an odd request, since my parents rarely attended doctor’s appointments without the other. When he hung-up, an odd and anxious silence fell over the room. We sat for a while, not listening to the TV, not talking, just thinking. I remember one line from the documentary that played shortly after the doctor’s message. “It ...

IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY

No cloud in sight, a cool breeze in the air It’s a beautiful day There is a sweet calm in the whispering breeze, beyond the hum of car engines and shouts of their drivers It’s a beautiful day The smell of brewing coffee hits the nose of sleepy heads, waking them in groggy awareness It’s a beautiful day The taste of a warm breakfast, beside the window, gazing out to the clear world It’s a beautiful day Dogs barking in the distance, and beside the backyard’s fence, proving there is life beyond these four walls It’s a beautiful day A wet tongue greets your bare leg, and you gaze down with a gentle smile at the hungry pooch It’s a beautiful day You laugh in delight after he joins the chorus of the trio’s barks outback It’s a beautiful day The busy morning routine begins, with the sound of show...

TWO PERCENT

My mother had turned it into a game. And it was simple. Whoever found the most change in the house won. That was it. Our one story suburban home was free range. Everything counted. You only had to make sure that you turned every single silver cent in. Pennies allowed, of course, but frowned upon. It didn’t really matter, though. Only that our wooden, chipped coffee table was covered in coins. My mother and I didn’t start playing this game until I was 10 years old, right after my dad left. My older brother, Nicholas, wasn’t around much. Just as absent as our father. Spending most of his time at his friend’s house, unable to deal with our sadness, I think. I didn’t notice it back then. Especially when my mother would move the stacks of unpaid bills off the coffee table and we’d stand on eith...

EMO GRRRLS: A COMIC STRIP

  Author: Jennifer B. Larson Email: jenniferblarson@gmail.com Author Bio: Jennifer B. Larson is a special education teacher in Chicago Public Schools, a punk-rocker, writer and illustrator. She draws the comic strip “Emo Grrrls” and runs Disappearing Media. Check out their new card-game, Douchebag CEO. Link to social media or website: http://www.disappearingmedia.com

UPROOTING

I looked around my childhood bedroom one last time. It was the morning of my return flight back to Denver, back to the life I had built 1,000 miles away from this one. I walked around the room trying to sear into my memory every inch of its strange shape. The vaulted ceilings and big windows. The area that once housed my desk. My tiny closet that still held some of my past in it, waiting for donation or to be sent to the landfill. Memories flashed into my mind: pacing my room while talking to my best friend on the landline in a language that only we seemed to understand; typing away on my computer wondering if I could actually become an author when I grew up; smoothing out the comforter on my bed while listening to my mom reciting advice from her library of life experience. This was the sp...

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