22 years old with a massive love for the world. New Jersey native, world traveler, volunteer, Yoga instructor, clean-eating vegetarian, lover of sunshine, recovered anorexic, and damn proud of it. on New Years Day our house burnt down.
read about my trips, nutrition, yoga, nature, and soul searchin'.
//currently in Guatemala
I’ve been bumming really hard since I got home. I’m missing the sun and the volcanoes and the smiles and the holas. My motivation is gone, my energy level stayed in Central America, I’ve cried everyday,
and if it weren’t for this freshly roasted Guatemala coffee
I never would have put forth the effort to finally apply for my college diploma, pick up seeds and start planting, acquire my own greenhouse, narrow down my 5 picks for Universities next Spring, research overseas internships, set up days to start tutoring again, and tell my boss I’m ready to get back to work.
My mom took our oldest cat babe to be put to sleep tonight. She stopped purring a few days ago, but she started again tonight when my mom decided it was time to take her to the vet. It’s interesting how suffering works; it’s almost like she knew it was soon to be over.
The first seeds are planted. Spring is just around the corner, Emily.
The truth is that I never wanted to wash you off of me
I feel a little more empty each time
Today I feel useless.
Hey! Wow, it’s awesome thank my blog came up through google! I’ve been to Ghana and Guatemala through IVHQ. If you’re interested in India I can put you in direct contact with a program there. I wouldn’t go to India through IVHQ, I’ve heard bad stories. Or Guatemala now that I know better. Try to find the organization that IVHQ will pair you with instead of going through them. You can’t ask them because they wont tell you because then they lose money lol but they have facebook pages that you can ask past volunteers. If you private message me your email address I can send you more information! Thanks for getting in touch! :)
"I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth…
Then I ask myself the same question.”
Sometimes I get stupid claustrophobic and I get super overwhelmed and I just can’t breathe and I have to get out. And it helps and it heals but it’s just not good enough to go for a walk or go for a drive or go sit on the beach. Sometimes I just need a total out, all the way, far away, for a while. You may call it escaping, but I call it living.
Guatemala has this funny way of shaking up my brain and making it settle back into ways I had never felt before. I have this constant internal battle, should I return home to the town I’ve always known, work my 9-5 and stress out about a way to pay for university? Or should I hold tight the little money that I have and spend it on street food and hostels and fuck the norm just to see the world?
But that’s writing for another day.
I decided two weeks after our house burnt down that it was probably best for me to leave for a little while. I’m staying at the As Green as It Gets guest house in San Miguel Escobar, 20 minutes outside of La Antigua Guatemala. They are the Coffee Cooperative non-profit group that I worked with for a few weeks last year. I met a wonderful guy that works for them and we’ve kept in touch. Two weeks turned into a month. I’ll be home in March. In time to plant some seeds in the garden and hope for Spring to come a bit faster. I’ve never liked the cold.
I haven’t spent much time in the city. It’s full of delicious food and ice cream and cute tourist shops and a massive market… But I don’t really need things. I know this place like the back of my hand so there is little exploring to be done anymore. It’s gorgeous, it’s an amazing place, and it carries the familiarity of home.
Matt and I took a few days and went up to Tikal National Park. Close to the Mexico border, it’s 3000 years old and the largest of all the Mayan Ruins in Guatemala. (Well, one is called El Mirador but it’s a 3 day hike through the jungle and it’s not excavated yet.) We got on a shuttle at 3 AM and hiked the park in the dark. We climbed quite a few sets of stairs and put our trust in the people in front of us. We ended up sitting on the side of this massive wall to watch the sunrise over the jungle. It was really foggy, but that doesn’t stop the Howler Monkeys from screaming bonkers loud. I got to hold a tarantula. It’s kind of silly how that’s the moment I’ll remember best of all! It’s really mind-blowing, seeing these massive buildings that hundreds of indigenous people put together with their hands. We have no concept of that kind of hard work. It just makes you feel so small. Pictures don’t do any justice to the beauty there is in the world.
We spent two nights in Flores, Guatemala’s old naval base of a city before the Spanish conquistadors took over in the 1600’s. It was a 10 hour overnight bus ride from Guatemala City. We took a lancha ride to a private beach to swim, then ate dinner and watched the sunset over Lake Izabel. And ice cream. Lots of ice cream.
Matt has been the construction manager for AGAIG for a few years. We spent a day working with a group of homeschooled Christian kids from Vancouver, building a cement patio so that one of the Co-op farmers can roast his coffee at home.
Last week I got to see his favorite place. I’ve been hearing about it for months now. A secluded surf spot that gringos haven’t discovered yet. Black sand beaches on the Pacific coast. It was beautiful. I kind of take the ocean for granted, seeing as my Atlantic will always be there for me. But it was so nice to share a place that he loves so much. The twinkle you see in a person’s eye when they’re faced with something they love more than they can express with words. That feeling in and of itself was worth the trip. And the fact that I was able to sleep in a hammock for three days straight. That, too.
So. Yeah. That’s what I’ve been doing. Next week we’re hiking one of the volcanoes. We might go back to the beach. I’m trying to convince him to go to Quetzaltenango with me. I’m just livin. Tryna figure out my next step, but not really, because I’m tryna figure out how to live in the moment.
Tryna find a balance between life and real life //////////
(And tryna figure out which is which.)
The first thing I notice about my doctors office is that the lock has been completely taken out of the door. It makes me wonder why, and the only logical conclusion I’ve come to is that they’re afraid of a really bonkers, off-the-wall patient trying to lock people inside as hostages. So this avoids that altogether.
I have my doctors cell phone number and I know they’re not really supposed to do that, especially as psychotherapists, because a nutso patient of theirs might start to become obsessive and even track her number, ya know?
I’m not that crazy.
But I do go to therapy.
I started coming in 8th grade. I used to have bad anxiety attacks during middle and high school. (I didn’t realize I was also super depressed or anorexic yet.) I freaked out when it came to flying, and that’s something that, as a traveler, I had to get over. Puke, panic, tears, all of it (sometimes at once haha). I sobbed my entire way to the Dominican Republic.
Her first question to me was, “How’s your diet?” And I was quick to respond with, “I eat really well. Probably better than most people. As healthy as possible, all the time.” (I’ve always been a snob.)
Boy, was I wrong haha. Eight years of starving later… She has helped me realize all sorts of wild things about my psyche and has really been a big part of my understanding of who I am. I’ll spit out my newly realized line of profound knowledge, and she’ll knock it down or back it up with the actual neurological science. And when I think I have it figured out, she knows the right curveballs to throw to get the wheels turning again. I used to be ashamed and embarrassed of going. I still even hesitate to answer when people say “what are you going to the doctor for?”
But fuck that. She’s awesome. And it helps. She literally went to school to learn how to ask the questions to unlock the things in your brain that you can’t seem to figure out, because, well, it’s your brain, and you have no other perspective, believe it or not. She is the friend you want to sit and listen to you without giving their stupid opinion. And not only does she not get offended when I don’t call her- in fact, she thinks it’s wonderful! Literally the world’s best secret keeper, because she legally has to be (unless you’re gunna go bonkers, cos then you deserve some time in the nuthouse anyways). She’s the one that told my mom I had an eating disorder (with my permission) so that I didn’t have to. She told me my Inpatient options when I was really sick and had me decide where to go; she does the dirty work that I’m too afraid to haha.
She talks to me like a human, not like a naive 22 year-old. She explains the science behind why I feel how I feel, and how to change it without drugs, alcohol, pills, and antidepressants. And if I go there and I don’t want to talk, I don’t have to talk.
Best of all, she remembers. She remembers me at the beginning, and at my worst, and has seen me awkwardly develop into who I am now. She remembers every time I said “BUT I’M IN LOVE WITH HIM” about the guys I dated, and reminds me of that. She keeps me in check when my head is getting totally out of line. She brings up my habits from the past that I fall back into, and she reminds me what I did to bring myself out of them.
She is the one that first introduced me to meditation and suggested yoga, and the first one that told me she believed in me and laughed at me when I said “I CAN’T DO IT.”
Moral of the story: go to therapy. You probably need it, because everyone does. You’re not above it, and if you think you are, you need it even more. It helps, I swear. Your insurance pays for some part of it, and they’re often willing to work with you because they realize money is sometimes a problem for people seeking help. Maybe you think your doctor sucks, but maybe that’s just your ego. Get over it and find yourself a mental health doctor before you let this world suck all the life out of you.
That is all.
"Don’t sit, don’t wait, don’t use the lame excuse of fate,
Go strong, go find whatever moves your mind.”
(RWH, Accidental Seabirds)
And when you finally figure it out,
when you allow yourself that quiet,
when you find the stillness within yourself,
when there’s no other nonsense going on inside or around you,
when you can turn off your phone and just BE,
when you can finally leave the thoughts of others behind,
when you learn to just stop and inhale all the way,
You can be exactly who you damn well want to be,
without all the bullshit.
"Energy can be directed. And if you’re not consciously directing your own energy, it’s probably being influenced by something else. Your powerful personal energy might even be tied behind your back because of the energetic expectations of others. You are an energetic being with enormous potential and power. Believe it. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.”
(From “The 4 Energy Types…”)
Being back at my mom’s house is overwhelming. I often find myself sitting, staring, waiting. Not in the productive meditation type of way. Just the lazy, no use of my musculature, not going anywhere type of way. There is so much going on here at all times. There is no rest, even late at night. Have you ever felt that massive energy surge with no idea where to direct it? So it just wells up and explodes in your gut and leaves you heavy and sad. This internal motivation with no external repercussions because of this lack of balance and serenity. Sensory overload. Processing error. System shutdown. Sitting and staring and waiting for god knows what to come next. Sometimes you have to find the bottom just to want to see the top again.
This was built as a 2 bedroom Ranch about 50 years ago. It houses 7 people. The toilet broke. The washing machine broke. The dishwasher broke. The oven works once in a while. In continuing our 2014 steak of luck, the hot water heater broke. We haven’t had water in three days.
I love my family. Maureen is my rock. I love my nieces and nephew and the two that brought them into this world. Everyone gets frustrated with each other (over the exact same things). Our things are literally piled on top of each other. I feel like I’m on a real life episode of Hoarders. Everyone tries. It’s just too much. This house wasn’t built for 7 people. I guess the Universe is trying to teach me a lesson about creating my own haven when there really isn’t one. Finding my own space to grow. Non-grasping for solitude. Strength in the face of adversity.
At Gram’s I had the space to spin in circles in my room and fall down without worrying about landing on Barbies. I had a big open space for my heart and all the oxygen I could ever inhale.
Sometimes I just forget to breathe here.
I’m sure I’ll get some passive aggressive shit for this, starting the cycle all over again. But whatever. It’s the truth, and this is my place.
Aries: Rage, impulsivity and failure to get worked up about the things they normally do, oppositional but with less verve and energy
Taurus: Isolation, binge eating and lethargy, a sense of 'me against the world', less patience, easier to enrage
Gemini: Silence, nerves, over thinking, easily distractible and seems 'elsewhere'; they are fairly intolerable to sadness they tend to detach/dissociate from feelings after a short while
Cancer: Teariness, neediness, isolation, binge eating, crying after insignificant events, stomach aches, a feeling of separation from everyone around them
Leo: Obvious displays of stress, they become like a wound up string and as if they are on the brink of a nervous break down. Short tempered and needy (only around close friends/family) and become martyred
Virgo: Isolation, heightened compulsions (cleaning, washing hands more etc;), unresponsive in conversations, at time blunt and more oppositional
Libra: General feeling of instability/moodiness, reduced urge to socialize/be with friends, hopelessness, a feeling of being disliked/rejected by everyone, you can sense them 'trying' to be happy and keep composed
Scorpio: Isolation, opposition, hostility and violent mood swings. Intense melancholy with at times delusions and paranoia. Thoughts even scary to them, a sense of 'me against the world'.
Sagittarius: Lethargy, escapism (substance use etc;), uncharacteristically more serious and tense, less tolerance, feelings of worry when thinking into the future
Capricorn: Demotivation, lethargy, hopelessness, over thinking, they seem tense and 'overly alert', hyper vigilant, force themselves to 'go through the motions', nothing impresses them
Aquarius: Uneasy, harder to 'reach'; as if they are far away. Silence, isolation, detachment, even though they try to appear happy. Distractible
Pisces: Teariness, anxiety, isolation, when they feel sadness they tend to feel 'all at once', nerves, obsessive/ruminating thinking, remembering everything bad that ever happened to them, crying over insignificant events