And it breaks.

And she feels as it breaks.
And it breaks. And it breaks.
As the moments fleet
and feelings have gone
She sits there.
Having broken open.

Allowing the light to shine.
Out of her body rises her strength.
Fire.  Fire that has laid dormant for years,
smoldering in the cavity of her chest
waiting for its time to be set free.

She has broken
but not in a way that we can physically see.
She has broken to grow.
To be free of the confounds of her body.
For her spirit to purge
that which no longer serves her.

And feels as it breaks.
And it breaks. And it breaks.
For the scars and the pain
she had been carrying for so long
spilled from her bones.

Her ancestry is of
a dichotomy caught between
disenfranchised and privileged.
Cracking open as the pressure has shaped her
into crystals like that of a geode.

A stone that stone will not crack until it is ready.
Coerced.
and when permission is given,
it splits open,
showing its inner self.

Both the mottled exterior and gleaming interior
make Her…
Her.

And feel as it breaks.
And it breaks. And it breaks.
Rivers flood over her bruised ego
and smooth the calluses
formed by the angry words of hate.

Crystalline geysers explode
like diamonds from her eyes
as she feels the excess,
that which she no longer has to carry,
leave like a heavy basket
removed from her back.

Releasing her burdens.
The burdens of the old ones.
Our burdens.

And we feel as we break.
And we break. And we break.
Because when one suffers,
we all suffer.
When a person is raped,
you are raped.

When one’s basic human rights are taken,
your basic human rights
are taken.

When a child is born,
whether it be from the Earth mother’s womb,
or the womb of another,
that child is yours.
And it is with compassion
that you embrace that child.

Because we are all.
Interconnected.
Interdependent.

The light that shines
within Her
shines within us all.
That divine compassion,
that softness,
we catch ourselves falling into
in fleeting moments.
That is where She resides.

And we feel as we break.
And we break. And we break.
Break ourselves down
into the truest version of our inner-selves,
our brightest shining light.

Realize that we must break
in order to realize that we are whole.
We must put  all of our broken pieces
back into the Mother.
And from her flesh,
make a bowl.

A bowl crafted from fragments
of all our struggles,
our love,
our passions,
all that makes us feel.

All that is found in her clay.

In order to be the truest versions of ourselves,
we must break.
And break. And break.
So that we feel our hearts synchronize
to the beat of our ancestors,
to the beat of our future generations,

and to the beat of our own.
As. One.

And she feels as we break.
And break. And break.
Free.

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Wind’n’Sea, La Jolla, Ca

Dear {Mixed} Little Girl

Dear Mixed Little Girl,

Who is “too dark” to be white, but “too light” to be brown. Who checks the box Other on official documents, though you can never fully allude to what your Other is. Who, for your entire life, will be told, “But, you’re not white.” Who will be asked, “What are you?” As if they could quantify your heritage. Who will be called “mutt,” or “Heinz-57” because you are an eclectic mix of a historical conglomerate of mass immigration. Who will always be reminded that your ancestors were caught in a dichotomous mix of oppressors and the oppressed, the conquerors and the conquered, the civil and the savage.

Dear Mixed Little Girl,

Who will never fit in because you will never be “enough” of anything to quantify as a whole of something. Who will never be fully accepted in the cultural practices of your ancestors because the quantity of your genes overrides the quality of your spirit. Who will never be a part of the majority, nor the minority. Whose skin will be envied by others in the summer for its deep, rich indigenous tones, with touches of the fair features of white privilege. Whose identity can neither be stripped, nor concrete, because your background is too ambiguous, too convoluted to quantify as anything at all.

Dear Mixed Little Girl,

It is true that you will never fit in. Your identity will constantly come into question with others, and therefore within yourself. You will wash in and out of the tides of privilege and oppression because different aspects of your physical presentation and ancestral acculturation will never fit any norm. You will never be confined to one to one box because your collective narrative will never fit into any ideological construct. But, you were never meant to fit in, therefore you will never need a category. You define your own category in the fluid matrix of privilege and power.  You are the convergence point, the intersection in history, in which the binaries that defined your ancestors are broken down and placed into one person, proving that though history may have its many flaws, these imperfections have given way to create a beautifully awakened human being.

Dear Mixed Little Girl,

You are unique in that your struggle, though initially seems to defines you, actually empowers you. Your own perspective of your eclectic identity, and lack of concrete barriers of your past, allows you to identify with the struggles found within others. Not necessarily understand their struggle, as that is an individual experience, but you will learn how to find a common ground and relate to them. You will use your own battle with privilege and oppression to uplift, educate, and give rise to change within others. Yes, you will still fear being ostracized for your ambiguity, but this lays the foundations to shed light onto the experiences of others as an Other. And this is where the power in your checked box Other lies.

Dear Mixed Little Girl,

Once you embrace your “ethnic” body that represents features of various commingling  of different cultures, like your hair that is as unruly and wild as your spirit, or your skin that represents centuries of merging between indigenous roots and colonial conquests, even your features that separate you from ever fitting in, you will find your freedom. Your mind will be keen to the effects of embedded systemic oppression that lies deep beyond the cracks of our foundations. Your heart will be kind to everyone as you realize that is it far more complicated to fit into a box and employ strict cultural standards and expectations.

Dear Mixed Little Girl,

You will learn to understand that the only “dichotomy” that has ever existed, the only distinctions between “us” and “them” is the power we allow it to have over us. In effect, you are the catalyst in dismantling said flawed and outdated distinctions and binaries. No, you will never fit in. However, you will always understand that knowledge has power beyond our constructed identities. You will understand that these hegemonic ideologies were indoctrinated to transcribe privilege to those in power, those who thought it appropriate to create these distinctions in the first place.

Dear Mixed Little Girl,

There is beauty within your intersections, passion within your struggles, and a fire within your heart ignited by a spark of self-awareness. You embody individualism, as your story will never be matched, only passed on. You embody interconnectedness because the convergence of so many identities throughout history has allowed you live in this very moment in time. All of these stories have merged for you to be you, for you to define who you are. Remember that who you want to be is more than just being.

So be. Unapologetic. Unashamed. Divine… Be. You.

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L’amour Fou Photography

Dear {Thick} Little Girl

Dear Thick Little Girl,

Who learned too early about sexuality because your body evolved faster than your peers’. Who has been mistaken for fourteen, sixteen, even eighteen at age 12. Who lost her innocent view of the world too soon because the world hypersexualized you, put you in a box, deemed “desirable” for human male consumption with your thick legs and budding breasts, and told you this is what men want. You are more than that.

Dear Thick Little Girl,

Who covers her body, wanting so badly to be skinny, to go unnoticed by gazing eyes, to play like your friends do on the beach, carefree, while instead you fear of falling out of your suit, moving too much when you run, “asking for it”… At twelve years old. Who has been given awareness of the harsh realities of the world and your surroundings, the hypercritical lens of awareness as you watch the boys walk by…. And stare… Up… And down… And up… And down…. Like you are a product made for consumption, publicized in a magazine, that they have to get their hands on. You are more than that.

Dear Thick Little Girl,

Whose skin stretches and curves over your body faster than that of your friends. Whose stretch marks appear like that of battle scars, shedding light onto the war that you fight in your mind everyday, trying to believe you are more than you think you are worth, shedding light onto the journey from a thick girl to a proud thick womxn. Who, even as a twelve year old girl, will be ostracized for being too big for your age, but cat-called on the streets, even barked at for being too sexy, even though you never asked for, never wanted, any of this. You are so much more than that.

Dear Thick Little Girl,

Don’t worry about what they say because the only thing that matters is how you react. Yes, you will struggle, but everyone does. The only difference between you and anyone else is how you embrace your journey. When someone tells you that you are pretty, tell them to ask you about your brain, your likes, your dislikes, your views on the world. Those matter more than your curves, your clothing, or anything else they can physically identify.  Some days, you will feel sad as you stand in the mirror and realize that you will never fit into ideological beauty patterns. But, then you will remember that nobody will ever fulfill these standards these standards aren’t real, not even the airbrushed and photoshopped models that are constantly thrown in your face. Remember that in each and every moment, you are the most beautiful version of yourself, internally and externally. No one can take that from you. Never apologize for that.

Dear Thick Little Girl,

You never wanted this, it isn’t your fault. The mental duress, the belief that is your body to be desired, not your beautiful mind. Don’t let them win. When they call you Thunder Thighs, embrace it, do not acknowledge their hate and realize that you can dictate how the attention is viewed. At first it will hurt, but then it will empower you because they were significant enough for them to notice, so they must be powerful. Take that which makes you seem vulnerable and turn it into your strength because there is strength in owning your vulnerability. When they call you something, own it, embrace it. After all, it is a part of you. Never, ever apologize for that.

Dear Thick Little Girl,

Through all of your struggles, never forget to smile. But only when YOU want to. Smile because YOU choose to, because you are more than just a pretty face with a thick waist. You. Are. Worthy. And the only person that gets to define yourself worth is YOU. So, always be kind, as kindness is the only remedy to the affliction that is ignorance. And always, always embrace YOU. Never apologize for being you because you become so much more than you ever believe you are capable of.

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L’amour Fou Photography

 

Dear ______ Little Girl: New Activism Series About “Girls These Days”

Hello All,

I am currently in the progress of creating a new series of posts geared towards addressing different intersections of our identities and how they came to shape our own personal perspectives of the world and ourselves.  The aim of this project is to bring awareness to the diversity in all forms of female experiences. We all face various forms of oppression everyday, yet hackneyed stereotypes about “what it means to be a girl/woman/female” shade our struggle. This project was created to shed light to the diversity of all those that identify as female. But in the form of a letter to a certain aspect of our younger selves in hopes of reaching out to others who have or will identify with these struggles. To spark a revolution, we must first start with the sparks that ignite our inner selves.

It all started when my 10 year old brother said to me, “Koko, you just don’t understand girls these days.” He told me he was reading is “a boy’s book” because the characters “do boy things” like “getting dirty and stuff”…Things that “normal girls” (apparently unlike myself) don’t do. This experience hurt my heart knowing that gender binary and reinforced stereotypes affect how children perceive one  another, which is then extended into adolescence, and ultimately, adulthood.

This further led me to question how society views “girls these days” and how gender norms continue to disassociate everyone, regardless of gender presentation, from being identified by our human nature. Ergo, we must defy the boxes that have been constructed around us so that the whole world begins to break down the confines of gender norms.

If you feel so inclined and identify as a “girl these days,” I would love to highlight your struggle and your identity; however I will only take serious submissions in which you find the light within yourself.

Because forgiving yourself for past struggles and learning to love yourself is the greatest revolution there is.

Check out the page!

One Mind

Apologies on my extended leave from posting, these last few months have consisted of attempting to finish my responsibilities as a graduating senior, while trying to wrap my head around the fact that this chapter of my life is soon coming to a close. In the last two months I have struggled with asserting myself in a position to seek out the highest forms of compassion for myself, so that I may extend it to others.

One of my biggest passions in life is positive impact, and I have also been struggling with seeing the results of my efforts come into fruition. But recently, I have had so many of the beautiful souls that I have mentored at some point in the last five years express to me their gratitude for the positive growth I helped foster and within them. This is an award that can be surpassed by few others, and in my opinion, the ultimate gift.

One lovely soul in specific has been working so hard to be true to herself. Her struggle is not different from many others, but her battle with her depression and her attempt to express the truest version of herself is one that I hold extremely dear to my heart. Macey, my ever so talented and radiant 17 year-old sister, had to create a magazine about one of her papers she had written earlier in the year. She chose the work she wrote on feminism, which was not entirely well-received within the community she presented it to. But against all objections, all negative rhetoric, she presented this piece as her final project.

As a proud feminist, mentor, best friend, partner in crime and most significantly, big sister, my pores radiate with joy and love as I present to you Macey Zeller’s final project: One Mind Magazine  

(click on the link above to view)

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*Dislcaimer: All images used in the project were either used with consent from L’amour Fou Photography or was content available to the public.*

 

The Western Woman: My Power, Privilege & Revolution

“The world will be saved by the western woman.”
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV

*General disclaimer: I do not believe this statement means that we are destined to save the world, however we are in a precarious position in that we face both oppression and privilege on a daily basis. I also do not want to take away from pertinent intersections of women of color and other female identities, therefore I only speak on the behalf of my own experiences.*

As a Western woman, I am in a position of power and privilege; not an externalized, social power, rather an internal, divine feminine power. This feminine power does not stem from societal means of what it means to be feminine, but an internal force that balances the soul.

As a Western woman, I have the privilege to participate in demonstrations to defy social norms and speak against an oppression that affects us all, regardless of internal and external identity.

These problems are not a sickness of the mind, not a sickness caused by misunderstanding, but a sickness caused by conditioning and the ideation of stigmatization.

I do this because I am in a position to create a ripple; good, or bad, every action will have a reaction.

My body is not dichotomous, there is no sexual and nonsexual, just a body; wild, liberated, as it is. 

You see breasts, I see flesh, muscle, and a force that sustains life. You see my hyper-sexualized body mass, I see my body, as it is, a physical vessel that allows my transcendent soul to rise up against that which is deemed normal, though unjust .

There is no normal. There is no dichotomy. There are only  illusions. We all struggle, we all have different experiences, but the stem of these struggles comes from the same source: delusion.

So, I will continue to stand, in my position of internally liberated power. I will stand for those who can’t. I will stand against those who won’t. Most importantly, I will stand for the future ones who will, one day, have the space to just BE.

This ignites the spark in my revolution.

 

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Changing Small-Town Mindedness

Small towns have historically been looked down upon as simple and ignorant.  However, if cultivated correctly, they can actually provide a great space for significant spiritual and mindful expansion. It all begins with gratitude, which provides the vehicle to transcend our own initial perception of  available opportunities.

It is never a lack of opportunity in small towns that prevents intellectual and compassionate growth of the citizens. It is the lack of resources and accessibility to them that prevents said growth. As we feed this preconceived notion that there are no opportunities in a small town, it continues to prevent the expansion of the mind and soul. If we manifest the idea that growth, in all forms, is impossible in a small town, then is all that will ever occur. Think of it as a power of intention and self-fulfilling prophecies; what we believe is what we will perceive.

In order for small towns to facilitate a more accepting and aware mindsets, we, as small-town citizens, must first create more awareness of surrounding cultures, diversity and understanding. There needs to be an increase in acceptance of all forms of people and backgrounds, an awareness that everyone struggles and while no two stories are the same, we can all support one another in our struggles. The collective global society is so much more significant than our own petty egos. We need to be aware of the current struggles of all societies, not simple-minded, small town “he said, she said” rhetoric. 

There are certainly a significant amount of embedded ideologies that are hard to break down and disregard. What we need are more young leaders in small towns to reach out to those who don’t think they have any opportunities and feel they have no room for growth within themselves or their space.  It does not take more than a few people to change the collective mindset of an entire a family, group, community, an entire town, or even the world.

We must cultivate this in order for small towns to sustain themselves and grow in ways that were never considered possible. It is the space we initially inhabit that lays the foundation for higher intellect and collective mindset.

Once we cultivate a mindset geared towards appreciation of ourselves and the current space we reside it, we will see an infinite increase in the ways we react to our environment. We can then extend this ideology to all spaces and all beings; it can be spread anywhere.
But this progress starts, first and foremost, at “home.” It starts with our feelings of gratitude for our “home.” Our appreciation and gratitude of “home” provides a vehicle for us to extend gratitude every place we go, across space and time.

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My Grandfather’s Truck, Double G Ranch, Fallon NV