Saturday, September 19, 2015



“It was him. It didn’t look like him. He wore a different face. But I knew it was him.” 

“What the hell are you talking about?” Sara wrinkles her face in disgust.
“My dream, Sara, he was in my dream again” I sigh. I thought she would understand. 

I had dreamt about him again, though it was the first time in months. After the split he’d haunted me. Filling my head each night as an thick shadow, whispering to me, tapping on the inside of my skull, demanding my attention. 
Leave me alone!  Tap, Tap. Let me sleep! Tap!
But he never would. 

Months later, I couldn’t believe I still wasn’t over him. His touch was on everything here. T-shirts hiding in the corners of my closet still carried his smell. Constant reminders invaded my day. His name was too common, I felt a pang every time someone said it, or when I walked by a house he once said he liked, or condoms. I opened a drawer searching for a pair of socks when saw the shiny foiled packet. A flood of chemicals flushed the lining of my stomach, and he was back, teasing me with his absence. 

“Look girl. He wasn’t good enough for you anyway. He didn't fit in with us.” I could never find comfort in Sara’s words of condolement. 

Doesn’t fit in with us?
I look at myself in the mirror. Grey t-shirt. Grey cotton shorts. Hair in a wild bun atop my head. I’m just a girl. I’m anyone. 

But Sara hit a partial truth. He never was at home in my world. We’d sit at dinner with a group of friends, my friends, sipping wine and he would nod his head, obviously bored with the conversation. With the pretension of them all, he’d later explain. 

“Why do you have to be so judgmental?” We bickered constantly. From the front seat of his car he’d slip insults from the corner of his mouth. I’d break from my sally-sweetheart routine and reach out my hands to strangle the words in his throat. Somehow we’d always end up kissing until the air left our lungs. 
Toxic, they said.

When darkness falls, reason loses its footing and I hear his tap.
I miss you, I whisper back to his shadow. Night after night, I miss you. 
And night after night I’d fall asleep to the sound of the abyss taking up residence on his side of the mattress. 

One May morning, the light broke through. 

Rays filtered through the yellowing glass of the window pane, stroking my face back into consciousness. 
He had been there last night, walking around in the tunnels of my dream state. I realize he hadn't visited for weeks. 

My dreams had been traveling elsewhere. His shadow, now a wisp. 

I close my eyes and try to focus on his face. But it isn’t there. The edges of his jaw and lips are fuzzy and I can’t make out the blue of his eyes. 
It was the first morning I woke up not wanting him.

I look over at myself in the mirror by the bed. Same grey t-shirt, same anyone girl. I close my eyes again, and my sockets fill with vapors. Faceless, I feel what I am. Layered and powerful. 

As the wound dries, within it something immense grows. It quiets the tapping.

The last traces of him all but evaporated. I look around the room for his fingerprints.
A film of him on my wine glass, between my sheets, or atop my desk where he’d sit write me songs? They’d forgotten his touch. 
The months had slowly rubbed away at his stubborn residue. 
The morning made me think of the first time I wore glasses. The world I had known was vibrant and beautiful, but through the lenses the crisp of the leaves reached out to me, and nature shone with new definition. 

He was like poor eyesight. You don’t realize how blurry things are until you put glasses on.


I enter the living room and Sara glances up from her magazine. “You’re looking great today, girl!” 

I’ve heard that loves remains. 

Once the traces of him finally faded, his stubborn residue removed, what was I left with?

Memories warp. They thin. They dim. His became cast in a rosy glow. The fights, once appalling, breathed romance and nostalgia. The way he held my hand in the dark. The way he whispered to me with thick breathe, and I could feel the smile in his words.

I’ll never be completely clean. But as I cross the room, it’s not the residue of him I carry. It’s the love that etched itself onto the soles of my shoes. 

It’s the residue of love that remains.


Monday, September 14, 2015


Brooke Shields via

Yesterday I spoke in front of about 25 young girls (4th-5th grade) about being an entrepreneur, or glamtrepreneur if you will. The event was given this special word to snazzy up bland business talk.
Upon being asking to talk, I immediately said yes. I was totally psyched to talk to these girls. It was fun imagining myself as a dazzling and successful entrepreneur, even if it was just in my head. But as the speaking date drew closer, I realized I needed to come up with something worthwhile to say…
“Just tell your story,” the organizer advised me. Well the truth is, that was exactly the problem. My story is just getting started…
However, after rolling it around in my head a bit, I decided I’d share a few basic principles for living confidently that will help anyone’s ideas to take root and thrive. 

Here are the three nuggets of wisdom I offered the girls: 

    1. Be brave. Or better yet, Be Fearless!
    I know that looking back on my life in 5 years, I want to feel proud of myself. I want to be able to say, Hey girl, you tried something! The possibility of failure is always looming, but failure is merely the word we give to very valuable feedback. It tells us what works and what to change. Failure is never a Stop sign, but rather a road map. 

    BONUS: Two tricks for being fearless and feeling more confident: 

    1. Self talk 
    When I am feeling unsure, or when that little voice in my head starts to chime in and say, you won’t be able to do that. People won’t support you in that. Who are you to do something like that? I quiet it with deliberate self talk. You can look in a mirror or you can close your eyes, but ALL of you should be talking to yourselves more often! Just say “Hey. You got this.” or “Kaley, be fearless!” Three simple words put the pep back in my step. Because honestly, that tiny voice that tries to test your confidence? He’s not really helping anybody. 

    2. Power posturing
    This one is weird and awesome. Have you ever heard of power posturing? It’s very simple, and VERY powerful. It works like this: When you stand in a power pose (hands on hips, chest puffed out, or arms to the sky) for two minutes, the cortisol levels in your body drop and your testosterone levels rise, making you physically feel more powerful and confident. It’s an amazingly simple way to trick your brain that works on a physical level! Let’s try it! 

    2.  “Go for it” or “Fake it till you make it” 
                  This is one of the reasons I am here. Oh, you don’t feel like a successful entrepreneur, Kaley? Well fake it till you make it, woman. Stand in front of those girls with all the confidence of a glamtreprenuer and magic will happen. (Here again, utilizing self talk!)
    You CANNOT create anything in your life if you don’t have the thought and the vision for it first. Harness your vision and your desires by acting as though they have already come to fruition. You’re not crazy, you’re creating. 

    Don’t underestimate the power of faking it.

    3. Educate yourself! 
                  You don’t know how to run a successful digital marketing campaign? Doesn't matter. (Fake it till you make it!) Don’t ever let the “not-knowing” hold you back. 

    Really, there’s no excuse: 

  • The resources out there are endless - educate yourself! Read books or articles, read blogs, watch videos…. Take the initiative to learn what you want to learn and empower yourself with that knowledge.
  • Most importantly, you can talk to people. Talk to people that have done what you are trying to do, or that do parts of what your are trying to do. You’ll be surprised by how willing people are to help you out. There are brilliant people all around Austin, brimming with knowledge. Ask for meetings with them. Sit down for a chat. Listen. Allow yourself to learn through their experience. It’s never a waste of time to hear someone else’s experiences and make connections with smart people.

Solid advice right?

I truly thought this was revelatory information. These girls lives would be changed! But as I spoke, I watched the girls eat happy meals and color posters with magazine clippings of dogs or high heels pasted all over it. They couldn’t care less that I was standing up in front of them. Granted, the power-posturing practice seemed to be a fun break from their oreos and markers, but in all honesty, they didn’t relate to anything I was saying. 

I went in assuming they needed to learn how to be confident, how to overcome roadblocks and thrive in the world as young inexperienced women. In hindsight, I think all they really need is the chance to figure all of this out on their own. To have exposure to the world and learn from their own pitfalls. How many 10 years olds already have a business vision? Very few. And this is probably how it should be. Let them live, let them grow, show them all that’s possible and when the time comes, they’ll be the ones that end up teaching us a thing or two. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Letter to a (new) Lover, Version 2


Dear Lover, 

I am proud of who you are. 

You are strong. You pause to listen to the whispers of your heart. Your soul shines brightly through your teeth and pushes out through the crevices of your body with joyful animation. 

You are aware. You carefully consider your place in the world. You recognize your impact and value. You see clearly through the eyes of others with compassion and acceptance. 

You are wise. You seek joy. You live in abundance. You find gratitude in the morning sun.

I am proud of you.

You are brave. You take risks. You trust. You fly freely through the ether on winds of curiosity.

I am are kind. Your generosity flows like ribbons through the air. The world dances in your wake.

I am so proud of you.

Thank you for your comfort, lover. You put me at ease. When you reach out to hold me, how I melt under your embrace. 
Thank you for seeing me. You are not confused by the entanglement of humanity and divinity. Your sharp eyes capture our totality. 
Thank you for your sweetness. The way you care for me, hold me, love me.
Thank you for your love. The way you open your heart so fully, so honestly, so purely. As though you’ve never known hurt.
Thank you for your thoughts. How you adore me, as though I’d hung the moon. You believe in my success. And I am certain of yours.

My stomach flutters and my heartbeat quickens in response to your approach. I breathe a thousands breathes of your name and close my eyes to the sweet reverberation. 
I love you with all of my parts in all of the ways. From the tips of my lashes to the stretches of my soul. I surround you where you go and protect you on your way. I am your master defender. Your pupil and your guide. Your body joins mine - like separated limbs of the same vine grown together once more. 

Welcome home my darling. 

* I can't say how much I adore this photography! Check it out!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Letter to a Lover

Cochamo, Chile

Remember when I came over that night? I said I couldn’t see you anymore. Remember how I asked you not to contact me? Because I needed to move on? Remember how your face dropped? I saw your eyes fill with water. Do you know it wasn’t until that moment, that I realized how you cared? 

Why hadn’t I realized before?

I let you hold me as we lay down on your bed. I let you say goodbye, but I wanted to leave. And when I did leave, I felt lighter - like it was the right thing to have done. 

And so months passed Lover, and I swam along smoothly. With powerful strokes I coursed onward in my quest, seeking your replacement. The one I left you for. To him I proclaimed, “break my heart!”… but he didn’t stand a chance. 

Then by magic you returned. Unknowingly I called for you and you came in a message that cracked me open in a way I’d never have expected. Love, elation, remorse. The expansiveness was too much to bear. Then came the unfolding…

Though many months have passed since that first night I said goodbye, my mourning just begins. I think of you moving away to be with her. You must really love her. My stomach twists and I don’t want to imagine her. Just you. You, happy. You, excited. Because I know you are. And I know this feels right. 
And it all seems too perfectly appropriate. 

I see you pace on the street outside my house. Is your heart racing like mine? What sweet relief it is to pour my thoughts out of my head and touch your flesh. I cannot help but to smile at your face. 

I stand in the presence of the love I never left myself have, and I feel it so potently now. I’m saying goodbye to you now my darling Love. 

Is there anything in the world more bittersweet than a goodbye?

Through thick wet drops, muck from years shuffles out. Though pages of my journal smear and become soggy, the girl is becoming clear.
Who knew she could find so much space inside of one small chest?

From within this expansiveness I see the road brighten and extend. You’ve gifted me new eyes Lover, and new spaces in my heart. You will never truly know how glad I am, that you were written in my story. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Fissure

The world of feeling escapes down my cheeks in hot, salty drops. Grief feels like joy and I can't decipher whether I'm laughing or crying.

Life is weird and awesome.

Goddamn it feels good to feel!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

In My Head

I’m often wrapped up and absorbed in my own thoughts. This is probably why I startle so easily when others casually walk into the room…
But generally speaking, my mind is a peaceful place to hang out. My thoughts are warm, optimistic, friendly. I’d be quite happy to reside in this safe place indefinitely! 
However, life sent me an invitation recently through the words of another. 

The ‘pop’ I felt in yoga class the other night wasn’t my hamstring (thank god), rather it was a pop of clarity. The yoga teacher’s words: “You say you want love and then don’t even taste it when it’s right in front of you,” made me wonder…. Is that true for me? 

Sometimes I sit and visualize the manifestation of perfect love. I scribble musings in a journal. I slip on my running shoes and as my brain fills with endorphins it weaves an intoxicating story of the greatness of the human spirit - I feel alive, I feel inspired! … but I am also still safe and isolated inside my own head. And when the opportunity for greatness appears in the flesh? When perfect love knocks on my door? I act stupefied. As though I am completely unprepared for a situation like this.

There comes a time in life, when belief is not enough. When opportunity knocks, and we must grab belief by the lapel to bring it along for the experience

Thoughts aren’t meant to be shields, and my head isn’t meant to be a hiding place. 

The invitation is to hide no more. To stand naked. Vulnerable and free. To bravely bare my skin so that I may welcome the invigoration(!) of experiencing life wholly. 


I wrote that a long time ago. But today I find it again with a different face. 

Climbing into my sheets last night, I told my friends my heart was cracking. 

I can no longer stay here. 

The reoccurring events of the past few years of my life will continue to reoccur, if I stay.
I may be comfortable and safe, but ask me the question: What do you want most? and it’s not safety.

I want to be alive.

I want to live fully. To sing loudly, love deeply, cry with passion, and I want to know how I can be transformed by the power of saying “yes” to all parts of life - even the scary parts. The parts that don’t reveal their outcome. 
If I give you my heart, you may toss it aside. Am I willing to let that happen? If I give you my heart, you may cherish it forever. Am I willing to let that happen?

I can’t stay here in safety any longer. 

So take my heart and do what you please because standing in front of you and withholding feels much more tragic. 
Might something beautiful be revealed by standing in vulnerability?

And as I woke up this morning, the cracking of my heart felt a whole lot more like a cracking open.

Thursday, May 7, 2015


You think this is a story about fear, but it isn’t. 
It is a story I hid for a while. A story I didn’t tell on purpose. Mostly because I knew it would send the worrying minds of my beloved parents into overdrive. And not only them. Anyone who scans the news for the dangers of travel, or the dangers of Mexico specifically. Well, here is some feed for your fear stores, use it as you please.
It was our first day in Mexico city, and we were visiting a state park. It was bustling with activity. Locals riding ATVs, eating treats, horseback riding, paint-balling, you name it. Up above the park grounds, a sharp rock protruded from the mountain side and a trail climbed through the forest up to the top. It was an easy route, though steep in places, but the vast views of the surrounding landscape were well worth the climb. 
I was traveling with my roommate and another friend, and we were being hosted by my roommate’s extended family: Aunt, Uncle, and two cousins of 9 and 10 years old. The mountain top was prime for photos and laughs. We felt alone at the top of the world with only the fresh air and each other for company. As we loudly made our way back down the mountain, we passed a fellow hiker, gave him a nod and a smile and continued chattering away— me practicing my Spanish, Aunt and Uncle obliging my efforts.

In a hot instant, everything changed.

Halfway down the mountain the light hearted mood melted and confusion dropped it’s veil. The hiker. There he was again standing on the trail in front of us, far from where we’d originally passed him. 
I felt the rest of the group stiffen. Aunt’s voice was rapid, high pitched. What was the hiker asking? Was he lost? He moved a bandana from his neck up around his face to cover his mouth, still I was in disbelief. Uncle’s voice grew loud, beseeching. I looked down and saw the heavy screwdriver gripped tightly in the hiker’s right hand. It was then I knew I knew.

The world became strange. 

My face went slack and I felt my legs tremble. Tremble! and on their own accord- pillars of jello supporting my torso. But < I > suddenly disconnected. I floated away from my body, and I dropped a veil of my own. My heart beat forcefully, but my jaw was firm; I felt protected. 

Somehow the hiker made the decision to chase after the children and my two frightened friends at the front of the pack— in an instant he was gone. I was left standing behind Aunt and Uncle and focused on making my way down the mountainside swiftly. CALM, said my mind, STEADY, it repeated. 
I felt the armor around me thicken. 

Foot in front of foot I neared the bottom, and there he was again coming back my way. 
I shifted to the opposite side of the trail and pulled my purse around behind me. That was when I noticed the my friend’s crocheted bag clutched in the hand opposite the screwdriver. 
Dame tu bolsa. I don’t understand. NO.

I can’t explain why, but he stayed away from me. It seems shocking now, but he believed me when I said NO.

Later on down the mountain, there were the others. Trembling. My roommate had wet eyes and the corners of her mouth pulled back and down as if by hooks. Our friend. The one without the purse. Her slim, milky shoulders hunched and a trail of saliva carved a stream through her makeup from the corner of her lip down to her chin. 

It’s easy to say we were shaken up, and for a good while. That’s natural I think, but what’s surprising… is our resilience. 
Why did this happen?
I could not answer for them, and I know my response was weak to their ears, but for me.. for me I realized how protected I am. My resilience. That an hour later I was galloping down the street commanding a horse at my leisure, feeling the freedom that drives me to places like Mexico. I sampled the physicality of fear, and found that what remains, is strength.
It’s almost embarrassing to share this minor anecdote, knowing that others have faced far worse. Horrors that I won’t imagine. But this is my own experience. 

All I can say is this:

Getting robbed sucks. 
Getting over the fear of getting robbed, is liberating. 

I am powerful. I am resilient. I am protected.