Day 10. Self Love First

Loving, respecting, knowing yourself is key to every aspect of your life. It’s not selfish, it’s essential.

Self Love, is much maligned, misunderstood and mismanaged. I’ve battled with this for as long as I can remember. Self loathing has led me towards poor choices in partners, in jobs, in career paths. Rooting for myself has never been easy. There are countless times I can remember needlessly comparing myself, doubting my abilities, choosing abusive and toxic relationships because I had no love to give back to myself.

I never thought I deserved it. It’s what I knew best. Self criticism, my first line of defense. Self doubt, was the kicker at the end of a long road to not believing in my abilities, or my strengths . Self love has come with great effort. Knowing that I have to look at myself and ignore the asshole who tells me I’m not worthy, I am not deserving, I’m ugly, I won’t amount to anything, who at times has a megaphone and I can’t shut her up. I never said it makes any sense, it doesn’t. For anyone who deals with this asshole, it’s like the addiction you can’t kick.

Now, after years of doing the work, falling off the wagon and getting back on, she’s still there, but I’ve placed her in her corner, in the back seat with a snack and some boxed juice so she doesn’t bother me so often. I recently spoke to a friend who gave me this visual to think about when referring to my self made demons. Mine mumbles from time to time about not good enough and I tell her to be quiet. She’s lucky I still let her sit in the room with me, far away and out of view. I don’t know if I can get rid of her completely but I know that she is part of me, and I’ve outgrown her power over me.

How Self Love Begins with Us.

It took a very long time and a lot of false starts to unwind the tightly wound idea in my head that I don’t deserve the best life has in store. The asshole still comes around strong from time to time. I know how to deal with her, despite the familiarity of it all. Self love has taken forms that I had never thought possible and it has always started with understanding, accepting, allowing and being ok with who I am and have become. The rituals have changed, the narrative has been altered, to allow for stronger boundaries, wiser choices and deeper forgiveness. Love is always rooted and built upon honesty. Being honest with myself about my accomplishments and my flaws has allowed me the space to grow. The darkness never quite goes away. Those who suffer know this all too well, but in the end, LOVE WINS.

Start with Self Love. It may be hard at times, you may relapse and go back to your self loathing ways. But like any recovering self loather. It about loving yourself one day at a time.

on radical self acceptance- in verse.

On the process of outgrowing and unfolding into who we really are.

Looking back looking forward.

Motions moving in motion. The notions and lives I’ve lived and continue to live.

A distortion of the past. Cast upon the present tense, intense feelings underneath the smiles, all the while, unearthing moments of grief. 

Disbelief that those persons I once was have now deceased. 

Unleashing the present me, unforeseen, unseen till now. Watch out, I am not playing hide and seek, I’m sustaining the fire within.

Quieting the tears I once shed on my self made bed of nails. 

It never fails to astound. 

How profound it is to radically love myself putting past lives on the shelf as a reminder, that I no longer know who that is.  And now? 

Now I sit in my quiet space, unfazed. If don’t have to please your gaze. I’m here only fulfill my dreams one day at a time. 


Undoing the crimes of the past, feeling like an outcast from the lives I’ve since created, dismantling the facades that once covered the walls of the self made prisons I built. 

Putting together the torn and tattered pieces like a quilt that covers me, comforts me from my self made guilt.

And now finding freedom doesn’t seem like a dream deferred.  

Welcome to my Queendom. 

Day 9.5 & 10 – Self Care

How does the Body Politic go into the private sphere of influence ?

Public Doubt — Leads to Body doubt and self doubt. Uncertainty about public health, leads to uncertainty about our body’s health and ultimately the health of who surrounds us. It starts small and reverberates to all aspects of our experience.

We are given no choice but to doubt ourselves because someone else is making decisions for us. Taking back our bodies and exercising our self love and connection with our true nature, is an act of defiance. Tipping the balance back to self knowledge self agency and to taking back out true self reliance is almost considered a revolutionary act.

Not allowing the public sphere to infiltrate our private space is akin to moving out into a personal wilderness with little influence from the “civilized” world and connecting to nature and ourselves once again.

some personal tips: and I’m not hear to preach to anyone but keeping a level head requires self discipline and self love:

– Spend time with your body in silence. Listening, breathing, meditating.

– Move, sweat, sing, dance, let go of the tension in both body and mind.

– We are ALL in this, together so helping each other, practice loving kindness even though its easy to blame the world for our problems, resist.

Stay sane and safe dear readers. Tonight Day 11. with a twist.

Day 20. Defining Oneself.

How to be “common” and still stand out.

One thing I’ve realized as I get older and more secure in who I am is; Finding my identity is a journey that cannot be rushed. I’ve changed, transformed and evolved over the years, and I’m sure this vessel that’s carrying this woman I was, and will become has more transformations in store. We are not monolithic, and should not be made to believe that we have to adhere to labels, stories and caricatures of who we are. Uniqueness is not a weakness.

I never saw myself as particularly pretty growing up. Ever wanting to blend in instead of standing out (a losing battle); it took me a very long time to embrace this quirky, person that wanted to come out. Much like many of the people I’ve met who genuinely struggle fit the mold; I was very badly bullied in grade school and middle school in Greece. I felt lesser, I felt ugly I felt stupid and I recycled these images of myself as someone who had absolutely nothing to offer. This is not uncommon among young teens all over the world. We all have heard the stories. Young boys and girls who were locked in this cycle of pleasing others, seeming normal and not ever discovering their true identity until in some cases it’s too late.

I’m not a “normal woman, and in reality who is?

One of the things I tell people struggling to find their voice (as I did for years), is that whatever is considered strange or not normal about them makes them incredibly unique. Not in the “we’re all special” type of unique, but in: being able to reflect our own personal perspective on the vastness of conformity, normalizing and image making that surrounds us.

We’re all bombarded by lifestyles, examples of what’s pretty, what’s attractive, whats beautiful, what’s manly, what’s feminine and what’s acceptable behavior and ultimately what passes for “normal”. This rings even more loudly for women, who have been constantly told who, what, in what way and how often they should exist. Hiding behind titles of description was never my strong suit.

We are not monolithic, and should not be made to believe that we have to adhere to labels, stories and caricatures of who we are. Uniqueness is not a weakness.

Existing, defining, redefining and allowing ourselves to be who we are is not and will not be dictated by anyone else. Sure we all may need guideposts, ideas, and inspiration but the allowance of personal identity CANNOT be scripted by anyone else but US.

So GO ahead.

Show us who you really are.

stock photograph: Lady Gaga Inspired!

Featured Image ( on the heading) taken by: Robert Valenzuela, who is a gifted photographer, war veteran and all around crazy guy. Please give him a follow on Instagram : @the3rdrealm

If you want to make a difference; I recently came across the Born This Way Foundation and will be donating on the day of the last post of the series (March, 27Th). If you care to join me; log on, donate and make a difference to young people struggling to find their way.

Random Thoughts- Seasonal Depression

How it feels, how to deal. How not to freak out.

Let’s face it, these winter weather patterns we are experiencing, are crazy under normal circumstances, and to put it mildly winter SUCKS. I’m not talking about the normal cooling of things, and a cute mountain cottage with a fireplace, but the face freezing, skin drying, what the hell is this 8C to -20C fluctuation, urban cruel, dark, kind of winter.

Our bodies like nature experience somewhat of a powered down, closed off, let me hibernate till this torture is over kind of state. But since we don’t have the luxury to go into a cave and wait till spring fully wrested and hungry as hell, we have to cope with the day to day fluctuations of weather, ailments, lower energy, fucked up office climate control and other people’s colds, sneezing, coughing, and bad moods.

I have been experiencing somewhat of a depressed state, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Having dealt with more severe depression in the past, I’m thoroughly convinced it runs in my American side of the family. My coping mechanisms were different at various stages of my life and in most cases did not involve heavy medication. Before I continue, let me clearly state.

I’m not here to advocate for or against anti-depressants this is NOT that kind of personal account. I had consulted in the past with a primary care physician who immediately, without extensive blood work or any further tests; prescribed anti depressants despite not knowing anything about my physical history, or even if they were really that effective for me. For those who do feel anti depressants or mood stabilizing medication works for them, short term or long term, I’m glad they have provided some normalcy.

Despite the many roadblocks and difficulties of seasonal affective disorder,  I have amassed enough tools in my arsenal, over the years to deal with my mood fluctuations and sleep patterns in a more holistic manner. Over the last 20 plus years I’ve spent countless hours practicing yoga, following proper nutrition, researching health and wellness journals, and attending lectures, workshops and seminars about sports nutrition, breathing techniques and proper diet. I can do this right? Well not exactly.

In order to truly begin this journey of proper mental and physical care, and to properly tend to our needs physically and mentally, we have to fully dedicate ourselves to fixing those aspects of our daily lives from the inside out. It’s a balance of nutrition, exercise, supplemental nutrition and mental health care. This is not a short term project, it’s for the rest of our lives.

I firmly believe we can train and retrain our selves to listen and give our bodies what they need order to directly and more effectively influence our emotional and mental state. (old tricks for an aging dog). On the other hand, we must challenge what we have long been mislead into thinking; that we don’t have control over our own bodies, our own health and our own well being. Somehow we have fallen pray to and mercy of endless experts and even more doctors, but in the end what we eat, how we sleep, and how much exercise and emotional balancing we do on our own, can bring far more positive change in how we cope with seasonal depression.

Change, Coping and Lifelong wellness.

Aside from slamming your first against a wall and buying a ticket to Spain to avoid the endless gray skies of an equally endless, winter (yes I’ve done this in the past, don’t recommend it); There are many less painful and far less destructive things we can do to survive and cope with SAD.

Here is my personal list of tips and personal care rituals that keep me sane, and have proven extremely helpful during some very dark and heavy winter days. Again I’m not saying this will work for any of you, but some common sense tools often add to whatever else you might be trying.

  1. Daily exercise, yoga, and stretching – If you have time to binge watch Netflix you have time to do some self care. (that’s me talking)
  2. Clean up your daily food intake. Take out or greatly reduce sugar and complex carbohydrates. Even more so for processed or pre-packaged foods (no I don’t mean all carbohydrates we need those for energy- unless you suffer from Celiac disease where clearly all gluten is out). Eating a balanced healthy home cooked meal should not be a privilege. Eat clean to think clean.
  3. Abstain from alcohol, coffee, sugary drinks and any other over stimulating or over depressive drinks, replacing them for a 3-4 weeks with herbal teas, water, fresh seasonal juices, and naturally carbonated drinks.
  4. Take pre and pro biotics for a healthy gut. It has been proven, time and time again that a healthy digestive system leads to betterment of overall health and especially emotional health. Eat clean to think clean.
  5. Aim for a healthy and balanced sleep cycle. Cell repair happens faster while sleeping, and getting proper physical and mental rest. (so no binge watching Netflix till 3 am)
  6. Get a massage, (and if you can’t afford one get a friend to massage you!) acupuncture, or any other kind of body work. Physical touch helps alleviate cortisol levels (stress hormone) and helps increase dopamine and serotonin production.
  7. Have more sex. (you think I would leave that out??) also serotonin production during sexual activity in both men and women, also production of testosterone in men. In the alternative: self care is the best care.

I’m not saying any of these “tricks” or personal rituals will work for anyone else, solely on the basis of my experience, but any and all of these practices are about a way of life, not just a 10, 20 day trial. Taking up more exercise, eating better food, and making time for your mental and physical well being is a daily practice. For many of us, these suggestions can be in addition to medication and talk therapy. We owe it to ourselves to work with these better body practices, so severe depression, and seasonal depression have less of a chance of having such a tremendous hold on our daily lives. And who the hell wouldn’t want more sex.

Stay Uplifted.

would love to hear your thoughts on winter depression and what you do to cope!

Day 8. To be a woman

“Women will save the world, but first they must start by saving themselves.” — DL


Today is International Women’s Day — Women’s achievements, sacrifice, tenacity, willpower, beauty, and presence is celebrated around the world.

Yes but…. there is a but.

What is lacking in all this celebration of togetherness is the sheer lack of self care that most women give themselves. Over and over women are celebrated by being the healers, the nurturers the caretakers, as of late (only in American Culture) the fighters; the true heroines. More often than not these same women are time and time again put into positions to care for others more than they can care for themselves.

And yet…. there is a yet; women are still abused, by their husbands, boyfriends, fathers, lovers, relatives. Wives and girlfriends are battered in more households across Greece than I care to mention. I’ve heard it with my own to ears. I’ve heard it here, in New York right next to my own home. Because violence physical, verbal and mental; despite this rah rah mentality of celebrating women, still exists.

We, women; are strong, unrelenting in our abilities to do whatever we want to do. And still, yes there is a still; we have to deal with the abuse, the control and the pressure of society to be nice, pretty, agreeable, convincing with our bodies and not our minds and lastly and this is not easy for me to say, become blind of all that has happened and continues to happen to us and get on with it.

I celebrate women, I revere their strength their ability to get things done in the most difficult of circumstances but above all; I celebrate their ability to forgive; love unconditionally, and bring communities together when no one else can. My biggest heroes are not the famous faces; everyone knows them. My heroines are the women in my family; the women I call my sisters, and the women who despite illness, financial difficulty and incredible odds against them; still get shit done. These are the role models that young women need to look up to.

We are the healers, the negotiators the ones who raise families, our own and of others, we are strong, we are survivors, we get up when life throws us down, but we must never forget that in order to heal the world, we must begin with ourselves.

Celebrate women’s day every day.