Picking up the Pieces

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.      – Michelangelo

I found my journal from my first trip to Italy when I was 21. My intent was to share with you some highlights from my 6 weeks there. It was truly one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I got to spend 3 weeks in Florence and 3 weeks in Rome doing nothing but studying history, architecture, sculpture, painting…all things art that came out of the Renaissance and Baroque period in Italy. And I got to do this with one of the most brilliant professors I have ever had, Dr. Vernon Minor, and even better, I was roomed with the girl who came to be my best friend, Amy Helmer.

However, as I was reading through my adventures, I came across this little metaphor I came up with. So, not quite as light-hearted as I was intending, but I was just struck with how similar I am to that younger very sensitive, very dramatic, hopeless romantic. But I also realized how much I have changed. I am still all of those things, and those characteristics don’t always serve me, but I am now also confident and courageous enough to share the other parts of me that aren’t perfect. Even after falling to pieces, I have always had the strength to pick them back up and recreate my work in progress.

I definitely am not perfect. And there are many cracks that cannot be ‘fixed’ or smoothed over. But, as I have said before, perfect is not interesting to me, not at all.

So, here is a little window into the mind of a very young, very naive, very love struck  21-year old me.

July 3, 1997

Say you were in the shoes of a sculptor. No one famous or even known for her talent, but she has passion and determination. She has the necessary materials, tools, and marble, maybe not of the finest quality, but she makes due. She begins to sculpt. She spends what feels like a lifetime working on her piece. She makes sacrifices and spends countless hours alone, struggling to perfect what she hopes to be her masterpiece. Finally, she feels like her work is ‘complete’. It is not perfect, by any means, but she sees the beauty of her creation.

It is now time to find someone with whom you can share it. And you do, almost instantaneously. He seemingly came out of nowhere as if summoned. You have so much love and respect for him, it is his and only his opinion that matters now.

You unveil your piece and wait for his response, hardly able to breathe as he studies her. But you know, you see it on his face. He understands. He loves her down to the smallest detail- her feet, her hands, her smile, her radiance. He loves her so much that he wants to be a part of her, to add something to her that he believes will make her even more precious.

You hesitate. If he changes her, she will no longer be all yours. Maybe what he does will hurt her. But you trust him so completely that you hand him a tool. You watch intensely as he begins to chip away at her.

It was such a small alteration, but he was right. She seemed to come alive. He knew exactly what to do to make her complete- more beautiful…to make her perfect.

He leaves and you are left alone with her. You study every new detail. Everything about her feels different now. And then you see it. A small crack. You grab your tool and frantically try to fix her. But what you are doing is making it worse. The crack spreads and takes over. You watch helplessly as she starts to fall apart.

You try to stay calm. You try to think of a solution. You know she isn’t destroyed. It is still possible to start again and rebuild her. Or is it? Would she ever be the same? Would she ever be as beautiful? How could she be perfect again if he is no longer a part of her?

And what if you could actually bring her back to her original beauty, how could you ever trust someone again to get close enough to experience her? If no one sees her, could she ever truly have value?

You hate him for what he has done, and then feel guilty for hating him. You know his intentions were good. Weren’t they? He didn’t know what he did was going to hurt you…did he?

You try to convince yourself that even if what he did made you fall apart, you saw perfection. You were perfect, even if only for a moment, even if there was no way it would last.

But it doesn’t work. You hate him. Because he did this. You hate yourself. Because you let him.

And now there is no one there to help you pick up the pieces.

 

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Messy Is Where the Magic is

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

– Jack Kerouac

As painful as this blog has been to write at times (and probably a bit to read at times) I think it is doing the two things that I hoped it would. I think it is helping me move forward and pick up the pieces. And I hope it is helping you do the same. More and more of you are reaching out telling me you are going through something very similar and that hearing my story is helping you.

So, as uncomfortable as parading my mess around is at times, I will forge on. Because it turns out, a lot of you are in a bit of a mess as well.

“The middle is messy, but messy is where the magic is”. 

– Brene Brown

It seems like so many of us are in the thick of our ‘mid-life crises’. And it wasn’t like the first phase was any easier, at least not for me. I spent the first chunk of my life trying to figure out who the hell I was, and it landed me in a lot of messy situations and with people whom I wouldn’t have necessarily chosen had I known myself better.

I think the difference is that this beginning phase felt exploratory. I was naïve and fearless, but not because of courage per se. Because I didn’t know any better.

In this exploratory phase, I felt less panic or concern for the consequences of what I was doing. If I fucked everything up, the sky wouldn’t fall. Or if it did, I would still have plenty of time to pick up the pieces and start over.

And then I hit this phase of my life. And I actually did fuck everything up. Pretty much everything. And it turns out, the sky did in fact fall.

And I’m panicking. Because now it feels like it is going to take a lifetime to pick up all the pieces, to fix everything, to try to start over. And I no longer have a lifetime.

I have always lived my life, to some degree, in a state of panic. I have always done everything fast- I talk fast, I eat fast, I read fast, I run fast. I used to think I was just programmed that way. I now realize that it is because I always felt this sense of urgency to get to the next thing for fear that I would miss out on something- an opportunity, a lesson, a laugh, a friendship, a love.

Love. This is the one thing I don’t do fast. I fall fast, but I love long and I love hard.

This has only intensified now that I’m in my 40’s. My proverbial sky has fallen and I have no idea where to even start with this whole ‘starting over’ process. And there is still so much I want to do and see, friendships I want to have, love I want to experience- a lifestyle I want to experience with those friends and that love…and I feel like I am running out of time.

I now know that so many of you feel the same. If nothing else, the disaster that my life has turned into over the past year, and my blog describing it, have brought so many of you back into my life. Many of you with whom I wasn’t even that close to before.

It’s a beautiful thing. My patchwork has become so much more colorful and diverse, so many more layers and textures- life-long friends with whom I have a shared history and new friends who have come into my life more recently. One ‘category’ is no more important or meaningful than the other. I just think there is a tendency at this point in our lives to attract people who fit the person we are now.

Meeting a new friend now feels like…magic. It is exciting and giddy with that ‘butterflies in your stomach’ feeling, because I now know it is so rare. When I connect with someone who fits me at this point in my life, it is because I have found more than a friend, I have found a kindred spirit.

And I no longer need to impress you, or win you over, or keep you, or try not scare you away. You are my tribe, no matter the distance, the differences, the time investment, or inconvenience. Both of us are in this and neither of us is going anywhere.

I think an important part of this, too, has been letting go of old relationships that no longer serve me. This has become increasingly more difficult as I get older. More times than not, it is a friend I have a history with, but our paths have become too different or what we want and need from a relationship no longer fits. If more times than not, I walk away from them feeling worse about myself and my life, then it is time to let go. This has also been rare, and it is sad and painful. But there is always a gift, right, for those relationships that come and go. It takes tremendous courage to let them go, and it is also one of the most selfless things you can do. You are allowing that person to fill your space in with someone who will give them what they now need in their lives, things that you just could no longer give them.

So, it seems to be turning out that the gift out of this whole mid-life mess has been the new additions to my tribe. And yes, you are in fact a lot like me, and you fit. You inspire me and you make me want to be better. You make me laugh and you piss me off and you make me feel. You lift me up, you celebrate me, and you make me want to do the same for you.

You are colorful, a little crazy, a lot opinionated, a bit complicated, and you are smart and engaging and creative and fun.

And, you are messy. You are a big, beautiful, brilliant mess…who burns, burns, burns, like fabulous yellow roman candles…

Your faithful gypsy,

b.breazeale

The Value of Our Girls

“Girls are one of the most powerful forces for change in the world: When their rights are recognized, their needs are met, and their voices are heard, they drive positive change in their families, their communities, and the world.

– Kathy Calvin, United Nations Foundation President & CEO

I picked up one of the books I am reading (one of 4…a bit ‘a.d.d.’ and usually have at least three going at once: the light read, the inspiring/self-helpish read, and always a memoir). I thought this one, The Underground  Girls of Kabul, by Jenny Nordberg, was fitting on the heels of last weekend’s epic demonstration to empower women.

I started a social enterprise, Briya Bags (www.briyabags.com), to help educate and empower girls and women around the world, specifically in developing countries and those in conflict. I have frequently been asked been asked why I feel compelled to help abroad and not focus on girls and women in my own country. I can’t say for sure. Maybe it is because I have traveled to some of the poorest countries in the world, where women have virtually no rights. (see blog post, “Women and Goats” under ‘My Congo Adventure’ blog). Poverty, lack of education, religious influence, and patriarchal views leave women to be treated as labor and a means to produce children, specifically boys.

Information below provided by Amnesty International:  http://blog.amnestyusa.org/africa/the-worlds-worst-places-to-be-a-woman/

Afghanistan ranks as the worst place in the world to be a woman. Women face daily physical and sexual abuse from insurgents and state forces. Schoolgirls are frequently attacked, as well as women who dare to venture out in public. Rape and domestic violence are rampant. 87% of Afghan women are illiterate, while 70-80% face forced marriage, many before the age of 16.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is ranked second on the list of the worst places to be a woman. The ongoing war has resulted in a brutal and strategic campaign of sexual violence targeted at women, from toddlers to the elderly”.

Armed militias and state forces notoriously carry out brutal gang rapes and use women in human trafficking.  An estimated 1,100 women are raped every day in the Congo. Survivors or women who manage to escape suffer social stigma in their families and communities. Or worse the suffer from fistula, a painful tearing of the wall between the vaginal and rectal canals. This leaves them unable to marry, bare children, and leaves them in tremendous pain for the rest of their lives.

All of these crimes against women go unpunished. There are absolutely no consequences.

I am presently not working directly with any organizations working in Afghanistan, but my partner, Marshall Direct Fund/MDF (marshalldirectfund.com) is working to educate girls and their communities in Pakistan, a country that has almost indiscernible discrimination against and repression of women and girls.

The founder of Marshall Direct Fund supports educational efforts in remote areas of Pakistan to ensure a future generation of critical thinkers with the skills to become meaningful economically contributing citizens. The impact of the last ten years of efforts can be seen and felt in the classrooms and on the faces of the students. No one seems to mind the overflowing classrooms, they’re just grateful for the access to free education and the hope afforded to break cycles of poverty. In comparison to previous visits,  the executive director, Jodi Foster, noticed the students sitting taller in their chairs, straighter, with more confidence, bright eyes, smiles, and stories that reflect hope that was not there before.

MDF’s holistic approach is one that I know is necessary to affect change. MDF provides education in these communities, not just for girls. Instead, they educate the community as a whole. They allow boys in the schools, but only if the girls are enrolled first. They go door to door and hold workshops to educate the fathers and mothers about the importance of education for their girls and that their girls are in fact valuable and precious and can make meaningful contributions to their families and communities.

Why does MDF have to do this?

A boy is status. A boy is good fortune. He is a source of pride, celebrated, and adored.

A girl is an embarrassment, a sign of bad luck. She is a source of shame, to be hidden and used as labor. A boy is a bacha, the word for child. A girl is the ‘other’: a dokhtar.

If a daughter is born…the new mother… will return to the village, her head bowed in shame, where she may be derided by relatives and neighbors. She could be denied food for several days. She could be beaten and relegated to the outhouse to sleep with the animals… (Jenny Nordberg)

It is not uncommon for a woman to have 10 children. If her first 7, 8, 9 are not boys, she is expected to keep trying until she ‘succeeds’.

Mothers usually don’t even get attached to their daughters, because they will inevitably be married off, usually by the age of 12, usually to an older uncle or man twice her age whom she has never met. Often, the family may never see her again. But the son? He will be with them for life.

“As a woman, you must shrink both your physical body and any energy that surrounds it, in speech, movement, and gaze.” (Jenny Nordberg)

This is not the case for every woman/girl or for every family. Families that are wealthy enough to have an education are usually more liberal-minded and encourage their daughters to get an education and engage in their society. There are in fact women doctors and politicians, but this is the exception and their rights are still extremely limited.

There have been various attempts reverse this and provide rights to women in Afghanistan. King Amanollah Khan attempted to assert rights for women in the 1920s…promoting the education of girls, banning selling them off for marriage, and putting restrictions on polygyny. The men were outraged and there was severe backlash.  They would lose future income if their daughters could no longer be sold or traded as wives. The king was eventually forced to renounce his throne.

So how do some of these families remedy their bad fortune? They turn one of their girls into a boy. Problem solved. This is often done at birth so neighbors and family will not know. But on occasion, a family might make the transformation when the child is older. And often times nobody even questions it or acknowledges it. It is understood as a necessary step towards status and power.

And what do these ‘girls’ do? They embrace it. This is their chance for freedom, for privilege, for an education, for more food and preferential treatment by all. This is her chance to go outside alone, to climb a tree or throw a ball, to laugh and play and be a child, while her sisters stay inside, do the chores, and wait to be married off.

But she too awaits this fate. These privileges will not last. When the ‘boy’ reaches puberty, he must turn back into a girl, and she must assume her responsibility to serve as a means of income or status, be married off…and provide sons for her new family.

All of this is not to say that there are not issues here in the U.S. that women face, life-threatening ones at that. I guess I just was so impacted by the fact that women in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Sudan, etc., have absolutely no rights and no resources- the reality that their social structures are so embedded, and their low status and objectification so ingrained. I feel compelled to do whatever I can to help them- through education, through activism, through supporting efforts at a grass-root level that are making an impact to change the beliefs, the system, rituals and cultural stigmas that are disempowering, even killing girls and women in these countries.

Am I making a difference? Will I make a difference?  I guess I might never know. But I have witnessed the difference that some organizations and their dedicated staff are making. So, that is my hope. I hope I can make a contribution, no matter how small, to support them in the work that they are doing. That is the hope.

If you want to help me and Marshall Direct Fund in our efforts, please visit:

Briyabags.com and Marshalldirectfund.com

*Please note: Marshall Direct Fund’s website is down and will be back up in a couple of days!

 

Nasty Women

“Please believe in THE POWER OF ONE. One person can make an enormous difference in the world. One person – actually, one idea – can start a war, or end one, or subvert an entire power structure. One discovery can cure a disease or spawn new technology to benefit or annihilate the human race. You as ONE individual can change millions of lives. Think big. Do not limit your vision and do not ever compromise your dreams or ideals”. 

                           – Iris Chang

I have to confess that I was a bit skeptical of the Women’s March that so many of my friends were flying from all over the country to go to. I knew I wouldn’t be in a city where I would be able to go to one, nor did I really want to. The reality is, I felt defeated. I knew he was now our president, and I kind of just wanted to close my eyes, hold my breath, and crawl back in bed for the next four years until it was all over.

I spent most of the morning avoiding all forms of media, horrified at some of the things I was hearing- the policies being signed into action, and the details being revealed about the people who are now running our country. I just couldn’t listen.

And then I started seeing my friends’ posts on Facebook and Instagram. They caught my attention. I felt a twinge of guilt which evolved into full-on regret. Why the hell was I not there with them? I don’t sit on my couch and accept defeat. What the hell!!

“Thank you for understanding. Sometimes we must put our bodies where our beliefs are. Pressing ‘send’ is not enough.      

                  –   Gloria Steinem, honorary chairman of the march

I spent the rest of the day glued to my phone, my computer, and yes, even the news. I hated the fact that I was one of the ones pushing ‘send’.

And then friends started sending me messages, telling me that I should be there. And so they took me with them. They gave me play by plays, they sent me pictures, face timed me so I could hear the crowds and speeches. I got to go to D.C., Denver, even Paris via text.

I was literally moved to tears watching my friends taking decisive action to be heard and to support those whom he has discriminated against, denounced, and demoralized.

Half a million people- women, men, and children- showed up in D.C. yesterday. HALF A MILLION do not believe in him, in his values, his motives, his actions, his policies, or his capacity to run our country. And those are just the people who were able to be present in D.C. Three million people across the globe showed up in protest of his inauguration. That is unprecedented and a very poignant statement. They were heard.

Interestingly enough, we heard nothing in response to this peaceful revolution from our new leader.

I saw many people’s statements on Facebook mocking the marches. I tried not to engage, but I caved a couple of times. I know it is not an effective way to sway people to adopt your opinions, and I know everyone has a right to their own… just a consequence of being very opinionated and passionate. Sometimes it gets the best of me.

So, after my two attempts to sway people to my side, I gave myself a break from Facebook and ran across Ashley Judd’s speech, proclaimed to be the highlight of the day. I was blown away.

Judd recited a poem written by a 19-year old girl, Nina Donovan, written in protest to Trump and everything he stands for. It was simply brilliant. Here is my favorite part:

“Tell me, why are pads and tampons still taxed when Viagra and Rogaine are not? Is your erection really more than protecting the sacred messy part of my womanhood? Is the blood stain on my jeans more embarrassing than the thinning of your hair

I know it is hard to look at your own entitlement and privilege. You may be afraid of the truth. I am unafraid to be honest. It may sound petty bringing up a few extra cents. It adds up to the pile of change I have yet to see in my country. I can’t see. My eyes are too busy praying to my feet hoping you don’t mistake eye contact for wanting physical contact. Half my life I have been zipping up my smile hoping you don’t think I want to unzip your jeans.

I am unafraid to be nasty because I am nasty like Susan, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Amelia, Rosa, Gloria, Condoleezza, Sonia, Malala, Michelle, Hillary!

And our pussies ain’t for grabbing. There for reminding you that our walls are stronger than America’s ever will be. Our pussies are for our pleasure. They are for birthing new generations of filthy, vulgar, nasty, proud, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, you name it, for new generations of nasty women. So if you a nasty woman, or you love one who is, let me hear you say, hell yeah”. 

So, this is my “few extra cents” about yesterday’s monumental expression of solidarity, conviction, and demand for change. For those of you who believe it was only a statement, a pointless demonstration, or our refusal to ‘accept reality’ (Bill Hemmer’s, reporter for Fox News), I ask you this. If it impacted only a handful of young girls (and I am positive it impacted thousands), if it made them feel empowered, if it demonstrated the power of taking action, if it convinced them that their bodies, their ‘pussies’, are sacred, are theirs to be enjoyed and seen as their gift to the world and not a part of them solely meant to be enjoyed by others or, worse, to be ashamed of, if it made them embrace the fact that they are not objects or ornaments to be paraded about, if they now believe that they are worth infinitely more than their bodies and faces. If any one of those girls adopted one or all of those things as their truth, then yesterday’s date should become a national holiday, no an international holiday. I believe it was something that should go down in history.

I believe it will. And I believe all of you who marched, and even those of us who could only push send, I believe we contributed to a stronger, more confident, more powerful, more active generation of girls and boys who will grow into women and men who will, in fact, change the world.

 

FACEBOOK

Quitting Facebook is the new, adult version of running away from home. We all know you’re doing it for attention and we all know that you’ll be back.

I love Facebook. Almost as much as I hate it.

I’m pretty sure this feeling is ubiquitous at this point. It seems the love part, however, is the stronger of the two, enough to keep us all scrolling, posting, texting…and then checking back 10 seconds later to see what we missed.

I am still leaning more towards the love part, myself, because FB has become an invaluable vehicle for reconnecting me with friends from all phases of my life. I can’t imagine how many friendships have been rekindled, relationships started, even marriages and divorces initiated, because of Facebook.

I would say 75% of my present friendships, and a relationship or two, are credited to Facebook. For me, it has been a way for me to stay connected to my tribe, which consists of friends on almost every continent. Even for friends who live in the same city, I have found out some important news or have successfully read between the lines when they needed to connect beyond what is possible using our thumbs.

But honestly, there are times when you just don’t feel like talking. And the reality of finding time for that much-needed, catch-up call with our best friend from high school just isn’t feasible in our day to day. Facebook serves it all up on the proverbial platter. We get to see what the kids are up to, birthday announcements, anniversaries, most recent vacation excursions. Such a time-saver, really. Now, all we have to do is text and say congrats, happy birthday, or bon voyage. If we wait long enough, we can knock out all of the above in one text…2 minutestops, depending on how dexterous you are.

Yes, being cheeky. We all know that taking the time to show up in person is what we should actually be doing. Because let’s be honest, how many people do you know who post ANYTHING on their Facebook and Instagram pages that is even close to what is really going on in their lives??

I’m not discounting that our friends’ posts aren’t real, exactly. Of course, they are having good times and celebrating legitimate milestones in their lives. But, how many posts do you see announcing their kid’s bad report card, or the fact that the youngest came so close, but didn’t quite make the cheerleading squad? No one is throwing up pictures of themselves in the throngs of a bad hair day or taken from a bad angle.

Yes, Guilty.

I have seen countless pictures of hands boasting shiny new engagement rings, but have yet to see one of a divorce certification. I see status updates, daily, announcing ‘married to’. But, I have only seen one in my entire Facebook career announcing, ‘divorced’.

Again, Guilty.

Hell no. You are all going to see how amazing my life is. You are going to be blown away by how many friends I have and the unprecedented amount of likes I got on my most recent profile picture. And, yes, my hair always looks this good, my smile is always this perfect, and my life is nothing but a series of unimaginable vacations, good deeds, major accomplishments, and my beautiful friends and family engaging in the picture-perfect moment that someone just happened to capture on their iphone.

Okay, I might have photoshopped one of my pictures, just a wrinkle or two around my eyes. And I might have opted for the ‘ludwig’ filter (it makes me look tanner). Okay fine, the picture I posted was actually the 10th shot because the 9 before made my face look fat. Other than that, everything I post is 100% real-time and how I and my life looks 75% of the time. Or maybe 25% of the time.

The most fascinating thing about social media, in my opinion, is the way it has taken control, or the way we have taken control of it, as a means to court a new love… or stalk an old one.

Again, Guilty.

A recent study revealed the ways that Facebook has impacted our relationships, both good and bad, during each stage. (see link below)

Courting:

The best part about using FB as a means to court an interest is obvious for the not so brave at heart. All you have to do is ‘like’ a few posts, followed by liking every post, transitioning into commenting on one or two, and then going for the plunge and sending a message. With any luck and the correct concoction of posting content and frequency, you will be sitting across from your new love within a matter of days.

Beginning:

As far as a tool to declare and prove the depths of your love, FB is your weapon of choice. What better way to say ‘I love you’ than a status update, ‘in a relationship’, or a selfie post capturing a moment of bliss for all to see.

Maintaining:

Maintaining a relationship? Again, FB is your friend. You are on a work trip, no better way to tell your beloved you miss her than by posting it so that your 1,400 friends bare witness. You fucked up and did something stupid? A simple post stating: I fucked up and did something stupid…and I love you. Instant ‘get out jail free’ card.

The Break Up:

And then there is the ultimate reason to utilize FB. The whole “all’s fair in love and war” thing…specifically the War part. You want to make them jealous? Pictures, pictures, pictures. You want to let them know exactly where you are and what you are doing?

‘Check in’: location determined.

‘Tag’: proof that their worst nightmare is sitting next to you.

Note. This is a particularly good strategy if you are not, in fact, sitting next to his worst nightmare, nor are you at the same restaurant where you two had your first date. That is what I hear, anyway.  

Aftermath:

And so the FB world watches in horror as the whole thing unravels. Suddenly, we start seeing the ‘covert’ posts from your heartbroken friend… followed by pictures of said friend sitting next to hot guy, who you later find out (when you finally get together, in person, to sort out all the confusion between her actual life and her ‘Facebook’ life) was actually a guy who she practically accosted in a bar and pretty much threatened bodily harm to if he did not pose for a quick selfie, explaining that he looks just like her brother and could she please get a picture with him so she can post it on Facebook…so her brother can see the uncanny resemblance.  

Nope, no brother. But she will be damn sure that this poor, unassuming hot guy will be paraded on her FB page for the world to see… for the ex to see- the ex who is most assuredly stalking her on Facebook.

So there you go. For all of you Facebook haters, or those of you who have tried to ‘quit’ or cleanse yourself from the non-stop reminders of how inadequate you, your life, your house, your job… your pretty much everything is, don’t give up. Keep searching, scrolling, posting, texting, and stalking.

We have faith in you, and we don’t really believe anything that you are posting…and we know you will be back.

;o)

Research study In Psychology Today:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/close-encounters/201505/how-facebook-affects-our-relationships

Wild Ones, Goddesses, and Goddamn Warriors

“You are one of the wild ones, and no matter how you tried to hide that fact, you can’t be anything other than what you are—and that’s okay. You are just as you are supposed to be, magnificently wild in all of your chaotic beauty.

I know you’ve had your heart broken and I know that you don’t understand why it always seems to never work out, but I’ve finally figured it out:

You don’t need a man, you need a goddamn warrior.’”

– Kate Rose

This was sent to me from a friend yesterday, and it could not have been more timely…and true.

When someone you truly loved, who you thought understood you and loved you for everything you are- for your fire, for you wildness, for you craziness and chaotic beauty- when this person takes it all back, when this person takes all the beautiful qualities that he claimed were the exact reasons he fell in love with you and morphs them into all of the things that are terribly wrong with you, you start to question all of those beautiful things you believed that you were…all of those things that you are.

The truth is, you scared him. You scared the shit out of him, just as you have so many before.

Why do you think this is? Is it because there is something wrong with you? It is because you are damaged? Is it because you are in fact crazy? Is it because you are too much or not enough?

It is none of those things, quite the opposite. You scare the shit of them because they realize that they can never match your fire- your wildness, your fierceness, your craziness, your chaotic beauty. They tried. And they failed.

No one wants to admit defeat. So, they blame it on you. They convince you that it was you who failed. They claim that you proved yourself to be unlovable, undeserving of their love. And you believe them.

What a tragedy. What a waste of your free-spirit, of the conviction so very few of us have to refuse to conform or settle for a life that does not fit us. It is so easy to convince ourselves that this is what we should do, that ‘normalcy’ can only be the white picket fence.

You are not normal, nor do you want to be. You are not someone who needs to rescued or fixed. And you most definitely do not need to be tamed.

“You need a goddamn warrior.”

Please know, they are out there, just as wild, just as fierce, just as passionate with just as much fire. And you will not spend the rest of your life searching for them.

Summon him. He will seek you out, and he will not stop until he finds you.

Don’t you dare settle. Instead, try your best to be patient and thank the universe every day that you did not mistake the one who tried to tame you- or worse, who tried to break you- that you did not mistake him for your warrior.

Your faithful gypsy,

b.breazeale

You can access the entire article by Kate Rose here: (please do!)

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/08/you-dont-need-a-man-you-need-a-goddamn-warrior/

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Inauguration Day

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

               –Margaret Mead

Today is an especially sad one for me on many levels. Yes, for the obvious reason. It is also the day I am putting all of my belongings into boxes, yet again. I made a terrible decision and I am suffering the consequences.

And I am leaving.

Some say I am running. But the people who really know and love me have pleaded with me to run, to run as fast and as far away from here as I can. Whether it be running or simply just taking care of myself, I am leaving. And, on some level, it is empowering. I am taking decisive action, and I am taking back control of my life.

And, on some level it is sad. It is the end of an era that was full of hope and dreams coming true. I truly believed I was living life to the fullest and making my dreams come true. It was honest and exciting and full of possibility.

And it is over, at least this phase of it is, and it is scary. I have no idea what the future holds. I have no idea how to even feel or what to do to make sure I do not take 10 steps backward, which quite honestly, I feel like I have already done.

I believe our country, too, has made a terrible decision. And I believe that we will suffer the consequences. It is scary. We have no idea what the future holds and there is a real fear that we will take 10 steps backward.

And I am leaving.

You can say I am running. And yes, part of me just wants to run like hell, as fast and as far away as I can. The irony is that I always said that if he becomes our president, I’m out. I am moving to Paris. And here I am, moving to Paris. But it is not because he became our president, although it is a timely coincidence. It is for many reasons.

But I am not running from my responsibility to serve others, to try to make a positive impact in their lives, to work like hell to empower them. That, I will always try to do, regardless of what continent I am on.

If nothing else good has come out of this, this is exactly what I have seen so many people do to counter the terrifying prospect of oppression, bigotry, misogyny, and extreme, destructive actions that are driven by greed, power, hatred, stupidity, and fear.

People have hit the streets. They are taking decisive action to make a difference in the lives of others in their schools and communities. They are doing whatever they can, no matter if they are only one person, no matter how seemingly small their actions may be. They are taking control. They are making an impact. They are changing the world.

This is all we can do. There is no sense in looking back or wishing things would have turned out differently. It does no good. That is not the direction we are going. We can only take steps in the present to make sure our future is what we dream it can be.

So please, don’t lose hope. Don’t give up. Don’t think you can’t affect the outcome and make a difference. You can…and we will.

Your faithful gypsy,

b.breazeale

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