Atlanta, GA: Down the Rabbit Hole

Today is a Monday. 

How do I know that it’s a Monday?

I woke up early but somehow was still late to work.

I found a spider in my bathtub, while I was in it.

And, of course, I’m getting a flat tire.

But, Starbucks exists to fix the Monday Morning Moanies, I’m convinced, and I took full advantage of its resources on the way to work!

Today I’m taking a look back at this weekend and all of the wonderful new experiences  it brought my way!

I traveled to Atlanta, GA for a Comprehensive Energy Psychology conference bright and early Saturday morning.

Growing-up I was never allowed to visit Atlanta. My mother is an overly-cautious individual and she always portrayed the city as dark and dangerous, overrun by drugs and purse bandits. I will say, she’s not entirely wrong, but it’s also so much more.

Atlanta, GA

We’re in a tiny concrete building, in the middle of an apartment complex, about thirty minutes away from the comfort and safety of our overpriced hotel. We’d gotten lost twice trying to find this place, and it looks nothing like the pictures on Google. The door opens to a cramped and damp store full of metaphysical goodies. Crystals, books on finding your animal spirit guide, tarot decks, pendulums, and a menu of clairvoyant offerings clutter the walls and room- along with cobwebs, dust, and dirt. It smells mildewed and oddly like summer camp somehow. We’re greeted by a wide-eyed woman raving about her podcast.

Purchases in hand, we’re ushered into a room behind a curtain where many a character are sitting in old leather chairs around a different, much louder woman. I feel trapped in a manic’s daydream. Everyone is talking fast and loud and nothing that they’re saying makes any sense to us and someone mentions that the sangria is “kicking in” and suddenly a woman in a onesie comes around the corner holding a vegan taco and talking about how the highway in Atlanta is somehow relatable to watermelon. I look over at one of my friends; she’s smiling and nodding but you can tell she’s just as confused as I.

We’re texting each other.

“What’s happening?”

“I feel like anything you say in here really resonates with these people so I don’t think that we should say anything. Do you think that they all know each other or did some of them happen upon this like we did?”

Twenty minutes later we’re told to follow the other woman up a set of carpeted stairs and into a room for clairvoyant readings. I’m told that my spirit animal is a rabbit and that I’ll meet someone incredibly influential very soon.

When we finally leave, two hours have passed and I’m unsure of how.

Let me tell you, first impression: Atlanta is complicated. People crowd the streets at night and it’s uncertain where is safe and where isn’t. There’s an ice cream truck parked in front of a liquor store and young children on a street corner in front of a tattoo parlor.  I feel like I’m in a 90’s vampire movie where the dark corners of the city are enticing but dangerous unless you’re immortal or suicidal.

An hour later, we’re in a bar completely filled with cigarette smoke inside and out. All the waitresses are half-naked wearing leather and lace and ours has devil horns and a kimono that hides everything a body harness can’t cover. We’re tucked in a tight corner practicing energy manipulation with a soapstone pendulum. It doesn’t feel like a weird thing to do considering the city around us. The man standing two people over from us blows cigarette smoke into the face of the woman directly next to him. We’re glad we aren’t her. I get a beer and drink none of it but somehow leave feeling intoxicated. Is it this place? The smoke thickening in the air? A man wearing a cardboard sign that says “will solve rubix cubes for $1” stumbles past us.

We drive deeper into the pit of the city.

The parking lot is full of expensive cars. Music shakes the metal stairs that lead into the store and away from the busy roadway. IDs are checked and a young woman, seemingly too young, wearing platform heels and a barely-nothing dress, escorts us away from the door.

“It’s over here.”

We’re terrified, eyeing each other and making the “OMG” mouth motions behind her back as she leads us to a counter. Complimentary champagne is placed gingerly in our hands and I find myself wondering- where are we???

This is Tokyo Valentino.

Were surrounded by floor-to-ceiling adult novelties, and there’s a *club (wink-wink)* in the back. We consider going, but we’re all chickens so we decide not to. A magician maneuvers a cart around a display case and offers us a magic trick involving a fake wedding ring and three packs of bubblegum.

It’s after midnight.

This place, this night, is a fever dream- I’m convinced.

The next morning comes too early and even though it’s long over- I’m still smiling from the night before.

Initially I wanted this post to end with a deep reflection on myself and what I learned about myself in Atlanta. But, honestly I’m just feeling intensely grateful.

I’m grateful for the experiences I had, the friends that I made, and seat warmers (yes-seriously). I’m not sure that I could’ve maneuvered the city without seat warmers (jk but… yes- seriously).

Have a great Monday, everyone.

I’m going to get back to my normal routine of homework and decaf coffee before noon.

With love,




It’s the Little Things

It is 3:00pm and I’m in my pajamas eating a dark chocolate orange and enjoying the silence of Jon’s apartment, aside from the steadily clicking keys on my computer keyboard.

I’m suddenly overwhelmed with this immense feeling of intense gratitude and contentment.

Guys, life has been crazy lately.

A few weeks ago I received news that a family member that sexually abused me when I was younger, sexually abused another child. That same week I had just started a new job and was trying to balance it with my other two jobs, stressing about affording Christmas, and noticing that some of my Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia symptoms were increasing.

Fast forward a week and my great-uncle passed away. My mother and grandfather had surgery on the same day (they’re both fine and recovering well). And, I’m still struggling to cope with the news about my abuser. My abuser contacted me while intoxicated towards the middle of the week and I didn’t really experience the full effects of speaking with him until the next day when I seemingly couldn’t stop crying and ended up skipping all of my classes for the remainder of the week.

I sat down and thought about writing a blog post about the reality of dealing with psychological symptoms that follow sexual assault, but I didn’t.

Instead, I sat down and I talked to my significant other.

Jon has been so understanding through everything. He has always been careful and kind and forgiving no matter the circumstances when I am going through something difficult. Over the summer, coming to terms with a new and scary chronic illness challenged our relationship in a multitude of ways. All of a sudden I was this terrified little girl that couldn’t leave her house for a meal or an adventure. We definitely struggled with communication, but ultimately, he helped me move past my anxieties about my symptoms and before I knew it, we were picnicking in the park on Sunday mornings and visiting the zoo on rainy afternoons.

I think the hardest part about confiding in anyone, especially those you’re close to and whose opinions matter most to you, is the idea that you could be rejected or misunderstood. That’s what stopped me from talking to him about how strongly the assault affected me, because I didn’t feel like my emotions or thoughts were valid. But, they are. For those of you that are going through similar things or have been there, know that what you are experiencing is real and valid and that you will recover and persevere.

For me, talking to him really helped, even though it took such a long time to work up the courage to. But, I’m so thankful I finally I did.

Yesterday was our two year anniversary. I have a stomach virus or something, not entirely sure, but we had to postpone celebrating until later this week. Last night wasn’t the most amazing night of our lives. We got into a disagreement about something trivial and I had to eat rice for dinner because my stomach is so finicky, and anyways, the night ended with one or both of us crying into the shirt of the other.

There’s something so beautiful and raw in expressing pent-up emotions, to just lay it all out on the table to be dealt with and to be understood.

This morning we woke up, he kissed me gently before he went to work, and he surprised me with Chic-Fil-A for lunch. I climbed back in his bed to study for finals, and to type this blog post in absolute appreciation for our relationship, for him, and for this life.

Our relationship isn’t perfect. We both have our faults, as humans, and we both have our faults, as lovers. It’s natural to have a push and pull in every relationship. However, it’s not so natural for the push to become a shove and the pull to become a tear (always remember that). I’m thankful that we’re able to communicate and find new ways to surprise each other. I’m thankful that we’re still in love after two years together. And, I’m hopeful that we’ll be in love and living in happiness for much, much longer.

There are a lot of things that I’m uncertain about in my future. I’m graduating college in about five months. I’m not sure where I’ll go to get my Master’s degree, where exactly I’ll be living, or how I’ll be making ends meet. But, I know that I’m capable and I’m excited to see what happens next, preferably with him by my side.

Earlier today an older gentleman holding a vase of red and white flowers knocked on the door to Jon’s apartment. The note read “no message,” and I couldn’t help but smile and chuckle at the endearing gesture after calling him and hearing that he’d left a message after all.

“Happy Anniversary, I love you.”

It’s the little things.

After a few weeks of dredging through emotional sludge, I’m feeling more mentally grounded than I have in quite some time.

I’ve been focusing on mindfulness and it’s really getting me somewhere.

When I start to feel anxious or out of control, I tell myself to stop and breath. I take in my situation, my surroundings, and realize that I’m not out of control at all.

It’s this mindfulness that’s getting me through finals week, and bringing me into Christmas break.

It’s this mindfulness that’s allowing me to express gratitude even in uncomfortable situations like disagreements, fighting this stomach bug, and knowing that my abuser is still out there.

It isn’t a cure-all, but it’s a start to feeling better and doing better.

I think, considering, I’m doing just fine.

A reminder: Be gentle, kind, compassionate, and caring to yourself and those around you this week and every week. College kids, be strong and determined as you conquer your finals and know that academic stress is temporary. I love you all, and I want you all to succeed.