I’m Not Sure Why I Feel Compelled To Share When I’m Not Ready

I haven’t written anything in such a long time that I feel like if I even tried to begin writing, like I am now, it will end up becoming a large pile of crap that stares me in the face for years to come. Every damn day I will look back at this piece of writing and wonder, why did I ever decide to press publish. What possessed me and made me move the cursor over to that little blue button on the right hand side? Why do I constant have a need to over-share absolutely everything I am going through or processing online? 

People have told me once or twice that I’m “brave” sharing so much content from my personal life, and opening myself up to the blogosphere. To which, I usually retort, it’s part of my Meyers-Briggs test where it concluded that I was 93% extrovert, in which, I proudly own—and while I am comfortable sharing things, I believe the real reason I do it is because I am constantly trying to figure out my own emotional mishegas. And, even in the moments when I am totally fine, I can’t seem to turn off my brain long enough because I am constantly trying to see and understand and discover every perspective. 

I mean, in all honesty, it’s probably really selfish of me really—the fact that I subject you to it on such a regular basis—and at the same time, I know that I probably will never stop doing it. 

This month I haven’t written as much, or nearly as consistently because I have been going through a lot emotionally and I just adopted a puppy. 

That’s right folks, there is an 8 week-year-old puppy living in my house, keeping me up all night, and tearing apart every piece of furniture I own, living in my house. She’s cute really, but she has kept me so distracted and so exhausted, that I haven’t even had a moment to begin to process anything that’s been going on. 

So maybe, all of those people who are claiming that I’m brave are wrong, maybe I’m not as brave as they think. I’m not ready to share what I’m going through right now, I’m not ready to open up and lay everything out there in the sense that I usually do, because honestly, I don’t have the mental capacity to even begin to process it. 

And yet, here I am sharing. I’m sharing parts of myself without fully sharing everything in an attempt to connect and relieve some of the anxiety I get when I forget to process. 

The thing is, we need each other to survive. We need communication and sharing and the breaking down of walls to live. Over-sharing is sort of my way of leaning on each other and reminding myself, and hopefully some of you, that it’s going to be okay. 

Does any of this make sense? 

An Unlikely Case For Living In Hell

I‘ve been trying to really just summarize my feelings about climate change and every person who continues to not see the effects of it in the world, but honestly, I just don’t know if I can deal with the ignorance of it anymore. I myself, am not perfect. I have, once or twice, grabbed a water bottle, if I’ve forgotten my own, and although I’ve tried, occasionally the takeout Indian food I order gets delivered in plastic containers, but I am not unaware of the damage its ensuing on the world. 

It seems extremely depressing to sit there and think about this topic when most climate change scientists predict such devastating effects, hell, even the Trump administration, released its own report touting the impact of climate change on both humanity and the environment—but isn’t it necessary? 

Completely ignoring the information and choosing to exist in a world where the idea is completely unrealistic is ignorant—but, most people are entirely aware that climate change exists. In fact, 70% of Americans across the U.S. believe that climate change is happening, and although only 57% believe its caused by human activities, isn’t that enough motivation to create some sort of change in the system? 

I guess, even for myself, I just want to understand why we don’t take it as seriously? I have made my own meager attempt at making better environmental decisions by becoming a vegetarian, but is it enough? Is there some sort of psychological reasoning for just completely acting as if everything is going to be okay? Or, are we going to be those people that are in total chaos when the alarm goes off and it’s already too late. AGAIN, it sounds so pessimistic, and YES, the idea itself is pretty fucking bleak, but if ignorance is bliss then reality is hell, and we are already living in it. 

Image via Hotel Chavelier, Natalie Portman

Saying Goodbye To November & Hello To December

Welcome to the end of the month wrap up that never happened, and the beginning of the month intro that is currently not fully formed.

Here’s the thing, November ended in a dysfunctional way. November is always a sort of a weird month for me and usually consists of a range of emotions commonly associated with anxiety from holidays, birthdays, and the weather, to excitement about all of those same things. All of this usually makes November turn into some sort of weird blur that leaves me totally exhausted and overjoyed that December is nigh. When we finally enter into the month of December, it’s a breath of relief. I love December. Not for the reasons, anyone would guess, like Hanukkah or Christmas, but actually just simply for the novelty in the month.

November ended shittily—and I’m fully blaming here—because of Mercury in retrograde. All forms of my personal communication were completely thrown off at the end of the month. I couldn’t express what I needed to, my head was wrapped up in senseless distraction, and I felt completely and utterly directionless. All of that and I was depleted from the whole concept of giving, which, seems ironic because you should feel better, but I felt more exhausted, which brings me to the lesson learned in November.

Sometimes being too much of a giver isn’t good.

Being too much of anything for that matter isn’t good. It creates toxic relationship dynamics and oftentimes leaves you feeling more exhausted and depleted and drained than you think. I was exhausted by the end of this month. I felt expended by a number of things, but I started realizing that one of the main issues that troubled me, was the notion that people would only be there for me if I was always there for them. I was giving too much of myself and overexerting energy into situations that really didn’t deserve it. I was people pleasing for fear of being left alone, which, inevitably, left me feeling more alone than I thought. 

November was not a great month and 2018 was not a great year, to say the least, but I have hope for 2019, and I have hope for December.

This month, instead of stepping into the traditional format of how I’ve orchestrated this little blog, I’m going to allow the month to define itself. So instead of coming up with a cute little title, the month of December will simply be called, The December Issue. I will try to post regularly, I want to say, at least two-three times a week, on topics ranging, but I am also going to allow my Sagittarian heart to explore. I need to wander around and find new things to tap into, even if it’s just for a month. Part of my wish for this month, for you, is to remember who you are and to not be afraid of getting lost.

In My Dreams, I Live In A World Where Climate Change Doesn’t Exist, But It Does.

I am writing this sitting in a coffee shop, after spending a weekend lazily doing nothing, except shopping, watching movies, and eating. 

I decided to release a statement about the past weekend because I needed to explain how easily it is to forget important things when Black Friday sales, Cyber Monday deals, and Thanksgiving hangovers of turkey can create a lapse of consciousness in one’s mind, which is exactly why the Trump administration decided to release a 1,656 pages assessment addressing the devastating effects of climate change on the economy, health, and environment, the day after Thanksgiving. 

Yeah, that’s right. The Trump administration, mandated by Congress, along with 13 federal agencies released a document addressing the very dire consequences of scientifically researched climate change.

Naysayers, it’s time to stop naysaying, and leave that to horses. 

When I initially read the report, my immediate reaction was anger, at the current administration for its timing to release the document, one that entirely got swept under the rug by such a fast flowing news cycle, Creed II, and tear gas being administered at the Tijuana border to migrants, and then I felt deeply compelled to share the information. I screenshot the title of the article, wrote a quippy little tagline, and posted it on my Instagram story and wall, as per my millennial roots and immediately felt a release. 

It was as if the information that I read was channeled, processed, and spewed out so quickly that the depth of my frustration wasn’t even fully processed. This is the problem with social media, the internet, youtube, the list could go on endlessly—we don’t have time to process. Everything has to be delivered on a silver platter, wrapped up neatly in 140 characters, sorry 240, and then shared for the world to read, but the actual effects of the information are relatively shallow. 

With the release of this document on Black Friday, a day when thousands of Americans wait outside of stores in a frenzy to shop for a holiday that lasts for a day, a day when relatively no one posts on social media, a day when no one sits around casually to read the news, in an effort to minimize the impact made by this assessment—AND what’s even more infuriating, is that I regurgitated the information so quickly, that for almost the entire weekend, I forgot that the document had been released. 

BUT, in an effort to stop giving a shit about whining and feeling frustrated about my apathy regarding certain things, I am going to give myself so permission to reject former mindsets, and reach for justice. In fact, if, in the past, you have been someone who has wanted to do more, and cared about social justice issues, even in the slightest approach, I give you permission (although you don’t need it) to reach.

Just reach a little bit.

Read a little bit.

Learn. Study.

Shout out your findings from the rooftop and start governing your own process. 

Then, take some time to read the report that was delivered this past Friday. It’s incredibly important to not sit by and just allow things to get swept up in news cycles and Cyber Monday deals. If you happen to use a plastic shopping bag the next time you go to the store, all the while knowing that plastic is absolutely horrible for the environment, it’s okay. Next time, don’t do that. Then, pick yourself back up, read the article again, and strap yourself in for an environmental journey. 

That’s all.

End rant.

What Are Some of Your Thanksgiving Traditions?

As cliche as it is to dedicate a whole blog post to Thanksgiving on the eve of the national holiday rife with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, it feels really important for me to look into some of the traditions coupled with the holiday. 

Growing up, I don’t have many memories surrounding Thanksgiving, other than my mother and father slaving away for nearly two days making her famous lasagna. Being part Italian, we never really celebrated holidays in any standard American way. When people had ham for Christmas, we had pasta, when turkey was served on Thanksgiving, we had lasagna. Oftentimes other family members would bring traditional dishes to the Thanksgiving meal, but more often than not, the majority of attendees would devour my mothers lasagna. At one point in the dinner, my parents would stand up, make a speech as to why they were thankful for everyone attending, and then everyone would go around and share what they were thankful for. 

During these times, I never knew what to say, and usually found some way to get out of the hullabaloo, but this year, I’ve been thinking so much about giving, that it’s made me blatantly aware of my own ignorance surrounding the holiday—and while I will abstain from making any direct commentary on Thanksgiving as a whole, as the afformentioned topic has been handled with far more care and grace than I could ever give, I do think it’s important to consider some of the roots of the holiday. 

I don’t believe it is necessary to make a mockery of held tradition, or even a need to extradite held customs around the holiday, nor is it necessary to continue the narrative that past communities like the “Pilgrims and Indians,” were united in order to unify people today—but the values held around this holiday, like thankfulness, family, togetherness, unity, community, and giving, are values that can unite everyone. 

Everywhere you celebrate in North America, and everywhere you go every day, you are on indigenous land, once cultivated and shared by a vibrant people group that is still around and just as vibrant today, then, maybe, consider shifting your traditions to honor that people group instead of ignoring their history. 

What are some of your Thanksgiving traditions? Do you eat turkey, or are you a lasagna family like mine? Will you go out for Chinese food, like I will this year? Will you be shifting your “Pilgrims and Indian’s,” narrative? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts—and as always, thank you so much for liking, commenting, and subscribing.

I love you like I love shopping on Black Friday and having the last word, and that’s real love. 


I Have A Complicated Relationship With Mercury

This morning was not unlike many other mornings in my life where instead of waking up at the usual time of 7 o’clock, I woke up at 3 am. I needed to pee, I needed water, and I needed to wake up from an insane dream of me standing in temple reciting Torah, completely unaware that I was dressed up as Gil Faizon, Nick Kroll, from their Broadway performance of Oh, Hello. 

However, instead of falling back asleep, I ended up wandering around Youtube until 7:30 in the morning watching several Vox mini-series, makeup tutorials by Violette_Fr, and old Watch What Happens Live episodes. It was irritating, to say the least. I was annoyed, tired, and restless, and then I realized something, I brought this entirely upon myself. 

Four days ago, on the 16th, I made an announcement on Instagram, making everyone brutally aware of the fact that Mercury, was once again, in retrograde. I mocked the fact that this was so by announcing sardonically ‘Happy Mercury Retrograde Everybody,’ completely unaware of the fact that Mercury would be listening, and would punishing me within the same day.

Context: I announced Mercury in retrograde with a series of bees buzzing around my Insta-story only to wind up four hours later being stung by a bee, for the first time, on my tongue. Said destroyer of a perfect cappuccino flew into my coffee cup and hid within the foam until I, unassuming consumer, drank it, and was stung on the tip of my tongue. That day resulted in several attempts to scrape my tongue free of the stinger, stressing out about dying, and drinking vodka to numb the pain. 

By day two I thought that I had already received my punishment when I decided to go out with some friends to a Mexican restaurant here in Austin called Lichas where I decidedly didn’t order anything. Instead, I took a bite out of Morgan’s mushroom quesadilla that, to my surprise, had peanut sauce drizzled in it. Drum roll…da da da da da da da dum. I’m allergic to peanuts. We left the restaurant, headed home, injected two large epinephrine pens into my thigh and doped up on some Benadryl and thus ended the second day. 

By the third day, I decided to lay low, and I remained cozily inside my house for the majority of the day. By the fourth day all seemed clear, which leads me to the fifth night, and or, fifth morning, to which, I awoke in the middle of the night and stayed up all morning. 

Three things happened that were seriously unfortunate within the span of this retrograde, and I fully believe that I am solely to blame for this undoing. I tested Mercury by mocking his backspin into a retrograde territory and thus, am being punished by the wing-sandaled god of communication.

If there is anything that I can deliver you on a silver platter before Thanksgiving is over and the general premise of The Giving Issue is finished, is you get what you give.

Everything is cyclical.

The universe is a bully.

AND Mercury should not be tested.

If you’ve been having a crummy end of November as I have, don’t worry, we’ve now entered Sagittarius season where sunshine and rainbows live and retrogrades end. Maybe saunter on over to your favorite store and purchase some accessories and sprinkle yourself with department store glitter and get ready for December, that’s what I’m going to do, so if the next few days you decide to follow me on social media, you might see Instagram stories of me rolling around the floors of Nordstrom trying to adhere the glitter to my body. 

It Took A ‘Friendsgiving’ Dinner to Make Me Realize I’m Still Affected By the Friends Who Dumped Me

I know some asshole who didn’t have a heart said “time heals all wounds,” and “you’ll get over it eventually,” and “you’ll meet someone new,” but it’s been over three years and I am still affected by the friends who dumped me. Time has not soothed an aching heart, and that wound is looking a lot more like a gaping hole than it did previously.

You know when you’re in shock and your body goes into a fight or flight state, that was basically me for the past three years. I was in acute stress response, due, primarily, to the presence of a terrifying situation i.e., the ending of a friendship, that released too many hormones into my system, causing me to, at first, try to deal with the situation head-on, to eventually opt for running away to safety. 

“The fear was palpable and real and I realized that the way my friendship ended in college was so abrupt, that it actually broke my heart.”

I realized this the other night when I decided to have some friends over for an impromptu and not entirely accurate depiction of “Friendsgiving,” when, as the dinner ended, I found myself being overly concerned about what I was saying and how I was acting. I started drawing within myself, criticizing my responses, and being overly cautious to share my opinion out of fear of hurting, offending, and being insensitive to anyone. In a moment I started wondering whether or not to open up more of myself or to let down my guard to allow these new people into my life in the way that I had done previously with other friends, and honestly the anxiety was crippling. So much so, that when everyone started to leave, I couldn’t get up from my chair the anxiety was that heavy.

When everyone finally left, and Morgan and I were alone, I started bawling. The fear was palpable and real and I realized that the way my friendship ended in college was so abrupt, that it actually broke my heart. More importantly, when thinking about it, the fear that crippled me was being dumped again, on a group that I genuinely loved and cared for, without notice.

As easy as it is to play the victim, I know part of the reason for it ending was my own inability to allow them into my life in the way that they wanted and thought they had. I had my own guards, fears, protections, and aspects of my personality that I didn’t share out of fear of being rejected, and they had their own expectations of a relationship they had never expressed, but it never occurred to me by holding myself back, held me back from actually creating a deeper friendship. As I sat there, with a new group of friends, I was aware of all of those fears and insecurities that crippled my previous friendship, and the fear of being rejected became all too real. Time hasn’t healed all wounds. In fact, it hasn’t really healed anything at all, I just assumed it had. 

I know that over the course of friendships in my life I will probably revisit this feeling in a different way because it affected me so much, but I also know that I can always keep learning.

Over the course of the past few years, I have had several moments of forgiving myself and them, and have talked about it with several people including a therapist, while seemingly going through the motions of grieving the loss and accepting the situation, assuming all had been healed, until recently. 

Last night, after everyone had let, I pulled out a drama card and cried. I cried because I needed to actually mourn the loss of those friendships and flopped into my bed feeling absolutely horrible. In the morning my eyes were puffy but my heart was lighter, and I woke up to a text message from my friend B. I got a call from my mom, who thought she had called her doctor and laughed for a solid five minutes. I turned on Carly Rae Jepsen, scrubbed my face, buffed my skin like a shiny new human being and applied so much lotion to my skin that I slipped on the floor, only to repeat the process entirely, and laughed again, and then finally greeted myself in the mirror, naked. It sounds like a weird ritual, but honestly, it made me feel so much better.

I know none of this will fix my heart, or manifest a perfectly open self that is unafraid of being rejected by the people you love the most, or make me feel remotely whole. I know that over the course of friendships in my life I will probably revisit this feeling in a different way because it affected me so much, but I also know that I can always keep learning. I know that I can keep trying to open myself up and not allow the fear of rejection to dictate my relationships, and to continuously reach out instead of drawing within, but maybe that asshole was right. Time might be more necessary than we think—time and a Carly Rae Jepsen song consisting of eating in a bathtub, dancing like nobody’s watching, cutting your own bangs, and getting yourself off is all it takes.  

Why Personal Pronouns Matter & Simple Ways To Support Your LGBTQIA+ Family Every👏Damn👏 Day👏

Here’s the thing, we’ve been sending emails, letters, and the occasional DM for years now, and signatures are nothing new, so why not add personal pronouns to the list of identifiers in your signature. I was thinking about this the other day when I decided to start asking people their preferred gender pronouns after having a discussion with a guy at Whole Foods who had his preferred pronouns laid out neatly on a button. The conversation was brief, but in short, he appreciated that I addressed him the way he desired to be addressed and that it mattered to me to be understanding of gender diversity as a cisgender male.

Gender pronouns, in short, allow us to understand that gender exists on a spectrum—similar to sexuality no longer existing on a Kinsey scale, but rather, a spectrum of choices. With sexuality, the binary terms of heterosexual and homosexual still exist, but instead of limiting it to those two categories, more and more we are finding that sexuality exists between and outside those categories.

In the same sense, gender occasionally begins with the assignment of our sex but it doesn’t actually end there, instead, it is an intricate interrelationship between three dimensions of the body, identity, and expression of a person. The body relates to our individual experience of our body and how society and others interact with us based on our body. Our identity is a deeply held and internal experience of our sense of self as male, female, a blend of both, or neither. It is more accurately aligned with who and how we know ourselves to be. Then, of course, there is gender expression, which is simply how we express ourselves to the world. Gender expression is deeply related to gender roles and how society uses those roles to create norms and conformity. Simply put, these dimensions can vary greatly from person to person as we are all made uniquely and intrinsically different from one another.

Now, we have beautiful expressions of individuality that exist beyond simply cisgender women (she/her/hers) or cisgendered men (he/him/his); instead we identify as trans*, gender-fluid, genderqueer, nonbinary, and agender. Some trans* individuals identify as either a man or woman and use corresponding pronouns (he/him/his or she/her/hers), while others have fluctuating gender identity, no gender at all, or are genderqueer and use neutral pronouns (they/them/theirs or zie/zim/zir).

As complicated as it all sounds, it is extremely important to understand that the world is constantly evolving, and nothing is new under the sun. Every single day we are learning more and more about the wonderful people that make this earth more beautiful and diverse and it’s important to not limit our understanding to the narrow surroundings we’ve become accustomed to, but instead, try to evolve beyond societal norms and push boundaries in an effort to be more inclusive, compassionate, and diverse human beings.

One way, that we can all strive to be a little bit more inclusive (I’m specifically talking to the heteronormative cisgendered readers), empathetic, better human beings, is by changing our email signatures, text signatures—if that’s still a thing—and social media handles by putting our preferred gender pronouns. When a cisgendered person—or someone who is read by others as their identifying gender 100% of the time—showcases their preferred pronouns, it helps to normalize the practice for all people and makes you an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community. The idea is that this will create a culture of inclusivity where trans* lovelies, gender nonconforming cuties, and those whose gender identity don’t align with how they’re publically perceived, putting pronoun preference in a signature can help prevent misgendering. It’s really just a small step into being a kinder human being that trickles down eventually.

IMG_4800

The Giving Issue, and more specifically Tova and Wild, is all about giving back and recognizing that people exist beyond our small scope of the world every single day, and it’s no secret that trans* and gender nonconforming people face discrimination in all fronts, but especially the workplace, so it’s imperative that cisgendered people support their trans* peers. In reality, this is just a small way that we can show up for our fellow human beings in a small, relatively effortless public way.

Oh, and if you happen to get the occasional question from friends, family, or coworkers, simply consider hyperlinking to some resources like MyPronouns.org or TheyIsMyPronoun.com.

THEN, just continue being the amazingly wonderful person that you are and send this article to a friend to hopefully, spark small measures of change for this beautifully diverse world.

The New Activists To Do List

Enthusiastically, I decided to make November, The Giving Issue, primarily due out of a lack of complacency and a desire to get out and about here in Austin and meet new people, and while I can say my intention was clear, motivation is an entirely different thing. Since the presidential election, which is a whopping two years ago already, I have been through stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and the fifth one, acceptance, has been a somewhat reluctant pill for me to swallow.

So, instead of continually sitting on the sidelines listening to the decisive rhetoric of this administration, we need to band together now, more than ever, to change the current narrative that is playing out in our country. Basically, the work is not over, even after the midterms, it’s time to strap into your Vetements Star Boots and march into volunteering like the stylish mother fudging activist you are.

Below, are a few key points to getting out there and sparking your activism.

1. Get Off Your Booty & Volunteer!

One of the first steps is to really take some time to assess and ask yourself what you are passionate about? Is there something that you connect with—tutoring kids, working at a nursing home, the environment, escorting at an abortion clinic, mentoring teens, LGBTQIA+—find a cause and commit.

There are also really easy sites that volunteer can help you find the proper volunteer opportunity for you, like, volunteermatch.org or this one prodded by the U.S. government. https://www.usa.gov/volunteer

My personal favorite is Volunteer Match, it basically is like a dating site for volunteering and helps you connect locally and globally in whatever way possible. I will say, sometimes, organizations take a minute or two to get back to you, so don’t throw in the towel if you don’t hear back right away.

2. Donate to A Cause

If you don’t have a lot of time and are jam-packed with a schedule so full that you get anxiety from even thinking about adding one more thing to your to-do list, then consider some of the organizations below to donate some cold hard cash. Honestly, people often doubt how much money impacts a nonprofit organization, but oftentimes it keeps the lights on at buildings, provides a small income for dedicated volunteers, and assists with the bare essentials to run the organization, below are some causes we care about that are worth a few bucks a month.

The Slate list of organizations to channel your anxiety into action.

The ACLU: “For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

The American Immigration Council: “The American Immigration Council (‘Council’), established in 1987, works to strengthen America by honoring our immigrant history and shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration.”

Black Lives Matter: “An affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”

Emily’s List: “We ignite change by getting pro-choice Democratic women elected to office.”

Everytown: “Everytown is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.”

The Future Project: “Young people everywhere should have the opportunity to discover their potential and build the skills they need to change their lives and the world. We exist to make that dream a reality, and we’re starting in American high schools.”

HIAS: “HIAS stands for a world in which refugees find welcome, safety, and freedom.”

It Gets Better Project: “The It Gets Better Project’s mission is to communicate to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them.”

KIND: “KIND staff and our pro bono attorney partners at law firms, corporations, and law schools nationwide represent unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in their deportation proceedings. Together, we ensure that no child stands in court alone.”

The NAACP: “The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.”

NARAL Pro-Choice America: “NARAL was founded before Roe v. Wade, before legal abortion was even possible in the United States. We as an organization and as a progressive movement exist to fight for the dignity and equality of all Americans. We hold the line—in good times and in bad—to defend the freedoms that are enshrined in our constitution and that define what it means to be American.”

National Center for Transgender Equality: “The National Center for Transgender Equality is the nation’s leading social justice advocacy organization winning life-saving change for transgender people.”

Planned Parenthood: “Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide.”

RAINN: “RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.”

Women’s Prison Association: “WPA works with women at all stages of criminal justice involvement. We promote alternatives to incarceration and help women living in the community to avoid arrest or incarceration by making positive changes in their lives. Inside prison and jail, we are a source of support to women and a resource to them as they plan for release. After incarceration, women come to WPA for help to build the lives they want for themselves and their families in the community.”

3. Stay Vigilant, Stay Informed, Stay Connected!

Honestly, one of the most impactful things to do with your life is to stay informed. Information is power and education is freedom. Take the time to listen to experiences of people that are different from you. Educate yourself and others. Question everything, including yourself. Stay clued into your own implicit biases and fight against them. Question authority. Question the media. Learn to remain bipartisan. Stay passionate.

I Had the Best Birthday Dinnerrr!

In all honesty, I’m not trying to toot the fuck out of my own horn here, dear readers, its just happening naturally, because my friends, who happen to be the most lovely people in the world, threw me such a great birthday dinnerrrr I needed to sound like a moron from a vortex in the cosmos somewhere over LA where words are exaggerated and drawn out letter repetition is as common as the word hella, and only, obviously, express the qualifications for a highly active social life.

Let’s just say, it was fully equipped with vodka, cheese pizza, and dancing to 80’s music until 2 am.

Honestly, there was a large part of me that was very sad. In fact, two days before, I had moments where I was questioning so many things because a sweeping amount of sadness was surrounding me and turning me into a prodigious asshole attempting to not care about my birthday. I started whining about it to my friends so they banded together and decided to give me a night filled with fun, music, dancing, and in turn, I gave them a horrible drunk rendition of a Dominican woman from New York City named Dionne.

Honestly, why do we get sad around our birthdays? I’ve been thinking about this for a while because I’ve asked several friends and most of them agree that moments before they do get a little sad. It’s kind of like New Year’s Eve, we hype ourselves up thinking it’s going to be this amazing event only seconds after it hits, being somewhat disappointed that you put any significance on it at all.

It’s kind of the same for birthdays.

Or at least, that’s what happens in my head. I start rationalizing the point of celebrating altogether and try to string together past examples of great birthdays only to surmise that most of them have ended up somewhat anticlimactic, not worthy of the stress, and, in my case, consisting of a break-up. However, the optimist in me thinks those are flukes.

I have had memorable birthdays—ones that completely caught me off guard—and reminded me that I was loved by people that I loved in return.

To put it simply, isn’t that exactly what they are for? To remind yourself and to remind others that you are loved? Honestly, any version of that is perfectly adequate and worth the hullabaloo. Maybe, the reason we get sad is that we fear being rejected by the ones we love and aren’t sure if anyone does care about us, in the same manner, we care about them, making our birthday one of those times that friendship, love, and family are the most important to us.

Ugh, I’m striking a nerve. If this is you or is someone you know, maybe give them a hug and tell them you love them. That’s what my friends did and it made me feel so much better. Leave a comment below if you feel a certain kind of way about birthdays, then slip me your birthdate so I can add it to my calendar and give you a shoutout on the glorious day your mother did the splits for hours in labor to give you to the world.

Too graphic.

Sorry.

Caramelized Beet Aleppo Salad

Every November I am confronted by the bitter cold when I wake up the morning and realize that my lips are so cracked, not even Burts Bees could help. I hate it. I dread these moments whenever they happen because I realize that I need to start bundling up, throwing on large jackets, and worrying about what shoes to wear outside because I don’t want to step in a puddle and ruin my day. Oh, November, I hate you so. Coincidentally, you are also the month of my birth, so in a way, I have to sort of love you.

When I was trying to come up with something for dinner the other day, I came across a recipe in an old Julia Child cookbook I have in my kitchen on French salads and came across the one I have created below. Originally, it is much simpler, without as many herbs, and definitely no Aleppo Pepper, but I like to overcomplicate things. This, to me, is the perfect winter salad. It’s warm, it’s soothing, and doesn’t weigh you down. Give it a try, leave a comment below, and please send me some of your favorite chapstick recommendations. I’d appreciate the help, and my lips would too.


INGREDIENTS


Yields: 2-4 Servings

2 Beets

2 Dino kale stalks

1 Goat cheese log, crumbled

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1 Tbsp Butter

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Aleppo Pepper

Salt and Pepper


METHOD


Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit

Take the beats and rinse them thoroughly without pealing the skins. Then, cut the stalk off the beat, leaving about an inch remaining to the beat. Set the stalks and leaves aside, to be used later. Cut the beets into wedges and then in half if they are too large. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for about an hour, or just until they become crispy on the outside.

Once the beats are ready, take the stalks and cut them down to fit into a large sauté pan. Place in the pan with Dino kale with 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, and Aleppo pepper and cook down until they turn bright purple and green. Approximately 4-5 minutes.

Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and goat cheese. Place the cooked beats on top of the salad, and drizzle with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

A Reminder for G-Dang Adults This November 6th!

Go out and vote! That’s really all I have to say for today because really, there’s no g-dang excuse not to.

If you need information, luckily for you the NY Times has put out this happy little voting guide for you.

Now get out and do it!

 

I Didn’t Remember Your November Tovascopes Until Last Night at Midnight!

They’re late, but they’re here. Apparently, I didn’t get the rush of energy in Scorpio season because I was too busy stressing out over the midterm elections. So sue me. Regardless, I’m feeling sassy, strapped in for adventure, and ready to take on the month with all of you lovely creatures like never before.

I hope you feel the same.

As always, I read your monthly horoscopes via the interpretation of the Astro Twins who offer a wealth of information, kewl tips, and even do entire birth chart readings, and break them up into bite-sized pieces of information for you, dear reader. This month at Tova and Wild we’re focusing on giving back, and all of the good things associated with it, so continue reading below for your synopsis of November and check out Astrostyle.com for more details.

Mazel.

Love.

All good things.

Muah!

K BAI!

Scorpio

Happy Birthday, Scorpio! Although we’ve been well into Scorpio season, there is no time like the present to start celebrating, Over the past couple of months it seems like every Tovascopes that I’ve written has been leading to a culmination into the Scorpio season because you are ready to shine. It’s like a new spotlight has fallen down from the heavens and landed into your lap featuring you. The Astrotwins predict the start of 7th’s new moon, will bring about a new cosmic shift allowing you to launch your budding brand, move past the drama of tomorrow, and allow your supersized plans to come about. Money, business, and tangible success are on the horizon so just step into it.

With November’s focus for the month as giving back, are there any ways that you could use this new platform to launch something that will not only be beneficial for you, but for others? If so, do it. All of those weird complications in friendships and relationships are going to fizzle out around the 16th so band together with friends, and put them to work on those practical tasks that can take your dreams to the next level. Scorpio’s are known for having magnetic energy, so I’m sure you can muster up a moment of charm and dazzle to woo someone over to merge joint ventures and build key business or personal relationships.

I know, it’s all work and no play this month, but to be totally honest, you know you love it.

Sagittarius

Hey!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How’s it going? Are you feeling excited because November is also in a way Sagittarius month? You should be. The spotlight is also going to be shining on you this month. It’s probably felt like maybe these past few years have been allowing you to really work on your inner life, but all of that soul-searching has created the space to launch some major projects Sag. You’ve been paying your dues, making money moves, and dancing your way to making things feel like they are finally going your way.

At the same time, because we’re still in Scorpio season, you might be feeling a bit sluggish. Keeping routines have never been your forte, but use the intensely wired moments to your advantage, and when things just aren’t flowing naturally, take a moment to pause. Giving month might create the perfect space to work on your routine to look into new volunteer opportunities that might be right up your alley.

Capricorn

Let it go!!!!!! Let it go!!!!!!! Can’t hold it back anymooooorrrre! That’s you this month Elsa, sorry, I mean, Capricorn. There has been something in your life that has been fully exhausted to almost every end. It’s time to let that emotional drain heal and move onto something that is bigger and better and honestly, not so damn exhausting. The Astrotwins predict that this is going to be the most perfect time to leave the comfort zone. Which, I know, sounds extremely scary, but all of that attachment to material things and success and even your relationships need to shift in order to allow you to learn to surrender.

There are greater forces at work in making your dreams come true and if you just allow these moments to shift, you are definitely going to relish the change. Forgiveness is a powerful tool and one that you aren’t exactly the best at allowing work into your life. Oh also because its giving month we suggest putting some time into other people and causes that you are passionate about. Sometimes the best medicine is seeing the growth and beauty of another person shine.

Aquarius

You have been busting your ass for a while now, and Mars will not be back in Aquarius for another two years so now is the time to go, go, go. Honestly, there is so much movement in this month it kind of feels like Sagittarius season, but we all know Scorpios are the ones that make things happen. With mars not living in your house for a while, you need to take advantage of this planetary opportunity—it’s basically going to allow you to seize every moment this month and allow your focused goals to shine. Which, we all know, for Aquarius, focusing isn’t necessarily your strong suit.

By the end of the month, you are going to be seeking friends and relationships that can accentuate your enthusiasm and expand your worldview beyond the immediate. Its very Aquarian to care for things beyond the material so maybe, just maybe, you’ll use this Scorpio surcharged energy to allow you to work with organizations and brands that share common values. Allow your innovation to shine BB!

Pisces

You have been taking the back burner for a hot minute Pisces and to be frank, we’re kind of over it. You need to shine! You need to dream! You need to allow this planetary combination to aid you in taking a giant ass leap of faith into the future. We’re over you sitting on the sidelines. Now is the time for action and there has been something on your mind that you have been toying with all year so stop tinkering and get shit done.

Sorry. I’m just really passionate about seeing my planetary sister being the full potential that you are. Travel could be on the horizon this month so take advantage of the opportunities that pop up that allow you to broaden your focus. There are always moments on any vacation where I often start to think about what is actually happening beyond the world of my hotel, and I believe you have this moment too. Instead of just letting your mind wander, consider taking the time to look into them and find out opportunities that you can work with organizations, even if brief, and see the world through new eyes. That’s all, love you, k bai!

Aries

Your planetary twin celebrity is America Ferrera. I know! She’s incredible! And, has been so freaking vocal these past few months if you’ve followed her on Instagram you know that she has had voting and the Latinx community on her mind. You, kind of have been in the same front for a hot minute. Taking every opportunity, moving things around, and speaking up for practically everything. You are like the ideal advocate. However, things are going to shift this month and make you a little bit quieter.

Okay, okay, maybe not quieter, but at least a little bit more introspective. It’s mainly because you are so passionate about so many things, but instead of shouting from the rooftops, maybe consider waiting for the most opportune moments. There might be a lot of those this month especially ones that look like inspiring edutainment projects or media meetups or potentially launching that book that has been on your computer for a while now. Whatever it is, use your platform and allow your energy to really saturate in your values, it will make you a more effective speaker.

Taurus

I hate to break it to you BB, but this month it’s your planetary opposite’s time to shine, and unfortunately, that means it your time to work on some things emotionally. You might have been feeling a lot of strong emotions, drama, and even inconsistencies from loved ones, which is causing your fixed sign to feel a little frazzled, to say the least. Intimacy is going to be an important element of your month that could bring about newfound spiritual and emotional breakthrough across all fronts.

These moments of transition are always opportunities to take a moment to look inward, and then outwardly. By the end of the month, you are going to be looking at things a bit brighter and a bit more carefree. By the time we enter Sagittarius season, you are going to be ready to take a leap of faith, and maybe even push your own boundaries.

Way to go!

Gemini

You have taken a seat at the table Gemini, but unfortunately, unlike everyone else, you have not partaken in the meal. That’s because your mind has been all over the place and you’ve been kind of leaning into the Type A attributes of your sign to make things happen. Unfortunately, you can’t simply rely on that aspect of your personality forever. You need to allow the other side to shine and flourish. If you’ve taken sort of drifted away from your ideals, a surge of activism could be released disrupting the status quo. Take the time to lean into this activist side of your personality and listen to cutting-edge activists and contributors to causes you are passionate about to allow you to find new, maybe even technological, ways to share the message. November 26th is an especially lucky day for you this month, and everyone else in general, so circle it and when that work opportunity comes up, take it.

Cancer

I know things have been somewhat crazy for you since the start of Scorpio season, Cancer. Honestly, they’ve felt that way for everyone else too. All of this chaos is usually very disturbing to you, as you like to keep things nice and tidy, but lean into it. All of these unexpected opportunities that have sprung up at work and in your relationships could allow you the perfect opportunity to collaborate with some new avant-garde acquaintances, maybe even a fall romance?

Besides all of this, something new is heading your way either in work or your relationships. Take the time to take stock of how you feel, what you want, and where you want to go in order for you to ensure that you are ready for new things. Metaphysical studies or religion could be a saving grace this month so if you haven’t given it the proper time, invest in moments of study and solitude. While you are relaxing and rejuvenating, don’t forget, the best medicine is seeing the warmth of a smile on someone’s face. *cough* The Giving Issue *cough* I’m pretty sure I read that on a Hallmark card.

Leo

You have been fully leaning into fall like no other sign, Leo. You may have been investing in new Hygge decor, clothing and all the material things to make your home feel perfectly ready for cuddling and warmth. Honestly, it’s amazing how great Leo’s look in fall clothes, but let’s get real, are you really nesting and putting all this energy into your home because you’re wanting sparks to fly with someone who is drastically different than your usual glam get-up?

Love is basically on your mind this season and if you’ve been single for a while, you might be getting new interactions with cuties that are different from your normal type. Don’t leap quite as quickly as you would like to, instead, consider why you’ve been feeling this way. You could end up repeating a situation that didn’t end well and a lot of unresolved feelings and tension from past relationships could rear their ugly head.

In lieu of this sexual tension and emotional build-up, might I suggest working with an organization that can distract your mind long enough and use that energy to changing someone’s life? Just food for thought.

Virgo

You have been a whirlwind of energy the past few weeks booking appointments, making meetings, meeting cuties, and hanging out with friends. Honestly, you love all of this exciting energy and its actually all kind of good. There is basically going to a big shakeup in your finances and emotional and sexual affairs this month that are going to be game changers. Just be open to change.

By the end of the month, things are going to calm down and you might be into nesting mode. Maybe even setting down some roots in a new space that you never considered before. Your fourth house rules women and children so a really great opportunity could come up that allows you to give more energy into inspiring females similar to you. This might actually bring a lot of healing to some inner wounds with your mom or mother figure—although you might go through a couple of more painful moments as your relationship dynamics change.

Libra

Balance could be the most difficult word for you this month, Libra. Instead, things might be feeling more like a pendulum swinging rather dramatically between transition periods. Luckily there is going to be some stabilizing energy because of Scorpio that is going to allow you to focus on routines, money, and health goals that will give you an extra boost of structure this Scorpio season. The one thing that you have the hardest time doing, more than any other sign, is taking care of yourself, and you need to do it.

November 16th is shifting things communication-wise, and this shift could put a backspin on any sort of information you share. Be careful what you say and how you say it because you might actually step on a lot of toes this month, which, as we all know, you hate doing. Just consider focusing less on others and more on yourself, regardless of Tova & Wild making this month about giving, maybe you could be on the receiving end of that situation, for once in your life.