Being a Child of Divorce

Divorce seems to be the foundation of the generation before my own. It’s something spoken by many, but the most complicated to wrap your head around. When I was growing up, some of my friend’s parents had already been divorced or separated, but now that I’m older, almost all of them are. I guess you can say it’s the age of dying love, or maybe the age of shedding love that no longer belongs. But the truth of divorce did not set in until it happened to my parents. And I was, without warning, shoved into the whirlwind of it. 


In 2013, my parents decided they were going to part ways after 22 years of marriage. I vividly remember my mother calling me into the newly renovated kitchen of our three story, Victorian home. She and my father were standing beside the kitchen island, gazing at me. I had a feeling long before she uttered the words, “Your father and I are getting a divorce.”. Slightly shocked- the only word I could come up with at that time was “okay”. And before I could turn around, she asked me if I had any questions about what it meant, to which I replied “no” and kept moving- I didn’t have anything else to say. I just thought it would be neat to get double the presents on holidays and have two separate houses.

Suddenly, my father was moving out of our home. And my mother was preparing to sell it, the home I grew up in. Time to move away, approximately 140 miles away from my father and brother. 

For the first month, things were exciting and I didn’t ponder the distance. But the allure started fading away and reality sat itself on my shoulders. I started blaming my father for the separation, although I missed the man who was excited to see me when he came home from work each day. I came after him over whatever I felt like and denied weekly visits- I can’t imagine what that must’ve felt like. And a lot of the time I was arguing with my mother over trivial things. She had a partner that I very much disliked, which allowed for space to grow between us. And soon tension filled that space. It was hard to adjust myself. I wanted home. I yearned for the happy life it seemed like we had; family breakfasts, vacations, simply being able to lay in bed and talk with everyone. I was lonely. It was a void occasional phone calls couldn’t fill. And I don’t ever remember once discussing the split with my brother. Instead of leaning on each other, we were both equally lost- I still don’t know exactly how he feels.

I accused my parents of being the reason I was ‘messed’ up and not being able to succeed to my fullest potential. I was angry at them for what they had chosen. I wanted to see things as complete, instead of broken. I doubted the existence of true love because they couldn’t ‘make it work’. But I regretted to take the time to realize how hard it must’ve been for them, single, working divorcees, raising a teenager. And how the question, ‘what about the kids?’, must’ve crossed their minds dozens of times.

Although I feel differently about the situation than I once did, I am still plagued by waves of absence. I am constantly missing someone. If I’m not with one, I’m with the other, but it’s never the same. I’m always hearing family members make comments like, ‘When you have a husband you’re supposed to stick by him for life, no matter what’ or ‘They could’ve made it work’ or ‘Don’t ever get married’. I hear comments about my mother and I struggle to defend her. But frankly, I shouldn’t have to deal with the bullsh*t remarks because what I’ve learned is; parents are learning and growing too. They make mistakes and sometimes they stumble- that’s okay. Life happens. 


I have been fortunate enough to not have parents who put me in the middle of their choice, but I know many children of divorce who have been made the adult. And that is never okay. It is not your job to make decisions or patch things up or pick sides! And you’re allowed to let them know so.

My biggest struggle on this journey was realizing that what was happening had nothing to do with me. I wasn’t the cause of it and their love for me did not fade in the process. I won’t let my parent’s shattered love story define my own. I shouldn’t have to question everything because of it. And I won’t try to make people connect if they aren’t meant to. I will just cherish the time, separately. 

With Love,

LA. 

All the Things I Wish I Knew

I was originally going to make this post as a note to each of my previous lovers. It was going to be called All the Things I Wish I Said, but as I began to write, nothing worth saying came out. I realized that I had more lessons to myself and less words left unsaid because I had grown from every relationship I had. I had forgiven and become whole. And I was done blaming everyone else for everything that happened. It was time to take responsibility. So here’s the knowledge I’ve gained so far from my mistakes and misfortunes.


  1. Ignorance is chaos. Don’t be naive to the way the person you love is treating you. Convincing yourself the treatment you’re getting is normal is a lot easier than accepting the truth, but by doing so, you allow yourself to be caught up in a web of disillusion. Choosing not to see the truth will result in more heartbreak. And knowing the truth shouldn’t equal suffering. It’s supposed to set you free. Do yourself a favor and don’t settle. You should be with someone who respects every part of you. Your love is not a joke. No one is allowed to make you feel little so they can feel big. Your heart is too pure to be wasted on people who aren’t ready to receive.
  2. Deception and manipulation are NEVER okay. I know this sounds like a given, but you’d be surprised how many times you let someone do this to you. How many times have you done it? Maybe you did it unconsciously, but love should not be unconscious. Love doesn’t consist of using someone to your advantage. You can’t induce love. You can’t plant memories in someone’s head. You can’t make people love you. You’ve taken a vow not to hurt people the way they hurt you. And that goes both ways.
  3. No stringing along love that is no longer present. Staying somewhere longer doesn’t guarantee a change or result. While you could be healing yourself and learning from what went wrong, you’re digging yourself a deeper grave. And I promise you’re going to have to find your way out. No one else can do it for you. Do you continue to water a dead flower? Let it go. Trust the universe and its process.
  4. Sabotaging someone else’s love won’t make them love you instead. When has getting in the middle of things ever paid off in your favor? Other people’s business is theirs only. Love is sacred so let it happen as it will. You don’t like the way it feels to get hurt and you don’t like hurting other people. Treat others with care and respect. Be mindful. You’ll receive when it’s time.
  5. Sex is a virtue, not a vice. Too many people participate in this activity absentmindedly. Don’t be one of them. Sex is communal and mutual. It is not a game. It is not a form of revenge. It should not hurt someone, sex is no weapon. It should never leave you feeling empty and you will not use it as a form of self-harm. You shall not take from each other through it. There’s a difference between someone who wants to have sex with you and someone who loves you. If you feel bad, before, during, or after, then why are you doing it? You shouldn’t feel weird when it’s happening! When you have sex, you become one with the other person. Be cautious and feel the love it brings.
  6. There is no giving and taking in a relationship. There is only sharing. Love is a consistent flow. It is balance between divine feminine and divine masculine. When you begin to take from that person, you disrupt that balance and things become unsteady. This leaves room for the bad to slip in. Remember, you embody yin and yang. Too much of anything is not good.
  7. Love yourself before you try loving someone else. You cannot give someone something you do not have for yourself.
  8. True love finds you when you are ready. I read this somewhere and it hasn’t left my mind since. Only when you are happy on your own does it find you.
  9. Love isn’t complicated. You spend too much time in battle. Whoever told you love is hard was wrong. Love is supposed to be easy.  Love comes naturally and in harmony. Love is comfortable. If you’re not, leave.
  10. Love is free. There are no restrictions. When you really love someone, you want the best for them. You want them to be happy, even if it isn’t with you. I know it’s hard to let them go, but if it’s meant to be, it will be. They will return, all in good time. Your heart will open up when you master this. And I can’t emphasize this enough; you do not put the things you love in a cage.

Sometimes we feel undeserving because we haven’t experienced real love before. But it’s rare to find something that special so if you have it, don’t let it go. You’ll know when you do…I did.

 

Heartbreak has taught me a lot, but never to be bitter. The more you love, the bigger your heart gets, the more powerful you are (love conquers all) and the greater you radiate that love within you, the more you will receive. 

With Love,

LA.

The Beauty of My Mother

•A Short Story•


I was born exactly nine pounds, at 8:30am on a sunny Tuesday morning. My father watched as I was lifted from my mother’s swollen belly, observing the rosiest red cheeks you’ve ever seen. I had the widest eyes, eyes of the universe my mother told me. In them, held dreams of freedom and the highest gratitude. And although my features were doubtlessly his, it was what was inside that truly resembled my mother. I can still remember the sensation of her warm smile as I was gently placed into her arms.

Four years old now, dashing outside in baby pink tights and a tutu, I can hear my mother faintly yelling in the background. I hop over each of the square, flat stones my mother had placed throughout the yard. The sound of her voice becomes much clearer. “Lia! You’re going to get your feet dirty if you don’t wear shoes!”. Carelessly, I leap to hug the sky then embrace the ground to wiggle my fleshy, peach-colored toes between the blades of grass. My mother appears in front of me. She glows in unison with the sunlight and I can see the shadow of her petite body gliding behind her as she leans over to carry me to the flowers. “See how they move side-to-side with the wind? They are dancing because it is a glorious day to be alive my little Lia”. I’m giggling now, not really thinking twice, convinced the flowers are fairies and unwilling to believe otherwise.

I lie motionless, eyes beaming at the icy sky. I’m eight years grown, hidden behind the massive pine trees fixed at the side of my home. During the winters, the snow would weigh the branches down, creating an igloo. A small slit between the pines allowed me to peer through at the bluest celestial sphere. And I always found my way in without displacing any snow.

In what seemed like a trance, a gritty noise awakened me. I crept along the side of the house to discover my mother, engulfed in her winter gear. Swimming in a thrifted fur coat and wool hat, she warned me not to ruin the pathway she had just dug out. I throw snow, trying to engage her as I fall back on the white glacial cushion beneath. Shortly after, my mother washes up beside me. I turned my head to inspect her, snowflakes dancing on her cheeks, as she exists so serenely. Clearly distinguishable against the snow, it almost seems like she can make all the ice melt and bring the Earth to spring again. “They glide down from the heavens you know…and they’re here as a reminder. Little angels coming to tell us they’re here with us!”. I’m delighted to make friends with the snowflakes and jump up to twirl. They teach me how to float as they do.

Roaming through my room restlessly, a cluster of white flowers catch my eye through the window. I take a short minute to glance, but am stuck by the window to scanning over the yard. The pear tree has begun to bloom, showing the first signs of spring and the weeds are overgrowing the stone pathway. I stand there admiring its untouched state, when my mother waltzes in. I wouldn’t have noticed her if it wasn’t for the scent of frankincense and myrrh, bringing me back to my childhood. Granted, I am not mature yet, twelve still doesn’t feel so little any more. “Aren’t they just beautiful? They bloom just like you!”. She turns to look at me with a troubled look on her face. “Ah my little Lia, you’re so grown up. I only hope you grow to be just as untamable as those weeds!”. She chuckles and caresses my shoulder, assuring me she’s “only kidding”. In spite of my feeling rebellious and distant, my heart still once beat as hers. I shrug and continue about my business, once again sensing her warm smile. I’m her little flower.

Coming of age is easily read on my face at sixteen years young. I parade through my favorite section of Ikea. And my mother stands in front of the wooden pallets, that hold the larger plants, with her back turned away from me. A slight ring of light surrounds her as she moves to grasp a plant that goes by the name of “Elephant’s Foot”. Her leaves collectively make a long, bushy afro. My mother brushes the thin, evergreen leaves,  rotating her curly head to look at me. “They all feel“. She has the most sincere eyes, pure, like a child. She opens her mouth to speak, but instead, her eyes open wider and water. You can see the whole universe through them. “My little Lia, I wish you could feel this”. She smiles naturally, and I gaze at her, confused. “We are a part of something much greater than ourselves”. Her smile grows grand, cheek-to-cheek, looking down to continue running her working hands through the plant.

I imagine a lot of very silly looks on my face as she revealed her thoughts to me, as if I didn’t deem what she had been saying to be true. But, that one moment led me to discover the value of her words. I unearthed the beauty of my mother and her wholeness, as well as her connection to me. She was my key to unlocking the universe in my heart, to expanding my freedom. She held my hand through all my moments and showed me the way. Her attraction to the purity of all that is taught me appreciation and how life is more than something three-dimensional. Life is full of beauty, laughter, and love. And it always carries more meaning through the love shared by mother and daughter.

LA.

Thoughts from a Flower in a Concrete World

•What It’s Like To Never Fit In•


I don’t like coming home from every social situation feeling bad about myself.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like I didn’t belong since I was little, or even in the past month. For a long while, I’ve been feeling like an outsider, like a wannabe social chameleon, who always projects the wrong colors in the wrong places. I was just different. Even with the people I’m closest to, I feel like a square that a two-year-old is trying to fit in a circle.

My social life has been characterized by waves of loneliness, confusion, and flat out awkwardness. I wander around from place to place, job to job, and friend to friend, trying to find somewhere I feel comfortable, somewhere I can be myself. I exhaust myself morphing into different personas, laughing at jokes that aren’t funny and attempting to pitch into conversations I don’t care about. I stutter, fumble my words, and get flustered. I invest my time into making myself likable so I can fit into that group that I’ve always wanted to belong to or to fit into the ideal coworker standard. And no matter how hard I try, I can’t understand why people pretend to act nice, when I can clearly see how they’re really feeling about me. It’s frustrating. I put things into simpler terms to help people understand what I’m feeling, only to receive responses of ‘you’re being dramatic’ or an uninvolved ‘I’m sorry’. I go out in this bubble of happiness, then one moment pops it. I burst and I’m drowning in solitude. And it’s meaningless to go out having someone tell you one thing when you’ve taught yourself another. Even when I’m walking on the simple streets of where I grew up, I feel like an alien. The worst is, feeling like the oddball in the family, afraid to express my thoughts or dreams because they’re too far-fetched. I’m sick of hearing that they aren’t possible in the world we live in today. I feel silly. And it’s awfully tempting to run away and mold into something else because maybe then someone would enjoy me or I’d fit in where I’m supposed to be.

Every time I feel like I’ve finally fit myself into that box, I pop right back out. And at times it feels like it’s just plain hard existing alongside the rest of humanity, but I have to remember that there are other people who feel like this. There are also a lot of other people who are just like me, and maybe by posting this, I’ll find them. I’m constantly changing and although a lot of my days are filled with discouraging moments, there’s still a voice in the back of my head saying ‘your people are out there’.

It’s taken a long while for me to accept the fact that I won’t ever fit in where I am right now, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t somewhere. Even if it’s just by myself, I know I have a home. Not everyone is going to like me, or get my jokes. And maybe, I’ll never be in a clique, but that doesn’t make me any less and I’m still just as interesting as the next. I don’t want to be normal. I want to be me.

So, I encourage you to stop trying to fold yourself the right way to fit in the box. You look much better outside of it and even if it isn’t right now, your people are coming. You shouldn’t have to become something you aren’t to have a friend or to get that job or to get your family to love you. Everything you were meant to be is inside and totally worthy. You are unique and exceptional, no matter your skills or outlook.

You have a place in this world. 

With Love,

LA.

It’s Not You, It’s Society

•Where Self Esteem Comes in According to Society•


I stand in front of a mirror with an olive green frame, in which my mother painted so it would match my walls. I pose in those boy short underwears you buy at Kohls and a spaghetti strap tank top. I grab my hips to see what it’d look like if I didn’t have any fat there. I turn to the side and grab the part of the stomach that lies near the belly button. I let go, then suck in to see how small I can get. My expression dials down as I pull my leggings up and I flop back down on my bed. I lie there, destroying myself through thoughts. I am thirteen years old.

I spent a lot of my time as a young girl taking small things and making them big. But every little kid does that, right? I took criticisms very harshly, and then made my own. I turned against myself. I spent hours comparing myself to how pretty and popular my peers were. I obsessed over my idols trying to get out of my skin. I bought things that other people said made me look good and I buried myself in magazines, teaching myself to be the cover girl. I googled how to be likable and how to get attention, constantly. I closely inspected every inch of myself. I planned my future according to what someone else said would make me happy, successful, and rich, then put myself down if I didn’t get it right on the first try. I butchered myself for not doing things their way.

These are ideas I allowed into my head. I grew up with these standards. I was fed them my whole life, who knows any different? I was told I was beautiful the way I was, but I was also told that being this way would “improve” me. That’s what it’s supposed to be. After all, what they said was the truth, right? I wore society’s glasses through all my moments and when I finally took them off, I remembered how to see.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

When you look in the mirror, who do you see? Do you recognize yourself? Are you a product of yourself, or of society?

We spend a lot of our time with blinders on and mouths open. On one end we have our ‘superiors’ feeding us whatever they want, and on the other, we have society feeding us its own beliefs.

Graduate high school, go to college and get a degree you semi-care for, get a 9 to 5 job, fund your 401k, retire. Sound a bit familiar? Do something you LOVE, but be sure it’ll make you rich, so you can have a ‘good’ life. Sound more familiar?

And when they’re done, we shut our mouths so older generations can tell us how things should be. Then when it comes to what we feel, we’re embarrassed to speak up. We let them mold us because they’re the artist and we’re clay.

Now, does scrolling through social media, all day, make you feel good? Or does it make you feel, more or less, terrible about what you look like and what you’re doing?

When we scroll through social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr), or flip through a magazine, we’re plagued by façades and false information. We mistake what we’re seeing for reality. We convince ourselves that the photo tells all, that the person in the photo is happy and living their best life. We listen to those articles telling us how to get the best summer body because our bodies aren’t already good enough. We religiously read articles on how to keep our man happy because we aren’t already bleeding ourselves dry to please them. We look at that billboard and believe we are half-empty, instead of half-full.

Because we have all these things being thrown at us, if we don’t fulfill everyone’s expectations, we often feel bad about ourselves. We feel like we aren’t capable because we can’t be everything they told us to be, but what we have to realize is that we weren’t meant to be all of that. Everyone who tells us these things has already created their own world. And in the world they created, everyone has to fit a certain model. Your world can be different.

Strip yourself down.

Who are you without society? Who would you be if you; lived freely, did what made you happy, weren’t the model man or woman, weren’t paper thin, didn’t wear the right fall or spring colors, didn’t compare yourself to everything you saw or read, and didn’t force yourself to be anything, other than what you are? Who would you be if you looked through your own eyes, instead of everyone else’s?

You would be YOU. You would be you, raw and unfiltered! 

 

My mother always tells me, “you create”. So keep looking through those incredible eyes, you have them for a reason. Envision your future and create

 

Your ideas are important. Your thoughts are worthy.

With Love,

LA.

 

Anxiety Diaries

•My Story and How I Overcame It•


Anxiety…She feels like a long lost friend now, a friend who I had distanced myself from. Our relationship wasn’t healthy and it was time to break ties. It’s almost hard to believe that just a year ago, she was making daily visits to my door, creeping her way in, attaching herself to my hip. She was my conscience. She answered to every situation in my life. I didn’t have a voice. Now, her visits are occasional. She only arrives when something big is coming up or I have to get something done. Her presence is subtle, no longer overbearing.

EVERYONE gets anxious sometimes, but there comes a point when it isn’t normal anymore. It gets paralyzing and uncontrollable. It isn’t excitement or short term. It turns into everything, a way of living, and I know that life better than most.

I recall feeling anxious as a child over small things; trying something new, before performing in a school play, a little fight between a friend and I. As I grew older, it became more familiar and frequent. In middle school, it became my best friend. And, as I moved into high school, it was a roommate, an overlapping personality. Social situations felt overwhelming and hectic. Getting ready made my heart race and my hands shake. I would hang out with friends and all of a sudden, a switch would shut off inside of me. I’d become blank-faced and would barely talk. I was happy- and then it shut me down.

As I went into my sophomore year of high school, my anxiety was unstoppable. Getting up for school was a no from my mind and body. I’d wake up and immediately have to vomit from a night of overthinking and tears. It stopped me from going to school and on days I would, I was plagued with nausea and an uneasy stomach, making it difficult to focus on anything. It felt like someone was choking me, preventing me from getting words or feelings out. I couldn’t perform my daily tasks. Eating was challenging and sleeping a solid eight hours per night was nonexistent. I would lie there for hours, frozen, thoughts hovering over me. I wondered what the next day held and how it’d affect me. I thought of myself as worthless. I was shedding tears regularly. I’d sit in the shower, for an hour at a time, multiple times a day, just to calm myself down.

Doctors visits were no help. I’d try to explain myself, but I either couldn’t get anything out or what I did get out wasn’t a good enough explanation. Countless tests proved nothing. My body was fine. “Go to a therapist. If that doesn’t work, we can supply you with a medication that will rid you of the feeling.” And at that point, that’s all I wanted. Going to a therapist gave me anxiety. Medication seemed like the easy way out. I didn’t want to feel it anymore. I missed me, but I thought taking medication would mean losing myself even more. I wanted to function normally, like everyone else, but I didn’t want to be dependent and foggy. I also knew that there had to be an alternative. Medication and therapy aren’t the only outlets. What ever happened to self-healing?

I left my last doctors visit feeling determined. I had felt every ounce of pain anxiety bestowed upon me and I was done. I hurt. I hit rock bottom, harming myself as a distraction to what felt like millions of little ants crawling through my system. I spent so many hours of wasted time worrying. I felt alone and I would no longer allow myself to feel miserable over something, at the time, I had no control over.

Being so alone in this feeling, forcing isolation onto myself and drowning, taught me something extremely valuable. I held the power to get through it. I held the power to control it. I just lost myself and that stopped me from seeing it.

I started small. I held myself. I allowed myself to cry and feel whatever I had to. I taught myself that I wasn’t disabled by this. I removed myself from people and situations that hiked my anxiety up. I created art and wrote about my experiences. I spent more time by the ocean. I looked at myself and said, “you are not your anxiety”. I began to surround myself with supportive and loving people, who tried to understand what I was going through. I began to see that there were so many other individuals around me who were plagued by the same loneliness. Then, I communicated my hurt and began to feel more open. I started to help other people with their anxiety, which in turn made mine lessen.

When you look at things through anxiety’s perspective, they look much bigger than they are. You begin to unconsciously convince yourself that the world is intimidating, when in reality, it is a beautiful, inviting place. Where did your perspective go? Try and look through it, instead. Believe it or not, spending time with yourself, alone, is a crucial part of healing. Every tool you need to relieve yourself, your own mind and body contain. Use that time to look into yourself, to remember what you enjoy, what makes you happy. Create. Express yourself through art forms. Go outside and remember that the Earth wasn’t created to hurt you. It was created to heal you.

Be gentle with yourself. You are not worthless or incapable. You are NOT your hurt.

You are the conquerer.

 

With Love,

LA.