Trusting Myself to the Water & #VOWholding

It’s been one of those weeks.
And I mean that in the best way.
It was one for the books.

Composed of a hundred moments that are insignificant in the grand scheme of our lives yet exactly the thing that makes the days they are made of great—

A handful or two of belly laughs.
Another of nights without enough sleep.
But more than that, it was dinner made and dishes done.
Beds and space easily shared.
Kisses and moments that never had to be stolen, because they were freely given.

And that’s both the bitch and beauty of living;
Nothing is forever.

So I’ve made up my mind to trust myself to the water (Alan Watts),
Because that’s what this whole thing is (David Foster Wallace).

And if I need to hold my heart outside my body for days (Nayyirah Waheed) in the aftermath I will.

But I’ll


My chances, because

keep putting your hands
on my mind.
It is the same thing as my body.’

—heal, Nayyirah Waheed

Steph’s HOLD mantra:
Help me to accept what it is that you need to give me.
Help me to release what it is that I need to let go of.

-a Quaker prayer

Steph’s Song of the Week: Unsteady by X Ambassadors

& Don’t Miss Lin’s #VOWhold post.


#VOWmap: Stay Is a Sensitive Word

There’s this Nayyirah Waheed poem that I love:

Stay is a sensitive word.
We wear
Who stayed
Who left
In our skin forever.


I think about it when I see an ex’s handwriting tattooed on my arm.
Or the ink on my foot—another of heartbreak’s parting gifts.

These words are your first sightings of land.
My body is a topographical map of the places I have been.

This week, as I thought about #VOWmap, I realized how telling our spaces are as well.

There’s an iPhone charger at his apartment; he has always been and is an Android user.
The boxers I sleep in most nights were never mine.

I think perhaps we are all explorers and cartographers, and I’m increasingly curious about not only what there is to discover but what my own contour lines are telling.

This week, we…


Steph’s Map Mantra: “When I was born I became the visible corner of a folded map. The map has more than one route. More than one destination. The map that is the unfolding of self is not exactly leading anywhere. The arrow that says YOU ARE HERE is your first coordinate…” -Jeanette Wilson

Steph’s Song of the Week: Them Dirty Bones by Mike Waters

& Don’t Miss Lin’s #VOWmap post (coming soon!).

Why Visions of Sugar Plums Have Been Dancing in My Head (#VOWwithdraw)

I’ve been withdrawing all month.

From wine. From cheese. From bread. From things that I don’t normally eat but suddenly became the calorically unfortunate daydreams of my stomach.

As cliché as it is, I too swore to a dry January and a restart for my body.

For me, it was not about weight loss or radically changing my lifestyle; it was simply about consciousness. About trying to figure out the story I’ve been telling myself to see if I can’t pen a new draft. About trying to understand a little more about what my body has been trying to tell me with it’s gurgles and gas (yep, I went there; how is that for authenticity?). About gratitude for my plate and a brief pause about what I put on it.

According the piles of journals I reread over Christmas, I’ve been in a body-hating-I-need-to-diet pattern since circa 2004, and after 15 years of an unfriendly relationship with food and, later, alcohol, I wanted to see if I couldn’t start to feed my body a bit more intuitively.

It’s Day 28. I haven’t weighed myself, but I don’t expect I have lost more than five or six pounds. My skin is not radically different (but the amount of stress my body has been under this month could be to blame for that). I will not be making a drastic shift in my lifestyle in two days (in all honesty, I didn’t eat that much different than the Whole 30 diet before…minus the wine).

But I have learned, and I have gotten a good start on figuring out my relationship with food and wine—one of my main goals for 2017. I want to build a bridge with my body this year. In part because I have come to realize that watching my mom struggle with the issues I struggle with now (and probably most women struggle with) affected me early and significantly, and I’d like to see if I can raise my daughter differently. Madre, I mean no disrespect; you did a damn good job. What I mean is simply that I would like to try to raise a daughter who is gives her body more grace and is more generous with the bodies of others, because, as poet Nayyirah Waheed wrote:

‘i love myself.’

What I can say after 28 days of withdrawing of some of my favorite things is this:

It’s hard to hate your body when you’re only being good to it.

It’s easy to look for and find both comfort and distraction in a bag of goldfish crackers (LOVE THEM) or a bottle of wine; it is considerably harder to be unable to feel numb and instead have to sit with whatever it is you’re looking to not sit with and figure out what’s going on and how to deal with it.

Food is my predominant love language and my most effective means of meditation and thanksgiving.

A lot of things are fruits that I didn’t know were fruits (e.g., cucumbers and avocados).

There’s more, but that’s likely another post, as are other things I learned this week:

I need to stop watching the news, including The Daily Show, because it’s making it harder for me to seek first to understand and to remember that joy is an act of resistance; and

I need to make a Sabbath, even if only for an hour, at least once a week.

But maybe this week’s VOW can help set the boundaries I need:

Here’s to Establish.


Steph’s WITHDRAW Mantra: “I’d like to get away from earth awhile/ And then come back to it and begin over…” Robert Frost
Steph’s Song of the Week:  “Yes We Can – Barack Obama Music Video” (On repeat…Every. Damn. Day.)

Be sure to read Lin’s post on #VOWwithdraw