Top 10 Best Nature Spots and Parks in Chicago

nature, Thoughts, Travel

Originally posted by AG Digital Media Magazine. Written by Kimberly Anne

Michigan Avenue, mobsters, and more – There are many things for which Chicago is famous. However, the natural world is not considered one of them. Maybe I can change your mind! Some people may be unaware of the abundance of natural areas that are accessible within the city.  

Maybe some aren’t keen on the fact that there are more than 500 parks within the city limits alone. But the next time you are driving down the Kennedy Expressway in a fit of monstrous fury and about to flip off some jerk in a Jeep; try channeling that energy and finding inner peace at one of these 10 sites for a wilderness escape instead! 

Trust me, I know how terrible road rage can be in the city. Luckily, there are so many beautiful places that we can go and see to experience a nice and quiet moment away from the dreaded rush hour traffic. Here’s a list of the Top 10 Best Nature Spots in Chicago. 

  1. Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary 
  2. The 606 
  3. The Emerald Necklace
  4. Lincoln Park 
  5. The Garfield Park Conservatory 
  6. Maggie Daley Park 
  7. The Garden of the Phoenix
  8. North Park Village Nature Center 
  9. Henry C. Palmisano Nature Park
  10. Humboldt Park  

1. Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary 

The first on the list is my favorite because this was my go-to as a teen! The Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary serves as a stopover for several hundred different species of birds!

You will have the opportunity to see these birds as they travel through the area throughout the year. This majestic sanctuary home to wildlife, birds, and butterflies is a spot that you won’t want to miss. 

This portion of Montrose Beach is known for its laid-back atmosphere. Montrose Bird Sanctuary is home to a dune habitat as well. This is one of the best sites in the city for trail trekking. 

Therefore, you will also experience breathtaking views of the city skyline and Lake Michigan. And in addition to that, there’s a really great beach bar nearby. 

2. The 606 

What is The 606? The 606 is an old train track turned nature trail. The path, once forgotten – then nature took over. In the space between the train tracks, new vegetation and flowers sprouted, and animals settled back into their former homes. The narrative of the 606 picks up shortly after the devastating Great Chicago Fire.

As a part of its efforts to restore the city, the Chicago City Council authorized the Chicago & Pacific Railroad to lay tracks down the center of Bloomingdale Avenue (1800 North) on Chicago’s Northwest side. 

Almost a century ago, a railroad line offered service to a small manufacturing sector on the northwest side of the city. Trains passed overhead until the 1980s when activity dropped to a trickle. After that, they stopped.

By the middle of the 1990s, the rerouting of the few trains that still used the corridor and the entire cessation of freight operations had both taken place.

Above, the ancient rail line was recovered by nature, while below, the neighborhoods of Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt Park, and Logan Square predominantly turned to residential use.

It was only a question of time before the neighboring communities found out about the location once more.

And in the early 2000s, people went up there informally and constructed an impromptu nature walk. They found a natural habitat with unrivaled views of the city.

3. The Emerald Necklace (Yes, the Boulevards!) 

It is quite well known that Chicago is home to epic parks including Grant Park and Millennium Park. Chicago is also home to an unprecedented network of eight parks. The Emerland Necklace area in Chicago is connected by a 26-mile boulevard system. 

Between the years 1869 and 1890, the city’s park system—also known as the Emerald Necklace—was built. The Emerald Necklace in Chicago continues to be regarded as a pioneering example of urban park architecture in the United States.

Large parks and green boulevards that presented naturalistic and formal landscapes provided residents with a place to get away from the rough edges of the city without actually leaving it. 

This allowed residents to find solace in the urban environment without having to leave the city. Within the boulevards, you will find plenty of streets and parks lined with trees. 

Starting at Logan Square, head south through a number of the city’s most beautiful parks, including Washington, Humboldt, Douglas, Garfield, and Jackson Parks.

After that, you should slap anyone who says Chicago isn’t a lovely city. It’s just not true.

4. Lincoln Park 

Let’s just start by featuring what kind of nature-y things you will find in, near, and around Lincoln Park in Chicago. By the way, these are all free of charge. 

  1. The Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo 
  2. Alfred Lily Caldwell Pool 
  3. Lincoln Park Conservatory (Right next to the zoo!) 
  4. Lincoln Park Zoo (Yes – it’s really free to get in still) 
  5. Oz Park (Oz yes, like The Wizard of Oz!) 
  6. Northpond Natural Area 
  7. Lincoln Park (the ACTUAL park) 

The world-famous Lincoln Park Zoo is located in Lincoln Park, which is also home to the renowned Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Chicago History Museum, and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. 

Don’t forget the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pond, the North Pond Nature Sanctuary, and North Avenue Beach. Of course, there are also the important statues of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton. 

My favorite has to be Oz Park though. It’s really great for kids! In the 1890s, the author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” Lyman Frank Baum, who penned stories for children, resided in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago.

An annual Oz Festival was held at the park for the purpose of commemorating the former occupant of the park as well as paying homage to the groundbreaking book, film, and author who created The Wizard of Oz. Why are you still reading? Go and see the statues at Oz Park! 

5. The Garfield Park Conservatory 

The Garfield Park Conservatory is widely considered to be among the nation’s finest and most impressive examples of its kind.  I’m not an expert, but my guesstimate is that the Garfield Park Conservatory is around 30,000 plus square feet.

The amazing edifice known as the conservatory is often referred to as “landscape art under glass.” This one-of-a-kind massive indoor greenhouse is a place that houses hundreds of different plant species. 

There are eight rooms and the interior area is almost two acres in size. The conservatory may be explored in around one to two hours at a leisurely pace.

6. Maggie Daley Park 

The Chicago Park District is in charge of maintaining the 20 acres of land that makeup Maggie Daley Park. The Maggie Daley park is located in the Loop neighborhood of Chicago.

Scott Fishman Photography

It sits in the northeastern part of Grant Park, close to the water’s edge of Lake Michigan. Previously, however, it was once known as Daley Bicentennial Plaza.

This park is home to so many gardens, playgrounds, and epic spots that you will most likely not be able to see them all in one day! Here’s a list of what is there: 

The long-serving first lady of Chicago, Maggie Daley was passionate about enhancing children’s lives. She was working to give the entire population of the city access to vibrant cultural life.

Gallery 37, a summer arts program for teenagers, was co-founded by Maggie Daley.

Likewise, After School Matters was founded. This is a nonprofit offering Chicago kids cutting-edge programs. Subjects include the humanities, communications, sciences, sports, and technology.

It is currently the biggest after-school program of its sort for teenagers in the country. So, it kind of makes sense that Maggie Daley Park is so incredibly massive (it matches her heart!). 

7. The Garden of the Phoenix 

On March 31, 1893, the United States of America and Japan collaborated to establish the Garden of the Phoenix as a symbol of their friendship. The garden also is symbolic of a permanent venue where tourists might learn about and experience the culture of Japan.

The area has endured the ups and downs of the relationship over the past 120 years, and it is today considered one of the most prominent spots in America that serve as a symbol of the relationship between the United States and Japan.

One of the most significant and intricate historic landscapes in Chicago and the whole of the country is Jackson Park which is home to The Garden of the Phoenix. This is also the location of the 1893 World’s Fair. 

One of the most beautiful features of the garden is when the cherry trees are in full bloom in the spring.

These trees have also been planted outside the garden, and during the latter half of April or the first week of May, you can typically see them in full bloom. They are close to the Columbia Basin in Jackson Park.

The traditional Japanese practice of appreciating the aesthetic value of flowers is known as hanami.

During the springtime, the blossoming trees in Jackson Park reach their peak blooming phase, which typically lasts between six and ten days.

Visit the park at this time of year to have your very own hanami experience; the timing couldn’t be better.

8. North Park Village Nature Center 

The 155-acre North Park Village location, which is located on the northwest side of Chicago, is where the Nature Center and the 46-acre nature preserve are situated.

Pathways can be found throughout and they can take you through savannas, prairies, wetlands, and forests. There is a discovery room, an interactive exhibit area, and a table with natural objects within the North Park Village Nature Center. 

These are the highlights of the Nature Center. In addition to the Nature Center and the preserve, guests have the opportunity to explore Walking Stick Woods, a wooded area that spans 12 acres and features Nature Play-themed pathways and nodes. 

9. Henry C. Palmisano Nature Park

A fishing pond, interpretive wetlands, preserved quarry walls, pathways, an athletic field, a running track, and a hill that gives dramatic views may all be found in this dynamic park. Palmisano Park was previously a quarry called Stearns Quarry. It is located on the southwest side of Chicago, in the middle of the Bridgeport neighborhood.

It has been everything from coral reefs to a quarry to a landfill to a park over the course of its history, therefore its story is one of progression.

It should not come as a surprise that each incarnation had a significant part in the creation of the next.

The park is traversed by over 1.7 miles of routes, some of which are recycled lumber boardwalks, others are concrete walks, yet others are crushed stone running paths, and still, others are metal grating walkways.

Along the quarry wall, down to the pond, and through the terracing wetlands, these pathways provide access to a variety of different environments and activities.

In addition to the breathtaking views of the city that can be seen from the mound, the scenic overlooks provide dramatic views of the pond and the marshes.

10. Humboldt Park 

The 197-acre park has a lot to offer tourists, even if swimming isn’t their thing. There are playgrounds, natural areas, walking and biking routes, and community gardens. There is even “Little Cubs Field,” a miniature recreation of Wrigley Field.

If you want to spend the day at the water’s edge, you don’t have to restrict yourself to the lakefront of Chicago. Instead, you can go to the lagoon in Humboldt Park, which has its very own inland beach.

During the warmer months, the grassy areas surrounding this well-known neighborhood park are filled with people having picnics, using grills, and purchasing food from vendors.

The Puerto Rican Festival and the Latin Jazz Festival of Chicago are two more annual events that take place in Humboldt Park.

And if you’re lucky you just might see a crocodile in the lagoon. Just kidding. But that was a thing once. But please, don’t put your pet croc in the lagoon. It gets way cold here in the winter! 

Have you been to any of these amazing nature spots in Chicago? If so, let me know in the comments below!

Fury

Poetry
          Fury.
    She is fury.
Fury like the waves
    Of the Michigan Lake
         On a stormy day.

She sees them.

       Sitting on a window’s ledge
            Atop a high rise, she is
                       Hanging
                     H a n g i n g

Letting the wind feel her
                    And free her
As she lets the smoke rise
Out of her lips and let it kiss
                   The Sky
               With Passion.

She sends her whispers into the galaxy
Where the darkest purple clouds live
                           And black waves
                      Crash
                       And
                      Shake

                     No - it is not a dream.
               It is a very real scene.
A memory of her youth; so pristine.

Siphon: A Poem

Poetry
Reciprocate. 
Reciprocal. 
Reciprocity. 

These don’t exist for me. 
Wearied of investing time. 
How can it even be measured? 
Going above and beyond. 
Sublime. 
Transcendence. 

It’s all a lie. 
There is not a second to waste. 
Waste. 
No purpose. 
Carelessly giving time away. 
Every day. 

Have you learned anything? 
Probably not. 
Ego says.
I thought I did. 
Who can I kid? 
No one. 
Just myself. 

Credulous. 
Once again. 
Down the rabbit hole. 
I spin, and I spin. 
Into this cycle. 
Whirling into another world. 

Where I give and I give. 
Nothing is returned. 
Not that I expect it. 
I’ve learned long ago that nothing should be. 
Expected. 

But here I twirl. 
Dizzier than ever. 
The mind is clouded. 
It makes me sick. 

Tit for tat. 
Nope. Never that. 
I don’t get it. 
Reciprocate. 
Do the same. 
Retaliate. 
Interchange. 


Soul swindlers. 
Empathy embezzlers. 
Purloining pretenders.
Spirit siphoners. 

Greedily draining.
Until nothing is left. 

Tragedies As A Catapult

Experiences, Psychology, Thoughts

Endings almost always lead to beginnings. In my experience, it seems that way. There’s been a few times in my life where something ending has put me on a completely different path, leading me to brand new and often exciting experiences. Whether these endings came in the form of relationships, jobs, or even the deaths of loved ones, they transformed me as an individual in their own different ways. Each experience contributed to the web that is my life.

Tragedies and new beginnings are often interwoven like an intricate web of fibers bearing all different kinds of colors.

Tragedies and new beginnings are often interwoven like an intricate web of fibers bearing all different kinds of colors. Each color and each fiber represent a different aspect of life. Life has this way about it that can leave us confused, questioning everything, or really trying to find our purpose. Ironically, its counterpart, Death, leaves us wondering many of the same things.

Part of our purpose, I believe, is to learn and grow while we are here on earth. We cannot grasp new ideas and flourish if we do the same routine things every day of our life. That must be why we suffer tragedies and have pain and sorrow. It must be why, right? Without these tragedies would we truly be ourselves? Who would be? We become stronger and more resilient with each new beginning that is presented to us by a tragedy. 

In my last post, I discussed grief and people who I’ve lost that have impacted my life tremendously. When thinking of them, there is someone who I lost that comes to mind specifically, and losing this person really was a catapult for me to enter into a new beginning. After experiencing such a devastating loss, I was transformed.

In a way, I entirely reshaped my existence and what I’ve done with my time. The tragedy was my catapult to start endless amounts of creation in the form of art and writing, and just simply living my life the exact and precise way that I wanted to; with absolutely nothing holding me back.

There is another time when a friend and I were on separate paths in life for about seven or eight years. We did not speak for the entire duration of those years. Something magical happened that suddenly brought us together, and from that tragedy (separation), we were able to start a new beginning. The fibers of our webs once again became intertwined, thus causing a new bond. New beginnings are quite possibly one of my favorite things. I even have a tattoo dedicated to such meaning. Similar to the balance of darkness and light, fortune and misfortune are opposite yet closely related. There is an awakening that happens with new beginnings, like the break of dawn after a long dark night. You cannot have one without the other. Maintaining balance is important. 

There have been plenty of times where I’ve had a fresh start. One of the most recent situations I can recall where I’ve had to “start over” was after getting married in a rush, and then getting divorced. When I think of it now, it seems so ridiculous. The choice I made could be considered a mistake. However, if I did not choose to get married, and then go through a divorce, I would certainly not be where I am now. So like those little colorful fibers are woven into the web of my life, how could this be a mistake? The divorce led me to another new beginning and I’m now at a point in my life where I know exactly who I am mentally and spiritually, and exactly where I’m going. Gratitude for the entirety of the situation is a complete understatement of my feelings. Whereas, before, I was just kind of going through the motions of life and not exactly sure about anything. I was still learning how to be me. This tragedy that I suffered through, and the fact that I went through my own depression was absolutely worth it. I wouldn’t wish the pain on anyone, or the confusion, or just downright nastiness of what I’d experienced, but everything that has happened has made me such a better person than I was before. 

Breathe. It will all work out in the end. 

In my experience, when things don’t work out it is a sign that things are actually working out. It may sound kind of crazy or silly, but I promise it is true. Some doors are just meant to be closed, and that is okay. In one of my favorite books, by Icelandic author Gunnar Andri, something he said in the book has stood out in my mind for several years now. “When one door closes, another opens. And sometimes many of them open at the same time.” Correct! I do agree with him on this statement, as well as much of the wisdom inside of his book. (5/5 stars, I definitely recommend)  

And when those doors do open, taking the opportunity to walk through them can seem frightening or challenging. The thing is, with a new start, you must not be afraid. Of course, being scared of change or doing something new is a natural human emotion. Humans don’t like change. It’s been proven. Sometimes though, change is exactly what we need. A new path is given to us at the worst time, which in reality often can be the best time. There have been so many positive things that have happened to me since my divorce or other designated tragedies, and I recall the feeling of starting new friendships and relationships with other people after these terrible situations happened. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and I truly do believe that if the tragedies didn’t happen, I really wouldn’t be on the path I am now. It’s an amazing feeling.

If you’re ever feeling like you are living in total despair, or you just simply can’t move on from a situation or a certain someone, I’m here to tell you that you certainly can. It’s absolutely possible. When your tragedy hits, surely there will be flowers that will bloom shortly after. 

Things to Remember: 

  1. Don’t be scared to end something 
  2. Don’t be nervous about experiencing your own tragedy (It will make you stronger)
  3. Don’t be intimidated about trying something new 
  4. Do try to meet new people, learn from them
  5. Change is a good thing sometimes 
  6. Take every opportunity presented to you (It’s there for a reason)
  7. Find your balance between dark and light 
  8. Remember that everything will work out in the end 
  9. Tragedies and new beginnings are interwoven; everything is connected

New beginnings can be hard, and learning something new that you’ve never done before certainly can be a challenge. In the garden of your life, just make sure to tend to the flowers that bloom after the storm; not the weeds.

 

Grief: An Honest Confession

Experiences, Psychology

Grief: An Honest Confession 

There have been two times in my life where I’ve been absolutely ashamed of the last words I said to someone before they died. Two different people. Two different occasions. When I think about my actions, I feel a burning inside of myself that represents shame, embarrassment, and pain. I think to myself of how wrong I truly was and how utterly disappointed I am for allowing myself to say such words and have those words be the very last things I’d say to those people before they died.

 A younger version of me was angry, spiteful, and I felt like an outcast. Sure, I had plenty of reasons to be mad considering the lifestyle I was in, but it did not give me a right to speak how I did. I was miserable at the way my life was and I had nothing to lose and zero shame whatsoever in many of my life choices including my word usage. 

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Thankfully now, I realize the power of words. Words are magic after all, and that’s why it’s important to be extremely careful with them. I absolutely despise ending phone calls and conversations on a bad note. It makes me very uncomfortable considering the experiences mentioned above, which still bother me today. I try to avoid confrontation now unless heavily provoked, because there’s that little voice in the back of my mind, saying, “Hey. Don’t be an ass. Remember what happened before?”. Yes, I say to my conscience and myself. Yes, I remember. I dislike ending things on bad terms. If things must end now, I try to say, “I wish you all the best.” Inside of myself, I simply cannot bear losing another person to this mysterious creature called death, and having my last words to them be something terrible. I’m trying to really work on it now in my adult life. I think much of being an adult is self-improvement anyway, so this is just another area to focus on.

I have now tried to instill this belief in my child as well. Never go to bed angry, never say rude last words. You may never know when or if you will see someone again. Even if you are mad at someone, you should not say something you will regret if the worst were to happen. It can literally eat you alive for years. Trust me, I would know. 

Never go to bed angry and never say rude last words.

The first time I remember grief as a feeling was when I was about 4 years old. Maybe it was not so much grief, but disappointment. My grandpa was sick and I overheard my parents talking about it in the kitchen. My dad was planning to fly to the West Coast to see him because they had a feeling he would pass soon considering his condition and he was not doing so well. My brother was about 2 years old at the time, and for some reason, my dad took my brother on the trip. I remember telling my dad that I wanted to go, and my 4-year-old logic was: “What if this is the last time I see grandpa?”. Naturally, I was brushed off and my parents told me not to worry.

Shortly after the trip, my grandpa passed away and I remember the feeling of disappointment, grief, the satisfaction of being right, and anger because my dad did not allow me to go on the trip. It was one of the first times I can truly remember such a whirlwind of emotions. A short time later, my maternal grandfather died, and I vividly remember that too. 

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

I’m pretty familiar with death. I’ve even written a Letter to Death before. There have been quite a few deaths that have impacted me like I’ve run face-first into a poll on the street because I’m looking down at my phone instead of looking up. Boom! Now my head hurts, and I’m trying to figure out what the hell just happened. I don’t speak about it often, but my dad passed when I was a teenager. My first love died several years ago. Most recently, I lost a very good friend who was more genuine than anything at all. She was incredibly supportive and one of the people in my life who was supportive for no reason at all. People who support you, for no reason are the most special. They don’t ask for anything in return. They just truly want to see you happy and succeed – yeah, she was one of those; a rare gem to find in this day and age for sure. I love and miss her greatly. 

People who support you for no reason are the most special.

The death that hit me hardest was losing my high school sweetheart. Even though we were not together when he passed it shook me terribly and then and only then did I realize how much I did love him still. When he died, my world changed forever. I questioned everything about my life at that moment. I even questioned the love I had for the person who I had just married. Sometimes, it takes losing someone for you to truly realize how deeply they made an impression on you and your life.

Sometimes, it takes losing someone for you to truly realize how deeply they made an impression on you and your life.

That old saying, “You don’t know what you got til’ it’s gone.”, is more true than I can ever describe. I cried for two years after he died. Sometimes it was spontaneous. The pain I felt from losing him is the worst grief I’ve ever felt in my life. I remember some nights just sitting at the edge of my bed and crying, and just screaming into my pillow. His words would echo in my mind. “Let’s go to Naples, baby.”, I’d hear him say. I’d dream of him often and sometimes I still do. In my dreams, we fight like lovers. Like we once did. I tell him, “Okay, I have to go now. Come on, let’s go”. He sits near the windowsill and looks outside at the rain. His sketchbook is in his hand and he is drawing, just like I remember him. He looks at me, annoyed, “Kim”, he sighs, “You know I can’t go back with you. I have to stay here.” A couple of times, he asked me to stay, but I told him I have far too much to complete here in this realm yet. He understands, and occasionally we meet up still. If you know me, you know who I’m speaking about and I’ve spoken of him before. Rob was one the most influential people in my life, and somehow, in some ways he still is. 

After his death I did anything and everything to connect with him. He was an artist, a writer, a poet, a spoken word lyrical genius, and he made music. He was so creative, and I loved him. He called me his muse. The irony of that is after he passed, he would become a muse of sorts to me, if the definition we use is: a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist; instead of the mythological definition. I created so much art. I started writing more. I became inspired to make it my personal mission to not let creativity die, in my own world and that of everyone else’s too. 

When we lose someone we love sometimes these magical things happen where our life is forever changed, but it’s not all bad. We become more caring, hopeful, or optimistic in some respect. We remember them. We learn to love differently. We learn to be more kind to ourselves and to people around us. When comparing Rob’s death to one of my friends who passed recently, there are certainly differences in emotion and feeling but the impact they made on my life will forever be unforgettable. Through every loss we experience, we also gain something. It’s almost like a trade of emotion and energy.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Through every loss we experience, we also gain something.

When losing friends in this life, we gain them in another, or in a spiritual realm, or hall – whatever it is that you believe. Having those people in my life helped shaped me for sure, but also by not losing them, would I be who I am now? Probably not.  Death is another human experience in which we learn and grow. After everything that has happened, it is easy for me now to look at death in a different way than I did say 10 or 15 years ago. Do you think there is any goodness associated with death? Can death be seen from an optimist perspective? Or is that only achievable after you have recovered from all stages of grief? If you take anything from this post, I hope it’s that you always remember to never go to bed angry, and never say a harsh last word.

Street tacos outside of the Foster the People show at the Aragon Ballroom, Dec 2017 – “Kim n’ Rob”

Inspiration and Contributions

Experiences, Thoughts

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”

Maya ANGELOU

I am a bit behind on my writings this week! Normally, I post by Wednesday or Thursday, but this week it has been so busy for me. Finally, I’m at ease and am able to get my words down on this “paper”. 

This week I’ve been thinking about kindness, inspiration, and the good and the bad of life. Each day I have to log on to my browser on my desktop for work, school, and everything else. Whenever I log on, the browser is filled will all kinds of terrifying and depressing stories filled with misery and shock. It makes me crazy if I look too long, so sometimes I head over to this website and look at GOOD NEWS Stories because I despise looking at only bad ones. In fact, watching the news is not allowed in my house! (Before you call me a warden, realize it’s just me, my kid, and the cats.) Most of the news on mainstream news channels is all trash anyway and is weakening the minds of all of us. Never do I ever recall in my life hearing a “good news” story on the 5:00pm news. Do you? In a book I read once, the author broke down how much time we waste by watching the news, and how much more of that time could be used to be productive. Considering I gave up on the news when I was 17 years old, I felt proud to know that my viewpoints aligned with the author in that respect. (And much else of what he said, to be fair.)

As an example let’s do some quick math similar to what the author wrote in the book.

30 minutes of news per day x 5 days a week = 150 minutes of watching news

150 minutes per week x 4 weeks = 600 minutes of watching news per month

600 minutes = 10 hours per month

10 hours per month x 12 months = 120 hours per year

Now if you add in watching both the morning and evening news, you are going to double your numbers in the above equations. Imagine wasting 240 hours per year watching the news.

Photo by Danya Gutan on Pexels.com

Crazy to think about, isn’t it? I feel bad for those that do! If you do, and you are shocked reading the numbers, congratulations this will be the beginning of your new life and a new routine. What can we do with 120-240 hours per year instead of watching the news? We can work on ourselves, our community, our passions, our family dynamics, and hobbies. So back to my main topic – good news and bad news. Positivity vs. negativity. Inspiration and contributions!

Positivity seems to be a recurrent theme on social media these days. Often we post pictures or quotes that have to do with being positive or inspirational. I too am guilty of posting this kind of content. Not that there is anything wrong with it at all – because there really isn’t. Whether we practice what we preach is up to us entirely as individuals. But as the saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts.” Right? When we post these quotes or images on social media, is it just for likes, or is it because we actually want to inspire others? Chances are, it’s the latter. Something I’ve posted recently was an inspirational quote by Bruce Lee, and with the quote, I attached an image that also had a quote by Maya Angelou. The two quotes posted were: 

“Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail.” – Bruce Lee 

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” – Maya Angelou 

These two quotes are not only true but also legendary considering who said them. Reposting these quotes is a contribution of sorts and gives a little spark of hope to those who read them. Isn’t that the end goal of sharing these things on social media? It’s like when you read them, you feel a passion or some wonderful sentiment that was not there just seconds before. You feel the emotion behind it. You feel the spark and want to share that spark with other people. Misery loves company or so they say, but I think inspiration does also. 

Through my writing and freelance work, I definitely feel like I help people much more and that I’m making positive contributions to the world. Some of my side gigs also give me that same feeling. I’m no stranger to getting paid to pick up groceries for the elderly or give people a ride when they need it in exchange for cash. Time is money of course, but I also feel good when I’m helping people who actually need help – and getting paid for it. The same thing goes for when I help companies write or edit articles and blog posts, or when I help my clients with their website needs. I love to do it, and I enjoy helping them while I can also have some sort of creative freedom. These are all contributions I make to my life, and my community through my work. Inspiration is one of the driving factors behind such actions.

One time several winters ago, I stopped at a local grocery store near my friend’s house to make a run for some alcohol and munchies. It was the month of January and the temperatures were below freezing. Seeing a homeless woman outside of the store asking for food broke my heart. I’ve never talked about this until now, but I bought a bunch of extra food, including a warm pre-made meal, and gave it to her. Could this also be considered an act of inspiration? I believe so. Random acts of kindness, positivity, and inspiration are just good for us and our mental and physical health. 

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Thinking of situations that are on the giving spectrum, I’ve donated several times to archeological foundations and nature/wildlife foundations. The feelings that prompted me to do so were because these are things that I strongly care about. These are things that trigger my emotion, want, and need to help contribute to my community and earth.

When it comes to contributing to my family, or friends, often I’m putting them before myself. My kid and my fur babies always come first, and for my true friends, I try to be there for them at the drop of a dime. Spending time teaching my son new things, expanding his education by getting him new books, or showing him a new hiking trail is something I consider to be a good contribution to his life. With friends, you might see me trying to make plans with them, or help them through their problems. 

I’m not perfect in any way, and I do not try to be. Even as an adult I’m still trying to practice acts of kindness, gratitude, and contributions of inspiration to myself, my family, and of course my friends. In many ways, I don’t think I’m someone to be setting examples for others, but if I’m in the spotlight to do so my main focus would be practicing to be more understanding and patient with myself and the people who are around me. I believe I do a good job, but there is always room for improvement with anything and everything!

When it comes to inspiration – what inspires you? What inspires you deeply and what inspires you to contribute to the world around you? Always remember – there is good news in the world. Sometimes it is up to us to be that good news.

Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

Elements of Eros

Experiences, Mythology, Psychology, Thoughts

Elements of Eros 

Isn’t it fascinating that in many pantheons of mythology, there are gods and goddesses strictly for LOVE? Personifications of human feelings and emotions via deities are nothing new to discuss. We have all heard of them before. Freyja, Aphrodite, Cupid, Juno, Parvati, and Eros just to name a few. Eros was the son of Chaos (in some variations). Interesting how love and turmoil have been intertwined since ancient times, isn’t it?

Eros was a Greek god of love. He was the embodiment of passion and desire. Some may recognize him better as the Roman Cupid. Without warning, he selects his prey, the innocent and the lonely. He targets the unexpected. With great force and might he strikes their hearts and they are left feeling fluttery and confused. As quoted by Hesiod, he ‘loosens the limbs and weakens the mind’ (Theogony, 120)

Photo by: Kimberly Anne – St.Louis, MO 2021 (Eros Bendato, a massive sculpture by artist Igor Mitoraj)

As quoted by Hesiod, he ‘loosens the limbs and weakens the mind’ (Theogony, 120)

Hesiod, theogony

If you have fallen in love, you know exactly the feeling that is described. 

I certainly know the feeling very well. When thinking of love, I think of also my own solitude as of the last few years. I’ve been so accustomed to life without that significant other now that sometimes I believe it all to be a myth. A real partner surely does not exist in my world. The only people who exist in my world in that respect are people who do not want to stay around. (Please hear: “People Disappear Here” by Halsey) I’ve often found that I am good enough for a little while, but not for anything long-term. But whose fault is that?

Download Halsey - People Disappear Here Mp3 Download - GoodLuckExpo
Photo credit: Halsey

That’s how it feels, it seems. Sometimes. The same ones who crave me for just a little while, are the ones who will not give me monogamy when I ask; but they always return. They always come back. Every single one of my “exes” has always come back at some point or another. Considering I’m “alone” it’s like they think I will just be there for them forever – just for them – even though they do not offer me the same in return. It’s a vicious cycle. Satisfying, but rather annoying as well. It’s one of the most contradictory things I think a woman can experience. I’m sure I’m not alone. 

To have one solid person who can just go through life with me and only me would be a dream. I wish I had someone to build with. We’d probably be a great team. I imagine it often! Other than that I do not think anything else is missing from my life. Just a true love. Not lovers. Lovers are easy to find. A true love is not. A consistent love. One that I can make sacrifices for, and one that will do it in return for me. One love that does not hold things over my head. One that does not want to fight, but one that wants to build and go through this very short life together. 

If there is something that I wish I still had that was from my past it would probably be my high school sweetheart, but he is long gone now. That’s a pretty morbid statement considering I am just in the earliest portion of my 30’s. We had our ups and downs, but I miss him all of the time. He was a love that I could write a whole book on, I think. 

Photo by lilartsy on Pexels.com

Sometimes it does feel like I’m destined to not have certain things. For example, once I had my son – the only thing I really craved was normalcy. I wanted a “normal life”, which I don’t know if I even knew what that meant. I don’t know if I even know what that consists of. All I knew is that I wanted life to be different than what I witnessed in my childhood. At one point, someone told me, “You can’t have a normal life. You’d be bored with it.” 

Sometimes, I think that is true. But as life’s circumstances have caught up with me and I’ve finally realized the extent of my anxiety – I now disagree heavily, even more than before with that particular quoted statement. All I want now is simplicity. That is really it. The belief that I’m not destined to have certain things probably stems from my experiences. Failed relationships are to blame for the belief, but I am personally to blame for failed relationships. I’ve purposely chosen (in the past) people who were not good for me. Trying to solve childhood trauma via adult relationships will never end well. That is something I’ve learned. I have also learned it is okay to be alone, and it’s okay to be quiet. My solitude now is my joy. 

After three major long-term relationships, all of which so far have not worked out completely for a variety of reasons, I guess I thought at some point that having “the one” just is not possible for me. I did think that before, but I do not think that now. Thoughts change over time of course. If I was in pain and mourning the death of a relationship or marriage, of course, the “woe is me” mentality would be in effect. It’s easy to be bitter when you are hurt! It’s natural to feel that way. But feelings are a temporary state. Love is a choice.

Photo by Meruyert Gonullu on Pexels.com

 

Thinking of people around me, there is one couple that stands out in my mind. I will not name names, for obvious reasons. But they have been married for many years now and are actually happy. They have a sense of teamwork in their household. There is no misery or hostility. They celebrate their love quietly. They don’t blast all of the social media with their love. They keep it within the home. They get mad at each other of course, but it’s not something publicized. They have balance! I am now thinking about another couple I know just like the first I mentioned. The two couples each have something in common. They are not from the United States! Is this a coincidence? It could be. I’m also partially biased now because I’ve been reading more and more about the differences in mentality of Americans vs. Non-Americans. The differences in thought processes, relationships, and methods of raising children are ASTONISHING. I love this country, but many of the things we have learned are very questionable and should always be questioned! 

Personally, I think my “true love” is missing because I have not been able to experience, or meet that person yet (at this phase in my life). I believe I have had “true loves”, before. I’m also questioning, like mentioned before if “true love” is even a concept that exists or makes sense. What is even a true love? Is it possible to have several over a lifetime? Of course. Is a true love something you feel from another person, is it another person themselves? Or could it be the actions taken by someone who can prove in a sense, that this “true love” thing is not just a fallacy? Is it all of what is mentioned, combined? I’m sure I could put more effort into “finding” this “true love”, and recently I believe I have put more effort. The only one who really knows the answer as to whether or not my effort will work is time. Time knows all things. I like to imagine that, at least. 

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

As humans, it is in our DNA and very existence to crave love and desire and the want and need to be connected to people around us. In many ways, I feel connected to people “around” me. That is mostly due to social media. If social media is taken out of the equation, then will I be as connected? Certainly not. There seems to be a drought in my life and country (it feels to me at least) that there is a giant lack of community and family (outside) of social media. In the future, if time allows, I would love to start an organization of my own that can help people establish a sense of family and community – without social media being involved. 

In the last 15-20 years, technology has been both a blessing and a curse to us all. However, before technology, meaning apps like Facebook, IG, and TikTok took over our lives, things were so different. I just remember not knowing where my friends were. I remember not having cell phones. I remember going outside to find them. I remember randomly running into them at random bus stops, parks, or at the train stations in Chicago. That is what I remember. We felt more connected back then, and we actually met up and made plans. Not everyone was easily accessible via social media. We were more connected back then than we are now in a sense. Things were more personal. They were face to face. It’s such a strange time we are living in now. We are connected, yet so disconnected. 

Photo by Darrel Und on Pexels.com

In a world full of disconnection, it can be a struggle to exhibit values. Values correlate to community, family, and love. When thinking of values, I think many of my own values that I learned in my childhood and teen years still resonate with me today despite the many changes in our world. The values that I believe in, are ones that I’m also still trying to perfect. Lately, I am trying to practice kindness, empathy within my parenting, and as always – being courageous. Not that I lack any major values (I don’t think), but it’s my personal belief that as humans we must constantly strive to improve ourselves in every single area. Nobody is perfect, and this I know, but room for improvement will never hurt anyone. Unless you of course pull a muscle at the gym! Shit happens. When I catch myself having a negative thought or a serious case of road rage, I try to stop myself and redirect my thoughts. It is the least I can do, for my own mental well-being. 

Focusing on well-being, I feel is a good decision and does make me feel like I’m headed in the right direction. Mental health and well-being are important factors for any individual and also for the success of relationships. When things around us go haywire, sometimes the best thing we can do is look within, instead of outward. Look within, right within your heart – right where Eros strikes. 

Photo by Mario Wallner on Pexels.com

Fulfillment at Work – What’s Better? Financial or Emotional Values?

Thoughts

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there was a teenage me. I worked at a popular fried chicken fast food restaurant. One of my fondest memories was the night I quit working there. It was Halloween night (a pretty big deal for me, and the ONLY Halloween night I ever worked in my life). The night I quit was the same night I had envisioned dunking my rude coworker’s head into the chicken fryer. I was so angry and upset at this woman that I thought it would have been hilarious if I did such a thing. My irrational thinking may sound entertaining or quite bizarre, but I’m practicing vulnerability and showing my true human emotions. If you are at a job or in an environment you hate so much that you want to put someone’s head in a deep fryer, you should probably find something else to do!

Thinking of that night and my other experiences makes me think now of fulfillment in the workplace. Is it better to be happy at work? Or is it better to be paid a higher salary? The only one who can answer that question is you. That thought is something everyone should consider. 

Another memory I have from my teenage work experience is learning to sweep and mop properly. I remember going into those restaurants and the managers having to teach me how to do basic things because those basic things were not taught to me at home. What was home for me anyway? I was on the street most of the time, partying it up with my friends.

With jobs, comes experience, naturally. Of course, we also meet those occasional work friends who we somehow never forget. We remember the wrinkles on their faces, the way they smelled and the way they laughed, and the things they taught us. We remember the heartwarming things that they did. (Or rude things they did in the case of the deep fryer story.)

When I think of caring and heartwarming people at work, I remember Theresa. She was an older lady I worked with as a teenager. She is the one who helped me embrace creativity through food art. She and I decorated cakes together. I was her apprentice. I remember Christmas being her favorite holiday. I also remember her chain-smoking and being dirt poor. Theresa loved her job so much, despite it not paying well. She lived in a suburb just outside of the city, and it seemed that she had a hard life. That was something I could surely relate to, although I was 2 or 3 decades younger than her. Despite my somewhat mischievous ways, she was always there for me. Theresa did not judge me. She was a teacher. She was kind of like a mother figure to me. I think about her sometimes. She would drive me home some days in the blizzards and snow even though she did not have much gas left in her tank. She had enough gas to get home, and luckily for me sometimes wherever I laid my head was in the direction she was going. 

Another memory I have is working at a smoothie place, and eventually quitting because of the pervy manager who decided to sexually harass employees including myself. I applied at a different restaurant down the street due to being uncomfortable, and low and behold – so did the manager who was recently fired from the same smoothie place that I was trying to leave. It just felt awkward! Needless to say, because of me reporting him to both companies, he was fired from each. I think it serves him right considering his actions towards me, and the other female employees as well. It’s unfortunate when people who are in authority positions abuse their power. However, it is likely to happen more often than not.

TRIGGER WARNING – Do not continue reading if you are sensitive to sexual/domestic/violence issues.

One day, I was inside of a breakfast restaurant filling out a job application far on the north side of Chicago. Most of my time was spent on the Northside to be fair. This restaurant was almost on the outer limits of the city. I was around 18 years old at the time.

A man sat alone at a table near me and was eating his breakfast and drinking his coffee. He was a tiny little guy and spoke Spanish to the waitress. He saw me at the cashier counter of the restaurant filling out an application. Back then we had PAPER applications for jobs. What a wild world it was! Some of you will remember, and some of you will imagine. (Someone told me we still have paper applications apparently. I was shocked to know this. I haven’t seen one in years, but I stand corrected!)

I was writing down all of my information on this paper application and the man approached me. He asked me if I was looking for a job. Obviously, and clearly, I was. Of course, I said yes, and I asked why? Why did he ask me? What did he want? Back then I was rough around the edges. I mean, I still am. But my sassiness back then was much more vicious than it is now. I think so at least.

He slid a business card over to me and told me that he owned a nightclub in Lincoln Park. (Lincoln Park has been one of the most popular nightlife destinations in Chicago for a long time.) He said he was looking for a hostess. At the time, it sounded like a dream! He told me that I could start the next night. He told me to dress for the occasion. I was so excited. I picked out new outfits, even spending the money to do so. My mom helped me prepare. She said I looked beautiful.

I wore a small black mini skirt, black stilettos, and a white blouse that was a bit low cut and sleeveless. My hair was put up in a giant long ponytail before the Ariana Grande ponytail was ever mentioned. I wore a black cardigan to cover the tattoo on my back.

I remember it so well. I remember thinking how lucky I was to just have a job fall right into my lap, and not just a job, but one where music would be played all night and people would dance all night. The only thing I would be responsible for was to help collect tickets at the door and put roses on the tables and light the candles. “Make it feel romantic.”, he told me.

Ah yes. I will never forget. That is exactly what I did!

The first and only night there at the club, I thought I scored big. After the tickets were all collected and everyone was inside, I danced with the customers! I danced all night! Luckily for me, the guy who hired me, who now I can’t even remember his name, also danced. It was a big party and I was the luckiest girl ever in the world because I got paid for it! I was offered drinks and shots multiple times, but I never drank back then. It worked in my favor.

Finally, the night had to come to an end. The nameless man told me that I’d be able to leave around 1 am, as the local bars closed around 2 and everyone would be heading home around that time. At the end of the night, I approached the mysterious boss man and asked him for my pay. It was pretty good money too, for being so long ago, and it was in cash. As a teenager, it was a sweet deal to me. He told me that my money was down in the basement. He wanted me to follow him down there in the basement of the club, right to his office.

I can’t remember now if I thought anything of it. Naturally, as an older adult now typing this and reading it, you can see how shady it sounds. We got to his little room (“office”) in the basement of the club. It was summertime and extremely hot. The fans in this little room did absolutely no good. My feet were killing me at this point and I just wanted to go home.

Now, remember, I told you he was small. Smaller than me, and I’m a whopping 5’3 and must have been at least 5’6 with those heels. I remember asking him for the cash and telling him I needed to leave. He kept fiddling around with paperwork and money. I was standing near a desk, or a wall. I cannot remember now.

He kept telling me how good I did. But that’s when it started to feel awkward because in reality I hadn’t done shit (compared to other jobs) but light some candles and make a romantic atmosphere, with roses. You can’t forget about the roses! I collected some tickets from people who didn’t even speak the same language as me.

He kept telling me my greatness, and how beautiful I am. He had the envelope of money in his hand. He handed the envelope closer to me while his mouth wouldn’t stop talking, and I snatched it from him (out of instinct because I felt what he was about to do) as he pushed me against the wall and pressed his lips on mine. He tasted like sweat and alcohol. He tasted like FILTH. I pushed him off of me so hard when he did that and ran out of that place like I was running from a blood-thirsty animal. F*cking a**hole, I thought to myself. I ran towards DePaul University, the train stop was right near there. Fullerton. The feeling of wanting to escape is something that still haunts my dreams and I’ve felt it so many times. Not just this time. I remember actually, once I was far enough from the club I took those heels off and ran barefoot to the CTA train hoping not to step on any glass or needles on the ground. I never saw that guy again. Not once. And I hope I never do. I can’t remember his name, but I do remember his face. 

He did fall backward when I pushed him. That is how I will remember his face. Because the look of shock on his face has stuck in my head like dried jelly on a jar. He must have thought I was weak. Did he think I would let him? That is never the case. It will never be. My only thought now, is what if he was bigger? What if I did not escape? What could have happened? And the worst part is, this is only one story. 

I’d never been myself if I didn’t knock him on his ass that night. And this is why you shouldn’t talk to strangers. Right?

The jobs I talk about before always lacked something. Which makes me wonder about true fulfillment in the workplace. How much work do we need to do to be fulfilled? What kind of work do we need to do to be fulfilled? What does being fulfilled mean to you as an individual?

If you feel very unfulfilled at work it might be time to reevaluate what you are doing. It’s important to find something that you love to do and gives you an ample amount of room to grow as an employee and an individual. If you can’t find the opportunity that you are seeking then you need to create it yourself. Be your own boss. Don’t let yourself hit a dead end. I’m trying to build my path and career where I can help others, impact them positively and be financially and creatively free. Having a work and life balance is important. Life is too short to be unhappy!

One of the best jobs I had, as far as being happy and emotionally fulfilled was when I was a cake decorator. The only problem is I never had formal or professional training (besides Theresa), and the jobs I worked decorating cakes did not pay very well. Should I have stayed there despite not being able to make ends meet just because I was happy and fulfilled? Then there are jobs where I have been paid enough to survive and maybe with a little extra, but my soul does not feel satisfied with what I’m doing. So now I am faced with a predicament, as many of us are. Money or happiness? But does happiness buy money? Is it a win-win? Is it a lose-lose?

I don’t recall any job I had as being the worst. Every “job” is an experience, and that is what life is truly about. If bad bosses count as the worst, then maybe I can think of some. I had a boss once who was constantly angry and on edge for a variety of reasons. He’d yell, speak loudly, insult everyone, slam doors and just make super obscene comments at all of us. I wouldn’t say the job itself was terrible. But the way I and some of my co-workers felt due to the way our boss treated us all, was certainly worse than anything I’d experienced before, maybe. I took the job because it was a good opportunity for me in the beginning. I stayed several years, but in the end, I was able to move on to something greater. The thing is, we need to constantly be moving to something greater. When it comes to your happiness and finances – never stop striving for greatness. What defines that greatness? It’s up to you. For me, it’s about achieving goals and maintaining my values.

My work values (emotional) include wanting to help others, influence them or positively impact them. The external work values that matter the most to me are stability and pay. My dream job would be to be a writer/editor/freelancer and get paid for it. Which, I am well on my way to accomplishing as I have already started. What a dream it would be to fully sustain myself in that way! I don’t hate where I’m at currently, but I can always strive to do better. We all can.

There is a reason I was led here, there is a reason I am here now and experiencing this moment where I currently am. But my true calling is a goal that I am working on non-stop to achieve. 

This past year I have already made changes in my life, that allowed me to prepare for my future career as a writer. I can only hope to improve in the future. What are your plans? Do you think it is better to be fulfilled financially or emotionally in the workplace?

I Don’t Remember His Name, But I Do Remember His Face

Experiences, Thoughts

Here is a short excerpt of a blog that I will publish later this month.

TRIGGER WARNING – Do not continue reading if you are sensitive to sexual/domestic/violence issues.

One day, I was inside of a breakfast restaurant filling out a job application far on the north side of Chicago. Most of my time was spent on the Northside to be fair. This restaurant was almost on the outer limits of the city. I was around 18 years old at the time.

A man sat alone at a table near me and was eating his breakfast and drinking his coffee. He was a tiny little guy and spoke Spanish to the waitress. He saw me at the cashier counter of the restaurant filling out an application. Back then we actually had PAPER applications for jobs. What a wild world it was! Some of you will remember, and some of you will imagine.

I was writing down all of my information on this paper application and the man approached me. He asked me if I was looking for a job. Obviously, and clearly, I was. Of course, I said yes, and I asked why? Why did he ask me? What did he want? Back then I was rough around the edges. I mean, I still am. But my sassiness back then was much more vicious than it is now. I think so at least.

He slid a business card over to me and told me that he owned a nightclub in Lincoln Park. (Lincoln Park has been one of the most popular nightlife destinations in Chicago for a long time.) He said he was looking for a hostess. At the time, it sounded like a dream! He told me that I could start the next night. He told me to dress for the occasion. I was so excited. I picked out new outfits, even spending the money to do so. My mom helped me prepare. She said I looked beautiful.

I wore a small black mini skirt, black stilettos, and a white blouse that was a bit low cut and sleeveless. My hair was put up in a giant long ponytail before the Ariana Grande ponytail was ever mentioned. I wore a black cardigan to cover the tattoo on my back.

I remember it so well. I remember thinking how lucky I was to just have a job fall right into my lap, and not just a job, but one where music would be played all night and people would dance all night. The only thing I would be responsible for was to help collect tickets at the door and put roses on the tables and light the candles. “Make it feel romantic.”, he told me.

Ah yes. I will never forget. That is exactly what I did!

The first and only night there at the club, I thought I scored big. After the tickets were all collected and everyone was inside, I danced with the customers! I danced all night! Luckily for me, the guy who hired me, who now I can’t even remember his name, also danced. It was a big party and I was the luckiest girl ever in the world because I got paid for it! I was offered drinks and shots multiple times, but I never drank back then. It worked in my favor.

Finally, the night had to come to an end. The nameless man told me that I’d be able to leave around 1 am, as the local bars closed around 2 and everyone would be heading home around that time. At the end of the night, I approached the mysterious boss man and asked him for my pay. It was pretty good money too, for being so long ago, and it was in cash. As a teenager, it was a sweet deal to me. He told me that my money was down in the basement. He wanted me to follow him down there in the basement of the club, right to his office.

I can’t remember now if I thought anything of it. Naturally, as an older adult now typing this and reading it, you can see how shady it sounds. We got to his little room (“office”) in the basement of the club. It was summertime and extremely hot. The fans in this little room did absolutely no good. My feet were definitely killing me at this point and I just wanted to go home.

Now, remember, I told you he was small. Smaller than me, and I’m a whopping 5’3 and must have been at least 5’6 with those heels. I remember asking him for the cash and telling him I needed to leave. He kept fiddling around with paperwork and money. I was standing near a desk, or a wall. I cannot remember now.

He kept telling me how good I did. But that’s when it started to feel awkward because in reality I hadn’t done shit (compared to other jobs) but light some candles and make an atmosphere that was romantic, with roses. You can’t forget about the roses! I collected some tickets from people who didn’t even speak the same language as me.

He kept telling me my greatness, and how beautiful I am. He had the envelope of money in his hand. He handed the envelope closer to me while his mouth wouldn’t stop talking, and I snatched it from him (out of instinct because I felt what he was about to do) as he pushed me against the wall and pressed his lips on mine. He tasted like sweat and alcohol. He tasted like FILTH. I pushed him off of me so hard when he did that and ran out of that place like I was running from a blood-thirsty animal. F*cking a**hole, I thought to myself. I ran towards DePaul University, the train stop was right near there. Fullerton. The feeling of wanting to escape is something that still haunts my dreams and I’ve felt it so many times. Not just this time. I remember actually, once I was far enough from the club I took those heels off and ran barefoot to the CTA train hoping not to step on any glass or needles on the ground. I never saw that guy again. Not once. And I hope I never do. I can’t remember his name, but I do remember his face. 

He did fall backward when I pushed him. That is how I will remember his face. Because the look of shock on his face has stuck in my head like dried jelly on a jar. He must have thought I was weak. Did he think I would let him? That is never the case. It will never be. My only thought now, is what if he was bigger? What if I did not escape? What could have happened? And the worst part is, this is only one story. 

I’d never been myself if I didn’t knock him on his ass that night.

And this is why you shouldn’t talk to strangers.

Blankets of Snowflakes

Poetry
It's so damn hot outside. 
Not a drop of snow in sight. 
Blankets of snowflakes are just a memory. 
Jack Frost should have put up a better fight. 
Green grass in December. 
"All you need is a hoodie", kinda weather. 
Icicles are non-existent. 
Sweating now, I'm reminiscent. 
This is the first time in my Chicago life, 
That I haven't seen a white Christmas. 



This morning we woke up to no snow. This is the first time that I can really remember not having a “White Christmas”, in my entire life. Being from the mid-west, Chicago, IL specifically it is odd to say the least that we have woken up to spring like weather. It’s been warm the past few weeks, but this poem is just something that came to my mind as I took a walk outside this morning. I’ve never had such a warm Christmas day holiday before. It’s so rare. It makes me think of other holidays like Halloween for example, where we’d wish and wish for there to be no snow or rain on that day. Maybe our wishes got all mixed up in some sort of wish cyclone or hurricane, which has resulted in our wishes being granted today instead. Wishful thinking, perhaps because that is likely not the case despite my imagination being at play.

Happy Holidays to All