Finding Inspiration

Inspiration has to do with pretty much anything we do. If it is writing, drawing, dancing, cooking, playing an instrument etc. But sometimes it is hard to get inspired and we feel stuck. We sit at our desks starting a sketch or a choreography for a dance over and over again and we just get frustrated because nothing seems right. I get this feeling a lot.

After school I spend a good amount of time sitting in front of my laptop, looking through photos I have taken on my travels around the world. For me, photography is something to escape to and to relax. Going through pictures is almost like you are reliving these moments. I always think it is so overwhelming how much meaning a picture can have. I pretty much only take pictures of animals and it has grown to be my biggest passion. When I look at my pictures, and I get to look an animal straight into the eyes through a picture I have taken, it almost feels like as if I had some sort of connection to it. For a moment everything is quiet and it is just me and the animal.

Photography has its many amazing sides. You get to travel the world, see the most amazing spectacles that nature has to offer, but there is also a side to it which sometimes brings you down. I follow hundreds of other photographers on social media, and sometimes I scroll through certain accounts just thinking: wow. I wish I could capture pictures like this.

I have a bad habit of comparing myself to others and being very harsh to myself when it comes to the pictures I take. I try to find inspiration through others but in the end it just makes me feel like my pictures aren’t good enough. I have spent hours and hours trying to find a style, that when people see my photos, they know that they are from me. Every time I post something I think it is just not good enough, my pictures all look the same and they all just look flat. I get frustrated and I can’t find any inspiration or whatsoever. But this is part of the progress. Nothing is ever perfect. But there are moments, when I see a picture that I like, and it just makes me so incredibly happy and proud. And these are the moments that keep me going.

People text me telling me that my pictures inspire them. That they enjoy my work. And these are the moments that make everything so worth it. I love what I do and I am so incredibly thankful for all the amazing moments I have got to experience thanks to photography. I love sharing my work with other people, bringing people closer to our wildlife and nature, showing off the beauty and diversity our planet has to offer.

Photo taken by the author.

Saying Goodbye to Blue

She appeared behind my house with her sister and her mother. She was the first to pop her head above the brick wall with her wide eyes looking curiously around the yard. She and her sister were beautiful. Her sister had solid white paws and defined face markings. My family and I planned on keeping her, but we had no room to keep the wide-eyed black and white kitten.

When we brought them inside, the white-pawed kitten, now named Penny, became the more confident of the two. They played together for weeks, and while we knew Penny would stay with us, the formerly unnamed black and white kitten quickly became my little baby Blue. She was shy, yet always curious of her surroundings. She turned to her sister for comfort as they kept each other company.

They had grown to be ten weeks old when Blue was ready to find her forever home. I spent the night holding her and watching them toss around toys. The sun rose sooner than I had expected and I found myself putting little Blue into a cat carrier while we said our goodbyes. Penny didn’t notice as we shut the carrier door and left their playroom.

I sat in the back seat of the car with Blue while she pressed herself against the back of the carrier. Her little body was shaking as she looked up at the passing buildings. As we pulled into the parking lot I stuck my fingers through the wired door hoping she would come to be pet. I knew I would never pet her again. I carefully picked up her carrier and handed her to the shelter staff before watching her be carried away.

I told the woman the name I had given her, and within a day my little Blue was up for adoption. I checked the website daily for updates. She looked happy and confident in the photo they posted, and within a week her adoption post had been taken down.

I watch Penny grow and imagine how big Blue must be today. I am confident that the Humane Society sent her home with a good family. I know she won’t remember her first home or her sister, but I think of her every time I look at Penny. She came to us as a scared feral kitten, and I am grateful that my family and I were able to socialize her and make her comfortable with moving into a real home.

Blue ❤ Photo Credit: Ojai Valley Humane Society

Paper Cranes

Last night I found a stack of colored paper. They were 12″x12″ and dusty from having sat on my shelf for the past three years. I don’t remember why I got them, but I’ve always remembered them being there.

I took them from the shelf and I dropped them on my desk, their purpose still uncertain, and I didn’t expect myself to do anything.

I then proceeded to spend a while doing homework, doing laundry, and preparing dinner. In this time I had forgotten about the stack of papers and allowed myself to get lost in the routine that I had mindlessly adopted over the past month.

When I came back to my desk while going through the motions of cleaning my room which I now do routinely as well, the stack of papers had a new appeal to them. It posed itself as an opportunity to escape my regimen. So I sat down and I flipped through the seven different colors that repeated themselves tirelessly and considered what I could feasibly do.

I never considered myself to be particularly talented or artistic in any way, art classes have always marked themselves as the low points in my grade book. But I was suddenly inspired to do something with them. I knew I couldn’t draw so I eliminated that, my painting skills were on par with my drawing, but folding paper, I was a beast at folding paper.

Photo: Museum of fine arts, St. Petersburg

Now I had never really attempted Origami, but I approached it rather confidently because of my unexpected prowess in the field of paper airplane design. So I went online, and I decided to make a crane.

When I finally completed my first crane about 15 minutes later, it looked decent, and that presented itself as an incredible surprise.

But I had done it, I’d done something that wasn’t typical of me during this drawn-out period of self-isolation, and it was invigorating. I had suddenly found a simultaneous outlet and power I had over the nationwide restrictions.

I was restrained to my home, I had little power in that regard. But nothing could stop me from making those little paper cranes. In the last 12 hours, I have made an embarrassing number of paper cranes but I don’t see an end in sight.

If only I could make them fly.

puffy eyes

an observation on what makes me cry:

  • My little sister’s tears
  • Academy Award Show acceptance speeches
  • essential oils when they get in my eyes
  • As by Stevie Wonder because it reminds me of what could have been.
  • Thinking about my aunt, my grandmothers, my grandfather, my idol…
  • animals with huge eyes
  • Seeing my brother cry
  • second-hand embarrassment
  • Helpless people that deserve better 
  • Doing something I really dont want to do 
  • My allergies 
  • Movies and TV Shows with happy endings 
  • Movies and TV Shows with tragic endings
  • Seeing my parents cry 
  • Death and birth
  • when people are awarded things that they deserve
  • spicy foods
  • when I stare into the sun during sunset and the wind blows in my face.
PC: pinterest.com

– from the perspective of a seventeen year old girl

the dove and the hare.

I saw my future last night, 

In the white feather and the rabbit that crossed the road at 11:03

while he drove the car.

I saw the girl that I was meant to become 

As I cross the river, 

Into a new territory. 

/ / /

I saw my past last night too.

I saw a blonde, curly-headed girl give me validation to leave

To say goodbye. 

I saw fear, hesitation, and hate in her eyes. 

/ / /

I saw my angel, 

kissing me on the cheek 

As tears stream down her face, stinging her scars.

She wore her denial of the reality that hit her like a truck 

a mask over her face.

/ / /

And for the first time in six months, 

I saw clarity and

Felt serenity in my life. 

I understand where I have to go, 

How to cross the river, 

How to express and emote. 

photo credit: pinterest.com

Today, I look at the blue sky with the white blurs, 

And the blooming lavender and the blossoming rosemary with faith, 

And soaring red hawk with ambition, 

And a single rose on flourishing bush with purity. 

A Story of Glass, a Family, and Murder

“Mom,” said a little boy startled. “They’re back again.”

“I know honey,” she replied.

“Mom,” said a little boy startled. “They’re watching us again.”

“I know honey,” she replied.

“I’m scared,” said the little boy. “I don’t want to be here mama”

“Someday baby, someday we’ll get out of here. Your father will come for us.”

And so they waited, and waited, and waited some more. But he never came and he never would.

Years went by. The boy was no longer little, the mother was no longer strong, and both of them were no longer hopeful.

“Mom,” said a no longer little boy, “we can’t wait any longer, we need to get out of here.”

“No,” she said, “it’s too dangerous. Your father will come for us.”

But the no longer little boy watched his mom’s once shiny black hair turn to grey and he knew that he could wait for his father no longer.

That day, while his mother lay quietly in the grass resting her tired eyes, he grabbed a rock and walked to the glass.

Bang.

Children began to scream.

Bang.

Parents grabbed their kin and began to run away.

Bang.

The mother of the no longer little boy ran after her son but it was too late.

Bang.

Three guards rushed toward the scene.

Bang.

The glass finally began to break.

Bang…

A bullet went through the no longer little boy’s chest.

Bang…

A bullet went through the mother’s chest as she ran towards where her son’s body lay.

Two weeks later the glass was fixed, the zookeepers removed all movable rocks, and two new gorillas filled the place of the deceased mother and son.

Photo credit: cincinnatizoo.org

A Much Needed Switch: Dying to Thriving

Photo credit: pinterest.com

I’ve been trying to get my dad to stop eating meat since I was four years old. We traveled to Ireland and I remember watching him eat bacon day after day and wanting nothing more than for him to understand the terrible health risks. I’ve always been worried about his health… His “weight loss” diets would always consist of meats and cheese (protein fads) along with Diet Ginger Ale… He would lose weight and looked fit so it worked for him, but I became more and more worried.

I tried to explain to him that natural sugars are okay and animal products were truly the problem. He was raised in a family of ten siblings so if he didn’t eat what was served (unhealthy crappy foods) he wouldn’t eat, period. Meats, processed foods and dairy was on the menu during his upbringing. So when I was young he was hard on me for my decisions because he simply didn’t have the proper knowledge. 

As I got older he started to support my lifestyle more and more, eventually taking me to vegan festivals and even dining with me to enjoy high quality vegan foods. He even asked me where he could get a metal straw to help with plastic pollution.  I figured this was as far as he would ever go. I accepted this reality and kind of gave up on him, sadly. I figured he would never change and that was okay…Because everyone is different right?

When I got the call last month…it was my dad on the phone telling me he is going plant based after watching “The Game Changers”  documentary on Netflix. I was in utter shock. Out of everyone in my life, he would have been the last person on my list I would ever expect to go vegan. For me, this showed me hope for humanity! He is the most “manly” guy I’ve ever met so for him to make this change is amazing.  With all the stereotypes about vegan guys being weak, feminine and all that other nonsense animal product companies endorse, this shows me how anyone can do it just letting go of their ego. My dad said, “All the research supports the vegan diet and this way of life is by far the most healthy. I have always known that you are on the right track. Now I am seeing that eating plant based can even build muscle, strength and healthy blood flow. It seems that it can also lower my cholesterol which is elevated at this time. I am so proud of you for paving the way. You are a great inspiration to me and I’m never eating meat again.”

A lot of the time people will tell me they would totally go vegan if they could, but it would be “too hard,” “I tried and just couldn’t” or it’s not the time and they will eventually make the switch… But the time is now. We have the resources. Nobody cares about getting the right nutrients until veganism comes up. People will be eating McDonald’s all day and act like veganism would just be detrimental to their health. Another excuse is that it’s too expensive. It is simply not expensive to go to your local grocery store and buy a can of beans or some vegetables.  Research the right foods and stop saying you “can’t.” Stop making excuses to make yourself feel like a better person because it is total BS. 

This is a lifestyle. And yes, changing your lifestyle is a big deal but crucial for your health and well being. This switch will change your life, and the ones in it, but only for the better. I hope my dad can be an inspirational success story and help you and your family on your own health journeys.

Your Vegan Thanksgiving is still a Celebration of Violence!

Photo via Pinterest.com

A vegan Thanksgiving is more sustainable and animal cruelty free. Supporting semen being sucked out with a straw from 46 million male turkeys’ anuses each year is cruel.  But having Thanksgiving at all is not necessarily cruelty free. The only ethical way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to spend it educating yourself on indigenous rights. 

“Happy Thanksgiving” I am so thankful for the Native Americans who continue to fight for their rights, their lands, refuse to abide by the societal expectations of pretending nothing terrible happened to their ancestors on this holiday. 

As we are having a beautiful Thanksgiving feast with our families and friends, remember that today is a national day of mourning for native Americans across the country. So while you’re thinking, “wow, this holiday is so incredible and based upon gratefulness and love between humans,” please don’t forget that thousands upon thousands of Native Americans have been brutally murdered in cold blood (partly) for their lands by white colonizers. 

And this question shocks me… but how many people across the country will celebrate Thanksgiving today having never even engaged with or met a native person, can’t name five tribes, can’t name the tribe whose lands they occupy or even can’t name a living native person? 

So… why not celebrate gratitude daily? It is one of the most important self-care practices a person can do. Daily practices rather than on just one day covered by blood which is just another white supremacist holiday. I’m not saying we should completely cut Thanksgiving from our yearly tradition but being less arrogant and realizing what this holiday truly represents. Being “woke” can be very emotionally taxing and difficult to talk about; but it’s worth doing the right thing rather than taking the easy way out and staying silent. 

Ignorance is not bliss. Even though it would be much easier not to post about these topics and just pretend today is a wonderful day of giving thanks…like everyone else does… so I don’t hurt any proud Americans’ feelings. If you’re not speaking the truth, you’re part of the problem. 

So bon appétit, but don’t forget!  As we celebrate thanks, for Native Americans Thanksgiving is a reminder of the genocide of millions of their people, the theft of their lands, and the assault on their culture and history of colonial violence.

BoJack Horseman

The sixth season of BoJack Horseman has just arrived. It’s a story about a horse… man. 

Season 6 is going to be the last season of the masterpiece. It really makes you think when you watch BoJack Horseman. It makes you think about your life, it shows how BoJack lives in all of us.

Creating a connection between the audience and the characters is, I believe, a prime goal for the shows. Why else would we watch it, just to see strangers suffer?

However, there is more to it. There is something about BoJack Horseman that haunts you. Some say it’s the Nihilism, to that, I partly agree. But what if life is indeed meaningless? Then it wouldn’t be Nihilism at all. It would just be… life.

BoJack Horseman is not just a show. It may be the most realistic fiction there is, and that’s why we love it. We savor the realism in the story of BoJack Horseman, and suffer for it.

I hope for BoJack to get a happy ending, and for all of us, too.

Photo credit: Time.com

3 Modern Rules Of Veganism:

Some think going vegan is a daunting task, but following these “rules” I’m about to give you and will make the decision to embark on this journey of veganism so much easier. 

Rule 1- Find your reason

In this modern day society, before you go vegan, the most important thing you can do is pick and understand your reasons why. If you just go vegan to go vegan, chances are it won’t last. An example is going vegan for your health and then understanding why and how you are going to set this goal. Watch documentaries, youtube videos, and read studies that motivate you to continue with this health journey.

Rule 2- substitution

Something many newbie vegans do first when they go vegan is eliminate foods (obviously), but then feel like there is nothing they can eat and soon quit. When I went vegan back in the day, there were not many options.  I had to get really creative with the dishes that I prepared to ensure I got the proper nutritional intake. Nowadays in this non-stop, growing vegan society, you can find almost anything vegan. So the number one tip I can give is following this rule- Find or make your favorite foods vegan and food cravings won’t be an issue. An example would be if you have eggs everyday for breakfast and go vegan… try a substitute of vegan tofu egg scramble, or instead of cow’s milk in your cereal, add oak milk. If you drastically switch to eating salad for every meal your body scientifically will soon want to binge and you will most likely go straight back to your previous diet. But with substitution, your mind will barely notice a difference and you will consume the food that will start to make you feel better physically and emotionally.

3rd Rule- Joining the Community

Something important that I cannot stress enough is finding like minded people. Most don’t realize when going vegan the loneliness you can actually feel. You feel like all you want to do is share your success with veganism or the suffering you are avoiding being vegan… but you in return receive hate. A lot of the time if you have no support it’s a hard task to maintain a healthy vegan lifestyle. An easy way to find support is through social media, following vegan influencers, activists, meme accounts, recipes, and all other things vegan… another way to reach out to more people is by going to local vegan events, such as: street fairs, marches, restaurants and anything else your community offers. 

Overall veganism isn’t just about our own health, but mainly about reducing our carbon footprint. Again, recognizing our own health, but most importantly the health of our planet, it’s about making different choices and moving in a different direction and ultimately coming together as a community. Veganism is a crucial lifestyle for our planet’s wellbeing with the state it is in right now. Veganism is different for everyone and these “rules” may help you in the right direction of a new beginning! Take the first step, follow the rules, and you will be the perfect vegan in no time! Good luck!

photo credit: Pinterest.com