I wrote this piece for my Advanced Poetry class at Drake University. Using the title of  a Roger Reeves poem, I wrote about the issue of self awareness.




walking into the dressing room,

I wasn’t expecting much.

spandex and an oversized

t-shirt would only make my cousins think

I got fat


I suck in



tuck my breasts

into the insufficient



a photo

to my mom for



No, she spotted

the outer rounds

flooding the

triangular gatekeepers.

American flags marking

my final hope

for a two-piece.

water balloon breasts laid

flat inside the rounded receptacle.


arms above my head,

revealing full coverage,

I smile.


I never strived to flaunt.

anticipating sexualized eyes,

offended by my 15-year old breasts.

existence preceded that luxury.

What The Beatles Mean to Me

Her favorite band is the group of old, British men from the sixties…

What were there names again?

Which ones are alive?


The Beatles have always been an important aspect to my personal identity. At the top of the list of “Who Are You” questions, a Beatles fan is always included. I learned to love their music, matching haircuts and suits (Shea Stadium and Budokan), Sgt. Pepper suits, quirky photo-shoots, and style before I ever heard of what “marijuana” was.

When my mother learned that my fascination was not a phase, but a deep-rooted passion and love, she informed me that the Beatles were notorious for dissing Jesus Christ and being addicted to substances. However, that didn’t change how I felt. For a very long time, I have stood with my Liverpudlian men, knowing that they had substantial negative connotations, but with no hatred or distrust in them. There is a reasoning behind that.

To me, my Fab Four are not the drugs they did, the infidelities, arguments at Abbey Road, or controversy. They were, and remain, long hours in the studio, brotherhood, rock and roll legends, inventive musicians, and lovers of peace. When I think of them, I reflect upon the time that they dedicated to making people laugh and love a little more. While yes, it is difficult to rule out the vice that the drugs and power of fame had on my boys, it is also how I think that they would like to be remembered– with a peace sign to Ringo, a hand hold to John, a coy smile to George, and a kiss blown to Paul.

With these ideals in mind, I want the reader to realize that the Beatles always wanted happiness. They ached for the world to find contentment with each day. Organic depictions, tranquil lyricism, soothing instrumentation, and strong intentions fueled them throughout their life, in the Beatles and beyond. These rock and roll icons also just wanted to find peace within themselves, then further to the world. With such a large ambition at hand, they were able to plant the seed and nudge their listeners in the direction of love for all.

Mother Earth Heals All Wounds

I take great interest in mother earth. I find comfort in holding crystals and reading about their healing capabilities. Their cold, pure beings, wrapped up in my fingertips. We trade warmth and I set them back into the grass to heal themselves, so that they can return to me again.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been filled with deep rage and unsteady anxiety. I’d stay up all night at a friend’s house, bottling up my disinterest and annoyances into my sleeping bag. I would then bring them home. They barely made it through the garage door. It was everywhere, believe me.

It was almost like taking a large bag of trash out. Except the bag was thin and worn with holes in the bottom. It contained black liquid. It was going the wrong direction as well. I wreaked havoc and I never understood where the anger came from or how to make it go away.

My anxiety came in the form of ripping out my hair. At the edge of my hairline, I’d grab a thick lock and yank. Not from the bottom, but from the root. But why? I don’t know. I panicked and it felt like the right thing to do at the time. It only became real when my aunt came over to gift me…Except it wasn’t a special occasion. I got stress balls to hopefully counter my urge to destroy my chances of having thick hair.

Instead of finding faults in the way that my mind works at times, or being ashamed of it, I have chosen to replace my confusion with love. Mother earth always welcomes me into her arms and kisses me with grass stains on my favorite sweatshirt. She recharges my amethyst  and citrine. When she’s ready to say goodbye, she freezes my bones.

I still carry around my anxiety. Instead of carrying around my fears in a trash bag, they sink deep into my bag of crystals. I know that when I find myself nervously cracking knuckles, adjusting my glasses, or brushing my hair, something or someone is watching over me. God or the earth or someone cares that I find joy in each day.

Tonight, I have decided that my anxiety may no longer control me.


Reflection of Self

The following words and realizations were based upon a class at Drake University called Honors Practicum. In said class, I was required to do weekly readings and journal writings exploring the idea of “self.” At the end of the class, my class was given the challenge to create a visual way to express themselves and to write a paper exploring the different theories learned in the class.

Coming to Terms With Loving Hailey

As I’ve entered the realm of college and being responsible for myself, many perceptions that I possessed have been accentuated. When I created Part One of this project, I focused upon the thoughts I had about myself at that particular moment in time. Though, when I reflected back to past journals, I realized that a lot of those values that I wrote about ended up being things that I tacked as my personality traits. With the help of my friends and family, I’ve been able to expand on these ideas that I value so highly and truly act upon them, rather than romanticize the idea (of being a free spirit or a feminist).

In the next four years, I hope that this same process of loneliness, confusion, then understanding through reflection and actions can help point me in the right direction. Instead of drifting through life, wondering why I feel/act a certain way, then having a midlife crisis, I can simply expand upon my process of comprehension to appreciate myself. It’s easy for me to get caught up in school, and neglect myself. Forgetting to eat, or wash my face, or change socks. Not getting out of my room to workout or take care of my body. Lose sight of the power of meditation and relaxation, in order to soothe my mind. Not setting aside time to act upon the hobbies that I cherish.

After realizing what I value and who I am, I have a core to build upon. When I’m in a rut, and don’t know how to do anything but furiously read and bang out a paper, I hope that somewhere, in the back of my mind, I can remember that I’m a photographer, a dreamer, a singer, and a friend. I’m a music lover, and a free-spirit. I’m a thinker, and a lover. My hope in my college years, aside from gaining as much knowledge as I can to become a professor, is that I can learn to find a balance within myself and my schedule. It’s much easier to forget values, in order to be objective and punctual in terms of studying and life in general, but that isn’t a way that I would like to live for the rest of my existence. Each individual reading helped contribute to these realizations that I’ve been able to extract. This class came at the right time for me, as I’ve been struggling with this question for as long as I can remember, and was even harped upon in my first, scared journal.

At the beginning of class, I wrote about some of my essential qualities. I appreciate my “adequate sense of humor, ability to retort/defend myself (strong-willed), also able to listen and truly ponder another person’s ideas (open-minded), dedication to loved ones (friends or family), passion for education and women’s rights. Each and every one of these concepts help define how I feel and what I value (Journal 2).” Funnily enough, as aforementioned, I had no clue that this was precisely how I felt about myself. This was due to the suppression of self in order to please the expectations I have for myself. From this journal, I can trace back to my three core values that relate to the readings done for Practicum.

My rock is my family. While this may seem cheesy, it’s something that I can’t go a day without. Although Gregor Samsa also had a deep love for his family, they did not return the favor, leading him to his own demise. I share a similar essence, or essential quality, that Gregor does, without the toxicity of manipulation. In my house, we thank each other, always say I love you, apologize when we’re wrong, make time each day/week to communicate in a healthy manner, and value each other’s sacrifices. Mutual respect of family also ties back to my free-spirited, open-minded aspect of myself. These ideals were inflicted upon me by my parents and their sense of self, as well.

My siblings and I grew up with a strong sense of “home,” and learned to truly understand the importance of our own family of five, but our extended police family as well. Mark, my father, made it very clear that I could always trust in my love for family and reading to find solitude and sanctity in my own mind. This concept of having an essence lead me to understand why I value my family’s opinions (as they are solely to support me), and helps heighten what I equate as my “grounding qualities.”

Growing up, when I became stressed or confused, I always turned my attention to my bed. Not to just cuddle up and drift away, but to indulge in another world of literature. Though, by the time that I hit my senior year, I was still scared about what I would do when I got to college. Careful consideration and my love of speaking and writing/english brought me to my major.

My ache to learn is also fueled by the misconception that “an old dog can’t learn new tricks.” After growing up with parents that put such value into schooling, this ideal of static after a certain point of learning doesn’t seem valid. The “Role Theory – It’s Never too Late to Change” article spoke of a middle-aged man that was content in being the lowest person in his dojo, and learning about MMA fighting. College exemplifies this concept by portraying the idea to students that “you will not be the smartest person in the classroom.” While intimidating, this is when true growth occurs. Just like practicing sprints with someone that is much faster than you, learning with individuals that challenge your knowledge and ways of thinking are the best sources to increase intellect.

This prevents hitting a tableau of “this is as smart as I’m ever going to get, because I’m the most knowledgeable scholar in the room.” With my upbringings, acting conceited or rejecting someone’s opinion after first thought is not acceptable. In relation to my learning styles and my personality, the article stood exactly with my opinions on real life. Nobody should go into a conversation or classroom not expecting to take something, whether that is a new perspective or completely refurbished stance on an argument.

Carrying over to my last point, my outspokenness and refusal to accept defeat ties into the passion I aim towards the feminism movement. In the “A Lefthanded Commencement Address,” a beautiful point was raised. “What if I said what I hope for you is first, if — only if — you want kids, I hope you have them. Not hordes of them. A couple, enough. I hope they’re beautiful. I hope you and they have enough to eat, and a place to be warm and clean in, and friends, and work you like doing.” Each woman, and man, have different hopes and aspirations. Some aspire to be dependent upon themselves and have economic success, while others hope to devote their life to their lord, and others want to be a stay at home dad.

Feminism is about respecting the rights, choices, actions, and giving equal opportunities to women. In correlation with this idea, individuality or understanding what “self” means does not only include personal reflection. But, the strength in a heart to know that if everyone was a clone, life would be a monotonous, catastrophic waste of time. We all inhabit this planet, and must support our fellow creatures learn to love themselves, and further, love one another.

Overall, Honors Practicum helped me harp on, realize, and find truths in my core values. This course pushed me in ways that, at the time, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to succeed, understand, or take something from. It was overwhelming to have all of these philosophical explanations and interpretations on my plate, but in the long run, it didn’t need to be. I was able to track my feelings over the course of the semester, then go through multiple reflectionary periods, in order to come to the realization that my identity matters to me, respectively. But, in order to make a difference with this information, I must appreciate the fact that people are at different stages of comprehension or acceptance with their identity. Everyone deserves to put this amount of time and reflection into themselves, in order to emulate a loving and peaceful world of compassion towards each person’s values, even if they don’t reflect our own.


Beginner Glam Makeup Tutorial

After watching hours of YouTube makeup tutorials, it’s easy to gain a false sense of confidence. However, who said that makeup has to be so hard? As an impatient woman, I have created an easy makeup tutorial with products that have proven foolproof. The 25 minutes dedicated to this look will last all day, with no loss of pigmentation!

  1. Clean off the face using soap and water or a makeup wipe. While this isn’t the most fun step, it’s crucial in ensuring that the makeup that will sit on that mug all day will look fresh, and importantly adhere.
  2. Next, grab a wet (beauty) sponge, brush, or fingers to paint on liquid concealer. For my face, I typically use L’Oreal Paris’ True Match in the color “Soft Ivory.” Quickly dab a thin, even layer over the entire face, eyelids included. Make sure not to just stop at the jawline, but to also cover some, or all, of the neck too. (This ensures that the makeup looks natural and cohesive).
  3. After the layer seems to have fully dried, grab powdered foundation and a trusty brush. Rimmel London’s Stay Matte formula is by far the best powder I have used for oily skin. It has a “shine control” aspect to it that not only reduces faux highlights, but also makes sure that the oil around the nose and cheekbones doesn’t seep through to the surface of the makeup.
  4. Once the foundation has been set, it’s truly up to the “artist,” I use that term very lightly, to decide what aspect to indulge in first (lips or eyes). Personally, I go for the brows, then work myself down to the lips as the grand finale. (If you’re a rebel and want to go from the bottom up, feel free to work your way backwards from step 9.)
  5. In the NYC Individual Eyes 938 Union Square pallet, go for the second color, which is a breathtaking, sparkly brown. Use an eyeshadow brush, or a finger, to lightly draw within the shape of the brow. (Most people use brow pencils or fancy pomades to get their eyebrows on fleek. However, that is time consuming, requires skill at drawing an eyebrow and is expensive-ish.) With that in mind, one should not attempt to overdraw their eyebrow or people may question why there is eyeshadow far above the eyelid…Before moving on, make sure that your eyebrows aren’t so dark that they make you look like our poor friend, here. 
  6. Now, for the eyelids. Smear the third color, the light brown, all over the eyelid. For the crease, use the same color as we did for the eyebrows, the enchanting brown. Throw some of the fourth color, pale nude, in the corner of the eyelid and directly under the eyebrows for emphasis. Check in the mirror to make sure that it looks…OH GOD. Make sure to use the eyeshadow brush to lightly mix the colors together so it doesn’t look like a three year old with her mom’s makeup.
  7. Pull at the far corner of the eye, creating a squint, and wipe on an Amy Winehouse style eyeliner line.Revlon Colorstay Skinny Liquid Liner creates a smooth and non-crunchy black line that has wings that could cut a man. No really. In order to get that crucial winged line, start at the middle of the corner of the eye, and angle the line towards the edge of the eyebrow. Hopefully, this will create a semi-symmetrical line on both sides. If one wing looks like a perfect angle and the other swoops, don’t fret…That’s what makeup remover and a q-tip is best used for. Just wipe off the worser of the two and try again. 
  8. Mascara, mascara. An easy, yet understated ally. Cake the top and bottom lashes with some Maybelline Lash Sensational and call it a day. Drop the jaw and trust that you won’t squint at the wand or smear black makeup all over your freshly painted mug.
  9. Now, for my absolute favorite part, lipstick! This year, while binge-watching YouTubers Rhett and Link, I discovered the best lipstick formula in the market. Maybelline SuperStay 24 Hour Lipcolor truly lives up to its name. On one end of the contraption, there is a lipgloss that goes on first. (Keep in mind that this stuff is serious business and will stain the face, so be extremely careful not to overdraw too much…Even makeup remover can’t save you from a fresh coat of this stuff.) The gloss dries matte, so the lips will feel a bit mucky and strange at first. Flip over the device and proceed to use the color-sealing chapstick that will make the lips feel a bit more smooth. For a bubblegum pink look that doesn’t stand out too much, the color “Blush On,” does the trick.

No blush, no contour, no highlighter, no nonsense. That’s for a more advanced beauty guru that actually practices their makeup for fun.

BONUS ROUND: Instead of falling asleep at my mirror, I like to watch Bo Burnham’s comedy show or watch drag queens do stand up. That makes the whole process seem much less dreary, and keeps me interested in not looking like a train wreck.

Here is the final look!