author blogPaige VanZant is the she-hero I never knew I needed in my life.

Let me start off by saying that I know I’ve only been posting [and tweeting] about my creative writing ventures lately.  Right now, however, I want to talk about the other half of my life: Mixed Martial Arts (known, for short, as MMA).

I’m still in the early[ish] stages of my training, of course.  But, that doesn’t mean MMA isn’t a huge part of my life.  In fact, when I’m not writing, eating, sleeping, showering, or driving, I’m at the gym training with my coach or on my own.

That’s why, today, instead of blogging about poetry, fiction, or my own personal angst, I want to talk about the hero[ine] I discovered fighting at the very top of the MMA universe: Paige VanZant. (more…)

Isn’t it intriguing how the word “humanity” is used to describe virtue, and yet, human beings are notorious for ultimately destroying just about everything we touch? 

Exhibit A: Mother Earth.

Exhibit B: Each other.

There’s no denying it — human beings are curious creatures.  For a species which perpetually glorifies goodness, we tend to do an awful lot of crooked things.  Still, the question remains: are human beings plagued by evil, or are we actually the plague in ourselves?   (more…)

modelingIt’s pretty insane finding photos of yourself from just a year ago and thinking about how different everything is now.  Everything really can change in a year.

For background, please hear me when I say that 2016 was a terrible year for me — I spent most of it in a difficult relationship, horrified by the weight I’d gained by using eating to deal with my depression, and pressuring myself into law school.  However, in the final weeks of that dreadful year, I made the choice to take control of my life — I left that relationship, began my weight loss and fitness journey, and started to become who I’d always wanted to be. (more…)

MMATo be completely honest, autumn has become a bit of a tough time for me. It was always one of my favorite times of year, especially as a teenager. It included Halloween, for one — I’ve always been head-over-heels for fantasy, dress-up, and makeup. When I reached high school and made real friends for the first time, it also meant fun things like football games, pumpkin carving, mall trips, meals at cozy diners, haunted houses, trick-or-treating, driving around town, and other great stuff with my friends. In early college, I had just as much fun exploring museums, theaters, restaurants, shops, lounges, and other venues with my new friends and sorority sisters. I also got to have a great time dressing up and going out for Halloween. (more…)

This blog post originates from a Twitter rant I posted earlier on today.


jeans
A post weight-loss photo.

The best thing I ever for myself did was take control of my life back in late 2016. I finally lost my weight (I put on 40 pounds during a rather dark period of my life), cleaned up my eating, escaped law school (even after having the blessed opportunity of interning in a Los Angeles law firm, I still had to admit that the legal profession wasn’t for me), worked a creative internship in NYC last fall (I actually started two others internships, but had to quit for personal reasons), started my MMA training, focused on my writing, got a big ol’ tattoo, took the GRE, applied for M.A./M.F.A. programs, and more.

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King Tut Cafe and Hookah was my home away from home.

I used to live down the street from this place when I still went to Arizona State University (2012-2014); stepping into that lounge at the end of a long day was always comforting and thrilling.  Anyone who knew me at the time knew exactly where to find me after hours: King Tut Cafe and Hookah.

I’d show up there every evening with a book, some homework, and my laptop. I was always inspired to do something brilliant when I was there, whether that was schoolwork, writing, or simply thinking.

King Tut’s was magical.

arizona state university
Outside King Tut’s on Halloween 2014

Sometimes, my friends would even come to meet me there.  Many of them didn’t smoke hookah [and back then, I smoked too much hookah], but we’d talk and laugh late into the school night, go there for refuge at the end of a long evening of festivities, or conclude a day of community service or shopping by plopping into one of their homely booths.

It was a place of inspiration, friendship, comfort, youth, and love for me.  When I left Arizona State University a few years early (I transferred to another school), I also bid King Tut’s goodbye with an aching heart. (more…)

mental health awarenessRemember my good old semicolon tattoo I got back in July 2015?

Well, it’s gone.

Don’t worry, you guys — it’s not like I’m not aware that I’m still mentally ill.  I didn’t wake up yesterday morning and imagine that part of me away or anything.

It’ll probably always be there with me [because science, and also, poetic metaphor?], and it’ll always play some type of a role in who I am and who I end up becoming.

However, my game plan is to ensure that I always find a way for this painful [and honestly irritating] affliction of mine to contribute my self-betterment.

I mean, why shouldn’t it?  It’s turned me into someone who fights my butt off every single day of my life — battling my inner demons has become as natural to me as breathing.  That totally sucks in retrospect, but someday, I’m going to be so freaking strong for it!

I’d consider that a silver lining if I wasn’t such a rose gold loving lady myself. #RoseGoldTrash

But anyways — yes, I’m still proud of myself for pushing forward and always being my own knight in shining armor.  Just because that semicolon is now [very skillfully] covered up (still, shoutout to New Breed Tattoos for giving me the splendid semicolon tattoo that stayed with me for three insane years of my life — my cover-up had everything to do with me craving a different, non-semicolon tattoo, and absolutely nothing to do with the high quality of your guys’ absolutely amazing work), doesn’t mean it’ll ever truly be erased from my person.

It’s still there [even if it’s buried under a ridiculous amount of ink].  It’ll always be there.

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This piece was written on July 1, 2015, immediately after having my “semicolon” tattoo done; it was published on this website on July 16, 2018.

I remember writing down several ways by which to kill myself when I was only fourteen years old. Included on the list was slashing open my arms until they were bleeding beyond repair, drowning myself, and jumping from a place of extremely high elevation so that I had no chance of survival. The more painful the option, the more appealing it felt for me. I was so hopeless that I wanted to feel every bit of pain within me before I left this Earth forever.
semicolon tattoo

When I first found out that I had bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, my first instinct was to hide it from everyone except for a few select people. I felt embarrassed about my mood swings, my depression, and my suicidal thoughts. I despised the way I could go from feeling the best I had ever felt to feeling like I had no will to live in just minutes. (more…)

So, I kind of did a funny thing a few weeks back.  But for me to explain it to you (you probably won’t find it that funny, to be honest), I need to provide some light background.

fashion blogI traveled to India with the following game plan – hang out in New Delhi and its surrounding areas for a few days, spend a weekend in Mumbai with the extended family, and return to New Delhi for another week.

Here’s what actually happened – I hung out in New Delhi and its surrounding areas for a few days, spent a weekend in Mumbai with the extended family, and then didn’t actually leave to go back to New Delhi.

Yeah, I know. That’s a wild story. (more…)