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Art of action

Your soul cares about you. Listen to it. Follow Your Passions.

ACTION EXPRESSES PRIORITIES
— GHANDI

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN: My STORY

 

My love for risk and adventure developed at a time before I knew the person I am today, but explored my current ideologies of my own character. For those who know part of my story, they know the rambunctious and stubbornly curious tomboy I was; with my zip off grass-stained cargo pants, short mushroom cut, and plain colored t’s or terrible looking bowling shirts. After a decent chunk of years between playing neighborhood street games, climbing through Beverly's Prince Street woods that seemed like an endless forest, and developing my competitive edge as the only girl on the baseball team, I slowly but surely transitioned into the next stages of my life.

 

I cherish those years just as much as I cherish my present because just like then, I was discovering my identity, just as I was discovering another part of my soul and mind with my journey throughout Europe, starting in Barcelona, Spain. Middle school social cues and my older Sisters concern for my fashion had a contribution to the transition from boisterous Nat to Abercrombie & Fitch/Aeropostale Nat (a time nobody is proud of). Although I reshaped my style, my adventurous side persistently remained.

From the age of six, my family and I would pack up our bags, fill the Pathfinder to the brim, and ship off down south to the bliss of the Outer Banks for two weeks. For my sister and I, road tripping meant full on turning the back seat into a fortress of comforters, sleeping bags, beanie babies, pillows, crumbs, laughing attacks and some bickering (lots of bickering). Over the years, the 18 hour rides became a routine that I looked forward to, because I knew what the end of the road lead to. My dad did all the driving, and somehow never used a GPS, no matter how many times my mom tried to buy one for him. He was a hand map kind of guy, did it the old fashioned style

He was stubborn like me, but we always felt safe with him behind the wheel. Even if there was nearly a hurricane and he couldn’t see 5 feet in front of him because of the torrential HAIL and we were on the middle of A BRIDGE. Anyway, for me, situations like that made me feel sensations of appealing thrill and enticing danger. There was always a sense of security when my dad was near by, even in actual dangerous circumstances; I knew that he would always protect us, which I know he still does somehow.

For my parents, this trip to the Outer Banks was their safe haven, it was their time of pure relaxation and a break from work, which I can understand now, but didn’t entirely comprehend at a younger age. Time is constant when you’re an adult. Growing up, there isn’t a true comprehension of the rapid speed it goes at.

Greg Shea was the ultimate vacation guru, I mean, he really knew how to relax and unwind to the highest degree possible. He would cook us his famous greasy burgers on the grill at sunset by the sound, but also somehow prepare the best cold cut sandwiches to date for beach days, we'd have our sandy Diet Cokes and dig our toes in the wet sand while searching for hermit crabs and shells. We’d bring the car over the dunes and spend morning until dusk laying in the sand, but most importantly, riding the waves. Sometimes, me and Aly would be complete prunes because we'd be in the water for 5 hours straight. It was the best. But my dad was a freakin’ housewife for godsake. He gardened, he cooked, he chatted with the neighbors about anything that was everything.  While he was the all mighty travel guide that found the beauty in everything, he was almost like a fun but protective older brother at times. He made sure we watched every sunset from the first brisk of the yellow dim, to the very last bit of orange left in the dusk sky. There was a child in him that never left, and I strive to retain that quality 20 years from now.

 

What I also didn’t realize so young, was that being together as a family was something my parents held closer to their heart than I could understand. No matter how many “Are we there yets’” and “I have to pee, honey can it wait, NO I HAVE TO PEE RIGHT NOW!!!’s”, and endless strange questions about the world, and my dads possibly true or possibly made up answers, I know now that their time off with us wasn’t about spending time away from reality and “real life,” it was about being in the moment of their present reality, with us.

I was only 16 years old when my Dad died. It was the worst pain I have ever felt in my entire life and I hope it is the last time I encounter those dark and painful emotions. The thing is, grief is not just a one time thing. I grieve for my dad everyday, but it is not always sadness that I feel. There are signs all over the place, maybe hes speaking to me, maybe its just a coincidence. The fact of the matter is, these crazy coincidences and dreams that I have just give me hope. And in my opinion, hope is the first step to being happy. It's all about the waves in this life. You simply cannot be persistently happy all of the time, if you are, tell me your remedy! 

Yes, people I know will pass away, that is simple the cycle of life, but to be so young and naive when my father left this world out of the blue, that's something no daughter or loved one should go through. I went through a true tragedy at a very young age, at an age in which I was aware of the realities of pain and suffering, where I thought AIM breakups were the end of the world, and my twitter icon was a testament to my popularity. I didn't quite know what it all meant.  I feel like the luckiest person on this planet, to have my mom, my sister, his brothers and sisters, all my cousins and my dads dearly loyal best friends. And most importantly, I have a guardian angel, whatever that might mean. To me, its being able to still hear my dads laughter, or take a walk with him when I rest my head to a pillow. 

My dad was a grade A business man working in Boston, and decided to follow his true dream of opening a restaurant in downtown Salem, 2 years before he passed away. He not only had a capacity for creative thinking, but he made things happen when he put his mind to it. Actions speak louder than words, as he would always say.

Within 4 months, he had opened one of the most popular Seafood restaurants in Salem, with a dog-friendly outdoor seating, a big red chair for tourists to snap pictures in, and most importantly, live music all weekend. Our most popular event was Sunday Funday performances with Chris Fitz and Steve Peabody. In fact, one night in July, the lead singer of Barenaked Ladies decided to hop on the mic with Chris and sang some covers and his popular song "The Apartment." Unknowingly, Moments like this intrigued me to learn more about the music industry.

His entrance into the Hospitality industry was also a motivation and trigger for me to apply to the Isenberg Hospitality and Tourism program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which I am about to graduate from come May (hopefully on time). We had to sell Seaport Cafe after he passed away, but the fact of the matter is, we were not doing well financially. I think my Dad was in love with the restaurant so much, he was blind to the reality of it possibly failing. I originally wanted to learn the right way to run a restaurant because I knew day-to-day functions, but I was always a dud with numbers. So i'm finally taking finance next semester, should be a blast.

I miss my pops every god damn day, but he always reminded me to reach towards my dreams no matter how far they may seem. Since I was a young tomboy, he always told me, "Natalie, always remember its important to be a leader, not a follower, no matter what you are doing in life." Today, I try to live by those words and make my dad proud. I think he's smiling with his laughing eyes wherever his soul may be. 

I live everyday with the notion that if my father was able to follow his dreams in his last years, then I think I can do it my starting now, with the rest of my life ahead of me. 

 I remember every aspect of my middle school to high school morning to night routines. I'd wake up, eat my cereal or toast that my mom prepared for me while I took my sweet ass time getting ready, watch an episode of Spongebob or Fairy Oddparents, walk to the bus feeling like I was beyond the wall in GOT, go to school, sit through those shitty classes and take your multiple choice and vocabulary tests, go to practice, do your homework, watch your TV show depending on the day of the week (Lost or 24 for our family), and then you do it all again; it happens in high school, you mold into this mundane routine and you don't realize that you are living sometimes. In high school you're expected to be this person, or you think you are somebody, but you're not QUITE sure. Everyone pretends. Everyone has their shit. After the dread of middle school, you start building truer friendships (kind of), your bonding with your team as the competition becomes stronger and you respect each others grit, you're involved in your school and community or at least act like it for your resume; time becomes more relevant in high school years. There are some classes that make you think outside of the box, but let me tell you they are few and far between.

You aren't able to become yourself really until you leave your hometown and what you're accustomed to. You can't know. You have to be put in a new setting and lifestyle in order to understand the extremities of life and how SMALL you are. Leaving the country is a whole other story, i'll get to that. 

Looking back on those years, I know that is where my adventurous side was able to meet the traveler within me. Up until 18 year old me, I had explored a good portion of the east coast and got a taste for the good people of the Midwest, but there was never really a groundbreaking trip that changed my course of action or mindset. I had been to Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, the Carolinas, Washington DC, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, and New Hampshire.

After my first year of college at UMass Amherst, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do, or what major “fit my character best.” I felt extremely pressured to fit this mold that I could barely picture. How am I supposed to know what I want to do with my life?? Was the question I kept asking myself, yet I didn't realize everyone else was facing the same struggle. It was like I was silently screaming for help and no one could hear me. 18 is young. For godsake, 20 is young. 50 IS YOUNG if you want it to be. Age is a number, just like the 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year that we follow so we know the difference between sunrise and sunset, and the names of our countries, states, and regions so we know how to travel to them. 

THE ROAD TRIP THAT CHANGED IT ALL:

BOSTON TO BONNAROO

I was entering my 2nd grade summer when the first roo occurred back in 2002. Artists like Jack Johnson, Norah Jones, and Phil Lesh and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead turned heads and wowed crowds at the first year of magic. Since my first Bonnaroo in 2014, following the completion of my freshmen year of college, I was able to see some of my favorite artists during the weekend of my 19th birthday. Every year, my best friends and I pack up the Toyota Highlander with all of the necessary Bonnaroovian gear, gadgets and mindsets and drive through the night for the best weekend of the year.
While the 12th of June happened to fall on a Thursday in 2014, this year it fell on the last day of the festival for my 21st birthday. Artists like Lord Huron, Charles Bradley & the Extraordinares, Death Cab For Cutie, Third Eye Blind, Ed Helms & the Bluegrass Situation, and most importantly Dead & Company (Grateful Dead, minus Jerry, plus John), closed out a beautiful weekend at Great Stage Park campgrounds.

From southern style homemade brisket in Nashville that made my mouth water to walmart gatherings in Manchester and the unbelievable food truck vendors at the festival, the experiences were plentiful.
The main sources of attractions were among that of the art around the farm, the atmosphere of it all, the artists who made the festival magical, and the Bonnaroovians who radiate positivity throughout.

Because everyone on the farm is a kid at heart that loves a good panoramic sunset view. Last year on my birthday, the only thing I asked my friends for was to ride the ferris wheel at sunset, which we did. While we were waiting in line, we noticed this fully bearded man dressed up in a wedding gown, twirling and dancing flamboyantly with a bouquet of flowers. Then two people in chicken and fox costumes came out of nowhere and joined him. When Robin Hood came out, crossbow, horse, and all, the camera crews started to roll in. We figured the Bonnaroo Staff was making a short film or video, until my friend Brian pointed out to me that Robin Hood was in fact Marcus Mumford. It turned out that Mumford & Sons was dressed up in costume filming their video for “The Wolf.” To this day, that was my favorite Bonnaroo memory, possibly life memory. Below is a link to their video.
( Watch in 1080 HD )

Mumford and Sons video for 'The Wolf' off of their hit album 'Wilder Mind'

I have a burning passion for taking photos of beautiful moments, but also recognize the art in seeing through my own lens.


I consistently have to remind myself how YOUNG I am. Although that is true, you can learn more than you can imagine in 2 years time. Now when I say “learn”, I don’t necessarily mean what I have read about in textbooks or a life changing lecture by a great professor, I mean the getting lost in the middle of nowhere, missing a train, losing your phone (again), meeting amazing people with beautiful stories and beautiful people with amazing stories–type of “learn.”  I went on a search for the meaning of life, and I came close to an answer, but I still have some searching to do. I have learned so much through my experiences but my perception of how to live a happy life come down to these facts.

THE 8 WONDERS OF HAPPINESS IN SOCIETY

Photo taken on flight to Santorini. Rainbow and a sunset? I was happy.

Photo taken on flight to Santorini. Rainbow and a sunset? I was happy.

 

1. If you have an undeniable burning passion for something. GO FUCKING DO IT. Don't worry about money, if you do what you love the money will come. (I mean get a serving, caddying, or nannying job so you can get by and not rely on your mom, obviously). But if you chase the money to start, you will hate yourself when you're stuck in a place you don't belong.

2. For me personally, I love taking photos of beautiful moments, playing sharing & listening to music, cooking yummy food for my mom, doodling and creating any form of art out of it (yes, food is art). I've also learned that it's important to recognize the art and beauty of life in seeing through your own lens (your eyeballs). So remember to put your phone down every now and then. Take a drive or trip and leave your cell at home, see the rewards you will face. It doesn't mean I don't love posting 100+ second snapchat stories, but theres beauty in the little things when you're not looking at life through a screen. 

3. Be true to yourself. Please. Its not worth being someone that you're not just to spite others or blend into some mold. If the people you surround yourself with don't appreciate what you're doing to try and achieve happiness, BYE!! You don't need negative people in your life, no matter how much of a "friend" you think they are. If they don't support you, it's not worth wasting your time trying to prove your worthiness to them. There are (8 billion people) in this world, i'm sure there are more than a handful out there that will support your goals. Be different. Do something unexpected. Surprise someone. Prove that bitch or asshole from highschool wrong with your accomplishments.

DON’T PROVE YOURSELF TO ANYONE BUT YOURSELF

4. Side note, success 30 years ago is different than success today. Everyone has that Uncle Whatshisname that will tell you theres no money in that and you should get "this job" through "such and such ways." We live in a day and age where the internet is your best friend. You want to start a clothing line? Give it a whack. You like taking pictures? Start a public blog and share way too much about your personal life (oops). You want to be a Musician? Press record and put that shit on Soundcloud. Things take time. Be patient. Keep going. The reward is greater than the climb, but the journey is also your ticket to happiness.

5. Whatever you want to do in this life, there is a way to make it happen, AND be successful. However, success can come quick if life hands you a good hand, and it may mask the big picture of it all. Don't forget to stay humble. No matter how talented you are, cockiness is ugly and contagious. So surround yourself with people who make you better, but know that affluence isn't everything. "Fame" is the same as "Popularity" in high school, its an illusion, don't fall into its demons. 

6. Take care of your Body, Mind and Soul. Stretch every now and then, do some yoga, ride your bike to work or class. Go kayaking at sunrise. Read a book. BREATHE. Tell your dog you love them. Eat some greens. Tip a street artist. You like someones outfit or accessory? Tell them!!! It might make their whole day for all you know.  

KNOWLEDGE IS THE ABSENCE OF DELUSION

7. And love as much as possible because this life is SHORT and BEAUTIFUL, and people deserve to be loved unconditionally. But don't forget to Love Yourself, as a knowledgeable Justin Bieber would say. 

MANTRA: SACRED HARMONOUS SOUND, SYLLABLE, WORD OR PHRASE BELIEVED TO HAVE SOME PSYCHOLOGICAL OR SPIRITUAL POWER

8. Lastly, but certainly not least, the whole is equal to the sum of its parts. This literally applies to anything and everything in life and the existence of human beings, nature etc. I became interested in Tibetan Buddhism after watching a documentary movie called "Hectars Search for Happiness." Watch it. When Buddhism was introduced to Tibet in the 7th century, it brought the ideals of peace and compassion. Over 200 years Buddhist monks began to print mantras and symbols on the flags as blessings to be sent out to the world with each breeze. One of the main epiphanic ideas that I got out of it was the concept that everything that exists in this world and in our bodies are entirely polar opposites in a way, but cannot exist without each other. Tibetan prayer flags are traditionally used to promote peace, wisdom, compassion, and strength. I'm sure some of you who might be reading this have heard of or seen prayer flags (picture below). 

This is my understanding of it. They encompass all of the essential colors (Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, White). Each color is representative of one of the five elements, Air, Water, Fire, Earth, Sky/Space. They simultaneously represent a feeling or emotion that the human body and mind experiences. Basically, what I have tried to live by is the undeniable fact that a person cannot exist in perpetual happiness, one must experience sadness, fear, anger, and love in order to achieve perfect harmony in their lives. The same goes for our planet, it cannot be sunny every single day of the year or there would be a drought, just as it cannot rain every single day of the year or it would flood our streets. Do you get where i'm going with this? Essentially, it is OKAY to be sad and feel anxious, it's simply human. But the thing to remember is to ride through the waves of life because EVERYTHING COMES FULL CIRCLE. I promise you. I hang prayer flags in my room as a reminder of these ideals. 

OM: REFERS TO ATMAN, OR THE SOUL AND SELF WITHIN, SPIRITUAL SYMBOL OF BRAHMAN
OM SYMBOL. Brahman is the ultimate reality, entirety of the universe, truth, supreme spirit, divine, cosmic principle, and the overall knowledge that there is a power greater than us as human beings.

OM SYMBOL. Brahman is the ultimate reality, entirety of the universe, truth, supreme spirit, divine, cosmic principle, and the overall knowledge that there is a power greater than us as human beings.

HEALTH AND HARMONY ARE BALANCED THROUGH THE 5 ELEMENTS
Prayer Flags in Nepal. Photo by Ano_Buddha, source: Pinterest.

Prayer Flags in Nepal. Photo by Ano_Buddha, source: Pinterest.

Happiness is when what you think, say, and feel are in perfect harmoney
— Ghandi

End of the Earth in Lagos Portugal. Aka the most southwest point in Europe. One of the coolest places i've been. I felt like I was in a mixture of the Limbo scene of Inception, Pirates of the Caribbean, King Kong, Jurassic Park, and a National Geographic documentary all at once. Its interesting to me that I link locations i've been to movies because what I have seen over time of other countries has strictly been through a screen. It's amazing to see these images in person, even if its not their exact filming location.

It also kind of looks like the Cliffs of Moher, in Ireland, from what I have seen of pictures, but I haven't been (yet).

The track below reminds me of this point in time that I was living through. 

LOCATION COORDINATES
[ˈsaɣɾɨʃ] : 37° 0′ 23″ N8° 56′ 21″ W

 

Thanks for reading. This is only the beginning :)

Passion Enthusiast, Lover of Good Music, Half Decent Photographer.

Art of Action.

 

 
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CHAPTER 3:

The Art of Networking,

Sharing, and Caring

We’ve heard it all before. Build your resume! Don’t be late! Make those business cards look professional! Join a club! Dress nice! They’ll respect you better. Have a firm handshake. Learn from your mistakes. Respect your elders. Look them in the eye. And these are all true, proper ways to succeed in the business world. Thanks Isenberg! But what “they” don’t tell you, is to empathize. No one teaches you how to understand how somebody feels. No one teaches you how to love somebody, and be there for them when shit hits the fan. No one teaches you how to deal with a crisis, or how to argue properly, unless you’re a political science major, shout out to John Hird, likely the best professor I’ve ever had at UMass Amherst, for a general education class “Controversies in Public Policy.”  

Everyone says its going to be tough, but it gets better. But no one tells you how to persevere, and HOW to get through the shit and the mud. Most great authors do,  but in our education system today, at least from my perspective of 9 year old me, I HATED reading, because it was a task, an order from an authoritative figure. Now, I love to read. And I love to write. But I still dislike authority and being told what to do. I can’t get enough of educating myself on the things that matter to me.  I learned how to write properly and with a concise, proper argument from my freshmen and junior year English teacher, Ms. Lincoln. She may have been strict, but she had a comedic side that most of us endeared. She understood every aspect of writing a perfect 5 paragraph essay, to a t. And I thoroughly enjoyed analyzing literature because of her, because she made it interesting, made me care about it. But when you’re young, reading and writing isn’t a priority because you want to play in the streets, play video games with your friends or by yourself, practice guitar and sing your heart out to Green Day, Blink, My Chemical Romance and dance in the mirror to The King of Pop, or cry in your pillow to The Boys of Backstreet and Britney before the head shave, eat a lot of ice cream until youre crying because your stomach hurts, play make believe with your Halloween costumes in March, analyze baseball cards, make fun of your elders, or nowadays play Pokemon Go. What I’m trying to get at here, is that as young pupils, we are taught by the people that surround us, and we either follow their footsteps or completely rebel. What our parents tell us, whether that is politics, economics, socio-cultural aspects or human interaction, it is all we know until we attend school. At school, we are given the formulated opinions of our teachers, showing us the basics of life and education through mathematics, social sciences, history, natural/biological sciences and physical education.

They are making sure we get good grades so we can do the same thing in high school, so we can go to a good proper college and get a stable, high paying job right after college, so that we can buy a house and support our family so that we can raise our children to do the same exact thing. I am not saying that these are bad things, but it sounds pretty fucking boring if you ask me. I don't know about you, but I strive to live a thrilling, adventurous, creative, and unique lifestyle, ditching the same exact mundane robot-like routine that so many people try to avoid but end up with. Apart from the Music and Arts departments, we are NOT taught to FOLLOW OUR PASSIONS. If a kid likes playing with action figures, have him read a science fiction novel and right his feelings about it! If a young girl is passionate about American Girl dolls, let her write a play about their interactions. If a kid is obsessed with rock & roll, have him write or draw an illustration of his favorite song or album, or attend a show with his parents and write about it. A kid loves sports, assign him to try and interview a high school or college player on how they got there. The first step to education is learning new ways to do things. If we continue to pressure youth to do everything the same way everyone else does, they will come out rebellious because it is in their human nature, it is in their skin and bones to follow their senses and emotions, but they are too innocent to understand that they are rebelling because of those reasons.

Recently, in the past year, I have met people from over 20 countries. In the past year, I have learned more about survival, happiness, embracing culture, and following my passions more than a lot of professors, teachers, and elders have taught me in my lifetime. And I am not discrediting those who have been my teachers and mentors, because I have learned so much about society and what we are expected to do. It took difficult, heartbreaking, liberating, insane and small world situations for me to really LEARN about myself, how I can achieve happiness, success, and overall, a healthy & sustainable life. 

I was very confused for the first month of my study abroad experience. I am an extremely open and outgoing person, but when I was placed in a new home with circumstances of strange situations and new people, rather than being my outgoing self, I turned into this cynical self-loathing introvert that I hadn’t experienced since I was 7-8 and 12-13 years old. I experienced the same feelings I felt when I was transitioning from my tom-boy self that people often frowned upon me for, into the strong, independent, but still self conscious high schooler I became. Right now, I feel like I am on top of the world because I know exactly who I am, and I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks about me, most of the time. I still have my shit days and bad weeks to bring be back down to earth. That doesn’t change the fact that roughly 6 months ago, I was experiencing an extremely painful and confusing inner struggle with my identity, what I represented, what my beliefs were and overall, who I wanted to be.

Something that I pride myself for, that I wasn't very good at a few years ago, is my ability to meet new people and respect their lifestyles and passions. And if I don’t believe in what they believe in, I at least try to listen to their side of the story and actually listen to what they are saying until I can’t anymore and walk away from the situation before it gets nasty (99% of Trump supporters). The thing with this whole election debacle is the utter fact that most of the people that support him are either 1) ignorant to the realities of his actions and uneducated on the matters 2) do not listen to the other side of the story 3) are racist, sexist bigots from places they have never left or 4) complete and utter stupid people with no empathy for our global climate and the human race, natural elements, and animals that it is made up of.

I was watching a video of the RNC of Eric Andre, who went to humorously show how terrifying some Republican Trump supporters are. It was a complete room full of name callers, angry republicans, and all of the descriptions I listed above. One of the speakers, quoted saying “Globalists are the enemy.” A globalist, by definition, is a person who advocates the interpretation or planning of economic and foreign policy in relation to events and developments throughout the world. Basically this man is saying that Globalists are the enemy because they care about the world? I DON'T EVEN GET IT!!!!??? This man, along with a cheerful crowd, truly believe that America is the only country that matters, we should not form relationships with any other countries, and climate change does not exist. That should honestly say it all for my argument on Trump supporters. They generate hate, anger, and pure dictatorial characteristics that I REFUSE to allow this country to succumb to.

Here's that video:

Not that any Trump supporters would even read my website, because frankly I think most of them don't even read (sorry not sorry). I didn’t want to get into the Trump argument, but I can either sit on my ass and bite my tongue or say how I feel to the people that think his presidential seat in the oval office is not only a national issue, but a GLOBAL PROBLEM, and likely the cause of the next World War. I don’t want bombs in my backyard, do you?

Okay, back to the topic. The title of this chapter, is “The Art Of Networking,” and some of you probably immediately think “LinkedIn,” which is natural and obvious. It is a wonderful way to connect with people based on your experience, resume and your future endeavors. However, there are forms of networking in this world that people don’t consider networking. For me, going to see a new band live at a bar is networking, because of the like-minded I will meet by jamming with them. Talking to someone at a coffeeshop or bar. Complimenting someones t-shirt because you like the band or brand that’s imprinted on it. Asking someone for directions. Helping someone with directions.  Joining in on a public transportation discussion. Meeting the people in your hostel room. There is so many ways to meet others and hear their stories, and most of the time, if you smile and are actually intrigued with what they are saying, a friendship or acquaintance will form. Maybe you exchange information, maybe you don’t, maybe you run into that person you met in Copenhagen 5 days later at Arc de Triumph in Barcelona at 3 in the morning while singing with Argentinians you just met. YOU REALLY NEVER KNOW. For me, I have had an abundance of overwhelming small world situations that make me step back for a second and really question this earth we live on and how these “coincidences” happen. I have come to a realization of how small the world is, but also how small or large it can make you feel. I don’t think I believe in coincidences anymore. I truly, truly believe that every single thing that happens in our independent paths, happen for a specific rational reason. It’s all about recognition of your everyday life. It s about being aware of your surroundings and taking note to the people you meet or the corner of the streets in that random city you once got lost in. Its about realizing that logo back home at a “random” location you were in at a “random” place in Berlin. Nothing is random. As Sigmund Freud once said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” Which I agree with, sometimes things are the way they are because that’s the way they are, and they often don’t have a greater meaning. But it is what the cigar means to you that matters.

There are a lot of amazing things that have happened to me simply because I show interest in other people, places and things around me. All you have to do is care. That’s it. You’re bad with names? Next time you meet someone, say it out loud twice, say it in your head, say "Great to meet you, _____" and maybe write it down, if you vibe with them. You’d be surprised how much someone respects you if you remember who they are. I am asking you, whoever you may be, reading my stories; tell your story. Ask that guy on the street how he got there, and if they’re a crazy schizophrenic maybe walk away, but if it’s a lost young woman, listen to her. Listen to the street music, analyze the street art. It all comes together in the end, and the least you could do for yourself, for the people around you and for this earth, is to listen, care, and share. 

CHAPTER 1:

THE ART OF LEARNING AND PRACTICING YOUR PASSIONS: Athleticism And MusiC

 

When I was 7 years old, my parents bought me a bright red Yamaha guitar that I was absolutely incapable of playing, so I would put on my massive behind-the-ear headphones, put Green Days’ ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ on blast, and hope and pray that I sounded just like Billy Joe Armstrong. I’m sure my family was fond of these ungodly sounds.

I took lessons when I was 9 or 10 in Downtown Beverly with a sweet looking twenty something. Like a lot of things I started as a kid, I slowly gave up because of expectation and fear. Along with karate, gymnastics, chorus, cheerleading, tennis, basketball and a couple other doozies. I stuck with the select few that I knew I was good at because I was less afraid of failure in those events.

Karate was weird as fuck, like we did a strange prayer before class, and I had to wear what felt like a cardboard bathrobe, at the YMCA I might add. I don’t know, I didn’t like the discipline of it all because just like back then, I hate being told what to do by a higher power of authority. Gymnastics was a kindergarten thing; probably what made me realize I was a tomboy because I hated being around the other 5 year old girls.  When I was 10, I tried tennis because my older cousin was playing for Boston College at the time and he was a role model figure, shout out to you Paul. He’s now having a baby girl with his beautiful wife Kim and I could not be more ecstatic for them. Tennis was a dud though. They told me I was too aggressive and was going to “kill somebody if I didn’t relax.” LOL.

Cheerleading was a huge self-confidence/discovery thing for me. I joined in 8th grade because it was what all the cool, pretty girls did. It was also the same year I was switching from baseball to softball, so maybe I was just trying to get in touch with my feminine side, who knows. It actually wasn’t terrible because I stopped judging it as an activity and recognized the athleticism in it, as I had to lift 100+ pound girls over my shoulder for 2 hours a day, but still; wasn’t for me.

I played Basketball for a little over 10 years. I loved playing until I got to high school. I wanted to try out for the hockey team, but my parents didn't think I could wake up in the morning (which is probably true), and it was an expensive sport to join in my sophomore year of high school, so I stuck with basketball. Basketball brought out an overly aggressive side of me I didn't like and I was quite frankly bullied my sophomore year on the team. I am not afraid to admit this because I overcame it and I admitted defeat and I ended up quitting because it took a toll on me emotionally. I would be called out for not sprinting fast enough at the end of a conjoined JV/Varsity practice, I'd get the cold shoulder a lot, yelled at for going on a family vacation. And I get it, competition is a part of being on a sports team, but there were limits crossed and I felt humiliated at times. And not a day goes by that I don't regret my decision. My biggest regret in life, is not playing ice hockey. 

When I was entering my freshmen year of high school, my Dad and sister really wanted me to try out for field hockey. At the time I was convinced I was going to be a D1 soccer goalie by the age of 18. But I let down my pride, and I ended up getting convinced into field hockey by most of my friends, and let me tell you, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I progressed rapidly in the sport. I was captain of my freshmen team and ended up making Varsity my Sophomore year. It was one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever felt. A feeling that was replicated and enhanced when I was named captain for my senior year, with my co-captain Nicole. Nicole is currently one of the best players in the country in my opinion, playing for the Junior USA team and D1 Louisville field hockey. She is hands down the most athletic person I have ever shared a field with, and she respects the game to the highest degree. I wouldn’t have been able to make it through those years without her as an inspiration and motivator. And here I am writing blog posts about my past :)

My whole team was my life, especially in the summers and fall. I made some of my best friends playing field hockey, Libby, Katie, Dre, Phoebe, Livvy. They are still mi amigas today and I love them to death. We worked so hard together, but we also struggled together. There is something about sprinting hundreds of yards in the pouring rain, tears coming down all your faces simultaneously while your coaches continue to blow that whistle, that makes you form an indescribable bond. One person I held to the highest regard in high school was my field hockey coach, Trish.  If you’re reading this, sorry to make you come off like a scary Hollywood movie coach. If anything, you’re my Denzel or Coach Brooks.

 

Pre game pep talk by Coach Brooks before gane with Russia 1980.

I’ll never forget Julie and Corinne (senior captains at the time) rehearsing the Miracle speech before every game. It was a beautiful tradition that never ceased to get me more pumped up than any Eminem song.

 

As a freshmen and sophomore, I have never been more intimidated by a human being. But as I grew up on the team, I realized there was a humoristic side to Coach that I truly admired. And year after year, she kept popping out cute babies, so she slowly got more lenient with the “TO-THE-HUNDOOOOS!!” and "take a laps'." Don’t get me wrong, it was still a complete full body sweat and pain-in-every-muscle-workout, every practice, but she had a softer side with two little munchkins. And now there’s a third!!! We all had so much fun together and those 4 years wearing a Beverly uniform are times I will never forget. Playing a sport like field hockey isn’t just about winning games and practicing until your legs are jello noodles. It’s about the determination, the grit, the bond with your team mates, eating your body weight in pasta after practice with the team; its about looking at your coach in the eye when she gives you the best advice you’ve ever heard with 3 minutes left in the game. It’s about uplifting the people around you when all hope feels lost. It’s about sharing the bliss and jubilation. It’s about being a family.

TONY’S FAVORITE PAST TIME: BASEBALL 

When I was 4 years old, I decided I wanted to play for the Boston Red Sox. I knew it. I would practice every day, prove the male gender wrong, win the World Series at Fenway Park, and get carried away by a team of jubilant girls and boys down Lansdowne St., carrying a big trophy with my name on it. Of course, that’s not my prerogative anymore, but I am working at Fenway Park now, which is a close second in my opinion. "For a girl” I was pretty damn decent at the sport. I started t-ball on the Pirates, with my mustard yellow Beverly Little League shirt and dirt stained grey pants. I loved putting that uniform on. From the day I had my first pictures at Lynch Park not really knowing how to hold a bat, to my last time playing baseball on the Beverly East 12 year old all-star team, and winning the championship. I bled orange and black from the time I was a youngster (my hometowns colors). Over the main course of my baseball career, I wore a royal blue jersey and a matching hat with a big red C on my cap. Being on the Cubs for both Major B and Major A (age difference leagues), were some of the best years of my life.  

I loved being the only girl on the team. It was a feeling you can’t really describe. It’s like, you know everyone respects you for doing it, but its even better when you know its because of your talent, not just being a girl. Being able to strike out almost every boy in the league with your fastball, and then seeing them in school the next day, its builds up a rare confidence, like "HA! Take that!" I loved pitching; getting up to the mound, rubbing dirt on the ball as if that made any difference to the rate it would cross the plate, and occasionally striking out the side. Even as a 10 year old, It takes courage to have all eyes on you like that, even if its just parents, coaches, your team mates and other kids your age. There’s something about playing baseball that gave me a belief in myself that stuck with me throughout my high school years as a part of athletic teams.

When the time came to switch to softball, I was bitter, but knew it was time to make the change if I wanted to be any good for the high school team. I will never forget my freshmen year tryouts. Coach Sudak was the big cheese and I forgot my god-damn sneakers. Somehow, I managed to borrow a pair from a generous senior (thank you, whoever you were). The next day I was so prepared!! I had my sneakers, I was motivated, things were great! The bell rang and I opened my locker, only to find that my softball bag was MIA. I panicked, called my mom sobbing. She came to the rescue and dropped it off in time for warm-ups. Thank you Cindy you are a freakin’ saint sometimes (all the time).

 

I am forgetful and irresponsible sometimes, as every human is, especially when it came to little things like that. But it takes a mistake or two, or three or four, to learn your lesson sometimes. I ended up making JV that year, and made some of my first older high school friends. I also got to play side by side with my sister Aly, which was a beautiful thing for my parents. Only had to drive to one field!! How nice of us.
 
My sophomore year, I made Varsity and I was STOKED out of my mind. My dad was so proud. I felt so cool, walking out of the locker room in my uniform before a game, unnecessary pre-wrap all over. I ended up playing 2nd base and DH in alteration with my future co-captain, Aimee, for the majority of the season. Aimee switched to 3rd for our junior year when Monica graduated, and she was great. I played 3rd in baseball and its tough being that close to the plate, it can be scary sometimes, which is why I’m glad she wore that big ol’ clunker of a face mask.
I couldn’t wait for junior year, to be able to play every game fully and be an upperclassman. The thing is, I always looked ahead to the future rather than being in the moment. Sophomore year was one of my best years as a softball player, and I’m sure glad it was. It was my dads last year watching me play softball, which he prided himself in so much. Me making a good play was him making a good play. I will never forget him being anti-social during my games and parking up behind Innocenti Field just so he could watch me, he didn’t want any distractions other than watching me swing the bat or dive for that ball. He knew if he went down to the field he woudn’t stop talking to everyone there.
Occasionally, he’d hobble down the field in his ugly tan crocks, button up Hawaiian shirt, and old Red Sox hat to shoot the shit with some old high school friends. He told me every single day how proud he was, and I’d tell him thanks and shut up. And he’d tell me he loved me and asked me what I wanted for dinner. I envy my 15 year old self. The things I would say to her, to say I love you just because you do, not because your parents did something for you.

I wouldn’t have been the slightest bit athletic without my parents genes. My pops friend Peter Dooling always used to joke about my dad getting “Most Athletic” for superlatives, pretending to be him and say it in a mocking, cocky tone “o0Oo0 well I won most athletic, sooo.” And it was always funny and we always laughed. But I do wish I could see the look on my dads face when I too, was given the same award at BHS. Not to mention, my mom is an amazing runner and did Boston College cross country for a semester! And has the craziest yoga stances I’ve ever seen! I didn’t get the running genes but I’m sure glad as hell Greg and Cindy are my kin.  

HOW MUSIC SAVED ME

I found my other old guitar in our storage unit last summer when I was collecting things to bring to my first apartment in Amherst, and I figured I’d give it another whack. There's something crazy about looking at a 10x10 room full of everything you've ever known to be "home." My good friend Sam is an extremely talented guitarist so I had him teach me a few things, just the basics. Sam is out in Seattle right now, living the dream, and I hope to make moves to the West Coast soon to see what that world is all about. 

I used playing music as a source of expression for myself during junior year in the fall, along with drawing, painting, writing and cooking. In my opinion, self expression is one of the most important things for a persons soul, especially through different forms of art. Nowadays, people think of “Art” as 5th grade art class, drawing a picture of a pile of fruit, or some rich guy staring at a splatter painting with a cloud over his head that says “Hm?” But that’s not what Art means to me.

Art is when you can fully express your inner self through an outer source. It is as simple as that. 

It is such a broad spectrum. Yes, Art can be painting, drawing, sculpting, doodling, making tie dye shirts, crafting, making freaking friendship bracelets, GIMP!!! whatever; But there are other alleyways of Art that people in society do not categorize as art, simply because it is not recognized for this classification.

 

Whether that outlet may be through music, exercise, cooking, writing, reading, killing flies in your room at 3 am, IT computer coding, app design, dancing, painting, WOWing (world of warcafting), juggling, Pokemon, Game of Thrones analyzing, drinking heavily in a backyard; really anything that calms your body and mind. Like I have mentioned in "MY STORY", I have been through some troubling experiences, and sometimes my emotions can get the best of me when I least expect it. Over the past year, I have used all forms of music, adventure through traveling, drawing, and most importantly, writing, as a form of healing and expression.

While I was abroad, I didn’t have the outlet of playing music because I didn’t have any instruments, which actually allowed me to discover a nifty idea through my Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation class. But the amount of music that was played through the metro and on the streets, it gave me enough leeway to keep going. 

My mother has been playing piano since she could basically walk, from the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio in Lakewood. Since I was young, she always said I had an aptitude for music. I took lessons in the basement of an old lady’s home in Essex every Tuesday at 4. It was a love/hate thing, and for many reasons that I couldn’t understand fully. When I played with my mom, I enjoyed it much more than being told a certain note to play. As she would play a couple notes chords of a song twice, I would repeat it after one or two tries, but then completely forget it within 10 minutes. It would frustrate me so much that I stopped playing.

What I didn’t realize then, was how important practice and repetition is in music, especially when you are just starting out. So this past winter, before I left for Spain, I started practicing almost everyday. It got to a point where I started writing my own songs, and couldn’t really get through a day without touching my fingers to the keys. My mom and I had a beautiful conversation one day, after I played her a song. 

We talked about the complete excursion you can feel when you lose yourself in music. When you play alone, it is completely for yourself because there is no fear of judgment from others. But once you feel comfortable enough to share with somebody, it can be an enriching and beautiful experience because you can share your happiness of playing with their happiness of being present and hearing it. For my mom and me, it has grown us so much closer to play music for each other, because we understand the reward of it, mentally and emotionally.

 

When I was in Versailles, France, just outside of Paris, Libby and I had just gone to the Palace of Versailles (all Gold EVERYTHING), and were completely mind blown by its beauty and magnificence. It was the weekend of my Dads anniversary, so I wasn’t feeling 100%, but I was still in good spirits given the location we were in. I had been thinking that morning how all I wanted to do was play music because it really helped me cope at times I wasn’t feeling myself. When we walked into the train station, the first thing I saw was this old cedar wood piano. You could tell it wasn’t in the best tune based on the yellow-ish tint of the keys. We had to wait 20 minutes or so for the next train, so I figured, why not. But after a couple kids gave their sporadic whack at the old thing, I walked over and brushed my finger along the top of the piano, just enough for dust to accumulate on my index finger.

 

I sat down, and I started to play.

 

It felt like my dad or some divine spirit or angel planted this piano for me, and whispered in the shadows, “have a day, kid!”

 

I don’t remember exactly what I was playing but I do remember the complete out of body feeling I had when I got lost in the music. I think I was playing for 5 or 6 minutes, I’m not sure. But after I stopped, Libby told me there was a crowd of people watching. It was just a beautiful feeling.

 

My mom always talked about her piano teacher and the way that she helped her learn. Of course in the beginning, it was all about the basic chords and notes, where the keys on the piano made certain sounds etc.. But as she grew older and could play full songs, her teacher told her to remember that it wasn’t about the chords that you play, rather how you play them.

I find this to be true not only in music, but in life itself. There is a scene from one of my favorite movies that I was watching for the 109th time the other day. Its called Across the Universe. The scene takes place at Thanksgiving dinner in a wealthy white family home in an Ivy League town.

A clip from "Across the Universe" featuring Thanksgiving with Jude and the Carrigans.

fast forward to 1:00 minute if you wanna cut to the chase

 

Maxwell (Joe Anderson): “Why isn’t the issue here, who I am?”
Shitty Uncle (Who Cares): “Because Maxwell, what you do defines who you are” 
Maxwell (Joe Anderson): “No Uncle Teddy, who you are defines what you do, right Jude?” 
Jude (Jim Sturgess): “Surely Its not what you do, but its the way that you do it”
 

If you haven’t seen or heard of the movie, it is somewhat short of a ballad-musical story, including most of the Beatles hit songs with a creative twist to it, while approaching settings of the 60s and 70s. Watch it. It ranges from the poverty of Liverpool, to progressive movements and marches against the war in Vietnam, to the Magical Mystery Tour Bus, and the overall power of love and music in America. It is just as true then as it is today. While we face different challenges of adversity, discrimination and the overall state of our nation, I had the basic but obvious realization after watching this movie. Love trumps hate. It is as simple as that. A country that comes together as one is much greater than one that diversifies itself.

Artwork I stumbled upon in a gallery in Nantucket, MA. I will go back for this when I have money and give it to my kid for his or her 8th birthday (the age I realized how much I really loved The Beatles).

Artwork I stumbled upon in a gallery in Nantucket, MA. I will go back for this when I have money and give it to my kid for his or her 8th birthday (the age I realized how much I really loved The Beatles).

 

To end part 1 of my first chapter, because its June 28th, 2016. Here is a list of 28 amazing Beatles songs, can't say favorite because this whole blog would be a list of their discography. This is my exact order of “Absolute Musical Genius” to “Yeah, They Really Are The Best Band of All Time”. 

A Day in the Life

In My Life

Blackbird

Sea Of Time, Sea Of Holes and Sea of Monsters

Let it Be

I Am The Walrus

All You Need is Love

Mean Mr. Mustard

All My Loving

Here Comes The Sun

Maxwells Silver Hammer

Something

Please Mister Postman

Twist And Shout

Sun King

I've Just Seen A Face

Hey Jude 

Octopus' Garden

When I’m 64

Yesterday 

Eleanor Rigby

I Saw Her Standing There

Magical Mystery Tour

Eight Days A Week

Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Strawberry Fields Forever

Dear Prudence

Oh! Darlin’

 

And here's a clip of the trippiest scene to ever be created in the musical world, of course being portrayed through a Beatles' movie tribute.

 

CHAPTER 2: 

The Art of Managing YOUR PERSPECTIVE and HUMILITY

The worst weeks always come around when youre most optimistic about the world and its horoscopes trail. 7 days, full of both uncontrollable situations of stress and anguish as well as joyful moments of clarity. It was all quite great and all quite terrible. There’s something about experiencing pure pain and pure happiness back and forth in the same week that makes you not only test your own humility, but also grasp multiple perspectives, of thyself and others that you surround yourself with. For me, I see two perspectives, which are: “why doesn’t everyone understand what I’m going through and give me a break?” and then there is the outer perspective, “why does this girl fuck up so much, and who does she think she is?” And I have a couple of answers to those questions. So keep reading if you've ever had a godawful hell week from the flames of the darkest hells.

Action reflects priority, Ghandi once said. However, there are complexities of controllable and uncontrollable aspects in life that come into play to make sure you’re still living. These shitty situations seem to occur when its already raining, and then a lightning bolt hits the ground in front of you, and then a tree hits your house, and then the sun magically appears and a rainbow illuminates the dark sky over the horizon of hope. Although these emotions, feelings and fears can come strong and hit fast, these striking urges of anger and pain and hurt, it only symbolizes the mere fact that you have the ability to FEEL. I have had times in my life where I am completely numb and don’t care about anything, or can’t even try to. It is a scary unforeseen place that I refuse to return to, I refuse to be a victim of depression or anxiety, but I understand the consequences of ignoring the necessity of sadness, fear, and anger.

 

“It feels like I’m drowning with nobody holding me down."

 

 This is extremely personal but I’ve already crossed that line a while back so I might as well help people understand that you’re not the only one and its going to be OKAY.

 

Yes, I have had my times of craziness and attention deficit, simply because I am thinking creatively. I have rode and crashed three different waves in the past 7 days. (This was written 2 weeks ago, this week has been fucking fantastic ironicly). Of which I devised a 10 year plan for a business I want to start, but also getting my car towed, bike stolen, heart torn and stomach angry. It has taken a toll on my well being and overall existence as a human being and woman. I have had moments of complete loneliness, panic and terror. I know how my father once felt, as I read a passage he wrote of the same terrible feelings of anxiety and fear that he felt, but I also experience the same clarity that he feels, of recognition of the little beautiful ordinary things. I am in all ways, shapes, and forms, my fathers daughter.

GEMINI:

Gemini is the third sign of the zodiac, and those born under this sign will be quick to tell you all about it. That's because they love to talk! It's not just idle chatter with these folks, either. The driving force behind a Gemini'sconversation is their mind. 

 

Gemini is a sign that runs from May 21st to June 20th. Geminis are Creative, artistic, Nice, Intellectual, Individualistic, Outgoing and Compassionate. On the other hand they can also be inconsistent, nervous, nosy and lazy at times.

URBAN DICTIONARY DEFINITION:

Gemini's Likes include: 
-Talking
-Writing
-Adventure
-Variety in life

Their Dislikes include: 
-Boring things
-Labor (such as school) 
-Repitition; being in a rut
-Conformity
-Strict People

I have learned humility over my times of grieving, fucking up, and looking on the bright side of life.

 

I would like to call myself a problem solver, one because I have a lot of problems in my life so I have been forced to deal with them. There are three important aspects of problem solving that are essential to survival. 1) Understand that there is not always an exact right answer to every conundrum and 2) there is always a solution or compromise to said problem but 3) never suffice or settle for an answer that your heart and soul doesn’t believe in.  In order to deal with the crappy uncontrollables in life, it is so important to remember that, “This too, shall pass.” It is okay, rather it is necessary to be upset and angry and sad and scared, it simply reiterates the fact that you have a heart, you have a mind, and most importantly, you have a soul. The connectivity of body, mind and soul is something that I am extremely passionate about. Some moments where I have struggled with my own humility include the following situations: apologizing, dwelling, and embarrassment. I often apologize for things I shouldn’t be apologizing for, or rather make the same mistake more than once, both of which reach the overall conclusion by the opposing perspective that these “I’m Sorrys” essentially mean nothing more than a “Oopsie Daysie, I don’t give a fuck.”  It’s like the boy who cried wolf.

 

 

Secondly, DO NOT DWELL. If you consume yourself with misfortunes of the past, it will destroy your present and future.

July 24, 2016

I love life today. I love the band I work with, the people I surround myself with, and I love myself (which is important and not selfish). You cannot love others unconditionally until you encompass your true self. In Brush Dance, a Yurok Indian healing ritual, it is believed that being true to yourself means giving your best to help a person in need. Being true to yourself is the one and only Yurak Indian Law.

A couple of wonderful things happened to me this week. I met well over 50 unbelievably talented musicians, dancers, artists and volunteers while working for Outside The Box Festival. Through this, where I was working with the stage manager of Tremont Tent, Matt Waltz, I was offered an internship with his company, oncampus.live. Later that night, I sang a duet (Valerie) with a Grammy nominated artist (not knowing he was a Grammy nominated artist), played piano on stage in front of a crowd, wrote and recorded my first song, was offered more than one job following graduation, got accepted to my dream post-grad experience at Kalu Yala in the Panama Jungle, and solidified my management position with THE WHISKEY TREATY ROADSHOW. It has been beautiful and so rewarding after the shit week I had.

 


B(EUROPEAN) TRAVELING: [BOSTON TO BARCELONA, BERLIN & BUDAPEST]

WORK IN PROGRESS