01 Story: What’s the best story you heard this month?
A sort of second mother to me moved to Houston just before I started college. She was seeing a new man and starting a new chapter in her life. She gave away many of her things, including her piano, before her move. I lived with her that year before college and I would play on the piano and serenade the house often. Sometimes she would ask me to play Carole King and we’d sing songs from my "Tapestry” songbook. I gave her the songbook before she moved. I was sad to see her part ways with that piano. Two years ago she moved back to Austin, the new relationship over along with that chapter of her life. Two weeks ago she texted me a photo of her piano with this caption: “So I’m ready to teach my first dance class today when the director says, 'We got a piano in the other studio now, go check it out.' What do you think it means when your very own piano 14 years later finds its way back under your fingers?”
02 Nature: An encounter with the natural world
I recently had several flower arrangements on hand in case I needed to fill some counter space during a photoshoot. At the end of shooting I kept all of them. They’re beautiful and I love the absurd amount of space they take up on my kitchen table.
03 Art Experience: An encounter with art (in any form)
I ended up on the dead end of Trinity near Waller Creek in Austin with my partner one Saturday and we were immediately drawn to the new Ai Wei Wei sculpture. We skipped around it and marveled and I held my phone up to photograph him in front of it. I realized then that the artist predicted our silly, tourist-y behavior and used it in a delightful way. The 3D structure, formerly a tall archway of repeating bicycle frames, was suddenly a motion blur, a riderless wall hurtling towards us at full speed.
04 Change: a meaningful change that impacts the way you live (either that you initiated or that entered from outside)
I recently discovered cupping and I’ve made it a weekly thing. I’ve been doing it for almost a month but the purple full moons it makes on my back really scare my partner. His hilarious reactions and looking like my main form of transport is attaching my back to a giant squid tentacle is worth the benefits.
05 New Idea: a new way of looking at things or something to attempt in the future
I survived a very painful domestic trauma several years ago and the concept of physical and mental freedom has been a very intangible thing for me since then. I recently experienced freedom as a physical feeling in my body for the first time since the event. I’m learning to cultivate the feeling so I can continue to recreate it. It’s hard to pinpoint, but the more [this freedom] happens, the more I feel confident it will happen again.
06 Object (new): a new object that held significance
A new iPad. My partner and I decided to treat ourselves after several months of debating the move. We were hesitant at first. We couldn’t see how it would fit in with our comfortably dysfunctional (read: outdated) family of Apple appliances but it quickly become a shared source of fun and relaxation.
07 Object (old): an old object that took on new/different kind of meaning
A really old bottle of tea tree oil - I’ve finally learned how to use it correctly. (I’ve been using it wrong for so long!)
08 Discard: Something you decided to rid from your life (or that you are particularly happy this month to see come to an end)
“You don’t look Mexican” is a common response I hear when people discover that I’m Mexican-American. I generally let it slide or move on from the comment with a passive “yep” or a falsely reassuring, “I know,” but I'm coming up with new responses. I think people should know how silly they sound.
09 Gratitude: something you have been specifically thankful for this month
I’m grateful for my Mexican heritage, my French heritage, my Scottish heritage, and my Texas roots. I’m grateful for diversity within my family, among my friends, and throughout the world.
010 Proportion: a specific moment that reminded you of the scale of the universe; that you are part of a greater whole.
When Carmen Yulin Cruz announced she would be flying every flag in Puerto Rico at half mast out of respect for the 59 people killed and the 500+ injured in Las Vegas...even after our President ignored her plea to help the people in PR that are dying of starvation and lack of water from hurricane devastation, instead spending a week accusing her of poor leadership. The reservoir of selflessness and compassion this woman has for others is awe-inspiring. I aspire to be that big.