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Recently I decided it was time to create a place that I could be a bit more honest and authentic. Assuming people don't check websites unless you care, I thought this would be a wonderful place to chat with a community I care so deeply about. Instagram and social media become a place to paint versions of ourselves we want the rest of the world to see. Especially as photographers and artists, social media becomes a portfolio as opposed to an authentic experience.
Yet, underneath it all, underneath all of the words and photos, friends and likes, there are people who are quite similar to one another. So, this is my story, authentically. This website is a home of images, words, and people.
Curled up in my big sweaters and black coffee, welcoming the journey. xx
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One of the most common questions I get is how to maintain self-confidence in an era where everyone competes to be the best. Thanks to the social media peak, many of us are experiencing the feeling that the lives we live are mundane in comparison, or that we aren't doing enough, looking good enough, loving good enough. This then generates great insecurities within us, and can really effect our self-confidence levels. I struggle with this all the time, especially as someone who's a Pisces midheaven. (oh yes, we'll be referencing astrology here often). Self confidence can be a tricky subject, but as for maintaining it, it's truly constant work. Everyone is different, but here are a few ways I try to maintain a healthy sense of self-love and self-worth:
1. Instead of noticing all of the bad things, try to notice the good. Instead of pointing out what you're not good at, point out what you're really gifted at. Instead of looking at yourself in the mirror, pinching body fat, and wishing away "problem areas", literally wrap your arms around your body and say, "Thank you for helping me to be here, to learn, to exist. Thank you for healing me when I am sick. Thank you sealing shut my wounds. Thank you for the strength to walk, sit up, hear, see, touch."
2. Be kind to yourself! Sometimes, (especially you Virgos), we're really hard on ourselves. Sometimes we have internal dialogues shaming ourselves for not being good enough, not doing well enough, not being available enough. Sometimes we call ourselves names, and think ourselves into dark holes because of it, so much so that we begin to dislike ourselves. However, it's important to know that we're always doing the best we can. Instead, pat yourself on the back for trying. Say, "We'll try again next time". Be patient with yourself. The other day I did the meditation that's called Transformational Breathing. Long story short, it puts you in a trance like state, but you feel very awake and present. I shed some tears because of how hard I'd been on myself. Wrapped into the fetal position, my body vibrating with high-frequency energy, I felt like a child again - a little girl who was just trying her best. I apologized profoundly to myself for being so mean. I didn't stick up for myself, listen to myself or love myself the way I should have. I'm starting life from a different point of view as of a few days ago.
3. Do things for yourself. That's right. Go to breakfast by yourself. Hit the coffee shop solo. Meet with friends you haven't seen in a while. Make time for all of those things that bring you great joy. By striking a balance between relationships of all kinds, and independence, we're able to gain strength in ourselves.
4. Self Reflection time. A personal favorite, I am my best self when I can take a few nights a week to be alone, pondering the trials of the week. When we harbor angry thoughts, hurtful emotions, or feeling of self-hatred, we can easily stuff those into a deep dark closet, never to be touched. However, these emotions, thoughts, and feelings can all accumulate over time, leaving us with feelings of guilt, hostility, and internal pains. Having time to analyze these emotions, resurface them, and work through them ensures that you'll process them and release, making room for more beautiful things to enter. Alone time and self reflection also helps build an independent and confident demeanor, as you're quite sure of yourself after doing this for some time.
5. I am in control of my reality. Exactly as it sounds, you are in control of the way you view, react, communicate, and share. I have a serious issue in the communication department, especially when it comes to uncomfortable or sensitive topics. I just want everyone to always be happy! I've really had to work to get to where I am now, and even then, wow. But through daily reminders to honor yourself, your feelings, and your soul, these become easier. How you view the world is the type of world you'll receive.
This is a lot to process, and I'm sure I'm missing a few. I'm going to attach a few books for those who are interested. Some people learn by living, and people like me learn by seeking resonating words.
- Being in Love - Osho
- The Language of Positive Thinking - A Collection From Blue Mountain Arts
- The Invitation - Oriah
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Happy International Happiness Day!
Though every day should be a happy day, today is a day to truly appreciate. In the U.S., we aren't generally raised to think about what makes us happy. It's, "What are you doing?" or "Were you productive today?" , but making time for the moments and events that bring joy to our souls is so important. Many people don't make the time to incorporate these into their daily schedules, but I assure you, once you do... life changing. This International Happiness Day, I encourage you to write a list of the things that make you happy.
Here are a few of mine:
- Long road trips, windows down, music up
- Having coffee in my favorite sweater, reading a great book
- Editing images
- Raspberry lemonade
- Depthful conversations
- Hiking / Nature Walks
- Laughing really, really hard
- Christmas lights
- Cozy environments
- Music that touches my soul
- Starry skies
- Talks with the person you love
- Shooting this Pendleton Campaign with Tiffany and photographer Kristian Irey
Make a list of a few things that make you happy, and then share it in honor of International Happiness Day
Photographer: Kristian Irey
Model: Tiffany Sade
Location: Oregon Coast
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Yesterday I watched a documentary on Netflix called The Mask You Live In. I was completely blown away by how much I related to the topic. The Mask You Live In is a look into American culture, and the way our views and expectations of men and masculinity end up damaging young men, and frankly the rest of society. If you know me, then you know that I am all about emotions, psychology, and the self. I've watched many times as young men around me, in my family, etc, have been told not to act like a girl. to stop being a baby. to stop crying. to be a man. These phrases are harsh on the psychology of men, and can be seen throughout American culture. Anyways, I won't give it away, but it's worth the watch.
On another note, (and yet the same), emotions are incredibly fundamental in our growth as humans, individuals, and a society. In a primarily masculine dominated world, the feminine is given little attention, and is actually expected to stay hidden. Talking about our emotions is taboo and inappropriate. Unfortunately, the distance we've put between talking about our emotions and everything else is really hurtful. Everyone deserves to express their emotions. Everyone deserves to be listened to. Because we're human... because we feel... because this is the distinctive factor that separates us from the rest of the life on this planet.
I am so drawn to people who are emotionally honest, because this has become such a rarity in our culture. @ryanmuirhead took this picture of me a few years back. I met Ryan probably five-ish years ago? The first time I met him, we sat down for coffee at Albina Press on Mississippi in Portland, Oregon, next to the window. The first thing he asked me was why I'd written some of the things I'd written. He pulled up screenshots of my Instagram... particularly the ones that had really touched him. I then spent the next two hours with a complete stranger, talking about feelings, relationships, emotions. I was impressed. He had skipped the bullshit. He had skipped the introduction. He didn't know anything about me and he didn't care, because as emotional people, we felt each other. & sometimes, that's enough.
Bottling our emotions can be damaging, harmful, and hurtful. It can stunt our growth, make us resentful, angry, and bitter. When we feel that we are alone or that we have nobody to talk to, it can make us feel incredibly lonely. Loneliness is one of the deepest and most difficult feelings there is. We feel that perhaps nobody cares. We feel that we don't matter. We feel that our emotions are not valid. That things are our fault. We feel that we must live up to a certain standard in order to be listened to. Therefore, many of us adapt masculinity as a way to deal. Masculinity is the protective barrier around femininity sometimes. I know it has been for me. At my best, I cry... a lot. At my best, I am vulnerable. At my best, I am expressive. At my best, I am honest. I know I've added a shell when I begin to hold in my emotions, which has proven to be extremely hurtful to myself, and to those around me.
We need to start fostering a caring culture. A culture that listens to the aches, pains, passions, and joys of others. A culture that embraces femininity and all of its strength. A culture that is there for one another. A culture that asks, "How are you feeling?" as opposed to, "So, what do you do?" Our self worth is not measured in how productive we were today. Our self worth is not measured in how much money we have. Our self worth is not measured in the designer brands. Our self worth is not measured in the amount of friends we have. Our self worth is not measured by the people we've slept with, and how many. Our self worth is not measured by our looks. People need to start talking about how we feel. Not how to solve it. Not how to fix it. Let's just discuss it. Let's talk about. Let's be open about the way we have emotions. & let's acknowledge that that's okay! Let's stop teaching men that they have to be tough. Let's stop teaching men that they can't cry. Let's stop teaching men that only real men play sports. Let's stop teaching men that women are objects, lesser than, and disposable. Let's stop teaching each other that because we were born with certain chromosomes, we must adapt a very narrow minded view of gender-identification. Stop teaching men that success is lots of sex, lots of money, and lots of power. Stop teaching women that in order to be real women, they have to be a "boss".
Within the universe, masculinity and femininity are yin and yang - the perfect balance between two opposites.
Emotions are beautiful. They are how we process, understand, and relate. I encourage you to ask someone how they feel today. xx
Photo: Ryan Muirhead
Location: Portland, Oregon
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Nestled in the jungles of Mexico lies a single road that cuts directly through the ropes and vines of jigsaw trees and branches. Nestled even further into that jungle lies La Valise, a luxury boutique hotel painted with the colors of the most awe-inspiring sunsets. With earthy colors, bohemian decor and fabrics, La Valise has been one of my favorite stays to date. While I was there, I romped around in my Island Tribe attire to match the scenery like a glove. When you're wrapped in the breezes of the ocean, and sun-kissed minute-by-minute, something light is the only way to live. Thankfully, Island Tribe clothed me, without feeling clothed. If you follow my Instagram, then you know this is a big deal!
La Valise offers textures unlike any other. Light leaks dance their way through the cracks in fabrics and twigs, making each moment unique and peaceful. Though the hotel is located directly in the heart of Tulum, the resort itself sits on the edge of the sea, giving visitors a tranquil experience unlike all others. The communal area in the center of La Valise made us feel as though we had rented out the entire area! As for the foodies out there, the kitchen at La Valise offers delicious food, ranging from avocado toasts (amazing), mouthwatering french toasts, freshly squeezed juices, and coffee you'll want all. day. long.
When it came time for us to leave, the staff at La Valise was wonderful in helping us arrange transportation, as well as an exceptionally early breakfast. There wasn't a single moment where we felt neglected. The La Valise staff will feel like family by the end of the week.
La Valise offers an artistic aesthetic that will inspire your core.
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N A T I O N A L M E N T A L H E A L T H A W A R E N E S S M O N T H
It's National Mental Health Awareness Month is May! Mental and emotional health are such passions of mine, which is why I decided it would be good to make a small five minute video explaining my journey and how mental and emotional health in my life has had it's ups and downs. Here are a few things I like to do to clear my mind:
- Go on a drive and listen to really beautiful music (must roll the windows down!)
- Hike in nature
- Grab dinner with a friend I haven't seen in ages and catch up
- Talk about passions and beliefs and lessons learned with people I love
- Journel daily
- Get lost in a book
- Go somewhere where I feel a sense of smallness (or looking up at the stars)
What do you do to help clear your mind? xx
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I’ve been considering my purpose here and my life path moving forward. How can I be sure that I’m moving myself in the right direction? How can I be sure that I’m listening to my soul purpose?
When I overlook my life and who I am, I see a passionate, young craving and the old soul wisdoms and values. I see a healer. I see honesty and vulnerability as a way to transform. Art is the healing: the Band-Aid. & Underneath is all, is the ability to be honest and sharing.
So, when I ask myself what I’m here for... I’m here to share. To heal. To connect. & in giving and receiving, love, money, and time, we will make this world better.
There are so many times I need to check in with myself to remember who I am and why I’m here. What jobs make me feel alive, while still earning me a living, and which are not interesting at all. I think as young people, it’s common to have this repetitive question every year. Here’s what gives me some guidance:
1.) Think back to what you were like a child:
What did you connect to? What came naturally to you? More often than not, we end up incorporating our childhood-selves into our adult life. Childhood was the purity before we ended up on social media, copying each other’s styles and losing originality.
2.) Look to Astrology:
In astrology, there’s something called the North Node. The North Node and South Nodes represent opposite points. The North Node, esoterically, represents the skills in this life to embrace, while the South Node represents a look into your previous lives. The South Node gives you insights into traits you may hold onto in this life, that are no longer serving, and ultimately hold you back.
Go to www.alabe.com and type in your birth information. It will ask for name, date, and time. (Time is incredibly important, as the entire chart can change)
At the bottom of the descriptions, there will be something that says N. Node. Once you have your North Node, go to google and simply type that placement in. Happy reading!
3.) Look to Numerology
In numerology, it’s all about the frequencies of numbers. Using the frequency of your particular birthdate, you can find your life path number. The life path number represents the common and consistent energy within this life. Numbers range 1-9, and master numbers 11 and 22. Life path is exactly what it sounds like. As an example, I am a life path 9. A life path 9 is considered the last life, as it comes with some of the most difficult challenges such as forgiveness and a selfless soul contribution to humanity.
To find your numerology life path number, it’s very easy. You add each number of your birthdate to a total.
Example: March 29, 1992
March is the 3rd month = 3
Born on day 29th – 2+9 = 11 -- 1+1 = 2
Born year 1992 – 1+9+9+2 = 21 -- 2+1 = 3
3 + 11 +3 = 17
1+7 = 8
A March 29, 1992 birthday individual has a life path number of 8.
4.) Look to Psychology:
Psychology has a handful of different approaches, but one of my favorites is the Myers-Briggs, 16 Personalities Test. The personality type depends on how a person answers a handful of questions (honestly). It breaks each personality type into categories such as relationships, career, family, etc.
I am an INFP, which translates to (I) Introverted, (N) Intuition, (F) Feeling, (P) and Perception. Reading the website has been accurate to a handful of people I’ve recommended it to, but don’t be afraid to take your personality type and head to google for more information!
Tarot is not for everyone; so don’t be afraid to skip this section if you’re not feeling it. I don’t necessarily recommend going to see a tarot card reader, but I do have my own deck. (It’s a Chakra deck, so it’s great for pinpointing when a specific chakra of mine is out of whack.) A tarot deck is perfect for days I’m feeling lost, unbalanced, or in need of answers. The way it works, for me, is that nothing happens by chance and the universe, or God, speaks to us when we call. Here’s an example of this past week:
I’m currently trying to understand my purpose here. I recognize that in order to be here, money is necessary. However, it’s quite difficult for me to incorporate money into my work, as I prefer to simply give it away. Yet, I am not getting any younger and also need security for the future. Naturally, I pull out my tarot deck. The first reading, my dearfriend Plants does for me. The three cards are:
- Memories of Love
- Movement, Choices, Decisions
- Material & Financial Change
Then, this morning, I needed some clarity on the same topic. Again, I pulled three cards:
- Crown Chakra
Now, regardless of how familiar you are with Tarot, I think you can see a trend in the two separate card readings. Each deck has about 70 cards, so pulling money twice is interesting; especially when it’s the topic I’m concerned about. To further the similarities, memories of love is a common writing theme for me. As a whole, these two readings are hinting at making money doing what I love, and living through my highest self. By following my heart,and sharing, money flows. Doing it from the best place? Money flows.
Again, tarot isn’t for everyone, but helpful nonetheless. In any case, it may just help as a self-reflection tool.
Being in your 20s and trying to figure out what’s going on, who you are, and how to pay your bills is normal. I forget, sometimes, how young I really am. By looking to astrology, numerology, psychology, and tarot, I am reminded of my path. If you’re confused on life, maybe some of these methods will work for you too.
I’d love to know if you gained any great insights. DM me on Instagram if yes! @meganmccluer
I’ll also open up my Instagram “Ask Me A Question” option for any questions.
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