I am a lover, a hopeless romantic, an idealist, optimist, bleeding heart, empath-- these adjectives are my gifts but also a curse. I often times can see beyond what someone's actions or words may reveal. I see their light. This image deepens as I grow closer to people. Many may think because I basically am incapable of a substance-less conversation that I am on this level with many--the truth is I do go deep, I challenge others to talk about what they don't want to talk about. I want to explore who they are, learn from their pain and suffering, their gifts, help people see things from a different perspective. Going deep in this way allows for growth, it is where we build strength. How easy it is to drive to work everyday, get pissed off in traffic, stare at a ticking clock until we can turn off our minds in front of a pixelated box? What's really difficult is to look inward.
Some people have told me they love being around me because I make them feel good, light, and loved (some people have also told me quite the opposite). I think this is because when we meet people with authenticity we create a space for them to do the same. I try and make people feel as though this light that I see is attainable. I see the light in people and I try to show it to them. I see beauty in them they may have never known existed..
The problem is that this light is not necessarily a reality. There is always a gap. The space between this light and their current place in their journey. It is this gap that kills me. This gap eats away at me. I see where people are--and where they could be. Are we ever "there?" I am not sure, I am far from it myself. I know it exists and everyday I work to close this gap, that is the beauty in our personal journeys. It is the people who have this beautiful light and literally do no work to uncover it that I can't help but allow to hurt me.
I have hope where maybe others wouldn't. I talk to homeless people, I talk to crazy drunk women at the bar who tell me their life story, I talk to mentally ill on the train uncovering their delusions and I exist within their reality to bring them comfort, I listen to friends complaints when they wouldn't give me the time of day or answer the phone when I need it, I do favors while mine are left unattended-- Where do we draw the line? When am I dishonoring myself, my time, my life? I am in the constant practice of letting go. I cannot live in a space of flux but am simultaneously living chaotically.
To all the givers in the world give as much as you can but do not give away your foundation, because our hearts are huge, they have so much to give but foundation is a lot more work to rebuild. Give to those who honor your gifts and want nothing but to return them with their whole heart.
People can only meet you at their capacity, not at your expectation. So myself, and all the givers in this world must learn to let go of potential and accept reality or we will destroy ourselves. It is beautiful that we can see the light in others but we cannot pour ourselves into this potential when we have not taken a second to see the reality. Often this person is not at a point in their journey where they are ready to do the work, or even know how.
It is this difference of showing people the way and trying to drag them there. Have I known this for years? Yes, do I still allow myself to fall into this trap? We all want to believe that we are different, that we will be the amazing person that saves whoever it is. No one can save anyone, they can only support someone else to do this work themselves. The person needs to be ready and willing..
With that I put out the intention of allowing myself to let go before I have reached this point. As I get older the time it takes for me to realize this becomes shorter and shorter, someday I will learn to walk down a different street altogether. I hope all the other givers out there do as well. The world needs us, we must stop destroying ourselves and preserve our energy for those who are ready to receive it.
Be loudly, relentlessly yourself. Do not let anyone tame your fire, it is that light that burns within us that keeps us alive and makes us who we are.
I can be found waking up to the sound of my alarm immediately bursting with energy even before I begin my caffeine consumption for the day, making breakfast to the unwavering sound of my own voice singing all the wrong words to any song that comes to mind.
Driving to work my coffee in an open-faced mug likely spilling it all over my typically unkempt vehicle to the deafening sounds of what could be anything from Metallica, gangster rap (yes gangster), or chill yoga beats. The open-faced mug because I have undoubtedly misplaced what I claim as my favorite trivial possession (an amazingly well-insulated travel mug) at about 100 miles an hour unsafely passing folks leisurely on the left and right.
Arriving just on time only to welcome all those that cross my path with a giant smile and kind loving heart even if for whatever reason I am having an awful day.
More recently spending the entire day bursting with years of pent up energy of all that I have researched and experienced in my life related to the social injustices of the world--and brainstorming ways that I can make the world a better place and mobilize others to do so too.
Spending my afternoons sweating profusely in whatever varying way I decide. At the gym lifting weights--the way my favorite uncle taught me with a discipline that I have finally committed to, gliding across the water on a paddleboard, walking on a string in between two trees in a forced meditation, moving my body in sync with my breath in my yoga practice, listening to the dance of energy between myself and my partner in acro yoga, salsa dancing sometimes to the beat of the music if I can find my rhythm, hiking or exploring with my camera and capturing a frozen moment in time that I view to be beautiful.
Talking to just about everyone I can throughout the day in whatever medium because I am a social being and I thrive on social interactions and sharing all that I believe to be a part of myself and laying it out on the table for anyone to see and for anyone to either accept or deny.
Leaving what I like to call Danielle's trail of breadcrumbs which happen to be all of the small things that I forget wherever I happen to go. I guess I like to leave a little piece of myself behind for others to experience, both physically and mentally--we all leave our mark in different ways.
Listening to others with a bleeding heart and allowing others to see my bleeding heart because I cry and laugh not only for myself but for the pain and joy that exists in this world.
Sarcastically making fun of just about everyone no matter what their title because I am a human being and you are a human being and I see no borders or boundaries between us.
I embrace my femininity and gentleness because I am a sensitive being and my heart goes out in all directions, but I also have a fire that is not tameable--I am outspoken-- you will never wonder how I feel because I will tell you straight out. Not everyone can handle my fire. I have scared many a man away.
I may be kind and gentle but don't cross me because once i have been pushed over the edge there is no turning back, I don't take any shit. I am a force to be reckoned with, all 5 feet nothing of my Italian body holding my bold spirit.
This is me. Take it or leave it. Defriend me, unfollow me, tell me I am crazy, break up with me, or love me, share my thoughts and support me along this journey we are on together called life. Either way I am open. I am an open book because I believe if we keep all of the beauty we have to offer inside ourselves-- I see it as a selfish act. If we hold back from letting our inner world be seen we are doing ourselves and others a disservice.
So this is me--unapologetic-- sharing who I am with the world unfiltered and raw. Take it or leave it.
So i invite you to share yourself, your true self--unapologetic, unfiltered, and raw.
(By the way-- point of this photo is no make-up)
Why I love photography-- and no I do not mean an instagrammed picture of your food, a selfie that makes your tits look good, or your dolled up duck face--I mean real photography.. I don't mean to say every photo we take needs to involve tripods, shutter speeds, ghosting, or other photographic techniques--but I mean photos with intention--with depth.
I mean photos that jump off the page or maybe it would be more accurate to say photos that jump of the screen at this point. Photos should evoke emotion. They should transport you to that moment frozen in time.
When I take photos--they are for me. I snap a shot when I am in a place or a moment and I think to myself--"if this isn't nice what is?" (kudos to Kurt Vonnegut to this way of thinking or phrase) I take photos when I want to freeze that emotion--that experience. I want to freeze that moment and bring it with me wherever I go. I want to add it to my archive of life and allow it to live inside of me. I want to grow from that moment, allow it to become a part of me as I do with each experience, each person that crosses my path.
Of course if someone can benefit from looking at that photo, if they can imagine that moment, that experience and it brings them happiness-- well that's beautiful.
So often I am surrounded by people, chaos, moving parts, impending to- do lists, I forget to give myself space. Photography allows us to pause. To reside in space; silence--it is in that space that we often find who we are-- in those quiet moments. What comes into your mind when you allow for silence?
Well today I sat, I drove, I chatted and laughed with a good friend, I felt the ocean breeze-- its' slightly thicker texture as it carried the ocean spray sporadically onto my skin, I felt the cramping of my hand as I transcribed these thoughts- the old fashioned way. Heart drifting all the way out my hand--pen to paper, across the page in a beautifully raw and messy scrawl.
It is days like this where I believe I am truly present with my life-- no sense escaped me. No sight went unnoticed, no feeling passed me by. It does not mean that it is all pleasant or that these days can only happen when we are at our best. In fact usually these days happen when we are in our worst moments. Mindfulness and reflection forces its' way in like a storm. It floods our senses and ignites something within us that brings us to the now.
So today I sit. I sit with myself and I smile. I truly love this beautiful mess that is me.
.A few weeks back I did something that maybe many people may think I do--but in reality have never done--and that is escape. Usually when I travel I am in a state of wholeness. I travel for the sake of exploration, curiosity, spontaneity, freedom, whatever the reason--it has never been escape.
Returning from a trip I begin unpacking my bags, cleaning my room, getting ready for work. After each experience, each outing, each place I have explored, I allow space for reflection. For the endeavor to become a part of me. Some may call me an empath--emotional-- whatever the name for it -- I let it all in. I let all experiences flow through me and am in the constant practice of acceptance and letting go.
I allow space for vulnerability. Despite the hurt in my life as I am sure each one of us has gone through we cannot close our doors to vulnerability. It is the only thing that allows us to fully experience each moment. Nothing is safe. Our emotions, our body, our material posessions-- it is all impermanent. We are not invincible--if we wish to live each moment fully we must give it all of ourselves even if we know it can be broken. In that moment of surrender we can feel freedom.
Then there is society's paradox. Many condemn us empaths of exhibiting weakness. Quite the contrary, it takes bravery to wear your heart on your sleeve, to face the shadows that lie within yourself. To uncover truth in a sea of betrayal, facades, and dishonesty.
So many take all that they are and keep it for themselves--well that is selfish. When we keep everything inside we do not share it with those around us and when we do not share we prevent others from being touched by who we are. If the goal is intimacy we must give all of ourselves in each moment.
We try to control everything around us. Weaving in and out of traffic as though we all haven't seen Office Space knowing all well how that ends... further behind or exactly where we started. Okay, maybe part of it is the Boston we can't get out of our veins but that doesn't make it any less stressful or any less futile. We do nothing but piss off everyone around us and bubble up with anger that builds up within ourselves.
Maybe we are not exactly where we want to be in life-- we did not settle down as quick as all our friends, we are single watching everyone around us get married, we are married with kids and wish we traveled and enjoyed life more, we are stuck in a job that does not ignite that fiery passion within ourselves. Whatever the cause of discontent, we try desperately to control all aspects of all our external world. We ignore the most important piece--our attitude about where we are.
We are exactly where we need to be. Wherever it is that you are it is exactly where you need to be to have had the experiences and learned the lessons that have made you who you are.
Instead of trying to swim against the current and create an unnecessary struggle, why don't we flow with the natural processes that our perfect universe has set up for us. When we surrender and let go of struggle and surrender to the moment that is when we can find peace and freedom. There is a difference between being apathetic and going with the flow.
Of course I can bring this back to surfing. When we try to control or conquer the wave we wipe out. When we listen to where the wave is going and put forth effort and energy to work with it, we can ride the wave beautifully.
Be where you are. Surrender to this moment, to this life.
Waking up knowing I am going to surf, a feeling overcomes my body-- in my gut. I feel a slight sinking feeling, not the kind of feeling like when you find out someone has betrayed you, or that something bad has just happened, but that feeling of fear and anticipation that you are about to do something that simultaneously scares you, thrills you, and brings you to your happy place, whatever, wherever that may be. Well for me its the ocean. I am most scared of it because I see in it characteristics that I most admire about myself as well as what most terrifies me.
"To be left alone on the tightrope of youthful unknowing is to experience the excruciating beauty of full freedom and the threat of eternal indecision. Few, if any, survive their teens. Most surrender to the vague but murderous pressure of adult conformity. It becomes easier to die and avoid conflict than to maintain a constant battle with the superior forces of maturity."