I want the you that God knows,
not the you the world sees. I want the wake up at 3 am, drive to the beach to watch the sunrise
and talk about our heart’s desires.
I want the sit on the kitchen floor,
eating brownies out of the pan
and laughing until our bellies ache.
I want the broken moments,
a roll over in the middle of the night
to hold onto safety after a nightmare.
I want the decision making coversations
about our futures.
I want the hold each other close
in the middle of a park
as our walls crumble down around us.
In a world filled with masks,
filters, and instant gratification,
I want the time spent slowing our worlds down
looking in each other’s eyes
and discovering each other daily.
I want the imperfectly perfect.
I want the push to chase our dreams
and never lose sight of what makes us unique.
I want the travel the world
and make memories on hotel balconies.
I want the you and me
against the world mentality.
Most of all
I want the future.
Day in and day out
with you by my side.
I want the you that God knows,
not the you the world sees.
everything you’ve ever wanted everything you’ve been praying for is standing right in front of you. you see,
her smile and her beautiful green eyes they don’t just shine for anyone. the heart she gives freely doesn’t love absently but abundantly. you want freedom, room to spread your wings and fly she’ll give you that. you want honesty, simplicity, a partner who will fight along side you instead of against you?
that’s her. she doesn’t play games. she works hard, hustles, puts forth effort in every area of her life. she has no time for jealousy, or wasted energy,
because when she gives herself,
it’s all of her.
Don’t try to push her away,
or fear that it’s too real to be true,
because what is standing in front of you
is the greatest thing to ever happen to you.
the gentle caress of her hand,
the softness in her voice,
the strength behind her actions,
it’s all real,
and she is a once in a lifetime kind of love.
don’t let her go.
That’s all I hear
But never beautiful
Whispered in my ear
You say “DAMN, that ass!”
My heart and my soul
Are none to be grasped
A piece if art
A prize to be had
Unravel my being
You will gaze upon heaven
As my booty is golden
But my heart is a diamond
Today I sit in my cozy office, safe from the outside elements. I hear my coworkers and I remark how cold it is, even inside. Then I feel guilty, probably a guilt I don’t need to feel, but one that is sitting upon my heart nonetheless. It’s the middle of March and California’s rainy season is in full force. We may not have it as bad as the East Coast right now, but desert temperatures fluctuate drastically throughout the day, leaving one’s body in shock. How privileged I am to be able to neutralize those affects with warmth and protection inside 4 walls and a roof.
The small nip I feel from the cold as I walk from the door to my car is nothing compared to what our homeless men and women feel every minute of every day. They may be lucky enough to receive temporary shelter, but only 1 out of every 4 homeless people are currently in shelters. In Los Angeles that is a staggering number considering we have an estimated 57,794 homeless people in Los Angeles County. This is according to the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority. That’s 57,794 sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, and children who are freezing on our streets any given day. When temperatures get this low, adding rain to that, some people don’t make it through the night; shivering all night long until their body succumbs to the cold. In most parts of California there are winter shelters, but they are only open from December 1st to March 31st. With both the cold winters and sweltering summers we need shelters that are open year round.
Not only do we need shelters that are open year round, but we need more shelters for homeless women. According to the 2017 census, women make up 31% of the homeless population. Majority of these women face sexual assault and are being forced into prostitution by gang members. What’s hard is that 34% of the homeless population are homeless because of lifetime experience with domestic/intimate partner violence. These women are leaving abusive relationships, ending up on the streets, and are finding themselves back in abusive circumstances. It’s a cycle that needs to end, but how?
The movement #shedoes is focused on pushing to get shelter for these women. A few weeks ago I joined them for a prayer circle in Downtown LA outside the Mayor’s prayer breakfast. Although Mayor Garcetti didn’t show up we had the opportunity to pray with some of the local pastors for the safety and protection of these women. The goal of #shedoes is to get 1,000 homeless women off the streets and into shelters by August. I am still in the beginning stages of getting involved with #shedoes and learning about the homeless problem in LA. This is not something that can be swept under the rug because homelessness is on the rise. We should fight to change the stigma around homelessness and to change the circumstances they fall into. You can learn more about this organization through #shedoes on Facebook or the #shedoes webpage. As I continue to learn more and become more involved with the #shedoes movement I will keep you informed.
Happy Hump Day everyone! Last night I was feeling rather insightful about myself and I got to thinking about what my year ahead looks like and everything I want to accomplish. As I’ve mentioned before I want to focus this year on becoming healthier all around, but after Monday night’s dance class I spent yesterday thinking about what’s on my plate this year and whether or not where I am currently sitting is going to allow me to be successful. The current items I have on my plate are a pole video shoot, my roommates wedding, a trip to Costa Rica and another pole show. I know not much will change for the first 2 items because both of those are within a month, but the last two items are 4-8 months from now. When I go to Costa Rica I will be eating vegetarian/vegan for 6 days. I was joking with my friends the other day that I’m going to miss processed food, but lets be real here, it will be best thing for me. So I want to focus the next 4 months on cutting out the processed food I currently eat so it’s not a drastic shift for me. Cutting out processed food will make my body feel better and I’ll be able to fuel it properly to build strength. Having a stronger and healthier body is going to make my pole performance in October even better than what I did this past December.
There are many positives to eating healthier and cutting out processed foods, but I can’t just go cold turkey. I’ve decided that I’m going to take one thing at a time, and for the next 4 weeks I am going to cut pop out of my diet. This is probably going to be the hardest hurdle to get over for me. I have an addiction to pop and I drink it every day for breakfast (I successfully had water for breakfast today, woohoo!). Often times I can drink it up to 3 times in a day, but I have cut back on that. I had gotten away from drinking pop for a while, but when I started going out dancing every night it became my source of caffeine. I don’t drink coffee or tea, so I resorted to the sugary, carbonated beverage. It’s obviously not healthy for me and it has contributed to my weight gain. So for the next 28 days I am going to see what not drinking pop does for my body. Below are my current weight and measurements as of 5:45 am this morning. It’s a bit embarrassing, but one thing I’ve learned is not to be embarrassed by where you are in life. This is exactly where I need to be and I am making the changes to lead an even greater life. Here’s to making small changes that will last a lifetime!
Weight: 188.8 lbs Right Calf: 14 ½” Right Thigh: 26 ⅛” Hips: 46 ¼” Waist: 37 ¾” Chest: 37 ⅞” Right Forearm: 9 ⅞” Right Bicep: 13 ½” Neck: 14 ½”
I am about to be really vulnerable with you. Really, really, really vulnerable, and I am not going to hold anything back in this post. If you are here to judge me or laugh at me you can move along, this post is not for you. Otherwise I welcome you and I hope that you find yourself inspired by my words.
As I sit here in my living room writing this a million things are running through my head. I’m not quite sure where to start with this topic. Do I start where my journey started five years ago, or do I start where I am today? A lot can be said, and will be said, but I think I will start where I was sitting a year ago. In January of 2017 I felt both emotionally and physically drained. I had just returned from a mini vacation where I ended a relationship with a man I loved, my mom was finishing up chemo therapy and I was returning to a stressful season at my job. All of these things were mentally draining to me and my physical appearance reflected all of it. Upon returning from this vacation I weighed in at the most I have ever weighed. I don’t have an exact number, but a month prior I had weighed in at two hundred and five pounds. That was a blow to my spirit. How did I get here? How did I allow myself to gain over seventy pounds in three years? Now that I got that scary, vulnerable moment out of the way I think I can finally breathe again. Thinking back over the last several years I know what happened, and really at the end of the day there is no excuse for allowing myself to get to that point, but I think it’s time to start from the beginning now. On December 3rd, 2012 I was finally fed up with being overweight and decided to try a weight loss program that promised fast results in a short amount of time. I will say it worked, and within two months I had lost fifteen pounds. Feeling unstoppable I decided to get a personal trainer and began working out with him three times a week. In a year I dropped sixty-five pounds and gained a new found love for anything fitness related. I started Spartan racing, running 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, and I even decided to go back to school to get my CPT certification.
Now don’t get me wrong I loved how much weight I had lost and how fit I had become, but I knew deep down inside that what I was doing was not the healthiest and that it couldn’t be maintained forever. I was eating eight hundred calories a day, ninety percent of it being soy products, and I was working out twice a day. Along with my workouts I had developed an unhealthy relationship with my trainer. We had crossed over from a professional relationship to a brotherly/sisterly type of relationship, which left a door open for a lot of negative things to be said. I am an overly confident woman, but during this time of being at my lowest weight I was obsessed with every ounce on the scale. Partially because my trainer made me weigh in every time I worked out to make sure I lost weight, and if I hadn’t I would be put through a more rigorous workout, but also because every time I looked in the mirror I would see areas of fat that weren’t there.
Around August of 2014 I decided that I needed to end the program I was on. All of the soy that I was eating was starting to mess with my digestive system and caused a lot of acne. I also needed to stop spending money on a personal trainer and get away from the unhealthy relationship we had developed. I still had a month of sessions left with him so I slowed down my weekly trainings with him and told him I was going to go and pursue my own fitness degree. At the start of 2014 I had joined my brother and his school friends and professor for a Spartan race. Everyone I met in that group was in the fitness program at school and I made the choice to join them in their education. For the next two semesters I took two classes under Jeff and learned everything I could about fitness and personal training. In the fall of 2015 I received my CPT.
I thought that for sure I would be able to stay on track with maintaining my weight because I was surrounded by like minded individuals and I was going to school for exercise science. Where I made my mistake though was I started partying. Around the same time that I started school I also began latin dancing. One night I went out for my birthday, met a guy, and kept going back every Tuesday. Every week that I went back I started to fall more in love with the dance style and I realized that one of the biggest things missing from my life was dancing. As time went on I slowly started to go out five or six times a week. The problem with this was that all of the dance lessons were at bars with the socials following after. I would get off work, go dancing from six thirty to two in the morning, come home and have sex with the guy I was with and sleep for three hours. Then I’d get up the next day and repeat this. I had no time to meal prep or work out. Instead I would eat fast food three times a day and then go out to the bars and drink, not heavily, but I’d still drink. None of this was conducive to a healthy lifestyle.
Slowly I packed on the pounds. At first I noticed it and told myself that I could change this and that my going out was only going to last a little while longer. I’d say that next week I would start waking up at four thirty in the morning and get my runs in. I wasn’t going to let myself get back to where I used to be, but gaining a little bit wouldn’t kill me. I was having fun after all. Two years went by and the next thing I know I weighed the most I have ever weighed in my life. I was never a partier in high school or college, so I was thoroughly enjoying my time going out and dancing, but in the spring of 2016 I started to feel drained. I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I ate like crap, I was in an unhealthy relationship, and my mom was just diagnosed with cancer. Something needed to change. I slowly started to leave the dance scene. I missed my friends, but I could no longer go out and party. I also wanted to spend more time at home with my family.
Heading into the fall of 2016 I was only going out dancing to celebrate my friends’ birthdays. I had finally left the party scene and I was starting to get back into fitness and meal prepping. Then work happened. Earlier in the year we had gotten a new VP and our department was split down the middle between finance and accounting. A lot of training had been going on over the last couple of months, but nothing was as bad as the season we were about to head into. From August to the end of October we go through our budget season at work. We had a pretty good system going over the past few years, but our new VP wanted things done differently and wanted us to dive more into the detail. This left us working eighty hour work weeks, including weekends, and not really having any type of home life. We were all exhausted, doing everything we could to get from one day to the next. On top of that one of our team members was not coming into work, so we were left picking up her slack. By the time I got home the last thing I thought about were my workouts or making my meals for the next day. Instead I would crawl into bed knowing that I’d only be getting five to six hours of sleep before it all started again.
As things started to slow down I decided to pick up boxing as a form of working out. That only lasted a couple of weeks because as soon as our budget season was over the coworker who wasn’t showing up to work decided to quit altogether. This meant our team was down one member heading into the rest of the year. My only saving grace was that I got a promotion out of her leaving. Every year our work gives us a gift week off between Christmas and New Years. For that break I decided to go out and visit the man I loved in Colorado. My time there was great, but before I left I knew that I loved him more than he loved me and so I ended things. Thus bringing us back around to where my story started, January 2017.
As the year of 2017 started I knew that things needed to change in my life. I needed to focus on getting healthy both emotionally and physically, so I spent the last year doing just that. I slowly distanced myself from unhealthy people, cutting back on eating unhealthy foods, and I started working out again. In February I found a group of girls who were filled with positivity, growth, and love. Pole dancing was a safe place for me to escape when I needed to and it was also the place to help me rediscover just who I was. I can proudly say that even during my rough times I was confident and strong enough to not lose who I was deep down inside, but I did fail to nurture her and treat her with respect. That was no longer going to happen. If anyone deserved my time and energy it was myself and that is where majority of my focus went.
I have failed, stumbled, and beaten myself up, but I’ll be damned if I let anything keep me down. Life isn’t about being perfect, but rather it’s about learning from each moment and taking the time to decided which direction you ultimately want to go. I have been both healthy and unhealthy in my life. I have seen what both lifestyles provide me and I have decided I want to get back to my healthier weight and more active lifestyle. I recognize that I have a lot of changes to make if I want to get there, but I am no longer looking for the fast fix. This time around I am making daily choices to change my lifestyle.
Over the last eight months I have lost around twenty pounds and have found my athletic side again. Some of the changes I have made include canceling my netflix, working out three times a week, packing more lunches to bring to work, and making smoothies on the weekend. I still need to cut things out of my diet, such as pop and eating fast food, but I am proud of how much I have already cut back on those. Everything needs to be taken one day at a time and a good balance needs to be found. I have taken drastic measures before, but right now I need to focus on finding what works for me and something that I can maintain. It’s not going to be easy, it’s not going to be fast, but it will be worth it in the end. Being healthy isn’t just about looking the part, but it’s about feeling the part as well. I plan on spending the rest of my life loving my body in every shape and size it is in and nurturing it to be the healthiest it can be.
On October 7th my sister asked me if I wanted to go on a bike trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles with her and my brother. For a couple of minutes I pondered the idea while a couple of things ran through my head:
I’ve never ridden a road bike before, is two and a half months of training enough?
I’m in full swing of dance rehearsals, will I even be able to train?
I am not as in shape as I have been, is this something I can even do?
Despite all of the things telling me to say no, I said “absolutely!” Why would I hold myself back from an awesome opportunity? I had a feeling it was going to be difficult, but being able to embark on the trip of a lifetime with my siblings was going to be worth every ounce of difficulty.
The following Wednesday, October 11th, I went to All Pro Bicycles and purchased a Trek Domane AL 2 8-speed bike. If you are going to buy a bike anywhere I highly suggest going to see Gina and Maddie. It’s a family owned shop and they know their bikes. We have been purchasing our bikes from them for years and they are super great people who only have your best interest in mind. The next morning I took my bike out for its first ride and it was definitely something I was not used to. With the skinnier tires finding my balance was difficult. Another thing I knew I needed to practice was switching the gears. On a mountain bike your gears are on the top of the handlebars, so switching to gear shifters in the front of your handlebars was not easy for my small hands.
For the next two months my siblings, dad and I would take weekend bike trips around Simi Valley. We found this beautiful greenway that ran the whole length of the city and made our training safe instead of being on the road with the cars. The Friday after Thanksgiving we wanted to do a 60 mile ride from our house to Point Mugu and back. That morning we were all feeling great, the weather was perfect, and we set out ready to conquer our first 60 miler. We rode the greenway to Tierra Rejada and took that down to Moorpark road and then over to Santa Rosa. The ride to Point Mugu was smooth and we were making great timing. It took us 2 ½ hours to ride out there and then we turned around and headed to CSUCI for lunch. Before we set out to head back home my brother told us that we should be prepared for a little climb, needless to say it was not a little climb.
Turning left off of campus we headed East on Portrero road. The first hill we came upon was short, but steep and ended up being a category 3 climb. Once I got to the top of the hill I was winded, but continued on, thinking that was the “little climb” my brother mentioned. Looking ahead I saw a bit of a down hill and some flat road. As I headed down the hill something flew into my throat and I started coughing. I stopped my bike and tried to get the cough to stop, but my airway started to spasm and I began to have breathing issues. After I got my body to calm down I got back on my bike and I would bike a couple of feet before I would be stopped by another cough/breathing attack. At this point my brother and sister were far ahead of me and I had no cell phone reception, so I knew that I needed to keep going, but I was to the point where my body was no longer getting enough oxygen to create ATP. My muscles were done.
As I continued chugging along my sister had turned around and came looking for me. When she realized I couldn’t breathe she got off her bike and we walked a little ways to give my body some rest. As we were walking this car stopped and asked if we needed help, to which we responded that we were fine. He then asked if we had ever done this hill before and when we said no he said, “it’s brutal, then it gets more brutal, and then continues to get brutal.” Thanking him for stopping we continued walking until we found a safe pull out to stop. When we stopped my brother had turned around and came back to us. Knowing that I was done, but that we didn’t have cell service, we needed to get to the top of this road. My sister and brother took off on their bike and I walked up the hill until we were able to call my mom to come pick me up. That was the most brutal training day I had to date and it started to make me doubtful. Would I be able to do this trip?
Over the next 4 weeks I was only able to get two more training days in, maxing out at 47 miles in one day. My weeks were filled up with dance rehearsals and I wasn’t able to get any more time in on my bike. This was going to have to be enough. When December 26th came around my siblings and I woke up bright and early, put our bikes on the back of the car and headed out to Union Station. This was it, there was no turning back. We took the train from LA to Oakland and then biked the two miles from the train station to my friend Tanya’s apartment. Those short two miles brought on a quick realization for all of us, biking with our gear on the backs of our bikes was throwing off our balance. This was definitely going to add another challenge to our trip ahead. Getting to Tanya’s apartment we had a little scare because I opened the wrong apartment door, but once we were inside the right apartment we settled in and got a good night’s sleep before we started our bike trip.
On the morning of December 27th we headed to the bart station and took that into San Francisco. Once in San Francisco we had a few miles of biking up the city hills to get to Target for breakfast. By the time we got to Target and ate breakfast it was already 11:00 and so we decided not to head to Golden Gate park, but rather bike west to the ocean. When we got out of the city and came across the beautiful view of the ocean we had a moment of clarity. This is what we were here to do. Take in the beautiful views of the ocean while biking 450 miles to our home in Los Angeles. My goodness we were blessed!
Heading south along the PCH we were able to stay on a bike bath for a couple of miles, then we had to transition to the shoulder of the PCH. Hitting a couple of inclines we made it about 6 miles before we decided to break off into the neighborhood, opting for side street riding to stay off of the freeway. As we turned onto Skyline drive we were met with a category 4 climb, our first of 4 tough climbs on our trip. From the looks of the hill I knew that I did not want to waste my energy, so I chose to walk my bike up the hill. At the top of the hill I realized we were about to bike down a hill at the same incline, and I really do not like going down hills. White knuckling my breaks the whole way down we finally made it out of the neighborhood and continued on Oceana Boulevard until we found a nice place to stop and eat some lunch.
By the time we stopped for lunch it was close to 1:00 and we still had 40 miles to go for the day. Time was not in our favor and we were not looking forward to night biking, but at the pace we were going it more than likely would have to be done. I knew it was me that was holding us all back, the hills were getting to me and I was the slowest out of the 3 of us, but I wasn’t going to give up just yet. Heading back out onto the road we got back onto the freeway and biked a few more miles before we hit what is called the “Devil’s Slide.” Going into this section of the freeway you see a beautiful forest and a winding road that looks like a gradual climb. Don’t let it fool you, it is another category 4 climb that is about a mile long.
As we started the climb my sister went ahead and my brother stayed behind me. We were on a small shoulder with cars zooming by on our left and soft dirt on our right. Going off of the road either direction could turn out badly. About a quarter of the way up my body started to fatigue and it was no longer staying in a straight line. My entire body was shaking, causing my handle bars to drift out into traffic. Thankfully my brother stuck himself out into traffic to merge the cars over, allowing me room as I swerved left and right up this hill. With constant encouragement coming from him I only had to stop and take a break once. As we crested the hill we noticed a tunnel up ahead, which made all 3 of us extremely nervous. The shoulder we just biked on was scary enough, what would a tunnel bring? Thankfully as we were taking a break a man came off of a paved hiking trail and told us that it was the old road before they built the tunnel. We could bike that around the tunnel and find our way to the other side.
I slowly made my way along this paved trail, having to stop every 20 feet or so because my body was exhausted. Any type of incline, no matter how small, took all of my effort to bike up it. Knowing that we still had about 36+ miles until we got to our campground I began to worry. I wasn’t going to make it. We began looking at the maps and noticed that Half Moon Bay was a little over 10 miles away, so we decided to see how the next couple of miles went before we made any decisions. A couple of miles later we stopped at a gas station, bough two big bottles of Powerade, and booked a hotel in Half Moon Bay. Finishing our first day we biked by the Maverick’s surf point, went out for some Chinese food, and settled into our hotel to discuss our course of action for the rest of the trip.
Mentally I wanted to continue on with the trip, but physically I knew it was not something that would pan out with the limited time frame we were in. Yes, we did 2 out of the 4 hardest climbs on our first day, but my problem was getting my body to do 60-70 mile days. Knowing my limits I decided to call my parents and ask them to come pick me up. The plan was that my siblings and I would bike to the KOA in Pescadero, where we had planned to stay our first night, and my parents would pick me up there on Friday. Carissa and Chris would continue on to Monterey and we would pick them up there on Saturday and drive them around the mudslides in Big Sur.
Thursday morning, December 28th, we got on our bikes and headed out for our 27 mile day. With the shorter distance to travel we weren’t in as much of a hurry as we were the first day, which meant we could take our time and enjoy the gorgeous views biking along the ocean had to offer. My body was still tired from the day before, so I had to take the occasional break, but overall the day brought small rolling hills and amazing weather! Google maps wanted to take us off of the freeway and onto back roads, but we opted to stay on the PCH and we were extremely grateful for that decision.
PC: Carissa Trapp
Half way through our day we stopped at San Gregorio State Beach and we were treated to the most gorgeous lunch spot. Switching off between watching the bikes and hiking around the beach we took our sweet time taking in the breathtaking views and calming feeling the beach brought. As we headed back out onto the PCH our first climb was on a narrow bridge, which I opted to walk my bike. The way my body shook on the incline from the day before I did not want to be swerving out into the cars on this bridge. As the day continued on we came up to Pigeon Point Lighthouse. We had originally looked into staying at the hostel they had on the property, but it was too expensive for our budgets. Since we were only 3 miles from our campground we stopped and toured the lighthouse. We saw the skull and ribs of a juvenile gray whale, and we learned that each lighthouse has a different timing between when their lights shine. As ships make their way up the coast they know where they are at based on the seconds that pass between each rotation of a lighthouse’s light. Pigeon point has a 10 second rotation, something I tested out later that evening as we were walking home from dinner.
PC: Carissa Trapp
PC: Carissa Trapp
Finishing up our last few miles we finally made it to the KOA in Pescadero. I highly recommend staying here if you are ever looking for a place to camp along the coast. Not only are the campsites beautiful, but the people are extremely nice. We had to change our reservation last minute the night before and I had to sit around waiting for my parents all day the next day. Even though I stayed 4 hours after check-out they accommodated me and allowed me to stay without any charge. After setting up camp we walked over to Highway 1 Brewing for dinner and then came back to our campsite and laughed the night away until bed time.
The next morning my siblings took off for their bike ride to Lover’s Point in Monterey and I hung around camp waiting for my parents to pick me up. I enjoyed the quiet of nature reading a book, walking around the campground, and spending some time watching deer walk through the fields. As sad as I was that my journey was coming to an end, I knew that it was necessary. A trip like this requires a longer time frame for 30 mile days, or it requires more training for 70 mile days. I will be back out to conquer this trip and knowing that my siblings are wanting to do it again so they can do the Big Sur section makes me super excited to have a future trip to take with them. I am beyond blessed to be able to go through life adventuring with these two. Not only do we push ourselves to do crazy adventures, but we have fun along the way.