the outsiders.

everything has changed.

i’m sitting outside on the porch six floors up looking out over the vast expanse of a city built on culture, passion and diversity.

south: money, sky-blocking buildings, blinking lights, empire state, concrete soup, it almost looks like a 3-dimensional painting.

north: condemned buildings, a few high-rises of gentrification, helicopters, the Bronx, low-dim lights, the rumble of music from open car windows.

right here, I am listening tot he 14th hour of the Mr. Softee melody, gazing out over catholic cathedrals, watching planes in the distance glide into queens, listening to the last-standing street vendors pack up for the day letting the puerto rican rhythms play loudly to keep the party going, sipping spiced chai tea with purple paint splotched all down my legs. I wish I could leave it there.

The moon looks like it belongs in the country. I can see it now in this stillness, We can see the sky. finally, the buildings become more humble here. Here in East Harlem.

I can see the orange of the sunset. The place where it looks as though its yearning so hard to resist the depth of the night sky, but mother nature is asking it to succumb one more day. And then right before it vanishes completely, it gets bright enough to light up the sky one more time.


For the first time in Manhattan, my soul knows I’m home. Everything about this is home. Because it’s absolutely a disaster. But, it’s okay. Home isn’t just given. It’s more precious than that. Home is what refines you, home is what feels so right and wrong at the same time. Because every time you doubt that the roof will not cave in, you wake up in the morning… and it doesn’t. A peculiar mess. A mess that day-by-day becomes more perfect.

It’s perfect because love is here. We have been in tears about our home… and we have been drunk with laughter in the next moment. Just when it feels like the microwave sitting on the living room floor is going to cause you to keel over dead from panic, I sit outside in the pitch black and drink wine out of coffee mugs by candlelight with my best friend, my husband, and realize we are exactly where we are supposed to be.

I lived in the Upper East Side for almost 3 years. It’s funny how the city can be so expansive and overwhelming… but your little four block radius can feel so small, so quaint, so familiar. You know the sounds, know the people wash the sidewalks, wave to the doormen at those buildings even though you never go in just because you pass them and make eye contact through the window every day, and smile. You know the delis that have the real bagels and you know the ones that well…. don’t have the real deal. You know the best stoops to occupy and you can request for the manager of Gristede’s to order your favorite yogurt.

I moved to the Upper East Side, because I was a single, little college girl who had no sense of city life and still said sorry for everything. The Upper East Side is the safest area of Manhattan, by far… the only danger zones are construction men areas and walking too close to a little yippy, biting dog. The worst things you have to worry about are catcalls, ridiculously long starbucks lines and being mowed over by a triple-wide stroller. Yes, those are a thing. And quite common. And deadly. shiver.

Josiah and I got married and moved only a block away from where I began, it was comfortable and logical. The apartment was precious, a dream, very cozy and filled with love.

When I tell people we moved to East Harlem. Spanish Harlem. El Barrio. Whathaveyou… I typically receive either a strained, “oh wow, that’s nice…. pause to recover from shock… why did you move?” Or a, “…. do you miss the upper east side? what’s it like up there? do you feel safe?”

Moving from the Upper East Side to East Harlem in Yankee culture is equivalent to selling your Lamborghini so that you can buy a Honda Civic for almost the same price as you paid for the Lamborghini. It’s kind of bizarre.

It’s the easy answer to say we did it entirely for more space for less money. That’s absolutely true. But more importantly, we realize that many years proceed the now. New York culture is so obsessed with doing all that you can with what you have now. Progress, progress, progress. If you are making more, get a better apartment, find a “better” neighborhood, buy nicer things. We decided we were not going to buy into that current of now, of spend-what-you-have, of showing “you’re moving up in life”. The worst feeling in the world would be entering the next season of life with nothing. To not have anything to support a huge change, a sabbatical or respond to an immediate calling. We don’t buy it New York. Not for a hot second, our hope is that now is not the only time. We have more to live, struggle, succeed, grow and journey.

This uprooting was far beyond ourselves. We had gotten too comfortable. We fit in too much. And, at the same time, we didn’t fit in at all. We looked like everyone else except the nannies. We talked like everyone else except for the few times I would pull out my Madea-esque-alter-ego. We were surrounded by people who, in general, thought they needed nothing, had it altogether, didn’t have neighbors, because they didn’t know them. From the moment I stepped off the 6 train at 116th, I knew East Harlem is one big family.  Impromptu dance parties in the street. People shouting from their windows at their amigos.

This was a family that we could be a part of. That we wanted to learn from. That we wanted to serve. That we wanted to experience by living alongside them. A community spirit we wanted to prove has no color and no race. A community that helps one another and knows their neighbors. Not a community that defines itself by crime statistics, instead we saw a people of hope. A people that care for one another. A people that don’t live entirely by a schedule. A people that stop and talk. Who take their time. Who walk a little slower. Who sing no matter who is listening.

We have so much to learn for our neighbors. So much to learn from this little pocket of culture in a vast city.

We are right where we should be. Home.

and we are serious about building up that street cred.



te amamos amigos.

the outsiders,


{& josiah}

el barrio

thousands and thousands of pasta para duros.

sultry scoops of helado de coco.

mini puerto rican concerts on every corner.

tacos, tacos, tacos twenty-four/seven.

old spanish women pushing carts of groceries with five school-children swarming closely behind.

teenagers meeting for hangouts on the corner with elotes in hand

this is home. it feels like a foreign country.

we feel like traveler’s observing the culture.

but it feels like home.

spanish harlem. el barrio. east harlem.

it’s a little uncomfortable, we don’t look like we fit in.

but soon, they will see past our skin and realize we are very much home.

I am an outsider everywhere I go, but I put on a good act.

I wear the lululemon, I drink the starbucks veranda, I go to sephora.

but I am not that. I am a different colored soul.

In East Harlem, the multicolored soul is at peace. mmm.

The vibrancy seeps out of the cracks once covered by mainstream and vanity.

No one looks at my shoes, no one cares about my ring.

Women do not look me up and down.

People don’t run into you encompassed by their phones.

We look at each other in the eye.

At first they see I don’t belong in the neighborhood.

and then I smile.

and they ask for the time. progress. acceptance.

They yell “hola amigo” on the street, instead of looking down

with their iPhone glued to their ear.

El Barrio is attentive, alive, bursting with sound.

A country inside of a country. A culture I want to know.

A culture I want to be home. A culture that is home.

Maybe my wandering, outsider heart has found a match.

We are here, we intend to stay.

These people become our family. These streets are our home.

Five flights up, we step outside on the patio and breathe in the

diversity of New York City.

We can see Park Avenue, Grand Central Station, The Bronx and the River

but I look down five floors and hear the wisps of

puerto rican instruments and realize

we are right where we should be.

we are among the people like us. the soul’s match.

here’s to the people like us,

j and c



post to soon follow with further life-detail and moving disasters blessings.

and it’s only monday

this morning, I woke up and decided I was just going to have to light a fire under my ass so that I could maybe make a dent in the to-do pile that was now 3-inches tall on my kitchen counter. I was freaking out about it being there for like a week and my OCD was starting to snicker at me, “chloe, those things are going to start growing roots into your counter… wanna throw some water on them? maybe they will grow into a beautiful rabid garden of kudzu in a few days that will eventually take over your whole house and then your cats will surely die of eating the kudzu and you can forget about ever getting that security deposit back because you will never see the floor again after all that kudzu starts growing, but forget the security deposit you will just be locked in your apartment for life because the kudzu will grow over the door like jumanji and you will die there because all you have in your apartment right now is coffee, puffins and 1/3 a bag of white cheddar popcorn, but I guess you will feed it to the kitties first so they may even out live you. Meow.”

these are the intricacies of my mind. you’re welcome.

my bizzare guilty pleasure is setting my alarm to an ungodly hour just so I can hit snooze exactly 3 times before I actually have to get up at a freakishly (a step down from ungodly) early hour. I roll out of bed. Tell Josiah I am going to help him make the bed. But let’s be honest, I walk away to brush my teeth and primp in my jammies for a good fifteen minutes and magically the bed is made. I love how that happens. And then say, shoot I need to feed the kitties. Already done sugarmuffin. my-lawd I love that man.

and then I drink a full cup of coffee before having breakfast. I sin every morning because I have breakfast right before yoga. Arrest me. My digestion always follows through thankyouverymuch. I sit and have breakfast and chug the second cup of coffee and usually end up flying around like a bat outta hell throwing my sweatpants on over my yoga shorts and begging Josiah, “DO YOU HAVE ANY MONEYZZZ???AGH! I need money… Josiah…sugar.” I never have money…

I make it to the 8:25am class. All of my coffee pours out in sweat, which qualifies me for at least two more cups later in the afternoon. I walk home and have a long running tradition of extending the freedom of body and spirit I feel in yoga. I’ll leave that for you to figure out. TMI? don’t judge me. I consider it a service to the public. I can get it out of my system in the comfort of my own home so that I will always be properly clothed in public. Ya gotta be free. I toss the sweaty fabric in the hamper, turn on some jams, light the incense and start my cleaning and doddling.

Eventually I get around to taking a shower, getting ready… and then I discover, I’m tired. I’ve been up early and went to yoga already… it’s only 11am, I think I deserve a cat nap. Oh the intoxicating pleasure of taking a nap before noon.

and then. nothing gets done. what? I was tired.

Okay, okay so this morning… I knew that this was just not going to be acceptable. I needed to focus and remain awake. That pile was NOT going to grow roots on my watch… okay chloe, dive in… you can do this… okay, first. shower. then… you can do this. Pick. up. the. pile. I mean it… there will be consequences.

About four sheets in the pile were doctor’s referral papers to have various tests done. You can imagine why I was subconsciously putting this off for as long as possible. I’m fairly certain one day some ultrasound technician is just going to say… “Well we finally found the culprit Chloe… there is a small creature inside you that keeps pressing the buttons… but there’s nothing we can do.” I digress.

I made it through about five phone calls, two of them had ended in successful appointment confirmations and I was feelin like I was on a roll… I may even have time to take that little nap I was dreaming about. I came to the next paper dialed the number… explained the situation la-de-da… I have a referral to get some testing done from so-and-so and need it done ASAP. I have insurance, I’m pretty sure I’m falling apart… no, there’s no chance I am pregnant… NO! I’m NOT PREGNANT… I don’t understand why the hell you people think any female in their 20’s is pregnant, this is 2014 ma’am…

After I had convinced her that there was not a slimy bean in my uterus, she found me an appointment in two days, I wrote it down in my planner though I didn’t even know which medical center I was even calling at this point. She got my insurance number, social security, my seamless account password (jokes) and my entire identity and then asks:

Ma’am: “Okay Chloe` so what tests are you doing?”

(Looks down and doesn’t think a thing about it…)

Chloe: “A complete Semen Analysis”

Ma’am: “…uhhh, you can’t have one of those.”

Chloe: “Well that’s what she checked right here on my sheet!” (I had completely lost my mind.)

Ma’am: “Maybe it’s for your partner…”

Chloe: “No… it says my name right here on the sheet.” (Looks around for any indication of another human listed on the sheet) “It says Chloe Wright on the top.”

Ma’am: ….. (poor thing couldn’t even reason with this crazy lady convinced she needed a semen analysis) 

Chloe: (Honestly scratching my head and thinking….) “Well maybe they checked the wrong box… ” (looks around the sheet) “Nope it’s all semen tests. My husband wasn’t at the doctor with me it couldn’t be for him.”

Ma’am: “… well it’s not for you.”

Chloe: Begins to laugh hysterically to the point of tears out of shear humiliation and stupidity… through bursts of laughter, “oops” HANGS UP.

I’m not sure when I exactly realized that I was delusional during that little exchange. Nor do I understand how I could have earnestly believed my lady-friend doctor ordered me to have a semen analysis… but dammit I was bound and determined to be productive and get through every. single. sheet. even that one.

I am convinced this is some sort of joke my little medical student wanted to play on me after I SO KINDLY let him sit-in on my appointment. THE NERVE! HOW DARE YOU! Just as I was trying to be generous.

Or, maybe… this is my sign that I should never be too productive. I should have just taken the damn nap.

And to think… that perplexed nurse has my social security number.

another day in the life, another day in the life.

and it’s only monday.

yours truly,



can these dry bones live?


I don’t know how I deserve to still be here, sharing my story. But I am truly humbled and honored to have been given the chance to share my testimony at Trinity Grace Church. Many of you could not be there and wanted a way to experience the story. Thank you for your unfathomable support and love, your courage and light inspire me. I could not have done this without Annmarie Miller, Terri Mozingo, Kristin Jaski, Allison Topilow, Maria Sobara Mora, Rick Stoker, all of the team at BALANCE treatment center, Joyce Gerdis and most of ALL my mother and father who have walked with me every step of the way and my husband who has shown me what unconditional love and fighting the good fight really means. I love you with all of me.

March 23, 2014:

This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.   Ezekiel 37:5-10

I am standing here today, because I have a vision for our faith community to begin shattering barriers we have built up within ourselves and live together in true vulnerability. Being known entirely is deathly terrifying but also, in time, it is eternally freeing. For weeks I was feeling a little poke in my heart, to open up… be the first to come forward, start an earthquake, break the walls and prove that turning yourself inside out, letting your trusted community see you as God sees you, is the ultimate expression of grace. Because if we are all honest, one day we will all see one another as God sees us, in another heavenly realm. So in a moment of passion and boldness, I told Scott that I would share my testimony. But in the past week all of that courage and fearlessness shrunk deep inside me and all I wanted to do was curl back up into my comfy little shell and pretend like I never made the offer to share. If you know me at all, you might imagine how many Beyonce songs I had to listen to this morning to emotionally prepare.

Growing up, my life on the outside was almost sickeningly ideal. I was an only child, straight A student, classical ballet dancer, a well-behaved preacher’s daughter and had the best community around me imaginable. The appearance of perfection quickly, at a very early age, spun out of control into an obsession with perfection on the outside. Yet, on the inside, I was always worried, scared, nervous, fearful and anxious. I heard over and over at church to “trust in the Lord”, to bring all of my worries before Him, to be anxious for nothing… but still my mind was an endless spinning tornado of thoughts I could not control which quickly evolved into panic attacks and restless nights. It’s simple to understand a physical handicap at age seven, but anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorders are not something that is talked about in school and especially not in my sheltered Christian community.

It’s not talked about because you can’t take an X-ray or CAT Scan to uncover a mental illness. Diagnosis isn’t straightforward, there is much more grey area than with physical illness and it is hard for people who are not touched by it to understand. Physical illnesses are understood as something that just happens but subconsciously many believe that mental illness is something that with enough effort you can and should be able to control or fix. I didn’t understand the grey area and can’t imagine how hard it was for others around me to comprehend. I started counseling during my early years, trying to make sense of the panic attacks and anxiety but it wasn’t until I grew older and the symptoms got more serious that I realized it was largely out of my control.

These challenges were something I inherited from genetics, they were part of me. Because humans are imperfect, it was part of the struggle from which I was born…from a grandmother with bipolar disorder to other extended family members with severe depression…with many others in between. Just like cancer is hereditary, threads of mental illness are woven through family DNA. I soon found out the hard way that anxiety plus obsession and perfection is a dangerous combination.

Growing up in the limelight at church pushed me further and further towards thinking I had to have it all together always being successful and being a role model. I had small Band-Aids to cover up the anxiety throughout my childhood but, when my later high school years and early college years were matched with stress, a broken heart, and depression, I finally resorted to a dangerous Band-Aid that I thought would cure all, but eventually nearly cost me my life.

I took the first step and it was all it took to spiral out of control.  For 4 years I was caught in the trap of anorexia. If you had told me that I would have had an ED at age 10 I would have never believed you. It was so far from my character, values and everything I knew about myself. But left with no other choice, I found something that masked the depression and anxiety most completely. It was a time when my faith even failed me. I began to believe that because I struggled with anxiety there was a flaw in my belief system. Or something was wrong with my prayers. Something was wrong with me, I had made a mistake to deserve this…. I had gotten myself into this and it was entirely my fault. How could the perfect Chloe, a believer in the hope of Jesus end up here? It’s taken me years to understand that my mind’s functioning was out of my control.

The media and society can make ED seem normal and even glamorous.  Pictures of Nicole Ritchie, Victoria Beckham and Mary-Kate Olsen circulate on magazine covers without providing a true understanding of the illness. It is portrayed as a glorified diet rather than a mental disease.

Surprising to some, anorexia has the highest mortality rate among all mental illness. 1 in 4 diagnosed cases now are actually men. If we are working towards restoration in our city, especially on the Upper East Side where the disease runs rampant, this is an issue our church community should understand. The church cannot fix it, but we can understand it and not be fearful of it or ignore it as so many do.

In February of 2011, my body was so tired and I was so sick my organs could no longer function properly and I had a mini heart attack that completely rocked my world. However, I was too trapped to even think that I needed help. That April I was laying in bed and could not physically get up. I laid there for hours waiting for my mom to get home. I called her upstairs and through tears I told her I needed help.

It wasn’t until June 2011, after being forced into counseling, by the grace of God I decided to turn my life around after thinking I was going to die this way. I decided I was done living like this, I was done starving and running compulsively and wanted out of the vicious lifeless cycle. I remember sitting in church and hearing my Dad preaching about Ezekiel – and thinking it was going to be a long road ahead, but there was hope. My bones may have been dry, but somehow, I have been given a second chance after being so close to death.

It is easy to think that you can just get up like the paralyzed man that had been healed by Jesus. Just get up and walk now because you have been healed. When dealing with issues of the mind and heart, the healing is not that straightforward, not that simple. Anorexia takes the entire body captive. No part is spared, even your faith. Within a valley of dry bones, with no life in sight, there are inescapable stages of growth that slowly mend the body, mind and spirit back together.

First the bones… learning to feed myself again, learning to feel hunger and desire, coming back from lifelessness…. Then the tendons attaching muscle-to-muscle… learning sensation all over again and being overwhelmed with emotions flooding in all at once, sorrow and pain that had been numbed away for years. Then the flesh came upon me and covered me with skin… the daunting task of learning who I am again at 20 years old, starting over with… Am I funny? What is my favorite movie? What is my favorite color? Am I a good friend?

And finally the breath of life which enters the bones… what do I believe? Where does my hope come from? Why am I still here and who saved my life? Only Jesus Christ can turn those dry bones into a vast army like promised in Ezekiel. What an image. All of our brokenness knit into an army fighting for truth and grace in a broken, perfection-obsessed world.

Recovery is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and possibly the hardest challenge I will ever face in life. I had to learn who I was again and deal with my anxiety and depression face to face. It is almost as if I began life all over again after I had already lived and grown for twenty years….Releasing the expectation of being who I was before and holding on to the hope I find everyday in being given a second chance to live as I was created to live. Most crucially, I have had to reestablish my faith that was drowned in illness.

Although I’ve been recovering for almost 3 years, Eating disorder recovery typically takes 7 to 8 years. Because, as I said before, it requires building everything from scratch and healing the mind, body and spirit. I cannot say that I am completely healed, nor do I have the same faith I did before my disease. It won’t nor should it be the same. It may be filled with more questions because of what I have lived…

It may be a stronger shield because I have learned a thing or two about compassion, addiction and brokenness… My faith is a daily choice to choose life and to have grace for my once dry bones. Trinity Grace has been a community of nourishment and hope for me and Josiah. You all live out the breath of life, we are so grateful to be a part of this community.

Ezekiel asked, “Lord, can these dry bones live?” I am humbled to stand here today to testify they can. May our brokenness become the vast army of resurrection, may we all let our vulnerability be the living Gospel.


I could not end this without a cat meme. Amen, Hallelujah!

I love you dearly with all my heart,


you saved your life

a dear friend and beloved teacher laid us down in savasana after sixty minutes of dynamic, creative and emotional vinyasa bliss and read this poem. it was one of the few days I was grateful for the sweat pouring down from my face in the hot studio, because the tears of well-earned emotions were cascading from my eyes.

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.

The Journey by Mary Oliver

When you are in the woods, in the middle of the night, lost and confused. When the branches on the ground are thick and you can’t figure out where to step your foot next. When you’re exhausted from the wind constantly, perpetually, whirling and whirling and whirling wildly around you. When your body begins to shake because you fear you have lost your last muscle fiber to keep going. Those deep, dark, vicious old demons will always, always find you and tell you, maybe even almost convince you, that they can mend your life. They have the answers and you know, of you know, they do. You tolerated them as friends before until you began to believe those were the only friends you had, the only friends you deserved. They will always find you honey. Always, that’s the way this world works. That’s not the pessimist in me, that’s the damn truth.

But, it’s never the end. Just when you feel like they are so close on your heels they may catch you and keep you forever. You turn into the wild wind one more time and take one more step and realize there is a teensy bit of light. Ever so small. But that one step got you closer. And if you keep moving forward, the darkness is slowly submitting to that little light. It grows and grows. Courage guides step by step. Be brave, step, brave, step.

The deeper and further you walk. You realize you saved your life.

Dark_Forest_by_Justine1985you’ll make it.


lessons from the couch : anger and grace

I saw my psychiatrist on Friday. It is every bit of a scene from a movie as you can imagine. There is a couch, a floral ancient couch. I have never laid on said couch. But next time I visit, I may just insist on lounging on the couch with my eyes closed, just to see what the hype is all about. She sounds like Ms. Doubtfire and bears a striking resemblance to your typical rom-com elementary school principle. In my humble opinion, every psychiatrist should sound like this… and look like this. With abnormally high eye brows and low-riding, gold-rimmed glasses with faded tortoise shell print on the side.

I personally love her. Maybe to an inappropriate degree. I am secretly delighted when I have to return her call and hear her voice on the answering machine… if you ever had to do this, you would understand exactly why I think this. But she’s mine, you can’t have her. She doesn’t make me feel insane like all the others have. oomph.

She nods along and verbally agrees. Nothing I say receives an “Ohhhh, I see…Hmm.” it is always… “But, of course you are feeling this way” That’s right, of course I am! I need her in my head, except for the teensy fact that it would cost me $144,000 per day. Not that I calculated. Insurance, will you cover that?

Without going into too much gritty detail into the depths of my wild mind… I was sitting there in the 1970s floral chair, with my feet propped up on the little matching stool with the cherry wood frame, unpacking all the stuff pinging and ponging around in my mind… the inability to concentrate on one moment, why can I not get out of bed in the afternoon, the constant OCD listing that makes me want to scream, the planning, the worrying, the cleaning, the never-ending hurried movie playing in my mind over and over that I can never catch up to, the restlessness revealed in my still legs jittering in bed at night, the tightness in my chest… the worst case scenario lies, the quivering in my joints all my life…

As I paused she looked at me,

Do you ever get angry?

“What? Angry? I can’t get angry that’s not allowed. I am supposed to be the nice girl, the one that just fixes it, the smiley one… the one who can’t be mean. I can’t have anger… and I certainly can’t admit it, or show it. This little girl has always believed that…I can’t be angry. Being angry is ugly.”

But of course, I said, “Angry? What do you mean?

“I mean at these thoughts you have, of what your mind tells you, at all these symptoms, do you get angry at them?”

“Well, I never really thought to let myself get angry, or to admit I was… sure, I’m frustrated, but it’s stuck.”

“You have every right to be angry! Get mad at them. Get angry with what you are experiencing. Write it down and burn it, stomp on it, throw it out the window. Imagine shooting the thoughts in your mind with an arrow, with a gun, anything that works… get really angry.”

This began sounding really yummy, dare I say it. Sometimes I forget I have been liberated from the perfect Chloe` and I live in the broken and brutal Chloe`. The one who is real and can get angry. I can hold righteous anger in the sight of injustice and I can express the anger I experience. I can unleash those demons, destroy them and move on. I can let. it. out.

Regardless of whats in there, most importantly, I can get mad. I can be mad, I have the right to be. 

In the southern, Christian community I grew up in, beneath it all, anger was encouraged to be suppressed and hidden. It made people mean and ugly when it got out of control. I didn’t know anger could have a place in life. Especially as a woman, your answer is “always” just supposed to be yes. I thought everything should be pretty and to keep it pretty, I just had to push that monster right back down my throat. And it sits there, and sits there, and sits there. For some reason, we could read in the Bible stories of Jesus’ righteous anger, but we cannot be angry and express it when we experience injustice. If we are real, as Jesus was, we feel anger. We can be angry. We can speak our anger.

Control is knowing when to release it, how to release it. And that is for you to find. Grace is uncovering freedom by emptying out what is within. You deserve the right to open yourself and wash yourself clean. You don’t have to push all that yucky gunk down. Tell me your angry. Let me feel your anger with you. Let me experience your healing, your frustration, your letting go and your freedom.

On the other side of anger is grace. I have not bounded into those fields yet, I’m still mad as hell for now. But I can see the horizon of grace.

Because I got angry. I am angry and honey I should be. 





for such a time is this.

Anna Pavlova in Dying Swan

Anna Pavlova in Dying Swan

Monday night, I stepped into a ballet studio for the first time in five years

Every bone in my body was shaking. I mindfully placed myself at the barre where the mirror would be out of eyesight.

It hurt like hell and made my heart feel courageous. the joyous memories of being able to land a quad pirouette came gushing back into my spirit. But, more importantly, I retreated out of the studio remembering why I left the ballet studio years ago, honoring how much I have learned and grown since then, and feeling like I had more confidence and wisdom than I ever have had in my whole life.

I had to do it. I had to prove to myself that I had made the right decision to walk away. It’s funny how sometimes your body knows before your mind does, when it’s time.

I began dancing when I was two and would be confident in saying I was very serious about the art by the age of 10. I was in the studio about six days a week and all day on Saturdays in rehearsal. It was the way I breathed and slept, talked and spoke. A lot of people would call that throwing your childhood away, but I would have chosen nothing else… it was my home and my family. It was more than a part of me, it was why I got out of bed in the morning, to dance.

However, I am sure the day my mom went to sign me up for ballet class she was silently thinking, “Oh honey… not ballet, this may not be the fit for you…but, ok.” I was born with hip subluxation on my left side. Due to the lack of technology in the 90s, the doctors were unaware of the problem. I consider it a privilege to be walking today, considering they caught the issue just early enough that it could still be fixed, otherwise I was weeks away from being in a wheelchair my whole life. To correct the subluxation, I was placed in a harness for several months as a baby so that the hip would grow back into socket.

It did, however, my bones grew a little too tightly together which has caused much grinding and pain in my later years… and of course… I chose ballet, the bendiest “sport” of all… and the most un-bendy girl of all. My heart didn’t know it but my body did, so I forced through hip pain for 16 years of ballet training. It was the most frustrating thing in the world to be the only one in the room not able to do a full split, but eventually fourteen years later of stretching, I had made it to what I thought was the new Jerusalem! My crotch hit the floor. Finally.

But my body still just wasn’t catching up to my hearts desires. I was perpetually battling injuries in my knees and ankles because of my abnormal hip structure and it finally got to the point where I tore my hip adductor ligament. I remember limping around for months and then finding out I got into the Boston Ballet’s Summer Intensive program at age 15. My doctor told me I could either stay here and heal and possibly regret not going for the rest of my life or give it a shot and possibly be ruined.

You can guess what happened. Though it was one of the most invigorating and passionate experiences of my life, I was ruined in a far different way than I expected. I saw the real ballet world for the first time. And I felt disheartened, hurt and betrayed by the world I thought I loved and the world that had offered me a place in the corp de ballet.

I saw perfection of the most dangerous kind. I saw a tremendous amount of pain. I saw unhealthy competition. I felt unworthy and huge for having muscles in my legs. I felt vulnerable to the point of submission. I felt judged and empowered at the same time. I saw dark wings of ballet, while clinging to its finest. But I knew, I was ruined.

After returning, my doctor was right. I took months just be able to walk without a limp. Adrenaline had gotten me through 6 weeks of 8 hours dance days and I completely lost momentum when I returned home. I was also scarred, hurt, betrayed and confused how such a beautiful, fulfilling art could be the cause of so much depravity and shame in the body and mind.

It was poison and I knew I didn’t want to drink it for the rest of my life. I finished one last year of dancing to finish out high school and I said goodbye to that world. I was empty. Completely void of any identity and depressed beyond measure. Far worse than a broken heart from your first love.

I decided not to tolerate that kind of mentality then, and daily I decide not to tolerate it now… though in many different ways. I praise God that I was saved from that industry, but still honor and rejoice in my years of healthy artistry with an unforgettable family.

I knew the draw would come again. I knew I had to prove to myself one last time that I had made the right decision. Move on, once and for all.
I am five years stronger and wiser. I have been to hell and back again since hanging up my slippers. And I know my true self better than I ever did hidden behind that costume. I am not perfect, but I don’t fall for lies anymore and I see through all of it’s dirty tricks.

Standing in that room on Monday there were times I was so egregiously triggered, I wanted to flip the teacher the you-know-what. Granted, she was a phenomenal ballet instructor, absolutely brilliant. Though there are not enough fingers on my hands to fit how many times she exclaimed “big fat thighs” or “big fat ass” to the class. I looked around after awhile just to examine the room again, really well and….NOPE. Just what I thought. Not a single person deserved that phrase. As if anyone would.

No matter what the correction was, it wasn’t to make me a little better… it was to make me perfect. Each little adjustment had one goal in mind, perfection. That is the ultimate goal of ballet. And it came flooding back in over and over throughout the evening. I knew I was never going to get there… hell certainly not this evening, when I probably resembled Lucille Ball in the “ballet class” episode. But, I didn’t want to either.

Moving with grace made my heart feel soft and light. But, my heart was more liberated walking out of the classroom knowing, everything has a season. For such a time as this. That was a season of my life and nothing else, I had risen above that perfectionist culture and delved deeper into myself and into my relationships by removing that expectation in life.

Ballet, dear friend, you will always occupy a irreplaceable chamber of my heart. But it’s time my “big fat ass” bid you adieu.

Maybe my thighs can hip hop next.

until the grande jete’s,
p.s. the true victory of the night was shaking it off,  plopping myself on the couch with  chocolate mousse and red wine and saying, “damn  I’m glad to be free.”

spiritual Divine: Jesus and mala beads


I am a yogi.

and I also believe that Jesus Christ is my Savior.

Many people on both sides of the spectrum would say these two truths cannot co-exist. However, my convictions and my truths have led me to a much different conclusion than some.

It’s taken me years to make sense of the two interacting together in my life, but from the moment I stepped onto my mat I felt whole, comfortable, challenged, accepted and content. Much like I have felt being held in the arms of Christ all my life. I will have to admit sometimes it is a more connected feeling than I feel in church, because it is just me and my faith, stripped down. On the mat.

Yes. I chant om at the beginning and end of class. I wear mala beads. I rejoice in performing sun salutations to greet the day.

I also pray during meditation and savasana and feel renewed, still and powerful when I rise. I wear mala beads to link myself to age-old traditions and remind me that I am part of something much bigger than what I can see.

I participate in chanting. A full room of people chanting in unison is a rare, special, breathtaking experience. Sometimes enough to send chills down my spine. The way I see it is… I don’t care what deity you are chanting to, but a load of people crammed into a New York City studio all uttering offerings of compassion, growth and peace at once… I don’t think any God would argue with that or see anything wrong with a little more unity and compassion between children of faith.

Yes, I love concentrating on my third eye. It’s often described as a purple orb in between your eyebrows. I love envisioning that purple, my favorite color and the color of royalty, in my mind to remind me that I am worthy, powerful and in control of my thoughts. Concentrating on shrinking everything in your mind into one solitary ball has completely changed my way of thinking in moments when it feels like my brain is a pinball machine with thousands of balls being pinged around everywhere driving. me. absolutely. nuts.

Hanumanasana excites me. I enjoy practicing the pose and thinking of the story behind it. Celebrating  the story of Hanuman’s great leap of love for Rama, his brother. Imagining myself taking a great leap of faith and for a similar friend…love in my life.

You will also find me at Trinity Grace Church on Sunday mornings. Faith has been a part of my life since I was born and no matter what happens, at the end of the day, I still believe that Jesus came to save me from my sin and I live in the forgiveness of the unfailing love of Christ. I am whole, I am worthy, I am eternally loved and a grace covers me that knows no end.

It saddens me that my experience growing up in church doesn’t exist everywhere. My church family has been a refuge, and I know many can become houses of judgement. My worship has not been forced, but freely welcomed as I feel comfortable. My prayer life has given me purpose and a sense of stability instead of guilt. Christians don’t always do a good job of portraying the Jesus we all believe in. In fact, I would disagree with most “cultural” Christianity.

I completely understand why “yogis” or those who believe in compassion, grace, acceptance and love for all see “fundamental” religion… with strict rights and wrongs, loves and hates, conviction and judgement as a major turn off. But, as a professed Christian, those same things sicken my heart as well. And I believe what we have done to “churched” religion would sicken the heart of Jesus. I don’t believe my Jesus would ever argue with a little more love in the world, male, female, man or woman. I don’t believe anyone is too far to be accepted as pure again and everyone deserves a second chance. My faith gives me a second chance everyday when I feel I have let down myself and the Divine.

Jesus was the epitome of compassion, grace and union. He wanted to be in union with all of us and still desires that for us. Ironically, the word yoga translates to union. Not everyone shares the same beliefs of my Jesus as I do, but I believe that sinner or “redeemed”, we were all born in union… from the same God of the universe. All with hearts, breaths, words, emotions and one day we will all reach the enlightenment of realizing that union, in perfect peace with one another.

Call me spiritual, but I believe this with all my heart. And I believe yoga to be a beautiful metaphor for this goal larger than us. I believe the practice is a meaningful way to achieve physical union with oneself, grace for the body, strength for the mind and compassion for others on the same journey as you.

I know with all my heart, my faith in God saved my life. Literally. I don’t think I would have made it through my years of illness without prayer and the fundamental belief in hope and power in Heaven. However, yoga played an integral part in me understanding myself again and having faith in life, my body and my spirit again.

Yoga has strengthened me into a more devoted person, a stronger woman and spirit of greater faith. I am a firm believer in both mindfulness and prayer. I believe in scripture and in Virabhadrasana II as ways to gain strength and to be filled with courage. I have a hard time believing that Jesus himself would not have done yoga. In fact, I think he would have encouraged the practice for centeredness, unity and connection to the body and spirit we have been given.

As I begin this path towards becoming a yoga instructor, I pray that my faith and my practice will be more clearly and gracefully refined. I definitely don’t have all the answers and am still working daily on my spirituality, but I would be delighted to discuss my faith and my yoga practice with anyone curious, angry, frustrated, insightful or supportive as we all answer life’s questions bigger than ourselves.

The Spirit of God has made me;
the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4

Namaste my dear, beloved ones.

The Light within me, honors the Light within you always.



❤ C

american girls & boys

“What is your favorite place in the city?” 

I will tell anyone in Manhattan who asks me, “The American Girl Place!” It is a fantasy, magical, fairytale, scrumptious land of every little girl’s wildest dreams. And let’s be honest, I’m still a little girl. So, of course, when my best friend “Elgie” and her boyfriend Marc came to town…. I knew just the place to surprise them with.  A tea date at the American Girl CAFE. Elgie was beside herself times one-thousand times over and Marc… well, Marc was beyond imagination. I was like a squealing little munchkin (who happens to still have six dolls) and Josiah was… having a special moment of married bliss, we’ll say.


– refined and delighted –


– j’s face in this one… oh man –


-j’s tea baby with an afro-


-tea snackeroos-


-flower pot chocolate mousse-


-wristband souvenirs for all! yes, they had to wear it-


-best friends for life. nae-nae and elgie


-flower lamp. yes please.-


-kim kardashian and beyonce?-


-my soulmate in another life-


-metro adventures-


-they were hatin’ on my head scarf-




-little de la vega play-


-what’s more fun than a coloring book table cloth?


-west village tavern cuisine-


-smiles abounding-


-giving Josiah the proper experience of “The Care and Keeping of You”


-MTA gymnastics-


-we won’t even discuss this.-


-handheld memories of an evening of old friends and new lives-

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
Oprah Winfrey

❤ C

Wired: A few thoughts on living social

On March 10, I left Facebook.

9 months later, I returned. But in that span, I got engaged, married, moved, and joined a new church community, made friends, lost friends – and learned a lot about relationships in the process.

Of course, I’m not the only one who has experimented with this. According to Pew research, most Facebook users have taken a voluntary, multi-week break at some point.

Maybe that’s because we know social media has drawbacks

Social media power users will tell you the networks are all about curation. Selecting and sharing information that tells a story. That’s fine on LinkedIn and Twitter – which I use to share very specific information with a very specific audience and get very specific results.

But on Facebook, the role gets a little blurry for me. What version of myself am I supposed to share? What story am I telling? Advice to “just be yourself” doesn’t mean much to me – since we are all multi-dimensional people that look, feel, think and act differently each minute depending on an infinite number of factors.

Social media can be used to present an idealized version of our lives. A virtual highlight reel. I came to realize that’s not inherently bad, but can be damaging if we are not aware of what’s going on. And for me, that line was blurring.

I needed to take a break.

In those months without Facebook, I began to see life and relationships in a slightly different light. Taking time to get to know fewer people, but offline. I began to see richer aspects of their personality. Turns out we are not our profiles.


Brene Brown’s writing gave me insight into vulnerability, and it’s impact on relationship:

We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection. Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated.

Some other good books helped me through this journey:

  • Good and Beautiful Community by James Bryan Smith
  • Radical Hospitality by Fr. Daniel OSB
  • Margin by Richard Swensen
  • Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman
  • Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller
  • When The Church Was A Family by Joseph Hellerman
  • Anam Cara by John O’Donohue
  • More or Less by Jeff Shinabarger

I started to see that much of what I hated about social media – the narcissism, the self-centeredness, the warped reality – is not the fault of technology, but my own thinking. Specifically, how I should relate to others. In Anam Cara, John O’Donohue writes, “Love begins with paying attention to others, with an act of gracious self-forgetting. This is the condition in which we grow.” Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller was pivotal in helping me understand this more:

Friends, wouldn’t you want to be a person who does not need honor – nor is afraid of it? Someone who does not lust for recognition – nor, on the other hand, is frightened to death of it? Don’t you want to be the kind of person who, when they see themselves in a mirror or reflected in a shop window, does not admire what they see but does not cringe either? Wouldn’t you like to be the type of person who, in their imaginary life, does not sit around fantasizing about hitting self-esteem home-runs, daydreaming about successes that gives them the edge over others? Or perhaps you tend to beat yourself up and to be tormented by regrets. Wouldn’t you like to be free of them? Wouldn’t you like to be the skater who wins the silver, and yet is thrilled about those three triple jumps?

C.S. Lewis wrote once that if we met a truly humble person, we would never come away from meeting them thinking they were humble. They would not be always telling us they were a nobody (because a person who keeps saying they are a nobody is actually a self-obsessed person). The thing we would remember from meeting a truly humble person is how much they seemed to be totally interested in us.

We are attracted to people whose focus is on others. And while the issue of narcissism in social media is significant issue, I’m beginning to believe the real root issue – the attitude and stance of the heart – is more important to focus on than any new technology.

I’m just starting down the road of awareness on this. So why did I go back?

Social networks spark creativity

“Human brains are social brains,” says researcher and Economist editor Tom Standage. “Our brains are literally made for social networking” – mapped to process information in networks. Social Animal by David Brooks – a fascinating read – builds on this, stating that “Society isn’t defined by classes, as the Marxists believe. It’s not defined by racial identity. And it’s not a collection of rugged individualists, as some economic and social libertarians believe. Instead, society is a layering of networks.”

There are many implications for this. In Your Network is your Net Worth, Porter Gale elaborates on how the internet and social technologies have dramatically increased our ability to develop relationships with people with similar interests. What does this mean?

We’ve entered a new era where shifting cultural values and improved technology enable us to network in vastly improved, more focused, and more enjoyable ways that are more in tune with our personalities and passions….Interpersonal creative riches is at the heart of my approach to networking.

Networking – with social media as a key tool – is an important part of living lives more aligned with our passions and calling. It facilitates introductions to like-minded people better than any other tool we’ve had in the past. Being surrounded by people creating the things that matter to you can lead to an atmosphere of inspiration and creativity.


Social media as a tool to increase understanding?

Social networking extends your ability to creatively produce, but perhaps it also holds the potential to grow you in the other direction – away from the comfortable and familiar, raising awareness of others – developing understanding and empathy.

The Internet and social media are expanding the “circle of empathy” we experience as humans. Historically, we only experienced a tiny inner circle, tribe, village, or clan. The rise of technology has been one key to expanding our circles. Over history, one can see the circle of empathy expanding: from the village to the clan to the tribe to the nation to more recently to other races, both sexes, and children. – Steven Pinker

I remember Eric Johnson saying that once we make a distinction between “us” and “them” our instinct is to think of how we are better than “them.” Perhaps one of the benefits of social media is showing the humanity in others outside our circle of friends – and this is a step towards empathy, stronger community and an attitude of hospitality. As Fr. Daniel notes in Radical Hospitality:

In a culture that excludes others, prejudice and hatred are common. Prejudice has deeper effects, in addition to simply causing people to exclude others: it is at the root of a hostility that is cruel and violent. We have made great strides in better understanding one another, but there will be prejudice until you and I deal with our prejudice. There will be sexism until we rip up its roots in our own hearts. Until we take people of other races into our hearts we will not recognize “them” as real human beings. Until we have loved a gay person we will fear a gay person. Until we get to know someone who practices a religion different than our own, our differences will divide us.

Real hospitality is a condition of the heart – an attitude, instead of an action. But through empathy, we can overcome fear to find connection, love and joy:

Hospitality makes room even for the one who is frighteningly different—the dragon, you might say. Hospitality treats people respectfully, as if they are sacred, because they are. Even the other, the stranger, the one who is nothing at all like me. He brings the divine to me, too. By opening ourselves up to new people, we gain new ideas. We discover the world is filled with people who are nothing like us—and it is a delightful thing. The stranger helps us locate our favorite lies. The stranger helps us see the absurd in our culture and ourselves.

Where do we go from here?

For Christmas, Chloe gave me Writing on the Wall – an intriguing historical analysis on how communication through social networks (instead of mass media) shaped the biggest changes in culture: from Rome to the Reformation to the Arab Spring. International trade between Asia, the Middle East and Europe brought advances in communication formats such as paper and typesetting which only accelerated person-to-person communication that created the groundswells that caused cultural and societal change. The parallels to our digital communications networks of today are striking – history does indeed repeat itself.

Looking forward to a world where computing is making quantum leaps forward, I believe relationships will become more important than ever, and creative collaboration will be vital to solving the biggest problems we face.

One of the biggest questions of our time is how technology should affect our relationships, and I’m moving forward to try and understand how we can love more, dream more, and understand more using these.

As I see it now, it’s blending the old with the new. Offline and online. Quiet mornings with good coffee and great books, silent meditation, a calendar with room for plenty of real, unhurried conversations – in person, on the phone and Skype – walks around city neighborhoods just to explore, vujà dazé….and also participating in the broader digital conversation.