Bohemian Vibes

Source: 123rf.com
Image ID : 89336004
Copyright : Elina Zolotareva

I love the fact that bohemian, or boho, culture has blossomed as much as it has over the past few years. Bohemian fashion is creative, ethnically diverse and eclectic, not to mention loose and comfortable, and the social undercurrent of people who subscribe to bohemian culture is similarly diverse. Boho chic has brought back the hippie culture which had emerged during the early to mid-1960’s. The influence of hippies became so ingrained in our culture by the mid-1970’s that longer hair and colorful clothing from other countries was accepted as a new norm. Then with the Reagan era, a new conservatism swept the globe which remained for many years. Only in the past several years has the boho trend asserted itself once again.

Source: 123rf.com
Image ID : 60367478
Copyright : slena

Bohemian culture strives to break conventional norms, and to express a unique style. It appeals to artists, musicians, and anyone who is passionate about having essential freedom. Bohemians also strive to establish harmony with the environment, and often will participate in movements which are designed to save the planet. Think of events like Burning ManBurning ManBurning Man and Coachella, both of which capture the hippie free spirit vibe perfectly. Fashion-wise, the bohemian vibe allows people to mix and match different styles and colors on a whim to create a look which is truly unique.

So how do you put together a bohemian look? Just remember that a key feature of bohemian style is to mix textures, add accessories like jewelry, hats, or scarves, and to look and feel comfortable in whatever you choose to wear. Think of cozy fabrics like cotton, wool, denim, leather, and suede. Crochet and knit items, as well as some lace items, add a romantic flair and soften a look even further. Just make sure you don’t go overboard, or else you may end up looking like a thrift-store maven.

Boho chic tattoo design. Golden crescent moon and sun with elements of the mandala – astrology, alchemy and magic symbol.
Source: 123rf.com
Image ID : 109387236
Copyright : Yulia SELINA

Move Like A Child

Copyright : maximkabb (courtesy of 123RF.com)

Have you ever given any thought to how children move? The most fidgety of kids will move constantly, and will exhibit a freedom of movement. Children as a whole are far more active and naturally athletic than most adults. Movements such as swaying from side to side, swinging arms, fidgeting, jumping, and skipping are all the dominion of the child. Ordinarily, if an adult dares to move in that manner, he or she would be regarded, and often rightly so, as bonkers.

So what happens to an adult when he or she is allowed to move freely like a child, allowing whatever impulse emerges to direct movement of body parts?

There is one yoga instructor at the yoga studio I frequent who has a habit of encouraging the students to move and shake their limbs, wiggle their hips, and just let loose during one portion of her kundalini yoga class. Do students feel silly when they begin to move? Absolutely. Does everyone begin to enjoy the freedom that such movements can confer on the body, mind and spirit? Oh yes. It is incredibly liberating to be able to shake it like you just don’t care, all in a comfortable and non-judgmental environment.

I think the next best thing to being in a kundalini yoga class with a cool yogi like the one I mentioned, would be to take a dance class, or take part in freestyle dancing at a local club. It’s a great way to de-stress and have fun in the process.

Nope, I Really Don’t Want Kids

I do not want kids
People are continually amazed when I reveal my utter lack of desire to have children. Though I have found myself pondering the concept of having children while in relationships (including my most recent one), I find that as a single woman, I truly don’t see myself ever pursuing an opportunity to have a child. I have felt this way my entire life, even when I was married, and knew in my heart that unless a man swept me off my feet and somehow convinced me that having a child would be a great idea, that I would never willingly sign up for motherhood. Yes, I have come very close to agreeing to the whole kid thing, and I think I am probably still at risk of being somehow convinced that the idea might fly, but I would never make such a decision on my own. I have NEVER been the kind of woman who has watched children playing, or has seen babies in a nursery, and thought, I want one! I don’t yearn for the mother-child connection, and I don’t feel the need to create a mini-me.

There are a multitude of reasons besides my general lack of interest in the concept of having children which support my decision to remain child-free, but the three main reasons are:

1. KIDS ARE EXPENSIVE: Raising a child is unbelievably expensive. Be prepared to spend $245,000 to raise a child in the United States from birth at 2013 up to age 18. Here is a reference article so you can see the breakdown of costs:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/08/18/raising-child-cost-2013/14236535/

This is insane to me. I can barely get by as it is, and cannot imagine dealing with the financial burden of raising a child. No thank you.

2. TOO MUCH ON MY PLATE: I have so many projects that demand all of my time and focus, and am well aware of the fact that ALL of that would crumble if I were to have a child. Since I have no intention of redirecting my attention, no children will come into the picture. I certainly would never want to be a neglectful mother, and that is why I would relinquish all of the activities (EXCEPT gym time and eating clean!) that consume the bulk of my time and energy. I am not selfish enough to rob a child of all that he or she should experience, and would make every sacrifice to send the child to the best schools and provide everything possible. That would mean the end of all that I have known in my life as an independent woman.

3. I VALUE MY FREEDOM: It is pretty liberating to be able to leave at a moment’s notice (provided it doesn’t conflict with my work schedule) to go out of town, pop over to a store to run an errand, go out with friends from time to time, or just take a rare nap in the middle of the day. If I had a child, I would have to plan EVERYTHING in advance, arrange for child care, or take the child with me, along with diaper bag, formula, etc. I would feel so incredibly encumbered that I know my spirit would suffer.

i-cant-wait-to-have-kids
For those of you who wonder if I feel any sadness over being childless, I can tell you without hesitation that I value my freedom far more, and as a result, couldn’t be happier about the fact that I have no children. People still seem so shocked by that, as if an adult is supposed to feel some type of longing for parenthood. Society often regards people who choose not to have children as somehow inadequate, which is ridiculous, since those of us without children often have schedule flexibility which people with children can usually only fantasize about, and we have just as much value despite the lack of progeny.

I also find it extremely irritating and condescending when a WOMAN asks me if I have any children, and upon my negative reply, says, “Oh, yeah, that’s why you look so good.” This only prompts me to bust out photos of women in the fitness industry who have borne as many as SIX children and who rock washboard abs and fantastic muscularity and conditioning throughout their bodies. The desire to keep my body in its best shape ever has been a minor factor in my decision to avoid having children, but it by no means has been a primary reason. Fit women have proven over and over again that it is possible to bounce back into great shape after having children.

If you’re worried about me being child-free, remember that I love the flexibility and freedom in my life. I have pets whom I love dearly, and I have incredible friends. I don’t perceive any hole in my life because I never bore a child.

It’s MY Image And MY Branding

I have been struggling to assemble various elements of my personal branding on my own, but this task has proven to be extremely challenging. One of the first things I worked on was a logo, but after seven months, I still have nothing to show for it. Part of the problem is that I only have ideas of what I want to convey, and I have to rely on the creative vision of a logo designer to interpret my ideas in a way that is cohesive with my brand. This project has dragged on and on, and I am now beginning to doubt whether I will have a logo before the end of the year. There are countless other things on my to-do list, such as compiling an email list, revamping my three websites, designing a newsletter template, etc. I don’t have the expertise, nor do I have the time to do all of these things on my own. So I have been sitting on these projects as well.

Another thing I was hoping to get into place was a public relations person to help me with my image and to increase my exposure. Here’s where I ran into another wall. I had a meeting recently with a very competent and talented PR person but as we continued to discuss my goals and my vision, I realized that there was a disconnect. This person went through my images online and explained why certain images fell outside the realm of certain goals I was trying to achieve. While I understood that some images were less conservative than what a typical physician would take, I also felt attacked and restrained. Part of what I love about being who I am right now is the fact that I AM atypical, that I am defying the odds, and that I am challenging stereotypes.
black tassel beach logo only 2
One thing this person told me was that I needed to consider what a certain television show producer would think of me if he saw how I portray myself on the internet. With all due respect, I don’t live my life for others, and I will NOT conform for the sake of being invited on someone else’s TV show. I have enjoyed my personal freedoms and feel that as long as I honor the boundaries of common decency, I am NOT going to start doing photo shoots in business suits. That is simply NOT me and I would be miserable if I was FORCED to do that. I will never be the kind of person who will fit in a neat little conservative box. Try doing that to me and I will rebel.

In an era where the more outlandish and crazy someone is on television, the more popular they are, why is it that I am expected to remain on the straight and narrow path, with the reins pulled tight against my expression and my personality? I honestly don’t want to EVER sell out and become what a TV network or what middle America expects me to be. Perhaps Dr. Oz’s popularity stems somewhat from his conservative vibe, but I can tell you that when it comes to image, I will never be a predictable female version of that guy. No way. Don’t expect me to wear scrubs on a national TV show or dress in conservative garb just to appease the viewers. I am an IFBB Bikini Pro and very proud of it. So what if I model swimwear and fitness apparel? So what if I like to look sexy? Since when is that a crime?

My plan is to keep doing what I am doing, remain true to myself, maintain my integrity and keep moving closer to my ultimate goals.

Driving Is A Privilege…Enjoy It While You Can Do It

Many teenagers cannot wait until they learn to drive, because it is a rite of passage and a means to a certain amount of freedom and movement which they never had before. I remember being excited to drive, but that feeling dissipated very quickly when I found out how tedious it could be to navigate through Los Angeles traffic. I guess it’s a small price to pay for the flexibility I get from having a reliable car and all the necessary faculties to drive it. I have become so dependent on being able to drive wherever I need to that taking the car in for servicing is a major test of patience. It seems ridiculous that I can’t sit still for one hour while my car is serviced, but I simply can’t stand it. I also do not enjoy riding with other people to events which I may want to make an escape from earlier than my friends do. Even when I travel, I prefer to drive to the destination in my own car or rent a car while there.

I have seen elderly loved ones lose the ability to drive over the past few years, and it breaks my heart. My favorite aunt, my mother and now my father have lost the ability to drive as a result of progressive weakness, arthritis, loss of vision and cognitive decline. Both of my parents initially exhibited a stubborn refusal to accept their diminishing ability to drive, and kept talking about how they were going to resume driving soon. Sadly, they are both ambulating with great difficulty and only with the use of assistive devices. It is especially difficult to see this when I used to rely on them to drive me around when I was a child.

Even getting my parents into a vehicle is a major task, because flexing both at the knees and hips is no longer rapid or automatic. It terrifies me to think that I might ever get to that point in my later years. I don’t ever want to lose the freedom to jump in a car and go whenever I need to. I would hate having to rely on others to cart me around all the time. I hope and pray that my body remains nimble and that my distance vision remains sharp (thanks to Lasik). Driving is definitely a privilege and one which I value greatly.

front_spoiler_8

I Love My Freedom

woman-with-arms-outstretchedI am a relationship minded person, I live in one place for many years at a time, and am a planner. Yet I recognize the fierce need for freedom which pervades all areas of my life. I cannot stand being held back, tied down, or told I cannot do something. I am notorious for tackling all kinds of projects, even if I have had no prior experience and risk failure. I like being the boss, but it is more important for me to be in control of my own life, navigating through it the way I prefer. I am also a bit of a loner and prefer to chart my own course instead of following the pack. The past few years have given me wonderful opportunities to express myself in the way that I want to, and I am grateful for the ability to run around and frolic through life, enjoying all that it has to offer.

I am sure that the countless threats to my freedom which I have had to deal with throughout my life have only made me stronger. When I think of how fiercely I have fought for autonomy and a voice, I realize how much of a warrior I am. If someone doubts my abilities, I want to prove them wrong, NOT because I have a chip on my shoulder, but because the “can do” mindset is so deeply etched in my personality. Nothing that I do is on the beaten path. I look different, behave differently, navigate through life differently, and could never be described as being a “typical” anything. And you know what? I like it that way!

What I have learned throughout my life is that if you want freedom of movement, you can have it as long as you realize that you manifest whatever it is that your subconscious mind harbors. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. If you believe that something or someone has control over you, then you have given up the battle and you will manifest situations which will truly make you feel trapped, shackled, and stripped of your personal freedom. If you believe that you can shape your life the way that you want without mowing others down in an effort to reach your goals, then you will empower yourself. Everything we hold onto should be done with an open hand, allowing energy and opportunity to move organically. When we grasp, grab, twist and otherwise restrain the energy, it can often turn on us and create conflict, throw up obstacles and threaten to rob us of our freedom. This is a lesson that I am FINALLY beginning to understand after all my time on this planet.

A Horse Of Course

chinese_101_detail_horseAs someone who was born in the year of the Horse, I know what type of horse characteristics I manifest. Since we are now in the year of the Horse, I am prepared to deal with the amplified energy around me. Those of you who were born in Horse years (1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990) may notice a similar charge in everything you do this year. If you think of how a horse behaves, you will understand horse energy better, and if you have a loved one who is a Horse, you may reach a better understanding when you have an idea of our tendencies.

This Horse personality profile was found on Astrology.com:

Thank goodness for open spaces, because the Horse needs plenty of room to roam! Energetic, good with money and very fond of travel, Horses are the nomads of the Chinese Zodiac, roaming from one place or project to the next. All of this Sign’s incessant activity and searching may be to satisfy a deep-rooted desire to fit in. Paradoxically, Horses feel a simultaneous yearning for independence and freedom. Horses crave love and intimacy, which is a double-edged sword since it often leads them to feel trapped. Love connections tend to come easily to Horses, since they exude the kind of raw sex appeal that is a magnet to others. This Sign tends to come on very strong in the beginning of the relationship, having an almost innate sense of romance and seduction. Horses are seducers in general; check out any A-list party and you’re bound to find the Horse in attendance. This Sign possesses a sharp wit and a scintillating presence; it really knows how to work a crowd. Surprisingly, Horses tend to feel a bit inferior to their peers, a misconception that causes them to drift from group to group out of an irrational fear of being exposed as a fraud. An impatient streak can lead Horses to be less than sensitive to others’ needs. These colts would rather take a situation firmly in hand as opposed to waiting for others to weigh in or come to terms with it. The lone wolf inside the Horse can at times push others away, but this also makes this Sign stronger and is a key to its success. Horses are self-reliant and, though they might lose interest fast in a tedious, nine-to-five day job, are willing to do the work necessary to get ahead. Horses tend not to look much at the big picture; instead they just follow their whims, which can result in a trail of prematurely ended relationships, jobs, projects and so on. This Sign really knows how to motivate others, though, and get a lot accomplished. Once they find some peace within themselves, they can curb their wandering tendencies and learn to appreciate what’s in their own backyard.

Thank goodness the Western astrological aspects of my chart keep me more grounded and modify the typical Horse energy. For those of you who may be curious, my Sun sign is Cancer, with a Virgo ascendant and Moon in Aries. Fun stuff to play with!