I recently shot my first ceremony with a photographer-owned elopement company called NY Dream Weddings on April Fools Day. And well, it was nothing short of what the name suggests. Dream wedding, dream job. Thanks Ed and Bailey for letting me be a part of your special day!
I was standing in the middle of 3rd ave by myself. The march started on 2nd ave, cut over on 42nd street and went up 5th to Trump Tower. So 3rd was cut off from traffic and was relatively empty for a Saturday afternoon in NYC... except for others like me who took advantage of the surreal opportunity to walk right down the middle of Manhattan without the threat of oncoming, anything, really.
An old black woman appeared next to me and said, "Did we really do it? Did we shut down New York City?!" She gave me the most beautiful smile and a high five. The she teared up and said softly, "I have never seen anything like this in all my life."
I tried to imagine for a moment what she'd seen in her life. We turned and looked down the wide open avenue and cried together. It was maybe one of the best moments of my life. #thankstrump
Thank you @womensmarch for organizing the largest protest in US history. Thank you to the 400,000 people who marched in NYC on Saturday, and the 3 million around the country, and however many around the world. To the women of all ages, colors, and creeds whose power and grace has inspired me beyond measure. To the fathers, husbands, boyfriends, sons who chanted "Her body, her choice" and marched for their moms fighting breast cancer. To the women who made pussy hats and carried their babies. To the men who made signs opposing inequaltiy and fascism. To the little girls with their fists in the air and the little boys who already treat others as equals and to the parents who brought them along. To the old women in wheel chairs and the old men in pink fedoras. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
We are living in an incredible time. We have the opportunity to take part in movements like these, that spread love, hope, and solidarity around the world. Now let's keep marching, keep talking, keep planning, and effecting change. Because some things have to break to be put back together the right way.
I like it right here.
I like that Winnie keeps trying to lay on my journal. I like the Christmas mug with the partying polar bears, drunk on coca-cola, that I've had since I was a kid. I like the non-dairy creamer that David surprised me with. I like that this windowsill is just big enough for my journal and elbows and coffee and cat butt. I like how this window faces down the street at an angle, and I like watching, even though it's not always pretty.
Kids crying, couples fighting, cars honking, sirens. This is Brooklyn. Yesterday the wind blew trash all over the street and there were plastic bags hanging in the skeletons of the trees out front, like city ornaments. But someone cleaned the street really well---probably our super. I've seen her sweeping trash off the sidewalk before.
Today looks nice.
Kids are skipping around, just getting out of school. Girls with matching pink backpacks, little boys with presents.
Happy Christmas Eve-eve, Brooklyn!
This is a picture of my first real-life adult Thanksgiving. In years prior I've either been working or mid-moving or living in a van or traveling abroad. This is the first time I've had a home with furniture to sit on, in which I could invite good friends to come over and enjoy a home-cooked meal with us. What a warm, fulfilling feeling. (And it was 100% vegan!)
Invasive smells on the subway. Open fire hydrants all over Brooklyn. People laying in the park. Air conditioners layered all over the sky, dripping questionable water on the streets below. Strollers with fans aimed at pale babies. Random thunderstorms preceded by flash flood warnings that blare through our iPhones all at once. Pointless fans in restaurant basements that do nothing but stir stale, humid air. Flying cockroaches. Dimmer lights and struggling window units. People fanning themselves throughout their 8 course tasting. Sungold tomatoes. Summer squash. Watermelon with fluke crudo. Almost fainting on the Williamsburg bridge because my helmet is an oven. Hasidic women wearing the same damn thing they wear every other season and somehow still surviving. A baseball cap on me. Frozen pina coladas in the kitchen. Frozen daiquiris. Frozen rose, or "Frose". Movies in the park. Seizures on the sidewalk. Eggplant. Riding our bikes through freezing fire hydrant water and screaming. Running through them on purpose, drunk at 3am. "This is why rich people go to the Hamptons for the summer." Cats with their bellies outstretched and vulnerable. Everything is sticky. People become grumpy and agitated at everything about it. Shoes stay sandy for weeks after that one time we went to the beach. Business owners fly away while the rest of us stay inside, worshipping at the altar of the almighty air-conditioner which, quite frankly, isn't fucking cutting it anymore. Our deity gives up on us. And all that's left of the mess are sweaty zombies, too groggy to admit that maybe they created this for themselves.
I'm sitting on a windowsill in my Brooklyn apartment, waiting to snatch any semblance of breeze that might be passing by my muggy sauna of a home. David is playing guitar on the couch. I've positioned our only fan right in front of him because... 1. I love him. 2. I want him to keep singing that song he wrote about me the summer that we fell in love and lived out of a van. 3. I don't think he could curl his body up onto a windowsill the way I have.
New York City is in the midst of its first heat wave of the summer and we have no air conditioning in our top floor apartment, because apparently we are a couple of stubborn masochists. We did this exact thing in our top floor studio in Portland last summer, when that little city experienced a record-breaking two weeks of temperatures in the 100's. Will we ever learn?
Today we had a heat advisory, air quality alert, and flash flood watch all at the same time. Baffling. And so we confined ourselves to our apartment, sitting in puddles of sweat at our dining room table, reading the horrific affairs of the world right now. Maybe it was the oppressive heat combined with existential discontent, but something suddenly came over me.
I haven't written like this, not here, in years. When I met David and stopped traveling for a while, I went through a lifestyle transition that I wasn't able to deal with very gracefully. I wasn't sure what value I could provide in this traditional consumerist society. What is my identity, if not a nomad with a backpack? Who am I if I take away my own freedom to leave all these things and jump on a plane? What is my purpose now? Do I try and use the degree I put myself into debt for? Is it even possible?
So after working many different retail and restaurant jobs in Portland, and then experiencing my first full-fledged panic attack on the corner of 16th and Lovejoy with the highway roaring overhead, I decided to try something else.
I quit my miserable jobs amidst the very real fear that we would not be able to afford our increasing rent and applied for an editorial internship at my dream magazine---the one I had been eyeing while I got my degree in Florida. I didn't think I would be chosen for the position, but I was.
But unfortunately, it was all wrong. The structure of the business, the intention of the content, the $2 an hour pay. Not to mention, David and I were itching to leave Portland. So I walked away from an opportunity that could've launched the career I'd been hoping for my whole life...
We dropped everything and risked a lot to go out in search of a truth we didn't know the shape of.
We traveled to the islands, and then to visit family, and then to live on a farm. And then found ourselves on a train headed for New York City.
Since that failed internship in Portland, I decided to take a step away from writing to re-evaluate what role it should be playing in my life. Do I want it to be a career? A means to an end or just creative expression? Should I even share it? Does that convolute the intention? So I stopped writing here, and stopped altogether for a while, before buying a journal and practicing being me again.
Moving to New York is one of the best spontaneous decisions I've ever made. We came here with very little money, not even sure we'd want to stay. But the amount of life I get to experience on a daily basis in these little spaces, it's unlike anything else in the world. NYC is the laboratory of modern life.
Yesterday, David and I were walking through the Lower East Side when we saw a man fall head-first onto the sidewalk and have a seizure. David called 911 for first time in his life while the man thrashed about, eyes rolling back and foaming at the mouth. We didn't know what else to do.
Two young hispanic guys were suddenly there, tending to him. They knew to roll him on his side and support his head. We stayed until the ambulance came, for our own peace of mind.
For the rest of the day we walked around lower manhattan in a sweaty stupor. We had each witnessed a seizure once before, as kids in school. But something about right then in front of us, his head smacking the pavement, his bloody elbows and blue lips... it reminded us how fucking fragile we all are. How crazy life is. How lucky we are. To be healthy humans. To be young, educated people born into lower-to-middle-class families in a very privileged country. To live in this incredibly inspiring city right now.
I left that experience and these insane couple weeks of humanity, with an overwhelming urge to fucking DO something. To make something of this short, weird, senseless life of ours.
I feel a responsibility, as an able-bodied human being, to do everything in my power to live my truth. To make some sort of positive impact. To not just be a cog in the machinery of modern culture. I am not here to ride the subway in silence. I am not here to polish silverware. I believe I'm here to make noise.
And so I'm writing in this moment, doing something I thought I had abandoned, and felt guilt for abandoning. Just because I feel more like myself when I'm doing it. And because I feel a little lighter and happier and less stressed when I'm being more myself. And maybe that's what the world needs more of right now.
When I was a sophomore in college, I bought two black and white canvas prints of my two greatest dreams at the time. One was a picture of London and one of New York. I would sit in bed studying my life away and look up at these pictures for inspiration to push through. The following year, I was lucky enough to live smack dab in the center of London. And now, just yesterday, on a sunset ferry ride from Manhattan to Ikea, I took this picture and it took my breath away because it looks EXACTLY like the black and white version I had above my bed all those years ago.
What a funny world we live in. What a funny life this is, where you can accomplish anything you want if you really try. I mean, I'm not working a glamorous job just yet and life is still scary sometimes, but little moments like these remind me that dreams do come true and that I'm on my way up.
Jonas in NYC!
No New Yorker anticipated the blizzard getting this heavy.
David had to go into work this morning even though snow had been coming down all night and all news reports (especially my mom's, haha) urged people to stay home.
He strapped on his (first ever) snow boots I bought him yesterday and trekked out into the sideways blowing blizzard around 9am.
I watched him shuffle down the middle of our street until he disappeared into the white haze.
Nobody knew if the subways would keep running as the storm got worse, so I worried like hell that David would get stuck in Manhattan and we would be separated until things got better.
When I finally got word that my work was cancelled tonight, I suited up and went out into the belly of the beast to retrieve my babe.
And then I learned that blizzards look much more intense from the comfort of your warm window, when the snow is blowing horizontal.
It was shockingly peaceful on the streets, and so bright and beautiful.
When I got to Greenwich village I saw five New Yorkers helping to push a yellow cab out of the snow. Everyone out on the streets was happy and giggly. I picked up David from work and we walked around 6th avenue in awe. You couldn't see the tops of any buildings, so everything felt smaller somehow.
We explored the empty, powdery streets until our hats and scarves were soaked and then headed home to a warm bed and whiskey.
Our first snow day has been such a good one ⛄️⛄️✨