Traverse City may be a ghost town, but it’s no different than the rest of the world right now.
I’m so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place, full of inspiration and serenity, especially during this time. There’s no need for entertainment when you have the peace inside yourself and the beauty all around you.
My heart goes out to everyone who is out of work or experiencing loss due to this pandemic. Please continue to take care of yourself, because there will be brighter days ahead.
Continue to create, inspire, learn, and grow. We can all take this time as the collective to look within and determine how we want to move forward with our lives. 🌿
A couple of years ago I heard a group of people making fun of me after I left the room. In a fury, I started writing a short and not-that-sweet blog post about it- a post titled “Gossip: It’s Low Vibe Energy.”
I often write about the things in life that irritate me, and almost immediately felt better afterward. I’ve written about the things in life that are painful- heartbreak, my experience in treatment, depression, and trauma. I’ve revisited stories of high school bullies and people who pushed me out of their life. I’ve talked about my alcoholism before people could start whispering about where I had been for a month or my poor behavior in the past. I’ve tried to own my side of the street, and took back my narrative before others tried to construe the truth- or think their words would break me.
I’ve noticed how gossip isn’t necessarily meant to be malicious or cruel toward other people, though. As a person who used to have a habit of taking everything personally, I was deeply hurt when people gossiped about me. Whether it was a flat out lie or laughing at my misfortune, I withdrew from connecting with people out of fear. For years I kept to myself and avoided interaction whenever possible.
This all began to change when I moved to the city. In San Francisco, being quirky was widely accepted. In New York, it was encouraged to drink during the day. In Boston, well, people were more concerned with themselves than even giving you a second glance, let alone gossip.
Now back in my hometown of 14,000 people in the city proper, of course gossip runs wild. Whether it’s school board scandal or frowning on changes in the community, people thrive on the dirt. They feed off of it.
I’ve learned an important lesson though- one even more pertinent than owning my narrative:
A lot of people use gossip to connect.
They talk about others to feel heard. They whisper about people behind their backs to gain some sort of validation from their peers.
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
Connection is a powerful thing, but a lot of people aren’t comfortable with sharing their own truth. They connect based on other people, shallow aspects of life, and material gain. They judge other people by what they have or what they’ve accomplished, but not what’s inside their soul.
Today, I connect based on truth.
I’ve been invited to meet old friends and I’ve received messages from acquaintances who are merely curious about my personal life. I’m aware not all of these people truly care about me as a person, but they do care about what sort of drama or problems I may have.
It’s okay, though- I’ve beat them to it.
I’ve already shared what’s really going on with me throughout the web, and I hope to have more opportunities to share my story with the world. Whether it’s public speaking or writing, I know my experiences have helped people learn they’re not alone in their struggles.
My own struggles have brought me strength, for I have overcome them. Gossip may still be low vibe energy, and it’s not something I will participate in today. I wish the best for those who have snickered behind my back or tried to watch me fall; because today, I continue to rise. I hope they find their own way of doing so, too.
One of the things that deterred me from moving back to Michigan from the East Coast was the need for a car. It seems pretty silly, doesn’t it? Nevertheless, one of the reasons I specifically chose to move to Boston back in 2016 because of its walkability, T system, and ease of a daily commute.
I became extremely attached to the concept of not being attached to my material possessions back in 2016 as well, especially after spending over two years in New York City.
While talking to a friend who worked for an automotive company, he told me something pretty disheartening- that it is “strongly implied” at work that “only poor people” take BATA Transit Official (and they don’t count). 😳
BATA is our public transit system, and I was surprised to learn how helpful and nice it was when I came back to Michigan. The drivers were friendly, the schedules were consistent, and it took you pretty much anywhere you needed to go.
But hold up.
Yes, all walks of life take public transportation. I’ve taken the bus here and I’ve seen all kinds of people- tourists, storytellers, students, and sweet elderly people.
As a person who exclusively took the bus and train while living in San Francisco, NYC, Chicago, and Boston, it’s hard for me to go back to the pain of a car- especially going six years without one. Don’t get me wrong, I adored my Mini Cooper (my mother still has two, depending on the season), but every time something went wrong, I felt sick. With every check engine alert or knick on the door, I felt trapped by my material item.
Since selling Mini and moving to New York City in 2014, I’ve chosen not to drive.
I have walked over five miles a day for as long as I can remember (usually 10 or more on many days!), utilized a bike, and used my time in Uber or public transportation to write. After becoming much more conscious and mindful, I’ve embraced the time I can simply sit still and relax while going from point A to point B.
The “poor people” statement makes me sick to my stomach. Really. Could we please focus more on love and understanding instead of labels and judgment in this new decade?
That said, I don’t have a use for a car at the moment. I may in the future, but not now- and it’s somewhat of a political statement to avoid driving with the current state of our environment. I understand it’s necessary for many people to drive- to get to work, take their kids to school, or to travel on weekends. I’m fortunate to live in town and have the option to walk everywhere I need to go, use the bus, or take Uber if I can’t get there. My cat’s food and litter is delivered. I can even order groceries if I want to.
After six years in the city, it’s not easy to transition to a small town with a very limited view of the world. I can only hope to continue to connect with likeminded individuals who aren’t so quick to judge.
More love in 2020, please. For now, I’m grateful Traverse City has BATA- and good friends who don’t value others based on what they own.
When I came back to Michigan, there were many things I wasn’t prepared for.
Winter in November was one of them.
Although I spent the past five years on the East Coast, Northern Michigan is a whole new ballgame. Despite living in town, the heavy snow and the ice makes is nearly impossible to even walk down the street- this morning, I fell twice in my own neighborhood.
As I waited for the bus to get to work, a man called out to me, “you know, the bus isn’t coming up the hill today!” I looked over at him, as snow fell off the fur on the hood of my new Michael Kors coat and into my eyes. “Oh?” I replied, “Where does it pick up?”
“At the bottom of the hill!”
I stared at him as I wiped the snow from my face. Well, I suppose I can make it to the bottom of the hill.
Begrudgingly, I turned around and started walking. My clothes were already getting wet from the heavy snow, but that didn’t stop me. I’d walk all the way to work if I had to! A mile and a half is nothing when you’re used to walking over 10 miles each day in the city.
As I continued to walk, my feet slipped on the snow-packed pavement. Catching my fall, my leg started to cramp. I kept going. Then, as I hit another icy patch, my coffee mug flew out of my hand, my phone detached from my headphones, and I fell flat on my back. I paused for a moment.
I can’t do this shit.
All sorts of things began running through my mind at this moment. Should I keep going? Should I dry my phone off and see if there is an Uber nearby? Or do I just go home, call my boss, and tell her what happened?
I decided to go with option #3.
I may be a winter baby who loves bundling up, wearing cute boots, gloves, and hats, but when my nearly 35-year-old body is in pain, the best option is to stay inside.
Maybe I should mention that I haven’t driven a car in almost six years- and I am not about to start now. Can you even imagine the damage I could do to myself or others if I were to drive on this ice? It wouldn’t be pretty- not to mention bad for my anxiety.
You can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl- even if it means she’ll attempt to walk a mile and a half in the snow and risk falling on her butt.
Just in time for Throwback Thursday, a memory appeared on my Facebook feed taking me back to the last time I lived in Traverse City.
Back in 2013, my fashion blog “K on the Bay” was in full swing.
At the time I was working with a variety of designers and online boutiques, so I thought, “why not represent local businesses?” Traverse City was rapidly growing, but most people didn’t consider it a fashion destination. With endless shops and brands from all over the country, I wanted to show that you didn’t need to leave the town to find great style.
I contacted every publication in town. Shot down by most, I kept going- and received interest from Grand Traverse Woman Magazine. Thrilled, I walked from boutique to boutique, telling them about my blog and offering to style the pieces that wanted to promote for the fall fashion season.
The article came out in the November / December issue, with the title “Warm Style on the Bay.”
This was several months before I decided to move to New York City to pursue a career in fashion. That said, this little article made me more proud than most things I ever did on the east coast.
What I didn’t realize when I moved is that my impact and connections with other people was so much greater here in Northern Michigan. From NYC to Boston, I was still a number. My interest in the blog dwindled, and I later ended up deleting it.
Nevertheless, my love for style never ended- so I created Mindful in Style to bridge mindfulness and fashion. This time, it wasn’t necessarily about the clothes or the brands; it was created to celebrate individuality and being mindful about whatever style you choose, whether it’s a lifestyle choice or what you put on in the morning.
It’s your style, no one else’s- and that’s being mindful in style.