Author: Carley

Wear whatever you want.

This holiday season I bopped merrily and brightly into a party wearing a long red dress. The mood was loud and light as friends and family snacked and sipped their drinks. Coat still on and presents still in hand, I exchanged Merry Christmases and one arm hugged each person sitting around the kitchen island. A man whom I hadn’t seen in months stood to greet me. He embraced me warmly, the way old friends do. This was immediately followed by a comment on my outfit. “You need to put a slip on.” For context, my dress was not see-through. For clarity, this justification is not necessary. My face turned red. I’ve been known to have a sharp tongue with a lightning fast response time. A SLIP? Oh. You mean the garment invented in the 1940s to make sure women covered their legs appropriately? I’ll get right on that. So in these situations, I try to find a moment of pause to assess the intention before reacting. I wasn’t willing to chalk this up to whether …

And For My Next Trick, I’ll Reassemble.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last year, it’s that in most situations, you’ll stumble upon your biggest breakthroughs just beyond what you think you can stand. Endurance is a magnificent thing. If we choose to actively pursue it, our capacity to bounce back stronger after emotional trauma is a nod to how remarkable the human spirit is. I think we assume we can’t do something simply because it looks scary, because it hurts, or because it seems difficult. To gain access to that type of endurance, you have to surrender to the growth it lends itself to. That type of growth takes hard work and heart work,. There are no shortcuts. Which leads me to the piece you’re now reading. Publishing this is well-beyond the edge of my comfort zone. I’m taking a big step here. I’ve avoided for this piece for an entire week. I could sit here and say I don’t know why, but I do. Because, hello! It’s scary. It hurts. It’s difficult. It doesn’t mean I haven’t moved …

Two Places At Once

My greatest first loves always start with music and cities. St. Lucia will always be New York for me. I have an uncanny ability to photographically remember where I was, and what I was doing,  when certain songs were playing at specific moments in time. It’s a bizarre, useless, auditory sensitivity I’ve grown accustom to loving and loathing. Everyone has those things. A smell. A place. For me, it’s always been music. A song will come on, and I’m standing right where I was when it first played. I’ll know what I was wearing. I’ll know who I was with. I’ll know what the mood was. There’s no undoing memories like that, however meaningless or meaningful they may be. The first time I heard Bon Iver’s “Holocene”, I was standing alone on the Williamsburg Bridge. I was wearing a green utility jacket with leather sleeves, perched atop the pink railing. The lens of my Nikeon D3000 was pressed against a gap in the protective fence. It was meant to keep people off, but there I was scaling it for a photo. …

Emptying Your Cart

I’m the kind of person who will go into a grocery store with the intention of buying two things. Let’s say grocery bags and yogurt. And you know what sucks? I was just at the grocery store, and managed to not get the only two things I needed. So here we are again. Then I decide I want avocados. And then I see tomatoes. And then I think about how much I love avocado toast and I pick up a baguette. And for some reason I HAVE to make apple crisp like a true overachiever. I rarely bake. So I pick up a dozen apples. A DOZEN. I’m pretty sure apple crisp only requires 6 apples but what if my neighbors want some? It would be nice to be the chick who bakes apple crisp for the whole goddamn neighborhood. I needed two things. I was literally just here. My fridge is full. My arms are full. I should, in theory, be ALL SET. Instead, I am dashing up and down aisles collecting all of …

Like Yourself, Babe.

We talk so often about practicing self-love, which I believe is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. But if we’re being real (which we always are here) loving any person, all the time, including ourselves, is hard. Sometimes, you can’t. Sometimes you’re not equipped to love yourself that deeply at the drop of the hat. Loving yourself that deeply in every moment is exhausting. Sometimes, it’s enough to simply like ourselves. Let’s start there. Let’s start with thinking about our best qualities, and projecting that energy out into the world. Because I’ll tell you something. I am OVER the mindset that we are all supposed to sort of hate ourselves, using qualifiers to sheepishly admit our few redeeming qualities. Let’s start with finding reasons from within to be confident instead of looking to others for validation and acceptance. Let’s look in the mirror and let go of that one glaring flaw in favor of appreciating all the things the universe got right in assembling us. And in the name of not being the BIGGEST …

Body Armor.

I had a conversation with friends a few nights ago (over real apps) about dating apps, and can I be honest? I hate them. I’m not built for them. Do I respect some people’s affinity for them? Yes. Have I tried them? Yes. Are they amusing? Yes. Mostly because when you come across someone who is hopefully a doctor (but presumably Dexter) literally performing open heart surgery in their main picture, you have to laugh at the idea of swiping left or right based on your initial reaction. Which, by the way is, “What in the actual living hell is this?” But I finally realized what’s missing from the swiping and double tapping garbage that we’ve allowed present day dating standards to convince us we depend on. Eye contact. At a yoga festival recently (sup Wildvibes!), in the closing ceremony, they asked us to hold hands with a stranger and look them in the eyes for a few minutes. No words. No laughing. Just two softened sets of eyes showing up for each other without interruption, …

RENEGADE JAMS: INSTALLMENT II

Installment II of Renegade Jams is here! Still deciding if I want to keep up with the Roman Numerals in the title. Seems cool I guess? But I know I’m going to have to start Googling the shit out of them after 5 or 6, so we’ll see. In case you’re new to this series, each week I’ll feature 5 songs I can’t stop jamming to, complete with the entire playlist below. I’ll be adding to this playlist weekly, in the event that you’d like to subscribe & rock out alongside me. (Do it!) And as promised, the 5 songs from the last installment are of course still on there. If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments! Let’s play. #6 “Things That I Regret” by Brandi Carlile I saw Brandie Carlile live a few months ago and let me just say…This woman slays on stage. She’s the real deal. Her fast tempo songs will bring you to your feet. Her slow, acoustic songs will bring you to your knees. Years ago, when my mom …