Lady in White
This blog post is brought to you by growth & change
Alyssa had contacted me to do a shoot of her last week in Syracuse. One starting at the beautiful Green Lakes State Park and the other one, in her apartment (where she fed me tacos, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER.) This apartment has meant a lot to her and I could tell right when I walked in. Though it was 1/2 packed up due her to moving...
I could tell this was her h o m e.
I could feel it right when I walked in the door. She took care of it, took pride in it and was bitter sweet.
Alyssa, as our friendship grows, so does my passion for change. You inspire be every day by your motivation, honesty and dedication to the people around you. You love tacos, I love tacos, let's just all love tacos together.
I asked Alyssa if she could put into words a few questions I had for her and I'm telling you, this girl is wise, brave and not scared to be herself.
I know you’ve recently made a lot of lifestyle changes. What has been the best part of change?
A year ago I was constantly on the run, trying to fill voids I’m not even sure I knew I had, caught up in this directionless, exhausting grind. With these changes, I am now so in tune with myself and what I need mentally, physically and spiritually. I'm in complete control of my happiness. That has been a very empowering realization.
Letting go of drinking has helped me remember who I am and what I want in this life. I feel so ALIVE again, like I can take on anything. I also naturally became a morning person - it's a game changer. Those hours from sunrise to mid-morning are so meditative and fantastic for productivity. Oh and want to know a secret? Watching the sun come up is one of the most phenomenal ways to start any day.
The worst ? (If there is one)
Losing touch. Any time you make intense personal changes, it is inevitable to lose some people along the way. I've always been the wanderer or a "tumbleweed", as I called it on my EP so I'm sort of used to that. I've moved something like 20 times since graduating from college and have visited so many places and met incredible people, which I am beyond grateful for.
The combination of living in a new city and no longer going out partying was the perfect recipe for some pretty quiet nights, which I think I needed in a way. Life is so weird though - you can have 2,000 Facebook friends and someone to call in every major city but no one to have dinner with in your own city. We're all navigating our own path, and it's great.. but I'm definitely craving a solid circle and I feel like there's a lot of people that I miss, always.. Don't worry, already writing a song about it.
What are you most excited about in the upcoming year?
I’m so excited to be a student again! I'm starting a masters program at the University of Rochester this fall. I’ve been working from home for the past few years, which certainly had its perks. However, I feel like there was a point where I stopped learning and I miss that so much - using my brain, being challenged, reading, doing research. It's been this missing piece that I am beyond thrilled to get back.
When did something start out badly for you but in the end, it was great?
Well, that describes my Syracuse chapter in a nutshell. A few days before I moved there, the guy I had been seeing completely ghosted me (which helped me see I needed to WAY up my standards in men so I'm actually oddly grateful). A couple days later, my landlord called to tell me he couldn't come through on a lot of the things in the lease and that if I wanted to walk, I could. Something in me said to stay and give it a shot. THEN I ran into some music drama, my job got out-of-control busy, I ran away to the west coast for a month and when I returned, I got so sick. I mean could not get out of bed for days sick - so far past exhausted and stressed.
There were a couple really dark days in there.. I'm pretty sure my physical ailments played a role (research the brain-gut connection if you haven't already) but I also realized I desperately needed to change. That was when I decided to quit drinking, when I applied to grad school, and when I realized I hadn't focused on health or fitness in a long time. It was the turning point. My apartment on Whittier Ave became my sanctuary - a place of healing and inspiration, which is why I wanted to document it.
Beyond that, I really made an effort to dig my feet into Syracuse. It gets such a bad rap sometimes but there are SO many incredible people doing incredible things to lift that city back up.. and I probably barely scraped the surface. As I write this, it hasn't even been a full 24 hours since I moved out but my heart is hurting and it feels like something is missing. This past year turned out to be such a beautiful, life-changing chapter and I am so grateful for it, all of it.
Thoughts on confidence:
It is so incredibly attractive. There’s just something about people who carry themselves with confidence. I've had to relearn it in this chapter. I'm a work in progress (aren't we all?). To be honest, I was nervous about rocking a sports bra for this shoot but then this new me kicked in and was like “Alyssa, what? Who stinkin cares?!!” We're all so worried about being judged but in reality we’re judging ourselves. Gotta let that go. No time for that.
What’s your favorite meal to cook, BESIDES TACOS!?
Oh my gosh, I originally wrote a book in response to this question and then erased it.. a cookbook may be in the future somewhere. I'm really into bowls right now! I've been trying to come up with a menu that's healthy and satisfying yet cheap because, you know, #studentlife. In the morning, I'll blend up a smoothie, throw it into a bowl and top it with hemp seeds, granola, fresh fruit, coconut.. whatever, go crazy with it. Lunch and dinner are usually a combo of some kind of protein, rice or beans and any veggies I have with some randomly concocted sauce. Sauce is everything. I joined a CSA this past year (@Grindstone_farm - they're incredible!), which was definitely one of the coolest things I did food-wise and something I feel everyone should try. I cooked with so many new types of mega-fresh produce and stepped out of my comfort zone by experimenting and getting away from recipes
Thank you Alyssa. For our laughs, our talks, and our friendship. I am so excited to see where this next chapter takes you.