a love letter

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I never loved my body. So it never loved me.
Sounds simple no? So why do we make it so complicated? Energy is everything.
it took me the better part of my life to stop fighting myself — to embrace my shape, and my drive— to apply what is simply just self love, love yourself, livyoung. But it is not a destination — rather a journey, of self discovery, introspection, learning to live as you, with you, in you —your body, your mind, your heart. I learn more about me everyday. And learning to love my dark parts along the way — my habits, defaults, imperfections. My hurt + my hopes — to make room for my dreams.

It took a professional photo shoot, and a bottle of wine, for me to expose me, to see me — My body! My form! This vessel in which i live, the vessel i work hard on every day — moving, breathing, sweating… to share such photos not for you but for me. To face myself - to free myself.

Because what is sexier than owning the skin you live in?
Sure Ill always wonder what it would feel like to have boobs like @emrata
Or long legs like Gisele, but when all is said and done,
the body I liv In is my home, my own —
the vessel that holds all my answers,
fosters my gut, my intuition that tells me when to run or to stay,
guards, protects + cages my heart,
all in tandem with my mind that both doubts me + drives me + my
breath that challenges me, fuels me, and forces me to be present here + now.
My body, my brain, my breath - my life.
I am a sum of my parts
and along for the ride more than ever To put in the hard work,
to get to know myself more —- so i can be more of me to you,
both messy + sexy, done up + undone.

A love letter from me
To me
Because if I dont love me, who will?

So —-to the body i’ve loved + hated,
filled + emptied,
fueled + deprived,
fought with + against,
connected with + disconnected from — thank you for always showing me the way. testing my resilience, pushing me harder, holding me up and slowing me down.
its our time. we’re in this together baby — one life, head, heart whole.
thank you body for protecting me. i’m ready to let love in, for me, from me. we got this.
lets #flowthruthefight.

Now its your turn. I dare you to write you a love letter. i did.
Happy Valentines Day. #workhard #livyoung
more thoughts on love, here: http://www.livyoung.co/blog/2018/9/12/love

fear

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I dont fear risk,
rejection Or failure
Judgment or comparison
I dont fear Illness, death or dying
I dont fear time Or lack thereof
I dont fear being alone
Or being in love
I dont fear Asking for help or
receiving it, I dont fear opening up,
Or shutting down.
I don’t fear my past or my future
My dreams
Or nightmares
I dont fear Pleasure Or pain
Success or solitude
The only thing i fear Is
holding myself back
From reaching my full potential.
The only thing i fear,
Is me.

Let me explain:
First we fall + then we feel. And i’m not afraid to jump. As i lean in + let go, i learn more about myself, the deeper depths of my mental makeup, the strength of my mind, and the extent to which i internalize. I have always identified with struggle more than success, with fight more than flow, it is hard work for me to liv young. But i’m up for the challenge, because i see myself. My beauty + my breakdown. And also why i share so much of me, to humanize this experience that social media has covered with smoke + mirrors, to wilfully declare that we are all here to see + be seen, to feel + be felt. It is the messy parts of life, the vulnerability, the honesty that is sexy. The hard work that goes into success + struggles of everyday life. And thru sharing, in real time, i shift my perspective, to practice what i preach, to embrace all of me, as i flowthruthefight. The secret is to make it all look easy, sure. But if it was easy, we’d all be billionaires + beautiful + all the rest of the bullshit we double tap on instagram.

So lets talk fear.
I am afraid of myself.

I am naturally dark. Overwhelmingly resilient. I will be the last man standing, not to prove to anyone else but myself that i can. Letting things be “easy” without force, to flow thru the fight is my biggest challenge -- and why i started box + flow. Because the physicality of the workout, brought me ease. Hitting a heavy bag, the cathartic release of breath energy resistance strength and power shows me that I can --- feel my own power. i am here, i am alive. And it also proves how much i hold onto - the same power that i use to hold myself back.And with that resistance, when there is no ease, i deprive myself of the freedom I liv by, i lose the fun. i get stuck. My willpower works against me,
My heart gets caught up in my head.
My feelings get hurt,
I get in my own way.
But the only one to dig me out of the hole i put myself into, is me.
So i move. I run to fight + flow my fear of self, away.
To sweat the layers holding me back, to reconnect to me - my body, my breath, to let go.
That hard work allows me to livyoung. to face my darkness, to see and share my light.
To shift my perspective -- from fearing me to feeling me, my messy as sexy. My beauty in my breakdown. My fear is what brought box + flow to life.

Sharing myself means seeing myself. Being so open pushes me to fuel my life, with inquiry and connection, building relationships, business, lifting others to lift myself, fueling my body + otherwise. But in darkness, it is when i feel most. A cloud sweeps over me, not of complacency or concern, but of stuckness.
I firmly believe we fuel our lives or fill our time. Autopilot ON or Autopilot OFF. And when my autopilot is on, and i am merely existing instead of living my fullest, i start to fill - my body, my thoughts, my time -- with pointless meetings, or disconnection, dating apps or one too many drinks, sugar + deep sleep. And then Dark thoughts not deeply rooted in anything, just a notion of heavy energy, a dark cloud that hovers. I have often been asked how i started my business or when i decided to end an abusive relationship, etc. and my only response is, “i just did.”

And with that power + conviction, with my strength that is my workhard ethic, the same power holds true for my darkness. Because i am in control of my power, Strong enough to propel me forward to liv free + liv full, and stronger even to hold me back -- To induce my own failure.
it is both a blessing + a curse. To be so self aware, to knowingly have the power to push forth or hold back. But I’m up for the challenge --- physically mentally spiritually emotionally, the hard work to To livyoung, to find balance within, to love myself.

And as for finding love? I know that one morning, my eyes will open way too early, my body heavy in soft sheets, my head will roll over onto puffy pillows and sigh softly into the ear of the man who loves me.
Because i know that Love will find me when i am ready and
Life will meet me as it does everyday and

Success will always be challenging for me to define, as my greatest fan + harshest critic,
Because My only i fear is
me.

#workhard #livyoung

balance

I’ve never worked so much
And slept so little
Not because I am up working
But because my brain doesn’t always like to listen to my body
I jump in bed and it jumps onto the next topic
We write novels together, underneath my covers
As i beg my brain to just
Shut
Down.
For someone who preaches balance,
My life is currently all but balanced.
The past year has been void of deep sleep,
Except for those sweet sporadic evenings of hibernation,
10 hour bouts of darkness + stillness,
To recenter myself.
I collect sleep like camels collect water
To sustain me for the week
To keep me sane
But im tired
The thing is, i have a dream.
And i can’t 100% rely on anyone but me to make my dreams come true -- a big burden to bare, and
you can’t win a war with no warriors,
But there is a reason leaders lead and the sacrifice that often comes in the form of solitude, the loneliness that fills me when balance escapes me, Which is no doubt why entrepreneurship, while the shiny toy of millential culture, is not for everyone.

But me? I was made for this, and the manageable bouts of solitude + sleepless nights: the will to win, the want for more. I don’t start what i can’t finish + i don’t play to lose.
Not for the thrill, but for the kill. The long game, the sustainability factor, the marathon.
Balance will always be my challenge -- not just in work but in love + in play, because i play the extremes. I go in deep and hard, in conversation, connection, creation.
I dont skate on the surface, i dont do things for the applause. I seek more. And more seeks me.
Polarizing? Sure. Because such intensity lacks balance when the intensity is turned on, focused. I feel it.

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2019 is the year for growth, personally + professionally. In love + in war. Aka business.
So, while Self awareness is my best skill, balance is my greatest challenge, and i believe it might always be. But challenge fuels me + dreams require conviction, commitment + consistency, to make true...So today I work more than i play + think more than i sleep--But my committment is unwaivering and will not settle for complacency from me or anyone else. No distractions: i am fueling my time instead of filling it- my body, my life or otherwise. Im going on a full week without sporadic stops to the candy store, Because once i pop, the fun don’t stop -- not in excess but in habit: that well managed under $2 daily dose of Dylans Candy Bar to satisfy my sweet tooth belly full of poison, is not fueling my life. Its filling empty space.
This year i am saddling up big to bigger expectations of me, from me. This is the year to create my best version of self so far, and ideally find more balance along the way.
Consistency creates commitment. Commitment creates change. Be your change.
it is hard work to livyoung, to be your best self. Lets do this together, for the long run. You in?
I am. for both the struggle + the success. I know what i have + what i don’t and i’m ready for more (and sometimes less). Now i just need to manage it all, to delegate along the way, to grow.

I don’t want to be a butterfly---You know, the caterpillar that blossoms.
I want to be a ninja that learns, that moves seamlessly when no one is watching, that holds knowledge and power, physically and mentally, that is ever evolving into a better version of themself. The quiet assassin that surprises — who balances confidence and heart Comes from a place of love, not war. But always serves a purpose, uses what she has, relies on her instinct, her will, her strength. I dont need to be the loudest to be the strongest. I just need to flow thru the fight, with grace + ease, rooted in strength + will. To build big dreams, big teams, and a big life. After all, the best fighters are dancers. Forever seeking balance. #workhard #livyoung



sustainability

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it’s not going to be what you want
until you allow it to become what you want it to be.
progress requires patience. Pace > race.
believe it or Not, I used to be much faster, in life.
Ive always been the same human, with significant gumption, and a whole lot of fire.
And while i still lead with heat, ease has overcome me in a way i sure admire --- Ive embraced the fact that life is a marathon, not a race
And it isn’t until we slow down, that we can recognize all that there is, what we have rather than what we don’t. Pre @boxandflow, i would wake up 5am just the same,
Sneakers on, 20 degree weather, to run sub 6 minute miles
Seeking to feel anything but my feelings.
So my exposed hands would numb so much that i wouldn’t feel anything at all
I used to move so fast to fill my time rather than fuel my life and then anxiously plan what was next,
without digging deeper into what i had started. And while it sure seems I move fast today, ive embraced pace over race more than ever--Because ive learned that progress takes patience.
It isn’t about how fast rather how long--how resilient, how strong.
Can you stay strong when things get tough. Can you hold on, with ease? Can you #flowthruthefight --- find lightness in times of angst. Can you just breathe?
Business is challenging. Love is challenging. Humans are challenging. Life is challenging.
But I believe that sustainability is the key to success.
The best brands didn’t build over night. it takes years to create a movement.
The best chefs aren’t born that way - they cook to hone their crafts-- to create recipes that take time to develop and evolve.
The most effective teachers practice for years, by teaching. Athletes, same — sure some people are born with natural skill but practice + perseverance win the race. Bestsellers don’t wake up and write a bestselling novel, they try and try again until something sticks. And while I don’t know quite perfectly from experience, I believe the best love grows greater over time. Passion is different. It’s delicious, no doubt -- but there is no pace in passion. It is hot. So hot. Until its not.
So you can light it up --- the idea, the business, the sex…
You can make it hot --- the business, the brand, the dating,
But can you keep it hot?
Sustainability is the key to success. Pace > race.
I’m in it to win it. My life, that is.
My business will build slowly. When I find real love, that will too. I’m not seeking the quick fix any longer. I want to build something that evolves, that inspires, that is so sticky, and delicious, that it lasts. And that, takes resilience, hard work + celebration, but i’m willing to #flowthruthefight to keep it hot, for a very long time. #workhard #livyoung

startup life

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I asked for what I wanted,
And it came with so much more - both blessing + burden
more than I bargained for and sometimes I just want a hug.
Want to talk about startup life? Owning your own business is
powerful, and painful — connected + isolated. #balance, perhaps?
My analogy for life, to flowthruthefight,
To ease thru transitions, thru the darkness we find light
But let me tell you —
Nothing about owning a business is easy,
Except that you own your time, and with it comes the burden of managing it properly.
At a job, at a desk, you can phone it in -
but when you work for yourself, your best work is your best self.
So often it feels I Say no more than yes,
And I much prefer yes.
My biggest lesson to date: everyone is your friend, as long as they’re paid.
The irony is - I opened this space fo find freedom in me, to share my message
Of balance, to give back what I get, thru hardwork, the physical + mental —
To livyoung, to let go, to be my best self.
My opportunity to take the risk, was personal — not opportunistic.
I want to change the world, how we see ourselves, to share a feeling,
and sure with risk, comes reward. So I opened box + flow 2 years ago,
And 3 months ago tore it open to add shinier things.
With it, my life feels under construction, ive torn myself open too— so it seems.
Polarizing you could say — to be so extreme, But thats what makes me, me.
And without darkness, there is no light, without fight there is no flow. without hardwork there is no celebration. The goal is finding balance within,
And since ive opened, ive found my light—
My self definition: I liv in color, I dance in my sleep,
but only because I relate much closer to darkness,
to struggle, to fight. So light thru darkness, my forever challenge.
And thru this transition, box + flow 2.0 x livyoung, im trying.
But sometimes it feels like I can’t get ahead. So I breathe, I move, I sweat, I flow.
The physical for me, Brings me back to balance within,
At least for a moment
Before the stress begins.
Because while no one said it was easy, im just wondering if it has to be this hard?
But that choice—is up to me. To switch my perspective, to #flowthruthefight.
progress requires patience. no challenge, no change.
i can do this.

forgiveness

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we cannot set goals until we forgive.
No mistakes, just lessons, from which to grow -- more resilient, less harsh, more heart, less ego--progressing forward, into said goals.
We cannot grow until we let go,
But there is a level to letting go, that is not often reached
Instead we bury things deep down
And expect them to go away-
But Freedom within comes from accepting who we are, And who we are comes with years of feelings + experiences, hurt, hopes, dreams, + fears—
That we hold onto, grip even, ruminate over questioning, “what if?”
we all have stories.
So what if
you forgive you?
For what you did or didn’t do,
for what was said, or wasn’t.
Can you forgive yourself? for the mistakes, the expectations, or otherwise.
And Can you forgive others? those who hurt you, harmed you Or let you down?
Where can you make space as the year ends + begins, to make peace with what was, what wasn’t — and rather, what is?
Me? I forgive myself -- for the self imposed doubt, my mental mess made within. I am sorry for ever thinking i wasn’t good enough or couldn’t be. I am sorry i have questioned my potential or my worth. Or allowing others to cloud my perception of self. I forgive myself for not ASKING FOR WHAT I WANT, for not speaking my mind, for not walking away sooner. I forgive myself for letting my ego overwhelm my heart, confusing lust for love, or job Résumé for actual qualification. I forgive myself for filling my body, time, life instead of fueling me forward, for physical, mental, spiritual manipulation leading to less than my best version of me.
I know what i want. I know who i am. I’m sorry i doubted that.
And I forgive myself in advance, should it happen again. It will. i am human.
I want to be a better version of me, (better boss, friend, sister, lover, daughter, human).
i want to feel more and sometimes feel less, do more, see more, share more, be more. For myself and others. More present in each moment to livfull without fear. Challenge myself and others to grow into better versions of ourselves. And i want to love who i am along the way, because self love brings shared love — energy is everything. But i know what i want, and moreso I know who i am—
my darkness too, my fight or which i will continue forgiving myself for, for years, actions + decisions that contributed to making me feel less than my all.
I forgive myself, from me, to me for not embracing all of me.
Because life without love, is no life at all. But love begins within.
Can you forgive?
That is the challenge. Then you go after the goals. #flowthruthefight
#workhard #livyoung

goals.

Ive learned more about myself than ive ever known-
In a way that feels like just enough for the moment and with hunger to learn more in the moments, days, months to come. We are alive, evolving, energetic, emotive creatures.
The love we have, is ours to give. So I give.
Ive learned that what I wanted, or rather, what my ego wanted, was not for me at all.
I have an enormous talent for fixation, hyper focus, to tie myself up in knots of wondering what if or why not, that can occupy my mind for months. that focus is what makes me both successful + unsuccessful.
My goal is to simplify.
All things I thought were for me, and weren’t. Were not.
all desires ego driven, my heart knew the way.
And as ive learned myself more, over time, i tolerate less + bounce back quicker.
I let it go easier. I bounce back. When I look at failed relationships, I end the year knowing — work or love - they were never right for the role, not enough for me — and in love, not right because he isn’t enough for himself. a lesson in itself, to carry thru the journey, — really though, the point of it all:
If you cannot love you, you cannot love another.
We are not here to fix or change, we are here to grow, evolve, share, to live.
My commitment for 2019 is to remain true to that —
To focus on what fuels me, my time, my body, my energy, my work, my love, my life —
And let go, of anything that fills me.
My commitment for 2019 is a recommitment to me -
Because how can I be anything for anyone, or anything, if I am not for myself?
And while this sounds high level, It doesn’t have to be.
simply put: It can be as simple as moving my body (not too much, or too little) in a way that makes me feel free, Abstaining from the 2nd or 3rd cocktail because it diminishes my light, avoiding food that only serves as instant gratification (candy particularly) … letting go of love that doesn’t serve me, as soon as it no longer feels good, pushing my comfort zone in business to continue taking risks and moving forward, making time to call family or to fly home more than sporadically,
Being for others.
Being for myself.
My commitment is to liv, not exist. Liv free, bold, loud, wild, delicious, sexy, sweaty ..
And to love as much as possible thru it all.
Life without love is no life at all—
But love of life begins with love of self,

Particularly the darkest parts of you.
You are free to be whoever you want,
You just can’t be anyone else,
So why not just love who you are?

It is a process to know yourself, a practice to love yourself,
And progress takes patience.
Lets commit to this, together. You In?
#workhard #livyoung.


50 First Dates VII

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Setups are weird but in a well- intentioned way. there is a sense of comfort in knowing that when set up, it is done so with care-- a vote of confidence that neither person is a serial killer or you might even hit it off. In other words, they involve an element of trust. So when my friend matt asked if he could introduce me to a man, i obliged regardless of matt + my dating history during a deep dark+ indecisive time of my life when i needed support. But Matt is great in business but can be kind of an asshole in love, which i should have referenced in regards to his matchmaking offer. But i was lonely and when opportunity presents itself, i say carpe diem.

Old habits + too much free time would have led me down a black hole googling prospects but i trusted Matt as middle man+ fussied up on friday night in leather pants, louboutins+ a positive perspective. Even if I was longing for darkness, deep sleep in soft sheets after a 60 hour work week. But i rallied out in the rain in hopes that my date may be the prince charming ive longed for.

That hope was short lived.
Exit my building, look left. + hushed my inner judgment.
but we eat with our eyes, and i lost my appetite.
My setup closer resembled a jockey than a cowboy, holding a golf umbrella twice his size with very small hands -- and possibly my same pant size—which could come in handy —
but there was zero possibility of me ever finding myself pantless in his presence.

Small but lovely, full of life + his love of it. but I like what I like and I like men with bigger hands than my own. One quick glance and I knew I could never picture myself naked next to him. Hard stop.
As the rain poured down and we scurried to our destination, i should have done him a favor and said not today, because in hindsight, i was wasting his time too as i walked, autopilot on, simply thinking about ripping off my leather pants + deep diving into a can of sardines on my couch.

But so it goes + i followed his huge heart’s desire set on a nostalgic new york night in the rain. A man on a mission to court me, with passion about his work, connection, saving lives, and finding love….a man who likes stories, and sweet potatoes, like me. And while it was clear that love would not be found in each other, we did find two bar stools windowside at blue ribbon brasserie. I hastily ordered a mezcal rocks to numb my feelings, or lack thereof, and did my best to be present. The only other option was just to bounce, but energy is everything and i felt adam’s radiating hope over me, grilled trout, fried chicken and life stories.

As the first sips of mezcal began lubricating my angst, i took a deep breath in + let go…physically + mentally, while cozying up cross legged on a bar stool at blue ribbon. Balancing + breathing in 800$ louboutins…with a fried chicken leg to the face, ceremoniously dipped in honey celebrating every juicy, dripping, sweet, salty, hot, crunchy bite. Leg to lips. Sinfully delicious. My personal mantra “messy is sexy” in full effect, cognizant that the crispy fried bird was the only thing nearing my mouth.

Adam graciously paid and gathered his golf umbrella to drop me off and i gave him the tightest hug goodbye, in hopes he finds a woman to love him as he deserves. But that drive to touch, the animal instinct we all possess, to go after what we want, was dormant and cannot be forced. I say so because ive forced so, long time dated a man whose touch made me quiver, body shut down + turned off. And have vowed since to be honest within, no matter how perfect he is on paper or otherwise.
animals eat with eyes first, hands second.
And winner winner chicken dinner was the only thing to be indulged in tonight.
Can chemistry grow? Perhaps.
But not today.

I stopped at a party en route home - ordered an amaro rocks digestif to settle any sense of self pity from hours spent out of bed, then grabbed a banana laffy taffy to fill my failure + cheer my spirit.
Filling.
Not fueling - my body, my time, my life.
See time is precious. And i value mine.
And i’m not looking to collect stories. Im looking to create love.
So when setting up, trust that you are being trusted with time, emotion, and TLC.
And in the spirit of time - particularly as the year ends,
How do you spend yours? Doing what? And with whom? Are you fueling or filling?
Your time. Your life. Choose wisely.

And when presented the choice, always choose the fried chicken.
#workhard #livyoung

doubt

Mirror selfies and self reflection - waking up to celebrate both life + feeling alive.
Because along this journey, of self discovery, i have a newfound self awareness, connected to others’ pleasure and pain. I hear laughter and feel happy or see sadness, self doubt and cry.

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i was running on the west side highway saturday, with pep in my step as i bounced buoyantly on the pavement, so aLIVe, until i saw a biker face down on the concrete, not moving, no life. Now, i didn't see him fall just the aftermath. and i went from LIVING to literally crying because i felt his pain.

This self awareness carried over me today as i snapped my morning selfie, in a token ex boyfriend’s tee, and then the tears returned,
I cried for us this morning. For all of us,
who at times, have lost belief in ourselves, questioned our confidence and enabled self doubt.
I cried for us, for letting outward opinions forward our insecurity. I cried for the experiences we’ve had, that resulted in our sacrifice of self love, that left us with feeling less than. That lack of self love which leaves us incapable to love one another.
I cried for us today. For all of us. In sadness and guilt that i am among us,
who at times has not loved Me enough to be loved at all.

And then i cried for you.
Because i acknowledge my dark side + commit to growing from it. I have embraced me as me, love me as i am, and continue to grow into my best self as my lightness offsets my harshness, and my #workhard is balanced by my love of celebration.
See this life is a journey, of learning and growing and living and loving. It never ends. There is no “there,” but i have found a place of comfort: with a healthy dose of ego + a whole lot of heart, and too many self hating ex boyfriend tees.

I cried for those among us who smear self hate, hidden behind a surfaced smile to mask self doubt because it will always seem easier to slap it on than to feel at all-- But to free yourself, you must face yourself:  see your flaws + embrace those too, to be Just As You are.
I cried for you today, because you can’t see you like we do,
brave + bold, strong + kind, so much more than you give yourself credit for.
I cried because we are better than this.
But it is a choice to turn off the noise, to find a better balance between critic + fan,
to embrace ourselves, dark and light.

But to do so, we must lead with love, for ourselves, from within,
because the only way to win this cruel game of judgement, comparison, and the resulting insecurity, is to Love ourselves and let us be loved.
To See ourselves to be seen.

I snapped a morning selfie, to see myself today in hope that
as we enter this holiday season, we find the gratitude, the grace, the gracefulness, to celebrate
all that we have, and all that we are.

Among family + fun, can we we find peace within to allow patience for others? Forget judging + comparing, rather focus on the energy we can control, that which we carry + share.
Let's choose kindness, free spirit and love - less fight, more fun.
Full - not empty. From within.
Love of self is what enables love of others.
And judgement of others is always a projection of self.


But sharing is caring, so I gladly give you my tears,
but i will share them whilst wearing your softest tees.
Grateful. #workhard #livyoung