20 Something Musings

I don’t know if I’ll ever really understand why our lives are so difficult when we have the power within ourselves to make them so simple, so easy. Or if I’ll ever understand why there are what seems like an infinite number of compassionate and awake beings, yet it also seems as if the world is falling apart around my feet at the hands of those who purposefully wish to destroy it in order to fill their own pockets. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the root cause of why people stay in relationships that don’t make them happy for their entire lives, when their soul mate is out there walking around, breathing, thinking, getting their morning coffee, brushing their teeth, putting on their shoes, vacuuming their living room, waiting for someone worth their fleeting time and energy to free fall into their life. Or why it is absolutely necessary for the ones we love most to leave, inevitably, at the end of their too short life. But, that’s the big question isn’t it? That’s the question of the hour, of the day, week, month, the year. The question of our lives. Why is life infinitely difficult, yet so incredibly finite?

But I do know this: The only way to live through it is to lighten the load, for yourself and others. Be kind. Be fierce. Be gentle. Be courageous and be brave. Fight for the things you believe in, and fight for others who can’t fight for themselves. That last part is something I’ve been learning is necessary, more and more, as I grow into my twenties. Cry out for those who have no voice. Be compassionate in your every move. Be witty. Be silly. Be understanding. Be simple in your surroundings, yet complex within. Master how to balance those two. Surround yourself with good people. That one has been something I’ve been working on for years, yet I didn’t really understand how possible and necessary it is until this chapter of my life. Moving away from all of your family and friends makes one realize how important positive human connection is, and how easy it is to find it once you let it in. Finally, be love, if nothing else.

IMG_3771 stock oyster dome IMG_3660 plant love all in a row IMG_3762 IMG_3597 IMG_3714 IMG_3531

1 | A lovely little field we found with hundreds, if not thousands, of geese in it.

2 | My first time making home made stock.

3 | At the top of Oyster Dome.

4 | On the PNW trail on the way up to Oyster Dome.

5 | Some herb babes made a heart on my windowsill.

6 | Some of my plant family.

7 | The geese from the field.

8 | Lovin’ at the top of Mount Erie.

9 | My favorite place: Fort Ebey.

10 | The view from atop Mount Erie.

Always Love

Redwood National Forest, CA, USA.

Redwood National Forest, CA, USA.

“Love everyone, every leaf, every ray of light. Forgive.” -Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

Can you imagine it? Every single person is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen in your entire life. Every living thing bursts at it’s seams with the life force of every other living this on the planet, because we are all one. We all are connected. Every single living thing you look at is indeed a part of you, and you a part of it. Everywhere you look, you are looking at yourself intwined with every thing around you, and every thing you cannot even see is a part of yourself at some level.
Can you have utter and relentless compassion for that which you cannot see? For that which you cannot understand? Can you take someone you have never even met, who is halfway across the world fighting for their life, and call them your brother or sister? Indeed, they are. What is they have committed an unspeakable act? Would you love them even then? For the world needs more of this. This understanding that we are simply trying. We are doing what we can, with what we have, in whatever life we are completing. Our world needs that unconditional love for the person standing next to you. Or the billions of people you’ve never met.
Can you start with the person next to you? Can you let them be exactly who they are and love them for it? No matter what. The person sitting next to you on the bus. The person sitting across from your cubicle at work. The child who peed their pants at school in the fifth grade. That girl who showered only once a week, and you just assumed it was her fate, that it was just to tease her. That person who doesn’t speak your language, that you just shook your head at. That person who just yelled at you at your job, even though it wasn’t your fault. The person standing on the street who looks like they aren’t even homeless, but they are asking for money. That person who is actually homeless, and looks like they haven’t eaten more than an apple a day, for thirty days. That person on television who is so overweight you couldn’t even look at them for more than half a minute, and you just changed the channel. Except that is their life. These are their lives. They live them day in and day out. There are people experiencing unimaginable things every day that you’ve never even had to lay your eyes on before. Can you shine love on them as though you are the Sun and they are the Earth? Could you love them as though you are their mother, their father, without fail or falter?
Can you call him your brother?
Can you reach out to your sister?
Despite what they look like, smell like, how they talk, what they mutter under their breath when you’ve turned away, what they do when no one is looking. Can you understand that they need love, too? Even if they don’t accept it. Even if they think they hate you. Can you love them any ways?

Bigger Steps

At some point in all of our lives there likely comes a time when we realize that we aren’t quite as free as we once were.  This isn’t to say, “innocence lost” or that we aren’t free at all.  But more so, we come to a road block and realize that we indeed have to figure out how to climb over it, and that it is going to be hard – whether we like it or not.  When we are children we can turn to our parents for assistance.  We can call on our brother or sister when we are scared.  We can call on a friend when we are hurt.  But when we are adults, there often isn’t anyone we can turn to and say, “will you fix this for me?”, or, “will you please do this for me?”  Especially for the important stuff.  The stuff we need to overcome.  We are left with our own head and our own hands, and for whatever reason may be, we need to climb over, climb under, go around, or go through.  There won’t be any time for stopping, nor any time for hesitation.  We won’t want to do what needs to be done, but in order to better ourselves, it is absolutely imperative that it becomes resolved.

The obstacles we encounter throughout life come in many different forms.  What can be the easiest task to one person can be the hardest for another.  But we know this.  We hear about it all the time.  One person can’t open the jar, but another opens it easily.  One person struggles with math, another can’t get enough of it.  One struggles with art, their friend is all-encompassed by it.  Someone thrives by being around people while someone feels like running away from a group of more than ten.

Something changes from when we are children to when we are adults.  For some reason, we assume it is no longer okay to ask, “will you fix this for me?”, or, “will you please do this for me?”  So what is it, then?  What happens during that span of time that tricks our mind into thinking that it is no longer okay to ask for help?  Why is it that just one little occurrence of not being able to ask for help make us think that we can never ask for help again?  What do we think the consequences of asking for help are?  That we are child-like?  That we are incapable of being “mature”?  What tricks us into thinking we are no longer free to reach out?

As someone who has suffered from emotionally crippling anxiety since as long as I can remember, I can say that there have been times when I have felt like there was no way out.  I felt as though I couldn’t lend a hand or grab a hand.  I was under the impression that either way, nobody would understand.  This left me with the feeling that I was in a bottomless pit, digging myself deeper every single day.  Because I had no recognition or understanding from those around me, I thought it was all my fault.  I thought something was wrong with me.  I thought that because others couldn’t understand or have compassion for my imperfections, I was to blame.  Now, where does this leave an insecure teenage girl?  You got it, depressed, outraged, acting out, defiant, self-destructive; You name it, I had it.  I was a nightmare.  

But here’s the thing: It wasn’t my fault.  It has never been my fault.  This is the thing that is so incredibly important.  The thing that changes up the whole game.  The singleonly thing that pulled me from the depths.  And you know what? Every single time I feel myself slipping (yes, I still get a panic attack about once a year), this continues to be the only thing that pulls me back.  The only thing that keeps my own thoughts from consuming every good thought my mind could possibly produce, is the single sentence: This is not your fault. This sentence brings rationality back to me even during the darkest of times.  But I wasn’t able to learn this fact about myself and everyone else that suffers from anxiety until I was 21 years old.  

To me, this is the problem that surrounds anxiety and other mental disorders in society today.  People- everyone, man, woman, child- think that it’s all their fault.  The think that they can’t change the thoughts in their own head.  They think that they created those awful thoughts about themselves and therefore they picture themselves as this awful person.  They focus on everything they don’t like about themselves, every singular itty-bitty, teeny-tiny imperfection and they blow it up so that they have the misconception that this is the whole of who they are as a person.  This clouds their vision, so they can’t see that all of it isn’t true.  They can’t see that every single imperfection that they have is an ode to who they are, where they came from, and where they are going.  They can’t see the utterly wonderful, whole, magnificent and perfect being that they are simply by being themselves.  The beauty of life is mistakes.  The marvelous thing about being human is that we cannot be perfect.  Growing up, I was told through emotional abuse that I was supposed to be perfect.  I was under the impression for 21 years that every imperfection I had made me not good enough.  Every time I made a mistake or did something wrong, it was out of stupidity and I was a fool for doing it.  I know all too well that people around me, and those far from me as well, suffer from emotional abuse every day.  More often than not, people can’t realize what they’re being subjected to.  They don’t realize that not everybody is treated so harshly, and that at the very least, they don’t deserve to feel the way they are feeling.

Every time I write, paint, draw, or photograph, I open up my heart and become vulnerable.  I do this because I wish for people to see that they’re not the only one.  In a world filled with so many people, it’s astonishing how apart from it all we can feel.  Even in a room of hundreds, it is possible to feel alone.  I wish to see a time when this is no longer the case.  I hope people who are hurting in the way that I had hurt once know that they can outright reach out, and that there are others who understand.  If you know someone who suffers from depression, anxiety or abuse, tell them there is a way out.  Don’t wait another day.  Life is too fleeting to wait for the right moment.

Thank you for taking your time to read,






Old Sauk River Trail, Darrington, WA, USA

Baby Steps

It’s been a while since I’ve updated, and that’s because I’ve been busy with exciting new happenings!  I’m excited to say that I finally got a Facebook page for my photography up and running and have posted a fair amount of my photos on Society 6 to be sold as prints and stretched canvas (something I’ve wanted to do for a long time). 

Embracing my love for photography has been a long and hard struggle.  Between feeling guilty for going on adventures and exploring while I should have been studying, and being so busy with the holidays, I finally came to face the facts that I know this is a passion of mine that will be around for quite a while.

So, without further adieu, my prints can now be purchased on Society6.com under “HandForgedSolitude”.

You can visit my Fcebook page at “Facebook.com/emilykaephotography” and like my page (please and thank you!).

Prints of my photography can be found at “Society6.com/handforgedsolitude”.

You can visit my instagram to check out more of my work which hasn’t been posted yet by searching “plainjaneglory” (hey, that’s me!), and if you see a photo you wish to purchase that isn’t on my Society 6, I’d be happy to make it available to you.

Second Beach, WALa Push, WASecond Beach, WASecond Beach, WASecond beach, WASecond Beach4 (1 of 1)Second Beach6 (1 of 1)

Coming Home

“Love cures people.   Both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.”  – Dr. Karl Menninger

Today I find myself asking: “If the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return, then why is it so hard to love and be loved?”

I feel utterly blessed to live the life I have been given, there’s no doubt about that. I am more than lucky to have found such appreciation and understanding in another person at just twenty one years of age. I know some people go their whole life without feeling unconditional love from another. Call me romantic, call me sappy, say that I love love; but there is something to be said about the selflessness of unconditional love and all that comes with it. The struggles and hardship, as well as the bliss and comfort. But as I grow older, I find it increasingly obvious that the society I am immersed in has a problem with being close. We call our best friend our “bitch”, in the most sentimental of ways, and we wonder why they wont show when we need them most. Claiming that you can, “trust no bitch.”

So often we take for granted the lives around us, as well as our own. We forget to appreciate, to stop and smell the roses and taste the fruit life has to offer.

“Some people wait all week for the weekend, all year for the summer, and all their life for happiness.”

I”m lucky enough to live next to some of the most beautiful scenery in Washington State, living less than an hour drive from the North Cascades, and having a rad (to say the lest) adventure partner. I often plan my weekends in between or after my classes during the day, and I daydream way too often. This past weekend I went up to Mt. Baker and stayed in a cozy little condo nestled right next to the Nooksack.  You can see the roaring river without even getting out of bed.  Sounds magical, right? It could have been if I hadn’t contracted some monster cold from my mother. 

Alas, I know things could have been worse.  For I came home to find that my mother’s manfriend of five years had decided that their relationship needed to transition to “friendship”.  Knowing of my mother going through such difficult times, and knowing how her heartbreak felt, I was reminded to thank my lucky stars that all I was suffering from was a very runny nose, a headache and the chills.  That being said, I thought I’d share some of my favorite photos from last summer; the summer I met the love of my life, Justin.

Here’s to being grateful, and the man who reminds me every single day how lucky I am.

Queue sappy love song (preferably Eric Clapton or Fleetwood Mac).












Beginner’s Guide

My name is Emily. I live in the pacific northwest, and I am twenty one years old. I have started this blog in hopes that it will be a reminder to myself of my dreams, hopes and goals for my future. I have also started it as a sort of recognition for people out there, like me, who have absolutely. no. idea. what they want to “do with their life”. So I guess you could say its half for me, and half for you, if you’re reading this and nodding your head, or laughing to yourself because you know exactly what I’m talking about. This blog will also be a sort of timeline, or function in keeping track of how I got to wherever it is I am going in life.

Is this what they call a quarter life crisis?

In my adolescence I was always so steadfast on what I wanted to “do with my life”. Although, since about age ten I’ve gone through probably twenty different, “Mom, Dad, I’m going to be (insert profession).” Despite the ever changing profession goals/ideas, I’ve always been so sure that that one thing I chose and mulled over for about a month or two was what I wanted to do. I’ve been quite unwavering. Until I took a class on it in school. Then I realized that it was too hard (environmental science – I loathe math), didn’t pay enough (park ranger, painter, writer), or my heart just wasn’t in it (nursing, psychology, you name it).

It wasn’t until within the past six months that I found out that I wasn’t exactly living my life for myself. In fact I wasn’t at all living for myself. I was duped by trying to please everyone around me, and thought I was actually pleasing myself and fulfilling my own life goals. Needless to say, my outlook on my life’s purpose, if that’s what you want to call it, has improved significantly within the past six months. The only problem is that I can’t decide on one “purpose”. I pick three or four, and can’t choose because they all are equally enticing, or have something the other doesn’t.

After figuring out that indeed, I can live my own life for myself and be completely happy without thinking of pleasing others’ wishes, I had a little, teensy tiny breakdown moment. At a little over a month until my twenty second birthday, I was finally understanding and coming to grips with the blatant fact that I am going to have to do something to generate money to live.

This is where you hashtag first world problems.

Thus, these trials and tribulations I’ve recently gone through in my life have led me to one set of questions that pop into my head, frequently, on a daily basis:
Does one need a “profession”?
Has society completely brainwashed me into thinking that I need to do any single “profession” to survive?
If I do, does it have to be one profession, or can I create some sort of modern day renaissance woman of myself and accomplish multiple things, in order to create a life of peace for myself?