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If all went well, our parents were at times angelic figures that swooped in to patch bruised knees and kiss bonked elbows. At others, they were daunting figures of justice, forging via discipline the parameters of our expected behavior in order to make us acceptable and well mannered in the eyes of the world.

Our parents, in early years, served as both caretaker and authoritarian, and for their part were constantly grappling with an incomprehensible task: to be both loving and firm. …


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Photo: Justin Shudo | Model: Rachael Yahne

“Whether you define yourself as a brain, a body, or a soul, how you navigate the world and relationships is largely influenced by your past experiences… by your memory.” -Hal Shorey Ph.D.Psychology Today.

I did not want to open it. Fervently. The drawer was practically brimming with what I considered useless sh*t: old pictures from middle school, love letters from adolescent crushes, scraps of paper and movie tickets and broken heart-shaped key chains. The remnants of a childhood left swiftly behind without remorse. Pieces of a life and girl I no longer was, and didn’t particularly want to get to know. Every time I’ve looked back on the social aspects of my childhood, I’ve seen nothing but public heartbreak, humiliating nicknames, bullying of the emotionally-scar-inducing king. Looking back has only served to magnify the hard work it took to redefine myself, and to — by choice — embody any amount of grace and poise. These are not the characteristics peers seemed to want for or see in me growing up. But today, I had no choice. The drawer in front of me and in my head needed cleaning out. …


After a long day of standing before machine gun-holding police officers and facing tear gas, rubber bullets, and more dangers, here’s a list of ways to calm and soothe your energy after protesting, marching, and facing these trying social times.

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“They shot my friend with a rubber bullet in the face,” one friend told me of a protest he’d attended in Los Angeles. “He was bleeding all over the place; they aren’t supposed to shoot above the torso. I think I’m traumatized, to be honest.”

Millions of people around the world risked their safety in order to make their voices heard, a valiant and courageous act of community, equality and a demonstration in the power of human resilience and love. But it didn’t come without risk; as Ellen Pompeo pointed out, protesting for Black Lives Matter meant facing police of the most menacing kind; machine guns, snipers, National Guard officers holding fists of zip ties, and worse. …


Advice from a photographer to help make photoshoots at home on your iPhone a little more glamorous

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This interview was originally published here.

I shouldn’t have been nervous. We’ve worked together before. I could blame the isolation snacking, or the TedTalk I’d watched at 2:00am about the phenomenon of a ‘True Mirror’, (which if you aren’t familiar, prepare to never look in a mirror the same way again). Either way, the nerves were present, all to do something I’d done many times before with a photographer who, in all likelihood, has seen my every bad angle.

“We might need to do some re-decorating and rearranging here,” Scott Edwards-Silva tell me, as he looked at my apartment through his phone, assessing my tiny place for interesting spaces to shoot. …


The delicate art of letting go (of that which you thought you knew) and embracing (the unknown), a lesson all the more essential under quarantine and #saferathome orders.

This article was published here.

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In my writing on surviving cancer and life beyond it (which I find to be a state of constant existential crisis), I refer often to something I call: The Great Balance. An invisible force that seems to humbly, omnisciently balance out the factors of this thing we call life. Infusing pain with a uniquely essential lesson, or an accomplishment with the gratifying fatigue of having spent every bit of gusto, every drop of ambition into its execution, The Great Balance is what offers the yin to the yang, and in doing so not only balances our experiences but gives them deeper meaning. Sometimes can be seen by simply asking: “what can I learn from this mistake?”, and at others it requires we dig into our experience and find any small reason to be grateful in the face of crippling loss. Identifying the balance present in any circumstance, good or bad, positive or negative, painful or pleasurable, is a sanity-anchoring practice for the ever-changing human experience. It maintains equilibrium. …


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All those years wishing we could just get a break from the hustle and bustle, and suddenly we’ve all found we have a little too much time alone with our thoughts! The mind is a powerful thing, and as many of us are realizing, untamed thoughts can lead to destructive patterns (over sleeping, excessive snacking) and negative emotions (worry, fear, anxiety to name a few). If starting a meditation practice was already on your long list of to-dos, isolation might be the perfect time to start. Plus, it’s a scientifically proven method of relaxation that can lead to a plethora of other health benefits including lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol, more productivity, and increased focus, among others. …


Essential tips to rest the heart & soul during times of stress, illness, and uncertainty

This post was originally published on RachaelYahne.com

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Sometimes it feels like a wonderland, my home. A warm and irresistibly capable space that welcomes — almost begs — for creative exploration. The small velvet couch to lay and dream on, the wide white rug to sprawl books and pages across, the tiny patio to sit and watch the wonders of this little enclave of existence from; palms swaying, a neighbor cat minxing, the endless fortress of open windows next door with their drapes dancing about. …


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In my mind, projects are divided into the kinds of truth they reveal — under the assumptions that all art reveals a truth — and how they reveal it. Sometimes, in longer form essays like this oldie but goodie, it’s about sharing something deeply personal yet universally experienced (in that particular essay: the experience of trying to cover shame and insecurity with vanity. We’ve all done it.) The truth is shame and inadequacy. How it’s expressed is revelation, bluntly and in a straightforward admission.

In other projects, it’s about exploration of an emotion/thought/feeling/question. How it’s shared varies, and is also experimental. In other words, it’s less about saying something and more about asking something. Confidence will take you places you already know you want to go; curiosity will take you places you can’t even imagine yet. So for nearly every blog post you see on this site, I do my best to implore a bit of literary gymnastics, tumbling words and visuals around in ways that convey what it is I feel truly, authentically, about the subject matter without bogging it down with grammatical or even political correctness. You can see as much (I hope) in this post, a personal favorite. The truth there is that the concept itself is playful, malleable, and experiential on different levels beyond simply the written word. …


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“No cramps! None!” I said, a little too loudly at the checkout stand. The girl behind the counter looked at me, baffled.

“I’ll never go back to pads and tampons again.”

The miracle product I was currently paying for are called ‘discs’. And while there’s a new bevy of product lines and types, mine come in the convenience of being sold at any neighborhood pharmacy store. The brand I’ve gone with is Softdisc (unsponsored) although there are other brands available. I first tried it a few months ago, wanting to find a tampon alternative to the bleach and chemicals that come in regular products, and to avoid the price hike that comes with street brands in their new free-of-chemicals lines available at stores (who wants to spend $15 for a box of tampons?!). …

About

Rachael Yahne

Lifestyle writer, essayist & award-winning blogger for mags, books & blogs. Published by: Cosmo, Seventeen, HuffPost, Seattle Times, more. www.RachaelYahne.com

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