How To Beat Social Anxiety – 4 Real Life Tips.

I’m rocking out with my Revolver planning right now – so I wanted to share this with you once more because it was pretty damn important.
I jumped a life hurdle for me on Saturday night:

I went back to the club that I used to go every weekend with my best friend, Jeff, for the very first time since he passed away.

I was on a mission.
I had to do it alone.

I always want to share with you the personal struggles I go through and how I try and navigate them, so maybe some of these tips might help you guys, too.

I smeared on black eyeliner, red lipstick and pinned broken pearls into my hair.
I drove 45 minutes.
“Wish You Were Here” came on the radio.
I sang along loudly and rolled down the windows.
I was very aware of the empty seat next to me
after all those years of doing this drive together.

I parked
and I stayed in the car for 10 minutes
seized with fear.

What the hell am I doing?
Maybe I should just turn around…..
go home and close the door on this.

But I got out of the car and walked in the club.
Nothing had changed in the years it’s been since I was last here with Jeff.

Here’s the different things that pulled me away from crying and sulking by myself in a corner and I wanted to share:

♥  Act Like You Own It, Bitch.

Tip: Words are Wands – our minds can tear us apart with them, or build us up. Think something wildly bold, something that you would never say out loud even and keep repeating it in your mind…like “I OWN this place”.   Now notice what it does for your body language.   I bet you’re not slumping down anymore, right?

Real Life Story: I show up and there’s exactly 8 people there. I sit by myself against the wall. Everyone else was there with a friend or in a group of people. I immediately felt out of place, super self-conscious and social anxiety was seeping in. I had to keep thinking to myself “I belong here, I belong here, I belong here”. Saying those things in my mind, made me sit up straight, made me feel more confident than I was and made me feel better. Before I was kind of hunching back, hiding myself in a corner and it was miserable.

Act like you own the place and you go from that sad kid in the corner to that mysterious figure that people are intrigued by. It takes a lot of guts to sit alone!

♥  Make It A Game.

Tip: Challenge yourself to do something daring.

Real Life Story: After I sat in the corner for an hour and the dance floor finally started getting going – I challenged myself. During the next five songs, I challenged myself to pick one to dance to – no matter what. Then I could leave if I wasn’t feeling it, but at least I wanted to push myself to try.

♣  Do Something – Make a Move, Bust a Move, Action Will Keep You in the Moment.

Tip: Make some action happen! With social anxiety – you need to force it into the corner by doing some action of your own – jump on that dance floor, get up and talk to that person, leap into a group conversation, go grab some drinks for the crowd, do something.

Real Life Story: Finally, Nine Inch Nails came on over the speakers and I moved myself along to the dance floor.   I was nervous at first, looking down at my feet, blocking everything out.  Then all of a sudden, I wasn’t worried about what other people thought, I was in my own world, back in the place I had danced with my friend, Jeff for so many years. It felt like home.

♥ Make Eye Contact with Others.

Tip: Let other people know that you are open to adventure with eye contact. If you’re by yourself – most times a group will pull you in to the fun if you just keep making occasional eye contact.

Real Life Story: As the club started to fill up, I watched while friends and regulars would tackle hug each other on the dance floor. I found myself wishing I knew these people and wishing I could be a part of their friend group. All of a sudden, I felt super alone again, missing Jeff and wondering what I was doing there.

A bunch of them were dancing right near me and I kept being brave and making eye contact. As the next song started, suddenly one of them grabbed me by the hands and pulled me in to dance. Next thing you know, I was dancing like mad with 7 new friends as we hurled each other around on the dance floor.
We closed the club down at 4am.

PS – If you’re one of the kickass people that I met at Respectables on Saturday…thank you. You helped me more than you know.

So what do you guys do when social anxiety hits? Please share in the comments – I want to hear your secrets and tips, too.

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How To Be Legendary: A Lesson from The Femme Fatales

femme-fatales.jpg“You can’t be afraid to say your own name in the same breath as legends.”

We were in a crowd of people at a party when she said that to me, and something about it struck me.
What makes a “legend”?
What makes us “legendary”?
I looked to some of my ghostly screen mothers for advice and they delivered:

From Marlene Dietrich: Stand Up Tall, Glide Walk and Don’t Be Afraid to Take Up Room to OWN it.

From Lauren Bacall: Look Them In The Eye and Say It Slowly and Confidently.

From Rita Hayworth: You Have The Power To Turn Everything Around.

And do you know what all of these 3 legendary femme fatales have in common?
In interviews later on, while talking about the scenes or films they were doing, they all used one word in common to describe how they felt going into it:

In fact, Dietrich talked about being terrified before shoots, but “faked” keeping calm until something else took over and she became calm and confident. There was a ‘click’ where her confidence would kick in eventually.

Watching them on screen – they seem like they’ve never been afraid of anything in their lives.

One week from now, I will be embarking on the biggest dream of my life, making our cross-country road trip, Revolver.
I am excited and
I am terrified.
At least I have that in common with the legendary femme fatales.

But in the end,
I know that what would be more terrifying
is not doing my dream at all.

Fuck the fear.

And I call the lively spirits of these bad ass women to swirl around me
as I hurl my body into the unknown of my greatest dream.


What is something you want to push yourself to do that’s terrifying?
Let’s live wild together.

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Living In New York City on September 11th: A Remembering

I took this picture out of my apartment window on a beautiful sunset in July of 2001.
It was the last one I ever took of the Twin Towers.

When I first got to New York City in 1998 and started going to college, I made my living working as a tour guide on the double decker buses.
New York City has always been a love story for me.
It is full of history and stories, poetry and bustling life.
When I arrived in this city – it was more like a sacred pilgrimage than just a ‘move’.
I worked the double decker tour buses, cruising the grids of the city streets every day, sailing out on top in the open air, telling tourists about the stories of the city.
I was lonely.
The buildings were my friends.
I had their stories and their history to build around me.
On Summer nights, I would sit with my legs dangling out of my window, wishing on the red blinking light on top of the second tower of the Twin Towers.

New York City does not give you stars in the sky, but it gives you the glowing lights of the skyline.
So I would wish on the red blinking light on top of the Twin Towers like the North Star.
It was the highest point in the skyline of the city.
It was the god of gotham.

Thirteen years ago, they were evacuating us.
I crossed the Williamsburg Bridge on foot with hundreds of other people when I heard the crashing.
I knew what the sound was.
The blinking light tower fell.
The wishing star was gone.
I didn’t turn around and look.
I leaned against the railing of the bridge with people I didn’t know and cried.

Two hours later, we went to the nearest trauma hospital to the Twin Towers to volunteer.
We waited for them to come in.
Someone we could save.
The firefighters returned with eyes bloodshot from liquid glass.
A man from the Ironworkers Union, a big man, came to me looking for his friends.
They had all rushed into the towers to save people, and the towers started to collapse as he was helping people out. He got separated from his friends and couldn’t find them.
Their names were not on the list of the admitted.
“Could you check again?”
I dragged my finger slowly down the list again
knowing they weren’t there
knowing they were dead
and wishing that I could suddenly make four names appear on that list
that didn’t make it.
I remember looking up at him when the paper ran out, when the names ran out.
“……no?”  he asked.
He sank down on the steps next to me. Put his head in his hands.
I put my arms around him and held him until more people came looking for names on lists.
I never got his name.

The next day their faces were everywhere.
Posted on missing person posters lining the city streets.
I wrote down their names in my journal.
I didn’t want them to be lost.
Writing their names down was my way to try and fight against death.

Three years ago, that journal burned down with my house
and all the names I had written down
drifted away in cursive writing curled smoke.
Some things you cannot hold to
no matter how hard you try.
Some things are not ours to keep.
And no matter how many years pass, no matter how old I get,
I will never understand it.

But on this day
I will

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The Poster That I Didn’t Lose My Virginity Over and Other Weird Things

Photo by Lisa Beebe.
I ran 4 and 1/2 miles.
There was a record store at the end of it.
Albums have stories attached to them.
My fingers found one I wasn’t expecting.

Psychedelic Furs – Talk Talk Talk
Note: Song number 3 “I Wanna Sleep With You”.

I’m 17.
He’s dyed black hair, moody and 21.
He makes mix tapes. He puts cigarettes out on his arm.
He notices me when I feel invisible.
He nicknamed me “Heroin” because he says I’m addictive and I’ll probably end up killing him.
He’s known me for 3 weeks.

He calls.
You need to sneak out tonight. I’ll pick you up at the park and have you back by 5am. Nobody needs to know.

I can’t.

Come on. If you come, I’ll give you that rare Furs poster that I got with the album in London. The one over my bed. It’s yours. Come get it.

I hesitate. It’s a cool poster.
Wait. What? Fuck that. No.
I can’t.

You’re a baby.

There’s a click and I’m holding a phone in my hand.
He talked to me twice after that.
Within a month,
he slept with my friend
and moved away.
I feel like a baby.

Fast forward to Record Store. Brooklyn. 2014.
The album is in my hands.
Poster Included - the tag reads.

The poster I didn’t lose my virginity over
is finally mine.


Man. Being 17 was so weird.
Anybody ever try to give you a poster for your virginity?
Share in the comments.

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True Stories of Wild Nights In New York City

My alarm went off
in an empty house.
The first words I heard were in a song….
“Why won’t you come over here?
Why won’t you come over here?
We’ve got a city to love.”

I wore those words as a dress
but when hit with the right light
I could be read by
certain people.

Before the light fell into night
I was in black lace and my underwear
in a car driven by a stranger
and a friend driven by song.
I give you
the only photographic evidence
before the phone died.
But there were pictures
snapped in my mind
that I will record here in words
before days and years
and nights and nights and nights
thieve them away from me.

She called out to us from a fire escape
on 12th Street
and we walked up crooked
and winding steps
to get to her,
my Black Lace Twin.

They came one by one
up the crooked
and winding steps
to her,
The Queen of the East Village.

She stole the prettiest colors of the city
and painted them into her hair.

We sat on her pillows
leaned in windows
shared personal art bound in books
written stories
secret songs

His smoky cigarette voice sang…
Maybe I’m tired
maybe I’m alone
and all my love
is in an envelope
that I could not send to you
when I could not fit myself in, too.

This is how we all save each other.
We’ve lived and died so many times.
And death shall not win tonight.

She found the microphone
pulled it to her
her battle cry held the room
and the room held her
I will be fierce
I will be fragile
I will be free.

On the fire escape
covered in green plastic grass
we all escaped.
The moon was our witness.
Last night, she was big enough
to hold it all.

Ten seconds to midnight
we counted down the day
we crossed over together.
Made it another day.
Made it another gorgeous day.
“good morning”….

Good Morning….
a stranger on the street
said back up to the sky

When our feet touched the sidewalk
nearing the dawn
there were roses
for strangers.
He was older
and felt
invisible, too.
She was beautiful and wasted
leaning against the brick wall
to tell her secrets to.
There was the smoking man
on break by the gutter.
There was the woman
reading in a diner alone at 4am.

All changed
by a single red rose
from a lonely deli on Avenue A.

And if they are honest
they kept to the promise that they each made…

And petals were peeled away
and strewn across sheets
in strange beds
I will never know.

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The Circle of Seven: Creating Your Very Own Badass Gang Of Inspiration

This photo is from the screen test yesterday as our film dream, Revolver, is so near…
As the Full Moon nears, I’ll be working the CIRCLE OF SEVEN magic specifically for Revolver.
Want to join me?
Let’s do this together again….

To start, it was never referred to as “magic” when I was growing up, it just was what it was……..

It was things that my Grandma Helen would do, things that my Czechoslovakian Great-Grandmother, Anna, taught her. Things that were part of our daily life together….charms, wishing circles, mirror work, reading the stories of our lives hidden in lines of our hands.

Photo by Milton Greene of Marilyn Monroe. 1956.

This knowledge, passed down from my ancestors, has definitely enriched my life. Every Monday, I’ll be sharing things that I do that help me guide my own destiny in a kickass way.

I offer these secrets to you…

The Circle of Seven

Step One:
Ask yourself -
What is one thing that you are working on that you feel you could use some help or guidance with?

Your above answer could be anything in your life – from gaining confidence to launching that web-based storefront you’ve been dreaming about.  It could be applying for that circus arts school or nailing that promotion at your job.

As an example to show you how to do the Circle of Seven, my current answer is that I’m looking for guidance and inspiration as I write.

Step Two:
If you could come up with your “Dream Team” to help you, who would they be?

These people could have lived anytime in history.  They are the people that you look up to – who have achieved your step one answer goal.

You know that popular question – if you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be?

It’s like that.  But you get to pick Six.  And it is focused to the people who have figured out your step one answer, successfully!   These are people you want on your side, your creative co-horts, your army of awesome.  Enlist them in your mind.

It is the Circle of Seven because it includes – “Me, plus three, plus three.”

Step Three:
Print out a photo of yourself where you felt vibrant and happy.  That picture of you where everything in your day was ON.  Print out photos of your badass gang of inspiration.  Put each name in Google, click images and voila!  Print your favorite pic of each one.

I have this photo of Zora Neale Hurston by Carl Van Vechten on my wall, and I love it.  But for my Circle of Seven, I chose a photo where she is smiling.  I imagine her saying,  “You’ve got this!  It’s easy.  Just show up and write everyday!”

Step Four:
Clear a special spot in your home to set up your Circle of Seven. You don’t need much room. It can be set up on a single shelf, on top of an old trunk, or on a pretty piece of fabric in a private corner of your room. I set mine up in a non-working fireplace in my 100-year-old Brooklyn apartment.

Step Five:
Put your picture in the middle so that you can visually see yourself surrounded by support. This is important. Then place three on one side of you, and three on the other side of you.

Step back and admire your badass gang of inspiration….

My Gang of some of my favorite authors cheering me on.  On top (L to R): Marguerite Duras and E.B. White. First row (L to R): Tennessee Williams, Jack Kerouac, Me, Zora Neale Hurston, Mikhail Bulgakov

Step Six:
Take a picture of your Circle of Seven, like I did above. Make this photo your desktop picture on your computer or your wallpaper on your phone. The above photo is my current desktop, so no matter where in the world I roam, I can open up my computer to work on my book and there’s my Circle of Seven smiling at me, encouraging me on. Portable Instant Inspiration!

Now you tell me in the comments:
Who would be the six standing beside you in your Circle of Seven?
For bonus points, take pictures of your Circle of Seven and share if you’re feeling it.
For super bonus points, head over to Revolver the Movie and LIKE this.

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Your Tarot Horoscope September 2014

Oh yes.  My September 2014 Tarotscope with my Wild Unknown Tarot cards awaits….

Intrigued by magic?
The Parlour on Saturday at noon calls to you.
We have a magic underground circle and a spot for you- wherever in the world you are
as I guide you through secret magic, tarot and some punk rock wildness.

This month, I did your readings on the streets of Brooklyn and then I hopped on a train and watched the world rush by as I wrote this to you.

If you enjoy my monthly readings for you, please re-tweet, re-blog, share the fuck out of it on facebook. Read it to your friends out loud. It’s my gift to you every month and I work hard on it from my heart to yours….. And without further ado:
Virgo – August 23 – September 22: Ace of Cups
Happy Birthday, My Darling Virgo.  On your birthday, the Muses themselves have presented you with an “Ace” of New Beginnings.  What a fortuitous start to your new year!  The Muses put all the creativity and passion they could muster into that glowing goblet before you.  They lure you to drink, drink deeply from the goblet and take in all that you feel wildly passionate about.  This magic elixir will have you “on fire” all month with deep, connected, passionate projects.  Say YES to that.

Question: Virgo, sit back, time to daydream on your birthday….when you make a wish on those birthday candles, what will it be for?  Right now the cards are saying, go for it, bae!  Time to make some magic happen in real life.  You’ve got the creative mind, you’ve got the brainstorming down, now the next step in this new year is moving forward to your goals to make em’ come true!  So ask yourself – what passionate things do you want to bring in your life this year?

Libra – September 23 – October 22: Son of Swords
Libra this month is all about ACTION.  That’s right….that wild owl, the son of swords gets to the POINT.  This owl is on your side all month – and he helps you cut out the shizz that just is not working for you anymore – and flies into the heart of everything you DO want. Part of his message is clearing out the old to make way for the new.  He is also impulsive, not thinking about consequences or obstacles.  Hurl yourself into your passion, Libra. Stage dive into that mofo.

Question: Libra, Darling….it is time to stop saying yes to everything whether you want to or not.   Remember – if it’s not a HELL YES, it’s a NO.  Cutting out the things taking up your time or things you’re not so passionate about is going to help you clear time for the things you do want.  So this is your assignment…..write down three things that you can cut out this month that aren’t working (i.e. excessive internet use, unhealthy eating habits, procrastination) and write down three things that will help your heart soar like that wild owl.  Get it, get it.

Scorpio – October 23 – November 21: 8 of Pentacles
Scorpio, the Wild Weaver…the Spider, comes to you this month.  Embrace her and her creative wisdom.  It is your time to learn something new creatively and to keep working to “weave” your talents into a place you can call home in the world.  You may have just started working on something creative or have started learning a new skill.  This card is urging you to keep going for it and keeping your mind open to learn.

Question: Scorpio, what do you want to weave into your life?  The Spider speaks of creative things.  Have you just started learning something new?  Have you been aching to take lessons or try something different creatively?  This month is prime time to learn and  rock out those new skills of yours.

Sagittarius – November 22 – December 21: 8 of Wands
Sweet Sagittarius, you are riding a lightning bolt this month.  Oh hell yes, you are.  I’m talking – getting stuff done, possibly traveling, getting information and messages out of nowhere that you needed to hear, being a wild SUPERHERO this month.  Are you ready for this?  What color is your cape gonna be?

Question: September is your month of getting it DONE, Sagittarius.  You are all about TCB.  You’ve got action on your side, you’ve got flow on your side, you’ve got good messages galore and it’s time to strike while that iron is HOT.  *eeee-ow!*  Whatcha been burning to finish?  Have you had a bit of a road trip bug?  Ready for some travel perhaps? Waiting for some good news?  So much is ready to unfold in the best of ways.  Strap your seat belt on, bae!

Capricorn – December 22 – January 19: The Empress
I sat out by the river with my friend, Jaye Bartell, as we played guitar together.  The moon hit the small ripples of river coming towards us as we took turns singing and playing and it cast a magic over the songs.  Dear Capricorn, the Empress calls you to go on your own adventure like this.  The Empress is the perfect “earth mother” and she calls you to come outside.  The Empress brings you an extra added dose of sensuality and creativity.   She whispers inspiration to you as you walk in nature, as you dip your toes into the lake, as you put your bare feet on the ground.  Use the power of nature to push you forward.  Open your eyes to the sky.  Realize the greatness with which you are surrounded in – and the greatness within YOU.

Question: The Empress asks you to tap into that feminine side of yourself (whether you’re male or female) for this month.  What is your favorite way of getting your dose of nature?  Sitting on a fire escape watching the night sky?  Walking through the woods?  Whatever it is – she’s calling to inspire you and fill you with whispers you’ve never imagined before…listen to her.

Aquarius – January 20 – February 18: 10 of Cups
Aquarius - you are in the FLOW of things.  Look at this card.  Look at it.  Damn.  With the 10 of cups on your side for this month – you are unstoppable.  The 10 of cups brings harmony, happiness and superchargedwildjoy around the home/relationships/and your gorgeous fucking life in general.  If life is a river, you are on a sweet canoe, lying back watching the stars, feeling amazing and letting that sweet canoe drift and bring you to all the places you need to be with EASE.

Question: With this harmony/joy coming up for you….time to stop, look around and take it all in.  Quickly – write 10 things you are grateful for.  Watch your gratitude list multiply this month.  Trust me on this one.  

Pisces – February 19 – March 20: Ace of Swords
Oh, Pisces… the Ace card brings you wild new beginnings and the swords bring you “getting to the point” POWER.    You know the story of The Sword and The Stone?  Well, this month, you’re King Arthur.  Everyone is coming from near and far to pull this damn sword from a stone, but you….you, my sweet Pisces is the one that does it.  Get ready for a breakthrough this month.

Question: Perhaps you’ve been having a moment struggling with making things happen, perhaps you’ve been frustrated….well, that ace of swords is waiting for you to wield it and make a massive breakthrough this month.  In all of the things that are currently in your world, what is the thing you want to take to the “next level” the most?

Aries – March 21 – April 19 : The Hermit
My Darling Aries…the turtle comes up in your cards for this month.  The Hermit has a beautiful message that will help guide you to all the things you want.  In a world where everyone wants a piece of you, or has an opinion, sometimes it’s good to take a moment to step back and climb into that turtle shell for a moment.  That light on top of the shell? That signifies your own inner light when you are not burdened by everything going on in the world and with others.  This shell is like a secret little capsule for you to create in and do your good work.  When you emerge, your job is to shine the light of what you learned and share all that you have worked on and created with the world.

Question: Aries, imagine that you have a turtle shell to climb into, a little peace and quiet, a little calm out of the storm…what do the whispers of your soul have to tell you?   So, maybe you can’t hide away and meditate for a month – but you can give yourself 10 minutes of walking alone a day to let your mind explore.  Can you allot 10 minutes at the end of each day to sit and just be or work on things you’re passionate about?  There’s lots to think about – and at the end of the month, you will emerge being more of the “true you” than ever.  Dig for it.

Taurus – April 20 – May 20:  6 of Wands
Taurus – time to walk in like you OWN IT.  Because this month, you are getting it.  The butterfly emerges from struggle and cocoon to soar above it all.  You’ve got the swagger, you’ve got the confidence and that mojo is rising.  Time for a victory.  Time for your strengths and talents to be shared with the world.   And this kind of victory isn’t just a private pat on your own back, it’s something that is public and recognized by others.

Question:  Taurus, you’ve got things blossoming all around you.  Time to summon up that confident swagger and make it all happen.  To keep your confidence up and your “fight” working to win your victories – write three things down that you’re really proud of having accomplished in the past (whether they are big or small) – this will help you move forward knowing that you can do anything you set your mind to.  Rock it.

Gemini – May 21 – June 20: 5 of Cups

Gemini, this little horse has walked into your spread for this month.  He signifies that you’ve been feeling down, disappointed or feeling lack in your life.  When things aren’t going well, it’s so easy to just see only that and spiral downward.  When things aren’t going well or you’re feeling bad, you gotta feel it.  Let it happen, and then brush that horse’s mane, feed him an apple and climb back on him to gallop off to greener pastures in life. Keep your head up, Gemini, the light will return very soon.

Question: Make a list of three things or activities that have made you really happy or feel joy.  I challenge you to do one this month.  Or all three if you’re feeling it.  The more the better. 

Cancer – June 21 – July 22:  Death
I found these high heels discarded at the side of the street after a wild block party.  I imagined a whole life to them.  I imagined that the woman that was wearing them felt too contained, they were restraining her for too long, it got to the point where it hurt too much and she just said fuck it.  And when she slipped out of those horrible things, and it was just her and her bare feet walking down a Brooklyn sidewalk.  She probably felt better than she’d felt all night.  This is what’s going on for you, dear Cancer.  This month, it’s time to get rid of those things that aren’t working and move forward to something better.  It’s time.

Question: This card always talks of transformation and letting the things in your life “die” that aren’t working anymore.  What is it time to let go of for you?  Letting go of things will help you make more space for the beautiful things in life that you want to bring in.

Leo – July 23 – August 22: Father of Cups
Leo, the father of cups, the beautiful and rare black swan swims to you this month.  He brings a spirit of generosity, deep connection and pure emotion to you.  The Father of Cups revels in creativity and beckons you to do the same.  He holds great wisdom and courage as he taps into his deep emotional state to bring up pure art/knowledge.  It’s time for you to do the same this month.

Question: Leo, there is something rare and unique about you.  What do you think that is? What compliments do you receive from others that ring most true to you?  Gather your courage and move forward to your gorgeous destiny.

If you’d like to answer your questions in the comments below, I’d love to read your replies.

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