The Instagram Challenge & The Power and Community in Our Hashtags!

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Hello, Gorgeous and Wild Thing.
Can we talk about for a minute how crazy this whole #cuteasfuck revolution and the #dangerdiary challenge has been blowing up?
YOU ARE A POWERFUL FORCE.
You make things spread like wildfire.
Come and sit next to me.
I bet we’re a lot alike if you’ve wandered over to the Danger Diary….
You crave new artistic sparks.
You fiend for something to send you into an inspired-fingertips-flying-writing frenzy.
You live for getting in that space between this world and that world while making something creative.
Am I right?

You gain inspiration from the world around you
to create a world of your OWN.

I’m talking about the 28 Day Danger Diary Instagram Challenge. (If you haven’t started yet, click on the link and join us!)

Right now
there is 3,856 entries with the #dangerdiarychallenge tag.
DAMN.

And many nights, before I fall asleep, sitting in my window perch in the apartment, with the city glowing all around me, I scroll through your lives, your pictures, the things you see every day…..and I feel like we are closer than we are….that distance cannot separate us.

In those moments, in these days,
I’ve seen through your eyes.

You showed me what you would save from a fire.
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You showed me an animal in your life, and shared beautiful stories.
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You showed me something in your handwriting and sent love across the world.
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You got creative when I asked for “something on the ceiling”.
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You showed me someone you love – and we got to meet a little superhero.
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You shared signs.
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You showed me strangers moments ago, friends today.
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You showed me something you see everyday.
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You showed me the friends that you adore.
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You shared creative “selfie in a mirror” - reflections in lakes count
and SUPER SHOUT OUT to Sarah of the We See Magic blog who used the Danger Diary Challenge prompts to let her imagination and writing run wild in her blog. Go check it out – So inspiring!
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You shared with us,
the Story of YOU.

Thank you to all that have been participating. I know some of you will be finished tomorrow. Some of us fell behind a little because they were sick and stayed out too late at the Slipper Room *ahem*. And some of us haven’t yet begun (or are taking little breaks). I will keep checking out the #dangerdiarychallenge tag every night….to connect with you no matter where in the world you are.

You will never know how much you mean to me.

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#CuteAsFuck is a Revolution and Here’s Why.

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Have you ever been having a perfectly fine day, feeling like you could rule the world, when all of a sudden someone slams the way you look or you overhear someone say something mean about you?

Two days ago, a girl who lives on the second floor of my building was talking smack about me to her boyfriend and I overheard her say….“She’s NOT even that cute!”

Which means, of course, that on some level, she thinks I’m kinda cute. I mean, who can blame her?

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And then I thought – seriously….I am sick and tired of people fucking deciding if I’m cute enough or this enough or that enough….

and I bet you are, too.

So the moment I got back to my computer, I wrote this:
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I thought maybe one, maybe five people would respond.
Within 24 hours, I had RT’ed over 400 people’s photos from 32 different countries.
And it was the best feeling in the whole world to see pictures that people took of themselves with the #cuteasfuck tag next to it.
There was power in it.
Here’s a random few I screengrabbed – but you should really go check out the #cuteasfuck on Twitter. Because wow. The coolest crew of amazing, beautiful people ever from all over the world.
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When you discover the #cuteasfuck tag, you’ll see all people from all over the world – beautiful and different.
Fuck trying to be the same – it doesn’t make us more beautiful, it makes us boring.
Every single person that tweeted, stood strong in their own unique beautiful selves.
Those people are my heroes.

And then things like this starting happening:
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Which would prompt even more people to tweet and give them courage to put the words #cuteasfuck next to their own picture without apology.

And then people who were posting, started to send good things to other people posting and people started favoriting and re-tweeting each other’s pictures.
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When most of the world wants to tear us apart, and our consumer culture feeds off finding things wrong with us so we can buy products to “fix” ourselves, declaring our own selves “cute as fuck” is the most powerful thing of all.

The next time someone comments on your appearance, you let them know you’re cute as fuck.

Join our Revolution, tweet pictures of yourself with the #cuteasfuck tag to me on twitter and to the world.

Declare Yourself.

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Why Draven’s Suicide Broke My Heart and the 3 Things I Do To Keep Myself Alive.

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Six months ago, this picture found its way onto my feed on Facebook.
Lasers.
A cat.
And this guy – smiling – approachable – having a laugh over the stupid yearbook photos and the stress behind them and just going next level by doing his own photo.
Hell yes.
There was something about it that charmed me.
Why?

 It’s so hard to be our true selves.

♥ It’s so hard to step out from the pack and do something that expresses the people that we are.

♥ It’s so hard to follow through on unique ideas and dreams we have for fear of being shamed or embarrassed.

Laser Cat Teenager was my new hero.

I named this site and my company, “Danger Dame”
because before I seriously re-evaluated my life before the rottweiler attack,
I felt like the most dangerous thing I could be was my true self.
It was too hard.
It would draw too much attention.
It would be weird.
People would judge me.
Suppose I open my heart and show my true self and the world destroys me?

But then my life changed, and I committed to fight for being my true self every day.
I was willing to do the most dangerous thing I could think of:
Put myself out there honestly and truthfully no matter what.

But it’s still hard.

And here’s this guy who’s 17 – just completely unafraid and out there.  Doing his thing. Being him.  Not hiding.

I clicked through on the story.
His name was Draven Rodriguez.
At the time of the photo was taken, six months ago, he told the Daily Gazette:

“I don’t want to go in the yearbook with the generic ‘I-look-like-everyone-else’photo,” he said. “I wanted a ‘He looks great. Only he would try that’ photo. When people look at it, they will know that was me.”

I followed him from afar.  He got his principal and her rescue chihuahua to pose alongside him and his cat, Mr. Bigglesworth, in a photo that will be put in the yearbook to help bring awareness to rescuing animals.

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 I was moved at how he wanted to help others.  How at the age of 17, he was not only rocking his true self, but he was coming up with ways to make the world a better place.

He told ABC news,

“I really wanted to be remembered and this is kind of my last chance in the area before I move on to college and hopefully do great things with my life. I want people to remember my personality and not just my face.”

He took his own life on Thursday.

It hit me really hard.

You’re probably here because you’re different, too.
Because you fight every day to be your wild, creative, true self.
And that’s why there’s community here….
because you and I know how hard it is to be ourselves and get judged constantly, and slammed, and made to feel not good enough or worthy enough, or too weird, or too whatever.
We know what it’s like to feel like the world is against us at times….
and we find safety and encouragement in each other.

We keep each other going.

I know that YOU keep me going.

And with his loss, just like the recent loss of Leelah Alcorn, I felt it in my bones.
We lost ones of our own….ones fighting to be themselves no matter what.
We lost brave ones that had the courage to put themselves out there to the world,
and the thought of that destroys me.

I believe that we can save each other.

But how?
Let’s have a discussion.
What has helped you when you’ve been on the edge?
What advice do you have for others?
If we can talk about it, if we can raise awareness about this, if this can just save one life….

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Here’s what I have done:

1.  See My Life As A Story.
If I am going through a really hard time, I imagine myself as the main character of a story I’m reading. Sometimes when you’re fighting with depression or pain, it’s hard to get out of the sinking quicksand of it. So I fight back by almost stepping out of it, and imagine that I’m reading this book in which the main character has my name and is going through all the crazy things I’m going through. I try to imagine the good things that will happen in future chapters for her. I always imagine the book as being a heavy beautiful book with many pages….and I think, this is just a bad chapter for our hero…..it’s just a few pages….her story is far from over.  She’s got future adventures that need to be had. And I am rooting for her to make it.

2. Reach Out.
Yeah. That.
Anyone in my life knows that when I’m going through it, I hide. The phone rings and I throw it under my bed. A text bings and I can’t even look at it. It’s this weird, I can’t face anyone now or let anyone see me like this, so I’ll just huddle in a corner until I can figure this out.

There’s still some kind of air of guilt or shame around being depressed in our society
and our tendencies to hide or say “I’m fine” when we are anything but fine, can be deadly.
I hate the advice things that say “reach out” because it means having enough strength to pick up a phone and call someone when you’re feeling almost paralyzed.
But it can save your life.
And if you’re worried or ashamed or embarrassed to reveal how you’re really feeling to your loved ones, PLEASE CALL the Suicide Hotline….they don’t know who you are, you can talk for real about what’s happening and no one is going to judge you. They want to help you more than anything and they are waiting there ready to listen to you.  Please do it.
US Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255
UK Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90
Click here for hotlines all over the world.

3.  Get Lost In Those Stupid Puppy or Kitten Videos on YouTube.
Yeah. You’re so depressed you can’t leave the house.
So that whole “Go for a Walk” advice doesn’t work.
Maybe try and look at this for a minute and see if you don’t go…what in the holy hell am I watching….
and then I hope a smile goes across your face.

Or maybe you can watch this video that ByRegina posted recently…and we can pretend that me and you are Muhammad Ali kicking the shit out of this….

Keep fighting.
I am here.
I have your back.
I know you have mine.
I am grateful for you and I love you.
It gets better.
It really does.

Let’s be kind to each other.
If you think this can help someone who is hurting, please share.
Please comment for ways that you help yourself keep fighting.
There might be something that helps you that will save someone else.
Rest in Peace, Draven.
Thank you for the kindness, empathy, uniqueness and inspiration you showed us in your short life.
Your life touched people around the world.
Sending love to your family and friends…..
We’re going to shine on for you.

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The 36 Questions To Make Anyone Fall in Love With You.

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I stole this page from the New York Times out of my local coffee shop and have carried it around since.
It’s the article that Mandy Len wrote that contained 36 magical questions formulated by psychologist Arthur Aron to help 2 strangers fall in love.
It seems to focus a lot on death and fires, how your relationship is with your mom and then it calls you out on why you haven’t done the things you wanted to do…
totally romantic shit like that.

I can see that you’re intrigued.

Now I leave them for you to read:

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Will these questions make you fall in love?

Well, in a world where conversations are mostly kept to the weather
and we stare deeply into our phones more than we stare into each other’s eyes…

I do think that these questions can evoke a deep and meaningful connection with others because they are outside our normal realms of conversation.

Print them out and carry them around with you…
learn more about yourself by answering them,
and enjoy listening to other people’s stories as they reveal their own honest answers to you.

We all have a story to tell.
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I look forward to reading your answers and to falling hopelessly in love with you all.

PS: Thanks to my friend, Jaye Bartell for coming up with “what the hell is in my purse” segment.
No one will ever really know.
Not even me.

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Bill Cosby and How Sexual Predators Feed On Victim Guilt (Trigger Warning)

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4 days ago, 2 more women came forward with allegations against Bill Cosby…
and it barely made the news.
At this point, there are over 30 women who have been brave enough to come forward,
and because we have heard so many stories,
all so eerily similar in the victim’s accounts of what he has done,
it seems that the initial shock has worn off,
that it barely makes a dent in us anymore.

But something stuck with me,
that really bothers me…
something that I’ve seen in myself and something that I’ve witnessed with others,
something about Beverly Johnson’s story.

Once she realized that she was succumbing to a drug haze after sipping a drink offered by Cosby,
she hurled insults at him, yelling, “You are a motherfucker, aren’t you?
As she kept yelling insults at him, she says that Cosby became enraged, and dragged her down the steps and put her in a cab.

Beverly Johnson, after being drugged by Bill Cosby and after narrowly escaping a sexual assault by him, could only think this:

I looked at the cabbie and asked, as if he knew: “Did I really just call Bill Cosby ‘a motherfucker’?”

This is what struck me.

In the re-telling of her own story, Beverly Johnson was worried that she might have offended Bill Cosby by calling him a motherfucker, after he drugged and tried to assault her.

Let’s let that sink in for a moment.

Why would she feel guilty about offending him?

In my own story about dealing with a sexual manipulator, after I rebuked all of his advances and left, I beat myself up that I had made a fool of myself, that I was a baby, that I had been a prude and angered a professional in the business.

Why do we feel bad when someone else is being inappropriate with us?

And how do we change this pattern of behavior?

I had mistakenly thought that it was just a pattern that women have,
as I had only heard it told to me in stories from other women…
until I ran into a male friend of mine this week who recounted a shocking story over coffee.

My friend found himself in a situation where another man came onto him in the men’s bathroom of a bar.
First, the man engaged my friend in conversation and talked about his own wife and kids.
Then after talking about his family, the man asked if my friend would be into doing a sexual act with him.

Keep in mind:
this is all being asked to my friend while this man is blocking the only exit from the bathroom.
My friend kindly turned him down
and then the man put his arms around him in a hug, pulling him into his body and tried to kiss him.
My friend immediately said, “Sorry, man.”
And moved around him to get out of there.

Afterwards my friend felt weird…
what did he do to make this guy think he would be interested?
Did he say something wrong?
Why had it happened?

I asked my friend what made him apologize to the man during the interaction.
My friend said that he felt bad because the man revealed he had a family, and was coming out to my friend by asking for a sexual favor.

Perhaps the answer to victim guilt lies somewhere in there…
that we all know what it’s like to struggle to be our true selves
and when someone comes to us and reveals something very personal,
we feel bad about denying them.

And what I noticed in my male friend’s story, that I also noticed in my own, that I also noticed in Beverly Johnson’s story – is that when we were faced with manipulators or predators – we all found a way to get out of the situation, but afterwards felt guilty, felt wrong and wondered what we did to deserve that behavior.

I write about this today because it has been on my mind.
I have no solutions to offer.
I think the only learning aspect is that I am now aware of this behavior in me
and I know that I am not alone…
and maybe the more we talk about this,
the more future Beverly Johnsons’
can call Bill Cosby a motherfucker to his face
and walk away
unapologetically.

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4 Easy and Unique Ways To Make Your Work Space Inspire Creativity

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Hello, Danger Addicts!

The Danger Diary is back on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday schedule to feed your habit.
Thanks for getting your fix with me. 
I’ve been working on several writing projects, and since I’ve switched up my home workspace, I feel like my creativity has been soaring and I wanted to pass on what’s worked for me that might help you guys out, too.
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Studies have shown that sunlight boosts the serotonin levels naturally in our bodies which means: instant elevated mood and a jump in creativity as well as energy.
Hell to the yes.
My little Brooklyn garden kitchen (and writing workspace shown above) was transformed with a large vintage street-find mirror to catch that Southern facing light. A simple strand of circle mirrors hangs in my window and bounces the light all over my workspace.
Instant brightness boost.

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Plants create life in your creative space – boosting oxygen levels and helping us think more clearly as a result. Plants help decrease stress levels naturally.
Got a black thumb?
No problem.
These plants are super easy to care for (ask your local plant place):
Jade Plant, English Ivy, Fiddleleaf Fig, Philodendron, Peperomia and Succulents.
I get my plants at local Brooklyn favorite, combo plant-shop-and-coffee-house, Homecoming.
This photo is from their inspiring Instagram account:
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Pick 5 small things to get inspired by and put them in your workspace.
I love my sparkly violet amethyst stone and the phantom crystal my Dad found for me that makes rainbows with the light.
I also have pretty vintage hardbound books on display in my writing space, as well as candles and chimes.
All of these together help create a mood that inspires me.
Tip: Make sure to pick around 5 objects or less. You don’t want too much clutter in your creative space.

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I spend a lot of time on my computer – writing the Danger Diary and teaching The Parlour every week.
Now when I open my computer, this pop of color of Van Gogh’s Starry Night makes me smile and gets me in that creative mode.
There’s tons of cool computer skins out there on Etsy.
It’s like painting your computer for a fresh new look.

Now it’s your turn!
What ways have you made your space boost your creativity?
Share in the comments.
And as always, if you like my posts, I’d be honored if you shared with your friends.
Hell yes.

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How NOT To Cry, Feel Useless or Murder Anyone on Valentine’s Day.

anti-valentine's-day.jpgValentine’s Day brings out a lot of emotions – and not all of them good.

Here’s my survival guide to keep you positive and loving life on February 14:

If You’re Single:  Time to go renegade and take the reigns back on this mutha effin’ holiday.

Single and 17, I was pissed when Valentine’s Day rolled around. I thought it was an evil reminder that I wasn’t one of the hand-holding couples walking down the halls of school. But instead of sulking the day away, I bought these cute Snow White Valentines’ and wrote: “Valentine’s Day is Dumb, but You’re Awesome” on every single one and then I picked 16 random lockers and stuffed the Valentine’s through the vents. I somehow felt more powerful doing that – rather than wallowing in my own singledom sorrow – I took the day back.

I was the tall, lanky goth version of cupid.

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I’ve continued this tradition every year since, putting Valentine’s on car windshields, hiding them in morning newspapers for sale, leaving them on tables in a coffee shop.

I am convinced the right people will find them.

FACT: Valentine’s Day, Hallmark Holiday that it is, is about celebrating love – just because you might be single doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be included. Show the world. Spread it. You’ll feel happy knowing that you’re going to make the person’s day that finds your Valentine.

If You’re In A Relationship, Do NOT Try and Celebrate This Pressure Filled Holiday the Generic Way The Media Wants You To (i.e. “The More Money You Spend, The More You Love Her/Him”). 

I’ve had many a disastrous Valentine’s Day in relationships.  Valentine’s Day filled my mind with over-expecting wild fantasies – like:  Did he get the hint that I really have been loving that cute necklace I found on Etsy?  Is this the year I’m getting engaged?  Is the box of chocolates he’s going to get me bigger than my arms can hold?  I was really influenced by working in an office job and being surrounded by people who would come in the day after Valentine’s Day and talk about what wildly romantic things happened with them – if my story fell short, then my relationship must not measure up, right?

WRONG.

Valentine’s Day can be a major pressure to do everything “right” and make it super romantic – and that can just end up backfiring.  In my relationship with Burke we decided: – eff the high priced and overly-crowded dinners out, eff the dumb candy in heart shaped boxes, eff the store bought presents.   We celebrate by writing each other notes, by making each other love spells, by making a fort with chairs and blankets in our living room and a picnic style dinner on the floor with tons of pillows and candles around us.

Ain’t no store bought present, fancy restaurant dinner or manufactured candy heart that’s gonna compete with that.

FACT: If you’re in a relationship, Valentine’s Day can be pressure city. Fight the urge to do what everyone else is doing and make it your own thing! Decide together what you think would be a fun way to celebrate that is completely unique to your relationship.  Oh, yeah….and KEEP doing all these things after V-Day’s over.

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If You’re Alive and Breathing – Single, In A Relationship, WHATEVER – Take the Idea of This Day To Throw Some Much Needed Love On The Person You’ve Known The Longest:  YOU.

A lot of times we are afraid to even admit what we love about ourselves.  It might seem too conceited and too ego-filled.  But indulge me for a second, and answer the questions below:

♥ In Your Life Story so Far – Name 1 Thing That You’re Really Proud Of That You’ve Done.  It could be something as far away as winning the 1st Grade Spelling Bee or as recent as sticking up for a friend last week at school.  It could be getting that promotion at work or having your video go viral on youtube.  It could be playing your first song on the ukulele or the time you submitted your article and it got published.  It could be anything!

♥What are 3 Awesome Traits That You Have?  Are you a great friend?  A good listener?  Do you excel in creative things, sports, music, etc? Are you determined and will keep going no matter what?  

FACT:   Look, if you’re reading this, you are still in this wild game of life.  You’re here – doing it.  Sometimes life can be really hard, and it’s important to take time to care for yourself.  Take the time to pat yourself on the back from the good things that you’ve done, the struggles you’ve fought through, and for the good that you put into the world.

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Here’s a Valentine’s Day Tradition I Made for Myself 3 Years Ago – Wanna Join Me?

♥  Buy 3 roses in your favorite color the day BEFORE Valentine’s Day.

The night before V-Day – take the petals off of one rose and put them over your sheets and your pillow.  That way, when you wake up on Valentine’s Day – you wake up in a bed strewn in flower petals.  Not bad, huh? And they smell pretty damn amazing.

Take the petals off the second one and cup them in your hands. Make your hands like a bowl and hold all those petals inside.  Bring the petals to your heart while you are sitting down.  Imagine that inside your hands is a basket of love and it’s going directly into your heart through your chest.  Think of the answers you gave above.   Think about things you love about yourself.  Bring the petals to your face and breathe in.  Then put the petals right over your head and let the petals drop.  It’s time to shower yourself in rose petals.  If you’ve never done this before, please do it.  It sounds cheesy but it’s incredible.

Take the third rose and walk down the street on Valentine’s Day.  Give it to a perfect stranger and keep walking.  You’ll know who to give it to.  Trust me on this one – and you’re going to make someone’s day.

That’s my personal recipe to be a Goddess (or God) of Love – who wakes up on a bed of roses, who showers themselves with fragrant petals and who makes someone’s day with a rose.

How can this be bad?

That’s my tips! Do you have any traditions or ways of dealing with Valentine’s Day that you’d like to share?

I love reading your comments – they keep me going and keep me writing!  Please share a tradition below or share an answer to one of the questions above.  Let us LOVE on you.  And if you’ve enjoyed this article and think it will help others – please share.
PS I have been fighting this flu mostly sideways for 2 solid weeks, and this one deserved a repost this year. Next week starts the NEW Danger Diary Schedule for Posts: Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
See you Monday!

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