Truth & Beauty #1: Annoying Influencers & Dates Gone Wrong
Plus, the best grammy acceptance speech ever, whimiscal flowers, and the prettiest books you ever did see
Welcome to the very first edition of Truth & Beauty!
I decided to create this weekly newsletter because I wanted a consistent rendezvous point for those of us hanging out at Gilding the Lily, where we can unabashedly tell our truths, and share cool shit that we’re finding to be inspiring, uplifting, or just plain beautiful.
If you ask me, I just don’t think there are enough places on the internet where we can talk about all-the-stuffs; awful, amazing, ugly, and beautiful.
It is my hope that, over time, Truth & Beauty might just inspire us all to shamelessly embrace all the aspects of ourselves.
The comment section on this newsletter will be open every week! If you feel so inclined, please do share with us your truths & beauties for the week.
I look forward to getting to know the whole, authentic, perfect you.
Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful, it’s ordinary and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living, heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful — L.R. Knost
The truth shall set you free…
Truth: I need a structure for self-accountability when it comes to creativity, but I struggle to create structures that don’t feel like pigeonholes for me. When I’m in a pigeonhole, I flap about like a caged bird fighting to free itself, ultimately rebelling against my own creativity. I’m currently practicing the art of working with my own natural tendencies to create structures that are narrow enough to keep me focused, yet broad enough to give me creative flexibility and prevent an internal uprising. Gilding the Lily is one such structure. I’m playing around with formats here, with the ultimate intention of consistent content and, eventually, solid community, because…
Truth: I desire to be reliable as a content creator. I desire for you, who have “voted” for my insights as a subscriber, to be able to count on a consistent flow of content. I desire to create a publication and community that stands the test of time. I do not desire to stop-start, stop-start, stop-start; which I’ve done more times in my creative life than I can count, simply because —> pigeonholes.
Truth: I’m annoyed with online influencers that only show one dimension of themselves. It’s misleading, it’s damaging, and it fosters unrealistic (nay, impossible) standards in the realms of self-mastery, business, money, beauty, and life in general. I get that no one is obligated to share anything online that they don’t want to, and at the same time, I really desire influencers that are humble enough to knock themselves off their pedestals, tell their whole stories, and present more well-rounded, human versions of themselves. I believe that would be of service to us all (influencers included)
I’m not exactly an “influencer”, but I have been guilty of one-dimensional online sharing in the past. Moving forward can’t commit to revealing every aspect of my life, but I have vowed to myself that if I’m going to have an online presence at all, then I choose to at least present a well-rounded version of myself, even if I can’t (or don’t desire to tell the whole story at all times)
Truth: For the past two and a half years, I’ve been living at a boutique hotel in Bali with my (now) 22-year-old daughter. I fled here to escape an emotionally and psychologically abusive entanglement with a narcissistic man — you could say I’ve been “on a healing journey “ ever since. A couple of days ago, my daughter and I downgraded, from two rooms to one, for economic reasons (code for - we’re several months behind on our rent and have been struggling to get caught up)
I would have previously judged this downgrade as a “lackful” choice due to my LOA “prosperity” training which instructed me that settling for less is a great way to be broke forever.
However, I am no longer willing to judge myself for my financial reality (or any other circumstances for that matter), and weirdly enough, instead of feeling like a downgrade, sharing a room with my daughter feels like a massive upgrade as well as a real, true and unashamed honoring of exactly where I am. For the first time in a really long time, I feel content, happy, and genuinely hopeful for my financial future.
Truth: I have a fear that I’m somehow going to get swallowed up by another charming, hypnotic, insidiously abusive man like my ex. This past week I went on a coffee date with a guy and somehow, in the presence of him, my eyes glazed over. Very many problematic things were said (and done) that didn’t register in my awareness as problematic until later that evening after we’d parted ways. I spent the whole evening feeling confused and running through the events of the date, trying to untangle and make sense of them, wondering how I had been so mesmerized.
That night, in a dream, I was attacked by a vicious evil snake that I somehow knew was him.
The next day, It was clear to me that I was delivering myself a message both through the dream I had and the confusion I felt. I’m proud to say I decided not to spend any more time with this man and have made a rule for myself that if anyone, ANYONE, causes me to feel disoriented or confused, they will be removed from my life immediately simply because they are not good for me. I need no other justification than that.
… and suddenly, I no longer feel afraid to get swept away in another unhealthy entanglement because I know that as long as I listen to myself and trust my instincts, I am safe.
Truth: I desire to keep vulnerably sharing my truths here, and to be able to live on my income as a writer. There’s a very real voice of fear in my head that says it may never happen, and there’s also a very real voice of encouragement in my head that says “do it anyway, you might just be surprised” — I choose to do it anyway.
I’m finding beauty and inspiration in…
This Ted Talk
(that my ex-client and now great friend, Alissa, shared with me) about pooling resources to help each other bring dreams to life in real, tangible ways.
I’m finding this conversation so very refreshing & beautiful, after coming off the isolated, “each-man-for-himself-its-all-in-your-mind” new-age industry.
Also, the lady giving this talk is hilarious.
This hits on a personal level because I’ve recently been gifted to in my time of need by some incredibly generous souls in my community. This has not only inspired a genuine desire to give more where I can, but has also inspired several conversations with new friends about our collaborative and interdependent nature as human beings
Lately, many roads seem to be pointing in the direction of resource sharing as expampled so beautifully in this TedTalk. I have a desire growing in my heart to create a community where we can not only tell our truths and be our authentic selves but also support each other in anything from taking care of basic survival needs, to making the wildest of dreams come true…
At this point, I’m not exactly sure what this might look like, but reach out in the comments below if this is something you’d like to be part of as it unfolds, or if you have any inspired ideas to share
This Jon Batiste Grammy acceptance speech + performance of Freedom
"I believe this to my core, there is no best musician, best artist, best dancer, best actor. The creative arts are subjective and they reach people at a point in their lives when they need it most. It's like a song or an album is made and it's almost like it has a radar to find the person when they need it the most."
Truth be told, I’d never heard of Jon Batiste until I saw him perform at the Grammys and then go on to win 5 of the 11 categories he was nominated for, including best album of the year.
When I saw his performance, I said to McKenzie (my daughter), “this is a man who came out of the womb performing, I just know it”
Little did I know that I was about to fall madly in love. lol
I later learned he’s a Julliard trained Jazz pianist that’s been quietly focusing on his craft, head down butt up, for nearly all of his 35 years on the planet - making music not based on trends, but only on his desire, with the intention of changing for the better, the lives of those his music touches. He says, that to him music is more than entertainment, it’s a spiritual practice.
Something else I find truly inspiring about Jon is that he not only speaks about the importance of mastering the art of holding in one hand the hardships of life, whilst holding the beauty of life in the other; but he’s exemplifying his message as he’s rising to fame whilst his sweet wife battles cancer.
His honest and uplifting attitude about life shines through in his music, and I literally can not watch him perform without smiling from ear to ear.
I’ve been listening to his genre-transcendent album - WE ARE - pretty much on repeat since the Grammys. I highly recommend.
This man’s flower art & his vulnerable insights on the creative process
This past week I stumbled across TJ McGrath and his swoon-worthy, whimsical flower arrangments on Instagram. I was already OBSESSED with his style when I learned that his beautiful creations are accompanied by a beautiful intention to create a sustainable floral industry, as well as often beautiful words.
One post, in particular, stuck out to me, as it spoke vulnerably to the struggles of the creative process -
“Some days I simply want to throw in the towel…lots of days actually. Today is one such day. I have fought with this design and my camera for far too long today. Not sharing it would be to let the defeatist in me to win. I simply cannot afford to do that. That would be throwing a match on that fire that is a fine line I walk every single day. I know I’m not alone, but jeez, some days it sure feels a lot like flying solo. Even with guidance from my super talented photographer friend… this one just ain’t working for me, but I put it out here as a reminder to myself that I have to pick myself up and move on—we all need to do that sometimes“
The picture above is the one he was referring to… I find this arrangement and photo to be absolutely stunning; to me, his internal struggles in regards to this piece is indicative of the fact that we can be our own worst critics. Had he taken dictation from that inner critic, TJ wouldn’t have shared this creation (and probably many others) with the world.
This gorgeous photo was captioned, “For every florist, every woman, every child, every man in Ukraine 🇺🇦”
Explore TJ’s vast offerings and services on his Website & be sure to follow him on Instagram for a daily dose of beauty - If I lived in the states, I would certainly be subscribing to his weekly or bi-weekly floral delivery program.
This Camila Cabello interview with Jimmy Fallon
My daughter shared this video with me this past week and I loved it because it’s so in alignment with several themes I’ve been exploring:
How our inspired creations change and evolve us as people, if we let them
The importance of developing a healthy relationship with our own unique creative processes; figuring out how to commune with our creations in a way that brings healing, joy and fun as opposed to pressure, anxiety, and dibilatiing perfectionism
How we don’t need to be fully put together, fully healed or fully perfect in order to create powerfully, to be seen, or to be influential — and that in fact being seen in our vulnerable truths is often not only where the most powerful creating happens, but also where the healing takes place
Recovering from toxic hyper-independence (which is actually a trauma response, perpetuated in large part by our western society) into a more balanced, and natural human state of interdependent-independence. We are all connected and reliant on each other, whether we want to acknowledge it or not - and the truth seems to be that we thrive, when we celebrate our interdepent nature.
These are all themes that Camilla talks about so beautifully in this interview regarding her journey to creating Familia (her newest album)
These Pretty Old Books
I LOVE books. I love the feel of them, the smell of them, the sight of them.
One of the things I’ve missed the most living nomadically (with no permanent home and limited suitcase space) is reading and collecting real, physical books.
I recently ran into Jess Dollar on instagam, and fell in love with her business ‘Pretty Old Books’
Not only does she sell vintage books, but she curates them into decorative collections that you can buy by the bundle so you get the joy of vintage books, and also a gorgeous decoration for your home.
That’s it for the inaugural edition of Truth & Beauty!
Thank you for reading this far 🖤 If you’ve enjoyed yourself, be sure to sign up to be notified when the next edition is published.