+Inclusion, My Female Future is INCLUSIVE

I remember discovering the musical In The Heights by Lin Manuel Miranda in high school. I was interested in the school musical but I had never thought musicals were for me. I hated the high and whiny tone of every musical I had heard, and most of all, there were no shows that represented me. Until this one. It represented Hispanic culture in a way that wrapped me in hugs and kissed me goodnight. I learned that I could have a place in this genre if only white people made room. And then Black Panther came out, and I was filled with this sense of humanity I had not felt in a very long time.  It struct me that I did not need white people to represent who I was. I needed people who looked like me.

I want to show little Black girls they are human, because they are not treated as such. The other day as I was walking home, an African American girl no more than fifteen was walking in front of me when a group of teenage boys on the other side of the street began to cat call her. They told her to come over and do things to them that I will not repeat. The young girl in front of me clenched her fists and picked up her speed, never acknowledging the group of boys. That only made them yell louder. Unable to keep silent, I screamed at them to leave her alone. At that moment I knew that I could have been raped or overtaken, as it was a deserted street and no one but myself and that teenage girl was on it. But I didn't care. I was filled with this rage. This anger at the audacity of those young men. Black women are treated like property, less than human. Sometimes I overhear conversation about women of color, and you would think the discussion was centered around an object. 

I want a different reality for women of color. My Female Future is filled with inclusion. It is fulled with women of all colors who have voices, and strength, humanity. It is filled with women putting their voices together to support one another, include one another. I can no longer sit back and stay silent about the things I see. They are wrong, and I refuse to stick my head in the sand and pretend these things aren't happening. I want to make a difference. Through my art, and my work, through my life. I will make a change. That is what my female future looks like.

FOREVER FEMALE and moving Forward in to the FUTURE!

I have always been grateful to be FEMALE - it's a blessing to feel in sync with the Natural World! To feel related to all life! To be rhythmically aligned with the cycles of the moon and the seasons!  But, I've often longed for a WORLD that would honor and embrace our connection   and celebrate it and work to heal it - together!

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In the future we would find solace and safe space in Nature and in each other. We would  welcome feelings of vulnerability, compassion,  empathy, and kindness.

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We would blur the lines between Masculine & Feminine and integrate the best of both in a celebration of the spectrum of Sexuality. 

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We would honor the wisdom of our Elders and encourage multi-generational gatherings within our own biological families and in our families of choice and in our communities. We would remember that once upon a time - we lived in tribes.

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We would celebrate DIVERSITY EVERY DAY - not just on designated months on the calendar! We would encourage curiosity about each other's heritages, faiths, life experiences and Points of View! We would celebrate both our DIVERSITY and ALL that we share in COMMON! And we would of course embrace and encourage men who love us WOMEN and who stand with us and do not fear their own feminine! For they are our partners, Fathers, Brothers, Uncles, Cousins and friends & we need them with us!


And with all the hard healing work and radical shifts, activism and change that lie ahead - I hope we'll also remember to find JOY frequently. Balance in all things! Looking forward to the Future! The Future IS FEMALE!



My Future (and Past) is Female

Week 10 - The Future is Female - Our Female Future

Who are we kidding, the future cannot be simply female.  The future can be kind, inclusive, accepting, thoughtful, and non-violent.  Humans could all recognize that we are playing on one team with one sacred planet to support us.  Does this sort of harmonious prophecy conjure attributes that our culture sees as being female?


It is clear to me that just saying that the Future is Female excludes half the global population, half the awesome out there.  I am an inclusionist, an entrepreneur, an activist and a feminist.  I envision a future where women and men are actually equal in every aspect of culture, where humans are aware of our power, where we respect and live in balance with nature.

Being a female accidental environmental entrepreneur beginning at the age of 21, without any planning or formal business education I just did it.  I followed the bouncing ball leading me down the path of growing a business at a whirlwind pace.  Two years in I had 40 employees and no business plan.  During that time of huge growth all sorts of exciting things happened.  In 1991 I was named the small business person of the year by the SBA in the state of NY.  In 1995 was invited to attend the Social Venture Network’s annual conference and speak about my zero-waste business, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Ben and Jerry, Eileen Fisher, Tom and Kate Chappell, Ram Dass, and Jennifer Barclay.  My business was featured on national television, in countless glossy magazines and in internationally recognized news papers.  No one had seen anything like what I was doing.  Environmentalism was in its infancy and I was leading the way  with textile waste recycling.

A month after attending the SVN conference the shit hit the proverbial fan in May 1995.  

My two and a half year old son (who had had failure to thrive since 6 months, who had been hospitalized twice with pneumonia, who had already had 6 sets of chest x-rays and was in the doctor’s office so often that it was nuts) was  diagnosed with Cardio-Myopathy and Pulmonary Hypertension and given 18 months to live. (It was actually a huge relief as all along the way, my parenting was questioned.  How often do you offer him food? etc.)  At the beginning of that week we met the a new doctor (who was actually a Nurse Practitioner) in our new town for what I thought would be a well child visit.  That morning I thought he had a bad cold, maybe another bout of pneumonia.  We were prescribed ANOTHER antibiotic and asked to return two days later with his dad.  That terrible day we were met with a gurney at the door of the ER of three hospitals and before the end of the second day we checked into the ICU ward at Childrens Hospital in Boston.  Later that same day, the bank I worked with called all my business loans and line of credit.  It was Mother’s Day.

I was reeling.  

My son’s father and I were not together after a tumultuous 4 year relationship.  He banked at the same institution for his business but had no ramifications based on our son’s uninsured health issues.  It was a really hard time.  One night as I sat on my front porch drinking my 2 daily beers and smoking my 2 daily cigarettes a clear message came to me.  I wiped my tears and decided with unwavering clarity that I was not going over the edge of the abyss to plunge to the depths of depression and desperation. I was not going to become a crazy person who could not hold it together.  I was going to walk from the edge of that cliff with clarity.  I was determined to be the best parent I could be.  I was going to be strong, clear and powerful.  I knew that my intention carried great power.  

The storm lifted.  

My footing was found with the help of contacts made at The Social Venture Network who helped reinstate my loans with the same banking institution that had nearly crippled me in a time of strife.  The slope where I landed was slippery but I was able to keep from sliding down, yet not able to climb back to where my  business had been.  I lost several weeks of production time and several key employees.  My focus was on my son, being sure every healer who might be helpful was seen, being sure he had the prescribed 10 doses of meds everyday and living a good life with him -  for today.  

 the first day of kindergarten

the first day of kindergarten

Looking back, it was clearly unfair.  Why had MY parenting been questioned and not his absent father? Why had the bank called my loans and not those of his father?  We were both in good financial standing.  Was it because I am a woman? A mother? I never pursued the bank to find the answer to that question.  At the time, my focus was on my son which was so much more important to me than dickering with a bank who nearly squelched my livelihood.  I could not take in the negativity associated with the level of anger I would feel with my focus on this gender disparity.  

 photo credit: Lindy Smith, 1996

photo credit: Lindy Smith, 1996

The manufacturing company I had founded producing recycled clothing, home furnishings and accessories limped along for several years, and worked hard to regain the momentum lost following the diagnosis and consequent 60 day halt of production.  

In 1998 Crispina (the company) had relocated to The Berkshires from Dutchess County NY and was in full swing supplying 350 customers among them Crate and Barrel, The J.Peterman Company, Espirit and Fiorucci.  In early 1999 J. Peterman, our biggest customer filed bankruptcy owing nearly $30,000.  This blow presented another unforeseen difficult period with ramifications deeper and longer lasting than imagined.

Crispina the company was limping along again.  During this time other, better planned, more professionally run companies had come into the marketplace making similar items confusing customers.  Products with my aesthetic that had once been completely unique were popping up all over the place.  Increased demand was making materials more expensive, and harder to find in volume.  Suppliers were going out of business and consolidating adding yet another complexity to production.  

In 2003 a crazy lady attended a studio sale in our, rented production facility.  She claimed to have twisted her ankle while descending the stairs.  Although she walked to her car without help, she later sued, and cost me ownership of my 16 year old company.  

The company was taken over by a business mentor who ran it in partnership with me for 5 years before retiring and gifting the company she had created from my business back to me.  

I am not sure how this tangent got started.  This week our theme is our Female Future and what has come to mind is the really difficult female past I have lived.  It is apparent now that many of the places I stumbled would have been different had I been male.  Motherhood kept my focus away from driving my business to the level of success I am working toward.  All that experience, all those bumps along my path have taught me many lessons that inform who I am today.

Channeling my power and intention to allow my son’s special heart to support him has helped guide him along the path of the living.  The fact that he lives everyday with a diagnosis that’s most common ‘symptom’ is ‘sudden death’ makes all who know and love him live in the moment of today.  Today is beautiful as he is among us, sharing his magic, turning 26 in November.  Tomorrow, the future, it is all unknown.  I can hope that it leans in to harmony, equality among all people, kindness, and environmental respect.  Is that female?  Not really.  Just different than where the world has today with the predominance of backward thinking power-mongering male heads of state and all that that sort of leadership manifests.  I know that my future is full of financial freedom.  It is full of methodically organized well thought through creative empowerment, environmental stewardship, healthy food, and acknowledging that human power is wholly underestimated by most.  Let’s Rock This Beautiful Life We Share - today is the day.  The time is now.

 color samples for the cover of the 2019 Dolphin Studio Calendar

color samples for the cover of the 2019 Dolphin Studio Calendar

Thanks for following along.  Oh and be an organ donor.  The ‘cure’ for the super rare and formally undocumented diagnosis of my son is a heart/lung transplant.  He'll be 26 in November.




Step by Step

I returned home this week for the last Spring Break of my Undergraduate career.

I had a plan for this week - to work on the Pocket Object Project Documentary video, teach flameworking classes, and take some time to recover in preparation for the final stretch of this semester leading up to my Thesis Exhibition, and Graduation.

This hasn't gone exactly as planned...

Due to a series of obstacles, I haven't been able to work on the actual "work" parts of my plan - yet. These will begin today, Thursday - but up until this point, since I haven't been able to get that work done, I've had the pleasure of relaxing, and doing the things I otherwise want to do with my time right now.

I feel like the past few days have painted a beautiful image of how I would like to live my life - supporting my health, happiness, growth and connections.

Some of the ways this week has assisted in self-care...

Starting seeds for the upcoming season, cooking delicious food, spending time with family, enjoying the craziness and beauty of the snow, reestablishing a strengthening routine, pulling out the sewing machine to introduce more ways of going waste-free for the future, and sleeping, dancing, and laughing sufficiently <3

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So far in my life it has been a real challenge to balance my school/work schedule with all these wonderful components of my version of a happy healthy life. Thankfully, I am seeing improvement year by year, sometimes day by day, step by step. 

Two days ago, I was going through boxes of things I've saved over the years and found some "I AM" poems and " Me 5 years from now" idea sheets from fourth and fifth grade. They were amusing, and showed me how I viewed myself at the time, and what I thought the future might hold. I was so...well, different.

I've changed so much, and I am so happy with the changes that have come about.

As I continue into my post-graduate life, I am setting intentions to continue these positive trends for a more balanced life.

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I am finding the things that bring me the most joy, and thus allow me to put the most joy back into the world in a productive and fulfilling manner. I'm learning how to say no when that denial or restriction leads to a better future, and learning how to say yes even when it produces discomfort or fear in the short term.

I'm so excited for the next step of this journey - thanks for following!

With Love



Disgust = Better Me

I read this quote the other day that said, “If someone asked you to list everything you love, how long would it take you to name yourself?”

My God. Those were my exact thoughts after thinking about that question. I realized I would have never listed myself as something I loved. At first I brushed it off and I didn’t think it was a big deal. But then the other day I was sitting on the train going to work and I just happened to be really freaking tired that morning so I wasn’t on my phone, I didn’t have a book to read or music to play, and so I found myself actually watching people. What I saw astounded me. I always hear these really obnoxious stories of people having an epiphany regarding how socially unaware our society is. Until I actually looked up and realized that every single person on my train cart was looking at their phone. Every. Single. One. If I made eye contact with anyone, they were quick to look away and distract themselves with something else. 

That small incident felt like I had woken up for a second. We spend so much time traveling or working or planning or doing something that we become part of this societal bubble where we don’t even take the time to look at the people in front of us. We don’t even take the time to look at ourselves. I had to stop for a second and look at myself in the mirror the other day because I realized I never do that. If my reflection is staring back at me it’s always so I can fix something. My hair, my makeup, my skin. It’s never just to take myself in and ask myself how I’m doing; if I’m okay. I realized that bothered me.

We don’t take care of ourselves. I don’t take care of myself, and it’s begun to disgust me. We normalize this stigma of having “busy lives” or not having “time” for the gym. We are so busy creating lives that we forget to live in our own.  My laziness, my procrastination, my hesitation to better myself or eat better can no longer be hidden behind some everyday excuse such as “I’m tired”. I am always tired, I will always be tired. But I can no longer use that as an excuse as to why I neglect myself. I just can’t. I had to ask myself why it was so hard for me to make myself feel good when it was so easy for me to work hard and please everyone else in my life. 

I determined it was the lack of value I have for myself. The lack of value we have for ourselves. It needs to stop. So this week I have embarked on a 28 day challenge. A challenge where I force myself to not buy takeout, cook for myself, save my money, workout five times a week, pamper myself by staying on my hair routine weekly, skin routine weekly, and take some time to read a really delicious book. I am important, it is time I begin to treat myself the way I deserve and create a life worth living. That starts with being the best version of myself I can be. No one is going to do it for me. 

At the Core of it ALL

As a photojournalist, I find it easiest to visually communicate. The very idea of Self-Care brought up a lot of different thoughts & images to illustrate this very personal and essential journey. "Self-care and healing and attention to the body and the spiritual dimension—all of this is now a part of radical social justice struggles." (Angela & Fania Davis in an interview with YES! Magazine).  It's extraordinary that this be "radical" work - but, for us Women, it often is. By taking time for self-care we are healing ourselves, our families, our communities, and beyond.

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 Being truly present, truly mindful, truly unplugged, in this very moment is essential to any form of self-care.

Being truly present, truly mindful, truly unplugged, in this very moment is essential to any form of self-care.

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Connect with SOURCE! Time spent in Nature is always a guarantee to make the connection! It's about remembering - "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience." Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

 Water is always guaranteed to be healing. Whether it's the ocean, the river,&nbsp; the lake or the bath tube. Take time to enjoy your surroundings. Add some bubbles, some essential oils, some music &amp; daylight or candlelight.

Water is always guaranteed to be healing. Whether it's the ocean, the river,  the lake or the bath tube. Take time to enjoy your surroundings. Add some bubbles, some essential oils, some music & daylight or candlelight.

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Find J-O-Y in your soul, in the things you love. In the people you love. In the time you have to explore your soul's purpose!

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Reach out to someone who can assist you on your healing path. Make time for that massage, or for any form of healing session!

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Make some Music! Listen to some Music! Music always has magical healing properties, gratefully and the ability to transform.

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Surround yourself with beauty. Don't wait to receive that bouquet from someone else. It's most powerful when you give it to yourself. Floating flowers in water, is like creating an "offering" ...

 Cooking &amp; eating something wonderfully delicious &amp; nourishing is a wonderful form of self-care. Eating things that are grown locally and seasonally also puts us in harmony with the Planet. As it is soon to be Spring - I had to share this bowl of magnificent fiddle-heads!

Cooking & eating something wonderfully delicious & nourishing is a wonderful form of self-care. Eating things that are grown locally and seasonally also puts us in harmony with the Planet. As it is soon to be Spring - I had to share this bowl of magnificent fiddle-heads!

I am grateful for this opportunity to share some thoughts & images that reflect Self-Care.  I am renewing my personal commitment to be ever-mindful. I am also committed to inspire others. When what we know is essential - when self-care becomes "normal" for all people - especially Women - we will have  created the truly Radical and empowering Future that we seek!