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leslie nikole
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22/F/MTL.

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"I'VE BEEN UNDERWATER FOR SEVEN YEARS", A ZINE BY LESLIE NIKOLE.
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leslie nikole’s i’ve been hiding underwater for seven years has finally reached the surface.

following a nervous breakdown, leslie nikole picked up the pieces of the last seven years of clinically diagnosed depression and arranged them in a twenty-eight page zine. compiled of poetry, photography, and prose, leslie nikole digs through her depths and explores love, intimacy, heartbreak, and depression; even when it stings like saltwater in a wound that hasn’t toughened up yet.


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HELLO 2017, HERE'S TO STICKING TO THINGS I PROMISED LAST YEAR!
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green tea + plants on the windowsill // making banana fritters, we don't use measuring cups bout hay


well, here's to keeping up with resolutions; happy new year everybody.

first and foremost, shoutouts to the amazing rebecca for throwing such a lovely new year's celebration at her new crib (they have this huge ledge with all the spices laid out alphabetically; i stood there smiling at the line-up so long i almost started to cry)! saturday, sunday, and into early morning monday was spent laughing, cooking, drinking, and cracking jokes with old and new friends. 2016 was a mess, but ending it in a celebration with a bunch of smiles and bringing in the first two days of 2017 with friends was...i can't even put it into words.

one of my new year's resolutions is to really get into a daily home practice (peep these articles from yoga international and yogajournal), especially since i don't have to run and get up to go to work in the morning. starting my day off calmly and more at ease in my body is the kind of peace i need. i've signed up for wanderlust's 21 day challenge (yes, it's free) which runs from january 9th, and i'm also super excited for this friday's intro class to kesha's six week yin yoga series. idle hands are the devil's play toy, so i guess it's better that i'm trying to deepen my practice instead of being petty,

right?



working on alignment, getting into bowed half moon pose/ardha chandrasana chapasana

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THE FIFTH / LAST POST OF 2016.
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Yes; I know. 

The last time I posted something it was literally twelve months ago. I don’t really know why I keep torturing myself like this. I’ve become one of those “boys who cried wolf” in regards to getting back to blogging. 

But to be honest, I don’t want to give up. 

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making vision boards (i like them on paper more than pintrest, those dollarstore scrapbooks are boom for this)
learn something new (you seriously have a choice of like 30+ things to choose from, you're welcome) 

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i think i have every single writing prompt book created by the san francisco writer’s grotto. i’m off work until march/april (yay for seasonal working, oh yeah, new job, i’m living my dream of being a dark humoured and witty, passport wielding, and office managing twenty-something; yikes.), so i figured what better way to spend my days hibernating with tea (these are caffeinated, in order of preference) and writing. you make a new (lol) habit in two weeks right?

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I do what I want with semi-colons. Fight me.

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I have a new Twitter to highlight my wholesome behaviour; I might have recently followed you (@asanamami). I’m really trying guys, seriously. Eat well, yoga, be nice, work on my yamas, same old same old. Hold on, can we talk about that for a second?

So basically whether you’re going in accordance with the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (five yamas) or the Upanishad (ten yamas, more “complete” aka harder for me to try to make loopholes), yamas are like the first step towards living in harmony with everything around you. I refuse to say that the yamas are like the ten commandments because the yamas in my opinion are more general guidance based and the commandments are…well they’re just that, direct commandments. 

If you’re interested in the yamas seen in the Upanishad, Eknath Easwaran has a great translation, much easier to understand. For Patanjali, I’ve heard really good things about Iyendar’s Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, but I’ve never read it. I have Edwin F. Bryant’s The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, but I wouldn’t suggest it unless you’re into deep analysis or doing self-study (it kinda reminds me of one of those academic bibles). 

In the toughest parts of 2016, what I started doing with my agenda was using one of those long post-it notes to write out all the yamas and then wrote out a little piece of commentary on the sutras (according to Patanjali) and used it sort of like a bookmark. My agenda is always open on my desk at work, so having it in a place where I was constantly looking at it and flipping back to it throughout the day really served as a great reminder. A few years ago when I was still at Dawson (SMFH) I had this amazing prof Sarah Allen who gave a class called Body, Mind, World: Western Encounters with the Yoga Tradition (aka the only class that was keeping me before I left for good), and I don’t really remember what it is she said, but in regards to living your yoga practice she said you have to remember that your yoga practice is supposed to continue on even when you’re not doing physical and entering asana practice (doing yoga poses). 

The yamas don’t disappear just cause you’re not on the mat. The same way you get on your mat to deal with life, the same way you need to take what you’ve learned on the mat and take it back into the world when you step off.

I have to email her. I wish I could get more instruction from her, sigh.

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I’m using a Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter (translation: red-threaded bag companion) agenda this year. Yes when I heard about this brand from Deutschland on the Pen Addict podcast two years ago, I made note of it. When I saw it at Papeterie Nota Bene (where I spend way too much time plotting how to pull the biggest stationary heist known to man) I squealed. Paper is important. Yes, I dusted off my old German dictionary to translate begleiter. 

The one I have sorta feels like the Moleskine weekly in medium. This A5 recycled paper (128pgs // light 70g in off-white, not for fountain pens tbh) agenda is lovely for 2017, and they have an academic option! I also noted that they have address books (I just got back from five weeks in Barbados, where my auntie Ann rationalized the use of address books because tbh, sometimes my phone dies and nobody memorizes phone numbers anymore), to do/shopping lists and even a midwife calendar! I’ve never seen anything like this, but I know there’s a surge of black women becoming doulas and interested in bringing life into the world, so this could be great for you if that’s where your interest lies. Basically the Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter is my childhood dream, you get one of the Taschenbegleiteren and it lets you put different books you want together into one sorta pocket folder thing. It’s genius. If I had more money, I’d give it to them. 

I’ve accepted my embarrassing admission of nerdom. Fight me.

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I’m going to really try hard to not spend any money. Being home until March/April, waiting for the ground to thaw so I can go back to work (hint: I work for an irrigation company, and with the ground frozen from December to March-ish…mad vacation time) means I’ll probably be on Amazon a lot and clicking numerous random links all leading me to things I want but can’t afford.

I’m limiting myself to 100$ a week, cash. NO CARDS.

Basically, on Sunday morning, I wake up with 100$ in cash in my wallet, and it’s gotta hold me until Saturday. Anything left over on Saturday night gets put in a savings account, be it 10¢ or 100$. If I really need to purchase something with a credit card, I gotta be able to cover it with whatever cash I have on hand and put said cash on my card ASAP. 

I’ve already got a pretty great budget (as much as I bounce around, the budget has pretty much stayed the same) so this definitely seems doable. I’m only getting older you know, kinda gotta get my spending and everything in order. There’s no more Oprah to cry to when you’re deep in the hole anymore.

I also need to stop buying so much food; I really act like I can’t cook you know. Luckily, the lovely chef extraordinaire Ahlexandria makes not only takes amazing pictures of the mouth-watering food she makes but she also hold you down with simple recipes and grocery lists (when she sends them straight to my DMs I feel special, can’t lie). Speaking of food, have you heard of Cooking in America? Basically Eater has this new series with the mother of 5food1 and Mrs. Guavababa herself (congrats again!) taking you through the delicious and different foods immigrants are blessing America with. I’m always really interested in new restaurants but I don’t trust Yelp because some people would find the water in my Brita spicy, but I trust Pelin. 



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So last night I was coming home on the train right, and after meeting up with my yoga mentor, Kesha (hey boo!) and talking about some upcoming projects I’m working on, I started thinking about blogging again. I think I’m taking it too seriously again. Tbh, I wrote this in my Notes on my iPod and I’ve just been adding little quips throughout the day. I used to “blog” like this, drafting things in my Blackberry notes before dragging the .txt file over to whatever host I was obsessed with at the time (once the Tumblr for Blackberry app dropped… #SOCLUTCH). Blogging should be this intense. I shouldn’t recoil at the thought of it. It’s not that serious. Just write. 


Peace.

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JANUARY 28TH
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CREATING HABITS + THE CREATIVITY PROCESS
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sometimes it feels like i've been writing the same thing over and over again for months on end. this one story, which started off as a short spurt of ideas, has now grown into a monster, including scary tangents and wordy overgrowth that makes audrey II look like an actual average house-plant. for a while i would sit down and hack at it, churning out pages and pages by hand on lunch breaks and subway rides. but for what? where am i really with this story? what do i have to say for these pages upon pages of well...filler? 

it's been disappointing to say the least. 2015 wasn't exactly a good year for writing.

i feel like i spend a lot of time writing fluff, all these lines that fit together quite nicely as i'm writing them, but seem extremely over the top when i look back at it the next day. i've gone through so many spurts with starting written projects, getting people excited (or worse, involved), and not following through. some say i shouldn't beat myself up. a few remind me about that book i wrote once, a book i wish people would stop asking me about. every time i put ink to paper, the pressure i write with is of one to return to a confidence i once had in my writing. i want everything i write to be moving, inspiring, clever, and well thought out; it feels impossible most days. i've tried nanowrimo, various writing groups through different facilities and genres, but writing still feels like a gift i promised to deliver so very long ago.

      

but with the intention of trying and getting from behind the cash registers at the bookstore and onto the floor, i've stumbled upon a few great aids, notably bonnie neaubauer's the write-brain notebook.

let me tell you something about bonnie neaubauer, i picked up a copy of her first publication of the write-brain workbook (which i forgot on the f train a few years ago) when i was still in high school and fell in love with it. low and behold, ten years after it's publication, neaubauer was able to republish a second edition in full colour real workbook style that is suitable for all ages with her prompts. this book is literally amazing, it's full of colour and overflowing with fun ideas that come alive on the page as if to jump start your imagination. realizing how dark my writing has gotten in the past few months, this edition of the write-brain workbook has definitely woken up some happier and wackier ideas that have been suppressed by the idea that i can't write anything. if you miss those worksheets your teachers gave you in language arts class, pick up a copy of the write-brain workbook and explore your imagination without being in black and white.

newfound classics also include the series of prompts from the san fransisco writer's group, found in the original 642 things to write about and its sister, 712 more things to write about. these are popular, especially given that they offer anywhere from a quarter to a whole page to complete prompt exercises. more something more muted, but equally thought provoking, go for one of these two. on days where i felt like i've done nothing all day, it's easy to uncap a pen and flip open to a random page to at least try doing something creative for the day. mind you, neither of these editions are for children, but there is a 642 things to write about: young writer's edition. also, if you're starting a journaling project and don't know where to start, the 642 things to write about me edition is also super useful. the prompts are just as crazy and borderline questionable as the non-reflective edition, but they also can get a little intense very quickly, for example, "write about a good-bye that you didn't know was a last good-bye" is one of the prompts that's followed by "write about the morning you least wanted to get out of bed". see? proceed with caution.


last but definitely not least, the 642 tiny things to write about edition is perfect for everyone. about the same size as a pocket sized moleskine, this tinier and commuter friendly version of the prompt book is divided up in the same format with just a bit of room to jot down little ideas while you're on the go. i like to keep it in my bag just in case i get stuck somewhere and finish whatever book i'm reading at the moment. personally i'd suggest keeping a small notebook with it, some of the prompts are easy to get into and then you run out of space.

so, now that i've blabbed to death, what are your little creativity boosts you're trying out this year?

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