Posts Tagged ‘erinina marie ness’

photo credit: headersfortwitter.com

photo credit: headersfortwitter.com

I have endless lists out there in cyber space and in the myriad journals that I’ve kept throughout the years.  There are to-do lists, wish lists, goal lists, and contrasting diagrams about what I want my life to look like and what it currently looks like spanning the last decade.  It’s all quite interesting really in a sort of self absorbed kind of way.  So, I’ll spare you sharing all of them.

But, I’ve been thinking that I’d like a solid place where I can keep a list of things that I stand for, as well as a place for the things that I am “holding space” for.  A place where I can see it, update it, change it, etc.  A more solid place than some random page in my journal that I can never find.

Well, luckily I have a blog.  Lol.  So this post is going to be far less inspirational, informative or instructive and instead super intimate.  As of today, this is a pretty good representation of what I believe in and personally stand for as well as what I’m seeking in my ideal life, as of July 18th, 2012 at 5:40:39pm.


I believe in the power of art to change the world.  I believe in telling stories and entertaining to bring joy, laughter, thought, and reflection to an audience.  I believe in making work with quality.  I believe in traveling and sharing things across beliefs, cultures and languages.  I believe in creating dialogues to solve world problems.  I believe in being a light in times of darkness.  I believe in laughing at myself, and our beautiful humanity.  I believe in falling down and getting back up.  I believe in telling it how I see it.  I believe in empowering people, especially children, our future, and those that have lost their sense of power and place in this world.  I have a passion that I believe has a purpose.  I believe that my talents and perspectives give me a voice to share things that matter with the world.

I am the possibility of light and love in all situations.

I am the possibility of the impossible becoming possible.

I am a story-teller.


I want to have the renown and financial success necessary to be able to live and create my art freely with the support, coaching, training, practicing, cultivating, brainstorming, and living that that requires.

I want friendships, romance, partnership, working relationships, love, and positive inspiration around me at all times that will support me and guide me when I feel less that brilliant, positive, or faithful myself.

I want to find that well of energy that fuels a life of creation and joy.

photo credit: fantom-xp.com

photo credit: fantom-xp.com


To be continued…


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Tis the season for self reflection, goal setting, and let’s admit it, jealousy and competition. Whether we are talking about sibling rivalry flaring up at holiday functions, competition for bonuses at work, wondering why we didn’t get invited to that holiday party, or are our own worst enemy in the goal-setting and self-reflection department; the green-eyed monster is as evergreen as that needle-shedding star holder we put up each year.

I like to think that my experiences in open relationships prepared me to foresee and handle my envy in a healthy and constructive manner.  But the truth is, I can suddenly find myself seething with the angry-hating-blaming-scathing-gossiping-fearful bullshit as much as anyone.  And being currently devoid of lovers, or even wanting to enter into monogamy (gasp) doesn’t give me a free pass.  Instead, as we approach the end of the year, I find my jealousies bubbling up around my art instead.  Do you want the bare-naked, ugly truth of what’s been happening in my head?  Ready or not, here it is:

Why is this or that person more successful than I am?  Why haven’t I won any awards lately? (Besides the fact that I haven’t entered any competitions??)

Why is it so much easier for that person to master that move that I’ve been struggling with for years? (Have you actually been focusing all of your energy on that move?)

Why is that person thinner than me, when I work out so much? (Because they are them, and they are you.  A little self acceptance please!)

Why is it so hard for me to commit to a weekly writing schedule?  Or finish the freaking book I’ve been working on for a decade? And why is that person who can’t even spell properly getting published? (Let’s look a little more honestly at your time commitments, shall we?)

Why was that person offered that job/gig that was half-promised to me, or that I feel like I suggested/inspired?  (Uh, did you even really want that job? Was it really promised to you? Did you really deserve it?)

If only I had regular access to a studio (and/or a car), I could polish and choreograph the ideas that I have more easily.  I’d have more time, more energy, be able to make more money.   IT’S NOT FAIR! (If it’s not working, you’ll need to figure out a new solution.  Time to start saving for a car…)

And even, yes, why is dating suddenly such a barren, non-existent thing in my life? What’s wrong with me? At least I used to just have trouble keeping a partner, now I can’t even get a date? (Do you even want to date?  Do you have time?)

Jealous Cat

For me, the end of the year is about looking back at what I’ve learned and forward to what needs to happen next.  This inevitably involves some self comparisons to people that have accomplished more, less, or specifically what I wish I had, in the past year.  I spent a glorious evening last week wallowing in my envy and self-pity.  It felt good like hot dogs and macaroni and cheese feel good.  Like a comforting, unhealthy indulgence.  And then the defeated, depressed hangover kicks in.  And luckily, my experiences confronting jealousy on the dating playing field, and a little kick in the ass from my best friend who got sick of listening to my whining, came in helpful after all.

The realizations that I came up with in delving into my artistic career path insecurities is remarkably identical to what I’ve encountered before in romantic situations.  Jealousy seems to come from 3 emotional sources: Fear, Envy, or Defeat.  Which, looking deeper, means it signals 1 or more of 3 things: That you care about something or someone deeply; that you aren’t on the right path to get, or are not being clear about whatever it is that you want; or that something about your current tactics/habits isn’t working.

For my artistic journey, identifying what of these factors is triggering each jealousy has cleared the way to better planning, scheduling, and goal setting overall.  First, that while I think that I want certain jobs/gigs, they may actually not be right for me, and even be a hinderance on my overall broader goals.  What I’m really wanting is the acceptance of my peers when being considered for a job.  For instance, right now I have exactly the right balance of teaching and creating that I need.  What I need is a little more time to work on my personal projects, without abandoning the work that I do with my troupe.  It would also seem that I want an artistic partner-the right artistic partner-someone who inspires me to work harder and who I can communicate well with, and who commits to meeting and working with me at an equal level.  Without examining what exact aspects of being passed over for certain jobs was making me jealous, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with clearer goals and needs moving forward.  Nor would I be able to realize that I don’t even want some of the jobs I’m jealous of, in order to focus on working harder to get the ones that I do want.

Next, I needed to realize that if I’ve been working on something for a long time and its not coming together, then something in my approach obviously needs to change.  Perhaps I need to be honest with myself about how much effort and commitment I’m actually putting towards what goals and re-prioritize.  Maybe I need to be a little gentler with myself in the realm of how much one person can realistically accomplish in what amount of time.  Or you know, I could ask some experts for help and guidance.  Probably all of the above wouldn’t hurt.  Without examining this area, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with a new game plan and I wouldn’t have the excitement and fresh inspiration of the new challenge that I’m taking on for 2014 (I know, you can barely wait to hear more, right?).  I’d still be defeated and self-pitying, eating mac and cheese with my cat.

Finally, I may need a certain amount of patience.  Like when I sit wondering why I haven’t been asked on a date for a whopping two months (seriously, that seems so long!), I have to admit that I didn’t want to be.  I hate the institution of dating.  I like meeting people naturally, being friends, hanging out, getting to know each other.  But, I’m working on my art right now, which involves more alone time, physical work and exhaustion, and self reflection than hanging out drinking and socializing.  And I’m loving the friendships that I’m building that are about training and creating more anyways.  So, “yes” Envy, thanks for coming over to visit and all, but you can take your leave now.  I need to get back to work.

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Just before I left my new home in Austin to return to NYC for two weeks, I received a Facebook invite from a friend there, Stav Equality Meishar. Since I get around ten invitations a day on facebook, much of it not even remotely near where I live, or could feasibly attend, this was no big thing. In fact, I most likely wouldn’t have even noticed it if it hadn’t included a personal message that this event had made her think of me, specifically. Intrigued, I opened the event page at exactly 12:01pm on April 7th, 2013 to find that it was in fact a notice to audition for what looked like a Cirque troupe here in Austin. An audition that in fact had started just one minute before I opened the invite on that very day.

Image Credit: ashleeholmes.buzznet.com

Image Credit: ashleeholmes.buzznet.com

“Too bad I missed it, looks kind of cool,” was my first thought. Then, “well, I don’t have plans today…but I also don’t have a way to get there, or anything prepared.” Again, “well it looked interesting, maybe in the future.” Then, I told a friend of a friend who was staying in our apartment about it as I fixed my coffee. And suddenly I had the offer of a ride, just like that.  Wait, what?  “No, I’m not going, it already started.  I don’t have anything prepared.”

And that’s when I realized that I was saying “no.” I didn’t need a perfected audition piece, I had dozens of sequences on my trapeze, stage presence, a love of improvising dances on my apparatus, and I could RSVP to the audition and see if they still had any spots open for me to come in. To which I received an almost immediate “yes” back. And suddenly I was committed. I was auditioning for a troupe. Which was fine, I could always try it and see if it was for me, I could always say “no” later, in other words.

Somewhere around the part where we improvised physical theater with each other, I had decided these might be my kind of people. Yes, I was that stubborn about it. It wasn’t until the day that the cast was to be announced and I was anxiously checking my email that I really owned that I wanted to be a part of this group. And it wasn’t until two weeks later, back in Austin and attending rehearsals, timidly trying to learn the awesome dance skills other people were bringing to the table that I started to understand my own resistance and why this opportunity was so special.

The Great Circus of Cats

See, I hadn’t truly been a part of a group, a whole heart committed, 3-4+ days a week of rehearsals kind of group in five years. I’d dipped my toe into being a part of a circus group in NYC just before I left, but I’d never been able to participate much more than showing up for performances with my own act. I was overbooked, and that felt like all they needed from me anyways. That left my own theater group, which I’d disbanded exhausted, wanting more experience and more time to create my own work, five years prior. On my way to NYC, I learned that I was a core member of the troupe Crash Alchemy back in Austin TX and that we’d be putting on a show in just 5 weeks, on May 18th.

Okay, I didn’t really know what that meant, but I knew I would be dancing and acting and creating and trapezing. I wanted to be a part of building this group, of creating something together. I’d fallen into a family of people who somehow magically wanted to make the kind of things that I wanted to make. And it had all almost happened by accident.  Or maybe by sheer force of the Universe reminding me to say “yes” and stop being so stubborn all the time. It was okay to commit to this. I was more creative, making more art in my life, not less. And the people in the group were there for each other, talented and into the vision of working in multiple disciplines. I think somehow I’d believed that I couldn’t find another group I’d love as much as my hand selected theater group years before. And I’d believed that committing to a group again would stunt my own work again. At the same time, I kept craving and wondering why I couldn’t find community in NYC.  Well, no wonder when I’m this gun shy about commitment, huh.  Head. Trapeze Bar.

May 18th has come and gone with spectacle and love and just more and more amazing talent, community and group love and support.   I am learning what it means to be a part of the right creative family for me, ups and downs, exhaustion and success.  And I wholeheartedly love it and am honored to be a part of it.

Image Credit: Ed Lehmann

Image Credit: Ed Lehmann


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Well, there’s no getting around it, I’m behind on posting. The only excuse I can offer is that saying “yes” makes you pretty darn busy. Plus it’s South by South West here in Austin. If you don’t know what that is, let’s put it this way, when the live music capital of the world decides to throw a music festival, people show up. Innovators, film makers, corporations, and musicians known and unknown, but pretty universally bad ass, fill the streets downtown with music.

For my part, I’ve decided to say “yes” to whoring myself out for corporate promotion. Despite the very nice paychecks involved in promotional work this month, I should confess my disappointment at taking this work.  I need the money after a move across the country, very much so.  But I was convinced that I’d land a performance gig for SXSW.  Since I didn’t, despite some valiant guerilla approaches to event spaces and a couple of musicians themselves, I took my actual income producing opportunities with a sigh and an open-minded “yes.”

And, in just a few short weeks, I’ll have modeled for Treaty Oak Photography (and a Burning Man costume maker), represented the city of Austin, the movie Spring Breakers, Ray Ban, and Reese’s at the MTV Woodie Awards. And I’ll walk away with $1000+, a motorcycle license, more reusable bags than I’ll ever need, a bellyache from too much chocolate, more new portfolio photos, having seen Tegan and Sara live, and hopefully this sweet pair of Ray Ban Wayfarers.  Oh, and I guess I’m in a commercial this Sunday at 8pm during the MTV Woodie Awards.

Spring Breakers Promo

Spring Breakers Austin Premier


Spring Breakers Austin Premier, South by South West in Pussy Riot-esque Unicorn Ski Mask


Ray Ban’s Envision Campaign, South by South West, with Square205


Ray-Ban’s Envision Campaign


http://www.SockItToMe.com, Best Socks Ever!

www.thebos.co, Reese's and MTV Woodie Awards, loved Tegan and Sara!

http://www.thebos.co, Reese’s and MTV Woodie Awards, loved Tegan and Sara!

More importantly, brand ambassadorship and promotional modeling are becoming the perfect freelance work for a busy performer and writer, with very few bars or nightclubs involved!  It’s mostly laid back and fun (with a noticeable correlation between high pay/respect/fun and low pay/disrespect/shit gig), and it turns out: a pretty sweet way to learn about marketing myself as well.

Catch me on the streets of Austin today and tomorrow (in costume), representing the Fire Trapeze and yours truly!  Follow me on Twitter and tweet @Erinina or #FireTrapeze today or tomorrow and I’ll be giving one lucky tweeter a copy of my Fire and Circus arts and writings book for free!  Afterall, if I’m not willing to give as much energy to self promotion as I do for a 1-3 day gig for some already rich corporation, then who should?

So what else have I been saying “yes” to? Well, it seems only appropriate during the live music festival of the year, to mention that I’m saying “yes” to music in my life.  I started a morning singing ritual back in the Happiness Project, making up silly songs for Evie, mostly. And that habit seems to have blossomed into full on singing at any and all times of the day. So, probably that means I’m saying “yes” to looking like an idiot most of the time too. C’est la vie. <=^.^=>

I’m also learning to play the violin/fiddle, thanks to a handsome music man here in Austin.  The violin (which I’ve always loved) and a handsome musician is pretty good motivation to do well in my world.  ;)  So far I can play an A scale and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.  Look out Julliard, here I come.  Soon I’ll also have my clarinet back from storage, and I’d better start practicing because friends are asking me to play.  We’ll see how fast I can overcome 15 years off of regular practice.

I guess the point is, that I didn’t realize how much New York had dampened my love for music until I arrived here. You couldn’t beg me to go to see live music in NYC. Seriously, I’m pretty sure my girl Liz literally begged me on a number of occasions. The prospect filled me with shuddering visions of dark, cramped loft spaces with too many drunk kids with attitudes puking in the bathroom and spilling their beer on you while they attempted to grind on your ass if you dared to actually dance.  Jump to Texas, where they actually ask you to dance (and it’s the two-step, or even better, the two-step with a dubstep/hip hop beat), and everyone dances and laughs and it’s beautiful outside.  This part I like about Texas.  It’s hard not to imagine music coming back into my life here.

Classical Music Mugs at www.cafepress.com

Classical Music Mugs at http://www.cafepress.com

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Well, we’ve said goodbye to 20-12 and all of it’s magical, earth-shattering, mind-bending forces of change.  And here in Erinina Land, we’re welcoming 2013 with a big bang of our own. We spent the last days of the year packing a moving truck, performing a last mega New Year’s Eve in NYC with no other than Moby (yeah, that Moby), and then in the wee days of 2013, we began a week-long road trip to Austin, TX.  [In fact, I wrote this post originally as planned on January 2nd.  Apparently, we are having technical difficulties…because here I am editing it in draft form on January 11th.  Well, I’m saying “yes” to pushing ahead through mistakes too.  Convenient, eh?]  I am heading west in hopes of a better life, as our forefathers also did.  After all, “there are no Taxes in Texas, and the streets are paved in gold” or something like that*.

So, as I have obsessively been mentioning on multiple social media platforms (like I know what I’m doing), this year also marks my year-long commitment to  saying “yes” to what the world offers to me, and to what my deepest version of my truest self desires.  So what does that hippie sounding, new age weirdness mean exactly? Well, let’s lay out the parameters, shall we?

For a girl who spent quite a few years in NYC learning how to stand up for herself and say “no,” as well as quite a few years before that (all her life), honing her own stubborn Viking traits; it seems time to take that knowledge and you know, try something a little different.  I could become a grumpy old stick in the mud, who knows what she likes, gosh darnit.  Or, it could be time to try on things that I might automatically reject because I think I know better, or because some deep subconscious mind is scared, or even just to listen more deeply, not just to myself (but god forbid), other people, who might have great lessons to impart.  Like, maybe I could listen to someone who could teach me to stop writing super long, run-on sentences, like that last one.  Just Maybe.  Or actually, “yes, I will.”

I fear that over time, I’ve reverted to the two-year-old, protesting just to assert my own control and power.  But, what opportunities am I missing in my stubborn, drag my heels, “don’t tell me what to do, I know what’s best for me, and what I like, and where I’m going” mentality? Do I really always know whats best for me?  Likely not.  Unless, we’re talking about the part of me that requires deep peace and quiet, or disciplined meditation in order to be heard above all the stubborn Ego Erinina-isms.

Alright, alright.  So, that’s the basic why.  And my previous post discusses the serendipitous steps that brought me to this epiphany of saying “yes.”  Now, let’s set some parameters.  How do I say “yes,” and when?  Because, well, sorry to say, creepers…but the year of saying yes does not mean you can hit on me and I’ll just say “yes, whatever you want.”  Nope, nope, nope.  That’s not how it works.  Here’s how it works:

1. When the Universe (or you know, just a person in it) presents an opportunity that will not jeopardize my health, sanity, or predetermined goals for the year; I will say “yes.”

2. When my deepest, truest self sings to me to follow, or ties my stomach in knots with warning; I will say “yes, I am listening,” and take the necessary steps to stay on the path that is right and safe for me.  I will also not use fear as an excuse, since I have spent enough time listening to myself to know the difference between a fear that means, “yes, go forward” and a knot in my stomach that says “don’t let this psycho kill you.”

3. When I must say “no” to someone, I will say so in a way that validates them and their invitation, by saying “Yes, but that is not for me” or “Yes, but I cannot do that right now.”  Unless they are total creepers.  Then, I get to say “yes” to totally telling them that they’re a creeper.  Because my deepest, truest self can be a little sassafras.

4. I say “yes” to failure and learning.  I am already failing and saying “no” out of habit and doing the kicking and screaming against change that is in my nature.  I expect pitfalls.  I say “yes, bring them on.”  At least this blog will be more interesting for y’all.  I mean, trust me, next week’s post is already full of me ‘effing this whole thing up.  Read on, my trusty followers.  This is likely to be one interesting tug of war between my ego and my super ego and, well, you know, just the everyday shit of life.  Sorry mom, but I’m also saying “yes” to swearing.  I swear.  Like a sailor.  Someday, I want to be a sailor.  Makes sense, I guess.

Alright, alright.  I think that is enough for now.  Parameters set.  We can always add amendments later.  After all, if the founding fathers can’t get the constitution right on the first try, cut me some slack.  I’m just a blog writer people.


*You’re supposed to sing this quote to the song, “There Are No Cats in America” from An American Tail.  Also, from what I can tell so far…there are just as many taxes in Texas as there were cats in America.  Go Figure.

Stubborn Kitten

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Have you been wondering where I’ve been?  Well, it seems that my journey to Happiness has been sweeping me away.  This is great, except for the part dear friends where I forget to tell you all about it here.  My apologies.

2012 has indeed been a year of change and life shifting.  My Fire Trapeze launched, I took it all the way to Mexico by myself, my understanding of my personal relationships has deepened, my understanding of some of my own demons and how to vanquish them has grown tremendously, some of my writing was published, the year of organization is coming to a close, a decision was made to finally move out of NYC and now 2013 will be an amazing year of new discoveries in Austin, TX for me, my best friend and my fat cat, Evie.

2013 is a whole new life for me.  Besides the amazing new launch that’s coming to my YouTube Channel, there will also be a whole new theme for this blog.  Because change is good people.  And there’s sure to still be tons of happiness and travel related stuff along the way.

Buy This Art Here: www.leadgraffiti.com

Buy This Art Here: www.leadgraffiti.com

See, it all started at Burning Man this year.  The rag tag bunch of misfits I ended up with and the Playa itself had a very important meeting and decided that this would be the year of saying “Yes.”  So, our burn became all about saying yes to anything and everything that came our way, and some pretty magical experiences and people did come our way.  No, I’m not talking about LSD.  That’s still a big “NO” in Erinina Land.  For me, the message was strong that this “yes thing” was something that I needed to try on for a little bit longer.  What would happen if I said “Yes” for 1 year?

Well, as happens when you make a decision and act, Burning Man and the last few months have been a perfect educational trial period for me.  A trial period that came with instructions just for such an endeavor.  For instance, what kind of opportunities am I saying “yes” to?  And how can I say “no,” while still saying “yes?”  And how will I know when to say that “no/yes” versus when to say a “yes/yes?”  What happens when it seems like saying “yes” seems like a logically stupid idea, but my gut says to say “yes” anyways?  Have I said “yes” to too many quotation marks in this sentence?  “Yes.”

Never fear, the answers will come.  It all starts Jan 2nd.  “The Year of Saying Yes,” a documentation that will appropriately begin on the road to Austin TX, when I say “yes” to drugging my cat for the 8 day road trip.  That’s right, get your party on and take your time recovering on New Year’s Day.  Sunday afternoon, tune in for the first official installment of the story of “Yes.”

Don’t worry, there will still be Kittens.

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Black Rock Spatial Delivery is doing a cool project for Burning Man this year, where veteran burners can write love letters to a newbie.  I really enjoyed sharing my advice and getting all homesick for the desert.  So I’ve decided to share it with you.  For all the virgins out there, I hope its helpful.  For all the non-burners, I hope you can find some default life application there too.  ;)

Dear Virgin,

You are about to enter a wonderfully powerful place.  Even if you’re not one to believe in things like the energy of a space, there is something quite amazing that happens when 60,000 people come together with intention.  This space can be heaven or hell.  It can bring things to the surface of your consciousness that you didn’t know were even there.  This can feel like gifts and it can feel uncomfortable or even intolerable.  Try to take it in stride and choose to view things as the former.

Be sure to check out the big sound camps and dance, dance, dance!  Get a body wash at Poly Paradise at least once.  Take a skim through the Who What Where/When early on so you don’t end up missing that one thing you really wanted to check out.  Talk to someone you probably wouldn’t in your daily life.  Be careful what you wish for out there on the playa (because you’ll probably get it).  Drink more water than you ever have in your life.  If it all gets too much, head to Buddha Dome or the Temple for some quiet.  Give back with your time, your smile, and the gift of sharing yourself with someone rather than worrying over tangible gifts.  Have a center camp coffee.  I don’t know what it is, but a latte in the middle of the desert is always the best coffee I’ll ever have.  Try to be open.  Try not to judge anything you’re going through or observing too critically, including yourself.

Remember that Burning Man is not a world of anything goes, though it may seem like it sometimes.  It is a community of intentions (read the 10 principles) and with those intentions, there are “don’ts.”  These are mine.  Don’t impose yourself sexually on someone just because they are naked, pretty, drunk, seem into it, etc.  Ask first.  This includes ‘grinding’ on people who are just trying to dance and have fun.  Don’t approach the week like one big party.  It totally is, and it totally is not.  Take a little time for non party like stuff too.  Don’t sleep in everyday.  Black Rock mornings are just as beautiful as Black Rock nights.  Don’t rely on everyone else to take care of you.  They probably will when you need them, but there is great joy in self reliance.  Don’t feel you must do anything specific to fit in.  Dress up if you’d like, or don’t.  Go naked if you desire, or don’t.  This is your experience.  Just don’t forget to share it with the magical city of others.  Speaking of others, respect their experiences as well.  Don’t pee on the playa, don’t bring things that will leave your moop (matter out of place) on the desert for teams of people to have to clean up later.  Don’t desecrate the port-a-potties.  And finally, don’t worry too much if you miss things.  You can’t do it all.  Go with the flow.  And leave some experiences to have when you return in the future.

My virgin burn was magical, and I hope that yours is as well.  I wish I could do it again.  I am hoping to be out there this year, but am still in the planning stages as I write this letter.  If I am out there, I will be the girl who is dancing on her trapeze of fire.  So, probably not too hard to find.    Though if everything lines up for me to get out there, I will probably be camping solo this year, so a meet up may have to happen by chance.

Whether I ever meet you or not, dear virgin burner pen pal, I wish you the best week of your life.  I send this with much love and peace and joyful energy.  I hope that you have the exact experience that you need to have.  And hope is really the wrong word there, because I already know that you will.

Love and Peace,

Erinina Marie Ness


This cat is so ready for the burn.  But, don’t actually bring your cat to the desert please.  ;)

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