PETAL P I C K H. E. R.

“Jim raised me up
He hurt me but it felt like true love.
Jim taught me that
Loving him was never enough.”

– LANA DEL REY, Ultraviolence

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I lay in a feathery cloud of down comforters picking petals off Gerbera flowers the color of pink lemonade. Their uplifting hue providing a refreshing sensation similar to the summer drink. The corners of my mouth being to curl into a slight smirk as I reminisce on the “he loves me, he loves me not” days. I playfully engage in this old behavior. A romantic air permeates the room. I look down at the flowers I had just destroyed, yet to me they still retained a figment of their original beauty.

I bought the flowers for no particular occasion other than the fact I felt I deserved them. Now the perfect gift lay in ruins. I look again at the beautiful mess I created and a connection between myself and those petal-less flowers began to brew.

I believe the way you treat yourself is a direct reflection of they way you wish to be treated by others. Just within realizing that concept I began to gain back a sense of control I had unknowingly misplaced. I realized I allowed the love for another to overpower my love for myself. As I became more aware with each passing moment, I reset the standard of personal respect for myself and I began to regain this sense of power back. Much like the action of picking petals from a pretty flower, I had been ruined by my desire for love from another. I had allowed my source of love to become dictated on someone elses terms instead of my own.

As Lana Del Rey’s new album, Ultraviolence, plays in the background, I re-visit the once harmless action of desiring one’s love by the petals of a flower. Retracing the pattern in my mind, I’m now conscious to the fact that my own love is far more important than the love I had once longed for, which proved to be self-destructive. This transformation from submissive masochism into self-appreciation is the key that will eventually open the door for someone truly deserving to share your love versus strip you of it.

“Yeah my boyfriend’s pretty cool
But he’s not as cool as me
Cause I’m a Brooklyn baby.”

-LANA DEL REY, Brooklyn Baby

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I look down at a single flower that had some how managed to weather the storm. I gently pick it up in my hands and begin picking its petals again. This time with each pluck, I think to myself, ” I admire my creativity.” Then another. “I admire my inner beauty.” I keep picking until I lay in a pile of petals filled with meaning. As I look at these symbols of admiration, I am finally left with a love that I can call my own.

// The perfect Summer Fling Love //

“The Canvas of My Soul”

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LA Canvas Presents: The Romance Issue x No Vacancy

My suede trench coat was softly draped over my freckled shoulders as we sashayed our way up Hollywood Boulevard. A wide brim hat concealed my red-fox fringed hair, which was leaning more on the unkept side. I guess I was going for that effortlessly cool aura tonight anyway.

If it weren’t for the noise of my heels as they met the concrete, I would almost say I felt incognito as we turned off the boulevard onto a side street that led to a back alleyway. My mind retraces the seconds prior when my shoe introduced its rubber sole to one of the shiny hollywood stars. I smile to myself at this ironic vision. How can we admire these famous legends enough to give them their own space on the boulevard just so we can walk all over them like they’re another brick in the wall? Such a contradiction.

We step to the back of the line behind a dark sultry building with a vintage neon sign which illuminated the namesake of this once hotel turned bar, No Vacancy. I felt like Carmen Sandiego, and Ben resembled an Asian James Bond in his silver sports jacket that caught the light, glistening in the almost-full moon that hung above us. To no surprise we catch the eye of one of the guys working the door not long after we arrive. That jacket was eye grabbing but if you asked Ben he would say it was all me who got us in, I guess we can agree to disagree. We slithered in past the crushed velvet rope. I always wondered if bouncers ever had a bad conscience at the end of the day? They must have been cut while waiting in line back in the elementary school days, waiting to buy fruit rollups and chocolate milk. The words, “No budging!” resonate so vividly.

Whatever. We were in.

We entered a dimly lit bedroom/study where a woman welcomed us as she sat properly upright on a bed. Books layered and filled every inch of the wall. As she spoke, I redirected my attention to the woman to my right and before my eyes, the bed began to pull back revealing a secret staircase. I felt as if I was about to walk into a new world or better yet, travel back in time. No password needed apparently, fly apparel sufficed. We had just walked into hipster paradise, Speakeasy style.

The atmosphere was somewhat an “east-coasty” Ivy-League exclusive college house party meets The Great Gatsby. I walked out to the back patio where lights were strung up above my head from the cobblestone building. Presented before me were large circular lanterns that framed an opulent staircase. Dancing down stair by stair in unison to the music, I had arrived.

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Observing smokers congregated by the outdoor fireplace, I felt someone remove my hat from my head. “Really?”, I thought to myself, “Not even five minutes into the party.” I quickly turned around with an embarrassed fake smile and before I could meet his face, a new hat was placed upon my head. “Nice hat,” says the shorter of two dudes with a smirk. They were dressed in leather jackets and had American Spirits in hand. We only spoke for about 3 minutes before parting ways, with our hats back on the heads of their rightful owners of course.

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A DJ was spinning live music from one of the many rooms where bubbly kids danced over oriental rugs, cocktails in hand. I wonder how many careless spills those carpets felt tonight. With so many interesting and young influential people in one place I couldn’t help but feel like I wanted to know everyone’s story.

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As the night progressed I realized many wanted to know my story just as much, if not more. A familiar face stared back at me from across the bar as I waited for my cocktail. Before I knew it I felt a tap on my shoulder. The familiar face turned out to be a stranger yet we both felt as though we had seen each other before. We shared a few laughs and a similar position of LA apartment hunting.

“I don’t think LA is ready for me,” I said slyly.

His response, “I don’t think so either.”

Although I can’t remember his name, the West Hollywood kid had one of the most genuine smiles.

It’s no secret I’m passionately curious. I think it stems from my innate ability to always be a chameleon and adapt to different environments. I dance my way through every adventure with clarity, a fresh state of mind, an unattached freedom, and a limitless open heart. A blank slate. The Canvas of my Soul.

These relationships built, the self-growth from a conversation with a stranger, the music that fills my ears, these are the components that colour my canvas. They create a portrait filled with meaning and beauty.

You see none of us really know what were doing in this whole “life” thing. We’re all just bull shitting our position and playing along, learning from one another’s triumphs and feats. I guess I’m fine with bullshitting my way through life. Plus, I was recently told bullshitting is the highest form of cognitive thought.

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