I don’t want to feel like a hoe. To some people I’m already a hoe. Depends how you look at it. But to me, it feels like I’m playing with people. I enjoy their company and their giving me money too. Their also people I can call in an emergency situation.
— Kim, Bartender
I’ve never wanted to make babies but I really like kids. I’d really like to get these older kids from the foster system, give them a chance. It’s so fucked up what we do with foster kids. I’m really lucky. No family is perfect. I came from good parents and I’m close to my siblings and my parents are still married. At holidays, all sides of the family come together. It’s a huge thing. I feel like everyone should get to have that.
— Kim, Sex Worker
Being manic is superfine. You have all this energy. I don’t get the depression part of bipolar too much. Bipolar is mostly fun for me. Little distinctive, little self-destructive but fun. Being manic is fun. It just destroys your life that’s all. You get a lot of energy, you can’t sleep. You tend to spend a lot of money.
— Kim, Free Spirit
My plan is kind of like no plan. I feel like I can only plan so much. So far in the year, I’ve lived in the van. I’ve based my travel around music festivals.
— Allegra, Artist
This is what I want to do. I feel like I can go anywhere anytime. I feel like I’m living my truest life right now and I’m just going to continue to develop myself. The more I develop myself, the more things I have to do to be true to that person. So right now I feel like I’m really in the early stage of like my personal growth. I’m 19. I’m going to be 20 next month, so I don’t know whats in store, but I’m just gonna keep going with it.
— Allegra, Uber Eats Driver
The best part of living in a van, I’d say, is the ability to just do whatever you want, at any time and really just being alone with yourself. When you’re alone in a new place and don’t know anyone, you have to figure out what it is you’re gonna do and do it. Because it’s just you and you looking back at yourself. So it’s like, who are you and what do you do when you’re not being influenced by anything or not being influenced by everything that has been influencing you your whole life.
— Allegra, Music Festival Staff
Painting involves self-improvement and it’s kind of meditative like if I’m panting from a picture, I can just focus on it. My mind kind of is restful when I’m doing it. Whereas, when I’m doing anything else, it’s not mentally stimulating enough for my mind to relax. But while I’m painting I can actually focus on the thing, because you have to be so focused and it’s something I really care about and I enjoy it. It comes naturally to me. My mom is a painter too. So it’s more meditative than it is about producing something.
— Emily, Model
I’m not afraid of spiders or heights, or anything like that. I’m not really afraid of death. Pain doesn’t sound like fun but I wouldn’t really say that I’m afraid of it. I think wasting my life is something you could say is a fear. Like, I don’t want to waste the energy I have. But that also comes from motivation and inspiration. It really doesn’t come from a place of fear. It comes from excitement.
— Emily, Artist
I think its two things, one figuring out what you want to do because that’s hard, especially with technology being the way it is. You’re exposed to so many things. So figuring out what you want and then also believing you can do it because a lot of people don’t realize that they’re the only thing stopping them from doing what they want to do. You know some people tell me ‘I wish I could paint like you’ but they never pick up a paintbrush. You can, you just have to try. It’s not going to be easy. You know I think that people have this mentality that something is just going to appear in their lives that’s going to make them happy, or that’s going to give them the talent they want. That’s not the way it works you have to create your own reality. You have to pick out what you want to do and then you have to go out and do it.
— Emily, Cook
The voices in my head feel like I’m at a debate. It’s like there is a hugely confident woman, that I have in me and sometimes I just get really into my shell and it tends to happen in long-term relationships with stupid men. I just get unsure of myself. I think a lot of women can relate to that, where you just lose yourself. That voice is kind of going away. I’m definitely a lot more like fuck it. I feel like everyone gets like that after a long-term relationship. When you reach a point where you’re like I don’t give a fuck. I don’t care. I’m done with my insecure young 20’s.
— Jackie, Accountant
I write about shit that happens since I have like PTSD. I like to get it out my chest, all the like shit that like traumatized me when I was a kid. Just write it out so it feels like you’re containing it. Writing is so fucking weird to me because it’s like I’ve been stuck doing accounting stuff, which served me well but like in my house no one could do art for a living. It pissed my family off.
— Jackie, Artist
I dedicated 6 months, no working just doing art and that was a little intense. I think that actually scared me away from it because it just felt like work. It was weird to have social media presence you know. Even though it was all positive. I had an Instagram account that was like up to 3,000 followers or something and it grew really fast. Even though it was positive, I deleted it because I was like this is crazy. When I’m doing art now, It feels like it’s not fun. It’s so personal when you’re working on art but when it becomes exposed to so many people to criticize or whatever, it’s just hard not to think about that while you’re doing art. So I kind of stopped drawing for a while and moved over to just writing.
— Jackie, Free Spirit
Sometimes being a yoga/meditation teacher and dancer is difficult. I’m still reconciling how to be like a sexual person and also be in that role. So I think there’s a part of me that’s like always rebelling against the idea of having to be a nun.
— Lauren, Dancer
I feel the least sexy when I’m dressed up, to go out for dinner or something. I feel sexier when I’m in like a sports bra and yoga pants or just natural. My stage name is Pheona. I’ll wear like Clavin Klein white boy shorts and socks. I like less makeup and no jewelry and keeping it very natural. In some ways, you’re more vulnerable. It’s easier to get on stage in a full-on costume with a lot of makeup and false lashes. Whereas, if you’re getting up there, there’s a sense of it’s you. I think its attractive to certain people.
— Lauren, Meditation Instructor
Learning about yoga and meditation. I don’t know what my life would be like if I hadn’t. It would be an entirely different life. If I had never been fortunate enough to learn about that. The biggest shift that I feel like I received from being exposed to yoga and meditation is learning how to be a better person or not to be so attached to how I feel things should be or how I think I should be. Everything is teaching me how to be if I’m willing to see it that way. So I feel like that one shift has made everything since a totally different experience.
— Lauren, Yoga Teacher
I think if you surround yourself with one person for too long, you don’t grow and if you’re not growing you’re dying. I think it’s important to have constant change. Change is a beautiful thing.
— Racheal, Artist
I was insecure. I needed the approval of my dad because, with every person in the world, I don’t care who they are, they needed approval from their mom or dad. They need that, I needed mine from my dad. I sometimes I slip into that ‘am I good enough?’ thinking. Like a puppy. When the truth is, who the fuck cares if I’m good enough for you. Am I good enough for me? Because, my best friend, at the end of the day, is the person looking at me in the mirror.
— Racheal, Stylist
People are lying all the time about stupid shit and I’ve realized that I have come to this place where I’ve been completely vulnerable and not lied. I get it, some of us lie sometimes about little shit which I try not to even lie about little shit anymore but you know here and there yea. I find people lying to me all the fucking time and I’m just not big on lying. It’s probably because I’ve been lied to so much. I try to be completely honest with people because I feel I carry so much of other peoples shit and it can weigh a lot.
— Racheal, Free Spirit
I dance contemporary modern. I do ballet and jazz as well. But my career goal is to be a modern dancer. It’s so much more dynamic and it’s more organic, natural and true. Dancing is always fun and joyful. I’m always happy when I’m dancing but when I think about my technique I feel like I suck at it. I demand too much I think.
— Sawako, Student
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Kendal practice training had a big impact, in a good way and in a bad way as well. I started to be too harsh on myself but sometimes I have to because when you’re pursuing your goal you just have to demand from yourself so much and you have to be able to handle that strength. I learned that. I had two teachers, the instructors. They took care of me like my family. They were like my mom and dad, but still teachers. They taught me what strength is. They were the most supportive two people when I was going through a hard time in high school.
— Sawako, Dancer
My parents are cool they don’t really give me any pressure. I appreciate that. I did have a conflict between myself and my dad when I decided to live here. That’s the only thing, otherwise, they’re like go for it.
— Sawako, Free Spirt
When I left Bueno Aries, I just knew there’s a part in my heart that knew that I needed to leave completely. I sold everything I had, literally. I had a house, some furniture, my bed, my shoes, my small souvenirs and all. So I had nothing. That gave me the push to keep going because I had nowhere to go back. But also that lack of grounding is not something that I want to go through again or I don’t need it again.
— Sol, Nanny
I use to lie to myself when I gained weight. It was very hard for me to accept the image in the mirror. For this period of time, I was in denial. Not in an unhealthy way, it was just like seeing it and saying oh my god what happened. That’s not me. So sometimes I went out and I would feel this way but I also knew that I didn’t look the way I thought I did. It was not a lie, it was more like a way of coping or dealing with it. That was always my biggest lie, to not really see what was in the mirror. So now it just so much easier because I’m not lying in that sense. I’m like ‘Hi, that’s me’ and period. That’s ok I know who am.
— Sol, Personal Assistant
There’s one thing that I started doing recently with that inner voice. That is writing, I write but not my words. I just write what comes from my hand. So no brain. Since I meditate I can do that. I’m not using my brain. I’m just writing freely not concentrating on whats coming out. Then I read what I write and those are not my words. That’s not me writing. There’s something about writing for me which is amazing. That’s been very good for me to say. Things like, ‘you know who you are, keep doing it, we are nowhere, time is art and breath is movement’ come on the paper, and then suddenly everything feels perfect.
— Sol, Musician