Whitewater Therapy

(in a letter to my pen pal...)

...that reminds me of being out in the water on my board. I lay down on it; flat as I can; head turned sideways, resting on the cold, hard, wet surface. My eyes are parallel with the horizon; which seems to go on farther than I could ever truly imagine. It is in that moment ...I feel small. It's a feeling I so desperately crave; more than I can satisfy.

I know a lot of people who can't see past the deceiving size of their own world. Life is only as big as they are, and the resistance for change is unspeakable. But what about people like me? To be bold, I must say life really isn't bigger than who I am. Please understand I so desperately wish it could be. I can see past myself, but seeing doesn't feel like enough. So, what does that mean? I'm not sure if it's hard to explain, or if ego is corrupting my own sense of understanding; but I think it means I know LIFE, as a whole, is bigger than who I am, but MY life isn't. In other words, I wish I was doing something with MY life that IS bigger than who I am and what I need right "now."

I have dreams, hopes, wishes, and beliefs about what I'm out to cause in the world, but sometimes I feel so wrapped up in "Alex." It's not to say a person should immediately feel selfish when they spend most of their daily routine just trying to take care of personal survive; but the truth is the little things begin to deceivingly grow bigger and bigger. It's no surprise I end up feeling like the axle for a revolving globe called Planet Me.

So the answer is easy, right? Risk? Leaps of faith? Manifestation? Yes, yes, and yes. ha! I know, I know... here I stand again at a crossroad, and the highway of fearlessness is calling my name. But until I punch that gear into first and take off on that road-trip to freedom, how do I occasionally escape from feeling so "big"/"universal"? Well, let's just call it Whitewater Therapy:

I rest my head on my board; the current rocking me gently, easing my breath. Hypnotically gazing into the horizon as the crashing whitewater mutes the chaos of the world behind me, I feel the majesty of the ocean overcome my thoughts. My soul wakes up and I whisper to myself... "I. am. small."


pratice what you preach


This piece of writing was originally written for a friend who screamed for help at the bottom of a well. She knew she didn't belong there, yet she couldn't find a way out. With my friendship comes one sturdy promise...
no added sugar. That's right, I refuse to sugar coat reality, and I will not regurgitate Sesame Street sentiment. Always empathetic with open arms, I'll listen, observe, understand, and grab you a Kleenex ...and when you're ready I'll give it to you straight. So, I did.

Thanking me for an honest kick in the butt, she climbed out of the well and got back to living. Now, a few months later, I find myself searching for those dangerously candid words as
I swiftly approach the edge of that well. I, like most people, am on a boundless journey to practice what I preach. I understand actions speak louder than words, but whose track record isn't burned with eraser marks? Sometimes words are exactly what you need to jump back into action, and sometimes those words are the very ones you so confidently gifted a friend...

Listen to me carefully: You. Can. Only. Do. The. Best. You. Can. Do.

It's important to remember this in order to give yourself a break from self-criticism, but it's also important to remember this in order to step back and ask yourself: are you? Are you doing the best you can? It's your only true responsibility. That's it. Nothing more.

"Giving-up" isn't, if you've truly given your best and you have nothing left to give; but giving-up simply because you don't want to give your best, is weak. We make excuses like, "it's too hard! It's their fault! I just can't do it!" Every time we excuse ourselves from participating in life, we need to truly ask why. It's tough and requires sifting through a jungle of lies before discovering the core lack of motivation. Of course, stubborness always demands a voice too, so when we uncover the truth, we hardheadedly shout it out: "Fine, I just DON'T want to!" ...but when we hear that, we must laugh. It's funny because it's silly. It's silly because it's an excuse with such little depth. Laugh because this excuse belongs in a bib, sucking thumb, in a playground sandbox.

We treat desire like it's an evil green goblin, separate from the self. It's easy to blame desire (or lack thereof) for things like skipping class, playing hooky, ignoring a bill, or avoiding a long-overdue apology. The pay off is that we have an excuse. Sadly, the cost is missing out on life. What if we all realize we are stronger than our desires? Our desires don't control us. We control our desires.

You have only one responsibility right now and for the rest of your life: do the best you can. This, at the very least, means getting out of bed, keeping your commitments, being honest, and having a little integrity... even if you "don't want to." Stop pretending you're getting the most out of life, when you aren't even giving your best in life! There's no better time than NOW to step-up and start fresh. Don't ever wait for a "good time" to get your shit together. The "good time" is NOW ...and NOW ...and NOW! Every moment is a chance to begin again, new, and better.

...Don't wander the halls of mediocrity. You don't belong there!

"Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity.
We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand
...and melting like a snowflake."
-Francis Bacon Sr.


"the school that changes lives"

By surprise, this piece was later published on page 10 of SBMS's first newsletter
of the 2009/2010 academic school year. A complete surprise that felt like an honor:

“A great leader's courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.”

Upon hearing news of tremendous change taking place in the school I hold so dear to my heart, I found varying emotions rocking my soul. Shock, dismay, surprise, understanding, and overwhelming delight came over me. Twice, I asked my source of information to rewind, repeat, and take it into slow-motion. Finally, swallowing it all down with a big gulp of oxygen, I found acceptance for all the news, knowing even the heartbreaks are just part of the forward pedaling motion Santa Barbara Middle School is celebrated for.

First, I must admit how often my thoughts trace back to my days on the bike; undoubtedly more than the average mind wandering back to pubescent junior high. If I’m not day dreaming about the friendships gained, and lessons learned, then I often find myself acting as storyteller, riding an outsider up Figueroa Mountain on my handlebars, or painting a front row picture of a breathtaking Death Valley sunrise. In the days following this pivotal news however, I found myself with different thoughts.

Although the changes taking place are riveting and diverse, my mind’s focus couldn’t escape the most surprising of all the news. Brian McWilliams, the man who clicked me into live-web interaction with students in Tibet, who taught me how to make my very own movie, my 9th grade Novus teacher, my friend… has been chosen to step into a role of great proportions. Leadership, yes. Decision making, yes. But as any person whose heart is blue, yellow, and shaped as a diamond knows, Brian is approaching a seat still warm from the chain of legends who have occupied it. We all know the names and stories of the headmasters who have moved, touched, and inspired so many of us; and Brian does too.

I believe most of us were surprised at the news, but never doubtful. Why the shock? Because the Brian I know would never campaign for the role. As a matter of fact, he never appeared on my imagined headmaster line-up. While his capability was never questioned, he was off my headmaster-radar because of who I believe he is in the SBMS community. Brian’s success as a teacher, while academically effective, truly thrives in his effortless friendship with the students. He belongs in the Novus classroom, he belongs at the beach for Friday electives, Brian belongs next to the students, not in front or behind them. Because Brian loves what he does, I never entertained idea of his place in our community changing. And (sigh of relief)… it’s not. After speaking with Brian about the news, I sincerely understand that while this might be a change in our school’s structure, it is ultimately just a supplement to his life at Santa Barbara Middle School.

Occasionally sharing a beachside laugh with him and his wife, my friendship with Brian has only grown since my days in his classroom. Philosophy, ocean swells, and of course always keeping up on life, I have never felt a disconnect in our honesty with each other. Before we spoke, I feared a silence in my voice, as his title is now composed of authority (and as many know, I don’t do well with authority). Contrary to my fear, Brian is still Brian: brilliantly easy to talk to. I expressed my joy and excitement, as well as my concern for the challenges that will surface. He added to my feelings of delight, and agreed that tasks will emerge that may look as daunting as Yukkity Yuk Yuk, Mighty Might, or even Gibraltar Road. As a former student who cried at the bottom of those steep, outrageous looking trails, I know that conquering a mountain is possible one pedal at a time …and he is just the man to take the snout, leading us to the top.

Ingenious, insightful, and truly open to opinion, Brian is more than just our next headmaster, he is our community's new voice; wholeheartedly representing faculty, parents, and students of the past, present, and future. When I think of "the school that changes lives," I recognize SBMS as successfully continuing to evolve, while never losing sight of where it came from. As I have always been, I am supremely confident in Brian's dedication to OUR school, the tradition we honor, and the growth we welcome. As an eternal devotee, and formal alumna, I'm supremely proud of the choice that has been made in naming Brian McWilliams as the Interim Head of School for OUR Santa Barbara Middle School.

Alexandra Frost


swift inspiration


Close your eyes and imagine the PERFECT day.
Now open them and ask yourself why you didn't picture today.

Voltaire once said, "wherever my travels may lead, paradise is where I am."

Thursday tandem.

Such a team-player happiness is...
allowing other emotions to shine when they're screaming for attention. Maybe we all just need to be better coaches, and stop playing favorites. The more we remember we're happy, the less we forget.

I remember a time, not long ago, my heart took a blow and I sobbed like a child. All energy was lost, eyes like puffed-pastries, and the stains that ran down my cheeks carved into my skin like Morton's fine sea salt. The t-shirt of my friend, wet from the tears vented on her shoulder, was stained by the mascara from my bare, wet lashes. As she held me, I felt the exhaust of my 2hour sobfest come to a space where oxygen no longer battled to enter my lungs. I felt my breath soothe and calm my nerves as lethargy overwhelmed me into a euphoric daze. She said something, mundane really, maybe just a word, and I couldn't help but laugh. Delirious, and not quite comfortable, it felt more like a smirk outloud. Rare? I think not. At the end of an excruciating emotional release, there always seems to be a laugh. Maybe that's just happiness poking us, reminding us it remains patient and present.

As I race the trails of my memory, running out of fingers and toes to count these emotional breakdowns, I'm reminded of instances where I tried so hard to hold back any trace of laughter or smile, for days on end if I could; all because I was afraid of negating the "seriousness" of my cry. It seemed back then I didn't believe crying and smiling could coexist, and I wasn't ready to stop being miserable. ...but that's just it. I get it now: I may cry when I lose people or things, I may scream and yell when I'm angry, and I may want to sleep all day and be alone when I'm low, but does that mean I'm not happy? Absolutely not.

All emotions & feelings exist as their OWN entity. Happiness is not the absence of sadness, anger, upset, fear, gloom, sorrow, etc. ...and more importantly... Sadness is not the absence of happiness, joy, delight, pleasure, bliss, etc. We either have an emotion or we don't. It either exists or it doesn't. We don't have to choose just one. As humans we are capable of feeling -- infinitely.

When a tear runs down my cheek, it doesn't mean the smile in my heart has vanished; it's just merely turned upside down. I lost a lover, I misplaced a friend, my money is gone, the heart is broken, I wake to nightmares and fall asleep without dreams... whatever the challenge may be... it all simply supplements what I've chosen to create & ever-last in my life: happiness. How does upset supplement what seems to be its exact opposite, happiness? Things may be opposite, but it's false to believe something can only exist in the absence of the other. This is why the yin and the yang coexist in a never ending circle, creating a constant, complimentary whole. "Yin-yang describe opposing qualities in phenomena. They are bound together as parts of a mutual whole." I am Alex because I smile often and cry easy.

We cry, we get hurt, and as quick as it came, we exile our happiness to a land of disbelief. People lose sight of what truly causes their tears because they become aware of losing their smile... so they cry harder!! Sadness doubles because we believe our happiness is gone, taken away from us! ...and it is... if we believe it is. Believing happiness can't coexist in a body of diverse emotions, squeezed tight like anchovies in a can, has predictable outcomes. If you believe it, it will come true. I am eternally convinced by the power of manifestation. So, create your happiness, and ride your rollercoaster. Manifest emotional coexistence. Be happy, and have sad moments. Be happy, and get angry. Be happy, and choose solitude. And always, always, let yourself cry into a smile.


Inhale… observe. Exhale… appreciate.

So much reflection, so little time, so few words in the dictionary to explain.

The world works in mysterious ways… at least that’s what we say to excuse the encounters which confuse us, or the connections which surprisingly stimulate our minds and hearts. As 4/20 brought an end to this extraordinary weekend, I found myself high as a kite from an unexpected source. No, this high does not flow from an herbal-refreshment. It is much deeper than that, much more significant in its ability to thrive for days, weeks, and hopefully years to come. It is alliance, relationship, and the affection we find for true, deep human connection. It is those people whom you forget you miss, those people whom you never thought you’d relish, and those people whom fulfill your deeply-secret expectations. It was a weekend of love, happiness, and most importantly, a weekend of pivotal proportions, as I found a new level of emotional-acceptance.

When we look to the people who love and adore our existence, we desire explanation and detailed confession of their appreciation for our character. Why do you like me? Why are we friends? Why do you love me? What do you like about me? Do you like this? Appreciate that? Tell me, tell me, tell me. To keep things honest, I would feel compelled to reach for my thesaurus in an effort to explain my love for each person whom kept me floating high on cloud 9 the past few days. I owe you more respect than sweet-sounding vocabulary, and wine-bottle definitions, so I won’t try to define that love. Instead, I’ll stick to what I know…

My butterfly wings grew vibrant in color during this exceptionally social weekend. I feel more spirited, more defined, and more self-accepting than I have in the past few months. And while I am at a loss for words in defining my affection for those people whose paint added to the rainbow which I now wear, I assure you, my smile remains constant and contagious. I cannot please you with words to fit a compliment, or definitions to add to your character-building. No, I am only left with the ability to articulate how you made me FEEL, how you’ve surfaced something in me, how you’ve revealed a greater part of MY character; one that may have been hidden, lost, or never-before exposed. As my fingers dance on the keyboard, dedicated to perfect expression of this feeling you’ve caused, I face humanity’s tragic epidemic of ‘understanding’. It’s a steep slope, feeling something inside ourselves, because we often dismiss the survival of an emotion, and instead, we drown its beauty on a journey to understand WHY it was born. But, I swallow this battle of understanding, and I sit back, inhale, and exhale with a sigh of apology; for I do not understand its existence, I only recognize its presence. Complicatedly simple, right? ;-)

We all strive to know our independent importance and uniqueness, and we rely on others to fulfill this prophecy for us. However, isn’t it more important to know we simply make others FEEL --better, happier, lovelier, more peaceful, simple, grateful, etc. etc.-- for no other reason than just “because”? ….and that’s all I have. All I have is a way to express how you made me FEEL, and how you stimulated my emotional existence. I don’t know what it is that I like about you, I don’t know what it is that makes me remember how much I’ve missed you, I don’t know what it is that brings a smile to my face when I remember this mid-April weekend, but I DO know that it simply exists. Is that enough? Is it enough to know love, yet not understand it? Is it enough to know a smile, without an explanation for it? Is it enough to know that I appreciate you in my life, but I have no idea why? Yes, I declare -- it IS enough.

Words simply fail in a world where ‘understanding’ is the depth of our soul. Feelings, emotions, and reactions are all that really matter in recognizing our love for something, so why do we strive so hard to define it? Words are meaningless, and if we submit ourselves to Webster’s handcuffs, then we allow for a claustrophobic ceiling that lingers-on. I refuse to be confined to the English vocabulary. I refuse to fit you into a sentence of empty words. Instead, I honor you by recognizing how you move me, touch me, inspire me, and stimulate me, my feelings, my heart, my soul, and all that makes-up the extraordinary person I am.

In essence, I don’t know why I love the result of the Chopin-&-soda’s I drank on Friday night, or why I am humbled and excited by the campfire heat from my Saturday reunion, why I am giddy, giggly, and grounded by the surprises which surfaced on my Sunday Funday, or why the sober high remains leftover from 4/20 …but that’s okay. It all exists because it simply exists. You, each of you, made me FEEL extraordinary. Period.

…and for the record, I finally get it. I choose vanilla because I simply choose vanilla.

"I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me.
I love you for the part of me that you bring out."
(I found this quote to be very fitting. Author Unknown)



Tickets are cheap to the amusement park of my life. I call them my audience, but the people walking through call themselves my friends; I think we’re both wrong. Most of them arrive, only to leave as fast as the fun runs out. They walk by the rollercoaster, my white knuckles blurring by, but they quickly turn away pretending not to notice the lonely line. Most of them head for the twirling teacups, this line overflowing, disguising their desire for fun with expectation of my presence.

…and then there’s "her"

She steps out from the onlookers, mazes her way through the empty line, and patiently waits ‘til I slow down & let her on. Sitting next to me, she feels the catching speed I've been victim to, but she toughs it out; loyalty against the empty boxes trailing behind me. Once around, twice around, she's been let in on every sharp turn, every jolting corner, and every breathtaking drop on my emotional ride, yet she doesn't try to pull me off. She knows the teacups aren't far, she can even spot the gentle carousel as we wiz by, but she also sees through the fake smile I'd be forced to wear on those rides, as nausea would follow my day. So..... she sits next to me, and we just ride.

She looks over at my tense body, eyes squeezed shut, holding my breathe as click, click, click,! My tears dry from the gushing speed as the seatbelt pinches the butterflies in my tummy, shoving them into my throat. We hit the bottom and continue speeding along the screeching railway.

Reaching over, she takes my hands off the cold metal handle-bars, and my knuckles fade from white through my skin. Feeling my hand in hers, I unclench my tightly closed eyes, and her encouraging smile releases my long held breathe. Our seats creep up the slope of an oncoming drop, and she holds up her arms in the air, telling me it's okay. I'm afraid, my stomach is in knots, but trust prevails as I remember the protecting love she’s shown me all our lives. Curving over the peak, my body relaxes as if I had been gripping my strength with every last muscle in my body ...and down we go. I hear her laughter as we descend with warping speeds, and my scream turns from piercing fear, to an ensemble of joy, and I feel the air wisp through my fingertips high above our heads.

A person's beauty lies in everything that manifests in their life, even the lament of their soul's sadness. My amusement park would be less beautiful without the occasional perilous roller coaster, and she sees that. Everyone waits for me at the twirling teacups, and the rainforest cruise, but she supersedes my loneliness and hops in next to me. It's hard to see beauty in an emotional rollercoaster, but it is genuine devote love which reminds us of the easiest way off: embracing the ride.


My Personal Pledge

Enrolled in a Queer Communities Sociology class this quarter (Winter 2009), I opted to do a creative project for my final assignment. I hold a lot of things dear to my heart, but floating on the surface will always be equality, civil rights, and above all, LOVE. Since the passing of Proposition 8, I've been struggling, gasping for air, realizing I drown in priveliged luxury. Soul searching, I needed to know: what do I have to give up in my life to make my fight succumb to any meaning in the battle over equality, marriage, and "legal love"? A handful of protests, an ocean of tears, and infinite desperate apologies to the LGBTQI community on behalf of the state I call my home... this is what I turned in on the last day of class. It's all I know left to do:


All dogs go to heaven.

"a ha! that's why that happened!" ~ "see! it all worked out for the better!"
It's moments like these, when the mind wakes up to a beautiful epiphany, life illuminates into a million smiles of content.

As humans, we get caught on a merry-go-round of impulse. Around and around, reality and logic become a blur spinning by. And as our impulse dizzies our mind, pessimism showers our soul.
Crying out in desperation, we declare victim in the brutal workings of the world. "Why me?" "What did I do to deserve this!" "This isn't the way it's suppose to be!" "This is my bad karma." "Nothing good will ever come of this." and the most daunting of all impulse beliefs: "My life is ruined."

As I sit here reflecting on those infinite moments in our lives, I'm supremely okay with this vicious cycle of lost faith. There's a reason our struggles aren't rewarded until our muscles are strong. As our pillows dampen, our foreheads wrinkle, and our thoughts grow bitter, we can't deny a strength growing inside us. There's a reason it became so cliché to preach "if it doesn't kill you, it only makes you stronger." ...and it does. From our strength also comes a blindfold on our path of purpose. How often do we smirk off those moments where things fall into place? We laugh because we realize how entangled we felt, trapped in an oblivion of heartache, upset, anger. And just when we've put all the tornment aside, fate comes rushing at us, smacking us with a big ole kiss of destiny - "THAT happened, in order for THIS to happen."

Purpose is a funny concept. I'm reminded of the old wise tale of insurance - if you got it, you don't need it. When you're looking for purpose, all you find is a porcelain god praising nautiousness aside the merry-go-round. It isn't until you're riding the ferris wheel you find yourself sitting next to a blonde haired blue eyed girl, sharing your uncertainties of life, and your hidden dreams of heaven. I've found myself another passenger to sit next to me on this ride of life. Kirstin is one less empty seat beside me, and one more smile in my backpocket of friends.

I may never forgive the workings of my past, and I encourage her not to either. For, forgiveness implies regret, and regret is the torment of my soul. Letting the past be what it was, I finally open my eyes to it's butterfly effect on my existence. It happened, it hurt, and the big-picture-purpose will be ever-exposing. As we finish our genuine conversation, after years of anger, I find my gratitude amidst a sigh of relief, and I log this shared moment as a long lesson learned: the most unexpected things always work out in the most unexpected ways.



Philosophy or fear: to blog or not to blog.
Considering myself a writer for the first time in my life, I have found my love for the written language. The more I learn about language, the longer it takes me to write a simple note, because like Plato, I fear the reader. Expressing his deepest fear, Plato was not a fan of publishing his work. He understood the great misconception, and individual interpretation each reader holds. Relying on my words to guide my reader through my thoughts is a perilous flight. If only I can be there each time to explain myself, my words, my writing.

...but here's to being fearless. Welcome to my blog.