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“If I hadn’t known suffering, loss, sadness and all the other crap life slaps out, I wouldn’t be a writer, because I wouldn’t have anything to write about. If I had a perfect life, I would never have had the chance to hurt but then to grow and experience more, feel more, be more. I like to think of pain as my heart just stretching out.”(The Truth About Everything)

A fellow blogger wrote to me recently telling me how much my blog entries have improved within the last few months, heck! even my intelligent computer science grad brother started reading recently telling me how much he has loved reading my posts lately. I was told that my life seemed too perfect and the entries seemed phony after awhile. A lot of people had no idea what I was going through. I remember growing up and as some of you know I had a rough childhood with my birth-mother. She taught me not to ever show fear, or not to ever cry, because crying is a sign of weakness. She was physically and mentally abusive most of my childhood mostly for no reason at all and I was always taught that everything was my fault. She would punish me for things that I never did so eventually I had to learn to suck up all that pain and swallow my tears along with my pride just so I wouldn’t get hit. My mother was afraid of ever, I mean ever being perceived as less than perfect and so all of this pain I may have felt was unable to ever be shown in the public eye. I learned to smile through my tears.

How can someone write the truth of life if we are only showing the perfect side of things? I got raw this year. From October through the beginning of January I shared with you my secret and that I had a problem and I want to be clear that this is MY problem…and some people think that talking about sobriety may be a bad idea because people may think you’re trying to make yourself seem “better than” but that’s not the case…drinking isn’t a bad thing if it doesn’t cause problems in your life. I mean cheers to that! But my story is different…I had to get sober because when I drank I never, ever stopped. I was lacing up inner demons with that liquid courage to take on life…while it was breaking it instead.

I only wrote about the good things because I was taught while growing up that perfection is key in this world. Anything less than, like I wrote earlier, shows weakness. Even if you’re completely failing at anything, don’t ever let anyone know. Keep building bars to protect yourself so that eventually you’re in your personal, secret cage where no one can hurt you more than you’re mentally doing to yourself.

Going through what I went through was what brought me to who I am today. I believe that falling down, breaking apart, and picking up the pieces and glueing them together created art….much better than the phony original piece that was a lie. I glued back my life and soul together to create perfect imperfection in which life is now filled with endless possibility. The past is replaced with genuine smiles and a loving family that thankfully stood by my side eager for this new chapter that they knew I could handle when I didn’t quite understand it on my own. So sometimes pain is just a way of stretching out that beating heart inside of all of us. If I never went through what I went through, I really wouldn’t have anything to write about and share with you, or have the ability to help others grow as well. When we grow, we help others grow because even though we are all different, a lot of our stories and fears are quite the same when you lift up all the bullshit.

Two weeks ago I was sharing four walls with ten other women trying to explain these very stories I’m telling you now and today I am on an airplane flying home from Hawaii, where I’ve been the past week, now home to Washington happily celebrating another Seahawks win where we get to go back to the Superbowl! Hawaii was the best plan after a 3-month journey shifter. I got to see my grandparents and uncle and explore the beautiful island with my family. Here are some pictures from the trip or you can visit my Instagram or follow me on Facebook for more. Here’s to stretching our heartstrings ❤️

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Sometimes it all doesn’t feel real. I am laying on the ground in my living room next to the fire writing a thank you card to the officers at jail along with letters stuffed with word-search puzzles to some of the girls still in there. Yet at the same time I’m packing for Hawaii. Bikinis and dresses splayed out along the floor, loading books, magazines and movies to my iPad Mini for the plane ride.

This sure is a blessed life when you can spend 3 months in jail and as of yesterday I’ve been out for one solid week and I’ve already gone to yoga 3 times, hiked twice, and now packing for vacation…and a week ago I was laying on a cold bunk praying for the time to fly by.

Well it’s a week and my life already feels like this new chapter far far away from the last one. I can’t wait to be in the warm weather exploring the Big Island of Hawaii.

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to meet Melissa Arnot, a 31-year-old mountaineering beauty who has summited Everest 5 times and summited Rainier over 100 times! Isn’t that amazing?! She had a presentation about her journey and how she grew up with hippie parents that said she shouldn’t go to college and that with the money she’d owe after college, she would be spending the equivalent of a life where she could ski every single day for the rest of her life and even probably fit in a hotel once a week and everything:) as long as she “didn’t work for the man” they felt she could succeed. She went against their idea and went to college. After college she started hiking and fell in love….followed her parents idea and lived out of her truck….then she hiked Rainier…then she became a guide, and now, well, she’s an absolute inspiration!!!! I was completely moved and at the same time itching for a life like that.

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The 3 months away, the hiking, her presentation, everything keeps shouting quiet symbolic messages at me. I spent a few hours cleaning everything and getting rid of half my clothes and when I was away I told my parents to get rid of my bed and bed frame because it’s a huge, overly heavy queen size bed that is too big for me. Old Tiare was consumed by “junk”. I needed new outfits and shoes every week and my bed took up half my room.

Now that I’m here, all of this is just “stuff”. Now I basically know exactly what I need because I’ve basically been living out of a locker as well as the trunk of my car.

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Let’s flash forward to today:) remember how I started that blog on the floor in my living room in Washington? Well I fell asleep and forgot to upload be post to my blog. I’m in Hawaii right now! Yesterday was a long day of traveling because we had to stop in Oahu which was a 6-hour flight and then we had a 3 hour layover before finally heading over to the Big Island. My uncles property is amazing here. We’re staying at his house for a couple days and then staying in a house on the beach! Last night after dinner my brother Ian and I took a couple flashlights and roamed his huge back yard that resembles something more like a jungle. We found chameleons, geckos, and tiny frogs. I can’t wait to explore, I’m waiting for the for the sun to rise so I can get outside for a run. I can’t wait to share the places I go to this week!:) I’ll try to blog more often. I’m still amazed that one week ago my life was so different…

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“Whenever you feel hopeless, all you need to do is go outside and realize that you have been molded into human form for some reason. You are somewhere you may never be again. Your actions, no matter how inconsequential you think they may be, are essential.” — Brianna Wiest, The Truth About Everything

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I’m laying in bed and it’s 12am. I can’t sleep. I don’t know why this happens so often but I’m assuming it’s because of all the technology I’m completely addicted to surrounding my bedside. The last 3 months in jail really showed me how relaxed I was without the constant text messages and social media accounts. It’s constantly there…flashing on my screen, calling my name, asking me to be addicted to sharing my small life with you. So this is me giving in. You’re welcome!

I’m going on almost a week of being out and I am filled with mixed emotions. Gratitude of course is number one….but then there is something else…you know that feeling you get when you finally have nothing holding you back and the world is your oyster? Well that’s how I feel except that now I feel this anxiety that I’m not doing enough right now. I know it’s been a week and I shouldn’t be hard on myself but it’s kind of what’s been festering inside me…
The fact that I was in there for 3 whole months and came out of it without a real “plan”. You know is silly Americans needing our stupid plans to make us feel important and relevant to society. Sure I have a lot to look forward to this year and I shouldn’t worry but I find myself feeling like a dog locked up in a cage for so long and once it’s finally released its sort of just out of control running in circles…to run, just to run, hmm….

So I made the decision to get outside today. Do what makes me full and for the day, my anxiety went away and I feel that free feeling again. Nothing cures problems the way being in nature does. My brother and I got hammocks the end of summer because we have this great idea of just hammock camping everywhere! Best purchase this year by the way! We were going to set them up close near home but I woke up with the itch to be in the mountains so before we knew it I was heading north and on our way. The fog was thick but once we got out of the city the sky opened up and Heather Lake was amazing!

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Going outside teaches me to be still. I have been on a rather long journey…first a silent struggle but now a heart-opening, blunt, honest soul-journey that I’m trying to be more open to sharing on here. I can’t believe how superficial this blog started out and now we’re here…talking about fears and jail and life on life’s terms; rather than the squeaky clean version of what I want you to think I live my life. I will try to blog more, being inside made me rekindle my love for journaling and blogging:) cheers to everyone’s week! Go outside! Ooohhhhh and please “like” my new FB page for this blog! I finally got it up:

https://www.facebook.com/tiareexplores

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What goes up must come down, what gets caged will at some point be set free…or break out trying…and wow does it feel good to be free today. After four holidays away from my family, the day I got out I was overwhelmed with happiness and a lightness I haven’t felt in years. To go into a situation full of fear and to come out feeling relentlessly fearless. It’s empowering.

The word resolution is often thrown around this month, gyms are banking on your lofty weight-loss goals and everyone has this little list of how to make themselves better for the next 365 days with constant contemplation. A resolution. A goal. A habit to kick this year. Whatever happened last year is tucked safely away into a little forgotten box to make room for the new year. So cheers to the new year! What I like about New Years is the ability to look at went wrong and what went right in 2014 and create a sort of “winter cleaning” about everything.

I went back to yoga last night, it’s a 75 minute hot power Baptiste style yoga class, what I’m used to doing 4-5 times a week with the exception of the last 3 months. I tucked myself in the back corner thinking that I would need to refresh my memory and muscles of what used to be the staple of my daily life but boy was I underestimating myself. I felt absolutely amazing. What I felt in class last night was the parallel to taking a wet rag filled with water and twisting it so much so that it rings dry. That feeling of twisting your old self out with all the past and negativity to the point of being left with just clean, refreshed fabric. No longer am I in this small space surrounded by all the women in jail who constantly watched me and asked what I was doing. The ability to feel so close to all the friends and strangers along side myself breathing and moving and twisting and being renewed.

I ran this morning after having that class last night and it was like poetry for my legs. During that time away I still continued to run as much as I could but I wasnt exactly stretching or building muscle the way I do when I’m in yoga. I feel so free these days since I have been out and everything feels like it’s falling together again. My family has been beside me, I had a lovely welcome home from my friends, and yoga just topped it all off.

So I’m here. Free. At sort of a symbollic summit of this portion of my life. From here forward I have nothing to be afraid of and no longer have a valid excuse for holding back in my own life.

My resolutions this year are simple:

1. Be relentlessly fearless to my future.
2. Be a YES to all opportunity
3. Explore More. whatever that may be. Explore the mountains, explore deeper relationships, explore yoga and teach…and read and write more. More journalling is a must. Since being in jail I realize that a lot of my creative energy comes out when I am writing and reflecting.

2015 is like standing on the top of a mountain breathing in that crisp, fresh air looking over all those other peaks to see how far you have traveled to get to this exact spot. That large feeeling of accomplishment. Life is like a series of peaks…some journeys are long, some are short, some have rocky terrain and on some treks, you spend a long time steadily trudging through the dark woods with no change of scenery for a long, long time before you have that “Ah-ha!” point at the top that makes it all worth it. You learn to be happy just having the opportunity to even be on a journey. Whatever your circumstances, if you keep moving forward you will reach your destination and turning around, stopping to complain, or wish you were somewhere else never helps you accomlish anything. We go through the good and the bad to get to these summits of life. Remember that once we get to one summit, life does not end. This is just one summit, and as we look over this cliff to all these other mountains, we remember that there is so much more to explore. Life is like a series of mountains to explore, summit, and sometimes we fall, and whether its a joyful or difficult experience, we must remember that on this journey we are always learning.

So I am free of my past (legally) as of this week and I am empowered with the feeling of freedom….so now there is just one question, What is possible? What is possible when you have absoute emotional and physical freedom? Well the answer is: EVERYTHING.

What can I let go of in 2014? Well for me personally, it is anxiety and fear. All the fear is now over and any re-occuring fear is just a bad habbit I need to kick. As long as I stay on the path and keep moving forward, all my previous problems are but lessons in life to write about and share with others to help them realize that our own personal journey is an adventure of highs and lows and sharing them with others helps them realize their own potential as well.

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Last night in my “room” I was doing some yoga…well Baptiste style of course and my roommates asked what I was doing?
“You look like a sculpture! Like you’re doing the ballet!? Is that what you’re doing? Are you a ballerina?”

It’s funny they referred to my yoga as ballet…but I agree, ballet is a beautiful dance of grace and breathing and yoga is just the same.

Yesterday was Christmas and I got to get out for work…I only have one week left and that is the greatest gift of them all. In one week I’m absolutely free…

It’s crazy how much you change in here…I remember crying, not sobbing, but tears were in my eyes waving to my parents as they were tearing as well saying bye to me while I was heading towards my temporary home with the officer holding my small duffel of clothes and bed mat. I remember choosing a bunk and not making eye contact with the other girls because all that I knew about jail was what I saw on television. My deep fear for going to jail was irrational. The way people are afraid of commitment, jumping out of planes, spiders, anything…well jail was my fear. I didn’t know anything about it other than the over-catastrophic version of ‘prison’…so I found a book, got on my bunk and prayed the 3 months would fly by.
Flash to 17 months prior when initially getting arrested I remember saying to Officer Christ:
“If you put me in jail I will commit suicide.” And then she looked at me in horror telling me that saying things like that is going to put me in a mental institution which is worse than jail.

I proceeded: “If you put me in jail or a mental institution, when I get out, which I will at some point, I will commit suicide.”
She never put me in jail that night, and told me I needed help and that her father had similar issues as I. Halfway through sobriety, I wrote her a long apology/thank you for the wrongs I did that night by putting her in that position. So that night I had someone pick me up from the station and spent the next three days in bed crying over my broken life.
The sad thing is that no one really knew how broken I truly was. No one knew that the words I said to her that night were not just dramatic sentences to help manipulate her to keep me out of jail but the truth. It’s how I felt and though it is dramatic, my life was secretly falling apart.

Today life is amazing. I’m not just saying that either, I’m not trying to plaster some beautiful fake happy image but the sheer truth. Since that day I got sober and never looked back, I got closer to my family than I have in my entire life and don’t know what I would do without any of them. My parents visit me every single week, my brothers are like my best friends, I’ve figured out who truly is a friend in my life and who is just a person who texts me “I miss you’s” every so often to make themselves feel better. I truly appreciate my day-job which has coworkers who are more like family, I have taken up a deep love for the mountains and nature and even more than that…yoga. Today I get to practice the beautiful dance in life through yoga and through authenticity.

So tonight I do yoga in between the bunks and the girls thank I’m doing ballet. To be able to embrace such a life-changer and go through these three months with the grace of a ballerina is something I never thought possible. I faced a HUGE fear and honestly, when I get out, life will be unstoppable 😊

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It takes no effort to appreciate life. Even when you feel like nothing is in your favor, opportunities arise in weird places….

A woman named Olga is teaching me Russian right now she’s from Kazakstan… Yes like in Borat, the joy I get from learning her language is incredible. I am learning to accept my circumstances and take advantage of the opportunities even in the small places…so am learning Russian. Olga leaves tonight but the last two weeks have been filled with Russian key words, numbers, the alphabet, and some common curse words:) the last two weeks I have been listening to her talk about growing up in Russia and living the good life until the 90’s came around an the Soviet Union took over and communism set in. Literally over night she watched every grocery store get cleaned out completely….nothing….from grocery stores to waiting in line for 3 hours a day for a little piece of meat. She had a toddler and a baby in her belly at the time…she’d wait all day and sometimes by the time she got to the front of the line, all the meat would be gone. She watched her dad’s huge savings account get taken away to the equivalent of a days lunch money…she had winters where she’d have to put vegetables in big bins of rice in the basement so it wouldn’t freeze. She told me in Kazakstan there is no such thing as diapers or toilet paper so when she raised her children…every pair of pants had to be individually hand-washed and they used the newspaper as toilet paper. The stories are crazy and so she shares, I listen, and remember how fortunate we are as Americans to use the restroom in clean water and wipe our asses with toilet paper throughout the days….

Life is so beautiful when you can see the different perspectives all around us. The most important thing to realize is that whatever we may be going through, it’s never really that difficult and eventually everything moves on and gets replaced with new situations and opportunities. When I’m at a low point, I cease what can be done like learn a new language and meet new people and listen to their stories, get outside of myself….

Apart from all this I have been making sure to strive for new goals:

I am signed up for a glacier climbing course that starts next month, I’m going to Hawaii with my family in January, the big Island specifically… I have never seen lava before so I’m really excited about it and excited to be with my family again. I bought tickets to see Cheryl Strayed (the author of Wild and solo-PCT female hiker) speak here in seattle and I’m also going to a yoga training this June.

Only 15 more days…I can’t believe it!

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It’s silent this morning. My favorite time of the day here. Girls can be loud, they talk about themselves a lot, and in here, you can see people portraying their lives with false happiness and drama. I like to stay quiet and observe. I never really talk about myself or my outside life because I know it’s not what they want to hear and they don’t really care. In jail, a girl who changes her whole life and is living well isn’t very appealing…dramatic stories are appealing, something they can relate to.
They call me “princess” on the inside…it’s more an insult then a compliment as you would expect. No one wants to ever be called a princess after the age of 12 unless maybe Prince William is your husband.

Morning is kind to me. Morning is a time where they like to sleep in till 12pm if they can make it to then so half the day is gone. If I ever sleep in till then, my bones start to snap and crackle and my body gets really weak—feels dehydrated.

Morning is a time where I sneak in a little yoga and exercise, the only time when I am not stopped with the questions about what body parts I’m working and then proceeding to telling me a story about how they used to be skinny and pretty too.

I’m not used to my body being this soft. I’m not used to feeling skin and bones where I used to only feel muscle. I’m not used to my brain tricking me into thinking I’m fat because most my muscles have subsided to cushion. I have to remember that I am beautiful just as I am and that all of this is temporary. I wish all these girls would feel the same but here in jail, there are no scales, no full body mirrors, just your crazy little brain and these baggy clothes. Every meal is a different form of carbohydrates and it’s hard to keep healthy when every meal is bread, mashed potatoes, spaghetti noodles, cake and canned peas. But when I read about third world countries and when I think about the alternative to sobriety….it really could be worse and I need to just be grateful.

Spending 90 days in here is like being in a social experiment…we are given this food and everyone trades it around, fights over the sugar items and asks you if you’re going to eat certain items before you’ve even decided for yourself. Then the rest of it-they hide under their beds.
You can really see the raw human behavior come out of people in a place like this. Girls come in, girls go— some come in as victims which is like putting a target on you saying “please, bully me”. Then there are some in here for their 5th, 6th, 7th times and I know it won’t be their last…they know the ropes around here and all the guards names, and aren’t phased by a thing. Some are here for just a few days and others, for a few months. Many come in kicking heroin so you have to listen them scream and cry and sweat and curse God but people like them because they usually don’t eat at all so people steal their food. I didn’t realize there were also so many adult bullies. I’ve never been one to get bullied nor have I been one to do that to others but in here I see it all.

I hope someday the light switch goes off for some in here….I hate hearing that they have huge families only to have broken relationships and their relatives take custody over their kids while the women continue this lifestyle.

All of this reminds me that all of this–allllll of it—is a learning experience. I am sober today, I have the best family, friends and work-family in the world and without all this support, I may be still challenging life and choosing an unhealthy existence. In the morning I am reminded that it’s a new day and I have the choice to be a victim or a positive force of light to inspire others.

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