Amsterdam, Netherlands Holland - Self Love

June 27th, 2019 - June 30th, 2019 Scroll to bottom for Photo Gallery

Amsterdam is to Europe as Vegas is to the United States. I say this in terms of cities of sin. In both I just get this vibe, that you can find or do anything you want in these cities and completely get away with it. Even things the majority of society would consider of a darker nature. I am drawn to these things in a way that has been hard for me to understand and even harder to explain to those who ask since my overall indulgence in them is relatively quite low. The simplest way I can put it so that you can understand is that, I want to know everything. More specifically, I want to know everything about the things that are collectively decided as so utterly wrong. Maybe I just need to know if it is in fact wrong; because for the majority of my life I have gone against the grain, questioned overall consensus, and walked the path less traveled.

My mother and I both have always had a fascination with the American and Italian mob, the projects and gang activity of Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, and World War II’s holocaust. For me, the fascination began small but had the inability to grow in a world that focused on progress, production, and over all en-LIGHT-enment. I felt that I should be focused on positive things and fill my life with sunshine, rainbows, and betterment. Turns out I am not wrong, especially about the rainbows part, but there is a way I could really meld both yin and yang to make a beautiful life in being of service in social work. There are social workers in all kinds of realms: social activism; social advocacy; counseling; lobbyists; emergency management; the list goes on. They are the people are near the wounds of the world helping it to heal and create better environments for the living beings there to have the chance to choose to thrive.

My choice to graduate level classes to get my master’s degree in counseling fulfills this need for me. My need to be on the front lines of where the dark meets the light. Many mistake the fascination for an attraction to the dark, when in all reality my attraction is to the observation of the vacillation between them. I like the way the light washes over into the dark and vice versa. The contrast strikes me into silence as I watch. I am there to help those who are desperately seeking the light. Their fingers white and sweaty as they hang on to the edge. I am here to lend that hand.

As I walk the shadows of the canals of Amsterdam at night and the fluorescent red calls to me, I smirk as I walk by, just out of reach of what lurks behind the windows. What brave souls dwell there day in and day out. I wonder how long they have been there for and how long they will stay. I wonder if when they leave, they will try to forget this place. A place where people come to fulfill on their biggest fantasies. I wonder if it is all a scam and if they actually are being protected like the articles and museum pamphlets say. Is it against feminism to even walk down these roads. And what kind of feminist am I if I am in fact one. Does the fact that I stand here change who I am regardless of walking through the DeWall district being an accident. Does the sickness that washes over me when I close the door behind me and I find safety in my AirBnB mean I cannot go back. Does it mean that I went too far. These are all questions I do not have the answer to. Other than to trust my gut in its cry of misalignment. Use that sickness to take a stand somewhere. Advocate for something that means something to me. Broken hearts mean the world, so I stand for them. I stand as advocate for

self love.