How I Became Addicted to DCESK8

I was sitting at Sequoia restaurant in Georgetown enjoying happy hour outside with the Surfrider DC chapter. The sky was turning bright orange and pink during a jaw dropping sunset, when flashing lights on the street caught my eye. What looked like twenty skaters were stopped nearby with blinking lights and music radiating out of their speakers. I craned my neck to get a better look at the commotion. Too nervous to ask what exactly was going on, I stared longingly at the group of people. After a couple minutes of trying to play it cool, I decided to saunter over.

When I got closer I realized these weren’t regular skateboarders. The boards resembled longboards, but with slim battery packs on the underside and blinking lights flashing on the rear. I stood there marveling at the beauty of so many different boards. Before I could even ask, I had five different people asking me if I wanted to try their boards.

Even with my background in snowboarding, I was still nervous about trying a skateboard that could zoom at the switch of a button. But I put on a full-face helmet, compliments of a tall Hollister model looking guy standing nearby, and precariously stepped onto a board. Someone handed me a remote, and I couldn’t stop thinking it was a joke for a second. It seemed hilarious to me that a remote, like in a video game, was needed to make the board accelerate.

My finger tenderly pushed the trigger down and I felt the jolt of the torque from the board as I started up the hill. I bent my knees to keep myself stable. It was so much smoother and steadier than I anticipated. I made a shaky turn at the top of the hill and braced myself for the descent down. I pushed the throttle a little harder, testing the limits of how fast it could go, feeling the whoosh of air around me as I glided across the pavement. As I reached the bottom of the hill I was greeted with smiling faces and excitement.

I hopped off the board and everyone started cheering. “Try this board!” someone yelled. I swapped boards and was on my way racing up the hill, this time with someone following close behind. “Have you done this before?!” he shouted. I pulled back the trigger making the board lurch forward and speed up screaming a “NO” in response. I was having fun, and the rush of speeding on pavement was addicting. I was immediately hooked.

Going by the name DCESK8, this group of electric skateboard enthusiasts was created from a meetup group. With members ranging from college students, to shredders in their 50s, this eclectic mix of e-board riders all share the same passion. I exchanged contact info with one of the members from the group and left with my heart racing.

On the metro ride home, I did a little research that made my jaw drop harder than the sunset. The first board I rode, a Meepo conversion with a Loaded Vanguard deck, cost around $800. The Boosted V2 I rode second, came in at $1,499. The board I had my eyes on, the Boosted Stealth, was $1,599. I was shocked at the price of getting a board. Even the low-end models cost more than a snowboard, and they certainly were not the $80 skateboard setups I was used to.

The following Wednesday I met the DCESK8 group at their official charging spot and sponsor, City Tap House in Dupont. With the help of Instagram, I had met Erwin, member of the club, who was kind enough to lend me a board. I was incredibly more nervous and excited for my first ever group ride. I arrived at the bar and within minutes we were heading off. We rode for what felt like miles, swerving through the streets of DC and dodging traffic. I slowly gained confidence that lent to deeper carves and faster speeds. I couldn’t get over the rush. A rush I had only felt prior while snowboarding.

About six miles in, we stopped at Player’s Club. I was surprised we were stopping at a bar, but I forgot that a key aspect of riding these boards is their limited range. An average board gets 7-14miles range, with the premium boards like LaCroix and Kaly.nyc getting 20-30miles. We plugged in our boards, ordered some drinks, and played a couple rounds of pool while the boards juiced up. I mingled with the club members being sufficiently impressed that I had officially joined the coolest group on Meetup. After everyone was charged we continued our ride, this time passing the monuments, reflection pool, and hitting the curvy roads down near the water. The entire ride I was in awe of these amazing humans all speeding across pavement like they were shredding down a mountain.

After that first group ride I was hooked. Any opportunity to ride I pounced on like it was my last chance to ever ride again. I’ve only been riding for a month, but in that time frame I’ve made every group ride (Wednesday’s at 7pm) and spent multiple nights riding through George Mason, NYC, and DC. I am so thankful to have met such an awesome group of people who have encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and shred the night away.

If you are in the DC area and are interested in trying out an electric board, Boosted is having a demo event this Sunday from 12pm-5pm at Alpine Ski Shop in Fairfax where you can try out an electric board for yourself. Be careful, they’re more addicting than they look.

 

When Everything Seems to Be Broken

Everything in my life is breaking. Slowly its becoming more noticeable. I go through phases, of growth and deterioration. The peak of every mountain is the bottom of another, and so it goes. I could go on to detail every last thing that unexpectedly has broken on me, but last night was the finale. With a shattered phone screen I decided to stop feeling helpless and instead do a little investigation into the meaning of everything breaking unexpectedly. That’s when I stumbled upon this:

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That person who wrote that beautiful comforting message was not me. When I reached the end of the post signed Dominique, my jaw dropped and tears welled up in my eyes. Someone with my name had written those words, and out of the millions of google search results, I landed on that one. Moments after I let my knees hit the ground, touching my forehead to the floor, arms outreached in front of me and basked in the moment of cosmic ridiculousness.

Tonight I am heading to see The Goo Goo Dolls. When the lyrics to Iris meet my ears its  going to be a full surrender. “When everything’s meant to be broken. I just want you to know who I am.” Music to me has such an incredibly strong physical reaction on my body, from goosebumps, to tears, to heart wrenching pain. I am ready to surrender to all the brokenness and my life and move forward. Tonight is the night where I begin again.

 

 

My Father Is Not A Monster

I have grown up with hate licking my ears more nights than not. I have watched my mother been beaten down again and again by my father’s words. In my father’s world, something is always wrong. It’s never his fault, it’s yours.

I have learned to cope. I have learned to stay calm. I have stepped into the footsteps of my mother, choosing to dissolve the anger in my heart rather than react.

Tonight, I tried again to listen, to learn, to try and accept. My father is not a monster.

But it is hard when someone purposely belittles you. It is hard to hear your father speak to you in a tone of voice that is reserved for male locker rooms. It is hard to have him make you the enemy and speak to you like a stupid fucking democrat who doesn’t know anything.

The word fuck sounds disgusting when it is spat out by a grown man to his own daughter.

I try not to let it bother me. But when I am lying in bed trying to sleep I can hear his words pounding in my chest. I am stupid. I am uneducated. I am a dumb millennial who doesn’t listen to the radio or watch TV. I am retarded because I believe that we should pay taxes. I am not smart enough to know that the earth has been here forever and therefore we shouldn’t do anything to try and protect it.

My father is not a monster, and I am not his daughter when he starts to talk politics. I am the enemy. I’ve tried reason and fact-based arguments, but those are useless.

I am not alone. We are all living in a broken two party system of government. Everyone who has ever tried to reason with someone of the opposite political party has felt anger blossom inside of them. It is a giant game manifested by the elite to tear our society apart. It’s working, destroying us from the inside out, creating monsters out of fathers.

As he lays in bed peacefully sleeping, I am awake trying to make sense of how to expedite healing in his heart. I sit here at 2am typing because the alternative is letting the crushing emotion force me into bawling silently into a pillow.

My father is still the person who taught me to surf, his strong arms pushing me into the waves. The one who threw the lacrosse ball with me everyday after school in our side yard. The one who would take us out on the boat till sunset.  And patiently help me with math homework no matter how hard the problems were.

I turn my focus to these good memories and feel the tears start to drip down my face. My nose starts to run. The stark contrast between those memories and the way it is when he talks politics makes me want to forgive him again and again. I am crying harder than I wanted to tonight.

Next time he starts lecturing on far right conservative insanities I want him to catch a glimpse of the little girl he raised.  I want him to recognize through the hate filled anger that falls out of his mouth, that I am still his daughter. I want him to care about more than just being right in an argument. I want him to wake up from his hate filled slumber.

Please. Wake up.

Fireworks & Solitude

I like to think of myself as a firework. Lots of short bursts of fiery passion. I am a Sagittarius aka a fire sign, lighting up everyone’s world until my nomadic self gets bored. My move to Snowshoe in late July only lasted a mere month before I decided I wanted to move onto something different. My life is now back in the Post-Snowshoe era, trying to adapt to the normalcy of everyday life.

This is my life, it’s always been an escape from loneliness eventually found in one place, carrying onto the next. It displays itself in boredom. I get tired of the place, and move on. People and places are the same everywhere. Nothing ever changes. Not until you do.

The universe works in funny ways, and my new job with WeddingWire has brought on a subtle loneliness. After spending hours poring over hundreds of wedding vendors and writing overly descriptive synopsis on them, I can’t help but wonder if I will ever get to that point in my life. It’s hard to ignore the absolute joy on these random stranger’s faces.

I see all these beautiful images of fairytale weddings, and I write the words that accompany them. I’ve written over 20,000 words so far on “perfect wedding days of your dreams.” It makes me think of all my friends of friends who have already participated in this ritual called marriage. And the ones who felt the need to bring a child into a world with someone they barely know. I think of sustainability of relationships and how to have faith in someone you’ve only known for such a short time.

I think of myself, the firework, with an inability to put up with anyone for longer than half a year. I think of my purposeful decision to not let myself get sucked into a romantic relationship anytime soon to protect myself from the possibility of falling in love with the wrong person. Because everyone seems to be that person after a couple weeks.

I think of all my failed relationships and all the hearts I’ve broken. It seems unfair for me to even play into the game of dating when my opinions on someone changes so quickly. But yet I crave the human intimacy these wedding photographers portray so well. Don’t we all?

I struggle with being alone. But I know it’s my only option right now. I am facing the loneliness instead of escaping it. It’s hard. But in the end, I have no choice but to be comfortable in my boredom. I have to succumb to stillness. It is only with this solitude and quietness that I can start to create.

New paintings, new websites, new blog posts. It all comes from solitude. Everything else is just a test of my endurance.

The Story Behind Dominique Ann Art

Have you ever wanted to do something but have been too scared to take the leap? It’s like that secret dream you never tell anyone about because you’re scared you won’t be good enough, or people will think you’re crazy. I present to you DOMINIQUE ANN ART!
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Growing up in my mother’s art gallery I was surrounded by whimsical beach landscapes. My mother’s art gallery was located in Avon, NC aka the southern part of the “Outer Banks” (for those who have never been down that far south). Technically called Hatteras Island, my home growing up was surrounded by pristine seashore.
I was always painting, from the time I was a child in diapers, to being 10 years old and leading art lessons at my mother’s gallery. But not like my mother. Her realistic beach landscape paintings were immaculate, with their extreme detail and careful application of paint so gentle and perfect.

I craved bright colors, and the process, more than the finished product and how realistic it looked. I was good at art in my own way, and it was always my favorite class in school. I could spend hours upon hours lost in time on my art projects, but never felt my finished pieces were that good. Senior year of high school I pushed away my art teacher’s questions about whether I would pursue an art degree in college.

Truthfully, I was absolutely terrified I wasn’t good enough.

Ignoring my art teacher’s advice to apply to an art school, I decided to pursue a Media Arts & Design degree at James Madison University instead. Two years out of college with no dream job in my chosen major, I started to get the weirdest feeling. Overnight, with a bout of homesickness, I developed an absolutely necessary desire to put paint on canvas. It was as if there was something inside me that had been hibernating and was now begging to claw itself out. Something so hidden by rationale and feelings of inadequacy, that I had forgotten it even existed.

What started as one painting, catapulted into another, and then another. For the first time since I was a toddler I let myself paint without thinking about the outcome. There was no contemplation about whether I was making the right stroke, instead I just did it. I was painting from my heart, letting the energy of the record playing on my turntable guide me through the journey.

This is how Dominique Ann Art became a reality. A little girl with a love for painting created her dream of being an artist. She chose to paint how she wanted, not how she was supposed to.

I am so absolutely overwhelmed with pride that I have been able to get to where I am right now. This website, created by me, is just a small representation of how much painting means to me. My abstract expressionist pieces were created out of love, laughs, dancing, and childish wonder. Dominique Ann Art is made of dreams so big, I was scared for half of my life to chase them. I am Dominique Ann, and I hope you enjoy my art.

A Return To Love

I have spent years contemplating my purpose and worth. I have watched it evolve from a child who felt they could do anything, to feeling lost in world of societal standards that didn’t match up with my life. I have watched our fearful society destroy me from the inside out as I’ve felt too crippled with loss of hope to move forward. During a time of complete confusion and loss of purpose, I was gifted A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. Through careful contemplation I have digested its teachings with the most intense care I’ve ever given a piece of literature.

A Return to love by Marianne Williamson is a spiritual book of guidance that leads us back to love. It uses traditional Christian terminology to explore the concepts of forgiveness, using the story of the bible to highlight the metaphorical nature of the text. Through A Return to Love we are reminded that we can choose forgiveness to move past previous circumstances, and use love to move us forward on our path. The basis of the teachings of A Return to Love are as follows.

  1. Love is real, it’s an eternal creation and nothing can destroy it 
  2. Anything that isn’t love is an illusion
  3. Remember this and you’ll be at peace.

A Return to Love explains how we were created in love and therefore it is the only fundamental truth me have. “Love is within us. It cannot be destroyed, but only hidden.” Any deviation from love is not real. The opposite of love is fear, and it is a projection of the mind. A Return to Love shows us how to overcome our anxieties and fears by replacing it with love. Because love is the light, and fear is the dark it will always overcome it.

I think back to myself in college when fear dominated my every move.  I felt like there was no hope for my future career in Journalism that was focused around reporting fearful news to the masses. Time and time again I let fear beat me down into a little ball of emotion. I wish I had known then that anytime I felt paralyzed by fear I was merely locked inside my mind. A Return to Love reminded me that because we are built out of love, fear isn’t something that comes naturally, it is something that is taught.

Now more than ever, our society is focused around a fear mentality creating a mass suffering of anxiety ridden lives. Mainstream media trains us to only see the bad, the deaths, the horror, making us feel as though there is no hope. This is not an accident. It is not an accident that Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, richest man in the world, is also the owner of The Washington Post. It isn’t an accident that with more people suffering from anxiety, the more opioids are prescribed to numb us from reality. We are addicted to anything that helps us escape the pain we feel in this world.

Despite all the chaos, some of us awakening to the realization that we have a choice and a way out of this collective Hell. People are starting to realize that the more you give, the more the Universe/God will bless you. It’s no longer about hoarding your piece of the pie, but sharing your crumbs with others. This society that once was built around dreams of becoming rich and famous is starting to crumble. Celebrities are using their status as a platform to promote equality among people. We are still facing the mega-rich elite trying to break us down, with people like Donald Trump using age old tactics of hate and fear to divide us. But we are too smart for that bullshit, we are too loving to let them succeed.

A Return to Love reminds us that the only way out of the dark, the only thing that can counter the fear, is love and light. Does this sound familiar? “The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.- John 1:5” Jesus was pure love, and his selfless acts of kindness saved anyone who believed in him. It is through his leadership and pure love that we must follow if we want to move past this little blip in destructive humanity.  Love is the greatest defense we have and with its powerful light we can illuminate the fearful dark.

We can change the future of our society through changing our minds. A Return to Love gives us the starting tools to move towards a better collective reality. It starts with each and everyone of us, because we all equally hold an important part in this shared reality. With every person healed, we have a greater chance at creating a society we are proud of. A Return to Love is a book of healing, the only prerequisite to reading it is the readiness to open your heart and mind.

You can purchase A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson from Barnes & Noble (please don’t use Amazon)

 

 

The Circular Chase for Happiness

Moving back to Snowshoe was a last-minute decision fueled by a pressing urge to move out of my parent’s house to seek solace elsewhere. A spontaneous weekend trip turned into moving back for good and falling back in love with the lifestyle I had too easily forgotten. Since moving to Snowshoe I have acquired an abundance of free time which I have spent journaling and taking notes on a book called A Return to Love. Through stillness and inner reflection of this book I have come face to face with the circular nature of my life that has controlled me for the past couple years.

With a chase for happiness that I’ve been engrossed in since I graduated college, I have ended up time and time again in the same circle. The patterns went like this: I would strive toward a dream, get fed up or bored with the current situation, and instead of working through it, I would try to escape it by jumping into a new life. I went from living in Virginia, to moving to Snowshoe for the winter, to Mammoth Lakes for the spring and summer, back to Virginia, and now again back to Snowshoe. Anytime things got tough I would go into escape mode, successfully leaving everything behind for a new start.

Everything that was exciting at first, turned to hell once the thrill was gone. It would only take a couple months for me to trick myself into thinking my awesome life was anything but that. Once the newness wore off I felt like there always had to be someplace better I could be. My happiness depended on the excitement I felt in a location, and I was always quick to blame external circumstances when I got bored. I let myself be dragged around by my mind patterns of “you should be doing something better”, or “you’re too good for this place.” Every chase for happiness ended in despair as I watched my dreams of being in a place crumble in front of my eyes. I began to think that life was just circular, and it was just a big mean game that put me back to where I started as a cruel joke.

I started to analyze my past to try and find the reasoning behind why my happiness wouldn’t last. I led myself into the darkness trying to learn from my mistakes. I thought I was getting better, but I started injecting past situations into my present. Every new person and place was carefully and anxiously analyzed. I started to place the blame on others. This later turned into owning up to my mistakes and placing the blame on myself. I let myself slowly die inside as I took the blame for every mistake no matter how big or small. I was angry with myself for messing up so many times. Crushing disappointment followed. How was I supposed to move forward with all the mistakes I had made haunting me?

It wasn’t until I was painting vortexes and working a job that watches chairlifts go in circles all day, that everything was too blatant to ignore. The circular evil life view I created wasn’t created by the universe, it was created by my mind. Everything I blamed on others, and then myself, didn’t matter anymore because I could choose a miracle of forgiveness. I was free from my past and all the pain it caused me. With this newfound acceptance I was now able to move forward with the humbling knowledge that I overcame one of the most destructive patterns in my life.

Last week after an emotional debacle, I decided I wanted to escape Snowshoe. I was feeling disappointed in myself for moving back to the same place I had already spent three years at, and I felt like I was looping myself again. But after finishing A Return to Love my perspective changed.

This time I won’t run back home. Not yet. It isn’t time. Now it’s time to let the universe guide me to my next adventure. I am finally at peace with myself, and there is no better place to heal than a mountain far away from society. I am learning to accept my surroundings instead of fighting them, and letting go of the constant need to find the next best thing.

When I’m up here in the island in the sky, looking down at the valleys filled with clouds, I can’t help but wonder how this place even exists. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I get to be back in this beautiful place.