In many ways it feels as if I have lived a dozen lives.
A native New Yorker, I have hustled through my adult life like so many others, desperate to find the “thing” for me. I have been a professional touring performer, a school teacher, a blossoming opera singer, a focus group participant, a lyricist and poet, a grinding graduate student, a movie extra, an boutique tutor, an a cappella arranger, and a Catholic church employee. I have tried my hand at everything my hand seems to land on, always sniffing for that thing that will bring both purpose and security, and so often my inner wisdom has groaned, “No, not this, and no, not that,” while the yes I ache for is perpetually out of reach.
Last year, as the fatigue and the overwhelming endlessness of it all set in (as it always does with the change of seasons, the quarterly reminder that even the Earth can shed her skin, while I stay stuck where I am), I decided to confide my anxiety in a trusted professor. I was seeking the medicine we can only receive from those a few steps ahead in life: “Just keep going till you get there, you will find you’re way, you are exactly where you’re meant to be, etc., etc.,” . But instead she shrugged, shook her head severely and said, “There’s just not as much time as you think there is. You may have learned all these things are wrong for you, but are you any closer to what is right?”
The question jarred and stung me. But I had gained enough wisdom on my journey to know that when something pricks a little too much, or bleeds a little too long, that’s where the truth is. I leaned into it and realized my soul had been whispering it all along: When will you give up the reasonable trying, the circling around yourself in order to hedge the risk? When will you just boldly live the life you want, trusting you are powerful enough to make it work? When will you soften enough so that you can hear my voice, and we can decide how to live together?
I felt (and still feel) alone in the moments with these questions, but I know I’m not. These are the question the millennial heart is cursed to contemplate, often with no reprieve or resolution. We have been told we have inherited the world, but the world gives us little in return. We are pitted against each other, told there is precious little to gain, and everything can be lost in an instant. We have talents but no resources, dreams but no time. Life is short and our souls ache to be alive inside it, so how do we reconcile their whimpering protests as we struggle to build our lives? How do we honor our specialness but also tend to our community? Or make external the truths and dreams thriving internally, despite debilitating fear?
I chose to name this blog for Persephone because she is both the goddess of Spring and new birth, and Queen of the Underworld. As travelers approached her queendom, they’d find themselves lost in meadows of pretty asphodel, reminding them of the goddess’s dual dominion over death and life. Persephone’s duality epitomizes the human experience, which weaves between the dark and the light, the unknown and the certain, depression and confidence, confusion and bliss. Persephone is not the psychopomp, guiding you through the dark to get to the light. She is both daylight and moonlight herself, teaching us to hold the tension, live through it, and learn to love life as it is.
I also chose Persephone’s Sister because I am—quite literally—Persephone’s sister. My real older sister shares the goddess’s name, and has suffered a life of terrible illness and pain, but nonetheless finds joy in every moment she can. She has a magical aura always about her, and as a child she activated much of my intuition. I learned how to predict when she would have a seizure, feeling the air pressure suddenly drop, or seeing an aura around her mutate into sickening blacks and reds and browns. I learned how to sense her emotional states when she couldn’t verbalize them, “knowing” exactly how she felt and what she needed. My sister’s innate magic helped me develop my own abilities, and I’m still awed when she raises her hand to clear traffic and all the cars move out of our lane, or she mentions someone from her past and the next day bumps into them at a store. Both her power and disability led me to develop my own inner magic, and often find myself just “knowing” how people really feel, what they really need, and who they really are. Whether this is real magic or Scorpio intuition or my gift born from trauma, it has enabled me to truly help people, making them feel seen and cherished.
As I meditated on my professor’s advice to decide “what is right,” I realized being Persephone’s sister, despite its challenges, has always felt right. Persephone’s Sister is an offering of my own ability to help people express what they cannot themselves verbalize and validate what it is they really need, so they can really live their own unique and extraordinary lives. In this world that is so confused and seems to be self-destructing, I want to offer what I can to its salvation. And what I offer is what I believe we lack: intuition, feminine insight, a brutal honesty, and endless empathy. Persephone’s Sister is a platform meant to pick up these challenges of inner versus outer living, hold them with compassion and power, and foster healing.