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Monday: A Gentle Solution// Chloe Swopshire

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Our community shares what they do to bring tenderness into their day. This week we hear from Chloe Swopshire, the model in our summer LAPS campaign and multitalented creative.

My mom has always told me that the truth will stand up to questioning. Over the course of my life, I have found this to be the best way to test reality. In my personal journey, I have always prayed in both secrecy and solitude to be truthful in all that I am, be and do. Even as a child. Not surprisingly so, with my sun in Libra and many Leo/Capricorn placements widely populating my birth chart.

Tests of integrity for me have always been a way to learn more deeply about my motivations, direction, and my overall raison d'etre. Now, in the time of mass-disinformation, fear and deception, the tender touch of truth and self-care goes a long way towards enrichment of public discourse and clear-minded decision making with integrity. 

Watching the world around me light up and go off feels like a long awaited thrust in the direction of change. But at what cost? 

In a time when the personal is political, and our deed is our word- I find discernment, sovereignty, and boundaries to be crucial tools.

 Fortunately for me, my mom’s prediction that ‘something good’ was going to come my way came true. In my case, I landed a job for an e-commerce CBD company amidst the pandemic. Before June 19th, I had been unemployed since leaving a corporate-flavored ‘start up’ after a mere 8 months on December 28th 2019. It was entirely my choice to leave the toxic work environment behind me. I needed to do this to give myself the respect I deserved and a fresh start in the New Year. With the scars from my time there slowly healing, there are many moments where I find myself tense and worked up by ghosts from the recent past. 

I am lucky enough to start remotely, and as a side effect I have come to find that I spend a rather excessive amount of time on my cell phone. Far more than I would like to in this year of personal growth.

In the weeks of regularly seeing shared content in the form of videos containing uncensored violence against peaceful protesters, and now, seeing news clips entirely void of context in many viral posts, my work of questioning everything has been my shield amidst the waves of passionate anger, and ‘justified’ evils from all sides. The most tender thing I have done for myself was to deactivate my Instagram to seek more intimacy with myself.

Edgar Allen Poe’s quote to “believe nothing you hear and only one half of what you see,” has been my medicine of late. Thoughtless and uninformed actions have long been revealed to be futile by my many experiences of trial and error with the things I adore the most--from international travels for art, to romance and friendship. When I don’t have a clear intention behind my actions, I have seen many of my ideas, relationships, and adventures fall flat.

In the face of emotional justifications to the wrongs in this world, I choose to slow completely down. During my time of unemployment, I had the ground taken from under my feet when a close friend helped me to question the beliefs I had clung to. 

From there, my mind was made. I had to start questioning all of the ‘truths’ I had come to adopt. This decision has led to the strength I now wield to look within myself to find answers that are custom fit for who I am. By doing so, my intention to discover a quality, and potentially lasting solution to problems as they arise are able to reveal themselves, gleamingly so. This is integrity. The slow and steady build. The decision to persist beyond challenges to eventually see something I believe in! The ideal celebration is a triumph over my own fears and insecurities.

This usually means doing heaps of googling, reading, listening, watching videos, checking the provided sources all the while. Of late, questioning certain sources has proven immensely rewarding- yet forces me to go beyond the political. Beyond the false divisions. Doing so has led me to see things as they truly are.

Sharing my learnings is my ethos. I have learned to keep others opinions at an arm's length. This for me is a growth worth celebrating from my many years, and likely lifetimes, of codependency. 

I listen in earnest to the views of my community however I know that no amount of pressure from the outside can change people. Change must come from within a person. For me, that involves connecting with the dreams of my inner child. I continually use my inner heart connection, and more regularly prayer as my guide. I tend to make a lot of messes, and have been called heavy handed- mainly by my family. However, my circling of self, with all aspects held up to questioning has always led me back to remember my youth. Particularly my younger self’s dream to become a ballet dancer.

My niece had her 5th birthday coming up back in May when the idea was shared by my sister-in-law. “Jenesis wants to take ballet, but everything is closed, and unaffordable” she told me. I have danced and studied classical Ballet for over 20 years. To think that my angel of a niece has just happened to escape the super exclusive world of a formal ballet class was my call to action. 

I never danced professionally, and usually was led to slack off and avoid my otherwise unaffordable dance classes that my Grandpa generously paid for. The reason? I felt inadequate and primarily alone. I was regularly told by dance teachers that I would never dance professionally. I was the only Black student in all but a few semesters of class. My peers at the time were from affluent families and were usually able to take up to 5 classes a week. 

The tender touch came for me when I decided in college to continue with ballet. Each semester, I allowed for a portion of my small scholarship to go towards a drawing and a ballet class. I am so happy I chose to invest in the things that I loved. I am now developing a Virtual Ballet project. I feel that every challenge faced with integrity, heart, and all the dancing in front of the mirror necessary, is valuable- and ultimately nourishing to the soul.

LAPS has made its way into my life, just when I needed it the most. My body is my vessel for creative expression, and I feel that each tender touch I give to myself, empowers me to spread so much more gentleness into the world. For this, I am grateful.