“What are you afraid of? Are you afraid to love yourself?”

Her brown eyes even and direct stared back into the windows of my soul. Her words pierced me in the center of my being. I opened my mouth and couldn’t find a word to defend myself. I’ve started wondering how StrawberryPropaganda really came about and the ventures of my life that have led me to this quest of understanding and sharing love.

I suppose a certain part of myself is afraid to love myself full stop, which is why I have come to rely on other people to fill that void. I pass out tokens of love to give my hands something to do during events, to create conversations that perpetuate love and progress. We all have a bit of social anxiety, mine stems from a place of “not good enough” where I’ve put myself in situations to hear these statements of shame and believe them.

The more people I meet in LA, the more I realize most people are just barely holding on. The illusion is that we are all successful, while none of us are really comfortable. Maybe that’s what has happened with these strawberries I created. The illusion is Love. I play the part so that I can pass love onto others, while storing my secrets in my back pockets. I don’t want others to know the patterns that I get myself in, based on my fear of self love. I’ve broken out of this pattern before and I remember the freedom that accompanied this acceptance. I yearn for the day my van broke down, the sense of independence and knowledge that no matter what I would be okay. I still walk through that memory as a crowning glory, even though I remember how broken I felt. That is nothing compared to the strings and web I’ve caught myself in.

Friday night, I met a girl who claimed as her title “pleasure facilitator”. She was one of those people who had a glow about her, so strongly in a state of being I realized my own fear immediately, it was a reminder that I’m not where I want to be yet. I must release my baggage and throw caution to the wind. This is the only way I can succumb to my wildest dreams. I must be to the best of my ability, remaining true to myself and not fearing this path to myself. When do I feel most alive? What makes me move even when a seeming fate is set against me? My art moves me further than I’ve ever been capable of going. This being I call PinkRiches that when I explain it people might think I’m crazy. PinkRiches isn’t me, it’s this entity that is bigger than one person can encompass. It’s the artist that I look up to, an ideal that I haven’t achieved, though I’ve tasted it.

But what is directly in front of me? Am I able to cut these ties to live fearlessly? I’m encumbered by people who want to help me, who end up owing me for the things I’ve given as a result to their promises. I’m in a love debt that has directly given me insight into an addiction of sorts. I am drawn to people who claim love. Who approach and are drawn into my PinkRiches fold because they so desperately want to feel it too. In this city of Angels where everyone is living proof of the illusion of success, I am stuck on a lifeboat, held together by duct tape placed by friends who believe in me, standing by as I make mistake after mistake.

I have dug my hole. I see the grey area that I saw and jumped thinking I would be strong enough this time to stay the course. I’ve jumped hurdles bigger than this and yet I’m pausing. I’m taking on responsibility that isn’t my own because I’m more afraid to love myself than other people. And sometime it takes someone who doesn’t know your whole story cover to cover to look directly in your eyes and speak a truth that nobody else can say in just that way.

I am not PinkRiches, I am Bethany and I am addicted to love. One step at a time is an ease that I’ve stubbornly claimed through my existence and I’m flowing back into that place. A rebuild is necessary and I know without a doubt will lead me to more truth, good and bad, which will enable me to become PinkRiches once more. All it takes is releasing the fear to love myself. Sounds easy, right? Thankfully I have some amazing people on my side, leading my duct taped life boat to shore. Thank you to all my heros and thank you for loving me always.