Cinnamon Girl is a column introducing the staff and support who help run the magazine, featuring a series of profiles on the people who are helping bring this project to life — aka your chance to get to know the early members of this blossoming collective. The title is an homage to the Neil Young song, but we’ll update it for boys, non-binary and all other preferred gender presentations.
1. Hi, what’s your name?
2. How are you involved in Cinnamon?
I edit the editor (Caitlin).
3. Wow, what a cool talent! When did you first get interested in that?
Back in 2011. Very Bloggy Times. I was hired as a staff writer at an online publication and expected to publish multiple times a day. I managed to do that for a while, but it wasn’t sustainable. So to get away with writing less, I “volunteered” to handle our slush pile. I’ve been editing ever since. I still love writing, but I prefer to work behind the scenes in general.
4. Can you tell me about the food and drink you like to put into your body?
I’m sort of whatever about food; there’s not much I don’t like, and there’s not much I crave. I guess I like pickled things. Greek food. I also love candy but I’m conspiratorial about added sugar and try not to eat it, so that’s a journey. I eat a shitload of natural fruit leather. And I live for drinks; I usually have more drinks in my fridge than food. Love La Croix. Love Spindrift. Love a thick ass juice. Orange wine is good.
5. Can you tell me about the kind of art and literature you like to put into your brain?
I’m an information hoarder so I’m big on documentaries, podcasts. Reading-wise, I like pop psychology, history, a certain kind of self improvement. I’ve been studying astrology for the past few months, so most everything I’ve been reading is about that, or mythology, or other metaphysical stuff. I listen to a million podcasts; that’s how I get the news, but I also heavily fuck with true crime. The genre seems to be shifting from physical violence to psychological violence, which I appreciate — as a culture we’re not great at recognizing the damage people can do with words alone. I also listen to podcasts about creativity, science, history, astrology, healing.
6. How do you like to care for yourself?
I have a hot/cold relationship with Co-Star (one of the five astrology apps I use), but occasionally it hits me with the right string of words. One that really resonates is (paraphrasing), “loneliness is a good reason to pick up a book.” I have never regretted taking that suggestion. I also go to therapy weekly, even when (or especially when) I don’t feel like I need it. I’m bad at forming habits, but I’ve realized being accountable to someone motivates me to follow through — whereas simply doing something for my own good does not — so I think it’s helpful to have someone to show up for. Finally, I try to be honest about what I do and don’t want to do with my free time, instead of allowing FOMO or guilt to make the decision for me. Basically I try not to betray myself, to mixed results.
7. In your dream world, how would you spend the majority of your time?
Writing, practicing astrology, making music, dancing.
8. Tell me about a living creature you’ve had a lot of love for that wasn’t a human, or about your favorite plant.
I have two cats, Minou and Meadow. I adopted them from Luxe Paws, a mobile non-profit in LA that traps stray cats, patches them up, and places them in foster homes until someone wants to make it official. They are weird, smart, strong, flawless cats and they generate most of my warm feelings.
9. Speaking of the L word, what does love mean to you?
Earlier this year I read a book called Love by Leo Buscaglia, and in it he suggests that one way to take the action of love is making a commitment to growth — to pursuing your own personal growth, but also to supporting others as they pursue theirs (mostly, by not interfering and by reserving judgment for how things should be done and at what pace — our journeys are ours alone, and vice versa).
Buscaglia writes: “As soon as the love relationship does not lead me to me, as soon as I in a love relationship do not lead another person to himself, this love, even if it seems to be the most secure and ecstatic attachment I have ever experienced, is not true love. For real love is dedicated to a continual becoming.” He’s speaking specifically of love relationships there, but the book is about the Universal Love, and the fact that we can (and should strive to) approach every human this way — even if they don’t like us, even if we don’t like them — because we can’t love ourselves if we hate things about other people. We are other people. The impulses, compulsions, and insecurities that drive us insane in others — we have some version of them, ourselves, whether we’re conscious of it or not, and as long as we reject them in other people we won’t accept them in ourselves. And we have to find a way to, because this isn’t one of those problems that time will take care of (unless you consider death a solution).
I am in no way close to living this ideal. Only in the last year did I start to realize that my wounds don’t directly map to the huge, objectively traumatic events in my life, the ones I’ve mulled and processed; rather, the wounds I have yet to heal are a collection of smaller disappointments and hurts that have consistently reinforced the negative programming formed in my brain before I knew what was what. Knowing this alone is not a fast-track to Universal Love, though. I don’t think there’s a flip you switch where you suddenly see yourself — and everyone else — as equal cogs on the wheel of humanity, each of us here to learn different lessons, express consciousness in unique and specific ways, each of us having a place and a role on this earth that does not threaten or invalidate our own or anyone else’s. Embodying this is a process I am very much still discovering. It’s having those knee-jerk emotional responses — I’m not sure they ever go away, or that they’re supposed to — and, instead of writing people off or shitting on them, reflecting on what is making you, specifically, respond (since we don’t respond to all flaws and slights equally). Ideally this is followed by compassion for your wounds and theirs — at some point. For reference, it usually takes me two or three days to get objective again, to understand that people are not wrong when they don’t meet my expectations. I’m hoping the window shrinks with practice.
10. What were you like when you were a little kid?
Tall, goofy, shy, boy crazy. I loved to sing and jump double-dutch. The big story about my childhood is that, when I was 10, I stole like… 100 books from the YA section of my local library. So I guess I was also a nerd and a thief.
11. Where do you live now and why did that place call out to you?
I moved from Brooklyn, where I was born and raised, to LA four years ago. I don’t think any one particular thing brought me here, I just liked its energy, and my energy in it. I used to have fantasies about moving to California when I was younger, because I lived for Dawn of The Baby-Sitters Club, but I’m pretty sure she lived in Santa Barbara or something like that.
12. Tell me about your personal style and how dressing your body is part of your life.
I love shopping and clothes, hate getting dressed. I like “effortless” earth-y style, but I also love loud ass colors and prints. Just one of many Virgo Sun/Gemini Rising contradictions I battle daily.
13. Tell me about a record that changed your life.
Mariah Carey’s Daydream. It was my first CD. My parents got it for me for Christmas, although I’m not sure why, because I’d never heard one Mariah Carey song before that, and she seemed like she was for old people (Tommy’s influence). I guess it was just meaningful because it was the first album that belonged to me and not my parents (though they have fantastic taste in music, and I tend to prefer the music of their youth over mine). I did listen to Daydream a lot, though. I remember singing “One Sweet Day” at my after school’s talent show — or at least, I remember someone singing it. It was over 20 years ago. I went to the YMCA for camp and after-school all through elementary and that was where I was most exposed to radio music, mostly hip-hop and R&B (shout out to Hot 97.1).
We were always singing and dancing, putting on shows. Unrelated, but Biggie Smalls’ mom was the receptionist at the YMCA, his daughter was in the Pre-K program, and her mom (his ex) was my counselor; she helped my group pick a song, choreograph, and practice. I didn’t know who any of these people were at the time, though; I learned our receptionist was his mom when she went to the 1999 VMAs with Tupac’s mom, and I found out about my counselor by watching a VH1 documentary a year or two later. Apparently Puff Daddy went to my YMCA to see his “niece” graduate from the Pre-K program, but I had just moved away so I missed it. I was heated.
14. Tell me about a person you admire with your whole heart.
I’m obsessed with astrologer and energy worker Danielle Ayoka. I quit Twitter a year ago, but I still check her feed manually because I love the community of healing she’s building, and her insights are as blunt as they are insightful. She’s probably best known for her savage reading of the signs, but she also does remote energy healing; I’ve been a client for a few months now. I’ve watched her create new ways to serve her community; she’s constantly leveling up and I’m rooting for her hard.
15. Tell me about a time you showed resilience and grace, even if it was tough.
I can’t think of a time that I have the emotional bandwidth to talk about right now, to be honest! In the interest of self-care, I’ll just say that I think resilience is just as important in the everyday as it is in times of tumult.
16. Who is your favorite rapper? (Oh yeah? Name five of their albums! JK, continue.)
17. What is the best skincare or makeup item you’ve ever encountered?
L’oreal’s Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream (Anti-Redness). I highly recommend it if your skin trends red and uneven like mine does.
18. What is your favorite place to visit?
Provincetown on the east coast, Joshua Tree or Big Sur on the west coast.
19. Who in your family are you the most like or closest to? (If it’s no one, pick someone else relationally close and describe why you’re similar or have a close relationship.)
My little sister and I have pretty different personalities and lives, but we have a very intuitive and chill relationship; I think we can be exactly ourselves with each other, and whenever I find myself letting loose with someone the way I can with her, I know they’re a keeper. I don’t ever worry about being misunderstood by her.
20. Is there life on Mars?