September 3rd, 2014 Posted in My Writing | No Comments »

Merman by Betty Leigh Verbeke


to the man I met on land

who asked me out for a swim…


we drove to the coast & shed our clothes

we walked naked into the ocean

eyes open & arms wide

letting the sea swallow us whole


we willingly sank to the bottom, unafraid

we danced with the clams & let the salt water fill our lungs full

we grew gills & held hands,

exploring the dark unknown together


we laughed

we played hide & seek in the coral reefs

we sprouted scaled tails & you braided my hair with seaweed


we had no definite plans for the future & we had endless time

yet somehow, anticipation found us there at the bottom of the ocean


maybe it was the shimmer of that sailboat you spotted

or maybe it was the memory of sunshine between our toes,

either way, we decided to surface again


once back on land, our gills disappeared & our tails split at their ends

oxygen refilled our lungs & it was a pleasurable burn

our fingers unfurled from one another & we took separate paths off the shore

gaze now focused anew on the city,

no longer lost in our sweet adventure through the depths of the sea


today, visiting the beach is a different kind of fun

the friends I bring like to splash and play chase the waves

without words, “it’s too risky to dive deep,” is what we say to each other

instead we build sandcastles & smile

we let the sun shine between our toes


but when I dream, I repeatedly swim back into the coral caverns, seeking my hiding Merman

the memory allows me to hear the bubbles we made while laughing

when I awake, I find salt in my ears & dried seaweed braided in my hair


I wonder if one day I will find another man who likes to dance with the clams



Art #66

September 2nd, 2014 Posted in My Art | No Comments »

Saturday (8/30/14) I hiked Twin/Sculpture/Hidden Falls.

It’s a few miles of what used to be rushing waterfalls in Southwest Austin.

An extension of Barton Creek Greenbelt.

Don’t get me wrong, even though it’s basically dry, it’s still an absolute gorgeous hike.

I got “lost” for a few hours (2p-6p), just wandering around.

Laying down in the shade or sun.

Listening to the wind, my breath, the leaves, and the phantom waterfalls.

I hiked probably close to 12 miles.

& I took my sketch book with me as my companion.

Art #65

September 2nd, 2014 Posted in My Art | No Comments »

Art #64

September 2nd, 2014 Posted in My Art | No Comments »

Art #63

September 2nd, 2014 Posted in My Art | No Comments »

Dreaming of change .. & the Peace Corps! <3


Run-On Sentences – AKA – My Life Right Now

August 27th, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »

Time for an update in the world of Betty Leigh Verbeke!  (:  Get ready for some longgg run-on sentences.  Haha.  Yeahhhh.  Thought-streaming is what this is.  Enjoy!

1.             I’ve been living at my new place for a little over a month now and completely love it.  My roommate is super chill and easy to live with.  He is clean and has a great sense of humor and has introduced me to some fantastic music.  We are really comfortable with each other & it feels like we have be living together for much longer than we really have.  We both run different and busy schedules which allows us to have our time alone when we need it.  I really appreciate that.  This last weekend, I finally finished hanging up all of the art in the new place and now it feels even more like my home.  I’m still wanting to buy curtains and a new duvet comforter set, but those will surely come over the next few weeks.

2.            I haven’t heard anything back from the Peace Corps application yet.  I have tried to contact their recruiting office in Dallas 3 times now, but I have been disconnected every time, so I feel like I should let things unfold naturally.  I know the Universe is taking care of me, so I’ll just let it roll this Peace Corps thought around in its mouth for however long it wants to savor the idea.  (:  What I find a tad concerning is that my friend who has been a paramedic for a few years was denied his application because he doesn’t have a 4-year degree.  I also do not have a 4-year degree, instead I have 4 years of college with 2 unfinished degrees.  HAH.  And for now, I don’t plan on going back to school because (after many in-depth conversations with multiple people) I still don’t see the point in spending a bunch of time and money for some temporary knowledge to pass some tests to earn a fancy piece of paper to put in a frame to hang on a wall if I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do with my life and if I will even need that piece of paper to get where I want to go.  Actually, I probably do need it, but I’ll figure that out later.  Right now it’s just a back-burner idea while I live my life in the present.

3.            It’s been over 4 months since my ex and I broke up and about 6 weeks since we’ve seen each other and I truthfully want to say that everything has healed and I’ve moved on and I hope he has done the same.. and I suppose, for the most part, I can truthfully say that.. but I also sometimes catch myself lost in sweet memories of “us” and it makes me feel like I have cotton filling my chest cavity like a child’s favorite stuffed animal that they squeeze too tight when they are in bed alone at night in the dark and I have to learn how to breathe through it.  So there’s that.  Also, on Sept. 2nd it will be exactly one year from the day I met him.  That blows my mind that I fell in love so deep and so fast and it feels like it lasted so long but not nearly long enough and we made such a connection that his ghost rests in my bones with the rest of my past’s spirits.  Ohhh deep love, you’re such a wonderful thing.  I can’t wait to find you again.

4.            I celebrated my one-year anniversary on July 24th of quitting a terrible habit and dealing with the ups and downs of reality appropriately instead of taking it out on my body with guilt and self-loathing.  Yikes, that sounds really terrible.. So to be black and white about it, I stopped eating my emotions and then vomiting them back up.  (Wow.  That too sounds kind of terrible, but it also feels really freeing and terrifying to admit on my public blog when I know there are probs going to be people reading this who know me but don’t know this about me.  So.. Surprise!  I’ve dealt with some heavy shit and I overcame it because I’m a badass!  Haha.)

5.            In the same food-related-realm as the previous paragraph, after the last 3 years of being vegan, I started eating non-vegan things on occasion and I’m deciding not to feel guilty about it.  For the most part.  I suppose part of ridding myself of that guilt is being open about it.  In short, sometimes I crave fish or eggs, so I go get sushi or a breakfast taco every now and then and I enjoy it.  It’s my conscious decision and I know by doing so I am putting my taste buds above my morals and I am probably supporting a terrible industry that is abusing animals and destroying ecosystems.  But maybe all the restaurants I go to in Austin are awesome and don’t purchase from such horrid corporations?  Eehh, maybe some, but def not all of them.. quick, someone call the Vegan Police!

6.            I went to my first ever Quidditch Tournament and really really enjoyed it!  I met some awesome people and animals.  (:  I loved seeing the friendly competition and incredible athleticism and agility and skill and determination and shit-talking and strength and stamina and yeah! (Growing up with 10 years of dance, I didn’t have this.  Though I do appreciate dance and what it did for me, I wish I would have participated in sports instead.  Aah, maybe in the next life?)  Everyone I met was open and chill and hearing the people on the side-lines talk was extremely entertaining.  Esp listening to the older couples (I’m assuming parents of the players) debate over the game and explain the rules to each other.  Haha, I think I could explain it to anyone at this point & I never even finished the Harry Potter series.  Shhhh, don’t tell anyone!

7.            I’ve been seeing a lot of improv at the Hideout Theatre I’m seriously impressed with these talented actors who off-the-cuff make up great shows.

8.            I went to the Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival for the second year.  If you know me, you know I LOVE SPICY FOODS.  This year it was only 104 outside instead of 112 like last year, & those few degrees made a huge difference. I went with Jeff and Renee and some of their friends and we tried probably over 60 hot sauces. Our last line to walk through was deemed the “Line o’ Death” and oh my goodness some of those were dangerously spicy.  I’m surprised I didn’t get a chemical burn on my tongue from trying so many, but I did get a nice little endorphin high!  Haha.

9.            I curled by hair again!  I’m still kind of in after-shock because it’s a few inches shorter and REALLY CURLY and I don’t really know how to handle it, but it’s growing on me.  Literally.  Hah.  I remember loving it last time I did it and this time I really wanted to curl it because I was in a “I need to change everything in my life as much as possible” mode and now I’m not so sure I would have made the choice if I would have waited a little longer, but I’m beautiful either way, so whatever.  Haha.  Did you know Humility is my middle name?  :P

10.         I started running again!  Exercise releases the most wonderful endorphins into your brain!  Yeah, it’s a fact.  Science.  FTW!  Haha.  :b  Anddd runner’s high is easily the best high.  After a run, I not only feel better about myself and am proud of myself, I also get a fuzzy-coated-synapse-feeling that is quasi-orgasmic.  I’ve been running 4-5 days a week for the last 4 (going on 5!) weeks!  Oh, and there is the bonus of losing weight and gaining muscle too.

11.         Another ritual I’ve been committed to the last 5 weeks is attending the Austin Poetry Slam every Tuesday like I used to (it’s crazy to think I’ve been going to this on and off since like 2010/2011ish).  But oh my good feels, talk about a fuzzy-coated-synapse-feeling!  The everything that comes seeing and hearing absolute raw beautiful truth gut-twisting honest heart-wrenching secrets being shared in an intimate setting with talent and strength and vulnerability brings me to tears literally every fucking time.  Unfff, I can’t get enough!  Those wordsmiths know how to tell it & they tell it so fucking good.  If you’ve never been, please please please go and give yourself that experience.  Tuesdays, 8:30p, Spiderhouse Ballroom.  I hope I see you there.  I might even buy you a drink.  (:

12.         I’m journaling all. the. time. Whether it’s art or poetry or just thoughts or scribbles or blog posts that I don’t post or blog posts that I do post or whatever, I’m doing it.  This self-expression thing is a great way to.. well, express myself.  Haha.  I digg it!

13.         && on that tangent of self-expression above, I’m slowly but surely gaining my independence and confidence again to tackle the world head on and on my own.  It’s surprisingly easy to live a sub life, but I used to be a dom & I’m rebuilding that idea in a different way now and I like how things are turning out.  I’m getting to be more and more balanced & so is my life.  Thanks Science/Universe/Mama Nature/Higher Power/Insert-Name-Here for this life and how it’s unfolding absolutely perfectly!  <3

14.         Idk if he would approve of me using his name, so.. I’ve been hanging out with my friend for a few months now, and I am really enjoying it.  Like, more than a lot.  (:  I think that we connect really well on some levels and that we are going through similar situations and can empathize with each other and have fairly mutual thoughts on what is happening and enjoying each other and sharing each other and I am grateful and happy and feel pretty fulfilled that I have that with him and I am hoping/guessing he would say the same.  Plus, the laughing and good looks and sweetness and orgasms and silliness and fun adventures and spoiling and differences in our personalities and being ourselves and being comfortable and feeling understood and open and vulnerable and and and etc. etc. etc.  Yeahh, the list keeps going and it’s all pretty fucking great.

15.         I’ve been catching up with and chillin’ with different new and old friends and with my family because I have had some more free time and have given myself a very engaging and diverse social life since my ex and I split ways and I feel pretty satiated and fulfilled outside of the workplace and that feels phenomenal.  <3  Making new male friends has been somewhat interesting though because I am a very open person and can connect with just about anybody and enjoy connecting with just about anybody, but some can take that as me wanting to connect on a different type of level.  And yes, I know that I am a sexually driven person and technically I am not in a committed relationship, so I am open to connect with people on that level, but I don’t necessarily want to at this point in time unless it feels right.  Did you read #14, the paragraph before this one?  Haha.  Anyway, I guess I’m saying I’m finding it difficult to define boundaries and lines with new friends when I do my best to go into all interactions with love and openness.  It’s like there has to be an awkward moment where clarity is made..  For some reason I feel like that shouldn’t have to happen, but maybe it does?  I am not really sure how to do this yet – clarify things with people.  The sentence I try to form in my mouth is something like “I just want to be a platonic friend with you right now, but that isn’t necessarily how I will always feel as I get to know you more” and that sounds so weird, so I never end up saying it.  But I’m learning.  I’d like to talk about this topic more with people so I can get different opinions and input besides the most common “well maybe you just shouldn’t hang out with them if it’s so awkward” because that isn’t the answer I’m looking for.

16.         Back to speaking of the workplace and tossing in some awkwardness, things are good at the law office, but have been a tad bit “off” lately.  Idk how to explain it, but I feel like the air is different and the vibes have changed.  I understand that totally happens naturally over time, but lately it’s been kind of forced and yeah..  Maybe it’ll clear?  Either way, I am about to celebrate my one-year anniversary at the office on Sept. 16th, so that’s cool!

Okk, I think this incredibly long post covers basically everything that’s been happening as of late.  It does feel really good to do an overview like this.  It’s eye-opening and I have a deeper appreciation and understanding for my experiences when I relay them like this.  You should try it.  (:  & if you read through all of it, thanks for reading!  I love you!  <3 <3 <3


August 11th, 2014 Posted in Photos Of Me | No Comments »

finalllyyy cut & curls <3

Art #54-62?

July 14th, 2014 Posted in My Art | 1 Comment »

wow, I haven’t posted any art on my blog since November 2012.

what’s in this post in no way sums up all of the art I have created between then & now, but it’s a start.

& I’m pretty sure they are in chronological order.



#54 – wall art I made for my room when I first moved into my apartment, July 2013 – I used cardboard & paint – the font was found in Microsoft Word & blown-up, and the lips are a blown-up version of my own kiss print (see #59).


#55 – from my sketchbook – a reminder to focus on myself because happiness comes from within – I used multiple pens.


#56 – from my sketchbook – when I was overwhelmed with love for my boyfriend at the time – I used multiple pens.


#57 – a sketch I made after me & said boyfriend parted ways – made with ballpoint pens & the back of a SoLD worksheet.


#58 – I didn’t create this one – it’s a beautiful piece I purchased from my friend Emily.


#59 – another reminder to myself – I used the back of SoLD worksheet, my kiss print with lipstick, and ballpoint pen.


#60-62 – this is actually one of my favs that I’ve made for someone else – my friend Kaitlin is having a little boy named Silas Orion Colby and her baby shower was this last weekend – when I was going through her registry on, I saw a little owl poster that was cute, but I thought I could re-create my own version that would be personalized for Silas – I made up an owl design and used an old map book & some paint, but the awesome part is that in the center of each owl beak is a town with part of the baby’s name – the red is “Silas” (AL), the green is “Orion” (MI), and the orange-brown is “Colby” (WI).



Application Sent!

July 1st, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »




Yes, you read that correctly, the PEACE CORPS!


Lately, I have been wanting a change.  NEEDING change.


I have been wanting to be a volunteer for the Peace Corps ever since I started canvassing with Texas Campaign for the Environment in 2012.


So, I did it.  I submitted my application.


I got a follow-up email stating I would get another email in which I have to fill out my health history information, then everything would be complete.


Oh my gosh, I am so excited!!!!!


It’s possible that this time next year I could be helping a community somewhere across the globe!


<3 <3 <3


Also, I start my new Bikram yoga class tonight!  Hooray for change!  :D

Quarter-Life Crisis?

June 24th, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »


Oh hey, it’s been a while…

And I’m going through some changes.

I guess we all change a little every day, don’t we?




TMI interjection – I’m pms-ing and emotional as fuck, which started this whole post to begin with, which may turn into a ranting-melodramatic-blah-whatever-post…  Buckle your seat-belts boys & girls – you’re in for a long one.  Hah.

So, on that note, let’s ramp up these mixed emotions & start with some gratitude:


I am so very grateful for my family & my friends!  I feel like I can’t see them enough & can’t say “I love you” enough!  <3 <3

I am grateful for my job, which is super easy and pays very well.  I am grateful I work around a group of people who appreciate me and we all get along (not like I didn’t have this in my other jobs, but still, it’s really nice to have).

I am so grateful for my little car.  She is so good to me.  (:

I am so grateful I am financially independent and sound.  I am grateful that I am able to pay double rent (last month at the old place and first month at the new place) and it doesn’t put me in a hole.  I am so grateful I have never missed or been late on a payment to any credit card/rent/bill/bank/etc.  I am so grateful I have a savings account.  I am so very grateful I bought myself Invisalign!!  I am so grateful I never worry about if I can afford food or gas.  I am so grateful I am being a fairly responsible adult.

I am so mother-fucking grateful I am about to move into a townhouse closer to the heart of downtown and close to all the places I frequent and out of the fucking east side and with a cool new roommate who seems super chill and is easy to get along with.  I am so grateful I am going to be living with someone again.  I love the contrast of living alone sometimes and living with people other times.  I am so grateful for contrast and how quickly life changes.

I am so fucking grateful for intimacy and orgasms.  And sex puns. :P

I am so grateful to be inspired by myself and by others.  I am surrounded by so many talented and thriving people and it inspires me to do so much with my life!  Literally, as I typed that last sentence, my eyes started to prick with happy tears and my heart started to race with joy.  I am so grateful for life and all of the possibilities I have and get to witness in others.  I have a drive/pull for more and more and more.  I always want more, to learn more, to create more, to be more, to strive more, to change more, to love more.

I am so grateful that I have CHOICES.  I can choose what I want to eat and wear, what I want to purchase and where I want to work, where I want to go to school, where I want to hang out with friends, where I want to spend time alone.  I am grateful that I can feel proud of most of the choices I make.

I am so grateful that next month is my 1 year victory!  I am so grateful for anniversaries of awesomeness, like I’ll be 3 years vegan in October and 5 years cigarette free in December!  I am so proud of myself for these accomplishments!

I am so grateful for self-love.  You need to love yourself first before you can know how to love someone else fully.

I am so grateful for reflection.  Looking over my past – the places I’ve worked, the friends I’ve made, the people I’ve dated, the places I’ve been, the drugs I’ve done.. I can’t change any of it, and honestly I wouldn’t because all of together it makes me exactly who I am today and I am happy to be me. (:


So this is where the questions of “who the fuck am I at the core?” and “what the fuck am I doing with my life?” come in..

Hahaha, yep.


Like I mentioned above, I have this drive/pull to do more, but what do I want to do?  I have so many interests and sometimes it seems impossible to pick a career out of them.  Which is why I have two unfinished degrees in Architectural Engineering and International Business.. And now I kind of want to go back to school, but I don’t know 100% what I want to go back to school for.

Job wise, I want to go back into nonprofit work because it was SO FULFILLING and it kept me active – mind & body.  (I don’t like sitting at a desk and behind a computer all day – I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life & I literally can’t or I will go insane.)  I want to focus again on the environment and human rights through some type of nonprofit work.  I am still very politically active and want that to be more of my job in general and not just something I do in the down-time at my current job.  But I want to keep my current salary so that I can keep my current worry-free lifestyle.  And unfortunately, I know that I would not have the same money flowing with nonprofit work.. not with the canvasser lifestyle anyway.  And I know that I got super burnt out on canvassing, so I don’t think I want to do that type of non-profit work again.  What are my options?! Tell me!

Also job wise, I want to focus on fitness/nutrition.  This has always been a HUGE part of my life.  I eat healthy and get in shape, then I get out of shape by being lazy and binging on emotions.  I spent the last year overcoming a major battle that I have been fighting for years and I am SO PROUD of myself for this, but I still have a long way to go and I feel like if I focused on this for my career/school that it would instill my ideals and my personal accomplishments even further into my lifestyle and heart.  Maybe it doesn’t have to be my career, but I would love for it to be!  I want to share my accomplishments with others who need the motivation to get to wherever they want to be.

Honestly though, I really want to just get the fuck out of Austin, but then again, I don’t want to leave this great city.  I don’t know if that means that I need to travel more or what…  I love the city, the people, my friends, my family, everything.  But I also want to go SO BADLY.  I want to get a job in a different part of the world.  I want to travel all over the world.  I want to go to school in a different part of the world.  I want to get out, but still have the comfort of home.  I want a permanent apt/house in central Austin, and be able to leave for months at a time knowing that everything will still be there when I get back.  And I want to have the time/resources to create too – I want to be able to express myself through art and writing and dance and any other outlet that tickles my fancy.  I want bookoos of cash and endless hours so that I can do all of this effortlessly!  …  I guess you have to play the lottery to win, huh?


Bah, back to reality – should I go back to school for nonprofit management and/or personal fitness and/or nutrition?  I think that would be the ULTIMATE career – working part-time at a nonprofit for human rights and/or environmental justice and part-time as a personal fitness/nutrition trainer.  Can this be my little niche in the world?! THIS IS AN ATTAINABLE GOAL, RIGHT? .. I suppose anything is an attainable goal if you want it bad enough and are willing to put in the effort..

But then my head proceeds to flip out on money – “you just signed a new lease!, do you really want to have to pay back school loans?, what about FAFSA?, do you make too much money now to qualify for grants?, what about scholarships?, what school year should I apply for – fall 2015?, do you even need to go back to school to be able to reach your career goals?!?!” …

Then my heart jumps into my throat – “OMG, are you really going to do this?!, are you sure this is what you really want?!, I guess you don’t know until you try – right?!, but what if you just end up wasting time & money like the last 2 times you tried to go to college?!, again – are you sure you need college to reach your career goals?!, and again – are you sure this is what you want?!, UGHHHH – but I don’t want to spend the rest of my life behind a fucking desk and computer – no matter how good the pay is – my soul won’t be fulfilled with any type of basic administrative job!”

And then the break down beings –


WTF do I want to do with my life?!

Is this current idea I have for a career/college change what I truly need/want?!

How do I even get started in making the change, or any change?!

How do I answer these possibly rhetorical and inner-personal-growth questions?!




Breathe.  Damnit.  I am so grateful for breath.  <3