Everything I believed, and put on myself, about life, kept me from embracing the journey of getting to the beautiful parts. The true magic. But on the other hand, it was those experiences and my outlook that make me feel wholeheartedly grateful for where my life has come from and where it is going.
Hi friends! It’s been a while. I’ve missed you, and you might have wondered where in the heck I’ve gone (or even if this blog still exists? It does, thankfully). Or, you’ve been keeping up on Instagram and slowly seeing this progression of my life unfold. That’s cool too.
I’ve been on the craziest ride this past year which required stepping back from this space, but all along keeping my blog and this social media life in the back of my mind. I want to grow it, I want to nurture it, and I want to continue where I’ve left off. But to get there, I think it’s only fair to backtrack and bring you in on a bit of my life lately.
I also want to preface this by saying if you’re dealing with mental health and illness, I believe in you. It can get better. Life can change in the blink of an eye. Keep doing the best you can, and I’m sending all my love.
A little over a year ago now, I decided to take my life into my own hands for truly the first time ever. And I haven’t looked back since. I had the most incredible childhood. I really did. With the most loving parents and family supporting me. But I also had severe digestive issues and mental health setbacks. I remember going through my first full blown episode of depression (though there were times much earlier) at the age of 13. I felt worse than ever, crying all the time, and even scarier feeling completely and utterly empty. I tried to explain it away with hormones, boy problems, anything I could think of. Then one day, I woke up, and it was gone. Must have just been a phase, a teenage moment, I thought.
It came back to visit when I was 15, 17, and then throughout my early twenties (I’m 25 now). Along with that, I also dealt with daily, and pretty severe, anxiety. Combine it with my extremely shy nature and it just became a recipe for disaster. But on an even deeper level, I always put this enormous pressure on myself. I believed that I had to be perfect, and that I had to get it all right, rather than just learn as I go. I was so afraid to fail that most times I wouldn’t even try. Still to this day, I can’t tell you exactly how that started or where it comes from, but it was there for as long as I can remember. The guilt that I wasn’t amounting to enough or being my best has always existed.
Yet, I grew up. I traveled the world with my family, had a long-term relationship, made lifelong friends, and did my best to make it all work. But these spells kept happening, my depressive episodes kept coming, my food issues kept getting worse, my anxiety became paralyzing. It all came to a head almost two years ago. I was sitting at my desk when all of a sudden I had the worst panic attack of my life; I couldn’t see or breathe, and couldn’t stand. After the worst of it passed, I called my mom. She got me into bed and for the next couple hours I just cried and cried. For the first time, I looked at myself honestly and knew that this wasn’t a way to live anymore. Although I could think that, I wasn’t doing anything about it. So, my mom stood at the door to my room, and yelled at me through her own tears that I needed help. Real, actual help. She called a psychologist and pestered them until they got me in for the next week. I’ll never forget her face then. We both just looked at each other, defeated. I knew something had to change. I looked at my life and saw that what was happening to me was destroying me, and that it wasn’t too late, but it was getting there.
That day I decided to start to take control of my health, my life, and my journey. I started going to the psychologist and seeing a therapist multiple times a week. At the same time, one of my best friends, Maddie, was taking a semester off university and planning to move to Amsterdam at the end of the year. She’d seen first hand my mental health deteriorating, and she suggested I come, rent an apartment, and stay for a while. At that point, I was scared to call and order food over the phone and I had hardly left the house in months, so how in the world was I going to travel across the world and live by myself? But before I could talk myself out of it, she made me book the flight. A few weeks later, me and my dog Charlotte hopped on a plane to the Netherlands.
I think there’s something about space, and time, and quietness, that gives you clarity. During the week, Maddie worked as an au pair, which meant that I was completely on my own Monday through Friday. I’d spend my days walking. Dogs are healing beings and Charlotte was (and is!) my lifeline. She’d pull me down new roads when all I wanted to do was stay within our little block of comfort. She became friends with the ducks in the river, and I constructed my day around what trek we’d take for our new adventures. Amsterdam in January/February is an icy cold place, but there was something about that whipping wind on my skin that made me feel alive. My therapist encouraged me to sit on a bench overlooking the water each day and just embrace the moment. Slowly, over this month, I began to find myself. But along with that, I learned that I had a lot of letting go to do. I built these safety walls around myself that were no longer serving me, and it was time to move on. It was during this time that I had the realization that if I could just let go of who I thought I needed to be, I might actually make space for who I truly am.
The month in Amsterdam came to a close, and I knew what I had to do. But, I also needed to know where I was going next. On the last day there, after finishing packing, I began to type into google, “yoga teacher training.” It was something that was always in the back of my mind but that I never had “enough time” to do. I’d committed myself to giving a whole year to my self-care. To find my roots and foundation that I could always return to when I began getting sick. As I pressed enter, honestly at the exact same moment, Maddie texted me with a link to the yoga teacher training in our area that I’d known about but never applied for. She had gotten the email that they were opening up spots for their teacher training to start in a couple weeks. I took it as a sign, and through shaky hands, signed up.
I returned home with this newfound energy, and confidence, that I hadn’t experienced before. I ended things with my boyfriend at the time (who is a great guy, but we were just going down completely different life paths) and started yoga teacher training. Along with YTT, I also got on medication for depression + anxiety, switched to a whole foods diet but didn’t strive for perfectionism within it, started taking supplements and allowing myself to rest when I needed it, and worked less so I could spend more quality time with my friends and family. Life started to fall into place, slowly and with a whole lotta hard work. And along the way, my mood swings were happening less and less, I built a really strong toolbox of things to do when I started feeling down or anxious, understood my mental health and gave it the respect it deserved, and found this light inside that began to burn brighter and brighter. I also learned that JOY could replace me striving for constant happiness because there can be joy even in sorrow, even in dark times, and even in chaos. I found joy this year, and that’s been the most rewarding of all.
“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” -Dumbledore
As my year of project self-care was coming to a close, I began to feel this urge for more. For the next adventure. I’ve always resonated with Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and I love that moment when she runs to the top of the hill and belts, “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere. I want it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand, to have someone understand, I want so much more than they’ve got planned.”
I really believe that you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else, and I was getting there. I want to be real clear that this part of my story isn’t to say that finding a partner in life is the end all be all, or that you should even rely on that or that you have to want that, but for me it became a beautiful, magical part of my story that I love to share.
I knew that I wasn’t going to find someone in a bar, or probably even in the area I lived in, so I did what every millennial does and downloaded Tinder. The funny part is that I decided to pay for the gold subscription (I cringe at myself just typing this), which meant I could search anywhere in the world. I started typing in random places and chatting with random people. Most of it was just funny, and I thought I’d at least get some new friends out of it. Then, on October 21st 2017, I swiped right to my future husband.
The best thing about Matt is that he is such a mix of the kind of guy I’ve always dreamed about and also the kind of guy I never thought I’d be with. He’s my total package and also my biggest surprise. He challenges me in ways I never imagined but also supports me more than anyone. He drives me crazy and makes me cry of happiness over how much I love him. He gives me stability, and is the yin to my yang.
Our relationship is proof to me that love is so much about timing as it is about the person. Matt was randomly driving through Edinburgh at the same time I was typing it in, and we matched. He’d had his own personal setbacks that gave him the freedom to be anywhere at that time, and I’d just let go of the emotional baggage I was carrying with my own heartbreak. We were ready, and the time was right. I wanted a partner in life, and Matt was ready for it as well.
We FaceTimed for hours every day for three weeks until I bought a plane ticket on a whim and flew over to meet him (which is a whole other story in itself). A month later Matt came to the US for three months, then we traveled across Europe for six weeks when he asked me to marry him under the Eiffel Tower in Paris. We got married three months ago on the beach in Florida and we are now split between England and America as we work to get Matt his U.S. Visa.
Life. Am I right? It’s crazy! It’s exhilarating! It’s pure, actual magic. If you would have told me a year ago that I’d be HERE, I would have laughed in your face. At some point along my journey, I’d given up hope that life would become easier for me. And it hasn’t been easy, but it’s become real. I think that’s the best way to describe it. My life flows, and feels natural. It comes with hard work and choices every single day, but I see the other side now. I see all the possibilities, and goodness, and that makes up for all the hard work.
So, that’s where I’ve been. This journey of mine has required my full focus, my undivided attention, and my ability to let go of anything that wasn’t required of me at the time. Oh, and to top it all off, I also finished my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Writing for Film, Television, and Digital Media. I’m patting myself on the back for that one. I also gave back in many ways through service projects and teaching at our local school. I think getting yourself out of your own head is so important, and serving others is hands down the best way to do that and is life-changing in itself.
I look at myself now and see all the success I’ve already accomplished. All the amazing friendships around me, the way my family loves me unconditionally, the new wonderful family I’ve gained in my marriage, all the good I’m trying to do and working towards, and this road less traveled that has changed my life.
This is my story, but I still feel like it’s only the first page. It’s the prologue to the novel that sums up my life. There’s so many chapters yet to be written, and I believe it’s now time I share those chapters as they are written. That’s where I’m heading next.
In the past, I’ve blogged about beauty, fashion, food, and life, which I’ve absolutely loved. But now I want to dig deeper. I don’t want to skim the surface anymore. I want MORE depth and LESS shallows. I want to empower others to live their truth through my own experiences. I want to share the pieces in the toolbox that have given me renewed optimism and hope.
So, I want this to become a place where you can feel safe as can I, where imperfections and failure (I hate even calling it that. Let’s change it to lessons) become celebrated, where we can take that hard-earned journey of self discovery to figure out where the magic of life really is. Everyone has their own, unique path and I want to honor that and help you find your dream life from it. My goal is to create a community of like-minded soul searchers with a passion for living out of the box and not being afraid to risk it all for something better. Or risk it all to recognize that you’re already living in the beauty, you just couldn’t see it before.
I hope this little hub on the internet helps you find ways to cultivate joy in your life whether it’s through a plant-based recipe, or a knitting tutorial, yoga sequence, inspiration through a travel vlog and most importantly posts about moving forward in life, achieving our dreams, and finding contentment. I also believe that self-care involves aligning your belief system up with your core values, so I’m on the journey of cultivating more sustainable fashion and eco-friendly beauty into my life, and I want to share that too. I also want to learn from you and your own experiences.
My rose tinted glasses are on and here to stay. And to me, that means that most days I’ll still cry about something meaningless, or have a shitty week where I struggle to get out of bed. But I’ll also strive to look in the crevices of the darkness to find the light within. To feel grateful (which I think is ESSENTIAL to health) and to be okay with whatever path this road takes me.
And this is where YOU come in. I’m getting some suh-weet content together that I can’t wait to share with you, but even more importantly I want to know what you guys would like to see from me! My following isn’t very big, but I believe it’s already filled with some really amazing people that are change-makers. I’m putting myself out there here and now, scared that no one will even reply or comment, to ask WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE? Where do you think I should take this platform? Are you even interested in plant-based recipes, or yoga sequences, eco-friendly, lifestyle design, beauty or any of the other shizz I’ve suggested? Please, please, please, get involved with me. Help me create this space to be OUR space for the good, the ugly, and everything in between,
I’ve got some great stuff coming, and I’d love it if you joined me for it all. You can start by signing up for my email list (heyo!) or visiting my Instagram to connect in real time.
Thank you for reading, and for following my journey. My heart is humbled. The light in me recognizes and honors the light in you, and I’m sending so much love.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.