These photos were taken months ago, in the heart of my last term at a junior college. I was inactive, overly-stressed, always tired, but filled with love & longing. I wanted so badly to be done with that school, to get ready for the wedding, to figure out what I was actually going to do with my life.  I was in a hurry for something, not knowing what it was.

I began to develop a particularly horrible body image, something I've never before dealt with in my life.  I grew up active, physically fit, emotionally & physically self-confident.  I never had a reason to doubt my life, my looks, or my intelligence.  But after taking five classes, a total of 16 term units, trying to plan a wedding, & trying to figure out what I was going to do & if I was going to get into the university I applied for, I began to question everything.  When these photos happened, I stopped taking pictures of myself.  I no longer wanted to see what I looked like.  Blogging, posting on Instagram, on Twitter, & even on Facebook felt vain & unnecessary.  I fell into a depression - I have NEVER been depressed before.  Because of this, I felt weird & silly for being depressed, I hid it.  What did I have to be depressed about?  I just bought a house, got engaged, & finished up my general ed all in a couple months.  I was completely overwhelmed, completely confused, & had no idea what I was going to do with myself.  All I knew was that I had Jonathan, my pups, my family, & a home to call my own, a place where I felt safe & calm.  I didn't have the option of having a bedridden depression, I had to work, had to finish school, I had so much to do.  My depression was masked with business.

A lack of friendships, & dwindling of any stable friendships kept me questioning.  I wondered what I was doing wrong, why I didn't have friends.  Why couldn't I have strong relationships?  How could I be so off-putting?  I really had to stop questioning everything, but I couldn't stop.  I was on a roll.  Questioning my college major, my future, & my career came next.  I mean, honestly, is anyone ever going to know exactly how their life will play out?  Why would I do that to myself?  Whatever is was, I knew I had to stop.

I began to repeat these words as a mantra.  I didn't know I was doing it, but I did it anyway - reminding myself to slow down & just breathe.  No matter how unhappy I was, there wasn't anything I could do but decide to BE happy.  So I just decided to BE - at least that was something.

Eventually, I was done with that final Spring term at my former junior college.  Eventually, I began to get my shit together with the wedding, & started figuring out what I was going to do.  Eventually, even, I began to have less negative feelings associated with my body.  Despite not really doing a damn thing, I learned to love it again for what it was - a healthy, capable home.  I began to treat it better.  I began to treat myself better in general.  I met an amazing friend, which helped me a lot in the "not good enough" region of my brain.

Now, just about two months away from the wedding, I am finally okay with not knowing what I will do for a living in the future.  I decided to care less about when I was going to leave my current job, & care more about when I was going to start up at the university.  I decided to read a lot, love as much as I could give love, & be kind to myself.

These photos are not my favorite photos of us, but they are honest, true, & beautiful.  They have taught me to not be so hard on myself, to trust my instincts, & to always carry lipstick.

(These photos were taken at our house & around our neighborhood & small town, Redlands, the place we call home.)



Deep breaths, now - in & out, & out & in.  Repeat.  Smile.  Laugh.  Look presentable.  Be friendly, kind, honest, bearable.  Have charm, charisma.  Act like everything is going just fine because shit if it always is - or isn't.  Use proper grammar, spelling, syntax, alliteration, humor.  Write to an audience.  But fuck if I haven't already ruined that last rule with this entire mess.

You see, the thing about writing is - there is no right or wrong way.  Nobody is going to ever teach you how to write.  If you are an enchanting verbal story teller, you'll probably write one helluva novel with the help of some fine editors.  If you're great at details, maybe you'll create a land, a place for people to get away.  If facts are your thing, perhaps you should become a reporter, a columnist, a journalist - an honest one.

The thing about writing is that every time you try, you are making yourself better.  You're opening worlds of possibilities through fluid thoughts of words on paper (or screen), that fill peoples minds with more imagination than they could have ever thought - while simultaneously invoking an endless stream of imaginative powers.  While writing, you are tapping into a well of knowledge you never knew existed.  The words stream from your thoughts like a babbling brook - babbling, bubbling, blunder of the mind.

This is why we write.  This is why, despite being told by our College English professor when we were a 17 year old freshman that we are stupid, we persevere.  We surpass expectations, judgments, goals, & we devour words, stories, the imaginations of others.

Classic charm is inspirational, masculine chivalry is attractive, innocent laughter is adorable.  Because when we were 14, we taught our English teacher how to spell chauvinistic.  We adore Sofia Coppola & Wes Anderson movies due to the amount of detail - watching one of their films is almost as good as reading a book ... almost.

The thing about writing is that you get practically addicted to it.  The act of reading, researching, learning, & creating amazing stories, funny blurbs, or simply a post on a blog about writing enthralls us, weakens us, & keeps us coming back for more.  This is why we write.  Not simply due to an addiction, but due to the idea that we can inspire others to do the same, just as we have been inspired in the past.



Because in the end, it's not about what you major in.  It's about what you take from what you've learned.  It's about finding your infinity and making your passion your life.

In the end, it's about what you do with what you know.

You have to take the good, the bad, the outright boring, & turn it into something brilliant.  Because nobody else will.  You can't rely on anybody else to turn your thoughts into words, to turn your dreams into actions.

Right here, right now - at this very moment - you are infinite.

Because in the end, you better jump off that train.  You better wake up.  Otherwise, one day you'll realize that you've been riding a train that takes you nowhere.  Unless you jump off, unless you wake up, you'll be stuck in an endless cycle of the mundane.  Wake up.

This is the infinite lightness of being.

You are an infinite being of light.



My favorite local getaway is the San Bernardino National Forest.  The woods there are expansive, & it's close enough that I don't even have to jump on a freeway to get there from Redlands!  Fresh air always does me good, especially if I hadn't traveled anywhere for a while.  Road trips, even plane trips, & camping trips are my favorite - but a good old fashioned hike in the woods on the weekend will always rejuvenate me for week ahead.

Our favorite place to hike in the forest is on the South Fork Meadows trailhead.  For now, we've been doing short hikes to Horse Meadows - the first significant marker of a completed hike - but eventually my mom & I would like to get to where we can hike to the summit in a day!  I love taking the dogs with us, though - so for now we're sticking to the easy day hikes.  Turbo doesn't do very well with long lengths, but he won't stop pulling once he smells that we're heading back.  Gozer is like an energizer bunny & just LOVES to go for a hike, as you'll see ahead.

Haha!  "Mom, no pictures!!" - Turbo

I think Turbo's favorite part of the hike is the snack/water break at the top of the trail before we head back.  As you can see by my splotched-up, freckled face, I'm really out of shape.  Getting caught up in the doldrums of life has gotten the best of my physicality, & I've gotten soft.  Like, fluffy...  

Of course, it didn't happen suddenly, but when you're 5'9", it takes a while to see the weight building up on a body that has so much room!  Even now, I'm not terribly big, I just have a nice layer of stuffing all over that needs to come off.  Hiking is my favorite way to do this, but it's not very effective... Due to my crazy schedule & inability to know when I'll have time in the day, an at-home workout is easier for me to fill in when I don't plan for the gym in the morning.  Because of this, & because of my rad friend Bradee becoming a Beach Body coach, I've signed up for the 21 Day Fix program, which includes 6 workouts (including yoga!), an eating plan with containers for portion control, & Shakeology!  

Phew, that was a mouth-full!  Basically, I start this program on April 28th, & I cannot wait to get back into the fitness grove of things!  I miss having a set gym schedule, but being in school & work both full time makes that difficult to swing.  

Have any of you tried this program, or at least Shakeology?  

Happy Tuesday!