i have been thinking a lot about the past. particularly over the last few days. it’s just been kinda circling through my mind and weighing a little heavier on my brain. nothing crazy; just remembering moments. as they were and how they remain fixed in my space. someone once compared the mind to a filing cabinet- one with endless drawer space. and every memory gets its own file folder. bigger memories or moments get thicker and thicker as you pile in the frames and times. as time goes on, the older moments get further from the front of the cabinet. and each time you draw yourself back to a moment further in the past, the more work it takes to remember the file folder to begin with. memories start to slip into the back of the drawers. bigger moments take up more space. it’s truly the principle of it all. and i remember being so incredibly sad that there would one day be a moment where i stopped remembering my life before cancer. a day where the filing cabinet became so immensely full of all the days i lived in the second body i was given. and i am finding myself two years into the recreation of myself; one that cancer forced me into in order to save my own life and i am still navigating it all. the ins and outs of being in a body that was not the one i was born into. one that was created by a surgeon and crafted with scalpels and stitches and a whole lot of luck. one that i didn’t want and one that i loathed for the longest time. but the truth is, it’s serving me right now. it’s providing me a space to heal in and in all of this, that’s pretty much all i can ask for in this moment. healing isn’t linear, right? we have heard that one about a million times at this point. because it’s the truth. nothing happens on the timeline we personally create and if you know me, you know any timeline i ever create, gets laughed at by the universe and instantly shredded into confetti. and right now, i continue to find myself in unique parts of healing. parts i didn’t expect to even exist. parts of healing that in twenty twenty one, seemed absolutely impossible. i remember sobbing on the phone to a woman that i had never met just six weeks after my mastectomy. and now that woman is my friend and someone who truly changed the game when it came to my healing. but if you told me then that i would be where i am now, wow. i don’t even know how to describe the laughter.

but in all seriousness, this healing process has been exactly that- a whole messy process. and that’s okay. this year has been entirely devoted to embracing the idea that the universe has a different plan for me. and while i sometimes absolutely loathe that for me, everything usually turns out okay. i will die on the hill that everything doesn’t happen for a reason. everything just happens. i didn’t get chosen for the battles i have fought because i was the right person; it just happened. and sure, i managed to fight like hell and win but it’s not because i had something someone else didn’t. i put in the work and fought the good fight. and same goes for the healing part of it all- it’s just as brutal. different but immensely challenging. it’s brings so many things to the surface. and so many things change and shift while you’re figuring it all out. and just when you think you’ve got a good handle on healing, the universe throws a curveball. or lemons. whatever you wanna call it. and for me, i used to be really bothered by the universe and it’s interruptions to my healing. it always felt unfair and undeserved after everything that happened. it felt like i couldn’t hold onto my trauma and a casual curveball. and for a while there, it felt like the universe was just dumping everything on me. hit after hit. and there was a toxic energy out there- with lots of conversations that suggested i was the right person for all of this. that i was the strongest person and therefore, had been picked. ugh. no thank you. and in the same breath, i hear ya. i did such an incredible job taking the lemons from the universe and in an overwhelming plot twist, make an entire fruit salad. but there’s a lot more involved in all of it than just that. it’s a whole thing. but over the last few weeks, there’s been a lot in my brain relating to the past. and all of the things that i have been through and walked through. all of the transformative experiences and lessons. and last week, i walked back into my therapist’s office after a solid eight month break. i sat down and it literally felt like a perfect time to begin unpacking the last eight weeks of my life. where the universe decided that all of my big traumas could take a backseat but it was time for another hit. and sure, i have processed the hell out of it on my own but i have also talked about it here. and the idea that when people leave you and you are just kinda left to process it, unpack it, reel in it, try to make something of it, push it away and pack it back up nicely- well that’s asking an awful lot. sometimes i just can’t get to packing. and that’s because i find myself climbing through all of the vines and weeds and roots that have been laid. and sure, there are parts of me that just don’t understand any of the things that have happened to me. there are parts of me that truly have no idea why certain people left me in the hardest parts of my life or why i find myself wishing things were different when they in fact, should be exactly as they are. but it is because of the damn roots. the things that tie us back to what was. the things that tie us back to the beginning. the roots; the foundation; the memories. all of it. these thick vines and branches that knot us in a forest of everything that belongs to us- past and present. and it can be really hard to sever yourself from those roots; how firmly we plant ourselves where it feels most comfortable and the sun feels the warmest. but we aren’t meant to be tied down forever in the same parts of the forest.

so when the universe yanks us uncomfortably from that rooted spot; it’s more often than not, for our own growth. of course, it feels unfair and scary. maybe a little harsh or unsettling. but as we find ourselves settling into something new and different, the sun lends itself to shine pretty nicely in all parts of the woods. and right now, i am navigating a new part of the landscape of my life. one that looks a little different than what i imagined. it’s filled with lots of wonderful people and new opportunities to grow wildly. sure, it’s not filled with the people i had grown to love and sink into but that’s just part of losing one set of branches to sprout something new and beautiful.

roots to grow; plenty of new seeds to plant.



i have spent my entire existence in a therapist’s office. battling the highs of manic episodes and the lows of depressive ones. tangled in the acres of anxiety driven behaviors; failing classes because i was too anxious about finding parking. too many hours texting because human contact was down right terrifying. tear stained sheets because i felt like everyone hated me. but no matter what season of life i find myself in, i am always working hard at pushing my anxiety into a back corner or a small box down below the surface. tucking the anxieties and fears out of sight. over the last decade or so, i have put my mental health in the front seat and buckled her in. and in the last three years, my mental health has been my top priority. it’s no secret that i had a tough time. battling a war for what felt like years and years. and in all of it, was actually just a ton of life lessons piled on top of each other. i swear, for a while there it felt like the hits would never stop coming. my depression was wild during that time. the days felt incredibly long and i could literally cry at the drop of a pin. understandably so. and there have been a lot of ups and downs since this whole mess began. sure, the obvious big moments that we all know and love. but other big milestones and checkpoints. and each day, i have reminded myself of the path that lays behind me and the one spread out before me. it’s a strange place to be; alive after all this time. it really is. and maybe you think i talk about it too much or maybe you just feel that way because it’s never been talked about. but believe me when i say that it’s a strange place to be. and about six weeks ago, my best friend and other half walked away from our five year friendship. her top reason? that my experience with breast cancer was too much of who i am. weird, right? it just baffles me how someone else can take a look at what you’ve shared or laid out for the world to see and be able to pass judgement on it. that’s like testing the temperature of a fishbowl from outside the glass.

and the truth is, it’s still bothering me. the whole end of friendship, issues with my identity, walking out of my life thing. it is deeply emotional for me. and maybe that’s because this isn’t the first time someone lumps my trauma and tries to make what i am going through or have gone through into some sort of issue. but maybe because it’s also just not cute. trust me, i definitely didn’t get a choice on my trauma. believe me, i would’ve removed it from my cart if the opportunity struck. and right now, i am just processing so many different emotions. grief being one of them. loneliness another. sadness. overall, just feeling a lot of things. and tonight, i literally sank to the floor in the corner of my kitchen. very teenage drama queen adjacent. where they just slide down the fridge to the floor. basically me. and in that moment, everything was at the base of my brain, ready to fully explode. because the truth is that this whole end of friendship, not speaking to each other, calling my cancer out by name situation has me feeling abandoned. it has me questioning who i am in this world and more importantly, who i am to other people. it has me wondering if i am loved or valued. it has me worried that everyone will leave. it has me feeling like i am not worth staying. it has me questioning my worth, which is something that took me years to find, accept and respect. it has taken my ability to trust that no one else will walk out. it has me quite literally racking my brain for all the things i might’ve done right or wrong. and it feels unfair to be back in this heightened state of anxiety. where my focus is literally on the fact that i feel really lonely right now. and it’s not because of the lack of incredible people in my life. it’s because a person that meant so much to me and was so much to me, literally does not exist in my life anymore. it’s this massive void. a space that once held a huge part of me. phone calls and texts and letters and visits. videos and notifications. i was someone’s best friend. i was important. i was valued. it felt safe. it felt comfortable. it felt good. and now, it doesn’t. now it just hurts. and my brain is processing all the good times but now, they are all laced with the final words of one of the ugliest text messages that has ever been sent to me. and so i get the pleasure of grieving a friendship twice. the loss of what it was and the loss of what it must’ve never been. there were so many hurtful things said in the end. from her, not me. y’all know i tend to keep things classy. but in the end, it was a huge list of things she didn’t like about me. and it deflated this five year long friendship that held me, supported me, changed me. it felt like a crack in the middle of my heart. and sure, none of what she said is true. and sure, the days continue on exactly as they should. absolutely. no doubt about it. but in the end of this friendship, one that truly felt different than any other friendship, i was trampled. by a person i loved and trusted. that i flew one thousand two hundred and forty two miles to see just six weeks ago. my friend, my emergency contact, my person. and then it just ended. and it ended badly. and ugly. without any warning or real reason. just ugly things and a solid stomping on my trauma. and a big middle finger to everything that i was and am. and at the end of the day, i think what i really hate is that you can be something to someone one day; and absolutely nothing the very next.

and i guess i have a few fatal flaws- and in this, it was being too much. a flaw to some, a gift to others. i am pretty self aware most of the time and i grew up in a household where it was said often that we are a lot of who we are. and i know what i am. and i know what i have been through. i know that not everyone will like me and i respect the idea that not everyone will love me either. but i also know that after everything that has happened to me, i don’t think that i want to be asked to be less or do less or even ask for less. if you don’t want to be in my life anymore, just say it. be a grown up. lay it out on the table. say it and move on. don’t drag me through two weeks of ghosting after i bought a five hundred dollar round trip plane ticket and slept on an air mattress for five days. don’t line my traumas up one by one in an eight paragraph text. don’t use my battle with breast cancer as an exit strategy from a friendship. don’t take my words and secrets and just flat out destroy my character. because all that does is make you less of a good person. it’s putting you under fluorescent lights, sweetheart. it’s showing me that i wasted my time and my heart and all of who i am on someone who truly is less. someone who deserves less. someone who does not deserve me. and sure, it hurts right now. i want to call you on my way to target. i cringe when a memory of us pops up. it took me hours to archive all our photos. it’s the breakup no one asked for and surely, no one expected. but at the end of the day, the sadness and loneliness and betrayal that i am going through is definitely dimmed simply by recognizing that i was and always will be exactly this much. i love hard; a fatal flaw it appears. i trust too quickly. i have been through a lot and therefore in turn, am a lot. i come with an entire eight week vacation’s worth of baggage. and it’ll always be there. grab a bag, stay awhile. it’s not a bad thing, it’s just a thing. but it’ll be my baggage forever. and i carry it quite well. it doesn’t deserve to be checked at the door. it’s first class, carry on material baby! and sure, i could stuff the dark or ugly or whatever parts about me into the deepest corners of who i am but where’s the fun in that? because even though i’m having a tough time understanding this whole thing, it is truly dimmed simply by recognizing that i was and always will be exactly this much. and i don’t have to be less for anyone. ever. never. not in this life. or the next one. and the fact that i was too much for you, tells me ya never deserved to have as much as i gave.

i will never be any less than what i already am. since when has anyone gone anywhere and wanted less?! nah. we’re good here. if i am too much, go find less. but i surely will not sink myself into that word.



one of the hardest parts of healing is saying goodbye to what you thought you’d be in this lifetime. because you aren’t the same person & to walk through the rest of life, you have to emerge from your old shell and find a new one. and i am finding that sentiment to basically be true about everything that we heal from. it’s all about figuring out how to be the newest version. even if you’re healing from a broken arm- you still have to navigate all the new normals after the cast comes off. maybe it’s figuring out how to hold your purse. or maybe it’s trying a new way to shower and shampoo your hair. maybe it’s turning the steering wheel. maybe it hurts a little to sleep on that side. or it’s challenging to raise that arm to put your shirt on. it’s an adjustment. and it takes time. i just spent a solid fifteen minutes going through my own instagram timeline. i wasn’t searching for anything in particular at first. just trying to keep my mind going. but in the back of my mind, i was trying to find out how many times i had referenced my cancer journey in the last twelve months. only three times. once for my two year remission date, once for breast cancer awareness month and once for relay for life. three times. and i know what you might be thinking. why does that even matter? and i guess i am feeling some type of way right now. and as i counted the cancer references over the last thirty months, there were only eight. eight. eight times in nearly three years. sure, that’s eight more than a person not going through something like that. but again- why does it matter? ugh. probably because my brain keeps playing this text message on repeat. a text message ending a five year friendship. and it ended with a slew of big stabs at me, including my cancer journey. and when i read it, i was truly baffled and maybe you will be too. here it is- “you’ve gone through significant life events, and i am not at all discrediting those, but it can be truly difficult at times to know what conversations to have, topics to bring up, or even things to do/see when it feels like your entire world now revolves around the fact that you had breast cancer. i don’t know how to relate to it. i have been there through treatment, reoccurrence scares, and official remission. but it seems that you’re still fully holding on to that identity.” brutal, right? honest, for sure. and i don’t discredit anyone for saying what’s up, but damn. and that was just one dig. there were about five more. but that’s not the point either. because i am still cycling that chunk of words. two years in remission, nearly three years into all of this and after five separate scares in one year. healing. that’s what they call it, right? where you continue to face something and try to better understand who you are in all of it. and after all of it. when the fate of your life hangs on sheer hope. that the first five years in remission are the most critical. that bouncing right back out of it is most likely in the first five. and that my whole identity was stripped away. and i have done allllll of the hard work and had all of the ugly conversations. and at one point, had three therapists.

i have worked tirelessly to make it to this point. trudging through the early days of survivorship, where i actually questioned my existence. and lost four friends to the same terrible disease. riddling me with survivors guilt that i thought would never go away. attending funerals and wakes wearing a wig and a dress high enough to cover my port. trudging through going back to work, even though my legs hurt and my hair was growing painfully slow. entering a classroom that was a full on photo album of my life before it all happened. and five individual reoccurrence scares. lumps, back pain, full skin rashes, liver damage, blood work. and holding my breath each time. and reminding myself that whatever happens, happens. not because of some will of the universe or because someone out there chose me. not because i am strong enough to handle it. just because. it’s how the cards were dealt. but here i am, just a few months after i hit the two year milestone and a text like that exists. in my inbox. a girl who is truly just figuring things out. because what has happened to me is my own story. and it’s not my whole story. but it’s a pretty important part of my whole book. it’s an impactful one. but it’s not the entire part of me. but what a lot of people fail to realize is that eventually, this version of myself that exists now; it will eventually be the version that lasts longer than the first version. it will begin to replace the original one. it will grow and foster a million new things and the old version will slip further and further away. memories of that version and that body will be hard to pull to focus. and that’s pretty incredible but it’s also bittersweet. because just like i said earlier, one of the hardest parts of healing is saying goodbye to what you thought you’d be in this lifetime. because you aren’t the same person & to walk through the rest of life, you have to emerge from your old shell and find a new one. and even though i have a new shell, everything is different. and my identity is still being shaped and formed. but it will also always be rooted in the things that brought me here. in the moments that changed me. in the hard times. when it didn’t feel like it would ever end. when it just didn’t make sense to me. when i didn’t understand what it all would mean to me later.

but now, i do. i was meant to still be here. not sure why it had to go down like that but it’s okay. i think the universe knows to just send a letter next time. but my purpose is still in the making. my trauma is still healing. my work is in progress. my identity is, well, it’s a lot of things. it’s not entirely cancer. it’s not even entirely anything. because my world has shifted. and my feelings and my thoughts and what i have been through and even what i haven’t been through yet- they are all a part of who i am and who i am yet to be. and even though that ugly and hurtful text message is fresh on the brain, it doesn’t mean that it is true. it doesn’t give power to other people to define me or try to box my identity into something that feels good for them. i also don’t owe anyone anything different from what i am serving right now at my table.

everyone is entitled to their opinions and how they feel about me. you can feel however you want about my cancer. or my journey. or my healing. or my trauma. but at the end of the day, it’s mine. not yours. and if it bothers you so much, you don’t have to sit with me. because i want you to eat, but i just don’t want you eating at my table anymore.



there’s a lot happening inside my brain and my heart right now. and there’s just a lot about myself that feels attacked in the moment. and as i have spent the last eighteen hours processing some of things i am going through, i began to make a list. because some of the things that are happening to me are based on false realities. but there are also parts of me that are not talked about a lot. but are still important. and so this list that has been circulating my brain for the better part of today is truly a list of everything that is actually true about me. it’s everything you might wanna know. it’s vulnerable and transparent and it’s not in any particular order. but it is real. so here ya go.

i am a scorpio to the core. I love hard and hate even harder. i believe that absolutely anything can break your heart, including words. i have spent the better part of the last decade or so actively working on my mental health. it’s an everyday thing, not just a medication thing. i can argue with a doorknob, even if i know i am wrong. i tend to have anxious attachments, which stems from anxiety that was poorly managed for a long time. it means i am often afraid that people will leave me. i also often think people are mad at me. it’s a character flaw. and one i fully own. i can be a lot of who i am. which has kept my circle small over the years. i like to lay it all out on the line first so there’s usually little surprise when it comes to me. i care more about others than i do about myself. oooo another character flaw. but at the end of the day, i will choose to put someone else’s oxygen mask on before putting mine on. sorry southwest airlines! in twenty twenty, i nearly lost my life- TWICE. once in march and again in august. it has created an interesting and unique web of trauma, with much of that trauma deeply rooted in the medical field. a lot of people characterize me as strong but i often struggle to see that trait. i don’t give myself enough credit on the regular. but what i will give myself credit for is my loyalty as a friend. i am the best friend you could ever ask for. it’s my specialty. if i played a character on grey’s anatomy, it would probably just be loosely based on me being everyone’s best friend. my specialty- friendship. my skills- making you feel loved and appreciated and supported. i struggle with sleeping and that’s how this blog came to be. I love a good sleep, don’t get me wrong. sleep just doesn’t love me. when i was thirteen, i used to have panic attacks about sleeping. probably was just foreshadowing my days of caffeine and under eye bags. in twenty twenty, eight days after i started chemotherapy to treat the raging tumors in my right breast, also known as breast cancer, my best friend of twenty two years told me that she could not handle my diagnosis and stopped speaking to me. ah, as if i personally selected my cancer off the shelf at target. poor timing on my part i guess. and for the better part of the last two years, i have been wrestling with the eighteen inch incision that decorates the front of me. as well as the six inch ones that are a bit higher up. trying to build nerve regrowth and process the patterns, waves and marks they make and have. sometimes, they just exist. and other days, they can ruin my whole mood. i can’t wear white anymore. and it often feels like the surgeon stitched me like an overstuffed chip bag. some days, it feels like i could do it all over again. and other days, i could never. i like to think of myself as something like the moon. in different phases, but still a light. even in darkness. and last night, my friendship with my best friend of the past five years ended. accusing me of struggling with my identity and that my existence is too rooted in what has happened to me. but i am a firm believer that everyone’s story matters. and that everything we do is for some other purpose. and that my story is also important. and that having cancer has led me to be exactly who i am in this moment. and while i have actively been healing from everything that has broken me in this lifetime, i can assure you that this too broke me. that everyday i try to figure out more about myself on this side but it’s not easy and it’s never not work. and so here i am again, finding myself readjusting the width of my circle. and trying to make sense of it all. while not fully falling apart.

because as i make this list of things that are true about me, i know my exact worth. even when i am really hard on myself or doubting everything that i have been through or picking out the individual flaws in my post mastectomy body- i know what i know. and what i know is true. my flaws exist. i am a human after all. and i am far from perfect. but i know my exact worth, down to the pennies and nickels. i am worth more than people leaving me on read. more than people walking out on me in good times or in bad. more than being shamed for where i am in life or who i am in life. more than having my heart broken by people who are supposed to hold it like it’s made of glass. more than feeling like a burden. when i know my story is heavy and my emotions get harder to hold. more than all of that. i am still a whole person. one that has been stitched and glued and strung together with the thinnest of threads. i am still a whole person. one who has been alone in some of the biggest and scariest moments. one who makes mistakes. one who has a really big heart. one who struggles with quieting the anxious parts. one who wakes up everyday wanting to make sure the people in her life are doing okay. i am a whole person. and i am going through it right now. and there’s really zero shame in that. my schedule is full and so is my brain. my heart feels a little smushed and i have been replaying the last two weeks on repeat. and when i think back to the hurt that i felt in twenty twenty. after everything else that i had been through and a friend of more than two decades just left me – it comes full circle again. to feel that exact level of pain and loss. and that small voice starts to creep in. the one that makes me begin to think that there must be something wrong with me. there must be this fatal flaw. but when people want to go, let ‘em go. i keep reminding myself that i don’t need people who think my story is too much. or that think i should just shut up about what i have been through. i don’t need people who shove me into small spaces when i am truly uncomfortable that way. those who try to make me feel little when i really am just bold all around. and it takes constant practice and reminders to myself. and continued work and efforts to make sure that i am living for myself. and being true to myself. and being authentic. and real. and cutting the bullshit where it is. but also rising above the nonsense. and not letting people stomp all over me as they walk out of my life. because i fought to be here. i earned my place here. i deserve more than what some have given me.

and sure, i am sad. and my heart hurts. and my brain continues to loop through the terrible things that were said. about my identity and my journey. and my health. and who i am at the core. but i also know myself. i know my heart and my mind. my intentions and my thoughts. and i know that it’s okay to be sad and mad and hurt. and that it doesn’t mean something is wrong with me. it just means it’s time for something else.

more to add to the list, i guess. more adventures and successes. more stories and more phases. a dozen more seasons and for sure, more sunrises. and more things to add to the list. more things that show my worth. more dollars & pennies. nickels and dimes. my worth will never be less than that of the whole world.



it’s shortly after one in the morning. the exhaustion that is rippling through my veins is pretty obvious and there is zero reason for me to be awake right now. i am in this place with my emotions and my anxiety where my brain is having a hard time slowing down and turning off. i have had a tough few weeks. and i am sure that’s probably been glaringly obvious to most at this point- i mean, i have definitely cried more than once at my desk. today was in fact no exception. maybe it’s thursdays. but after several weeks of nonstop work and pressure and balancing acts and navigating it all, i think i have reached a place where i kinda had to take a pause. because i have been going into work early and leaving late and skipping lunch and not drinking enough water and ending the day with ibuprofen and none of it has felt good. none of it has left me feeling like, ‘woah, you crushed it!’ or ‘wow, so productive!’ and these last few weeks, i have been wondering what my impact is. on the youth i get the pleasure to share my life’s lessons and passions with. on the world of education as a whole. on my peers. on my friends. on the people who consider me in their circle. i am struggling with identity. who i am and why i matter. and not in a scary, woe is me kinda way. but just in a ‘who am i and what’s next’ kinda way. and it’s normal for shifts in careers and identities to happen. even more normal when you’ve kinda lost all your main identity pieces. ya know, cancer will do that to ya. but i am finding myself in this place where i want more. out of people. out of roles. out of life. i spend so much of my time worrying about other people and worrying about how people perceive me. and focusing on how i can be the best person for everyone around me. but i have failed to ask that for myself. how others can be the best for me. and how i can be better at stepping back and letting others show me what i mean to them. and letting others share my impact on them. and have other people check in on me. because that’s what i need. and that’s what is missing.

and sometimes i feel like i have to have permission. and that’s a post cancer thing. it comes with the territory. needing to ask for permission. permission to exist. permission to worry. permission to feel. it comes from being in a place where you are consumed with fear- big fear. but you want to protect everyone around you from that fear. and by protecting everyone from those big fears- and i mean BIG fears- i created a space in which i had to make sure it was okay for me to be unguarded or vulnerable or sad or scared. and those big fears were taboo and people wanted them to be safeguarded and silent. but in the moment, i was dying. and had so many moments that brought me very close to that outcome. and i felt like i had to have permission to process that and to feel that. and it feels that way nearly three years later. that i still feel the need to give myself permission. to feel a certain way. to be a certain way. to process things a certain way. and right now, my emotional processing level is just tipping the scales. i am hyper aware and overtly sensitive right now. my whole existence feels a little off base. i am worried about a lot. the future. who i am. who i am to other people. abandonment issues. career shifts. who i am as a whole. and where i fit into the world. because even three years into the mess that is my life- i am still navigating it all. i am trying to make sense of everything that has happened, what my body and mind are capable of and how i fit into all of the places that once housed a different version of me. and there’s still a lot of baggage that i avoided unpacking while in intensive care and battling cancer and having a mastectomy and going back to work and going through five separate recurrence scares and navigating the beautiful but also emotionally driven world of survivorship. and some of those things probably seem small or insurmountable. but it’s really not your place to speak on it. but that baggage has a lot to deal with the pain and trauma that comes with what i have been through. and the things people have said and done. and the things that happened and the things that didn’t. and the people who stayed and the people who didn’t. and everything that happened all at once. even as i begin to travel through year three, some of it still feels surface level. and some of it is still so painful. and some of it hurts even after all this time. and there is gratitude in much of it too. to be able to say that my experience created such a monumental shift in my world and made pathways that directly pointed people to the exit signs. but it shifted a whole lot more inside me. for me. and who i am. and what i deserve. and what my whole worth really is. as a person who has almost died now twice before the age of thirty five, i feel as though i finally can be as real as i want to be. honestly, as real as i probably should have been this whole time. but regardless, the time is now. i really no longer desire to ask for permission. everything that has happened, has granted me the opportunity to be exactly who i am allowed to be.

which means, i am allowed to ask for help. i am allowed to express my feelings and opinions. i am allowed to be bothered or quite frankly, unbothered. i can share with others that i deserve the world. i can communicate my needs. and i can create whatever boundaries i need to protect my peace. i can make choices and say no. i can cry about something, absolutely anything. i can recognize when something hurts me or if i don’t need a certain energy in my life anymore. i am granting myself emotional permission and forever permission to be whatever it is that comes after all of this. surviving is literally the hardest thing i have ever had to do. and i mean that in a very honest and abrupt way. because surviving as it exists from birth to whenever; without a whole slew of terrible things happening is pretty much a rollercoaster anyways. but when you add in some of the big billboard words like cancer and death and chemotherapy into the mix- survival after that just feels like a tightrope walk. a million chances to fall or trip or plummet to the ground. and in all of that came so many big changes and a million scary moments and a lot of free time on my hands. in which i used to slowly build my new life and figure out what healing looked like. and here we are, still healing and learning from it all and figuring out how to do all of this. gracefully and sometimes not so much. stumbling and a lot of crying, oddly enough on thursdays it seems. but in it all has been a lot of navigating who i am now and gaining a better understanding of what i deserve after walking through hell. and honestly, for the first time ever, i kinda feel like i deserve the world.

permission granted, babe. you do deserve the world. from others. from your friends. from your spouse or partner. from your workplace. from your space. from the world. it goes both ways. and we officially have permission.

claim it. xo.


what a week. a truly long week. i swear that every time i looked at the clock, it looked like it hadn’t move an inch. and the crawl to the weekend was painful. and my exhaustion level has been at an all time high. and that’s okay. but at the same time, i find myself having a hard time with things right now. having a hard time regulating my emotions. feeling extremely lonely. second guessing myself. experiencing levels of anxiety and guilt. it’s been a lot lately. but this morning when my alarm went off at quarter to six and i put my feet on the floor, the pound of the migraine just hit the temple of my forehead. and i wondered to myself all the different possibilities behind the migraine. was it sleep or dehydration? maybe a little of both. was it my blood pressure or maybe the fact that i had been grinding my teeth? no, couldn’t be. had to be the lack of caffeine over the week. or perhaps just cancer coursing through my body. or allergies. or nothing. so many possibilities. and so i swallowed two ibuprofen and started the shower. and here we are, fourteen hours later. after what felt like pure pleading to the universe for the weekend to arrive. and it’s arrival is still technically not here; rude but okay. i find myself feeling overwhelmed by the week that’s almost over. and i find myself feeling lonely. and i find myself craving an opportunity for things to feel new and different and calm and bright. and i think the lonely feeling stems from this deep rooted idea that i have been really great about checking others; but i am struggling to understanding why no one is checking on me. and i find myself once again, in the throes of a pretty ugly breakdown; with crocodile sized tears on my pillow and this overwhelming feeling covering me like a blanket. these ideas and thoughts and perceptions begin to absolutely destroy me.

‘you were the worst teacher today. you’re doing an awful job. you just didn’t do it right today. no one likes you. no one wants to be friends with you anymore. no one is checking on you because why would they?! you failed today. you don’t deserve to have friends. you’re a mess. no one likes you.’ i am thirty four years old and that’s my brain right now. tempting me to believe all of it. and honestly, some of it feels real. some of it feels accurate and true. i feel lonely. i feel like i am not always taken seriously. sometimes my feelings feel like they don’t fit anywhere. sometimes it feels like my best isn’t good enough. sometimes i feel small or pushed down. sometimes i feel like i try and it doesn’t even matter. but right now, i feel like my good isn’t good enough. that my efforts as a human, as a person, a teacher, a friend- just aren’t being seen. i feel lonely and small. i feel like i am trying my absolute hardest to be perfect and fit the molds and do right by everyone and it’s coming up empty.

and today, i cried at my desk. two weeks after it happened the first time. and y’all know my rule about crying at work. it’s a huge no for me. the last thing i desire is a middle schooler seeing me cry. but i definitely did. during my ten minute lunch break between the chaos of teaching middle school. because i really am trying. and i am also navigating an identity crisis. and battling trauma responses. and juggling two careers. and trying to decide what’s next. and trying to be a good friend. and trying to decipher if people hate me. and unpacking all of the things happening in my life. while also approaching a scary anniversary of a terrible illness. which is ironically, this weekend. and i am grasping for the click of a reset button. practically begging for a lifeline. for some reassurance. for a nudge that things are okay. for just any beacon that signals to me that everything is okay. no one is mad at you. no one hates you. things may feel big or heavy and you may feel small- but you are doing great. you matter in this world. to lots of people. in all the roles you carry. and bad days are okay. and rough weeks are okay. and what you’re feeling- is normal. and it’s okay. it’s okay to be sad. it’s okay to feel like the world around you doesn’t match. it’s okay to feel lost and alone. but you aren’t.

hit reset. it’s okay! hit reset. ground yourself. center yourself. cry it out. ask for help. reset, recenter, regroup, restart again. so i guess this is me- being real & upfront. that i need a nudge and a little support. that my right now is feeling a little gray. that i am in the middle of an immense transformation but also in full imposter syndrome mode. i am feeling a little beaten down by some of the things that have happened and some of the things stirring in my mind. i am feeling a little defeated and anxious but this is me; saying i need more from those who will lift me. and that i am choosing to hit reset.

that’s the beauty in tomorrows. we always get a new chance to see the sun rise and we always get a new place for our feet to land.



full confession- i am tired. there. i said it. my tiredness comes from several different places. but that’s not important. because the real issue is that when i get too tired, i tend to be in pain. that’s how my body handles fatigue. the exhaustion seeps into my muscles and into my frame and i enter this period of time where i am tired but also weak and struggling to manage the pain. last week, i worked over sixty hours. closer to seventy if anyone’s counting. and as i crawled into bed at the end of it all, i found myself unraveling the stretch of days that i had just finished. sixty six hours of work. and all i wanted to do was rest. my body was literally begging for me to slow down and stop. but my mind. for a girl who doesn’t have an internal monologue, my mind never stops. i began circling through everything that might’ve slipped through the cracks. any texts that went unanswered. any emails where the reply just didn’t happen. a collective spiral of all the possible ways i could’ve let someone down. not being enough for those around me. not checking all the boxes on my to do list. because the reality is, i am a pretty intentional person. i invest in my relationships as if they are forever permanent. i don’t expect it to be that way in return either. it’s just who i am. i put a lot out on the table and hope for the best. and everything kinda began to feel like it was slipping right past me. i was carrying this tray piled high with everything imaginable. being a good person. being the best in front of my students. crafting emails. writing a weekly newsletter. making dinner. scheduling meetings. buying birthday presents. remembering broccoli at the grocery store. juggling appointment reminders and remembering to restock on vitamins and pay rent. but also texting back. and checking in on my friends. and existing. for others. and for myself.

and if you know me, you know how i feel about anything slipping through the cracks. how critical it is that i stay afloat. how much i need to do right by everything and everyone. and i have literally stayed awake all night unpacking it all. trying to find the moments where i just didn’t hold my hands tightly enough. so that the sand wouldn’t slip through the cracks between my fingers. trying to find the moments where i forgot to hit send. or opened a snapchat and didn’t reply. where my inbox became a little overcrowded. or i didn’t hear my phone buzz. moments that slipped through the cracks. not for any reason other than my hands were too full. not for any reason other than i was carrying way too much. on my shoulders. on my mind. on my heart. on my plate. i guess what i mean to say is that i am trying really hard. to find myself. to center myself. to claim the life i had, which definitely isn’t what it is now. i am trying to find meaning. i am also working the kinks out. there’s a lot to be said about who i am and what i have been through. and i myself am trying to see that there is so much more to me than just the last three years. and i am also trying really hard to be me. to manage everything that is happening in all the areas of my life. without the slips. without anyone feeling like i am not. without anyone feeling like they slipped through the cracks. because i spend a large part of my existence sealing up any gaps. i really do.

and today, i did something that i absolutely never do. and when i say never, i mean NEVER. in fact, i can count on one hand how many times i have done this. today, i cried in my classroom. in front of my students. i cried. with eleven year olds in my presence. and it had nothing to do with them. but everything to do with me. and how much i want the world to understand me. and how hard i am trying. to be everything. to everyone. how broken my heart feels when people in my life think i am not trying hard enough. when someone compares me to someone else. when the cracks show. when i tried, and something still slipped. because at the end of the day, there’s little left for me. i have given a large part of myself to the best souls in my classroom. and a large part of myself to my incredible teammates. and a large part to my friends and family and husband and dog. a part to the laundry. the emails. the dog food order. the bills. sending a quick venmo to a friend or two. checking in on friends via text. and when the clock strikes ten and i am all by myself, i always wonder if i was enough. if i did enough. if everyone received what they needed from me. because that’s who i am. and i really am trying. trying to hold it all. in two arms. while also balancing on two feet. but also kinda sorta doing that on a bicycle. on ice skates. and it felt super uncomfortable and very vulnerable of me today. to cry in my classroom. because i began to just feel myself split. the pressure. how burdensome i feel. how it feels to disappoint people. how much it hurts to know that some people might think i am a fake friend. or a friend who would walk away from a friendship. or to compare me to a former friend- one who broke my heart years ago. i began to split into fragments. slipping through cracks. i began to feel like i wasn’t doing enough. that i am not enough. and that i am letting everyone down. i began to feel lonely. suddenly. that everything was for nothing. that the cracks were so wide; it was too far gone.

i am trying so hard right now. to be a lot of things. a teacher. a leader. a friend, wife, sister, coworker, dog mom, daughter, community member, a role model, an aunt. i am trying so hard to be enough. in all of those roles. be authentic in all of those roles. nurture all of those roles. put real time and effort into the people that are on the other end of those roles. there’s little left for me. at the end of the day, there’s very little left for me.

because what’s left is stitched together to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. i mean it.



i have been trying to find the time and space to sit down and blog a bit. things have just been a little crazy lately. not in a bad way; just very busy. lots of moving parts. long days. and the head space to sit down and unpack what is going on just didn’t really exist. and in all honesty, my brain is processing a lot. and my heart is also processing a lot. and there’s a couple reasons for all of that, and sure- i would consider myself a silent sufferer. i tend to lend myself to not being a burden. especially after my former best friend of twenty two years ditched our friendship ten days after i started chemo. quoting that my ‘cancer diagnosis was a lot’. and don’t get me wrong- it for sure was a lot. but more so for me than her. anyways, in a solid effort to not have a repeat of all that, i try to keep things to myself. i try to lay low and keep the focus off me. but honestly, i am processing a lot right now while also trying to delicately navigate my own life transitions. i am trying to become more comfortable being lonely. but most importantly, i am continuing to keep it real. authenticity is the name of the game and i am player one. and one of the biggest parts of being real is really just owning it. the whole thing. the good, the bad, the really good, the really bad and of course, all the uncomfortable things in between. something i learned very early on in my cancer journey is that not everyone sticks around for the good, the bad, the really good or the really bad. and not just when it’s cancer. i mean, in general. i used to think that when someone walked out of your life, there had to be some sort of big, extreme reason or moment. but the truth is, sometimes being real is just too much for people. it’s not always this blow up moment that leads to some dramatic exit. sometimes it’s literally just that life is too much or too real. and right now, at the milestone of two years in cancer remission- i am finding myself having issues with people being real with me. hashing things out. being honest. keeping the drama to a minimum. especially since i spend my days tackling middle school drama. and my whole life i have been craving authenticity. the ability to be myself. to be real and open. no holding back. and when my whole life was flipped upside down fresh prince of bel air style; i guess it became my mission. that if i had to lose everything else; if i had to be stripped of everything and lose all of myself- well then i surely was not about to lose the parts of me that were the most valuable to me. and that felt real and that felt raw.

it felt like it was finally okay. that just two years ago, my body suffered a great loss. an identity shift. an amputation surgery. a life saving surgery. a life changing one too. and in it all, something inside me changed too. that i don’t have to accept the hurt and pain that the universe gives me. that i have the power and the opportunity to take all of it and blend it into whatever i want. and this week, so many beautiful people reminded me of my own power and my own realness. so many people lifted me and celebrated me. so many people understood that what i have been through is not only something no one should ever go through but that it’s also something very real. it’s something very authentic about me. this side of the story and this side of the pain- i exist as i am. and while i know for a fact my tolerance for drama, insignificance, hurt, poor behavior, malicious intent or any other foolishness is pretty low; i know i don’t have to carry space for that. i am allowed to draw my circle in the sand around me. and i am allowed to get real when you do something or say something that doesn’t hit right. because after fighting for my life twice in the same year, everything inside me changed. i became hyper aware of how different everything was going to be going forward. that everything about me had changed. that the trauma i had experienced had changed everything, forever. and there’s a lot to unpack about my trauma and my experiences facing death and making life altering decisions alone. those kinds of things force you into this really overwhelming space. this place where it’s very real. it’s very black and white. it’s very straight forward. option one or option two. life or death. and the decisions are there, in front of you, with waivers and a pen. no going home and sleeping on it. it’s real and it’s now. and maybe my mind circles around those decisions too often and it brings on this immense feeling of loneliness. but that’s also real. my feelings, my trauma, everything that i have been through. and what i am going through right now is very real too. there are shifts in a friendship right now. there are career shifts happening. there are shifts within my body dysmorphia that are happening. and even shifts with my identity. and when things start to change, it can be hard for me to process. adjusting accordingly is not always my strong suit.

but what i need and what i want is for the real stuff to be accepted. for it all to just be valid and okay. and i don’t have the energy or the time on this earth to navigate through ugliness, mean text messages, petty stuff, being left on read, poor communication, low efforts- i cannot spend my remaining life moments taking all of that in at face value. and here’s the reality of it all- someone recently said something to me that really hurt. and normally, i would hold onto it. i would process it over and over again. dissecting the moments leading up to and away from that ugly and hurtful moment. it would eat at me. and sure, in the weeks since it came through in a text, i have thought about it but i have not given it more energy than i give to turning the ignition in my car. because that would be giving more of myself to something that doesn’t match who i am.

and who am i? well, that’s a loaded question. because i continue to find myself in an identity crisis that is likely to last the better part of a decade. but i do know a few things that are certain- i am as loyal as they come. ask anyone. my friendships and relationships and the roles i carry in this lifetime are the most precious to me. i am one of the best friends you’ll ever have. i love with my whole existence. and sometimes that’s to a fault. i cry when i am mad and when i am sad. i try hard to think before i do. but it’s not always a guarantee. sometimes the pain that i have been through peeks through the cracks. i have the memory of an elephant- since they never forget. i remember every single time i have been betrayed or have been hurt. i don’t keep score but i also don’t offer more than a chance or two. my more recent experiences have taught me that i know myself better than anyone ever will. and that i can be whoever i want to be. it has taught me that while life is short, whatever happens will happen. there’s very little i can control when the universe is driving everyone forward. and that it’s better to be real, be honest, be truthful and hold on tight. because the version of me that exists now is one that has truly been molded and framed by near death experiences, trauma, pain, loneliness and the honest will to live to see the next sunrise.

and it’s about as real as it gets. and i just don’t have the space or place for anyone who cares to knock me back a few pegs. i worked too hard to be here today. and i deserve the same energy and love and respect that i give.

on the day i was diagnosed with cancer, i walked into my neighbor’s backyard to share the news with my family. i never cried that day. i simply said ‘match my energy. i am not afraid.’ and that holds true today. match my energy. be real. and allow me to be real.



happy new year to y’all. whew. as my husband said ‘well that’s a wrap on the holidays’ as we exited the starbucks line this morning, i blurted ‘thank god’. and i almost apologized for the slip but realized that the holidays felt heavier this year. again, can’t put my finger on why that’s the case. but regardless; we made it to a new year. a new space. a new place. and with that comes picking my ‘word of the year’. last year was the word WHOLE; which stemmed from my immense desire to feel whole. and over the last three hundred and sixty five days give or take- i tried really hard to prove to myself that i am. always have been. that nothing is truly missing. that i am already whole. but i didn’t hit the mark entirely. in fact, i am still waiting for the check mark to appear next to the word whole on just about all my paperwork. and that’s honestly okay. because one of the things that came from this discovery of what might make me a whole ass everything is that i really did discover that everything is already here. the pieces are already here. everything that makes me the person my husband loves, my family loves, my friends love, my students love- those pieces make me a whole damn human. one really amazing human. and those pieces that already exist; well, they bring me to this year’s word of the year.


and before i give you a dictionary definition of the word and all the meaning behind choosing it for twenty twenty three instead of revisiting last year’s word; it’s important to talk about the last two years. sometimes it feels like it’s been a lifetime. actually very rarely does it feel that way. more than often, it feels like it was just yesterday. but it’s been two years. not quite to the date but we are closing in on two. and maybe it’s the anniversary creeping up that has me racing like a super human machine to try to be something that i am not. and honestly there is this huge staircase of trauma that i continue to navigate every single day. in just a few weeks, it will be my two year remission date. two whole years of navigating a life outside of cancer treatment. not outside of cancer. but outside of treatment. two years earthside in a new body. just waiting for the other shoe to drop. and over the last two years as a survivor of many things but cancer being the top contender; i have slowly but surely been experiencing the highs and lows of what it’s like to have lived when ya just might not have. and there’s a lot of pressure there- internal and external. to make your second chance pretty legit. but it’s also just a lot in general.

and yesterday at four o’clock in the afternoon, i sobbed hysterically crisscross applesauce in the middle of my unmade bed. as my brain just kept flashing the word ‘unlovable’ across the marquee in my head. just my own insecurities and my own trauma staircase creating an unlovable narrative. one that i hold true. one that i honestly believe is gospel. and so i type out this message to my husband because that’s all my brain can do. put words to paper and see how the world receives it. and here’s what i said- i feel unlovable. this is what i mean. i feel like i am not good enough for you. like my body isn’t what you want or what the world wants. i feel like i am just disgusting and you have to force yourself to want to be with me and everyone is just tolerating this version. but the truth is that even two years later, i feel broken and like i am not a real girl anymore. i worry that you miss the old person i was. i don’t know how to be seen as beautiful or sexy or lovable and in turn, it must mean no one wants me. and i am forever looking at the body that lasts for the rest of my life. because it will never be the same. i will never have a body like before. because it is gone. two years has passed and i am still weeping, full on snot dripping, shoulder heaving sobbing, crocodile tears over the loss of myself. of my body. of my body parts. of my sense of self. of what felt worthy. of it all. two whole years later. and there’s a lot that goes into all of that. things that will never make sense to anyone on the outside of this space. but the last few weeks have been pretty emotional. for some reason, a lot of my worth is tied up in what was surgically removed from my body two years ago. and right now, i am finding myself in a similar place to where i was just days before and days after my mastectomy. and i am deep in this mourning period that surrounds the idea that nothing will ever be the same. that no matter what happens from this moment forward, my body will never be the one that it was when i got married or when i first held my nephew or my niece. it’ll never be what it was when i learned to swim or in any of the photos pre cancer. it just won’t. and while most people like to remind me that i am so very lucky- it’s not about luck. it’s about me. and who i am. and who i am to other people. but it’s also about the sadness that exists from something that was never my fault. never my choice.

and so i cried for a long time last night. and my husband, god love him, held me while i cried. because sure, in two years, a lot has happened. and there is a lot to welcome in a new year. but there is still so much sadness and grief and mourning and healing and trauma that exists inside of me. that even though two years has slipped by, i am still so sad that my life was stolen from me and that my body was changed in ways i will never forget. and i remind myself that healing doesn’t have to be finished nor does it have to be hidden. that there can be ugly and uncomfortable parts of cancer remission out loud and in the open. that my suffering does not have to be silent or behind a closed door. that when the last surgery happens or the last vial is dosed into a port is not the end of the story. there are chapters and pages and sequels and series. there are moments that continue to alter me in remission. and there are moments from my past that still keep me awake at night. and that even in two years of healing and therapists and recurrence scares and boundaries and fighting for myself; there is still so much left to do as a survivor. there is something new to navigate every single day. there is always someone out there who is convinced the past is the past. there is always a bump or a symptom that dumps you right back at the top of the trauma staircase. because it’s never over. it’s never not right here. sometimes, it’s the last thing i think about. and other days, it’s consuming.

and so i guess i am just here to bother you all by saying that my head and my heart are in a weird place right now. they are really having a hard time finding peace and love. two years in the making. and there’s a lot of societal pressure to be skinny and beautiful and financially stable. and quite honestly, i can’t handle the pressure. i can’t handle juggling what i want while trapped inside what i don’t want. what i never asked for. what was never my fault. and i don’t know how long i have to cycle through it. maybe for another two. who the hell knows. but what i do know is that i have reached a point in all of my lengthy healing processes; a point in all my trauma cycling and a point in all my patterns of grief where i really, truly, honestly, one thousand percent do not care to give anymore energy or thought to how people perceive me. whole or half. healed or healing. i am above it. i am not accepting any negativity or gaslighting regarding where i am in all of this. i will not receive comments about my feelings. i will not be reminded of how lucky i am or that i had a good kind of cancer. i will not open myself up to people who desire to alter my trauma staircase or who suggest therapy to me. LOL. because lemme just say this- i am doing everything imaginable to live my life after cancer. and if it exists- i am doing it or i have tried it. and so this year, i am embracing where i am in my healing. i am embracing where i am in remission and the place i stand as a cancer survivor. i am embracing the struggles and the wins. embracing what this new year will bring.

because we are entirely made of the pieces of our lives. of our traumas. of our experiences. and those pieces- they make us whole. and for me, it is time for me to EMBRACE all of the pieces of me.



that’s a wrap on the holiday season of twenty twenty two. it came & it went. all in what felt like a blink. some years, it feels like the magic lasts a lifetime. other years, it feels like it literally drifts in and out in the same breath. for whatever reason, this particular season didn’t feel a certain way for me. i tried for weeks to put my finger on it. maybe i needed some time off from work. maybe i needed to sit in a quiet space for like an hour. or maybe i just needed like fifteen minutes of free time to gather my thoughts. either way, my winter break started off rather chaotically and quickly became very overwhelming. my mental health and my brain were just kinda spiraling. i kept plugging in the word ‘holiday’ in an effort to try to trick myself into some kind of better place. but the reality is that i was unable to really get out of this funk. this space that felt all too familiar. one that i had spent some time in during the earlier days of chemo and even in the immediate moments after my mastectomy and sometimes even just on a random thursday in survivorship. there’s this immense invisible pressure; to have a plan. to have all these things checked off and figured out. i always feel like i am in this race against everyone. this societal game where i need to have more and more figured out every single time the calendar starts ticking down the days til january first. a new year. ugh. there is something about it that just doesn’t feel like a fresh start. that this massive weight is bearing down on me. that at thirty four- i am still navigating everything. finances, relationships, goals, my health, my brain, cancer, my brain, survivorship, friendships. and all the roles that i carry- making sure they are all fulfilled and satisfied. that i am not letting anyone down; even if it means letting myself down. it’s a lot. and i know, i know. you’re probably thinking it’s as easy as just saying no or just letting stuff go or my favorite- not filling your plate so much. but the reality is that everything on my plate and in my brain is important to me. it’s mine and it’s valuable and it’s not as easy as just layering it into some other basket off to the side. or neglecting it altogether. that’s not me. that just isn’t who i am. and the past few years have held a lot of growth. measurable in my opinion. and there is much realization in how much i have done in these past few years. but it’s hard for me to say the same about twenty twenty two.

and it is really easy to be hard on myself as this year comes to a close. because i didn’t accomplish any of the shit on my original resolution or goal list for this year. not a single thing. and i really mean that. this was the year that it was all supposed to come together. a surgery. better health. picking up the remaining pieces. but in reality, as we finish out the remaining few days of this year- i am feeling like a failure. and not just because of some weak resolution list that’s buried in a landfill at this point. but because i didn’t feel that incredible spark that typically comes when a new year is about to begin. it’s usually this massive opportunity to start over again. and maybe it’s because my brain is just feeling like it’s on overload. or maybe it’s because the joyful holiday spirit just kinda fell apart this year. maybe it’s because i still feel like this world isn’t mine. that i wasn’t built for this. for all the stuff that i still wanna do but have to do it in this body, with this brain; and this stamina. maybe it’s because i keep trying to catch up and it feels like something always comes to undo all my hard work. i feel so pressured to lose weight, buy a house, invest in the stocks, join a gym, find a hobby, make a career leap, make more money, pay off debt. but in reality- i just wanna clean out my closets and organize the cheese drawer in my fridge. i want my dog to come home when i call for him and i want a private chef to make dinner every day. i want this new doctoral program to be manageable and for everyone to stop asking about how i can make it into a career. i want the pressure to be lifted. that existing is okay. no. more than okay. that being here, right now, in this moment is actually good. because that’s what works for this brain of mine. after being in a trauma induced space for so long.

it needs to be okay to just be present. to just be here. not in twenty twenty three making astronomical plans. not in june, planning what might be my greatest idea yet. not in five years from now. just right now. relishing in the joy that is getting to today. getting to this point. getting to a place where it’s okay that my savings account went to the veterinary emergency room last weekend. that i have five hundred and twelve dollars worth of southwest flight credits but they are not the vibe right now. that i am feeling overwhelmed by my own possessions and don’t know where to begin in the decluttering. that i am not sure when i will be able to own a home. and that i am still paying off medical debt. that it is okay to be in a place where- well, where things just aren’t one hundred percent figured out. or one hundred percent packed with joy. to be in a place where the spirits didn’t feel as bright this time around. to be in a space where the anxiety was a little high and the coping mechanisms were a little weak. where things just didn’t go my way. and that’s okay. and it’s also okay that i am not really jumping for joy at the freshness of a new year. because it comes with a lot of other pressures. and right now, i just want to be happy and settled in this space.

twenty twenty two had its highs and its lows. i even wrote them out in an effort to push my brain into a bigger gratitude space. because the big picture should include the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. weather forecasts are not strictly sunshine and rainbows. so here’s the highlight reel of twenty two:

january: welcomed twenty twenty two in nebraska with my bestie

february: one year in remission! got my first nose piercing!

march: five year wedding anniversary ✨

april: recurrence scare number three but all clear!

may: girls weekend at the lake!

june: summer break! reunited with my bestie!

july: twelve day road trip with amazing friends & our five year vow renewal! bestie graduated nursing school!

august: surgery is rescheduled. year 12 in the classroom starts!

september: peppa pig surprise! COVID19 booster shot

october: recurrence scare number four but all clear! celebrated my thirty fourth birthday

november: accepted to a new PhD program!

december: new position at work in leadership and blessed to work with an incredible team after a tough start to the school year. harley caught pneumonia at school. missing my bestie as my nebraska trip was cancelled.

it was a busy year. no doubt. filled with lots of everything. it was busy. it was disappointing. it was fun. it was wild. it was expensive. it was full of love and friendships and traveling. it was filled with emotion and lessons. it was a turning point in a lot of ways. it forced me into uncomfortable places and scary spaces. it was filled with more health navigating and more scans than i would like to see in twenty three. it was a year. i didn’t hit any major goals. i didn’t check off any major milestones. but i did okay. and it’s okay that it wasn’t the most joyful of years. it’s okay that it felt a little less fireworks and parade filled than other years. and it’s definitely okay to just be feeling okay about the new year approaching.

make a list. or don’t make a list. set goals. don’t set goals. do whatever works for you. survive. thrive. do what makes you happy. don’t be so hard on yourself. this year was hard. trust me, i know. but remember that joy is not a requirement. it’s not a checklist item. it’s just something that comes and goes. and it’s okay if things are just okay right now. there is joy to come. there is joy in the next season. we can create it. we can manifest it. we can be our own joy.

happy new year babes.