So as I have been hinting the past 4 months, my landlord is selling my townhome. So after much thought, I am leaving Pennsylvania. I never wanted to live here. And I have never truly felt as if I belonged here. Originally both Tavo and I put in for jobs in New York, California, Washington, and Illinois. Washington got back to us first, and we started looking for houses. Weeks pass with not many prospects, we decide well maybe we were going to drop everything and move down there on a whim. Stay with my friend on her property if we had to. We, as a family were all just so over Pennsylvania. I started to tell friends about the Washington move and everyone was excited. Then the worst thing possible happened. His job fell through. We were left feeling hopeless.
But I am a firm believer in what is meant to happen will, and we were offered more money in Chicago. Chicago was also a better choice because here we have my in laws and my kids can see their grandparents. After a few trips back and fourth, we finally have everything in order. Our moving pod arrives in two days and this all is really happening!
I am nervous but excited all at the same time. It means a bigger home and space. Better job, better schools, and the chance for a fresh start that we all desperately need.
I am going to miss my little home. It wasn't so small that we felt crowed. It was warm and snug. It brought us closer together. I was ridiculously proud if the fact the we upcyled everything. All our furniture was second hand. We didn't waste a ton of money on nonsense to make our house a home. I have so much pride for what we put into it and it always made me smile when people told me how at home they felt here. God I am going to miss it!
The funny thing is, when I first thought about making this post, I was going to list all of the things I hated about Pennsylvania and that all that I loved was my family and home. But as I started writing and digging deeper into my thought process, I started to look through old photos I had online saved from our life here in PA strung out over the past 12 years. Not everything was bad. In fact, there is quite a lot about Pennsylvania, especially my little city that I did like. Dare I say love?
So I am feeling inspired. I would like to share some of that with you. I created a list of things that I either loved about living here. OR that happened that are special along with some more images from our life here in PA over the years.
I think that ultimately leaving in this way is far better than leaving on a mad or hateful vibe. So on that note, here is my list in no magic order!
Rocky horror picture show
Philly china town
Harvest of the arts
Farmer's on the square
My secret rock
The Trout gallery
The local pool
Fair grounds fireworks
2 of my children were born here
My oldest grew from child to adult
My last memories with my dad were here
Planting basil with my dad every year, then planting it in his honor with the kids
The old labor house
Coffee on my back porch
Catching salamanders in the back yard
The lung cancer community
Learning my passion for photography
Becoming more politically active
Seeing Bernie Sanders Speak
Now for our next Journey.
We are coming up on the last week in this home. The home you last lived in. The home in which you took your last breath. At first the idea of leaving brought me nothing but happiness... but as the days pass I feel a bit conflicted.
I have this thought in the back of my head that when we die, our souls get traped at that location. Ridiculously silly, I know. And I could see you laughing at me for thinking such a thing. As silly as it is, I think a part of me is going to wonder if you're still at the house on North Pitt. Waiting for us all to come home.
After all, I am the person who stopped burning sage because it chases spirits and I wanted you to stay.
I wish I could talk to you about the choice to leave as a whole. Packing us all up to go to Chicago is overwhelming.
You would have loved to see Poppy-Marie and Justin playing in the snow. It's supposed to be spring, but it doesn't feel like it. Not at all.
I am still struggling through therapy. I say struggle because constantly having to explain how I feel is tiring. I get that it's helpful, but some days I just want to crawl under a rock.
Till next time. Love you. Miss you.
Last years event turned out so amazing. We got to meet some really great people. This year I will not only be walking in the Philly event come this October, but also the Chicago event in Aug!!
Join us as we walk together to raise awareness and funds to defeat lung cancer and raise our voices for lung health. LUNG FORCE Walks are a time to laugh, learn and imagine a world free of lung disease. Our walks promote fitness and help forge lasting connections between participants.
Your support saves lives by funding key lung cancer research and providing people who are impacted by lung cancer with invaluable resources, assistance and information. Get involved today by forming a team, registering as an individual or participating virtually.
Why Do We Walk?
Join us for the LUNG FORCE Walk - Chicago on Sunday, August 12, 2018 at 10:00 AM .
1410 Museum Campus Dr.
Chicago, IL 60605
I will post more information about the October event as it becomes available.
So many times I was inadvertently hurting people because I was suffering. I do a lot less of that these days and have inspired people I care about to also get help as they’ve seen how much it’s helped me. I have a lot more work to do.
"I may not fully understand it, but my life makes sense. I make sense. I can let go of the past and move forward. Today is the first day of the rest of my life."
Something that was shared in therapy this evening.
Time doesn't heal all wounds. Not when it comes to grief and loss of life. Time is simply the space we move through as we use our own trial and error coping systems in an effort to find ways within our lives to move forward. There is no getting over. You do not get over this kind of loss, you cope and learn how to move forward with a life without that person. Please stop trying to fix people who are grieving. Just listen. Sometimes the best way to help someone is to not say anything at all. Not every situation in life calls for advice, wisdom, and accidental opinions.
45 Years is a 2015 British romantic drama film directed and written by Andrew Haigh. The film is based on the short story "In Another Country" by David Constantine. The film premiered in the main competition section of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.Charlotte Rampling won the Silver Bear for Best Actress and Tom Courtenay won the Silver Bear for Best Actor. At the 88th Academy Awards, Rampling received a nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. (Via wiki)
45 years trailer drew me in. A movie about life, love, loss, and human connection? Yeah that has Maggie Lopez written all over it.
It was much more than I expected. It teaches us that grief is forever. And just because someone dies, doesn't mean we ever truly move on. In this story we meet Kate and Geoff. They were married 45 years and to what has always seemed like the perfect love story.
Within the first 10 minutes of the movie we learn that Geoff lost someone in the 1960s. At this point, we do not know much about her other than it's a woman from his past. They found her body which had been frozen this whole time. Whilst researching this movie, I actually found out that this was inspired by true events.
If you have the time and want a heartbreaking but interesting read; https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/11832861/The-true-story-behind-the-story-that-inspired-45-Years.html
“It’s a reversal for how it should be, the young man and the old man,” Constantine tells the Sunday Telegraph from his home in Oxford. “Everything I’ve ever written is based on a concrete image – and that young man frozen in the ice is particularly haunting.”
Really sad and interesting stuff. I could not imagine dealing with that. It's a story worth checking out.
So after learning about finding this mystery woman's body, Geoff starts learning all that he can about global warming.
A day passes and Kate starts to push deeper into who this mystery woman was. Geoff lets it known he was her next of kin as people thought that they were married and he had hoped to marry her at some point in his life.
This is heartbreaking to take. So she pushes more as time passes. Some details he shares while others she finds on her own.
I read a lot of comments about the movie with people saying "Why would a relationship from half a century ago ruin a 45 year marriage?" And through most of the movie, I kinda asked myself the same thing because a lot of the clues were really hidden to me. But after watching it a second time it was like wow... I could not imagine living that way.
Kate in her snooping finds out that the woman, Katya, was very pregnant at the time of her death. Geoff had once said he never wanted children. But he never told her that this was the reason why. Kate and Geoff have a Dog as a replacement for Children, a GERMAN shepherd. Katya was German.
When he has made love to Kate in the past, he keeps his eyes shut implying that he is thinking of Katya'......and Kate realizes this the last time they made love and she tells him to open his eyes.
Geoff considers going to Switzerland and trekking up a mountain to see the frozen body of 'Katya' and yet Kate gently reprimands him that he has never even gone for a walk with her. We also learned how well traveled Geoff and Katya were. Going to places and doing things he never would with her.
At their anniversary party, it hits on Geoff that he has been very cruel to Kate. He has been cheating on her with a ghost... and he does actually love her, just not in the deep and profound way that he loved Katya. His toast was probably the first time in their 45 year marriage, he has acknowledged just how much Kate really does mean to him. Gives a beautiful speech.. even cries. But it would seem it was too little too late.
45 years is currently available to stream on netflix.
In honor of international women's day, I put together a list of women I admired over the past year. Some I think were obvious choices if you know me while others might be a bit of a surprise because they don't fall into my political or religious beliefs. This list is in no special order.
Meghan Marguerite McCain is an American columnist, author, former Fox News contributor, and co-host of The View. She is the daughter of 2008 presidential nominee and long-time U.S. Senator John McCain and Cindy Hensley McCain. (Wikipedia)
I have admired Meghan for many years. Whilst she is very right wing, I do not believe she is closed minded. She keeps an mind and tries hard to see both sides of a political story. She stands up for gay people their rights for things such as marriage. She is for marijuana legalization.I don't agree with her stances on abortion. But admire her passion and the way that she stands up for herself. She is currently dealing with her father's cancer, but is putting on a brave face every day and working hard.
Jessamyn Stanley is an internationally recognized yoga teacher and award-winning Instagram star (@mynameisjessamyn). She has been profiled and/or featured in a wide range of media outlets, including Good Morning America, New York, Glamour, Shape, People, and the Huffington Post, among others. (wiki)
She is just beautiful inside and out. She is passionate about empowering women and teaching them to love themselves. She was one of the first people I thought of when I wanted to make this list.
Emma González is an American activist and advocate for gun control. As a high school senior she survived the February 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, and in response ... (Wikipedia)
She is a powerful voice in gun control and hasn't even graduated high school yet. A voice for the gay community as well as women. A voice for America. I get teary listening to her speak. This is the future of our country. Gives me hope that things will not always be so terrible in this world. This is going to be the generation to make real change.
Michelle Robinson Obama is an American lawyer and writer who was First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. She is married to the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, and is the first African American First Lady. (Wikipedia)
Strong woman and mother. Whilst her husband was in office, she did so much for kids including programs to help keep them healthy and get them better meals in school. And even though she is no longer in the white house... She is continuing to stand up for women, children, and America.
Danica Roem is an American journalist and politician of the Democratic Party. In the 2017 Virginia elections she was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, winning the Democratic primary for the 13th district on June 13, and the general election on November 7. She is the first openly transgender person to be elected. (Wikipedia)
She has made history in not only the trans community, but our country. I admire her openness and strength. I look forward to seeing where her political career will go. .
Ayesha Disa Curry is a Canadian–American actress, celebrity cook, cookbook author, and television personality. After guest roles in several television shows and movies, she began hosting her own show, Ayesha's Homemade, on Food Network.( Wikipedia)
I like to pretend she is my best friend... no seriously.. haha I adore this women. Classy and beautiful. Has made such a brand from herself becoming way more than "Steph's wife" and gaining her own spotlight. Her whole family is goals. I love them.
Honestly I could go on and on here... but these are some of the ones that when their name pops on my social media stream, I just have to click in and read. I honestly beileve the future is female and women can do anything.
Before closing, I would like to honor the woman who inspired me as a child. She raised me to be strong and opinionated. To question the world around me and to let me know that I could live a life that made me happy. My grandmother, Bridgette Lucy Taylor.
And a special place on this list for the little women I am raising, my daughters Ashlie and Poppy Marie.
Having my first child at 17 was not ideal, but I do not regret a thing. Not one. If I could do it all over again. I would. Ashlie has turned out to be a wonder person. She will soon be graduating highschool and wants to go to college to be a teacher specializing in art and music.
My little Poppy is still growing into her own little person, and at three has enough personality for ten people. I hope that as the years pass they will live the lives they want to live and feel empowered.
Who are some of the women you think about when wanting to celebrate Women's day?
I remember reading an article from 2015 about a woman who took time away from work and friends to focus on her mental health which ended up with her quiting her job, and leaving most of her friends behind. It was one of viral stories that came across my facebook feed. I wasn't looking for it. Just happened to catch my eye.
The reactions were mixed. A lot of people found her actions to be selfish as she completely shutout and stopped talking to people during this break. I remember thinking to myself; "I wish I could do that." But sort of brushed it off as things that sound good in theory, but will never work.
Thinking about where I was in 2015... a year before my father passed. Well, let me say this first. I think about my life like this... it stopped in 2016 when he passed, and the time after has been a major rebuild. I am not even the same person I was then. The way I thought, or felt. Nothing was the same. So taking you back then, I was very consumed in the problems of my friends. So much that they caused problems in my marriage and family because I was always having to stop what I was doing to help someone out. Let it be emotionally or financially. I just wanted to help the people in my life.
Around this time we started family therapy because of my son's social struggles and impulsive habits. It was called family based and they were in my home 3 to 4 times a week for a year. They were intense moments that lead to big family cries. Some sessions had even involved my father. It was great for all of us. And it was the first time my father, husband, and children had an open stage to address my distractions and their opinions on the unhealthy friendships I had.
These past friendships were not faulted on one side. I had role to play. I may not have seen it then, but I do now. I could have done a lot differently... A LOT. I am by no means innocent.
Sometimes a romantic relationship ends and there are no faults. People drift and grow apart. Their lives go different directions. And you have to make a choice to move on and not stay in a place where you are unhappy. You have to. Or you end up destroying yourself, the other person, or both. And what I didn't realize is that this same idea goes to platonic friendships and relationships too.
It's ok not let friends go. It doesn't make you bad, or them bad. You're just in a different place in your life. You aren't selfish for saying goodbye.
When my dad passed, I said goodbye to all those people. Anyone who made me question my value as a person. Anyone who made me feel that I constantly had to prove my value as not only a friend, but as a person too. This expanded not only real life, but internet friendships as well.
I let everyone go and searched for my own worth. I stopped letting others define me, and started to define myself.
Over the next year I kept very busy. Working A LOT. I was shooting 5 days a week. Constantly trying not to think about my dad or the issues I had with rumors and mixed reactions to my life choices.
But then it hit me... this wasn't enough. Sure, the break from friendships had opened up some mental clarity, but I was filling the space with work. I still wasn't healing. I wasn't growing, I was not rebuilding my life.
So I took a break from working too. I just stopped taking clients. And the money I saved from all those extra shoots... well... I took a vacation. I went on a trip alone. I went in search of myself and came home with so much more.
Although our family based therapy has ended, I am still in therapy. I am very active in various grief support programs and am learning new things about myself daily.
I am so grateful that I was able to take this break and focus on myself. Working hard to fix things because without the foundation within myself.. I can't be a friend to anyone.... I couldn't be a good mom or even wife. I had to fix the problems at the core within my soul. It's a work in progress. Something I have to nurture everyday. And I do just that.
That woman in the article was right. Maybe she was selfish. But maybe we all need to be selfish sometimes.
Here is what I have learned;
1. Therapy actually is a good thing. Therapy is important. Having someone outside your friends and family to talk to is priceless. I needed someone in my life who wouldn't just agree with everything I said, or take things personally. I needed to be able to talk freely, open, and honest. It's been such an important part of my life the past year.
2. Self care is everything. Taking time for yourself doesn't make you weak. Self-care is not optional. You have to put your mental health at the top of your priority list. This is not optional. You can not take care of others if you're not taking care of yourself.
3. Don't overwhelm yourself because nothing happens over night. Making goals towards progress, not perfection. I just want to make sure I am moving forward. It doesn't need to be perfect as long as I am trying.
4. Let them go, doesn't make you a bad person. It's ok to let people go of people who no longer fit into your life. Growing apart or your life taking new direction isn't something to feel guilty for. Doesn't mean my life is better or perfect compared to the former friends. Just means we don't mesh as people. There are no faults. Sometimes friendships have to come to and end.
5. Life is so short. Enjoy the time I have with my kids whilst they are still little. Even the small things like potty training Poppy and teaching her to write her name. We only get one. These are the things that are important.
I am trying to use this time away from work wisely and plan on making a comeback this summer. I have a lot of projects I'd like to try my hand at and I am working on writing out a new business plan. Baby steps.... baby steps towards progress..
If you're struggling to hold on to something in your life that you aren't sure is the healthiest, I hope that perhaps my words can help you find the motivation needed to make a positive change in your life.
Whilst the circumstances behind my break were not ideal, I am so grateful for all the extra time I have with my children.