Last week on Valentine's Day was my one year anniversary living in Seattle. One year since I got on a plane with my carry on suitcase filled with camera gear, the one trench coat I owned and my sweet parents who insisted on helping me move to my new loft. I stayed quiet about it because I wanted to feel it first. I wanted to privately bask in all the memories 2017 brought me. I thought about how I would blog about it and decided that instead of showcasing street photography of Seattle, I would share some of my favorite personal photos taken on my iphone last year. Some are grainy and low quality, but I kind of love that. It's real and imperfect, just like my life.
* The first two photos were taken days before the move. My best friends came to help me pack and it will always be a time I look back on with a full heart.
I'll never forget a few days before I left L.A I had a shoot in Santa Monica. The sun was shining, it was 75 degrees and strangely more beautiful than usual. It was the kind of day people were talking about. Even my Uber driver had something to say about it. We drove in silence and enjoyed the breeze coming in from the windows. I hoped she didn't see the tears rolling down my face as I thought about how these sunny, warm days were soon to be limited. I teared up again on the way home, but tried to enjoy the ride nonetheless. I memorized how the wind made the palm trees sway and how the sun peeked through the leaves making me squint.
I came home, continued to pack and a few days later it was time. I said goodbye to all my friends, my beloved apartment, sent a million texts to everyone I care about and just like that, touched down in Seattle. My mom hugged me as tears rolled down my face. I felt nervous, anxious, worried and yet, excited, free and motivated. It's surreal feeling so many things at once, but I knew it was where I needed to be.
My parents and I spent the first week getting me settled and walking around downtown together. We put up shelves, I made them dinner and I thought how very soon I would be making dinner for just myself. I only knew a few people and had no idea if I would see them often or if I would meet new friends soon (I would and I did). I started counting down the days until my friends in L.A would come visit me because I already missed them terribly. I giggle looking back at those early days because almost all of them have now come up to visit.
As I think about all the things I accomplished last year with my business, I feel such pride. It's my baby and I protect it with everything I have. I'm also happy to report that my time here has allowed me to come back to myself without distractions. I was lost and searching for something and I finally figured some things out. I've relished in the little things like seeing the leaves change for the first time in my life. I moved into a workspace/livespace environment like I always wanted. It's a place I hold shoots, study light, host friends and where I hide from the world when I need to recharge. It's funny how an extrovert like me still needs a lot of alone time.
There have been really stressful days full of questions and uncertainty, but I pushed through all that and embraced everything that came my way. I've worked harder than I ever have in my life, I've met some amazing friends and explored a new city that I'm still getting to know. I've learned that I'm stronger and more resilient than ever before. Most of all, I'm braver than I ever gave myself credit for and that's something I want to bestow upon everyone I love.
// Be brave, learn to trust yourself and go with your gut. Things still scare me and I still worry about a lot of things, but the difference is now I do the things that scare me despite the fear. I feel free and I'll always work hard to keep that sense of peace within myself.
So, what's next? I have some ideas, but I think I'll let them marinate for a little while. For now, I'm going to enjoy where I am at this very moment and stop fighting the urge to eat the pint of ice cream that's in my freezer.
I also just want to say thank you. There are so many of you that have been following along on this crazy journey. So much has happened and I'm thankful to have had you with me. To my people in Seattle, I don't even know what to say to you. You are my lifeline here and there is NO way I could have had the year I had without you. You made it fun, you made is safe, you made it special, you made it home. I'll cherish you always.