| February 8, 2019 |
I feel there is immense power in reflection. I have been told I can be insightful, and I certainly benefit from looking at the inner workings of my heart & mind. I’ve needed to do this 2018 reflection process, and chunking my memories into three different sections per month (Treasured Moments, Professional Growth, Heartfelt Memoirs) is giving my brain a workout. This is my therapy, and I hope it’s somewhat enjoyable for you to be a part of the process.
It’s said that chunking helps our brain better to remember information, and it’s certainly making it easier and more feasible to process my year. I can see more clearly how much light was shining through my cracks in 2018.
The second half of 2018 was full of transitions. Life is constant transitions, of course, but June and beyond really forced me to take action in relationships, jobs, and living situations. Simply letting life happen was not an option. I had to weather relentless storms. I put my figurative poncho on time and time again, letting the negativity hit me but not penetrate into my mind. I realized how much I had been enduring. So, I picked up what was left of my self-worth, confidence, and courage, and made
a change changes.
This month, I grasped for relationships that felt solid. I found myself booking a same-day flight to New York to visit my family and surprise my best friend at her bridal shower. The night before, I hit a wall and I knew there wasn’t any turning back. I knew one relationship was ending, and so I was ready to let the love pour in from those closest to me. At work on Saturday, I called my mom:
Me: Mom, I’m looking at flights home to New York.
Mom: Yes! For August, it’s looking good the first weekend… etc.,etc…
Me: *rudely interrupts* No, for today. My bag is packed and in the car. I’m coming home.
I loved seeing Danielle showered in love, as she opened items that will one day (hopefully soon!) fill her home with Bobby. I am fortunate to see such beautiful relationships in my life, because they show me what love can and should be. Here’s a picture of me with Danielle. I’m cheesin’ HARD because I was basically crying in happiness all day.
I had been working at Vertical World as a fitness instuctor for some time, and it was soon to be wrapping up at this point. Reflecting back on my time as a Strength & Conditioning Instructor at a climbing gym, I realize how much I have learned from teaching the class! I used to read Training for New Alpinism and watch YouTube videos of workout sessions and exercises to challenge my class with. Some of the attendees learned to do pull-ups for the first time in my class! I truly miss the morning crews, as they made teaching at 6AM and 7AM a JOY. There was so much energy in the class – all of which I had them put into pushing/throwing sandbags, Scotty Bobbing, and doing burpees, of course. My new favorite exercise:
As the sun kissed the horizon,
I felt it was true:
it’s time I let go of you.
With peace in my heart,
no tears left to shed,
I am ready for what may lie ahead.
A weekend on San Juan Island (in the San Juan Islands) was just what the doctor had ordered. And what a silly mistake divinely turned into. Yay for following our heart’s needs.
On Sunday, June 17th, Haley and I planned to backpack & climb in Gothic Basin, but after sleeping in my car at the trailhead, we awoke on Sunday to no cell phone service. Normally, this is a blessing and reason for celebrations in the mountains (YAY for remote locations!)… but it was Fathers Day and I couldn’t tolerate the thought of NOT calling my dad for TWO days while climbing. That felt silly, selfish, and was not an option. Plus, my brothers and I had ordered him wild caught salmon from ALASKA. I needed to know what he thought! Plus, I hadn’t told my family I’d be out of cell service. So, Haley and I left the trailhead to drive towards cell service, stopping at Big Four Ice Caves, and (through much conversation) realized our true desire was a weekend relaxing in the San Juans. We caught the ferry and made it on time for a kayaking tour in search for orcas. Whales were not found, but tranquility certainly was.
Danielle gets the spotlight here again! As her Co-Maid of Honor, I am honored (haha) to say many highlights of 2018 revolved around her wedding. In July, our crew headed to Austin for Danielle’s “Boots and Bling Before the Ring” Bachelorette Party! The highlight was DEFINITELY boat day on Lake Travis, which was filled with fun floats, an anthem od “One Kiss” by Calvin Harris / Dua Lipa, dancing, and maybe a little too much Tito’s for some. Also, we at the literal best BBQ food at Cooper’s. I had the meat sweats for a first time in a while. AND, bacon jalapeño macaroni and cheese. I need say NO MORE.
This month, I jumped into more adaptive rock climbing with Outdoors for All! In 2017, I went to the program at Exit 38 for one day to take photos and I had been itching to return. We worked on building an adaptive system for a climber who has a LOT of drive. He’s new to climbing, but is goal-oriented and committed to learning. PLUS, Paradox Sports hosted an Adaptive Climbing Clinic at Vertical World Seattle. A group of like-minded people are now working towards more adaptive climbing opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities in the Pacific Northwest! FUN FUN!
Perhaps not a “professional” endeavor, per say, but I finally joined Peaks of Life on a climb this month! On July 8th, I joined a team of mostly Peaks-of-Lifers to climb Mt. Shuksan! This was my FIRST alpine climb, and I was way outside my comfort zone but LOVED the process. We climbed via Fisher Chimneys, and though we didn’t summit, this was one of my favorite mountain trips. It involved scrambling, rappelling (<I just misspelled that so many times. Double “p” AND “l”?), glacier travel, steep snow, river crossings, and VIEWS. We did it in a two-day trip, and I wrote about it on the Peaks of Life blog here!
I’ve come to learn how a healing heart needs comfort, gentleness, and familiarity. This what Caitlin and Jonny gifted me during their visit to Washington State! The weekend of their visit was perfect timing, as I had been somewhat couch-surfing between living situations, and ready to be a tourist in my own city. We did everything from wine tasting at Chateau Ste Michelle to hiking at Mount Rainier to eating a fancy Italian dinner. I am forever grateful for these two (and can’t wait to visit them in Boston in 2019!!!!). They’re a strong example of love and successful marriage in my life.
I kept the love pouring in this month! I was living with my friends, Jane and Jordan, and their perfect Pomeranian Gumo AKA “Groot” (Rest In Peace, I love you forever!). They had a spare room for me, and I loved being their roommate because A) They packed me lunch some days, B) Jordan makes the BEST Moscow Mules, C) Groot gives the best cuddles, and D) They’re now two of my closest friends.
New friendships were blooming! I finally got to meet Erin, whom I’d conversed with on social media a few times. Our first meeting resulted in: two unicorn floats on Mount Baker, a fight with a very strong current, one dead car battery, two Dairy Queen Blizzards, matching Alex Apland orca mugs, chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches, and hours of heartfelt conversation. Erin was just two months after her tibial plateau fracture & surgery, and she showed me how much determination and will power can get you through the hard times. Being that she’s an aggressive and amazing skier, staying stationary was NOT an option, so she has been finding the will & means to stay active and strong!
FINALLY (wowee this was a busy month!), I met up with hardXcore climber & friend Connor to tackle my first full multi-pitch climb in the NORTH CASCADES! We had a bit of a warm-up round in early August in Leavenworth (where I learned you NEVER abandon a cam!!) with my first EVER multi-pitches. Then… On August 20th, we summited South Early Winter Spire (WASHINGTON PASS is the best of the best of the best) via Southwest Buttress/Rib, and down-climbed via South Arête (with multiple rappels!). We (well, Connor) added a variation of estimated 5.10 after the bear hug pitch, which certainly made me grunt and wrangle my fingers deep into some crack. Connor offered to hoist me up, but NOPE I was gonna make that crack my bitch and get myself up. I’ve been told I’m a persistent climber… haha. Despite the smoke (and falling ash) from the fires, the climb was just as epic as I’d imagined, and the mountain goat company was fantastic. I got pretty good at creating alpine draws, faster at removing cams, and didn’t ever feel that I was too exposed to keep on climbing! This makes me excited for future climb-ventures, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to swing pitches. Thanks for doing all the dirty work, Connor!
This was a BIG month for my professional life! I started working at Seattle Children’s North Clinic, which opened on August 15, 2018! Not only did I transition from 0.6 FTE to 1.0 FTE at Seattle Children’s, but I got to be part of the whole process of opening a clinic! This meant spending a few days ordering and opening toys (and playing with them to make sure they worked, of course… purely business), making sure we had necessary outcome measures/supplies, and organizing! I was nervous about leaving the Seattle Children’s South Clinic crew, and also sad to be leaving the team at Waypoint Pediatric Therapies. However, this decision was made by intersecting personal/professional needs. I was going to be moving out of North Seattle, wanted to live closer to work, and had opportunities for roommates/more stability in the north end. This ended up being an all-around perfect decision because we now have a North Clinic family and I feel very much at home in Everett.
Secondly, a group of students from Stony Brook headed to Tanzania on the second-annual service learning trip! I didn’t get to join Edu Africa this year, but my PT colleagues (fellow alumnus from Stony Brook, plus two pediatric PT’s from Washington state) were leaders on the ground. I coordinated the trip from a distance, and it was another success. Read more about my previous trips to Tanzania here.
Macaroons. Macaroons are my heart.
Jane is the macaroon master, and living with her meant I got to learn how to bake these precious treats. We made lavender, earl grey, and matcha flavored macaroons! We laughed at how her perfectionist & my free-spirited attitudes were an ideal match; any time the macaroons didn’t match in size, I laughed at how cute they were while Jane dug to find matching pairs! The result? Delicious, perfect little treats:
The months of preparation and anticipation all built up to one day in September: the wedding of Danielle and Bobby! Honestly, I was looking forward to this day in September ALL YEAR, especially once things started getting mucky in my personal life. Being alongside Danielle as Maid of Honor on her special day was deeply meaningful, plus I had the added benefit of traveling to New York to see my family on this trip!
Being that Bobby comes from Greek heritage, there was a strong Grecian element to the wedding, which meant LOTS of dancing, dollar bills flying around the couple (and being mopped into a pile!), spiral dancing patterns, and DELICIOUS food.
I was happy to contribute some decorations the the wedding (like the above!), which my trusted artist-in-crime Jane helped with (again, her perfectionism was necessary and saved me a lot of time doing my typical trial & error method, versus her meticulous measuring). I also got to share one of my favorite quotes by Dr. Seuss during my MOH speech, as Danielle and Bobby’s marriage represents the kind of love I aim for one day:
We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we… fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.
This month, Peaks of Life held its annual gala! I was not able to attend because of Danielle’s wedding, but I did contribute to the planning throughout the year. With a kind photo donation from Jason Reynolds, I created the graphical content we used to advertise the event. The success of the gala created more donations to the Uncompensated Care Fund at Seattle Children’s. To read more about Uncompensated Care and Peaks of Life, click here!
Time heals, but ACTION is also needed. It is not enough to simply wait to feel in certain situations. Rather, it takes effort and conscious, hard work!
A new home. A sacred space. I moved into a cute little yellow home that built in 1901 and is located ridiculously close to work. I have a backyard with a greenhouse and a YARD. I love my room, as it is sacred and has all I need. All my belongings are under one roof, in their own place, nothing is lost, and I am settled for the first time in a long time.
This month, I start diving deeper into defining my own authority, living with intent, finding my positive vibrations radiating from within, and defining more clear boundaries. I started comparing what I feel like are the “right things” to do and what my “heart strings” tell me, in order to live a more intentional, self-guided life.
To be continued…
Okay, this is getting excessively long. If you made it through even 50% of this post, thank you for your time in reading my words. This is my life, this is my heart, this is my devotion to creating, writing, and being my authentic self.
I’m not sure if you follow me on Instagram, but I have certainly increased the depth and vulnerability of my posts. I have been using my captions as a way to snapshot my feelings in the moment. Sometimes, I feel embarrassed by what I post because maybe the thought isn’t well-developed, or it seems a little negative. Honestly, this has promoted the most healing and freedom within me to express myself authentically. It’s important to be authentic and true to myself, no matter what I am feeling.
I believe in creating a life that is filled with magic. Sometimes, we have to look deep within and crawl through crevasses & cracks to find it, but I can feel the colors of my soul shining through!
Just one more post coming for my 2018 review, and then I’ll be diving into what 2019 has in store…!