SIX.

Last night, I went to Gasworks Park and watched the lunar eclipse.

seattle_gasworks_park

With the magical moon above and hundreds of Seattleites milling and huddling about, I thought a lot about today. And about this past yer.

January 21st. Today. Six years since my bad ski accident.

The less I write about personal stuff out loud—the less I share—the more space talking about January 21st takes up. It starts to feel like all I talk about. Which kind of makes me feel weird, but it’s okay. I’m trying to give myself more grace.

Six years ago, I was skiing in Bozeman. I fell. I slid down a steep section. Couldn’t gain control. I hit a tree, with my face. 30 stitches in my face and an airplane ride to Missoula later, they figured out I would be okay.

But it changed me. A lot. And I guess that’s why I find myself talking about it more than would assume.

It also helps me define my years, because I truly saw each year of living differently after the near-death experience.

ONE
The first year after—2013—was the year of surviving. People don’t talk about this enough. Hell, doctors don’t even warn you. Hey, you might have PTSD. Hey, you might have the same kind of brain damage that makes football players murder their girlfriends. Hey, this might mess you up mentally, emotionally, and in physical ways we’ll never talk about. But, hey, be happy for your life. Surviving.

TWO
2014 was straight-up thriving. I’m afraid I may have peaked that year. Award-winning documentaries, film festivals left and right, a 20 in their 20s award, traveling around with loved ones, and just slaying it at work. I felt like I was on a creativity high for a whole year.

THREE
2015 was a lot of change. The changing year. A move to Bozeman for a rad job, an engagement, a new home, a wedding!, a new husband—it was all a lot! A lot of bad happened, but a lot of amazingness happened as well. The year of growth—of change.

FOUR
2016 was a strange stagnation. It was like trying to travel on a stationary bike. At one of those SoulCycle classes. Sometimes it felt productive, but it usually felt pretty dark. Moving, sweating, but not going anywhere. Frustration.

FIVE
2017 sucked. It was a very trying year. We tried our hardest, but everything fell apart. It was trying.

…SIX
And now 2018. January 21st 2018 – January 21st 2019. We moved to Seattle for Evan to finally be an oncology nurse. And from almost the moment we arrived, everyone and everything has been so kind to us. The word that keeps coming up is gracious. From the moment we showed up, we have been shown grace and love. Our home is a home, with ex-nurse landlords who care for us as people. I came to Seattle expecting to write, do stand-up comedy, make lots of radio, and generally piece it together for six months or so.

Not two month in, I accepted a job as a Creative Director at an advertising agency and have been handed the reigns for exciting leadership. I am so grateful.

This transition has been welcoming. Kind.

Friends of friends have turned into tribes of friends.

Family has expanded in size and love. I feel we’ve been shown grace in all things and know better how to give it. It’s love.

I got to make radio I really believed in with people who are just incredible.

Evan and I have been able to find time to truly adventure.

We got to travel around France together.

We got to explore Washington together.

We’ve explored Seattle extensively. (Read: Eat and drink out a lot.) For the first time in five years, one or both of us hasn’t been in school. We’re both done with school! Which means we both have full-time jobs for the first time in a long while. Which means we’ve kind of been spending money like assholes. The next year will be used to reign it in a bit, but…

This year has been our victory lap. It feel less like the thriving year and more like the exhaling year. A gracious exhale. A warm welcome. A strong hug. There is less creating, less projects, more toasts, more meet-ups.

Six. Six years since and an exciting time to be alive.

So going forward this year, I will try to be ask kind as the universe has been to me. As gracious to others—and myself—as I can. That is my resolution that starts today, because today is the beginning of the next chapter for me.

[happy new year.]

the day that didn’t exist.

January 7, 2009 didn’t exist for me. A decade ago, I was on a plane to Sydney, Australia. When you’re running away from a lot of things, you choose the farthest place you can swing.

I left on January 6th and when I arrived in Sydney, it was January 8th.

This girl was bopping around the big city by her lonesome:

me_in_sydney

What a baby! It was also very warm there. Like 110°.

She was likely listening to this song:

She was very lonely:

in_my_room_sad

But trying:

jervis_bay_selfie

Trying by adventuring and dancing in kitchens:

in_the_vincents_kitchen

But it was the loneliest I’ve been. It was the darkest time in the brightest heat. And for long I looked back on this time—looked back at this 23-year-old—and felt regret and sadness.

That day didn’t exist. Then I wished this time hadn’t existed. This phase. Sometimes I didn’t want to exist. But without this time, this phase, I wouldn’t have known what it was like to really scrap things together from nothing. I wouldn’t have found a love for the writing I love today. I wouldn’t know know my strength. I wouldn’t know deep parts of me that I wouldn’t have tapped for resources. Now I know the path there and the path back.

I wouldn’t know this woman:

 

[photos by the amazing Catherine Abegg.]

And I kind of like this woman.

And she really likes this song:

I exist. And a lot of who that existence is was formed by the difficult times. Here’s to the huge failures. Here’s to the big swings that are big misses that make waves a decade down the road.

 

[cheers!]