Well, here we are again. Another year ending, another year beginning. Another year of lessons, of highs and lows and every in-between moment that never ceases in its reminder that yes, I am still a part of it all.
That I still possess a beating, sometimes bleeding, heart. Still own a pair of lungs that breathe in and breathe out the stress, the happiness and even those words I keep only for myself. Ya know, the truths held tight for the space within each and every pause, as the air lingers on my lips for an infinitesimal moment in time.
That I still feel, share, experience, engage, act, and move, and move, and move forward. That I still Am.
But what else happened this year? What sets it apart? What sets it back or rather, what did I or didn’t I accomplish?
Well, let’s go back to the start…
January has never been my favorite month for a multitude of reasons – the end of the holiday season comes sure and swift and there’s no getting around the slump of, “oh, alright then.” But not 2017.
2017’s January saw my official intro as a member of the crew for Unmistakably Star Wars’ weekly (super awesome amazing show that you should go listen and review now!) Podcast. I went from being a one-time guest to being a regular and for someone who has struggled all her life to fit in? This was, and remains, a very big deal. The effects of this have been plenty but to name a few: it has boosted my confidence, solidified friendships and shown me more about understanding and acceptance than I’d ever thought it might. I look forward to every recording, still get butterflies in my stomach before that record button gets toggled and to top it all off? I genuinely care a great great deal for the people I’m on this crazy-fun ride alongside. #pahtners
This same month also saw me learning all the ropes of podcast editing for my rockstar boss-lady, the lovely Sara of Me & Orla. She kicked off her own show in a big big way and I was – and still am – more than a little happy and honored to take on the weekly duties of listening, cutting, polishing and posting her insightful, enjoyable, inspiring talks with people all over this beautiful world.
January, I think I’m still swooning over how many doors you’ve opened for me. *winks in a knowing sort of way*
Moving on from making a month by month list (my memory isn’t what it used to be), let’s create categories and break down those aforementioned highs and lows..
It was officially the most fruitful and hectic year of my career as a photographer. I’ve cultivated a whole bundle of new clients, friends and relationships that I know will carry on throughout the coming year ahead. I was fortunate enough to book more weddings in 2018 than I have any year prior as well as photograph more engagement and family sessions in 2017 than any year before. It was a successful, lady-boss 12 months for this girl and I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings!
So, this was a high and low year for me in terms of writing. The lows: I did not complete my original novel nor did I blog as frequently as I’d have liked. There were, and are, so many words I’ve held back for one reason or another and though I know I’ve produced some beautiful things in 2017, there was a ton more that could have been but simply weren’t. On the flip side of that though – The highs: I completed two writing challenges totaling over 60k words and it improved my writing dramatically. I met a handful of amazing people doing so and received praise and acclaim for a fanfic challenge I finished that I had never experienced to that degree before. Ever. It was mind-blowing and eye-opening and a level of reassurance I’d never known I would have in the world of FF writing. Grateful, so grateful still.
In the end, there is a balance to my year of writing for 2017 but I’d rather it be full-tilt on the side of actually doing the thing that I’m most passionate about. Hey 2018, how you doin’?
I did mention this already regarding the business recap, but really, photography was a passion long before it became a job. But the past few years has seen more work-centric content and less original project-content than I’d have liked. And while yes, I did venture out into the world and shoot for the sake of shooting more in 2017 than I remember in years previous, I still haven’t found “the thing” that made me fall head over heels into it again…yet. That said, I’m a perpetual optimist and hope is always, always on the horizon, so this is something I will continue to work on; betterment for the sake of what moves me and all that jazz.
Oh, the words that rise so quickly to the surface when delving into this topic. Some I’m able to speak, others I cannot. As some are good and some are not. There have been people who left my orbit, unfortunately forever for them, but also a small select few who carved out their homes permanently within me. And in the midst of the goings and comings, there were moments, so many that left me a whirlwind of emotion. Moments where I didn’t know if my heart could beat faster for the affections it was given to hold onto. Moments I wasn’t certain my breath would return to me in time to say how much I care or feel or want or hope. Moments where I held two of my best friends in my arms after two years of speaking to them daily online. Moments where a text or DM ignited a beautifully moving overwhelm I had never felt before.
I have laughed, cried, shared, over-shared, given, received, high-fived, hugged, held and loved and loved and loved. And this part, without a doubt, has been the absolute joy and highlight to my year. The people. It always comes down to the people. The ones who are there, who show up, who give without expectation, who are real and true and everything else you never thought you could find in another human being. From best friends to friends to acquaintances to the occasional “hey, you okay?” DMs/texts/calls, it’s been a year of openness and honestly and my heart. My heart is full and warm and cared for. My gratitude for all of you could never be said properly enough in words alone. Thank you for seeing through the bullshit. Thank you for going beyond and beneath and loving me (or liking me a whole lot…either or, I’ll take it) despite the many, many faults I possess. My heart is always here if you ever need or have want for it. And to those few of you reading this and smiling – I know you know who you are. There should be no doubt.
Alongside all of this abundance, is my family, of course. My beautifully inspiring daughter, my accepting, supportive A, two loving, goofy parents, an amazing bond I share with my sister, my rockstar Star Wars obsessed brother in law and energetic loving niece. My best, gorgeous cousins, and funny, there-no-matter-what best friends (they’re family and because I’m Italian, you can’t argue this with me). You know exactly where you stand with me because I’m not the type to keep that sort of thing to myself. It’s simply not a part of my nature. And I thank you, always, for seeing me, for taking me as I am and not for all the things I could be.
I finally made the commitment to better myself …and as I type this, I continue to adhere to this self-care promise. I’ve lost nearly 20 lbs since 2017 and have a routine of regular exercise, a healthier diet and a mindset chock-full of positive affirmations that would challenge even the most morose amongst us not to feel better upon hearing them. I cycle in the warmer months, run outside or at the gym, have taken on a squat challenge and drink loads of water, etc.. I also indulge in wine every once and again and it’s been a fun little bright spot to some nights that are far too lonesome or cold to endure alone. And yes, I know that sounds like alcoholism but I basically mean winter months are tough on the bones and wine helps. The end.
Long story short – this is wrapped up in nearly all of the categories above, minus business, because well, obvious reasons. But the highest highs for fandom aside from friends? I met Henry Cavill and Mark Hamill. Superman and Luke Skywalker. I met them. And I had the greatest time doing so. Waiting in line with the right ladies – Sara and Steph, and my sister – and meeting random fans along the way. It was The Year of the Geek and I absolutely am over the moon with how amazing and fun those experiences were. MORE PLZ more.
In closing, it was a year of new experiences, new learned trades, booming business, opening my heart, unfulfilled and fulfilled goals and a life full of living. A whole lot of it. And love, of course. Which is all I’m ever able to hope for. Whether it’s given or received, so long as it’s there I will count my blessings and offer up the best smile-dimple-smile I can manifest.
Now I’m off to drink a big cup of hot tea. Then later indulge in a bit of Battlefront 2 and wine because that’s what you’re supposed to do on NYE, yes? Either way.
Happy New Year, my darlings. May we continue on together, may we meet (again or for the very first time) and create memories and always enjoy the journey as we go. You’ve got me all year, every year.
PS: 2017 also brought me Beauty and the Beast and Star Wars and this will be mentioned in my Movies in Review blog, which will come later this week, much like last year!