May 28, 2017

morning light


The light this morning reminded me of being inside of a Death Cab song. Soft, warm sunshine mixed with a hazy feeling of contentment somewhere deep within you. Sunday morning sunshine feels like the opening notes to "Summer Skin" with hints of "Soul Meets Body." Summer is almost here and everything feels so damn good. 

May 27, 2017

i owe a lot to frank warren.

I got text my best friend tonight and tell her, "Frank's not a douche!" A long standing inside joke from when we were in high school and used to obsessively refresh our browsers once the clock struck midnight in Germantown, MD. Post Secret, the art and the community have made me a better person for the last ten years that I've been reading. I've even sent in a few way back in the day, but they've never been posted. Frank Warren is the best.

May 21, 2017

look toward the light

Yesterday, Justin and I braved the crowds for an adventure known as "Saturday Morning Grocery Shopping."

The first thing Justin said when we walked inside was, "Ugh. Why are there so many people here? It's Saturday morning."

I looked at him and said, "Babe, not everyone sleeps till noon on Saturdays."

"Well, they should start," was his reply.

Then he grabbed my hand and smiled at me as we went toward the deli. Justin wanted taco dip. I took pictures of the tulips by the front stands.

* * * * * *

Flowers never fail to bring me comfort. I always think of the hillside garden in the backyard that my grandma meticulously tended to during my childhood. White and yellow daffodils, white daisies, pink and purple and white flocks, orange and yellow tulips... They colored everything from my first communion photos to family reunion group shots. There was the purple clematis that always grew up and up and up toward the sun, on the trellis where my sandbox used to be growing up. Someday maybe, I'll get a tattoo of all those flowers in a bouquet. A little something for my grandma, because I still think of her every day. I still miss her every day and it's been a year and a half since we lost her.

That is the thing that is so hard to accept about grief, about death, about the enormity of loving and losing someone in general: sometimes, the weight of missing that person that is no longer there feels like it's going to crush you. It's always there, heavy on your heart, and you know that it will never fully go away. It will simply lessen with time, as long as you allow joy into your heart to help with your path toward healing and acceptance. 

* * * * * *

Grief has been overwhelming my life lately.

The triggers, the flashbacks to forgotten memories, the moments when simply getting out of bed seems like a monumental task in and of itself—it's all a fuzzy reminder of being fifteen and lost and trying to cope with the weight of my world falling out from beneath me. Succumbing to the depression and my yet-undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder left me stringing together song lyrics and other people's words for inspiration. At first, it started with repetition of the same phrase in my Spanish III notes.

"I shouldn't feel this way, but I do." 

Over and over and over, trying to validate the words that I couldn't yet say out loud. Trying to identify the feelings I couldn't yet name. Trying to ignore the constant onslaught of flashbacks when my biggest trigger of them all was roaming the hallways of my high school, had English class by my locker, hung out in the radio station where my boyfriend DJ'ed the morning show. 

The only thing that ties these memories to my grief over my grandma and my dad is the overwhelming sense of loss that all of these events brought into my life. I have been thinking lately about all of the opportunities I chose to miss out on as a teenager because I was too lost in the darkness to function. Sophomore year, homecoming football game—my boyfriend called me from the radio station.

"Where are you?"

"At home."

"Why? I really wanted to see you."

And I remember my heart breaking because I couldn't find the courage to tell him how worthless and pathetic and alone I felt. The only person who got that fountain of information was my best friend.

And so the wall between me and the men I tried to let love me was built. Construction didn't stop until I was encased in cinder blocks, the total darkness that enveloped me dared me to try and break free. Tiny cracks appeared as I found my voice. Bravery creeped in as I learned how to art my feelings out—whether through a camera or through putting my pen to paper. With the help of my therapist, I learned that my feelings are valid. What happened to me was valid. My voice does matter, despite whatever my anxiety and depression tag team tell me at the time. 

* * * * * *

My roots were formed in the darkness of those cinder blocks. In those nights of me listening to nothing but Mayday Parade on repeat. In those days when it took all I had in me emotionally to just put one foot in front of the other. In those moments where the world stopped and it was just hazel eyes staring into brown from across the cafeteria. In those moments—when the fear and the flashbacks caused all of the systems in my brain to issue an SOS, when the simple act of breathing became too much for me, my roots began to flourish. As a starting point. To say, "Okay. It's only up from here, girly."

Those roots have grown, up and up like my grandma's clematis. They harnessed all of the darkness, all the suffering of the beginning, and they have bloomed into flowers of independence, strength, bravery, and vulnerability. They are constantly teaching me lessons, grounding me and reminding me that the suffering doesn't last forever. The weight of these huge losses in my life won't consume me forever. 

It's okay to get lost in the darkness sometimes. But you must always remember to look toward the light.

May 19, 2017

currently, may edition


enjoying quiet mornings before work

savoring my morning cup of coffee

snuggling with the Mew cat

setting up my new laptop

loving not having to watch my TV shows on my phone anymore

watching Parenthood solo (#still... 9 episodes to go!), and Naruto & To Catch A Predator with Justin

journaling in my 25 book

wondering how we are halfway through May already

trying guided meditation to help my anxiety

working on doing yoga or at least stretching before bed every night

feeling inspired for the future

May 18, 2017

rose gold dreams

I am coming to you live from a brand spanking new laptop, Blogland!

A belated 25th birthday gift to myself. I also see it as an investment in my future. A realization of dreams. A recognizance of passions formerly forgotten. This is the first major electronic device that I have bought for myself ever, if you discount the fact that I got my first iPhone for a PENNY, and my current one is on a payment plan. My dad bought my Canon DSLR as a Christmas present during my first 365 when I was in high school. He also bought me my first laptop that I took to college with me in 2010.

Yesterday was nine months since he passed. I miss my dad every single day. There's no getting around the hole that he has left in my heart. Some days it's just a puddle, but yesterday was not one of those days. Yesterday the hole was the Bering Sea in the middle of an icy hurricane. I felt like I was on deck of one of the Deadliest Catch boats getting tossed back and forth by the waves, trying not to get swallowed up and thrown over the side. My computer coming in the mail today felt like a gift from my dad. Like I could almost feel his arms around me and feel him whispering, "You did good, Anna. I'm proud of you. Now keep going."

I have been solely documenting with my phone since 2015, after my laptop suffered a horrible death due the screen being stepped on. The feeling of actual keys clicking beneath my fingers feels foreign. The lack of autocorrect truly makes me question my once sharp as a tack spelling abilities. It almost feels as though I'm relearning how to type all over again. There is definitely a major learning curve at play too—I've been a Windows girl all my life, except in college when it was all Mac, all the time... (except for the computers in the Dyson lab where Lightroom crashed every single time I tried to edit photos for Dixon's class).

Basically the hope here is that this tiny little rose gold machine will inspire to break out my big camera again. To start taking it everywhere with me again because the photos are always SO MUCH BETTER than anything my phone could ever hope to capture. I want to capture memories to hang in our future house, so someday I can show my kids, "Hey, this is what your dad and I looked like when we were younger! And these are the adventures we took!"

I want to document, but I also hope that down the line I can start actually taking pictures for other people again. That's the pipe dream that all starts here, with this expensive laptop I am currently typing on. You gotta spend money to make money, and here I am investing in my future.

May 16, 2017

a tale of two mornings

The first time I woke up this morning, it was 7:30 and I had the "soothing but just annoying enough to make me not want to listen to it forever" Sleep Cycle alarm telling me to wake up. My nose was stuffy and it was cloudy and dark in the living room. I really just wanted like an hour more of sleep. I turned off the alarm and went back to bed. 

I woke up again at 9. The sun was out. The Mew cat was stretched out on my legs. I got up in search of coffee and danced my way into the front yard to take my #annalovesmornings photo. Settled in front of Tammy's pretty tulips in the front yard. Flowers make me happy. Sunshine makes me happy. 

I bought a computer today! (Thank you Amazon.) My hope is that maybe this will give me the push I need to start using my big camera again. I have to go to the bank and go pay my phone bill, then work 4-7 tonight so I'm home in time for Deadliest Catch at 8. 

Happy Tuesday!

May 15, 2017


The Avril Lavigne Conspiracy Theory floating around Twitter yesterday blew. my. mind. (Yes, I know it's fake, but the possibility does answer SO MANY QUESTONS I've had about post 2004 Avril.) And now I'm listening to her first two albums on repeat like I'm 12 years old all over again. (And I still remember every single word to every single song.)