April 6, 2021No Comments

a time capsule for 2020

2 minute read

Our old handbags are such time capsules, aren't they? Gateways to our past, messengers bearing the odds and ends once upon a time we deemed important enough to carry with us for the day, month, or perhaps, in certain instances, even years. In them, you might find old credit cards you assumed were lost, lipstick shades you once loved, a stray bobby pin or two or, if you're lucky, little hand written notes, reminders for a rainy day that never came (or that guy you never called!). I love cleaning out old bags of mine — they're treasure troves of insights to a yesterday out of reach. 

So the other day, as we drove out to Staten Island for our first COVID vaccination shot, I couldn't help but wonder how I might feel on a random Tuesday, in a distant future, when I'm cleaning out a few of the bags I toted around with me during 2020. What might the clues look like? Would I find a spare mask? Perhaps some hand sanitizer? An "I Voted" sticker? Or maybe, just maybe, tucked away as a bookmark in an old poetry book, I'll find my vaccination card — the harbinger of light at the end of a very long and dark year, in which the heroism of brave men and women answered the call to selflessly carry us all on their backs. Of course, we have a long way to go from here, as my future self likely knows all too well, but I like to think as she’s sitting there in this distant daydream future of mine with old bags all around her and 2020 well behind her, she’ll vividly remember exactly how she felt after her first shot — so terribly grateful she could burst. 

For all my fellow New Yorkers, be sure to check out the CVS website between midnight and 1am each evening, as they tend to add new appointment slots around this time. Just be patient and keep refreshing! And starting tomorrow, everyone over the age of 16 is eligible — so let's go New York, let's do this!

Mehry Mu bag (gifted) // YSL sunglasses (a gift from a friend) // Vintage Dior earrings // Vintage watch from my mother // Accessory Junkie earrings designed by my friend Hitha Palepu // Carolina Herrera shoes (gifted)

Photography by yours truly

March 18, 20211 Comment

there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in

4 minute read

"Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack, a crack in everything / That's how the light gets in."

~ Leonard Cohen

I remember listening to this Leonard Cohen song — "Anthem"— the day after the 2016 Presidential election, and just a few days after Cohen's passing. There's an introspectiveness and melancholy to Cohen's storytelling through song that always seems to find me when I need it most, in the most unexplained, but welcome ways. Sadly, I've needed Cohen more and more often the past several years. For many reasons, really. And for one reason mainly. 

Cohen wasn't known to explain his music often but he did give a rare insight to "Anthem" in a radio interview segment from 1992. Given the horrific crimes we've witnessed this week in Atlanta against our Asian American Pacific Islander community— and in the previous months as well, largely thanks to inflammatory and racist rhetoric from a former United States President, I thought Cohen's words here could help us find our purpose and our courage to keep fighting for the humanity of others. To keep working to let the light in.

"The future is no excuse for an abdication of your own personal responsibilities towards yourself and your job and your love. “Ring the bells that still can ring” they’re few and far between but you can find them.

This situation does not admit of solution of perfection. This is not the place where you make things perfect, neither in your marriage, nor in your work, nor anything, nor your love of God, nor your love of family or country. The thing is imperfect.

And worse, there is a crack in everything that you can put together: Physical objects, mental objects, constructions of any kind. But that’s where the light gets in, and that’s where the resurrection is and that’s where the return, that’s where the repentance is. It is with the confrontation, with the brokenness of things."

Like many of you, I am heartbroken, gutted and devastated by the proliferation of hate crimes against our minority communities in this country. And this week's mass shooting, that resulted in the murder of 8 people, 6 of whom, were Asian women is another horrific punch to the stomach. Make no mistake, this was a racially motivated hate crime, no matter how the shooter might explain his "bad day" defense. Which means, I can't even begin to imagine the pain and fear my AAPI friends are going through— to feel unwelcome and unsafe in America, their home.

Sadly, the older I get, the more I realize, there isn't much that surprises me anymore, particularly when it comes to racism in this country. And I hate that it's currently 2021, and that previous sentence is largely true for all of you reading this, too. Racism is an insidious, heinous disease that can yes, explode in the ways we've seen it splashed across headlines, particularly this last year alone. But the even more dangerous thing about racism is that it largely courses through a seedy underbelly, oftentimes undetected or at least, unchecked. Our own history books are a prime example of this, with omissions of important figures, alterations of events or complete falsifying of the truth. All in effort to perpetuate a narrative that supports and upholds systems of white supremacy. 

To circle this back with Cohen, I know I may not have the perfect words at all times, but I am committed to standing with those who need me. Because we all need each other. To listen. To learn. To understand. To empathize. To champion. To defend. To love. Until we all receive those basic human rights, until we ALL feel safe, none of us are safe. 

If you'd like to dive into ways to get involved or perhaps better understand how we can all take action against hate crimes, particularly in regards to our AAPI communities, I've put together a brief and by no means comprehensive resource list of stats, organizations and charities working to stop Asian hate. Please join me in helping to let the light in.

Stats

  • 40% of U.S. adults believe "it has become more common for people to express racist views toward Asians since the pandemic began" (Source: Pew Research)
  • More than 1,800 racist incidents against Asian Americans were reported between March and May of 2020, according to a United Nations Report (Source: CBS News)
  • By late April, a coalition of Asian-American groups that had created a reporting center called Stop AAPI Hate, said it had received almost 1,500 reports of incidents of racism, hate speech, discrimination, and physical attacks against Asians and Asian-Americans. (Source: Human Rights Watch)

Resources

Donate/Get involved

And as always, if you have any resources you'd like to add to the above list, please do let me know!

Maticevski dress on loan via Nova Octo (similar more casual style here) // Vintage Chanel earrings (similar style here) // Shot on location in the Bronx at a landmark mansion, a former retirement home turned event space.

Photography
Allie Provost

March 15, 20211 Comment

on turning 35

3 minute read

I'm not an overly fussy person when it comes to birthdays. In fact, perhaps it's the Pisces in me, but a big celebration in my honor stresses me out just to think about — let alone, plan. Which is why I'll always tend to favor small and intimate gatherings — the unavoidable theme of this past year perhaps for us all, whether we liked it or not. 

A few weeks ago, on a cold February Friday, I turned 35. It was a quiet day of heads down work and creative tasks for campaigns I had in flight, followed by dinner and a movie at home with my two favorite guys. It snowed for most of the day, which was the perfect extra excuse I needed to sit at my window as dusk settled, waiting for the glow of the apartment windows around us to pepper the palpably cold darkness outside.

You see, birthdays always bring a heavy dose of introspection for me. That might sound overly despondent, and perhaps it is, but I don't mind it much. The truth is — the further I move along into my 30s, the more comfortable I feel actually sitting with things, reflecting on them, understanding what it is about them that makes me happy and similarly, what it is about them that makes me sad. And this past year, this past trip around the sun? There was plenty to be thankful for, to celebrate, to cherish, to learn from, and yes, there was plenty to mourn as well — each one no more valuable than the other, each one deserving of headspace, especially as I closed out yet another proverbial chapter, in preparation for the next.

In the past, I might have written a pithy collection of 35 things I've learned in 35 years but I have a feeling that's been done many times before. So instead, I'd rather leave you with one particular truth I've come to underscore time and time again and that's a certain Maya Angelou quote that I think applies so beautifully to practically everything: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

As for these photos? Well, let's just say, while I may turn down a big fancy, soirée in my honor, that doesn't mean I'll skip out on dressing up for any and all other occasions, formal or not.

Monique Lhuillier dress on loan via Nova Octo // Vintage Chanel earrings (similar style here) // Shot on location in the Bronx at a landmark mansion, a former retirement home turned event space.

Photography
Allie Provost

March 13, 20214 Comments

memories of your last “normal” day

8 minute read

"We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were." ~ Joan Didion

I've been thinking about this Joan Didion quote a lot lately. Particularly in regards to this past year. A year that many of us, I'm sure, would resoundingly say, we will likely never forget. A year that brought deafening silence to our streets. A year that left so much pain and devastation and loss in its wake. A year that, despite our best efforts to stay connected, left us feeling more and more alone by the day. Sometimes by the minute. A year seared into our memories — our lives turned upside down seemingly overnight. To forget it at this point, seems almost impossible. Unthinkable perhaps.


And yet, that's the thing about hard memories, isn't it? They're the first thing you try to block out. To run away from. To avoid. At this stage, I'm not sure where we'll net out when we all reflect back on the year 2020, especially as it becomes a more distant, bad nightmare in the years to come. As someone who is incredibly thankful for the fact she emerged relatively unscathed (for the most part) from the pandemic, with the health of her close friends and family in good standing, it's been a year that's made me vow to myself over and over again the same realization: "I can't ever forget how fortunate I am."

But the same creeping fear returns to whisper back, "You will forget." Maybe that's self-preservation talking. Perhaps it's just lazy convenience. Or maybe it's faulty nerve connections in our brains — age taking its toll as it inevitably does one way or another.

Whatever the reason, everything that follows past this point is a means of reminding myself (and perhaps some of you) for an idle Tuesday down the road, let's say in 2052. A recording of my chapter in New York City at the brink of the strangest year where I witnessed, first hand, the world almost instantly, stop spinning.

March of 2020 for me started off on a hectic note. Fashion week had concluded just a few weeks prior and I had two back to back work trips almost immediately afterward — the first to St. Lucia and the second was a press tour around California. It was a blur of flights, rental cars, taxis and Ubers, early call times and late night dinners, waiting in TSA lines, lugging around overly packed luggage and trying to document it all the while. I vividly remember feeling exhausted in a visceral way, vowing to myself, "I need to take a break from traveling for awhile" not realizing just how ironic that statement would feel over the coming weeks.

Of course, COVID was a very real news story at this point developing around the world, but the murmurings of it potentially locking down the United States didn't feel concrete enough to worry about. Surely, that wouldn't happen here. That couldn't happen here, could it? It wasn't until we were sitting at LAX on March 8, waiting for our final red eye flight home to JFK that it hit me just how deserted the airport was. No crowds. No long check in lines. TSA was a breeze. We sat in the lounge area for Delta, sipping coffee and reviewing headlines. Our flight was eerily empty. Even the crew carried themselves in a way that felt like they knew something we didn't. Something palpable felt looming in the air. I closed my eyes at takeoff and reminded myself, "You'll be home soon."

That week back in New York felt oddly calm at first, now that I think about it. I fell back into work, prepping for projects, editing photos for brand review, riding a packed subway around the city for meetings. Life was still beating along as it always does, as it always had. I was scheduled to host a brand event here in the city on March 12, a little soirée uptown on Madison Avenue. In a flurry of text messages, I was reminding my friends of the details for the event, letting them know how much I was looking forward to seeing them. We joked back and forth about picking up extra toilet paper and hand sanitizer, not truly seeing the tsunami wave that was about to hit us all.

On Wednesday March 11th a day before my event, the NBA announced their cancellation of the 2020 season until further notice. Around that time, NYC had over 700 confirmed cases of COVID, rising each day and schools were slated to close, with NYC restaurants, bars and businesses to follow soon after. I distinctly remember sitting in Fairfax, one of my favorite restaurants in the village where I often work, texting my manager, "We need to cancel tomorrow's event, right?"

Looking up and around at the restaurant I was working from, I started to wonder, "Should I even be here? Is this safe? How can I tell if I'm actually 6 feet from the patrons next to me?" If I'm being completely honest, had I known that would have been my last time in a restaurant for many, many months, I think I'd relish it a bit more. Perhaps order that indulgent burger on the menu as opposed to the salad. Maybe ask for that cocktail, instead of the green tea. I suppose a part of me still believed, as I'm sure we all did in those initial weeks, this will pass. Give it some time and things will be back to normal soon.

I sent out a mass text to everyone I had invited to my party, letting them know the event was canceled and that I wanted them all to stay safe and stay at home. The tone was very much "This is crazy but I'll see you soon."

I packed up my laptop, settled my bill with the waiter and walked home. It was an usually warm March day and I had a craving to sit out on my fire escape. So I did, blissfully unaware that same fire escape would largely become my window to the world for the better part of the next 365 days to follow. That night, my boyfriend and I placed an online grocery delivery order, somewhat encouraged by the idea of trying to cook more at home — a goal we typically failed at thanks to Seamless — and settled in for the night. Two homebodies not necessarily upset at the prospect of a now very clear social calendar.

Of course, the weeks, and subsequent months that followed were unlike anything this homebody anticipated. How could I? How could any of us? Those initial weeks in March and April were hardest for me. I'd wake up each day, tune in for Gov. Cuomo's daily Coronavirus briefings and try to make some sense of our new reality. The numbers were staggering. PPE was scarce. Hospital beds were limited. And here I was, living in the U.S. epicenter of it all. Miles away from my family. Scared to go outside. Or be near anyone. With work contracts indefinitely pushed back, some altogether canceled, I wasn't sure how my business would ultimately fare through this storm.

Outside, the city hibernated, streets and avenues where life usually bustled, now lay dormant, except for the constant echoing of an ambulance siren piercing the March sky. I know I'm not alone when I say it was a living nightmare. None of us knew what each day would bring, in big and small ways. And that anxiety was downright crippling at times.

To cope, I threw myself into creative outlets — photography, writing, editing — but when the weight of the world forces you into a bubble of your own making, it's only a matter of time before those outlets don't fuel you in the same way they used to. But then again, what option did we have? The stakes were too high. So we persisted on.

I'd like to pause here and remind my future self in 2052, that 2020 held a lot of promise, as well. Some silver linings that showed us our true strength, our connections, our resilience. Some unexpected outcomes of solidarity and commitment. Some big and small blessings and yes, some hard, long overdue reckonings that showed us just how broken and fractured our society really is. In a lot of ways, 2020 opened our eyes and hearts to insidious social injustices that had been persisting for far too long. I can't definitively say 2020 was the catalyst, but I do think it played a pivotal role in helping us truly see and recognize our own humanities and those of others. 

I never want to forget that. Moreover, we can't forget that. 

I titled this post "memories of your last normal day" for a reason — not so much for us to yearn for a time before this all happened, but more so as a reminder as to what's at stake if we forget about the 365 days that followed that last normal day. In order for us to return to some semblance of life as knew it, we have to honor the price we paid over the course of 2020. And my friends, that price was high. Extremely high.

"We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were."

Perhaps Didion is right. She often is. Perhaps to forget is just a part of human nature. And maybe that's the inevitable thing we have to fight here, with every ounce of our being. We have to remind ourselves of who and what we used to be, what we went through, what we overcame, whether we liked it or not, or we're predestined, doomed even, to wrestle with it at 4am maybe in the year 2052, when our mind goes wandering. 

So in the spirit of remembering, here's a sampling of your last "normal day" memories that you shared with me on Instagram. May their recounting be a harbinger for brighter days ahead. For brighter days for us all.

  • I went to the pub. We hung out all afternoon in the sun.
  • I went to a department store that was closing that day to buy things for my daughter's 21st birthday in June! I never thought we'd still be in lockdown then three months later.
  • I was in Cozumel, checking the news before snorkeling and realized we would return to a lockdown.
  • We had a family game night.
  • I ate tacos while overlooking the city with my best friend of 25 years. It was damn near perfect.
  • I saw my five day old niece and then didn't see her for three months even though I only lived 5 miles away.
  • Unfortunately, I can't remember. 
  • I went out with friends in the Mission (in San Francisco) thinking we'd see each other in two weeks.
  • I went to dinner with a girlfriend at Hillstone (in NYC) because we joked it might be our last meal out.
  • It was actually my birthday! I went out for a dinner at a crowded restaurant with family.
  • Peeking through my curtains to see if there was a free seat at my favorite spot across the street.
  • I remember standing on the train platform and thinking how gorgeous the weather was!
  • I went out with a friend for some sushi at a Japanese food center in London and then for a glass of wine.
  • Family style dinner with 8 girlfriends sharing dishes and drinks and laughs.
  • My daily 200 mile commute for work, 100 miles each way.
  • My husband and I used to go to the movies a lot, our last one was March 10th. We saw Emma.
  • Celebrated my birthday and met strangers while out dancing at a crowded bar.
  • A packed Trader Joe's with my mom, mask-less. Received an email recommending we work from home.
  • I went on a date for the first time in two years -- we then virtually dated all quarantine. 
  • Happy hour with coworkers and a venue tour for my 12/21 wedding. I thought I was planning ahead.
  • Spent hours wandering through the National Art Gallery in DC.
  • I was at school. The last day with the kids.
  • I remember my students being very excited that school was going to be canceled. How naive we were.  
  • I saw Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall.

Now tell me, what memories do you have of your last "normal" day?

Desa 1972 coat on loan via Farfetch // Boden boots (gifted) // Longchamp scarf (gifted, similar style here)

Photography
Allie Provost

March 9, 202112 Comments

introducing a new look for this time tomorrow

4 minute read

It's a conscious and deliberate decision to wake up each day and seize the beautiful. To sing the beautiful. To craft the beautiful. To narrate, to shape, to mold, to speak truth to the beautiful. Not so much in expensive things or grand buildings or what your hair looks like on a given day, although those things are wonderful in their own right, but it's in the quiet in between moments, too. Perhaps even more so. The imperfect moments. The humbling moments. The no-one-is-looking-and-perhaps-no-one-is-noticing moments. The moments that don’t garner a social currency online. Seize those. And run with them. Run and don't look back, until your appetite for them becomes so second nature it's like breathing or reaching for your morning coffee or better yet, a Friday night glass of wine.

For the better part of the past 11 years or so of running This Time Tomorrow, I've always wanted this idea to be the forefront of my content, that being the pursuit of beauty. And certainly not in the conventional way we're trained to think of beauty. To me, beauty is so much more than how you put yourself together or how expensive your wardrobe totals out to be — and it's not a blessing only bestowed on the young and seemingly wrinkle-free. And I freely admit that as someone who has had to spend years retraining herself to see beauty through a different lens. Through a multi-faceted lens. Through a wider lens.


And that's what I hope to do for you here on This Time Tomorrow. To encourage you to see, to craft, to seek out the beautiful in your every day, no matter what it looks like. To appreciate a beautiful dress just as much as a beautiful, historic building. To appreciate the craftsmanship of an investment bag just as much as the craftsmanship of a captivating documentary, memoir or photograph. To appreciate the beautiful bodies we're all given as well the minds we have the privilege of cultivating. Both need attention and care and in my opinion, celebration. 

Simply put — beauty is in the everyday details, if we just take the time to slow down, stop scrolling and truly notice.


I've felt pretty strongly the past few years that I want this site to be about far more than just a conversion rate. Personally, I don't want my "internet legacy" to depend solely on how much I encouraged you to buy at my recommendation. In fact, to be perfectly honest, I would much prefer I played a role in encouraging you to take that disposable income and invest it wisely — stocks, real estate, education instead. It'll serve you far better and far longer, I promise.

So when it came down to writing a succinct manifesto for this new chapter, this new look that you now see for This Time Tomorrow, I kept coming back to this notion of substance. These days, I feel empty if there isn't an emotional substance to what I'm consuming or creating and my sincere hope is that you feel nourished in some way after visiting my site. Whether that's through an outfit you'd like to emulate with items in your own closet, a beautiful location with an equally arresting story behind it, a trip that inspires a cultural curiosity in you or perhaps, it's in the storytelling itself — getting lost in the words and visuals. Whatever the reason, I hope there's something that grabs you here, shakes you gently by the shoulders and whispers, "Let's get lost in the details together."


With that — I just want to say, welcome (or welcome back) to This Time Tomorrow — the discerning soul's destination for all things style and substance. I'm so honored to have you here. I hope you stay a while. 

Maticevski dress on loan via Nova Octo (similar more casual style here) // Vintage Chanel earrings (similar style here) // Shot on location in the Bronx at a landmark mansion, a former retirement home turned event space.

Photography
Allie Provost

February 15, 20213 Comments

my love letter to new york

3 minute read 3 minute read "The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.”

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February 11, 20211 Comment

what did you take for granted? / what are you looking forward to?

4 minute read 4 minute read An amalgamation of specific things -- ranging from the very big to the seemingly trivial details -- that I'm looking forward to once this pandemic ends.

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February 8, 20213 Comments

musings on astrology

4 minute read 4 minute read Is it really written in the stars?

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February 2, 20212 Comments

another round, bartender

3 minute read 3 minute read An ode to the jobs we haven't had (yet)...

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January 19, 2021No Comments

mlk day: a few thoughts

2 minute read 2 minute read Honoring the man, the legacy and his call to action for us all.

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January 11, 20212 Comments

write the truest sentence you know

2 minute read 2 minute read Taking a page out of Hemingway's book.

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January 10, 20212 Comments

january 6, 2021: my thoughts

4 minute read 4 minute read I wish we could say we didn't see this coming. But we saw this coming.

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November 23, 20204 Comments

what’s bringing you joy right now?

4 minute read 4 minute read Rainy days at home, working on my couch as Elvis snores at my feet. Old photography books (just picked up a 1980 copy of Diana Vreeland's Allure). Falling asleep to soft classical music.

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November 9, 20205 Comments

november 7, 2020: where were you?

5 minute read 5 minute read A celebration and a commitment to the work that needs to be done still.

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November 3, 20204 Comments

the why behind my vote

3 minute read 3 minute read "The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society." ~ John Lewis

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September 28, 202012 Comments

romanticizing your own life

6 minute read 6 minute read "I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life..."

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September 23, 20202 Comments

a new kind of muse

5 minute read 5 minute read Stop me if you've heard this one before...Kahlo and O'Keeffe walk into a bar.

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September 14, 20206 Comments

can we still fall in love this summer?

5 minute read 5 minute read What or who did you fall in love with this summer?

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September 10, 202024 Comments

long live new york city

7 minute read 7 minute read So you say New York is dead...I say bullshit.

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September 8, 20207 Comments

the art of flânerie

5 minute read 5 minute read To take a walk for the simple joy of taking a walk...

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August 27, 202061 Comments

why i’ve been feeling defeated

8 minute read

About 10 years ago, in the early fall of 2010...

...I remember one particular evening walking home from the bus stop in San Francisco, after a long day at work.

At the time, as my long-time readers may recall, I had just started working at Google, after a lengthy acquisition transition from my previous role at a start up, where we spent several months prepping for said acquisition interviews. I look back at those start up months before ending up at Google as some of the hardest of my early 20s. To make a long story short, it was a toxic work environment. I was worried about meetings all the time. I didn't eat well. I was staying up all night working on presentations for meetings the following morning, usually with a Diet Coke next to me in bed. Come to think of it, my first grey hairs happened around this time frame, which to a 24-year old, that was nearly apocalyptic. In a lot of ways, it feels like a lifetime ago. In other ways, I can still feel the heat flushing my face as I got up at 6am, realizing I was about to dread every minute of work that day.

I know what you're thinking...dramatic much? So let's fast forward to this evening in question.

I had just gotten off the Google shuttle, walking back downhill from Alamo Square toward a studio apartment in Hayes Valley that I loved. I can't tell you the specifics about that day -- what I was wearing, what show I was perhaps excited to watch at the time or what I was about to make for dinner. But I remembered feeling overwhelmingly happy. And I don't mean in the sense "I had a good day so I'm happy," happy, although from what I can remember, I did have a good day. No, this happiness was different -- I was very acutely aware during that walk home, of how happy I was with my life at that moment. From my boyfriend at the time, to my new-found work-life balance at Google, from the creativity I was feeling in both my professional and personal spheres to living in a new city that excited me every day. All the factors combined made me realize, in an almost existential, out of body way, how happy I was with how my life was coming together at that particular moment in time. I remember smiling on the way home, hopeful that I'd be able to maintain some semblance of this inner peace for years to come.

Naturally, over the course of the 10 years that followed that day, I've been extremely fortunate to have many bouts of similar happiness, both while I worked at Google and especially after I decided to leave to commit myself full-time to this corner of the internet that so many of you have afforded me the opportunity to make a living off of. On the flip side, I've had many phases where the opposite has been true -- running a small business is extremely rewarding, but running a small business where the platforms, algorithms and business objectives of big companies change every quarter, every week, every day(!), is just downright exhausting no matter how hard I try to adapt in my own way. To compound that, throw in the storm that is 2020 and it was only inevitable that I'd find myself in a prolonged state of feeling, for lack of a better word, defeated.

Before I share why I've been feeling defeated, I just wanted to underscore that I don't share any of this lightly or without the understanding that I know I'm extremely fortunate, especially given how much 2020 has brought. By all accounts, I'm healthy. My family is healthy. At the moment, I still have work to keep me somewhat busy and afloat. And I have an extremely supportive partner, who I love and feel infinitely closer to because of this pandemic. In the grand scheme of things, I know my experience pales in comparison to what so many people, in this country and around the world, are battling day after day -- so why can't I shake this negativity? Why can't I chase away these rain clouds? And moreover, how dare I assume my situation warrants attention at all -- which is where my guilt knocks on the door to join the already crowded pity part and I just want to dive under a pile of blankets and hide.

I suppose my overall hope in sharing this post today is simple. I don't want sympathy.  Or advice. And I don't have tips to share on how I'm combatting these feelings just yet (because I'm still in the process of sorting that out). No, mainly I just want to remind whoever is reading this and feeling something similar at the moment, that you're certainly not alone. And despite what the internet might lead you to believe, we're all going through something -- big and small. My experience isn't meant to negate or diminish the importance of yours. And vice versa. That's the blessing and the curse of the human experience, right? With any luck, as I'm trying to remind myself now as I type this, the bad passes eventually. Pivot moments happen. Rain clouds clear. And we get on with it. My hope for you is that you can remember that when it gets dark and you don't know how to move forward -- light will come and your feet will move, one in front of the other. As they always find a way to do.

The world feels terribly uncertain

If ever there was an understatement for the year of 2020 it would be that it was full of uncertainty. We're practically riding wave after wave of uncertainty at this point -- which is, by itself, the only certainty this year has brought. As my boyfriend pointed out last night during dinner, I started my blog over 11 years ago, in the midst of the global financial crisis with zero idea of what the future had in store for me. Ironically enough, things feel somewhat full circle at the moment in that I'm on a career path that I'm not sure how to navigate forward during a time where the economy is volatile at best.

As a very emotionally charged Pisces, I'm empathetic to a fault. I absorb the energy around me -- the good and the bad -- taking it on sometimes, as if it were my own. Over the years, I've gotten better at filtering this and deflecting when I need to, but ever since March hit, it's gotten increasingly harder and harder every day. Especially as the news cycles churn out scary headlines left and right and the concept of time has both slowed down immensely and sped up at a frightening pace. My focus has felt jilted in a lot of ways, and while I was able to hone in creatively during much of the lockdown for work, I'm feeling a new troubling undercurrent rise up as it pertains to my career, which brings me to my next point.

Work feels terribly uncertain

This "undercurrent" I mentioned isn't necessarily spurred because of the pandemic. If anything, it's been festering for quite a while before hand. For the past year or so, I've struggled with defining it. Mainly because, in a lot of ways, it's contradictory. On one hand, I feel the most fulfilled with the visual content I've been creating lately -- from a photography stand point, from a storytelling standpoint, from a styling standpoint. And yet, at the same time, I feel the most resentment toward it, too -- mainly because of the platform vehicles I rely on to disseminate that content (ahem, Instagram) feel more and more limited reach wise. I won't bore you all with my gripes about the algorithm and analytics, as a sad, tiny violin plays in the background. At the end of the day, I'm aware of all the different "tips" I could heed as it pertains to "winning" at the Instagram game. But somewhere along the way of this past year, I've realized I don't know if I'm cut out for this game anymore. I don't enjoy making TikTok style, match-cut videos. I'm not an over-sharer when it comes to a lot of the inner details of my life. And perhaps it's the onset of my mid 30s, but I feel less and less inclined to spend hours rounding up links of what to buy on Amazon or the Nordstrom sale.

I don't say any of that to demean that work. Because it is admirable work. And I respect when content creators approach it thoughtfully and with intention. It's just not me. I think I miss certain aspects of the internet circa 2009/2010 that didn't feel all-consuming, all day long. I'm the same introvert I was back in college and as much as I've tried to "showcase" my online persona in recent years, it doesn't come naturally to me. Which is why I've thrown myself into trying to create aspirational content -- beautiful imagery with what I hope have been thought-provoking captions and posts. Something to make you stop, think and in some way or another, feel inspired to carry that notion into your own life.

What I'm starting to find is perhaps I've either fallen short in that pursuit or there isn't much appetite for it in the first place. I'm fine with either answer. I'm just trying to figure out what that means for my next step, where this corner of the internet isn't my sole income source. Bottom line: I'm definitely at a crossroads. And I'm not sure I know what road I want to turn on from here.

I miss my family

Like many you, I haven't seen my family since Christmas. Admittedly, I don't make it back west multiple times throughout the year, so there's nothing terribly out of the ordinary with that statement. But ever since March, I've had this anxiety-ridden fear in my gut that I wasn't sure when and if I'd be able to see them this coming holiday season as I would normally plan to. Suddenly, I was faced with this fear of feeling helpless in the face of the pandemic, as it pertained to my parents and their health. I miss them. I miss my sister. And I hate not knowing when I can see them next. When I can hug them next. When I can tell them to their face that I love them.

Elvis has cancer

For various reasons, I've put off sharing this information, but mainly because, I was in shock for a long time. His diagnosis came rather unexpectedly during a routine checkup back at the end of May. It knocked the wind out of my lungs when our vet called me to say, "Do you have a moment to chat about Elvis?" Swollen lymph nodes led to a biopsy and eventually to a positive lymphoma diagnosis, followed by a dark and sad spiral of feeling so helpless at a time where I already felt pretty helpless. Now, in light of everything going on, I felt like I was about to lose my best friend of 7 years, my side kick who had seen me through good times and bad times, cross country moves, broken hearts and countless ugly cries, always calming me with an earnest lick on the cheek where tears had been.

I didn't share at the time, again mainly because my approach to sharing extremely personal things like this on the internet is to sit and BE with them for a moment. I had to process on my own. And with Ty and the advice of our doctors. Further compounded by the long overdue resurgence of the BLM movement that was happening at roughly the same time, my news felt terribly tone deaf. Far more important stories needed the mic and the airtime. And they still do.

Fast forward to today, and we're already several months into chemotherapy. Elvis is responding extremely well to the treatments -- and in fact, has already achieved remission! I temper that statement with a reality that I've had to accept since the end of May -- statistically speaking, most dogs with lymphoma, even after successful chemotherapy, will relapse at some point. An ideal outcome is to get 2 more years post diagnosis to fill with happy memories for them and for you. And believe me, that is what I intend to do for Elvis. For as long as I can.

Wrapping this novel up...

All of this very long-winded post is to say: if you're feeling uncertain, uncomfortable, defeated and lost right now or even just a sliver of any of those feelings combined, please know, I see you. I really do. You're not alone. And while I could go into a long list of rational tips on how to combat those feelings, I know sometimes the simple thing that makes me feel infinitely better, is knowing there's someone else who's going through it as well. That and writing it all out -- 2,000 words later and I feel like I've gotten a good weight off my chest. I sincerely hope this post doesn't come across as ungrateful and whiny -- I was merely hoping to provide a sense of camaraderie at a time when I think we could use it most.

Truthfully, I keep thinking about the girl I was 10 years ago on that early fall day in 2010, walking home from the bus stop and how painfully happy she felt! Despite the bitterness 2020 might have instilled in me thus far, I still know deep down, I'm capable of feeling that way again. I just have a bit of work to do to get back there.

 

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