"The only way to live is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable miracle, which is exactly what it is: a miracle and unrepeatable." ~Storm Jameson
Today is my 44th birthday. The thought of turning this double digit used to sound dreadful. Eeeww. 44. Am I getting really old? Today, I'm proud to say I feel so differently about this "getting older" process. I am actually really liking it! This morning I woke up thankful to see the sun shining in the sky. I looked in the mirror and liked who I saw. Because for me, the best part of aging is actually realizing that who I am now is a much better version of who I once was in my 20's and 30's. I like my older self so much more, and I've finally made peace with all of my perfect imperfections. I always get asked what my secret is to looking young and being happy. Those who know me very well will be able to tell you what my secret is! Ready? It's quite simple. I celebrate life everyday and find beauty in each moment, no matter what is going on in my life. That's it. Really. :)
Speaking of celebrating life, check out this beauty!!
Johanna, my favorite cousin (coz we are both middle children!), celebrated her birthday recently. This year's birthday wasn't just special because she turned 30; it was extra-ordinary because she had never celebrated her birthday as a bald woman. Until breast cancer took over her life.
I was lucky enough to visit Johanna while I was in Seattle for a shoot last month. I was initially sad seeing her under such circumstances. But after spending time together I felt comforted by what I saw in her: strength, courage and grace. I was convinced in my heart that this girl is gonna be alright! Johanna reminded me so much of myself, as nothing will stop either one of us from celebrating and embracing life's beauty. I asked her a few questions to share on the blog and here goes the conversation:
E: What have you learned about yourself since you learned of the cancer?
J: That I'm pretty strong..in all ways possible. I never really thought of myself as that until now, not only because people are saying it but because i've had to go through multiple surgeries, depression, anxiety, being a mother to a toddler, wife, etc. I took on way too much in life and had way too much on my plate..It took cancer to try and weaken me to slow down and I'm enduring it and surviving!
E: Has it changed who you are and how?
J: It hasn't really changed me, I'm still the same person but this has forced me to look and and see what I really want in life and what's more important. Being happy and being with my family and friends is what matters. This has returned me to thirst for art and creativity. I wanna get back into dance and have fun! This has showed me to let go of all the bullshit the world throws at you and reminded me of the beauty in life and not to take it for granted. If anything this has made me more humble..At least I hope..LOL.
E: What would you like to share to my readers and what is your view of beauty?
J: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder..I know people have told me before that I'm beautiful but never really believed it (every girl has some form of self-doubt).. But I honestly feel more beautiful now that I have to face this cancer dead on and I feel like I'm also doing it beautifully :) Yes I have very bad days but who doesn't. I know that someone somewhere is dealing with something far worse than me and that is what drives me to keep pushing forward. Life is way too short to have doubt in yourself and not to live it to the fullest. You are the best you because God made you! It's up to you to make sure you believe in yourself and have confidence that you can do anything and everything! Life is good! God is good! Live life beautifully and you can be happy. That's what we're supposed to do.
This conversation with Johanna reminded me of why I do what I do. I believe that each and every one of us tend to forget the beauty that lies within us. Life will keep throwing curveballs at us. But we should not wait for the "perfect time" nor feel guilty when it comes to celebrating who we are. We've earned it. It shows in every line, in every gray hair. One day to celebrate you. Allow me to remind you how important you are! I am convinced that my God-given purpose is to help women remember, realize, and rediscover who she is in order for her to shine her true beauty. When we take ownership of that beauty inside and out, we become unstoppable.
We had an impromptu photo session during my visit! Johanna and I both agreed to leave her scars, stretch marks, etc unedited to show that a woman can still look and feel beautiful regardless of what society sees as imperfect.
Treat your life as the miracle it is. You only have one shot to live it to the fullest, so don't waste it on the trivial. Life will never be without heartbreaks and struggles; it's all a part of it. They simply allow us the opportunity to learn what we are really made of, and to bring out the beauty that already exists within.
"Because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing." -Unknown
Lots of love,