2016 in Review

     2016 has been a crazy year. The amount I've grown since this year began is unimaginable. I've lived in three different states, met some of the most amazing people, gained experience in fields I never dreamed of working in and have learned so much. I'm going to try to capture some of those moments and lessons in this blog post and hopefully I'll be able to share some of the magic I experienced in the past 12 months. 

January started off like most months prior. Except this time I was packing up all my belongings preparing to move 4237 miles to Chicago, the biggest move I had ever done and the biggest move I had ever done alone. The year started off on a beach my lover, my close friend and his lover, the best way to bring in a new year. We also took a road trip from Seattle to San Francisco to visit friends and to see the red woods before our move.

Our last sunrise in Hawaii

Our last sunrise in Hawaii

February I met up with a friend from middle school I hadn't seen in 10 years, went on a road trip to San Francisco and Koa and I moved to Chicago. It was 17 degrees our first week there with two feet of snow on the ground. I distinctly remember our first day there walking around our neighborhood in the snow trying desperately to find a grocery store, learning that our hot and cold water was backwards and sleeping on the only piece of "furniture" we owned, a sleeping mat from IKEA. 

March After looking for a job for a month I decided I didn't have much to lose so I walked into a gallery and asked if they would hire me as a studio assistant. Surprisingly it worked and I started working at Fugscreens, the highlight of my time spent in Chicago. That month we also started meeting people, which was lovely.

April Spring started arriving in Chicago and it was the most amazing feeling. It was the first time in almost fifteen years that I saw the progression of seasons. Flowers were blooming, the sun was out, it still snowed occasionally but it was beautiful. My dearest friend Lauren also came to visit this month and was blessed with some almost unbearable cold weather and the weirdest snow day I've ever seen. 

May Koa and I decided it was time to venture out of the city so we took a day trip to the Indiana Sand Dunes and enjoyed a day of mediation, sand and sun. We also caught handfuls of ladybugs, which was fun! I also visited my grandmother in Pennsylvania and spent some much needed time catching up, talking and taking pictures. It was fun being able to teach my grandmother how to use her camera while she told me the history of our family. 

June was the month of music and festivities. We knew this was going to be our last month in Chicago so we took full advantage of the 102 degree weather and went to as many gatherings, musical festivals and outdoor concerts we could. This month was bitter sweet, we finally felt like we had connected with the city and we also had to say goodbye. 

July Our second move this year was to Portland. This was a month of meeting new friends, playing in the river, hiking through beautiful mountains and reuniting with old friends. 

August I met Jill at Starflower and began working as her assistant. The job that changed my perspective on life. I've learned to appreciate every plant and flower I see walking down the street. I've learned to slow down and appreciate everything around me. Lessons I'll be forever grateful for. 

September I started meeting friends and becoming closer to friends who I'll hold close for a long time. This month I started shooting more and fell back in love with photography. I learned to never hold back and started saying "yes" to offers instead of turning them down out of anxiety.

October began my search of a style of photography that I related to on a deeper level and allowed that fear of not being accepted for my style to embracing it. Kaylin has been a major help in this, she's taught me to never doubt myself and to just go for it. Not to hold back.

November was a hard month, as the election came to a close it seemed as though the world around me came crushing down. This unbearable crushing feeling has sparked a fire in me that has made me so much more driven to create and to become more active in the community. This month as about defeat and inspiration. 

December The last month of the year came so quickly. Looking back, 2016 has been a year of friendship, experience and exploration. I've continued to push myself creatively and have taken huge leaps towards where I want to be in life. This year has had some speed bumps, but nothing that can't be overcome! Here's to 2017 being an even bigger year of growth.