I often get the question, “Why did you start blogging?” and for the most part I respond, “I just thought, why not?” But when I really think about it, it has a lot to do with a particular point in my life that completely flipped my world upside down. Very few things really shake you so hard that you completely change as a person. It usually coincides with something traumatic and one that really tests your strength. Mine came to me about 7 years ago and still when I think about it, it seems just like yesterday. At first I thought I would never share this story, not because I didn’t want to, but because I wasn’t really sure how I would start. However, this blog has been such a light in my journey and through my meeting with Monica Rich Kosann, I realized maybe it was a little bit of fate that it all fell in place. It was like something struck me and I immediately thought, it’s about time I do it. So to all my readers out there, let me tell you about, my mom.
I, much like a lot of teenage girls, gave my mom hell growing up. I rebelled as much as I could without really getting in too much real trouble but enough to be a pain in her ass. I often wished I had a different mother and blamed her for so many childish things. But it wasn’t until I left for college that I realized how much she did for me. My mom was a stay at home mom, though she had a college degree. That’s just the path her life took her. She and my dad met young and got married young and soon after had me. I’d like to think I was planned but I know I wasn’t. My dad likes to say I wasn’t planned but I was born out of love. Ha! From there she had to put her life on a completely separate direction. She raised me while my dad finished school and eventually had to leave first for the States for work. I spent quite a few of my younger years with just myself and my mother. I don’t remember much from when I was little but I remember being a little terror and using my grandparents often as shields to any punishment. I think something kids still do these days. After a few years, my dad was able to bring us to the States so that we could all be together and live this so called “American Dream”. My mom and I assimilated into this new world quickly and I grew up always knowing my mom was home waiting for me after school with a snack and waiting to check on my homework. Being a stay at home mom, she made it very hard for me to get away with anything and I was raised fairly strictly. I never really got to go to any sleep overs, I always had to be home early and I needed to beg for permission to do anything. This tight leash also led me to excel in school. I was a constant straight A student mostly out of fear. This also meant that once I got to college all hell broke loose. I started to neglect my studies, party too much, and do a lot of stupid things. I went from a straight A student to a freshman on academic probation. Not the proudest moment of my life but I did have my fun. It was then I received a truly heartfelt letter from my mom. One that told me she knew all the things I was doing and that she was praying that I would stop. Not for her, but for myself, because she wanted me to have every chance she never had. It was at that moment I realized I owed her a lot. It was then I realized how much she gave to me so that I could grow up to be independent and strong. It was then I realized how much I loved my mother. She became the motivation for everything I did. I wanted to make her proud so badly but all the while knowing she was already proud of me anyway.
She was an amazing woman indeed. To her friends she was the glue that kept them all together. She gave when she could and never expected anything in return. She was immensely humble and didn’t need justification or accolades to do the things she did for others. Best of all, she celebrated life at every corner. A trait I am proud to say I got from her. Anything good we did never went unnoticed. Every birthday, every milestone, every good report card… she was all over it. I still remember the joy and pride that radiated from her the day I graduated my undergrad and yet again when I walked up to get my Master’s Degree. Those emotions could only be matched by my own happiness seeing my mom so joyful and proud. I wanted to keep that going for as long as I could. I quickly secured my first corporate job right out of college, another proud moment for us, and moved into the city, albeit with my boyfriend (who by the way, I married). I wanted to show her I was all grown up and could hold my own. I wanted to show her that she did good. I couldn’t wait to start life on my own and hit the checklist of things most women think of. Marriage, house, babies. I wanted to see my mom be a grandmother and I had vivid images of her coming over to gush over my kids and spoil them and protect them from my wrath much like my own grandparents did for me. I would laugh whenever my mom would say she couldn’t wait to see me with my first kid and that she hoped that he/she would be a terror like I was. But life had a different plan for all of us.
It was around October of 2007 that I got the call. My mom had been in and out of the hospital for months, each time with varying issues. Acid reflux, pneumonia, stomach pains, etc. But it was that day that my world fell out from underneath me. The day my mom was diagnosed with Leukemia. At this point I had two friends who lost parents to some type of cancer so it wasn’t something I was unfamiliar with. But I have to say, nothing prepares you for when it happens within your own family, especially a parent, especially my mom. From there, it all kind of blurs together. The months spent in the hospital, the scare in the ICU when we almost lost her to an allergic reaction to a transfusion, the nights watching her suffer through chemo and its horrendous side effects, the relief and glimmer of hope when we found that one of her sisters was a bone marrow match, the excruciating pain we felt months after her first bone marrow transplant when we were told the cancer came back, the constant shuffling back and forth from the suburbs to the hospital room in the city, the daily drill of work then hospital then work then hospital, the hours spent just watching her sleep or try to sleep through the pain, and the nights spent hating whatever God existed that would do this to her. It wasn’t until after her second bone marrow transplant and after I married my husband in June of 2009 that I realized it was by God’s grace that He let her stay. He let her stay with me to see me walk down the aisle. He gave her the strength to even dance at my wedding reception. God had given me my mother for a few more months to share in my joy before He took her away. It is a truly chilling and terrifying moment when you realize how suddenly a life can end. One second she was there and the next she was gone. I remember her last moments in that dreary hospital room knowing that there wasn’t much left we could do for her, and though she wasn’t completely awake towards the end, I could see the rise and fall of her chest and I could feel her weakened heartbeat as I laid beside her. She was still there, my beautiful and ever selfless mother. I still remember every facet of that moment as it is forever etched into me, I remember not being ready to let go though I knew it was coming… and I remember her final gasp of air like it was my own.
But this post is not about my sadness, but more about how that part of my life defined and changed me. In a lot of ways and shockingly so, I think it changed me for the better. It was around that time I realized, life is really unpredictable and truly is too short to stop yourself from trying to live each day with purpose. After some time to grieve, I started to change. I became a lot more self aware and completely conscious of the things I did not like about myself and that I wanted to start being a better me. A large part of myself really didn’t spend too much time trying to figure out what made me happy. I tied my happiness to a lot of things that had nothing to do with what I wanted inside. It was either tied to my friends, my husband, or really material things. None of which are bad things, but I spent so much time trying to please everyone else that I didn’t even know what I wanted for myself. I started really exploring who I was and who I wanted to be. I experimented with finding my own voice and dare I say, becoming just a tad bit selfish. I figured, why can’t I think about myself first once in a while? As long as I’m not hurting anyone else in the process, there’s no reason I can’t be a little selfish and stop caring so much about other people’s judgments. It also taught me to try not to judge anyone else. I realized that we can’t ever know the things that shaped the people around us to become who they are. We also can’t predict the things that will happen that will shape who they will be in the future. I learned that before I turn anything outward, I should really look inward and examine myself and why I feel the way I feel. I started to trace out my flaws and insecurities and at the same time accept them and make an effort to change them. I slowly became the woman that I thought my mom really wanted me to be. I started to embrace life and find the fun and joy in everything. Even the crappy stuff. I learned that I am constantly evolving and it’s okay to change my mind and my views here and there. I opened my mind, took chances and tried things I never tried before. This blog is one of those things. I never thought it would go anywhere and maybe it never will but I try not to do it for the wrong reasons. Sometimes I lose sight of why I started this to begin with and I get really caught up in the sparkle and haze that is the blogger world. I’ve been advised to maybe edit this internet and blogger version of myself but I say, the hell with that. I always try to remember, this started because I just wanted to take a chance and try something new, connect with like minded and also very different people and show who I am. I want to learn, make mistakes, take risks, be better, meet new people, attempt new skills and really live a life worth living… while not being overly careless (a nagging voice in my head that oddly sounds like my dad). I want to chronicle this journey and see how it ends up years from now. I also do all of this because I always envision my mom so proud and cheering me on. If no one else pays attention to it, that would be enough.
So why did I choose now to do all this? Share this story and relaunch the site? I did mention it felt a little like fate right? As you know I have done a few collaboration posts with Monica Rich Kosann and here’s why. Before I went to Dallas for my second year at rstheCon, they sent me a list of brands that I would be meeting one on one. I had a list of three, two of which I was familiar with and one I wasn’t . Want to guess which one I wasn’t familiar with? I, of course, did a little bit of research and looked at Monica’s site before my trip. I saw the beautiful jewelry and instantly was excited to meet the team. On my first day at the conference, I visited their brand booth where they had a display of their pieces and I instantly stopped in front of one of them. It was a necklace display of a delicate gold chain with three little rings hanging from it. It immediately made me think of my mother and here’s why. After she passed, I inherited her wedding ring and for a while I wore it on a chain on my neck. However, I really hated all of my chains as they always hung at an awkward length for the way I was wearing the ring. So when I saw this display of a longer chain with three delicate rings at the end, I was taken back to those first years that I religiously wore my mom’s ring on a necklace underneath my shirt. This wave of nostalgia hit me like a ton of bricks and I couldn’t wait to meet Monica in person and let her know how her piece really struck me. It was after meeting her and telling her this little story that I really felt a kinship with her jewelry. I am super sentimental and I love how her pieces say so much about the wearer. These poesy rings each stand for something different and inside they are engraved. This is actually what was traditionally done to poesy rings. There is usually some secret message engraved inside. The ones I chose here are “Never Fear”, “Mine”, and “Love”. Three words that mean things to me and might mean other things to someone else. “Never Fear” reminds me to take chances, meet people who are different and approach them with an open mind, and to not let my fears or insecurities stop me. “Mine” reminds me to think of myself and my own happiness and that it’s okay to do so. “Love” reminds me to do the first two things with love and acceptance. I plan to throw in my mom’s ring in the mix. I’m actually wearing my mom’s ring in this post. Since it was too big, I started sandwiching her ring with two smaller rings so it would stay put. That’s how I’ve been wearing it for the past few years but with this new chain, I may go back to the old way. I really want to thank Monica and her team for providing me with these gorgeous pieces and for giving me the catalyst to open up and share this very special post. I’d like to think that my mom is still motivating me in some way and that she is watching over me and happy of who I am now. You can’t change the things that happen to you, but you can control how you come out of it. And I hope to come out of all this a better person, a better friend, a better wife, and mostly a better woman… all in my memory of the one person that meant the world to me, my mom. Did I also mention that today is her birthday?
May 30, 1959 – September 6, 2009
// Here are some of my favorite Poesy Rings //
// jumpsuit – asos // shoes – penelope and coco // clutch – asos // belt – vintage // necklaces – thanks to monica rich kosann, maya brenner // bracelets – thanks to gorjana, giles and brother // sunnies – prada //
// replicate the look //