What my 6-week old daughter has taught me:

1. Let go.

This seems to be a theme in my life, how to let go and move on. Whether it’s the simple things or the complicated things. Row can go from smiling to crying to smiling all in about 5 seconds. Suddenly her bubbles are relieved and she’s back smiling again (we call her burps “bubbles,” it’s much cuter). As soon as her bubbles are gone, she simply forgets and has moved on. It’s been a really great reminder for me to move on, let go, not dwell or let anger stew. Just let go. Life’s much more enjoyable that way.

2. Shadows are the coolest thing in the world.

No really, the coolest thing in her world right now is looking at a shadow on the wall. Or a striped sweater. Actually, she’d prefer to look at our entire closet. She will crank her head around and stare at every contrasty object in her field of vision. She’s obsessed with the simplest little thing that I don’t notice. It reminds me though to slow down and look at the simple things, the small things, the mundane things. Pay attention to them. Focus. Don’t let yourself be victim to information overload. Allow yourself to be bored so your mind has room to breathe and create. Stare at the crack in the ceiling and let yourself think. Be intentional while doing the dishes. Appreciate the slowness that comes with life. One day I’ll feel as if it’s all gone by much too fast.

2015

My gosh, 2015 was such an incredible year. I admit, too, that at the end of 2014, I was a bit sad to be leaving 2014, because I didn’t think anything could top last year, but I’m so glad I let go and allowed space for a new year to come.

2015 was monumental for me for a few reasons. It was also insanely busy and at times it sucked the creative life out of me, but I’m so glad I stuck to all my goals and pushed through, because now, for 2016, I feel like I have the whole world at my fingertips again.

2015 is the year I finished my undergraduate degree… at 27. This degree took me for-freaking-ever. It was the one I dropped out of many years ago to move to San Francisco, and the one that once I was in San Francisco, realized I wanted nothing more than to finish this dream of mine. So that was the majority of my 2015 (summer school included). I love learning, and this kept me fascinated enough to stick to finishing my degree, but I am a terrible student and get distracted easily, so I often found myself doodling instead of taking notes, or sketching elaborate photo shoots instead of reading. It wasn’t ever that the subject content wasn’t interesting, and I am still so grateful for all my professors who let me do creative photo projects instead of writing 3000 word essays. And then, finally, finally, I finished.

2015 is also the year Eric and I got engaged. I did not expect this at first. At the start of 2015 I wouldn’t have guessed this, but then a few months down the road, everything finally became clear to me, and I knew Eric was the one I wanted to be with, forever. I remember him coming up to Vancouver, Canada (where I was living) and us going to look at rings. The first place we went to (and one of the few that were open on a Sunday night) was a small jewelry store with the man’s workshop right there in the back. I immediately saw the ring I wanted, but I didn’t try it on at first because I figured it should take a bit of time before finding the one. I tried on a few different rings, and then we went to two other stores we found that were open. I’ll never forget standing in the mall and Eric saying to me, Kima, we could get engaged, right. now., and me laughing saying there was absolutely no chance we were getting engaged right. now. and in a mall of places. I don’t mean in the mall, but we could still get engaged today. I said that I wanted us to wait, and the next morning when Eric left to drive back down to Seattle, he stopped at the small jewelry store and picked up the ring I couldn’t stop thinking about. For the next few weeks, I had my entire proposal planned out. He would take me here and we would do this and eat that and I had every last detail planned out and set to happen at the end of the summer, and instead, Eric proposed later that month when I was least expecting it in the way I did not expect either, and it was better than anything I could have ever imagined. 

Summer school was, well, summer school. I had back to back classes for 9 hours a day and the rest of my days off were spent working. Instead of doodling during class, I was planning my wedding. Everything was set to happen May of 2016 in Hawaii, my dream destination, but some things fell through, and I finally gave up trying to force things to happen, and just let them happen how they were supposed to happen.

And so instead, I decided to graduate, move from Vancouver, Canada to Seattle, Washington and get married all in the same month, the month of December. I moved to Seattle during my last week of school and our wedding was two days after my last paper was due. It was a whirlwind and even though it didn’t go the way I originally thought, it was so much better the way it happened, and so much more us. And now it’s only like a week and a half later and here I am, sitting in my office typing on my laptop. Eric is in his workshop, the dogs are sleeping, music is playing, cars are driving by, there is a hole in my stockings, the plant next to me is still dying and everything just feels good. 

I’ve always believed that you don’t just “make it” and then live happily ever after. You don’t just graduate or get married or move and then kick back with a big smile on your face knowing that now the rest of your life is good to go. I mean, yeah, I have definitely been kicking back (or whatever) with a huge smile on my face because I have accomplished things I’ve been working so hard to accomplish, and dreaming and praying for, but it doesn’t end here. And I think that’s what I’m most excited about for 2016, because for every bucket list item I can check off, it allows me to make space and write new bucket list items. Work goals and hobby goals and travel goals and weird goals and secret goals and omg goals. Nothing is really set in stone, except that now I can create time to pursue these things again. Now that school is done, now that I’m finally in Seattle with Eric, now that I don’t have to think about planning a wedding, now I can just do me again. I’m really excited for that. 

When I read through my goals for 2015, it’s perhaps embarrassing that I didn’t accomplish the majority of them. Stand up tall, sort of, maybe. Write daily, preferably in the morning, aka, sleep longer. Work on thought life, think more positively, okay this one I worked hard on, and it’s helped, and I still work on it every day. Get good grades (A’s and B’s, no C’s), or get all of the above! Deepen relationship with God, still trying. Be a better girlfriend, daughter, friend, also still trying (and learning). Finish the following five books…, 2/5, it’s a start.

Maybe I didn’t accomplish as much as I did according to my list, but 2015 still taught me so much. 2015 taught me balance. 2015 taught me patience. 2015 taught me to work hard. 2015 taught me to trust, forgive, let go (ah yes, always letting go), try harder, be humble… There were ups and downs and lots of learning curves and yet, 

I wouldn’t change anything from this past year.

2015 taught me to let life happen how it's meant to happen. Because it's only in letting go that we can truly live.

The one where I compare our life to Friends.

Tonight we booked flights to San Francisco which I am so excited about! It was two years ago that we met for the first time while we were both there, and we haven't been back together since. I'm excited to visit the place we met, to see a bunch of my closest girlfriends and introduce him to the ones he hasn't met yet. I'm excited to show him my old apartment and where I used to work. I'm excited to show him a part of where I became me and do that reminiscing thing together. 

Perhaps I am too honest, but I'd rather be real and honest then surface level and dishonest. Booking our flights tonight was exhausting. Him and I are both such passionate people when we're together and so all it takes is one little thing and suddenly we're arguing over which flights to take and then wondering how we even got there. Even now, I couldn't tell you. But ya know, tonight I was watching Friends, yes, Friends(!), and it was the season finale of the entire show (disclaimer: if you haven't seen Friends yet, stop reading because I'm totally about to spoil it, and yeah, it's totally possible to not have watched Friends yet because I just started the show for the first time in my entire life a few months ago). Ross and Rachel finally, finally, decide to stay together and here's what they say:

Rachel: No more messing around. I don't wanna mess this up again. 

Ross: Me neither, okay? We are - we're done being stupid. 

Rachel: Okay. You and me, alright? This is it.

And this is just it. There are so many of these stupid little things that we let get in our way where we forget what love and marriage is supposed to be about. We are never ever going to have a perfectly seamless relationship together, but every time we stop what we're doing and look at each other and say okay, we're done being stupid, it's you and me alright, that's it, it's like I see him for the very first time again and I realize that no matter what, this is the human I want to do all of these stupid little things together with, because I know that through all of it, there are going to be so many incredible things we experience together and he's the only one I want to do life with. 

Eric is really good at letting go. Me? Not so much. He's very quick to catch us when we're having a moment and tell us to stop worrying about some minuscule detail and then completely forgive and forget and move on. It's such a breath of fresh air and I'm trying my hardest to be better at letting go like he can. Which is funny, because, I have written post after post after post after post after yet again another post about letting go and here I am, still trying to let go. 

I think people like to think that love is all fairytales and magic. I think people like to think that they've finally "made it" when they get engaged or married or that their life has finally begun. I think people like to think that once they are married all of their problems are going to go away and they're going to be infinitely happy forever and ever and always. This is such a lovely thought that it scares me that some people think this and don't realize or forget that there is an entire other side to being with someone that is the exact opposite of this.

Life and love and being engaged and I'm sure marriage as well is filled with stupid little details that sometimes make you want to make scary faces but if you know how to navigate it, you'll be able to immediately turn around and laugh at whatever it was that was driving you crazy. Life and love and being engaged and I'm sure marriage as well is filled with things that are not fairytales and are really, really hard but I think as soon as you can get over this fairytale kinda thing, you'll create your own fairytale story, if that's what you want to call it. Because things sure as hell are never going to be perfect, but gosh, things can sure be beautiful. Like when Eric called me later and said, we sure are good at that thing we do where we basically turn on the blender without a lid on, and then we both started laughing hysterically because at the end of the day, those tiny, minuscule, stupid things don't matter except for the fact that I still love doing them with him, because him is what matters to me.

Love is really beautiful. It's also a choice. It's a mix of I'm-so-crazy-about-you-never-leave-me-I-miss-you-it's-only-been-five-minutes and oh-my-gosh-I-am-so-mad-right-now-but-I-am-committed-to-you-and-we-will-work-this-out because you love each other, and that's what love is. It's those magical ingredients of both desire and commitment and a whole lot of laughter that makes life with someone so great.

These shoes.

I remember driving down to Target in Milpitas, California to buy a pair of shoes. I wanted guy shoes, guy shoes that would take me through my next year. I felt like I had lost so much that I needed one physical item that could permanently stay with me. Something that would take every step with me, rain or shine. I bought these eleven dollar navy blue slips ons with white laces. They basically were knock offs of Keds, but they were perfect.

 

I remember slipping my feet into them for the first time in Austin, Texas. I had put my clothes in storage in SF, and had two pairs of shoes with me: my guy shoes and a pair of ankle boots. It was so hot and humid that day. My hotel room was dark, decorated with maroons and burgundies you'd only ever see in an old church or at a grandparents home. I threw on a pair of shorts and a breezy top, laced up my shoes and headed to the parking lot. Each step felt like I was moving further and further away from everything I was intentionally abandoning. It felt so freeing. New steps, new steps that no one but myself and these shoes were taking.

 

I got into the Car2Go and I remember pressing my foot to the pedal. I zigged and zagged out of freeway traffic with the air conditioning blasted. Country music played through the radio and every now and then Siri's voice would chime in telling me to exit here and turn left there and in 300 metres, slightly merge here. 

 

I pulled up to a rather empty street with a shady looking car mechanic shop. I consolidated Google maps again and it confirmed that I was indeed here, here at the river. I got out of the car and started walking, quickly becoming self conscious of my short shorts and bare legs and sweating face as I walked past some construction workers. Eventually I became so uncomfortable that I ducked through a shaded passage way of trees and there, there it was. The dry, dusty, burnt orange earth with lush trees and a never ending river.

 

I walked and I walked and the air grew more humid. I remember looking down at my navy blue shoes now coated with a thin layer of dry dust. It didn't matter that the white laces were now orange and the soils were browning. It just mattered that I was walking further away from my past, and closer and closer to my real self. 

 

I crossed over a bridge, noticing a sign stating not to jump off the bridge, and as I turned back around, two men, their shirts laying on the ground, began climbing the railing, ready to jump. I smiled, they smiled, I said, "may I" and they said sure. I held up my camera and clicked the shutter as one after the other, they cheered and jumped off the bridge and down into the river. 

 

I contiued walking, my back now entirely drenched in sweat, and finally I came to a swimming hole. I took off my shoes and bolted straight into the water as far as I could before my shorts would get wet. The water swished around my legs and I noticed my chipped nail polish on my toes through the murky waves. A group of boys began whispering and I saw them looking at my shoes, and so I walked back up to the shore and moved my shoes to a rock nearby where I was standing. My toes squished in the mud, and the water brushed some of the dirt off the soles of my shoes.

 

Later that day I came upon a canoe rental spot. I handed the women twenty dollars and zipped up my life jacket as she pushed my canoe out into the water. I remember my shoes getting damp from some left over water in the bottom of the boat as I paddled to the same bridge the two men had jumped off earlier. Soon the air grew so humid it was practically mist, and one of the biggest rain storms I've ever witnessed began. The wind was now in my favor as I quicky paddled back to return the canoe. I got out of the boat, literally drenched from head to toe. My shoes were soaked, and each step I made back to the car, I was reminded of why I had left, and why I wanted to be here by myself. The shoes kept me walking forward even when I wanted to go home. 

 

A few weeks later I left the shoes in Tennessee. They looked terrible and smelled awful and New York was next. I abandoned the shoes as I had abandoned everything else in my life. Learning to let go...learning to let go of even the new things that I had replaced and wanted to be a part of me left me with nothing but myself. I had nothing to hide behind, and for as many times as I was going to replace the things I had lost, I was going to abandon them again in order to remind myself that never again would I bury my heart in things that were not truly me. 

Rip it off like a bandaid.

Let go.
let go let go let goletgo I cannot tell you enough times to let go.

It didn’t come easy,
this lesson, no.  In fact,

it felt like ripping a bandaid off.
againandagainandagain.

If you love something, let it go yeah yeah we’ve heard this before.

But I don’t believe it always will comes back.

I just believe that suddenly you open up space in your life to invite something better in.

And so,
let go.

Let go so it doesn’t hurt as much.

Let go so you can prove yourself wrong.

Let go so you can realize you’re stronger than you think.

Let go so that when you really have to let go, you know how.

Let go so that you know what things you should appreciate,
what things you should not.

Let go so that your body can rest.

Let go let go let goletgo,
I cannot tell you enough times.

Let go.
 


 

Let
go