I have been staring at this blank screen for ten minutes. Trying to find the right words to put together to introduce my brand new website; my brand new blog. Trying to find the right words to explain why I do what I do. So let me take you back.
As I sit here & close my eyes, my memories hit me in short flashbacks; full of intense emotion. I relive each moment, and count each time my eyes close.
One. I am a little girl at the lake with my family. We are on a bright yellow “banana boat”, zooming through the water. We are laughing. I feel happy.
Two. I am still young. It is Christmas. I am surrounded by family & lots & lots of presents. I feel radiant.
Three. I am in third grade. Swimming in the pool with my brothers. We swim all day. I feel carefree.
Four. I am in middle school. I hear yelling. I am hiding with my dog. I feel terrified.
Five. I fall asleep to a silent home for the first time. It is only my dog, one other family member, & I left living there. I miss the sounds of our busy home. I feel sad.
Six. Our gas is off again. I debate taking a freezing cold shower, or warming water through the coffee pot. At least it’s not the water this time, I tell myself. I feel heartbroken.
Seven. The doctors think I’m sick. They say my heartbeat isn’t normal. I feel depressed.
Eight. I find myself one day without shoes. I go through a trash bag of women’s shoes, & acquire a stained pair of black boots that are too large for me. People anonymously post online that I have no fashion style. I feel alone.
Nine. I cry myself to sleep again. I dwell on my pain. It consumes me. I feel trapped. I feel suicidal.
Ten. I wake up feeling different. I tell myself, I don’t want to hurt anymore. I will do everything in my power to never allow this world to get the best of me again. I don’t want to just exist. I want to live. So I decide to change. I feel hope.
Eleven. I show my teacher a photo I took at a track meet of a student breaking a state record. She loves it, & assigns me as Photography Editor of the yearbook. I feel thrilled.
Twelve. I visit the east coast for the first time. I step out of the airport into the crisp winter air. I look around to a brand new world in my eyes, & take it all in. I feel electric.
Thirteen. Senior year is ending. Yearbook is over. I miss taking pictures everyday. I miss capturing life’s moments. I apply to the Art Institute of Las Vegas. I feel enthusiastic.
Fourteen. I am almost done with college. I choose lifestyle & travel photography as my niche. I realize I thrive off of earth’s beauty- slowing down to take it all in, & appreciating every single second this life allows me to live. I feel ecstatic.
Fifteen. I am at my college portfolio show. I just won best in show for digital photography. I am surrounded by loved ones. I feel content. I know I made the right choice in life.
Whew. Feel free to take a minute to process all of that, really taking in what I have decided to do with the cards that were dealt to me. I realized at a young age just how important mental health is, & how crucial it is to tend to it with love & care. I used to swear I was cursed, because I felt everything so deeply. After training my mind to see the good in every situation, I realized that I wasn’t cursed, but was in fact blessed. Blessed because I knew the day would come where I would be brave enough to share my story. Brave enough to be the voice that brings light to the importance of mental health. Brave enough to inspire others to find the beauty in life, & this world.
So let me inspire you. I want to show you that life is so much bigger & greater than just the tough experiences we go through. I want everybody to see it’s beauty. Because it’s there. Every single day. Some days may be more difficult to see it than others, but it will always be there. In a colorful sunset, in laughter, or even in your favorite song. If I could find life’s beauty in the midst of madness, you can, too. & I will help you look at life in a new way. I will help you learn to appreciate every single second you live.
January 28th, 2018 I am choosing to be brave. I have decided to be the hero my younger self needed all those years ago- choosing to see the good in the world over the bad. Choosing to walk through life with courage rather than fear. Choosing to not just exist, but to live. & lastly- choosing to inspire & teach YOU to live your life that way, too.
So just keep reading on. Keep following this crazy journey of mine I call life. & if there is anyone else you think could benefit, please share this post with them. On the top righthand side of this page is a field where you can type your email into to follow this blog. (If you are on your phone it will be underneath this post) Thank you so much for taking time to read my first post; I sincerely do appreciate your time. I truly hope you keep following along with me. Oh yeah, & one more thing- Welcome to the adventure. ♡
♡ Valerie Karen.