I’ve spent the last year and a half of my life(ish) trying to figure out exactly who I am. In March of 2015, my mom went into the hospital for some lower back pain, and less than 24 hours carried a diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer. To say that it was devastating is a gross understatement. In May 2015, we found out we were pregnant with our third baby, and he rocked our worlds in a completely different way — we would later find out that he had a cleft lip + palate. More devastating news. He was born in December 2015, and we spent a completely unexpected two weeks in the NICU. He had his first surgery in March 2016, while my mom was next door recovering from an infection that almost killed her. We lost her in April 2016.
In that time frame alone, I was primarily a caregiver: to my own kids, to my best friends daughter I watched for a few months when she started back to work, for my mom, and finally for our sweet little fighter baby. My own needs/wants fell so far by the wayside, that once I was able to step outside that role a bit, I had no idea who I was anymore. Especially without a mom. I never realized how often I went to her to be an ear, for advice, to keep me company when I’d been stuck inside with the kids for too long… She was so many things to me, and suddenly, without her around, I felt lost. Without taking time for myself for so long, I felt lost.
No one really prepares you for all the emotions you’ll feel after losing somebody important: some of the feelings (I assume) are “normal”, and some are things I’d never considered. Since I’ve never lost anyone before, this has been quite the journey. I’ve tried some things out, hoping they’d fit — some have, some haven’t. However, in this process I’ve learned something profound, or at least I feel that it is: the things that truly make me happy, have been there all along. I didn’t need to go out and try to reinvent the wheel, or seek validation from people because I felt so alone. What I needed to do, and what I’m trying to do now, is embrace who I am as a creative and move forward with it. It’s scary, and mostly new ground for me, but I feel good about it. And even better, my other half is cheering me on and coming on this journey with me as fellow photog. Writing + photography are two things that genuinely make me happy, so I’m announcing it (scary!) and moving forward! I’m also going to try to be more consistent about sharing life in general here on the blog: great reads, yummy food (sometimes healthy, sometimes not, haha!), projects around the house, etc…
I’m sharing my journey in hopes of inspiring someone out there to do the same. Embrace who you are, and love yourself. It’s pretty simple, although we have ways of making it much harder on ourselves than it needs to be.
I’m Monique! I’m a mama bear to three little bears — and boy, do they keep me busy! As I write this they are six (Bubba Bear), almost four (Sissy Bear), and twenty-one months (Baby Bear). One has a milk/soy protein intolerance, and our youngest is a cleft cutie (unilateral cleft lip and palate). I’ve been married to the love of my life for 11 years now, and blessed enough to have had him around since I was 18. It’s been a crazy journey, y’all!
I love coffee — it’s probably unhealthy how much I love coffee, but I know my fellow caffeine addicts understand. I love learning — history, health, and nutrition are probably my favorite things to learn about. If we’re keeping it real here though (which is what I’m about), I’ll read pretty much anything you hand to me. If I could read for a living, I totally would — maybe I’ll include some book blogging here! I also love to write — I have a mad, crazy love affair with words. They’re just awesome. I recently took up photography — capturing precious moment is something I’ve also always been passionate about. I’m excited to be starting on that venture (and with my hubby no less), and even have a wedding in the books this fall!
I’m a Disney lover (really, I’m a princess in disguise — shhhh) and a total Potterhead. I suppose in all “technicality” I should be considered a Gryffinpuff, but I totally relate to Hufflepuff more. I freakin’ love sweets and baking! (Working on acknowledging that I’m brave.) I’m a sucker for a sweet romance, and I have an equal love for the mountains and the beach. I feel right at home either way!
Anything else you want to know about me? Just ask!