Hi fancy friends,
So today is an exciting day for me. I’m relaunching my blog! Some of you may not have noticed and others message me over and over again about why I’m not blogging anymore. So here it is. We are all leading different lives, all with a story to tell. We all have a reason for being where we are at in our lives so here is my reason. I don’t feel the need to come on here and explain to anyone, but I also want to be very honest, authentic, open and transparent with you and those that have cared to ask.
I took a very long, but much needed break from blogging and posting. I continued to casually post images, but I’m talking about the continuous need to communicate and stay active with all my social media channels. I would wake up and if I felt the need to post, I would and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t. I stopped forcing it. When working with brands and accepting collaborations you have this stress and also this need to post and deliver to their expectancy. So as soon as I wrapped up all my collaborations, I decided that it was time to be real, truthful and honest with MYSELF. I decided to fast all social media, it was no longer an option but a need.
Since after the 4th of July 2016 through the end of last year, I was in a dark place. In a place of pain, hurt, my heart was aching and I was on a very emotional roller-coaster. I had good days and weeks and bad days and weeks, I just couldn’t balance it all out. I tried and just couldn’t find the joy I once had. I realized that as much as I wanted to keep going (I’m not a quitter, but sometimes we need to learn how to quit on the things that are not doing us good) I had to stop and rest.
I’ve been blogging for over 8 years now and shooting with Vanessa and Johnny for about 2. I realized that something was wrong when I was out shooting with Vanessa on an early Saturday morning (on 3 hours of sleep) surrounded by beauty, and Vanessa looked at me and said “Amanda, you have to smile”. Those words have never come out of her mouth. Every once in a while she’ll tell me the opposite, “Give me a serious face to add some intensity to the shot.” We always have such a fun time shooting, sneaking in to buildings we are not supposed to that you forget it’s work, but when those words came out of her mouth, my heart dropped. Those words were said with no malicious intent, but it killed me because she expressed what I was feeling deep inside and at that moment, I realized that it was time to get off this emotional roller coaster. Something had to change. I remember getting in my car and breaking down. That 45 minutes drive home that felt like 2 hours became the place that I argued and wrestled with God. I’ve always been a very happy person, always smiling, always done the right thing and with as much peace as I had in my heart, why was I still so sad? I remember praying and asking God then and there “Lord, please take this pain away. Bring back that joy that I have always had. Heal my heart,” and as cliché as this sounds, I asked God to “take the wheel” because I no longer knew who I was, I was lost and needed help. God needed to do something extreme and take full control because I was exhausted and tired of hurting. I couldn’t bare the pain and the stress I was carrying anymore. I wish I could tell you that I felt an instant healing like magic, but negative. Not what happened at all. It was a process. It took time and the only thing I felt that was right was to simplify my life. I felt this urge to sit back, analyze, prioritize, self-reflect and couldn’t do it with so much on my plate. Even if it meant to stop blogging and close down my dream which was my boutique. I had it open for two full years and as much I loved it, I couldn’t carry all the responsibilities by myself anymore. I needed peace and quiet in my life so I slowly started working on that. Closing my shop and pressing pause on the blog was so hard, but it was sucking literally the life out of me, I was working so hard, waking up at 7am to go to the office, to then go to the store and then work my night job 4-5 days a week just to survive and make ends meet. Working all those hours and resting 4-5 hours a night had officially taken a huge toll on me, mentally, physically and clearly emotionally. I needed to take a step back and let the pain settle, to sit back and analyze, prioritize and see what brought me joy and what didn’t.
I love working hard. Hard work doesn’t scare me. Long hours don’t scare me. In a weird way, it makes me feel alive, but when it started to affect my physical, mental health and emotional state of mind, that’s when it scared me. When Vanessa had to remind me to smile, my heart sank and I realized that I no longer had joy in my life, I felt so distant from God and for me that’s a scary place to be. I was surrounded by so many people that loved me, but still felt alone. I became so good at smiling and faking it on the outside. I was longing for joy and not just happiness.
Once I got out of the driver’s seat of my car and literally that emotional ride, I made the decision to stop, take a step back and do my part so God could do his. Slowly, but surely things started to change. I’m in a great place now. Standing firm in joy. I have this sense of certainty and confidence. I’m taking it back to the basics and doing the things that used to bring me joy such as volunteering, running, and spending time with family and friends. For so long work was a priority, it kept me busy and with no time to think about the pain I was experiencing. I pushed away anyone and everyone that would ask me about my state of mind and being because I was avoiding that question at all cost. I didn’t want to stop and think about my feelings and emotions. That’s such an unhealthy way of thinking and this year, prioritizing my life and having joy is my goal. Being happy, healthy and find pleasure in the oddest things like taking Penelope for long walks, stopping the car by a field and watching the sun shine, cows and horses, lying in bed and reading a book and most importantly spending time with my friends and family. During this crazy journey I was in this past year and a half, I can hands down tell you that I’ve had an amazing circle of friends and sisters that kept me grounded, sane and loved. I’ve also met some great people along the way that showed me this immense love when I was at my worst, I will forever be grateful for each one of them.
I’m sure many of you are wondering about my divorce and all I have to say about that is was very hard to deal with. I lost my best friend. I was mourning the loss of a person that never died. And let’s just say that social media didn’t help either. I would avoid checking my DM’s for weeks because I had people sending me screen shots of him acting out. While being in so much pain, my other half was enjoying life and posting about it all over social media. I don’t blame him, he was also hurting and dealing with the separation/divorce. I remember getting continuous calls and text messages of people asking me what was happening because of what they saw on social media. That was so hard, but in the midst of my separation/divorce I experienced peace with my decision. I loved him and always will, but I love myself more, enough to know that I deserve better. Coming to the decision to leave after being together for 16 years, with whom I thought I was going to grow old with was very hard, but I knew I had to do it. I feared that it would affect a lot of people, but I needed to be able to lay in bed at night feeling loved, appreciated and share a bed and my safe haven, with someone that I knew “we” were his main priority. When I felt that our home and bubble had been compromised I had to walk away. Walking away meant hitting rock bottom financially, physically and mentally. I remember having to decide if I was going to eat lunch or put gas in my car with the $5 I had in my account. The decision was hard and the journey was even harder, but I was tired of hearing the excuses when his actions spoke louder. I was tired of being in pain caused by the one I loved most.
For those that have asked me if I’m going to have a divorce party, the answer is no. I would never want to celebrate a failure. Even though I don’t carry the guilt of this failure anymore, I would never want to celebrate that. I’ll tell you what I’m celebrating, the new beginning of a new life. I have been given a second chance at life and love, I will rejoice in that. And I’m not going to lie, sometimes thinking about starting all over again at the age of 34 scares the crap out of me, but I also refuse to let that fear stop me or push me to make decisions like settling down when some things just don’t seem right. I’m finding bliss in traveling and enjoying the friendships God has blessed me with. I have a huge yet so tight and special group of friends that love me. I cherish each one of them and want to love on them, spend time with them and make up for the time I pushed them away. I couldn’t have done this season of my life without my sisters, brothers, sister and brothers in law, my best friends and my little Penelope that has a party for me every time I get home and reminds me that someone is excited about seeing me.
What does this mean to the blog, get ready ( you’ve been warned) I’m back! I’m at it again and in full force. Blogging was a huge part of my life, styling, trying new products and sharing all the details with you all brought so much joy in my life so like I said, going back to the basics.
And lastly, I’m so thankful for YOU, the ones that stood by my side through all of this. I promised myself during this time of searching that I would be more honest with the ones around me and with myself and share more.