Maybe Recollections is an odd title for this post. But then again, with today being both Memorial Day in the US AND the one year anniversary of my blog, it seems rather fitting to me.
So where do I start? I think I will start with the anniversary of Blended Beauty.
It was exactly a year ago today that I made my first post here. Its been such a crazy ride for me that I don’t even know how to put it all into words. As I sat down and thought about what all has gone into this blog since then, the work put into each post, the personal growth both as a blogger and as a person, my disclosures and the friends made as a result of what basically amounted to as a, “Just give it a try,” dare from another amazing blogger, Ryanna Foxclaw… I am just speechless at times.
The other day, Facebook showed me a memory of a picture I posted just days before making my first official post. Wow!!! What a difference a year has made in my pictures! And there is still so much to learn. Despite the work I put into my own posts, I always try to make time to scroll through the work so many other amazing bloggers do. There is so much jaw dropping work out there that to be a part of this blogging community at all is just an amazing honor.
While Ryanna was the one who dared me to give blogging a try, there have been a host of others who have encouraged me on this journey. I mentioned friendships before and I cannot properly express in words how special the friendships I have made with my fellow bloggers has meant. There have been so many who have been there for me, giving my pictures a second glance, encouraging me when I struggled with being authentic or kicking my ass into gear when I felt like I was struggling. There have been my blogger managers who have been so gracious to give me input when I could do something better. And then, then there are the creators who have taken a chance on me. I am still astounded sometimes at the opportunities I have been given and I am so grateful.
What has all of that meant? Improved pictures? Of course. Surviving a year in this blogging community? You betcha. Slowly finding my own style of work? You know it. New opportunities? Obviously.
Do you know what has meant more to me than anything though? Its been a combination of the personal growth I have had as a result of sharing my journey with all of you…and the unbelievable support I have received from each of you.
I was thinking the other day about when I made the decision to disclose my transition here. I shared so many tears with Ryanna, Adalynne Romano and Melly Clarrington as I debated whether or not disclose. They, for all intent and purpose, virtually held my hand as I made that emotional post. And as I did that, a simple girl who (irrationally) expected a negative response, found new friendships and support from all of you by being the real me. As a result of that single post, I became friends with people such as Trouble, Rina, Amelia, Sady, Geena, Dash and others because I was no longer hiding behind some wall, afraid of how you all would react if you knew the real me.
Despite all of the personal growth I have done over the past ten years, all of you helped me to find a strength I never knew I had. In doing that, each of you helped me confront the challenges in my real life. In doing that, every single one of you helped me to not only finally step out into the world as the real me less than a month ago. You also helped me to find the strength to show ALL OF YOU the real me…with a sense of pride…not shame.
This is the impact each of you has had on me in the past year. This highlights the power each of you has on each other. Never ever forget that whether you are a blogger or someone who just enjoys enjoys following all of us crazy enough to do this. Each of you is making a difference in someone’s life.
*stops and takes a breath*
Ok…now onto a slightly more somber topic and I will try not to go on too long. Memorial Day.
I hope all of you in the US have had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. I also hope each of you in the US has taken a brief moment to say a silent thank you to those who gave their lives so we could enjoy this day.
As I have shared before, I lost my brother in Iraq several years ago. I’ve reached a point where some years, I am fine with Memorial Day. Other years, I am a bit more somber. This year has been a bit more somber for sure. As I have stepped out as the real me over the past month, as well as opening up to all of you more, I do believe it has lead me to missing him more and adding a bit more, I don’t want to say meaning, weight to Memorial Day and its impact on me.
I think a lot of that has to do with the steps I have made in my transition over the past year, but especially the past six months.
I had lunch with one of our cousins today as he and his partner passed through on their way back to DC from home. As we sat and talked, he kept telling me how he had never seen me so peaceful in my life. When I asked him what he meant, he talked about how he didn’t see the uncertainty and sadness he had seen in me his whole life and how I had such a realistic and healthy perspective on things. As he was getting in the car to get back on the road, he hugged me and said softly, “I love you and am so proud of you. I only wish your brother could have finally seen you at peace.” It took everything I had not to cry at his words.
Since lunch, I have spent a lot of time thinking about my brother and the kind of man he was…and how he would have handled my transition. And yeah, I have missed him…a lot…today.
With that, I think I am going to wrap things up. Otherwise…I am going to cry even more. And lord knows I don’t need one particular blogger friend reminding me how I cry at everything. lol
Thank you, all of you, for all of your love, support and encouragement over the past year as I have shared my story here. All of you have helped me heal and grow every day. I am so grateful for that.
And to our fallen men and women in uniform…I can never say thank you enough for your service to our country and your willingness to take up arms to defend our rights, including the right for each of us to be the most authentic people we can be. And to the families of our fallen…thank you for loving your family member and supporting them as they served our nation honorably, believing in a cause that is greater than any one man or woman. To all of you, your sacrifice will never be forgotten. ♥
Thank you, everyone. And now, on to another year… ♥
See it on Flickr.
Luane’s World – Say It First, Mirror
ARIA & The Loft
Nikka wall art
Shutter and Basket Decor
Willow Blk_Wht Desk
JAC Boat Shack V1.0