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HOLL AND LANE A S A N C T UA RY F O R SO UL - F IL L ED STO R IES

2 0 1 7 COL LECTI O N Volu me I V Issu e 14

T HE HE A R T ISSU E L ove, rel at ionships and l e ar n i ng to t a ke c are of you rs el f


TEAM SARAH HARTLEY Creator / Editor in Chief sarahhartley.net editor@hollandlanemag.com

MIA SUTTON Editorial Manager bodyofhopepodcast.com stories@hollandlanemag.com

JESS DOWNEY Soical Media Manager chaoticcollected.com

CONTACT For press and advertising inquiries, contact hollandlanepress@gmail.com For contributions, contact stories@hollandlanemag.com For stockists, contact assistant@hollandlanemag.com ABOUT We’re starting a movement towards more honest media, giving your voice and stories a platform to share your honest lives. SOCIAL

MADISEN QUICK Editor's Assistant instagram.com/madisen.quick assistant@hollandlanemag.com

L instagram.com/hollandlanemag I facebook.com/hollandlanemag M pinterest.com/hollandlanemag The opinions expressed within each article do not necessarily represent those of the Holl & Lane team.

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HOLL AND LANE

VOLUME IV | 3


Cover Photo by EMILY SAENZ: emilyilluminate.com Cover Model : HANNAH MORGAN: byhannahmorgan.com 4 | 2017 COLLECTION


INSIDE HOLL & LANE, ISSUE 14 10 HEART & SOUL BOOK AWARDS 14 WONDER PRESERVED 18 MENDING MY BROKEN HEART 22 TRAVELING WITH HEAVY BAGGAGE 26 LIVING WITH A BROKEN HEART 32 FOLLOW YOUR HEART IN LOVE AND LIFE 36 A GRANDPARENT'S LOVE 40 MIRACLES WAITING 44 SURVIVING MY WORST YEAR 48 ENDANGERED 50 UNEXPECTED REASSURANCE 56 TRICK OR TREAT 60 LESSONS FROM THE HEART 62 RUNNING TOWARDS RESTORATION 66 THE PRINCE AND THE KING 69 MY ANGEL 70 REINVENTING HOME 76 MODERN DAY MARRIAGE 78 HOLDING A HEART 82 HOW TO RUN A MARATHON

IN EVERY ISSUE 6 7 8 9 88 96 98

EDITOR'S NOTE ISSUE CONTRIBUTORS H&L GIRL THE LIST POSTCARDS FROM... REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS 5 QUESTIONS WITH...

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EVER WONDER ABOUT THE NAME “HOLL & LANE”? The name is a play on the cross streets of my first home. We consider the home to be the place that you have unguarded conversations, the types that we feature within these pages. Think of Holl & Lane as one big slumber party with your closest friends.

HEADSHOT BY CRISTIN GOSS

EDITOR’S LETTER If there’s anything I’ve learned about The Heart in my 34 years, it’s how much it can expand. When you’re growing up, your family is your whole world (if you’re lucky), and then your heart expands to include those friends that are like family. Next comes love - puppy love and serious love. Your heart expands more and more each time to include more people in it. Then you meet that one person who fills your heart to bursting and you can’t imagine that there is anymore room for anyone else. Until you have a child. And suddenly your heart has not only expanded once again, but it now feels as if it’s beating on the outside of your body. Everytime you look at this tiny person you’ve helped to create, or you’ve been blessed with in another way, it’s as if they’re a piece of your heart walking around in the world. And you can’t imagine that your heart can be filled any further. Now in the middle of my pregnancy with my second child, I’m waiting for that moment that the heart that I cannot imagine growing larger, will. That it will continue to expand to include this new tiny human into it and that I’ll love this person I’ve just met just as much as I’ve loved my first child. The theme The Heart is such an interesting and complicated one. When we initially set out to create this theme, we assumed we’d get mostly submissions about love and romance. Instead what followed was true stories of romantic love, heartbreak, self-love, familial love, and so much more. Within these pages you’ll see a wide range of stories on this one particular topic. All related in their common theme, but yet so very different and inspiring in their own way. After reading through these pages, I hope you’ll take a second to think about the love you have in your own life and what exactly it means to you - romantic or not.

Sarah Hartley Editor in Chief

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Ps. Within these pages you’ll see advertisements from ten incredible women-led companies. These companies have enabled me to bring this issue to you and are helping us to reach women who really need us. I hope that you will take the time to visit their websites to learn more about them, and purchase their products if you find something you connect with. We’re all small businesses just trying to make it and your help is so appreciated.


CONTRIBUTORS ASHLEY KIDDER ashleykidder.com CHRISTINE AMOROSO barenakedinpublic.com CRISTIN GOSS cristingoss.com

LORREN LEMMONS MAGGIE GIELE maggiegiele.com MARIA-INES FUENMAYOR mariainesdesignstudio.com

DANIELLE J. CARACCIOLO

MARIA PALERMO palermophoto.com

DARYL BART darylbart.com

MARIE MICLOT instagram.com/mariemiclotmakeup

DEDRA DAVIS dedradaviswrites.com

MERRIT MISKOW merrittleephotography.com

HANNAH PAP ROCKI instagram.com/hkprocki

MIA SUTTON bodyofhopepodcast.com

HEATHER VICKERY vickeryandco.com

MICHELLE HILL

JENNIFER KATHRYN PHOTOGRAPHY

MISTY BRADLEY mistybradley.com

JESSA GIBBONEY wavyalabaster.com

NIKKI BALES franklynikki.blogspot.com

JESSICA LUTZ jseeksjoy.com

SAMI ROSS shross.com

JULI BAUER paleomg.com

RADHIKA & IAN MCDIARMID radianphotography.com

KAT LUZNY katluznyweddingphotography.com

TERESA HUNT clingingtohope.com

K.D.

TIERA KORACH

KIERSTIN CASELLA instagram.com/inkblot_home

TIFFANY CLAPP tiffanyclapp.com

Thank you to these Patreon sponsors for helping to keep Holl & Lane running: MICHAEL QUICK BRANDON HARTLEY JENNIFER DUDLEY AMANDA FILLIPPELLI TOM MATTINGLY JONATHAN WILLIAMS Become a Patreon sponsor by visiting patreon.com/ hollandlanemag

KYLIE KELLER thelittlebigdreamer.com LORI FERNANDEZ

CONTRIBUTORS VOLUME IV | 7


THE HOLL & LANE GIRL

MI ST Y BRA DL E Y THE H&L GIRL IS: CREATIVE, SMART AND CAPABLE, SHE IS STRONG AND USES HER PASSIONS TO HELP OTHERS. SHE ENJOYS BEING A PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER THAN HERSELF. SHE IS INNOVATIVE AND PROFESSIONAL BUT KNOWS HOW TO HAVE A GOOD TIME. THE H&L GIRL IS MODERN, GENUINE AND BRAVE. MISTY BRADLEY GREW up in Warner, a tiny town in Eastern Oklahoma. It’s a place where God, the U.S. flag, and the Warner Eagles are cherished right alongside the annual Cow Chip Day. Her parents both started their own small businesses over 30 years ago, and she watched them take such pride in carving out their own path to success. It inspired her to want to carve out her own thing. That “thing” has been a string of creative adventures. She’s traveled as a singing gypsy; life-coached creatives; written manifestos, ad copy, and love songs; crafted brand identities and strategy; developed a line of artisanal soaps and skincare; captured portrait art; started a podcast; and launched the REVEL in Biz Society. She views her work as a guide + visionary for other creative souls who are carving out their own path to significance. Growing up, Misty was always interested in photographs. She loved the way great images can transport you, inspire dreams, and make you feel. As a photographer, she considers herself a chaser of light. She wants people to experience their own light, and feel their glory peeking through when they see photos of themselves. Misty and her husband, Randy, have been married for nearly two decades, and have three kids, whom she dubs “three of the coolest people on the planet.” Randy and Misty started “We are the REVELERS”, a lifestyle podcast for creative souls who long to revel in all life’s messy glory. They know that life can be full yet still mundane, so they’re on a mission to find ways to romance the ordinary and learn to revel in all the bits of glorious lining the inside of our lives. Whether it’s podcasting, coaching, masterminds, or photography, Misty helps people see themselves as they want to be and carve the path to get there. In a world where the hustle gets a lot of glory, she helps entrepreneurs grow businesses that fuel their lives. According to Misty, “It’s kind of magical.” We’d have to agree. Success, In Her Words: “Living in a way I can be proud of. Loving my family well, enjoying a life rich with experience, and empowering others to live more revel-worthy lives. If I can infuse the world with more beauty and meaning and feel like that contribution is appreciated, then I would be really proud.” INTERVIEW BY MIA SUTTON // IMAGE BY MISTY BRADLEY 8 | 2017 COLLECTION


THE LIST : THE HEART On Our Bookshelf

On Our Playlist

WORDS BY MIA SUTTON

WORDS BY AMY COOK

BLANKETS by Craig Thompson A graphic novel set between Wisconsin and Michigan tells the story of Craig and the girl he met at a Christian camp one memorable winter. The words only enhance the vivid sketches spread across every page as Craig narrates the reader through his childhood with his brother, Phil, and his rigidly Christian parents and fast forward to his time with Raina. Wrestling with the desires and demons we all face during adolescence and his eagerness to do right by the God he fears and idolizes, Craig tells a tale about love, lust, passion, friendship, loss, and discovering who he really is. THE ESSENTIAL NERUDA: SELECTED POEMS Edited by Mark Eisner One of the greatest poets of all time, few are better versed in describing love via written prose the way Pablo Neruda was. This book of poems was carefully chosen from all his works by the editor and recall all the loves Neruda found in his life. Love for his daughter, his country, his flowers, and his lovers. With the original words in his Native Spanish on one page and English translations on the opposite, The Essential Neruda is perfect for anyone who has a passion for poetry and being in love. THE CRANE WIFE by Patrick Ness A contemporary twist of the Japanese folk story, Tsuro no ongaeshi (crane’s return of a favor) also known as the crane and the volcano. Ness brings the story of George, an American man operating a bookstore in London. After he saves a crane pierced by an arrow in his backyard one evening, Kumiko enters his bookstore and changes George in ways he never thought imaginable. The Crane Wife weaves together the tale of George, his daughter and grandson, and Kumiko using art, the original folktale and Ness’ evocative imagination set to print and shares with the audience a love story not likely to be forgotten.

LAST KISS PEARL JAM THINKING OUT LOUD ED SHEERAN IF I AIN’T GOT YOU ALICIA KEYS SPRINGSTEEN ERIC CHURCH AIN’T NO SUNSHINE BILL WITHERS JUST THE WAY YOU ARE BRUNO MARS DRINK YOU AWAY JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE MY HEART IS OPEN MAROON 5 TELL IT TO MY HEART TAYLOR DAYNE STEREO HEARTS GYM CLASS HEROES

On Our Screen

WORDS BY ERICA MUSYT

ABOUT TIME On his 21st birthday, Tim’s father fills him in on a little secret - the men in his family can travel through time. Tim can’t change history, but he does hope it can help to improve his life and find him a girlfriend! Through a chance encounter, Tim meets Mary and it’s love at first sight. Using his ability to time travel, Tim and Mary fall in love. However, as life progresses, Tim finds that time travel doesn’t always help him and his loved ones in ordinary life.

THE PRINCESS BRIDE Buttercup and Westley meet on her family’s farm and fall in love. In order to to be the man Westley feels Buttercup deserves, he goes off to earn his own wealth. After a long separation, and Westley thought to be dead, it is arranged for Buttercup to marry Prince Humperdinck. Together, along with a band of merry followers, Buttercup and Westley must fight the evils of Florin, the mythical kingdom, to be reunited with each other.

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY In 1977, after graduation from the University of Chicago, Harry Burns and Sally Albright share a car ride from Chicago to New York, during which they passionately discuss whether or not men and women could ever be just friends. Ten years later, they are reunited by a chance encounter at a bookstore and decide to stay friends. As they go through life, and relationships, Harry and Sally attempt to keep their friendship without sex becoming an issue between them. VOLUME IV | 9


HEART & SOUL BOOK AWARDS At the beginning of 2017, Holl & Lane Magazine together with One Idea Press began hosting the Heart & Soul Book Awards to recognize authors from all different genres. On the following pages, you’ll find the winners in each category, as well as where to buy each book. Congratulations to the winners!

Winner: Long Form Fiction / Women’s Literature

BLACK CROW WHITE LIE by Candi Sary

Young Carson Calley has a rare and magical gift of healing, a gift which both defines him and threatens to betray him. He lives in Hollywood motels with his alcoholic, fortune-telling mother, Juliette. She nurtures his gift, but her ways are deceptive. She feeds the boy fantastical stories to convince him of his greatness. At fourteen, Carson finally wises up to her lies and his identity is completely shattered. Juliette is too deep in her addiction to help him separate the facts from the fictions, so he looks for answers on the streets of Hollywood. There he finds Faris, a tattoo shop owner, and Casper, a cashier at a head shop. These two unlikely mentors help this troubled yet extraordinary boy find his way to the truth. Available through Amazon

Winner: Self-Help

EMPOWERING THE SENSITIVE SOUL: SIMPLE WISDOM TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH, CULTIVATE SELF-ACCEPTANCE AND LET GO OF WHAT IS HOLDING YOU BACK

by Christie Rosen

Are you easily affected by the moods of others? Do you struggle to maintain a sense of balance and positivity in your life? Are you sensitive to particular foods, noises, chemicals, and/or smells? Do your friends and family tell you to “stop being so sensitive”? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then this book is especially for you. Christie Rosen’s Empowering the Sensitive Soul will help you learn to let go of limiting thought patterns, embrace sensitivity, and cultivate unconditional love for yourself. This book takes you on a journey through body, heart, and mind and introduces simple steps that will guide you to a more balanced and empowered life. These include: • How to confidently take control of your sensitivity • The impact of stress on your digestive system • The importance of self-love and compassion • Learning how to trust yourself • The healing power of positive thought. As a sensitive soul, Christie knows first-hand that learning to love and embrace one’s sensitivity can be an overwhelming challenge. Using the lessons in this book, Christie grew into a strong, empowered, and confidently sensitive person. It is her wish to help you do the same. Available through Amazon

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Winner: Health & Wellness

SELF-MADE WELLIONAIRE: GET OFF YOUR ASS(ET), RECLAIM YOUR HEALTH, AND FEEL LIKE A MILLION BUCKS by Jill Ginsberg

What happens when you mix an MBA with a holistic health coach and a wicked sense of humor? You get absurdly rational and easily applicable strategies to reclaim your health and live your life like a boss. In this irresistibly entertaining self-health book, Jill Ginsberg offers busy people like you a compelling new system for implementing wellness change. Utilizing strategies and tools you’ve already mastered in your professional life, Jill teaches you how to become the CEO of your own health. Available through Amazon

Winner: Children’s Literature

GRATEFUL GRACE: HAVING AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE by Debbie McKiver

Grateful Grace is the story of a little girl who shows gratitude in every situation. She believes that there is always something to be grateful for, and the more grateful you are the happier you are. And the happier you are for what you already have, the more good things that come to you. Available through Amazon

Winner: Cookbook

KIDS EAT FREE: 50 ALLERGY-FRIENDLY RECIPES KIDS LOVE TO COOK AND EAT by Stephanie Policar

Kids CAN eat free ... of gluten, dairy, and nuts! • Are you or someone in your life gluten-free? Dairy-free? Nut-free? • Feel like your food choices are limited? • Want your kids to have fun in the kitchen and discover nutritious foods they’ll love? Kids Eat Free is for you! In this book, you and your kids will learn how to make over 50 ALLERGY-FRIENDLY, ROCKIN’ GOOD RECIPES that the whole family will enjoy. No need to miss out on your favorites or feel deprived. You’ll find everything from smoothies and frittata muffins to mac n’ cheese and chocolate cake! All recipes are free of gluten, dairy, and many other allergens. A great resource for every family, even those who don't have food allergies. Available through Amazon

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Winner: Mystery / Thriller

EXPOSED

by Alese Gwinn “Our love story is going to cost us everything.” After escaping an abusive relationship and starting over, Makenzie Hart thought she had finally found her happy ending. But what the people around Makenzie don’t know is that she’s keeping deadly secrets hidden about her past, unknowingly putting everyone she loves in jeopardy. When Makenzie’s nightmares become reality, she realizes she will have to put up the fight of a lifetime to keep herself and her friends alive. Dominic Mcnara is a name that means something to the people of Tampa, Florida. He takes what he wants without apology, and what he wants is Makenzie – secrets and all. Anyone who knows him knows that he would die to protect the people he loves. Between trying to keep his family safe and being blindsided by Makenzie’s past, dying is a strong possibility. Can Makenzie and Dominic survive everything that is trying to tear them apart?

Winner: Memoir / Autobiography / Inspirational

LOST AND FOUND IN THE LAND OF MAÑANA: WILDHEARTED LIVING IN AN IMPERFECT WORLD by Chrissy Gruninger

It’s potent daydream fuel. Embrace a radical change and happiness will follow. Whether we’re fantasizing about a new job, a new city or country, getting married, or having kids, we devote so much of our lives trying to plan a happy life. But the truth is, these major changes may not provide lasting joy at all — and all the planning in the world can’t guarantee happiness. Through Chrissy’s missteps and adventures, we see the new ways she found to celebrate her wild spirit without being reckless or sacrificing her sanity. Through her experiences, we learn to thrive within our own lives, no matter where we are. Available through Amazon

Winner: Poetry

HEARTLIGHT

by Amy Magella Gigena Is the journey of life about finding true love or finding one’s truest self ? A question we all must face. The pages of HeartLight are a unique, beautifully illustrated presentation unlike anything you have ever read before. It is a bittersweet story of love found and love lost…but it is truly much more than that. HeartLight unveils the discovery of a profound spiritual awakening, and takes you on an epic quest for life’s secrets that is as eternal as the moon and the stars. The message is told through a love story, but it truly is metaphorically a life story. HeartLight is an enchanting little story about believing and becoming, becoming and believing. And lessons in between. It will charm your heart forever. Available through Amazon

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wonder preserved

WORDS BY JESSA GIBBONEY IMAGES BY MERRIT MISKOW MAKEUP BY MARIE MICLOT 14 | 2017 COLLECTION


VINTAGE CLOTHING SPEAKS to my heart. I am drawn to pieces for vain reasons – colors, textures, prints – but there seems to be another force at work when choosing recycled clothing. I find myself drawn to pieces reflective of my life and the people in it. This was the case with a white silk kimono, found in a friend's shop. As I gazed upon this vintage piece, delicate to the eye and covered in floral embroidery, the first person who came to mind was my husband, Ben. Ben and I have been married for four years and together ten. Our adventure is one I never pictured for myself, but cannot imagine my life playing out any other way. Ben doesn't just speak to my heart, he fuels it. When it comes to our marriage, there is a boundless amount of love, support, and admiration. He has a laundry list of attractive qualities. There is, however, a particular quality which impresses me on a daily basis. Ben has managed to hold onto his childlike wonder. Ben is excitable about the small things and openly celebrates simplicity. He could be blowing bubbles off our back deck during a summer night only July could produce, and that activity is met with the same goofy amazement and engagement as a wedding or a birth. His genuine wonder is fun, and something which consistently attracts people towards him. How he maintains this quality is an unsolved mystery. Life can be harsh and unforgiving. It can drag one through the mud leaving stains. Ben, despite hardships tossed his way, has somehow preserved his wonder, pure as the day he was born. The same purity attracted me toward this vintage kimono. Similar to Ben's wonder, it has been faced with moments which could have easily diminished its authentic foundation. Permanent stains, loose threads, missing closures; none of these common challenges among vintage clothing appeared on this piece. It has been passed through many hands; too many to be traced, actually. Yet the purity has been protected. It met my hands and heart with wonder and possibility, pure as the day it was sewn. Both my husband and this kimono remind me to preserve the glow. Be content with the little moments. Do not grant life's challenges the power to stain one's outlook. Finding wonder in all things is wonderful and injects pleasantry where it is often neglected. It will be a mindful practice for me. My wonder isn't as tolerant or steady. It is, however, a quality I once mastered and can learn to master again. Luckily, there are reminders in my life to guide me: one I wear and the other holds my hand. &

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both my husband and this kimono remind me to preserve the glow

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mending my

broken heart WORDS BY DANIELLE J. CARACCIOLO // IMAGES BY CRISTIN GOSS

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THE STRENGTH OF our heart is essential as it pumps blood and supplies oxygen; it keeps us alive. However, it is a fragile organ, too. By opening our hearts it opens us to vulnerability and possible heartbreak. Heartache can hurt just as much as a physical injury and when our heart is weak, hurt, or broken, we will take drastic measures to protect it from further pain or damage. We may choose to retaliate, live in denial, suppress feelings, or hold on to anger, but we simply cannot begin healing our broken hearts until we learn and practice the act of acceptance. Accepting our diagnoses allows us to let go and to forgive; forgive ourselves, those that hurt us, and even forgive God. Forgiveness is a long journey, but it not only restores our wounded hearts, it allows us to become our true and authentic selves.

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I am a 30 year old woman, originally from a small Pennsylvania town, who prior to this (pivotal) year in my life, was afraid of change, afraid to show vulnerability, and afraid to live outside of my comfort zone. Eighteen months ago, I went through a very difficult breakup. I had no choice but to change my stubborn and structured ways in order to navigate my way through the tough terrain and switchbacks of life, which have allowed me to become the strong and brave-hearted woman I am today. A mid-January evening, my (ex) boyfriend of two years, whom I loved unconditionally and lived with in Colorado, blindsided me after he came home from a solo trip to the mountains and informed me that he “wasn’t happy”. While I initially suspected another woman, he blatantly denied it and lied to my face on multiple occasions. I later found out that I was ultimately deceived. This deception rocked me to my core; my emotions and actions that immediately followed were desperate, pathetic even. This was by far the hardest thing I had been through in my 29 years. The one person I needed to be there for me the most was the one person who put me in this horrific situation. This wasn’t JUST a breakup, this was much more than that. I had started to plan my life with him; I shifted my wants and needs, my career aspirations, my hobbies and even some of my beliefs to the point where I was a shell of a person. I no longer knew or recognized the woman I saw in the mirror. My family and lifelong friends were 1,500 miles away and while I had so much support from them, from my coworkers, and even from his family, I never felt more alone in my life. My heart hurt every second, every minute, and every hour of every day. I felt like I was dying from the inside out. I cried daily, I barely slept, and when I did eat or drink, I didn’t choose healthy options. An emotional hangover kicked in, and while I continued to “work out”, which is something that has always been a passion of mine, it also became a chore. I gained weight, compared myself to other women, and I questioned God. I needed answers to questions that were certainly not answered during the breakup: “Why did this happen to me? What did I do wrong?” I couldn’t see the forest through the trees and I didn’t understand why or how the man that allegedly loved me and moved me into his place only four months prior to this implosion could rip my heart out, step on it, and set it out on the curb with yesterday’s trash. ›››

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forgiveness means loving and respecting myself wholly, finding happiness within while embracing my body, my flaws, my shortcomings, and my beliefs 20 | 2017 COLLECTION


With struggle and hesitation, I packed 6 bags filled with clothes and shoes and went to a gracious friend’s house where I lived in disarray and a disheveled mess in her basement for nearly two months. During this time I was a wreck both physically and mentally. I even got pulled over twice for speeding in less than a 12 hour timespan. But through faith and prayers for patience, courage, strength, and preservation I eventually found a new place to live and with that I also began to feel alive again. I became a single dog-mom and I put myself out there and met new people and built new friendships. I held myself and my growing career together with poise and grace. I started to acknowledge, and most importantly, accept the hand dealt to me to begin my journey forward. The early summer brought me an opportunity with my company to move back to the east coast. After turning the job down two times, (for fear of looking like a failure with my return) and praying constantly about my decision, I concluded that “what’s meant for you will not pass you”. That quote took me on a cross-country trip back to the east coast about 6 months after we parted ways.

was exhausted from the countless arguments, the shaming, and the hurtful words he spoke about me which simply broke me down. I lost my strength, my spark and fire, my independence, and ultimately myself. I also began to realize this was part of my path, and became determined to journey in order find myself and become a better version of who I am as a friend, sister, daughter, and woman.

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Wholeheartedly, I believe that we can begin to mend our broken hearts by letting go of our own guilt and anger in order to forgive ourselves and we can begin to move forward strengthening our hearts for the next journey of our lives without resistance. We may never forget what happened or the pain it caused, but if we can learn from our own mistakes and our offender's mistakes alike, then we are growing as individuals and we can improve ourselves in every facet of our lives with freedom.

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Over the course of the last year, I decided to face the truth and hold myself accountable for my part in the relationship. I had to look at myself and where I went wrong, where I resisted, and where I caused strain. We argued often, and frankly, it was a toxic environment and toxic relationship. I realized (and admit) that over time, we lost respect for each other through lack of communication and resentment. Truthfully, I tried to leave the relationship on multiple occasions, but I buried my head in the sand because I feared being alone in Denver, and feared being alone in life. There was a lot of immaturity in the relationship and no matter how many times we tried to fix “us”, we’d just put a Band-Aid on the surgical wound and move on. Our foundation was severely cracked, and when we decided to finally address our issues, the crevice was already a crater and it was too late. Honestly, I never thought or believed he’d leave me. While our relationship was a vicious cycle, no matter how loud I yelled to be heard or how many times we “broke up” he always came back and we were better than ever – until the next fight. I figured that every relationship had problems and we’d eventually work things out and continue to build our life together. I was wrong.

My story isn't about forgiving my ex for leaving me for another woman, it's about forgiving myself and finding strength within to accept who I am. I believe that forgiveness is a strong, courageous, and empowering act. Forgiveness means loving and respecting myself wholly, finding happiness within while embracing my body, my flaws, my shortcomings, and my beliefs. Forgiving is to set goals, to achieve and conquer, and to rise above. Ultimately, though, forgiving means finding peace in my heart, candidly, in order to set myself free. Over the last year and a half, I have been through a complete wave of emotions, but I also believe the choppy waters I’ve been on have taught me essential life lessons which I will carry forward. I learned how to let go and face my fears, I learned that vulnerability is not weakness (rather it’s courage), and I learned that while time helps heal, forgiveness is the best way to restore a hurting heart to become the woman I was meant to be. While I never got the answers that I so desperately sought, I am appreciative for my chapter in Colorado where I made some unforgettable memories, with and without my ex. Though now he’s just someone I used to know, I am thankful to have experienced our love. Not every day is easy, nor will it be, but I am extremely grateful for the peaks and valleys on my journey; they formed the mountains that brought me to my current adventure. Today, I live in Pittsburgh, closer to family, friends, and with my golden retriever, Rocky. I love running through my new city and making new friends. I vow to continue my growth with my faith and myself. I vow to continue to discover the silverlining through vulnerability, strength, grace, and a forgiving heart and I vow to have an open mind for every challenge or opportunity that requires me to turn the page and begin a new chapter of my book. &

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The admission and recognition that I was wrong and partially to blame was especially hard for me and I felt insurmountable guilt. Not only was I wrong about him and the man I believed him to be, I was wrong about who I was and what I thought I stood for as a strong woman. I

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Traveling with Heavy Baggage WORDS BY SAMI ROSS

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Breathe in red. Breathe out green. Relax your jaw. Close your eyes. Remember your intention. Don’t put your knees against the seat in front of you…and, okay, up they go. I guess you’re going to die in ball pose.

of dead eyed tourists wielding selfie sticks shuffled mechanically down the halls of priceless art. No gazing, no sighing. Just shoulder to shoulder shoving and the furious sounds of “click”. My anxiety was triggered by the callous indifference of it all. I thought I could smell a stampede. My palms felt itchy and I was desperate for air. As we made our way through the da Vinci paparazzi, an alarm shrilly rang through the hallowed halls. Inhales lost their exhales. An instant ceasing of “clicks” led to a blood-pounding silence. The giant mass of anonymous bodies became a group of individual humans once more. Thirty syrupy seconds pass. My heart begged for release beneath my dress, its beats crawling out of my ears. Now, I think we all know there wasn’t a gunman at the Louvre that beautiful spring day, but I guarantee that everyone remembers that visceral fear. That knowledge that this might be it. I like to think there was a time when a wayward museum alarm would be instantly attributed to a child standing too close to a statue. I spent the rest of that trip torn. I wanted to live in Paris. I was afraid to ride the trains. My heart swelled at the architecture, and the people, and the Seine. Yet it shriveled at the thought of going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I felt haunted by this dilemma. How can one love to travel, yet fear the unknown?

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It’s hour three on a two-hour flight from New York to Chicago. The plane’s lights flash like scarlet fire against a Midwestern matte winter sky. This high up, there’s nothing rich or inky about the nighttime - it’s just a darkness that feels a step removed from nonexistent. My cowardly heart violently pounds on the walls of its prison cell. It’s desperate to escape this situation, but if I’m stuck here, it is too. The disco ball below my seat mockingly glimmers in the stale airplane light. I bought it as a cheeky souvenir, but now it just reminds me that this nightmare is a side effect of my lusty whims. Chaos happens to those who can’t stay still.

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Clocking in at less than one pound, how is it possible that an organ the size of one’s fist has the capability to host some of the heaviest weight in the world? The heart constantly seems entangled in a sticky, nebulous battle between emotions that would be best kept in separate rooms - fear and longing. Love and sadness. Anger and exhaustion.

I have the wayward heart of a wanderer. No matter how hard I try, it never seems to lull into a steady, stable rhythm - it’s constantly tugging and tangling me up in hazy dreams of destinations anywhere else, but here. Call me flighty or flaky. I couldn’t fight my desires if I tried - I am a Sagittarius after all. So, I spend my days savoring the tiny details that eventually sail me to Elsewhere. Mexico City, Reykjavik, Paris, Boise, Tel Aviv…off I go with a carry-on in hand and a wide eyed heart. I sleep on garden floors, practice yoga between border lines, eat radishes along European riverbanks, and spend hours drifting through museums. However, as with all matters of the heart, it’s really not that simple, is it?

I get lost to get found; however, the older I grow, the deeper fear cuts into me. In this sad, uncertain world, travel seems more important than ever. The need to connect with others and to freely explore feels of the utmost importance. Yet, my fear of bombs, plane crashes, invisible diseases, and other deadly fates, pulls my heart into dark corners I’d rather avoid. Just because the heart has the capacity to shoulder so much emotion - do we need to listen to it? How much power do we really have over our own inclinations? I continue to book trips and nail bite my way through the negative waves that inevitably crash down on me at one point or another. Is life just an experience that exists solely in that spot of tension between thrill and terror?

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My body has turned into a battleground between my traveler’s soul and traveler’s anxiety. Opposites can’t stay apart, I suppose. I cry at Rodin. I weep at turbulence. Fresh mountain air gives me life, driving through the hills has me clutching at anything I can hold. With great enjoyment, comes a tortured sense of mortality. Was my heart always this befuddled or is it a side effect of living in our new world? A few months ago, I had the pleasure of getting lost in the Louvre. Against our better judgement, my companion and I shoved our way to the Mona Lisa. It was a scene of unsettling madness. Parades

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My traveler’s anxiety makes for heavy baggage, but perhaps, it’s my body’s way of reminding me how badly I want something. I’ll hop on any boat, train, or plane to try something new, heart screaming, churned guts, and all. Perhaps, the heart’s ability to hold so much just serves as a reminder of what we could be - brave, happy, sad, afraid. So, next time you’re flying, if you see a wild-haired woman cowering with her head in her lap, just remind her that it’s going to be okay. Because in our hearts, we know it could be true. &


sound of the waves, they’ll sing you a lullaby. Listen to the

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L I V I NG WITH A BROK E N H E A RT WORDS & IMAGES BY TERESA HUNT

I WAS WORKING at my computer on a cold and beautiful Saturday morning waiting for my husband and our 2 sons to get home from their geocaching adventure. I was just beginning to wonder what was taking them so long, when the phone rang. All it took was that one phone call to change my life forever. There was a car accident. My husband was in an ambulance on his way to the hospital. I asked about the boys. My brother-in-law’s voice was calm as he dodged my question and simply said, “We’re coming to get you, be ready”. I went numb. I burst through the doors of our small town ER and was met with an announcement over the public address system that life flight would be landing in the parking lot. “Oh good, one of the boys made it”, I thought as I rushed up to the receptionist desk. I asked both the receptionist and the nurse about my boys. I knew when I had to tell the ER staff my boys were in the car with their dad that the hospital had not been informed of their arrival. But still I hoped. Reality hit when I was sitting in a cold ER room and a train of medical professionals walked in. My boys were gone forever. ›››

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Though it sounded like it came from somewhere outside of me, “No, no, no” came out of my mouth.

and rhythmic. Just when you think you have it figured out, another wave hits you from behind and knocks you over.

I told the crisis chaplain I wanted to see the boys. He informed me I could not see them because they were still out at the accident site.

One afternoon while I was driving home, I stopped at a stop sign next to a little country school where Devin had played a basketball game. I’m not sure how long I sat there before I realized I wasn’t breathing. The pain was so intense I had just stopped breathing. I was so afraid to inhale because I knew to do so would not only breathe in air, but pain as well.

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“But it’s cold out”. I have no idea if these words were said aloud or if I just thought them. I envisioned Dawson and Devin lying on the cold, hard winter ground. They needed blankets.

Dawson was born December 1998 fulfilling my life long dream of becoming a mom. He had a sensitive heart and an intense personality, and he didn’t back down from what he knew to be true. With the mind of an engineer, he was building 3D objects out of paper when he was 5 years old. One afternoon, in the 5th grade, I picked Dawson up from his Lego robotics club. The teacher asked him to explain to the group some new thing he had figured out. I sat there so proud of my son, while having absolutely NO idea what he was talking about.

I lived with the pain for so long, I didn’t realize I was progressing through my grief. About 3 years after the accident, I was packaging up a book to mail to another grieving parent. It was a book I had written the first year after the accident. I had not looked through the book since I’d completed it and decided to read it before shipping it off. As I flipped through the pages, I could once again feel the raw pain of that first year. I realized, though the pain was still there, it was not as sharp as it once was. Over the years the pain had dulled with tears and time.

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Devin, 2 years younger than his brother, loved life. He went after what he wanted with no thought of the consequences. He always had a mischievous twinkle in his eye and dimples when he smiled. At 3 years old, Devin gave me my first “oh crap, I’m in trouble” parenting moment when he stole his grandma’s water bottle and tried to sell it back to her for a dollar. In the 4th grade, Devin was so proud to have been voted class clown . . . twice. My 12 year old genius and almost 10 year old goofball were now lying on the cold, unyielding winter ground, while police investigated the accident. My heart broke. MOVING FORWARD The next weeks, months, and years are a blur of pain and tears. I would wander into the boys’ bedroom, the only place I could feel their presence. I would go through their things, or kneel by Dawson’s bed to pray. I always ended up in a ball on the floor sobbing. I would cry out my pain to God pleading for help.

As the years have marched on, I cry less. I have more good days than bad. But still I grieve. I will always grieve. This is what people don’t understand. I love my boys with everything that is in me. My grief is an expression of that love. I will always love my boys, therefore I will always grieve. Every day I live my life with a broken heart. Things that were simple for me before are harder now. Like remembering appointments. Because my memory is shot, I live by sticky notes. My energy level is depleted more quickly now. It takes an enormous amount of energy to just exist as a bereaved mom. I have less tolerance for drama. I am more compassionate for others' pain. Every day I think of my boys. Every. Single. Day. I wonder how tall they’d be, what their voices would sound like, what kind of teenagers they’d be, and what kind of men they would be growing into.

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I never before realized emotional pain could make my heart physically hurt. One evening, I went to the movies with some friends. Sitting there at the end of the movie watching the credits roll past, I felt the full crushing impact of life without the boys. It weighed down on my chest so much, I could feel my heart break a little more. I had to remind myself to breathe. Grief is a strange thing. There is no order to it, no stages you move through in a sequential order. It’s more like ocean waves. Sometimes the waves are big and crash around you smothering you in pain. Other times the waves are gentle 30 | 2017 COLLECTION

It’s been 6 ½ years since I got the phone call that shattered my world. The grief is always there, waiting behind the surface of my life. It doesn’t take much for it to bubble into the reality of the new life I am trying to build. Just the other day, I was talking with some friends and the subject turned to my boys. I could feel the brokenness of my heart again and the tears welled up. Life is hard and painful without my boys. But not every day is raw pain. Sometimes it flares up, but most days it lingers in the background of my life, reminding me I once had more. Even though every day is hard, I am learning life can be lived with a broken heart. &


IMAGE BY JEFF JENSEN jeffejensen.blogspot.com

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FOLLOW YOUR HEART IN LOVE AND LIFE WORDS BY HEATHER VICKERY // IMAGES BY JENNIFER KATHRYN PHOTOGRAPHY

EACH OF US is bound to have at least one major defining moment in our life, a moment that shifts things in ways that previously seemed impossible. For me, that moment was several years ago while having breakfast with my young daughters. You see, I had been living a fearbased life, a life where every decision I made was, “which thing is less terrifying?” Although I was married to a kind man and had a wonderful family, I had finally admitted that I was a lesbian, but I was not living that truth. Truth be told, I had come out to myself several years before that breakfast and to my then-husband a year prior. We tried very hard to salvage our marriage because let’s face it - no one gets married to get divorced. In an effort to save my marriage, I was not being honest with others or myself and I was not living an authentic life. It was a painful and difficult time for all of us. So that morning, sitting across the table from my daughters, I was feeling lost and scared when a thought occurred to me. I wondered what I would say to them if they came to me in this situation. Would I tell them to suck it up and live with it? No. No, I would not. I would tell them to go courageously out into the world and be their authentic selves. I would tell them to find their true happiness and a partner that was a perfect fit for them. I wanted them to know that the world was theirs for the taking. In that moment I knew that if I wanted my daughters to strive for these things, I had to be willing to embrace them myself. So bam - just like that, I went from making fear-based decisions to believing in limitless possibility. I had to believe that I could be or do anything I wanted because I had to show my daughters that they could do the same. I have learned that everything we really want is just on the other side of uncomfortable. I was really uncomfortable and it was about to get worse. But creating a major mind shift is an interesting and freeing process. The willingness to put yourself out into the world as your authentic self and let the universe guide you is incredibly powerful. It is not, however, always easy and it does not mean that the fear disappears. I believe that there are two sides of fear. One side owns you and the other empowers you. I choose to be empowered by my fears. To acknowledge that the fears exist and say, “So what? I can do it scared.” Here began the long journey to living my life authentically. I began divorce proceedings and had the incredibly painful conversation with my children about the split. I also had to finally come out publicly to my friends and family. I am also an entrepreneur so I had to come out professionally. Prior to this, coming out was a terrifying thought. I clearly remember the first dozen conversations I had with people - the racing mind and sweaty palms, feeling like I could not catch my breath and my heart was pounding out of my chest. With each conversation, those feelings and their associated fears lessened until I reached a point where it was a matter of fact and simply a part of my everyday dialogue. Coming out never stops, but each conversation made me stronger and more confident. I am fortunate that nearly everyone has supported me in my journey. I consider that a great blessing. The love and support of my friends, family, and professional network continues to give me added strength to push forward, take more risks, and face other kinds of fears. ›››

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I have been a successful business owner for nearly 20 years, but once I truly embraced who I was I had a newfound comfort level with myself and my business opened up in magical ways. Business-wise, everything began shifting. I started paying attention to the universe and what it was presenting to me. I had known for a while that my business was changing; this was inevitable because of how drastically I was changing. Eventually, I started to realize that people were coming to me in times of transition, asking for my help with their businesses and personal lives. They were looking to me for help reaching their goals. I realized that I was already serving a coaching role and decided to officially open my life + business coaching firm, Vickery and Co. This was the first of many steps in what I affectionately called the “brave approach.” I took ownership of the word “brave” and challenged myself to do all sorts of things that had previously seemed scary or impossible. I created a brand new business out of nothing. I bought my own home and found a true partner. I continue to choose, every day, to do the things that scare me most, to be empowered by the fear, and let it motivate me.

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The greatest joy of this process has been watching my children observe and absorb all of my brave choices. They are embracing their own power. From the braveness of publicly presenting their own written word, singing and performing on stage, to standing up for justice and equality. My daughters know that with hard work and the right intentions, there is nothing that is impossible. My sevenyear-old even reminds me that there is nothing we “have” to do - only things we “want” to do. My, how I wish I had realized this decades ago!

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My success, growth, and overall passion for work and life have been transformative, but most importantly, I am showing my daughters what it looks like to live an authentic life, to embrace fear and let it empower you. We do not sit on the sidelines of life; we get right in the middle of it and dance around in all that life presents. This, to me, feels like magic. & 34 | 2017 COLLECTION


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A Grandparent’s Love WORDS & IMAGES BY DEDRA DAVIS

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I LEARNED A valuable lesson, late in life, later than I wish. I learned our older generation is interesting, sweet, and worth investing our time. Of course, I always loved my grandparents. Grandparents are amazing, they love you unconditionally. They give you much more than love. What do you give them?

TEACH TECHNOLOGY Ask your grandparents about technology. They may have a cell phone they need help understanding. It might be beneficial to them if you taught them simple tips. SPEND TIME WITH YOUR GRANDPARENTS Take them grocery shopping, or any errand they might be needing. If they can’t go with you, pick up their list and go for them. If you can afford it, pay for the groceries. Ask your grandparents if you can help them out around the house. It’s a sweet gesture and will be appreciated, probably more than you will ever know.

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As adults, we need to return the love, time and presence, not presents, to our grandparents. We need to be present and we need to be willing to give back. As children, our grandparents gave us so much. But they also spent time with us--teaching us, loving us, listening to every word we say.

SIT AND LISTEN This may be the most important and heartfelt way to give back. They are often lonely and when you take the time to listen to them, you are making them happy in so many ways – by making them feel special, and important, and loved. Remember when you were young, they hung on every word you uttered. They listened, they laughed, and they loved you with their time.

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I remember my grandparents fondly. My four grandparents spent wonderful, quality time with me. When I was with each of them, I felt special and like they would do anything for me. And I know each would do whatever it took to make me happy.

My grandmother, on my father’s side, took my cousin and I places, fun places. She would always buy us presents and let us do anything we wanted. We had so much fun pretending at her house. She let us play and never cared about the mess. That’s a grandmother.

I volunteered for Meals on Wheels for four years. I picked up the meals at our church and delivered them to the elderly, usually about four or five single people. They talked about their health, they talked about their family. They just talked, and I sat and listened. I know they appreciated this far more than they appreciated the meal I brought them. ASK QUESTIONS Ask your grandparents questions, and then patiently listen. Their stories are your stories. Your history. Ask them how they met their spouse. Ask them about their first job. Who was the first president they voted for? Ask them about their first car, what they did in high school, about their first kiss. Simply ask them. You will learn so much about them. CALL YOUR GRANDPARENTS If you don’t live near them, call them. Text them. FaceTime with them. Just communicate with your grandparents in some way. This simple gesture will make them happy. When you were young, I bet your grandparents loved calling you, talking to you, hearing your voice. This has not changed. SNAIL MAIL Another way to bring a smile, and possibly a happy tear to their eye, is through a written letter. I mentioned earlier that I came to this knowledge late in life, the knowledge of giving back to my grandparents. I figured this out after my father’s parents passed away. When I realized this, I began writing once a week to my mom’s parents and to my husband’s grandmother. I wrote about my life. I rarely received a letter back but that didn’t matter. I knew they went to the mailbox in anticipation of my written notes.

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My mother’s mom cooked for me and laughed with me. I remember once, she took me to a ‘five and dime’ store (a tiny Walmartish store) and bought me a little purse, nail files, polish, and polish remover. This was so special to me. I distinctly remember this day. I felt so big and so loved. Heartfelt memories, remembered with joy. Think about the time your grandparents spent with you. And now that you are grown, here’s how you can give that same love and joy back to your grandparents.

&&&

I was selfish and simply unknowing before, living my life, not realizing that the sweet people who loved me as much as my parents, need my time. The elderly need us to show them how much they are appreciated and all the love, affection, and time they showed over the years should be reimbursed. I only wish I realized this knowledge sooner. Don’t wait. Show your grandparents love. Give them your heart. Show them you can go out of your way, like they did for you. Your grandma and grandpa will appreciate it. So will you. & VOLUME IV | 37


IMAGE BY GENESIS GEIGER

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THE BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS IN THE WORLD CANNOT BE SEEN OR EVEN TOUCHED - THEY MUST BE FELT WITH THE HEART. - HELEN KELLER VOLUME IV | 39


Miracles Wa i t i ng

WORDS & IMAGES BY MICHELLE HILL

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THERE ARE FEW certainties in life. For example, I’m still not sure what I want to be when I ‘grow up.’ But if there is one thing I’ve known as far back as memory serves, it was that I wanted to be a mother, and to a large family. Not always one to play by the rules, the 2.5 child per family norm was simply not part of my plan. This desire was not born of my own life experience; I come from a family consisting of myself and one brother, eight years my junior. I was, however, surrounded by countless cousins and children of my parents’ friends who, for all intents and purposes, were considered family. I can still close my eyes and vividly recall the chaos of our holiday get-togethers; crammed into a tiny row home in the city of Wilmington. Although I was what one might consider an introvert at the time, I relished it. I loved the noise, the flurry of activity, and I knew even then that this was the future I saw for myself. What I could not have predicted was how that would come to unfold. I was always an above average student. Academia came fairly easily to me, and I enjoyed both the mental challenges and social opportunities that school provided. It was a no-brainer that I should continue on to college following my high school graduation back in June 1990. I chose to stay local and attended the University of Delaware, less than 10 miles from my home. While the commute would have been an easy one, I decided to ‘spread my wings’ and take advantage of the opportunity to live on campus. Up until then, I had lived what I would consider to be a somewhat sheltered life. I was the product of 12 years of Catholic school, and my graduating class consisted of less than 100 students. I was raised in a fairly tight-knit community where someone – a parent, an aunt, a grandparent, a neighbor – always knew what I was up to. Therefore, my first taste of freedom turned out to be quite an intoxicating one. I enjoyed having classes scheduled at my convenience, allowing the luxury of sleeping in after a late night. The problem was, those late nights were not spent burning

the midnight oil in the library. They were spent taking full advantage of the college experience. I couldn’t tell you what classes I took during my one and only semester at UD, but what I can tell you is that I was politely asked not to return the following spring. I packed my bags and made the short, humiliating journey back home. Thanks to my father, I was able to secure a full time job in the mail room where he worked. I wasn’t sure that pushing a cart through the corridors of a large office building was my ultimate calling in life, but it allowed me to be back under the watchful eye of my parents. Or so they thought. A CHANGE IN DIRECTION It has occurred to me many times in the years since my most ungraceful exit from college that in that moment, I genuinely believed I would never experience a greater setback. Or never have a more difficult conversation with my parents than the one spent explaining ‘how this could happen’ and ‘what I was thinking.’ I was wrong. If you’ve never had to tell your parents less than one year after being kicked out of school that you were now also pregnant, consider yourself lucky. While I respect the choices of anyone who finds themselves in a similar circumstance, for us, it was never a question of ‘what are we going to do.’ We were going to have a baby. In the early hours of April 30, 1992, I was introduced to the most breathtaking 8 lb., 8 oz. creature I had ever laid eyes on, and life as I knew it changed forever. 1992-1995 produced a total of three beautiful baby girls, and ultimately one unhappy marriage. While there are many moments during those years I have repeatedly dissected and questioned, there is one fact of which I am certain – those three girls could not have been more loved, or more wanted. I was a far from perfect specimen of a mother; I was young, immature, and uncertain. Mistakes were made, and I learned from them. And together, we forged our own version of a perfect little family. ›››


In January 2002, following a rather intense labor and delivery, I gave birth to gorgeous blue-eyed baby boy. My son was the product of an ill-fated relationship, but it became evident rather quickly that he was the piece of our family we didn’t realize we had been missing. He won over the hearts of both his birth mother (me) and his three mini mothers (his older sisters) immediately, and we quickly forgot what life had been like before he arrived. While my hopes and dreams of having a large family seemed to be coming true, the circumstances were not what would be interpreted as ideal.

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Deciding not to leave any further expansion of my family up to fate, in 2004, I made the heart-wrenching decision to undergo a tubal ligation. Even as I laid on the operating table, I recall appreciating the finality of my choice. Realizing I’d never again experience those little fluttering kicks in my belly, the anticipation of the third trimester, and the overwhelming wave of love when a newborn is placed in your arms. Say it with me: “Or so I thought.” THE NEXT CHAPTER The year was 2006, and the last thing I was looking for was a relationship. That said, I met a man 11 years my junior who turned out to be not only an incredible partner, but a positive role model for my children. He quickly embraced the unofficial title of stepfather, and a few years later, the ‘what if ’ conversations began. ‘What if ’ we were able to reverse the tubal ligation? ‘What if ’ we were able to have a child of our own? Oddly, there had been times in the years since my procedure that I had looked around the dinner table and thought – someone is missing. Been celebrating a holiday and felt like – someone isn’t here. The inner voice can be a very wise one. After a consultation with my doctor, we were told the tubal ligation was irreversible. Our only hope of conceiving a child would be through in vitro fertilization (IVF). ›››

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Having always been reproductively blessed, the world of infertility was an unfamiliar one for me. And truth be told, there were many moments spent in the doctor’s waiting room where I felt downright guilty. Selfish. Here I was, blessed with four beautiful children, while these women were praying desperately for just one. It was incredibly humbling, to say the least. Many months, injections, and dollars later, I found myself pregnant with what would turn out to be our ‘icing on the cake,’ a beautiful baby girl. While I like to believe I was attentive and engaged throughout the IVF process, I will admit now that the idea of the remaining embryos was only ever a fleeting thought for me. So when we received a form letter a few short months after our daughter’s birth inquiring about our intentions, I was floored. Please select one of the following: a) medically dispose of the embryos, b) designate the embryos for scientific research, c) pay an annual fee to store the embryos for future use, d) donate the embryos to an infertile couple. HOLY. COW.

women were warriors. They had been in the depths of hell and survived to tell the tale. And so it was through what I consider to be divine intervention that we were led to our embryos’ future adoptive parents. After countless emails, phone calls, and a home state visit, we knew we had found the perfect parents for these unborn babies. And we have not regretted our decision for one moment since.

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THE ADOPTIVE COUPLE Here is a brief snippet as eloquently expressed by our adoptive mother: “In unimaginable grief I have learned there is always hope, and that beauty can come from brokenness. Seven years ago my husband and I were overjoyed to be pregnant for the first time after years of struggling with infertility, and then, unexpectedly, at 23 weeks into my pregnancy I went into preterm labor. Suddenly we were faced with planning our daughter's funeral and the question of whether we'd ever get to be parents again. As we considered our options, we were led to embryo donation, and as fate would have it a donor family discovered our profile and recognized it as she had been following my blog! We never dreamt that is what would ultimately lead us to building our family. The faith that our donor family placed in us and the love with which they donated is something for which we will be forever grateful.”

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I consider the decision associated with this letter one of the most profound of my life, as it would not only impact my family, but others as well. Knowing that our family was now officially complete, after much reflection and prayer, we made the decision to donate the remaining embryos to an infertile couple. The main obstacle for me was wrapping my brain around the fact that I would have a biological child, or children, being raised by someone else. Truth be told, there were moments when I simply couldn’t fathom it. I was haunted by the possibility that I would see photographs, hear updates, and live to regret this choice and look at these children as mine. Not to mention taking into careful consideration the impact this would have on our newborn daughter. How she would feel about having full biological siblings she might never know? Or my older children having half biological siblings for that matter? The gravity of this decision cannot possibly be overstated. However, once I realized what a tremendous gift we were in a position to offer, what an indescribable difference we could make for a couple desperately yearning to have a family, any lingering reservations went right out the door. However, there were still decisions remaining to be made: Should we use an agency? (We did not.) Do we keep the arrangement private or open? (We insisted on a semi-open arrangement whereby we would receive photos and periodic updates.) What relationship, if any, would we like to have with future children? (None, until they were old enough and mature enough to make that choice for themselves.) I read as many articles as I could about infertility. I explored the little known concept of embryo adoption. I read blogs written by those affected by infertility, and in many cases, loss. These

I consider this couple, and their beautiful son and daughter that have been born of this arrangement, to be some of the greatest blessings of my life. We are friends on social media, therefore I have the genuine pleasure of watching them grow up from the sidelines. Sharing in their milestones and celebrations, and loving them with every fiber of my being. But knowing in my heart they have one mother, and it is the amazing woman who carried and gave birth to them. Having read and reread this very high level synopsis of my life story, I realize there is much room for judgment. And I assure you, it is nothing I have not considered or chastised myself for, most likely on multiple occasions. But there is also no question it has led me to exactly the place I am supposed to be, surrounded by those I am meant to be with. I have been blessed beyond measure to give birth to five incredible children, who reaffirm for me every day what it means to love and be loved. And in the midst of this sometimes tumultuous journey, another most unexpected path was forged, paving the way for another family to evolve. I am living proof that dreams can most certainly come true. Just sometimes under the most unexpected circumstances. &

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SURVIVING

MY WORST YEAR WORDS BY MAGGIE GIELE // IMAGES BY MARIA-INES FUENMAYOR

44 | 2017 COLLECTION


"

I STOPPED WITH THE POLISHED BUSINESS PERSONA I THOUGHT I WA S S U P P O S E D T O H AV E , A N D I N S T E A D STA R T E D S H A R I N G H O W I R E A L LY W A S U N A B A S H E D LY.

THE WORST YEAR of my life led to the best year of my business. I was just 15 minutes from go-time. The first webinar in the ambitious virtual event I had organized was about to get started. But instead of reviewing my presentation and dealing with the ‘normal’ entrepreneurial butterflies that you would expect with such an event, I was lying in the bathtub, crying uncontrollably in pain and sheer frustration. At this late stage, I could cancel the webinar, or get out of the tub and push through the pain. So I took a deep breath, and did just that. Ten minutes, some dry shampoo, and my favourite red lipstick later, I slapped a smile on my face, and hit the ‘live’ button on my webinar. 2016 kind of sucked. Straight out of the New Year’s gate, I was already suffering with burnout, landing me in a not-so-cozy bed in the emergency room… and that was just the beginning. In twelve months, I had three separate surgeries and a life-changing diagnosis, three months of artificial menopause,

sleepless nights, and excruciating pain due to the wrong medication, and was thrust into a totally unexpected fertility journey at 26 years old - all while I quadrupled my business income, ran an awardwinning virtual event, got booked out with digital strategy clients, built my team, and established my brand. Most people just saw the business wins and the shiny Instagram version of my life, but they did not see that I was going through a massive transformation. This isn’t a sob story. This is a story about how I used my terrible experience to push through - and push hard - to build the life I truly want. HOW IT STARTED My pathway to complete burnout began after getting married when I decided to come off the Pill. Suddenly, my periods got worse, easily lasting nine days. My stomach would swell until I looked 6-months pregnant. Sometimes, I was unable to leave the house for days at a time due to the pain, and every few months, it would get so bad I would faint. Desperately, I sought answers. ›››

VOLUME IV | 45


My doctor instructed me to drink more water. I was told it was stress related because I’m a business owner. “Could it be endometriosis?” I asked, time after time. The professional answer was always, “unlikely”. Finally, I’d had enough. After yet another doctor’s visit where I was dismissed after 30 seconds and made to feel like it was all in my head, I flipped out. I yelled, “You’re not going to tell me it’s normal that I’m fainting every period I have!” The doctor’s face drained of color and she finally realised that something was wrong.

I spent my recovery inviting business owners I’d met online for virtual coffee dates. I got to know more people, and helped others as often as I could. When I was able to fully immerse myself back in my business, I had a slew of new friends I could call on for collaborations, feedback, referrals, and most of all, support.

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BUSINESS CHANGES During what can only be described as a miserable time health-wise, I had a realization - I was miserable in my business, too. I was in personal agony, and I wanted my business to be a source of excitement, pride and passion… but it wasn’t. I had gotten stuck in this neutral, be-everything-to-everyone bland brand, and it bored me. Something had to change.

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One month and one surgery later, I had my diagnosis: endometriosis...and it was severe.

Suddenly, I was not only told to start trying for children right away, but falling pregnant might be much more difficult than I had ever thought. Getting pregnant wasn’t part of my life plan - not yet, anyway - and as I struggled with processing all the emotions that stirred up, I immersed myself deep into my business and found support, hope, and escape in the online communities I was part of. RECOVERY The three months after my second surgery were the worst my life. Unknowingly, I was prescribed the wrong hormonal medication, which threw me into artificial menopause, and all the delightful symptoms that come with it. Aggressive mood swings, sleepless nights, and debilitating, constant pain that only got worse as the weeks passed. Towards the end, I was in the bath at 3am almost every night, and up to four times a day, because the heat seemed to be the only thing that helped against the pain. My then-gynecologist dismissed my symptoms, and I was in total despair.

I stopped with the polished business persona I thought I was supposed to have, and instead started sharing how I really was - unabashedly. I’m a geek. I referenced Frodo, my new puppy, in business Facebook groups. I talked about Harry Potter and video games in the marketing I did. I displayed my stuffed unicorns proudly in my video recordings. I used fantasy books as props in my brand photoshoot. Suddenly, my business was an extension of all the good things in my life and what excited me, and it became a source of happiness. FROM IDEA TO LAUNCH IN UNDER 4 WEEKS To catch up on the business momentum I had lost with all my health issues, I knew I needed to do something high impact. As a digital strategist, a big part of my work is helping clients create high-impact, relationship-building, customer-converting content strategies, so I decided to organise a virtual event for business owners to all meet online, in the comforts of their respective homes (or cafés), and get the structure, skills, and accountability to push their businesses forward.

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Sobbing, totally frustrated, and not knowing what to do, I called a friend, who recommended I see her doctor. One prescription for an estrogen-less pill and three days later, the terrible pain, sleeplessness, and mood swings disappeared. It was like magic - such a simple solution to the worst few weeks of my life! THE BUSINESS With all my health woes, I wasn’t able to do much work on my business. My energy levels were all over the place and my concentration was sporadic. Creating content for my business was basically out of the question. I focused, instead, on building my network.

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Less than four weeks later, I launched the Content Quest, a fantasy- and geek-themed virtual event to help business owners batch-create strategic content to grow their businesses. I organised guest experts to give workshops, ran a strategy masterclass with my friend and mentor, Heather Crabtree of Savvy Business Owners, and hosted a virtual co-working day. ›››


The cherry on the nerdy business cake? I won the Beautiful Launch award in the Conquer Club, Natalie MacNeil’s business incubator programme, out of more than 400 entrepreneurs! The visibility I got from the Content Quest, and the award I won for it, exploded my business. It was the push I needed to start gaining momentum in my business. Two months later, and nine months after my burn-out, I was booked out with clients.

reevaluate how I ran my business, what I wanted it to be like, and how I wanted to feel in it. It forced me to focus on high-impact, unique and risky marketing activities, instead of following trends.

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CONCLUSION Going through those experiences and being forced to be extremely intentional with my time, due to the health issues, was transformative to my business. It forced me to

Explore who you really are. Do more of what makes you happy. Find ways to weave your hobbies, your passions and your true personality into other aspects of your life. My hope is that by sharing my story, other women experiencing similar situations won’t feel as alone as I did. Things won’t be easy, but you can get through it, and even thrive from the lessons you learn along the way. &

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VOLUME IV | 47


endangered

WORDS BY MIA SUTTON

48 | 2017 COLLECTION

I don’t know why I caught your eye Or why you caught mine With your crooked line Was it the smile That was worth my while Or the thought of my hips When you licked your lips I felt unwanted and alone The scent of your cigarettes and cologne Hypnotic and compulsive Destructive and repulsive The salt in your beer And the way you stood near

I needed you for a short time The magic gone by the daytime What was I thinking When I was sinking You weren’t special, just there With my fingers in your hair I could do better But you kept my sweater And it smelled like you Just like you wanted it to It felt dangerous It felt scandalous I don’t think of you anymore Alone on the dance floor Because it wasn’t real I said what I didn’t feel &


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UNEXPECTED REASSURANCE WORDS BY NIKKI BALES // IMAGES BY KAT LUZNY

"MOM, I'M GAY" MAY BE A TERRIFYING SENTENCE TO UTTER OUT LOUD FOR THE FIRST TIME IF YOU'RE A PERSON WHO IS LGBTQ - IN FEAR OF HUMILIATION, OR EVEN BEING DISOWNED. HERE, NIKKI SHARES WITH US A DIFFERENT STORY, ONE WHERE LOVE WINS TIME AND AGAIN.

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I AM 17 AND I AM TERRIFIED. As I sit at the breakfast table, scarfing down eggs and bacon, I simultaneously attempt to stifle my jitters, but with no success. The last time my mother has seen me was almost two months ago; I’ve been working for an all-girls summer camp as a counselor. She’s asking me questions, making small talk. “But why did you have to break up with him?” She’s referencing my teenage ex- boyfriend, a boy who embodies the picture of Southern gentility. “I just didn’t like him anymore… we just grew apart since I started camp.” I’m giving her any excuse I can come up with, anything to avoid telling her the truth, even as it dances on the tip of my tongue, begging to come out. My mother is a clever woman, the sturdy anchor of our family, and she knows when something isn’t right. “Are you ok, Nik?” Here it comes. She’s racing off without me, and I can’t stop it this time. “Yeah, I’m fine. Can you pass the butter? I think I’m gay. Can I have the syrup, too?” It all runs together with no regard for coherency or tact, and I’m left staring blankly at my mom as the realization of what I’ve just confessed to her washes over her in waves. First she fidgets. Then she asks me to repeat myself, which I do, slowly and little easier this time. She has no clue of the previous weeks I’ve spent in anguish over this realization, the internal struggle of realizing that her boy-crazy daughter is actually a lesbian. No idea of the supreme ecstasy I felt holding a girl’s hand for the first time, walking in the dim twilight of mulched trails in the woods, a feeling of such intense excitement I had never felt before. She is just sitting across from me at the table, formulating and crafting her response. I prepare for the uncomfortable, the anxiety, the fear. “Well, if I need to wave a flag in a Pride parade, I don’t care. Are you sure?” “Yes, I’m sure.” “As long as you’re happy, you’re my daughter, I love you. Why wouldn’t I support you?” I have heard horror stories and nightmarish tales of the unaccepting, the unwillingness to support, and the subsequent harassment, abuse, and slurs that have followed my friends and acquaintances when coming out. Those I had only read about or heard about that found themselves homeless and disowned, and I had prepared myself for it, ready at a moment’s notice to defend my finally-found identity to anyone, even to my own family. Instead, I am greeted with love and support, the hugs and congratulatory remarks from relatives and best friends, and the ridiculous giggles that continue to come from my older sister as she mutters in between laughs, “my sister likes to kiss girls!” ››› VOLUME IV | 51


I AM 26 AND I AM EXHILARATED. The news ticker on the TV at the bar of the lakeside restaurant I work for keeps verifying to me what I didn’t think was true. We had all been waiting to hear the news that day, June 26th, 2015. With baited breath and our hearts in our throats, my entire community was hoping for a positive result today. Surely, the tides of public opinion have turned. Surely, this would finally be a win for us all, as individuals, as a community, as a country.

ARE YOU ENJOYING THIS PREVIEW? The decision is a close one, 5-4. Obergefell v. Hodges.

I faintly remember the voices from the live stream back in April, each side defending themselves. I hadn’t felt this hopeful in our justice system in a long time. I think about my own relationship, my girlfriend at the time rhetorically asking, “wouldn’t it be just amazing if we actually won for once?”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FULL ISSUE My community is used to being told to wait our turn, hold on, not yet, just be patient. There are usually more pressing social and civil issues that require our attention, but today it feels like enough is enough and for once, we might actually have a moment to call our own. We’ve been diligent, we’ve been thorough, and we are tired of going to the back of the damn line.

I keep replaying these moments in my head, hoping I will tell my future children I have yet to create about this day. The interns running out to their prospective interests… the words ‘Victory’ and ‘Love Wins’ flashing across the screen… the tears clouding my own eyesight as our rainbow flag adorns the screen and I see countless others hugging their partners, friends, and lovers.

I see Ashley, my girlfriend, coming down the dock with the lunch I forgot to bring with me, beaming. “Is it true? I heard it on the radio… did we actually win?” “Yes baby, we did.” We hug, we kiss, and wipe tears from our eyes as we attempt to carry on with our day, cursing work and other responsibilities.

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A little over 12 hours later, it’s nighttime in the middle of Midtown, and Ashley’s pulling over to the side of the road. We enter the park, the Atlanta skyline lighting up the sky from our grassy knoll, when Ashley begins a heartfelt soliloquy I haven’t realized is a marriage proposal until she drops to her knee and pulls out a ring. For the second time today, I’m sobbing tears of joy into Ashley’s shoulder as she tells me to breathe and let go of her so she can put this beautiful symbol of love on my ring finger. For the second time today, love wins. We celebrate Pride in this park. We hope for this future in this park. We rush to our neighborhood LGBT bar to celebrate with the city, as today is not just for us, but for us all. It’s a victory, in such a massive way. And I can’t stop smiling at my fiancée. ››› 52 | 2017 COLLECTION


IT’S NOVEMBER AND I’M FREAKING THE FUCK OUT. I don’t get this passionate about much, but this election? I’m involved, obsessed, and thoroughly committed to seeing this through. I can’t afford to sit this one out. I’m a millennial lesbian liberal woman with a five figure student loan debt who only recently could afford health insurance. I have a dog in every fight for this one.

ARE YOU ENJOYING THIS PREVIEW? Ashley and I are at a friend’s house, watching the live results slowly pour in on the projector screen in the backyard, clutching our cocktails and each other a bit tighter with each state colored red.

When most of the East Coast begins to look like it’s bleeding, we keep telling ourselves it’s early. When the Midwest continues the blood flow, we start to panic a little. We finish our drinks and drive home, telling ourselves she can still do this; we can’t lose our hope yet.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FULL ISSUE It’s not until 3 am when I get up to pee that I remember we fell asleep to the TV being on. I see him ascend the stairs, reciting a victory speech, and I walk a bit faster to the bathroom before I get sick on the carpet of our bedroom. And that’s where Ashley finds me, when she comes in, worried look across her brow, as I continue to let the increasingly loud wails fall out of my mouth, and the contents of my stomach. “But, how? How did this happen? What are we going to do?”

“We might need to go to the courthouse tomorrow. I mean it. I know we have a wedding planned for October, but what if he takes that away from us by then… I’m not losing the right to marry you.” We both feel so broken the next day. I continue being sick to my stomach all day and spend that Wednesday just grieving. So much can change so quickly, and I’m so very afraid of the hate that’s coming, the fear that accompanies it, and the violence so often found hand in hand with them both. Ashley and I don’t go to the courthouse. We instead obtained our marriage license and are holding onto it until October. If the tide changes again, this time we are ready to save our union before anyone can rob us of our right.

WE OFFER PRINT ISSUES, DIGITAL ISSUES, AND PLENTY OF SUBSCRIPTION OPTIONS! In the months since, the fear has subsided and given way to criticism, disbelief, and annoyance. We find humor in the jokes mocking our political situation, and just marvel with shock and dismay in the next scandal to hit, day after day. It’s exhausting keeping up with this circus.

It’s been two years since Obergefell v. Hodges, and we celebrated that anniversary happily. And in October, I get to marry the woman I’ve been friends with for over a decade and have loved for 3 years and counting.

No matter how dark the world may seem, there is always love, kindness, and resilience; just look at my community. Love won once. We won’t let it lose again. & VOLUME IV | 53


TODAY IT FEELS LIKE ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND FOR ONCE, WE MIGHT ACTUALLY HAVE A MOMENT TO CALL OUR OWN 54 | 2017 COLLECTION


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Trick

or Treat 56 | 2017 COLLECTION


WORDS & IMAGES BY DARYL BART

I FIGURED IF I simply mailed back the RSVP card with my cowardly check mark, it would solve my dilemma. To say I was at an emotional crossroads was an understatement and the poor way I handled replying “no” to a friend’s wedding left me feeling nauseous.

The party hosts were married college friends. The husband had taken on my single status as a project, and had been relentlessly suggesting potential matches. Knowing someone since college gives you insight into their friends, so I politely declined his help, vowing to navigate the dating scene on my own.

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CLICK HERE TO GET THE FULL ISSUE Four years post-grad, two degrees, a handful of permanent and temporary jobs on my resume, no real direction, and following the demise of a multi-year relationship, I was now living in my newly minted bachelorette pad.

Days were spent mailing out resumes, and perfecting being underemployed. Evenings were spent hustling a restaurant gig, and networking with the professionals that frequented the trendy spot.

His most recent suggestion was a fraternity brother (strike 1) who was 2 years older, so our paths seemingly had never crossed. “You need to meet my friend Joe. He’s a dentist. You’ll like him.” “No, thanks, I’m good, really.” I wasn’t fond of awkward situations, point made when I walked into the party that night, where 3 of his previous suggestions were in the living room. Nah, that wouldn't have been awkward. I felt validated for abstaining.

If something more career oriented didn’t happen soon, there was always law school. With fall approaching, that entrance exam seemed all but a given. Now, decades later, I see the flaws in that plan, but at the time it was a comforting fallback.

The house was full and festive. Everyone’s costumes were fantastic. It was fun being out, meeting new people. My friend and I worked our way around the room.

A combination of luck and hustle collided. I accepted a job offer in a field that fit me and my degrees. I couldn’t be happier. One caveat. I had to work an event over Halloween weekend, no exceptions.

He’s nice and seemingly normal. With a moment of clarity, I realize this is the dentist, not at all like the frat-boy I imagined. So now, without matchmaker intervention, I was on my own.

Then I met the cow.

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Circle back to that wedding invitation. I needed and wanted this job. There was no feasible way for me to travel downstate, miss out on the tips that currently were still paying my rent and be back in time for the mandatory job. Thanks to that miniature pre-stamped card, I delivered the news. To take my mind off missing the wedding, I did say yes to an invitation to a costume party. I grabbed my trusty black cape and a friend and went to the party.

Those days my mom would say productive things like, “You can just as easily give your phone number to a doctor as you can to a musician.” I mean, she had a point, but barring an impromptu visit to the ER, I tended to meet a whole lot more drummers. That’s kind of why I had committed to taking a new and simple dating tactic, “back to basics”. Let the boy ask out the girl. Chivalry was not dead and I was over the chase. ›››

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Back to the cow. Our conversation is flowing shockingly well, even with my awkward floss story (don’t ask). My friend conveniently left us alone to chat it up. I was silently repeating my mantra “let him ask” hoping he’d make the first move, but alas, it was time to leave. With no social media to share, cell phone photos to take, all I had left in my arsenal was to say “good night, really nice to meet you,” and make a hasty Cinderella-like exit at the chime of midnight.

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While working our way out, the cow came over to me and sliding a slip of paper into my hand, said. “Hey, maybe we can get together sometime. I smiled, trying not to be too eager, and said “Sure.”

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I waited till I got in the car to read the note. Call “Joe the Cow” 1-800-MOO-MOO

OMG. Totally corny and totally cute. But, ugh, he left the ball in my court. Now what? My solution rested in the hands of my personal matchmaker who was as eager to pair me up as my mom. I called him the next day to thank him for the hospitality:

“What do you think of Joe, the cow?” (Actually, he said Joe, the dentist). I played it cool. “He was nice.” “Gonna go out with him?” ”Well, he didn’t ask.” pause, 2, 3, 4. “But I might consider it if you could arrange a double date?” (see what I was doing there?) He hung up on me. About six floor-pacing, heart-beating minutes later, he called back and said, “Friday night. 7 pm!” Remember that luck/hustle combo? First, the new job and now a date with a gainfully employed dentist. I could finally exhale a little. I didn’t realize I’d been holding my breath all this time.

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Flash forward. Dinner was a success, and the one after that. Law school a mere figment of my imagination. Some time later, the cow and the party host were reminiscing about how they’d finagled our set-up. All I could do was smile and nod and think about my future with Joe and how our life would be “udderly” amazing (you knew I had to go there). I’ve since shared my role in getting that first date, but in that moment, I let them own it. I married the cow 3 years later to the day we met, ironically sharing a Halloween weekend anniversary with the friend whose wedding I missed. In hindsight, sometimes the most wonderful things come from the hardest decisions. Sometimes saying “no”, means that “yes” is just around the corner. Pay attention, they may be dressed as a cow. & 58 | 2017 COLLECTION


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LESSONS OF THE HEART

WORDS BY CHRISTINE AMOROSO // IMAGES BY LORI FERNANDEZ

60 | 2017 COLLECTION


THE FAMILIAR PING of a text message interrupts my dream. Disoriented I roll my achy body toward the large open window; I feel and smell the ocean breeze. I resist full consciousness and pull my sheet and quilt over my chilly shoulders, desperately trying to keep the dream alive, but I lose focus and it slips away. Even with eyes closed I can tell the sun has not quite risen. Forcing my sleepy eyes open, I reach for my phone on the night stand. Still glowing in the dark from the recent text, it’s not hard to find. Blinking the words into focus, I read his message, a sweet response to a picture I had texted the day before, me holding my baby granddaughter. I immediately start recounting the dream in another text, clicking away everything I can remember in this dream about him. My lids heavy, I drop the phone and drift off to sleep again. An hour or so later, the sun shines brightly on my face. I stretch my limbs as far and wide as they will go, and shake off a tiny, painful cramp that curls my toes. This time I am ready to start my day. Throwing off the covers, and shaking myself loose from the comfort of my bed, I stand and stretch once more. I find my phone tangled in the sheets. I remember the early morning messages and reread my text. The stream of consciousness is incoherent at times, but accurate in the context of recalling a dream, each sentence by itself isn’t so odd, but put them all together and the whole unfolding of events sounds a little crazy. I find with most dreams, even in their randomness, a theme emerges, or at least a significant message around what at first appear to be scattered thoughts. And there they were, the important words . . . You were trying to tell us that you discovered your super power. You said you had it all your life but you never knew. You were so excited to tell your girls. You wanted them to know you would always protect them. He responded: Love is a super power . . . and I have it. I clicked out my response: me too . . . I’ve had it my whole life and I finally understand its power and how to use it. Now sitting on the edge of my bed, I reread my words and ponder the power of love, my actions in the name of love and other secrets of my heart. Not so long ago, I believed if I loved someone enough, slathered them with devotion, let them occupy all the space in my heart; I could change the course of their heart, and even their destiny. After all, love could fix anything, right? More than a few times I poured my heart into misguided intentions. I believed I could change alcoholic boyfriends, my drug addicted son, and physically and emotionally unavailable men into the men I wanted them to be. With my boyfriends who drank to terrible excess, I minimized their behavior with lighthearted excuses, often leaving social situations before they became completely incoherent, belligerent,

or just plain falling down drunk. I was never successful in hiding the truth. Still, I did my damnedest to make them trade their alcohol for my love, feeling absolutely sure my love would win. When that strategy didn’t work and my heart could take no more, I moved on believing they just didn’t love me enough to change. My heart’s journey with my son has been a more painful and difficult path. He challenges the greatest of super powers, a mother’s love. Over the course of his many years of addiction, I have paid his bills, his tickets, court fees, and taxes. I have allowed him to live in my home rent free, eating my food and doing his laundry. I have driven him to court, given him a car, visited him in jail, and listened to his countless lies. I have threatened and begged him to get help. I have cut him off and rescued him all in the same week, my mother’s heart still holding out hope that he would feel my pain, know my love and get clean. I wanted him to do this for no other reason than to stop my suffering. Emotionally crippled by pain, my heart was unavailable for any healthy, meaningful relationships. In the midst of all my chosen drama, I rekindled a relationship from long ago. I wanted to be saved by this love. He knew better than I, not even his super power could save my imprisoned heart. We were finished before we ever started. My heart so badly broken, my spirit beaten, I began a spiritual journey to save my life. I did the work, allowed myself to be vulnerable, and opened my mind and heart to a new kind of love. I learned that all of my actions in the name of love were just rescue missions disguised as love, hurtful to me and those I was trying to save, robbing them of the opportunity to make their own decisions, to grow and to discover their own superpower. My actions were desperate measures to be loved in return. Today I seek and cultivate relationships that are founded in mutual love and respect. For those who are not interested, I love them unconditionally without demands or expectations. My boy is always in my heart, but he no longer rules it. As for the man who appears in my dreams, he is the love of long ago, and still resides in my heart. Love is my super power - using it with proper intention has made me and my heart more powerful than I could have ever imagined. I choose these words to guide me. . . To love free of wants and wishes Or conditions For no other reason than to know and feel the joy of loving and being loved That is the lesson of this life of mine. & VOLUME IV | 61


Running Towards Restoration

WORDS & IMAGES BY KYLIE KELLER

WITH A BROKEN HEART, KYLIE WAS UNSURE HOW TO MOVE FORWARD OR WHERE HER JOURNEY WOULD TAKE HER NEXT. SIGNING UP FOR A RACE LED TO A NEWFOUND RESILIENCE AND UNEXPECTED HEALING.

THERE WERE NO tears left, there was no more emotion to give. The whole thing was overdue, yet so unexpected at the same time. When your heart breaks, I think it's because half of your heart wants to move on and the other half wants to hold on and cherish all of the memories. I sat on my couch ugly crying - dumbfounded, confused, frustrated, blindsided. You name it, I felt it. In the moment, I didn't know how to fix my emotions—all I knew was that I needed to shed light into this dark situation. It is not healthy to live from a place of unforgiving. Later that week, a coworker of mine was talking about her upcoming half marathon—an all women's half in Central Park. I had been a cross-country runner in high school, but that was years ago and I hadn't trained for a distance that far before. Something in me felt compelled to sign up, and I needed a hobby. Something new—a goal—to propel me out of my heartbreak and put me on a fast-track to healing. I signed up that evening and poured so much of myself - my mind, body, and soul - into this goal of finishing 13.1 miles in under 2 hours. I sacrificed so much. I changed my social life, what I ate, what I drank. I would get up extra early to put in my miles, run after dark, and even run in brutal 17 degree weather (with wind chill). I prayed to God every moment I had for any brokenness in me to be mended and for any leftover frustration to be left on the pavement (disclaimer: that helps you run faster). In my heart I knew that if I was able to accomplish this goal, forgiveness and resilience would follow. A month or two of training passed, and then race day hit - I was more excited than nervous. I curated the perfect running playlist (and by perfect, I mean I had timed it so the last song I would listen to if I were to make it just under the 2-hour mark was Europe's "The Final Countdown"). I paced the run pretty well - allowing myself ample time to stop for water and Gatorade during the rest stations. ›››

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I didn't have to prove myself; I just had to enjoy myself. ARE YOU ENJOYING THIS PREVIEW? It was around mile 9 where things began to get tough. I was heading up the last hill; so out of breath, so tempted to walk, but I kept pressing onward. At this point it was almost as if I was shuffling my way up the hill. I remember reciting to myself “just enjoy the run,� to stop putting so much pressure on myself. In that moment, I felt so much tension in my body released and a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I didn't have to prove myself; I just had to enjoy myself. And from there, I was flying down the hill towards the end of the race. When I crossed the finish line, it was as if the goal I had set for myself didn't matter. Just the joy of completion and finishing was enough. At the end of the day, I was going to finish what I had set my mind to.

It wasn't until later that evening that I found out my time: 1:58:57. I had JUST made it under my goal. I'm pretty sure I cried some happy tears. The very thing I had invested my heart and time into was the very thing that gave right back to me. It was exciting, relieving, and restoring all at once. What I experienced is a new kind of resilience.

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Whatever disappointing and frustrating things life brings you, there is always a way to stand up one more time. If one thing knocks you down and disappoints you, you can bounce back into something new. Invest your time, your heart, and your money into what matters most and what you're passionate about, and watch any brokenness in your life made whole. &

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tHe pRinCe aNd thE kInG WORDS & SECOND IMAGE BY LORREN LEMMONS

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ONCE UPON A time, I met a prince, and I can’t quite forget him. I was fifteen, and we were at piano camp. He was tall and thoughtful and better at piano than I was, and something about the freedom of no parents and the beauty of music all day imbued magic in every moment. We sat in the practice room, sight-reading, me playing the right hand, him playing the left; we turned our souls inside out. At the last concert on the last day, he took my hand for just a moment. When it was time to go, I ran after him and hugged him, and told him to email me every day. He did. Usually summer romances fade into obscurity by the time the leaves change, but we kept writing. Maybe it was the anonymity of the computer screen, but I told him everything. I told him about my insecurities, my dreams; I transcribed pages from my journal. We wrote pages about music, books, theories of life. My senior year of high school, he flew out from Nevada and went to the girl’s choice formal with me – a ball with my prince. I broke curfew for the first and only time. We kissed at the airport, seven minutes before his flight home took off, and I watched him walk through security, looking back at me the whole time. I cried as I drove home. Our relationship wasn’t perfect. He experimented with drugs and stole liquor from the local Wal-Mart – I was a straight-laced Mormon girl who never touched a drop of alcohol. Our relationship was completely undefined – we weren’t a couple, but we were clearly more than friends. We argued about religion, the boys I dated, slow responses to each other’s emails. I burned his graduation announcement when I found out about his first girlfriend. He told me that he couldn’t give me the life I wanted – serious words at eighteen, and doubly painful because they were true, and I so desperately didn’t want them to be.

Despite everything, our lives remained entangled. I convinced him to join me at the religious university I attended (and which his mother desperately wanted him to attend), and he convinced me to ditch psychology and join him in the neuroscience major. We both struggled with mental illness – me with depression, him with bipolar disorder, and understood each other’s dark phases. We’d go weeks without seeing each other, then spend every night together, talking until six in the morning. After his first girlfriend, we severed any outward romantic expressions, but he always seemed to show up at the important parts of my life. He cried on my shoulder when his girlfriend died in a car accident; I called him when my depression was so oppressive I didn’t know how I would make it to morning. If a soulmate is a mirror, he is mine. When I read the line “Whatever souls are made of, his and mine are the same,” in Wuthering Heights, it’s his face that comes to mind. He is still marginally in my life. We exchange emails every so often, usually on our birthdays, which are only a few days apart. Most of the time I don’t think of him, but sometimes I hear John Mayer on the radio or wake from a dream about him, and it’s as if I am fifteen again. One Halloween, he asked me to be his date to a Halloween party. I assumed we were just going as friends. I was a mad scientist; he was House, MD from the tv show. When the party ended, he asked if there was anywhere else I wanted to go, and I told him about a dance party some of my friends were having. The boy I had a crush on was there, and I pointed him out to my prince. A few weeks later I was dating that boy, and ten months later I married him. I remember telling my prince that I was getting married. We were in the library of our university, sitting at the computers. “It’s not official, but I wanted to tell you first. I’m getting married,” I told him. “He seems really cool,” he responded. “He seems like he can handle you, emotionally.” ›››

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I invited him to the wedding, but he didn’t come.

My handsome, patient husband, is so different from me. He quiets me, doesn’t compete with me, and balances me. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a problem that we don’t often have deep, passionate conversations, but my husband isn’t much of a talker. Our love is quieter, steadier. There are no cresting waves, but a slow, invisible, strong current, in contrast to the tempest I felt before.

I’ve found that for me, a soulmate is not a mirror but a missing puzzle piece – where I am weak, he is strong. He fills my empty spaces.

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Despite all this, I haven’t quite let go of that fairytale. The memories still leave me feeling a little wistful. I don’t want my prince over my husband – if he came to me today, heart on his sleeve, I would say no. I am grateful he told me all those years ago that I couldn’t have him, that despite the fact that our souls felt the same, our futures would never align. I hope someday my heart stops pounding when I see his name in my inbox, that maybe I can see him with nothing but friendly affection. Until then, I cling to the fact that I love my husband more, that we’ve built a beautiful life together I never could have had otherwise, and that while I loved a prince, I married a king. My first love showed me who I was; my last love shows me who I can be. &


MY ANGEL WORDS BY K.D.

For the longest time, The darkness had been pulling me apart. Somehow you managed to slip through the cracks, And dive straight into my heart. I had been drowning, But as your presence grew stronger, The cool seaside air replaced the treacherous dark water. You were my warrior. Shielding me from demons threatening me harm. Sleepless nights turned to restful slumbers for I was safe in your arms. You built me a ladder, Adding a rung with every kiss. And it wasn't long before I climbed out of that deep dark pit. It is true that every now and then I would fall. But I would remember your words of hope. I would remember you telling me that I was meant for so much more. Day by day you lifted me up. What was once filled with darkness was now filled with light, Creating a feeling within me that simply could not be described. We walked hand in hand, And though I could battle on my own, You never let me walk by myself through even the smallest of storms. The fog had lifted. What was once broken was now whole. We shared a love so strong that it had connected our souls. You were my angel. And to this day I continue to grieve. For how was I to know that after destroying all my demons, My angel would also leave. &

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WORDS BY KIERSTIN CASELLA // IMAGES BY TIFFANY CLAPP

STARTING OVER IN your forties is a crapshoot at best. Exhilarating as it may sound---being at the half-way mark in life and suddenly facing wide open possibilities---it's mostly the adult version of the first day of school in a room you don't recognize. There’s a desk with your name on it, and if you're lucky, a few familiar faces, but hell if you can fit into that tiny chair. You have a secret confidence, sure, because you know more than you did in your twenties, but it’s also terrifying...because you know more than you did in your twenties. You have proof now that life can turn upside down overnight. ››› VOLUME IV | 71


Just days before my fortieth birthday, with no time to be hasty, I blew up my life with a single match in a midlife crisis I didn't realize I was having. Clichés are clichés because they are true, I suppose. But I didn't want this one to be true. I wanted to take a giant eraser to the mess I’d made. Instead, I found myself signing divorce papers, painting new peach walls a clean slate of white, and buying kimonos on the internet.

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The day I moved out of our 1900s farmhouse had been a twilight zone blur. I was leaving my kids, not by choice, to remain in the home they knew. Against the clock, I tossed my possessions into boxes. Design books. Paint tubes with caps screwed crookedly on. Half the dishes. The mini-Cuisinart we never used. Tearfully, I packed the kids’ baby books and watched the movers carry out my favorite French blue armoire and other allotted furniture. All the while, my shoes were being thrown out on the lawn.

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At six on the dot, pulling the trunk door closed one last time, I climbed into the driver's seat and cried.

My new life began just three miles away, in a cozy brick ranch house atop a hairpin road called Snake Hill. I had a rusty green mailbox, a small deck off the kitchen, and grass that needed cutting. I didn't own a lawnmower, not that I would know what to do with one. My first step was ripping up the beige wall-to-wall carpeting, plucking staples with pliers, gashing my knuckles as I moved along the edges. Underneath, the hardwood floors were scarred but beautiful. I couldn't imagine why anyone would have wanted to cover them up.

On Mother's Day, the kids came over and we graffitied the dining room walls with handprints and our names before rolling over it with a fourth gallon of white paint from the hardware store down the street. Over the next several weeks, I transformed my new home into a place that felt like who I wanted to become: simpler and with everything sorted into neatly-arranged containers from Ikea. A Diane Keaton movie on a much smaller budget. On weekends, I potted lavender and scoured estate sales for vintage lamps.

Hearts, in their vital and determined nature, seem frustratingly inclined to hold onto things. And being a nostalgic person at my core, I knew much better how to grasp at the past than how to start again with a solid plan for the future. But slowly, in the solitude of trying Indian curry recipes and stripping contact paper, I began the important process of letting go. A new home meant new memories for my kids and me. Sitting in my freshly-painted living room one night, a bowl of spaghetti in my lap, I realized that there are many ways forward and none of them can be reached by looking back.

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In between, I panicked frequently, labeling my pantry shelves by category to escape the internal chaos. Each day was an ebb and flow of small steps forward and staying in bed until eleven. After a ten-year marriage that ended badly, I wasn't remotely eager to date. While friends at my new job trolled Tinder, I spent evenings watching reruns of GIRLS hoping to find a blueprint for being single and self-sufficient again.

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I started making art again. Canvases became comforting friends, allowing me to paint my anger and sadness and into something beautiful. I hung them with my very own hammer and nails. I scraped together money for rugs and new pink drinking glasses. I adopted a cat. I was becoming a cliché again, but this time, I didn't mind. Hiding inside this uncertain, sometimes painful caricature of the life I thought I wanted, I discovered freedom. Freedom in embracing, even inviting my fears, recognizing that some of it is necessary to propel you to the next good thing, blindly, but with hope. Freedom to understand that a heart, if you're patient with it, will be patient in return and will, in those loneliest of moments, remind you that you're still alive. &


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THE BEAUTY OF A WOMAN MUST BE SEEN FROM IN HER EYES, BECAUSE THAT IS THE DOORWAY TO HER HEART, THE PLACE WHERE LOVE RESIDES. - AUDREY HEPBURN

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IMAGE BY ALLI PETERS

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e g a i r r

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a M

y a D rn

WORDS BY JESSICA LUTZ // IMAGES BY MARIA PALERMO

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I USED TO think I didn’t believe in marriage, but what I didn’t believe in was other people's idea of marriage. Hearing married people refer to their spouse as the ‘ball and chain,’ and getting the ever so helpful marriage advice of, “Don’t,” didn’t have me feeling incredibly confident about the whole thing.

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When we got engaged after being together for six years, I had questions: how do we get married? Do I change my name? And how do you get good at being married? I never wanted a wedding and neither of us wanted to get married in a church, so we had a lot of nontraditional options open to us. After a lot of discussion about small ceremonies and eloping, we decided to elope and have our wedding day be 100% about us. We spent our wedding day sleeping in, going to brunch, getting all dressed up, having photos taken, signing our marriage license, and having dinner together. A month later, we had a big party back home with hoagies and sheet cake to celebrate with our families. We had the best of both worlds: a day for us and a day to celebrate with everyone we love. Initially, I thought there would be resistance to our unorthodox plans, but people were incredibly supportive.

about how to have a “good” marriage are usually faithbased, which pose a slight problem for this agnostic woman and her atheist husband. Since we’ve been together for almost nine years, marriage is a step up in commitment. Getting divorced is so much more complicated than breaking up. I think it’s safe to assume that most people enter into marriage with the intention of being married for a long time. And yet, a lot of people end up divorced.

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After we decided how to get married, I started to think about my name. “Do I keep my name? Do I make my maiden name my middle name? Do I hyphenate? Do I ask him to take my name? Do we make a new last name and change both of our names? Will it make me less of a feminist to take his name?” Though rooted in some pretty questionable (and very sexist) practices, I know that I am not my husband’s property, I am my own person, and my name does not define who I am. I can vote, own property, and open a bank account without his help. I didn’t have to change my name, I wanted to. No matter what, my name won’t change the things I believe in.

I think we have what it takes to stay together - being silly and making each other laugh until we cry for decades but I can’t help but feel the small, quiet fear that whatever malaise infects other people’s marriages will get to mine soon enough; that there’s something inevitable coming for my marriage and I won’t know it until it’s too late.

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With how to get married and what to do with my name figured out, we could focus on the biggest issue: how to stay happily married. As a society, we don’t talk much about the nuts and bolts of marriage. There are one billion websites, blogs, TV shows, and YouTube channels dedicated to dating and how to get married, but there are markedly less things out there about how to stay married. The things I do see

If the past nine years have taught us anything, it’s that we’re never done working on our relationship. There’s no autopilot, no set it and forget it option. A relationship is constantly evolving and changing, and marriage is no different. At our we-got-married party, my great aunt came to say goodbye to me and she put her hands on my arms, looked me in the eye and said, “Just love each other every day.” And she’s right. We’re taking marriage one day at a time. To quote J.K. Rowling, “What's coming will come, and we'll meet it when it does.” As long as we can remember every single day why we like each other in the first place, I think we’ll be okay. &

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Holding a HEART WORDS & IMAGES BY TIERA KORACH HEADER IMAGE BY AARON BURDEN

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THE BOND BETWEEN TWO SISTERS IS NO SMALL THING. THE LOVE OF A TWIN SISTER GOES EVEN DEEPER. TIERA SHARES HOW THAT LOVE PREPARED HER FOR NAVIGATING MATTERS OF THE HEART - IN LIFE AND MARRIAGE.


MY TWIN SISTER was the first person who taught me how to hold a heart. Not literally of course, but her heart, the intangible things that make up her entire being. I’d say God helped me do that, too. Just like any pair of sisters, we fought a fair amount when we were younger, but then something changed for us; we developed a friendship. We began to see each other’s hurts and victories as our own, and we began to hold those moments like they were our very own. I felt her heart so strongly, and I craved to alleviate any tension. Figuratively speaking, I took her heart and held it. The kind of holding that doesn’t require many words and brings a whole lot of comfort. And she did the same for me.

Being married has truly created space for me to practice this sweet love even more. We’ve been married for three and a half years, and although we’ve known each other for more than 15 years, I learn new things about him and us every day. This is part of what makes loving someone the most intricate, unique journey I think we’ll ever experience; it’s forever evolving and always new.

ARE YOU ENJOYING THIS PREVIEW? In a perfect world, I’d be a boss at holding my husband’s heart; but if I’m honest, I struggle. I long to take care of him so well, and I often fail miserably! I say too much and don’t listen enough. I try to love him in the ways that I need to be loved, not remembering that we both experience love differently. Oh, but if our intentions and hearts could speak for themselves, we’d make it to the promised land more often!

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FULL ISSUE Most recently, I was having a bad day; it was Father’s Day. I was conflicted because I knew this day wasn’t supposed to be about me, but my heart was heavy. I attempted to be strong and make my way to the grocery store to grab my contributions for our Father’s Day brunch - biscuits and sausage gravy. To my own surprise, I had to fight back tears when I ran into a friend and she asked me how I was doing! I gave myself a few silent chants of “Get it together, Tiera!” I did not want to fall apart in the grocery store, not like this. I made it out alright, but I forgot to grab the biscuits! As I made it to my older sister’s house, I just fell into the rhythm of preparing for our dad’s arrival, all the while still aching. Then, here comes my twin sister through the door; she came bearing biscuits! She just held me, talked with me, cooked next to me, and stayed with me. And to top it off, she also brought me a bottle of lotion with the scent of our high school selves. She made me feel loved, and she left me feeling stronger than when she found me. I am forever grateful for her. All these years, my sister has been preparing me to love the man of my dreams, and hopefully, to love him well.

There is always more than one perspective. My husband doesn’t always have the words to ask to be held or taken care of. Maybe some of you can relate. To you I say, “It’s okay to be vulnerable, and it actually requires and demonstrates great strength to do so. You’ve got it!” From personal experience, I know this can be uncomfortable and scary to surrender those things that seem safer inside, but then I am reminded that all beautiful and worthy things require a good deal from us.

On the other side, there I am; my brokenness continuously gets in the way of my greatest desire to hold my husband as he deserves. I try and try, seeming to come up short more times than I’d hope. To those who can relate to this side of the story, I say, “Be gracious with yourself and be flexible. Open your ears, move slowly, and respond accordingly. You’re right where you need to be and completely equipped to meet the needs of those around you!”

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Meet Merrick. When I say he’s “the man of my dreams,” I really mean that. I met my husband in my sixth grade social studies class. He was the quiet kid that sat in the very back of the class. Our paths crossed in more than one way, and we soon became good friends. Later, our friendship evolved into unspoken crushes. Unspoken for almost seven years! Our friendship continued throughout high school and we did a solid job staying connected when we went off to different colleges. We sent annual “Happy Birthday” or “new number” messages, but not too much else. My senior year in college I dreamt about Merrick, and in that dream, he was mine. It felt so real, and shortly after, we were able to make that dream come true.

These moments and opportunities illustrate the messiness of love and life; they are quite unpredictable and important. There is hope, though, hope to hold and be held. We must persevere because we deserve it. There’s this looming idea that we reach a certain age when we no longer need to be held, all the while our hearts are still craving the tenderness and care it brings. Our bodies will always tell us what we need, and I challenge you to breathe and listen to it. You may find that a little holding can soothe you right into the mindset, fierceness, and confidence to tackle the things right in front of you. ›››

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The next time a heart meets yours and needs a little holding, here are a few things to think of during that important, sweet moment. YOU ARE SO IMPORTANT. Whenever we step inside someone’s world like this, our impact will mean everything, no matter how the cookie crumbles. You’ve got this, and in fact, you were made for this!

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SLOW DOWN AND LISTEN. It isn’t likely that we have the exact words and remedies for someone in our very first thought or even our first few thoughts. You are in the perfect position to practice patience.

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ASK THEM WHAT THEY NEED RIGHT NOW AND TAKE THEIR WORD FOR IT. One thing I always tell my husband, is, “Just ask me what I need, and if I’m wrong, it will be on me.” That takes a great deal of pressure off your shoulders, and begins the process of healing.

BE PATIENT, THEY’LL COME UP WHEN THEY ARE READY. Don’t forget your intentions in pursuing healing and holding. Hang onto them for dear life if you must. You’ll have one grateful soul on the other end waiting to give you all their love and appreciation.

CELEBRATE THEM! This is where encouragement lives! Most times we get to the other side of tough moments of needing someone to help us through, and shame smacks us in the face for the thoughts that we couldn’t do it by ourselves and that someone else witnessed the messiness of our hearts and troubles.

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Time spent learning to hold the hearts around you certainly is time well spent. It’s one of the deepest ways you can love - to pick up a heart and just hold it. When you hold all hearts, including your own, you create a safe, loving, and excellent experience for the people around you. Then, my friend, you become a true world-changer. & 80 | 2017 COLLECTION


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82 | 2017 COLLECTION WORDS & IMAGES BY RADHIKA & IAN MCDIARMID // HEADER IMAGE BY AXEL ANTAS-BERGKVIST

HOW TO RUN A M A R AT H O N


Amy’s experience with her high school boyfriend showed her early the dangers of going too fast out of the gate. Grant was a year older, social, a “smooth talker” in her words. She was smitten off the bat. They spent all their time together, and it was fun. It was exciting. It was exactly what the TV shows said it would be—the excitement of getting ready for a date or riding in a car with a boy. But TV hadn’t prepared her for what came after, when the initial excitement died down and what was left was a relationship without any kind of solid foundation. When Grant left for college, they broke up. Luckily for Amy, Daniel entered, stage left.

“REMEMBER, IT’S A MARATHON, not a sprint”—a classic reminder to slow down and pace oneself, regularly doled out by those who know better than to get too worked up too soon. It feels good to say, but the idea that “these things take time” isn’t exactly comforting to someone anxious for an achievement, or a change, or whatever “these things” may be. Running a marathon is really hard. Real marathons take practice and training. Metaphorical marathons, meanwhile, don’t often include that kind of preparation. More than anything, they take trust. Trust that a lack of progress in the short term doesn’t mean progress isn’t being made. One of these classic metaphorical marathons is the building of a healthy, long-term relationship. We talked to five women to understand their experiences running this race—learning, with difficulty and sometimes pain, that it is indeed a marathon and not a sprint. But the key is not knowing that it’s a marathon, it’s knowing what to do after; it’s knowing how to run a marathon.

Daniel’s approach to dating seemed like it was designed by a certified relationship expert. Daniel wasn’t allowed to date in high school, and he respected that boundary. He and Amy weren’t a couple, they were “exclusive friends.” They hung out in groups of friends throughout their senior year and eventually were invited into each other’s homes for family dinner, but that was it. Their first official date didn’t happen until Valentine’s Day of their senior year. When they went to college, they still hadn’t kissed. They didn’t say, “I love you” until their sophomore year of college. To the outsider, their relationship pace seems excruciatingly slow, but it was intentional. When they got married after graduating college, they did so surrounded by the friends and colleagues they had cultivated throughout the lives they had been able to build as individuals walking alongside each other. They had always been working toward the moment when they would join their lives as one, and when the time came, they were ready. ››› VOLUME IV | 83


Alex’s path didn’t feel as preordained. “In third grade, a boy in my class brought me flowers and I cried and said I didn’t want them. I didn’t want the attention. It freaked me out.” She didn’t date in high school. She didn’t date in college either. Alex preferred to focus on school and on building strong relationships with her friends. Her parents always made sure she and her siblings knew the most important thing in life was that they be true to themselves, and she took this to heart. When she decided after college it was time to start dating, though, she found herself confronted with the unknown. Dating is weird, especially for an adult. In school everyone is basically in the same part of their life, moving in the same direction. After school, things get complicated. Suddenly there’s very little about a person that can be ascertained before meeting. Alex told us about dating, “Like, I’m sitting across the table at dinner with you and I’ve literally never

spoken to you in my life and now we’re on a date together. It’s so weird and unrealistic.” Beyond the initial date as an adult, there’s even more uncertainty about what happens next. Alex had been dating Graham, who she admittedly liked very much, for some months. He took her to a restaurant to tell her he wanted to be more serious about their relationship together. Alex panicked. She was in uncharted territory. “I mean, I don’t want to hang out with you less,” was her response. Dating is hard, even when everything is going well. It’s full of unknowns that require a level of willingness, trust, and vulnerability at each stage. There is no playbook, no checklist. The most common response to any question of “How did you know?” about saying, “I love you,” or “will you marry me,” or “I do” is, “You just know.” ›››

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(LEFT) Krista just doesn’t know, and that’s the hardest part for her. “If I just knew I was going to meet my person in two years, or ten years, I would be OK. It’s the unknown that’s really tough.” Like the other women we talked to, Krista’s time without a partner has been a time of beautiful and valuable personal growth. She has gone on month-long hiking excursions, bought a house, and started a business. But as much as she loves herself and her life, she wants someone to share it all with. Finding that person can be very difficult. She’s tried online dating, but the experience feels, as she calls it, “inorganic.” Much of online dating involves trying to glean too much about a person from the few photos and sentences that make it to their profile. The experience feels more like a product pitch than an actual personal encounter. She is left feeling like she has to hide what she is really looking for, a life partner, because even saying it requires a level of vulnerability, a level of honesty about herself, that deserves to be met with more than a swipe left or right.

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CLICK HERE TO GET THE FULL ISSUE (RIGHT) It’s important to be honest about what you want with the person you are trying to build a relationship with. Latoya knows this. She is guided by a strong understanding of who she is and where she came from. When she decides she wants to pursue a relationship with someone, she makes sure they know her expectations: honesty and consistency. Latoya knows that to build a strong relationship, she has to open up about herself and share parts of herself that could then be used against her. It is crucial that the people she lets in are worthy of that access. It’s relatively easy for Latoya to make her intentions and expectations known because for her, being vulnerable isn’t so much about knowing what she wants for her future, it’s about knowing what’s in her past. She knows herself and her worth well enough to not settle for less than what she deserves. ›››

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Being honest with a potential partner is only possible when you are honest with yourself. Brittany knows this, but she learned it only recently. The kind of relationships Brittany saw growing up were not something to aspire to; they were something to fear. She saw women forced to give up their own independence and sense of self for the sake of unhealthy, but practically expeditious marriages. She learned early that boys, like partying and alcohol, were vices that should be avoided at all costs. It wasn’t until she got to college that she discovered that what she was taught to fear growing up was actually kind of fun. Unfortunately she was less than prepared for the worst.

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Brittany met her now ex-husband while dancing with her friends at a club. Their relationship hit her hard. At its best, it was deeply passionate and fulfilling. At its worst, she saw herself as the next iteration in the cycle of unhealthy relationships that plagued her family and her hometown community. The flags were there, though she didn’t always want to see them. He wasn’t really ready for a true relationship, one that involved sharing one’s life with another person. His life was always his own. He fiercely protected his independence, which meant concealing and lying came before openness and honesty. Finally Brittany had enough and left him for a teaching fellowship to Europe. That lasted about a year. Absence made the heart grow fonder. The hurt wasn’t so strong a year removed. She tried again, embracing the passion until the pain became too much and she again fled to a teaching fellowship, this time in Arkansas. Another year passed and again she tried to make things work. Rinse and repeat.

Eventually Brittany found herself married and pregnant, following in the footsteps of the women of her childhood. It wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely familiar. Until one day it wasn’t. She lost the baby. She had finally hit rock bottom. When she looked up she recognized herself all too well. She saw all too clearly the implications of the life she was living through the eyes of the child she had almost brought into the world. She ended her marriage and resolved to demand the respect she knew she deserved.

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Since then, Brittany has started dating, the first real dates of her life. She has her own list of red flags now, and she’s quick to back away. She’s worked hard to understand herself, to be honest with herself about what she expects and deserves in a relationship. She is still figuring it out, but at least now she’s headed in the right direction. She trusts herself again. 86 | 2017 COLLECTION

Building a relationship can be smooth and confusing and scary and empowering. The stories we heard could be read as stories of how relationships should be, or stories of mistakes to be avoided, but that would miss the point. These were stories of experiences, many of which everyone has had in some form or another in their life. These are stories of people trying to figure out what they are supposed to be doing while they are doing it. It may indeed be a marathon and not a sprint, but so what? What next? These stories are what is next. These are stories of strong women learning about themselves, learning how to run a marathon. &


THIS BOX CHANGES LIVES THEARISEBOX.COM

DISCOVER ETHICAL LIFESTYLE PRODUCTS WHILE FIGHTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING VOLUME IV | 87


Postcards From SAN FRANCISCO WORDS & IMAGES BY HANNAH PAP ROCKI

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One of San Francisco's many gems: Sutro Baths. It used to be a public saltwater swimming pool.

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The Transamerica Building, the pointy one towards the top left of this frame, is one of the most wellknown. It's even more impressive from the base!

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Point Reyes is just a short drive north from San Francisco, and it is such a special spot. If you get there just before sunset, there are rarely many people.

There are many vantage points where you can see the Golden Gate Bridge. This is a really unique one because you can see it from below.

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Fisherman's Wharf is a popular tourist destination in San Francisco. I don't usually recommend it because there are just crowds and crowds of people, but it's worth seeing at least once, especially to see these cute creatures - sea lions.

Seeing the city from someone's roof is a must-do. If you're just visiting, you can still see the city's skyline from one of the many public-access rooftops.

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One of the great things about San Francisco is that you can be in the bustling city one minute and then in nature the next. This is a view from the Lands End trail.

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Being a city by the bay and the Pacific Ocean, there are plenty of beaches where you can hang out. Only the brave go into the chilly water, though!

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Twin Peaks! If you live around San Francisco, you've probably seen a car commercial filmed here. It's one of the most iconic views of the city, with the visually appealing, curving roads below.

A trip to San Francisco isn't complete without a visit to the beach, especially at sunset. Ocean Beach is a local favorite.

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REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS AMY COOK, Books Wife and soccer mom by day, nerdy bookworm by night. Lover of wine, literature, pie and all things Gone With The Wind. instagram.com/amy1939

ERICA MUSYT, Movies Erica is a 30-something Virginia native who is passionate about family, friends, and the movies! She buys books faster than she reads them, loves ladybugs and all things purple. A movie star at heart, Erica is delighted to be aCONTRIBUTORS contributor to the HollAROUND and Lane movie section! FIND OUR THE WEB. lookingtothestars.com

REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS

CHELSEA OLIVER, Music Chelsea Oliver is a lover of life in heels, coffee in hand, who runs the marketing department of a credit union by day and makes sassy stationery for her own business by night. Chelsea is an old soul in a powerlifting millennial body. She craves authenticity while loving every filter on Instagram and tweeting in all caps as necessary. chelsealeeoliver.com CHRISTINE AMOROSO Writer Christine recently traded her role as elementary school principal, and her home in southern California, for a chance to live and write in Italy. She actively seeks opportunities to learn and grow, both personally and professionally. Her stories reflect her personal journey, opening her heart and mind to adventure and endless possibilities. Barenakedinpublic.com SAMI ROSS, Writer Sami is a Chicago-based copywriter by day and Creative by night. Outside of her writing career, she likes to express her creativity through her yoga practice, and is working towards her teacher certification. Currently, her favorite word is erleichda- a Tom Robbin’s creation that means “lighten up.” shross.com

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REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS GENESIS GEIGER Photographer

Genesis is a lifestyle and natural light photographer currently roaming Cincinnati, OH. In her work, she is moved by the quiet moments that sometimes go unnoticed, determined to capture the details that can get lost in the excitement, and completely captivated by the love that can be shared among humanity. Through it all, Genesis’ passion is to freeze time and bring people together through her work. genesisgeiger.com ALLI PETERS Photographer

Alli is a midwestern photographer and content marketer currently based in Minneapolis, MN. From start to finish, Alli enjoys capturing raw moments - whether they’re of families and friends or landscapes and events, and using these moments to help people connect. allipeters.com

LINDA JOY NEUFELD Photographer

Linda Joy is a Pacific Northwest native who currently calls Chicago “home”. She is passionate about many things, particularly her husband, creativity, and making memories all over this beautiful earth. When she’s not taking photos, you can find her reading or scribbling away her thoughts on either paper or her blog. lindajoy.weebly.com JACKY ANDREW Photographer

Jacky is a Los Angeles-based natural light lifestyle photographer who specializes in candid family photography. Her images reflect the genuinely loving, spontaneous, and perfectly imperfect moments in life, and her documentary-style photos preserve what makes each family special. howlandrose.com

JAMIE DEURMEIER Photographer

Jamie is a photographer based out of Portland, Oregon, where her love for outdoor adventures and natural beauty is sufficiently satisfied. She's passionate about creating images that capture the inner strength and beauty of her subjects, and believes that the best sessions are ones in which the subjects can feel both vulnerable and empowered. Her goal is to create an environment that allows for her subjects to encounter and express the bold nature within, and simply be there to capture it. jamiedeurmeier.com

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5 QUESTIONS WITH

JULI BAUER JULI BAUER IS THE CREATOR AND AUTHOR OF THE POPULAR WEBSITE, PALEOMG, ALONG WITH SEVERAL PALEO COOKBOOKS, INCLUDING THE NYT BESTSELLER “THE PALEO KITCHEN”. AFTER SPENDING MANY YEARS DEALING WITH BODY ISSUES AND DISORDERED EATING, SHE WAS ABLE TO FIND FREEDOM THROUGH CROSSFIT AND PALEO. SHE NOW SPENDS HER DAYS CREATING TASTY PALEO AND GLUTEN FREE RECIPES WEEKLY ON HER BLOG AND IS CONSTANTLY TRYING TO EMPOWER MEN AND WOMEN TO TAKE CONTROL OF THEIR LIVES THROUGH FOOD, FITNESS, AND A LITTLE BIT OF FASHION. EVERYONE SHOULD FEEL GOOD IN THEIR OWN SKIN AND JULI IS PROVING THAT IT IS POSSIBLE, ONE BITE AT A TIME. 1. If you could relive any moment from your past, what would it be? My wedding because I drank far too much and ate far too little. I wish I could go back and enjoy every bite of the gluten free cupcakes we had and watch my mother-in-law dance in the Jamaican night club. 2. What is one talent you don’t have but wish you did? It’s not exactly a talent, but I wish I had the ability to grow brown hair. I’m naturally blonde and have to dye my hair every 3 weeks. I could save a whole lot of money if I had that talent. 3. What is the most important characteristic in another person to you? Trust. 4. What is one material thing you cannot live without? My computer. My life and business are on my computer and it would be pretty challenging without it! 5. What is true happiness to you? My dog, Jackson. He brings me true happiness every single day. & IMAGE BY ASHLEY KIDDER

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LANE A SA N C T UA RY FOR S O U L-FI LLE D STORI E S HO LLA ND LA NE MAG.CO M

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Holl & Lane, Issue 14 Preview (The Heart)  

Get the full issue at hollandlanemag.com

Holl & Lane, Issue 14 Preview (The Heart)  

Get the full issue at hollandlanemag.com

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