Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I stopped writing a while ago, subconsciously perhaps protecting my privacy and the other half just life being busy busy busy. This is where I go to think, after a long day and I need to write it out. This is where I go to process and work through and find me. I've had the luxury of close friends and best friends to process and love on and celebrate, but I miss the writing. The documenting. The lookback at the steps and to see how far I've come and where life has gone and how incredibly somewhat mind-blowing it all unfolds.

This weekend was beautiful. This weekend was special and awesome and heart.explode. kinda good. This weekend, we celebrated two years, and this weekend, we celebrated how far we have come and how much we have grown. I wrote, 10 months ago, in a completely different place. Scared, unsure, unwilling to budge and unwilling to move, but here we are. Here we are and we are stronger than ever before and we have dug in, clung on, and made permanent imprints. I am proud, and I am grateful, and I am excited.

"It's not an if but a when"

What an incredible thing to be able to say of your relationship. What an incredible feeling to be loved and to love on patiently, kindly, gently. He gets my crazy, and in all the crazy of crazies, I get his too. We try, and we make mistakes, and sometimes, we get angry with each other but at the end of the day, two tickles and apologies that are sincere, we talk. We talk until the cows come home and we work it out, we're in this, for the long haul, and so we learn, we pack away, we start again, we hold on tighter.

I wasn't looking for this when I met him. I'm not even sure that I knew exactly what I was looking for. I had no clue this would be this important and significant. I had no clue we were forever and now I am so thankful that I didn't. Because it made us, us. Friends, lovers, fighters, doers.

I wrote this, this weekend and posted it. 45 likes later and I still mean every word.

"Two years ago today, I accidentally met a boy in a seedy bar.

At first, he was my only friend that was tall enough to help me change lightbulbs plus he volunteered his washer and dryer so I didn't have to scrounge up 1000 quarters to do the 16 loads of laundry that I was stockpiling.

He'd crash our sushi parties, and we both learned a whole new world from each other like never being able to reach the top aisle at the grocery store if you're short or how having long legs is not a bonus when you're trying to fit into a car.

Some nights, after a crazy night out with friends, we would call each other and stay up too late playing 'guess what happened today' or 'ohmygodihavetotellyouastory'. Another night, on a whim, we drove all around Springfield trying to find the house with best Christmas lights.

The first time he asked me out, I turned him down and he made me watch the tackiest 80s movie(Big Trouble in Little China) in retaliation.

During hell week(retail at Christmas!!), he would surprise me and the girls at work with lattes or warm dinners. In turn, he let me try out new recipes on his stomach of steel. Some were successful and some, well, he just thanked me for with a big smile.

The first time I knew I was in love with this silly goody two shoes nerd boy was when I saw this picture of us at a party. From the outside looking in, there was no denying that we thought the world of each other. He had captured my heart by being my friend first and I had the hugest school girl crush.

We went on a phenomenal first date but then I broke his heart by moving halfway across the world six months later. So he quit his job, sold his house, gave away the dog he loved, said bye to all his friends and family to come start a dream with me.

He is my best friend, my partner-in-crime, my pasar malam buddy, and he reminds me of all that is good in the world.

He makes me stupid proud and has the best heart. He lets me be, do, try, dream and when I am scared and insecure, he holds me and reminds me that I am enough.

Mr K, thank you for being you, thank you for that smile bigger than your face can contain and thank you for being there on a random cold night at a seedy bar 2 years ago.

You are my peanut to my buttaahhh and I'm glad we have us. :)

I love you and thanks for the perfect anniversary date."

And it was perfect. And magical. And as we walked back to the car after Stomp! followed by a fancy dinner and drinks at an even fancier lounge with an incredible view of the city, it was raining. And so we sang singing in the rain and held hands, running and laughing and trying to make it back to the car in one piece.

These are what dreams are made of.

And today, at a meeting that determines so much, he was next to me, as we discussed and figured out and I was floored again of how God has a plan if I just keep the faith and hold on. Dream big little girl, dream big, dream loud, take a deep breath and believe. So many things are happening and they are special and good and overwhelming, and over dinner, we squeal and we laugh and I share all my hopes and dreams and he just smiles and says, I got you, babe.

"The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams."
~ Oprah

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First day of 5th grade.

Last year today, was hard.

I was still heartbroken and hurt. I was still struggling with the whys and the hows and the what nows. Still trying to figure out the boundaries and the lines drawn, trying to make sense of what was left of my relationship with you and trying to grieve the relationship that was.

This year, I'm in a good place, and the picture your mom put up this morning made me smile. I still miss you, and I always will, but moving on and letting go does not mean I forget.

And this year, like all the others before and all the others to come, I wish you have a great school year, and you make good choices, and you build friendships with incredible people that will become your soul sisters with whispers and secrets and that 'catch you when you fall', 'make you laugh so hard you pee in your pants', 'love you so hard you feel so incredibly lucky' way that best friends do.

This year, I am excited and so incredibly proud of you.

This year, I smile and wish you so well.

This year, I cheer from the sidelines.



From a distance.

Happy first day of 5th grade, stinker.

"We learn by doing." - Aristotle

Hold On.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Shutter. Click. Breathe.

I haven't picked up my camera in over a year. I think I've forgotten how it feels in my hands, the solid heaviness of clicking and focusing and finding moments in little things. I think I've lost it, I think I lost it in the divorce. In the heartache and the pain, in the things I didn't want to capture and in the emotions that were too raw to be displayed.

Because photography for me was an escape, a safe place, a place to work it out and find god in the things forgotten and in the things unseen. It was a place to be stripped and honest and bare, and I'm not sure what happened, I'm not sure what went wrong or what my subconscious said to my conscious but I haven't picked up my camera in over a year.

Maybe even two.

Sure, I take daily photos with insta.gram and hisptamatic and it is fun and silly and special. I take daily reminders of the good that happened that day or a funny for a laugh later on. I capture moments to be shared with my boyfriend that lives halfway across the world, it is my way of saying, look, I brought you with me, I'm sharing this memory with you. I do that, and I love it, and I have a collection of the everyday things that make my heart smile or jogs a memory or creates a new marker in this chapter that I am in.

...but it isn't the same.

And I don't know if I am afraid or scared of what I will find or what I won't find, I don't know if it it's because it was my escape for so so long and so the very act of doing it takes me back to a place that I am struggling to let go and dying to let go of.

I don't know if it's because the girl behind the lens is no longer the same and the pictures that I am taking and the people that I am photographing and the landscape that I am capturing has all changed so dramatically and crazily.

I don't know if it is the intimacy of being that raw and honest that is holding back. I don't know if like other things, if this divorce has robbed me of the ability to trust and let go. I enjoy my privacy, and I enjoy my walls. They are perhaps not entirely healthy, but they keep me safe.

So I'm giving myself a timeline, a chance, a challenge.

I'm giving myself a push.

I stumbled onto a website of someone that gets it, someone that understands the power of a photograph and the magic that happens when you capture. And she made a list, of 100 things to do. And somewhere, something clicked.

I'd like to take pictures again.

That's somewhere close to the top of my list.

I'd like to learn to take pictures again.

And the other 99 things, the other 99 things will come I'm sure.

But this, this sparks something in deep my soul.

This makes me believe I can.

This makes me believe I will.

This makes me believe that I am not lost, not broken, not forever changed and scarred, but growing, but evolving, but figuring my way out...slowly but surely.

This gives me my happy for today.

And it's a small step, it's whispering an intention, then wanting to take it back almost immediately after, it is a tentative dip to test the waters.

And I am breathing.

I can do this.

Someday, I'm going to take pictures again.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

These are my people.

These are some of my best friends, my people. The ones I call when my world falls apart and the ones that remind me that I am stronger than I think I am.

These are the ones that make me laugh so hard I'm afraid unmentionable liquids will shoot out of my nose and that I may never look at something the same way again.

They are the ones that will get an inside story a split second after it has occurred and either carry it with them to their grave or remind me of it,every single time they can, of that one time I...

They are my people, my emergency contact in a foreign land and my surrogate family on a holiday far away from home.

They are my strongest supporters and my biggest opponents when I am about to do something stupid. They are brave, and they are fighters. They will find the voice I don't have and speak the words I can't.

They will take your drunk sorry ass home, hold your hair back as you pray for mercy, and they will change you into your pjs and leave water and Tylenol on your bedstand for when you hate God, the world, yourself and everything in between the next morning.

They are the ones that will knock some sense into your head but hear you out as you're bitching about the catastrophe of the day. They will listen to your dreams but more than that, they will believe in it too. And when you can't, or when you're scared and unsure, they will remind you that you are always, always stronger than you think you are.

They embrace my pathetic sense of direction and send me text messages or talk to the cab driver when I am lost and freaking out in the big city.

They will laugh at my sometimes neurotic OCD tendencies yet let me have the seat by the wall and love me even as I am freaking out because ohmylord the grand order of things has been disturbed.

These are my friends, this is the family I choose, and these are my people.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, April 8, 2011


photo credit : Miss Britt

The hard part is remembering that he manipulated me. And that shocking, unexpected, wake of grief and devastation. That deep in your soul ache hurt that feels like it's permanently made a place in your heart. That drop bottom sinking gut feeling. That betrayal, and it's a lifetime of healing.

Our anniversary was the 28th.

We would have been married for three years.

Instead, I had wisdom teeth surgery.

I voluntarily let someone cut out pieces of my jaw bone and gums to remove impacted teeth that had become a pain in my ass.

I looked like a chipmunk, with a crooked smile, in a haze of painkillers for a couple days.

But that wasn't what hurt the most.

What hurt the most was missing the security of never knowing.

Never knowing that your life can unravel in split second.

Never knowing that your soul is able to be so deeply hurt and torn apart.

I missed her.

I missed the life I had made, fought for, worked through.

I missed the family that I thought I was building and the dreams that I was dreaming.

Some random legal leftover junk cropped up recently, and I was angry all over again. Violated. Frustrated. Annoyed.

I wanted to not be.

I wanted to be unaffected.

I wanted to be over it.

I wanted to just not be.

But I was.

And it hurt.

And it sucked for a little while.

This sudden jolt into your safe place, your sanity coming a little undone, unexpected.

Because he's done it again.

Struck you when you least expected it.


I enjoy my privacy. I enjoy my safe circle of friends, and letting in the people that I trust. And when I trust, I truly, really do. And there are no barriers, no filters, no secrets. I am who I am, I am real, I am passionate, and I share.

I am threatened by the possibility of having someone violate this trust. Of having someone betray that trust.

It has happened before.

He smooth talked his way in. He violated that trust. He's good at this. I am not.

It hurt me and cut me deeply, in places that I don't care to revisit. In places that I don't want to confront again.

I am struggling, with the moral issue. Of wanting to forgive, of wanting to be glass half full, of wanting to believe that they are better than this...but I don't trust.

I don't trust.

I enjoy my privacy...and I am struggling with letting them in.

But more so, I am protecting myself.

From him.

It feels wrong but right at the same time.

I can't find the words.

Is it selfish that I want to cut them out of my life?

Is it wrong that I feel bad for wanting to do that?

That it's not a "nice" thing to do?

But the threat, the possibility, the fact that they have betrayed me before...do I trust them to not fall into his web of lies and deceit again?

Accidentally let him know too much about my life and what is going on in it?

Accidentally give him ammo that will threaten this safe place I've found or the security in knowing that I have no connection to him anymore.

that He Cannot Hurt Me Anymore.

It isn't her I'm talking about.

Yes, yes she did it too.

But somehow, I think I trust her again.

She has earned my trust.

Earned my respect.

Earned our friendship back.

She has put in the time, she has taken the hurt, betrayed, anger and built on regaining this friendship.

It is the others.

The other part "his" friends.

The others that just stood aside as he devoured me, and fed him pieces of my soul, and fueled my heartache by feeding him information for him to use against me. Perhaps they did it unknowingly. Perhaps they did it knowingly.

Months later, they wrote and reached out with letters much like hers. Apologizing. Rectifying. Clearing their conscience.

Asking for information. Asking for details. Asking to tell my story....only that they didn't want my story. They wanted the gossip.

They wanted the dirty sordid disgusting details.

Like a soap opera.

Like something on the telly that was entertaining.

I told them the facts, nothing more, nothing less, but something in my gut has always whispered, No.

I didn't get close, but I opened up a door. I said, okay. I relented. I forgave.

But I am afraid, that they are capable of hugging me and stabbing me in the back at the same time.

I call bullshit.

But it is hard, much much too hard, to be this person.

To be this assertive.

To take preemptive measures.

Because nice sunshine and rainbows and roses me always wants to believe in the good of people.

Always wants to give someone the benefit of doubt.

A second chance.

But is this too big a risk?

These are my pictures. This is my life. These are my stories to share or not share.

My privacy.

My choice to disconnect. To cut off all ties from him. To end all communication. To ignore all attempts of communication from him. No matter how hard he tries.

He is someone I don't want in my life.

He is someone that is not healthy for me.

He is someone that I don't feel comfortable having in my life and someone I don't feel safe having in my life.

Is it wrong that they are a casualty in this mess?

That even if they were sincere, that I don't trust them, and I don't want them in my life by default?

Because I don't want to be that person.

I don't want to be bitter.

I don't want to be unfriendly.

I don't want to be unfair.

But at the same time, I don't want to be stupid.

Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice, shame on me.

"There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time."
~Malcolm X

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hold on to that lovely feeling.

Finished my first module yesterday. An exam that culminated into a celebration of sorts, with new friends and old, in places new and old. I realize that this high, this confidence, can be so addicting. This trying out new things, struggling, struggling, struggling.....then bam, catharsis. The challenge, the overcoming, the digging deep....that, that's a magical and amazing kind of special.

I'm in the thick of things in some projects, in the very beginning humps of others, and I can very closely just touch the end light on a couple. It is all so much but so good at once.

I have so much to say but can't find the right words at the same time. So much to do but at a standstill and lost at times. The hard work, "paying my dues", earning respect and building a foundation...and sometimes, I am scared. And sometimes, I doubt. And sometimes, I am insecure and so very unsure.

This stage of my life is a place that I am so excited to be in at the moment. For once, I feel good enough and confident enough about the things that I do not know and the places that I am going. There is true passion in the things that I do. I am inspired, but more than that, I am fueled with determination and belief. I believe...I believe in this project, I believe in rachealkate, I believe in us, I believe in myself, and that is such a gift.

I don't think I can put into words what it feels like to finally be here.

It's taken me years, and years, and years, of heartache and disappointments, of bad choices and failures, of insecurities and doubt. It has taken me years.

But I am here.

I am here and I am celebrating being here.

I am here and I am putting one foot in front of the other.

Digging deep, and continuing.

A lot like the last 15 minutes of RPM when you are /this/ close to passing out and the trainer tells you to bump the intensity up a notch and you, honest to god, think your heart might burst out of your chest, and that there is absolutely no way your legs and thighs could push any further and dear god you've just realized the existence of about 700 hundred other aching, burning muscles in your butt cheeks.

But you dig deep, you tune out the world and find your beat, you silence your doubts, you suck it in.

That's it.

You suck it all in.

You say, I can, instead of no.

You say, Hells Yes, instead of wtf.

You say, let's do it, and you give it your all.

Your everything.

......and you succeed.



"If people believe in themselves, it is amazing what they can accomplish."
~Sam Walton

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Goodbye, I Love America.

I found God, on a blanket, on wet grass, in the midst of thousands of people, wiping away tears and looking up into a gorgeous lit up sky confronting my fears.

I found God, at my lowest low, unsure, afraid, broken. Something about laying on your back and looking up and being lost in a crowd, something about being so small in the grand scheme of things, when the last few weeks where everything in my life was so infinitely big and glaringly huge just comforted. Something about knowing, knowing that my God had me, that my God was going to take care of me, that my God had a plan and that this was part of the plan. That my God had not left, that my God had not forsaken me, that my God was right beside me carrying me....something about that night, and that day, something clicked.

And perhaps it was the band, or maybe it was just because I love love love fireworks. Perhaps it was because this, this festival had been a constant in my life in Springfield, a tradition. My favorite part of the year, and my favorite celebration in Springfield. First as an international student, and the last time, as a wife. And I remember begging to go, campaigning to go weeks and months ahead. I remember, that year, all the things I did and had to do and I was angry and I was sad and I was heartbroken for this girl I didn't know anymore, and this girl that let herself be broken, and this girl that let someone else decide her happiness, and this girl that always asked how high instead of no.

And that year, 18 days after the moment where everything changed, I was determined. Determined to do this on my own, determined to get there even if I got lost, determined, even if I didn't know who I was and didn't know where I was going. Determined, in reclaiming, in taking back, in not letting this be another loss, another casualty, another thing to write off. Determined, to be in control.

Thank God for GPS.

Thank God for my mom who said nothing and everything by just being there.

And thank God for friends, who packed a blanket, a big hug, and pushed, and said, you can do this Racheal, you...YOU can do this.

Don't back out.

Don't get scared.

Don't say it's too hard, or that it's too much or whatever other excuse you're going to justify it with because you're scared.

Don't, don't because if you do, you lose.

You lose in a huge monumental way.

And it's way too early to throw in the towel, have faith, child, have faith.

It will all make sense and it will be something you will look back on someday and just know.

So, for the first time, I got to stay. I stayed until the lights went out and the last band played their last song. I stayed until the parking lot was mostly empty, and I had roasted corn and did whatever my little heart wanted to do. I stayed and had fun, I walked around, I got to go to the main area, I didn't have to sit in the parking lot in the car, stressed out, bribing. I got to listen to the bands, I got to actually see the stage more than a random pass-by get back to the car immediately.

And like so much before, it was eye-opening.

The next year, we took a picture under the same arch from all the years before, a staple.

Except it was different.

This time around, I knew who I was, I knew where I was going, and I knew what I was made of.

This time around, I knew where God was, I knew what He could do, and I trusted in that faith completely.

This time around, instead of fighting or the silent treatment or the begging, I got to share an amazing experience with someone I loved. I got to relax and breathe and not worry about what the consequences would be. I didn't worry that he would be mad because there were so many people, I didn't have to apologize that there was such a ridiculous amount of traffic.

But more magical than that, we not only stayed, but we hung out in car, rolled down the windows, and just talked.

And this is why I know it is different this time around.

Because he is different.

Because I am different.

And no matter what we go through and no matter what we fight about, he won't happen again.

At first, I was so afraid, so sure, so tired of the same scene playing and replaying again, not realizing that every time before, I had only scratched the surface. That the yucky and pain and hurt had to happen, that the hard work had to be done, that the demons needed to be confronted and exorcised. That until I learned to talk about it, to acknowledge it, I would always be stuck on repeat.

And that is why I am grateful.

Because that first night, 18 days out, that was the night I learned to say me.

I choose me.

I pick me.

That was the night I learned to reclaim me.

That was the night I knew, for sure, that God had my back.

That was the night I had happy and grateful tears mixed in with the grief.

That was the night I learned to fight, fight harder than I had ever fought before and dig deep.

And this summer vacation, the journey, the reliving and retelling. The playback, the creation of new memories, the letting go, the returning. Of saying thank you, of saying look how far I've come, of saying, I did it. This summer vacation, a celebration of so much, of life, of being here, of just being.

This summer, this was part of the plan too.

In fact, this was the main reason my trip extended far far beyond what I was comfortable with into a two month break. Because this, this was important.

And so while it breaks my heart that it is over, it is also in some sense poetic.

Because this, this is the letting go.

This is the returning.

This is the closure, the tying up of old stories, the creating anew.

Goodbye I Love America, I will miss you, and I will always have so much love for all the experiences, but most of all, thank you.

Thank you for being there for me as a new international student.

Thank you for being there for me as a stepmother and as a wife.

Thank you for being there for me when my life was falling apart.

But most of all, thank you for being there for me when I learned how to laugh again.

In all the years, I never did find that watermelon stand.

But I did always find that spark of happy, that pure grin-so-hard-my-face-might-break, when the fireworks started.

"The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle."

~Anais Nin

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Tonight, I started charting out a tentative plan for our summer. And it is big, and huge, and special...it is a full circle, it is revisiting places where we have come from and redefining who we are and what we are made of and it is being able to make that journey together.

In these places, we will make new memories, and in these places, we will find closure to the past, and the forgotten stories, and remember the magic of being.

I have an interview with the Embassy on Tuesday. On Tuesday, I'll find out if they will issue me a visa, a non-immigrant visa. Because on Tuesday, I will give up my green card. On Tuesday, I will say, I am giving you back your American dream, and I am making a new one. A whole different kind of special, amazing, starry eyed, amazing things can happen if you just work hard and believe kind. I will say, thank you for taking me in, for helping me grow and for stretching my imagination and my heart, thank you for being a soft place to land for a while and thank you for the lessons on friendship and humanity and on love. But on Tuesday, I will also permanently make this home, on Tuesday I will put it on paper, on Tuesday, I will say, I choose Malaysia. And it makes my heart happy.

I had a moment the other day, filling out forms and deciding if New Orleans should be a part of this road trip and thinking about how I will be flying in on May 15 and it will be a special little girl's birthday. I was thinking about how it was March and how it would have been our anniversary and I was thinking about how I had to really stop and think about how long it's been. I had a moment, and then, the moment was over.

That's how it comes now, that's the face of grief when it is healed. It leaves scars, and every once in a while, when you rub it the wrong way, it hurts. And I think, some part of me will always be sad about the way things unfolded but scale tips a lot more towards the good now. And for that, I am so incredibly grateful.

So much has happened since I last wrote, there are things I want to document and write and put away for later, and there are things that I want to just keep for myself. The words and the feelings, it is a process, but I am in a good place.

Correction, I am in a very very good place.

I am so excited for this trip, a goodbye of sorts, and a beginning of another.

This, this feels good.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

"For last year's words belong to last year's language, and next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning."
~T.S. Eliot

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I did something big. I took the first step, something I contemplated all week and a decision that has been brewing and manifesting and maturing for weeks and months and years, and today, I woke up, and just did it. I put on a cute dress and some fabulous earrings, and I just did it.

I didn't let the fact that I have no sense of direction or that I was scared or that I had about six hundred and seventy two excuses just hanging out in the back of my head stop me. And for that, I was proud. I was excited. I was energized and nervous but I had my game face on and damnit, I was going to do this.

I told maybe six people, I whispered it but I didn't want to make it a big deal. Not until I was sure, not until I signed the dotted line and not until it was a reality, I didn't say much, and so when I came home and told them the-big-thing-but-let's-pretend-it's-a-small-thing thing I did, the pride and love in their not-so-many-words-so-they-don't-freak-me-out, made my heart smile. Like fireworks, cloud nine, I am fucking awesome, smile.

I did it!

This year is so much about rising to the challenge and doing the things I think I cannot. It's believing in myself and believing in the journey. It's letting go of the fears and digging deep, holding on, and trusting that this is possible. That I am possible. That the me that I am so desperate to be is already here.

I am enough.

And I think that's the thing I've always struggled with. That's the part that I've always let life beat me down with, the what ifs, the could have beens, the should have beens. I love the safe and I love the you go ahead and I'll follow, I love the hold my hand and walk with me. But when we fell apart and when he didn't come back, I realized that all that's left that's holding me back is me.

I am all that's stopping me and if I don't try, if I don't believe, if I don't just start living, then I am never going to get there. Not even a little, not even halfway, but no where. I could wait and I could plan for the ideal and the perfect, but in the end, that is all that it is, a plan. A could have been, a should have been, a what if.

The big thing I did today? I did it for me and that was my thing, but I still missed him all the same.

I missed and I wished we were doing it together, and I wished things were so very different. The temptation is there to just crawl into a hole and lick my wounds but I cannot, I must not, because life goes on and the lesson is in learning to make the best damn lemonade life hands you.

And so that's what I'm doing. Making lemonade. Getting my Master's and setting up shop and meeting new people and trying new things. But it doesn't change the fact that today and last night especially, I missed him.

And some part of me is angry, and some part of me is heartbroken, and some part of me is sad and upset. But I'm not going to let those parts define me and I'm not going to let those parts eat me up or eat up the good. Because what we had was special, and it would be so easy to trash, so easy to play the blame game, so easy to say the yucky things people say when they're hurt.

But I won't.

He deserves more than that.

Today, was a big day,

and today, I missed him so incredibly much.

But the bigger picture, if I choose to embrace the alternate instead of a chocolate pudding woe is me pity party, is that today, I learned what I could do.

I learned that the me that I am, and the me alone, was enough.

And that,

that made today, a great day.


Sent from my iPhone

"Your heart just breaks, that's all. But you can't judge, or point fingers. You just have to be lucky enough to find someone who appreciates you."

~Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Making a plan, decisions, and the infinite possibilities, they stir my soul and tempt and call. They scream pick me! pick me! pick me! They scream choices, choices, choices. They scream dream, dream, dream!

They scream, dream, of future of doing what I love and being open to the paths of the unknown and letting go. Growing, shaping, molding and twisting to break new ground, of hope, of exciting new adventures in a life I never imagined.

Of investing, of growing a career that was once just a whisper but is fast forwarding into a reality. Of color and pretty things, of mine and going to bat, of standing up and speaking out.

Taking place, it is all taking place, sometimes too fast and sometimes not fast enough. Learning, believing, having faith, holding on to the light.

Humbled with words of wisdom, sometimes a gentle push and other times a shove into going out of my comfort zone.

In awe and amazed at the God and rockstar ways everything has unfolded. Even the chronically optimist, half-full, life is unexpectedly beautiful, believer in me couldn't have planned this. This, this series of events have slowly unfolded to reveal and give peeks of something so much more. Retrospect is a brilliant and comforting thing, the surreal wonder in knowing that somehow I stumbled and clawed through into gaining these tools and building blocks is kinda crazy and insane.

And suddenly, it all makes sense.

An aha moment.

I can do this, I can do all of this, if I just believe.

Work on it Racheal, work on being, work on achieving, work on imagining, and build on it.


Sometimes, the hardest part is just taking the first step, and the perseverance of all the subsequent steps after.

A big thing, a defining moment. Sink or swim.

And this week and the week before and this month and this year and everything has been about this. About finding myself, about finding my passions, about letting go, about living life loud and proud and with no regrets. About not settling for good but going for magic.

Because it is in me, it is in me to make do and be content with good, or it is in me to fight, work hard, claw, go to bat for great.

And so I'm trying. I'm picking up pieces, hushing fears, taking chances, leaping.

I am moving forward, finding strength and courage and saying fuck yes.

So many things in the planning stages, so much setting up and groundwork, putting things into place to build a foundation. Tethering between not rushing but not holding back. I do that, I'm a planner and I love the safe and I double-check and triple-check, and sometimes, I talk myself out of things just because of the fear of failure bites me in the ass.

But when I am not, when I believe and when I have a little faith, magic happens. I look back and I see all the times I have just leapt before looking, I see that pure determination and will and no is not an answer and that passionate raw energy and I am grateful.

Somehow, God made me this way. Flawed, somewhat OCD, careful, but also strong, passionate, determined. God made me who I am, and I can choose to beat me down or I can choose to just embrace.

I think that's what v 2.11 is all about, embracing, enhancing, encouraging, but most of all, v 2.11 is about making magic.

About confronting the fears head on, about breaking or making it, about trying then trying again, about going out of comfort zones and having no regrets about life, about holding on and really living this one crazy beautiful perfect awesome life.

Despite everything.

Yes, that's it, despite everything.

I will choose to just dream.

But more than that, I will choose to act on it.

To leap.

To say,

I'm ready, God.

Sent from my iPhone

"Courage is tiny pieces of fear all glued together."
~Terri Guillemets

Monday, January 10, 2011


I’m afraid of the crash, the inevitable crash that will come when my heart understands the hard decision my head made. The right decision, the needed decision, the justified, at-peace, honest decision I made.

I broke someone’s heart today, today I chose me. Today I chose my needs, today I chose to say that this wasn’t enough, that what we had and where our relationship was taking us, wasn’t enough. Today, I let an incredible, amazing, genuine, real, man-of-my-dreams, check-off-my-list, man go. Today, I realized and read and read and read again and again my words and knew, in my gut and in my soul, that this was the best decision for us right now. That despite everything, despite the soul-crushing, devastating, change in path and hurt, hurt, hurt, that this will cause, that I let someone amazing go because I needed to go find my light. Because I needed to believe in myself. Because I needed to believe in my dream.

I only have words, only a list of needs and wants, only a gut feeling of needing to walk away because this is not something I can fix. Not something I can control or organize, as much as I so desperately want to, we are both not where we need the other to be.

I need to get him. And I don’t, and I didn’t, until a friend played devil’s advocate and explained and explained the whys and the hows. I saw, and understood, and I get that he’s trying and he does have every good intention, I just needed him to be able to explain it to me. I needed him to be able to tell me all those things. I needed to connect, to find calm in the middle of the storm, to get on the same page, to communicate, to be heard, to be understood...with him.

And it is knowing that we can’t do that together, not at this point in time, that I am at peace with this decision. As hard as it is, it is knowing that we are very different people in very different stages of our lives with very different ways of handling things that we are missing each other. That we’re just not working.

But I will say, I will go to bat, I will fight and tell you it was all real. The love, the love was always real. And there’s a part of me that’s going to miss him so incredibly much, a side of my bed that will be empty, and an eight feet tall shower head, or a glass of sweet tea that will make my heart hurt for him. I know, that there are times that I will so desperately wish that we made it, that we worked it out, that we met in the middle and lived happily ever after. And I will grieve the future we hoped for, I will grieve all the things we wanted and our life that we had imagined.

I will grieve again and again.

And when it’s over, and when I am scared and panicked and alone, I will work on getting back up and doing it all over again. I will work on doing the hard work and staying true to myself and being honest. I will work on learning to be a better person, a better girlfriend, a better friend.

I will work on being the best that I can be.

And maybe he will too.

And maybe someday, we’ll meet again.

And maybe someday, it’ll work out then.



"It was my fault too. Did I remember to tell you that? Well, it was. I had a hand in this, I played a part in this, this falling out, this breaking apart, this choice. I had a part in it, and it was my fault too.

I got scared too.

I miss you already. I miss the parts of you that was so much a part of me. I miss the parts of you that I didn't even realize were there. I miss the parts of you that was a part of my past, my present, my future. I miss the wishes, and hopes, and dreams that was you, that was us, that was ours. I miss you.

And some part of me, the part of me that believes in fairy tales and happily ever afters, the part of me that loves chick flicks and happy endings, the part of me that is naive and silly and gets me into trouble, that part, that part wishes you came back.

That part wishes you said, I get it. I get it and I get you and I understand.

That part wishes you said, fuck no, we can do this, we can do us, and I believe us, and even if it's all kinds of crazy and hard and insane we're going to keep fighting anyway. I'm going to keep fighting anyway.

That part wishes you could be the man beneath all the layers of safe and guarded.

Because this part misses you. and this part realizes that you had everything in the world to be the one. You had all the things I needed and all the things I wanted buried deep within, I just needed you to take a chance, to trust me, to let go.

I just needed you to take a leap of faith.

So that, that is why we can't be together.

Because I'll always be here and you'll always be there. I'll always want something more and you'll always be happy to just be still.

The more I push, the more you'll pull back, the more I'm scared, the more you'll scare me, the more I'll need you, the more you'll disappear.

And in the back of my mind, in the whispers of my soul, I wish that someday you'll find me. I wish that someday, you'll grow and learn and get brave, and you'll be here,
and we will be unstoppable.

That years from now, after all this soul searching and imbalance and questioning is over, when we're more confident, more sure, more certain of who we are, what we want in life, and where we want to be, that we will find each other.

Because I see so much in you, I see the gentle and the kind and the real, I see the honest and the scared, scared, scared, and the stubborn and all the could be's.

But I can't live in a world of could be's.

Could be's get me in trouble.

I need the right now, my head knows this, my reality knows this.

I know it.

I just wish it was all so so different. "

"[A] final comfort that is small, but not cold: The heart is the only broken instrument that works."

~T.E. Kalem

Monday, January 3, 2011

Speaking out.

It's the things that I have no words for or the things that I struggle to give words to. It's the stuff I want to brush aside and throw a big, huge, heavy carpet over and pretend it is not there. It is that heavy silence of a white elephant in the room and the awkward tension that fizzles and cracks and pops right along it. It is our fears and our hurt feelings and our expectations all colliding together in a whirlpool of highly charged emotions with no outlet battling against each other. It is the love that lies underneath it all that screams out loud to be heard and it is that love that stops us from finding our words and saying the hard and doing the hard. Because it is that love and the fear of hurt feelings and the fear of confrontation that pulls us back from where we would so very like to be.

And so we do this dance of pretending and side-stepping and praying, hoping, wishing, so desperately that this too shall come to pass, and this too will work itself out. Faking it until you make it except it is a cacophony of noises and missed connections and lives slipping by and living separate lives.

I struggle, to keep the balance, keep afloat. Because deep down inside, I know, that this is not where I wanted to be, this, this is not the me that I wanted to be. I wanted to be real, I wanted to be honest, I wanted to live the life I had imagined and build those relationships and find those relationships and never settle, never settle, never settle.

So you take deep breaths, and suck in all the fake courage you can muster and the words come spilling, spilling out. And suddenly you find yourself in a tidal wave of words and fears and hurt feelings and expectations all rushing, fighting, pushing and battling it out to just come out. Tell your truth.

But you're afraid, oh god, you're so very afraid, of losing the person, of severing not mending the relationship, of saying too much or not at all or not being so coherent or patient or gentle or tactful like you wanted to be because as always, when emotions get thrown into the mix, it all gets a little messy.

There's a strong part in you, the part that craves for stability and order, the part that craves to be safe and secure, the part that craves for black and white, that just wants this to just be sterile and white washed and organized. Emotionless, heartless, stay disconnected because disconnected people don't get hurt. Stay focused, be hard on yourself, find those checklists, and for godsakes, quit going by your gut and your heart and by how you feel.

But there's the other part, the lining of your soul that whispers, get dirty, get mad, be passionate, love, love, love. The part that takes all these battle wounds and say look at these scars, I mean really, look at them...they are beautiful and they are yours and they make you, you. These scars speak of amazing lessons learned and of courage and strength. These scars are the depths of your soul fighting fighting fighting to be true, to bask in the light, to be authentic and honest and real. These scars are an adoption into an inner circle of compassion and love, forgiveness and peace, kindness and grace. So live, for godsakes, live and don't fear the scars. Live and let go. Let go. Let go.


"Do work with all your heart and you will succeed."

~Elbert Hubbard

Soul food.

Worked on the decals in my room on New Year's day, a reminder that Life is Beautiful.

I remember why I came home, and I remember why this is so hard. I remember the lessons, I remember the little things, I remember to breathe.

And sometimes, it's so very hard. Especially when you least expect it. Because grief does that, it hits you unexpectedly and repeatedly, it sucks the air out of your lungs and suddenly, you're afraid, you're hurting, you're scared, you're devastated...all over again. It's hard to tell your heart the things your head knows. Like to be gentle with yourself, to forgive, to accept, to allow, to not beat yourself up for this moment of vulnerability.

To whisper, that it's okay to cry. Let go.

Embrace the moment, the hard parts, the parts that will break you but make so much more room to grow.

I thought I had the holidays in the bag, a ninja warrior, this time, this year, it would be different.

Because that was nineteen months ago. And all the healing, all the love, all the grace...surely, surely that would be enough.

It's the part where I have to let go of what and where I thought would be and embracing what it is, that is the hardest.

I grieve that dream.

Because I was so sure, so sure before it all happened that I knew exactly where I was heading and where I would be.

It was a video, of a little blonde girl opening up her presents on Christmas day that did it.

It was a new year, the looking back and the pressure to move forward that sucked me into that murky place of the unknown. The possibility, the insecurities, the desperate hope.

It was hard conversations of honest raw emotions and confronting the ugly.

It was saying, I am going to do better...and then actually having to do it. Having to speak out.
Of change, of having to say I will not be complacent and I will not be quiet about it, I will not hide, I will not pretend it's okay when it's not, I will not let it all happen again.

I will not let him happen again.

For so long after it happened, the intense emotion that kept on replaying and the thought bubble that screamed again and again was just the feeling of having felt so violated and that I let it happen.

And I was so angry, so angry and devastated and heartbroken for so long that when I moved to this place of forgiveness and healing and love, it was like night and day.

I could finally see what I so desperately longed to see.

The light at the end of the tunnel.

Friends are like soul food and I am so thankful, so grateful for the opportunities and the friendships and the people that help me find my center again.

The people that don't make me feel stupid for crying about feeling so incredibly vulnerable or heartbroken for the dreams that didn't pan out or for the life that I didn't live.

I am grateful for "the circle of no judgement".

I am grateful for honesty.
Even the brutal kind.

But most of all, I'm just grateful that I am here. Accepting. Acknowledging. Processing.

"Live! Don't settle! Grieve."

They are the voices in my head that fight back with love when I am at my least.

The ones that make me believe that I can do it.

I can do this. I can do this living and healing and moving on.

I can forgive and let go and stand up and fight back.

I can challenge the scared parts of me that want the easy and the comfortable and the lets-just-please-settle.

Thank you for listening to me process and whine and figure it out, even if the six hundred and seventy second time you've heard me.

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."

~Henry David Thoreau