Three years ago, I moved back to California after spending nine years in Austin, TX for attending college and building my first business.
Within a month of being back in California, I re-evaluated each area of my life, in part intentionally, but looking back now, it seems it was inevitable in many ways. I decided to completely transition and expand my holistic hair care and skin care studio to the online space, and so I embarked on a 13-month program to do so. My ex and I decided to end our relationship. Six weeks later, my uncle passed away from a heart attack. Then in the midst of making plans to meet for coffee after 10 years, and trying to wait for one of her good days, my mentor (and English teacher who encouraged me to pursue writing) passed away from a recurrence of cancer. A month after that, my grandmother (maternal) was diagnosed with breast cancer. Four months after that I would see my grandma through a lumpectomy and create a holistic healing regimen for her. She asked for my help, and I wanted to do everything I could to support her body, mind, heart, and spirit as she healed. We were so grateful when her surgery went well and her cancer went into remission.
In the context of the prior year, any good news was celebrated and held in deepest gratitude. Because to know and endure grief is to understand and choose gratitude. It was the only way I could see to find a silver lining...to appreciate the moments that felt good, whenever they occurred, for as long as they would last.
Two months later, my grandfather (paternal) passed away. Three months later, the relationship with whom I thought could be the love of my life unraveled. Six weeks later, a family friend rapidly declined and passed from liver cancer in his early 50's. Six months later, my step mother passed after a year of intensive chemo. Then my grandfather (maternal) required heart surgery the week before Christmas (two months later).
All this was going on while my brother started dating his wife and I lost her as a friend and him as a best friend through the process.
To say I was roughed up a bit over the last couple years would be an understatement. What could have been an identity crisis became a shedding of self, a refinement process...an opportunity to be under pressure long enough to change states. I am grateful for the part of me that always chooses to seek the sparkle. I know it didn't have to go that way, and I'm so grateful it did. This period of time pushed me to confront every area of my life, my heart, my mind, and my soul. It demanded a version of myself that I eventually surrendered into. At times things were so bad, that all I could do was try anything to find moments of reprieve and joy.
Oh and there was wine....beaucoup du vin. But eventually I had to acknowledge even its limits, and become the light of my life and the light I wanted to be in this world.
And so I did. Could I transform this grief, sadness, and disappointment into something greater? Could I use this energy and momentum in another way? After a long fight, one that I had become quite good at after 28 years, I let go. I let go of who I thought I was, or thought I should be. I decided to see who I became when I fully decided to be happy—to find moments worth living for—no matter what.
I had the insight to know that I had two choices: to break down or break open. I refused to let life break my spirit. I opted to let it teach me how to live. I started asking more questions. I attended more seminars. I sought out leaders and experts who inspired me and were asking questions too.
Compassion and empathy has always been easy for me (it's one of the benefits of being sensitive!). So the next phase was to extend it to myself as much as I would do so easily to others.
What came next was the practice of suspending judgement and preconceived ideas of how things should be. Given that paradigm, I explored myself, my relationships, and the world with open eyes and acceptance for how things are. I truly understood how something was both f-ed up and beautiful at the same time. I no longer needed things to be one way or another. I simply wanted to see them as they are and to let them be seen, accepted and loved. Just as every part of me was asking me to be.
And so I did.
I let the pain in. I let it flow through me. I surrendered to the raw experience of being human.
I stopped taking my days for granted. I stopped apologizing for the dreams that lived in my heart. I stopped keeping them as a secret. I would breathe life into them instead. I gave myself permission to listen to them and love them, and be the life through which they manifest.
The reason I mention all this is that it has been possible because I'm my mother's daughter.
We have always been there for each other, but through enduring these past two years as adult women who were there, saw each other through, and did so with unconditional love and respect has been one of the greatest gifts in this time of my life.
As far back as I can remember, she has always encouraged me to try the things I was drawn to and to follow my dreams.
She instilled the voice that made it possible for me to believe, "Ok, why not? I can do that, or at least I'll try."
She often refers to the idea of looking back on your life, arriving at the "pearly white gates," and being asked, "Really? Was that all you wanted?"
To me, this is her way of acknowledging the infinite possibilities that are available to us, and to not limit ourselves or what we believe when we know all things are possible. It's her invitation to ask for more and dream bigger...it's a check-in and prompt to embrace your vision and take it even farther.
I've seen what she's experienced for not always making a traditional choice or taking a conventional path. There's been judgment and ridicule and also otherworldly, unforgettable experiences.
This is probably where I learned that there's always both.
Throughout moments of doubt and moments of joy, one thing has remained: She has always believed and stood by what is in her heart.
It's one of the things I admire most about her. She'd rather be single than settle. We have been in conversation as I find myself marveling at her because despite having a million reasons not to, I see that even still she believes in extraordinary love, and encourages me to know it's possible and to experience it with my whole heart.
While most people would be focused on wanting it for themselves and likely being jealous of others who have what they want, but don't have...she genuinely believes that one person experiencing it is part of the greater good. She genuinely receives joy from others' joy. It's one of the reasons why she's one of the most incredible humans I know and I believe she deserves her heart to be bursting with joy too.
I'm 30 years old and one of the things I'm most proud of and grateful for is to be my mother's daughter.
After decades of plenty of opportunities to look at love and say that it's too hard, doesn't work out, is too much work, isn't worth it, and wondering if the love she's holding out for is indeed possible, she still says to me, "Meg, I feel compelled to say that if I were you and it feels right, I'd fight for him and give your relationship your all."
Be all in. Let your whole heart guide you. Take the leap. Be the love you're here to be.
Her faith in love renews my faith. She could have a million justified reasons to not believe, but despite it all...she still does and it's one of the most beautifully profound acts of faith I've ever witnessed.
I know the relationship we have is rare. I cherish it every day. One Sunday, we FaceTimed for hours and she mentioned that she didn't want to keep me from exploring and being out in the world for the day. I quickly replied, "Geneva will be here. I choose quality time with you." It's a blessing to know the good times when you're in them.
I finally feel like I'm on solid ground after a long standing bout of unexpected turbulence. It feels like reaching the summit and from knowing what it takes to get there, it's even better than you imagined it would be.
I've felt excitement and joy A LOT recently, and for the first time in a while, I feel like myself again. I feel like the part that was underwater learned how to swim and has discovered how lovely it can be to simply float.
One of my strategies from the last year was to always have something to look forward to. If I didn't have one, I'd book something, go to the beach, find an exhibition, or an event that would inspire me.
Through learning this, it taught me how to guide others to do the same. Not in the way I think, but in a way that lets each person discover what their process is like for them; to help them find their version.
Again, as my mother has witnessed this process and how it has changed me, she's begun to inquire about what that looks like for her. While I don't know it personally, I can imagine how it can feel daunting to reacquaint with yourself when the last three decades have focused on being a mother to your family first, and coming back to yourself second.
But as she's seen me through this process of reacquaintance with myself, she too has shifted from cheering me on and being there along the way to stepping into her power, and what that looks like for her now.
So when last week, she asked to hire me and to work with her, it was one of the most humbling moments of my life.
With honor. With joy. With pleasure.
I did, however, immediately set ground rules. "Ok, but only if you know that when we're in session, being mother and daughter is set aside. I will treat you as I love and approach my clients and when I say or suggest something, you understand it's a different exchange than how we are within the context of our personal relationship."
We agreed. We had our first session and what we created was magic. The right energy at the right time at the right place. It's so exciting.
Trusting the timing of things and saying yes to the things that feel right when they feel right is yet another understanding I've learned through being my mother's daughter.
May our healing, friendship and collaboration be a light and living example of healing and growing together, especially as women and particularly from one generation to the next.
May we carry our love forward and expand it more and more with every step we take and each generation to come.
Mom, thank you for showing me and teaching me the kind of love that heals. Thank you for your love that has made (and continues to make) what once were dreams be possible and now become real. I love you. I honor you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Here's to all we've shared, all that's to come, and the choice to show up and be better today than we were yesterday, especially when that means being more loving and forgiving of the women we are and continue to become.
Here's to despite it all, dreams coming true 💕