I was having a conversation with my roommate Hannah and I thought of something. Why is it that we’re so afraid of being perceived as vulnerable? Why do we see breaking down or sharing pain or acknowledgment of sorrow as weakness? On the contrary, these are the most brave and courageous things you can do! Real bravery is moving THROUGH that pain, not perpetually shutting it up and not feeling it. You can’t bury it. It will just manifest somewhere else. Whether that be outbursts, mood swings, increased depression, isolation, a substance, or habit. So here are a few things I’d like to clear up going into the new year. This is not because of anything anyone has said or even that someone in particular might read this, but for me as I recommit to my promise to myself to be 100% genuine. Some are lighter, trivial little things, others more complicated! Here’s to not giving a crap about naysayers and being real. I’ve decided I’m entirely done with faking anything and committed to being a person of as much light as I can possibly muster. Firstly, no I cannot actually afford to go to Disneyland all the time😂 a lot of y’all have asked me this. I have not payed for Disney once since I left the company-I used two complimentary tickets from the company that was my parting gift and the rest was from incredibly kind former coworkers that got me in! Side note, I am primarily able to travel because my mother is a “point whore” as we call ourselves who masterfully crafts these trips using points, deals, and her Laurence wit to organize adventures for our family. My father works in a different state 5/7 days a week, flying back and forth. As you can imagine, we have a lot of flyer points. I’m extremely blessed in that regard and will probably never live up to the master planner and deal finder that is my mother. Groupon should be your best friend, just sayin’ Second, I use Facetune on almost all of my photos. I use it to change color composition, brighten an image, and to whiten smiles or smooth dark spots for me and for people whom I photograph. This is standard of any photographer. But I’m not a real photographer. I’m a total amateaur, so I use facetune to change warm tones, add glow and polish to a photo, etc, since I don’t use any more advanced program and I’m always on the go. However I have very mixed feelings about it since I originally downloaded it so I could do comparison shots on how easy it is to manipulate the shape of your body for my blog. In full disclosure, at one point I did use it to change my body in a photo. I felt so horrible about it and fake that I then deleted it, but still, even the girl who runs a page about body positivity and media fabrication fell prey to the allure of quick fixes for my “imperfections,” which says a lot about how powerful it can be. Now I strictly use it as a platform for photography editing on the go with no bodily altercations, but I still have mixed feelings about even having an app with such toxic capabilities on my phone. I don’t ever change a body or thin out a face. Lastly, my life the past few months has been extremely different from the life I lived at Disney. People would say that I just looked like I was having the time of my life, and to be completely honest, I was 🤷🏻♀️. Of course there were hard times, but overall, I was never happier than when I worked at Disney. This semester however, my health failed and I’ve not been able to breath well or stay awake through a single day the entire semester. I’ve been on multiple antibiotics, seeing doctors on campus, and trying to navigate having clinical depression dips with acute fatigue. Once I would heal, I’d just get sick again. I lost friends and gained some this semester. I made some mistakes too that I’m sure in time I won’t regret, but right now I would do anything to erase. I pushed through a lot of trust issues and trauma during my 8 months in the program, thinking I’d be ready to jump into the new when I got back and once I did, it just tore open a new trauma. I realized I’d put faith into things that could never return my devotion and I mourned a lot of loss. The place I called home during all of high school went up in flames and the Thousand Oaks shooting struck all of us in the community. I also got caught up with the university in a completely ridiculous and false accusation but nonetheless, pretty traumatizing ordeal. It’s ongoing and I don’t know what will happen to me. The past few months have been filled with meeting after meeting of me trying to convince a board of people that already have a set of ideas about me that I’m a good person. It got me into constantly looking for the bad in myself and sent me into a depressive cycle. My depression meds stopped working and my constant sickness made me weak and unable to sing 80% of the time. Honestly, I went from 100% happiness to one of the lowest points of my life in less than 4 months and there is absolutely nothing glamorous about it and nothing left to say but here’s to turning things around. I knew going from freaking Disneyland to Provo would be bad, but not THAT bad 😂 So although I post pictures of wonderful things and incredible adventures that I am so truly grateful for, I don’t intend for anyone to believe that my life is a highlight reel or that everybody doesn’t have to deal with their own crap. Just cause you see a lot of good on people’s feeds or from what they say doesn’t mean you’re the only one “getting it wrong.” We’re all out here imperfect and just doing our best. I’m truly grateful, and although honestly my optimistic spirit doesn’t really extend into this new year, I know there will be a lot of growth and that inspires me. We all have difficult times that teach us how to be more empathetic human beings, and mortal existence is about growth and stepping out of our comfort zone. I also have to give a special note to the angel that made life so much more bearable, Hannah. It’s funny how God uses people to answer prayers. She is truly a kindred soul to me and I don’t know where we will go in life, but I know that nothing can ever take away all that she’s given me just by letting me get to know her. I want nothing but her total happiness and I can honestly say I love her without condition. I know God is good and I know He smiles kindly and weeps with me in times of pain. I love God, I love my family, I love my friends, I love myself. Here’s to turning this ship around; I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again- all the way back home.