This week marks the 5th anniversary of my move to Seattle. One of the first couple weeks of living here I went to a Band of Horses show alone at the Showbox after they had released their Cease to Begin album. It was my first time going to a show alone in a new city that I had just begun to call home. I knew only one person in the city for more than a month so naturally it was slightly lonely but it was also somehow indescribably invigorating and I felt like I was on the precipice of life’s possibilities. Last week I was driving from my neighborhood of Wallingford to Ballard and about half way there the road reaches a peak followed by a steep downhill and from it one can see the Olympic mountains in the distance. One of the Band of Horses songs from that record came on the radio and the song peaked just as I reached the mountainous view, with it’s majesty that still never gets old, and I began to cry. Not because I was sad but rather because my heart was so full from what the past 5 years have manifested. Recently I was reading an old e-mail exchange a friend and I had just weeks before my move. I was fearful of what it would mean to leave everything I’d known all my life, with a freshly broken heart and crumbling community that I thought I would trust for years and years to come. In a time when I felt like everything was lost, and when I had been on antidepresants for years and feared how the person beneath them would handle this life change, there existed a glimmer of that sparkle under the layers, vying for my attention. He encouraged me, “You’ll get thru, I know it! You’re a tough girl and will beat these challenges. I know you’ve got it inside you.” As simple as it was for him to say, it gave me a kickstart of hope. Another girlfriend wrote a letter of encouragement and in it she insisted that I was worth and deserving of more than I understood at that time or could dream and to not settle because there would be a man someday that would beg me not to move and who would honor and cherish who I was. It’s funny how in our current situations it can be so hard to see how anything could ever change and the future can seem so monotonous. A little less than a decade ago when I was really struggling with deep sadness and unable to find the light in front of me I often closed my eyes and wished I could fall asleep and wake up years in the future when I would loved my life and experience contentment and happiness. This past summer as I was going for a walk around the neighborhood, my hand clutched in Andy’s, it came over me like a gust of wind…..this was that time. I was finally in the reality for which I had hoped for so long and although I wasn’t able to magically close my eyes and fall asleep until it got to the good part, I appreciated the good part that much more because I had trudged through so much mud to get to it. I put in the hard work and welcomed the eventual joy that came from sometimes uncomfortable change. After moving to Seattle I picked up a camera and began to explore what it looked like to tell stories through images. A few months months in I was able to ween myself off of a medication I assumed I would need for the rest of my life just to feel “normal” and chose to face all of the things I was actually feeling. I would meet the man who would daily choose to love me completely and who consistently fought for our relationship again and again. I guess this story is being told because I want to encourage YOU. It’s possible to create the life you want, to make that move you’ve been contemplating or to call that friend to say I’m sorry and start the work of rebuilding what had lay dormant for so long, to gently drop the comforts of the job you thought you were suppose to have to pursue the things that make you feel deeply. Whatever that little glimmer is under there vying for you to give it consideration, accept it’s challenge and pursue the quest. You are worth it.