When I first started this blog, I created it for myself so I could have a place to share a life journal with all of mine and Darshan’s family who didn’t live near us. We were just starting our life out together, living in a new city, traveling a ton, and laying our foundation for the future. It became a place where I connected with people I knew and eventually with people I didn’t know. I remained honest and diligent in always sharing my truth, which was sometimes difficult and scary but all together liberating and healing. Somewhere along the journey, using this space as a personal journal got lost. It turned into a business and while I remain proud proud of my journey and my work, what I realized is that I lost my space of connecting with people. I lost the freedom to share my raw and true self, and in a sense I lost my voice. I used to do this weekly entry every Monday called “Weekend Roundup” where I would share what adventures we had over the weekend, some big and sometimes none at all, but I would also take a bit of time to reflect on what the previous week had looked like and what I was looking forward to in the new week. I often shared more personal family photos, more raw and unposed iPhone favorites from the week, I wanted it to be a place where we could look back at over the years and always have memories to reflect on. It was also my way of taking a break from fashion posts and really connecting with my readers, it was the one post a week where I felt like I was just being ‘me’ and I think sometimes seeing the regular-ness allowed for people to see that I was more than my regular “ootd” or sale posts from the gram.
As I was getting ready for bed last night and reflecting on the week/weekend a flood of emotions and thoughts hit me and out of no where I had this calling to write it down somewhere. It didn’t feel like anything I could text or communicate to just one person, it was too ‘big’ for social media, and I realized that this was something I needed to journal. Right now I have so many thoughts running through my head, I don’t quite know how to sort them but one thing I know about myself is that I often find healing in two ways: writing and connecting with others.The truth is I have such a hard time connecting with people through personal dialogue, the introvert in me doesn’t always have the words when someone is sitting next to me, but give me a keypad and screen and out pour the feelings and emotions; that is why having this blog as a place to share was so important to me when I began this journey. That is why I think that even after taking some time away from it, I realized last night that it was time to reconnect. I need to get these thoughts out, I need to find my voice, my feelings need to be released, and these emotions need some taming, and now more than ever I need to feel a connection to others.
This last week has been one of the most difficult of my entire life. I lost one of my best friends, someone who I have known and looked up to my entire life, someone who has been a pillar in my world since as early as I can remember. It hasn’t felt right telling people over the last few days that my ‘cousin Lina’ passed away, she was just so so much more to me than that. Like we often said, we were cousin by labels and family tree diagrams, but in our hearts and soul, we were sisters… which is why for as long as I can remember, we called each other ‘cousin-sister.’ In our family we don’t look at cousins as some distant relative we see at holidays. We spent every evening at either Grandma’s house, her house, my house, one of our aunt’s houses, weekends were for the family, aunts are second moms, and cousins are brothers and sisters. She was my sister. IS my sister. To process the idea that she is gone, that a piece of my childhood, of my life, is gone just doesn’t feel real. There is sadness, a hole in my heart, and also something about losing someone so close in age to you, a peer, that brings a sense of guilt… why her and not me; its been a lot to wrap my heat around. Between my older brother, myself, my cousin Lina and her sister Sabrina, the 4 of use grew up all born one year after the other and very close. We were like this perfect quad, the only grandchildren in the family for 8 years so every life experience we lived together. We made a perfect square, all such drastically different personalities yet somehow so perfect together. I am sure us 3 girls drove my/our older brother crazy with him being the oldest and only boy looking out for us girls, but together we just fit so perfect. I think that is what hurts the most, knowing our foursome is no longer. Of course when I turned 8 we welcomed my little sister, another cousin to add to the mix, and eventually a lot more cousins following her making our bunch almost quadruple within years… but us 4 oldest still joked and loved to remind the younger group that we were the original 4. It was such a special bond we shared, something we held so proud, something that felt so perfect. We were connected, always. From childhood through adulthood, we never wavered in our loyalty to one another. You can not complete a square without all 4 corners, and that is truly how I feel right now in losing Lina… just so incomplete. So open. A corner chipped. In a way it still doesn’t feel real.
I don’t quite know what this week has in store. On a social note it is quiet, I knew better than to commit myself to anything too big for the next few weeks. I tend to be the kind of person who needs personal space and the best part about being an adult is knowing these things about yourself. I am allowing myself that, but also taking it day by day and welcoming the moments where I feel motivated to make a plan for the day. I feel like everyday since this immense pain began when/if I got out of the house, the plans to do so were literally made the hour prior. That somehow has been healing, so out of the norm for myself, but liberating. My life mission at the moment is to be there as much as I can for my family. In our family, because of how close we are, we don’t mourn alone. We support, we rally, and we show up for one another. While I shared in my previous paragraph that in my world I feel like a piece of my quad is missing, I know that right now my cousin Sabrina is feeling like half of her is missing. Sabrina is Lina’s sister and towards the end of Lina’s battle became her primary caregiver. Growing up the two of them were literally two peas in a pod, you didn’t get one without the other, polar opposites and perfectly whole. You couldn’t say Sabrina without also saying Lina, they were a pair. I was just the little cousin they lovingly referred to as their little sister, but they were the real sisters. I won’t sit here and pretend to know Sabrina’s pain right now, but I know that it is my duty as the next in kin to be here for her, to look out for her, and I proudly accept that. Her story isn’t mine to tell, but my love for both runs so deep that this is my pledge to take care of my cousin/sister as much as I can right now and forever. So I guess when I think about my ‘plans’ for the week it is to take care of my family, keep my house operating, and take it day by day.
Regarding my blog and the content shared here and on my social media accounts I don’t quite have a plan yet there either. I took some much needed time away this week, but the scary thing about ghosting the world is that as an introvert you also ghost yourself, and when left to sit with your thoughts for too long, your heart can get pretty heavy. As a creative, I need an outlet. A place to share, connect, and a distraction from my sadness. Same as with my daily life, I plan to take it one day at a time. If I am inspired I’ll post, if I need a day to connect with myself I won’t. I guess its pretty simple when put like that. It could be superficial like a recent H&M purchase, or a deeper heartfelt message, I am not sure and I am sure it will be all over the place for a bit, but who else would I be if I wasn’t just me. Who knows, maybe by next week I will bring back these journal style posts and maybe even a ‘Weekend Roundup’ or two this month 😉
Thoughts I hope to take into the week: patience for those who don’t understand the pain, grace for myself as I try to manage the emotions, and courage as I put my brave face forward to be a support for my family who is hurting so badly right now. Lina was so special to so many, she impacted people in such a strong way, and the world is just a little more dim without her in it, I won’t pretend otherwise.
I want to make her proud above all else.
I love and miss you, cousin/sister
This week’s roundup & moments I don’t want to forget:
Easter with my family
Spring breaking in the backyard
His favorite activity: making snail friends
a messy house and a Hot Wheel happy boy
First game of Coach Pitch with Rajan up to bat!!
…more snail finds on our scooter ride
Falling asleep with a hand in the snack bowl and Whales on the iPad