Well this blog post is about two things. One, I have not been blogging. Yes, I realize people aren’t on the edge of their seats waiting for me to share my inner most late twenties angst BUT for those reading because Breaking Bad isn’t on the reason I haven’t been blogging, even though I really miss it, is because this has been one of the most challenging years of my life.
I was a little naive* when I jumped into making my dream come true of expanding Trauma to Art, and dedicating myself to it full-time. I did not anticipate all the physical obstacles coming my way on top of the obvious obstacles for starting a sustainable business/NPO.
I started the year very sick during blizzard 2013, got a third degree burn on a motorcycle in Cabarete, DR, totaled my car and sustained a concussion that left me out of commission for three weeks, got poison ivy in Muir woods — which appeared days later pretending to be a tiny cluster of innocent bug bites, FYI (Side note — the best way to stop the itching is to take a scolding hot shower “as hot as you can take” and the itching goes away, the hideous bumps remain visible to give you that complete leper experience). The final nail was the other day when I found out the hair color mishap I thought happed was in fact hair loss from my birth control. Thanks, Nexplannon. You’ve taught me some valuable lessons about vanity.
More than the physical mishaps that seemed to follow me at every turn, establishing the organization was difficult in a way I hadn’t anticipated. I’m not sure why I was surprised since I’ve observed some of my most wonderful friends run thriving businesses. OK, fine, ridiculous ex-boyfriends. They all had one thing in common. They were beyond your wildest comprehension of confident. I’m confident but I found myself afraid of what I did not know instead of inquisitive and persistent. I am all for a 12-hour day. I don’t shutter at the sight of a hard work. It doesn’t phase me a bit but when I saw my connections, donors, plans, strategies one by one go from “sure things” to complete flakes, I felt like I was spinning. The more paths led me awry, the less I took care of myself. The less I took care of myself, the less I felt inspired to be the person who put Trauma to Art together in the first place.
While 2013 offered me amazing moments — traveling with my best friend Caitlin to the DR, celebrating my birthday in California Wine Country, finally finishing Trauma to Art’s manuscript (we’re in the editing slash name that book stage — side note: we’re looking for something catchy like 4-Hour Work Week. Fuck, that was a good title), with the help of the best donors in the world we raised over $16K, I’m seconds away from FINALLY finishing the illustration of my late mother’s children’s book, I travelled to Las Vegas with the most amazing college friends — Chrissy, Ariel, Shelley and Amber, I went on a southern city tour with my boyfriend John and his parents, I watched two wonderful friends get married and even got to be part of the ceremony with a piece I wrote for them, which was an honor and a gift I will cherish forever, and that brings me to the best day of all: October 13, 2013 the day my nephew Joseph Thomas was born! He’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen — not just because he’s cute, because, duh, he’s a Muscarella, he’s just so brand new. When I held him in my arms for the first time, it was out of this world. I’ve never experienced something so pure. Time seemed to slow. The crazy world seemed to crumble around in significance. Fears, anxieties, stresses in that moment seemed less important because this is life in your arms. There you are holding a possible little leader, who could change the world. He looked like little sign of hope. A symbol to bring my family together.
I think it was the first moment since my mom died that there was a pure joy and excitement for my whole family. Holidays have changed. Everything has changed. As much as I work on Trauma to Art to create rituals to remember and forums to discuss how we cope with loss, the more I see how great an impact my family’s, or any family’s, loss has — our lives, our paths, our beliefs, our keyhole view of the world is changed forever. This is super corny but I felt so strongly that maybe there is this greater power and he sent Baby Joe to our family to remind us how crazy amazing it is to be alive for as long as we get to live.