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9 years ago to the day I was in a recovery room with staples in my head coming out of anestia.

That experience and the journey to healing that followed allowed me to understand the fragility of life in a unique way.

I remember fondly graduating from college and thinking to myself “The world is mine to explore!”

Yet, that was something that turned out not to be accurate for the weeks and months that followed.

Instead, I found myself moving from specialist to specialist looking for answers.

Trying to find the perfect cocktails of medication that would provide relief and freedom from pain.

With the ultimate outcome being brain surgery.

An option that I very casually approached as if those two words combined did not mean something powerful and impactful.

When in all actuality for the months that followed I shrugged my shoulders and tried to transition back into life.

In hindsight, entirely too quickly, that caused my body to be trailing behind me and not with me.

A feat that I only allowed myself to believe that I had done so seamlessly.

A lie that I no longer tell myself.

The weight of all that this experience would mean for my life hit me like a ton of bricks one day.

As I sat at a restaurant across from my parents and next to my younger brother, I broke down crying.

The option of a cheeseburger or chicken fingers is overwhelming on a good day, but in that moment the choice represented something entirely different.

(It is always chicken fingers in case you were wondering.)

With the very first exhale it all came out.

In one ugly, snot-filled mess and at an imperfectly timed moment.

Because with the inhale of digesting the surgery before me , I did not stop to exhale.

And, with that simple breath, I had also breathed in fears, doubts, and questions.

All the questions!

Fear of not being able to pull off a bald head.

Fear of having to learn to walk and talk again, I didn’t.

Fear of never being able to fulfill my purpose.

(The limited theology that I had in that moment shaped this mindset, one that I have since ditched.)

From that fateful day where I chose the chicken fingers with a double side of French fries I begin to move forward.

And I moved forward exhaling every fear, doubt and question along the way.

I realized that I needed to create space in my life to pause, reflect, but ultimately to celebrate the moments of life that could have taken my last breath.

The moments that allowed me to continue to see with full sight.

The moments that made a way for me to embrace the challenges that show up in my life as if it is nothing but a mere ant hill.

The moments where I am able to love unconditionally and freely.

The moments where it is ok for me to be extremely dramatic and exuberantly expressive over the most simple things.

The moments where I do hard things and have an outwardly expression of my fears every single step of the way.

And, being ok with the complete vulnerability and exposure that exist in those spaces.

The moments where I never stop asking questions, ALL, the questions regardless of how ridiculous they are.

The moments where I pick-up my doubts and throw them over my shoulder as I walk towards the unknown.

So today, like every year on this day for the past 9 years, I celebrate.

Celebrate that inspite of all of my fears, doubts, and questions, God grabbed my hand and said “We got this! One step at a time!”

If this story sparks nothing else, I hope it allows you to do something extra special for yourself today.

Because, my dear, you are worth the time it takes to pause, reflect, but ultimately you are worth every ounce of celebration that your tribe has to show you!

The time I take on this day is my reminder to keep moving forward with hope, laughter, and a chic haircut!

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