Saying Goodbye to California With a Full Heart

24 hours. 24 hours left in the Bay Area. The place where I grew up. The place where I lost my mom. The place where I was in a complicated blended family situation. The place I ran away from when I was 16. The place where I just spent one of the most magical months of my life. For the first time, basically ever, I have fallen in love with the area; the land; the beauty; the people; the food. I'm now so proud to be from the San Francisco bay area.

I was driving back from Whole Foods tonight. Mumford and Son's - I will wait - was playing pretty loud and I just felt blissed out. Totally and completely at peace and happy. Today I completed my last and final photoshoot of a month full of amazing creative work. My last shoot before heading to Copenhagen. Yup, I'm heading back. And while I'm beyond excited, I will be leaving the Bay Area with a heart longing to return already. A forever longing to return home. Returning to the Bay Area this time around has been different than ever before. There has been a massive shift in my being. The realization that allowing yourself to experience grief opens up new space in your heart. The Bay Area, where I grew up, is a place where I experienced a lot of pain. I lost my mom to cancer when I was eleven here. Since then, the Bay Area has been an energetically challenging place for me to be. Because of that, I left for boarding school all the way across the country at 16. After high school, I spent the following 6 years in Oregon. Every time I would visit I would get internally stressed, anxious and feel generally unwell. When I lost my mom at eleven, I was young. I was still a baby. I never fully grieved. I managed my grief through sports. But I never truly grieved the death of my mom the way I needed to. Following my break-up last Spring, I grieved really hard. I wasn't only grieving the end of a beautiful relationship, but I was grieving the death of my mom. Grieving the end of my relationship just opened up the flood gates for all of my emotions to come out and for me to fully experience them. And this past year I've experienced such an insane range of emotions because of that.

I've gone through so many incredible transformations this year. As always, I have learned first hand that struggle breeds growth. And finally, I feel like I have fully grieved the death of my mom. For me, the most amazing thing has been coming back to the Bay Area with a refreshed perspective and positive energy. It has felt like finally, at last, I've truly been able to come home. I had a shoot this past Friday with a wonderful client, Massiva. She was such a joy to be around. She radiated positive energy during our session. She made me realize how special this time in California has been. She captured this picture of me and it's such an accurate representation of how I have been feeling this past month. I just had one of the best months of my life. One of those months where everything was flowing. One of the those months where the Universe was rooting for me. I was able to experience the Bay Area in a whole new way. I am coming into my womanhood. I was able to create amazing work with my dream clients while here. I found a lifestyle here that I loved; full of all the things that make my life full: inspiring work, healthy food, movement, family, friends, flexibility and independence. It's been an amazing time here in the Bay Area. I leave for Copenhagen tomorrow and I'm thrilled to be returning. I'm also scared and nervous about what's to come. I'm scared to leave the Bay Area when I'm in such a great flow. But I'm also so, so excited to return to the city that helped me to reclaim my independence as a woman, the city that I found my photography style in and a city that inspires me endlessly. I fly out tomorrow evening and am planning on spending my last day doing all the things I love doing here: a morning coconut milk cappuccino at our local Starbucks, a workout at Crossfit Burlingame, lunch at the Whole Foods salad bar, and lots of hugs from my sweet dad, cause I'll miss that man. I'm so thrilled to be leaving the Bay Area on a high note. Always leave on a high note. Am I right?