What a difference a year makes. Buckle in folks, this is going to be a long one: A mix of fashion, #TransparentTuesday, and life rambles.
PS – I am going to have a giveaway starting TOMORROW (4/6) so check back in to see how to enter to win!
Today I turn 35 years old. I don't mind aging… maybe I will as I get older but for now, there's nothing scary about this number. I'm incredibly grateful for another year on this earth. 34 was a year of rebuilding. Trying to make it through the year of firsts, post-divorce. Last year, the first birthday really hit me hard. I wrote about it here. I was driving on the Bluegrass Parkway coming home from Nashville with tears streaming down my face. I knew I was going to home to an empty house. I thought I was over that sadness and grief, but it hit me over the head that day. I sat on the sofa watching Scandal, ugly crying, and feeling so empty. I tried to fill myself up with a bottle of wine. Of course, that didn't help.
My birthday in recent years has been a mix of emotions as my mom died 2 days before my birthday nine years ago. Remembering that anniversary (this year, I didn't realize the date until Facebook reminded me – uh, thanks Zuck) can bump me into an emo state. Last year the anniversary of her passing combined with the loss of identity I felt from divorce put me into a rut that I didn't know if I could climb out of. I was always incredibly independent but wasn't without a partner since I was 20. Losing his family was also incredibly hard as they were a rooting force for my life. (Not that I've “lost” them for good, but it's not nearly the same.) 34 was spent trying to take root: to find my confidence again, to be okay with my body (self-acceptance was immensely easier when I didn't have to worry about judgment from guys), to open myself up to new friends, new adventures, and being newly single.
It's been messy, but worth it. I swung wildly from working way too much to playing (or just being sad and unproductive) a little too much – finding balance was hard. I clung tightly to new and old friends – asking them to hang out with me, which for whatever reason was hard at first. But now they're framily. My writing voice went away completely for a while, but I'm starting to find it again. I've been on not-so-awesome dates and really good dates (thankfully, no HORRIBLE ones) and have learned that while I'm a bit awkward at times, I'm pretty damn comfortable and confident with who I am.
I think my 34th birthday was a turning point. The fog really started to lift after that. I can honestly say I'm happier than I've been probably in my entire life. Are things perfect? Far from it. But I have immense gratitude for personal progress and for things that ARE right. And there are many.
For comparison (because I could go on forever and probably not make a lot of sense):
- 8th anniversary of my mom's death: Nearly forgot the date and then broke down over it. Threw me in an emotional tailspin.
- 9th anniversary (this year): Remembered, reflected on how quickly life flies by, appreciated the progress I've made with handing the grief, then went to the gym and then for a walk around the local Arboretum with friends. I did cry after my kettlebell class, but just a little bit – it was a necessary, brief emotional release. Not sad. Just an acknowledgement.
- 34th birthday: Driving home and crying on a long stretch of highway, drinking a bottle of wine upon arrival home
- 35th birthday: Went to the gym, appreciated the well wishes, worked, shot these photos with the balloons and crazy wind, laughed, snuggled with my dog. (I'll celebrate on a weekend.) Did not consume wine, haha.
So bring it on, 35. You and I are going to have a lot of fun!!!
Onto outfit details! This is actually a skirt over a dress.
Karen Kane Dress – the best basic black dress! I've worn it here and here
Yours Clothing Skater Skirt c/o Gwynnie Bee subscription
(See more looks of my looks from plus size subscription service Gwynnie Bee and get a 30-day free trial)
Dinner & Drinks Clutch in Raven by Alesya Bags
Kate Spade Necklace, old – similar
Earrings and cuff, Baublebar
Shoes, super old – similar
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche lipstick in Radish
Photos by Emily Moseley, without whom I'd never have photos!
#TransparentTuesday: While this whole post is transparent, here are some truths to the reality of taking these photos:
Playing in confetti means you have a surprise when you take your bra off for the day 😂
It's really hard to shoot with balloons. Especially number balloons that are massive.
If they weren't flipping around, they were literally bopping me in the head, creating the most epic hairstyle. Then the “5” detached from the string and floated off into oblivion. I'm sorry, environment!
Thank you for being here, and for reading. Come back tomorrow for details on how to enter a great giveaway!
Disclosure: Gwynnie Bee is a client of my company, Authentically Social. I was not paid or asked to write this post or take these photos and aim to represent my opinions without influence. This page contains affiliate links.