Chapter 34

My favorite thing to ask people on their birthday: What are you taking into the next chapter of life? Today it was asked of me… in this next chapter, I’m embracing self-reflection and self-love.

The pandemic had already helped me focus on those things, but as “things are getting back to normal” or living in the “new normal,” I want to continue to practice mindful self love and reflection of my growth.


Every morning, I take the first ten minutes to myself to align in mindful meditation. I don't open my phone or say good morning to my wife – I sit in stillness with myself. I say affirmations for the day, pray, and listen to my body through breathing exercises. 

I often reflect on my past, healing my childhood trauma, where I currently am in life, and what I need to continue to work on. I reflect on what I’ve accomplished, the goals I want to reach, and the wife and mother that I am. Reflections like these help me to internalize the good and bad parts of myself. 

For those that don’t know me, I’m extremely blunt – I’ll tell you exactly how I feel. I’m not afraid to speak up for myself or others. I don’t tolerate bullies and I’m passionately an advocate for equal rights. However, on the other hand, I’m also very sensitive, which could be attributed to why I’m so blunt. I love hard and care a lot about basically everything.

This sunrise session perfectly encapsulates this chapter of self-reflection.


It’s so easy for me to give others grace, but it’s extremely hard for me to allow the same for myself, hence why I want to get better with self-reflection and doing earth(birth)day portraits. 

I LOVE being behind the camera – it’s where I feel the most comfortable. Yet, I’m very uncomfortable in front of the camera. I’m so critical of myself that I constantly compare myself to the way I looked five years ago or other beauty standards. I struggled with this my whole life. Whenever I take photos, I’m very self-conscious of my poses. It’s even harder for me to edit photos of myself. I’m hoping that these portraits and others I take in the future will help me love myself more. As I continue to evolve, change, and reflect on continuing to love myself throughout each chapter, I vow to give myself grace. 

These portraits are a reflection of me: understanding that I’m not perfect (and no one is), my value isn’t contingent on how my body looks, protecting my energy by letting go of toxic people, stepping outside of my comfort zone, putting myself first, and allowing myself to feel things fully.

My theme song this year is one that I discovered about geminis called “Gemini'' by Princess Nokia.