Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Powerlifting My Spirits

It's pretty crazy to look back and realize that it has almost been a year since I wrote in my blog. Some may choose to look at that as a good thing and others may wonder why I ever stopped writing. I have felt the need to write for a while now but making it a priority has obviously not happened. Life has been busy between work, working out and finding time to enjoy myself. Up until this point every time I sat down to write it generally was structured around my grief journey and how I was handling each day but today my post is surrounded around some of the exciting things I am doing in my life and the learning that is occurring as I take those steps. I have figured out how to take my sadness and pain and transfer it into positive actions rather than just sitting in grief. I no longer let it overpower my thoughts instead I have found new techniques to remember my father while continuing to spread his power of love to the rest of the world. In helping others reach their goals I have found my passion, which I believe everyone knew was my path before I even began the career I have chosen. I am not perfect but I have made huge strides into living the life that I know my father would be proud of.

With that being said, most people that know me would agree that I have an extreme passion for working out and it's ultimately what led me years ago to the position I am in currently of being a personal trainer and sports performance coach. I absolutely love pushing people to new limits. The ability to see people reach new goals and watching them strive to be the best they can is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Hearing the words "I can't" come out of my clients mouths makes me work that much harder to prove to each of them that they can. I have learned that while people are working out you see a side of them that you may never see in their every day life. You see dedication to a specific task with an attitude of never giving up even if they fail they will get right back up and try again, and again, and again, until they accomplish the task you are asking of them. Not only do they strive for greatness for themselves, but they strive for those working out beside them and even more than that they strive to make me, their coach, proud. I continue to learn so much about fitness, working out, nutrition and what the body is capable of on any given day. I have witnessed what fear can do to a person and that while fear may be controlling the mind all they need is just one person to believe in them and care about their journey. That care for others is really just having compassion for every single person you come in contact with knowing that at any given moment you have the ability to forever change that persons life. For me, my avenue to most people is through fitness and I feel fortunate that I can impact lives in a healthy and positive manner.

Through fitness I have been introduced to some pretty incredible human beings. As I continue to surround myself around new groups of people one of the most exciting things to see is each persons passion. We may come from a different past, our stories may not match up perfectly if even at all, we may not be the same skin color or even the same gender and our personal goals may not match up but one common connection we all have is that we strive to be the best we can in order to break the barriers we have built for ourselves. However, one thing I have realized or maybe I should say one thing I know I struggle with is that we must open our eyes to those around us in times of need. Physical strength becomes even more powerful when you take advantage of those people surrounding you that want to build you up and inspire you to reach a new level of greatness. Each individual helps create a culture and that culture becomes a driving force behind the challenges faced by any one person who understands how difficult it is to push the body to its limits. Understanding someones goal is not necessary, what is necessary is the ability to understand what it takes mentally and physically to never stop until that goal is achieved. Alone a person can only push them self as far as they are willing to push but in a group or a pack of like-minded individuals, suddenly that same person is able to dig deeper and not give up until they have exhausted all ability to try. Giving up without an attempt to succeed is a sign of weakness and as humans we hate feeling weak. Even more than just personally feeling weak we hate other people seeing our weakness, vulnerability is not our friend.

You can definitely consider me a gym rat, I can spend hours and hours in a gym with no care in the world. I love to push my body to its limits and fortunately I have always been someone that could push myself without anyone around. In the past I have found it hard to workout in a group unless it was a class style workout where I knew I could push myself and help push others at the same time. I decided to take action on a goal that I had for myself but never took the steps towards, known as the sport of powerlifting.  In order to reach new personal records there is no other choice than to allow others to be apart of that journey, so for once I branched out to find someone that could teach me how to be a Powerlifter. I promised myself that once I set my mind to it I would take whatever steps necessary to reach my goal. In the process I found my coach Gracie V who immediately believed that my goal was not only possible but that I would fall in love with a sport I knew very little about. I walked into California Elite Training Center and never felt so out of place in my life. The outgoing, loud, and fun girl that most know me as became this shy and quiet individual that felt so uncomfortable. I started questioning if I could ever fit in but within minutes I realized that I was in my version of a gym heaven. Slowly I began meeting all these people, one person after another I would introduce myself and for once it wasn't guys, it was a group of women with all different backgrounds but with the same goal.

I have now been powerlifting for a little over a month and slowly I am feeling stronger and stronger. Not only am I physically stronger but mentally stronger. I am surrounded around a pack of people that are not only passionate about reaching goals but they are also extremely passionate about others reaching their goals. One minute I find myself frustrated or excited about my performance and the next I am screaming and yelling at a fellow lifter to motivate them to not give up. I am becoming more and more comfortable with the person I am. These ladies remind me every single day that I am number one and that if I don't take care of myself I won't be any good for anyone else. As a group we pick each other up and on the tough days no matter how alone we may feel we are as far from alone as possible. I am also learning to dig deep and find that passion that is buried inside of me and for once in my life I want to truly do something for myself. I will not allow myself to give up on this journey. As long as I continue to give everything I have I know that with the help of this pack I will not fail. Come April 30th, when I step into that gym for meet day I want to say that I did everything I could and that no matter what the outcome is on that day this is only the beginning.

Remember that your goals matter and that you have everything that you need inside of you at this exact time. Remove the statement "I can't" and believe that you can. Decide what goal you want to achieve, make a commitment to yourself to take whatever steps necessary to reach that goal, and you will succeed. 

Always stay humble, and never let fear hold you back! 

God Bless,

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Journey to Now

Leading up to my senior year of college, I had been battling a number of injuries and spending the majority of my time in the athletic training room attempting to rehab my ankles, knees and hips. As a college soccer player it wasn’t unheard of for people to spend a lot of time in the training room but I remember always questioning why so many people lived in that room. Each and every one of us knew it wasn’t a place we wanted to spend our time, however for some reason it was inevitable that we would end up in there at some point or another. After exhausting all other options a teammate recommended I go to Rehab United to be evaluated and my athletic trainer agreed. I remember walking into the building and having this feeling that I was in the right place.  

My evaluation would end up being with one of the most amazing and influential people still in my life today, Arturo. Immediately I knew I was in a place where people cared about me on a level that no other medical professional ever had and their ultimate goal was to get me back on the soccer field. Two times a week I would spend 2+ hours rehabbing my ankle and finally I was seeing changes in strength, mobility, and stability not only of my ankle but my body as a whole. The movements, stretches, exercises, and thought processes were unlike anything I had ever seen before but it was working. It was during this time frame that my idea of physical fitness, therapy, and movement as a whole was transformed into a new philosophy that was being studied by only a small portion of the world. Where did this concept begin you ask?…in a very small town in Michigan known as Adrian.

Now flashback to my childhood years. At a very young age I knew that the profession I chose would be a position where I could influence the lives of other’s. My dad was a Chiropractor and although I knew that was not the career for me, I saw the passion he had and the love he had for every person he came in contact with. He touched lives, as many as he possibly could, and he would continue to do that for the 20 years he practiced. He taught me what love was, what love is and how to show that love even when you feel as if your world is falling apart. He received that strength from his mother, my grandmother, who was one of the most amazing women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I am truly lucky to call both of them family and I am a better human being for not only knowing the both of them but for being blessed to have them as part of my every day. 

In January of 2009 I would begin working as a volunteer for Rehab United in order to complete my senior capstone project. I fell in love with everything about RU and everyone at RU had fully accepted me into their lives. I felt like I was apart of something so much bigger, something that was changing the lives of every person that walked through the door and making people better in more ways than one. It was how I had always witnessed my father care for people and I felt safe in a place that was driven by passion for people. I would later find out that my purpose for being at Rehab United was far beyond anything I could have ever imagined because that following December my dad would pass away from a heart attack and the following June my grandma would pass away from cancer. My two best friends had been ripped away from my life and I felt like I had nothing. I was lost, very lost, but I had reason to be or at least thats what everyone would tell me. I was sad and questioned whether I could continue to make it through each day. Some days I believe the only reason I did make it through was because of God and the hope that I had of one day feeling less heart ache and suffering. So, as most people do I kept moving along one step in front of the other and attempting to make sense of my world that had been flipped upside down. 

At that point in my life I needed something to focus on because what do we do as humans when things aren’t going well, we find that one thing or a few things to take over our thoughts. You may call it running away but at the time the only thing that helps people move on is staying busy. Some people run to things such as; drugs, alcohol, exercise, people, or anything else that seems to make them feel even a little better at the time. For me, it was applied functional science. I chose to suffocate my thoughts into my job and to the people I came in contact with every day. I found this extreme passion for learning this concept that most people had no understanding of and all I wanted was to change the lives of the people walking through the doors of Rehab United. Each night I studied different cases and immersed myself into understanding the biomechanics of the body. I came to work every single day with at least one question and would not quit until I found the answer. I am sure the physical therapists at Rehab United got sick of me at times because I was constantly bothering them. I wanted their eyes, I wanted to see what they were seeing and understand how they could look at a person walking and break down every movement of their body in all three planes of motion. I found myself coming into work hours early for my shift for the sole purpose of being able to sit in on evaluations or even daily treatments without having to work as an aide. The minute I walked out of the building at the end of the day I was completely exhausted and emotionally drained. I spent my drives home crying with an overwhelming feeling of being alone. The worst feeling was walking out of those doors of RU knowing I would have to go home to an empty house without my dad there to ask about my day. Rehab United had become my safe haven, it was a place I could call home where I knew people loved me and supported me. I didn’t want to leave.

Rehab United and Applied Functional Science not only saved my life but it also opened my eyes to a completely different world. Suddenly I gained the ability to look at people and trust in a full recovery, a recovery that would get people back to not only daily function but to any and every goal they had for themselves. I witnessed lives being transformed through love and compassion. My compassion for the injured grew immensely and I began to see both psychological and physical aspects to pain, especially chronic pain. It was no longer about me and my struggles but how I could work on learning to leave my own life struggles at the door in order to fully care for those in need. Some days that wasn’t possible but the coworkers and patients that always had my back made sure that I made it through those days. It wasn’t easy by any means and it was probably more difficult on those people who were there day in and day out, who saw me at my worst and still loved me the same. Every single one of those people brought light into a world that was very dark and they are the people that I can’t even begin to thank enough.

It’s now March 25th 2014 and it has been 4 1/2 years since my world took a turn for the worse. I have went off path a number of times, I have ran away from a lot of things, but one thing I have always done is make sure I face anything I knew I needed to. So, I returned to San Diego from Colorado in order to find myself yet again and work on those things.  Immediately after returning I knew I needed to push myself to make some sort of step forward especially in my career. My client base and class numbers were increasing and my passion for personal training was growing. It was time to accept my position at Rehab United fully in my heart and buy into growing as a personal trainer with the goal of touching as many lives as possible.

I began writing this post on the plane coming home from Adrian, Michigan after attending my first GIFT gathering. For those who don’t know, GIFT is a 40 week online fellowship of Applied Functional Science that includes visiting Adrian three different times for in person lectures about the material. It’s pretty amazing to be in a room filled with over 100 people coming from all different backgrounds including 15 different countries to learn and grasp a concept that seems incredibly foreign to most of them. Some of those 100 people are wondering if they even believe it to be true, however as its performed right in front of their eyes you see the transformation take place in every single one of them. I have been a fortunate one who has been able to learn AFS the past 5 years from some incredibly knowledgeable people at my clinic, which meant very little was new or unknown to me. As usual, my mind was racing with a billion questions. I wanted to pick their brain and understand movements being demonstrated further than what was being discussed. I quickly realized that what I would get out of this course wouldn’t necessarily be the same as every other person sitting in that room. The challenge for me was and is going to be finding ways to use my knowledge to help others grasp a very difficult concept. More importantly what I learned this past weekend was that I must believe in myself and believe in the knowledge I have. In some weird way, Gary Gray allowed me the ability to finally realize that my vision of how the body moves is something special, that I am something special and that I will be given the opportunity to positively alter the lives of every single person that comes into my life. The friendships I will gain and the self belief I will continue to gain means so much more than any course content because it is those things that can change the world we live in.

I am still here today with a purpose of serving others and giving them hope when they struggle to find any on their own. I will have my bad days but I am so much further along then I was months after losing my father. I read something the other day that I had wrote three months after my dad passed that talked about how I couldn’t believe I made it three months without my father by my side. I remember those days. I remember wondering how I could go on, if I could go on, If I even wanted to go on and if I had a purpose to living with my dad no longer being there.  As I look back now those words were coming from a heart that was so pain struck that I had lost all ability to see any sort of light. Those words are crazy to comprehend because there has never been a day that my dad is not with me. People wonder why I am the way that I am and it’s all because of my father. I guarantee that he is living through me in order to continue transforming peoples lives one at a time. It’s weird to acknowledge but I see more of his traits in me now that he is gone than I ever did before. He will always live through me and I know that even in my most difficult moments he will never let me give up because he knows how many people need to feel my love.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you for caring so much about me. Thank you to those people who have never given up on me and have always supported every decision I have made. Remember to be grateful for what you have in your life and to never lose compassion for people. We all need to feel loved and if we can just show a little more love each day slowly this world will become a much brighter place. Believe in yourself and believe that you have the power to change others lives.

God Bless,

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Disconnect is a word that has resonated frequently through my mind, as well as, through words directed at me from those close to me. Upon returning home I found myself excited to be surrounded by people I had not seen, some of which I had not even spoken to in some time. Moving away challenges relationships, distance challenges communication, and the term "out of sight out of mind" although its perception being incredibly negative, tends to ring more true than any one of us would like to admit. Although I thought it would be different, the inevitable happened and after being in Colorado for a few months, communication slowly dwindled with those in San Diego. Of course returning home, the place I was born and raised, the place I had built so many friendships with countless amounts of people would bring lots of excitement. However, as time passed that excitement  became far and few between. I slowly began to find myself in this place where all I wanted was to be alone. I felt a disconnect from everyone, especially those who had grown to know so much about me. I found myself looking forward to the moment I could leave work and either go home or go to the gym. Those two places became a place of freedom for me. It had never been that way. I had always wanted people around me. I felt myself slipping into this lonely world where I pushed every person out of my life and the minute I felt someone getting close to me I ran even further away. Some of you who know my story would say its the time of year, but in my heart I knew that wasn't true.

It's now January, which means I reached the four year mark of the day I lost my father, my best friend, and my biggest supporter. Although the last four years seem to have passed by quickly, in some ways its also been the slowest four years of my life. At times it also seems like the most pointless four years of my life. But, the real Taylor knows that is not the truth. You may read that and get upset, especially if you played a role in that time frame or if I met you for the first time during those four years. It is for that reason I hope you take a moment to step back and understand that those words are coming from the side of myself that is grieving not the piece of my heart that truly believes that all things happen for a reason. The darkest of days have brought light into my world and the toughest moments have made me so much stronger. The people I have met along the way have taught me an incredible amount about life. Some of those moments I may not necessarily want to relive but they happened and I am still grateful for each and every one of them. No one person should ever take offense to the things I say or do. I am learning to pick up the pieces of everything I have lost and still become the person I know my father wants me to become. It's not easy but nothing that comes easy is worth it.

I will admit that I have been disconnected from almost every person in my life good or bad. I have pushed a lot of you away, some on purpose and others by accident. But I am here to say that it is something I have needed to do. I am in a place right now where I need people to be there but to also understand that they may not get from me everything they are used to receiving. I have spent a lot of my life pouring so much into people but have reached a point where I just can't do that anymore. I have very little to give but I do my best each day to wake up with a positive attitude and provide some sort of support to every person I come in contact with.  I still care, I will always care, and if you know me you should know that times like these kill me. I find myself to be so angry. Angry that I lost my dad. Angry that certain things have happened in my life and that people have treated me how they have. Angry that I have put so much into people that will never actually understand my sole purpose of life, which is to just love people. And angry at the amount of times I have been taken advantage of.

The truth is though, as you look at the list of what I am angry about, the number one reason I am so angry is because it's hard to look at myself in the mirror and be proud of who I am and where I am at. My emotions are stuck on all the bad that has happened to me because the real problem I need to face is starring right back at me. These are the battles I constantly go through. These are the battles I talk very little about. I have sat down probably twenty times to write and not a single word has been entered. Afraid, yes maybe. Afraid to be honest, not with all of you, but with myself. Afraid to admit that I am struggling to find happiness and to find my place in this world. I am passionate, don't get me wrong, but the drive I once had was lost the minute I find out that my dad would no longer be apart of my life.

My hope for anyone reading this is to understand where I am coming from. As much as I needed to write, I also needed those of you in my life to hear whats on my heart and to know that disconnecting myself is my way of dealing with the stuff I am going through. Losing someone close to you makes the world a very different place. Things that used to be normal no longer are. Places that used to have so much meaning become difficult to revisit. Second families become more difficult to spend time with because it just makes you miss what used to be. Seeing people with their fathers can also make me feel even more disconnected because of not having that relationship anymore. These are things no one should feel sorry for its just part of the grief process and some days are worse than others.

I am working towards figuring all these things out. I am hoping to find ways to cope with the disconnect I feel from the world. I am trying my best to not push away the good things and the good people that have recently entered my life because of fear. I am releasing the old while realizing who and what is important to me. I am taking the time to figure out what type of people I want in my life and although selfish at times, not wasting time on those who only look to me because they need me. I also know that I need to start challenging myself and taking leaps of faith to get where I know I can. I need to put certain things in my life before others and not allow anything to come in the way of those. This place I am in is far from easy. I have spent a lot of time dealing with emotions that I have bottled up and I think it's what scares me about letting anyone in.

God Bless,

Monday, June 30, 2014

Happiness...what exactly does that mean?

A common theme in my life right now is happiness. Those around me are in search of it, speaking of it, and contemplating every aspect of their lives in order to figure out what has been keeping them from truly being happy. As they each do some serious soul searching, I too, have been thinking a lot about the term happiness. My thoughts have been surrounded around the real meaning behind a word that can honestly have so many meanings to each and every person alive on this earth. The things that make you happy may not be the same for me and vise verse. So, with that being said can we actually help one another define a word that has so many definitions? Can we impact someones life and bring them happiness? Or does our impact on someones life only occur if the other person is willing to look inside themselves and be honest with what their heart is truly feeling? Personally, this journey of understanding, acknowledging, and "searching" for happiness began almost four years ago, the moment my dad was taken from this world. However, what I have come to find is that was a tragic event in my life that brought forth an issue that surfaced long before December 23rd, 2010. I have also come to realize that it is an issue that has been present in the lives of some of my closest friends for years and years.

According to Webster happiness is defined as the state of being happy, the state of well-being and contentment, as well as a pleasurable or satisfying experience. As I read these words and re-read these words I couldn't help but notice some very important details in how this ever so present word is described. First of all it says state of being happy or state of well-being. If you really think about what those words are saying it proves that happiness will not necessarily be an every second, every minute, or even every day feeling. A "state" is defined as a way of living or existing, which means your state of being is actually how you choose to live and exist in this world. As you look at the definition again, happiness is a way of living, it's your ability to be content with the way that your life is. Happiness is a choice, your choice, not anyone in your life but your own decision to accept the outcome of each situation in your life and be willing to use it to make your way of living better rather than worse.

Reading that last paragraph may upset you because if I wasn't sitting here writing it I would probably read that and feel a little bit of anger. It's a paragraph that puts a lot of pressure on each of us as an individual and most of the time humans hate having the blame placed on themselves. However, I want you to take a moment to actually sit there and contemplate a few things...

  1. First off, take a second to think about what truly makes you happy, whether it be people, places, stuff, or even entertainment.
  2. Next, why do those things bring you happiness?
  3. If those things did not exist, would you still be happy with yourself and your life?
  4. Are there things in your life that you feel you could not live without or go on living if they were to disappear? 
  5. If you answered yes to the previous question, are you thankful for those things or do you take those things for granted?
  6. Do you spend your time trying to improve your own life or do you expect others to improve it for you? 
  7. Lastly, when you find things that actually make you happy do you make a point to not only keep those things in your life but be grateful that you have found something that improves your life rather than making your life more difficult or more negative?
For the last three to almost four years of my life I have used the death of my father followed by the death of my grandma as an excuse to live the life I have been living. Every time I went through a difficult period of time, felt lost, searched for answers or whatever else you may want to call it, it ultimately would come back to the fact that I lost my father. Not only was this my inner feeling but outwardly it was every ones reaction or response. It was engraved in my head that I had reason to do all the things I was choosing to do because "I lost my father". The issue I have found with that is living my life in that way is absolutely no help to my future. Believing that is the source of my "unhappiness" isn't going to bring my father back. I have never expected people to feel sorry for me because in my heart I know and believe that every single one of us goes through life dealing with our own battles. Yes, some may seem more difficult than other's but the fact is comparing trials is a waste of precious time. Looking at others lives in jealousy is a waste of what God has placed you on this earth to fulfill because all those things that you may have listed above could be taken from you in the blink of an eye. Whether it be people, places, things or whatever else it may look like to you, those things could be ripped from you before you even know it and then what...? I will tell you what happens, you are left there alone trying to search for answers as to why you suddenly feel lost in a world that continues moving at a quick pace around you. It no longer matters who is around you. Those around you can't fix the way that you feel or choose to act. Those people can't replace what is missing in your heart. 

To answer one of the first questions I asked, people CAN NOT make you happy. People CAN influence your state of being by making experiences you have with them pleasurable or exciting. People CAN make your world a better place by loving you and joining in on the journey or path you have been chosen to walk, but people, things, or places CAN NOT be your only source of happiness. Happiness starts with your ability to wake up each morning in a different state of mind. It's your ability to look over all the negatives in your life and enjoy whatever positives may exist even if the only positive is the fact that you are still alive and breathing. People all across the world are fighting for their lives day in and day out. Don't you think that they wish that they could wake up without pain, with the ability to live a "normal" life and free of whatever burden is holding them back from being considered "normal" in a world that is far from it? Every one of us does it. At some time or another each and every one of us has woke up with the mind set of "poor me". The truth is the "poor me" attitude won't make anything better and the more you suffocate your life around that statement the worse off you are going to be. We all have it hard. This world is far from easy to live in and ultimately the state of being happy is something that is missing from so many lives. However, if the kid in a wheel chair, the man gasping for every breathe he can, the person battling a horrendous disease, or the every day American struggling to eat and live, can still find it in them to love and appreciate all aspects or even most aspects of their life, what is stopping you?

I am not perfect and I never once will claim to be. To be honest nothing is ever perfect. I have made a lot of terrible decisions and I have ran to some of the worse things I possibly could. I have treated people poorly and I have woke up for days, weeks, and even months hoping that people would feel sorry for my situation, that people would understand why my life at times has collapsed right before my eyes, and would also excuse the fact that I am still a very lost individual even after almost four years of time passing. The truth is not one of you should feel sorry for the way my life is because my life is my life and no matter how many trials I am forced to go through, each and every one of them has a purpose. The same goes for each of you. The struggles you have been through, the inner battle you deal with, the daily struggle of searching for what makes you happy has made you who you are. If your life had been any different, you would be different, and you may have missed out on certain events and people that have entered your life. Be grateful for the things that are currently in your life. Be grateful for the people in your life because they are in your life for a reason. You may not understand their purpose just yet, but they have purpose. Allow them to be apart of your journey. Allow them to walk beside you and help guide your steps. Don't expect them to make every day perfect but expect them to be there in those moments you really need a friend. That is what true friendship is all about. Every single aspect of your life has purpose but it starts with you being able to see those things and acknowledge the good rather than focusing on the bad. The longer you spend re-living the past whether it be how you treated people, how people treated you, decisions you made, bad choices or any other negative you can think of will ultimately only keep you further from being content with your current life and the possibilities of what your future could entail. 

Take some time to think about your life. Think about the things you are grateful for. If it's people in your life, tell them you are grateful for what they bring to your life because tomorrow they could be gone. Acknowledge the positives in your life. Acknowledge how far you have come from certain situations in your life that brought so much darkness, those situations that you could never see yourself making it through but you have. No matter where you started you have made gains in a positive direction but you can't allow yourself to fall back into how things used to be. The way things used to be is in the past and those things are keeping you from seeing what is right in front of you or even what is to come. I am grateful for my life. I am grateful for all the positives and negatives because they have made me the person I am today. I am thankful that I am still alive and able to write or do all the other things that I love to do. I am thankful for all the relationships in my life currently and in the past because they have taught me so much about myself, what I deserve, and what I want. I am thankful for you and that you have taken the time to read my blog. Be grateful. Appreciate your life, all aspects, good or bad. And always remember that giving up is the easy way out and doesn't make any ones life any easier.

God Bless,

Thursday, June 26, 2014


What exactly makes a place home? How do we put a label on an area that is considered "home" with the idea that our place of choosing will always be known as that to each of us? Is home where we spent most of our lives, where we created the most memories, or the place where we went through the most struggles? Does it usually remind you of more good memories than bad or is a mixture of both? My final question on this topic is how do you describe your home, how do you label it, where is home to you and how has home changed you to be the person you are today?

These questions have been running through my mind since I made the decision two months ago to move back to San Diego. For years if you would have asked me what my home was I would have said San Diego and then tried to explain that I grew up in Ramona, which most people have no clue where Ramona is even located. Ramona is where I was raised, it's where I went to school, graduated high school and made a name for myself through Varsity Soccer. Ramona is where my dad practiced Chiropractic for almost twenty years. Most people knew the name Joe Aglio, so you could say my family name had some pretty strong importance to the town. Ramona was a place growing up where everyone pretty much knew everyone. You could say someones name and in some way or another you knew of that person or you knew people they were affiliated with. My group of girls that I grew up with at different stages of my life are still a huge part of my life today and some of them have become even better friends in the recent years and even months. There is something about this town that is easy to come back's very welcoming, but it's also funny to see that things really don't change. Driving through town the other day proved to me that things really did not look much different than before I left. The building of Ramona Chiropractic still has the same sign with my dads name on it even though the office has been closed for over two years now. A few new buildings have been built and a few restaurants have changed but besides that Ramona is still the same Ramona I have always known.

My arrival to San Diego brought a lot of different emotions. Some of them were happy thoughts about the people I would get to see that I had not seen in almost two years, some were anxious feelings of being back in the place that reminded me so much of my past and some of my feelings were sad because of what I left in Colorado. Even with all of those different emotions it felt good to be back and it felt even better to be able to give my mom a hug for the first time since the day I said goodbye. It was immediately clear to me that my time in San Diego was going to be very important in order to move on with my life and be content with making a future for myself wherever that may be. It proved to me that you can have more places than just one that you consider home. San Diego will always be home to me that will never change because San Diego is where my life was rooted and it's the place that has made me the person I am in a lot of ways. However, I view Colorado as home because Colorado was MY home. It wasn't the home or lifestyle that I was forced to live. It wasn't a place that I had to be what my parents wanted me to be or what everyone else wanted me to be. I was able to create my own self without having this persona that I felt like I had to stick to. I found myself in Colorado, not to say that I fully know who I am or what I want but I did find myself. Looking back on my time there I really did go through a lot but again it has shaped me into the person I am right now. The important thing that I need to remind myself is that it did not change who Taylor is. The Taylor that everyone knew in San Diego before I left is still the same person I am but now I am just more comfortable with who that person is.

It's pretty interesting to me that upon arriving to San Diego things just seemed to fall together pretty quickly. All the stress I had in my head about all these different things was put to ease right away. Talking to people, the first thing they say is "you have been home for one week how have you already figured out what your "plan" is for the coming months?", but sometimes thats how life works. We stress so much about all these different things and when we finally release it things fall together. The amount of time that I have had lately to think and just be is insane. I have never felt so much freedom and have never wanted to be alone so much. I have spent countless hours surrounded by the beautiful outdoors that San Diego is so well known for. I find myself visiting places that I have never actually been before. There are moments I get extremely antsy wanting to work and be busy but I have reminded myself time and time again that this is exactly what I need right now. In fact, this is what I have needed for years. I have needed time for myself, time to breathe in what's around me, to take in and open my eyes to the beauty that is all around me. I needed to slow down and pay attention to the little things because those little things have proved to be incredibly important to the big picture. I have had the chance to spend some quality time with people talking about life, love and ultimately the pursuit of happiness. I may not be someone that enjoys free time but I can fully admit that me not starting work immediately has been one of the biggest blessings. It has taught me how important our time is and it has also shown me what I have been doing to myself for the past four to six years of my life. Never giving myself a break, constantly striving to be something more but never allowing my mind or body to rest, and pushing myself past the limits that I was capable of handling, which, has only caused me exhaustion, heartache, and unhappiness.

I have reached a point in my life that I am ready to focus on me. I am ready to get rid of the negativity in my life and work on being that happy girl that is always smiling. The girl I used to be before I unfortunately watched my life come crashing down before my eyes. I can finally sit here and admit to you that losing my father was probably the hardest thing I will ever have to go through in my life and it has altered my life more than I ever was willing to admit or thought it would. It put a mask on the person I was and I watched myself go down a spiraling path of destruction. I ran to the completely wrong things and really had no true care about reaching any goal I once had for myself. With all that being said, I remember a conversation I had with one of my best friends once I moved to Colorado where she told me that the next year would be different for me. She told me "you are going to let loose in Colorado and probably do some things that you look back on and say what was I thinking but it's what you need to do and it's what is going to allow you to move forward with your life". She was exactly right. My life had been so structured and so serious especially after losing my dad that I needed to escape everything I once knew and live a life that I was completely unfamiliar with in order to release everything I was thinking and feeling. Now that those moments have passed I can finally say that I am thankful for the free and less serious or structured lifestyle that I had been living, but I am excited for the change that is ahead. I thank each of you for being apart of this journey and I thank you for all the love and support you have shown. Hopefully you are as excited for what is ahead as I am! :)

God Bless,

Saturday, April 12, 2014

All About Love Ya'll

There is a man by the name of Mahatma Gandhi I mean who am I kidding I am sure every person that takes the time to read what I am writing has heard of this incredibly inspirational man. Gandhi is a person that understood the importance of life but even more than that he understood the meaning of love. Love is interesting because we meet someone and at some point in the relationship you just fall in love with that person. Sometimes it happens without us even knowing. Not only do you realize this person is worth having in your life but you also realize that any baggage they may come with means nothing in the big picture. Its during those first few hangouts that you realize this person is someone you will go to battle with. Some of us are even willing to deal with circumstances that others are unable to understand or grasp. Love has different meanings for each of us but in the big scheme of things the reality of it all is that you have found someone that you aren't willing to give up on. You have found a person that is worth all the heartache and pain because they have something that nobody else does. Unfortunately with all those emotions also comes a whole lot of struggle. Opening your heart to someone is never easy. Allowing someone into your life to see every positive and negative that your life bag may be filled with is a huge risk. You must trust that at the end of it all win or lose the relationship will have some sort of purpose in your life. The risk involved forces us to fully let go of everything we thought we understood about the meaning of truly loving someone. At times we are forced to step into a situation where our minds know the outcome before we even begin, yet we believe that the current love endures all future pain. 

"Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it's very important that you do it. Because nobody else will. Like when someone comes into your life and half of you says you're nowhere near ready, but the other half says: make her yours forever."
The quote above is probably one of my favorite quotes by Ghandi. The reason I love this quote so much is because you truly don't know the impact that your life will have on someone else's and you also may never understand the impact another persons life may have on yours. Sometimes I believe we think too much. We think too much about the outcome or what could be rather than allowing ourselves to just live in the moment and take each day as it happens.The thing that is even more interesting about that statement is there are countries and religions that force a person to have their future decided for them. Any situation that presents itself along the way means nothing to the big picture of their life. Even worse than that they are in no control of their own destiny. Their destiny lies in the hands of another human being, their family, however their family has no care of what their heart truly wants or feels. I want you to take a second to imagine what it would be like to be forced to love a person that you have zero feelings for? I want you to imagine walking away from true love without having any choice at all. I also want you to imagine having to let someone go that never did anything wrong with no choice in the matter. You think your love life is difficult. Most of us have a choice. Most of us have the ability to love who we want and to rid ourselves of those who aren't right for us yet we tend to be the ones who are most afraid. Afraid of allowing our hearts to feel what our minds may be scared of. Love is a risk but its a risk that is so worth it. Every day you wake up you take a risk. You walk out the door and that risk increases by a huge amount. You have no control in the outcome of the day. However, choices you make throughout the day may increase the risk involved in that days outcome. Our passion for specific activities could potentially have an effect on how our day turns out. Loving someone is no different. Our choices have the ability to effect the outcome. Sometimes our choices prove how much someone means to us and at the same time some of our choices prove to a person that their worth may be nothing. 

Why are we so afraid of having our hearts broken? The reason we are so afraid is because the pain is so great that it leaves us questioning our life, existence, and more importantly it forces us to look inside and question our worth. We begin to acknowledge all our issues, our past and the things we never dealt with. We begin questioning if we are deserving and slowly we become more afraid than ever before. We are reminded of our past. Past relationships, heartache, pain and the suffering we endured throughout it all. As we are reminded of all these things fear enters and completely takes over. What would your life look like if fear did not exist? Because in reality fear is the driver of a lot of our lives. Fear chooses our career path, our friends, choices and ultimately the outcome of our lives. The past is difficult to look back on thats for damn sure but our past also builds our future. If we focus on the positives then we have the ability to take life by the reigns and truly live each day with the hope of only bettering our lives. On the other side if we focus on the negative our past begins to be the pilot of every choice we make day in and day out. We tend to push people away and run from every good or bad thing that life may throw our direction. The sad part of that is we miss out on so much by doing that. Life is not easy and we were never promised it would be. If life was perfect nothing that is good would ever be as good and we wouldn't understand what struggles or trials were. Every day would just be constant, never changing and never forcing us to grow as individuals. Fear can truly change your life. Fear can rip away all the good that enters and replace it with constant pain and disappointment. 

Most of us all understand what it feels like to have our heart broken. If our past has been filled with constant pain and turmoil it makes it even more difficult to let ourselves fall for someone. If you are anything like me when you hear someone say, "its better to have loved and loss than to never love at all", you get frustrated. The reason frustration takes over is because no matter what pain you are feeling you know that statement to be true. Some people pass through this life never having the ability to truly understand what it means or feels to be in love or feel love. The amount of love missing from this world is insane. It is the reason the suicide rate continues to increase. It is the reason people jump to hurting themselves or  attempting to end their lives because in that moment, moments before and even moments after they don't feel loved. Love is even more powerful than any of us can explain. We try to explain love through poems, quotes, or even better blogs, yet the only thing that truly understands the depths of love is the heart. Unfortunately with the power of our mind we are unable to grasp the true importance of allowing our hearts to take that risk, open ourselves up and fully understand that love is painful at times because instead we just get scared and run. Our minds tell our hearts that loving someone only causes pain. The world tells us that we should love specific types of people or specific genders and that if we don't we won't fit in or we aren't "normal". Love is about finding someone you are compatible with, someone who loves you for who you are on good days and bad. Its about finding someone that makes you smile and can make all the fear you have worth it because they are worth that risk. Yes, love is a big risk, Yes, its possible that your heart will break but your heart is not made of glass, it will mend and you will find the person you are meant to be with. They will make you understand why it has never worked with anyone else. They will bring sunshine to areas of your life that you never thought was possible. They will live their life in hopes of making your life better and ultimately spending their days proving how much you mean to them. 

Society's idea of love is so incredibly skewed. If you love someone, love them and if its meant to be it will be. Your relationship with someone is no one else's business. Your reason for fighting for that person shouldn't have an affect on anyone but you. Truth is if you find someone that you truly think is worth fighting for, don't let that person go. There js a reason they entered your life and you don't want to let them go too soon. But with that being said sometimes you also have to let people go because not everyone is meant to be in your future.Sometimes even what we think our hearts want isn't whats right. Love is confusing, its painful, exhausting, and sometimes it really just makes absolutely no sense. But then that day comes when all of it makes sense and you know in that moment that you have found a person that you truly will go to hell and back for. Finding that person makes all the trials and struggles worth it. Its in those moments you know that you will never give up because that persons positives and negatives are what will ultimately shape your entire future. Allow yourself to love. Challenge yourself to open your heart to others whether its a friendship or a relationship. Try to understand why those in your life have chosen to not give up on someone. Maybe it makes no sense to you but that doesn't matter because it makes sense to them. Their love story has no affect on you or your story so stop trying to understand it. Live, love and keep fighting for those people who show they are worth it. 

God Bless,

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Year In Review

 View from the Starbucks in Downtown Denver
Any of you that generally follow my blog know that it usually takes something dramatic occurring in my life to get me to the point where I feel the need to write. This time is no different. However I have been contemplating writing for a while now and although it hasn't taken place, I truly believe there is no better time than now. I finished my day of work at 10 am this morning and having all obligations completed so early in the day allows me the ability to plan activities that bring me some sort of peace. Something that clears my mind and relaxes the stress that life tends to cause. Most days I would have no hesitation in choosing the gym over every other option but today was different. Today, my heart is in a unique place of needing to write not only for myself but for each of you who have been there day in and day out since this journey began, as well as, those of you who have come along and been my rock and support in this new and unfamiliar place that I currently call home. Next week marks one year. One year since I packed "some" of my stuff, my mom reminds me often how much is still in the house, and moved to Colorado to embark on a new journey. It started off as a journey to figure out my career but in reality it has turned out to be a journey of finding myself. A journey that has not only left me questioning my future but also my existence. I have found myself in a very interesting place, a place where I have never cried so much and have never been forced to actually deal with a multitude of things that I have ran away from for a very long time. Yes, you read that correctly. The one thing I always told myself that I never wanted and I have come to find out that is all I have done. Most of you are probably thinking "well she really didn't run away like most people would", and you are right about that. Interestingly enough I have been running from these issues since even before I lost my dad. The "issues" that are coming to surface are thoughts, emotions, and insecurities that I have been attempting to mask for most of my life.

In the past four days the flashback on my life has been severe. The flashback of the day I lost my dad became even more real than it ever had. It was in those moments that I realized just like every other thing in my life I have been running away from actually accepting that my dad is no longer here. I have spent more hours crying than I have in years. I have had no appetite. As usual I have found myself living in the gym, spending anywhere from four to six hours and some days going twice. The pain in my chest has been unbearable at times. I have spent more hours alone stuck in my own head than I have in months. Without going into a lot of detail, my mental state has been really bad and it's a state that I am not proud to even sit here and talk about. I should have seen this coming though. The past five months or so have been pretty rough with a lot of different ups and downs. I have found myself questioning the person I am along with the person I want to become. I have been incredibly lost and haven't wanted to admit to anyone how bad it really was. I have found myself running to the completely wrong things knowing that the only result would be a complete life collapse. The bad thing is in those deciding moments for some reason I haven't cared enough to make the right decision. The person I have become is a person I don't even know. I have a hard time looking in the mirror and seeing myself for what I know in my heart I am worthy of. I now understand what people mean when they say they cant seem to find the ability to see their self-worth. A lot of things have become extremely real to me, things most people never want to face but even with that said I need to face them. I need to accept help and I also need to get help. I need to get my life back.

As I sit here with so much flowing through my head, it's hard to even write it all down or find the words that I want to speak. Some of this may be difficult for some of you to read because it's very possible that I am being too honest. The thing is though...I don't care. I don't care how hard this is to read because this is who I am and it's the side of me that needs to be seen. This isn't a cry out for attention or help it's putting myself on blast for anyone and everyone to read. It's forcing me to face every single thing that I am currently dealing with and not run away. As a kid I found ways of hiding everything I was dealing with. Sometimes the things I used to hide were not the best choices. Over time those options were what I went to when I felt myself falling. As I got older I ran to different things because stuff such as alcohol and drugs were readily available to me at the snap of a finger. Again, over time I have learned to run to those same things. The difference now is I tend to know what I am doing and in the past I haven't always known or maybe it was the same situation that I just didn't care in the moment. I didn't view myself as negatively as I do now. I wasn't as hard on myself as I am now. I also didn't have people around that could see what I was doing.

I can't honestly sit here and tell you that I was in a much better place before I lost my dad because I don't know if that was the case. And since losing my dad, happiness has come in small doses. I haven't truly been happy with my life, my present, or myself in a very long time. I have been hiding behind a lot of lies and most of those lies I actually began to believe. After losing my dad I put everything I had in to the people around me. Sick people, hurt people, those in need, friends, family and anyone else that came along for the ride. It's what I always did. The minute things became difficult in my life I put everything I had into those around me allowing me to hide my own issues. The problem was and still is that I never fixed myself. I never even attempted to fix my own heart and repair the damage that the death of my father caused along with the darkness my past had caused. I tried to live a normal life smiling and laughing because that was what everyone wanted from me. At the time having a smile on my face was more important to those around me, so I did my best to smile. I spent countless hours working, working out, and fundraising in hopes of escaping everything I was feeling. The truth is someone as hurt and lost as I was had no real ability to help others. Yes, it sure did make things easier but in the long run it has made things much more difficult. I am now in a different state but still dealing with similar issues that existed in San Diego. I don't want to sit here and say that I was running from actually dealing with the stuff I needed to but now that I look back on my decision and I can definitely admit that I believed moving here would give me a fresh new start. I was hoping that without the constant reminders of my dad everywhere I went that I would be able to focus on the goals I had for myself, but the one major problem is I don't really have true goals for myself. Interestingly enough with one week left before that year mark that I talked so much about these past four days have been filled with extreme realizations.

Today I find myself in the same coffee shop that I used to visit daily the first few months I moved to Colorado. Those first few months were filled with the hopes of figuring out the path I was going to take. I searched for jobs, wrote in my blog, listened to music and found peace in this very special Starbucks that is surrounded by pure beauty. However, the reasoning behind coming here today is far more important than any job search could ever be. This is about me. Nobody but me. I no longer can be that person that constantly puts myself, my emotions, and my thoughts on the back burner. I have to face what is going on. I have allowed people to manipulate me and attempt to steal any happiness I have and it's causing me to physically and mentally break down. The pain I am feeling is much more severe than any surgery or injury I have had. I have allowed people to hurt one of the most important things in the body, my heart. I have given the wrong people the ability to use my life against me. But rather than walking away I have stuck around and took a beating because I didn't want to hurt anyone no matter how bad I was hurting. I have spent most of my life doing what others wanted of me or needed of me in hopes of making their life better even just the slightest bit. I have placed some people above the rest of the world because I was scared of losing them. I have been living this way for years. I am now realizing that I have lived a life of making others happy rather than taking the time to figure out what makes me happy. Some of those same people have acted as if they cared about what made me happy but in reality when it came down to it what I truly wanted really had no meaning. I have watched people find new ways of attacking me, my life and the way I have dealt with the death of my father. It has been an experience that I never thought would occur but somehow underneath all the pain I have been able to see how it has ultimately made me a better person.

At this point in this post you may be wondering things such as; what have I learned, how have I changed, what are my next steps, and how do I get my life back. The answer to those questions are going to take time. But I can sit here and admit to all of you that I have a core group of people in Colorado and in a lot of other states who have been by my side every step of the way. These people have taken the time to remind me that no matter what anyone tries to take from me they can't change the person I am. I have been taught that true friends want you to be happy. Those friends will love you unconditionally no matter who you are, what you want or how you live your life. They will support you constantly even through the dumbest decisions you may make. They will see the pain in your eyes and be available at a moments notice. No matter how many mistakes you make they will be there picking you back up and helping you find yourself. Sometimes those people are the most unexpected people you could ever imagine. Sometimes the people you expect are nowhere to be seen. But in time you learn that just because someone has always been a piece of your life doesn't mean they always will be. People come and go but the ones who matter stick around. Those who matter will push you to be the best version of yourself even when you don't know who you are or where you should even begin searching.

Truth is the past is an uncomfortable reminder of a lot of pain and heartache especially when you are forced to face it. However, the future can be just as scary because sometimes the last thing you want to get rid of is things of the past. Stepping away from who you thought you were or what you thought you wanted is never an easy thing. Being confident in what you deserve and willing to risk whatever it takes to have those things in your life is incredibly scary. We all fear the unknown in some way or another. Not one person can sit here and say they don't. Uncertainty is nerve wrecking because in our minds all we can think about is what if things don't work out, what if I don't make the cut or don't get the job. The sad thing is we spend so much time contemplating what could be that a lot of times we tend to miss out on what is there. We stare so long at each possibility and never actually take a step forward. Being scared is not a bad thing but allowing fear to alter your life and your happiness is a completely different story. I can honestly sit here and say that currently fear has controlled my life. Fear of what people think, what they may talk about, of being hurt and most importantly of actually following my heart and allowing myself to be truly happy with the things I WANT for my life not what everyone else wants.

I am done allowing people to choose my happiness or better yet be in control of my happiness. From here on out I am going to choose to follow my own path for my life and that includes those I want in my life. It's no longer about if I am good for others lives, it's are they good for my life. Are they going to bring my life more joy and happiness. Will they be there on my worst days and do everything in their power to make my day better. Will we smile and laugh but still remember that it's not a bad thing to cry every once in a while. Will we take the bad days, work through them, and continue to grow in our relationship together. Will we open our hearts to all the possibilities that life can offer and trust that it's truly possible for people to care about every aspect of our lives. If you can answer yes to all of these then there is always a place for you in my life. This doesn't mean that I no longer care for every single person that enters my life or that they don't have some kind of meaning, it just means that those I keep close will be a much different group than I previously have chosen. The people I allow to be apart of my everything will have shown me that they care more about my heart growing rather than breaking. I will keep the deep aspects of my life a little more hidden and only allow those that really care about me to see that side. People will no longer be able to use my past against me to cause pain and heartache. This is my life, and if you prove to be worth it I will give you everything I possibly can until my final days here on earth.

Thank you to those people who have been there constantly and especially the past few days. I know it hasn't been the easiest of days but without each of you I wouldn't be sitting here realizing so much about my life. Those of you in Colorado, thank you for taking me in and for making me feel like a sense of family. And for those of you who have been there for years and years, thank you. I am thankful that in my time out here some of my friendships at home have actually grown to be much stronger than they ever have been. The people who have made it a priority to keep in touch, and those who have been my rock through a very difficult time. In the past few days the love I have seen from some of my closest friends has been unreal. Thank you for accepting me as I am and for being willing to love me through very tough situations. One final thing I am thankful for is love. Love makes this world a better place, love helps us grow and become better people,  and it's what makes life worth living. Love challenges us to be better individuals and even when love causes pain it still proves to us that we are lucky to be given the ability to be loved and love in so many different aspects.

God Bless,