June 28, 2014- I used to hate this photo. All I would see was the negative things I felt about my body. I was recovering from an eating disorder, had gained weight, and felt extremely uncomfortable in my own skin. My legs weren’t shaped how I wanted them to be. My arms were forever “sausages,” and who looks good in neon yellow?! Plus, I tried to dye my hair a different color and ended up with hot roots. To top it off, leaving that company was not a smooth process, and it used to bother me that they responded how they did when I chose to move on.  All I saw was everything I didn’t like about myself and things that bothered me. Sad huh?

Now, do you see that sunshine of a human in the center of the photo next to me in the back? That’s Jany Bacallao, the epitome of a good human. We recently lost him due to a hiking accident, and I honestly don’t know how the world makes sense when things like that can happen. He was amazing, kind, funny, a great friend, and a fantastic man that will always be in my heart. Jany left a positive impact on every person he interacted with. He helped everyone coming into the gym feel welcome and important. He’d listen intently like they were the only person that mattered, relate to what they were saying and put them at ease in uncomfortable conversations, especially for first time gym goers. I took the fact he was in this photo for granted because I was worried about stupid things that didn’t matter.

You know what I see when I look at this photo now? My first summer in Seattle. My first Cap Hill Pride where the neighborhood united more than any other time during the year. My friend Jany who always had time for everyone, who took me to Julia’s on Broadway and showed me what Cap Hill was all about, and who I got to talk to about the cute new guy at work (who is now husband, Adrian.) I see Greg ownin’ it at Pride giving out hugs to everyone. I see Chris with his freshly shaved head because he wanted to dress up like the Gold’s Gym logo. But mostly, I see Jany’s smile and am reminded of how much fun we were having when this was taken.

We all go through phases in life where we think we have our priorities figured out. We all go through phases of insecurity and worrying about vain things that our happiness shouldn’t depend on. What I hope we also do, is keep moving forward. Make progress in life and don’t forget to reevaluate your priorities as well. That way you can look back on a photo that used to make you cringe because of ‘how bad you looked,’ but now all you remember is the good parts about what that day represented.

I feel very proud that I have grown and restructured what matters to me in life along with progressing other aspects of life (relationships, business, dog mom-hood, etc.) This was due, in part, to the pandemic and using the time off work to work on things I never prioritized before. Things like my confidence and self-image, two  things that I work on with clients all the time, but hadn’t checked in with myself in a while. I don’t mean physical appearance self image, but I mean how I view myself, which is now: strong, kind, confident, resilient, and happy. I am happy and proud that I have reached a point that I am able to enjoy memories like this, rather than miss out on them due to stupid insecurities. I love this photo now because I get to revisit my friend and the fun that we all had together that weekend.

When was the last time you checked in with yourself to see what is important to you?

It’s okay to admit it has been a while, but you can always adapt and adjust whatever you need to. Nothing is forever, and instead of seeing that as a negative, let it be an inspiration to start living the life you want now.

Do you want to look back on years of self-torment, or would you like to look back on years of wonderful connections and good times with great people? I choose to be positive and happy now, instead of thinking “I’ll be happy when ­__________.”

If you need help on how to make adjustments, or need someone to talk it out with, send me a message or email with the subject line “Priorities.”

Rest in Peace, Sweet Jany. You made the world a better place and left a lasting impact on everyone you met. I promise to continue spreading sunshine!

Stay strong, Peeps!


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