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Personal Moments. {2014 Year in Review}

This is the first time that I’ll be looking back on my personal moments from the year in this public kind of way. I’ve always kept the year in review posts strictly business. However, as the blog and my business have changed to be more in depth and authentic, it feels appropriate to share more of these sort of things. I’ve written this for myself for years now. I always look back and ask myself the same questions:
-What happened this year?
-What have your values become?
-What are your current strengths?
-What do you love about yourself and your life?
-What are the areas in your life which you’ve not lived up to your values?
-What are your goals for next year?

As I was reviewing my year this year I decided that I’d like to share my ‘what happened’ with you and maybe, just maybe you’ll respond with a few of yours as well, ’cause curious minds (my curious mind) need to know!

1. My Granny Burroughs passed away. 

This was monumental for me because it was the first person that has passed since I’ve been old enough to understand it. I was able to understand the value that she brought to the world in a way that helped me to want to bring my own value to the world. My mom, my brother, and I took a road trip down to Florida to be there for the funeral. It was sweet for me that we were able to make it a really fun trip even though the circumstances were hard. That’s a gift that we as a family have had for as long as I can remember. The ability to make the best out of the worst.

2. Two of my very best friends married each other! 

Two of the people I love the absolute most in the world got engaged and then got married. It was one of the very best parts of my year to get to be a part of this process with them. Their love is magical and I’m so pleased that the world gets to have them living together as a team. I’m certain that we’re all going to be better for it. At least, I know that I will be.

3. I met Amaris Hames and We Taught a Workshop Together. 

This year I met the lovely Amaris Hames of Amaris Photography. She arranged for me to come down to Raleigh and we met with some delightful photographers where we modeled and spoke on how to pose women with curves. It was an honor to speak on something that I feel very passionate about and to share some valuable info with some amazing people.

4. I began working at Odd’s Cafe. 

This is a monumental piece of my year because it was the first time I’ve worked for someone else in years. It’s given me the freedom to re-evaluate my dreams and to chase after the things that fill my heart instead of just creating to pay the bills.

Since I started I have become morning manager which has also allowed me to see my skillsets in a new light as well as brought out some of my flaws in a way that I’ve learned to embrace as opportunities for growth.

5. I created the Insecurity Series. 

I spent a full month dealing with my insecurities. I took self-portraits along the way as a form of therapy. I talked about everything from not liking my profile to feeling inconsistent. I put it all out there online for you to see. It was honestly scary at times, but, you all rose to the occasion and shared your hearts back with me in a way that was truly beautiful. Thanks for that.

6. I was included in the Strong Women Project. 

The amazing Sarah Whitmeyer and Emily Decker are creating a beautiful series of portraits of women that they know who are powerful. They interviewed me and photographed me. They photographed me in underwear, in downtown Asheville. Which was actually really really fun! You can read the article here. 

7. I made it a priority to photograph the people in my life on a regular basis. 

I realized at the end of 2013 that my life is built out of beautiful people who have made me who I am. At that time I made a commitment to myself to take more photos of them. Just simple snapshots like our people used to take when disposable cameras were a thing. Just little moments captured so I can hold onto the memories of them as they are now.

8. I lead a coffee tasting.

This made the list because I conquered a giant fear of speaking in front of people on a topic that I both love and feel intimidated by. It felt great to push through my fears and do something that wasn’t 100% comfortable for me at first.

9. I camped.  

I’ve camped before, but, this year was my first year camping in a tent alone, when it was my responsibility to do it all. To find a tent and pack and make sure I had supplies. I also do it so little that I’d forgotten how much I actually enjoy it. This year was a good year of being reminded of just how nice it is.

10. I traveled out of the country alone for the first time. 

I went to Nicaragua and became aware of just how much I am capable of, what my role in the world is, and what sort of things make my heart come to life.

11. I did a different resolution each month. 

Every month this year I focused on a different area of my life to improve. It was a fun way to challenge myself and to stay in touch with what exactly it is that I needed at different times of the year.

Here’s what I did each month:

January: Fearless: I dealt with insecurity of not wearing mascara as well as focused on being direct and upfront at all times.
February: Finances: I didn’t spend any money that month except on groceries, bills, and gas.
March: Feel Sadness: I opened my heart to feeling the harder things in life, I committed to spending 30-minutes alone at the beginning and end of every day without technology.
April: Activity: I committed to doing at least 30-minutes of activity every single day.
May: Insecurities: this is when I did the insecurity series. I focused on dealing with several of the things I felt insecure about.
June: Giving back: I focused on random acts of kindness and generosity. I had to do something selfless every single day.
July: Saying “No.”: I made a point to do only the things that felt fulfilling for me and me alone.
August: Saying “yes” to myself: I was required to do something richly fun every single day.
September: Tackling projects: I had a lot of loose ends to tie up with photography and I spent the month focused on tackling one huge task every day.
October: Vices: I limited myself to only two cups of coffee per day.
November: Being present: I wrote about being grateful and took a photograph everyday, I also took time to write about a solitary moment everyday as a reminder of where I was right then at that moment.
December: Dreams: I focused on turning writing into a career path.

12. I took my first solo-vacation. 

A lovely friend hooked me up with their families cabin at the beach for several days. I spent my time there writing, reading, and sinking in the truest form of myself. It was magic for my soul.


13. I attended and competed in my first poetry slam. 

Again challenging my fear of public speaking and increasing the level of comfort I have in vulnerability. I quite frankly fell in love with this and took second place at my second slam. I’m looking forward to doing many more of these in 2015.

14. I modeled for my first figure drawing class. 

I modeled nude for a small room of artists, for three hours. I did it again a few weeks later. It was a fascinating experience to see yourself from their point of view and to become one with your natural form for a lengthy period of time.

This year had a theme of falling in love with life, trying new things, and pushing my personal boundaries. I feel more vivacious, more independent, and more filled with love and warmth for the people in my life than ever before. I feel as though it was exactly as it needed to be.

Here’s to 2015!

with love and this beautiful life,

Allyson Ansusinha - January 6, 2015 - 3:30 am

Hi Sarajane!
I just read pages of your blog, it’s so lovely and inspiring. 🙂
One of my biggest of 2014 was packing up my life and moving from Chicago to Asheville. I’m shy about sharing, but I’m glad you did.
See you bright and early, soon.

M o r e   i n f o