April 20, 2011

A FEW INTIMATE WORDS ON MY BIRTHDAY...

Today is my 28th birthday, a marker that holds very special meaning to me. Some of you may know that the idea to create Rue came to me on my 27th birthday and at a time when I felt deep heartache, loss, and emptiness. A season of my life was closing and a beautiful four year love story that began in Italy had ended. I always go back and forth about how much of me I am comfortable sharing here but the reality is I feel close to you because in some intangible way you've been part of my journey. So today I'm looking back at where I was a year ago today as a reminder of how far I've come.
At this same time last year, I unexpectedly found myself alone in the South of France with a suitcase, a camera, and a journal. I spent a week traveling the beautiful riviera by myself, eating meals at tables for one, and sitting with silence. Some of you may also know that I lived in Italy for three years in my early twenties. Like the moon and the tide, Italy always pulls me in. So I couldn't help but hop on a train one day from Nice into the nearest Italian city I could find -- Genoa -- so that my heart could feel that love again. It was a dismal and rainy day in Genoa but I walked around the city in my big sunglasses to hide my tears. I buried my face in the scarf wrapped around my neck to mute the sound of my sobs and roamed the city, crying every step of the way. Here's what I wrote in my journal that day:
"I am in Genoa. In Italy for the first time without him. I loved this country before him, I will love this country after him. But so much of it was with him. I tell myself I'll be fine. And then a deep sorrow hits me like a punch in the gut, acid to the eyes, and I can't see. Now comes the true grieving and the pain. The beginning of the healing. But healing seems like the wrong word, when I feel so far from ever knowing its meaning...
The learning to be a little more comfortable in silence. A little less lonely when alone. A little less empty without a companion. A little more comfortable sleeping in an armless embrace. And all I want to do is cry. Cry because I have an empty bed to go home to tonight. Because I still miss the easiness of his unconditional love. Because nobody is here to catch my tears or break my fall...
When you lose a love, well then nothing else matters. Nothing has a taste, a smell, or a voice as beautiful as when you were here. You light my world with your smile, your laugh, your knowledge, your large personality. And without you everything is muted. I cannot even begin to figure out a 'why,' a 'regret,' a 'what if' because I am too disoriented to sift through all the pain.
Sitting at a table alone, I just finished my meal, which would have tasted better if you were here. I am writing, tearing up, and the Italian waitress looks up, her dark hair, big brown eyes meeting mine, gentle smile and chiseled face asks, "Vuoi un cafe?" And it is beautiful and what I came here to feel. I loved Italy before you, I'll love it forever after. But you are so much a part of the reason. And as long as I am writing, keep my pen to the paper, I am not alone with my heartache..."

I finished that day by sitting by this fountain for about an hour just sobbing and not wanting to leave. I had nothing to go back to and a heart full of mourning. My train back to Nice was coming and, like led, I could not get up. I didn't know how or what would happen next...that day or in my life. And that's the pivotal moment when everything changed for me. Words of conviction mixed in with a little anger and determination burst out of me like the most sure thing I'd ever known: "God, I'll go back and get on that damn train and just show up for life. I'll continue to show up for life every morning and every day. Whatever happens or whatever you have planned on the road ahead, I'll just show up. But you better show up for me. You damn well better show up for me!"

And so I went back to Nice and then home to Chicago keeping my promise to show up for life through the mourning and the grieving and the pain. And he showed up for me. He showed up for me in ways larger than I ever imagined or could ask for. In ways bigger than I'll ever understand. And so on this day, all I know about this life is that it's a divinely beautiful one and a journey so worth living.

And that, my friends is how Rue...and so much more was born.

111 comments:

Mr. Goodwill Hunting said...

Happy 28th!!




Rashon aka Mr. Goodwill Hunting

Paulette @ At Home in Arkansas said...

Crystal, this is one of the most beautiful, honest things I've read in a long time. I'm so glad you posted it, and shared it with us.

Happy birthday to a brave and beautiful and supremely talented girl! So happy I can now call you my friend.

Paulette

diane @ a spot of whimsy said...

an absolutely beautiful and moving post, crystal!

here's to an even more spectacular 28th year!

xo.

Meet Vanessa said...

Beautiful. Just beautiful! Warmest thanks for sharing that and have a wonderful birthday!!!

xo,
Vanessa

sarahwinchester said...

Beautiful post and beautiful photographs. Thank you so much for sharing. It is amazing how life can change in a year.

KC said...

Beautiful insight and inspiring determination. I hope this year brings you everything you strive for, and please know that your vision for your life and career are an inspiration to me.

Warmest wishes,
KC

Miss B said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I'm sure I am not the only one who feels that I've been in the emotional place you describe. Watching Rue grow in the past year, it is so inspiring to know that it came from such a place. Sitting in my little cubical, where I've spent many an afternoon absorbing inspiration from the pages of RUE, I've tears in my eyes from knowing how everything you describe feels but also hope that one day I'll have a success story like yours. You are an inspiration to so many of us :-)

Happy Happy birthday!! Or a la Nice Bon Anniversaire.

Christine @ The Glam Blog said...

Crystal, you've been through a lot in the last year and chickie, may I say, wowsers to what you accomplished this past year! Thanks for letting us into your private thoughts!! Have a fabulous birthday!!
Christine xo

ashlina {the decorista} said...

omg. twinsy. you made me cry. loving this story. loving you. missing our talks.

happy birthday gorgeous!
xoxoxooxxo

Bre said...

That was amazingly well written. Thanks for sharing it with us. :) Life will always be there for you, never forget.

xx

Apt#34 said...

Happiest of birthdays to you, goregoues lady and here's to years of showing up everyday, with each being better than the next. Incredibly proud to watch what you've made blossom and grow. Hugs!

Molliee said...

Thank you for sharing - it is beautiful...

With Style and Grace said...

Such a beautiful post my dear, thank you for sharing your personal story, love and heartbreak with us. Happy Birthday, beautiful - wishing you a lifetime of happiness and love ;)

Cori {Pretty Haute Mess} said...

I don't know you, but I am almost in tears (the only reason I'm not is because I'm at work).... you are a beautiful writer and an incredbly strong woman. I have had a difficult past 2 years and it's ALL about picking yourself up and showing up! Thank you for this! :)

vanessa joie said...

LOVE YOU! This is a beautiful post and I'm so glad you decided to share it. You're an inspiration Crystal. Happy Birthday! xo

Drew {Coral Cafe} said...

Happy, happy birthday!! What an INCREDIBLE journey!!
Here's to another great year of another!

andrea despot said...

i had no idea you'd been through such heartache, thanks for sharing such an intimate part of you! i know it can be tough on blogs, but i'm glad you did :) happy birthday!

B said...

Crystal, This is inspiring by how open you let yourself be in this post. I find it hard as a blogger sometimes to open up because you aren't quite sure if your readers want to hear this but I was extremely touched and appreciated every word. Thank you for sharing and Happy Birthday!!

idratherbeshopping said...

happy 28th crystal! you are so inspiring to me and this was such a touching post. thank you for sharing of yourself.

i think 28 is a going to be a great year, i just turned 28 earlier this month! :)

xo,
joAnn

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing this piece, it was beautiful. You are such a sweet courageous woman and your amazing qualities keep shunning through. They say the rain and storm before sunshine looks like this is what happened for you. So inspiring and excited for what is to come ahead for you. Can't wait to share more moments with you!
Happy happy birthday!

Becca/Dans Mon Boudoir said...

That's so beautiful. You've got tremendous spirit (reminded me a lot of Scarlet in Gone with the Wind!) and enormous talent. I'm so happy you're through the sadness and can enjoy your accomplishments!

Xx Becca

Jeweleee said...

Thank you for sharing and Happy Birthday11 These past weekends have been tough for me. You're post was the push I needed, a reminder to show up for life. It is really easy to go through the day completing each task mindlessly and wallowing in your own self-pity. It is harder to show up each morning and everyday, but the rewards are far greater.

I will hold your beautiful words close to my heart and they will serve as a constant reminder to keep on going.

Have a wonderful birthday!!

Ginger Brewton said...

Crystal, that was so moving and beautiful. Thank you for sharing and I hope your birthday is the best yet!

Julip Made said...

First, Happy Birthday! Second, thank you for deciding to share this. Even in sadness, your words were beautiful and honest. It is amazing what time, determination, and hard work can create. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments in the past year and I wish you twice-fold in the next!
~ Julie

.Jessica. said...

Wow, what a powerful post; thanks for sharing the spark of your inspiration. Happy birthday!

Tobe | Because It's Awesome said...

what a beautiful testament to your strength....it's so so hard to get up when we fall from love. clearly, finding another love over the last year will only prove to make you stronger, wiser, happier and that much MORE when your next love comes along.

happiest birthday, sweet girl! it's been a pleasure witnessing your journey through this blog. thanks for sharing!

The Iconic Blog said...

SO beautiful. Thank you for sharing.xx

Melanie
www.theiconicblog.com

Caroline said...

Happy, Happy Birthday! May 28 bring many more lessons and widsom. . . thanks for sharing and for showing up - as a reader of Rue, you inspire so many! xo, Caroline

Heidi Lyn said...

Happy Birthday! I'm writing through tears . . . you're a gorgeous writer and we are all blessed that you shared a taste of your experience with us. 28 is going to be amazing!!!!

Heather said...

Happy 28th! Thank you for the inspirational/motivational, put everything into perspective story.

Dawn Del Russo said...

What a heartfelt, inspiring, post Happy Birthday Crystal..May it bring even more bliss to you :)

thehaflife said...

Happy 28th Birthday. Thank you for sharing that everything happens for a reason.

Dream and Dress said...

I really appreciated reading all of this, it was a nice departure (though I love your regular posts equally!) and I get the not knowing how much to share thing completely, but I'm glad you did... it was very thoughtfully put together as well! Happy Birthday!

Emily said...

It's amazing what God will do when we just give him the chance. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Your writing is what drew me to your blog in the first place and again I'm reminded just how beautiful it is. I sense a book in your future my dear! Happy Birthday to you and may your coming year be full of happiness!

kelly said...

Happy Birthday Crystal! What a great journey you're having.
I didn't realize we're the same age, you seem so much older and wiser. Bravo!

Krissy (Shimmer Like Gold) said...

This was a very heartfelt and inspiring post. Kudos to you on your bravery to put out such a personal post. It's been such an inspiration watching your journey from blogging to Rue, and it feels like a real privilege to "peel back your layers", if you will. So congratulations on discovering so many wonders in the last year, and for being such a strong, determined and creative spirit. Happy birthday. :)

Semigloss Chic said...

Beautiful, Crystal. Thanks so much for sharing. So many of us have private pain that pushes us into the public world of sharing our passions through our blogs. Its a strange line to walk with what thoughts to share. But the truth is, we're all here together as a group, and most of us got here the same way. Because through each of our pain, of any kind, the same thing shown thru as the bright spot for us. That creative spirit that even the hardest pain doesn't kill because its' at the core of us. And here we all are together and so happy to be here!

Happy Birthday! Hope you're toasting the journey.

xo,
Abby

Tanya @ Dans le Townhouse said...

Happy Birthday! Thanks for sharing such personal words and such lovely photos.

Meredith Mills said...

Happy Birthday! Your story is so touching- I got chills! I hope you have a truly special day and this year is the best one yet! Keep showing up!!! :)

Brooke said...

Thank you for sharing such a personal story. Happy Birthday!

manvi @ mochatini said...

happy birthday crystal. your post got me all teary. its things like these that make blogging awesome! thanks for sharing. xo

b.k. said...

Happy birthday!!!! Isn't it amazing where God takes us? Hope this year is your best yet :) Go celebrate!!

Manu said...

Happy Birthday Gorgeous!

Right now I'm in the office, sneeking your blog and trying not to cry with your sad/beautiful/inspiring story.
Besos!!! Have a great festive weekend :)

annawithlove said...

Thank you times a million for sharing that beautiful story. I got chills and goosebumps just reading it and teared up a bit. You are so brave and what a perfect message to give to us, your readers!

A toast to you on your fabulous 28th birthday! xoxo

annawithlove

Fabulousonabudget said...

WOW. This was sooo moving and emotional to read. Good for you Crystal! Way to move on to bigger and better things.
You are Fabulous and we can't WAIT to come and hear you speak at the Pottery barn event in Beverly Hills.

Happy Birthday!
xoxo

Helena - A Diary of Lovely said...

Happy Birthday Crystal! Thanks for sharing this bit about you, feel I know much more! Have a beautiful day! xo

Gabrielle said...

You are exquisite. Thanks for the beautifully written post. & Happy 28th!

Mary said...

Crystal, I am so glad you posted this. You have an amazing way with words! I hope you have a wonderful birthday!!

Chic Coles said...

Happy Birthday! Have a wonderful birthday and thanks for sharing.

COCOCOZY said...

This is lovely. An inspiring reminder to all of us to show up every day. Happy Birthday!

xo
Coco

SHERRY HART said...

Beautiful words...happy 28th.....that is the thing about life...it can be so perfect but it is never static.....change is always coming.

Becca G said...

So pretty. Thank you for letting us share your special moment and for showing up-- lucky for us that you did. I'd say you did a little more than that... If Rue is just showing up, you put us all to shame! You should be so proud if your accomplishments. Congratulations on a great year and many more to come.

Danielle said...

so beautiful and so inspiring. that may be my new mantra..show up for life every day.

Jewel at EatDrinkShopLove said...

Happy Birthday! Such a moving post and I loved your quote about showing up for life everyday.

Tina Ramchandani said...

Happy birthday!

Thank you for being so honest and sharing your story. Its amazing what can come out of such sad situations. Great job!

taryn @ joielala photographie said...

wow. that post was so touching and beautiful! thank you for sharing & opening up. i wish you a very happy birthday today and congrats on what you've accomplished this year!
happy birthday!

Lisa said...

Happy Birthday! Thank you for such a touching and inspirational post!

Erin Taylor @ Bustle Events said...

Crystal,
I am so glad you posted that! What a difference a year makes! I love this very real story of making some drastic changes and God's provision!! Congrats on all you have accomplished. Rue is my favorite mag and you deserve the best 28th birthday, wish I could be there!!

Erin Taylor
Bustle Events

South Beach Mom said...

That was very heartfelt and inspiring. You are brave to share your story and I appreciate that. It's quite an accomplishment to have created Rue and make a hectic work/travel schedule look effortless. But we all know the hard work behind it all. Happy Birthday!! and good luck with Rue. My favorite....the Girls With Glasses photoshoot in Palm Springs. My inspiration for holiday decorating this coming year.

victoria | vmac+cheese said...

Congratulations and Happy Birthday, Crystal! As I'm coming up on my 27th, you have given me so much hope and inspiration that by the time I'm 28, many of my little dreams right NOW will by then be realized. Wishing you the happiest of days!

Anonymous said...

It is so wonderful to hear other people out there are going through the same thing. Thanks for sharing something so personal... we can all heal together!

Anonymous said...

Very powerful and brave words you shared for all of us! I hope you had a wonderful birthday~ Best Wishes
Juanita N.~Texas

Your Southern Peach said...

Happy Birthday! You are so very bright.

We are so blessed to be young and have a lot of our lives left to live! Isn't it lovely know all we have to do is show up? :)

Thanks for sharing. I know how hard that is!

Kathy said...

Wow I am moved to tears...it was a perfect thing to post, thank you so much for sharing and letting us get to know you just a tad bit more.

Splenderosa said...

Sometimes it is out of pain, passion, loss, despair that we reach deep inside and find our true selves. The self who can overcome all of this and soar higher, so much higher than we ever thought possible. It is experience & maturity. It is life lived. Happy Birthday, C!!

5th and state said...

crystal
your words deeply resonated within me, inspired me and left me thinking......it is time i too show up for life.
the loss and the manner of the loss of marija has left a different kind of hole.

your trust in sharing with us, your determination and your success is a testament to us all that life's roads with twists and turns, led with faith can yield many blessings.
continued success and a very happy birthday!
xo
debra

ELECTRIC FRINGE said...

this is beautiful Crystal. Doesn't it amaze you how well written and clear your thoughts were even during this time? You definitely have a gift and I'm happy you appreciate it and put it to good use! I strive to do the same. thanks as usual for the inspiration.

colby

Lauren said...

God works in mysterious ways... And look where you are now!!! Thanks for sharing... Your post will show others that not only does life go on bit it gets better!

Linda {Simply Seductive} said...

What an eloquently written post, dear Crystal. Happy belated birthday! So glad you found self-empowerment and self-fulfillment. We all adore Rue. Congratulations on your many accomplishments and hoping there are many more to come!

All the very best,

Linda

styleLinx said...

FIrst of all- happy 28th birthday! Thank you for sharing such an honest heart-felt post. It's amazing what creativity comes out of heartbreak and loss. Thanks again for sharing. And thanks for Rue.

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Happy Birthday. You are such a talented writer to be able to write your own emotions in such a beautiful and expressive way. I hope the best for you in the coming years and more success with Rue and whatever you pursue.

Jennifer Schoenberger said...

What a difference a year makes. Beautiful feeling, beautiful writing. So proud of you! I'm headed to an Italian cooking class today (how perfect) and will be toasting my prosecco to you darling girl!

AM said...

Buon Compleanno Crystal! Thank you for sharing this story - it's amazing what you accomplished this past year! Your strength and determination is quite inspiring to me as I approach 27 in ~month with big goals for myself. AND Italy for three years, wow!! I had only six months and always dream of going back for a more extended stay...there is something magical about that country :).
Have a great day - and another fantastic year! Xo,
Ann Marie

lark + linen said...

this was by far my favourite post to date. So raw & beautiful. Happy Birthday love. You've come so far!

erin loechner said...

this is such a beautiful post, sweet crystal. please, please keep sharing bits of your life. its a beautiful, inspiring life you live. we're all listening. :)

sarah @ design me daily said...

Beautiful. The happiest birthday to you.

LiveLikeYou said...

It's always during life's darkest moments greatness comes!! Pain is God's megaphone. Happy Birthday!

Aunt LoLo said...

Happy 28th, you baby, you. And...my hat is off to you. You have such a beautiful way with words. Thank you for sharing!

fantastic said...

just beautiful. happy 28th birthday x

Miz.November said...

Thanks for making me cry. That was the most beautiful post I think I have ever read, bar none. It means more to us, your readers, than you could ever know when you share something so personal in such a honest way. I hope God keeps showing up and blessing you beyond measure.

La Petite Maison said...

This post simultaneously brought tears to my eyes and encouraged me. Thank you for sharing and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Many blessings and happiness on your 28th birthday!

for the love of a house said...

What an achingly beautiful post. I wish you the happiest birthday and if I could give you a gift I would give you the gift of time.... to tell you that the older you get the faster it goes, and truly in a blink you are 50;) Enjoy every single second of this magical ride of yours! I wish you peace, joy and love.
happy birthday...
joan

SK said...

beautiful post.

hausofpretty.blogspot.com

Jona Olivia said...

In a moment where I found myself feeling the same way, tears coming down my eyes (only words escape me and I feel I can only truly express myself though drawing and photographing) this email found me. I sit here now in the same way, reading someone else's words as if they were my own, who has felt the same way that I have for about the same amount of time. I thank you for the gift of your birthday that you have given me. Happy Birthday!

PS- My gift to you (which you have probably heard before) I my favorite quote.
I beg you... to have patients with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Love the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer... (Rainer Maria Rilke)

travelkate said...

So beautifully written and so brave to open yourself up like that...I know so many people can relate, you just put the feeling so perfectly to words! Congrats to all of your success this year and beyond and Happy Birthday!

Down and Out Chic said...

firstly, happy birthday! thank you for sharing this. it is so poignant in so many ways. xo

Ana Antunes said...

OMG, I just found out your blog and you made me cry right away!! What an amazing woman you are. Amazed by your honesty and love story. I felt reading part of a great novel. Happy Birthday to you. AnaAntunes (from home-styling.blogspot.com)

Centsational Girl said...

Crystal, this is such a beautiful story, you are so brave for sharing it, I was really inspired!
xo
Kate

Nuha said...

This was incredibly touching. I'm sorry for your loss, but glad to know that something beautiful came out of it. Happy 28th birthday, may it be a wonderful year!
cheers:)

xoxo

Claudia Juestel said...

Happy belated birthday Crystal! You are my birthday twin, and you have the bravery and candor of an Aries on the cusp of Taurus.

Thank you for showing such a private side of you, I am sure so one many of us can relate too. Isn't it amazing how much can change in a year, a true testament to why we need to have hope during our darkest times.

Congratulations on all your successes and happy Easter.

Cheers,

Claudia

traci zeller designs said...

Crystal - here is to all of your dream coming true, even those that are bigger and better than you ever had courage to dream for yourself! Happy birthday!!
xoxo,
Traci

Richard Morales said...

You about nearly broke me down after "nobody is here to catch my tears or break my fall..."

So happy you showed up for what was to come up next in your life.

Happy Belated Birthday!

Caroline Lee said...

That was so incredible, Crystal. Gauging your inner battle on Twitter, I can gather that wasn't easy to bare your soul in this way; but it was beautiful. So poetic but so genuine. Thank you for being willing to share like that!

Happy {slightly belated} Birthday! Cheers to this year being even better than the last..xx

Susana said...

Crystal, amazing words. But, this year will be your year!
Happy birthday!
Xoxo
Susana

vojacque said...

this has to be one of the most beautiful posts i've ever read. emotions are so raw in every word -- beautifully written. a wonderful reminder to always keep your attitude strong and stay positive.

Michaela said...

Wow, this is beautiful in every way. Beautifully written by a beautiful girl with a beautiful heart. I hope you had a wonderful birthday! We are so glad you started Rue because it's, well, awesome (: Sometimes it takes pain and heartache to get to something great. God is always faithful in carrying us through. His plans are greater than ours!

Hilary Schwartz said...

Congratulations on all that you have achieved this year! Your story is so inspiring and I wish you even more success in the future! Happy Birthday!

elissa, ebb & flow said...

you write like poetry. what an amazing talent and beautiful words to come out of such a trying time. the things you have accomplished the past year are incredible. can't wait to see what the years ahead hold! thank you so much for sharing.

Emily Ruddo said...

Hey Crystal! Happy Belated B-day!! I am just now catching up on emails so I am a little late on the b-day wishes. Such an amazingly well written post. Hope you had a fantastic b-day. Can't wait to catch up with you soon.

xoxo
Emily
emily@armoniadecors.com

Steele Street Studios said...

Thank you for sharing. Thank you for showing up and inspiring so many of us. I love your blog and it's great to see you grow into new things. I hope you had a wonderful birthday. Lots of Love, Blair

Stacy Conner said...

Beautiful post! Congrats on everything you have accomplished this past year. Imagine what you can do with the next 20! Happy belated birthday. :)

HuntGatherFashion said...

Beautiful and moving.
Thank-you for sharing.

Katrina said...

Thank you for sharing this very personal account of a difficult time. I was nearly tearing up reading about the very real grief you went through.

I'm sure that looking back on this time last year has really emphasised to you just what an amazing year it has been!

::levina:: said...

such a beautiful & moving post. thanks for sharing. you are an inspiration.

pobox607 said...

so beautiful. thank you for sharing.

Arianna Belle {Organized Interiors} said...

Crystal,

This post was so engaging and so beautifully written. You are so resilient and your journey is inspiring. Happy Belated Birthday! Hope to see you again soon!

Big Hug,

Arianna

Alvina L. said...

Dear Crystal,

This was the first post of your blog that I read and it lingered with me for at least a week. Not only was it beautiful but nostalgic in a way for me. The more important thing is how inspiring it was and am so proud to know of talented young women who strive to achieve goals even in the midst of troubles! My youngest daughter's birthday is on the 22nd of this month. I can only hope and pray for her a true revelation such as yours, to aspire her in creating something as remarkable as Rue Magazine, and loving it as passionately as I have seen your work in it. May you be blessed with many more memorable years to come.

Brittany Stiles said...

It's amazing what beautiful things can come from heartache, pain, and the trials of life - although I forget that often. Thank you so much for reminding me. Happy belated birthday :)

Jo said...

Wow. This is the first time I've come across your blog and I'm blown away by the honesty in this post. It's exactly what I needed to read.

Thank you

belledame said...

wow. 4/20 was my 38th birthday. i hope you had a good one. and i enjoy your magazine.

Marcy said...

I've just come across this post - thank you so much for sharing so much of your feelings! Congratulations on your wonderful new journey.

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin