Hello, My Name is
And I’m Your SnoCo Gal
For the past two years I have been leading an increasingly public life, a life in which I’ve been known, not by my real name, but as your SnoCo Gal. Few know my actual name (yes, I do have one), and fewer still know more about me than my work with Live the SnoCo Life. Many have likely brushed it off as a writer using a pseudonym, or maybe some superhero/alter ego thing (I am known to do the impossible), but the truth is I created the name so that I could hide behind it, so that I could do things I didn’t believe I could do, so that I could be someone I didn’t I think I was.
There were moments along the way when all of that could have changed, when it should have. I’ve overcome a lot in my life. I deserved to be myself and to do things my way. So what went wrong? The more public my life became, the more I found myself faced with negative individuals and experiences within it, both new and old ones. Then I found myself taking hit after hit in my personal life. I became vulnerable to everything I had fought so hard to overcome, I went back into hiding. I was getting tested in a big way, and I was failing.
All of that is about to change though. I intend to start 2018, as myself, as an open book, with nothing to hide. Why now? The answer is fairly simple. Over the last few months, I’ve found myself faced with not only moments that have made it necessary, but with individuals in the local community who have come to me to share their story, the good and the bad, the things that make them vulnerable. Each time I sat down to do just that, all I kept thinking was …
Who was I to make them face their fears and vulnerabilities in such a public way, to share their stories, let alone deserve to listen to them, when I was hiding from my own?
The part of me that has fought so hard to hide wanted to wallow in that question, to be discouraged and quit, but the SnoCo Gal part of me was having none of that. That part saw the trust and faith these individuals were putting in me, all of me. They believed in me in a way that I had never been able to believe in myself. More importantly, that part of me saw their courage and strength, and it was inspired. It saw the support they were receiving in response to sharing their stories and thought that, if I did the same, I would too.
Those thoughts, led to more questions. What was hiding and not being myself costing me? For too long it has kept me and Live the SnoCo Life from moving forward. It has kept me from completely letting go of the past. It has kept all of you from understanding who I am and why I do what I do, why it is so important to me. It has kept all of you from understanding just how much the community I have found through all of this and the local choices have changed my life and made it better. How can I convince you that the same could be true for you, if you didn’t?
Being a public figure, trying to create change, means being an open book, being an example, and inspiring others. I was going about it all wrong, I was letting the negative experiences and people, the vulnerability and fear, the what if’s, win, and I was getting nowhere because of it. What I do, what I get from it, what my children get from it, and what all of you get from it is far too important to me to let that continue.
So, I stand before you now, not as your SnoCo Gal, or to tell you someone else’s story, but as Jessica,telling you my own.
I was born in Southern California, scandalous I know, but out of my control. My family moved to Snohomish County just after my second birthday, and I have called it home ever since. I grew up in Everett, went to high school in Snohomish, and have lived in Marysville, Arlington, and now Lake Stevens. Don’t expect that to be the end of the list though. I’ve been craving a home with mountains in the backyard, plenty of wide open space, a garden for growing our own food, and even a few chickens. That is this gal’s idea of happily ever after these days.
I’m getting a bit ahead of myself though, aren’t I? I haven’t quite found my happily ever after yet, and I’m guessing you’ve caught on to the fact that my life hasn’t exactly been full of sunshine and rainbows up to now. It hasn’t.
Be warned, the words that lie ahead may be difficult to read, trust me they were hard to write, and some who have been through similar experiences may find themselves triggered by them. You’ve been warned, proceed with caution.
I grew up in a home without love. My mother was never able to love me, never able to feel the way about her daughter that a mother should. The weight of that fell on me. For the first five or so years of my life I was punished for it, abused physically. Like others who have experienced the same, I live with the scars from it, both on the inside and outside. I am reminded of it every day in the line that marks the spot where my chin was broken open twice. I see that line every time I look in the mirror and in every picture taken of me. There is no escape from it.
When it ended after I began school, it was replaced by emotional and mental abuse which continues to this day. I was made to feel like the reason why she couldn’t feel the way she should was because there
was something wrong with me. That idea was reinforced daily. Any friends I was able to have, anything I was able to accomplish, was because of her intervention, her control. I was never able to form relationships or do anything on my own, anything that would allow me to feel good about myself, to feel like, just maybe, she was wrong.
The effects were devastating. I began to hide who I was, pretending to be someone else, but that didn’t stop the constant fear that everyone would realize there was something wrong with me and leave. More often than not, I spent my days alone. I became a master of planning, of making sure every step I took on my own would be perfect before doing anything, but that didn’t stop the constant fear that something would go wrong, that what I wanted would be taken away before I could finish. More often than not it was, I gave up or sabotaged it first.
As for my father, he loved me, but was never able to show it because it would incur my mother’s wrath. He knew what she was doing and did nothing to stop it. He was the one person who could have protected me and he didn’t. Despite that, I owe my love of the outdoors and photography to him. We were always hiking and going camping. He was constantly taking photos of me and the places we went. I wish I could say that we share those things now, that we do them together, but we don’t. My mother and the things he didn’t do back then, and still won’t, stand in the way.
I also wish I could say that all of these things were the worst moments of my childhood. They weren’t. My mother brought me cousin into our home, a boy who had been taken away from his own family and placed in a facility from a young age because of severe issues with anger, a
aboy who had touched another of my cousin’s inappropriately. He had no business being in our home or allowed to play with me unsupervised, but he was. While there, while no one was watching, he raped me. He took away what innocence I had left before I had even finished elementary school.
In that one moment, that single act, he solidified every thought my mother had ever put in my mind. I gave up,I lost hope, I stopped fighting. I accepted that there was something wrong with me, that no one would or could love me, that I deserved what she did to me, what he did to me, and every other bad thing that had happened or would happen to me.
After comitting similar acts against other womenand being involved in the somewhat locally famous mail order bride murder, he now spends his days behind bars. There is some peace in knowing he can no longer hurt others.
I never told my parents what happened, but there were more than enough signs that something had. From that moment forward, I stopped wanting to do anything, I stopped wanting to go places. After years of being the star of my father’s pictures and our family’s photo albums, I no longer wanted my picture taken. I didn’t want to be seen. I disappeared. I became a ghost. Well that last part isn’t entirely true, I began eating to cope with the pain, gaining weight throughout my middle school years. It’s hard to be a ghost when you are overweight.
My family moved to Snohomish just before I started high school. I think a part of me was hopeful that it would change things, that it would erase all that had happened in the home I grew up in, but high school is high school. It is a place that inherently creates the need for people to pretend to be someone else to fit in.
In some ways, I guess that means I fit right in. But I yearned to be part of the “it” crowd. Not because they were popular, but because they seemed normal, happy, like they had the perfect life, perfect families. They were everything I wasn’t and had everything I didn’t have.
hanks to all the eating though, I didn’t exactly look the part, and spent the rest of the school year and summer changing that. At first it was just exercise, a lot of it. Then it was eating less, and less, and less.
Before I even realized what was happening, I was barely eating at all and throwing up most of what I did eat. I had a problem, a big one. By the time I showed up for registration my Junior year, I weighed just under 100 pounds. I didn’t see it, but I had become a skeleton, an actual ghost. Something my parents either didn’t see, or didn’t want to.
I had gotten what I wanted though, or at least the appearance of it. I finally had friends, I had a boyfriend. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced, I felt loved, wanted, for the first time in my life. It was too good to be true though. After a few months, he had grown impatient as boys do, and I found myself out in the middle of nowhere at a party, where I said no and wasn’t heard. There was that moment, all over again. I found myself pregnant and spent my senior year being one of “those” girls, alone again, and giving birth just before my 18th birthday and graduation.
I could have left him, walked away. I should have, but I didn’t. Why not? As bad as what happened to me was, I saw my condition and the one responsible for it as a way out, an escape from my mother and my home. We moved in together and it wasn’t long before I began to realize just how wrong I was about that. He was an alcoholic, and once our daughter was born, he became physically abusive.
For awhile, the realization that I left one nightmare, only to find myself in another, was more than I could take. Twice I attempted to take my own life.
Obviously, I didn’t succeed, but I would have probably kept trying if it hadn’t been for my daughter. As the months passed, the enormity of being a parent, of being responsible for another human life began to hit me. My mother may have been present, but she was never a mother. I grew up without one, I knew the damage, the pain, that caused. How could I leave this beautiful innocent little girl alone? A small part of me began to fight, it fought to hold on as long as she needed me to and to give her a safe and loving home, everything I never had.
Before her first birthday, I threw her dad out of our home. I got a job, my own apartment, and spent the next year taking care of her and myself. It was then that I found myself confronted with a bit of a kindred spirit, a man who, like me, had scars from his past and his family. While it wasn’t exactly love, we got each other, we were best friends, we were each the first person the other let in. He also just happened to buy me and my equally underage friend alcohol. If you are wondering if I got knocked up again, congratulations, you are starting to get me too.
I got pregnant around six months after we met, we had a baby boy nine months later, and got married on a far too hot day in Las Vegas when he was just six months old and I was barely 21. It was a day that my mother ruined, of course. To be honest it was probably a fitting sign of things to come, so don’t get ahead of yourself and start feeling all warm and fuzzy just yet. Things do start to get better for me, but there were still quite a few years to go before I got to that point.
We are still married, I’d say how long but that would give away how old I am, and a girl never tells. Lets just call it more than a decade, and leave it at that. For the first six years of our marriage we remained best friends, with benefits of course, ones that led to three more children and of course my puppy Mrs. Everly (my other, other half).
That’s right, I have five children, now 18, 16, 14, 12, and 10 (you know that one as The SnoCo Kid), three boys, and two girls. I’m realizing that, with a bit of math and the dates and ages I’ve thrown around so far, you might just be able to figure out how old I am. Stop! It’s not important.
Throughout the years that we have been married, and the frustrations and setbacks we have had along the way, we are still capable of being best friends when it really matters. A lot has changed. We now live in separate rooms and lead very separate lives. Some of that can be blamed on his becoming a business owner, it changed him, money started to get in the way, and working together was the worst decision we could have ever made. Those things separated us and as the years passed, I began to change as well, and the divide grew wider.
Along the way, I found myself facing the realization that my kids were all going to be in school before I knew it, and I was going to once again be alone with the depression, anxiety, and fears, all of the time. I couldn’t do that, not again. It was then that I made a new commitment. I decided that, no matter how hard it was, I was going to get my you know what together, I was going to deal with my past. The first step on that journey was going back to school.
I was never one to talk to others about what had happened to me. In fact, there were only two people in my entire life who knew all of the things I’ve just told you. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that I chose to get a psychology degree. I was set on fixing myself. Totally rolled my eyes at myself when I wrote that, but the reality is I came a long way towards doing just that. I learned all about behaviors, I studied motivations. I tried to understand the things that happened to me and why. I tried to figure out how to let go and move on.
I’m happy to say that, for the most part, I was able to do just that. Depression, anxiety, wanting to give up on what I’m doing and on life, the underlying thoughts that were ingrained so deeply into who I am, are still there, particularly during difficult times, and they always will be. I know what to do withen they do though and I got to that point on my own, without a single day of medication or therapy, . Over time it got easier to get back up when I’d fall down. For those curious about how, don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you hanging. How is an important part of my story.
On the wall of my office you will find a picture that’s not like the others. It’s old (not going to say how old) and not in a frame. It is me as a baby, before all of the bad things that happened. In it, my eyes are sparkling and full of life. On my face is the biggest smile, and just maybe a hint of a laugh. For the longest time, that smile and laugh represented for me the last time I had ever done those things and had them be real, the last time I had truly been myself, the last time I hadn’t had to pretend to be happy or to be someone else.
On the back is a note, written to the girl in the photo. It says, “you were innocent, you deserved to be loved and protected, you deserved to be happy.”
Whenever things got hard, I would look at that picture and repeat those words. I would look at it and tell myself that I owed it to that little girl to give her a life where she was all of those things. I made myself accountable for giving her that life. It may seem silly, but it allowed me to relive all the bad things, to see the truth of those words in them. No matter what I may feel from day to day, I’ve never once been able to look at that face and believe anything else.
After getting my Bachelors degree, I wasn’t quite done with my education yet. My children were finally all in school and I made the decision to go to law school. A semester away from finishing, I found myself realizing that I didn’t want to practice law. I had begun working with local businesses, and I loved it. They needed me, and my counseling approach to planning and development was working for them and helping me in the process. I somewhat reluctantly graduated, took the bar exam, and got my license. I tried a few cases, but just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t me.
Meanwhile, word began to spread about what I was doing for local businesses. More and more were turning to me for help, the only problem was, they couldn’t afford it. I started researching options available to them and came up empty handed. Discouraged, I decided to start my own nonprofit business development center which would help them with everything for their first three years, the hardest years. That first year involved a lot of organization, planning, and putting everything in action, I helped over 20 new business, and more were coming in every week.
It was amazing, but providing services for free or on a sliding scale meant little income and a lot of expenses. I needed help, and I needed it soon. All set-up, I spent the second year trying to get funding, only to discover that charities didn’t really fund unique ideas and that the city governments didn’t care about locally owned businesses. Every economic development official I met with just went on about wanting more national chains, increasing their bottom line with sales tax dollars.
By the end of the second year we were up to over 40 businesses and I just couldn’t keep up anymore, let alone take on more. It wasn’t working, my nonprofit was stuck and the number of businesses I was helping wasn’t making a real difference in our county, the kind I wanted to make. While most, myself included, would have gotten discouraged, I didn’t. Instead, I was inspired, I saw a connection between what had happened to me throughout my childhood and what was happening to all of these businesses.
I saw them being told, and made to feel, the same things I had my whole life. They were being treated like something was wrong with them, that they weren’t good enough because they were small and local. They were being given enough to try, but not succeed. Their importance to our communities wasn’t being protected. Then it hit me. I might not be able to change the way our city governments treated local businesses, any more than I could change how my parents treated me, but I could change the way individuals living in Snohomish County shopped.
With that in mind, I made the difficult decision to close my nonprofit (not to worry, I continued to work with the businesses served, and the final five will be reaching the end of their third year and services in 2018, yay!!!) and start Shop Local SnoCo. It was nothing more than a directory on a website and social media shares of locations, a far cry from what I do now. So how did I get from there to here? Another bump in the road, of course. After four months, I discovered that finding local businesses to add to the directory wasn’t as easy as it sounded.
Local businesses rarely showed up on online maps or in internet searches. When I realized that was because they were either considered too small or just didn’t know or understand how to get on them, I was having none of that. I got up, got in my car, and went on a mission to find them. For those that have been with me from the beginning, you know that the first Snohomish County community I visited was Darrington and it was a life changing experience for me. It is a community without national chains, a strong and thriving one, with the most amazing business owners.
All of this was shared online through social media, and through my first blog post. The reaction was overwhelming. People loved it and wanted more, so I gave it to them, bouncing from one city to another, and sharing it all. It was a wonderful feeling knowing that so many people were learning about local businesses because of me. It was more than that though, it was bringing my children and I closer together. It was a game changer, and two months later, on July 4th of 2016, Live the SnoCo Life and SnoCo Gal were born.
That first year should have been amazing, but it wasn’t, it was one of the hardest of my life. I took hit after hit personally, just when things were finally going right. I was being tested, and failing. Writing and sharing were easy for me, but dealing with an increasingly public life was not.
During the first couple of months, I made a personal mistake that played out in a very public way despite it having nothing to do with Live the SnoCo Life. Left and right people were sharing what happened and telling people not to support the page or the website, they were leaving hateful comments and reviews, for well over a week.
I couldn’t believe what was happening. I could understand them being angry at me, but how could people tell others not to support something that existed only to support local businesses and the communities of Snohomish County? It just didn’t make sense, and it was hurting those I was trying to promote. Somehow, I weathered the storm, but I came out of it different. What had started as me sharing local businesses and experiences as myself, or more appropriately, as your SnoCo Gal, became Live the SnoCo Life sharing them as a community organization, as a “we.”
Honestly, not only did I not feel like I couldn’t be myself, I didn’t feel like I could be her either. Creating SnoCo Gal hadn’t stopped me from being a target or prevented the thoughts and feelings that brought up. Time and time again, I found that reinforced by individuals who made negative comments or bullied me anytime I dared to have an opinion or when they didn’t agree with something I wrote. All of it made me take me out of it, for the second time in my life. This was my chance to really overcome the past and I was allowing myself to be pushed back into hiding.
I did my best to move past it, posting away, spending more and more time along the Mountain Loop Highway and in Darrington, places I could go to get away from it all. Fast forward two months, to November, and my kids and I had gone from never hiking at all to hiking over 30 miles on 10 different trails. With a bit of the great outdoors under our belts, we set out to conquer our first mountain and our first camping trip. We camped atop White Chuck Mountain in Darrington, enjoying its panoramic views of the Cascades and making the short hike to its summit. To this day, it is the most beautiful place I’ve been.
Inspired, and not ready to go home, we camped a second night, got wet, and had a blast. On our way home, everything changed. We were involved in a serious car accident on the highway out of Granite Falls, a minute or two from the turn off to go to our home. The car that had taken us on adventures all summer and fall was totaled. There were ambulance rides, fractured bones, and more bruises than we could count. It was more than just physical though, the damage was also mental, and neither was easy to overcome.
I spent weeks in bed, and month after month recovering. Getting in the car and driving to the places I had grown to love, taking photographs, was difficult, not just for me, but the kids as well. We stopped doing it. We stopped going anywhere.
I didn’t leave the house unless I absolutely had to. Fast forward another two months, to the end of 2016 and the health problems I had been struggling with for just under a year took a turn for the worse. My body was no longer digesting food or getting what it needed from it.
I was told by my doctors that there was nothing they could do, that I would begin losing weight, that I would spend the next year or two gradually starving, wasting away, until my organs began to fail one after another. They gave me a death sentence and I accepted it, I started to plan for it. I sat down and thought about all the amazing things I’d done and places I’d gone over the last year. I realized that there were still so many things to and places to go. Live the SnoCo Life was just getting started, it was making a difference, there was still so much left to do.
As 2017 began, I found myself creating a bucket list instead of a list of resolutions, a long one full of hikes, adventures, and more. I began thinking about everything I wanted to accomplish with Live the SnoCo Life, and how little time I had to do it in. I began working at a frantic pace, trying to do it all without doing the planning that was needed and without realizing that, thanks to my health, I no longer had the energy I once had. Added to that were local businesses coming to me with requests. They wanted events. They wanted classes. They wanted a shop, a place to sell, promoted by me, benefiting from my reach. I wanted to help them, and I tried, but all became too much.
There were so many things going on at the same time, so many things getting started, but not finished. As spring and summer came, the things on my bucket list finally became possible, but my heart and my health just weren’t in it. The things on it weren’t getting done and the chance to do them was slipping away. It was my childhood happening all over again. I threw myself into our summer event and tried to ignore it all, then it failed, hard. Add to all of that a new medication that was wreaking havoc on not only my body, but mind, and something just snapped in me. For a few weeks I found myself wanting to surrender, to quit, to give up, and I almost did.
What changed? I fell apart, literally, then I found myself experiencing a new feeling. For the first time in my life, I got angry. found myself looking at all that I had overcome, how much I had accomplished
through Live the SnoCo Life, how many businesses I had helped despite everything going wrong. People loved following me, I was making friends, I was doing something that mattered, and I was doing it well. I found myself looking at the photos and stories that documented it all. I saw myself smiling and laughing, and not because I was pretending to, but because it was real. There was nothing bad hiding behind it. I saw the baby girl from that picture in myself for the first time.
It wasn’t fair. I had spent my life up until starting Live the SnoCo Life not wanting to be alive, wanting to give up, and give in all of the time. I had tried to take my own life twice and failed. I had been in two car accidents that should have taken my life, had experienced two health emergencies that should have done the same, but they didn’t. That is six times that I could have died, that I wanted to more than anything, but I was forced to keep going. And now, when I finally wanted to live, when I finally wanted to keep going, that choice was being taken away.
Fuck that! I couldn’t accept that, I wouldn’t. I wanted to live, and I was going to. I began to fight back. It started with food, the very thing that was killing me. I leaned on local farms, grocers, and food products. Everything was healthy, fresh, organic and GMO free. I was cooking more, making sure I knew exactly what was going into my body and that it was going to help me. Over the course of three months it had changed my life, it had prolonged it. The damage to my organs has slowed substantially, my weight loss has all but stopped, and I’ve even gained a bit here and there.
Next, there was the mess I had made with Live the SnoCo Life to deal with. Along the way it had turned into something other than what I wanted it to be. In some ways that was a bad thing. Everything was too quick and simple, I wasn’t really writing or taking photographs anymore, the things that my true followers loved most. I was just going through the motions. In other ways it was good though, I had begun to see that what I was doing wasn’t just about supporting local businesses anymore, it was about making local choices, about the differences that they can make in your life.
Over the last year, I have gone from shopping local 50% of the time to 90% of the time. Local choices are now a part of my everyday life and not only have they literally saved it, they have made it one worth living. Those choices have meant taking the time to slow down, to take care of myself, to spend more time with my children, discovering new things together and doing more of the things we love. They meant actually sitting down to dinner at a table and communicating with words, not cell phones (a shocking idea, I know).
Those choices and my work, the people I have met through it, how much closer I have gotten with my children, created a feeling of a real family and community where I had never had one. It may not be a traditional one, but it’s mine.
For the first time there was love and happiness in my life, I didn’t have to pretend anymore. It truly was just like our name, I was actually living my life for the first time thanks to Snohomish County, its communities, its businesses, and residents. How I got that part of all of this right from the start, I’ll never know, but I did.
I knew I had to do something that was going to be very hard for me. I had to stop everything, take a break and really figure things out, make an actual plan and follow through on it. Deciding how long scared me. It forced me to face all of my fears at once, a million what if’s. What if I end up not wanting to do this at all? What if no one likes what I do? What if everyone that has been following me is gone when I get back? What if I have to start all over again? Thankfully, the SnoCo Gal part of me was right there with the perfect answer. You are SnoCo Gal, you’ve got this.
I settled on ten weeks, the time until our fall event, and it was the best decision I have ever made. For the first time in forever, I was able to focus without distractions, without pressure from others, or the constant need to post and be out running all over the place. I spent most of the first half, returning to my happy place, Darrington and the Mountain Loop Highway. While there I started taking photographs, hiking, and camping again. I spent time with those I felt closest to in the community I’d created and I filled a notebook full of thoughts and ideas.
Now I’d like to say that I came back without a hitch, I didn’t. After all the work putting Live the SnoCo Life and myself back together I got tested again. This time I was ready for it though. Instead of sitting back and enjoying my first day back, our website host failed to renew our security certificate and it took our whole website down along with everything on it. Not only did I have to create our new design all over again, I was faced with the choice of either slowly putting back together the jumbled mess that was my old articles, or not including them at all. Instead of falling apart, I took it as a sign that the changes I was making meant a fresh start, so out with the old and in with the new.
As if that wasn’t enough, my mother took it upon herself to invade my life once again, showing up at the end of that first week back, at the start of our big fall event. She walked up to me and handed me a big envelope with, among other things, child abuse with a question mark written on the front and an indication that pictures were inside. For the second time, I found myself faced with her essentially telling me that I had never been abused. I didn’t open it, I never open anything she tries to drop off, I know better. Her inability to be accountable, or even recognize what she has done and continues to do, are a constant trigger for me, it is why she is not longer a part of my life.
It was more than just the envelope though. Later that same day, I received a notification of a comment on my youngest daughter’s article, the one where she shares all the local goodies in her room. It was my Mother, telling her that she had visited one of the shops listed and would be checking out another. I removed it but that didn’t stop the fear and what if’s for me, or for my daughter. We have both chosen to make our lives public, to share with others so that all of you can experience what Snohomish County has done for us. In doing so, we opened a door for her to be able to see into our lives, to try to get involved in them, despite not being allowed to see us or talk to us for over two years.
What if she shows up at one of the shops or restaurants we go to while we are there? What if she is going to these places and telling people who she is like she is a part of our lives? What if we find out about her doing it? How do we respond to that? I stopped these what if’s short. I wasn’t going to led them build up and become the reason I, or my daughter, give up and quit.
We have been through too much and come too far. What we do is important and is making a difference. More importantly, we love what we do, it has become a part of us. She is not going to take that away. We are not going to be afraid. We are not going to change the way we do things. We are not giving up or quitting.
With all of that in mind, I decided to mail her envelope back with a one-page note. In it, I encouraged her to look up what mental and emotional abuse is, the kind that she has committed against me my entire life, and against my grandmother and my children as well. She is no longer a part of any of our lives because of it. I made my choice, and they all made theirs. I made sure that she knew that and reinforced that all of our decisions were to be respected by her. That she was to leave us alone, to stop forcing her way into our lives, and that she would be contacted if any of us decided we wanted her back in our lives or wanted to talk to her.
For the first time in my life, I found myself taking control and standing up for myself, not just with actions but with words. I wasn’t just avoiding her anymore. I put my foot down. It wasn’t just for me though, it was for my grandmother and my children. I was doing what everyone in my life had so often failed to do for me, I was protecting them. As I dropped it in the mail, I realized the enormity of what I had just done, the step I had just taken. I realized that, just maybe, I’d come a lot further than I thought I had.
So, it would seem that as 2017 comes to a close, I am not only defining a new chapter of who I am but discovering a new chapter of what Live the SnoCo Life stands for in my life and the lives of others. For Live the SnoCo Life, that chapter means more than just a monthly magazine. That’s right, there is still more to come, as you will find out soon enough. So, buckle up, it’s going to be one heck of a wild adventure, and I plan to be here for every single moment of it. I plan to keep Liv(ing) the SnoCo Life, and I hope that you will join me .