Today is Vivianna + Jorge’s wedding, so naturally it’s about time I shared some of these gems I’ve been sitting on for the last 6 months. When I met Vivianna I knew we had an instant connection. Without saying too much, she works for the Long Beach Police Department and she, too, is a photographer of sorts, though the stuff she photographs is stuff I only hear about on the news and my true crime podcasts, if you catch my drift! In September we met for drinks at my favorite local brewery (Ten Mile, holla!) where Jorge joined us when he was finished with work. During the three hours we spent consulting at the brewery we did talk about wedding photography, but mainly we talked about life and philosophy and the things we have in common. It was a beautiful time together, and I remember thinking as I left there, “If they don’t book me, this is going to be a hard one to let go of.”
Fast forward a few weeks and they signed my contract, bringing a huge grin to my face. Sadly, I couldn’t have imagined how hard the following weeks and months were going to be for me, but V + J brought light to the situation and were so gracious with me. This past winter I struggled with serious bouts of depression and anxiety. I began taking antidepressants in hope of some relief, but instead I experienced a very strange phenomenon where the entire left side of my body went numb and/or felt like pins and needles for over 4 months straight. Eventually it started progressing from my left side to my right, and soon both of my feet were affected. It was severely uncomfortable and disorienting, and mostly it was terrifying because I couldn’t imagine what life would be like if these sensations never went away. During their engagement session I couldn’t feel my feet at all, but we did a LOT of walking through the streets of downtown. Both of my feet felt like pins and needles, spreading all the way up my legs, and by the end of our two hours together it was almost excruciating. When I got home I took off my shoes and had huge blisters on the soles of my feet; a consequence of walking so much on them without being able to feel them and distribute my weight appropriately. My thoughts immediately jumped to the future and I cried thinking of my upcoming trip to Europe, my 2019 weddings, and all the events that I had planned that required me to be on my feet for several hours. How would I go on?
Well I wish I had a magical answer that I could share with you, but honestly it’s been a journey with very confusing turns and little clarity. It’s only been in the last month or two that I’ve had complete feeling back in my feet, but I will take that as a huge victory. Despite stopping the medication, I still can’t feel parts of my left arm, and when I get really anxious I lose feeling in parts of my left torso, all along my left rib cage. I’ve been to doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, acupuncturist, and physical therapists and no one has a definitive answer for me, but if I had to guess, I think it was a combination of the new medication and my body’s somatic response to being under too much pressure. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve kicked my self-care practices up a notch this year and I have focused a lot of my energy (and money) on taking care of my mental health, which was way overdue. I’ve noticed improvements slowly but surely. Consistent acupuncture has brought the most relief for my numbness, and I see improvement with every visit.
Well, enough about me. Back to the original reason for posting: these beautiful photos of one of the best couples I know! When I asked Vivianna and Jorge where they wanted to take their photos, they knew right away that we were going to incorporate Long Beach in any way we could. We started with drinks to loosen up the nerves, and then we walked from the Promenade all the way to the Pike, taking photos and capturing moments all along the way. (Confession: at one point we did drive, which was welcomed because my feet were killing me!) They were so relaxed and trusting in my vision and direction and we truly enjoyed taking in a beautiful SoCal evening in each other’s company while also taking some pretty pictures. If you ask me, that’s the way it should be. Today is their second wedding–they technically were married last weekend in a Catholic ceremony which I also got to be part of–but today’s events are going to be held at the breathtaking Mt. Palomar Winery in Temecula. I absolutely cannot wait to make more magic together this afternoon, and on “regular footing” I might add! Stay tuned for wedding photos to come, but in the meantime, enjoy these snaps from a late January afternoon in Long Beach; the place we call home.