The Magic Within

Photography by YIAZ YANG

Magic can be a powerful tool for finding courage. It can empower us to believe in our own strength and to take risks that we wouldn’t normally take. The feeling of being able to tap into our inner power to achieve our goals and move forward in life is an inspiring one. With the help of a little magic, we can access the strength and determination to take on life’s challenges and make our dreams come true.

For me, finding the magic within has been a journey of self- discovery and growth. After being diagnosed with an illness that demanded all my attention, I was flooded with so many emotions that still try to take over my day-to-day. I must be careful not to get swept up in the anxiety of what-ifs but instead lean into the experiences of what I can do that enlivens my spirit.

When I first found out that I was sick, I needed to be still and breathe positive energy into the reality of what I’m living with. It helped me gain an understanding that this is not a story of survival, like so many had told me, but of living a life of wholeness the best I can. The illness had given me an awareness that I needed to replenish, nurture, and heal the parts of myself that I let go of. The calm within washed over me and started to show its presence on my face and body with some clarity and wisdom. I have earned every dance forty-three times around the sun, and I am still going.

I wanted to spend time with family and my fairy friends in their enchanted healing gardens. I wanted to connect with the elements. So when fantasy photographer Yiaz Yang put out a notice on Instagram that she was going to be in Southern California, I thought about how much I would love to have a photoshoot with her. I reached out and explained what I was going through. I told her I wanted to feel beautiful and powerful for a fantasy fairy shoot that represented my essence. She replied quickly: “I can definitely do that!”

We met up on a sunny day in Laguna Beach. As Yiaz gathered her things, I said a silent prayer, trusting in the universe and my magic within to be courageous and to continue creating memories like that special day, but most of all to have kindness and grace with myself, allowing light and love to take root. Yiaz adorned me with an elaborate crown of feathers and beads and a gown evoking the fiery energy of the sun. We set up on the beach and allowed the wind and water to lead the dance of the elements.

The tides were high, and the waves crept close, forcing me to be immersed within the water. I felt a sense of connection to the divine, my ancestors, and the water goddess who came to greet me. It was an overwhelming feeling of pure gratitude as the waves crashed against the blazing gown we had chosen. I hadn’t been to the ocean since my return to California for treatments, but I am a Scorpio, so water is my element. It was also a day before my birthday, so I felt truly blessed by their acknowledgment that I finally made it to the shore.

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