Reflecting on 2021 and moving into 2022

January 8, 2022

Reflecting on 2021 and moving into 2022

2021 was one of the most profound years of my life. I moved from Oakland to Los Angeles, took on more freelance graphic design clients, and grew Drifter Organics. I also started my Lyme treatment and discovered my body was ridden with parasites which I’m still trying to detox from. I spent more time alone than I’ve ever spent before and learned a lot about myself. I stayed up-to-date with more Netflix shows and pop culture in general (I loved The Queen’s Gambit!). I tried to get into TikTok but just couldn’t. I read books, watched new favorite movies, discovered new artists, and listened to new favorite songs. I fell madly in love with the movie Almost Famous, adopted the quote “It’s all happening!” as one of my life mantras, and had it engraved into a necklace my paternal grandmother gave to me.

Reflecting on 2021 and moving into 2022
Reflecting on 2021 and moving into 2022

I created new art I’m proud of. I got balayage for the first time. I had expectations not met and expectations exceeded. I was vulnerable with the ones I love and trust. I surrendered myself to the unknown (mainly regarding getting deep into my Lyme treatment and making a huge business decision) more than ever.

Reflecting on 2021 and moving into 2022

2021 ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

  1. I MOVED TO LOS ANGELES. This, by far, is my biggest accomplishment of 2021. I’ve been wanting to move to LA for years now—I just love the culture, aesthetic, and weather down here. When I learned it was a sound business and health decision, I did everything in my power to see this goal to fruition and I made it happen. I finally feel settled in a place I can call home in city I feel at home in.
  2. Slowly started decorating my new Los Angeles space intentionally with secondhand finds from thrift shops, flea markets, Instagram vintage shops, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Nextdoor, and OfferUp. It’s been a very slow process, but all the more meaningful when I think of the interesting lives my furniture and home decor have lived before me and how much kinder it is to the environment (and my wallet) by recycling existing objects.
  3. My mom and I launched a new Drifter Organics product: our Paris Face Mist. We were also endorsed by Emma Chamberlain in one of her vlogs which I didn’t even realize until just now checks off my first 2021 goal I wrote at the beginning of this year.
  4. I took on two really amazing freelance clients who are absolute dreams to work with. (This checks off my second 2021 goal I wrote at the beginning of this year—amazing how manifesting works.)
  5. I helped get someone I met online diagnosed with Lyme disease. We both live in Los Angeles, have quickly become friends, and are working on making an online course about chronic illnesses.
  6. More on the “basic” side, but I started getting monthly facials and being diligent about caring for myself, not only because it’s important for everyone, but it especially helps facilitate my Lyme recovery. This includes regular acupuncture, Epsom salt baths, and infrared sauna sessions. This aligns with my third 2021 goal I wrote at the beginning of this year.
  7. Also on the more basic side, I built up my solid gold jewelry collection. With so many trends coming and going in literally months, I love having timeless, everyday pieces that will last decades. I’m quite content with the 10kt, 14kt, and 18kt gold pieces I’ve sourced and collected this past year.
  8. I got my ears pierced. A third basic accomplishment! (But we’re celebrating both the big and little accomplishments here and everything in between.) I got my first holes pierced when I was six years old—I specifically remember my mom taking me to Blockbuster afterwards, what a blast from the past, but I digress—but I’ve been wanting to create constellation piercings on both ears for years now and just one random Tuesday afternoon, went to my local piercing parlor, and got almost everything done in one go. A week later, I got two more piercings and I’m happier with how they look than I could ever have imagined.
  9. I started Pearl Mirrors. While I don’t intend on it growing into a major business venture for me, it’s nice to have a side project that gets me working with my hands.
  10. I did a better job staying organized with my workspace and keeping my living area clean. I can’t tell you how it eases my anxiety and helps me breatheee deeper seeing a nice, clean space.
  11. I started therapy. Albeit at the very tail end of 2021 (literally the last week of December), I’ve wanted to find/see a therapist to talk to. I think it’s extremely healthy to talk to someone about your life and what you’re going through who is not your friend or a close relative. Even if it’s not anything super dramatic, traumatic, or serious, it’s beneficial for everyone to talk things out to sort out their feelings.
Reflecting on 2021 and moving into 2022
Reflecting on 2021 and moving into 2022

Looking back at my 2021 goals and what I actually accomplished, I checked off more than I realized. The power of manifesting is real. I’m really proud of myself.

Reflecting on 2021 and moving into 2022

2022 GOALS:

  1. Finish decorating my home. I am almost done with it, I just really need to figure out how to organize all of my ugly stuff I need to keep like important papers, business stuff, cleaning supplies, utilities, packages, etc.
  2. Continue healing from Lyme and my other chronic illnesses. I’ll write a health update blog post about this soon.
  3. Document more of everyday life. I used to shoot more of the in-between, nothing scenes. That’s actually what sparked my love of photography: You have the power to capture a moment in time that will not and cannot ever be repeated—little time capsules. I’d specifically love to shoot more with my film camera, but I just want to shoot more in general with whatever I have in hand.
  4. Organize old family photos/videos. I’m such a sucker for nostalgia and a sentimental fool, I would love to get more organized with how I keep old family photos and videos so I can easily refer to them when I talk about past memories and growing up.
  5. Take a trip to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree with my mom. With COVID going on and my health issues, our travel options are limited, but I am insanely, absolutely in love with Palm Springs and the desert and would love to do a little retreat with my mom.
  6. Visit Ojai over the summer. I love Joshua Tree, but have never been to Ojai. I have a feeling I’d love it.
  7. See the wildflowers/poppies/tulips that bloom in Southern California in early spring. We’ve had a rainy past few weeks and I think that will make for a vibrant wildflower bloom.
  8. Create an online course about chronic illnesses with my friend, Dianna. We’re not experts by any means, but we’ve picked up a lot of experience along the way that we can help others who are just beginning their health journeys.
  9. Turn Drifter Organics into a profitable business. We are so close to getting there, yet so far (to be completely transparent, we’ve yet to break even), but this past year, we’ve identified a few major disconnects we’re working on changing that will get us to achieve this goal. I’m speaking this one loud and clear to the universe: IN 2022, WE WILL BECOME PROFITABLE. Not that I’m only doing it for the money, but I truly believe if you work at something you love long enough, eventually, you will become successful. And yes, in this world, being profitable does equal success.
Reflecting on 2021 and moving into 2022

2022 is going to be even more profound with more exciting changes. I can just feel it. This new year already brings forth a new chapter: something big is coming for Drifter Organics, something that just feels “right” in my intuition no matter how scary it is at the same time. Maybe it’s a function of getting older and evolving. Maybe it’s from having my life turned upside down by my chronic illnesses. Maybe it’s my body finally growing weary of wasting so much energy worrying about things that may not happen. I’m becoming more comfortable with change. Let’s replace our fears with curiosity and look to the future with optimism, wonderment, and excitement because the best is yet to come—truly.

P.S. Check out my 2020 recap blog post here.

The weirdest week of the year

December 28, 2021

To me, the week in between Christmas and New Year’s has always felt out of place. Most of the world is on vacation, some are working-not-working, and others are working harder than ever to tie up loose ends of tasks that need to be accomplished before the end of the year. It’s a Twilight Zone of sorts where we all kind of float in our own amoebas. It’s the season of “Let’s connect after the New Year”, self-reflection, and vowing to become the newest and most improved best version of ourselves starting on the arbitrary date of January 1st.

Aside from the fact I can’t stand cold weather, this particular week has always felt magical to me. I love cozily nesting inside watching movies and really not getting much accomplished at all. I think we could all use more quiet weeks like this throughout the year. People are so caught up in the rhetoric of daily living, it’s important to pause, reflect, and reset the internal compass of our values, intentions, and manifestations.

Growing up in Connecticut, where it snows, this time of the year was always marked by making snow angels, sledding, and finding the right size pebbles to use as buttons on snowmen. I couldn’t fathom how any kid could experience a December without snow. Mutiny against the very winter season! Even more inconceivable—what about those who lived in the Southern Hemisphere where the holidays were during the summer?!

Christmas Day, in particular, was always extra weird. In a world that doesn’t know when to turn off its neon lights, where bars stay open way past midnight, and some drugstores never close, for once, there is peace. And it’s not because of a power outage—although maybe it is if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow.

Since my dad is Chinese, Christmas Day for us usually meant making the drive from Fairfield County to Flushing, Queens, where my dad grew up and his parents and brother still lived. We’d eat dim sum at a large round table at an uncomfortably crowded restaurant on Main Street which was probably one of the only streets in all of New York City that was as busy as ever. “Don’t Chinese people know when to stay home?” I’d always think. But it was tradition and I was a kid, so even though my parents weren’t keen on it either—especially my dad who would often be the one privileged with driving us all and having to find a place to park—I didn’t have much of a say in the matter. After dim sum, we’d go home to my grandmother’s house and watch mindless TV. I usually brought a YA book with me—something from Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Alice series or by Sarah Dessen—and would shut myself up in my aunt’s childhood bedroom on the second floor for a few hours until my mom would softly knock on the door telling me it was time to go home.

When I was 13 years old, my dad got a job transfer to San Francisco, we moved to the Bay Area, and I became that kid that lived in an area where it rebelliously didn’t snow during “White Christmas” season. At that point, I didn’t care much—I was just happy to have two glorious weeks off from school. In the week between Christmas and New Year’s, my mom and I would take the BART train from our sleepy suburban city to San Francisco. We’d sometimes do damage shopping stores’ after-Christmas sales, get lunch at some cute cafe downtown, then go tea tasting at a small tea shop in Chinatown called Blest Tea that’s since closed.

More than a decade later, and once again, I find myself in the weirdest week of the year. Floating in The Twilight Zone between a year past and a year approaching. So much has happened this past year: I’m living in a new city now, I’m well into my Lyme disease treatment, and we’re approaching Year Two of a global pandemic. I won’t get too deep into reflecting on 2021 and talking about my 2022 intentions as I plan on making a blog post dedicated to that soon.

I hope you’re taking this time to pause, reflect, practice gratitude, and do whatever else you need to do to refill your cup before the world starts moving again.

With love and grace,

Micaela

The Stomach Diaries Part XI: The Detox Begins

August 29, 2021

Doing lymphatic drainage massage on my face to decrease facial swelling.

Well, well, well. Here we are at 2:03 am on a Sunday morning and I’m up at this ungodly hour writing this long overdue health update blog post. Why in the world am I up in the middle of the night writing this blog post? I had some good parasite expulsions yesterday. The detox from parasites feels so good and cleansing but also makes me extremely nauseous and so, so tired that I went to bed at 7:00 pm last night. I slept fairly soundly until about 1:00 am when my insomnia started to kick in. Now it’s 2:00 am, I can feel the parasites moving around in my stomach like the kicks of an active baby in the womb of a pregnant woman, and my restless leg syndrome is driving me nuts, so since my mind is so alert already, I was just like “Screw it let me get up and write this blog post I’ve been meaning to write anyway”.

But let’s back up. If you follow me on Instagram where I post more of my live health updates, you’ll know I moved to Los Angeles in January of this year. Shortly thereafter, I got on a solid healing protocol with medications and supplements Dr. Lehman, my LLMD, prescribed me for my mold, Lyme and co-infections, Hashimoto’s, and Candida. I found an acupuncturist I loved to help supplement my healing process through Eastern medicine. I continued on my celery juice on an empty stomach in the morning jam and added in cucumber juice on an empty stomach in the afternoon. I took daily walks and Epsom salt baths. In the warmer and drier climate of Los Angeles, I noticed my joint and muscle pain easing up. I wasn’t throwing out limbs and having to get adjusted by the chiropractor every week. After being on the medication and supplements for a few weeks, my bloating—though still very bad—started to improve. My constipation wasn’t as severe. My skin rashes were clearing. However, my nausea, brain fog, and body swelling increased. This is to be expected as with the healing process, certain symptoms will improve while others get worse until things balance out.

The Stomach Diaries Part XI: The Detox Begins
Stopping off at the Madonna Inn on the drive down to LA to move there for good!
The Stomach Diaries Part XI: The Detox Begins
The keys to my new place in LA!

About two months into my healing protocol, I started pooping out thin, stringy things that looked like loose red threads. Since my stomach was pretty much always bloated and I tended to run constipated MY ENTIRE LIFE, I figured my gut was literally a human compost bin of rotting food I couldn’t digest and I was finally eliminating waste from probably decades ago—probably tomato skins or sweet potato skins or something else reddish. But upon further investigation—yes, I sifted through my poop and inspected these red threads closer—I realized these were parasites! Liver flukes, to be exact, a type of flatworm that infects the bile ducts, gallbladder, and the liver.

The Stomach Diaries Part XI: The Detox Begins
My legs after a bad day of swelling.

I immediately emailed Dr. Lehman and told her in addition to my mold, Lyme and co-infections, Hashimoto’s, and Candida, we had uncovered another issue: parasites! She ordered me a parasite test and the test confirmed I also had roundworms which are microscopic. This was exciting because it meant my detox pathways were opening. I hadn’t pooped out parasites before, so this meant my body was eliminating toxins or in other words healing!

The Stomach Diaries Part XI: The Detox Begins
Taking regular Epsom salt baths to help my body sweat out toxins.

We have now modified my treatment to first tackle the parasites (through medications, supplements, and acupuncture), then see what else is left over to address after I rid my body of every last parasite. It’s important to first treat the parasites because Lyme and mold can hide inside of parasites, so by getting rid of your parasites, you can in turn also get rid of some of your Lyme and mold. I’m about four months into the parasite cleanse and I’m still steadily eliminating parasites through my stool. I’m not sure how long this will go on, but considering my digestion has given me trouble ever since I can remember, I could have easily been a host to parasites for most of my life which means the parasite detox can go on for a year or more. As I continue to detox from parasites and my detox pathways continue to open, I may very well uncover more types of parasites that have been hiding deeper in my organs that haven’t come out yet.

The Stomach Diaries Part XI: The Detox Begins
A HUGE serving of cucumber juice pre-straining.
The Stomach Diaries Part XI: The Detox Begins
One very symptomatic day when I went to bed at 5:30 pm.

Earlier this month, I saw a new nutritionist, Dr. Heidi Turner, who specializes in next level digestive issues like MCAS (mast cell activation syndrome), Lyme, mold, SIBO, and other chronic illnesses. After listening to my health story, she mentioned my case is very unique in that since I was exposed to black mold/contracted toxic mold as an infant, my brain has never been in harmony with my body. It’s always been on the defense, fighting off toxins—“…us against the world” to quote the iconic Play song from Lizzie McGuire I used to listen to on repeat for my ’90s/’00s kids out there. A key component in my healing process will be retraining—or in my case, training—my limbic system to not be in fight-or-flight mode. Part of the issue is my subconscious has been programmed to overreact to anything it deems a threat to my body aka pretty much everything. That is part of the reason why my body rejects so many foods I try to introduce into my diet. Dr. Turner recommended I start the Gupta Program which is a brain retraining program. It’s used for those with a history of addiction, chronic illness, abuse, and other past trauma. I ordered the program and am waiting to get it in the mail, so updates on that to come.

In my last health update, I wrote that I tested positive for the co-infections of Lyme Babesia and Bartonella, but negative for the actual Lyme disease. Initially, I thought this meant my body was strong enough to fight off the Lyme disease but not the co-infections, but more likely than not, I actually DO have Lyme disease itself. Lyme disease can coat itself with your regular cells and hide inside of joints, connective tissue, muscle, and parasites, so it often goes undetected by even the most accurate of tests. It’s important to go to a Lyme Literate Doctor who can look at your symptoms as a whole to properly diagnose you.

To get deeper into my parasite cleanse, I started coffee enemas two weeks ago. Ideally, Dr. Lehman wants me to do daily coffee enemas, but for now, I’m starting off slow with doing them bi-weekly. I actually had a pretty strong Herx reaction to the last coffee enema I did which reminded me I need to be gentle with new treatments I try. I’m also waiting to get the Gupta Program in the mail to start the limbic training, get a tonsillectomy in two weeks (I most likely have Lyme, mold, parasites, and Candida invading my tonsils), get a septoplasty after my tonsillectomy as I probably have the same diseases infecting my sinuses, continue on the parasite cleanse, and then start introducing new foods into my diet so I can get stronger as I’ve lost a lot of muscle from taking a break from exercise and letting my body rest.

The Stomach Diaries Part XI: The Detox Begins
So grateful for my parents for moving down to LA with me and starting this new chapter of our lives together. I couldn’t do it without them, truly.
The Stomach Diaries Part XI: The Detox Begins
Especially proud of my dad who manifested his dream job in LA and is embracing his new life as a Los Angeleno.

It’s going to still be a long process, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but as someone wrote me in an Instagram DM, I’m “…swimming towards an island instead of treading water”. And in my swim, I also have a lifeboat following me with a team of supporters—my doctors, my friends, my parents, and my online community—for which I am so, so grateful.

Find the past Stomach Diaries posts here and follow me on Instagram where I have saved Stories Highlights here and here and for more regular health updates.

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