Hi there! Remember me? How have you been? I know it’s been months and months since I last wrote. And honestly, I’ve tried, but I guess I haven’t had the right words. I’ve had several friends ask if they missed a post which made my heart happy, because they said they enjoy reading along my Ms. Adventures. I guess I’ve been in this weird purgatory type space where I haven’t had a million things going on, yet I guess I have. I’m a high-performing manic. The more I have going on the more I flourish, but when something gets in my way or I get in my head I become absolutely avoidant and check out from everything. 2024 got me feeling this way with a sense of uneasiness. I don’t know about you, but this hits differently.

2020 – the world pandemic;
2021 – I was diagnosed with breast cancer, underwent a mastectomy (5 weeks recovery) and radiation therapy (6 weeks of daily treatments);
2022 – broke my ankle and because of subsequent surgery was out of work for 6 weeks; and
2023 – had reconstructive surgery that resulted in 4 days ICU and 8 weeks recovery.

Yet through all these years I was excited to overcome these obstacles and live my best life. And, boy I did. I created beautiful memories with family and friends here at home, across the country and abroad. Since I last wrote, I traveled with my BF to NYC for the holiday season and celebrated NYE in Denver, and I survived another retail holiday season (if you’ve never worked retail, you have no idea what an accomplishment it is). I started January full of promise, big eyed and bushy tailed. I used points to book a flight to NYC for fashion week in February and a trip in April to Austin in April to be extra ears for a friend considering buying into a franchise and then my champagne dreams on a beer budget went flat.

Have you seen this? OMGEEE I can so relate. If you asked my brother, I bet he’d say that was me growing up…righting the wrongs. You go Marnie! Bloody Hell!!

Maybe it’s the economy? And the uneasiness of a presidential election year? And the potential of war around the world? Maybe I’m just old and pay more attention to these things than I should, but I’ve never cancelled trips before. January I got hit by major car issues and I think what I was most upset about is the fact that I was taken advantage of and paid for preventative maintenance to only find out that it wasn’t performed. At the same time I had past debt pop up…blah blah blah…we all have debt (well, maybe not everyone) but I feel like Dallas, the clairvoyant from NYC, profoundly stated years ago on 5th Avenue, “you constantly take 1 step forward and end up taking two steps back”.

One day when I was figuring out why I haven’t been ahead since 2020, I realized over the past three years because of medical expenses I’ve lost out on $25,000 in income (that doesn’t include estimated income lost from retirement savings). And don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful to be healthy, to have a job and healthcare and for some reason I am incredibly blessed because God always finds a way to provide. I was working overtime and gratefully had commissioned dresses to help pay one of my debts down quickly. I was working toward another when last week I was informed, that overtime is no longer available to me. Sometimes you have to go with the flow…but I also understand how, in this economy, someone can be severely impacted by one major expense like medical or automobile expense. So, when I am asked for help, I CANNOT NOT help.

There were fashion shows and drives. At times I feel like I am the richest woman in the world because of the incredible people in my life and the opportunities that have been bestowed upon me. 2024 has been no different. In February, I was approached by another production company to show in MILAN, ITALY (yes, for fashion week). After reviewing the proposal, the 10,000 euros in production costs was out of my budget. But what do they say, “what comes around goes around?!” Last month, I received an invitation from the production company that produced my Paris Fashion Week show in 2023. The proposed production costs were a third of the former and about 2,000 euros less than Paris. This really gave me food for thought (but more on that in a minute),

I’ve battled demons that won’t let me sleep
Called to the sea but she abandoned me

But I won’t never give up, no, never give up, no, no
No, I won’t never give up, no, never give up, no, no

Never Give Up, Sia

A couple of weeks ago, I had my annual breast MRI. And as any woman that has dealt with breast cancer or questionable scans, you know the feeling of apprehension and anxiety and want to get through the tests as quickly as possible. MRIs are uncomfortable as it is because the tube you are drawn into can lead to a feeling claustrophobia. Breast MRI requires you to lay on your chest balancing on a rod along your sternum while trying to stay as straight as possible. Added excitement for me happens when my veins hear that an IV is coming. They immediately hide (no matter how much water I drank the day before), so that just adds to the fun. The only redeeming factor of this procedure is that the medical staff asks if you’d like to listen to music while you lay as still as humanly possible. The first time I had an MRI, I was asked the same question and big dummy me said, “I’d like to listen to Lady Gaga radio”. That was the most difficult 20 minutes in my life (how can you listen to Lady Gaga and not want to dance?). But after that, I’ve learned I can listen to Sia radio because I listen intently to her lyrics and find solace in that thunderstorm. After clicks and strumming of the machine and praise for my ability to stay still, the session was over. The next day, I received a call from scheduling, the appointment I had with my breast surgeon for the next week needed to be rescheduled. I guess my mammogram wasn’t scheduled so it too needed to be added. The woman scheduled both for August, so of course I felt that the MRI must have went well since there wasn’t a rush to meet with doctor. I went on with the rest of my week.

That following Sunday, after a full day of activities, I stopped by the post office to pick up my mail because I had been told that I should have received an invitation. I didn’t find the invite within my mail bundle but instead a letter from the office that performed my MRI. In the letter, it stated that I had just performed my screening and there was something found within that required an additional look. The letter also included a note that said most of the time there is nothing to worry about (sure tell that to someone who’s been diagnosed with cancer). And what the hell, why didn’t they call (the letter was dated the day after I had my doctor appointment rescheduled). I think my heart fell into my stomach and anxiety set in. I tried with the best intentions to just go to sleep. Monday morning, I called to reschedule my mammogram to an earlier date because of this finding. The associate on the phone was kind and helpful. She scheduled me for the next morning. I wasn’t sure there was anything to worry about but the unknowing is the hardest thing, so I went on that day working on a commissioned dress. I have found focusing on something outside myself is the best stress relief for me.

I had a one-way ticket to a place where all the demons go
Where the wind don’t change
And nothing in the ground can ever grow
No hope, just lies
And you’re taught to cry into your pillow
But I survived

Alive, Sia

I arrived at the appointment. The mammogram technician asked the obligatory questions about the visit, “have I noticed any changes in my breast or did I have any concerns?” I responded about the note I received. She read her notes and said there wasn’t anything specific noted for her to image and that the MRI scan came back benign, but she would do her due diligence. If there was anything that needed a further, they’d pull me in for an ultrasound. I went through the contorted smashing of my breast and then was ushered to the waiting room. The ultrasound would be next.

This waiting room…what can I say. It is set up like a spa waiting area with water and tea available, soothing music, art on the walls and tables and a big window overlooking the dirt parking lot next door. I understand the concept but as I looked around the room at the women who were there with me awaiting their next step, one was pacing and one was softly crying. I got up to get water and offered to get the woman next to me who was in her feels a drink too. About 10 minutes later, I was called into the dark ultrasound room. The sonographer remembered me from the year before, I guess when you’re asked what you do and you say you’re a personal stylist at Macy’s, and the only one in Albuquerque, it’s a lasting impression. Although, now that I think about it, none of my medical team has come into see me after they constantly say they need to. I guess it’s hard to go from scrubs to real clothes, but I digress. After each click of the machine, I couldn’t help to think what is she photographing, but a few minutes later she gave me a napkin to clean up the goop and said she was going to get the doctor. I sat there as I heard the two of them talking when the door opened the doctor was talking about his daughter getting a fellowship to Oxford when the sonographer redirected him by introducing me to him. He went on to introduce himself say something like, “everything is clear; see you in a year.” Who says bedside manner is dead. LOL!

I put my armor on, show you how strong I am
I put my armor on, I’ll show you that I am

I’m unstoppable
I’m a Porsche with no brakes
I’m invincible
Yeah, I win every single game
I’m so powerful
I don’t need batteries to play
I’m so confident
Yeah, I’m unstoppable today

Unstoppable, Sia

I left with a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. I got in my car and said a prayer of gratitude and texted the few people that knew what I was going through over the past 48 hours. I then realized, this is my life. I all I can do is live life to the fullest every day and pray for good results but you never know what’s ahead of you. If you are still with me (and I hope you are). I’m going to share a little more how this continued to hit home.

At a recent graduation party, I was asked to highlight a verse or scripture in the Bible for the graduate to take with them on their next chapter. I was stopped in my tracks because there is so many beautiful passages and knowledge found to share that I got overwhelmed and wrote a note instead. A few nights ago, I read this passage from Romans and I was overwhelmed with emotion (so intensely that tears streamed down my face) because I thought of the suffering and struggles of the past few years. I then remembered the suffering this love experienced and how there is so much hope for the future, so I sent a text with this passage and I explained my delay and asked that it be highlighted from me with love. 🤍💜🤍 I’ve said this before, but you can’t life a full life without suffering and as much as we all hate it (I know I’m generalizing, some sadists enjoy it), it softens us and makes us more human—built by perseverance and relishing in hope and joy. I have also found that it pushes me to do all the things even when I feel it’s not possible but all things are possible through my faith and the support around me.

This past week, I was once again reminded that Life is a Gift (La Vita e un Dono). Since I began creating under the label, Hopeless + Cause Atelier almost 9 years ago, I have been gifted with some incredible people. People who have become friends and family. Creative beautiful souls that I’ve been able to bring along these Ms. Adventures all over the world. Our lives have been connected with the thread to create beauty, confidence and self-empowerment through fashion and design. Sadly, this week we said good-bye to one of those beautiful souls. I met Jocelyn Lopez in 2017 through an introduction of a mutual friend. Jocelyn, who by profession, was a hair artist jumped in to help with one of my local shows and when I had my first opportunity to show for New York Fashion Week, she relished at the chance to join me and help me bring my creations to life. I still remember the morning she, another stylist friend and I met and talked about the looks. She assembled the team and not only did we rock the hometown preview but also took NYFW by storm. Last year, when she heard I was going to Paris she asked if she could join me for hair. I sent a request to the production company asking if she could join the local team. I wish I would have pushed harder because as I wrote before, the hair team showed up late and we ended up helping the models with their hair needs. As I read her obituary, her sister wrote that one of her biggest professional accomplishments was working NYFW and that made my heart happy that I could be part of that. Her excitement and zest for life and travel will be missed, but I think I can honor her by living life to the fullest and taking advantage of the opportunities presented to me.

Again the fragility of life, reminded me to go after all the things life has to offer. It will all sort itself out. It also isn’t lost on me that tomorrow June 10th, is the one year anniversary since my gram died.

So I did it, I signed the contract and am planning to do Milan Fashion Week on September 19, 2024. I am once again planning a hometown preview to help defray the costs and provide some fashionable entertainment to my friends and family in the Albuquerque community. I am grateful that Alpha + Lit Albuquerque Santa Fe has already committed to sponsor (thank you Tanya) and Carol Crist from All About You Weddings and Events has come on board as an in-kind sponsor helping with the planning of the event because this girl can use all the help she can get. I hope you will save the date for August 25, 2024. It is a Sunday and I am planning a brunch time show for the Atelier’s 9th birthday. Once I secure the location, I’ll share ticket information. However if you know any beautiful venues, a lovely garden would be perfect, please send those ideas my way.

Until then, you can catch Hopeless + Cause Atelier at Meow Wolf’s Absolute Rubbish: a Trashion Show on Thursday, June 13th in Santa Fe. I am partnering with my beautiful friend, Sofi, to bring to life the Phoenix…guess whose music she’ll be bringing to life the look to?!?

I hope to be back soon with more information and I’ll be remixing my obstacles to opportunities, my suffering into gratitude and my avoidance to action.

I’m goin’ to fly, goin’ so high
Goin’ to live, live my life
Goin’ to fly, I’m so high
Live my, live my life

One night in Milan is like one year in rehab
Let’s cancel all our plans, it’s a- (ah, pleasure, pleasure)

One Night, Sia

With light and love,
Dara Sophia Romero

6 Replies to “Remix”

  1. Im sorry youve had such a hard time lately. 🩷
    I feel like he realization of mortality has been pushed to the forefront of our lives since 2020. I know that life always has its trials but these last 5-6 years have seemed significantly harder. It seems like we’ve lost a lot of people recently. The weight of the world has felt heavier. Im happy that you’re still taking time to follow your dreams and find happiness. Im so glad that you are healthy! Love you friend

    1. Kristen, my love! I think I feel better when I have a purpose and am surrounded by beauty in people in my surroundings. I’m happy I’m starting to see the light and you are a part of that.

  2. Always love reading what you write always encouraging and interesting!
    Love you Dara ❤️

    1. Thank you, Tina, for always reading along and sharing your thoughts. Lots of love!!

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