I Love Photography

October 8, 2018

This is mostly a copy/paste from a personal Facebook post published on October 5, 2018.

On December 26, 2016, I wrote in my journal, “I want to photograph a wedding. “

I had mostly stopped taking pictures and wasn’t doing terribly well mental health-wise at the time. I’d stopped taking pictures a few months prior and was considering graduate school again, in a subject unrelated to art. Jared gave me a camera scarf and a journal with cameras all over it that Christmas of 2016, in the hopes that it would remind me to get out and take pictures. He told me to write my dreams for my photography in the journal. He told me to dream big.

But, it was more than just the wanting to photograph a wedding. I dreamed of being in business with my photography.

I’d had a business license for my photography in 2015. I never did a thing with it. Not a single thing.

But in April of 2017, I set everything in motion all over again. I marketed. I spent more money on business stuff than I ever will admit to anyone other than Jared, who supported my dream more than he worried about the money spent in pursuit of that dream.

And so, here we are in October of 2018. By the end of December of 2018, I will have photographed fourteen weddings between May of 2017 and December of 2018. I’ve done way more portrait and engagement sessions than that, and I photographed one proposal.

I realized that dream of photographing a wedding. And the dream of having a photography business.

However…my dreams for my photography have shifted. I’ve found as I take more pictures for clients, I take less pictures around the house. I have all but stopped the still life photography I loved so much for a while. I don’t get out the camera just to play around anymore. We don’t have many pictures of the kids from the past year. I rarely get to Johnny’s shop to take pictures of his art— one of the highlights of having a camera in all the time I’ve had one. I’ve found myself procrastinating to take photos for church. I find myself longing for the energy to get back into fine art photography.

While I’d say it’s very unlucky in most respects, there is one benefit to being disabled. My SSDI status, which has withstood two separate reviews now, affords me a certain amount of freedom to choose whether to work. There was never any danger, income-wise or with the amount of hours I was ever able to work, that I would ever have worked my way off disability through photography. So, the choice of maintaining the business was always just that— a choice, not a needed part of our household income.

And so, it comes back to the fact that being a hobbyist photographer isn’t so bad after all.

I’ve waffled on this decision for months now, going back and forth as to what to do. However, it comes back to the fact that I love photography itself far more than I love being in business for photography. As such, with a full and grateful heart, I won’t be renewing my business license in 2019.

On Stumbling Grace

September 27, 2018

Some things have happened in the community I love most in the world and I don’t care to rehash them here. However, I notice now that I’m in a very vulnerable mental state at this point as a result of all these things. It’s time to use this vulnerability as an opportunity.

This vulnerability happens to me occasionally like this. Sometimes it’s more depression-oriented; this time it’s really just emotional energy depletion. Each time it gets to a point where I recognize there is opportunity. I am in a good place to rebuild self-esteem and self-care techniques, as well as contribute in small ways to my community that I love.

Today, it’s time to start at home. Dishes and laundry are in order. Some small exercises and hydrating myself well is called for at this time. Hugging my babies and seeing to their needs when they get home from school is important today. Brushing the dogs will help everyone. In the heat of crisis I freeze, and I’ve been frozen for several weeks now.

All of this sounds really basic and I know that it is, but basic is precisely where I have to go when there is hurt. Extending myself and my community some stumbling grace is exactly what is needed in this moment.


September 17, 2018

On Finding a Good Chair

September 4, 2018

Most days, I don’t think about it. I just plop down in whatever chair is closest, just sit down and resign myself to whatever level of comfort a chair gives me.

When quietly left to my own devices though, I am extremely picky about sitting spaces. I use one of the cushions provided at church, against the hard pews, even though I know they’re meant for elderly folks, hoping nobody else notices. If I don’t, there’s an uncomfortable gap between my back and the pew.

It’s been this way since I was 13 years old, when the curvature of my back was so bad that my spine was going to crush my heart. As a result, my spine is fused from my shoulder blades all the way down, fused to my hip bones. There is no give, no molding myself to the fit of a chair. I have feeling in the muscles in my back but my back behaves as though it is solid bone, because at this point it is just that. And there is certainly no forgiving chairs that don’t have lumbar support.

Which brings me to the chair in the photo above. It’s new to us, but not new to my family. It originally belonged to my grandmother’s first cousin Minnie, I would guess over a hundred years ago now. Yesterday, it found a spot in our family room.

This chair is Heaven-sent for me. Hands down, it is wonderful. It has become “Mom’s chair,” for sure, for when we are all crowded around the TV. Or like right now, when I am by myself at home and just sitting, with my laptop in my lap. To now, I’ve made do with the recliners in the room, or with a cushion behind me on the couch. This chair needs nothing. It is perfect as it is.

So grateful to my Mama, who gave it to us yesterday. I wanted the chair based on how pretty it is. But it will never leave our house in my lifetime based on how comfortable it is.

Depression: What Helps

August 21, 2018

As I have said in multiple spaces including here, I am depressed at the moment. There are several things keeping me afloat during this time and I am thankful for each one:

  • A wonderful partner is integral to my being able to take care of myself. When I get like this, I am not the most attentive parent and Jared is fantastic to pick up the slack, particularly with early mornings and getting the kids ready for school when I am feeling draggy.
  • A good relationship with my psychiatrist is of utmost importance. I am so grateful that I have a good working relationship with my current psychiatrist and I feel comfortable speaking up when things don’t feel quite right.
  • I am not regularly on an antidepressant (though I have been prescribed one now). I am thankful for the medication journey I have been on over the years. It would have been easy to throw my hands up and give up when the first two or three antidepressants didn’t work. As it turns out, my particular antidepressant is a fourth-line antidepressant and it works well enough when it is necessary.
  • I have wonderful friends I can turn to when needed.
  • My morning coffee grounds me in times like this. It’s not just the act of drinking the coffee. There is something about the tactile routine of my pour-over system and the anticipation of that fresh coffee.
  • I am so grateful for my paper journal. As much as I like to write here, there is no substitute for my private journaling journey.
  • My yoga mat is serving as a gentle place to stretch when I feel up to it.

I don’t know how long this depressive episode will last, of course. I’m thankful the depression isn’t as severe as it has been in previous seasons. For now, I’m just hanging on for the ride and fighting it as best I can.

Full Speed Ahead

August 17, 2018

We have a full schedule of activities this Fall. Porter is in seventh grade, Liam is in fifth grade, and Oliver is in Pre-K.

Porter has band (he plays saxophone) and he also has soccer through the city rec. department. He has also applied for the school VEX team. Porter also wants to do an additional band program where they play at eighth grade football games.  Porter is in all honors classes including Advanced Math. His elective this semester is STEM. He is currently signed up for PE second semester as his elective but we may ask to change that due to Porter’s unique struggles that I didn’t take into consideration when I selected PE as an option last Spring.

In addition to school and extracurriculars, Porter will participate in confirmation classes at church.

Liam will play trombone in band. He has applied to be part of the Lego Robotics team. He was an alternate on last year’s Lego Robotics team but he was very loyal, going to every meeting and even tagging along to the competitions. He’s also signed up for Science and Art clubs. Outside school, Liam has signed up for Fall Baseball through the city rec. department. We have yet to decide whether we will send him on the school trip to Savannah this year, though we will have to decide that in the next week.

Oliver did soccer through the city rec. department last year, but with him starting school and riding the bus to and from school, I thought that was enough change for him for one year. He wasn’t really interested in soccer and was one of those kids that was much more comfortable sitting on the sidelines and would have picked dandelions if there were any to be had.

Will be a busy Fall!

On Faith

August 16, 2018

This is a photo of Oliver in his christening gown. This gown originally belonged to Inez, my grandmother’s first cousin who was born in the late 1800’s. I took this photo at my Mom and Dad’s house with my old Sony Alpha NEX-5N and a Holga lens. Oliver is laying on one of Nannie’s mother’s old chairs here.

I’ve been kind of conflicted about faith issues recently. It’s kind of bad timing because Porter is supposed to start confirmation classes this Fall and I know he’s overheard some of what I’ve said to Jared recently. I need to be more careful to guard my words around the kids, I guess, though I don’t like hiding things from them.

Jared says it’s okay that my faith is on the downturn, that his is not. I don’t want my family to be without that church community, but for now I have to stay away, for a variety of reasons but mostly to take care of my own mental health. I know that sounds strange to say, but it’s true.

So for now, I will create rituals at home on Sunday mornings that feed my soul in a good way.

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