Ten Days to Serenity

November 15, 2018


Ten days ago, I decided I’d had enough of our dirty, messy house.

We rearranged two rooms. We rearranged wall hangings. For ten days, I took room by room and decluttered. I dusted. I vacuumed. I swept. I’ve kept dishes and laundry going.

Ten days ago, I was depressed. Ten days ago, I decided to do something about it.

Piano
I don’t know how to describe the mental headspace having our whole house clean and neat and straight has given me. Serenity is the closest thing I can come to a description. I feel like I can face the world. I am no longer depressed. I feel a sense of pride in my living space and belongings. I feel a sense of pride in myself.

Dining Room
I am under no illusions. I understand habits have to change. I understand that in order to maintain my serenity, I will have to work daily. I am ready to commit to that change. I’ve already kept the sweeping up for a week and a half, almost, daily. I feel ready for this change.

It is almost intoxicating, the balance this clean space brings to my brain. I am thrilled.

Must remember this on harder days.


In Love with Minolta 50mm f1.2

November 13, 2018


That pretty much says it all. I am in love with this Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f1.2 lens. It makes me so happy.

Trixie

Trixie

Photography continues to save my life. I am so fortunate to have access to the tools I have to be able to do my hobby– which is more than a hobby. It is my lifeline to happiness.


A New Photography Day

October 31, 2018


I’ve been sitting here for a while, lulled into peace about closing the photography business, happy I am still going to be a hobbyist photographer, and also knowing that the past year has drained much of the joy I feel out of photography.

I recently did a project for an artist friend, taking pictures of her own artwork for use for her website. The project was fun from start to finish. And despite her offering, I didn’t let her pay me. I’d taken on the project because I believe in her artwork and wanted to do my part to help her succeed, and that was enough for me to put my own effort into it. It’s so strange… for so many years I felt like I wouldn’t have “arrived” into my art unless I could sell it for money. But with my experiences since April of 2017, I am coming to see that in placing a monetary value to my art, it limited my photography’s value in my own eyes. Somehow, my photography now feels more valuable to me when I get to choose my projects, for the intrinsic value of believing in the project. I get to control the value of the photography when I choose which projects to take on, and I always crave control.

In that vein, I am going to take on a period of limited use of the autofocus lenses. I am serious about fine art documentary photography, and I’ve been reading about the slow photography movement. Slow photography is about studying subjects and focusing more on the experience of photographing the subject, less on the volume of output. More studied outcomes, less spray and pray. Manual focus requires a different set of skills than simply frenetic looking for the “moment.” I’m interested in learning more about zone focusing for my photos of the boys, for example.

For the next few days, that single 50mm prime lens will be my parents’ Minolta 50mm MD Rokkor-X f1.4 lens that they more or less let me “permanently” borrow. However, Jared let me have my 2018 Christmas present nearly two months early and I now have a Minolta 50mm MD Rokkor-X f1.2 lens on order– a thrift store find at a phenomenal price. When it arrives, it will be bolted to the X-T2 for the next six months, aside from the wedding in December or other projects for friends that may come up. We’ll see what comes out of the project trial.


An Ode to My Coffee

October 24, 2018


I start every day with a large cup of coffee. I don’t feel awake at all unless I’ve had it.

My coffee of choice currently is a budget indulgence but it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. I drink McDonald’s McCafe Breakfast Blend. Good stuff. I use my pour-over Bodum system, which I’ve talked about before. I do choose to use a paper filter in addition to the system filter because I found the coffee too thick otherwise.

As I said, good stuff. I won’t be willingly without it.


New Front Door Color!

October 23, 2018


My uncle B is in the process of giving our entry way a makeover. He started with a fresh coat of new paint on our front door. The color is a shade of gray, but it’s called Behr “Intellectual.” I’m so excited. He is also going to paint the trim around the front door.

Old Front Door Color

I didn’t hate the red from before, exactly, but it had faded. And red wasn’t really us. The new is awesome and makes the house look stately, as my mom said.

New Front Door Color

New Front Door Color

 


In Which I Talk about Thyroid Hormone Resistance and Being Real

October 22, 2018


I can remember so easily what it felt like to be the me of over twelve years ago in the photo with Porter, above. That particular me was tired and carrying a lonesome, heavy load of new mama depression and terror, with Porter roughtly 48 hours or so out of the NICU. I’m not in terror about Porter’s well-being anymore– well, I do worry about his increasing need for independence because I will never be ready for that. But, the depression from that time is a well-worn friend that never really left.

The fact is, I don’t let people in very much. I have a core group of three girlfriends I trust, and I have Jared. That’s really the sum total of the people who get the real me.

It’s fear that holds me back. I don’t trust my own brain to show me an accurate reflection of reality, and I don’t trust most people around me to be able to handle my reality. Bridges have been burned because people– people who I thought were close at one time or another, even– couldn’t handle the reality of what it’s like when my brain goes psychotic. It’s made worse by the fact that some of my darker truths– truths I keep to bundled deep to myself in ordinary times– are harder to hold in when I’m psychotic. It’s easier for some people– even people who are supposed to be close to me– to pretend that maybe they’re not truths just because my filters disappear in those moments. I know all that is cryptic but suffice it to say that I just don’t trust easily. Jared. Three girlfriends who know who they are. That’s it.

That having been said, this blog is taking a new direction. I’ve noticed I’m far too harsh in my censorship of my thoughts here. This censorship used to be less of an issue than it is now. As I age, I get more fearful. It’s shown up over the years in my photography. It’s shown up in the content of my social media posts. And, it’s definitely shaped how I write on any blog I’ve had over the past several years. It’s even shown up in my private journaling.

So, I’m going to make more of an attempt to be more authentic here. Sometimes, that will look like posts about painting the dining room. Sometimes, it will be long depressed laments. Hopefully, rarely, it will be manic gibberish.

I haven’t said anything about it, but after the thyroid ablation, my thyroid hormone levels have been impossible to regulate. It should have gotten easier– follow up closely for a few months but then released to every 6 months or year for follow up– but it didn’t because my body has an intolerance for thyroid hormone. Like literally, the tissues in my body resist absorbing the thyroid hormone. So I have to go back every two months. We tried a six month follow up recently and it was a disaster. I’ve been researching this resistance to thyroid hormone thing I have. The endocrinologist says it’s really rare, and my particular endocrinologist is a realist with very little tolerance for exaggeration. I looked up how rare this condition is, and supposedly about 1 in 50,000 people have it. And, studies show that people with it have a correlation with depression. Because the resistance thing is a gene screw up thing, that means I’m hard wired to be down. Yippee skippee for that– not.  At least there’s a reason anti-depressants don’t really work. At least thanks to modern medicine I know all this.

Anyway, that’s it for now. I’ll try to be more real. On that note, I voted for Stacey Abrams today. Because the alternative is a moron.


Painting the Dining Room Part 1

October 21, 2018


I’ve moved on to painting the dining room.

Before

Before

 

One Coat

One Coat

The second wall will have to wait until at least Tuesday.


Rainbow Tulip
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