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.


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.


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 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.


wonderful friends

May 9, 2018


mood: happy

I have the best friends ever. I spent time having coffee with a girlfriend and had the best time. I need to remember to have people over to our house more often– this girlfriend hosted me, but there is absolutely no reason I can’t have people over here, too. Need to remember this. It got my day off to an excellent start and now I feel like I can get on with the day relatively productively. I feel like investing in my home and family today, to make our surroundings more welcoming and home-like.


exposed

April 29, 2018


mood: anxious

I wrote the “me too” post several months ago for another blog and then deleted it.  Because, predictably, I feel exposed and vulnerable. This is the case even now, even though this blog is anonymous. I feel tremendous shame. And though I have broached the topic in therapy previously, my last few experiences with a therapist were not positive and I do not trust therapists at the moment. Which is difficult, because I know I could benefit from therapy.

I am focused on being forward-moving and grounded today. I am safe and well-loved and respected and not in the place I was when the abuse was ongoing, many years ago.


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