Beauty in Imperfection

There is no such thing as perfect, but we live in a culture that claims that it exists. Currently, this is the second time I’ve tried to write this post. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it just “magically” dissapeared for no reason. So eff off inter-webs, I’m going to write my Goddamn piece whether you like it or not. I’m going to tell people, everyone, that they don’t have to be perfect to be good people, or be attractive. I’m going to let women know that they don’t have to look sixteen forever to be beautiful. I’m going to tell men that that they don’t have to look like a juiced up Ken doll to look attractive. People need to know that they can be beautiful without an insane amount of plastic surgery. So your shitty industry can kiss our cute asses. Asses that haven’t been injected with chemical-laden junk produced in your sterile lab. ANYWAY.

Beauty is found in imperfection. The only thing we can rely on is change, and move with it instead of fighting against it. It’s a far cry from 17, and sometimes I tear up going through photos, but we need to stay out of our “it’s just gone” mentality. You are not gone. You are still here. You are a little different, but you’re here.

My journey with health began when I was about 15. My mom put us on a no-sugar diet for a plethora of health reasons (all legit, really, just super hard to follow!) and went through the kitchen one day and threw out ALL products that had sugar in them. I’m talking salad dressing, ketchup, macaroni sauce…you name it. If it had sugar in it, in the bin it went.

For a while it was fine. We had tofu for dinner, fine. The new soy milk kind of tasted oatmeal-ish, which I liked, fine. But the sugar thing? I didn’t realize how bad I was addicted until I was rummaging through the cabinet one night and found a small jar of jelly my mom had overlooked. I ate the whole damn thing with a spoon. A SPOON. Not even thinking to make a piece of damn toast. YOU TELL ME that’s healthy and in balance.

I didn’t want to admit it, but I was going through sugar withdrawal. After the sugar high, the sugar crash, and the two pimples that showed up on my nose the very next day, I could finally admit that my body craved sugar much more than it actually should. I would binge on pop-tarts and penny candy when I could sneak them, and ignore everything they gave me to deal with. I knew better. I tried to balance our new juicing habit with healthier chocolate and home-made desserts, which I tried to convince myself were better for you. Not true…

These candies and desserts and little treats that are shoved in our faces every day are sabotaging even the best health efforts. It is incredibly hard to say no to something tempting that’s pushed in your face everywhere you go fifty times a day. How is that even reasonable? You can’t even go to get construction materials without being tempted for candy, snackies, and sugar laden energy drinks.

It is everywhere and it’s killing us slowly. It’s killing your metabolism and your drive. It’s killing your long-streak of healthy eating. It’s killing your resistance to unhealthy food choices. It’s killing your ability to say no. It wears on you. You know what is waiting for you wherever you are. In short, you can totally have a healthy diet and achieve many fitness/health goals VERY easily! The answer? Don’t leave your house! EVAR.

Of course, this is totally unreasonable and not suggestible by a long shot! I can’t not leave the house for more than one day, and I don’t think a lot of people can function like that either.

But we can do our best. We can fight our personal best. We can achieve something reasonable that is beyond our sixteen year old self. Before true puberty hit. Before we had children. Before we had a real-live job, or college, or started a business, or decided to support spouses and family members through huge undertakings. My body has rollercoastered beyond belief, and I’m finally (long time coming!) close to being happy with what I’ve achieved over the years.

True, starting out at 21 I clocked in at a slim 104. After getting married and going on birth control pills, I gained weight to 115. No big deal, until our first pregnancy saw me gain about 60 pounds. I lost almost all of it only to go through 2 miscarriages and a pregnancy. After having baby #2, I got down to 113 by the time he was 1. Add in a hellacious deployments and working my own business and helping with construction and no time for the gym , my weight fluctuated back up to 127. I’m not kidding when I say that two shitty men asked my husband if I was pregnant, as IF they are fucking perfect. A nervous breakdown led to me dropping 16 pounds in one month, and my brother bringing over pizza and telling me he wasn’t leaving until I ate at least two slices. Cue in a revamp of my life, a new gym membership, and new dieting techniques. I’m not where I want to be but damn, I’m not stuck in my old rut. I’m on my way. I’m healthy, I have energy, I can keep up with my kids, and I know I’m healthy on the INSIDE, which is the most important.

You have a little to pinch? Stop stressing or your body will hold onto it. This didn’t happen overnight, and it won’t come off overnight. You have thin lips? Well, you have awesome hair, and that’s way better! You have freckles? They are freaking adorable, please stop bleaching them! We all have things about ourselves that we don’t like, but we tend to magnify them to a proportion that isn’t realistic. Our imperfections make us what we are, who we are. If I didn’t have this extra few pounds with stretch marks, my kids wouldn’t be here. If I didn’t have unkempt hair and undone fingernails, I wouldn’t have as many projects done.

You can pop pills. You can drink energy drinks all damn day. You can live on fitness shakes and dream about real food to eat. You can eat a meal replacement bar when you could have an organic chocolate bar that will fulfill you instead. You can be as skinny as a rail, and look good on the outside. But on the inside–what do you have? You have an unhealthy body and a frazzled mind. You have a body that has no muscle, no sustainability, and no endurance. What is it worth to you?

Do not ever sell yourself short on the unstable and unrealistic platform of perfection, you have loved, helped, and changed so much more than you know.

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Back to Basics

The Basics. Why I started this blog in the first place.

To share my photos. To share my work, and hopefully create some art along the way.
I didn’t think that art was something that was created until it was finished, and then you realized it was art–you didn’t set out to create a meaningful piece, it just came about as you worked at it consistently.

As with most things, it morphed, and changed, and grew into…something that I wasn’t even sure of. A short six years ago, we were told to “brand” ourselves, to give people something more to come back to other than photos, to put ourselves out there and dig deep into our psyche to write informative but personal but not too crazy but eclectic but funny but general but interesting posts. Every week. So I did partake.

Ugh, boy, did that make a trap for me.

I started in with the writing, and then the photos I took during the week, and then trying to coordinate it all together, all while showing somewhat of a portfolio…it all became consuming and overwhelming and…blogging is supposed to be fun, right?

I’m supposed to be writing and showcasing my personality and growing my photography business, where did I go wrong? I’ve got a few ideas:
* I couldn’t pick a niche
* I tried to tie everything in with photography
* I let the process become too detailed
* I felt the need to address every detail
* I felt the need to share, share, and share some more
* I followed business models that weren’t a good fit for me
* I let others make me feel badly about my work
* I let others make me feel that I wasn’t doing enough
* I let others make me feel that I hadn’t accomplished enough
* I became consumed and in turn, frustrated
* I constantly compared myself to other photographers/bloggers who had completely different lifestyles from me (could write like 8 posts on this…)

So what are you supposed to do when you are caught in this spider web (gross) of all consuming fire of needs to fulfil and you’re drowning in your unfulfilled dreams, your bullying industry peers, your relationship, your tiny children and their education and needs, your self care, your extra baby weight, your midnight ice cream cravings, your household tasks, and your proofs that are due in one week? DUH! You have a nervous breakdown. A nervous breakdown is like a pack of wild animals who haven’t been fed in a month, in a tornado of saurkraut vomit, taking place in a bayou, on the top of the Empire State, without even a blade of grass to cling to.

You don’t want to go through one without a best friend who will keep you alive for a week while you are having problems doing basic things like breathing. She’ll aslo try to cheer you up by taking you to Hershey Park and getting you chocolate and wine. She’s awesome. She is super hard to live without.

In short, if you’re good with dates and like math [12/13, 1/14] you can deduce that I dropped blogging from my to-do-list. And when I say dropped it, I mean dropped it like a hot fucking potato. What did my portfolio or my online presence matter if my personal life was on the back burner like it was? I had this thing completely backwards.

Without going into an insane amount of details (privacy, time, my fingers would fall off from typing so much, ect!) it’s taken me a long yet steady road to get back on my feet. I’m happily on my feet, and back to doing something I once loved, but I will be more careful now. You will not see weekly posts. You will not see something written on set days, on the hour. This will be random. Not because it’s good for business, because I know statistically “it’s not” but, because it’s good for my mental state, my life, and my family, and that is the most important aspect to regard.

I have, since these life-changing events happened, accumulated a few posts I want to share. I’ve shot some sweet weddings that I’d love to show off, and I really enjoyed spending the day with these awesome couples. These will be coming up as I dip my toes back into the water of blogging, carefully keeping an eye out for the undertoe of consuming waves.

More updates to come! More study posts, prayer posts, weddings, more photos, but…all at random with no planning and no pressure.

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Cast Your Care

Lost in everything and nothing, this time blends together like a Delaware gradient sunset and I’m left turning the calendar pages and wondering how we got here so quickly. How disappointing to live to impress others, when the ones you really want to impress have loved you all along.
This afternoon I was talking with two of my girlfriends…we were discussing the role of makeup in our lives, and their daughter’s lives. Their daughters are both only 11, and seem to be wise beyond their years (homeschool, thanks…) and eager and ready to grow up and look more feminine like their own moms. But why? What does wearing makeup actually DO for us? Does it serve us? Or are we trying to impress people we don’t even know, or trying to impress people we don’t even like? It’s a scary thought, especially in today’s haphazard, unpredictable world. I related it back to myself, hoping to help these girls see that proving your worth is difficult as well as confusing, and in the end, not worth it to “need ” to prove yourself.
I started thinking about it one day after I was applying a full-face of makeup. I’m talking under-eye concealer, foundation, eyeliner, shadows, the works. As in, all of it. War paint. A mask. Is this usual for me? Um, no. You’d actually be hard-pressed to find me in anything more than liquid eyeliner and two swipes of mascara. I don’t like wearing makeup. I prefer myself with a tan, oil on my eyes and lips and…that’s it. Seriously.
I know, I’m Italian and I’m supposed to look like I’m going to the opera (or IN the opera) at all times, but I’m not. Don’t even get me started on the chemicals that are lurking into all the things that you’re slathering on your face…that is a whole ‘nother story. Ugh, anyway.
I was trying to illustrate a point where there was an event we were going to, and I put on my “war paint” and spent quite a bit of time plastering my face with skin-tinted mastic, trying to hide every blemish, trying to make myself look the part.
I thought to myself–what if I just showed up looking like I do every other day of the week? I could do that but then I tried to rationalize the makeup frenzy of:
* I never see these people so I have to look good
* I need to make a good impression on the people I haven’t met yet
* I need to look good so that it will reflect that my husband has a pretty wife
* I want to distract him from looking at other cute girls (duh)
* I want to (try) to be the most put-together-looking girl there (false)
* I want my husband to show me off because I’m so GD cute
* I want to feel “ready” and not intimidated by anyone (read: left alone)

What if I left this alone for a day. Or even a month. What if I showed up to any event, big or small, family or professional, with just my real-live face? No hiding, no wishing, just real authentic me, with a new outlook on how I’m to be perceived. Not proving. Not showing off, not giving you a visual resume.
For someone that has been wearing makeup alllll her life, and has enjoyed the ease of genetically applicable liquid eyeliner, this might be challenging.
I’m not saying that anyone shouldn’t wear makeup, especially if it’s her fun thing, or if she loves doing it, especially if it’s something they’re talented at. I know quite a few girls (and dudes!) who have made a lucrative career from applying makeup. That’s not what I’m getting at here.
I’m having my own issue with authenticity. If I don’t wear this every day…why should I on certain occasions? Is this another all-or-nothing deal? Is it real and authentic if I wear makeup say…seven days out of an entire year? Or am I fooling myself? What exactly am I trying to prove? Why can’t I just present myself the way I am every day of the year? What am I afraid of? What more can I bring to the table that people will like other than blemish free skin with smoky eyes? It’s just not me.
It’s not my fun thing, my hobby, or even a remote talent that I’m good at. I have to admit, my smoky eyes make me look tired, and I can’t apply blush to save my life. Contouring? No thanks dude…I cannot handle all the blending. Bronzer? My lucky Guida skin can sit in the sun for one hour and get a bronze. I cannot, however, live without chapstick.
I’ve made more steps to live more minimally and authentically. I’ve given away almost all my makeup to my girlfriends simply because it wasn’t being used. You know that stuff has a shelf life. It was also taking up precious space in my bathroom that I need for my 10 bottles of Infusium 23. I want to be done, but I know this process won’t happen overnight. I only want to prove myself to me, but that’s not an easy thing to own. I want to stop wasting my time.
If you have to try hard to prove your worth and show someone what you offer, you don’t need them in your life. What do you bring to the table? You ARE the table. You are a human, with life, with value, in and of itself. Otherwise, God wouldn’t have put you here.

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Three.

Three. No, the date. Today, three.
I’m Sicilian, I’ve always had this “thing” with numbers. Numbers are signs. Signs, I’ve been taught, are God speaking to us.

We’re a unique blend of religion and superstitions.
We wear a cross with a cornicello.
We say novenas, but we worry regardless.
We pray, but we look for signs. We think we can beg and plead and perform to get our way.
We make cucidatti for San Giuseppe to plead on our behalf. Sometimes, it works. March. March is for San Giuseppe. The 19th, in case you were wondering. (If you’re not a Sigi, San Giuseppe is Saint Joseph, Jesus’s earthly father.)

I’ve heard a story of a woman pleading for her husband’s life from a sickness that had overtaken him. She ran her tongue from the foot of the church to the altar before she lit her novena candle, prepared a San Giuseppe altar, and her husband was healed. Each year, she prepared another altar, and each year, he received a clean bill of health. She is absolutely convinced that San Giuseppe, has petitioned on her behalf to save her husband’s life.

I too, have felt that pang of desperation. Desperate for answers. Dying for truth. I have felt the despair, the abyss of the unknown, the inability to move, having my appetite completely disappear to where I lost 16 pounds in 1 month, (how good. are you. with dates.) not being able to take a deep breath for days on end, having my eyes W I L D with uncertainty and still pushing on, not knowing how the days made it through.

My life was turned upside down. I had it firmly planted in my head that I could turn it right side up. I’m not exactly sure how I’ve gotten to this point. Maybe it was my oldest brother bringing me over pizza because I was so sure I wasn’t hungry until I saw it. Maybe it was all the novena candles. Maybe it was finding peace in the Word. Maybe it was my best friend handing me one book that put a few major pieces of the puzzle together.

If I had secrets, I would certainly tell you, so that you could do the same…but my biggest secret would be prayer and studying God’s word. This is something that anyone could do, and beautifully, each have different results that would be perfect for them and their life. He has His own plan for your life, no two are alike.

This life is no doubt, W I L D. Its unpredictable, punches, envelopes, and rolls you over when you least expect it. Funny enough, my heart has chosen someone that I’m convinced is part wolf to love.

Your heart chooses who you love. Your head would choose someone sensible, good on paper, and formally compatible. Maybe it would even choose someone who brought you up and legitimized you, fixing all your social needs. For people with true love, this is far from the life they lead.

My wolf has given me two little wolf cubs to raise, and all three of them give me a path to chase after them. Sometimes they need affection, sometimes they need their independence. They are wild, they need someone who will keep them sane, and love them unconditionally.

The oldest refuses to take the harsh words from an older child  at gym, to which we support him fighting for his little brother. My husband praises him for his quick defense. He’s now singing John Mayer as he walks up the stairs (ew!) as a joke because he knows it makes me cringe, and I’m finishing up the Belfast Black Ale that I’m so glad we set out to get after putting in two hours in the gym. Living with us, or even being friends with us, is not for the faint of heart.

This life has been an adventure in itself. I’ve always loved that meme about The North Face, with “willy wokna” asking about how many adventures you’ve been on. I’ve recently scored a North Face book bag for a steal off LetGo to go with my North Face jacket–in wolf gray no less!! Seriously. It was totally meant for me. I’ve got wolves to tend to, to try to snuggle with, to feed endlessly, to stay energetic for, and to stay a step ahead of.

This life is immensely different, but worlds better than it was before. All achieved with a mission amount of effort. Nothing good comes without a significant amount of work. But you can look at the immense workload as an adventure. They are your wolves, your adventure, you wouldn’t tame them, even if you wanted to, because it would ruin the very reason you love them. You love them just the way God made them.

So, you’ve got a North Face jacket. And a matching North Face bookbag. Tell me about all the adventures you’ve been on. Well you can just keep reading my story. You’ll get to see for yourself.

(low quality phone photo taken while adventuring, duh. Canon 5D photos can come later!)

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Experiencing Confidence

It’s not supposed to be easy. It’s not something that’s here to stay. Confidence. Getting Secure in yourself.

We spend over half our life just trying to figure out “who” we are. At the young age of 18, we’re expected to know enough about ourselves to actually choose an education path for a career. Most of us don’t even know what our true hobbies are, what our likes and dislikes are, and the most important question of “What makes you tick?”

Finding out what makes you tick requires a lot of trial and error. The only way to know if you truly love something or finding a passion is to try it. Finding something that didn’t make you tick is seen as a failure, when it should be seen simply as a “check-off” on the list of things to try and move on from.

How will you know if you never try? How can you equate failing and moving on if you tried? We’re so quick to say “fail” instead of just saying “it wasn’t what I expected, so I moved on”. How many situations can you say this about? How many people do you know that could benefit from this different frame of mind–including yourself? Often we turn out to be our own worst critics.

It’s a monumental task that sets a lot of us up for failure and disappointment. Many of us change majors and jobs or careers several times well into our 30s, and only now are people realizing that this is perfectly fine, and even something desirable.

Everyone has their own career story to tell. I know people that graduated with their BA only to go work at UPS because of the awesome benefits and great paycheck. I know people who graduated with a BA they didn’t even want just to apply for their commission. I know women who got their Master’s and walked away from their job to stay home with their kids. I know moms that returned to school to go after a better job to support their families.  Everyone’s story is vastly different from others, but there is one common thread–and that is that there is no “right” way to do this.

A short ten years ago, right at the start of the changing college scene, everyone was in such a hurry to graduate to get the best job possible. We were motivated, energetic, and worked like mad people. We quickly learned that the job market wasn’t what was promised. We would have a much harder time finding a job, let alone one we were passionate about, let alone with all the daydream aspirations of paid benefits, full pension, ect. We were basically on our own.

For some of us, this was a huge blow to our egos. We had strong, clear goals, and didn’t want anything to stand in that way. Our ego. Our confidence. Our young ages. Our educations that we wore like badges of honor. To look back and tell my 20 year old self that this isn’t all bad, that things will work out, and that you’d be so incredibly surprised, and that new things will always come your way.

You are so much more than your job, your career. You are a friend to your co-workers. You’re the person who others look forward to talking to you in the break room. You are a person, not a machine.

We try new hobbies, and make new friends. We lose interest, or have a falling out. No one ever sees it coming. No one ever sets out to make a new friend and keep in mind that they could end in a blowout and not speak anymore. People have an inherent good, and naturally seek out other like-minded people to share their time with. Friendships and relationships can be messy, we are flawed humans that have feelings that are delicate, no matter how tough of a facade you can build. Even though you may have been hurt in the past, your heart keeps you pushing forward and trying, because you know deep down you are capable of being a wonderful friend and are worthy of friendship in return.

It may have taken you a long time to get to where you are. You may have had to start over multiple times. Obstacles like job loss or malicious people could have stood in your way, but you persevered. Each small win adds another facet to your personality, and bolsters your confidence.

In my early 20s I was massively confident, remember being joyful and energetic, and through life’s changes and punches, flowing along with the tides of pregnancies, weight gain, weight loss, depression, anxiety, relief, success, achieving independence, job changes, career changes, income loss and gain, seemingly innumerable events that shaped my personality to who I am right now. I only say “right now” because I have no idea what the future holds. The only thing I can be certain of is that this will change many times over throughout the course of my life. I’ll have highs and lows, and now I can realize that confidence isn’t something that you have–it’s something that you experience.

Confidence ebbs and flows with time, with your life lessons, your situations and surroundings, and the experiences you travel through.

Baby steps. You will get there.

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Freefall

“So, wife, mama, photog…freefall? Why did you put freefall?” he asked.
“Well, I don’t know, I kind of didn’t know what else to put and it sounded right at the time,” I replied almost sheepishly.
“Awwwww, it’s because you LOVE Tom Petty!” he exclaimed.
“Well, sure, I mean who doesn’t?” relieved I had at least said something.

While I have yet to meet someone that doesn’t like Tom Petty, but about an hour later we went to the gym, and as I was running my laps (listening to Ty Dolla $ign now) this question kept popping up.

Why did I write freefall? Why do I feel like freefall fits me right now?

Plans. I have no plans. And it feels foreign to me.

For most of my life, I plannnned out like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve always loved lists, and being prepared. When I was in fifth grade, I started laying out what I was going to wear for school the night before–from socks to hairbands.

As I got older, the plans got more detailed and more long term. Entering my freshman year of college was probably the start of my planning-panic-attacking. I was interning at our county courthouse and one of the clerks that worked there asked me what I was majoring in, and what I wanted to do. She was just being nice and making conversation, but I literally told her: (this is practically verbatim…)

“Well, I’m going to go to college now and get my BA, and then work for a few years, and then get married and have kids, and then raise the kids at home until they’re old enough for school, and then when they’re at school, I’ll work part time so I can still be home when they are.”

This chick was really sweet, and she just kind of blinked at me and said a bunch of nice things about me being ambitious and knowing what I wanted and soforth. I really just wish she would have said what her facial expression said–that I was nuts, and you can’t plan out your life in FIFTEEN YEAR INCREMENTS. It doesn’t work.

I made no room for changes. No room for new interests or dreams. I had it all planned out, and if it just went according to plan, I’d be successful, happy, and well, “finished exactly how I wanted to end up.”

Big surprise, it didn’t work out. Here are some things that I couldn’t forsee, but kept throwing me off my “perfect” course:

* I changed my major twice after finding out that math requirements were hell on wheels.
* I discovered that technology could be a friend to artists.
* I didn’t know I’d be a military wife, and all the joys and challenges that come with it.
* I started working full time for the military the week after I graduated high school.
* My husband and I decided to get married before we graduated college. (Life’s short!)
* We bought a house at ages 19 and 20, with NO financial help from anyone.
* When most people were graduating with their BA, I was a first time mom.
* When most people were getting their MA, I was pregnant with our second boy.
* Eventually I DID graduate with my BA in CCJ/counseling minor. Win.
* I started taking classes that dealt with art and technology (cue new career).
* I became super interested in doing my own thing and working for myself.
* I took the kids out of private school to home school them.
* I held down the fort during four deployments with two babies and a business.
* After the last deployment, we totally rearranged our lifestyle.

Did you see what happened here? I accomplished all I set out to do, I just did it completely out of order! I was so focused on the next step on the list, I left out room for learning new enjoyments, or falling in love with someone that would travel or serve our country. I discovered the satisfaction of teaching my children to read, or to try to not hate art class so much. We discovered that we valued freedom more than having the old American dream of “big house, luxury car” and found out payments aren’t fun–freedom is! We adopted a minimalist lifestyle to spend more time together and less time working. This is totally opposite from the life I’d envisioned before. A life I thought I wanted so badly that early on I’d start panicking if things weren’t going right for my end result. I know other people can manage to work and build a portfolio, but personally it makes my skin crawl thinking back to when I was owned for eight hours a day with no personal phone calls and toe-tapping lunch breaks. There are so many companies that don’t know how to run a company that hires people, like, real-live humans that have needs other than to just be “lucky to work” and other stupid shit they say. How about…you can keep your pittance of a paycheck and instead of being poor and stressed, I’ll go be poor and have free time. HOW BOW DAH.

In short, I’d be missing out on a lot of great experiences and awakenings. These rigid plans can put life in a box. You cannot live in a box. It’s not healthy for your mental state. My fifteen year plan was totally torn apart and given to me in pieces. And it’s served me much, much better that way. My personality is too wonky to have it any other way.

This took about 7 years to work this all out. There was a lot of re-configuring. A lot of Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C, before I finally just turned it over to God and said
“Fine! This isn’t working! I’m not in control, You are, just please fix this mess!”

Every day I see Him fixing my mess, making small miracles that add up to a beautiful picture of our life together. I cannot fix my life alone. I cannot change myself and my environment alone. This life is far too complicated to think you can actually control it. We are mere humans, and life will happen to us, change will happen, unpredictable events will happen, and you will drive yourself insane digging your heels in and not being flexible.

Letting go of the control you think you have brings you a marvelous peace. It’s God with you saying that He’s got you, just listen. Make your footsteps slowly, and enjoy them. Letting go lets you realize it’s more fun this way, even if it is foreign. Sure it takes some getting used to, but all good things take time. Letting go brings more fullness to your life, you can F R E E F A L L into so much more than you dreamed.

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I’m Alive for You

My favorite memories…are the ones where I’m with you.

Not alone…my “precious” alone time. That’s just to unwind and relax.

Not working…pursuing my “passion”. Because I’ll tell you at the end of the day working with a majority of the people in my industry can be draining. And a huge letdown.

Not learning…furthering “my dream”. YOU are my dream. A dream is a whole, not just a job that people can do well, even if they excel, what is it for? A dream is for a person.

These “striving towards” just stand in the way. These passions and dreams are just means to make money. Money to pay the bills, heat the air that you live in, fill the fridge you eat from, flow the water out of the faucet, clothe you and fill the gas tank. I hate to say it but…at the end of the day I need to make cold, hard CA$H. Dammit. It’s a fact of life. Even artists can’t perform without eating. Especially if they have kids. Not going to happen.

I always dreaded telling you that I was going to work the long hours, the long days, the overnights. The “I’ll kiss you good morning!” that I tried to sound chipper about, but felt awful, missed you, wondered why I was gone, wondered what was so fckin important, wondered how new world I could get, and why I couldn’t figure out a better way to earn a living without being more involved in your life. I hated this.

Please know, that even thought I got my big-bad BA (from a real-live university) that I wish I could have had a more prominent major. I wish I could have graduated with better grades. I wish I could have headed to law school, or even med school like I wanted, but it didn’t work out academically because BIOLOGY AND TRIG. Thanks, people that don’t approve of apprenticeships anymore. Awesome. Please know you’ve done yourself a huge disservice by being so by-the book. Go cry over your cold, inhumane, dry pages and your inability to properly do anything, sincerely, a mom that had her kid at the best hospital in the state, and sent home with NO diagnosis what-so-fuckin-ever. A lot of good that did you. Sleep well. (Satan!)

ANYWAY. GADDAMN.

Good Lord, do I have the ability to ramble. Anyway for real, what I was trying to get at is…I worked so much, your father and I worked all the time trying to get on our feet, get our house financially set, get our finances comfortable, that we sacrificed our mental health and our stress level. Don’t make this mistake! Our best memories are with you. We both talk about how you taught your little bro how to ride a bike on your own. Your daddy actually cried on the porch when he watched, he was so proud and enamored that you were able to help him so much. We were touched when you ask your older brother if he’s ok when he’s sick. You’re so sweet and thoughtful that it makes our hearts melt. We’re so glad we’re here to witness these moments now, instead of working insane amounts of overtime, or three jobs to make ends meet. In the end, it was worth it, but we wish we could have done it sooner.

But now is a good place to start. When you were six and four, we started our lives over. (HOW good are you with dates??? 3/14) The stress and toxicity weren’t working, and we knew we were missing out on much more than a life–being together, knowing each other, having an actual relationship. We turned our lives upside down on purpose, and didn’t look back. I don’t ever want to live like that again.

We decided, since neither of us could hack the doctor/lawyer/ field, that instead of making more money, we’d require less. We wouldn’t drive luxury cars. Fine. We wouldn’t afford a hummer-home with a two story entryway (because all the heat is in the ceiling…) and a garage and separate bedrooms, ect. But what we do have is a family that is together all the time, and awesome, organic food prepared by an almost-chef and never out of a box, Family Movie Nights, a Lego Room that doubles as a bedroom, a “day off” every day, learning done from anywhere you like, reading and vocabulary done over ice cream two counties away, and two brothers that are so inseparable that friends ask if they’re afraid to take up too much room on the couch b/c they sit SO close together. You’d think they were conjoined. We get the twin question a lot, actually. A weird amount…I don’t see it at all, but there are so many people that think they’re twins. I just make really beautiful kids 😉 YOU’RE WELCOME.

Where was I going with this? Right…my best/favorite memories. They are always with you little guys. My tiny minions. My little wolves. Little bears. You are so wild, but I still want to curl you up and kiss you while you’re not big enough to push me away. You make things fun. In honesty, there have been some events I’ve been invited to, and if you hadn’t been there, I’d have been bored out of my skull.

You are my best memories. You have made everything in my life better. You’ve brought me into new interests, new genres, new ideas, new thoughts, and aspects of thinking I never even considered until your sensitive self brought them up.

You have enriched my life. You’ve made it worthwhile, and whole, and hilarious, and unbelievably entertaining.

I want desperately to live by that Buddhist saying, “Give them wings to fly, and reasons to come back”. I want to give you a background that you feel confident in, and go explore, and go adventure, and then be excited to tell me about it. Dream up all those cool adventures, go get ’em, and show me the photos. I’ll let you borrow my camera…I want to hear all about it. I want to hold you close, just as you are now, and run my hand through your fluffy golden hair and tell you how proud I am and that you can do anything you put your mind to, as long as you want it badly enough.

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The Hurting Creative Brain

So I wrote a completely different blog post today, but I’m holding off on sharing it. It’s kind of dark and sad, and on a rainy day like today, that’s the last thing anyone needs.

But that’s the paradox of being creative. You have things you want to say, but HOW do you say them without sounding like a menacing banshee flying out of hell? You can’t. So you don’t say anything.

And that’s the effect of your creative brain. You feel and experience so much more. There will be another person that went through the exact same thing that you did, and will be able to walk away and just say “Eh, some people are just a$$h0l3$,” and be done with it. You find yourself incredibly jealous of these people and ask for lessons on how to not care about things so much.

I wish I could be cut and dry. I wish things were easier to process. I wish I wasn’t so GD emotional and that I could just forget about people that have treated me badly. I know they’ve forgotten about me–or they wouldn’t have treated me that way in the first place. But still, here we are, resurrecting old hurts and trying to figure it out. Answers! Well, there won’t be any answers. Maybe that’s the hardest part. No justification.

After a while, the sting will wear off. Let some time pass. You’ll stop checking their social media. (You might even give up social media for a time!) You’ll stop wondering if they’re still talking about you. You will have a better grip on how much to let the hurt take up space in your mind. You might even be able to hold a conversation with them when you run into them at the store, even if you do cry as soon as you get into your car. Baby steps. This won’t happen overnight. This is so much easier said than done. You’ll be stronger for just letting yourself take your time, when you’re ready. This creative brain can’t be forced. Rest easy knowing that just because you cried over them today, doesn’t mean you will cry everyday, this won’t last forever. Look forward to your stronger, clearer self. It will take time to get there, but it will be worth the journey. You’ll stand tall, unmovable, and strong.

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