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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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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