Backwards Inspo

“And that’s the effect of living backwards,” she said. “hahaaaa!”
Who? The White Queen. In Alice in Through the Looking Glass. It’s just a movie in a complete fantasty-style-story, but that line has stuck with me for quite some time.

So many times, we frustrate ourselves simply because we end up working backwards, but we don’t figure it out until we’re finished. Not every job you do will have the outcome without hiccups and detours and new finds along the way.

I learned this the hard way while shooting weddings. My beautiful bride was sooo excited to get into her gorgeous gown, skip down the isle, and snog her cute fiance-turned-husband. Someone always had other ideas. That someone came in the form of another female family member with ideas on how she should be spending her time on her day. Sometimes there were tears, sometimes her bridesmaids would stick up for her so she didn’t have to…and sometimes she walked out to get some air. Whatever the case, this was hard for me to watch. I’m naturally defensive of anyone I like, but it was my job to just keep my mouth shut and take the damn pictures. For someone like me, it can be really hard to sit back and bite my tongue while a bunch of chickens are clucking at my bride with a bunch of different opinions on what she should do with her hair, what color her lipstick would be, ask prying questions about their bedroom life, tease her about weight loss pills, what she was wearing for lingerie, and whether or not she SHOULD wear the Spanx they are trying to convince her to put on–that she doesn’t actually need–but that’s not my business.

OK so I kind of derailed myself there–I don’t mean to fly off the handle about rude control-freaky people or who you should let into your dressing room on your wedding day. But the point I’m trying to illustrate is that we can all have experiences where the result will be the same, but the route will be different. At the end of the day, my bride DID get to kiss her cute boyf-turnd-husboo, but not without some significant tears and unnecessary
(read: P E T T Y) arguments over lipstick colors and other thing that simply don’t need to be addressed by anyone but yourself. Seriously.

With our construction business, sure the kitchen gets put together, it looks gorgeous, everything works like a charm…but not without significant hiccups and detours. I’m talking things that need to be rearranged because of 1/4 “off”. A chimney that throws off the entire measurement of a wall. Running out of three subway tiles. Having to redo and redo and redo the 1920’s hex tile over because the black tiles aren’t lining up right with the white tiles and your eyes are now crossed for an hour. These things happen. The end result is the same, but we didn’t get there without some significant setbacks, re-planning, new decisions, and a lot of “we’ll do this instead”.

For me at the moment, the inspiration works backwards because inspo hits when I’m least expecting it. I used to get out my camera and just BE inspired. I’d hear one lyric from a song that would trip a whole cluster of ideas for photos and writing.

Now…not so much. Ideas fly in and out of my head like they never existed in the first place. I’ve become so long winded that I don’t even realize what I’m writing about until I’m done. Probably the thing I’m saddest about the most is that inspo will hit when I have no pencil and paper or even a phone to jot down notes and ideas. They just have to stay in my brain and I try to make mental notes so I can revisit it later. But it really doesn’t happen. I have to work so much harder to remember what seemed so profound to me six hours ago. Then of course, it’s gone. Enter: Getting up earlier.

Getting up before I actually haaaave to is hard. I worked my a$$ off for this lifestyle that is so unusual. Partly, because I don’t have the desire for the typical lifestyle, my desire IS freedom and my desire IS doing what I want when I want…even if it means a lower paycheck that doesn’t come every other Friday at 3:00pm via direct deposit. This outweighs the desk-banishment and the falling-in-line EVERY TIME. Every damn time. Promise. ANYWAY. (Sorry, I just feel the need to justify my lifestyle with all of the “must be nice” comments I hear all the time. I should probably write a post about this.)

So I don’t have to, but I want to get up early. It’s true time alone. I discovered that spending time alone at night was when I was the most tired and UNinspired. No inspo is awful for someone with a creative brain. After the trial and error during the day, the school lessons, the work, the cooking, the cleaning, ect forever, my inspo was nil. I didn’t write, I barely even read. I just netflix zoned, because that’s all I had energy to do, and further sucked creative energy from my mojo.

Coming full circle (finally, I know lolz) I found that reevaluating where and how I spent my time made a big difference. I have the same result, but I got it a different and better way. An easier way, something that allowed me to have a true flow instead of forcing the ideas to come back to me like they had earlier that afternoon. Reevaluate. See where you can make changes. See where things can be easier for you. Small changes can lead to big results.

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Resurrecting Routine

Look back and think…”what was your favorite part of the day?
Not: “what is your favorite memory?” Because those don’t usually come as planned.
Not: “what brings you joy?” Because there can be too many to choose from.

So many of us are trying so hard to find “happy ” that we are actually working backwards. We’re giving ourselves decision fatigue in “what brings you joy?”
We try to plan out things we think will make us happy, and can end up disappointment.

Happiness is a habit which comes out of….routine.

Look back on parts of your day, and see which part makes you feel the most peaceful, the most relaxed, the most satisfied. This can be any part of your day where you personally feel at your mental and spiritual best. Simple, short, energy boosting, mood lifting things.

If I’m totally honest, it’s taken me 8 tries to get to this paragraph. EIGHT TIMES. Why? Because I’m trying to practice what I preach, and still find myself having to live at the same time. We’ve got the weirdest lifestyle of anyone I’ve met (in person). My husband and I both work from home, and we have two young handsome boys that we homeschool. We are together all the time. I bet the last two sentences have perfectly illustrated that it’s an understatement to say “It’s hard to find alone time”.

I’m kind of a night owl, but that doesn’t really work for my household. Sure, I can sleep in until 7:00 if I want, but that doesn’t equal a smooth morning at all. Last night I resolved to fix this by getting to bed “early” at 10:30. This morning I thought that getting up at 6:15 would be early enough, but quickly found out I was mistaken as my husband also jumped off the bed and into the shower, and the little guys got up and immediately started throwing legos at each other. This usually happens around 8am, not 6am. Coffee, please.

For some people this might be normal, but for people with the choice and ability to sleep in…whyyyyyy aaaaarrreeennnn’t yoouuuuu? I guess you could just say that we are incredibly in sync with each others rhythms. Which now that I think about it…is pretty heartwarming. Aww ❤

In the process of writing this blog post (yes, just ONE post) I’ve:
* Made oatmeal for the boys, complete with bananas
* Found the egg roll wrappers that were “hiding” on top of the case of Yuingling
* Made the coffee (extra grounds today)
* Made the bed and tidied up the bathroom
* Diffused a fight (over the all-important legos, duh)
* Talked with my husband about friends who’ve ditched us (hurtie)
* Set the ricotta to drain for the cannelloni he’s making
* Finally finished a cold cup of coffee (try to laugh ok)

Which…brings me back to what was to be the original point of this post! WHEW!

You need a little quiet time at some point in your day to reset and recharge your batteries.

For me, that was always the time when way back in the day, my husband would leave for base at 5am, and I’d get up with him, have coffee, and write. The house was quiet and dark, and it was just me alone with my thoughts and a keyboard. I’d collect my thoughts while jotting down feelings, dreams, and things I learned. At one point, I even had a weekly post on Fridays. When I was done, I did really feel peaceful, like I’d done something that served my brain and spirit, my mind was clearer, and I was ready to greet the boys when they woke up.

Why did I stop? Life happened. Wedding photography took over. The boys both started a brick-and-mortar school (the best private school in the area, but that’s not important). My husband’s job became super stressful. Let’s not even talk about deployments. Well, we can, just not right this second. The point is–I put the one small thing I liked to do for personal enjoyment on the back burner, and my emotional/spiritual self fell by the wayside along with it.

So many things changed. So much can happen in a frighteningly short amount of time. I lost myself, and I lost something that grounded me and kept me from having thoughts mull around in my head hundreds of times, which isn’t good for anyone. Repetitive thoughts can quickly downward spiral. For me, getting them “down and out” helped stop the negativity and just made a better day. Down on paper, and out of my head.

Today’s lesson has been long (approx. 3 hours long, honestly) it has been wordy, and it has been in pieces over the course of this morning. It’s almost 9am now. I’ve learned that Maybe a little earlier would help out my cause–early enough that the little wolves are still in REM and won’t wake up at the sound of one footstep. A little earlier would have my husband check the time on his phone and say “faaaah that” and pull the covers closer.

Routines are an evolving and changing thing. They, like habits, take time to build and form. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Things didn’t go today like I thought they would, but there’s always tomorrow. The important thing is: I tried. It’s a start, and a step. Baby steps. Any step is better than no step at all.

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