Thursday, April 18, 2013

Old Emails and the Meaning of Life. Or Something.

Last night, I spent much too much time going through and deleting old emails which were just clogging all the space on my computer. 

And there were a literal metric fuckton of emails in there and it's amazing how, in the process, I was shoved right back in time. Each one a memory. 

Emails from friends come and gone, fellow bloggers, fellow writers, old bosses and editors, name changes and email changes and life changes. Guest blogs and favors and advice.  Emails of support when my cat was dying or I had a stalker or a crazy roommate or a new job. Work emails and Etsy emails and receipts. Long chains of laughter and ridiculousness from the many writers come and gone from Sprocket. 

I can't believe so much happened in just a few short years, all right there, like a stack of dusty old letters. 

But, of course, they're not letters; they're emails. And like anything else one hoards, they take up space.

I might be a bit of an email hoarder. I hoard anything electronic really. I don't hoard physical things, mostly because my mom is a real life hoarder and I'm not exaggerating the teensiest little bit about that. Real. Life. Hoarder. But electronic docs and pictures and emails? Yeah, I hang on to those. I guess I'm afraid of deleting and, while I do back up, really do I need to keep every single one? Will someone ask me who I was emailing about that blog post I wrote about vaginas back into 2009? If they do, they've got too much time on their hands, I tell you what.

Deleting them all was liberating in both the physical and literal sense. I freed up space on my mac, of course, but it also felt like letting go of the past while also understanding it. Walking down memory lane was fun and it's great to have a reminder of the path I've followed, but ultimately, I don't need to rehash every word, every memory, every event. 

When I was much younger, I kept letters (people did use to write real letters, kids!) and photos and mementos from my boyfriends. I had shoeboxes of these useless things that I kept in my closet. Why? I couldn't tell you. But, in 2006, when I ended the most destructive relationship I'd had in my young life, I threw all those boxes away. Every single one. Because I still had my memories and holding on to that junk was holding me back too. 

Last night felt very similar. 

And also, it got me thinking about my path and where I am today and where I've been. Yeah yeah, existentialism and yadda yadda yadda. I don't believe in preordained paths or destiny or fate. I don't. I think that we're like moths, seemingly haphazard in the energy of the world, pulling towards what attracts us and repelling from what scares us. My path certainly looks moth-like. 

It may seem haphazard, but it's had purpose and each choice was deliberate. And what wasn't choice? My reaction to it has had meaning and significance. It's easy to say that life has just happened to me, which, in a sense, it has, but what I do with what happens is worth something, thinking about, discussing, learning from.

As you know, this time in my life is a little crazy. I'm going through some major changes and every day takes decisions. 

But, for some odd ass reason, I'm not really scared. And I think that's because I'm in the driver's seat. I get to choose what's next. Maybe I'll do something wonderful or maybe I'll fuck it all up. But the decision is mine!

I watched TED talk recently about the fallacy of choice and, while I usually love TED talks, this one I didn't entirely agree with. He made great points, but I think choice is the biggest thing a person can have. It may not bring you more happiness, sure, but if it's your choice, who cares? It's your life to fuck up or improve or enjoy as is! It's yours alone.

And yes, there are hindrances like class and race and bigotry, etc., that hold us back from agency; I know that all too well. That's a post for another day. I'm talking about being empowered by choice, losing fear because of choice. I was so scared and miserable when I felt trapped in a situation I didn't want to be in. It was a horrible feeling. I gained weight, I stopped sleeping, and I just felt awful all the time. 

And now? I don't have much money. And I don't know what will happen next. And I'm working my butt off to figure that out. But at least it'l be my decision. And THAT! is a great feeling, my friends. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Photo of the Day: Rainy Days

Rainy Day

Today I am sick in bed so I’m sharing a shot with you I took last fall. Fall in Portland is pretty much like Spring in Portland: rainy. Only you get slightly different colors. Click here for more rainy day photos. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Photo of the Day: Shades of Wheat and Gold

slightly springy

I've decided, in what might be an all too ambitious plan, to start Photo of the Day back up over here on the blog with coordinated posts over at Double A Photography. That's the plan anyway! Enjoy! Click here for more.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cruel to be kind?

Today's post isn't an update about my life and, I have to say, it does feel good to have the time to write about stuff other than update posts. I like keeping you internet friends up to date on my life, but I really love pontificating, rambling along about my opinions and ideas and thoughts. 

This is something that continues to bother me year after year, and it must bother the rest of the world too or we wouldn't see piles of books written about the benefits or detriments of either side. I'm talking about tough love versus nice (?) love, negative versus positive reinforcement. 

Maybe it's because I've lately been obsessed with that teen show Awkward (thanks, Lori) or because I see it on my facebook all the time in the vein of, "I don't care if it makes me a bitch. If you're acting stupid, I'll tell you! I'm not mean; I'm honest..." etc. etc. etc. 

But I think that's total bullshit. 

Parenting is one thing and I'll get to that in a sec, even though I'm not a parent, though I am a daughter and so I do have an opinion. But it kills me that this is still an issue between friends, lovers too, but that's something else. I've said this before, but I've always thought that good friends are made of people who accept each other no matter what. Sure, some behaviors are unacceptable in a friendship, but I tend to think that unless you're doing something really bad (like sleeping with the friend's spouse or shooting heroine or something), you just let that little shit go. 

It's not our jobs as friends to shape each other and make another person behave how we want them to be. If you don't like how a person is, don't befriend them. Simple as that. 

My best friends challenge me as a person, sure, and are honest when I ask their opinions, but they're never, ever mean to me. That's not why we're friends. We're friends because we love and support each other and part of that includes letting each other make our own mistakes and still being there when we fall. That's how it works. 

I tend to think the whole truth hurts method doesn't work anyway. I don't think people respond to being talked down to. I certainly don't. My whole life my mother told me what I did wrong, told me I wasn't good enough, wasn't smart enough or pretty enough or talented enough. And did that make me work harder? No. Well, it made me try harder to get her approval (which was unattainable), but not in the ways you'd think. In the ways she beat it into me that I was a failure, I just gave up after a while. What was the point? When I never had any success? 

I could recount for you a million stories just like that, my ballet teacher, several different boyfriends, a couple of teachers and bosses, all people who treated others with meanness and harsh criticism sans any kindness or praise. And the results were the same. I failed or struggled or shut down. 

And the people I consider my mentors? They pushed me to improve, of course, but they encouraged me along the way and praised me when I did well and celebrated my successes and saw my setbacks as ways to do better. And I flourished. 

It goes without saying that Eminem is kind and supportive and I think part of why we have worked so well thus far is because we let ourselves be who we are. We're not trying to fit each other into what we want; we coexist. And sure, when we have disagreements, we work it out, but we're not trying to change each other. That's new for me. 

I think a little kindness and tact go a long way! I don't care if it's your child or best friend or husband, there's no reason to be mean. I don't care if you think I'm acting stupid or going to fail or get hurt, that's my mistakes and failures to make and your lack of kindness or understanding isn't helping anything. 

I know being mean is chic right now. Hell, I make jokes about stupid people alllllll the damn time. They're funny. And I'm all about funny. But in practice? Meanness is just meanness. It isn't funny. Let's just be nice to each other! I don't understand why that's so hard. And not just strangers- the feelings of the people closest to us should matter most of all. 

So be nice already. 

*steps off soap box*

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Having a job is clearly bad for your health

It's my second post in a week! Wha? Are you people loving my unemployment or what?

I have to say, it's not been hard to slip into. I always hear people who talk about how they could never work from home or couldn't not go to a job every day, but I think those people are rationalizing having to go to a job every day. AmIright?

I've been busy! I don't get bored, because I have tons to do and I get to do it in my pajamas or jeans or from my bed or a coffee shop. I've been working on my new website (please go check it out!) and ordering business cards and looking for work like crazy and (!) I've been exercising. Shocking, I know. With all the health stuff that had been happening the last year or so, it feels so great to have time to go for a long walk or hike and, now that it's rainy in Portland again, work out in my living room. And not being chained to a desk? So much better for my ever-widening ass, regardless of what my boyfriend says about how bootilicious I am.

I hate those people who talk about their workouts or get all sanctimonious about their health, but I have to say that I think the one big detriment to my health was work! Now that I have time to exercise and less stress and I've been getting sleep (both because I'm not stressed about going to work, but also because I don't have to get up at 6am), I feel great! Sure, I don't have any money and I have to hustle like karazay to get an income (hello, unemployment, ugg), but I feel good.

When I first moved to Portland, I worked from home for almost a year and it was the most glorious year of my life, second to living in France, bien sur. Today, I walked down to a coffee shop and met with my financial advisor (yes, I have one. I DID use to have a job after all.) and we talked about my plans and got my investments in order for this new phase, which also felt great! And now I'm sitting in the shop doing some writing and drinking a ginourmous tea and then I'll look for more work and then who knows! Maybe I'll clean my house or something.

I think I'm scaring the other coffee shop people

And then because I don't have much money, I have to be economical with my food purchasing, which ends up being healthier in a sense. It's cheaper to buy a bag of potatoes or rice and a block of cheese and maybe some eggs and make those stretch than eat fast food, which seems cheap but isn't. And, because I was raised pretty durn poor, I'm good at cooking those types of foods. Sure, I suck at cooking fancy foods, but I can't afford fancy ingredients right now anyway. And, again, I apologize if I sound sanctimonious, because mama loves a good burger and fries (oh yes she does), but being forced to cook more is helping my waistline.

I know I'm not FAT per se (I know okay? so stop telling me.), but I did gain a lot of weight this past year (blame it on being in love) and while I'm not in danger yet, I could easily get really fat if I don't change a few things. This year it's 25 pounds and then next year it's 30 and then the next thing I know, I'll be sewing my own mumus because no stores even make my size. A girl just has to keep that in check.

Besides, I can't afford to shop right now so it behooves me to not gain any weight. Because, you know, what would I wear?

Brilliant segue.

I know I never updated anyone on my health/bladder situation, so here it is. I saw a bladder-gyno specialist (I forget his real title) and got the most uncomfortable exam of my life (though he was very kind and comforting) and discovered parts of my lady bits that I didn't even know existed (ugg) and he asked me a thousand questions and I had to keep a urinary diary (double ugg) and then consensus is that it's one of three (or two) things.

First, I'm not getting actual bladder infections (UTIs), but it could be an infection of the urethra or some other place with a big name that I can't remember but which wouldn't show up in a urinalysis. And there's no way to know if that's the case unless I get another infection.

The other thing it could be is endometriosis, which I know I have around my uterus and ovaries and apparently it's possible to attach to my bladder as well. Hooray.

Because I'm unemployed now, however, I also don't have insurance. So this great doctor saw fit to prescribe me antibiotics that target the lady parts, which I filled a couple weeks ago and can keep on hand in case another "infection" comes up. If those clear it up, that's probably what it is.

If those don't clear it up, it's probably endo, which the doc would first use a scope to look inside my bladder and/or do a laparoscopy to clean it all up (which would happily include my uterus too), but which is a minimally invasive procedure (still not awesome), and which I'd still need insurance to pay for. Zoinks.

And even though I've known about my endo for years and years, I've chosen not to have a laparoscopy because I prefer to manage with birth control pills, which I take continuously so as not to have a period. Glory be. And my old doc wanted to wait until I wanted to get preggers (because it gives you a fertility window), which he always wanted more than me, the judgey prick, but since I have no plans to get knocked up any any any time soon, I really didn't see the benefit when I can just skip my periods.

Of course, if it's causing my bladder issues, that's another story. But, again, insurance. Health care is so fucked.

But! I've been feeling good and maybe with my new, laissez faire lifestyle, I won't get sick and this is all moot. One can hope right?

Before I leave you, I'll beg you once again to go check out my new photography website and then go like the facebook page and then please tell your friends! Mama needs work! Me love you long time.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Ch ch ch chaaaanges

Hideyho, friends. It has been an insane month, which is why I haven't written. Like at all. Because I was dealing with the madness. All the madness.

So much madness.

As of last Thursday, I am officially an unemployed person. For reasons which I can't even get into and to which I've come to terms. It wasn't easy, let me tell you what. I really struggled with this for a while and I felt my toes dipping into the pool of depression, which I don't think is unreasonable. Anyone would get sad and scared and feel a bit lost when making a huge life change and also face the possibility of not supporting oneself.

I don't think it's unreasonable to avoid homelessness. That's really all I ask.

Not that my friends and fam would actually let me be literally homeless. But you get what I mean.

And I was grieving the job I worked so hard to fit in to for the past two years. You work so hard to make yourself one way and when it turns out that it's not actually possible to change yourself, it's a bit of a hard fall. Sometimes you can't make yourself fit if you just don't fit.

And I've decided that's okay. The bottom dollar is that it's not just about my happiness or following my dreams or whatever, which are important and which I'm going to do, but if I'm not the person for the job, then I won't succeed. I can't set myself up to fail anymore and so I won't. I'll follow my passion and work my ass off to do so and hopefully the money follows.

And that passion is photography. And writing and any creative endeavors I find, of course. But it's all about the photography. I think, I know, I have a talent for it and it's work that I do well because I love doing it. It makes me truly happy.

So I am looking for some steady employment in the mean time, but the end goal is professional photographer.

I can do it all, from weddings to engagement sessions to family, baby, and pet portraits, to business photography like head shots and real estate photography. Because I'm just starting out, my rates are reasonable and I'll work with you to find an affordable package for your budget.

Tell your friends! I'll need YOUR help to make it as a photographer and I'm counting on your support, friends. I've appreciated you guys so much over the years and I know you're in my corner.

There's a link to my photo site in the top navigation (expect a more dynamic site as I start to make money) or you can find it here. Also, please go like my photography facebook page! And you can still find me on Twitter @andygirl.

I'll be blogging more here as well, at least that's the plan, and you can still find me at Spocket Ink.
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