Monthly Archives: October 2018

Visions

People always ask that never-ceasing question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Well, I’ve had a lot of changes in my life in the last 5 years – some of which I never planned on. So I try my hardest not to think about life as a time-crunch or a deadline that I absolutely have to meet with a predetermined product. Life just is. I will, however, say that I have a vision of my ideal life – a picture of a perfect day some time in the future. And here it is:

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I’m waking up at 7AM to the sound of the baby stirring. I grab my cell phone and enter the nursery where my little girl is playing with her feet. After snapping a quick picture of her cuteness on my phone – as I always do – I pick her up and cuddle her so she knows she’s loved first thing in the morning.

My loving husband is already out doing what he loves – working with his hands – after dropping off the oldest at school. He’ll be back around lunch time to spend a few quality moments with me, the youngest boy, and our newest little addition – baby girl. But for now, it’s time to work on getting breakfast made for the kiddos.

After food and some cuddles on the couch with cartoons – a nice slow way to wake up – it’s time for the kids to take their naps and for me to get ready for my day. It’s gonna be a busy one – dropping the kids off with my mom, picking up the flowers and other props, traveling to the shoot location, and traveling back to my studio office to get the photos edited. But it’ll be worth it when I’m finally done with everything and ready to send that couple their beautiful printed engagement photos.

After a long – but fun and productive – day of work, it’s finally time to pick up the kids. I love it when I get to come home with them after a long day of photographing and editing. I leave the studio around 2:30, pick up the oldest from school, and swing by my mom’s to pick up the youngest – where I’m taking photos (again) of the kids and all their cute shenanigans.

We get home, and I make a nice healthy snack before sending the boys out to the backyard to play while the baby and I get done some more editing. I limit myself to just half an hour of working while I’m home so that I can spend time bonding with my children. I go outside with the baby and watch my boys running back and forth across the yard, climbing up the jungle gym, and swinging on our new playground equipment. I have to tell them about a dozen times not to go into the fenced-off area with the pool – they are children after all, and children tend to be hard-of-hearing when it concerns things they don’t want to hear. But surely enough, everyone makes it through playtime without drowning.

My husband gets home around 5 in the evening and kisses me with a “Hello wife. How did we manage today?” We talk about our days for a short time before the boys coerce my wonderful man to get in the pool with them – they’re not allowed without an adult. The baby takes another nap while I start on dinner, all while peeking out the back door at my three men, splashing each other and jumping off the diving board and doing tricks. Basically, they’ve become aquatic acrobats.

Dinner is ready, and of course the men are starving. After I get the baby’s food ready and set the table, we’re all sitting down together to eat and talk and laugh. And bond as a family.

We finish dinner, and the boys have their one hour play time before quiet time and getting ready for bed. My husband and I wash the dishes and clean up the kitchen while each taking turns at solving any world problems that arise – this boy took this boy’s toy, this one doesn’t want to do what I want to do, etc. Again – three little ones makes for a busy life.

Once everything is cleaned up, my husband and I tag-team quiet time. It’s the half-hour before all the kids are supposed to be tucked into their beds and drifting off to sleep. And with that description in mind, you’d think it’d be a peaceful half-hour. But most times, it is anything but! This boy doesn’t want to brush his teeth. That one’s got picture day tomorrow and wants to pick out his own outfit before bed. The baby senses tension and starts crying. But my husband and I are a team, and we always make it to 8:30 relatively in one piece!

After all of the squabbling is over, everybody under four feet tall is finally sound asleep. My husband and I pour ourselves a drink and turn on whatever YouTube or Netflix series we’re currently obsessed with. I do a quick tidy-up while he takes his shower, and he makes sure the kids are taken care of (meaning still sleeping) while I take mine. And then we drift off to sleep in each other’s arms to wake up the next day and start all over.

Every day is different. Although they may all start and end in relatively the same way – as having a routine is good for my mental health which my husband fully supports – the meat of each day is never the same. I’m a wife, mother, photographer, writer, singer, and so much more. My days are full of love and vitality, and I can’t help but be grateful to God that He blessed me with so much goodness. Life is hectic but never boring or stagnant. I feel at peace.

“Recovering”

RecoveryI have anxiety. My sister has anxiety. Half of the known Universe has anxiety (and probably the rest of the unknown part). Yet still many people don’t understand it. It’s like ignoring something that’s been staring at you right in the face all along. Anxiety is real. And it’s not going away – for anyone.

CAUTION: When I write, I do so with the understanding that not everyone will understand my words. I write to try and get out something that’s been stuck in my brain, but it’s important to note that how my brain works is not the way Joe’s brain works which is not the way Ben’s brain works and so on. Everyone is different. If questions arise in your different brain after reading this post, please reach out to me. I’d be happy to talk with you.

Now, back to what I was saying before – anxiety is a thing. And it’s a thing that also works differently for different people. But one thing that is the same throughout is that anxiety never truly “goes away.”

I hate the word “recovery” when it’s used to describe someone with anxiety and the road they’re on. (Which, by the way, how does one get on this virtual road? Are they driving, walking, running away in terror – what? Ah, language.) Recovery is a word that sounds so final, yet virtually everything we use it to describe is infinite; anxiety never truly goes away, someone can always be struggling with sobriety, back pain can come back – hence the name “back pain.”

I feel like not many people understand the need for different language surrounding mental health. It’s nice to refer to someone you truly care about as “recovering from ___” instead of “struggling with ___” or “dealing with ___” or (my favorite) “suffering from ___.” In this comparison, “recovery” sounds like great word choice! But in my personal opinion, there is one large reason why “recovery” is so problematic – it puts a lot of pressure on the “recover-er.”

It is impossible to truly make anxiety “go away” in the long run, yet that is what we hope for our loved ones who are experiencing it. Put yourselves in their shoes for a moment – to have a disorder that you can never get rid of while you know that everyone wants you to get rid of it – is counting on you to get rid of it – would in fact be very upset if you can’t get rid of it. The disappointment felt in that fact alone is enough to send me into a panic just typing this blog post! Obviously, we don’t want those whom we care about to suffer. But pushing that want onto them in the form of a “need” to get better is, in effect, only making the problem worse and not better.

People experiencing anxiety feel bad enough about even having a disorder in the first place. They’re made to feel even worse every time someone they love: makes a joke about them being sad even though they have “everything they could ever want”; speculates as to the “realness” of their anxiety; wonders how they can be having an anxiety attack without hyperventilating all over the place; gets mad when they can’t be helped out of an anxiety attack; gets confused when medicine doesn’t help a “brain disorder”; accuses them of faking an anxiety disorder/attacks just to get medicine; gets embarrassed when they’re having an attack in public; etc. etc. etc.

I could go on and on about how people experiencing anxiety are put under unnecessary pressure, but I think I’ll stop at the most devastating thing on the list: people experiencing the unbeatable disorder are made to feel at-fault/broken/ostracized when they can’t beat it.