Posts from the ‘Reality Check’ category

definition: accomplished aim; resolution; determination; intention; full of meaning; a reason for.

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i read something recently that talked about “purpose”.  the article asked questions like; “what is the purpose?” ” what is the desired outcome?” “am I being honest with myself?”…. this made me think about my life and my dreams.  it also made me reflect on what holds me back…”fear”.  i’m consumed by my thoughts of fear; fear in pursuing my dreams and fear in accomplishing my goals.  And, at the same time, i recognized if i challenged that fear in me, use it to motivate me, my dreams will come true and probably even greater than I could ever imagine.  as i get older i try to look at fear in a different way.  my old habit is to run away so am trying to form new habits of pushing through this fear and treating it more like a obstacle to push past.

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I did that recently when i approached a photographer i’ve admired and asked if he’d be willing to do a one on one workshop.  he said yes.  wow, that was easy.  i was so excited until the day came to meet, my first session with him.  i was struck with fear.  i almost didn’t go.  i started thinking of excuses to cancel this workshop.  my fears manifested in negative thoughts telling me I was wasting his time, I wasn’t good enough etc.. started to flood my head.  i was on the verge of tears.  i had a good friend visiting me and shared with her what was going on.  she was compassionate to my feelings while at the same time pushed me into going by reminding me, with my own words, about why i wanted to do this workshop.   I am so glad she did.  it was GREAT!  my biggest accomplishment that day was just showing up.  what i learned that day was immeasurable.  it was just what i needed to hear the and timing couldn’t have been better.  what is also interesting is the information i learned in that class not only taught me a lot about myself as a photographer, but about myself in general.  it was quite enlightening.  it is amazing how this was a much bigger life lesson than i had imagined or anticipated.

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at the end of class i was given an assignment.   i felt fear sweep through my body.  i knew this assignment would be challenging for me.  i was encouraged to do a bit of street photography and to get up and close with the subjects.  get into the scene.  i chose a street scene and a social gathering in which to do this assignment. i actually thought the social gathering would be a bit easier because i knew the people.  both proved to be quite challenging.  i not only felt the fear but also felt so emotional as if i could cry at any moment.  i not only had to deal with fear in doing the assignment but also felt my creative drive had somehow disappeared.  it was as if my creative side had been drained from my body.  i had no idea what to do.  again, the negative emotions flooded my body and it was all i could do to not burst into tears.  what were these fears?  most were the fear of failure and feeling inadequate.  again, i wanted to give up.   once again,  i found myself trying to push aside the fear and to just do the assignment.  it was not great work and yet I learned a lot from it.  it was great to discuss this at my second workshop session.  i knew my work wasn’t great but hearing the feedback had me understanding why, encouragement on ways to improve on it and had me reflecting on how I felt during these assignments so that i, personally, know what i can do to improve them.  it will take some time and i will be out once again pushing through my fears because i know this is the road i must travel.

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so, as i look back at “purpose” i am reminded that my fears are my NOT being honest with myself and that in order to achieve my desired outcome i must not listen to the fears and let them hold me back and instead focus on the outcome.  by doing so i will find my “purpose”.

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i often wonder how share a piece of my life with a dear friend I’ve yet to me.  I’ve spoken about my friend here and here.  as i’ve mentioned on more than one occasion we are friends and we’ve never met.  we’ve written to each other, emailed each other, sent cards and gifts.  i thought a letter on my blog would be a bit of fun too.

dear km,

today started out like any typical day in my home.  my dog, gracie, sleeps on the sofa while staring out the window.  she’s 12 and has arthritis in her rear legs which makes moving around painful.  if she isn’t following the kids or me around the house in hopes for food or attention she lies on the sofa staring out into the street and observes the going ons.  she knows the routine of neighbors and when something is not part of the daily routine she barks and if something is really odd, she barks a bit more aggressively.  if she sees someone she knows she may still bark but you will see her stubby tail wag.

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this morning was bath time.  the kids still like to take a bath together yet there is often a lot of laughter followed by screaming and crying.  one moment it is all fun and games and the next it is hitting and dumping water over each other.  today was a bit more emotional.  they just couldn’t figure out how to play well together so bath time ended early.

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today i planned on taking a brief excursion to vashon island while the kids hung out with their dad.  Ms. L decided she wanted to spend time with me instead so off we went on our adventure.  she was just so excited to spend time with just me.  no dad, no brother.  everything was just so exciting to her.

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i think most kids would be bored waiting for the ferry but not L.  she enjoyed getting out of the car and looking at the water.  once on the ferry she lead me all around the boat pulling me from one side of the boat to the other.  everything was interesting, everything was fun.

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once off the boat we drove the 5-6 miles to a small little town just south of the town of Vashon.  it was a quant little spot with nothing more than a coffee roaster, coffee museum and a general store.  all were connected.

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we spent the longest time hanging out in and out of the store. outside she played in front of the store walking up and down the porch, inside she shopped for the treats she wanted to munch on while we explored.

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i wasn’t prepared for the length of time it took us just to get to the island so our time on the island wasn’t as long as I had hoped so we didn’t get down to the water to explore because it wasn’t long before we had to head back to the ferry for our return trip home.  before heading back we took a little drive to the town of burton where we checked out the water, got out and enjoyed a view of the harbor and then stopped by a curiosity shop before heading back to the ferry.

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funny, i was worried that our trip didn’t provide enough fun for L but she did not complain once.  instead she laughed and kept saying “c’mon mama….” and then would pull me wherever it was she wanted to go.  i realize the trip didn’t have to be a huge adventure for her to have fun, she just wanted to be with me.

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i’ve read a lot lately about mindfulness and today I practiced being in the moment with L and what a beautiful moment it was.

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all my best dear friend…

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DSC_6693life has me on a roller coaster ride and it’s a bit crazy.  actually, i have created this roller coaster ride by making significant changes in my life in order to help me find “me”.  as someone said to me yesterday “you are already here, you just need to see that”.  I am trying to soak up what that actually means.  i realize that my happiness in life has always been dependent on an outside source or person and i want to change that.  happiness begins and ends with me.  i want to teach this to my kids now so they will have a strong sense of self and happiness as they get older.

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one of my biggest challenges is my photography and this blog.  i am at a loss when it comes to taking photos and when it comes to writing a blog post.  i don’t just pick up my camera and shoot, i do so with intent and it is that intent that i’ve seemed to have lost.  same goes with my writing.  when i sit down to make a blog entry i usually have something on my mind that i want to say.  i’m in a rut…i can’t seem to find my intent, my words…my story.  i look at these photos and see that i’ve lost it.  so, i took the photos as a way to break through this barrier i am feeling and i am writing this blog post to do the same.  i can sit back and feel defeated or i can push through it and may just find that something new will come out of this.  who knows what may lie on the other side.

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i saw a facebook status quote from a photographer|artist dana de luca, ‘When you look at my photographs, you are looking at my thoughts’.  this made me stop and think.  this is similar to the way i feel about my photographs.  how i feel, what i am thinking and who i am are often reflected in my photos.

it has been a long time since i’ve posted.  there are some significant things happening in my life that have me flooded with emotions; happy, sad, and loneliness.  these emotions have me chanting more than ever.  although i discovered some months ago that i’ve lost me i didn’t really reflect on that nor did i do anything about it.  what did that mean, actually?  how would i find me?  i also realized i am not happy.  although i have suffered with depression, that is not the feeling i am having.  the feeling i have is my life is someone else’s, not mine.  i live to please others thinking i will find my happiness in doing that and, obviously, was wrong.  i also thought i found happiness in someone and immersed myself into that until i realized that i was even more unhappy and gave someone this huge burden by being responsible for my happiness.  what would it mean for me to be happy?  well i had two pretty incredible friends tell me that i couldn’t find happiness until i found it in myself first.  what???  well they were right.  until i could be happy being me, doing things for me, and finding myself i wasn’t going to be happy.

a month ago i quit my photography class.  the stress of my unhappiness, the friendship i had that went sour and the flood of emotions at home had me overwhelmed and ended up quitting one of the most important things to me, my photography class.  photography is usually the place i can escape to and pour my emotions into and instead i walked away.  i felt ashamed, depressed and without a place to dump my emotions.  that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing at the time because i had to turn inward spiritually and re-discover me.  i have been so amazed at what has resulted because of this.  i have old friends showing up in my life that i haven’t seen or spoken to in years, i have discovered new friends and i have had the confidence to stand up for myself (still a work in progress).  while this has not been easy and there is still a lot of emotion wrapped up in all of “this” it is still exciting and progress is being made.

i picked up my camera today and instead of wrapping myself up in ‘what others might think’ or in over thinking what it is i wanted to take photos of i just captured a bit of my surroundings.  no master plan, no agenda, just photos showing representing visual thoughts|feelings of how i am looking at life around me.

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as a mom i find that one of my biggest goals and challenges is helping my kids be comfortable with who they are and to always be comfortable in sharing how they feel no matter how difficult and scary it can be to do so.  this is important to me because i struggle with this, personally.  i am not comfortable in my own skin.  i am not comfortable communicating my feelings.  i believe my feelings are not important or that my feelings show how insecure i am so, instead, i try not to communicate them.  all of this out of fear and being vulnerable.  i fear being vulnerable.  i sit back and wait for others to take charge as if my own feelings and ideas are worthless.  i don’t want this for my kids.

i want my kids to know that sharing feelings is scary but when you share them that is when you become empowered and happy.  don’t hold back like i do.  don’t wait for others to direct you in life, direct yourself.  life is full of many struggles so if i can help my kids overcome this one early then that is one less thing for them to be challenged with as an adult.  i do believe that challenging our vulnerability and shame is our key to happiness.  those that are truly happy don’t let the two hold them back, they tackle it head on!

my son loves to wear dresses, loves to paint his nails and recently applied fake nails to his fingers. there is so much fear in society about boys dressing like girls. i embrace and love the fact that my son loves to explore his imagination and encourage him to do so.  children are not born with fear, we give it to them.  dressing up is a way for children to role play, be creative, explore their imaginations and a way to share their feelings.  i want to encourage this as much as possible with no fear.

today i am battling with my own fear of sharing my feelings with someone and not knowing what the outcome of that will be.  i fear the worst (my comfortable place to go).  so while i am dealing with these fears on the inside i will spend my day praising my kids for sharing theirs.

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Last night I started my 3rd class at PCNW, a photography school.  The class is Women in Photography and will provide us with a history of women photographers (so far the first ones we discussed are AMAZING), and we will visit art museums around Seattle visiting exhibits focusing on women artists.  There are so many in Seattle right now and this class is taking full advantage of it.  One of the exhibits I am most excited about is the elles:pompdou.   What perfect timing to have this here AND we get a private tour of the exhibit!

I typically have first day of class jitters when I review the syllabus and hear about the artistic backgrounds of my classmates.  Last night was no exception.  The women and one man in my class had some pretty incredible talent behind them so a bit of my insecurity came out.  I then reflected on my prior classes and remember feeling the same way the first day and then also remembered how much I learned and how much I grew in each class.  I wanted a class that would help me break out of my conservative shell.  I want to explore my creativity and I believe this class will help me do that.  Our assignments are given based on the women photographers we are studying and we are to draw inspiration from these women and create our own images so it leaves a lot of room to explore and challenge our own creativity.  I find that my comfort zone is when the assignments are a little more literal so feel this may be my opportunity to break out of my conservative self and challenge it a bit.  My blog will be a journal of my journey in this class, the good with the bad.  Enjoy.

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I’ve been struggling with my own self worth.  Now, I’ve struggled with this for most of my life but now I want to do something about it.  I’m tired of having my own pity party always thinking I am not worthy of ______ (there are so many words I could use in that blank).  I have a family and realize the importance of challenging this in me so that I can be an example to my family of overcoming those obstacles|challenges, that hold me back.  I realize how often I have thoughts of complaint or negativity, when instead I should {want to} have thoughts of appreciation and joy.  This has become so important to me that it is consuming my thoughts day and night.   To have the life I want requires me to look inside myself to create that life.

Today I had a friend stop by and I shared with her my thoughts and feelings.  She was so inspiring.  She shared with me her own life experiences of similar struggles and what she did to overcome them.  As she said “I had to pull myself up by the bootstraps and take a hard look at myself”.  I know the feeling.  We can point our fingers outward with complaint but if we are seeking to change our lives we need to take that finger and point it inward.

I am embracing this Fall season with open arms.  As the trees shed their leaves I, too,  am shedding mine; my leaves of negativity and complaint.

 

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my son is teaching me trust, teaching me that it is ok to take a few steps back and let him take charge.  this is very challenging for me.  as much as I want to raise an independent, capable and confident child i still have fears and want to step in to help.  he was very clear with me this past week when he expressed many times to me “leave me alone”.

he is almost 5 and entered a pre-k program.  he is meeting new kids, experiencing new things and confronting his own challenges, fears and awkward moments.  it is these challenges, fears and awkward moments that i want to interfere with.  i want to help so he isn’t hurt.  i want him to be sociable, confident and fun when in reality he might be a little clumsy, insecure and afraid and that is ok.  i’ve expressed to him how important it is to face our fears because the courage to overcome them is amazing and yet when I watch him face his own i want to step in and protect.  if i truly believe that facing our fears is where confidence, courage and happiness stems from,  then i have to let him face his and by doing so i face mine.

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i am filled with emotion regarding my decision to possibly accept a position that will have me working again, although part time.  the emotion i feel comes from many directions; “can I work and still be there for my children?”, “do i have the will to do both jobs?”, “i haven’t done my best so maybe i should try harder before going back to work”, etc…etc…

i also think of time in a more positive way that my going back to work will make me appreciate even more the time I get to spend with my kids AND because it is only part time i will still have many hours of quality time with them.

i believe in life that timing is no accident.  the things that come our way are doors and we choose whether to go through the door or to shut it.  this job opportunity might be the door i need to go through.  i have dreams, i have goals and if i am willing to open up and be more aware of my life and what it brings i might just see the synchronicity of life.

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summer may be coming to a close but what i learned this summer has been invaluable.  i learned not to take things so personally.  i had a lot of things challenge my insecurities as a parent and as a photographer this summer.  i then had to tell myself what i tell my son.  ‘these are not failures, they are opportunities to grow”.  funny, i could dish out this wisdom but found it difficult to accept myself.  i want to be a role model for my kids so i reframed my thinking and made a conscience effort to find appreciation in the things I struggled with.  i learned some valuable lessons about myself as a mother, too.  i made some mistakes and realized i don’t have to be defined by them.

so good bye summer and hello fall! i look forward to what you bring, more challenges and more opportunites.

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