Wordless Wednesday inspired by Honey & Jam.
Archive for July 2010
I jumped headlong into adulthood at 18, when my mother had a stroke sometime during the night before midterms my senior year.
When I was 21 my mother passed, my father following suit two years later (devastating coincidence, I assure you it was not from a broken heart), and I was on my own.
I went to college for a while but at heart I was one of those kids that was never meant to be there – I was meant to be in the real world learning by experience. So, I’ve been in the technology sector for 20 years. Thank the typing class, thank the man/woman competition my older brothers instilled, thank my natural desire to learn and create. Whatever the cause, I’ve made a survivable, mostly enjoyable living as time whipped past like the Shanghai Maglev, and find myself jolted back to the heart of my youth – and on the cusp of 40, I’m applying for an internship.
The photography internship is with talented locals Leah & Mark and will happen in the gray area of my abundant spare time (*cough*) with supplemental help from leveraging PTO days. I might learn to shoot more efficiently, effectively and consistently, I might find my footing and cement my style. I might come to see my worth and start accepting compensation for my work, I might learn to see (and note) shoot locations, I might learn to embrace editing and become proficient at it. I might also suck the chrome off a trailer hitch on this one, and spend the next 6 months sitting in a corner rocking with a vacant look in my eyes, trying to pretend it never happened or that I never cared.
Might, might, might. I don’t know, and that’s what makes the future great.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller
What I hope for is beyond the given benefits of an internship – it’s that I latch on to the glimmer of a youthful dream in my heart, a spark I’ve suppressed/ignored/neglected – and turn it into a bombastic nuclear freakin’ explosion in my soul that can’t be denied or extinguished.
It’s hard to follow your dreams if there’s no one to catch you when you fall – and maybe that’s what my 20’s and 30’s and losses and heartbreaks were teaching me all along: that I’m capable of catching myself, and that what’s worse than failing to achieve your dreams is not chasing them at all.
This installment of doing more “things that scare me” had me teetering on the edge of of a fence called self-inflected torture with a piece of hay between my teeth called growth. It’s not a good look, and HRH would kill me if she knew I was wearing overalls to complete the effect.
Application: paint something.
A friend has been patronizing Sips & Strokes for ages, and I’ve watched with envy as she posts a completed picture after each event. An angel one week, a tree the next, and beside each finished canvas was her beaming, glowing smile. Who wouldn’t want in on that?
She was organizing a get-together for “The Lady on The Beach” and I latched on Thursday evening. I pointed myself in the direction of the venue, clutching a bottle of wine and taking deep breaths. I anticipated the evening was going to be awkward – I knew a few of the girls from work (they’re my internal clients) and the others I didn’t know at all. And skills? Please. Aside from playing with watercolors and making swirls on paper while in high school or mucking about with body paint, I have none. I was prepared to be awful all the way around, but fuggit, I wanted a wee adventure and needed to step out of my comfort zone.
I wasn’t disappointed by any of it – not the girls, not the wine, not the instructor, and not the results. I was also pleased with the fact that it didn’t kill me.
Save money & feed your brain.
Application: kill the television.
As a long time television addict with no plans for recovery, the second of my items this week could actually kill me. Withdrawal is ugly, y’all.
In sixth grade I got my very own black and white 12” TV on a stand in my bedroom, and so began the 25 year habit of falling asleep to Johnny Carson or the evening news, of reading with the TV on, of doing everything with the TV on. For a few years in my early 30’s when I was reentering single life, I commonly – and without shame – referred to it as my best friend, and it wasn’t an over statement. TV was there when I got home from work to distract me with tales of the days events or to entertain me with a story spun from nothing, it even told the stories from the living room while I was in the kitchen or the tub. TV has made my lip tremble and my eyes well. TV has also eaten a hole in my brain with one to match in my pocket.
While on vacation earlier this month, The Mc and I had a conversation we’ve had at least a half a dozen times before: let’s cancel our cable. We negotiate and call it an experiment – for 6 months, what would life be like if we read more, talked more, had $180* in found money in our pockets each month and entertained our hobbies more without the temptation to plop down and reverse our intellectual evolution?
Our last night with our beloved cable is taking place as I type.
The experiment has begun, let’s hope no one dies.
*Yes, that’s really what we pay for 2 HD DVRs + high speed. When I called Comcast to cancel, I was told by the nice woman that I’ve been eligible for a discount for some time now, and if I’d called months ago, they could have knocked my bill down to $79/mo. Not exactly the point, but a cheap parting shot, don’t you think?
I’m in a store at the mall hating my life, shopping for trousers, in denial about what size I am or am not and I see a painfully bored looking 30-something leaning against a wall. He looks as miserable as I am, maybe more so because I have to be there. He doesn’t. He’s glancing with contempt at the girl in the tight blue sweater 10 meters away while she picks up every. Single. Shirt. Rifles through every pair of pants on the rack.
I quickly loaded my arms, tired on a dress, three pairs of pants and two skirts. I banter with the clerk about the length of the pants. I carry two items to check out and pay. Total shopping time: approx 15 minutes that felt like eternity.
In contrast, as I was leaving, he was leaning up against a different wall, still looking miserable still watching her and waiting for Death to come through the door with his hood and his sickle and strike him down.
I can’t think of a voluntary activity I detest and avoid more than shopping. Scaling or deep root planning, you say? Nah. I sucked it up, went to the appointment, and it was over before I knew it. Shopping? It’s voluntary punishment, inflicted at your own discretion. I have long preferred my Garanimals for Grown-Ups ™ from J.Crew: I go on line, throw a couple tees and khaki’s in my cart and I’m set. Total pain time: less than 10 minutes, and I know on the other end I can grab any two items out of my closet in the dark with crusty eyes and crazy person bed hair and they’ll match. Giraffe + giraffe = WIN! Only not win, because a woman my age shouldn’t really be wearing chinos and tees with flips to work every day, should she? (See also: reason for trip in the first place.)
On the other hand, I no longer get hives when I pull into a store parking lot, and it’s been AT LEAST 9 months since a trip ended in tears. So that’s progress.
Women who don’t like to shop are inadvertently conditioned by society to feel they’re missing something as important as a strand of DNA. For me, it translates to an alternate reality – as if I’m a woman without a vagina in a gynecologists office. Any minute, someone is going to stand up, point at me and scream “What are YOU doing here? You don’t even have a vagina!”. (To which I would probably respond: Thanks for that, lady. I might not have a vagina, but you’re rocking a mustache. Kindly FO.)
There is something implied socially (which is an early BS indicator) that there is a fundamental glitch in a woman who doesn’t enjoy shopping. This time, I remembered that for each woman I saw – call it 200 – there were about 200,000 women I didn’t see.
Maybe they all hate it as much as I do.
Three years ago we started a journey. Two years ago, I typed these words (on a different, secret blog):
A 30 something couple making radical life changes before your very eyes. Going from suburban mice to city and country mice is going to take a lot of work, juggling and patience. With any luck, hilarity will ensue, but more likely; it will be bloodshed.
Since then, there have been tears. Squabbles. Almosts. We’ve fallen in and out of love with several properties. We bought the condo, and built it out. We looked at more property, this time in the mountains. North Carolina. Georgia. North Carolina. North Carolina. We made an offer on one in North Carolina and withdrew after a survey. We looked more. We shifted and refined our focus. Then we found “the one”. Well, first we found “the place” (community) then we found a house. Then we made an offer and withdrew it due to inspection results. THEN we found it.
We made our offer in January, and closed on our lot in April.
It’s taken some time and some negotiation and a lot of people offering their opinions (*ahem* ladies, do you remember what that was like when you were getting married or giving birth? Mmmkay then.) about getting an architect vs building. We had people saying things like “ohhh my builder? You could draw it on the back of a napkin and he could get it built!” I’m sure. I’m also sure it wouldn’t have any power outlets or running water, and I’d have to enter the front door about 3’ below earth. No thanks.
We’d come across some designs we loved over the years of buying more cabin books than we’ll ever need, ripping pages out of magazines, and viewing models. We agreed to call it a cabbage (cabin + cottage), and one significant thread ran through nearly every design our confused, delusional minds connected with: the architect. A very particular architect who lives outside Nashville. Nashville, a town where The Mc had a conference last month. You see where this is going kids? Ray, a note that follows doe.
We’ve engaged him. We’ve engaged a builder. We’re moving forward, inch by inch, with care and tenderness for each other and the land we’re about to disrupt. With thoughtful intent, and a well nurtured dream nearly achieved.
We’re giving birth. To a cabbage. Approximate due date fall/winter 2012.