a week's worth of odds + ends

10:27 PM

^ these two, my heart can't handle all the LOVE!! ^
^ slowly changing this from a china cabinet to a craft cabinet ^
^ blocks on blocks on blocks, all day, every day ^
^ look at all those yummy eggs!! our girls are so good to us ^
^ BAM! ^
^ something old, something new + something blue ^

We've had a slow start to this year and it felt good. Really good. I actually didn't implement any sweeping changes or make any grand declarations. Instead I wanted to watch and listen... to what I do. To how we live our life and spend our time and I wanted to evaluate it as an outsider, to really ask "is this working??" or "is this what we want?" And as it happened to be a lot of times the answer was a remorseful "no." It's inevitable that in this fast paced society and in between work, raising kids, sustaining a marriage and a home you shift into survival mode - eat, sleep, work, repeat. I find that we need to continually sit back and check in with ourselves, with each other to make sure that we're still living a life that feels intentional, fulfilling and sustainable.
And the biggest thing that I've begun to guard is quite simply - our TIME. T-I-M-E. Oof... so much weight in that word because after adolescence it becomes something that is difficult to grasp, something that it feels like we have less and less of. And the older we get the more valuable it becomes. At the same time the constraints on our time increase exponentially as we get older. I don't want to live a life where it feels like I am blindly giving it away or squandering it.
How we spend our time with our children is something that we placed under intense scrutiny this month and what we discovered and what we decided to do about it deserves its own blog post, which I will work on shortly. But for me individually I decided to re-evaluate how I spend what little free time I have. Between juggling my business, free-lance work, the kids, the house, the finances, this blog and social media I am feeling more and more like something has to give. But not in the sense that I have to get rid of any of it, in the sense of I need to re-organize and prioritize things in a way that brings me the most peace, joy and fulfillment.
Some of you know that I've had a somewhat "tumultuous" history with blogging. A few years ago I experienced some debilitating bullying and took a break from all social media. Not a week long break, not a few months but 365 days. I got rid of all of it - facebook, twitter, IG, my blog. I put a lot of thought into the possibility of re-joining the internet (LOL) and ultimately I missed the motivation to document the every day, I missed the connections I made and I missed having that creative outlet - to write, to photograph and create. But I promised myself that when I did this again it would be on my terms - I had to be me 100% of the time. And as life would have it, it feels harder and harder to stay true to that. Too often it feels like staying true to me means being a "lone reed" (to quote one of my favorite movies). In an age when people are paying to advertise their "lifestyle IG" accounts (I'm sorry I can never understand this), when people's entire lives are being subsidized by advertising money, when people are paying companies to comment and like FOR THEM and when the line between #ad and #notanad feels ever more blurry I think it's more important than ever to know where you stand. My social media is public yes, I have a small but meaningful following and I realized a long, long, long time ago that I was not "monetizing" this. But the question remains - where does this leave me?
And I think it leaves me here - with a space that I feel proud of, with a platform that has gifted me some of my best friends (y'all know who you are and I love you SO MUCH) and an experience that has dramatically changed me, for the better. So I continue to write here. If only for myself. I continue to photograph, to share, to create. If only for myself. Why? Quite simply because all these years later I still enjoy it, even more so since becoming a mother. It is one of the few things I do "just for me." It's my way of doing "self-care," but lately it hasn't felt that way and I believe it's because of this constant pressure to "be more, acquire more, achieve success." And for someone who is naturally competitive it's easy to get caught up in it all. To feel "less than." And I'm not alone, there have been countless articles, even studies done about what it feels like to live in an age where you are judged on your "numbers." We're reduced to 1, 2, 3... You don't feel like a person anymore, just a #ad. And I know I don't want that. I don't want that for myself, I don't want that for my kids and I don't even want that for our society.
So I suppose this is my way of saying hi, again. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to those of you that have stuck around all these years. I'm sure we don't always see eye to eye on everything, I'm sure I have annoyed the living daylights out of you at times and I'm sure at times I have caused some misunderstanding. And here's the kicker - I have no idea what I'm doing 99.9% of the time. And that right there is there reason I am so grateful for everyone that continues to give me a chance - you make me feel like we're doing this together. And I want you to know that there have been times where the things you have said have hurt me but also helped me grow. There have been times when I felt like absolutely no one is listening and then one of you sends me an email and makes me bowl over with tears and an overwhelming feeling of love. There have been times that your advice has CHANGED our lives. And it's for those reasons that as Barry White eloquently put it I will "never, never gonna give you up." So thank you for being a friend!

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