Minding the Gap

One of my bigger epiphanies in the last year has been that I struggle, pretty much all the time, with the gap between reality and how I think something should/will feel. What it basically comes down to is that my imagination sets me up for a sense of loss because it has a tendency to gloss over the details, make everything seem magical, easy, and amazing and totally ignores the necessary effort–the FREAKING struggle–to achieve the desired outcome. I feel like it’s kind of a hybrid of impostor syndrome and maybe aggressive idealism?

So, when I actually have the experience in real life and it doesn’t come easy to me I have feelings of failure and question why I thought I could do it in the first place. And let me be clear, I’m not afraid of working hard and I’m not particularly prone to quitting. For whatever reason I just assume that if something doesn’t come naturally to me I must suck, because obviously everyone, literally anyone else on the planet can do a better job, right? And that’s so FUCKING PREPOSTEROUS it’s insane. Because we’re all idiots. Truly. Sorry to burst your bubble. We might have moments of clarity and talent when the stars align and we fucking get it, but, generally speaking, humans are morons and we’re all just doing the best we can with our limited knowledge and experience.

And I only JUST realized I do this for most things! I do it at work. I do it in my relationships. And I do it with my many varying interests. Now I can recognize it and talk myself out of it, but it takes conscious effort to stop feeling like a loser and to acknowledge that the struggle is part of the process, that the end result is usually pretty damn good, and that all that really matters is that I keep trying.

Sometimes I totally miss that a life event I wanted to happen has actually happened because it didn’t feel like what I was expecting. I’ll give you an example. When I moved here over a year ago I put a lot of mental pressure on myself to make new friends. It took me months to chill out about it and change my perspective. I actually realized I already have amazing people in my life so, while I was still open to meeting new people, I decided to focus more on being a better friend and strengthening existing relationships. Lo and behold, further into the year I reconnected with a college friend who invited me into her ever growing friend group and suddenly I have a bunch of new people to exercise and hang out with. But, because I didn’t consciously decide that I was going to make friends damn it and it all sort of unfolded organically, I didn’t fully realize until recently that my network has grown considerably since I moved here almost a year and a half ago.

Reality is almost always more subtle than what I expect. We don’t just wave magic wands around and poof! there’s everything we want in a neat little bow. And thank goodness for that. How boring would that be? Life would be a lot less special if it were that easy.

There is such an insanely huge gap between the world in my head and the life I’m actually living on a day to day basis, it’s no wonder I’m always falling off the damn cliff. And, honestly, I kind of love it. I don’t find the gap disappointing. If anything, it shows me possibilities and forces me to recognize the magic in the struggle and the little gifts of life that often unfold without having to strive for them.

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Ready or not, here I come

Here we are in a new year, a little sicker, a little reluctant, a little resistant.

I am a big fan of symbols. New beginnings, goal setting, big dreams…I’m typically all about it. But right now I’m a little tired, a bit worn out by nothing in particular. Unwilling to return to a predictable schedule and routine. Simply not quite ready to lean into the discomfort of becoming more of who I want to be in this new year.

2018 was mostly great, barring one large unexpected loss. I’ve accomplished more than I thought I would, but also less. I’ve cultivated deeper relationships and realized the importance, luck, and gratitude of having friends who feel more like family. I revealed new layers in myself, and shed old ones. I am both burdened and energized with questions.

I would like 2019 to be the year that sets me up for self-employment and it very well could be if I can commit to an idea of what I’d like that to be. I have been struggling lately with the rampant nature of consumerism. I’m certainly not above it. Maybe it’s because of my schooling and career, but I’m hyper aware that we’re constantly being sold to and I’m tired of it. I’m not sure I want to wade into the endless sea of voices hawking goods and services we probably don’t need, but I don’t know if there’s another way.

Mostly in this new year, I hope to write more often, more deeply and honestly in an effort to capture and make sense of my thoughts and feelings. I want to remember, with less effort, that we’re all just people trying to live life to the best of our abilities, and it is a needless waste of energy to seek approval or to impress others. I expect that I’ll continue to try things on and let go of what doesn’t fit quite right. And I’ll keep finding the good in both the dark and the light.

2019, ready or not, here I come.

November: Another year for the books

I turned 27 this month. Despite my dislike for odd numbers, I am excited about 27. Last year was so good to me, probably the best year of my 20s so far since graduating. I moved on from toxic places and people and feel lighter. There was a lot more joy, creativity, and mental stability for which I’m grateful. I learned more about myself and have slowly started reprogramming some old thought processes that have been holding me back. I achieved some major goals and have had some life-defining experiences like living on my own and going on an incredible solo trip.

While the year wasn’t all sunshine and daisies, it was enriching and I appreciate the good and the bad. I like to think that every year I become more of who I’m capable of being and fall a little more in love with this life I’m living. This year I will, in no particular order,:

  • FINISH (!!!!!) paying off my student loans. Epic celebration to ensue.
  • Find a doctor and a dentist and actually schedule checkups
  • Research what it takes to buy and rent out half of a duplex property
  • Start saving for a down payment on said duplex
  • Continue playing with food. I’ve just begun making my own sourdough starter.
  • Pursue more freelance work in the interest of becoming more self-sufficient
  • Dabble in creative pursuits as they strike my interest
  • Go on another road trip???
  • Learn to change a tire and do an oil change
  • Read more, write more, dance more
  • Explore love, life, and remain open to the magic

Cheers to a new year full of potential and possibilities. See you on the other side.

October

I’m delinquent in getting my October post up, but man! It’s like I blinked and October was over. Time is flying.

I’ve had this vision for a photography series for a few months and October was the month that I kicked it off. I didn’t get as far along as I would have liked due to uncooperative weather conditions, limited daylight hours and general laziness, but it’s the start of what will hopefully turn into a collection. I like the idea of over the top/vintage inspired outfits in dreary, even rundown settings. I sourced the vintage top hat from Etsy and the ginormous poofy skirt from Ebay. I guess even as an adult I like to play dress up. Go figure.

I have a list of shots I’d like to take that I’ll work on creating as time and circumstance allows. Here are a couple shots from the first go round.

September: Lemon Yellow Da Vintage

I know, I know, I’m late. (Barely)

Where the heck did September go?! We just kissed the summer goodbye and POOF! in rushed fall. And so begins the season of my denial where summer can’t in fact be over just like that and it will last until June comes ’round again to warm up my hands. Hmph.

I mean, fall is cool, too, I guess. Apple season…apple pie season…apple cider donut season…what’s not to love? I’m pretty firmly anti-pumpkin, but I’ll drink my weight in hot apple cider if you want me to, just don’t forget the dash of cinnamon! And I’m not above going out of my way to step on the crunchy leaves or fling myself bodily into a massive leaf pile. No, you grow up.

Anyway. September. The title of my blog post will only mean anything to those of you who were also devoted fans of the gem of a children’s show, Arthur. A-A-R-D-V-A-R-K.

But, I digress.

Lemon Yellow Da Vintage=Leonardo Da Vinci, the focus of this month’s curiosity.

The ultimate renaissance man. Carelessly brilliant. Passionately curious.

While I’m not burdened by genius, I can wholeheartedly relate to Leo’s tendency to experiment and then bail, leaving things seemingly unfinished, choosing instead to take what’s been gained and tie it into something else, building on it, or following a new tangent entirely. It’s a character trait that often drives me mad, but what I’ve been coming to terms with this year is that I think it’s what lends me my creativity and much of my joy in life.

Reading about Leo reinforces to me that I may not just be a flighty individual (although, still could be), but that this is how I’m meant to learn and grow and experience all that I can in this life, and that’s pretty cool. I was initially going to write, “I probably won’t contribute a Mona Lisa or Vitruvian Man to the world”, but you know what? Those things really only gained fame centuries after dear old Leo left this earth. So the hell with it! I’m not looking for fame, I’m only looking for answers. Who knows what will come of my life? All I know is that following my curiosities will be remarkable for me and that’s enough.

I haven’t committed to a focus for October yet, but I have a few ideas. I guess you’ll have to check back in at the end of the month to find out.

Turning the page on August

August has been one for the books. Literally. I reacquainted myself with the public library, two actually, and indulged myself in an eclectic mix. Books are good for the soul, man. I have to try a little harder to lose myself in the pages than I used to, but it is ever so worth it. I noticed an uptick in my creativity this month and I have a hunch it’s directly correlated to a little less screen time and a lot more page turning.

I started the month with Alice in Wonderland because it seemed like a hole in my childhood reading given the story’s popularity. I did not particularly enjoy it. I certainly wouldn’t bother reading it again. I think having known just the essence of the story prior was more than enough, and actually more favorable in this case. Like many classics, I think Alice in Wonderland suffered as I got deeper into the details. There were two sections that made me laugh out loud, but it was not enough to redeem the story for me. I was a little surprised because I tend to favor magic and the ridiculous.

On a similar thought tangent of childhood reading, I picked up James and the Giant Peach. I have always adored Roald Dahl, but never read this book. I loved it! It’s quite an exciting and grand adventure and a marvelously quick read. The illustrations add a bit of magic to it as well. Matilda and The BFG were two of my favorite books growing up, and this one certainly didn’t disappoint.

On a whim, I checked out Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I was looking for a particular biography and the book caught my eye because I’ve heard the title referenced before, but didn’t know anything about it. It is a slow read because there’s a lot to digest and contemplate. I’m maybe a third of the way through and I’m not sure I’m going to finish it right now. It’s good, but I’ve been distracted by other books.

I picked up Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris after reading a recommendation for one of his other books by Austin Kleon (author of Steal like an Artist). I really enjoyed it. He is a master essayist; a blend of funny, poignant, uncomfortable, and ultimately relatable stories. I will probably look to see if the library has more of his books.

A couple weeks ago on a casual scroll through Instagram, a caption caught my eye. A blogger I follow mentioned she was reading a book with her daughter called the Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell. I was intrigued by the title so after a brief Amazon search to learn more about it, my interest was piqued. I checked out every book the library had by her; Wolf Wilder, Rooftoppers, and Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms. The books are excellent, although I feel like categorizing them as children’s books is a bit misleading. The plot lines are fairly intense and occasionally disturbing, even as an adult, but they are beautifully written and wildly imaginative. Highly, highly recommend.

It’s interesting for me to see that my unintentional themes for the month were imagination/mischief/magic and philosophy. Not altogether surprising, but interesting.

And just like that it’s September! Arguably my favorite month of the year. Even though I’ve been out of school for over five years it still feels like a time for starting anew and hunkering down with projects. I’m coming up on my one year anniversary in Syracuse and in my job. The year flew by and so much has happened since last September. I’m curious to see what happens next. For this next month, I believe I will focus on Leonardo Da Vinci. He seems a fitting muse. (And it’s really just an excuse to continue reading :))

July: A lens of uncertainty

I started dabbling in the blog world over five years ago and with that came an evolving curiosity with photography. I just went back to my first blog, and while it’s absolutely cringe-worthy to look back on, it’s pretty cool to see how much my photography has improved over time with experimentation. I have what I consider a lazy interest in photography. In the age of the smartphone and the proliferation of dslr cameras, most millennials fancy themselves as at least decent photo-takers. I don’t have the passion or drive to relentlessly pursue photography, but I appreciate good imagery and find it rewarding when I can successfully create an image I only first imagined. While I no longer blog regularly, I still have the itch to take staged fashion focused photos, the occasional epic landscape shot, and general everyday nonsense that seems worth sharing on Instagram. I’m not proud, but the addiction is real.

As with any pursuit, knowledge is power. One of my coworkers lent me the National Geographic Complete Photography book which delves into the art and science of photography so I spent the month of July reading up on how cameras and lenses function with the intent of spending some time getting more comfortable with the manual settings on my camera. I didn’t spend as much time taking photos as I would have liked, but this is a journey not a sprint. I expect that I’ll probably mess with photography on and off for the rest of my life.

My favorite photos typically have people in them and if the backdrop is of an epic locale, so much the better. For experimentation purposes I like taking photos of myself, but it’s challenging to achieve certain angles when you’re going back and forth between a tripod and being the subject. Not to mention, if I have any kind of audience I become wildly uncomfortable and horrendously awkward. I’m working on getting better at posing, but it’s definitely a challenge.

I have several photo shoot ideas that I’d like to carry out with friends and likely will. For one, I’d like us each to thrift really over the top poofy, potentially vintage formal dresses and shoot photos in a field or maybe the woods. Similarly, I was inspired driving through a rundown rural section of the state with a bunch of dilapidated barns and houses and I think they would make a sick backdrop for an over-the-top formal photo shoot…kind of a fairy tale gone to hell kind of vibe.

I’ve slowly been gaining confidence and new skills with Photoshop, primarily to meet requests I get at work. It’s such a powerful tool, I don’t think I’ll ever have mastery of it, but it is so cool to play with especially when it comes to distorting or layering images. And fortunately we live in a time where people are apt to share their knowledge with free tutorials so it’s easy to keep learning.

I haven’t officially decided my topic for August, but I’m leaning towards making a conscious effort to read more. I used to be a total bookworm, but I’ve let the internet and Instagram rot my brain. I’m unofficially committing to reading Alice in Wonderland and James and the Giant Peach because I feel like they’re books I should have read as a kid and never did. I think I’ll swing by the library this week and see what I can find. Any book recommendations? Drop me a comment. I’m open to anything but horror.