What I’m afraid to tell you

There were some posts floating around blogdom that I thought were very valuable. Many blogs have a way of yelling out to the world how lovely and perfect things are…which we all know isn’t true. There were some brave women, this one and this one  being my favorites, who told the truth. The truth about hard things. I like that. It makes it all seem so much more realistic.

I’m taking a turn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ I constantly wonder what my kids will say about how available I was during their childhood…and by available, I mean completely present with them. Will they tell their own kids I was a preoccupied creative who only stopped to feed them and drive them places? When I’m hand-wringing about my mothering skills, my friend Elida always sternly reminds me that I have always put my kids first….that she has witnessed this firsthand. Yet even when someone I trust looks me in the eye with truth, I still have doubts and worry.

~ I have an intense fear of getting old (like in my 80’s old) and the ailments that could take hold of me or worse, PH. Being in hospitals generally freaks me out and I feel a little panicky when I see very old, sick people being wheeled down the hall. I’d like to be able to frolic a little when I’m getting up there—you need all your faculties if you want to frolic…I realize this and it scares me. It’s enough to drive me to the green juice every day. I always say out loud to anyone in the kitchen listening that “I will not get cancer today”…down the hatch it goes.

~ I had  Imposter Syndrome for awhile in the first half of my photography career because I didn’t officially go to school for it. It wasn’t until I opened the box from the publisher with my book inside that I felt worthy of this profession. The compliments from people I trusted didn’t sink in and I felt like I had to prove myself over and over that I was worthy. ‘Feeling good with everything now, but it was surprising how long it took.

~ I fear losing PH, a man I love with so much intensity. He is my perfect match and I could never imagine being alone, or worse, having to find someone to measure up. He rides a motorbike (jeeze, I do this with him sometimes) and the stories I read about people not seeing motorcycles scares the heck out of me. I try not to have irrational thoughts when he travels or is off on an adventure, but it’s always in the back of my head…lurking.

~I struggle with the weather in the Northwest (big shocker, I know). Dark, rainy days feel like a personal affront from Mother Nature when they come weeks at a time. I feel like a big baby complaining about it, but it’s real sadness the weather brings for me. I require trips to sunny places here and there to keep my sanity. I’m envious of friends who tell me the weather doesn’t bother them at all. I’d like to be like that. Secretly, I want to be an island princess wearing flip flops all day and making art in the sand…I dream of spending at least two months a year in Hawaii when we retire, even if it’s a shack on a busy highway.

~ I’m a nailbiter and have been for years. In times of stress or deep thought, I chew away like an obsessed rodent. It’s gross. Recently on one of my AM Northwest TV spots, they did a close-up of my iphone (I was talking about photo apps) and my fingers got in the shot. When I watched it at home later, I was horrified! It’s different seeing them on TV, larger than life in their chewed-down-ness. I’ve tried to stop, but it eludes me, and this is frustrating. I’m 42 years-old, for crying out loud–not 10! I did see Lisa Marie Presely in an interview once and she talked about being a nailbiter. It made me feel a little better, even though she was in her looney days of being married to Michael Jackson.

~ I have very mixed feelings about social media. You’d never know because I post, tweet, instagram and FB my days away, but on the inside I frequently am telling myself how ridiculous it is. Do I really need to share this image to my followers to verify that it really happened? Is it necessary to photograph my plate more than twice a week? Does anybody really care how I’m feeling right now? I have a friend named Kris who I adore—she is the most well-adjusted, stable person I know and she does not participate in any of it in any way. She’s got three kids, a classroom of 2nd graders and a wonderful marriage. Life is too busy to justify sharing her latest holiday pics on Facebook. I love that about her and in some ways covet that attitude—honestly, all I really have to do is shut the whole thing down. Why do I like it? I’m not really sure yet. Sometimes I wonder if people will forget me if I disappear from cyberspace. I will just be little ‘ole me, pre-internet and quietly going about my life. But what is so negative about that? Still pondering this question a lot and I’ll let you know when I come with a good answer. I’m interested in what you all think about social media and what it does to our lives (and our kids’ lives—hoo-boy! witnessing that right now…scary).

~When people are late for a date or appointment with me, I get a little hysterical on the inside…which translates as just a little pissy on the outside. It stems from some childhood experiences and I have a real issue with it. I’ve tried to work through it (don’t take it personallylet people be who they areblahblahblah) but no matter how you slice the tardiness, it always (however irrational) seems to say that my time isn’t important. I know this isn’t true…and I know that whoever is meeting me doesn’t feel this either…but I have trouble letting it go. ‘Working on it, because I realize the pissy-ness is ugly and life is short.

~Comparison with other creatives was robbing my life of joy….so I stopped. Cold turkey. Now I just follow my friends who I want to support and hold up. It doesn’t matter what dog photographer X  is doing on the East coast–really–it doesn’t change anything I’m doing here. Funny thing—all of that surfing and comparing was a complete waste of time and I was so happy to get those minutes back into the lane of getting things done. I highly recommend it. One of my favorite statements about comparison is that we have NO IDEA what someone’s journey has been to get where they are. We all have different lives and experiences–comparing is futile.

~Looking back on where I’ve been, I can safely say that I’m more afraid of success than failure. What’s that Marianne Williamson quote? “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…” I’m finally willing to admit that I’m afraid of what playing big would do to my life. It would change everything—family, schedules, expecations of my work (my clients’ and my own), financial stuff, time managment, travel, absence…it goes on and on. I do believe that sometimes I choose safety over personal adventure because I love my life and I don’t want anything to go away. There’s fear—that blasted bed buddy who won’t ever hit the road, Jack. Fear is a great motivator indeed. I know what I could have done with my business in the “go for it” frame of mind…and I didn’t….for a reason…many reasons. I’m hoping and praying that down the road, it will have been worth it.

~I’m really not very good at keeping up with people I love through the various forms of communication. I dislike the phone to the nth degree, but there are days when I get in a zone and I need to hear my friend’s voice. In that case, the conversation will go on for two hours. It’s a strange thing and I’ve yet to figure out the coming and going of this desire to connect. Sometimes talking to someone I love is hard for me—the missing is stronger in these cases and it hurts. I am so grateful to my friends who grant me serious grace in this area, because I really suck at keeping up..and I feel bad about it. I do know that if someone called in a time of need, I would be there in two seconds. I’m loyal, if not organized.

~When I’m hurt or frustrated by someone, I retreat. It’s very middle school and I’ve tried to force myself to be the bigger person and extend the olive branch on several occasions, but I either chicken out or sulk. I consider letter writing an act of cowardice (quilty over here) and texting is even worse…but I have a very hard time facing someone in person and saying that they hurt me. It’s easier to hide and hope it blows over. Not good. I went to Brave Girl Camp—I know what brave looks like and I need to start being more like my New York pals and give directness a try. I loved my NY friends for that—I always knew where I stood. That is a beautiful thing and I miss it (and them) terribly.

~Although I pin every birthday project and holiday dinner display known to man on my DIY Pinterest board, I am not that mom. I’ve come to terms with it. It’s out there. I WILL NOT BRING A HOMEMADE SIDE DISH COVERED IN A BALSAMIC REDUCED SAUCE TO YOUR HOUSE FOR DINNER. Sigh. I tried doing the homemade cookie thing each week for the girls (you know–to avoid the crap-ola in the store bought snacks) and it fizzled after just two weeks. For me, pulling out pans and flour and eggs feels about as natural as sliding under the car to change the oil. I’ve never enjoyed cooking and it makes me feel extremely inadequate as a mom. I definitely like being cooked for, and there are Saturdays when I enjoy leisurely choosing ingredients and experimenting with a new recipe for an unsuspecting dinner guest…but for the most part, I would rather take out my spleen with an oyster fork than figure out what we’re having for dinner. I am, however, that mom who will listen to all of the pop songs for months until I know the lyrics and sing them with you..I will take photos of you with your friends and print them to give out…I will do art with you until the kitchen island looks like it was bombed with a forty foot box of crayons. I’m really trying to turn away from the “what I’m nots” to the “what I ams”, because heaven knows they’re probably not going to change too drastically this late in the game…not to mention, the being true to who you are thing is a pretty good lesson for your offspring.

~ I worry about how women treat each other, and I’m not excluding myself here either (see point 12 above). I don’t live in a neighborhood anymore (long story why we won’t touch that with a ten foot pole), but I do see what goes on in them from a distance. It’s a sad state of affairs. The comparison, beating down, gossip, addiction and depression is so startling. In the years since my kids were born, I have made an effort to choose female friends who know who they are and what’s important. I think that’s why I feel so lifted up by them—they’re capable of cheering you on (with pompoms and all) when things are going great and scraping you up off the pavement with a spatula when you’ve fallen. I think it comes from being real with each other. It’s so hard to tell someone that you’re struggling when you’ve got an appearance to keep up. I’ve never felt fear of showing my dark stuff to people I love—I want my girls to understand how important this is. I don’t want them to get sucked into the girl fray that can be so surface and hurtful, but I also can’t live their lives for them. They’ll have to figure it out on their own and all I can do is pray.

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Well…if you’ve made it this far–thanks for reading. It was good to write it out and clearly see the things I’m trying to work on. Man! There’s a big list there, Lovelies! I guess that’s why they say it’s the journey, not the destination, right?

So much love and gratitude~

OX.

 

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10 Responses to What I’m afraid to tell you

  1. Elise says:

    Dear. Lara,
    I loved your post. You are honest, funny, brave. I can relate to you on many levels, but don’t worry your ahead of the game; because “better late than never”, I’m learning only some of the things you’ve mentioned and, in May I’ll be 60 !
    Thank you for sharing the hard parts, it makes you real and shows a woman of integrity. It teaches, and inspires women (like me). Your a Beautiful person, own it.
    Love,
    elise ox

  2. Cecilia Scott says:

    Your best post ever!!!!

  3. Jennifer U says:

    You hit the nail on the head on so many levels. The neighborhood shenanigans, the withdrawing and hoping it will go away, the hubby fears & secret hate, yet regular involvement on social media. Thanks for expressing so many of my own issues! I’ve met you a few times and read here and never saw these things. Funny how you build other images of how “put together” someone else’s life is. Good to know I’m not crazy nor alone on these issues :)
    Wishing you all the best-Jen

  4. Laineydid says:

    I hope you realize what a talent you have for expressing yourself so eloquently!
    Amazing post – very relatable!!!

  5. Marita says:

    A very special post Lara. You are so inspiring in so many ways- as an artist, teacher, friend, mom- but mostly as a REAL brave girl. I’m glad I know you!

  6. Pam says:

    I’m going to have to read this again when I come home from work tonight! I think we all have some of the same issues but a lot of people won’t admit it to themselves – and especially not to anyone else. Putting it all out there is very Brave indeed. I’ve struggled w/ the Social media thing too. I’m not on all day. But I definitely check in 2 or 3 times a day. I have people who actually sit in my chair while having their teeth cleaned and can’t put their texting aside! I’m not that bad…but should I do less? For one generation it is just the way they have LEARNED to communicate unfortunately. Everything in my sons Pre-School is technology involved, Smart Boards, headphones and videos for centers, YouTube for song time. It is crazy to me! Where I do wonder if it is useful is that I used to be horrible with journals, now however, there is this visual and written “diary” of ME that Social Media and my blog have provided. I think this debate will never end! Thanks for another great post to make us dig deeper! love you!

  7. Great post Lara……….we need to do coffee. :)

  8. Debbie says:

    Great post! Even though we are all so different, deep down we are all the same. We all have the same requirement for love and validation from others, but mostly ourselves. “Am I enough?” I’ve had a debate with myself over social media too, but I realize now that some of my family and friends from afar are more in touch this way so I keep it. I have really narrowed down my friends list to people I actually know or want to know better. I also take internet breaks regularly. At least once a week I don’t log into anything. Social media also feeds into that comparison issue we all struggle with but it’s getting easier to spot the fakes! Thank you for sharing; makes the rest of us feel less inadequate!

  9. Holly says:

    Love you anyway! Love you because of all these things.

    The Guest House

    This being human is a guest house
    Every morning a new arrival

    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some monmentary awareness comes
    as an unexpected visitor.

    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they are a crowd of sorrows
    who violently sweep you house
    empty of its furniture,
    still, treat each guest honorabley.
    He may be clearning you out
    for some new delight.

    The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
    meet them at the door laughing.
    and invite them in.

    Be grateful for whoever comes.
    because each has been sent
    as a guide from beyond.

    Rumi

  10. Janet says:

    Hands down, this is by far the best blog post I’ve ever read. Anywhere, period. So much food for thought, I’ll be eating for a year. Thank you!

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