Hi anyone who checks in! I realize I haven't written in a VERY LONG TIME, and for awhile now I've been meaning to write one more post as an epilogue to this blog. I first want to say that this blog, and the friends I made through it, helped me through some very hard times and I want to thank everyone for that. I think back to my life when I first started writing - I was lonely, confused about what I wanted with my life, and an alcoholic spinning more and more out of control. This blog gave me a forum to start putting out there how much I was drinking, it gave me a place to write all my confused and unhappy thoughts, and when I hit my bottom and decided to stop drinking, it gave me a place to put it out there so I couldn't go back to drinking - there were people who knew then so I was accountable to more than just myself. Some of the friends I made were so wonderful and helped me SO MUCH during those times (especially CeeCi, WDKY, Paula and Anu), both with such encouragement and love and also sharing parts of themselves, and as a result I felt so much less lonely, and I really grew as a person during those times.
Then this blog gave me something I had never imagined - real love!! :) Mr. H had found my blog a number of months before we actually met and we would occasionally comment on each others' blogs. He sent me an email when I wrote about my 1 year anniversary of deciding to stop drinking. And he wrote me another email supporting my decision to end a difficult relationship that was going nowhere. A couple months after that, I sent him an email when he wrote about a potential customer - it reminded me very much of the bad situations I saw in my then career. And then I introduced myself and told him my real name, and we shared photos and luckily Mr. H was interested!! :) And then we met when he drove to Chicago from Toronto when he was on vacation, and it was magic! I loved writing about that on my blog and I absolutely LOVE that Mr. H and I have those early blog posts to look back upon and read our feelings and excitement and be reminded of that exciting time of our new love!
Eventually I wasn't writing on my blog as much, and Mr. H stopped writing on his blog much earlier than I did. First, it was different because I didn't want to necessarily pour out every one of my feelings anymore because Mr. H read it and because if I was ever upset, he'd much rather have me talk to him directly instead of read about it along with everyone else. Very understandable. And second, Mr. H and I would chat every night on skype for a long time and that's the time when I used write on my blog, so writing just fell by the wayside. I did and still do sometimes miss being able to write my every thought, but for now I feel like it would take too much time. Maybe though. But it would be shared only with a few select people and not everyone.
Anyway though, this is an epilogue so I need to update everyone on what has happened since I last wrote! Mr. H and I continued our long distance relationship, him in Vancouver and me in Chicago, until a year ago. Last March, we moved together to Winnipeg. Yes I know, Winnipeg! At first when he brought up the idea I thought he was crazy, I mean, it's cold here!!! But then he wooed me by showing me the mls listings from Winnipeg - we'd spend hours looking at houses together on mls and it's so cheap here!!! We had decided that I would move to Canada first and get my residency here, and later we'd get Mr. H his green card in the US, so our initial options were buying a very very expensive 2-bedroom condo an hour from Vancouver, and trying to have my two cats and his two dogs in a small place like that, or moving to Winnipeg and buying a whole house for a third of the price. I started liking the idea of Winnipeg much more. And I also liked that we would be moving to a new city together, so it wouldn't me be moving to his city where I think I would always feel like it was his city and not OUR city. In January of 2008 we met in Winnipeg and went house hunting, and I met Mr. H's best friend and his wife (which is why Mr. H knew Winnipeg a little and the real estate situation), and we ended up finding and buying a house we both loved! I quit my job at the end of February, and in the middle of March Mr. H drove to Chicago and packed all my belonging in his trailer, we left most of it in a storage locker in Grand Forks, and we crossed the border with just us, James and Emma, and one suitcase for me. I was so so so so so so happy when we made it through (after they thoroughly searched the vehicle), I felt like I was free and a similar-type feeling to sitting on the seadoo and flying across flat water so fast!
So we're coming up on our 1 year anniversary of living together!!! Yay!!! And on September 2, 2008, Mr. H and I got married!!! We planned it in just a few days because we realized we needed to do it quickly for immigration and we'd procrastinated, so it was just the two of us, our two friends and their baby, my photographer friend, and the officiant. We married in the English Gardens of a local park surrounded by trees and flowers and lightly misting rain, it was seriously like out of a romance novel! It was such an amazing day and for about a month afterward I remember being amazed at how different it felt compared to just living together, there really was a feeling of so much more closeness, a deep deep closeness, it was so incredibly wonderful. I'm obviously more used to it now so I don't think about it as much, but I don't want to ever forget how much MORE it felt like once we were married.
And Mr. H is wonderful!!! I love being married to him and I still feel so lucky that we met each other through this wonderful blogger world. I'm so happy we live in this time and that everything seemed almost destined for us. He is so caring, and so thoughtful, and supportive and loving, and just by far the best person I know, and I love him so incredibly much. So so so so much!!!
Our dogs and cats still don't love each other, but we're always making slow progress. We have a dog gate at the bottom of the stairs so the cats get the upstairs so they can feel safe. James started coming downstairs early on and he can deal with the dogs - if they chase him he's okay and hisses if they get too close but he knows they aren't going to hurt him. Even right now as I type he's sitting under the dining room table and the dogs are both sleeping around him. One of the dogs growls at them and did a few minutes ago, but James knows he doesn't have to worry. Little Emma started coming down more just a couple months ago, and that makes me so happy! Sometimes I carry her down first, but sometimes she comes down on her own. She hisses at the dogs if they even get close to her and sometimes even when they're just laying down, but I know it's because she's scared so trying to show them she's big and mean. I'm just so happy that sometimes now all 4 of our babies are in the same room, and I hope at this time next year they can all really hang out together!!
One of the most exciting things next to getting married and being so happy is my new career!!! First, I am so so so happy to not be working in law anymore! I will never go back to that! Last spring I met up with a photographer (I'll call him C) who had just started out, and he was pretty new to Winnipeg as well but already had a lot of weddings scheduled for last summer. I second shot with him at 9 weddings over the summer, and another one a couple weekends ago, and he was so instrumental in encouraging me to just get started. I got a new camera last June (Canon 40D) (and a new computer - MacBook Pro - yay finally I'm a mac user!), and took some photos of my friend's baby and then started getting referral work, and I've done dozens of newborn, baby, child and family shoots, and a few couples shoots. And I'm booking my own weddings now for this summer! So far I have 6 - they're all referrals from C, he's been so wonderful in helping me build my business and giving me so many tips and teaching me and giving me confidence. I'm going to have Mr. H register a business name so I can start doing some advertising, because I'd love to have at least 10 weddings, hopefully more like 15. Both so I can make some money but also so I can get the experience and then be able to raise my rates for the next summer. I LOVE IT!!! I love photography, I love the art of it, the creativity of it, capturing love and laughter and personalities, and I love meeting people through it. I have so much fun getting to know my wedding couples and also getting to know the parents during my baby and child shoots. Since June I've been getting more lenses so now I'm almost completely set for wedding season - I have the 50mm, f1.4, the 24-70mm, f/2.8, the 70-200mm, f/2.8 IS, and one external flash unit. And a couple weeks ago I bought the new Canon 5D Mark II camera!!! I do need to get one more external flash so I can learn more off-camera flash for receptions. And I'm eyeing more lenses as well - the 85mm, f1.8 (good for portraits) and the 135mm, f2.0 (because the 70-200 is SO HEAVY and this is supposed to be lighter, plus the wonderful 2.0 aperture). But so anyway, that's my passion right now!!! I still have a lot of work to do on all sides, from continuing to improve my photography skills, to setting up my website (I update my photo blog all the time but haven't finished my website that I started months ago), to learning to design albums and ordering some samples, to setting up an online store, to creating a formal price list, to working on ways to make more money for the family, child and baby shoots (because I spend so much time on those photos and charge not nearly enough for my time and product). And I also need to get faster at editing, that's a big thing. And so much more.
So it will be a process but I dream of eventually having a cute meeting studio in our home (right now I have potential brides and grooms come to our house and have a slideshow on our big TV but it's just in our family room and I'd like my own studio room with large prints and such). And I dream of offering lots of products and packages for my baby, child, and family shoots. And I dream of charging more for my weddings and being able to book 15-20 weddings and year and make a good living. And then also when Mr. H and I start a family this will be a good career for me because I'll have a lot of free time! And I'd love to start trying for our first baby next winter so it would hopefully come sometime between November 2010 and February 2011 - that way I'd be fine with having health coverage by then and it would be during the off-season for weddings. That's my plan!!!
Hmmm, what else?! We're just pretty happy!! We live in a wonderful old house (built in 1893), and we're planning to add a second bathroom and do some other stuff. Mr. H just built a garage out back so he has a workshop for the first time in years and is so excited about that! We're both so excited for warmer weather to come - I've pretty much hibernated inside our house for most of the winter so I'm really excited about getting outside again, and Mr. H dealt really well with his first Winnipeg winter - he even loved snowblowing, but there have been days when it's been really, really cold outside. I don't know if we'll stay in Winnipeg for forever. The winters here really do suck. The summers are good though, not nearly as humid as down in Michigan and Chicago which I like. But we talk about maybe moving to the southwest of the US sometime. Of course, I know that the longer we stay here the harder it will be to leave cause we'll make friends and especially because we'll both have built up our respective businesses and reputations. So we'll see. But we're really happy right now, and I love that this city is so affordable and a good size - a big-ish city but easy to get around in and sometimes feels like a small town. And the people here are really nice, too.
Oh one more update - I've been sober since November 2005, I can't believe it's been so long!!!! It is without a doubt one of the hardest and also one of the best things I've ever done for myself and it changed my whole life, really it gave me my life back.
If there's anything I forgot, anyone can comment and I'll try to check now and then to see if there are any comments! And anyone can email me if you want my photo blog address - it's mostly client photoshoots but I also post some photos of Mr. H and I and our doings.
Thank you again to my wonderful blog readers and blog friends. Like I said earlier, having this blog was a big part of giving me the strength to address my alcoholism and helped me with getting my life back, and getting my confidence back. I think blogs are a wonderful thing and the relationships people form are real and wonderful (and I miss a few of you). I don't plan on posting more on this blog because I feel like the chapter of my life that this blog dealt with is over, and I've moved onto a new chapter. But I will try to respond to any comments, and certainly email me if you want to know about my current photography blog and if you want me to let you know about any new blog I may start. And I'm also on facebook and love that, so let me know if you're on it and want to be my friend and I'll let you know my name on it!
Bye to this blog, I loved you and thank you for letting me pour my heart and mind out to you!!! I owe you big time!!!
My thoughts tonight and planning for my love's arrival tomorrow!
I have soooooooooooo much cleaning to do before Mr. H gets here tomorrow night, but I have no energy right now and I tend to procrastinate until around midnight when I have to do this kind of stuff. For example, last night I started my dishes at midnight and then cleaned the rest of my kitchen and then my bathroom and I went to bed a little after 2 a.m.
I think I need to make myself some coffee and then maybe I'll just start with hanging up clothes. And I have about 6 loads of laundry to do and I absolutely have to start that soon cause I kinda hate going downstairs to the laundry room when it's late at night - I know it sounds so silly but I worry about 1) ghosts cause it's in a kind of basement-like place and 2) spiders and bugs.
Mr. H left last evening and made it to Moses Lake, Washington, and today he's been driving for a very long time. He called me when he made a stop in Idaho, and then texted me when he got into Montana. And then Montana is a very long state, so he called tonight and was almost in Billings, Montana. And then he has to drive at least another four and a half hours to one of the possible stops, and maybe further if he's awake enough. Then tomorrow he'll have around 13 hours of driving if he makes it further, or closer to 15 if he stops at the earlier town. My poor love, he sounded kind of beat tonight when we talked. But at least tomorrow morning when he wakes up he'll know that it's his last day of driving and he'll be with me at the end of it!!! :)
This past Monday morning, The Meat came to work and told us that he couldn't see out of most of his left eye - a black shade had been creeping more and more across his eye since Friday night. He had an appointment with an eye doctor on Tuesday afternoon that he'd made a few weeks earlier when he had a bunch of floaters suddenly appear in his eye, and he was going to wait until then. A few of us impressed upon him how important this was and we hounded him to call the doctor and tell them what was happening, and they had him come in that afternoon. He had surgery on Tuesday morning for a detached retina, and he'll be off of work for two weeks. I've since read all about detached retinas and it's really scary, and if he had waited even until Tuesday afternoon it could have been much worse. But the doctor told him the surgery went well and he probably won't have to have a second surgery. From what I read, it may take even a few months for his vision to come back like it was before, but I hope it comes back quicker than that for him.
I found out on Tuesday that the young sheriff's deputy who I had a kind of fling-like relationship with a few years ago killed himself on Monday night. He was I think 26 years old, and was such a sweet and innocent person. I'd told him before that he should think about seeing a counselor because he had a real problem with alcohol and drugs and I really felt that he used it partially as a mask for depression and his confusion about life. He also had pretty low self-confidence even though he was so cute, and I could of course relate to that.
It's so sad and such a waste that he's dead, and it makes me so sad. He really was a good person and such a sweet guy. He was a little messed up, but still so good and sweet and I always had hope that when he matured and got a little older that he'd find himself and be happy. He always definitely seemed young, even younger than he was. It's really bothering me how he could kill himself, how he could decide it wasn't at all worth it and he had no hope. He shot himself with his gun. I like to think that he was drunk and/or on drugs and that exacerbated any feelings of sadness and depression he was feeling and made him do something that he hopefully wouldn't have done had he been sober. Not that it makes a ton of difference because he's still dead, but I like to think that it's not something he truly wanted to do.
I also have a little bit of guilt. Not that I think I could have done anything, but he really looked up to me. He moved to a new work location over two years ago, but a couple months ago he was at the building I work in for some administrative reason, and he came up to say hi and tell me he'd heard that I was engaged and was happy for me. He wanted to hear all about how I was and he kept saying how good it was to see me and how much he missed me. He always saw such hope in my life and loved just listening to me talk about my life and the things I love. He told me about a couple recent troubles he'd had, but also how he was about to buy a condo and I was so happy for him because I felt it would help him to be more responsible now that he wouldn't be living with his parents.
He texted me a few times since then and I only responded once because I didn't want to encourage him. The night before he killed himself he texted me to tell me that he just got his new place, and I didn't respond. I know he's responsible for himself and I know I wasn't responsible for checking up on him or anything like that, but like I said before, he really did look up to me and admired me and what if him texting me was some sort of little cry for help? Of course they didn't sound like a cry for help, but they did sound slightly sad and nostalgic and if I had at least just sent him a nice text response back maybe it would have made him the tiniest bit happier.
I know I'm way exaggerating my effect on him and I know that I had nothing to do with this and had I sent a simple text response a couple times I'm sure nothing would have been different, but I guess at least I wouldn't feel bad that I ignored him. Still, it's true that I had no responsibility to him, and I found the most important relationship and love of my life and I'm devoted to that and not to trying to rescue a young man from drug abuse and emotional problems.
I just wish he had sought help from someone and not resorted to such a terrible decision. I don't know how someone can do that, and I wonder just what he was thinking as he lifted the gun to his head and knew he would die and never feel or see or experience anything again. I wonder where he is now, I've thought of that, that at least he knows what's out there now and what happens after death. I feel so awful for his family, for his mom and dad and younger brother and sister. This will affect them for the rest of their lives. And I understand that he killed himself at his girlfriend's house and while she was there, so it will completely affect her for the rest of her life - I'm sure she heard the gunshot and was the one to find him dead just after that. I hope people in her life make sure she gets counseling.
So anyway, it's been on my mind because I've never known someone personally who killed him-or-herself. I'm so sad for him and so sad for his family and I just wish he would have reached out to someone or someone close to him would have realized something was going on with him. He was so young and had a whole life ahead of him and to voluntarily end his life is so pointless and such a waste and so selfish and so sad. There are millions of people out there with terrible illnesses who are fighting for just one more day and one more week and one more month, and this guy who was young, healthy, good-looking and sweet made the decision to end his life right then and there. It's just so wrong and so bothersome.
Okay, well hopefully this will help me a little, having written all that. His funeral is this Sunday but Mr. H will be here and we'll be in Michigan. If it had been any other weekend I would have gone to the funeral to maybe find some kind of peace with it all and closure. But so instead I wrote this and maybe it'll help me feel better.
I'm going to go make some coffee now so I can start cleaning to get all ready for my love to be here tomorrow!!!
Book and Mr. H coming next weekend!
I just finished reading the last Harry Potter book about twenty minutes ago. (Don't worry, I'm not going to say anything about it that would give anything away.) I started reading it almost exactly 24 hours ago, and I stayed up almost all night but had to fall asleep when I had about a hundred pages left. I'm very much in a zone right now though, the kind I've gotten before when I've finished other books that I've really been into. It makes me want to just be with myself, in my head, and not talk to anyone else until I'm ready to - I need the time to really think about it all and feel it all and go over it all in my head and also to mourn the end of the book/series.
So, I'm not in too much of a talkative mood, but I'll quickly write a few things. First, I need to shower and then clean my place because it's just disgusting right now and every bit of it needs cleaning and straightening and such. And garbage needs to be thrown out, laundry needs to be done, and some dishes need to be done. Starting out with a shower will be good, both to wake me up a bit and also because showers are so relaxing and I always think alot when showering so I can go over the book in my head.
Mr. H will be here in less than a week!!! He's going to drive and bring his two dogs, and his plan is to do it in two days - driving an average of 16 hours each day. He's going to leave very early on Thursday morning, around 2 or 3 a.m., and then when it's starting to get dark in the evening he'll stop, somewhere around the border of Montana and North Dakoka, and sleep for the night. And then he should hopefully be here on Friday night or Saturday morning! Then we'll have all day Saturday to be here at my place (and so Mr. H can take a couple naps), and very early Sunday morning we'll drive to my parents' cottage in Michigan. My aunt, uncle and two cousins will be there on Sunday and be leaving on Monday morning, so they'll get to know Mr. H and I'm so happy about that. And on Monday my grandparents will meet him. And we'll also probably celebrate my birthday on both days, and then on Tuesday, my actual birthday, Mr. H and I will leave very early in the morning to come back to Chicago and spend my birthday together. And then he'll leave on Wednesday to drive back to Vancouver.
I'm so excited and happy!!! I just LOVE that I get to see him so soon and I love that we're both so excited and looking forward to it, and I love that he'll get to know my parents much better and get to know my aunt, uncle and cousins and my grandparents as well! And I also love that we'll have two days together for just the two of us. And I'll get to see his sweet and wonderful dogs again and James and Emma will have their first contact with their future brothers :) I need to get a dog gate this week so I can block off my bedroom, and all James and Emma's stuff will be in there so it'll be their sanctuary to feel safe in. I decided that I'll put the dog gate up a little on the door so there's six inches or so of space below the gate and I think James and Emma will like that. If they do come out (I'm sure Emma won't but I really really hope James does) he'll feel much more safe if he can just peek out and go underneath a gate instead of having to jump all the way over it.
Speaking of my little babies, can I just say how happy they make me!?! They are so loving and love me so much, and it's just the best feeling in the world! Last night as I read most of the night, James was laying right at my side most of the time and he'd wake up now and then and reposition himself at my side and purr. And little Emma kept coming up on my pillow and purring around my head while I petted her, and then she'd just keep purring and purring and purring just being near me. I love them so much! And even this afternoon when I was finishing my book, I was sitting in my chair near the window for the natural light and James was alternately sleeping on the top of the chair or at the foot of the chair, and as soon as I moved to the couch after finishing, he too came up on the couch to sleep by me. They are so wonderful and make me so so happy and I adore them so much!
Okay, I'm going to go shower now. When I think of the book I'm still just thinking "Wow" and don't feel like talking about it just yet - my mom is reading it too and we said we'd talk about it when we both finished. But I think maybe not until tonight will I call her. I first need my alone time to process it all. And during my alone time now I'll be cleaning! :)
Trying to use methods to deal with overthinking and beautiful flower pictures!
Over the past few days I've been so down then so up and I feel like so much has happened even though not much really has.
All last week I had been fighting the negativity and negative thoughts. I'd been trying to do what my book said and not let myself dwell and spiral downward and I'd done a pretty good job - as in, the thoughts and worries were always there and hovering on the edge of my conscious, but I wasn't letting them consume me. On Thursday I started thinking about it a little more, but in the way of TRYING to do real thinking. It all revolved around my immigration to Canada and how Mr. H and I hadn't done anything new to move forward with the process and make certain decisions. The logical side of my mind was trying to point out that Mr. H has been really busy and I'm the one who knows much more about the laws, etc. The negative, swirling-thoughts side kept trying to freak out and argue that Mr. H wasn't doing anything because maybe he was having second thoughts and you can just imagine where all those spiraling thoughts were trying to go. Ultimately, I wanted to hear from him that he wants this and is excited and really wants to get moving with it so we can be together.
So anyway, I had at least determined that this was justifiably important enough for me to be concerned with. And I knew that my worries weren't going to go away until I talked to Mr. H about them. A few weeks ago I decided that I would not send any more of my freak-out long emails to Mr. H, we discussed that and I agreed completely with Mr. H that me talking directly to him is much, much, much more productive. So I knew I wasn't going to email Mr. H and I'd talk to him about it in the evening, but I also needed to do something to calm myself down and stop the overthinking.
So - one of the suggested methods is writing things down. I like doing that, so I composed a kind of "script" that I would read to Mr. H that evening - that way I got to organize my thoughts a little and get it out and also have a little time to go over it again. After I was done writing but really emotional from all of the thoughts being right there (because now that I look back, I was overthinking even as I was writing), I decided to use another suggested method from the book and talk to a friend who would bring me back down to earth and not support my overthinking. So I took my "script" to The Meat and sat crying while he read it. He asked if he could edit my script and I said yes, and an hour later he had talked me down and completely changed the focus of my little script from being very heavy and depressing to being a more positive, "I'm really looking forward to moving to Vancouver to be with you, and I want us to do a little more so I feel like we're moving forward. How can I help, etc." He also talked to me about differences between men and women and many other things. By the end I was smiling again although still feeling fragile, but a positive fragile. And most importantly, I wasn't thinking as I was in the heat of my overthinking - that Mr. H was falling out of love and rethinking wanting to be with me and I was going to have my heart broken - and instead I was knowing and believing that Mr. H loves me very much as he tells me every single day.
And THEN, because I was feeling stronger but because I knew I had a few hours before Mr. H and I would talk and I didn't want to fall back into the overthinking, I used yet another method recommended by the book, well really it was a combo of a couple methods - both getting exercise and doing something that I love. I got off the train early and walked around the neighborhoods with my camera for a good two hours, taking pictures of beautiful flowers! And the weather was so incredibly perfect, and the lighting was so good, and I found all these gorgeous flowers and I was getting some really beautiful pictures and was so happy!
And also, near the end on one perfect street I talked to three wonderful people! First, as I was sitting on the ground in front of some flowers, a guy came out of the house next door and talked to me about how he used to be an amateur photographer and traveled all over the world taking pictures for fun. He was from Northern Ireland and he told me he met his wife, who is from Nepal, when he was visiting the basecamp to Mt. Everest. Then his wife came out of the house with their two beautiful little daughters and they all waved and he introduced us. He showed me pictures of his two little daughters dressed up both as Irish dancers and as Nepalese dancers - they were so cute! He and his family are moving to Ireland in two months because as he said, the US isn't a good place to grow old - he asked me if I'd seen the movie Sicko yet and I said I hadn't yet but definitely plan on it. Then they left to go to dinner and all waved goodbye, including his little daughters! I was so enchanted by them and by how friendly and wonderful this man was!
Then I walked a little further down the block and there was one house with gardens surrounding the house and the little area between the sidewalk and the street was also filled with flowers and plants. Just as I was walking up, a woman was walking out of the gate at the side of the house and I asked if these were her gardens and flowers. She said they were and I told her I love taking pictures of beautiful plants and flowers, so she started pointing out various flowers and plants and even bugs on certain plants. She was on her way out but told me if I come back sometime when she's home she'll let me come to the side and back of the house to photograph to my heart's content!
Then while I was taking photos of her beautiful flowers out front, her neighbor from across the street yelled over that if I like flowers, he had 24-some varieties of lilies over at his house. So I told him I'd definitely head over there next. When I walked over a few minutes later he came out of the house immediately and led me to his backyard, which he and his partner had completely redone five years ago - there was even a lovely little pond with goldfish back there! The guy was so friendly, in the wonderful giggly-gay-man way, and I just loved him! And he really did have so many beautiful lilies and he kept coming out of the house and telling me more little tidbits.
After all that and meeting wonderful friendly people, I was feeling so happy and hopeful and a little nervous about talking to Mr. H but not nearly like I had been a few hours earlier! He had called while I was taking pictures (I never heard it ring, I think it was when I set my purse down in the guy's backyard) and left a message that there was a fire on his block and all the power was out so he wasn't sure whether we'd be able to skype that night. And then I was thinking, "shit, I'm all ready to talk and I don't want to start overthinking again!" But I just downloaded my pictures when I got home and waited and then called him and he had power back so we got on skype a little later.
And I was brave and after talking for awhile I told him I wanted to talk to him about something and I used my little edited script and he said just what The Meat had predicted and assured me that he's excited about me coming as well and we talked about when we were each kind of thinking of the move happening, and we decided that I'd do the legwork of finding of an immigration consultant or attorney because I have more time to do that kind of thing. And we talked about what would probably happen initially, from where we'll be living to what kind of little job I could get until I can find a more permanent job. It was a really good talk and so good for me to hear this stuff.
And then he asked me if I'd been crying about it that day and he knew even before I said yes that I had and laughed because, yes he knows me! So then I of course reported to him about how I'd been trying to use the techniques in my new book to try to not overthink, and then how I'd decided to write my script (book method) and then talked to The Meat (book method) and then gone for a walk to take pictures (two book methods)! And then after telling him all I'd done and how the book was helping me (which he asked about) I asked him if he was proud of me and he started laughing and called me a goofball - I love when he calls me that, I told him it makes me so happy like when he calls me sweetheart or one of his other endearments! :)
So - all was right with the world again then!! I didn't do a complete job of not overthinking but I did at least do some good things and I'm happy about that for a beginning. And all my worries were gone after Mr. H and I talked and he was also so happy that I talked to him directly instead of sending one of my crazy long emails!
Oh - I also got my period on Thursday during the day so some of the extra emotion may be attributable to that. And also my complete peacefulness and optimism and happiness yesterday and today may be partly because of the period coming and all that emotion getting to leave. I don't care overly much because it just feels so f'ing good to feel so positive and happy and content right now, especially after the week of negative emotions swimming just near the surface!
Also as a result of my period coming, I have been extraordinarily tired! On Thursday before Mr. H and I talked I could barely keep my eyes open to look at my pictures. And on Friday morning I could barely wake up, and last night I closed my eyes and laid my head on the couch more than once. And then today - well, today I slept until 4 p.m. Yes it sounds equally disgusting to me, and oh I had such plans for today that involved doing all the hundreds of dirty dishes, doing about five loads of laundry, and fully cleaning my dirty home. When I wake up at 4 p.m. I feel like I've already wasted the day! And I was still completely lacking energy even after coffee and eating some food. So the cleaning will have to wait until tomorrow.
One thing I did today was go through all the screenshots I take nightly of Mr. H and I chatting on skype and pick the best ones and mostly ones that have a date somewhere on the screen. I uploaded about 70 screenshots to an online album (a website that I haven't used before so I got 20 free prints and free shipping - the offer expired tomorrow which was what prompted me to act today!) and ordered prints of all of them. I'll use these when applying for Canadian permanent residency, because I want to so fully document our relationship in advance so hopefully I won't have to go for an interview and that'll shorten the time period.
Also, today Mr. H was having a really bad day, and like probably many women, when someone I love isn't feeling happy, it's so on my mind and I want to do anything I can to change that. So I spent a long time writing him a wonderful and uplifting email and sending him sweet text messages. I just got an email from him and he's feeling a little better now and that makes me so happy!
Tomorrow morning I have my first First-Time Painting class! I'm a little nervous because I don't know what to expect at all, from how many people will be in the class to what we'll be learning to what I should bring. And I'm not very talented with drawing (really really not talented) and I know we're going to be starting with using charcoal to sketch a little and learn about lines and value (whatever that is). But I have to remember that everyone else in this class will also be "first-time painters" so likely not very talented either. And this is a little adult education class so it'll be other people like me who just want to do something different and fun. Okay, I've convinced myself to feel a little better!
I hope I can fall asleep tonight considering I woke up just 8 hours ago after 15 hours of sleep!
Here are some of the pictures I took on Thursday after work, I'm just in love with how many of them turned out! And I have some others that are so magical but I think they'd benefit from some photoshop help, so I may get to post more of my favorites later!
Movie, long walk and beetle guilt
This afternoon I went with Florida and The Italian Chef to see the new Harry Potter movie! :) We were so excited! And we expected there to be a big line and sold out shows and all that even though we went in the middle of the afternoon, but we ended up being the first people in the theater (I took a couple pictures of the two of them sitting in the empty theater!).
The movie was really very good for someone who has read the books, but when I imagined Mr. H watching it, not having seen any of the previous films or read any of the books, I think it would seem slightly choppy and kind of light on some of the various storylines. But for us, it was fabulous! It was also really dark though and by the end of it we were all depressed and kept saying that as we were leaving the theater, none of us really talking too much.
Florida and I waited for The Italian Chef to get on her bus and then we walked toward the train, but it was SO beautiful today so we decided to start walking for a bit. We ended up walking all the way to Florida's (although I got on the train a couple blocks from her house for the rest of the way to my place). I think that based on the route we took, we probably walked at least three and a half miles. It was wonderful, because the day was just so perfect and not too hot, which is so important to me, and we walked through the city and on streets we hadn't walked been on for awhile, and then walked through the park, and we of course talked the whole time so it was just perfect. And also, we felt a little better after all the popcorn we ate that seemed so yummy at the time but then was just sitting in our stomachs - I think I can still taste a bit of it and it makes me want to be sick!
I feel kinda bad right now because about an hour ago I spotted this beetle walking on my chair in the living room - it looked like a baby june bug or something like that. I quickly grabbed a glass and got the beetle in there and covered it up, and then although I thought to myself that I should let the beetle go somewhere (I was thinking that I couldn't put him in the hallway or else he could crawl back underneath my door), I instead took the easy route and flushed him down the toilet. Only, between the time that I shook him in the toilet and quickly flushed and closed the lid, I saw the poor little guy's little legs all scrambling and that image has stuck in my mind. I was just thinking about it again and it hit me that I have a back door that opens to the back staircase and trash cans and whatnot, and I could so easily have let him out there and he'd even probably have been able to find stuff to eat out there. So I feel really bad now for just killing the poor creature and causing him to drown and be scared. I so wish I could go back and do that over and not have murdered the little beetle who just accidentally somehow found his way into my place. So now, while I don't hope for any bugs to come in here, I'll try to do the good thing and let any bug go out into the back staircase (I can't promise that for spiders though, because I really really hate those things). I'm hoping that by writing about it here I can let it go now, but the image and the feeling bad is so far still here with me.
I'm really sleepy and can't think of too many other things to write about just now. So instead of doing some rambling, I'm going to get ready for bed and read just a couple pages of my book before my eyes demand to be closed. :)
My amazing new book
This past Saturday I was having a seriously depressed day; I was in a really bad, bad place and my thoughts were running like mad and I was feeling like I would never be better again and my whole life would always be filled with sadness, depression and a manic mind and I was convinced that I would drive away everyone who cared about me because of the depression and crazy mind and that I would be alone for the rest of my life with no happiness ever. Like I said, a very very bad place. It was awful.
By the evening I had decided to make myself go for a walk, just to get out of the house (and it was cooler then in the evening). I didn't feel like I'd be happier but I knew logically that it was a good thing to do. I had also seen the title of a book that CeeCi
mentioned finding in her house, and I emailed her to find out if she had read it yet and what she thought. When she emailed back she said hadn't read it but suggested I go buy it because obviously something was telling me to get it. And she also gave me wonderful support and reminded me that the mood would pass, which was good to hear from someone else as I couldn't make myself quite believe it.
So I got out of the house and went for a walk, and I of course took my camera with me because it gives me a purpose and I have such fun looking around at details and beauty and ugly to find things to photograph. I love my camera!
After walking for awhile, I went to a Borders and browsed around downstairs for awhile, and then made it upstairs to the psychology section, where I browsed for forever there (I love browsing and taking my sweet time in bookstores). I didn't find the book I was looking for but I did pick up about four others to look at more closely. And then before I sat down to examine my finds, I did another walk through the shelves and that time I saw a lone copy of the book!
I went through all the books pretty closely and decided on two, and by that time it was dark and the store was close to closing so I bought my books and walked back home and felt sooooooooooooooooo much better, both because of the exercise and being out and also because I was so excited about these books and getting them made me really feel like I was doing something positive and affirmative instead of just sitting back.
So my two books - the one that'll come second is called Self-Esteem (Third Edition): A proven program of cognitive techniques for assessing, improving & maintaining your self-esteem
. I liked that it's really interactive as opposed to just being a book. There are exercises throughout the book - lists of things I'll have to think of and write down, etc. I'm excited about it, I really am. And I'll write about that book later when I start reading it.
But oh my gosh do I have to write about the first book! This is the book that CeeCi mentioned on her blog, and if I hadn't have been behind in reading her blog I wouldn't have just read that post on Saturday and seen the name of the book when I had just started realizing things about myself and my current way of thinking. If I'd read that title on any other day I may have possibly taken note of it and thought to myself that I might want to check it out sometime, and I may have even emailed the title to myself. But on Saturday, everything was just aligned to let me know that I needed to get that book - even from having CeeCi telling me to go get it and there being only one copy on the bookshelf (which I wouldn't have found had I not decided to look through all the shelves once more).
So the amazing book - Women Who Think Too Much: How to Break Free of Over-Thinking and Reclaim Your Life
. I started reading it on Saturday night in bed and read the whole first chapter in partial amazement at how perfectly this book was talking about exactly my mind and my mental patterns. On Sunday I had to reread the first chapter so I could go through with my pen (I always read these kinds of books with a pen so I can underline stuff) and just get it even more in my head, and I read through about page 75.
I have underlined SO MUCH in this book already. The second paragraph of the first chapter of the book starts,
"Yet, when there is any pause in our daily activities, many of us are flooded with worries, thoughts, and emotions that swirl out of control, sucking our emotions and energy down, down, down. We are suffering from an epidemic of overthinking - getting caught in torrents of negative thoughts and emotions that overwhelm us and interfere with our functioning and well-being."
I knew right then that this book is perfect for me. There is SO MUCH in it already that speaks to me, that encourages me, that supports my realization that this is a serious problem I have, and I'm just starting to get into the plan to start controlling these thoughts.
And I can see that it's actually something that I can get to start working with much mental practice. On the train ride home today the book even had this to say, which also applies to me so well: "Indeed, some people are born with a stronger sense of self than others. But courage and self-confidence are muscles that grow with exercise. Deciding to adjust your focus and choose your own perspective...builds emotional strength so that it comes more easily and naturally the next time around."
Oh my gosh, I could go on and on about this book. In short, the book sets forth a three-step process. First, breaking the grip of the negative swirling thoughts (and it discusses a number of different possibilities for how to do this and gives good examples of each, as well as a quick reference list at the end of the chapter). Second, moving to higher mental thinking ground to really be able to clearly
think about the things bothering us. And finally, avoiding future traps that will get us into our negative overthinking cycle. I've only finished reading about the first step so far, but the chapters on the other two steps also have quick reference lists at the end.
I'll stop now. Can you tell how excited I am by this book though? I know it's soooooo not going to be easy to start incorporating these steps into my thinking life, especially when I'm in a depressed mood (because as I learned also from the book, when we're depressed all our sad thoughts are so easily accessible because they're all connected through the nodes in our brains and because I overthink so often, those connections actually become stronger), but I love that it's all laid out and I can start working on it and have a plan. I love that! It gives me hope for the future, even today when I was having another depressed mood I still had some hope and started reading the book instead of thinking (okay I was thinking some but I didn't let myself spiral downward at least).
In other news, this site
has some of the most amazing outdoor photographs! I spent so much time tonight admiring so many of them! And I can tell that many of them are created using a new technique that I only first heard of about a month ago, called HDR (and I can't remember off the top of my head what it stands for). When I was visiting Mr. H a couple weeks ago I took a bunch of pictures that I could use to try out this HDR thing, but I haven't yet actually tried to put them together and see what happens. This site makes me now want to get to learning that!
Okay, it's past my bedtime. Last night I slept on the couch so I could sleep in A/C, and my bedroom was SO HOT that I just kept the door closed. James woke me up many times during the night for some cuddling, and even little Emma woke me up a couple times by jumping up on me, and then my sore back woke me up at other times. So I'm really sleepy and my eyes are especially telling me how tired they are! It's cooler tonight so I'll be sleeping in my fabulous bed!
I've put a few of the pictures I took on Saturday night in this post (they aren't anything special but in my sad mood they pleased me and made me happy), but here's something that made me smile when I was walking, the whole truck was decorated this way. (The part that especially made me smile was the "+ Darth Cheney" at the side!) :)
For the past few days I've been thinking about a problem of mine. I've had this happen to me in the past and obviously I'm still susceptible to it if I'm not careful.
At the core it's my ever-present problem with self-confidence and feeling and really believing, all on my own, that I'm wonderful and fabulous and beautiful and smart, etc. Instead, I often tend to base my worth on how others see me and feel about me. Even at the times when I do really know that I'm beautiful and wonderful I still kind of need some affirmation that others know and see it as well and it's not just in my head.
I'm having a really hard time writing this post and I've just begun. Because it requires me right off the bat to kind of generalize the way I feel and think, but some days I really do have self-confidence. Okay even as I write that big statement I know it's not completely true because I probably got the "self"-confidence in part from outside sources. But it's still hard because I don't want to give the impression that I'm always walking around with my head down and feeling awful - many days I walk around feeling fabulous and knowing that I'm so wonderful in so many ways and feeling like I can do anything and the world is my oyster. But it's so easy to crack that confidence, and what I base that confidence on, in part, is what bothers me.
There's this woman at my work who I love and adore for all the silly things that make her the person she is. I know this seems like a completely different topic but it's not. She's a feisty, tiny woman, maybe 4'11" at most. She's I think almost 50 (nothing wrong with that by itself of course), she's never been married and lives in a two-flat with her mother (her mother lives downstairs, she lives upstairs), she's well overweight, she has bad rosacea, and she's mostly bald on top so wears her hair very short and combed over on top (the baldness is completely apparent even with the very thin comb-over). She isn't physically attractive and she's not particularly intelligent. But she has more self-confidence than most people I know combined! And she's always having sex and she's actually been "the other woman" in the past. It always confounds not only me but others at work when we talk about it, about how much confidence she has. And I know I'm speaking critically of her in many ways but I also love her - she's so feisty, I love teasing her and she always jumps for the bait, she cracks me up with all her little stories, she's genuinely a good-hearted person, and when she's not at work I miss her. I know I'll never meet anyone like her and I try to mentally take note of silly things she says and does because I don't ever want to forget her.
But so anyway, how did she get so much self-confidence?! This sounds really awful but if I looked like her I wouldn't want to leave my house, whereas she walks around as if she looks just like everyone else. Is it a genetic trait, our level of self-confidence? I think it probably is, to an extent. My own personal view is that, talking about just the trait of self-confidence (and yes I'm calling it a trait but I know it's more complicated), let's say for all the human race people can fall somewhere between 1 and 100 in their level of self-confidence. My belief is that genetics gives a kind of possible range, so maybe one person has a range of 10-50 and another from 65-85. And then it's the environment and the "nurture" aspects that determines where on that continuum each person actually falls within his or her "genetic range". And of course it can and does change throughout the years depending on all kinds of external factors.
Wow, that was kinda way off point now, getting into my own view of the nature-nurture debate! But so for this woman at my work, I think she was just born with a really high capacity for self-confidence, that's the only real explanation I can come up with for how she can have so much! Well okay there's one other thing too that I think may possibly be a partial explanation, but I haven't really fully thought it through so I don't want to put it out there.
Anyway, back to square one again. I sometimes suffer from low self-confidence.
I want to think and know that I'm wonderful, and sometimes, yes sometimes I can even be privately vain and feel really spectacular for all I am and who I am. But to me, it almost doesn't matter if I think I'm wonderful because I need to know that others think it, too. Otherwise maybe I'm really not.
Now I feel like I have to explain that better, too. Back when I was a sophomore in high school and was anorexic, I would look in the mirror and just see an ugly fat body. Everyone else saw something different, and when I look back at the pictures I see that I wasn't fat in the least bit. But yet I still saw something totally different when I looked at myself in the mirror. So I think the way my mind is working is that if I think I'm wonderful and beautiful, it doesn't really mean I am - I need to confirm it with other people to make sure I'm not seeing or thinking something that's very wrong.
Well anyway though - all that doesn't matter too much, the why's and all. What's really bothering me is that at times I get worse and I start to tie my self-worth to something or someone too strongly and forget my own ability to build myself up and control my thoughts and feel inside that I have great worth, and that's the thinking behavior that I want to change right now. I know that it's always a struggle I'll have and at certain times in my life I'll have to struggle much more with self-confidence, and at certain times I'll need more help and support and assurances and love from the people around me. But right now nothing is bad in my life (instead everything is wonderful and I'm happier and more hopeful and content than I can ever remember being), so I need and want to start controlling my thoughts again and start feeling and seeing and really believing the wonderful in me again, all on my own. And be content and happy and accepting of who I am and stop comparing myself always to other people and to my illusions of perfection.
The reason for me writing about this - I've just realized that over the past month or two months, I'm sometimes being incredibly needy with Mr. H and asking for so much love and so many assurances, even though I know inside that there's no need for them. But my mind starts running and I start seeing myself as less and less and I build him up more and more and suddenly I feel like a little fat ugly shy boring troll compared to his wonder, and I start worrying that he'll see it too and then my mind jumps to what would I do without him and it keeps making me spiral downward further and further. It's really a terrible little mental thing that I put myself through and while I'm thinking all those things I know I should try to pull myself out but I can't or don't.
I know of course that when I get that way it's very stressful for Mr. H, it's stressful for me, and it certainly doesn't make me more attractive or wonderful when I'm believing the exact opposite about myself. And then the light bulb went off the other night and I realized that I've started to, more and more, base my worth on Mr. H and how he loves me, instead of on who I am as a person and all the wonderful things about me. It's a really unhealthy thing to do and makes me a needy girl sometimes then. Not that I still won't sometimes be a little needy and I know I'll usually need more assurances and affection than many people do, but I need to get away from this beating myself down while building him up and then feeling unworthy. I need to really respect my own worth at all times.
So, coming to the realization and all that was step number one and I've gotta say, I feel empowered and good just realizing all this. Step two - I'm going to broaden my horizons a little and do things that are fun for me and that will make me feel good.
So first, I'm going to sign up tomorrow for a First-Time Painter class at a nearby art studio - it's once a week for four weeks and they say it's for total beginners so I think we only actually use paint for the last week or two weeks and first we learn about line, value and color using charcoal. I've always wanted to learn how to paint and I do have oil paints and some canvas paper and now and then I get it all out and try to paint some masterpiece vision in my head, but I soon get really frustrated by my complete lack of ability to paint even close to the image in my head and I end up just swirling beautiful colors around on the paper. So this will teach me something even if I never do become the master painter! :) I'll like even learning about lines, value and color! I love colors! And I'm excited about it!
And second, I'm going to re-join the gym on the monthly basis. For the past couple months I've been, on and off, getting a craving for that little adrenaline high after working out, and I've also been craving the sore feeling that lets you know you're working your muscles in a good way. And we all know that working out is so good for us, and increases energy and for me, it'll increase my self-confidence in first the body-confidence way and second because I'll be proud of myself for doing something that's good for me! And I love feeling strong and fit!
So that's my plan for now - 1) recognizing my tendency, 2) painting class, 3) start exercising again. All the underlying stuff will still be there of course, and I'll still have lows and I still want to deal with some of those underlying issues, but at least looking at the behavioral aspect, I'll stop beating myself down and tying my self-worth to Mr. H's love and I'll go back to being the normal me most of the time and being fabulous and also proud of myself for taking action!
I also want to start seeing a counselor again sometime soon. I want to learn how to stop the negative swirling of thoughts in my head once they get started. It's so hard to stop them and they go from negative to terrible scenarios to future possible pain and on and on. The Meat suggested trying a Pavlovian route and pinching myself really hard or punching myself in the arm - something to make me associate the thoughts with physical discomfort. I don't think that'll work, since I'd be inflicting the pain on myself and my mind is stronger than that. But I'll still try it.
I just really wish I could have more control of myself mentally, so that'll be one thing to talk to a counselor about. And also about my self-confidence and my feeling like I have to be perfect and have to be the best and the only one and the everything. I worry about what will happen as I get older if I can't grow beyond this comparing myself to everyone else, and this worry about other girls being more beautiful and more sexy, etc. I think summer is harder for me because there's more to see and compare myself to in all the girls I pass on the streets. I SO wish I could be one of those people who is just ALWAYS content and so pleased with the person he or she is and not feel threatened by or jealous of anyone else. It would be so much easier. And I know from experience that the times when I'm feeling confident and content and fulfilled are the times when I'm least affected by those negative thoughts, and I'm better able to push them out of my head. So I'm hoping that by giving myself more to do and filling my life and time a bit more, I'll get more of that inner strength to (getting dramatic here) slay the evil negative swirling thoughts!!! I'll still want to work on them with a counselor on and off for probably much of my life, but getting the strength to stop them or slow them down will be such a good feeling.
This was a long post. And I probably could have said all this in a much shorter and more concise way. But oh well, I sometimes work stuff out in my head as I type so that's why it's not concise and instead can be very stream-of-consciousness! And I'm fabulous and I like my stream-of-conscious long posts! :)
Whew, I feel so much better now after writing all that!!! A little low because it's hard talking about and acknowledging the nutty tendencies I have, but still overall better for recognizing the problem finally and having a bit of a plan! Plans make me feel good!!
Little afternote - I talked to Mr. H tonight about this pos
t after I wrote it but before I published it, and he feels really good that I've realized all this. He's so damn wise sometimes! I'm happy that we talked about it, I'm happy that he feels very good about my realizations and plan, and dammit it also makes me feel slightly less worthy and like damaged goods because of my little mental confidence problems and racing mind problem. How do I stop myself from feeling bad about my mental baggage and feeling like it's a huge check mark in the negative column for me?
Okay I'll give myself a little pep talk, but I can't promise that I'm going to be 100% buying all that I'm saying with regard to my mental issues not being a huge flaw:
no one is perfect and we all have some little imperfections, and my racing and sometimes nutty mind and my lack of self-confidence don't take away from my kindness and compassion for other people and for all animals, from my enthusiasm for so many things and my love of so many people and things, my love of having fun and ability to have fun doing almost anything when I'm with friends, my intelligence and interest in learning and knowing about many things (including cultures, politics, spirituality, psychological and sociological issues, and so much more), and the fact that I'm a really good and nice person. It also doesn't take away from my easy laughter and frequent smile, from my wonderful creativity and my desire to always grow and become a better person. And I believe that being emotional and occasionally overemotional is far preferable to not really feeling or caring. And also, I just thought of this - my flaws (lack of self-confidence, crazy racing mind, lack of self-discipline and lack of ability to light a fire under my own butt) are all things that I can work on and improve. I'll always struggle with them but at least they are workable/fixable/changeable and aren't serious character flaws. And my desire to try to work on those flaws is a positive that should chip away a little piece of the negative in the flaws. :)
I need to stop writing now, or my mind will never stop running and I'll just keep writing more and more and more. It's a monster sometimes, this mind of mine!! :)
BTW - I appreciate any advice, observations or comments. This is a pretty hard thing for me and I want to let it affect my life and relationship as little as possible.
[Photos by me, taken on Thursday while partially walking home. It's amazing how perfectly these favorite ones of mine fit into this post.]