Thursday, November 21, 2013

Time and a lot of other words


It's late, and I cannot sleep.
Seems that is the main theme of when this poor blog gets updated anymore.
I like being up late, though. Or occasionally, very early-so long as I was able to sleep excessively before hand, and woke up entirely on my own.
The house is quiet, and from the kitchen, I can hear both the kids breathing in their sleep.
The cats curl up around my ankles, and this time of year, when I can feel cold air lingering around the windows, but the inside of the house is warm, everything is wonderfully cozy.
Speaking of this time of year, it is now 8 days until Thanksgiving. Oops, sorry, 7 days.
It doesn't feel real to me this year.
Last year, I was so in the spirit, I probably drove everyone around me insane.
I longed for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and when they were even the slightest bit near, I threw myself head long into them and refused to emerge until sometime in January.
This year, it feels as though all these things are still months off, and I have plenty of time, and instead of feeling sad about that, I feel relieved. Actually when I realize how close it all really is, that is when I feel sadder.
No. That's not right. Not sad.
Indifferent, I suppose.
This year has been amazing and it has been hard.
It has been full of change, and pain, and growth, and surprise, and love, and magic, and disappointment, and adventure.
Still, it feels unfinished.
It feels like for there to be less than two months left of it must be impossible.
In all the flurry of everything this year was-for better or worse-the time itself flew right by.
I learn more and more that time is not something we live inside of, something sturdy, something reliable that we can measure and count on.
It is something every shifting, ever changing. Speeding up when you are happy and sated. Slowing unbearably down when you are struggling. Flying and blurring all together when you're not paying any attention at all.
Time is something we set on the table for a moment while we look some place else, get distracted, get busy, occupy ourselves, and when we look back it is never where we left it.
It has jumped so far forward, and moved everything around in such immeasurable ways, that we can't help but feel a cold sense of loss...for what, we aren't entirely sure. Whatever we could have done with that time, had we known in advance of it's volatile nature?

The year is coming to an end, but another one is right behind it. Blocks of time constantly attached at the ends, so as to create a ribbon of our lives that can be waved, fluttered, or twisted in the wind.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Feminism, and why I hate that word

Coco Chanel

Feminism: the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

This is something I've never really written about here...or anywhere.
The word itself, along with it's meaning, either literal or inferred, can be polarizing.
I myself have struggled for years over whether or not I like to be identified as a feminist, or a not-feminist.
To say I am not a feminist, feels like I'm saying that all women should promptly be impregnated and robbed of their shoes.
To say I am one, makes me fear that people will see me one of those buzz cut zealots who glare at men that open the door for them, and look down on stay at home mothers.
I know both fears are wrong in their own way.
I know those zealots exist, but really, they're more just mean, hiding behind the name feminist.
And I know that not 100% identifying with a belief doesn't make you 100% against it.
Still, I struggle.

Kate from Motley Mama wrote about how it's hard to call herself a Christian because of all the negativity that some churches have brought on themselves by being judgmental, hypocritical, mean.
How it makes young people cringe to see people do awful things, and call it religion, and then still stand up and say "yes, I am a Christian, no I am not like that". 

Mainly, I think, because nobody hears the last part, the "I'm not like that" part.

Today I read a blog by a young girl-younger than me-who is married, popular, pretty, and religious.
I won't go as far as to mention her religion, because it doesn't matter. She is of the Christian faith, and which branch of that is irrelevant.
She wrote about equality between the sexes, and how much it confuses her that some women still fight for equality, not just in the home, but in the gospel.
She stated that women fighting to be equal in the priesthood confuses her, because she doesn't need that kind of power and responsibility right now....effectively saying if she doesn't need it, why should any other woman?
I am not religious, I am spiritual, so I won't go too close to the ministry equality subject, but I was raised Catholic, so I will say this: I grew up with smart, intelligent, amazing women. Women who were strong, passionate in their faith, and unimaginably articulate. Women are not allowed to be priests in the Catholic church. I knew several who wanted desperately to be able to lead, to speak, to teach, the same way a priest does. They were offered other roles, other jobs, lesser positions, and told to be "grateful to still have the chance to serve". It was sad and unfortunate that no one got to benefit from their wisdom and their passion the same way they would have if they had the chance to lead a church. 

Moving on....

I don't know that I would call myself a feminist, but articles like this make me so mad, and then, so unbelievably sad.
Especially when it comes from young girls. Popular girls. Girls that littler girls look up to. Girls who will someday soon be raising the next generation of girls.
I don't believe that all women should be out there working full time, right along side the men, doing the dirty work men do, and never have to learn how to cook or clean, or mend a shirt. I'm saying the ones that want to should be able to.
I don't believe either that every woman should be shackled to the kitchen sink and forced to raise babies and make meals and darn socks. I'm saying that the ones who want to, should be able to.
See where I'm going with this?
I believe that as a society we should be past the point of what someone should or shouldn't do, based on their gender. We should be beyond the black and white of man do this, woman do that, rawr rawr rawr.

A man that works full time to provide for his family, should not be more highly praised than the woman who is staying home, raising his children, running his life, and cooking his meals so he can go out and work, knowing everything else is taken care of.
On the same hand, a woman who works full time should neither be praised nor judged, if she's doing the bread winning while her husband stays home to take care of the kids.
Because where does that leave the other families?
The families where both parents work? Should one of them still be let off the hook with housework and child rearing, and held in higher regard because of their gender?
And what about the families with one parent, where one person is doing all of those things, while the other parent has escaped responsibility altogether?
If the woman is left behind, is it ok to say that's preferable because women are supposed to be the caretakers and nurturers?
Or if the man is left with the kids, is it alright to scorn the woman who left them more severely because a WOMAN walked out on her kids, and what kind of monster could do that, but had she been a man, it would've just been another sad story?

I believe that your gender has little to do with your amount of responsibility in a family.
Your gender does not make you a better parent/provider/meal maker or cleaner.
You do not have a "higher calling" to care for your home than your husband does, simply because you have a vagina.

This school of thinking comes from the same idea that girls wear pink and boys wear blue, and everything has a neat box to go into.


Let's all forget our genitalia for a minute, take some accountability in our own homes and families, and play to our strengths.

A woman is no more right to stay home than a man.
A man is no more well suited to bring home the bacon than a woman.

A family is a group of people who love each other, and they all have equal responsibility in making it work.

So do what you do best, and don't think that the kitchen is your highest calling, just because you were given an extra X chromosome.

You can do anything
Be anything
Achieve anything

Regardless of your gender.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lainie's 10th Birthday

Today Lainie turned 10.
I'm still wrapping my head around that, to be honest.
Not just that she is 10, but that I have a 10 year old.
It's a little crazy. I remember being 10 pretty clearly still. Which means Lainie is remembering everything that's happening now. Or most of it, anyway.
I hate how cliche it is to say that time flies, because it's so unbearably true.
It goes so fast, it's like there is an invisible hand somewhere, constantly pressing fast forward, but you can't feel it. You can't feel it until a moment is gone.
Until it's all over.
When Lainie was a baby, I remember thinking I would never get through her first year.
Her first year was so, so hard for me.
The lack of sleep, the sore, leaky boobs, the diapers, the crying, the impossibility of getting us into a routine, and all the while my postpartum hormones duking it out with my 16 year old girl hormones.
I didn't think it would ever end.
But then, it did. And once it did, I looked back and couldn't understand where the days went.
That year was the beginning of a constant sense of speed.
The years are flying by, and every time I think "this phase of her life/attitude/stubbornness is going to last forever and I will not survive it" I remember that first year, how hard it was, but how much I missed it when it was over, and how upset I was that it had gone so terribly fast.

I took the kids out this evening to my favorite shooting location in the valley, and did a little photo shoot just for Lainie. 
Of course I had to include Jack a little bit, lest he grow up to be that guy from the move Se7en, because didn't pay enough attention to him {seriously, these are the fears you have when you two kids, and no idea what you're doing}.
Lainie is growing up so fast, and into such a pretty young lady.
Every time I hit the shutter button and looked at the image on the LCD, my heart caught in my throat, and I felt a weird/sad mixture of "oh my God, how beautiful" and "NOOOOOOO!"

It's hard to explain, but if you have kids, I think you know.

The passing of time is such a happy, miserable thing.

Happy Birthday, Tiny.
You are loved, more than you will ever understand.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Friday Diary: Yes it's short, but Teddy Roosevelt is riding a moose, so there's that.

true story bro

Happy Friday, loves!
I bet you thought that now that I don't work a "real" job anymore, that the Friday Diary would go away.
Can't stop, won't stop.

Today is going to be stupid busy though, so it will be brief today.
Lainie's birthday is Monday, but her birthday dinner is tonight, so I have a bajillion errands to do to get ready for it, because I am a procrastinator/asshole. 
I have to buy all of the white candles, find little cauldrons somewhere for ice cream, figure out what to even make for dinner, clean all the things, decorate, find a wizard hat, get Wednesday to wear a tiny witch hat, and not punch anybody.
Did I mention I also have a consultation with a potential client at noon and have to pick the kids up from school by 2:30?

Bring it, Friday.

Also, I have a wedding tomorrow, and a photo shoot Sunday morning. Early. And far away. 
Who wants to drive me in exchange for coffee, and my sparkling early-morning personality? Eh? Any takers? 

Yeah, didn't think so.

Unfortunately, I think that's all for today, because I'm out of coffee and it's time to take the kids to school. 
I promise to come back Monday with lots of pictures from the party, if I survive this weekend.

Happy Friday, my darlings.

Keep it in your pants.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Working from Home: The good, the bad, and the yoga pants

Since Friday of last week, I've been working from home, full time on my photography business trying to get it off the ground.
A friend texted me yesterday, to sarcastically say "I bet you're super jealous of me, going to my office job right now. I know you miss the office life sooooo much!"
My first instinct was to gag, and say "Yeah, no. Not at all" but then I remembered that today was supposed to be Pot Luck day, and I did kind of miss it.
Not my desk...or the dress code....or my boss.....or the politics, or environment, or work load, or type of work, or hours or.....anything really but the pot lucks. But hey, I can say I sort of missed something about it!

Working from home is good.
For me, it is so so good.
It's where I thrive, and where I belong.
It's my happy place.
But I have started to discover over the past week, that there are some pros and cons.....
And so, I present you:

The good
The bad
And the yoga pants.

I feel like that basically sums it up.

Really, I love what I'm doing. 
I wouldn't trade it for the world. 
The only thing I can honestly say I miss is the co-workers that I liked, and there were a couple that I really did like a lot.
Chris, and Hector, Todd and Jenny were some of my favorites.

But I'll take Wednesday and Keiko and my fancy slippers any day.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Make that money, Watch it Burn

Counting Stars -One Republic lyrics

It happened on a Friday afternoon.
The day had been good so far. I'd gotten a stuffed black bear from a girlfriend at work. I'd successfully tossed a Skittle into someone's mouth and had them catch it for the first time in my life. I had a nice lunch with Chris, and Hector, and Todd - my friends from the legal department at work.
And it was Friday - JEANS Friday, no less.
What isn't good about that?

Around 4 o'clock though, everything changed.

I won't go into all the gory details here and now, but suffice it to say that I am a full-time photographer as of Friday at 4:30 p.m. 
It was earlier than I'd planned, and I'm nervous, and scared, but really excited also.

If I'm being completely honest, not going to my old job this morning was quite literally one of the best feelings ever.
I feel free.
I feel better.
I feel the fist in my chest that has been lodged there from stress and anxiety and a constant feeling of failure for the past two years, loosen and release, and it's good.
I feel like I can be honest, for the first time in a long time. I can say what I want.

I think what I want to say is this:
For the past two years, I have worked at a financial company in Scottsdale called Walton.
I never wrote the company name here before, because if they ever found my blog and didn't like what they read I could've lost my job. Now that that isn't an issue....
I was a department coordinator in Business Development, and I quickly found out after being hired, that I worked for the most difficult person in the office.
I had unknowingly taken the one and only position at this company that didn't get even one single internal applicant when it became available. I had unknowingly taken a position that they had tried for nearly a year to fill, and were unsuccessful because no applicant wanted to work for my new boss.
I tried, for two years, to do my best and make it not only work, but thrive.
I tried, at first at least, to climb and succeed and do well there.
After a while though, I started just trying to survive. To make it from Monday to Friday, and keep my head down, do a good job.
I was good at my job, but I wasn't happy with it, however the steady paycheck and good benefits kept me from feeling like it was OK to say that I didn't want to do that forever.
That I wanted out.
That I was never going to be happy there.
I am not a person who was meant to wear a pantsuit.
I am not someone who thrives in meetings, or feels at home in a conference room.
Nothing against those who are. I tried to be one of you. I'm just not.
And there were, of course, other reasons why I was so unhappy.
There was the abuse, the condescension, the open and unmasked gender discrimination. There were the meetings with my boss that I walked out of crying, the nights I scrambled to find someone to pick my kids up for me so I could stay late and finish something he was supposed to do himself, only to be berated and left without thanks anyway.
That was the past two years.

Now that it's over, I can just barely stifle my excitement with the slightest tinge of fear or worry.
I know it's a chance, and I know it's a risk, but I also know that it's worth it.
I know that no paycheck is worth your dignity, your happiness, or your right to respect as a human being.

So, to make a long story....still pretty long....I am now and {hopefully} always will be a full time wedding and family photographer.
All of this is thanks in no small part, to the best friends who have pushed and encouraged and supported me from the very first photo shoot I did, without ceasing and without mercy.
It's also, obviously, in thanks to the brides and families who have allowed me to be present for some of the most important memories of their lives.
Each and every one of them has changed me, pushed me, enlightened and blessed me. Every time I'm booked for a job, it feels like the very first time.
Every time I leave a photo shoot or a wedding, my heart is full.

Thank all of you.


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