We made the decision to move-- for sure-- to Asheville, NC in June of this year. We knew Lliam would be packing his things in July. We knew he would be driving across the country at the start of August and starting his job in Asheville. From there, I would be home with Ruby for however long it took us to find a house.
What I didn't know, is how insane I would feel... waiting. I'm not a patient person in general. I don't enjoy waiting but I definitely don't enjoy getting to watch someone else NOT wait (ha!). Inaction feels like death to me. Not being in action equals anxiety which equals unhealthy coping mechanisms and those strategies send me down a toilet bowl of desperation.
Typically, I'm someone that follows my heart and trusts my gut. Once I make a heart decision, I don't wait around. If it were me moving alone, I would have been in Asheville the following week. When you have a family, however, there are... responsibilities. (Oh my God, so annoying!!!). ;)
There was a lot to do and a lot to set up. We needed to sell our house in Washington. Lliam needed to find a job in Asheville. We needed to pack up our rental in California. Lliam needed to find a place to live in Asheville. Then he had to start work while trying to find us a house in Asheville's insane housing market. I would be home all this time watching Ruby and the animals. Finally, he would fly back, pack up the trailer and with two cats, a dog and a 20 month old, we'd drive cross country. It was a lot! I was completely overwhelmed.
When I'm stressed and anxious, I need QUIET. When I'm in a light and airy environment and have time to meditate, I'm the happiest little clam in a poor man's chowder. But when my life is settled in a city that feels isolated & lonely, in a 'bat cave' dark rental covered with animal heads, I was hardly in my happy place. I wish I was 'zen enough' as an empath to not have things effect me but sadly I'm just human still and probably will be for a long time. ;) I need a safe, clean space to meditate, take a bath, a long shower... I need light. But mostly, I need quiet.
Watching Ruby on my own, quiet was just not available to me. The hour or two a day she would take a nap, the animals needed tending. I had to look at houses, get back to Lliam, email someone, pay bills or plan meals, etc. I cannot concentrate at all when I'm alone with her. I swear Lliam thinks I don't listen to him. It's just in one ear and out the other because there is soooo much going on in my mind at all times. Soooo much I have to juggle. AND I sweeeeeeear to God, if you can't handle the balls your juggling and it effects how I'm juggling mine, I WILL KILL YOU STARTING WITH YOUR BALLS. "GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, CAROL." #Healthy #PromoteWorldPeace #YouveGotAFriendInMe
Quick interjection: Bravo and all-the-parades-in-the-streets to anyone who has had to raise children with little to no support. It feels like you're constantly drowning. You can never catch your breath, never catch up. I was burned out before Lliam left and I can only imagine this is how single mothers/fathers feel all the time. Blessings, prayers, accolades to YOU, my friends. You are literally deserving of worship. *cheering roars*
Needless to say, I gained 20 pounds.
To step on the scale and read that number was a painful moment. I was angry. Humiliated. Angry. Riddled with guilt. Angry. And full of sadness and shame.
The twenty pounds I slowly lost over the course of last year, reworking a lifetime of habit, a success story I was sooo entirely proud of... just gone in TWO MONTHS. I had bought new clothes, I had more energy, my blood pressure was great and my doctor was certain I was going to get off medication eventually... All of that excitement and a finish line on the horizon halted to a complete restart. It was-- and still is-- utterly gut wrenching.
But back to drowning and eating large bowls of ice cream daily...
I was out of my mind. Just in total survival mode-- trying to get through the day, trying to get through the day without punching any walls. (Only sometimes successful). And just out of sheer boredom, I think, I picked up my camera. If life was chaotic, I was going to photograph it. If my world was spinning, let me stop it with the click of a button.
And I just started photographing everything...
If she was insane, I would photograph it...
If I was out of my mind, I would photograph it... If I was bored... photograph.
If my daughter nuzzled her little curly haired head into my husband's shoulders, I definitely was gonna photograph that.
Because in survival, I don't remember jack shit, truth be told. I'm not present. Thank God for the gift of photography. It captures the moments we are not present. And now I remember the light on my baby's slobbery cheeks as she sat on our stairs while we packed.
I remember how much my daughter loves our cats and probably has this hair on her mouth (below) because she open mouth kissed one.
Our 20 month old in her sheer, sticky glory. I just want to squeeze her in this moment and hope for slobbery kisses.
I took photos of life being slow. There was a little spider living outside our window.
All the feelings in the moments that were gone I now have back. While in the muck, I'd only see the expansion of my gut and hips-- which isn't fair. Weight gain and self destruction is not the whole story.
There is light.
And freakin' Norman Rockwell-esque babies with their dogs. (Seriously with my kid-- I know I'm biased, but....).
Sidenote--- It is ridiculous how much these two love each other. Sadie gets sick of Ruby but Ruby gives her attention so she totally looks out for her. It warms my black heart!!
So more to come on this... It's been a tough journey but it's been pretty incredible to go back and see these photos, these moments I don't even remember. We have a ways to go but it's a reminder we've already come so far. And a year from now?? Psssh... this will all be laughable. So I'm grateful for the moments. Thanks, Camera. I'll never quit you. xoxox