Monday, February 28, 2011

My Oscar Speech

Since I was snubbed this year for the Actress in a Leading Role for my portrayal as a housewife-turned-author (Damn you, Natalie Portman!), I decided that I shouldn't let my speech go to waste. So I'm sharing it here with you. I hope you'll forgive me for not wearing a Valentino gown to deliver it.

To my husband - you are the keystone in my support system. Who believes in me more than you do? Thank you for your unconditional love and support.

To my daughter - you remind me that its okay to be different. You own your identity and you encourage me to own mine by the example you set. You're the best!

To my son - you are my muse. You make me laugh and give me material (to use against you). My sense of humor is never lost on you and you always egg me on by sharing yours. You rock!

To my best friends, Ann, Jen and Kim - you three are the corners in my world. No matter where I go or which way I turn, you're in my corner. You keep me balanced, humble, inspired and hungry for more of what life has to offer me. You're my past, my present and my future.

To my friend Sherri - you found me funny and encouraged me to be funnier. You've been my idol for a long time and to become my friend is a blessing I never expected but am so grateful for.

To my siblings - you've challenged me to rise above my past and be better than what I've come from. Every dream I have is because you taught me to expect more from life.

To my fans - your admiration is appreciated. Your encouragement is a gift. Your laughter is priceless.

I don't know how I got here. I don't know where I'm going I'm sure I don't know what I'm doing. But I am a better person because I have you all in my life. Thank you.

(Thank you to Todd Barnes for the inspiration for this blog. You're totally designing my gown when I do get to walk the Red Carpet!)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Finally Feng Shui!

When I remodeled my office last winter I should have taken more time to study the art of feng shui. It's not that I didn't love having my own space - I totally did - but I always felt weird when I sat in the chair at my table and worked on my laptop.

I stood in the doorway to take this picture and you can see that when seated, my back is to the door and I'm facing an East window. I've never really given much credence to feng shui but something about this layout just didn't feel right to me. I hated having my back to the door. It always felt like somebody would sneak up on me somehow. When I talked to my friend Kimmi, she mentioned feng shui and asked me if I'd ever thought about it when arranging furniture or redecorating my house. I honestly hadn't.

When I started looking things up, I discovered, according to several sources, that the placement of my furniture was alllllll sorts of feng-shui-wrong. Figures. Guess I'd be moving things around again. But for now? I'd just turned this room from a bedroom to a personal oasis. I was exhausted and while I wasn't perfectly comfortable with how things were laid out, I was too damn exhausted to move it.

Tonight, I finally had enough and decided to at least move my table around. The big desk may come later. It may not. Hubs typically uses that space the most (I use it only when I need to print things off or burn CD's for my clients. The rest of my work is done on the laptop.) and he couldn't give two shits what the space "feels like" as long as he's able to get done what he's attempting to do.

The chair I sit in is the blue one and, as you can see, is against the window and facing the door. It allows me to see the whole room and the door. Until I sat down, I hadn't realized just how uncomfortable the other position of the chair was. It may seem silly, but even my breathing feels deeper sitting here. I used to feel deep tension in my shoulders, now? It feels less so.

I don't know that it truly makes a difference, but I'm willing to leave things this way for a while and see how things go.

If you want to see how zen your office is, check out this article.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Battle (a repost)

This time of year is almost always tough on me. Financial constraints and family stress during the holidays are usually the trigger point. After the holidays, I face the anniversaries of my parents deaths: my father's in January and my mother's in February. To say that winter is a bleak time for me is an understatement. It's also during this time of year that I start recognizing an old demon rearing its ugly head.

I battled depression from the time I was 9 years old. It was undiagnosed for years, then I spent another ten years on one psychotropic drug after another. I also spent years in therapy with psychologists who were hell bent on labeling me any and every way they could. Agoraphobic, manic depressive and narcoleptic were some of the most outrageous. I was prescribed meds that were typically given to schizophrenics and narcoleptics. It was unreal the amount of drugs I had pumped through my system in the 90's and 00's.

Since my days of diagnosed depression, I've done a lot of research on that particular diagnosis as well as the other diagnoses I was given during that time. I've come to understand what situations trigger that behavior in me and, over time, have successfully eliminated many of those situations. I've worked very, very hard to surround myself with supportive, positive people. People who build me up rather than break me down. I've also chose to cut ties with friends and family who reflect the behavior that I'm trying to avoid in myself.

As a result I've been med-free for almost five years. This battle is one that I dance with daily. I know myself and I know how easy it is to slip back into that depression. For my own self preservation, I have to remove myself from places and situations that may trigger those low points from me. Much like a diabetic has to regular sugar and insulin, I have to regulate being supportive to friends who may be feeling defeated and stepping away entirely to protect myself.

I spent ten years in a black cloud of negativity. I spent every day wondering if anything was ever going to go right for me. I wondered daily "Why me?" I stayed awake at night worry about the "What next's?"

I'm a firm believer that God only gives us what He knows we can handle. He gives us the tools to become strong and to recognize our limits. That ten year cloud was my limit. I can never go there again. I've come to realize what things I need to do to guarantee I don't reach those limits again.

It's not that I don't want to be supportive. It's not that I have no sympathy for those dealing with depression. It's not even that I don't understand what they're going through. The fact of the matter is - I can't help them without hurting me.

And that's not something I'm willing to sacrifice again.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Far too long

I've been so caught up in a thousand other things going on that I don't have time to blog about them.

Most in the forefront of my mind is a move to New York.

Hubs gave the go-ahead a couple weeks ago that we can try New York. It wasn't without conversation and deep consideration, mind you, but it will be happening. There've been too many opportunities come up lately that I can no longer ignore. The city calls me more loudly every day and I can't get it out of my head. It's gone past a want and straight to a need to be in that city. Now comes the stress of coordinating a cross-country move for the three of us (Big Man doesn't want to go and will continue living with his dad - as he has the last 18 months), but will visit as often as he's able to). The general plan is for me to go out in June. Sis will join me in August and hubby will follow as soon as he can get transferred to the midtown office. I'm looking for temporary summer housing (so if anybody knows of any...), then once I'm there, I can hopefully save the money needed to get into a bigger place for the three of us. I'm already exhausted just thinking about it, but exhilarated, too. We will be working out the details in the coming months and a lot of different things need to come into play - work...housing (both there and here)...Sis's schooling...

Which leads me to the next bit of chaos in our lives: getting Sis on track scholastically. It's no shock to anyone, I'm sure, that this has been an ongoing problem. Shelby's grades, that is. She's struggled to stay focused for years (yes, she's been tested for ADHD. It's not an issue.) and we've begged the school to keep her back so she's got another year to mature and become more organized. It's been denied. This year, however, her dads and I decided as a parenting team that if she doesn't bring her grades up significantly in the coming months, we will hold her back this year. We broke that news to her about two weeks ago and she's not thrilled with it, but understands our reasoning behind the decision. The guidance counselor is aware of our decision and agrees that it's wisest to do it this year rather than next year when she's in high school and colleges are starting to take things into consideration scholarship-wise. That being said, the young woman has gotten caught up on ALL her late work and has already raised her science grade from an F to a B-. She struggles with some of her other classes still, but I have faith that she'll bring those up, too. She's made promises before and never follows through on them. This time, not only does she have a different attitude than before, it feels very different to me. She's a totally different child.

The last little bit of news, while on the surface may seem sad, is actually very exciting to me. I'm closing my business after three years of successful portraiture work. I've learned that the business end of my business makes the rest of it miserable. I've lost creativity, passion and heart for taking pictures and, not to blow my own horn, with as good as I am at photography, it would be a travesty if I let that die. In order to keep my passion alive, I'm closing my doors. I will continue to take pictures, but not because someone's paying me to. I will shoot what I want to shoot, when I want to shoot it. I may sell the prints. I may not. It depends on my mood at the moment. But to have this excitement back again is worth losing the money I would've made. As a matter of fact, I shot a newborn sitting of my great-nephew, Weston today. Around 100 pictures were taken and now..just twelve hours later, I've gotten them edited and ready to burn to a CD tomorrow. I've never edited anything this fast in my entire life. It feels good to get my groove back.

I'm working on my website - it's a matter of laziness on my part. I've been so overwhelmed with other stuff that I haven't done much with it. It's built. It's ready to go live. I just need to add content to it..something I haven't made the time for. SOON!

Until then, I'll continue to ignore you here. ;)

Til next time...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pick on Someone Your Own Size

In the last week, I've heard from three different people about abuse going on in their lives or the lives of someone close to them. I'm absolutely sickened by this.

I know it may seem like I'm intolerant of a lot of things, but really, when it boils down to it, there are only three things that really get my dander up: drug/alchol abuse, children with parents who refuse to parent and physical/emotional abuse of ANY kind.

I'm a strong-willed woman. I have an opinion about almost everything and I'm not afraid to voice it. I'm very independent in many ways. I'm also one of the first people someone calls when they need advice or an adversary.

I know that at least one of you who has been doing the abusing is on my friends list and at least one more of you reads what I post online, so let me state something very clearly.

I'm watching you.

I'm paying attention.

She may not be stronger than you are.
She may not be smarter than you are.
She may not be richer, more attractive or more connected than you are.

But she does have something you don't:


If I were you, I'd pick up the pieces of your pathetic little lives and move on. Say goodbye to her. And walk backward toward the door...because let's be honest, with as pissed as I am, you don't want your back toward me.


Or I'll help you get it. And I'm pretty sure you're not going to like the help I get you.

You've been warned.