I need to get some of this out

I’ve been hiding from my phone for the past couple of days.  Ok, maybe not hiding, but I plug it in and walk away from it.  I don’t want to be near it.  Families… weddings… I swear, weddings, funerals and babies bring out the crazy in people.  And typically – when the crazy comes out – someone gets hurt.

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I guess this time… that person is me.  I’m hurt.  Reeling actually.  I feel as if I’ve been singed and cut by someone I never thought I’d have to fear.

My “bro”.  He’s not related to me by blood, but we call each other “brother” and “sister”.  We met 13 years ago, he was my neighbor who lived with his then-girlfriend across the hall.  I swear, the first time I met him, I knew he was my brother from another mother. LOL.  We’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the years, but we were always there for each other.  He’s always been there for me.

I knew, as his wedding day approached that our friendship was about to change in a big way.  Ideally, I’d gain a cool sister out of the deal.  But she has never seemed to have much interest in that, we don’t share a lot of the same ideals, so I get it. Actually – I wish she understood exactly just how much I get it.  The Bro’s life is about to change in a pretty serious way.  His life now must be with her.  Up until recently, I’ve been excited to think about what is in store for their future… moving in together, babies, eventually buying a house, doing all the things that I know he wants to accomplish.  And I knew that our friendship would move to the very back… like nosebleed seats.  And I’m cool with that – hell – I’ve been pushing him in this direction.  I guess I figured we’d get through his wedding day first.  I was wrong.  And truly, I’m not sure our friendship can recover from this.  And if I’m honest, After all that was said, I’m not entirely sure I want it to.

I won’t spill all the details here… but I will say that I wish I could help some people see how much their words can damage.  How their tone and the way they approach other people will directly impact how their words are received.  I will also say that it takes a very brave and yet rather stupid man to judge another.  My bro laid out many of the decisions I’d made over the course of my life … pointing out my mistakes, effectively rubbing my nose in the areas he felt I didn’t measure up.  Not just in my past, but even now.  But he did all of this, only knowing bits and pieces of the story.  He judged me… and it came across with anger, disdain, disappointment and shame. His soon to be wife even joined in the “fun”.  She’d verbally attacked me prior to my bro letting me have it.  Screamed at me and said I was a horrible “best man”.  Ironic she did that when I was putting finishing touches on some bachelor party related stuff earlier that evening.  It was a hard hitting 1-2 verbal sucker punch from them as a couple.

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I won’t lie, that first 24 hours after they both let me have it… I was a wreck.  I broke down.  I bawled and went quiet.  I crawled inside my world and licked my wounds.  I wasn’t even angry, I was self-reflective.  I had to check myself… make sure that what he’d said wasn’t true.  I guess because I’ve been actively working on self-improvement, I had to really take a good look and make sure that there weren’t areas of his feedback that I needed to consider.  The next day, we spoke again and he apologized and tried to sweep it under the rug.  Even tried to deny some of what he’d said the night before.  I thanked him for the apology but stated that for me to feel comfortable attending the wedding and the festivities, that I would like an apology from his fiance/soon to be wife.    He agreed that I deserved it, but warned that I might not get it from her right away.  He laid out various reasons and excuses for why I should just let it go.  About 15 minutes after he said he’d talk to her and get back to me, my phone rang.  It was her, and I answered it pleasantly, as I didn’t want to start things off on the wrong foot.  She immediately started yelling – even yelled an apology.  Yea – cuz THAT feels totally sincere.  I hung up on her, and texted her that perhaps it would be better to move to text.  Honestly, I just didn’t want to be yelled at anymore.  We texted a little – but I pretty quickly gave up on that too.  So here I sit, no sincere apology and still feeling incredibly upset and uneasy a few days later.

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Yes, I could back down… I could suck it up and be there for him on his wedding day.  And likely – I will do this.  More for me than him.  I don’t want to feel guilty 10 years from now for not showing up.  And I’ll go into it knowing there’s the potential for drama, or daggers being thrown at me, there will be the potential for awkward uncomfortable silences, and even worse, a high chance that I will end up feeling used or insulted by the end of all of this.  I will suck it up, BUT… I’m done.  Or at least I think I am.  I’m going to just keep going down my own life’s path… because I’m dying to see what happens in the next chapters of my life.  To get thru this, i’m going to keep telling myself that it’s not my circus, and not my monkeys.

I’m a grown woman who’s made a successful, full and happy life for herself.  I’m a woman who has good, sweet, smart children who may stumble or struggle in their life in places, but who know without a shadow of a doubt that their momma loves them and would do anything to see that they are safe and well cared for.  I don’t deserve to be talked to or treated in that manner.  Especially when what is being said isn’t true.  At least I had that going for me, I knew, deep down in my heart that nothing they said was true about me… that it was being said out of spite and anger and jealousy.  But here’s the thing, even knowing that… it still hurt.  It was a different hurt tho.  This hurt came from knowing that the someone I trusted over the years is now throwing daggers… they are no longer worthy of my trust.  That perhaps I’d misjudged him all along.

So … because of all of this… I’ve been avoiding my phone. I’ve been staying off social media and just kind of hiding in my world.  I’ve had some shifts in a few friendships in the last few months… each of them shook me to my core for various reasons.  This one is no different.  What is interesting to me is that when I promised myself that I’d get healthy, even if that meant cutting toxic situations out of my life… I guess I didn’t realize how many of my relationships had toxic layers woven into them.  Maybe living on my own and staying single for a while truly WAS the best thing I could have done for myself.  I’m so glad I’ve done it up to this point.  I’ll have to watch myself moving forward… I’m putting up my walls with everyone – unintentionally.  And I don’t mean to.  I am just unsure on who to trust, vs. who will judge me or hurt me.  Easier to just put up the walls a bit.

I had an interview today – it went quite well.  I felt confident, for the first time in months actually.  A genuine confidence, not the kind where you fake it till you hopefully make it.  Maybe being shaken to my core this weekend was good for me.  Helped remind me who I am.  Where I’ve been, and more importantly, where I am headed.

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Taking a leap

I’m taking the summer off…

(pause)

I’m taking the summer off, and starting a business.

(longer pause)

The weight of that statement is heavy… and yet… it just feels right.

Maybe it’s stupid.  Maybe I’ll regret it.  Maybe it will be a total and absolute flop.  Or…. Maybe it will be amazing, and maybe I’ll be able to sustain the way we live and will feel end up feeling refreshed and recharged and return to work or just keep going… who knows?!

I have a job interview, well… two of them, next week.  I’m excited for these opportunities.  But I also know how slow the big companies typically are when it comes to actually bringing someone on board, so in the mean time, I’ll happily play with my new camera.

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It was a risk to buy it, but I’m fairly convinced I’ll be able to earn back the money I spent to buy it.  And things are oddly falling into place.  I’ve been invited to be the only photographer at the northwest writers convention in a couple of weeks.  I’ll have a booth set up that I have to figure out what I’m going to put in there.  Sometimes, it’s all in who you know.  I feel a little silly getting this opportunity, seeing as I don’t have tons of experience.  But then another friend saw my work and asked if I’d do some photos for her business, and I’ve got a couple of people inquiring about boudoir work.  Even a dude who wants to do dudeoir!

Today I had what was my third official boudoir photography session – where I was the photographer.  It turned out to be an amazing shoot.  I got SO many good shots, in such a short amount of time.  My client was thrilled, and of course, so was I, as this is more work I can put in my portfolio – she happily gave me those rights. 🙂

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I reached out to quite a few of my friends and people in my network… I want to capture life.  I don’t have much desire to shoot weddings, but I’d like to do just about everything else.  Births, engagements or couples shoots, events, kids & pet portraits…. and of course, boudoir.  Especially Boudoir.  Some day I’d love to have a trailer set up so that I could take a mobile studio and shoot at the race for cure.  Give people a sense of empowerment over their own self esteem.  Show them how beautiful they really are.  I want to document love.  Something real.  I want to show people what I see of the world in front of me.

I think that’s why I like photography as much as I do.  It, along with art, are the few ways I can show someone else the world through my eyes.  In this case, seeing the world through my lens.  The camera makes me feel brave and secure.

I’ve added links to my instagram and business facebook page to the sidebars of this blog.  I do hope you’ll at least peek at my work and give me some feedback or a kind word of encouragement.  🙂

Thanks neverland.  Much love to you tonight.

XXO.

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10 things I’d do differently

Weddings.  No don’t get any ideas.  I’m not planning one for me anytime soon.  Maybe someday, just not yet.  No way in hell. 🙂 But that said, a bunch of my friends are in the midst of either planning their weddings, or planning to propose to their significant others and for some reason, despite my terrible track record (first marriage was 3 years, ended horribly, second lasted 10 and at least ended amicably), they come to me for advice or to just share their thoughts.  And it’s got me thinking about what I’d want to do differently if I could do it again.

ImageBe proposed to.
Ok so this is a bit odd to say – but both of my marriages, I proposed to the guy.  If I should ever go down the wedding path again – I’d like to experience the whole guy on one knee, offering up some bling and pouring his heart and soul out while he asks for my hand.

ImageSpeaking of the ring
I’d like to not pay for my own ring.  My first marriage, I bought my ring, and because of that – I’ve always loved the ring, but never really associated it with him.  Which is a bonus for me now because I can still wear it and not feel weird about it – but at the same time, it never really meant the same.  My second,  I helped to pay for it, and it wasn’t a real diamond but a really good CZ.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but there’s something to be said about being offered an authentic diamond.  AND the second piece wrap around piece got lost (not due to me but due to my spouse losing it) and not replacing it with a matching piece so it looked kinda odd and piece mailed.

Hmm…I suppose I should add here tho. I actually don’t want a diamond. I want a moonstone. Why pay an excessive amount of money for a gem? Moonstone, white gold, a few tiny diamonds in a delicate setting…would be perfect for me.

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Small and Intimate
If there is one thing I’m finally starting to understand in life, it’s that you should do things for you.  Not for your family or friends.  I don’t care to have everyone and their mother attend and judge and potentially free load.  Why take on that kind of stress?  I’d like a small, simple ceremony with me and my guy and my children.  That’s it.  Throw a party afterwards to include everyone if you need to – but the ceremony itself?  That should be just about us and no one else.

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Capture those memories – it only happens once.
My first wedding, we put disposable cameras everywhere and asked folks to jump in and help take pics.  I think my mom still has some of those cameras we never got developed.  My second, well, we relied on the parents to capture pics and a video.  Nope never again.  Hire someone.  Hire someone good.  My wedding video consisted of a brief pan over the crowd, focusing on the groom and only included me walking with my dad in the last 30 seconds, not even enough to show my face, just the backside of me as I approached my groom.  Gee thanks dad in law.  I’ve never been able to sit and watch the short video because it just would piss me off that so much was lost and not captured.  Usually the bride and groom are the focus of these things.  Not the guests.  And skip the whole formal family shots.  Candid shots of folks enjoying themselves – that’s where it is at.

ImageIf you have a rule – stick to it
I had one rule.  No alcohol (or drugs for that matter) was to be consumed prior to the vows.  Afterwards – fine have at it if you must.  But prior to committing yourself for life, you damn well BETTER be sober, so that you can understand the gravity of what you’re committing yourself to do.  And both times I married – the men I chose to marry broke that rule.  And it hurt.  Hurt a lot.

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Maid of Honor/Best men
I love my friends.  Don’t think I don’t.  But does anyone REALLY enjoy this duty?  I seriously question whether or not they do.  If I were to do this over again – as stated earlier in my “small ceremony” – I’d skip this whole thing.

ImageHoneymoon – GO!
I’ve never gone on a honeymoon.  Not a real one.  I’ve always had staycation ones – and again, there is nothing wrong with that.  When I got married, we were pretty poor.  Couldn’t afford to do any travel.  But if I were to redo at some point in my life, I’d like to experience a real honeymoon.  A cruise (even a short one) or a tropical beach somewhere, a café in france, something different, foreign and fantastic.

ImageHandwritten vows
If you decide to write your own vows – which by the way I highly encourage, be sure that both parties are actually on board and will ACTUALLY write them.  There’s nothing more heart breaking than to have your significant other surprise you and your officiate at the last minute by saying he hadn’t prepared anything, especially when you’d poured months into writing yours.

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Communication
My other “regrets” aren’t really involving the wedding or the ceremony itself.  My regrets come into play on what happened afterwards or the next day.  My grooms both took off on me on the wedding night to go party.  And with my second marriage, he also took off the next morning to have breakfast with his family and didn’t invite me.  I remember sitting on the couch in the house we’d rented for the ceremony bawling with my maid of honor and best friend asking her what I’d done.  Commenting on how I felt more married to her than I did to him.  Now this simply shows me (hindsight is 20/20) that I married the wrong guy for me.  But perhaps I didn’t communicate my needs on this either.  A relationship should be equal.  Where both parties put into it what they hope to get out of it, and assuming the other person knows what you want is a big mistake.  They aren’t mind readers after all.

ENJOY yourself
This sounds like a bit of a duh.  And in some ways, it really is.  But this is the one moment when you should be allowed to enjoy yourselves.  Enjoy your new spouse, enjoy being the center of attention.  Not everything will go as planned, know it, expect it, hell, embrace it.  I think I’d have a deal with my significant other, first thing to go wrong means we get a reward of some sort.  Stop everything and have a glass of champagne or get an extra slow dance, or add a couples massage to the honeymoon package or something.  That way – you’re almost looking forward to it when it happens.  I’m a bit like an air traffic controller – I want things to go the way I’ve planned and be perfect, and if I were to do things over, I’d let go a little more.