Sunday, April 29, 2012

Do Something for Yourself (Day 26 in Beyond Layers)

I'm going backwards in the Beyond Layers course, I know, but I did actually do this assignment on time and just have not gotten around to posting anything about it.

I was pretty sure, though, that this would be another assignment I was not going to be able to do that weekend, if at all. I know there is wisdom to taking care of oneself first but I do tend to have that martyr mentality at times. Also the weekend this assignment came, it seemed like the idea to getting any time to myself was going to be impossible, but as it turned out, I took my daughter to a birthday party that I thought I was going to stay at along with her and found out that there was no reason to stay. I was far enough away from home that going back to get some of my weekend chores done was not going to be worth it. And luckily I had packed my camera 'just in case'. I ventured over to Flowing Well Park and went for my own little photo walk until it was time to pick up my daughter from the party.

It was a beautiful day: cool and sunny and I had a great time, alone in the woods with my camera and my thoughts.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Being Brave (Beyond Layers Day 28)

For Beyond Layers this time, Kim Klassen challenged us  to write down our bravest moments. Oh gosh. I am not brave. I have never been brave and I do not and have not done many brave things.

I've only done normal things; fulfilled normal obligations--went to school, did my work, went to college, did my work, got a few internships, did my work, went to graduate school, did my work, got a job, did my work, got a new job, did my work, got married, had children, did my work. I am persistent and stubborn and, often, determined, but I am not brave. That is just not the word for me.

There are a couple of things that I have done that others have said were brave, but I did not do them with that sense of courage. I did these things more out of stubbornness:

1. I had unmedicated childbirth two times, but I decided to do that and once I decided, I was not going to back down. I was stubborn. Also it was easy; not bad at all. I really believe any woman can do it if they want and the circumstances are right (e.g. no emergencies arise). It was not brave.

2. On a work trip to Belgium, I found myself alone and with a day off from work; my trip back was not going to happen until the following day. Rather than sitting in the hotel in Brussels, I decided I was not going to waste my chance to see something else special in Belgium, so I walked to the train station and boarded a train to the town of Brugge, not knowing the language and not knowing the country at all. But it turned out to be easy and well worth it. I got to Brugge, followed my nose into the downtown area, went into a local shop,  bought a map and spent the rest of the day exploring that beautiful town. I only wish now that I had been into photography at that time. One of my friends exclaimed afterwards when I was telling her about how fun it was that I was so brave to do that; perhaps I was, but I did not feel that way at the time. I just did not want to miss out.


I find dandelions to be symbolic of many things often, especially when I capture them in a photograph. These two photos symbolized acts of bravery to me because I think it is brave to take the plunge, go out on your own, let go of the familiar. 

Yesterday, I did do something that was a bit brave for me: I applied for a new and different position in the company that I work for. I do not know what will come of it, but I have been ready for a change for a long time. I have been reluctant, though, because athough I do not really like it, I am comfortable with my current position; I know what I am doing; I know the people; I know what to expect every day. At the same time, can I really spend the next thirteen or so years (until I reach retirement age . . . ugh) doing this same thing that has become so unsatisfying to me? Maybe. Well, yes, I can, sure . . . but should I? So I decided to take that first step and apply for something new. For me, that was a bit brave.

 Of course, it would be even braver to try to start over and do something that I really want to do for a living, but there is more to it than that; that could also be quite foolish because it would come with a massive pay cut. I know I have a responsibility to contribute to the financial stability of my family; that is the way it works in our household because my husband and I have fairly equal earnings and always have--and we both want to have an early retirement!

Kim also challenged us to write down our photography dreams, as an act of bravery . . . yikes. Here they are:

  1. Get a photo or two published in something (something that is not self published; something where someone else actually picks my photo) . . . a magazine, a map, a calendar, a book.
  2. Win a photography contest (this is just a dream; I do not feel like it is important for anything in particular, but it would be nice.)
  3. Collaborate with someone or a group of people on a photography book or some sort of project.
  4. Admit that I am a photographer and join a photography club (I know this should be easy, but it is not for me. It is so hard).
  5. Sell photos more widely and/or participate in a photography exhibit locally and more 'in person' (whether that is actually doing a booth or putting work in my local art co-ops or getting in on a show of some sort--many possibilities, but so hard to do because I have lots of hang ups about putting myself out there). 
(I have actually sold a couple of items on Society6  . . . earned a total of $10.70 . . . BUT, though, that is not enough money, really for anything, I am still over the moon that anyone at all would even want to buy anything I did. It is a lot easier for me, though, to put myself out there online (behind a computer screen where I can be relatively anonymous). I was able to post on Facebook that I sold some things, but that was difficult for me, too. It is always in the back of my mind that people who I know in real life will be thinking just who does she think she is? I think it all the time myself . . . just who do I think I am?  With strangers of virtual online 'friends' I know they do not know or care just who I think I am :) I guess it is time to be brave and get over myself, huh?)

Monday, April 9, 2012

If not now, then when?

About a week ago, Kim Klassen challenged us with this question: 'if not now, then when?' I can relate to that well because I am a great procrastinator (I procrastinated nearly a week on this post!). I even rationalize my procrastination habits by telling myself that eventually I do my best work when it is at the last minute. Although I do usually manage to get things done when I have a deadline, even if I put it off, I can't really say it is my best work--sometimes that doesn't matter because it is just 'work', ya know? It doesn't have to be good; it just has to be done, but I often save the hardest part for last because I want to check off my list so I feel like I made some progress, but it is the hard things that matter--that is where the real work is.

I am a worker--always have been. I work and work and I can work really, really hard, but as hard as I work, it is not usually on the right things. I work on the things I know I can do and sometimes on the things I just have to do because that is life. I get it done.

What tends to get me is procrastinating (or maybe it is more of being  reluctant and afraid) about the other things in my life . . . the BIG things; the things I want to do, but am too scared to do--like find a new job (even though mine is fine, really, but it is boring and uninspiring, but so hard to take the plunge into something I rather be doing--plus I'm not even sure what that is); like really get into art and actually sell some stuff--maybe even find my niche; like put myself out there--really ask people to look at my stuff--really self-promote (so scared of that!). . . . but I want to start . . . something . . . if not NOW, then when?