I've been writing for probably three years now about wanting to chronicle home life, the girls growing, things we are learning, just generally things that are rolling around in my head. I've been wanting to do that but hadn't yet felt free to. There are a number of reasons... I blogged years ago, super openly, throughout the advent of mommy blogs. Then everything changed for me, and I lost my 'voice'. I wanted to keep my life more private following the major changes for me & the older girls a few years ago, and also after meeting John, marrying, and then welcoming Faeren. The criticisms that I heard along the way before, during, and after those changes made me wary of opening the possibility of judgement into our lives. (I realize this is super vague but it's not worth getting entirely into detail.) I think that now, after time has passed, having acknowledged some of my lingering hurts and demons, and finding a huge need for humility in myself and towards others along said way, I am ready to stop being so precious about sharing. My resentment towards 'the pressures on women today to be everything' & my rebel/cynical attitude, pushing away social media, hashtags, and 'trying too hard', was more about me, my self-doubts, my own pride and broken places. But I am seeing that with all this stuff -- it is what it is. Post whatever you want. If I don't like it, I don't have to look at it. Same for my stuff. People unfollow me all the time and that's great because we can be in agreement that my content isn't a good fit for them and now I don't have to annoy them everyday.
There is a bit more to my realization that I can post anything in the world... I was defensively clutching at my life, not wanting to let anyone in, because I wasn't healed and that wasn't okay with me. My various roles of wife, mother, photographer, income earner, friend etc felt very disparate and so trying to represent any of it felt false. My sense of personhood was fragmented. The things I've been through and done over the past sixteen years of life do have that fragmenting, disillusioning effect on a human being. But through some time I have spent reading, listening, working through some of the hard things, I am finding that in so many important ways I am only just now finding equilibrium -- a deep sense of stability, safety, and wholeness. I have found my voice again.
I need to interrupt to say that this is the most candidly I have written in a long time, and I feel like this is cliché montage to a certain degree. But again... it is what it is.
I listened to this *highly recommended episode of the Woolful podcast (you're welcome) and it was like the penny dropped... so much of this resonated with me, and I hope if you have a moment, you can listen to it. I think part of my life felt very stagnated -- even after meeting my beautiful husband, even after having another beautiful little girl, even after seeing my older two thriving and us all growing closer everyday. Creating & crafting with my hands were foundational for me as a woman. Those things had to be pushed aside so that I could pick up the camera to support my little family as a single mama. From then on, I was operating with a survival mentality which of necessity suppressed so much of what made me feel alive. Those were hard years, and they've left their mark... it's not easy to just move on from that way of living and thinking. There were many, many effects of that time, but one notable consequence was that I became burnt out on photography and freelance life. I will always treasure the medium of photography, it's basically part of how my brain works, but there has been a need for something(s) else that I can do that has no strings attached. Totally free of the hustle, entirely self-directed, repetitive in a therapeutic way.
I have a simple frame loom that John and I built with a bit of help from a friend, and it's awesome. I love the scale of it, because I love large pieces with texture, movement, an element of wildness. I also have a set of hand-forged carving knives, thanks to my friends at Bloodroot, and plenty of wood to learn small scale wood working. Spoons, bowls, serving boards, things of this nature. This brings me joy. I love sharing these things with the girls and showing them how they are done. (Yes we exercise caution, no they don't touch the knives.) I can do them with the girls nearby, set it down when my hands are needed elsewhere, and pick back up where I left off. So these are just some shots from home, after I started a new tapestry. John and Faeren were playing in the background and the love was so evident. I've found that leaving my camera out, which sounds crazy because it is expensive and big, eliminates the stress around taking photographs and makes it my own again. Which to me is life-giving. Thanks for reading. xx