One thing I know about life. It always finds a way to remind you of the things that feed your soul. Like reconnecting with friends and family. Or re-introducing the spark into your life for the things that you thought you had lost interest in. I had forgotten how much I missed my family, how much they feed my soul. I traveled with my best friend and our trip reminded me of all the laughs I didn’t know I needed. I was also reminded this year that not all ideas or dreams are lost and that all it takes is a gentle reminder of why you dreamt it up in the first place. Maybe me writing this is a reminder for you.
So I’ve been trying this whole mindfulness meditation thing lately. And its been working out pretty well. I’ve established a pretty standard morning routine, which I am totally not a morning person to be clear. But it seems that mornings have become increasingly easier. I can process my thoughts. During one session, I could very clearly hear a voice say “You have everything that you need”. Hearing that released like, this blanket of calm. We spend so much of our lives searching for, wanting more, that we don’t really acknowledge what we have. I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts and the guest said something that resonated with me.
As I type this, a steady stream of sirens can be heard outside my window, coupled with the ongoing conversations and honking horns from the Metro rail below. And after a full month in my new studio, I have to say, its actually kind of growing on me.
I’ve always had this idea in my head that I could never afford to live in the city and I had pretty much convinced myself that I wouldn’t like it either. I’ve never lived in the city in my entire thirty-one years of living. It’s either been the hood or the burbs. But there’s a first time for everything, right?
Life has a way of showing us exactly who’s boss, which can partially explain my absence from blogging. The other part is my full on ability to let laziness and procrastination take over my free time (being honest and admitting is always the first step, right?). I’ve had so many moments of ” You need to write” followed by “but look at our bed, its so lonely and cozy at the same time”. Any who, my bad.
You ever sit back and evaluate your life? I mean really sit and reflect on how far you’ve come? You remember that one thing that finally pushed you out of your comfort zone and sparked a change of pace for your growth? I can remember feeling like I needed something more out of the life I was living. I was merely existing, too scared to take a leap or give in to whatever crazy idea I had floating around in my head. Too scared of the possible outcomes of acting on something that I genuinely wanted to do. I placed limits on myself where there shouldn’t have been any.
You ever drive through your hometown and set out to discover the yet to be discovered? Or maybe set out to capture the beauty of the unappreciated? That’s always been a goal of mine, even from a little girl. I was always determined to find my town’s best kept secret or at least pretend that it was.
Beaumont,TX (my hometown) is full of treasures. Although buried deep or often gone unnoticed, there are many points of interest I’ve always been drawn to. I’ve been going to Collier’s Ferry Park (or as the locals call it “The River”) since I was a little girl. My uncle would pull out the boat and we would go tubing during the summer. Every trip I would feel a rush of excitement, as if I didn’t only live ten minutes away. Even as an adult, I still sort of get a little excited. Often times as I got older, I would go just to be able to think. The silence is so calming. You could literally hear a pin drop. Its been said that pure silence is the best time to hear God speak. Either way, my little moments at the River have helped me think through many life decisions.
In recent years, my hometown has been the center of much controversy and scandal. It has seen many changes, some for the good but a lot of bad. Crime rates have rapidly increased alongside a failing school district. But somehow, I can’t seem to find it in my heart to completely forget where I’ve come from. I visit often, mainly because of family. But also because there is no place else like it. And because of places like the River, in all of its simplicity, still manages to exude a whimsical blanket of serenity whenever I’m near. To me, it feels like the calmest, quietest place in the entire town. Many of my friends who left vowing never to return may think I’m stuck in a fairyland for writing this. But I understand that no place is perfect, and there will always be trouble anywhere you go. I just choose not to let the bad completely overshadow all of the good that I’ve grown to appreciate. We all have our own things we find beautiful; our own aesthetic truths. Doesn’t always require a trip to a completely foreign place to realize either.
Fear is paralyzing. It has the power to keep you from living, if you let it. But there are times when you succumb to fear out of pure stress and anxiety. In a previous post I briefly explained my mother’s battle with breast cancer. She was a fighter. Some days I wish I had half the fight she had. Seriously, some days I feel like the biggest chicken shit, even amidst the kudos I get for traveling alone. Nah, she was a REAL fearless, fighter. In a battle I was so sure she would win. But when you’re seven or eight years old, everyone is a superhero. And of course, her bill came due.
I’ve always worried about cancer, if it was genetic and if I was destined to get it. Obviously that’s not a given that I will, but the thought is scary as shit. I’m adamant about my check ups (I’m 28 and get mammograms). I mean, that’s only natural right? And then, there’s that feeling that I can’t let fear win because my mom didn’t.
At my last checkup, I discussed my family history and my concerns with my doctor. She stressed getting tested for the BRCA genes as a risk assessment measure and to better tailor my screenings. I had done some light research on testing and I had also read about women having their breasts removed who tested positive for the gene. The fear of finding out I had the gene and the millions of thoughts of death and worry that came with it overwhelmed me. I kind of felt that maybe it was best if I never found out, for my own peace of mind. But on the day I was visiting my doctor, I decided to go through with it. Strangely enough, my test is scheduled on what would have been my mother’s 60th birthday. I didn’t realize this until a few days ago.
I’m a little nervous, but this is what she would’ve wanted. And now, it is truly what I want. I feel like I’m facing one of my biggest fears, beating it to the punch. Not so much a post about travel or art, but maybe it’ll inspire someone:)
Onward and upward, positive vibes and good wine….
I don’t know about you, but every time I think I may have put the finishing touches on my “list of things to do before whenever”, something else always catches my eye. I think my list consists of more destinations than anything. There’s this trend among some of my friends, where it seems like the lists are broken down by milestones. Like birthdays. 30 concerts before 30, 40 trips before 40 and so on. Seems pretty reasonable to me.The sky’s the limit, right?
Every time I think about my bucket list in its entirety, I start to get the feeling that I’ll run out of time because it’s so much stuff. Since my mom’s passing when I was 8, I’ve always felt this huge sense of urgency to do things (my family will tell you that I am the most impatient person you will ever meet). She was 37 when she received her cancer diagnosis and she passed 3 years later, which is far too soon. It took years of therapy for me to understand that I wasn’t destined for the same fate and that everything didn’t need to be so rushed. I was missing out on life.
Traveling has become sort of an outlet for me to channel that anxiety and fear. I haven’t completely rid myself of it, but its good to know that after all these years, I’ve finally found a way to cope with it that actually works. Solo travel was the catalyst. It was my first real risk I ever took, which was scary in itself, especially if you’re not used to doing anything alone. It taught me that I was stronger than I thought. I also grasped the concept of how time really does fly when you’re having fun doing things that are meaningful to you. You notice everything but the time and how much of it you have spent enjoying yourself. Most importantly, it taught me that you don’t need to be rich to travel. So I’m taking on my list one day at a time with realistic expectations. Of course, nothing is impossible, but then you don’t want to run yourself ragged planning for something that is supposed to be exhilarating.
What’s the one thing on your list (if you have one) you just have to do before your number’s up, or any other relevant milestone?
I always manage to find beauty in the most random places. I call them gems. Sometimes its like finding a diamond in the rough or a needle in a hay stack. The reality is, beauty is all around us, sometimes right where you can see it. Often times we get too tied down with life that we don’t notice it. Continuing on with the celebration of spring, here are some shots I captured around town. Some in random open fields by my job and others just taking a stroll through my neighborhood.
Sometimes I feel weird walking in the middle of people or on busy streets and whipping out my camera to snap a picture. But who’s to say the opportunity will be there tomorrow or even 15 minutes later? To me, that’s part of the beauty of photography. Capturing life’s most simplest moments the minute they make themselves known. I’ve had my fair share of missed opportunities, and each day I strive to get better at seizing them.
The Etta James classic rings heavily in my head as I sit and reflect on today’s events. My visit to the Texas Hill Country was filled with scenic routes ( I basically got lost a bunch of times, but it was totally worth it). It reaffirmed the fact that I love the life I live, ups and downs. The downs make the ups that much better. This trip was totally an up. You know what made this trip even better? Wine.
The drive up to the winery was a gorgeous one. Winding curves on a dirt road, leading up to the top of a hill. Perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The winery grounds were cozy. The staff were super friendly and welcoming. Ten bucks got you 6 tastings and the cool wine glass pictured above. I’m usually a Merlot girl, but the day was nice and warm enough for a sparkling white ( Starry Nights, thank me later). Overall, an extremely pleasant experience. I didn’t take as many pics as I should have at the winery, but I was too busy enjoying the breeze and relaxing. Next time, I promise.