Time. It’s a tricky thing.
It doesn’t make sense that five years ago feels like yesterday and, yet, I don’t know where the last month went. We all know time is relative to each person’s individual experience; a hard month can feel like a year and a good year can feel like a month. Perspective is everything. Feelings or emotions aren’t much different. Our hearts deceive us.
I’ve been dealing with congestion and a cough for over a month now. I don’t know if it’s allergies or a stubborn virus, but it’s taken a toll. I had bronchitis, which was diagnosed as bacterial with a course of antibiotics that followed about three weeks ago. Am I still coughing? Yup. Do I feel any better? Minimally. I’ve had a few good days here and there where I felt like myself, but for the most part, I just feel run down.
I’m exhausted and struggling to see outside of myself. My family’s gotten the brunt of my frustration, but I don’t think I’ve been a great friend either.
Am I the only one who has trouble acknowledging when things aren’t great and reaching out?
I don’t know, but I have a feeling I’m not. I tend to hide when I don’t feel like I’m at my best. I rationalize that I don’t want to put my stresses on anyone else, but I also know from experience that I’m really shutting people out. Sharing feelings should be done with perspective and caution, but it’s important to share them nonetheless.
So, I’m going to try to be really open.
My slow recovery has a lot to do with lack of sleep. My problems sleeping started pretty early on in this pregnancy. I haven’t really had this problem (except while pregnant) before, so I’m sure it’s hormonal. Pregnancy alone can lead to irrational emotions. Add those emotions to lack of sleep and I have thoughts and feelings which have led to more sleepless nights.
On a personal level, we moved here nine months ago and, though I live ridiculously close to one of my best friends, not a far drive from another, and I’ve met amazing women I already feel so close with AND now have my amazingly supportive and helpful mom nearby, I still feel alone much of the time. So much of that just comes with being an adult woman in our culture and, especially, a mom who stays home. The other part is just missing my group of friends back east who really knew and loved me for me (and I them). I had the most supportive, encouraging group of friends who, in addition to coming to me for guidance on everything from breastfeeding to healthy eating and exercise, always chose me for their photography needs. It took time to find and get to know them and I don’t feel like I got enough time with them.
Is there ever enough time?
Professionally, I have a photography business – Joyful Heart Portraits – that I spent two years building in New Jersey. Since moving, I feel like I’m not known as a photographer here or, if I am, that no one thinks my work is anything unique, if they even know the images I post are always mine – set up and taken by me. I’ve gotten nice feedback, but when it comes down to it, I’m not the photographer recommended or hired by others, understandably in many cases.
The thing is, rationally I know a lot of that is my own fault. I haven’t done all I can to market myself. I was really spoiled by word of mouth in New Jersey. The weekend before we moved, I did three sessions in one day and had to turn two clients down. My business began, two years ago, with one woman giving me a shot and passing my name around to her friends. I know I have something unique and special to offer. I know that I love photographing expecting moms, births, and families with all my heart and I feel confident that my love comes through in my images. It will just take time to get my name out there.
Unfortunately, knowing that everything takes time doesn’t change how hard it is to start from scratch again. I can’t just fall into the same role I played in my last home in general because my friends have different strengths and needs. Nothing’s the same, which I LOVE and yet, makes me feel like I lost some sense of purpose even though I gained so much.
Feelings are very relative. They often don’t have much bearing on reality and they change depending on circumstances. I feel so many things right now that I know aren’t real. I feel lonely. I feel unnoticed. I feel invisible. I see who other people are hiring or what they’re doing with each other all over Facebook and I can’t help but take it personally when I’m almost never included. Deep down, I know it’s not personal and most of what I feel are lies, but they are feelings I struggle with daily. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and serve more people in more ways than I ever could have imagined since moving here. Those opportunities and the connections we’ve made, among other things, have reinforced that we really were called to move, but my heart deceives me.
It’s important to seek the truth and find the joy in the struggle. It’s hard not to constantly seek the approval of others, but it’s the times I’ve felt the loneliest that have brought me closer to God and made me who I am. Because, really, He’s the only one who can fill that void.