Being the cheesy girl that I am, I've been thinking a lot lately about how to live a full life.
I think that the time we live in is a pretty crazy time to be alive. BUT. Hasn't it always been that way? As someone who has spent a lot of time studying history, I often flinch when someone says "I was born in the wrong time period" because, even though the forties were full of pretty dresses and nice hairstyles, they were also full of horrible deaths, devastation, and starving. As was nearly every decade in the twentieth century. I was born in 1986. I am twenty-five years old. My mom was born in 1960. She had just turned twenty-six when she had me (her third child). Sometimes it feels like the past is a far-off, forgotten era, but most of the past isn't that far away. My grandparents fought in the Second World War. Their grandparents (maybe great grandparents?) were slave holders who fought in the Civil War. And those people? They were just as human as you and I, just like all the people who have lived since the world began. To me, that's mind boggling.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this post but, like I said, I've been thinking a lot lately about how to live the fullest life possible. Everyone has a bullet list, whether written down or imaginary, that outlines what they believe a full life entails. And me? Mine's always consisted of religion and love and family and art and words and music. I want a beautiful life and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. In fact, I think it's something that's really, really good.
When you become a mom, it is really easy to just lose yourself in your child. Really easy. All of the sudden there are little toes to touch and little cheeks to squeeze and a little bum to laugh at and little lips to kiss and little ears to whisper into and little eyes to stare into and little hands to teach to count and little knees to put Band-Aids on and little legs to keep up with. And, sometimes, losing yourself in your child is the perfect route to go. Your children are literally part of you. Whether they came naturally or through fertility treatments or through surgery or through adoption or through foster care or through chance or through any other way, your children are a part of you. I think of Max nearly all day. I teach him to say words. I kiss him all over. I dress him. I bathe him. I scold him. I pull him off tables and stop him from climbing on chairs and follow him around trying not to laugh as he throws thirty minute tantrums because I won't let him stand on the table and TOOK ALL OF THE CHAIRS AWAY.
Basically, I'm saying that your babies are your babies.
BUT. It can be hard to maintain yourself- your wants and hopes and dreams and even your personality- once you become a mother. It's easy to become an extension of your child. Just like, if you're an artist, it's easy to become a paintbrush or an acting role. When I shoot a lot, it's really easy for me to become an extension of a camera rather than the camera to be an extension of me, especially when I'm trying too hard to please others. Just like, if you're a new wife, it can be really easy to become an "us" all the time rather than a "he-and-me". Mr. C. and I are definitely an "us" but, at the same time, we're also a "he-and-me". We get wrapped up in each other easily, but we're different people and, even though we are working towards the same life goals, we're also working on our own side projects. Otherwise, we'd drive each other crazy.
And then there's the online world. I have a love-hate relationship with the online world. On one hand, it's necessary for my profession and I love it when it's nice. On the other hand, a lot of the online world is a huge piece of crap full of negative vibes. Like, I've gotten more into Pinterest lately and I'm starting to really love it, but at the same time, I have to wonder if I'm just wasting my time. It's very rare that I look at my pins more than once or twice and I used to spend that time to work or read a book or, y'know, actually make crafts instead of reading about them. But... pinning is fun! And, on that note, it's really fun to love and hate blogs. Most of y'all who frequent here know that I'm not very active in the blog world. I always answer emails, but I don't read a lot of blogs and I don't respond to many comments. Life blogs can just become so pompous when a blogger feels like they've made it. And when a blog is pompous is it really that much fun to read? I mean, they can be really fun to joke about with your fellow blog-reading friends, but are they fun to actually read? I hope my blog never comes off pompously. For the record, I'm very aware that my blog is never going to be a blog with thousands of followers and I'm more aware that I'll never make any money from the words I publish from this little Blogger Template. And that's okay! I have kept extensive journals since I was in the second grade so, even though this journal is a little different because it has an audience, it's still one of my journals. And I love that. I love documenting my life, especially with mixed mediums. Other people don't like that or they don't like that unless they're profiting and that's okay, too! Blogging is one of my hobbies, not one of my career goals, but that's just me.
Anyway, I feel like this post contains six or seven almost-tangents, but I think what I'm trying to say is that it's easy to lose yourself through so many different things. It's easy to say "I'm a mother" and just see yourself as someone who is sleeping on a sheet-less mattress because your baby was busy throwing up on them last week. It's easy to say "I'm a school teacher" and just see yourself as someone who teaches social studies to moody seventh graders. It's easy to say "I'm a Mormon" (cause you know I am!) and just see yourself as someone who goes to church three hours a week instead of the normal one hour church all your friends attend. It's easy to say "I'm a hobbyist" and feel bullied by people who have been doing something soooo much longer than you so you should probably just stop now, even though you're just having fun. And all of this is easier to feel in a world where you can click a screen two or three times and read about how someone else has the best life that ever was.
I just think that everyone, no matter their circumstance, has so much potential. I'm not saying that everyone is capable of everything (I could never be a chemist or an actor or a politician, for that matter), but I do believe that everyone is capable of great things, even when it feels otherwise. And I just want to live the fullest life as possible. Full of happiness and sorrow and baby toes and snuggles and art and beautiful music and horrible music and middle school concerts and dead fish that need to be flushed down the toilet and scraped knees and drama over whether or not to sell the zoom to buy a new prime lens and positive pregnancy tests and annoying pets and home sewn blankets and dirty sinks and long nights mopping the floor and wake up calls by three children running into the room and expanding my business and watching fireworks and running into old friends and holding Andrew's hand all over the world and trying to keep everyone calm in the church pew even though I forgot the bag full of quiet toys and cleaning up messes and staying in my pajamas too late and forgetting to brush my hair and trying out new kinds of clothing and trying out new recipes and long date nights with my husband and taking little girls to ballet and taping up broken fingers and crying during immunizations and peeling glue off my fingers while watching a movie and photographing all kinds people and long meetings that turn into fun nights out with friends and regrets over buying two hundred dollar boots and displaying my artwork all over our home and, better yet, displaying our childrens' artwork all our home, and supporting Mr. C. even when things get really hard and demanding back rubs late at night, even when I'm seventy-two and just so many things I can't even write out because there's so much that happens in a single life and I want to experience so much of both the good and the bad that it just makes me want to sing.
And that is what I have to say this Wednesday in the early afternoon.
PS. I didn't proofread this and this computer has auto correct so... forgive me for the typos?