A Lack in my Life

Today I was stricken by how much I miss being part of a family. Of course I have Ryan, and he and I are our own family; and we have family who love us and support us even though they’re far away. I miss being part of a tight-knit community in frequent contact with each other and in close proximity to one another; able to gather and share life often. That kind of thing can be created with anyone anywhere, but we have been largely unsuccessful so far here in Nashville.

We have friends who are very nice people and fun to be around, but we don’t see them very often. We have friends we’ve made in middle school, high school and college, but we are all scattered and have mostly grown apart. We had a wonderful “film family” of our crew in Oklahoma, but then we moved away. We joined a Lifegroup at our church, but they all live close to each other and we are 45 minutes away from them, meaning they are able to have a closer friendship with each other than we are able to have with the rest of the group. None of this is anyone’s fault; it’s just life, but it sure is unfortunate.

People need to feel needed in many ways. I feel needed by Ryan and at my job, but without feeling like anyone needs me as a friend, I feel sad, lonely, and lacking in purpose. Within the past couple of years, I have been left out of some things that I just always thought I’d be a part of. I suppose I shouldn’t have taken it for granted that I’d be wanted at those events, and it makes me feel wretchedly bratty that I’m even expressing this, but I need some kind of outlet and that’s what my blog is.

Maybe I’m just learning the lesson that friendships are increasingly difficult to maintain as we get older. Maybe my specific circumstances of going through high school, college and much of my twenties in three different places has been what’s made it difficult to make and keep close friends. Maybe I’m just not the sort of person people really need in their lives. At least that can be changed if it’s the case, but I struggle with where to begin.

I see people gather with the families they were born into and, although I absolutely love where Ryan and I are in our life together, I envy their proximity to their parents and siblings. I see people gather with the families they’ve created with friends, and I wonder why I always feel like I’m on the outside looking in. Is it because we live in a part of town that none of our friends live in? Is it simply not time for something like that to happen to us for a reason I don’t yet understand?

In Oklahoma, our house was “the” house. We threw Halloween parties, New Year’s Eve parties, and birthday parties there; we hosted meetings and craft gatherings and just a lot of fun hangouts there. Oh, I miss it so much. It seems so far away from where we are now – not just geographically, but in terms of how we fit in with our peers socially. I want to change that, but I’m not sure how. I know that “to have a friend, you have to be a friend,” and for now I suppose what I can do is try to initiate more hangouts, although my admittedly pessimistic outlook immediately remembers the many failures I’ve had in those attempts since moving here. It’s hard to keep on trucking when your tires are running out of air.

I just typed “Sorry for the downer of a post!” Then I erased that. I am a three-dimensional person with all kinds of feelings, and especially after my departure from Facebook, I refuse to put only my “highlight reel” online. This is what I’m feeling right now in my life, and although it’s a shame to feel this away, I’m not ashamed of myself for feeling it. So, if you’re still reading, thanks.:)

Newbie

Last weekend, Ryan and I got a new kitten. ¬†It was really never a question of if it would happen, but when. ¬†For obvious reasons, we didn’t want to do it right away, but we also didn’t want to wait too long because Pipsi is sweet and social and deserves a companion. ¬†So into our home Rory came.

He is very cute, playful, and curious. ¬†He runs away from us but when we catch up to him, he purrs like crazy and sleeps contentedly in our arms. ¬†Especially Ryan’s.

I’m sad and scared. ¬†Rory’s presence is a very bittersweet thing. ¬†He’s fun to have around, but he wouldn’t be here if Caspian still were. ¬†He makes Caspian’s death more real, more final. ¬†I’m scared of loving him like I loved Caspian only for him to die an untimely or even a timely death. ¬†I’m hoping, and telling myself, that these are normal feelings to have in our situation.

So here we are. ¬†I think we’ll be okay.

Sadness

I will keep this post brief, as I’m not quite emotionally able to post a gushing ode to the blue-eyed feline who stole my heart five too-short years ago and took a piece of it with him when he left this world this past weekend. ¬†In fact, I feel like trying to put the essence of him and of our bond into words would be a disservice, and anyone who knows me at all has witnessed some small fraction of it anyway. ¬†I guess, for now, I just want to express two silver linings:

1) Ryan and I realized that losing Caspian is the worst thing that has ever happened to either of us. ¬†In so realizing, we are able to see how truly, truly blessed we’ve been in our lives.

2) There is bittersweetness in how much closer together Ryan and I have grown through this shared tragedy. ¬†I wouldn’t wish the heartache we’re experiencing on anyone, but this much has been a blessing.

Exodus

I recently (okay, like ten minutes back from when I started typing this) decided to deactivate my Facebook account. ¬†In this post I’ll try to explain why. ¬†Much of this will be me thinking it through for myself. ¬†It is sure to be tangential and nonsensical at times, but hopefully will be insightful if nothing else.

I’ve already forgotten what little thing must have set me off tonight, but event #2 in the sequence was that I began to wonder if people complained as much B.F. as they we tend to do now. ¬†It’s become nothing short of a reflex for us to entertain a negative (or simply BORING) thought and post it online for the world to see and – pleaseohpleaseohplease – “like.” Facebook, coupled with our own flawed humanity, has played a “how to boil a frog” trick on us. ¬†Surely you’ve heard that if you drop a frog into boiling water, he’ll jump straight out – but if you drop him into a tolerable temperature and keep increasing it slowly, slowly, slowly – he’ll be dead, dead, dead. ¬†Similarly, I feel like we have gone further and further with the importance (rather, lack thereof) of what we post until one day I’m scrolling through my news feed and thinking, “Who cares?” about the vast majority of the things I’m seeing. ¬†If Facebook had advertised itself as “a place to complain about your life, passive-aggressively show that one person how angry you are with them, and post hateful, smart-alec pictures depicting the stupidity of people who disagree with you,” I shudder to think who would have signed up.

Yet I’m ADDICTED to it. ¬†I was sitting on the couch tonight thinking about the fact that I was still in my scrubs, there was laundry in the dryer waiting to be folded, I needed to put our ice cream bowls into the dishwasher, and I had planned to work out – but all I could do was refresh, refresh, refresh my news feed. ¬†Surely SOMEONE had SOMETHING to say within the past five seconds – something more important than tending to my home and taking care of my body.

When did this happen to me????

Another thing is that I fully admit that for the past few years – probably at least the entirety of my marriage, sadly – I’ve approached events in my life with an “I can’t wait to post this on Facebook” frame of mind. ¬†Cataloging the events of a particularly bad or good day…taking photos on vacation…observing funny or otherwise interesting situations…I viewed it ALL through Facebook-colored glasses. ¬†My intentions were all right enough: I thought, “I’m assembling a virtual scrapbook of sorts. ¬†Any time I want, I can scroll back through this and remember this experience.” ¬†The reality is that A) I never, ever do that and B) lately I have felt like my life is flying before my eyes without me being truly present for it. ¬†Instead of “backing up” life on Facebook, I’ve made the huge mistake of dumping it all there INSTEAD of just being in the moment, sans the crutch of technology. ¬†If for NO other reason, my life on Facebook has got to stop at that.

(Aside: now that I think deeper about it, I’m remembering that I signed up for Facebook during my sophomore year of college – therefore, it can be fairly said that I’ve spent my entire ADULT LIFE thus far sporting Facebook glasses. ¬†I am sickened. ¬†So what about these 12-year-olds who have Facebook accounts?)

When I told Ryan of my then-tentative plan to leave Facebook, he said, “I’ll miss you.” ¬†Now, I am not at all saying this to make fun of my husband, because he clarified that he’d miss seeing the quirky little things I post throughout the day – but how sad is that? ¬†Ryan and I are husband and wife. ¬†We live together. ¬†We eat together. ¬†We sleep together. ¬†And he’ll miss me?

So, for now, that is that.  Please know that these convictions are mine and in no way am I trying to press them onto anyone else.  High-five to all the people who are able to be on Facebook and not allow it to affect them the way it has affected this sensitive soul.  As for me, I need to go frolic through a field or something.

Seniors: Class of 2012

Recently, I had the opportunity to shoot some senior portraits for a dear friend’s daughter and her two best friends. ¬†This session was an absolute BLAST! ¬†What follows is a tiny handful of the shots I got of these adorable gals.

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