the background [pt.5]

>> 8.31.2012

Find part 1 here.

I'm sure there are some of you that are wondering where exactly I think God was during my whole tragic ordeal.

He was there.

And He's still here, regardless of whether I want to acknowledge that or not. 

So much of these past nine years have been spent wrestling with God, demanding an answer and promising to "do better" as long as He'd tell me why or get me through it. I'd rant and rave, and then I'd beg and plead, and then I'd sit and simmer.

Ironically, I honestly feel like I've found myself the most distant from God in just the last two years. 

You'd expect it to be on the nights where the blood was flowing and my heart was pounding and all I wanted to do was escape, but even then, I knew He was there. I knew, and I knew that it would be a relief to stop being here and start being there. Sure, I thought that I wasn't good enough and I thought that He must be angry at me, but I knew He was still around.

But the last two years--maybe the last six months in particular--I've found myself in an ambivalent state. 
(and I think this is the most raw and terrifying confession of them all)
It's the closest I've ever come to "losing my faith".

You see, it seems like the hits just keep coming.
Some of the blows are softer and don't knock us all the way down.
Others strike sharp and hard, leaving us reeling and crawling on the ground trying to find a safe place to hide.
And all I want to do is stand up and shout at the sky, "This is what You promised us? How does this serve You? How does this bring You glory in any sort of way? Where are You?"
But I keep my head down instead, for fear of being struck even harder, and I go on about my life with a semi-blatant disregard for anything having to do with God.


I told Hubs today, "I just need to fall in love with Jesus again."
And this is true.
I need to sit, and savor, and be still. 
I need to stop rushing around and stop trying.
--more Bible, more prayer, more church, more study, more holy.
It's exhausting.

And before you start shouting "behind me Satan",
I'm not saying that it doesn't all have value.
Of course it does.
Of course it's all important.
 But it's not always about the action.
Sometimes it's about the motivation behind the action
and right now, the motivation is wrong.

So for now, I am choosing to believe that God can and will meet me where I'm at.
I am choosing to believe that He loves me despite ______ (fill in the blank).


Ben Howard's 'The Wolves' is playing right now, and it feels strangely accurate.

So, even though this post feels like it's lacking all of the right words, and even though it feels like nothing came out right, I'm going to dump it all out and leave it.

It is time to be finished.

Thank you all for the kind words of encouragement and understanding.
It felt like ripping my heart out to write these five pieces of smoldering honesty, but it's a relief.
And there is more, because there is always more. 
And if you need someone to listen, someone to dump it onto, I'm here.

I love you all.


the background [pt. 4]

>> 8.27.2012

Find part 1 here.


A few days after contemplating whether or not I should drive my car into the side of the freeway, I made an appointment with the counselor at my community college. I was scared out of my mind, but I walked into that office, shaking and queasy and determined to get help. The appointment began with me in tears, and the counselor looking at me with pity--it was pretty apparent why I was there. As she began to go through my chart, she stopped and looked at me. "Well, it looks like we've got a problem. You're only seventeen?"

I nodded, and my heart promptly fell into my stomach.

"I'm sorry hon, but I can't treat you without your parents consent because you're still a minor."

I couldn't believe it. I'd finally, finally tried to reach out and get help, but help was telling me that I wasn't eligible. I wanted to give up, crawl into a hole, and never come out.

"I know you're scared, and I'm so sorry that I can't treat you. But I want you to go home and talk to your parents about this. I want you to ask them to take you to a doctor and get you help because I know that's what you need. I'm going to call you later today and make sure you've done this. Alright?"

I sighed out a shaky "okay", and rolled off the table. 

When I got home that morning, my heart was still in my stomach, rolling around and making me feel sick. I walked through the front door and saw my mom sitting on the couch and I knew that this conversation had to happen now or nothing was ever going to change.

"So, I went to the clinic at school today..." 
And we were off.

The next ten months are a blur of so many emotions that they're hard to sort through. 

--That dangerous boy that I was so fascinated by turned on me--abuse in the form of words and text messages came spilling through my phone and it got so bad that I had to change my number and time when I left the house so I could avoid him. 

--I went to the doctor and was tentatively diagnosed with clinical depression. I was offered anti-depressants but turned them down because I thought that if I could just get out of the state, I'd be okay. (Besides, I still thought that "being depressed" was something that you should just be able to make go away, if you tried hard enough.)

--I applied to Moody Bible Institute, begging them to consider me for the fall semester even though I'd missed the application deadline by a week. The answer came back--waitlisted for the spring semester.

--I enrolled in the community college for another semester, trying to take classes that would transfer to Moody (hoping I would be accepted) and working as many hours as I could.

It was basically me trying to keep my head above water for as long as I could.
I often tell people that it felt like being chained to a treadmill and forced to run as fast as you can--a pace you know that you can't keep up for long, but if you stop running things will only get worse--so you keep running even though you're more exhausted than you've ever been.

And then.
That golden day.
I ran out to the mailbox and ripped open the envelope on the side of the street.
"Dear Camille, we are pleased to let you know that you have been accepted to Moody Bible Institute for the Spring semester..."

This was it. 
I was getting out, and it was going to make me better.


The train to Chicago pulled in to Union Station on a cold night at the beginning of January. We took a taxi to our hotel room and skyscrapers and lights flew around me in a blur outside of the window and I breathed in freedom.

Classes started and I made friends around every corner. I was adjusting well to living in a dorm, I was getting out of my shell and talking to nearly everyone I saw. I got brave and began to explore this big city with it's magical charm and secret places to call my own.
This much happiness was foreign to me--or it had been for nearly five years. 
There were no dark shadows here, no monsters tearing apart my brain, no desperate desire to escape.
Because I had arrived.

At least for a little while.

I met the man I would end up marrying three weeks after I got to Chicago.
He noticed my big teeth and loud laugh, and our love story began.
Spring break came and found us on different sides of the country talking about marriage.
Summer vacation came and I found myself standing in front of the Eiffel Tower with a diamond ring on my left hand, a rose in my right, and the love of my life in front of me.
We were the couple on everyone's lips during the first few weeks of the new semester, and I finally had it all.

Except that my brain was starting to fall apart again.
I was crying over things that didn't matter.
I was taking five-hour "naps" and just getting through the day felt like swimming in a sea of peanut butter--thick and impossible.
My fiance and I were constantly at odds--I needed this, and he needed that, and neither of us were sure that getting married was the right thing anymore.

And then one day, one of the friends I had made found me crying on the sidewalk in between classes and promptly walked me over to the counselors office and stood there until an office door opened, and I was put on a couch with a box of tissues in my hand and I began to spill out all the words that I just couldn't say to anyone else. 

I honestly don't remember much about that first session except that I walked out of there with a prescription for some anti-depressants and an appointment with a counselor in the next few days. I saw the on-campus doctor, who explained what the pills would do and said that he fully supported the decision to begin taking them. He also warned that they wouldn't cure everything, and that I needed to make sure that I was going to my counseling sessions regularly. If I really wanted to see improvement, we had to attack this from both angles. 

So that's what I did.


I wish I could say that everything was magically cured and I was fixed and all better. 
But, as with everything, nothing is that simple.

Counseling was hard. It was good, because it gave me a place to spill all of the emotions that built up during the week, but it hurt to dig up the issues and work through them. I had to explore places and people that I would have much rather shut off, and  I left the counselor's office every Friday tired and irritable.

The pills helped to balance everything out, but they came with side effects. Headaches, dizziness, lightning bolts in my brain if I forgot a pill. And then there was the stigma of "being on anti-depressants". It doesn't matter that general usage is on the rise--there are still whispers when people find out, pitiful and judgmental looks that are given, questions that may seem innocent but that cut like knives.

My fiance and I worked hard on our relationship, and our wedding day came and it was everything I wanted. Our first year of marriage was hard, but we made it and we came out stronger on the other side. Eventually we decided that we wanted to have a baby, and I knew that I didn't want to be on my medication while we were trying. I know that many people have been successful with pregnancy and anti-depressants, but I felt like I had an adequate handle on my depression--I had been taught different tools in counseling to recognize when another episode was looming and knew how to ask for help. Weaning off of the medication was torture, but eventually I made it and we got pregnant with our son almost exactly two years ago. 

All throughout my pregnancy I knew that I was at risk for post-partum depression, so I watched myself and I asked my husband to watch as well, to make sure that I wasn't blind-sided by this monster if and when it decided to rear its ugly head again.

Then Jameson was born, and everything felt perfect and terrifying.
I had anxiety walking out my front door and I cried a lot. But I loved my baby, and I had no trouble bonding with him or feeling like his mother, so I chalked a lot up to our living/financial/everything else situation. 
And now it's been a year, and the background has turned into the present, and I still think that p.p.d. might be roaming around inside my head. Sadly, I never went to the doctor for it, because I didn't want to be "back there" again. I don't want to be on medication again, and I don't want to rip my guts apart in a counselors office once a week. Maybe that's pride, and maybe I'll change my mind in the future, but that's where I'm at right now and I'm doing okay.


Of course, there is more.
But there is always more and so this is enough for today.
I'll do one more installment, because there is one more thing that I want to address.
I'll also answer any questions you may have, so please leave them in a comment or email them if you're not so comfortable with others reading.

As always, thank you for reading. Thank you for your incredible words of encouragement and your high estimation of my bravery. You make all of this worth it.


weekends in London

>> 8.25.2012

I'm sorry for the lack of posts around here.
Jameson got sick a couple of weeks ago, and I feel like I've just been running around trying to get everything put back in order.
Plus, we've got some pretty big stuff that we're starting on (more news later), so I've had to make numerous different "to-do" lists in order to try and keep things organized.

And then there's the background, and how I just want to be finished with it, but I also want to tell it well and not rush through anything. It's pretty emotionally draining to re-live, but I know that it's working good things out as well, so I'll keep pressing on.

Anyway, here's a nice post full of pictures for you guys.
We've spent the past couple of weekends hanging out in London and it was so much fun to be around the Olympic atmosphere and see the world invade the city.
Seeing our friends and family was pretty great too.

*if you click on the pictures, you'll actually see them in the right perspective. Blogger cuts off the edges. Boo.*

I love you, London.


mom-wear-wednesday [6]

>> 8.22.2012

top: h&m// leggings: pink by Victoria's Secret//
baby carrier: beco gemini

on a recent visit to London with one of our favorite friends from Moody,
who happens to be traveling around the world and came to see us!

I'm going to be honest and tell you that today's post was sort of an afterthought.
We've been out all day, and I've been thinking a lot about the background series that I've got going on, and somehow taking pictures of what I'm wearing just doesn't seem that important. 

However, I've managed to rustle up some pictures of actual "mom-wear" in action (complete with photo-bombing baby on my back) so you know that I'm legit.
And actually, this outfit comes in a close second to the favorite sweatpants, as far as the mom-outfit most often worn goes.

I'm always in leggings, and this tank top is long enough so that people don't get disgusted by my uncovered rear-end, and is also loose enough that if I'm having a fat day I'm not too self-conscious. It's one of the few items of clothing that I actually bought more than one of (I have it in a turquoise color as well).
It's a winner all around.

Seriously though, as I've been rehashing my sordid history, I've had lots of conversations with myself about my appearance and why it's something that affects me (and many, many other women) so strongly. I was at the gym tonight, fighting my way through spin class after ditching for at least 6 weeks, and I just couldn't stop thinking about it all:

--all that "fitspiration" that travels around pinterest and blogs, "encouraging" women to be stronger than they think they can and to sweat more than they want to.
--the way I can go from appreciating and *almost* loving my body to being absolutely disgusted with myself in the same breath.
--how it's such a unique and personal struggle that nearly every woman has to face at least once in her life.
--wondering if I will ever reach a place where it's not a concern, or a panic, or a battle anymore. Will I ever be comfortable in my own skin for longer than a day or two?

I think that once I'm done with the series I've got going on right now, this is something I'd like to explore more and talk about in-depth. 

I'd love to hear from you guys, and how you think/feel/worry about it all.
I know I'm not the only one that struggles with this or feels this way, and I'd love to know people's thoughts about the whole thing.

(Boy, the mood around here sure has gotten heavy lately, hasn't it?)
I promise, promise to do a legit post next week, complete with hair-donut video and everything. 
So please don't be scared away by all the serious talk. 
There is a lighter side coming, you just gotta hang in there with me!


the background [pt. 3]

>> 8.19.2012

Find part one here.

It hurt more than I thought it would, the first time.

I was too scared to use anything as "dangerous" as a knife or a razor blade, so I went for what I had available--a safety pin. I scratched deeper and deeper, and felt the sting, and saw the blood, and went a little bit numb. It was a relief.
The music was pounding in my ears, and part of me knew that I was in it for good. If I didn't have "problems" before all of this happened, I certainly did now. I remember, after it was over and the cut was there, the panic and despair sinking in a little deeper.

How was I going to explain this?
How did I ask for help without saying a word?

The worst part is when no one noticed. I guess it shows just how good I was at keeping the mask in place--no one would entertain the notion that I could do something so "disturbed". It was such a surreal feeling, walking around with the cut on my wrist, waiting for someone to say something, to point it out, to ask. It was like holding my breath, and waiting for someone to tell me I could breathe again.

The relief was only temporary, as it usually is.
The darkness kept getting thicker, and life kept getting harder to get up and live, and the mask was starting to crack. I think I wanted it to crack. I wanted someone to look at me and say, "You're not okay." and "Let me help you, because I know this is real, and I know it hurts, and we can fix this."
That's what I wanted most of all. To be fixed.


I don't remember how it came out--whether I finally broke down and told someone, or if they asked, but somehow my parents learned about my scars. 

Now that I'm a parent, I understand the panic that they must have felt when they saw the pink lines and the fear they had to swallow when they heard the words spill out of my lips. I also understand the desire they must have had to rationalize the situation and put it in perspective with my age and where I was at in life. They did the best they knew how--prayed with me, sat with me all night on a "self-harm watch", and told me that emotions and hormones were hard things, but they weren't absolute truth. Although it felt empty at the time, I know they were doing everything they could--and I love them for that.

Unfortunately, I needed more. 
I needed more than the knowledge that I couldn't let my emotions or my "teenage angst" control my behavior.
I needed more than a command to not let the devil win. 
I just didn't know all of that at the time.

After the "night of revelation", I bucked up my resolve as best I could and decided that I was going to muscle my way out of this. 
I took the words "fake it 'til you make it" to heart, and started acting the part. I figured that it would have to work eventually--light would break through if I just acted like it was already there.

And it kind of worked for awhile. 
The monster was still inside my head, and the whispers of darkness still wound through my brain, but I buried it deep enough that I thought I was safe and that I had finally conquered it.
I went to school, I went to work, I went to church.
I talked to God, and He listened. I thanked Him for saving me from the devil, and I promised that I wouldn't let my selfishness take over and drag me down again.

Because I thought that's what it was.
I thought that it was just me--the deep, ugly sin inside of me, causing me to get caught up in my own head and my own feelings and putting myself in the center of the world.
Because if I was really a Christian, and if I was really a good person, I wouldn't struggle with any of this. I mean, look at what I had--Jesus, two parents who loved each other, sisters that I loved, a house full of clothes and things, a car, a job, an education, and on and on and on. 
I knew people that had infinitely less, and came from monumentally worse situations that didn't struggle with any of this, and I thought that I was simply the most selfish person on the planet for feeling so absolutely low and sad all of the time, even when I didn't want to.
And that is what made me want out.


Because I was homeschooled, I skipped my junior year of high school and attended a community college my senior year. 
The pressure was on, since I wanted to get into an Ivy League college or a private university in-state. I knew I needed scholarships and good grades, and that I was going to have to live up to the potential that everyone was telling me I had.

It's kind of funny though, because the strongest memory I have from that time of my life really has nothing to do with college or grades or any of that. 

It's of the freeway, stretching out and curving to the left of my car and the sun rising over the mountains and the thought so plain in my mind, "You could just not turn the wheel, you know. You could drive straight on, into the concrete dividers and all of this would be over." And there was a moment. A split second where relief flooded through my entire body and I knew that it would be the answer.

But it wasn't.

Because the next thought that screamed at me was, "You have got to get help."


currents. [August]

>> 8.17.2012

evidence of how much I miss Mr. Potter.

Reading: Since it's that time of year, I've started the Harry Potter books again. I just love them way too much to not read them more than once, and really, I miss Hogwarts. Each time around I notice something new, and I am continually in awe of J.K. Rowling's writing and how well she communicates with her audience. 
I've also just started "The Scorpio Races" by Maggie Stiefvater. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet, but it's gotten a lot of good reviews, so here's hoping. I finished a trilogy that she wrote not too long ago, and although I wasn't blown away, there was promise there, so...I'll keep you posted.

Watching: My usual brain candy, although Hubs got the documentary channels for me, so I've been watching some educational tv. Ha. We're working our way through season 3 of 'Modern Family', and I've decided it's got to be one of my favorite shows ever. The writing is simply brilliant, and the characters are hilarious. Seriously. I watch it any time I'm in a bad mood, and it always makes me smile.

Listening: I recently discovered Ben Howard, and have been obsessed ever since. I love, love, love his album and his voice.
Also, Taylor Swift's new song has been stuck in my head, much to Hubs despair. I'll admit, it's not her best work, but it's catchy and I love her anyway. 
And, of course, there's always "Row, Row, Row, Your Boat" and "Wind the Bobbin". 

Eating: Oh, gluten. The bane of my existence. I'm sure I've talked about it a little bit before, but I've really got to get back on the gluten-free bandwagon. My problem is just how expensive it is to buy "freefrom" groceries, and the time that goes into figuring out GF meals to make. Not to mention that all of my favorite foods happen to be made out of bread and flour, and I have little to no willpower when it comes to pancakes. But really. I've got to stop. I've got headaches every day, stomach pain, and major anxiety/depression issues that need to calm themselves and I am 99% sure that the cause of it all is the dreaded gluten. Dang it.

Thinking: About home and how much I life in America. Also about how I am kind of excited for fall, but I won't let myself look forward to it, because I feel like I got gypped out of a summer here. 
About politics and how my views have changed in immense ways ever since I moved out of the country and started living life outside of the States.
And about how wonderful it was to see familiar faces over the last few weeks, how it reminded me of the life I used to live, and the person I used to be, and the possibility that she's still in there somewhere.
It's hope, and I miss that.

Alright, folks, give me your currents as well.
Stick your posts in the link-up below so that we can get some suggestions/ideas for things to read/watch/listen/think for the next month!


the background [pt.2]

>> 8.15.2012

If you haven't read it yet, you can find part one here.


Before I really get into all of this, I feel like I should give a disclaimer.

I don't know how to do this eloquently, and I am afraid that I'm going to stumble over my words, or convey the wrong emotion and message and present myself in a very bad light.
But at the same time, I also know that I need to just get it out there and over with, and let you be the judge so that I don't have to anymore.

So I am just asking for grace for the telling--this is a rough jumble of words, and I'm just trying to get it as right as I can.

I guess the first time I remember any inclination of it all was back around seventh grade. 

I was part of a co-op of homeschoolers that all got together twice a week and brought in teachers to teach different subjects--Spanish, Creative Writing, Algebra, Marine Science, etc. It was where I got to hang out with most of my friends, get out of the house, and get a taste of "normal" life. Unfortunately, there was always a little bit of a stigma around us, since we were a Christian group, meeting in a church, holding a Bible study, and so on. A lot of us felt the pressure to live above the standards that were set, and to be better than the examples that were held up of "the world out there". This was hard to live up to, especially since we were teenagers and trying to figure out who we even were, let alone how to be better than everyone else. 

There was one girl, a little bit older than the rest of us, a little more distant. It took her awhile to make friends, despite our mothers urging, but eventually she knocked her way into the group and settled down into it. She had all the girls over to her house for a sleepover one night, and I remember going into her room and seeing her sitting on her bed. Her arms were bare for once, and I noticed that they were covered in swirling silvery-pink lines. As I looked closer, I realized they were scars. Some more faint than others, but all etched deeply into her skin.

I remember being shocked, with a twisting in my stomach because I knew that was "bad". But I was also curious--up until that moment, pain had been something to avoid, something to fight against. Yet, here was someone actively seeking pain, giving it to themselves and carving it into their flesh.

When I asked her about it, she shrugged it off in her very nonchalant manner, saying, "It's not a big deal. It's just carving, just like a tattoo." Even though I knew there had to be more behind it, I didn't want to believe that she was carrying around so much baggage that she needed to bleed it out of her. So I accepted her answer, and walked out of the room.


I always kept the scars in the back of my mind, and every time I'd see them peeking out from underneath her sleeves, I'd feel a jolt of electricity in my stomach. 

By the time I hit high school, the emotional confusion had only intensified in our group. We were getting older, we liked boys and the boys liked us. Some had branched out and met "other" friends, dangerous friends that would take you down the wrong path. A select few had gone rogue and were the subject of much prayer and discussion. 

I was toying with all of it. 
I'd met a boy, a dangerous and mysterious boy that intrigued me and left me desperate to "fix him" and make him happy. He "had problems", but I didn't care. I was getting tired of being the example, the leader, the good girl. (They call it a cliche because it's true.)

I could feel echoes of the sadness that he felt inside of me--it's like seeing them in him allowed me to realize that they were in myself as well. And even though I sometimes wonder whether being around him magnified my own problems, I am still sure that they would have been brought to the surface eventually. It's like he was the catalyst for the implosion that was bound to happen one day. Things started to get darker and darker, like falling into a hole a little bit deeper at a time, until one day I was so far down that I couldn't see the top anymore.

You see, you have to understand something here.
This was not the expected outcome for a girl like me.
I was the little girl that grew up in the same church since she was a year old. I was the daughter of leaders in the church, the girl that everyone looked up to and parents told their kids to emulate. I kept my room clean, obeyed my parents, got a job, and did well in school. I never openly rebelled, rarely talked back or broke curfew. I was the safe friend, the one that parents liked to have over to their house because they knew I wasn't going to get their kid in trouble.

So when the darkness started creeping in, and the world felt like it was going to collapse on top of me, I didn't know what to do.
People like me don't get *shhhh* depressed
"Too blessed to be stressed", don't you know? 

I remember feeling like I was suffocating, drowning, being buried alive. 
I hated myself, and I hated everyone else for being better than I was, or being worse than I was and not caring about it. 
I hated God, for letting it get this far and not saving me from myself. 
--in fact, I remember screaming at Him, asking if He knew that this was how I was going to turn out. Did He know that that sweet little girl with the ringlets in her hair, singing 'Jesus Loves Me' in Sunday School was going to wish that she were dead on a daily basis?

Because I did. At some point each day I thought about how much better, how much easier it would be if I simply ceased to exist.

And that's when I remembered the scars.


mom-wear-wednesday [5]

top: H&M// jeans: charlotte russe//
shoes: fitflop// earrings: RissyRoos

Oh dear. Mom-wear-wednesday almost slipped by me today, you guys.

Jameson is at his grandparents house for the afternoon, and I've been watching tv/reading/eating copious amounts of biscuits in my sweatpants and tank top. 

Then Daveo came home from having lunch, and I was getting stressed about the paperwork that I was attempting to fill out, and so we decided that it was time to walk down the to pub and have a drink.
(How absolutely English does that sound?)

So I threw on jeans and a top, and left on the mascara from yesterday, and called it a day.
At least I put on some legit earrings to help. And deodorant. I put that on, too. 

Note how I am wearing the most "mom" shoes ever, the FitFlop.
I don't know if they've done much in terms of toning my rear end, but let's just talk about how comfortable these babies are. Seriously, it didn't even matter that they are hot pink and kind of weird looking--I wore them everyday for the last two months of my pregnancy. I am not even kidding. Any time I think I might have to do a lot of walking, I put these on, whether they match my outfit or not.
--the smart thing to do would probably have been to buy them in black, but these were the ones on sale, so...there you go. 

Okay. Tell me what you guys want to see next week, because I need some inspiration.
Do I attempt some weird hairstyle from Pinterest?
Do I make my first "v-log" and show you the hair donut?
Do I take pictures of Hubs for a change, and show you the dad-wear that goes down around here?

Let me know.


the background [pt. 1]

>> 8.13.2012

I have long wondered/struggled with just how honest to be on this tiny little space.
--just how much should I tell people about the dirty laundry I've got stashed away in my brain?

I'm sure this is something that other bloggers worry about and deal with as well. It seems that everyone comes to a slightly different conclusion, and I completely understand.
--if you can't be comfortable sharing something with (potentially) the whole world, then it's probably better to keep quiet and stay safe.

For me, blogging started way back when I was fifteen, when it was something that no one had really heard of, and when you mentioned it to your parents generation, they said, "What? Is that even a word?"

It was a space that I could carve out for myself, somewhere to assert who I was and who I was becoming--to type words and immediately see them in print, to roll them around in my mouth and taste them on my tongue and decide whether or not I really wanted to spit them out, or if it was better to keep them inside for a while longer.

After that it grew and molded itself into something a little different, a little more social, and a little more honest. It became a place to write, and to practice writing, but to also connect with people in a way that conversations and glances sometimes didn't allow for. I could be honest here in a way that I could never be honest with someone I'd just met, and I liked that.

Eventually "blogging" grew to become this huge thing that everyone did, and I kind of held back in my own little corner for awhile. I didn't want the competition to change me, or to change my writing, or to change my motivation to keep writing. I've always struggled with keeping up and fitting in, and the last thing I wanted to do was take my corner of honesty and have it turn into a race to be "the best".

And so now I sit in this tension between staying honest and open, but also molding this into a business and (possibly) making some profit from it. And with all of that comes the realization that there are a lot of gaps in the story and a lot of holes in the honesty cloth I've been weaving, simply because it's just been me for so long. I didn't have to explain, because I was the only one here, and I already knew the backstory.

But now, there are you guys (we've jumped from 12 to 43 and I am SO EXCITED) and I'm sure that a lot of you are wondering what I'm talking about half the time.

So. I'm going to fill some gaps in.

I'm not going to give you the entire life story, but I'm going to talk about the important parts, the hard parts, the parts that people don't like talking about.

I'm doing this for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of the responses I get when I am gut-wrenchingly honest-- the "I completely know what you're talking about" and the "I'm so glad someone else can relate" responses. These are what make me keep writing, and these are the ones that I am writing for.

Because everyone just wants to not be alone--to be weird and different with someone else weird and different right by their side.

--pt. 2
--pt. 3
--pt. 4
--pt. 5


sloooow down.

Friday's post got a lot of responses from people, and I am kind of surprised, but also blessed.

It also made me realize that eventually I should probably tell my story a little bit more, so people don't think I'm just a raving lunatic that puts everything out there for the internet to judge.

Hopefully I can get to that later this week, as long as Jameson is feeling better. I'm coming into this week majorly behind, since he came down with a throat infection on Saturday morning, and has been pretty sad ever since.

Thankfully, he's on antibiotics now (which I am not the biggest fan of, but in this case, they are like manna from heaven) and seems to be perking up a little. So, hopefully I can catch up on life sometime soon.

As always, here are pictures to compensate. :)

swimming for England.
such a boy.

he tries to eat the water that splashes him.

"cake, mom. cake."

"really? you're going to take a picture now, dad?"

"enough. I have business to attend to."

the ogre walk of champions.


Hubs has said that he wants will allow himself to be featured on this little piece of the internet, so if you've got questions/ideas for him, leave them in the comments and I'll see to it that he gets them. 
Pretty soon we'll have our very first guest post. 
Dang. I'm really on the up-and-up, aren't I?


the have and have nots.

>> 8.10.2012

just a moment.

For the last few weeks, I kind of feel like I've focused on the ligher, more surface-y side of life.

The weekend chronicles, the ridiculous mom-wear that I sport, the random thoughts I have during massages...

But there's always something there, just simmering under the surface and I don't know what to do with it.

Jameson is nearly 13 1/2 months old. I should be far beyond the "adjustment" period of life with a child. My body has officially replenished itself of all the nutrients and things that Jameson took while he was growing. I've lost all the baby weight and a little bit extra. I should be back to normal.

So why am I not?
Why do I still wake up in a fog, and still feel so exhausted at the thought of all the things to come?
Why is living such a difficulty, and why am I swallowed up in guilt about things so small that they shouldn't really matter?
Why does this darkness come in waves, and snatch away the good moments that I do have?
Why can't I just put a name and a face to this monster, so that I know how to fight it?

Part of me knows that some of this stems from where we live and the situation that we're in.
After so much defeat in England, I feel like I've kind of emotionally died inside a little, almost as a form of self-preservation. I've put up a lot of walls to dull the emotion so that I don't have to deal with the pain of failure and difficulty that we're experiencing.

I don't see the wonder in the rain anymore, or glory in a field full of flowers.
I don't find meaning in the wind, or dream about the passions that I used to have.
I don't do things just to do them anymore, because that takes energy that I don't possess.

And that makes me sad, because I know that I'm somewhat of a shell of who I used to be.
It's like living life in black and white and gray instead of the vibrant colors I used to see.

And I just want to heal.
I just want to be happy, and to laugh without it taking effort, and to be vibrant and passionate and bursting with life.

So I will keep moving. Keep living.
Keep waking up in the morning and taking deep breaths.
Because what else can I do?

--linking up with The Wiegand's


mom-wear-wednesday [4]

>> 8.07.2012

Dress: Old Navy// Shoes: Primark//
Headband: Rissy Roo's// Earrings: Gift from sister

Wow. Four weeks in a row.
I'm going to be honest and say that I can't believe I've lasted that long. (Or that you guys have been that interested.)
But maybe what I should really be surprised at is that so many people are so interested in what I look like when I walk out of the house. Are you all sure you want to be getting fashion advice from me?

Eh, whatevs. It makes me feel a little bit better about my wardrobe. Ha.

Anyway...I threw this on because it was sunny outside and the phone said that it was 71 degrees. The dress is old (like, at least four years old) because I wore it on my honeymoon, but I like the color and I like the way it makes my shoulders look. (Is that too honest?)

Clearly you have all seen the sandals before, but can I just say that for the £3 I spent on them at Primark, they have been a dream? Honestly, I walked around London for nearly seven hours on Saturday, and my feet were fine. So weird, but so wonderful.

Let's talk about the hair pictures for a minute. Is this something you all even want to see? I kind of feel like I've got to keep coming up with new hairstyles to put on here, since I've given away the hair donut secret and I should really do something different at least for the one time a week I'm photographing myself, right? But also, that means there's kind of pressure on me to figure something new I need to go start a new board on Pinterest or something and actually attempt some of the hair tutorials on there. So, input needed. I am NOT a hairstylist and sometimes I'm all thumbs when it comes to taming this mane, but I like to try new things once in a while...I guess what I'm saying is, I'll be the hair guinea pig if that's what you all are looking for.

Also, note my cute little rosette headband. I finally got to jump on that bandwagon after I won a giveaway at Much Love, Illy and I am so excited about it. I got two headbands and two pairs of earrings from the lovely Larissa at Rissy Roo's and I am stoked. I love accessories, and I love free accessories, so this was everything I had ever dreamed of. Plus, I actually won a blog giveaway...which I am still kind of amazed about, because I didn't think that could actually happen.

So do you want to know the sad secret about this outfit?
After I took these pictures, I realized that I was going to be carrying Jameson around on my back for awhile, and that the baby carrier would not look great with this I changed into leggings and a tank top.
Dang. I know.
I should have taken pictures so you all could see the real "mom-wear-wednesday" that was happening (because it was definitely mom-wear, and it was definitely happening).
I promise I was not trying to "fashionista" you here, it just so happened that without Hubs around to tote my child, this dress was not mom-approved for my outing.

Next week I promise to actually take a picture on my way out the door (maybe with Jameson strapped to my back) so you can see EXACTLY what I am wearing. Sound good?


scribbles and dots.

Out of focus, and beautiful.

Today has been...just one of those days.
And by those days I mean it has been just another day in this life that I'm trying to figure out and live in the moment of.

I went to the gym, found out I lost a pound, came home and ate 1/4 of my breakfast that turned out to be off. I just chalked that up to less calories and more weight off, but then I was hungry, so Hubs and I had a baguette and cheese for lunch and it was delicious.

Then I took a nap and slept for an hour, but it felt like five and I could have slept all day. I've been so tired lately and I just cannot figure out why. All the paranoid pregnancy tests I've been taking have been coming back negative and I'm exercising and drinking lots of water so it is not making sense to me.
Maybe it's still just being a mom.

I'm cooking toads-in-the-hole and roast potatoes tonight and I feel like I've finally succumbed to the English diet. Oil, bland palates, and potatoes. I mean, it tastes good and it fills you up, but there's just a little bit of American in me that dies every time I mix up a batch of Bisto.

There are words to be written, and bathrooms to be cleaned, and things to be sorted, and to-do lists to cross off and I just can't bring myself to do any of it.
That seems to be another one of the recurring themes around here--my inability to "get it together" and actually get things done.
I wonder if I'll ever actually grow up and be the responsible adult that I'm supposed to be.

--linking up with just write.



>> 8.06.2012

"Oh hey mom. Get it together."

"I've got a bad case of the Mondays."

That phrase sounds so oldy-person to me, but I'm feeling it today.

I think it's because this weekend was so full, and I'm feeling so weighted down with all of the things that I've got to finish this week--preferably sooner rather than later.

And being a mom is such a weird job, because your work is never done--I mean, how do you look at a day and say, "Yes, I successfully taught/disciplined/directed/respected/loved my child enough today. The quota was met, the job was well done."
You can't really, because there's never too much of any of that stuff.
Which is kind of hard for me, because I like gold stars, and checklists, and crossing things off.

I think that sometimes I just need to cut myself some slack, and get off my high-horse of importance.
--the world doesn't revolve around me, so it's not going to fall apart if I fall behind a little.
Which is nice, but also kind of a shot to your ego, if you think about it too much.

I'm tired. Hubs is tired.
There's a bottle of wine chilling in my fridge and fancy cheese that Hubs surprised me with yesterday, and brain candy waiting on the DVR.

I think it's time to call it a night.

--linking up with  The Naptime Review


dear [blank]

>> 8.03.2012

dear English weather: thank you for cooperating and allowing me and my family to spend some time outside the past two days. Having some Vitamin D production kick up in my body has been amazing.

dear Jameson: I just love you, bubba. Your four top teeth are solidly in and you got your first big bonk the other day. You were such a trooper though, crying for a minute and then chewing on the ice pack we tried to put on your head. You're my boy, and I am so proud to be your momma.

dear Olympics: It's nothing personal, but I'm just not into you this year. Maybe it has to do with Hubs recent obsession with every single sport you offer, or the fact that I missed the build-up around the American athletes, but I just haven't caught the spirit. Sigh. Maybe the trip to London tomorrow will help.

dear Hubs: Thanks for being you. You're my best friend, and I know I say it a lot, but it's true--you're the love of my life and I just wouldn't make it without you.

dear America: I miss you. As usual. Stop making stupid decisions while I'm gone, okay? Thanks.

dear Self: Get it together and get to the gym. And get your work done. And stimulate your child. And clean the house. And stop trying to be so put-together all the time.

--linking up with The Wiegand's


mom-wear-wednesday [3]

>> 8.01.2012

Look at me being all posey.

Dress, Leggings: H&M// Sandals: Atmosphere by Primark//
Necklace: anniversary gift from Hubs (Warren James)

Well, well, well.
Look at me breaking out the fancy camera and "professional" pictures on you. 
I know. 

I did it this way because we were on our way out the door and I realized I needed an outfit for today, and it was the spur of the moment so I said, "Hey, Hubs, can you just take my picture really fast?"
"For your blog-thingy?" He answered back.
"Yup. For my blog-thingy."

These pictures are evidence of the fact that the sun never sticks around long in England, even if the temperatures rise a little bit. Although, I did end up putting a coat on later in the afternoon while we were out. Ugh. 

In case you can't tell, I've been into easy dresses lately. I love summer dresses, and the fact that summer only sticks around for four days here kills me, so I've been trying to wear as many as I possibly can. Plus, they're an outfit in themselves, so I don't have to do any match-work. Because (let's get really honest here), I'm pretty sure that Jameson stole my fashion sense after he was born. 
Honestly, I used to kind of know what I was talking about when it came to shopping and dressing myself but now, when I get into a store I just kind of stand around and think, "Right. I don't even know what I'm looking for."
And then I get sad, and feel very un-womanly-like and just throw on my favorite sweatpants

Send help. Maybe in the form of Gok Wan.

Hair band, bow: Claire's

And finally, the moment all you ladies, (and probably more ladies) have been waiting for, the highly anticipated hair donut!
My hair is still wet here because we'd just come back from family swim time, but you get the gist of it.
Even though it looks like my hair has been masterfully swept up all on it's own, it's not.

 This little guy is hiding inside, holding up my hair and making it look beautiful.

I would do some fancy-pants video and show you how to do it yourself, but there are a million and one on YouTube, so I'll just leave you this and tell you to practice a lot, because it takes awhile to figure out how to get all your squirrely hairs in there.
If you really, really need me to (and you ask really nicely) maybe I'll make a video showing you how I do it. Maybe.

And that's the end of this "me-pretending-to-know-what-I'm-talking-about-when-it-comes-to-fashion" post.

The pretend fashionista inside will be back next week.

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