I am back.
I took a 12 hour road trip (12 hours up, 12 hours down) with two toddlers and two grandparents. But it wasn't as bad as everyone had thought it would be. It didn't live up to the horror stories I'd heard, or the dire warnings that everybody tossed about.
I actually got some me time, me with my camera, my journal, and peace. I started taking photos before dawn, in a moving car, through the smudgy window, after only 3 hours of sleep when my head was full of cotton and I was still wired from the nervous energy and load of coffee.
I surprised myself with the painterly, impressionistic feel of the shots from the very beginning. This one with the cows is one of my favorites. They may not count as fabulous photos, but they were a pretty accurate representation of the beauty that I found along the highway to Georgia.
When we got to Georgia, however, it was a different story. Don't get me wrong, the mountains were some of the most beautiful things I've ever seen, but me and my 3 hours of sleep were not equipped to wrangle a three year old and a 16 month old through a cocktail hour, rehearsal dinner, speeches and so on. I took my tantruming three year old out onto the soft Georgia lawn, and almost broke down in tears myself. And the rest of the weekend was much the same, even after early (kid and mama) bedtimes and naps. Breathtaking views, lovely family, all just too much for the three of us. My camera even took a bath, and so was out of commission for most of the festivities, putting another damper on things for me.
I debated only talking about the good things this weekend, about how, after catching up on sleep a little I actually got a chance to go for a solo walk and take some photos and write in my journal and even sit on the deck and write my novel. I had enough photos to illustrate a fantastic trip, glossing over all of the bad parts... but then I thought about what I have to give.
I look at blogging as an opportunity to share myself, to share wisdom, to help people find their own creativity, to help them find their own strength, along with the chance to play with words and pictures and the web. I look around at all the inspirational blogs out there, and I feel a twinge of jealousy, along with the inspiration. I want my life to look like theirs. I want to have the successes. I want to be surrounded by that beauty. I want to be as funny or have that many friends, but the truth is that while I may find beauty and joy and inspiration, I am also finding lots of roadblocks and struggles and frustrations in my daily life.
But today, while I was still procrastinating on my next post, it suddenly came to me. I can only be me. I can't be any of those other bloggers (and I'm not going to name names, because I'm not looking to make others question the paths they are taking.) I have to be me, and part of what I am is the way I handle the not so easy parts of life.
I believe in being transparent. I don't believe in secrets. Secrets lead to shame. Secrets lead to worse things. Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes life sucks. I work to find the beauty and the strength and the humor and the lesson in the suckitude.
I'm not really interested in detailing my personal life, but the struggles that go into being an artist, being a mom, being a woman, these things can enlighten others who are struggling.
The truth is, we are all struggling. Sometimes we struggle more than others, sometimes we don't. Sometimes we are cruising along and life is a blast. Those are great times, but even then, the dark side of life is still there, somewhere, maybe just waiting for night.
So what I have to say is that during this trip, I sometimes didn't think I was going to make it. But I did. I struggled through. I even asked for help sometimes. And even while I was struggling, I saw beauty, I talked with loved ones, I managed numbers 20, 26, 47, 59, 87, 97, and 100 on my list of a hundred things to do to live life creatively.
Most importantly, #100. I never gave up believing... well maybe during one of the melt downs I lost faith a little, but it came back-- it always does.