love umbrella

Becoming The Me I Want To Be

Lord I don't know which way I am going
Which way the river gonna flow
It's just seems that upstream, I keep rowing
Still got such a long way to go
Still got such a long way to go

Warning. This is a very, very long blog post. But it might be worth a read.

Sometimes you realize that everything in your life is all interconnected. Trying to write a blog post of substance about the fabric of one’s life - a post that’s long overdue - is a great example of one of those times - the stream of consciousness connects things that are not always as connected as you might think when merely thinking, but writing connects them well.

I don’t always consider some of the more interesting side effects of having my own business. The various flexibilities and inflexibilities, for example - evenings and weekends being my primary time to interact with and photograph clients. This week, yesterday and today - Monday and Tuesday - were my “weekend,” the days I took off for myself, and others. I needed a few things to maintain my sanity. Not the least of which being some time alone, some time to just be myself, not a working machine.

So I loaded the two new long-awaited albums from two of my favourite bands and a book on tape - the final book in a three book series that I’ve been hoping to read - onto my iPod, and drove off East into the sunrise. Directly into the sunrise, squinting even with my clip-on sunglasses for protection. And I squiggled into my chair, set the cruise control, and turned up the volume on Coldplay’s brilliant, challenging, and unique new album, Mylo Xyloto. Which I thought wasn’t going to come out until the 24th, and came out early, so I had the joy of listening to it several days before I thought my first listen would be. Many of the songs are good and enjoyable, but the song that has caught my heart and won’t let go is called U.F.O. It’s a song that communicates an amazing sense of peace and hope for the future, despite unknowns.

I know, I swear, we'll find somewhere
The streets are made of gold
But let's fly, split the sky,
But that's alright, sometimes sunlight
Comes streaming through the holes

And I listened to the song on repeat for over an hour, with the golden sunrays streaming over the field of frosted grain stems, the harvest over, the wait for spring begun. And I began to truly find myself again after two years of feeling more or less detached from who I really am.

So I was alone, and happy with my sweet aloneness, not lonely, not upset or worried about anything, but caught up in a moment of clarity I didn’t want to end.

Of course, when Paul goes to placement in another city in a few weeks, time alone is not going to be nearly as desirable or full of clarity, but I know that I have work enough to fill that time and can only hope that there are no complications that make me feel weaker than is natural in my time separated from my other half. I find that if I think about it, even now after being away from Paul for only about 36 hours, I can get lonely for him. But if I’m busy enough not to think about it, it’s not so bad. We have Minecraft now, I remind myself. The working-together, pixelated game of mining, building, hunting, gathering, and simple but somehow complex social interaction. We played it the other day across the room from each other on the server I set up and then Andrew tweaked until it actually worked, since I understand maybe about half the mechanics of running a server script that way. We created our first little sod hut together, then mined some stone. We found just enough coal to make some torches so our hut would be lit at night. Just thinking about this makes me smile, and knowing that we can build a world together while separated by physical space keeps my worries about long term separation at bay. That and the fact that we’re both getting better at being separated without feeling panicky.

But panic was not really one of my issues in this mini-vacation. Being a good friend and granddaughter and being good to myself were definitely higher on my priority list. Being good to myself meant leaving early in the morning so I wasn’t in a rush. It meant stopping midway through the trip in Lloydminster and shopping a little. It meant arriving early in Saskatoon and continuing my shopping trip - and being certain to get a gift for my friend’s bridal shower - the reason I had come out in the first place. I found a ceramic trivet with ladybugs that I bought as a gift for myself - this month has been financially kind to us, and a $12 trivet that makes me smile every time I look at it is like buying myself a plaque commemorating all my hard work this month that’s paying off.

Paul and I have both been working hard. We’ve not had much of a chance to see each other these last two months, what with my working several jobs and him taking far too many classes and assignments and exams - at last count he told me he has 9 classes. No joke. There are people in his program, he tells me, who are faring worse than he. And he looks like a zombie most days, a zombie who comes to my arms like a child, and we hold each other and offer whatever comfort we can, which hasn’t been a lot. We alternate in taking care of each other as soon as the other person falters. It’s been hard, but not necessarily unrewarding.

In the few times we’ve talked, prioritizing time spent together has been a big topic of conversation. The one thing that comes up repeatedly is just how much Paul loves to walk with me. And how winter threatens this even more than any other season, as I am and have been afraid of ice for as long as I can remember. Falling is never kind to me, my poor skeleton is stressed enough without jarring falls on ice. But the fact that my struggle to find any form of shoe has kept me in substandard boots in the past was no longer something I can ignore - it is high time to find a pair of boots that keep me safe as well as warm - something to match my relationship and fill a need in the life of my most loved one. So on my way home from what seemed my millionth photoshoot, I stopped in at the Atmosphere store in South Common. I browsed and tried boots on in vain, and finally did something that has almost always worked well for me in the past - asking if the salesgirl had any suggestions. Turns out she did, and she brought out three pairs of boots - the second pair I tried on of them was the most comfortable pair of boots I’ve ever tried in my life. They didn’t feel clompy. They had amazing grip. They were entirely waterproof. They were black and didn’t look totally ugly. I’d heard of the brand, Merrell, before, with high praise. And to top it all off, they were part of a buy one, get one pair for 50% off sale that applied to both the Atmosphere store and any of the related chain stores, Sport Chek. Three Sport Chek’s later (one in Lloyd and two in Saskatoon), I found a pair of 10W running shoes - a rarity - that fit very well, despite their appearance leaving a little something to be desired. $200 later, I have $300 worth of perfectly fitting footwear. It's a good thing for me to have it. It doesn't feel like a bad idea.

Chantal’s shower was probably my favourite shower I’ve ever been to, maybe even including my own! The ladies from the small town were extraordinarily kind, had lovely words, food, and gifts to offer, and despite not really knowing the young bride-to-be at all, gave her a wonderfully warm reception. I helped pack her car full of the generous gifts that were given her to start her new life as a married lady. I was there in the moment we booth looked up and saw the northern lights, dressed in a brilliant shade of green, dancing their intimately choreographed motion across the sky. A brief moment of enjoying them was all the luxury we had, but it mattered. I was, as expected, one of two of Chantal’s close friends who came. It’s one of the reasons that solidified my coming, but not the main reason - really awesome friends are hard to come by. I want to be one of them, and Chantal is one of mine. It’s not something I owed to her, coming to Saskatoon just for the shower. It’s something more important and less tangible then that. Simple, honest, true friendship. I feel as though I may not be the best friend to a few people lately, and in my heart I have this burning desire to be better.

This desire to be better in general was something I felt like I’d lost a little over the last two years. It slowed to a crawl around the time my church life got curtailed by a few big changes. It got kickstarted around the time we found this new church. I knew that this was a big part of the problem, but it took me a long time to find this church. I don’t know what God had in mind for these last two churchless, unsupported years, but I’m glad they’re over for now, and I hope they’ll be the last for a long time to come. The thing I love most about this church is that it’s all about positive personal change - even the care group study is called “Becoming The Me I Want To Be” - how appropriate for the way I feel these days.

And now for some random notes.

My moment of personal clarity was not quite as clear as my actual eyesight lately. I was having some troubles with my eyes focusing on the drive back home, and I've been having increasing difficulty with them - it's starting to actually get problematic now, so despite the costs involved, I think it's time to get an eye exam and upgrade my seeing equipment to contacts and new glasses. The contacts are because life with glasses and photography aren't particularly compatible in my opinion. Hopefully adjusting to contacts won't be a horrifying and pain-stricken experience for too long. But it will be good to be able to see inside the camera and out of it when my lenses fog up. =)

Today was my first official day listening to Christmas music! I enjoyed some new music suggestions from my Gran, and listened to a full album of banjo Christmas tunes. I’ll probably eventually pick it up on Itunes for all of $8. It's really pretty.

I finally bought myself a proper backdrop set off eBay this evening so that I can shoot photobooths properly - and I bought it now because it looks like I'll be including a photobooth at the wedding on the 5th, and I know I need it for a photobooth in January anyway - so sadly yet another thing to store. Eventually I'll need a real office or something!! At least this place isn't so tiny that there's nowhere to put anything at all...

Choir this evening was another great time to get to know some of the church ladies - and I'm definitely feeling the need to ask after opportunities to worship lead, or apprentice under a worship leader for awhile and learn about how they do things at the church.
  • Current Music: Coldplay - UFO
Thanks for sharing all this Twyla! I enjoyed all your insights and what's been happening in your life... =)

Miss ya!