The month of May was, suffice to say, rough. We had teacher training 3 out of the 5 weekends there were in May and we had our first exam; on the remaining weekends in between I flew off to Sydney, and on the other I was celebrating Martin's birthday. I felt overwhelmed and I crumbled; it didn't seem to matter what I said to myself—the truth that this too shall pass was buried and ignored under everything else and I slowly sunk so deep it became hard to enjoy anything. Depression & anxiety have a tendency to make tough days tougher, and even though somewhere down there you know you'll get through this, a louder voice often questions that.
To make things harder, Martin has been trying to find a new job for about a year. A year prior to that, we spent most of our time with him recovering from two consecutive leg operations. Over the last couple of years it just feels as if all we've been doing is “pushing through”, so I was hoping this year would be one where we could finally pause, go on a big trip and do something just for us—but without a second income, we no longer have the freedom to do so, and there's that little fear that things will get harder, especially financially. The hardest part, really, is not knowing when things will change—perhaps 3 months from now we'll still be here.
So just last week when I was at my worst, one of my new friends from teacher training shared this TEDx talk by Tao Porchon-Lynch with us, and I was reminded that there is truly nothing any of us can't do (after all, I wouldn't do all that I do if I didn't really believe that); that everything has its own time and that sometimes, it's enough to simply show up. Every day I do my best, and I know this is all worth it. A big part of me that trusts in whatever this experience is meant to be, and wherever it will lead, and honestly, it's exciting to know something really good is probably lying just around the corner.
I mentioned above that we were hoping to go on a big trip, but what I wanted to mention here was that I am grateful to be with someone who I am completely comfortable with, a true best friend, but also someone I look up to and learn from every day. I love that we can both enjoy simple things day-to-day without getting bored; yes, travelling overseas is high up there on our list, but enjoying each other's company at home is definitely not undervalued in our house. A true purveyor of enjoying life's little things, Martin's regular enthusiasm to sit at home and do nothing perfectly complements my inability to feel guiltless for sleeping in on a Sunday, and around him, I somehow never feel guilty about taking the time to do something just for me. All aspects of life need balance, and our completely contrasting personalities and attitudes to life make us a great team, we think.
What I've been thinking of:
Nothing new here.
Really, it's just been the same old: when I'm not thinking of new projects I'm thinking of current ones; when I'm not thinking of that I'm thinking of yoga and whatever I have to study; when it's not that I'm daydreaming about my next travel destination, and hoping that it isn't too far away.
What I'm excited for:
A calmer month ahead.
We have no teacher training scheduled for this month until our retreat in July and I don't have many shoots, so it's going to be nice to use my weekends for what weekends were actually made for. I can't wait to actually meet up with friends and get out of the mouse-wheel I've been running on. I've not had a proper day off in a long time, and I've been dreaming of my ideal Sunday: the perfect winter temperature (maybe between 15-20ºC), brunch with Martin at a cafe that ticks all the right boxes (great food, great coffee, great ambience), going for a drive and wandering around somewhere new, and maybe a hike or a late-afternoon jog, with just enough time to see the sun descend and colour the world orange.
What I've been doing:
Learning some new songs on the guitar.
I just learnt how to play the iconic Don't Dream It's Over (Crowded House) and some of my favourites from Death Cab for Cutie (such as Marching Bands of Manhattan and Transatlanticism). When I first picked up the guitar, I sucked (duh), partly because I wanted to do it perfectly from the start and kept getting frustrated, partly because I have small hands and fingers and most guitars have rather average-sized fretboards so there were some chords I couldn't even reach. Now it's one of my favourite things to do to relax in whatever spare time I might be able to find. I love learning new things and I love putting my brain up to a new challenge, because when you figure it out, it's incredibly rewarding.
What I've been reading:
Kinfolk, for the first time ever.
Arguably the most Instagrammed magazine on the planet, I finally had time to read Volume 13: The Imperfection Issue, which I bought a while ago now. I thoroughly enjoyed every article; it's as if the writers peered into my mind and discovered all the things I like to think about. Despite being quite critical of myself and being a perfectionist (almost a job requirement when you're a photographer & designer), I often celebrate imperfections in the world, or on my own body, or in life: how my hair, naturally, is wild and wavy and not at all tame (I've recently been embracing this, not bothering to change it with straighteners and so on); how one of my succulents has curled into this crazy monstrosity as it continues to reach for the sun; how all the difficult and rough parts of my life led to where I am now. Mistakes, failing and imperfections are what make us, the world, and our lives real, unique things.
Below: pauses in between, May 2015.