I Go to Extremes

Every time I sat down to start writing this yesterday, I looked out the window. It looked like this:

And I looked like this:

Or maybe like this:

We have a family of turkeys that traipse through all the yards in the morning, before settling into the morning fog in a field on the next street over. A friend sent me a photo her friend had sent her from a few towns over of a giant bull moose near Yankee Candle headquarters! Then, I saw a bobcat strolling casually down my driveway! It stopped to look back at me. I tried to get a picture but it’s not worth showing. Lately, I’ve been wondering what’s happened to my attention span.

I used to blame aging, but I think it’s happening to all of us.

I used to be able to write pages of notes without a hand cramp. I used to be able to talk on the phone or watch TV without having to do something else at the same time. And I used to be able to read an entire article without the temptation to skim. Yet, I can still get lost in a book, without missing one word. I can get lost in my work, as long as I can do it without looking out the window or looking at my phone or looking at my filling or unfilling inbox or looking for a snack or drink.

The thing is, I tend to go to the worst case scenario. If I get in a huge fight with Cassidy, or at least when it happened in the past, I used to think he wanted a divorce. If one person gives me feedback on my work, or I get a rejection, I might assume that everything has changed and that my entire career rests on the words or rejection of one person or company! Even when there’s no reason to believe that. At my old job, when one person was angry with me or disappointed in me, I’d assume everyone felt the same. I could barely look anyone in the eye. I had a capital “L” for LOSER written on my forehead.

One argument with one person, and the world is against me.

The thing is, it’s when my retirement plan destination is on fire, and deadly hurricanes keep coming, and you can’t feel safe at a concert or a movie theater or even in your own school parking lot, or probably on your own lawn, and it feels like the world has gone mad. Doesn’t it? Clowns to the left of us; jokers to the right. How can we be SO split about some of the most fundamental issues involving Americans? And then it’s 50 degrees in May and 80 degrees in October, so I go to extremes.

I assume that the world is ending, or worse, spinning out of control.

extremes

The truth is, some of this is fact and some of this is fiction. I believe in worst case scenarios almost as powerfully as I believe in best case scenarios. It’s a miracle how much I believe in best case scenarios, but I’ve sort of built a life around them. Maybe it’s because my own worst case scenario happened. It’s a tale as old as time, or at least almost as old as my time.

When Cassidy works late or goes out after work to shop for Halloween costume supplies, Des gets angsty. I told a friend just last week at the dog park that it’s the only way I can objectively look at my own past. I don’t feel distant or separate from that little girl who is me, who was me, who is still me, but I need to step back to understand that girl whose father fell right in front of her, was taken away in a screeching ambulance, and never came back. And darling, that’s why I go to extremes.

The truth is, so much of this is fact, and part of it is fiction, but the world isn’t ending. It’s probably always ending and always beginning. And sometimes you have to go to extremes, because you know what? That’s the only way out of here.

Or through here.

extremes

That’s why I link it all. I link my own past with my own present with my own future. I interweave the state of the union and the state of the world, because you know what? It’s pretty freaking scary. I take it personally. I know wine country isn’t burning for or against me, but it threatens to burn down my dream and the dreams of my loved ones. And it’s real. I know those hurricanes aren’t rolling through because of the hurricanes and the ebbs and flows in my heart, but that’s my dream too. The whole world is my dream, so I can travel in and out of super cool places, and so that everyone I know and love, and even all the people I don’t know and/or love, have a place to be safe. A place to rest their heads and their hearts. It’s real.

extremes

I know that I’m not the only one, and the only parent, who wonders about the kind of world we are giving to our children. Will they be able to go to a mall or a movie or a first date or a first kiss or a beach or first concert or a first solo plane ride, and get lost in the moments? Will they live their lives without thinking about guns and hurricane shelters and a world on fire?

Maybe I go to extremes because there’s no other way for my head and my heart to make sense of this crazy little brain in this crazy big world. How will you go to extremes to keep this world turning and not burning, beginning and not ending?

“Call me a joker, call me a fool
Right at this moment I’m totally cool
Clear as a crystal, sharp as a knife
I feel like I’m in the prime of my life
Sometimes it feels like I’m going too fast
I don’t know how long this feeling will last
Maybe it’s only tonight”

— Billy Joel

About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer at http://tamaracamera.com/, a mama of two, a writer/blogger at http://tamaracamerablog.com and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns. http://themotherofallmeltdowns.com, as well as Stigma Fighters Anthology (volume 1), and The HerStories Project: So Glad They Told Me. She is also a proud Community Lead/QA Reader with Sway, and a regular contributor to the SoFab Food blog, and the Target Made Me Do It blog. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son, dog, cat, and 11 chickens in glorious western Massachusetts.

Comments

I Go to Extremes — 15 Comments

  1. I think you know I am a huge Billy Joel fan. I have seen him too many times to count in concert and most recently he was the guest at the Paul McCartney concert I attended a few weeks back. So, just for the fact alone that you quoted one of my favorite Billy Joel songs here today, I can not love this more if I tried!!! 🙂

  2. The world seems to be going to extremes so this makes perfect sense. We must go to extremes to find an even keel? I also take today’s experiences and put them through the filter of my past. I try to be cognizant of it though. I try to remind myself, it isn’t always my fault. OR if I make a mistake, I can try to correct it and move on. It isn’t the end of the world.

    So much about this post resonates with me, Tamara. Your choice of photos are perfect as usual. The world feels somewhat unstable right now. I think impeaching the president would go a long way to stabilizing everything except, of course, mother nature.

  3. Beautiful piece of writing, Tamara! Well, we are going to hell in a hand basket, but probably not today. I’m lucky, as are you, to live where the wild things play.

    I dated Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl’s, cousin. Neither of us had it easy with a Brinkley. Fun though -)

  4. We’re so much alike, and your writing always describes what I’m thinking perfectly. George and I spent our honeymoon in Napa, and it’s such a special place to us. I keep crying for all those poor people losing their homes and businesses. It feels like the whole world is on fire, in one way or another. I know there have been times like these before – and we probably didn’t know about them because we didn’t have social media to tell us everything going on in detail.

  5. i also tend to think of worst case scenarios. i know that’s bad and it just feeds on itself, like the bad will keep happening if i think it. so i try to stop, but going to the extreme like you do is also my own natural reaction. which is all to say that you’re not alone!

    and thank you for mentioning the fires. we are really devastated over here.

  6. I have to start by saying that I got stuck behind a turkey in probably one of the most cityish parts of Cambridge on Thursday (turkeys are frequently sighted throughout Cambridge, particularly Harvard Square!).
    Lately I have felt like the world is falling apart, and wonder what kind of world I’m raising Eve and bringing this baby inside of me into. I have to remain hopeful and do what I can to make the world a better place, and know there are others, like you, who are doing the same <3

  7. I hear you. This has definitely been a year of extremes for me! I am kind of tired of it all. Would just a little more nice and mellow be too much to ask for? 🙂

  8. I so know what you mean…lately it seems that there is very bad news every single day. It is surreal for me to think that there is so much unrest not only in the world, but in our country right now. I hope it all ultimately results in a better world. Thanks for the Billy Joel break! Love him!

  9. I am in awe of the fact that I see your posts come into my inbox, and I get swept up in allthingsinlife to then simply click to your site and THIS is the first post I find?

    It’s like God just points His providential finger on time and place and leads me HERE to read the perfect post. Just wow.

    You swept up my heart and brought it to life this morning, my beautiful friend.

    Oh, do I love when you click that inner button to release beauty and depth and transparency like this.

    You KNOW I embrace every single word of it.

    Gotta share. <3

  10. Shortly after September 11, 2001, I had a pre-motherhood panic. I don’t think I’d started yet trying to get pregnant but for an instant I said to myself and my mom who I tell everything, that I didn’t want to have any kids because of the world we live in. Obviously she talked some sense into to me. Look how much worse has happened in 16 years. But, it’s a beautiful thing to see new life created and enjoyed in a way that has been taken from us. I feel for the day that being a carefree kid is a thing of the past for Christopher, but I pray that things do get better and that he never has the same thoughts as I did about starting his own family.

  11. I hear you with this! There is so much that I used to be able to do…it’s almost as if Adulting and working for ourselves ratchets things up by 1000%. But I also think that it’s just the waves of life, maybe one day we can be able to watch TV again without multitasking?

  12. I think that I’m your twin when it comes to this. I usually go to the extreme myself and it’s always the worst case scenario with me. I just wish that I could be different but it seems like it’s ingrained within me, but I have to say that I am trying.

  13. Aww I feel you and your words. I guess at some point, I go to extremes too. I’m sometimes a bit paranoid with the state of the world, and scared for my family. Sending much love to you and your family! ❤

  14. Yep, I go to extremes too (I’m also a huge Billy Joel fan!) and I’ve learned to not fight them because I learn something from them. The negative extremes are often scary and leave me feeling paranoid and on the edge. Current life in this world does not help. But then the positive extremes come, and they make up for the “sunken place” that my mind becomes in the negative times. And as for adulting being hard and attention spans turning into attention gaps… you certainly got my attention! I think it’s just brain overload for so many of us. Too many shiny objects and fleeting thoughts to catch a hold of!

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