..however, as I told Stevie from Joy in The Midst Of, “You’re making me get deeply honest here, but not uncomfortably honest.”
I’m paired with the radiant Stevie for today’s #AskAwayFriday, and for once, I actually somewhat remember how I met her. That’s not usually the story with my favorite bloggers/connections but she so awesomely reminded me recently that we met on my SITS Day back in July. I hope you don’t mind that I went to fact-check this, Stevie, and found the words that won me over:
“I am a little late, but I wanted to be sure to stop by and wish you a happy belated SITS day. Can I just say, your blog just instantly made me smile? You have such a happy joyful vibe! Your pictures are lovely and I love your tagline – soulful writing and photography. I’m really excited to meet you and find your blog. I look forward to reading a little more of your writing!”
And so it began. And so it begins..And I love this journey. And I love her questions for me.
May they shed some light for you on some of the rhythms of my heart..
1. I know I have told you how much I loved reading your series on How I Met Your Father and the subsequent, What it Felt Like to Write That. What’s it like to be married after such an epic love story? How have you and Cassidy changed since that time?
Oof, you’re off with a bang here! My mom once had a famous quote in my story about how the first time we were together, it was like pouring hot lava into two dixie cups – we weren’t yet strong enough to withstand the power and heat. When we were together the second time, two years later, she said it was like pouring hot lava into two strong clay cups. We were now strong enough to withstand the power and heat. I will add some yada yada about being strong enough for the lava, but soft enough to still be molded closer to each other. Of course there have been parts of me that have said, “Well..that’s great and all, but now what?” after having such an intriguing “how we met” story. And the “now what” is that you have to honor that story and that magic and power. And of course, love. I’d be lying if I said we honored it daily, or weekly, or even monthly the way you honor such a story. However we’re a fantastically messy, and messily fantastic work-in-progress. And I can work with this kind of clay.
2. Speaking of Cassidy, how does he feel about your blog? Does he read it?
Yes, he does read my blog and I believe he reads every post, if not right away. I think his feelings for it probably evolve. There have been times in which we were having tensions and he said my blog read like that of a single mom, even though I wasn’t one. And I think it evolves as we do. Even during the worst of our arguments, I know he has always been rooting for me. Even when he doesn’t like what I’m saying, he can appreciate the way I say it (the writing part) or the way other people relate to me.
3. You often include song lyrics in your writing, as a way to illustrate the feeling and mood of the story. What song tells your story, your life as it is right now, in this moment?
I’m definitely still on my “Safe and Sound” (by Capital Cities) kick that I’ve been on for exactly three months. For me it’s all about feeling safe and sound and fighting the situational anxiety I’ve been prone to for years. It’s also about taking baby steps to greater success, clarity, and fear-overcoming, while still feeling safe and sound. And every now and then it’s nice to not at all feel safe and sound. As long as you can get back to that place later that night at home, or at some point. Doing scary things is pretty awesome. My second choice would be “Jump” by Madonna. It’s about..the good kind of jumping. Faith leaping, really.
4. I am taking a clue from Eli’s (Coach Daddy) six word stories. Tell in six words, what is the essence of who you are?
Oversensitive and humored, high on life.
5. You know I have babies on the brain. I remember you saying that you didn’t have time to plan and prepare for being a mom, so I am guessing Scarlet was a bit of a surprise. What did it feel like to find out you were pregnant?
Total shock to the system. I had been SO SURE the test would be negative and me being ten days late and hating the smell of garlic was somehow stress related? The instructions on the pregnancy test said it could take up to three minutes, but in a matter of 30 seconds, it very boldly and digitally said, “PREGNANT.” My first instinct was to cry into Cassidy’s shoulder. I was scared. And on a really stupid but honest note, I’m an emetophobe and I was afraid of having morning sickness. Luckily, I never did. For about a week after the positive test, I would wake up panicked in the middle of the night and just think there is no way it could happen. Nature gives you nine months to prepare for a baby, but by my second week after finding out, I was rapidly excited.
6. I know from your How I Met Your Father posts that you used to work in an office environment. But I also saw in an older post that it was your first week as a stay at home mom. When and how did you make that transition?
I’ve gone back and forth one too many times. When I graduated college and after I had sufficiently screwed around and traveled for awhile, I worked as a school photographer doing class photos. Eventually, the wear and tear of lugging the risers, medium format camera and various lighting kits at 5:00 am in the morning got to me and I settled into a nice, cushy office job for four years. Then I moved to California and did some awful temp stuff, then worked for a year as an innkeeper. Then we moved back here and I did more awful temp stuff, then had Scarlet, then did more awful part-time temp stuff. Then Cassidy settled into a full-time job with a good company and I went back to stay-at-home mom status. However, through it all, I’ve been discovering that writing and photography? Those things are IT for me, and what I’m working with and towards. No more awful temp stuff!
7. I have my Canon Rebel DSLR for about six months now and I’m still getting the hang of it. Are there any resources you recommend for a newbie photographer?
I think people will point you in all kinds of directions – Clickin Moms, I Heart Faces, & various magazines, websites and online photo classes. I’m here to tell you to go to babycenter.com and create a log-in. You don’t have to be a mother to join, but you do want to be either a parent, an expectant parent, or someone starting that journey. In the community section, join their photography groups. I swear I have learned more in their community forums than anywhere else ever. And from there, you can get even deeper resources. These women really analyze and study every detail of everything ever. Not just photography!
8. I love seeing some of the pictures that were taken inside of your house. It’s a little glimpse into Tamara’s daily life. How did you choose the house that you live in?
I don’t think we had any intention of moving from the very happy condo we lived in for three years, but we used to go to open houses just for fun. And it really was fun, because we hadn’t fallen in love with anything. At one house that I was not even in like with, the realtor who was selling it saw us for the goldmine that we were, and she asked us to list our absolute deal breakers in a house. Of course I put that it needed to have more than one bathroom and central a/c. She told me I might want to broaden my horizons, but I never really did. After weeks of email listings, we were intrigued by a house. We took it to the next step and scheduled a second viewing. It didn’t have central air, but that wasn’t the problem. I wasn’t feeling it. I looked through many listings and so did Cassidy and we both came to the other with an interesting listing we had seen for a funky house in the woods, but in the town we already lived in. That’s our house now. We walked right in at the open house and I nearly glared at anyone else that set foot there after us. It was ours, all along, but I wanted the process to be speedy. Luckily it was.
9. I know you and I have both written about our struggle with self-doubt and self-confidence, and how that comes and goes. What is one thing you really like or are really proud about yourself?
Funny you should ask, because it’s something you definitely have and you write a blog about it! I find joy easily. I remember first getting high on life when I was ten, and maybe earlier than that. I can almost skip with joy on a consistent basis. I hope I won’t lose that ever, but I don’t think I will. I seem to be wired this way.
10. Okay a totally self-serving question here. What do you think about a guest post swap?
Um..YES! How has this not happened before?
Okay since that was a cheat question, I’ll do one more. You have said that you were blogging for a long time before you really started getting serious and started networking with other bloggers. What was the impetus for your change in direction?
Hey, that’s a good one! There wasn’t really one defining moment, but a series of them. I had just gotten serious about my photography business and I was working with a web designer on a website and logo. I was afraid I’d lose the writing aspect of my life, so I wondered how I could take that further too. Everything seemed to point to joining a blogging community and SITS was recommended to me a lot. I am exponentially happier blogging with a community than blogging alone. Besides..my mom used to be my only commenter and she got really busy with moving my grandmother up to New Jersey around the same time..