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A Light in the Woods

Boy guys, what a week, huh?

With the country and the world, I am almost out of words? With myself, I’ve been hiding away – in bubble baths and vats of bleach (slight exaggeration) because the Norovirus is on the rise around here. That’s mostly why Des was home with me today. He’s fine, so far, but Thursdays are good days to keep away from all the kid germs. We took care of ourselves with errands, blankets, matching UConn shirts, french fries, and reading books under late morning window light. True love.

Yesterday was a doozy of a day. I woke up with a mildly upset stomach because I had a morning appointment and then a two hour dental appointment. It was the full range of x-rays, a dental exam, a cleaning, and then a surprise ending, because they had a last minute no-show while I happened to be making a future appointment to fix an air bubble in my tooth near an old filling. Fun times, right? I was fixing to leave the office, and the next thing I knew, I was lying on an expensive chair having her tell me to breathe in and out slowly while sticking my gums with a large needle. I stared out the window the whole time.

Then I had to pick up three kids – my own and a last minute spare – while half of my face was numb, and I hadn’t actually eaten anything since 10pm the previous night. 17 hours! Then there was dinner and valentine errands. Then.. self-care time. For me, that generally includes 20 minutes in a warm bubble bath with a book. Or one or the other. We need to take care of ourselves right now, more than ever. The news can drive you crazy. Your friends can drive you crazy. Your family too.

We all have to stick together, ya hear? I believe in YOU.

Today I woke up to take the kids to school and ran into a snowbank in our driveway. A piece of the plastic casing of the car got loose, the screws went all over the driveway, and I had to drive to school and back with a long piece of the car dragging into the street and making a horrific sound! I already show up to school, always dangerously close to being late, and wearing donut leggings. If I’m trying to hide in the shadows, I’m doing an awful job of it. So I guess I’ll just come into the light – flaws and all. Curves and edges. Novocaine face and half my car dragging out behind me. Oh, hiii! Here I am, and I am FIERCE.

I’m on your side.

Another thing I do for self care is to write. Generally, it doesn’t make me feel better. If anything, it makes me feel worse because it stirs up the darkness and the light – and everywhere they swirl together. It kicks up dirt and spits it in my face. You’re wondering why I do it, right? It’s because if I keep doing it, eventually it doesn’t just kick up dirt and spit it in my face. It begins to wash it away – slowly at first. A fingertip through the dust and dirt and decay. Then two. Then it’s ten fingers furiously wiping away the dirt and spit and you begin to see something new underneath it all. It almost.. shines?

And so, that’s what I do. If I didn’t, the dirt would add layer after layer, after caked-on layer. And would I be able to see clearly under all that mess? Probably not. I read and I write and I sit in the bath, and I read and I write, sometimes in the bath, and all of it takes away the layers upon layers of dirt and grime and germs and muck and turmoil and decay.

New dirt and decay doesn’t grow into the light. Instead, that’s where all the cleansing happens.

You know what else I do for self care? Photography. It often makes me feel frustrated and down. I feel like a two-bit hack all the time. (I don’t know what two-bit even means, but I love the term) Lenses break. Cameras fall. They don’t have half their junk dragging on the ground like my car, but hey. My camera is my shield and screen, but it also draws me closer. It’s my magnet. It’s from my heart. Inside and out. Outside and in. These are all from over a year ago, but they tell some stories.

Stories about darkness in the light, and light in the darkness.

photography

finish the sentence friday

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finish the sentence friday

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When it comes to self care… tell me about something YOU do!

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “When it comes to self care…” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on the matter: HERE.

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51 Comments

  1. Ahhhh Des looks adorable in his UConn shirt 🙂 I hope he stays healthy and avoids the Norovirus. No one likes surprises at the Dentist. No one. I’ve been avoiding real news but enjoying comedy news like Last week tonight and The Daily Show, at least it makes me laugh while freaking out and crying. I can only imagine you driving the kids to school with a piece of car dragging behind you; it sounds like a TV show. Lol, I haven’t taken a bubble bath in a while. I’m going to dust off one of my bath bombs and pamper myself tmrw.

    1. So far, he’s ok. If we can just get through the next week, we will have February vacation and be away from other children! That’s sort of why they have February vacation, I think – to clear out germs!
      The Daily Show can keep you sane!!

  2. OK, so this is why we are twins, because I write and take photos as far as self care is concerned here, too. Just add in designing, reading and DVR catching up and you got me to a tee! 🙂

  3. Oh the Norovirus seems to be going around. Luckily it hasn’t made it’s way here to my house yet and I’m hoping it never does. I have a dental appointment coming up and I’m already dreading it. I’m not a fan of dentists at all. Sounds like yours went rather well and you no longer have to worry about it for at least another 6 months. As for self care, for me self care is taking a long relaxing bath with my door closed so that Madison can’t enter and bother me.

    1. I have to go to the dentist every four months! Boo! At least I won’t have to get x-rays for another five years, though. I find them to be un-fun and painful.
      We don’t have good locks around here. Baths would be better with good locks on the door.

  4. Photography is such a balm during times of stress. It is an automatic cue to look outward instead of focusing on what’s happening with you.

    I am not a fan of going to the dentist either – can completely relate to your need to look out the window.

    1. I have to go for a cleaning every four months so I mostly get used to it, but every other appointment is more thorough – with the dentist exam. And this was both of those things, plus x-rays! Usually there are no windows but I happened to be in the one room with a window. Bliss.

  5. We all have our things, right? I clean out closets for self-care. Basically, I’ve run out of my clients, which is why I now am a professional organizer. Nothing makes me feel better than shedding clutter and bringing order… and maybe chocolate lava cake.

    1. Is that like a word of mouth type of thing to get clients? I’d love someone to clean out my closets AND professionally organize my life!
      Mm.. chocolate lava cake.

      1. We have a whole profession… national association (NAPO), local chapters, etc. It’s a wonderful thing! If you ever really want to hire an organizer, I can help you find one near you:)

    1. I didn’t pass out! I have no idea how. I think it’s just because I was on the go all day and not thinking about food. And I was hydrated. Usually I eat much more than that, though!

  6. That baby!!! EEEP. I’m not a bath person but I read every day (and listen to audio books in the car). Reading and writing really are great ways of self-care. And donut leggings (hope the car’s okay!). I’m glad you write. And use your camera to capture the light.

    1. Time is cruel because that baby is now a toddler. EEEP is right!
      The car is ok. It’s only temporarily fixed, but hey, as long as I don’t ram into any snowbanks..

  7. All I know is that self care is hard! It sounds so easy, but it is one of the hardest things to do for yourself. It is so easy to neglect yourself and overlook it while you are taking care of others.

  8. I love when you describe the dates you have with your kiddos <3 So sweet, and I hope everyone is recovering and that your upset tummy is doing a bit better.

    I have days like this. Maybe not quite like this with half the car spilling into the street, but certainly days when you wake up and nothing goes right (but at least you have donut leggings, because those at least are fun surprise to any day, no?).

    I've been deep in the thinks myself too. I went to visit a gf the other day (she just moved to a new place with her daughter) and she mentioned radiation pills and having a bunker and I thought "wow, that's nuts," but also "am I not doing enough?" The world is scary and I'm petrified and I feel like I'm just getting up and enjoying coffee and trying not to think and turn on the news because I hate all of it except for animal memes on Facebook lately. I dunno. Wake me up in four years, LOL

    Love you and love your writing. And also your photographs–whether they were taken a year ago or just yesterday, I always feel as though they tell such beautiful stories <3

    PS: keep at it with the self care. Bubble baths do wonders.

    1. What’s funny is that the car was fine for two weeks or so, and now the piece that Cassidy fixed fell off again! Ah, it’s so embarrassing and hilarious to drive like that.
      The world is so scary right now. I hope it’s safe and cozy, yet exciting, in Jamaica! With bubble baths! In Jamaica!

  9. Oh Tamara- as always you hit me in the heart HARD with your beautiful words and your raw authenticity of living this life- filled with the frustrations, the stretching to reach the light and the dirt covered layers we ALL must dig through and kick off and figure out ways to breathe in it and come out of it.

    Your images bring it all to LIFE. I gasped in sheer JOY when I scrolled down to see that precious baby in the streaming sunlight. Ah…. does a heart good, yes?

    “It begins to wash it away – slowly at first. A fingertip through the dust and dirt and decay. Then two. Then it’s ten fingers furiously wiping away the dirt and spit and you begin to see something new underneath it all. It almost.. shines?” <— YES YES YES. And your words always come through shining, my precious friend! ALWAYS.

    Keep staying true, sharing truth, and showing us all how to live out our truth. You do it so beautifully. <3

  10. Whenever I hear the term “Uconn” I always think Yukon and Canada. I can’t help it.

    At the end of the day, when I can hide for a few minutes in my little home sauna, is the best self-care I have 🙂

  11. Oof, we’ve had the norovirus going around our coop since the beginning of January. I think more than half of the kids have had it now. Blerg.
    And dentist appointments that require giant needles in your guys are definitely not fun, especially when they go into the roof of your mouth. (I’m finally on the other side of 3 gum grafts in the span of a year, hopefully I won’t need any more!)
    You know that making jewelry is my self-care. And reading, and snuggling Eve and/or Sam, and spending time with friends. And meeting friends’ babies!

    1. Stay safe from Noro – you can do it!!!!
      Gum grafts?? Really? I think that’s always been something that seemed inevitable, but it hasn’t happened yet. I hope it’s not too bad?

  12. Photography is such a beautiful way to self care. To be honest, I’ve been afraid of catching a tummy bug since it has hit all of my friends and family!

    1. I hope you’ve remained virus-free! It’s been all through Scarlet’s school and partway through Des’ school, and winter break can’t come fast enough!

  13. Oh my gosh the germs, the car dragging, the dirt and long and agonizing dentist appointments. You cracked me up, but I am so sorry. I am sitting here typing with a house full of disease just waiting until it gets me, because there is not enough Lysol in the world to keep it away. It’s coming….. Hopefully by keeping them here though, I can save others!

    1. Are you all better yet? I hope so for you!
      The funny thing is that the car was temporarily fixed for the last two weeks and fell off today, because of the two feet of fresh snow, I think!

  14. I was just listening to a podcast over the weekend that focused on the need to practice self care during this time that our country is going through. Unfortunately, I thought things would be better after the election, but the are worse as far as the political climate. So self care for me involves taking breaks from the news, watching things that make me laugh, hanging out with my family, reading the bible, and other things that bring me joy.

  15. You can never stop taking pictures and writing – your gifts are too important! I’ve only been good about self care in the last few years. And even now I feel guilty sometimes – which is ridiculous and I need to get over it.

    1. I feel guilty if I take time to myself during weekdays. I have to stop doing that. I have lost way too many weekends to work! Maybe tomorrow I’ll watch a whole movie!

  16. Writing is definitely my self care. And honestly, only about .. maybe… 60% is seen by anyone else. Sometimes things get written down in a flurry, and then crumpled and discarded. But it still helps quiet my noisy brain.

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