Ten Years Gone

“Then as it was, then again it will be
And though the course may change sometimes
Rivers always reach the sea
Blind stars of fortune, each have several rays
On the wings of maybe, down in birds of prey
Kind of makes me feel sometimes, didn’t have to grow
But as the eagle leaves the nest, it’s got so far to go”
— Led Zeppelin in Ten Years Gone

There’s a Tamara-shaped hole in New Jersey that is ten-years-old now.

This blog? Is now seven-years-old.

It’s funny, but not so funny, that the three year difference in there was a dry spell. I don’t remember writing a single thing I loved, except maybe parts of our wedding program. And I didn’t take many photos either. WHY? It was California.

I must have been crazy, except I wasn’t.

It’s funny how we lose our ways, and find our ways, and lose our ways, again, in depths we never considered, only to find our ways, again, in heights we never imagined. I don’t even know what I sat here to say, about ten years out of New Jersey and into the next great adventure. And ten years into one adventure after another great adventure after another after another.

Like Alice tumbling, falling, tumbling, falling, down the rabbit hole.

And I don’t even know what to say about ten years out of New Jersey. What do I have to show for it? Everything. And nothing. If you ask me on a different day, or even during a different HOUR, my answer will be different. Everything. Nothing.

Yesterday I cried for 30 minutes. It was my first real cry in months and enough to induce a headache. I was crying because I was so lost. And I was so found. All in one week. It’s like everything and nothing. The truth is: THIS IS SO HARD. Sometimes.

There are things people say I make look easy – like childbirth and photography. Parenting and working. And really? REALLY? I feel like I have band-aids covering my body. I feel like I’ve just been through a battle, only to still be facing a giant war.

This morning I said to someone, “God, you look amazing and I look like I just woke up.” (she did and I had) Yet someone said to me, three minutes after that, “God you look amazing.” I hope someone then said it to her. It occurred to me that the meanest person in my life – the bully – is me. Instead of smiling and saying “thank you,” I had to blurt out, “Thank you. Wow. I honestly feel like I look awful, awful and how wonderful it is that I don’t.” How wonderful it is that maybe, I never did.

Battle scars and all.

If it looks easy, it’s because I put a bow, clean hair, some mascara, a coat, and a hat on it. Oh, and probably coconut oil.

That’s the story of everything. Oh, and how I’m sensitive to changes – when they’re not talked about. When they’re talked about, but without answers. When the Sweet Valley Twins books started being terrible – and going from stories of learning about the Holocaust – to stories about Jessica having a crush on a boy at camp but not wanting him to see her because she was sick and looked awful. (the horrors!) And when we all four had a cough and cold for over a month. The doctors couldn’t be clear with us. What was it? What had changed? Was it us? Or the world? Or our changing reactions to a changing world?

When everyone stopped personal blogging, and stopping visiting here – one by one.

When people stopped reading my consistent personal writing.

When our attention spans changed. Was it us? Was it the world?

I didn’t stop. No, never. I did dry up a bit, knowing full well the dam would break again and I wouldn’t be able to contain it.

ten years gone

I’m still finding my way. I stumble. I do stupid things. I get rejections (ALL THE TIME). I can’t always bounce back from them. I’m sensitive to the changes. I haven’t been doing this long enough to know what it means. When things are slow, I panic. When things are fast, I panic for a different reason. When things are slower than I’ve ever seen them, all I want is for you to tell me you’ve seen it slower – and you’ve seen it bounce back. Better than before. That you’ve seen ME bounce back.

Better than before.

All I really want is for you to hold me, tell me I have pretty hair, and give me $30,000 and ice cream with sprinkles.

So Happy Ten Years to me, and Happy Seven Years to this blog!

We’re all in this together and that’s never changed for me. I come here for so many different reasons – some financial, some emotional, and mostly – both. Fimotional? I hope you can see the heart and soul through my missteps and triumphs.

I’ll leave you with a last story. When we were house hunting, we first saw another house that we liked enough to look at twice. Ultimately I couldn’t see myself there at all, and not even close. Soon after, we found and fell in love with this house.

ten years gone

I love this house and it’s still changing, and I love it even more. I know struggle, though. I say, “You wait your whole life for a house but is this my dream? Can I see half or whole parts of my dreams? Am I having an existential crisis, like I do whenever anything gets too heady?” (YES) These are pieces of dreams, but sometimes the big picture looks shoddy or it has missing roof pieces in the beginning. Sometimes in the middle too. The faucet sprays backwards, but oh, look at the LOVE here.

The carpet is hideous, but hey, we’ll cover that too.

We’re all building works in progress. Ten years gone, but ten years here.

I’m so very here.

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43 Comments

  1. I love a good cry, I’ve been crying a lot lately, I hate when it brings on a serious headache. Wow 10 years is a long time. It’s crazy to see how much has changed, and how much has staid the same. I’m always amazed by you Tamara. I’m in a long-term relationship and I blog and create art full time, I only have me to worry about yet some how some way I have no time to sweep the floor or get toilet paper. I’m always in awe of what you accomplish in one day. You are super woman.

    1. It’s funny that days maybe get more stretchy when you have kids? I remember long and lazy weekends with Cassidy and it would seem like we didn’t accomplish anything, and that was ok. I’d love another day like that, but I doubt it’s possible!

  2. It is a wonderful thing to love where you are. I totally agree that we are harder on ourselves (more of a bully to ourselves) than anyone else. It makes sense.. we hear our own voice 27/7 while those of others are intermittent. Focusing on the positive helps on those “body covered with bandaids” days!

  3. Happy 10 & 7 years consistently and it’ll be 20 soon for both of them. I know you can do it. And it is true that we are our worst critic, I find that you’re very charming and lovable and we all love you for who you are. BTW I want someone to tell me I have pretty hair, hug me and give me $30k and ice-cream with sprinkles too. 🙂

  4. Fimotional should be a word. For real. And yes to coconut oil, That is like manna from the Gods. Also band aids. I took my nasty one off yesterday. Ripped it clean off and now my neck underneath, wow that is a battle scar. Hugs to you my sweet friend. I am so glad we met in this crazy, online world 🙂

  5. What an intense, heady, heavy, emotional and brutally honest piece of your heart and mind. Kudos for nailing your reality into words so well!!! Love you so.

  6. 10 years. And 7 years. Who knew? Congrats on being able to keep this blog. You know I’d always come back and read your personal stories because I felt like I’ve known a part of you through this blog. I always feel connected even though I’m reading about a family that’s basically halfway around the world from where I am. That’s awesome! And keep shining!

    PS: Totally remember that part when Jessica met the boy at camp. I kinda miss the books.

  7. SOOO INSANE how fast time flies – RIGHT?!?!?! It’s fun to go back to some of our first blog posts and read what we wrote. I am not gunna lie – I think I am a friggin’ genius! And for you – your blog is just a photo album of Scarlett & Des!! You can just watch them grow as you click a newer and newer blog post!

    1. haha! When I look at the photos I took, even as a photographer, when I first started doing sponsored stuff, I laugh. Even graphics from a year ago are AWFUL! And a year from now, I’ll be like, “Wow.. I was terrible.”

  8. I love your house too. I always admire it when you share photos.

    And I’ll always read your blog. But I have found that people seem to have stopped reading blogs as often. It’s a bummer.

    A good cry always helps me! It freaks out my husband, but I feel better afterwards.

    1. I feel the same way.

      But we’ll still be reading each other’s blogs! Funny how when we “met” Natalie was a little girl and Scarlet was probably a mere preschooler, if even!

  9. I’m loving the word Fimotional!!! We all do things based on our finances and emotions. I know I do. I also know that we all try to make the best decisions we can based off the information we have.

  10. Oh, my goodness, Tamara… Your writing. It is making me all verklempt and stuff!

    Uhm, Sweet Valley Twins. I had no idea what those books were about! Now I want to read them all (but stop when it gets to the silly parts).

    Okay… back to your heart spilling and story telling and first (second? third?)–congratulations on 7 years of blogging and 10 years away from NJ. Hey, some people can’t wait to get out of this state 🙂 Me? I’m just holding it down, ya know. I love your home and the photos you share of the life you’ve built. Ya know, I think about that all the time. How frazzled I feel and whether it is visible on the outside. So often, I dab on some chapstick and pinch my cheeks and make a beeline into life and I feel I’m cruising but life still bites me in the ass. I think we’re all just stumbling and fumbling around and figuring it out as we go. No? I dunno.

    I will never stop coming here as long as you have me. Sometimes I’m slow to respond, but it’s never even a thought that would cross my head (or heart) to skip out on this and miss reading your words <3

    1. What’s funny is that I’m SO behind on comments that it’s almost laughable that I’m trying to come back here and channel what I was feeling back in April.
      Basically, I can’t.
      BUT… it’s about you knowing that I read this and HEARD you.
      I’m glad you’re holding down NJ. I used to think I was escaping NJ itself, but NJ is gorgeous. It was more that I was escaping NOT living in a state with moose. So NJ can’t take that personally, right? Although they might want to get on that!

  11. I’m so glad you’re here! Congrats on 7 years of blogging. I’m going through a down time where I’m definitely my biggest critic – feeling lots of rejection. But in 50 years I’ve learned that it won’t last forever. So I just keep plugging along!

  12. I had a good cry the other day, and I found taking a shower made me feel so much better.
    I can’t believe you’ve been blogging for seven years! I’m amazed how consistently you’ve kept it up all this time. I thought I would never stop, but now I’m done to one post a month. It’s both freeing and has left a bit of a hole.
    I have been out of Jersey now 13 years. How did that happen?
    Love this post, Tamara, and all of its rawness and youness <3

    1. But.. you never stopped! You still haven’t! I love that.

      13 years?! It’s crazy, isn’t it? And we’re both in the same state after all that!

  13. These are always the posts that hit my heart HARD, Tamara. Oh how I adore your transparency. How I adore your incredible gift of feeling and expressing what SO MANY OF US FEEL TOO.

    I think I consider giving up on this writing/blogging thing about a dozen times a day. And yes… ebb and flow and wanting and not and giving up and pushing on and so it goes.

    I get you, girl. I get all of this. I get especially the existential malaise of emotion- hidden coming to view and the whirling waves of flooding tears that come forth.

    But you keep going. And so do I. Because we both have a purpose and a passion- well, many of both really.

    So carry on, warrior.

    And I will too. <3

    XOXO

    (Sharing this one. Too good not to share. )

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