life

Bursting The Bubble

I have been trying for 4 days now to write this next post. The words are not lining up in a way that would make any sense to you the reader. After much thought, I decided to share a project I’ve been working on. A friend of mine, Mandy challenged a bunch of us earlier this month to do a self portrait. Here is a picture of what I came up with. (It’s been slightly modified by an app I have on my phone to give it more depth and texture, which I couldn’t quite capture with the elements I had to work with.)

It’s a canvas that I decoupaged with various items, including yarn, glass beads, words, paint, fabric, and ink. It’s a mish mash basically, but a fair representation of where I am in life right now.

I also created a “wordle” based on the words I used through out the “self portrait”.

I’m not sure where this is going yet. It’s a new chapter in the journey of life. But this is me. More to come…

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The Girl In The Bubble

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, soul searching, and reflecting lately. A little of that is reflected in a recent post and more is to come in this post and possibly following posts. I don’t know yet how far this will go, or what it will look like. I’ve been hesitant to post this too, but I  feel that there is something in all of this that needs to be shared either with someone else or it’s just something I need to get out of my system. Either way, here it is.

Moving to a new place (if you’ve followed this blog for any period of time you know the journey, otherwise you can read more in the archives) has been an adventure. Having been here almost a year, I can now look back over the journey and see with clearer eyes what has transpired.

I’ve been reflecting recently on the past year, what all has happened since we began our “Great Adventure” and where we are now. Or more specifically where I am now. And where I’ve been for the past 14 years. Some of you may or may not be old enough to remember the after school specials, and the campy movies that came out during that time frame. One that sticks in my mind (and there are many for some strange reason) is the movie “The Boy In The Plastic Bubble” starring John Travolta circa 1976. It was based on a true story of a boy who had to live in a completely sterile environment, hence the bubble. Obviously he had to live in this bubble for health reasons, and that’s not the point of this post. But it does help to illustrate the point I want to make. Have you ever considered you may be living in a bubble? It’s easy to create one, not so easy to realize you’re in one though. For me, I didn’t realize the bubble I was in until after we moved. I can look back on it now and see how insulated and in some cases isolated I was during that time. Some of it was self imposed, some of it was due to the area and the prevailing attitude of the place. When you live in a town where you are made to feel an outcast because you are not born and bred there, over time it tends to affect your view of life and yourself. Unless you are one of those people with a self esteem made of an indestructible material, at some point you will be affected by this oppression.

A little background ~ I grew up in Pittsburgh. A large city, where when I was a kid they bused us white kids to the black neighborhood to integrate the school, many friends were of varying ethnicities, a vibrant nightlife that I took part of for many years, and a variety of other influences, both good and  not so good. Fast forward some years and I find myself living in a small town, in the south where (sadly) there were still klan rallies being held, in a completely unfamiliar place, new job that I really didn’t feel qualified for, and basically an outsider. You can imagine what it felt like – a fish out of water is not a far cry from what it felt like to me.

I made friends easily enough where I was working, since I was spending 14 + hour days there, where else I would I socialize. Thus, the beginning of the bubble. Add to that the nearest major city with any sort of decent shopping, restaurants, or ethnic groceries was over an hours drive away; another layer of the bubble is added. After a while, the job came to an end. The small company I worked for was bought out by a bigger company – which was a good thing and a not so great thing. Good because of a financial windfall, bad because so many of us lost our jobs. Good also because we were able to adopt our daughter, buy a house, and pay off our debt. Bad because friends that I had become close to moved away to find better jobs or other opportunities.

But now we enter the next layer of the bubble. “Stay at home mom” or SAHM for short. It was a tough transition going from independent, working and managing a team of developers who were relatively independent, to suddenly having someone depend on you for their every need. We had neighbors moving in around us, new houses being built, and new friendships were made. Other kids came along in the neighborhood that became playmates and classmates. Suddenly the world revolved around the activities of a child, no longer the adult. The bubble had changed, but it was still a bubble. All that I had dreamed of what pushed back yet again. There were hobbies that occupied some of my time, there were volunteer opportunities that allowed me some creative outlets. But the dreams of writing, creating, taking part in an industry that my heart had longed to be a part of so many years ago, was buried so deep, they soon became forgotten.

Please don’t get the wrong idea and think that there weren’t great times, and great friends as well, there certainly were. But there was something missing too. Something I couldn’t identify at the time. Something that would take me a while to realize, only after we left that place, got away from the bubble we were in, and began what was to become the next phase in life. More to come.

Measuring Time

Why is it we measure time using big, monumentous occasions? For example, if I asked where were you when you heard the Challenger blew up? Or President Reagan was shot? Or the planes flew into the twin towers? You could probably tell me exactly where you were, what you were doing, and who you were with. (Provided you’re old enough to remember some of those events.)

But what if I asked you, where were you or what were you doing on March 13, 2001? Or last Tuesday at 2:47 pm? Would you remember what you were doing then? Who you were with? Would it evoke a pleasant memory or something you’d rather not face?

As a mother to a now 11 year old I find myself wondering where have the years gone already? We celebrated her birthday just a couple of weeks ago, and during that time I realized in just 7 more years she’ll be old enough to start college. That’s 3 years less than since we adopted her. She’ll be old enough to vote then. And old enough to do a lot of other things that I don’t really want to think about right now. (I still have memories of what I was doing when I was 18) So as I write this, it’s a reminder to me to cherish those small, every day moments. To stop measuring time just based on the big milestones, but to enjoy the little ones too.

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And to answer my own questions posed earlier ~ I was on an airplane flying to New Orleans with my dad when I heard about the space shuttle blowing up.  Our pilot used the unfortunate choice of words when he first came on the PA system. He said “I’m afraid I have some bad news.” You can imagine what my first thoughts were there.

I was living in Virginia, just outside of DC when President Reagan was shot. And for some reason I was home from school that day, so I saw it on tv, over and over again.

And on September 11th, I was getting ready to take my mom to the airport. She was supposed to fly from Atlanta back to Seattle that day. Needless to say after seeing the second plane hit, live because I had just turned on the news, I turned to my mom and told her I don’t think you’re going anywhere today.

As for March 13, 2001 – I do remember this day, only because we were still in China, getting to know our new daughter. As to last Tuesday, that sadly I don’t have much recollection of. I’d have to go back and look at my calendar to even see what I was doing that day.

Crazy Busy

So this week is a crazy busy week. I’m getting ready to leave my family for 10 days, by themselves. Oh my. I’ve never left them for that long before. My 10 year old told me “Mom, do you realize you are going away for a third of the month.” I hadn’t thought of it in quite that way until she said that.

So this week as I prepare my heart and mind for the creative infusion that I will be on the receiving end of next week, I also am preparing my home for my family, so hopefully my absence won’t be quite as noticeable.

So if you think of it, keep them in your thoughts and prayers while I’m gone.

Following Rabbit Trails

So last week I had out patient surgery for a varicose vein that has been bothering me for years. Because of this, I wasn’t able to do a lot for the remainder of the week, other than sit around, keep my leg elevated, and try not to go stir crazy. Thankfully one of my Christmas presents was a Macbook Air, so I was able to at least use my computer while sitting on the couch. Otherwise I would have been extremely contorted at my desk trying to keep my leg up. But that’s off topic. Back to the rabbit trail.

I invested or spent, depending on how you look at rabbit trails, a lot of time reading. Blogs, news, tweets, help topics, reviews, pretty much anything that was written on line that was broadcast into my little on line world of twitter, facebook, and google reader. And along the way I have found out something interesting.

Rabbit trails are the way to market today. Whether you are a musician, writer, business, whatever… The more rabbit trails you create, the more you spread your word. You create buzz, traffic, and hopefully in the end, you accomplish your goal, whether that be getting your name or product out there, or increasing your business. But notice, the rabbit trails I followed weren’t from print ads, or commercials on tv (which I actually watched less of this past week), or radio spots. They were from links that you posted on twitter. Or maybe it was your blog. Or maybe something someone said on facebook that led me to do a search on google. It all comes back to social media and an on line presence. Now I’m no expert in this field, there are plenty out there who claim to be. But if I can figure this out it must not be that hard. So I ask, if you not, why aren’t you using this as a tool to get your word out? And if you are, have you noticed a change? Is it working? Any advice you’d share?

I’m off to follow more rabbit trails, and see what else I’ll learn.