Beware: Tickle the Sun is about to be Scrapped

So, I’m about to do away with my blog as we all know it.  It’s time for this mundane blog to be replaced by a portfolio of my photography work, also to be hosted at ticklethesun.com.

So, don’t say I didn’t warn you that it was going to happen.  Because it is.  It’s just a matter of time.

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I Don’t Get It

Today I feel like ranting.

I generally keep my mouth shut about political stuff and hot-button topics.  Mainly, I worry about offending people.  I have so few friends in my life that I worry about offending anyone.

But today, I feel like taking a stand.

Some things just don’t make sense to me.  I know I would be seen as fairly  (and at times, extremely) liberal by a lot of people, though I see myself more as a moderate in most things.

I’ve watched so many of my friends voice their hard-line opinions online over the last few weeks that, quite frankly, I found offensive.  But I love everyone I keep up with online, so I kept my mouth shut until now.

I’m scared about the upcoming elections.  Our President has done a fantastic job and it also seems like a no-brainer that he should be re-elected, especially given the extremist line that his opponent carries.

It’s painfully difficult for me to express my real opinions openly.  But, here goes…

I’m pro-choice to a point.  That point crosses the line when abortion is for pure convenience.

I’m pro-marriage equality.  Marriage equality is pro-family to me and it’s a serious human rights issue.  Those who say otherwise seem to me to have their eyes and hearts closed to God’s unconditional love.  Intolerance is ignorance and bigotry.

I think our President inherited an absolutely atrocious situation for our country and I think he’s done a fantastic job at starting to turn our country around.  I desperately want him to have four more years in office.

I’m proud that the Affordable Care Act exists.

I’ve bared my soul to express these opinions.  I’m thankful to have this space to vent freely.

Time to get off my soapbox.

 

 

Why I Couldn’t Do My Project

My final project for documentary photography class is complete.

My assignment was to document my perception of my home town based on a five-minute written brainstorming session we did in class.  Here is an excerpt of what I wrote:

Carrollton has a small-town feel with a college scene- strong nightlife.  Friends there vary from high school grads to PhD’s.  It has beautiful countrysides.  The square is the “place to be” for people of all ages.  Strong cultural center.

Again, my assignment was to document these phrases in pictures.

I couldn’t do it.  I tried, but I couldn’t do it.

I couldn’t do it because that’s not really my perception of Carrollton.  That’s the picture I wanted to draw for strangers in this class because the whole story is mixed with pain.  My perceptions of this dear town are much more complex than those short phrases.  What I wrote in class is true, but it’s only half of the story.

I’ve had to revise my written statement because there’s so much more to Carrollton than being a conservative, fairly religious cultural center of West Georgia.  I know it because I’ve lived around it for the better part of 20 years.  All my life, I’ve had my foot in two different worlds of this town.

Growing up, I lived in what has become probably one of the lowest-income neighborhoods in this county.   And yet, because of my Dad’s job and my parents’ love of the arts, I got to experience and be influenced by the arts community of Carrollton in a way that was probably completely foreign to many of our neighbors.  But still, these neighbors were my friends and I knew nothing different because I’d lived in that neighborhood my whole life.  We moved when I was 16, when the neighborhood became a fairly dangerous place:  there was a murder just a few houses down the street.

I moved away from Carrollton, my parents moved to another city as well, and I experienced life elsewhere for 10 years.

When Jared and I chose to move back to the Carrollton area, I insisted on living in the exact polar opposite neighborhood from the one in which I’d grown up.   Where we live now we have 24-hour security guards, a country club, three lakes…the amenities go on and on.   I think subconsciously I thought anywhere else in Carrollton was just too dangerous.  The murder years before made that big an impression on me.  My boys and I live a really sheltered life right now and I know it.  What’s more, I like it that way.

I worked in social services for a while when we moved back.  Though to my knowledge my family never relied on public assistance until I myself had to go on disability, I related to the people I served because of my experience growing up in my childhood neighborhood.  I experienced the fact that such an incredibly large percentage of citizens in this county are struggling in ways I’ve never had to, yet my compassion for them made me empathize in a way that was not healthy for me.  That’s why I didn’t last in the job.  I got angry at the system that was designed to help the people of this community because that same system helps perpetuate the cycle of poverty.

So, I couldn’t paint a pretty picture of Carrollton the way I thought I could.  I got some good shots of some town landmarks, but my pictures are much more personal than I anticipated.

It’s funny, I bare my soul on this blog in words just about every day.  Yet, when it comes to documenting my thoughts in pictures, I feel incredibly vulnerable.

You won’t see this project online.  Not now, at least.

 

Rain, Rain, Stay Away! And Coming Clean

There’s like an 80 percent chance of rain today, which is terrible for photo-class tonight!  We’re supposed to have an outside shoot this evening.

So, here I am, at the local friendly coffee shop in Carrollton, trying to decide if I’m going to do what I set out to do on my list or if I’m going to ditch it in favor of doing something more fun.  I need to be out taking pictures just for the practice, but I’m leery of asking the owners here if I can take some shots and I don’t want to go outside as it was actually sprinkling when I came inside the shop.

Sorry for the lack of pictures to go with this post.  I haven’t been taking pictures of randomness that fits this post.  In fact, I think the entire weekend passed without me taking a single shot.

As I said, I’m at the coffee shop.  I hate running into people I know vaguely but know they won’t want to speak.  It’s so awkward to pretend like you don’t even know each other.  That happened when I got here; there was a guy I worked with once upon a time in line ahead of me and we completely acted like we were strangers to one another.  I hate being like that.

At least I got the people who I knew were like that off Facebook.  About a month and a half ago, I purged my personal Facebook (not the blog page) of everybody who I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable speaking to in public should I run into them.  That was my criteria for whether they had to go or not.  If you found yourself being one of those people, I’m sorry.  Please don’t take it personally; it likely has nothing to do with whether I actually like you, believe it or not!

I’ve actually been toying with the idea of getting off Facebook altogether.  There’s a lot of drama that goes on there and it’s painful to watch.  I rarely post status updates anymore.  But, I know I’d miss some things and I like seeing what’s going on in my friends’ lives, so…I’m still there.

I’m feeling restless with the blog design as well, but that’s a daily battle.  I tinkered with it when I had a hard time sleeping last night, but no major changes.  Mostly, I just did away with the thumbnails from the teasers and I moved the social links to the footer.  Maybe I’ll leave it this way for a couple of days.

Okay, I’ll admit it:  I’m feeling a little manic-ish.  Not psychotic, just bubbly-overly-friendly-losing-sleep-jumped-up-on-coffee-manic-ish.  The coffee doesn’t help.  I needed the first cup I had at home to wake up, but this second cup was completely unnecessary.  It was only a purchase so I could get wifi and hang out here.

I continued cleaning out my art supplies last week and I got my desk in order yesterday, finally.  I may have said that during yesterday’s post, though.  The guest room still needs some work, but its getting there.  Mostly, I have no idea what to do with all the papers that have gotten stacked in there when we needed the dining room table cleaned off in a hurry.  I don’t deal with our household business stuff at all right now, though I did tell Jared a few days ago that I could probably take on a little of it soon.  I just need a few more days of stability (or at least not in-the-bed-depression) and my sleep needs to get back on order.

A Rainbow Tulip business is nearly wrapped up, I think.  I couldn’t face it for so very long…the very thought of looking at any of that business stuff just sent me to bed with anxiety.  If I ever go back into business for myself such that I actually want a license, I will have a business plan set out first.  It was an experiment that failed miserably for me.  All that money spent unnecessarily on supplies, and lost due to not making profits…it makes my stomach turn.

And even the fact that I spent a lot on lampworking earlier this year gets to me now because I never, ever use the equipment.  I’m leery of setting up a studio in the garage for a couple of reasons I won’t go into here.  Jared says not to worry about it, that it’s good to have a couple of different hobbies and that the equipment will still be there when I’m ready for it.  But at this point, I will need to go back to my vendor for some practice sessions.  It’s the kind of stuff that holds it’s value very well, though, and if I had somebody interested, I would consider selling the lot of it.

That’s why the cleaning out of my art supplies has been really good for me:  it’s been a good lesson (and unfortunately, only one instance) on how much money I’ve spent on things I never use, that I’ll never use.  Money that we didn’t have.  I know I’m belly-aching, but there was a time when I actually managed our household finances fairly well and very responsibly, especially when we were a one-income household in Grinnell.  Back then, we even managed to pay off Jared’s original student loan a couple of years ahead of time because I was making extra payments.  I also used to make extra payments on our mortgage, even on one income.  Somehow, it’s like my illness and lack of work sent me into “I don’t care” mode.  But I’m starting to care again.  I’m starting to want to find a way out of it instead of just turning my head away and letting Jared deal with the consequences, letting him be the one who lost sleep at night over it.

We know now that a symptom of my mania is to go on spending sprees.  But it gives me a headache to think that I cycle that quickly between mania and depression; that one day I can be in the bed depressed, fully aware of our financial situation, and the next day I can be on top of the world, with a new plan and a hundred reasons to justify to myself why I’m spending the money.

Then, there’s the fact that I often spent the most money without consulting with Jared first because I knew he’d tell me no.  Most dangerously, I purposefully spent money we didn’t have as a family, or money that should have been better spent on things for the boys, without telling Jared at all.  That’s how I know things have been really bad.  Over the past year, that behavior spiraled out of control and was worst probably this past January.  Even last month, I had a minor episode of it.  This month I’ve made a renewed commitment to be upfront and discuss all purchases first with Jared.  I’ve mentally given myself a modest allowance and I won’t exceed that amount (it’s actually already spent, 6 days into the month, unfortunately).

So, there you have it.  I’m the reason our family is close to being in the poorhouse, and I know it.  Again, I know I’m complaining, and I’m probably being way over-dramatic.  We’re not in the dire straits I saw at work a few years ago.  After all, we’re not even close to being behind in our mortgage and we’re never in danger of not having food or gas for the car.  It’s just the stupid credit cards that have me all tied up in knots.  The only thing that actually gives me comfort is the fact that mine won’t work anymore, for whatever reason.  And the credit cards were my weakness.  I don’t have access to Jared’s, thankfully, and even in my weakest moments, I’ve never, ever considered using the debit card for silly purchases.  Even when I’m having a weak moment, I recognize that that money is for the mortgage and bills.

I haven’t been good at holding myself accountable in my spending over the past couple of years, so I’m coming clean here in an effort to start holding myself extremely accountable.  I’ve learned a lesson both about myself and about finances the hard way.  Here’s to hoping this accountability works.