Tuesday, February 27, 2018

time travel via the classic medium of blog posts

Phase One, the neurotic wedding/lifestyle blogging as a distraction from debilitating pain, fear and anxiety era. 
Leaving and Forgetting, Joshua Jensen-Nagle

Spiraling depression, anxiety, despair. Much hyperventilating and sobbing. A lot of shouting, impulsive creation of an unforeseeably tenacious blog
Some (fucking loads of) wedding planning. Quite a few meltdowns. Quite a lot of utterly pointless thinking about dresses and shoes and flowers and veils, EVEN AFTER I WAS MARRIED, potentially as distraction from the aforementioned anxiety and despair.  
A business started, a slow crawl out of chronic illness towards gainful employment, aided by millions of hours spent on wedding blogs (IT'S BUSINESS RESEARCH, HONESTLY).  
Eerily prescient dreams of a future that would take a decade to even begin to realise.  
Global excitement for the future of American politics (remember that? HA!)
Much time spent lusting after and posting about objects, things, stuff. So much time, so much stuff. 
Oh and a wedding. Which I remember writing a LOT about. I don't remember then deleting all of those posts but there you have it. 


A year of waiting. Of pointless medical appointments and of throwing ourselves into making a home and a life of just the two of us while getting through a frankly brutal medical regime of management of chronic pain and infertility. Fun! 
The confidence to try (and succeed) to sell my work.
Obsessing over our fucking wedding, STILL, and an eventual coming to peace with the whole thing.    
Gifts of magic through my letter box. 
A business blooming and flourishing, an invitation to New York City to photograph the wedding of maybe my single biggest internet crush. No biggie.
A devastating loss
This post


OOOH BOY. That was a year.  
It started with further distractions, cakes eaten, swaplets swapped (blogging magic happening all over). Then shit all got A BIT MUCH.
Probably because I'd been injecting hormones into myself and had my eggs harvested (not at all a horrifying terminology) and then after a little marinating had them put back in while a nurse held my hand and sang Susan Boyle (remember her?) at me and then I had TWO BABIES in me. It was a lot.  
Meanwhile the universe felt that a volcanic eruption might help things along. It didn't. But the trip to New York was rather nice, when we finally got there. 
The year progressed, I photographed a lot of weddings while pregnant. People stared.  
I finally started writing about the pain of getting to pregnant. It felt good. The comments still make me cry. (parts 2 and 3 of my endometriosis story)
The look of life changed. I had FEARS.  
My dear friend wrote probably the three most useful posts that have ever appeared here. 1, 2, 3.  
I gave birth twice in one morning. It was intense. Things didn't chill for quite a while. 
And that was that for the year everything changed.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

ten years

Gris foncé 8 (2015), Katrine de Blauwer

Ten years ago I started a blog, it was this one. (I think that was clear but if ten years on the internet has taught me anything then it is to s.p.e.l.l. s.h.i.t. o.u.t.)  

This blog is ten years old, that is a decade people, a decade  (spelling it out.)  

There are some of you how have been here with me since the beginning (THANK YOU, and also probably don't read that post, it's written in the third person and is about wedding planning and refers to myself and Nye as 'the girl and the boy', as if any one of those three wasn't bad enough) and others who have joined me along the way, people who have seen this space's progression from neurotic wedding planning through pained wedding reflection, a dalliance with 'lifestyle blogging' as a distraction from the crippling misery of infertility and IVF, twin pregnancy and early parenthood and then as close to nothing as a blog can get and still be considered alive, just 

That anyone has stuck with me and my haphazard ramblings for a decade is never not incredible to me.

That one small act of lonely desperation, that one 'create blog' click in the early hours of a sleepless February morning changed my life. From the very first it brought me purpose and community and distraction, it gave a place to hide from my terrors and a space in which to build a vision of myself and my future that might have felt entirely unachievable but was more fun to stare into than the abyss of hopelessness I was teetering above. 

It didn't take long before the blessings it sent me became increasingly tangible - emails of appreciation and encouragement, words of understanding and solidarity, links to things that would make me laugh, gifts of books and prints and beautiful things through my letterbox, friendship, support for our fledgling wedding photography business, actual work in exchange for actual money, actual money in exchange for my actual photography, requests to travel to far off places,  friendship. It is not an exaggeration to say that this blog, that the people who read it changed my life, changed my world. Without it I'm sure I would have found my way out of the fear and lonliness of chronic illness eventually, I don't doubt that we would have made something of our wedding photography business, but I struggle to believe for a moment that it would have been something so profoundly empowering and rich and nourishing , a foundation upon which to build a life. 

I have spent bloody ages considering how to mark this anniversary here. Over the last couple of  years I have struggled to see beyond the dwindling of this space, the slow decline (I lie, it wasn't slow) in enthusiasm and energy that I had for it. It has been hard to feel anything other than disappointment in myself for my inability to maintain this blog as it once was. But as my thoughts recently hovered over the switch that would end the life support that I've imagined keeping the site alive it occurred to me that I didn't have to define this place by its past, by its 'heyday', that what it is now doesn't have to feel like a disappointment, that instead of wishing for an output I can never achieve I can embrace the pace, the quietude, the slow and gentle cataloging of a life being lived (as with blogging so it is with life).

Because as I've read back over the blog in the last few days - reminiscing, cringing, welling up - it's the testimony to the last ten years of my life that I have found myself unexpectedly appreciative of. This space has borne witness to a decade's worth of dreams, despair, changes and growth, cataloged a third of my life (I really should back this shit up) and that feels kind of amazing. 

Over the next few days I'm going to do a little time traveling, a little reflecting, on what has been and gone, what has stayed and grown, through the classic medium of blog posts revisited. I apologise in advance.