It’s been super foggy and gloomy in Southern California where I live lately. It’s mostly because we live 15 minutes from the beach (poor us) and the marine layer likes to creep up out of the ocean when it’s hot inland and hover over us for months. I hate to complain about it because well, it’s not like it’s real weather or anything. I’ve never been in a snow storm in my life. But you know what? It’s getting me down! This stupid gray fog is the pits! I thought I was pretty tough but give me three weeks of foggy gray gloom and I feel like crawling under a blanket and ceasing to exist. I know. That’s pretty drastic but it’s really what has been going through my head.
I went to my doctor, (I see a psychiatrist for anxiety) and I was so prepared to tell her I was fine but within minutes I was bawling my eyes out over climate change, of all things. I never know what’s going to set me off. It’s like my brain is playing some kind of lottery and whatever thought bubbles to the top is the fret-and-obsess-over subject du jour. It’s been pathetic.
Needless to say, she upped my meds. Only until August. She says that lots of people get really depressed in June in our local. It’s a well documented fact. So, if you are feeling down, it’s not you! It’s the weather.
I had dropped Bug off at my parent’s in the desert for a week for “Camp Grandpa and Grandma” and I went out this weekend to pick her up and guess what? It was gloriously sunny out in the desert where they live! I soaked up that sunshine like it was my last meal. It felt soooo good.
I took Joon with me and we all spent some happy hours in the pool with my parents and lots of sunshine.
I love seeing Joon laugh like that. They are both going through their hormonal teenage years so seeing them act like kids again instead of sulking around with their noses stuck to their phones is always a welcome sight.
My mom recently hurt her Achilles tendons in both feet. She had been going to her local gym and taking water aerobics classes and apparently she was a little too zealous with all the jumping around in the water and hurt her tendons. This is a huge bummer because she was on a roll with losing weight and getting healthy. Now she’s stuck in her chair most days and doing minimal physical therapy with her doctor. She can’t do as much as she usually does and unfortunately that leaves my poor overworked dad doing most of the housework as well as his many gardening jobs. So I decided that I need to go out and visit them once a week and help them.
This seems like an obvious solution but it took me a while to come to it. Googling deep-cleaning house cleaning services that cost more than $200 a week because they live so far out in the sticks kind of sealed the deal. It will be an adjustment to take such a long drive weekly but it’s not like I didn’t use to do it back when I lived out there and drove Bug in to see her Dad weekly. I’m just super thankful I have the job flexibility and a reliable car to do it.
And that means I’ll get a healthy dose of sunshine weekly!
While we were out there this weekend, the girls let me do a few photoshoots with them in the beautiful surrounding desert. I’m not sure who was prettier, the desert or the girls.
I really love my new camera. I need to start booking more professional gigs so I can get it to pay for itself. I’m super lucky that I have built in models who love their photos taken. Of course as a photographer I love, love, love taking photos of them but I have to make sure not to exploit their beauty and keep the photos wholesome and healthy. It’s challenging! They ooze (innocent) sexuality and they don’t even know it. Thankfully, I’ve been around the internet a bit and I’ve been teaching them to protect their vulnerabilities for a long time.
Bug is interested in fashion these days. We all knew that was coming. Actually, she has always has been into fashion. It’s nothing new. You remember her crazy three-year-old style choices. Anyway, lately she’s picked up my love for thrift-store-shopping and has been buying loads of clothes and altering them to suit her. She embroiders jeans, crops skirts into mini skirts…. really I should say she manipulates my mom and I into embroidering and altering for her but I’m not too upset about that. I’m just happy she can be so creative with fashion and not involve me taking her to the mall and spending bazillions of dollars!
I have a few swirling thoughts to blog about. You’ll have to bear with me while I meander about and sort of figure out what I want to say as I say it. And let me preamble by saying that I’m going to say something shocking below but I have no intention of breaking up with Payam nor have I ever. It’s just an example.
I’ve always identified with being moody. I was one of those kids who would get their feelings hurt easily and go hide in a closet or under a table to cry. The adults in my family would dismiss my behavior. I had an artist’s temperament they would say and go on with their lively conversations, ignoring me until I got bored enough of my hiding place and came out in a better mood. Of course I would wish they would come to comfort me and I think occasionally an Aunt or my dad would do that but for the most part, I just felt like my moods were too much trouble for the rest of the world to deal with and nobody really understood me.
This moodiness has followed me for the rest of my life. I’ve come to realize that I cycle through up days and down days regularly, almost like clockwork. My moods often have very little to do with my actual situation or surroundings. So I’ve come to not trust my moods. It’s a tricky place to be.
I have really great up days so I’ve come to accept that my down days are the price I pay. Usually the down days have something to do with hormones. I can pretty much look back at any conflict I have ever had and blame it on hormones. Of course some hardships I’ve gone through are not my “artists temperament’s” fault but I definitely know that I could deal with them better if I wasn’t the “moody artist” that I am. Or at least that is what I’ve always told myself.
The other day I was in a mood. It was one of those moods where you see everything negatively, even down to the dust on the floorboards. I was reflecting on my relationship with Payam (poor Payam) and things were coming up short. I am pretty critical by nature. It can be a terribly negative trait but it also helps me with my creativity and my work. I can be discerning in design, knowing with strong feelings what colors or fonts to discard in favor of others. Where to put something on a page and not. I know my own mind and I can easily visualize what I want things to look like and what exactly is wrong if they do not. I can curate a photoshoot, cropping out this offending detail in order to focus in on something else to tell a story… It’s a blessing and a curse and definitely part of being an artist!
This is all great for work but not so great when you are on a team or in a relationship and you find yourself curating the people around you. Just picture me finding Payam taking a nap on the couch while watching soccer. Maybe he’s snoring with some leftover snack sitting on the coffee table. It’s an innocent enough thing to do. But of course I am all excited about getting my steps in for the day (I’m type A) and listening to podcasts about health and wellness so I launch right into a full-blown lecture on how we should walk everyday and his napping is not aligning with my big picture.
It’s an innocent request but what if Payam doesn’t feel like walking every day? What if he has back trouble and foot trouble and me nagging him really puts a damper on his mood? He doesn’t like being judged by me. Who would? He doesn’t want me to think he’s lazy but walking everyday can actually be painful for him. This is just a silly example and Payam does actually walk with me quite a bit but you get the picture. You can imagine how my criticizing can not really work out so great for me and our relationship. I know this so I might keep my criticism to myself and fester inside every time I catch him napping on the couch. If I let things go too far, I start to day dream about what life might be like if I had an athletic boyfriend. Can you imagine what I’d look like if I was with someone who liked to get up early in the morning and run?!! Maybe I start blaming my flabby body on Payam…I mean, that’s extreme but I could start to think that way if I let this sort of “moodiness” go on for too long.
You know the last thing I want to do is break up with Payam. I love him! I love us. He loves me, flabby body and all! How am I going to force him to fit into my idea of what life should be like? I can’t! I’ve tried that with previous relationships and they’ve failed miserably and caused me great pain.
So I caught myself. I decided I was going to stop myself every time I started judging and replace those critical thoughts with LOVING FIERCLY instead. At first it was just an experiment but it worked like magic. You should see the smile on Payam’s face when I come in from a dog walk and I am so happy to see him instead of low-level pissed. I try to make emoji hearts come out of my eyes and I think they really do and then he responds with even bigger emoji hearts coming out of his eyes! I linger in hugs and tell him how much I love him. He hugs me back with even bigger hugs.
I find myself wondering why I ever was having negative thoughts in the first place. He is the best team member ever!
It’s a crazy fact and I think the real secret why arranged marriages work. If you make up your mind to make something work instead of break it down every day, it WILL work. The more you love, the more you find your partner loving you back. It’s amazing how much we can love. It really is our super power. We can infinitely love. Just think about that for a second. Infinitely. It is the basis for all religions. It must be a truth that centers us.
It really was an epiphany for me. I think I should go make some t-shirts or something. Just kidding! But try it!
It’s so hard to write this stuff. I keep judging myself in every different light I can think of. But I still want to say it.