So my boy and I are finally moving house in a few weeks. I’m also coming into the home (sorry) straight of this year’s wedding shooting. So here I am, sitting at my desk with its view of the Forth for one of the last times, getting aw reflective. Being healthy is at the forefront of my mind right now.
The last couple of years have been the biggest learning curve of all the times for me. I’ve definitely learnt a great deal about patience and quite a lot about myself. This year started with my toddler getting blood tests for Leukemia, amongst other things, after having a whole winter of horrific recurring nosebleeds. He’d wake crying some nights just covered in blood. Not the finest hour. It ends with my mum going through chemo with incredible bravery and grace. In between, my dad nearly died and had to have emergency surgery. It’s a horror show. You feel so very useless.
I have Crohn’s Disease, which I’m really lucky to say is generally under control. My main triggers are stress, alcohol and some dietary things aggravate symptoms (I can’t eat onions or too much diary, basically my body is rejecting it’s French roots). I got a bit ill with it all last winter when I lost a lot of weight and the markers in my blood shot up again. I have an amazing specialist who sent me off for a psychiatric evaluation. The last time I went through a big old break up I got super ill through stress and ended up having to have 4 emergency operations. My ass looks like Sarajevo but at least I don’t have to poop into a bag. I was really worried that now I am a self employed single mum that I’d get sick and not be able to look after my boy. It took a few months to see someone. In the words of my specialist “the provision for mental health in the Lothians is woeful”. There have been many visits to hospitals and why anyone wouldn’t want to protect the NHS as a priority is beyond me but let’s not digress into politics, I’m on a rant, this could take a while…
Anyways, the psychiatric doctor said that I now have pretty good coping strategies (read friends) but nae luck! Oh and to learn to let go. Don’t hold on to hurt, past horrors or misunderstandings. You cannot be responsible for anyone else, for their interpretation of things you say, their intensions or reactions. You have no control over anything in life except how you react to it. Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. No other adult is your responsibility. Being a mum, I’m thinking that to teach my boy how to value and respect people he has to value and respect himself. So then I have to do that to be able to teach him and that isn’t something that comes easily…In fact, I should stop this rant by bringing up an instagram post that a fellow photographer made a while back that really hit a nerve with me. The main thing she says, that I’m so lucky to be able to appreciate, is about the importance of a sense of community. I’ve not lived anywhere as an adult were I really knew many neighbours. My new place is in the middle of an amazing little seaside community and I’ll be surrounded by kind, creative, funny people and I cannot wait.
It hasn’t been all bad news and illness. I’ve treated myself too! Turns out when you work most weekends you (usually) don’t waste all yer hard earned getting hammered so you can treat yourself to wee trips. Who knew?! I’m very grateful to have had some top times with friends this year. Wee adventures are the shit and I’m all about more of those! Speaking of getting hammered, two of my wonderful friends marry each other in the middle of this month and we get to hang out with some old pals from further afield there too. I can’t wait to be a wedding guest. I’ll be a blubbing mess but that’s fine.
Working at weddings is such a privilege. You see that no family escapes the horrors and pains that life likes to chucks at us. You see how these things can bring people together. You see what honest love, chemistry and real happiness look like. I have learnt that these things aren’t always mutually inclusive. I have learnt that we are all deserving of them and that if you are in a situation where that’s not the deal it’s ok to move on without carrying guilt forevermore. We’re only here once. Many of the couples I work with have lost family members, sometimes parents. A mum who walked her daughter down the aisle and made a speech at a recent wedding said it best. She gifted the couple a clock and said ” always remember, no matter what daily life throws at you, always make time for each other. You never know how much of it you have.” I’m looking forward to this winter. I was fearful of the last one. This one I cannot wait to have my friends and folks round to my new place for food, a few fine wines, a wee whisky, some music and dancing about.
We will be living a block away from the beach so, aside from my wee boy’s comedy genius, my little daily ritual dander will keep me right. I’ve also been making things as a wee bit of therapy. I’ve started this year attempting to practice Transcendental Meditation. It’s not all hippy dippy stuff, it’s really just training yer brains to chill oot. I’m still learning not to feel guilty about taking time to do it. I’m still learning not to drop doing it when I feel ok. I’m still learning that the psychology of my Crohn’s will every wee while make me anxious as hell. I’m starting to recognise the triggers of this. It always starts with extreme brain fog, bad sleep, poor appetite and ends up in a bit of a knackered paranoid weeping mess a few days later. But I’m becoming more aware and trying to remember that I’m not all bad and not to believe everything my brain says. I’d recommend a wee bit of a nosy around what TM is and does. When I miss it I really notice so it’s obviously helping me keep my shit together!
I get really mad at brides who are self critical. My new mantra for them is basically “pipe down, you are a wonder, love yourself properly or how are you going to love your partner properly?”. It’s so very true. The struggle is real! Live your best life! All these things are totally true. Marriage and religion are concepts that I have always had difficulties understanding fully but I do see the value in them for some. The core of all of these things come down to caring about and trying to understand and love each other which can’t be bad. When couples decide to make these commitments and promises to each other that’s something I have masses of respect for. I can’t imagine it’s all easy. Sometimes the couples we work with get a bit shy when their emotions take over. DON’T! Just be yourselves. You’ll look back at your photos and love that you can see how happy and emotional you felt, you’ll see how much you’ve got through together since. Don’t hide that away!
Anyways, that was a bit rambling. I’m doing a lot of that right now. Trying to clear the decks and leave a bunch of insecurities and negativity behind as I move on. Letting go, purging ma brains and cupboards. Doctor’s orders. Once I finish editing this year’s wonderful big days that I have really loved shooting, I’m going to take some time over winter to just be with those I love and to make some exciting new plans for work. I feel like I need some slow time to adjust and build a new home. The good old Scottish winter approaches! Let’s all try to stay/get healthy, eat well, gub some vitamin D tablets, be grateful, ditch the poisons we consume that perpetuate our problems, look after each other, don’t act like dicks, be positive, just battle on. Choose life an that.
So that’s me. Licking those wounds, making time for a fresh start. So as far as love goes, as far as we have gone, this will have to do x