I took this photo on our most recent Sister Birding Adventure. My sister focuses on birds. Birds are her thing. Birds are my thing too, but so is landscape, shape, plants, insects, dead things…yes, I photograph the occasional dead thing, it’s ok my sister doesn’t get it either.
I edited this photo and named it Spider Cactus. Something about it really spoke to me, I the spiky cactus with the white spider sack inside of it in the shape of the heart. And the droplets on the bottom of the cactus – do they look like tears to you? They kind of look like tears to me now.
My thought train hasn’t gotten all the way to the station in how I want to connect the dots of how this photo relates to the current state of things, but maybe it will by the time I’m done writing this blog post.
2017 gave me a lot to process. I lost a good chunk of what my life used to be. I got divorced, I went no contact with my ex-husband, I closed the door on a lot of what I thought I wanted.
2017 also gave me a lot of opportunity. I got myself into some brief, but intense counseling where I saw what lines needed to be drawn and boundaries set, I threw myself head-first into being of service in my career, and started a blog. I made more time for my friends and began saying Yes to Adventure and I deepened my best-friendship with my sister. At work I looked around and took the approach of ‘See a need, Fill a need’. Even if it wasn’t part of my job, if there was something that needed to be done or a place that needed a boost, I inserted myself into it. Was it completely out of a need for distraction? At first, yes, but I also really love being of service. I love the feeling of removing a burden from another human. I love the feeling that I’ve made a difference in someone’s life. That’s a huge reason why I’m an advocate for crime victims.
Then there is this blog. This blog, my baby, my work in progress, my place for creative expression and my place to connect with all of you lovely, wonderful, sometimes equally wounded people. Writing this blog has been like a salve to my broken heart, my wounded self-esteem, my collapsed self-confidence. This creative outlet has been the thing that I love to think about, see inspiration and ideas in the most random of places (like cactus with spider sacks) and has provided me a voice to claim my identity I hadn’t even really known I was lacking.
2017….you sucked sometimes, but you also provided opportunity for some of the most creative and professional success that I’ve ever known.
Last week at our annual awards banquet, I was honored with receiving my agencies Civilian Employee of The Year award for 2017! Where I work, people are held to a higher standard. Where I work, we are all of service. Where I work, I work with actual, real-live Hero’s. To be honored with receiving this award and know that my supervisors and coworkers saw what I was contributing and nominated me boggled my mind. I’m pretty damn proud of myself, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t.
I guess looking back, I see that while there was a lot of pain, there was also a lot of growth. My heart feels kind of like that little white sack. It’s growing, it’s been busy going through a reboot and it’s becoming full with new possibility, though hopefully it’s not full of little baby spiders (((((shiver)))))
I guess I love this picture of the Spider Cactus because it feels like me. It feels like even though I thought I’d lost it all, in reality the stuff that wasn’t serving me anymore was being cleared away to make room for something better. Something pretty fantastic was just waiting for me to clear away the clutter and B.S. so I could embrace it – an award, a job that fills my heart, a blog, a website, a brand, a passion for photography and a place to write my truth.
Living the dream, folks, I feel like I’m living the dream.