Friday, February 22, 2013

The Sound of Silence

The most peaceful place I can think of.

I have had a lot of time on my hands (or back) to think lately, and I'm not sure if it has given me clarity or confusion. This post may end up all over the place, but my hope is that by the end of it, all of the little scattered pieces will come back together to make sense.

For those of you reading this who haven't followed my other blogs, I have been somewhat laid up with back issues for several months. I can function, I just can't travel or sit for more than a few minutes at a time. Now that our children are grown, the majority of our social life takes place at our lake home, which takes, you guessed it, travel. So, I often send my husband and dog Brutus on their way on Friday afternoon to enjoy themselves at the lake, and I stay behind with the three cats to keep me company.

I'm sure there were gasps out there. What??? He leaves you there alone every weekend? Trust me, most weeks I am more than happy to see those boys go! I can honestly say that I love to be alone. I make that statement, but it's only partially true. I love to be alone.....MOST of the time.

I have referred to myself before as being somewhat anti-social, and my friends have laughed at me. To be honest, that's my fault. On Friday nights when we meet up with our group of friends at the lake, it isn't uncommon to laugh and talk and have a great time well into the morning! What they don't know is that it will often take me a week of being alone to refuel for another weekend of fun. There are people who love to go out to shop and eat and visit often. I'm just not one of them. I fall in to that "occasional" category.

I also have depression, and often feel tired. I have thought about this aspect of my personality too because there was a time in my life when I did feel much more of a need to get out and about, but I have had depression for the majority of my life. I don't think that there's any denying that depression and the medications to keep it in check can take a toll on a person's energy. Plus, depression has a tendency to have it's ups and downs. My personal experience with depression is something that I don't discuss openly with very many people, not by my choice, but simply because it makes people uncomfortable. It's still a hard illness for many people to understand. I look normal and healthy, so what's the problem? I think that we've made HUGE strides, but there is still a long way to go. If anyone was ever to ask me about my experience, I would never hide it. My personal feeling is, if we don't share we don't learn, and learning means moving forward and growing. Moving forward means familiarity which gives comfort and often means acceptance. There was a day when people thought cancer was contagious. Now we can all see how wrong that thought process was. Information is invaluable.

I'm going to jump again here. Today I read an awesome blog written by an artist by the name of Kim Klassen. I actually took a class from Kim to learn how to use Photo Shop. She lives in Canada, and gives online classes that are amazing. Anyway, she had written about being an introvert, and it took me by surprise. Here is this amazing woman who teaches classes, travels to give lectures and sells artwork. She is known in many countries, and, she is an introvert? It didn't jive. Then I read her story, and it was like I was reading about myself! She talked about using her social energy for a big event and then needing complete quiet to rejuvenate. YES! I totally understood what she was saying. She writes so beautifully. Actually, everything she creates is beautiful. I highly recommend reading her story. Could I possibly just be an introvert?    Thoughts on Being An Excellent Introvert

Nothing like a small town bar
The last lost road in this story I want to bring in is my photography. It is something that brings me so much peace and happiness. The summer Don gave me my new camera I was living at the lake. I was able to wander around during the day snapping photos of anything that inspired me. I hadn't learned how to do any editing yet, so everything I did was a new learning experience as far as taking pictures was concerned. There were times when I didn't talk to anyone but the dog for three days in a row, but I was in heaven. The weekend would come, Don would show up and the social fun would begin. On Friday night, without fail our large group of friends would gather at the local tavern on the lake. Phone calls didn't need to be made, and no one was left out. There seemed to be an unspoken rule that if you were available, you showed up, and most often we all did. Saturdays we sometimes had dinner with just one or two couples for a quieter evening. Once Sunday rolled around, Don would have to leave and the weekly routine would begin again. We don't have cable TV at the lake, so aside from nature, it was mostly silence. As good as this sounds (to me), here's the bad thing. I have gotten so used to having this silence now that I tend to get a little pissy, yes, I said pissy, if there is any unwanted noise around me, or if I have more than one thing scheduled to do during the week! That can't be good.

My Beautiful Daughter
The only time that taking pictures doesn't make me happy is when I'm photographing people. I say that because I have yet to photograph a willing participant. My heart takes pictures that are candid. I don't like photos that are posed. Obviously, some can be posed to a degree, but the whole "sit perfectly and smile" thing just doesn't work for me. I love pictures of laughter, talking, movement and love. My all time favorite picture of my daughter is a side view that was snapped of her while we were on the boat at the lake. It's so relaxed and gorgeous. She is such a beautiful girl all on her own, but she hates having her picture taken. By taking this candid shot, I was able to catch a natural moment of happiness. It also may go to the difference between practicing something that you are book trained to do and practicing something that you do instinctively. Telling me about aperture or shutter speeds isn't going to impress me, but capturing a gorgeous flower with the morning dew on it will. 

So, to bring it all together. Am I anti-social, depressed, introverted or in need of total isolation? BAH!!!

Drag's Pizza = YUM!
Here is what I think. I may be anti-social in the sense that I don't like to do stuff ALL the time, but you will never find someone that loves their family and friends more than I do. When you do see me, I am warm and huggy, and every one of those hugs is sincere. Fair warning; If you are narcissistic or have willingly hurt an animal, chances are you won't be on my friend list. I am a big animal lover and advocate, and probably won't give a rip about how great you are. Do something for someone else, and I will be impressed. Also, if you really want to see me, just ask me to go to Drag's Pizza in Rice Lake, WI, for a deep dish pepperoni pizza and I will be yours for the night! I have yet to find a better pizza, and trust me, I have tried a LOT! I miss my Friday nights with friends at the lake so much, and honestly, I think that a person NEEDS their friends. There's nothing better than a night of belly laughing for a little free serotonin!

Yes, I have depression, but it's nothing new. It's something I will always have, and as much as I try to let it not define who I am, there are times that it does. If you feel me pulling away from you, I'm sorry. When I am feeling blue I tend to withdraw even more. Part of it is that I feel physically so much more tired, but I also feel the need to just protect myself and heal. Hopefully you know me well enough by now to know that if I am actually upset with you, I will care about you enough to talk to you about it. I would never play games and just be mad at you. That is so not cool to do!

I truly am the happiest with the sun in my face and my camera in my hand. I love it. What can I say. I know that there have been times that I have started talking about how much I love it, and you have felt like crossing your eyes, but you have sat there and listened patiently. Thank you. I am not amazing or great at photography, but I feel passionate about it. If everyone in life could be lucky enough to find something that they can do that they feel passionate about and love,  it would be so amazing. I didn't find photography until I was in my mid forties, so don't give up. You never know when something might land in your hands that sends an excitement through you that you can't explain.

Even after going through all of these things, I still haven't figured out why I need the amount of silence and alone time that I do. One thing I do know for sure is that I am far too complicated to put just one label on. So, let's go with this; I am a person with many different aspects to my personality, that just happens to require many hours of silence and alone time per week. How's that.

I hope that you and your beautiful complicated self have a lovely day,


  1. *HUG*
    A huge great big *HUG*... thanks for allowing us to share your thoughts and your feelings. And well done you for sharing them.
    I personally don't think people ever need to be labelled or succinctly defined - we are what we are, on whatever day that is. That is how we are. No rules, no guidelines, no definitions. We just are.
    Beautifully written xxx

    1. Thank you my dear Rebecca. Your amazing warmth and personality are just two out of many of the reasons why I love you so much!

  2. <3 <3 I love reading your posts, beautiful. You have such an amazing voice and talent to share.