Monday, August 22, 2011

The Calm After the Storm

Life is funny sometimes, just when you are ready to throw in the towel, something wonderful happens that turns things upside down, or maybe right side up!

For the last week or so, I've been in the midst of a personal storm, sometimes it was just building with low rumblings and flashes of lightning off in the distance.  And other days it was the full on fury of a storm with hurricane force winds and rain blowing sideways.

It wasn't a storm which involved anyone else, it was all internal, deep down the way some storms have to brew before they can gather and rain down on you.  I was bummed that this little haven I call my blog wasn't living up to my expectations.  It all hit me when I decided to enter the Country Living Blog contest and for the first time in a long time I looked at my actual stats on here.

After a little digging, it seemed that my stats were pretty much abysmal for lack of a better word, and I have to say that it bummed me out to the point of not wanting to keep going.  Now I know on a logical level, and for much of the time, that those stats don't amount to a hill of beans, but for whatever reason it hit me like a ton of bricks.

My inner monologue went something like this, "why are you doing this, no one really likes your photos, no one will buy them from this blog of yours, so what the heck are you wasting so much time on anyway?!"  I hate when my usually cheerful inner monologue becomes sullen and pessimistic, but it happens folks, I can't deny it.

At first I thought, hey look, this is a rough time of year for me, it is after all the anniversary of the deaths of two very dear people to me this month.  My mom passed away 7 years ago on the 26th of this month, and just a few days later it is the 1st anniversary of my dear friend Dan's death.  So I wondered if that was weighing on me and making me feel down.

I also haven't been stopping to smell the roses like I should, and the guilt of getting so far behind on correspondence with people I "really" want to reply to has been weighing heavily on my heart too.

I've felt a little like the house pictured above...neglected, overgrown, lost among the vines and weeds.  So Mr. Tide and I had a long talk about this whole blogging thing, and I also sought the advice of some trusted blog know who you are, thank you!  And it was Mr. Tide who posed several questions that let me really evaluate the situation and put it into perspective, like only someone looking from the outside can.  He said, "Is it the numbers, or lack thereof, that bothers you, or is it something else? What do you enjoy about blogging, and what do you hate?"

Ahh, wise questions, kind of like Yoda only cuter I'd say.  It turns out my answers were fairly simple.  Yes, I do sort of care about the numbers, I feel like if I put something out there, I want it to be well received or why have a public blog to begin with?  This kind of rocked my world a little since I've always thought that I blog for me, when in fact if that was the case I would simply have a private blog.  I blog for those who take the time out of their day to stop by "my" blog when there are a sea to chose from.  So if no one comes, well that means I'm not producing what makes them want to stop, right?

In answer to his other question, what I like and dislike about blogging it was simply...I love taking pictures, seeing the world in a way that I hope translates to my blog.  I find I wander around and look at things and think, wow, I want to share that with others.  This, I feel, is the gift of blogging, the need to share, to connect, to find oneself through the giving of a little piece of me.  What I hate...replying to comments!  Oh I love them dearly, they touch me and make my days bright when someone takes the time to reply.  But there are times when I feel like people are replying not because they really want to, but because they feel they need to.  I know, I know, you are all confused now because on one hand I said I don't care about validation, but on the other hand I said I care about's a complicated emotion my friends!

I think that it's like having your play make it to Broadway.  If you create the work and the theater is packed opening night of the show, it means people are curious.  If they keep packing the theater night after night, even if the critics say it's not good, it means you are touching someone, giving them something that brings them back and makes them want their friends to share in the experience.  That's the best analogy I can use to describe the mixed signals I feel on this topic.

I know this all sounds wishy washy and as though I'm down in the dumps, but trust me I'm not, really nothing could be further from the truth.  I've now entered what I like to call the calm "after" the storm.  Sometimes you have to have that storm, the one that tosses you around and rocks the blue skies of everyday life to get you to the other blue skies on the other side.

I have some amazing opportunities coming my way with art and with life.  I have a very bright future as a photographer right now, and I feel so blessed to be very close to having some of my dreams come true!  And I booked a ticket to Germany (reason for the Beck's Beer Pic, the only German thing I had in my house...for shame!) and France just a few days ago, where Mr. Tide and I will spend 8 glorious days drinking in all that those 2 countries have to offer us!  So life is good my friends, very good, but there needs to be some changes around this place...things I realized a long time ago but ignored.

This blog will no longer focus on home stuff.  Now I'm not saying there won't be home stuff on here from time to time, I love my home, but it won't be the focus.  So sadly, if you started reading my blog for my kitchen reno (still my #1 post of all time), or some other home stuff, well you might need to pack your bags and move on down the line to the hundreds and thousands of other wonderful home design blogs...take a look at my sidebar for a few of the best out there!

And I will no long have comments enabled.  I want this blog to be a place where you pop in and read if you want and then move on without feeling the obligation to comment.  I still welcome emails, especially if you have a question or just want to say hi...I love hellos!  But this will eliminate the guilt that plagues me, and that I tried to ignore, but simply could's in my genes!

I want you to feel like you are picking up a magazine...not a very consistent or focused one, or one that features beautiful houses or pretty things, but one that gives you respite, if only for a moment from the daily grind.  Like with a magazine, you take what you want from it and then turn the guilt, no obligation, just something to look at!

And if some of you think I'm unappreciative in doing this, I apologize, but only a little.  Those who know me, know that it's because of my appreciation for you my readers, and also for myself that I'm doing this, so I hope you'll understand.  And I hope that I will never look at my numbers again, but simply create and enjoy the act of creating and sharing even if just 1 of you visits each day!

And if you don't believe that a picture can touch you in ways unimaginable, check out THIS website my daughter sent me a link to made laugh, it made me cry, it made me want to do this!  Now that is what photography is all about!

xoxo Kat