Thursday, January 10, 2013

Growth


Well it appears that things are starting to settle out a little with blogger and my email.  After not being able to comment on other peoples' blogs, and having emails lost in cyberspace (yet again!), I seem to be back on track.

It's a bit unnerving to have story assignments and images lost without a trace, but thank goodness for understanding people and email forwarding so that you can show that you really DID try to send things on time.




To all of you who have been so kind to comment and send me emails without a reply, I want to say thank you, and I'm sorry my messages back were often never received.

After a bit, I just kind of gave up and turned my attention to other things, like trying to bring a little life back into my house after putting away all of the holiday decor.

This year cleaning up after Christmas was pretty easy, and I wasn't really tired of looking at anything since we had only put most of it out on the 21st of December...including our tree.  I also used a lot of natural elements this year, like big magnolia branches, cypress, and pine, so clean up was a bit of a breeze really, but I am glad everything is safely tucked away for another year.




I used to dread putting away Christmas and that "empty" house feeling that came with the lack of decor, but now I find it invigorating.  I feel as though my family room has doubled in size now that the big huge tree is gone, and a sofa table that used to be in there will now reside in our son's old bedroom since I'm liking the pared down look of it being gone.

The one thing I do miss though are all of the greens.  Having something living, even if it was going to die eventually made me feel like nature was alive and well, and I like that.  So I started to force some hyacinth bulbs in an attempt to remind myself that before I know it spring will be upon us.




Because my kitchen window sill only gets light for a few hours each morning, I have placed the blubs on a silver serving tray so that I can move them around the house to take advantage of the light in other rooms throughout the day.

They looked a little lonely on the tray by themselves, so I added some of the many postcards I picked up at various flea markets while in Paris last month.  I intentionally selected the floral ones for their pretty pictures and punch of color.




I think I'm craving personal growth right now as well, and it's something that hit me while riding the metro the first day I ventured out on my own in France.

I've always been adventurous in some ways, never afraid to go places on my own, or worried that I will get lost.  I'm a people person in every sense of the word, so I know that I can always stop someone to ask for directions...and I have to say that both Parisians and non Parisians alike were more than helpful, they were kind beyond measure whenever I had a question.

But as I ventured down through the winding hallways of the metro I was suddenly a bit self conscious.  I worried that I didn't look quite metropolitan enough, or up to the standards of such a chic city.  It's my Achilles heel really, to worry about how I look, or how others will perceive me based on my looks, which is why you almost never see pictures of me on this blog.

Now don't think that it kept me from venturing far and wide, but that nagging little voice in the back of my head has always been there, and on that day it was chirping a little loudly.  Just as I was fidgeting and telling myself that I was lucky to be there and that I really should think of something WAY more important than if my shoes were up to snuff, an elderly man and his son got on the train.


 

They both clung to a pole in the middle of the somewhat crowded train car and I quickly realized that his son, who was close to my age, had some disabilities that likely prevented him from traveling and living on his own.

I began to think what daily life must be like in a city such as Paris for someone with disabilities.  There are stairs, crowds, swaying metro cars, confusing interchanges, and everything that comes with living in a major metropolitan city...and the thought of trying to navigate that, or worse yet the worry of being your child's only guide as you age must be terrifying.

Yet there they were, father and I assume son, riding along, smiling, chatting, and taking it all in stride.  Not worried if their scarves were fashionable, or if anyone was watching them, because for them, being stared at and judged is an every day occurrence.

That set the tone for the rest of my visit around Paris on my own.  I vowed right then and there to stop holding myself back from living life and instead to choose to grow as a person, and to drink up every single moment of being there.

I quit worrying if my images would be saleable, or if anyone would even like them.  That I would snap photos when the sun wasn't just right, or if I thought it would be too dark for them to turn out.  I just lived, and embraced the beauty around me, instead of focusing on my own beauty or lack thereof.  

I was changed that day, in a way that maybe someone else would have missed, and it has carried through to this very minute, and I truly hope it never goes away...this feeling of wanting to grow, learning to accept, and enjoying what really matters in life.  So when I say that I love France, and I gush about every morsel of food we ate, or wandering down narrow streets, and show way too many pictures that I took, please know that for me it is more than a city...for me it was a place where I grew a little and expanded more than my photo catalog!

Have you had a growth moment of your own...I would love to hear all about it!

18 comments:

  1. Wow- That is a wonderful growth moment there. It's amazing, isn't it, how some small thing can completely change the way we feel about ourselves. I think, as women, we are often conscious of the way we look and are comparing outselves to others- wondering if we are looking "dated" or "ruffled" or slightly "frumpy". I have long, thick hair...at my age most women have gone to short, chic "do's"...but my hair has always been kind of a trademark for me. A couple of years ago I asked my YOUNG HIP hairdresser- do you think I should go shorter? She looked at me and said NO WAY- Your hair fits you-you are not a short hair person. Ah....yes...she said it-so I am okay. Last week coming out of a grocers I saw a man about my age looking at me as though he knew me-with a half smile on his face. I nodded and smiled back at him. He looked at me and said...You have the MOST BEAUTIFUL hair! Ah...thank you-God is good- I will no longer worry about if people are wondering why this old lady has all this hair!;>) xo Diana

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  2. My list for tomorrow says, buy some bulbs to force in water.

    I love your Paris pics and will not get tired of them. Aren't the bridges intriguing. Funny, the first time I went to Paris I was so disappointed all my pictures were dark and gray since it was cloudy. That showed how much I knew. Paris, is cloudy a great deal of the time. It was so nice to see others pictures and realize it wasn't me - it was Paris. Of course, I am still shooting in automatic. LOL!

    I am glad you enjoyed yourself and had a great time. Thanks for sharing your growth moments.

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  3. Beautiful thoughts, writing, reflecting. I liked NanaDiane's words too. A life changing moment happened for me in the sudden death of a loved one. Where I used to wait to say how I felt about this or that, now I leap to say how I feel. When I used to wait, plan, save to travel, now I live now and place travel in my today. Where once I might have let bitter, fear, misunderstanding fester . . . now I address those feelings straight on! Life altering indeed.

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  4. Such great comments, we can all learn so much from one another!

    Kat

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  5. I too miss the Christmas decorations as they bring colour to the dull Irish winter but I am looking forward to decluttering and spring cleaning, bringing light and freshness into my home.
    You are brave to venture out in Paris - I think I become less brave with age and don't feel comfortably wandering a strange city where I don't speak the language. French people are so chic that we shouldn't compare ourselves to them - we are what we are, no better, no worse, with our own hidden strengths and stories. Love your photos of Paris.

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  6. Another "You're making me think" post! I don't know how you are always able to articulate my thought, Kat! I've never been to a foreign country but I've been in a lot of places where I've wondered if I fit in or not, what people see when they look at me. I had every reason to feel confident growing up but just never had that springboard so lack of it has been a thorn in my side. Maybe that's good, I try harder, yet as I get older, I'm glad I cultivated a smart, gentle and happy attitude. And when I feel I am not fitting in, it's usually true! At some of our Christmas celebrations I would be sitting with the younger girls. All the while I thought, "Been there, done that", I also felt a sense of grief for a time that would never be again. I always had an affinity with my elders and really just enjoy the heck out of talking to old people. So I can say I have always fit in with just about everyone. But not this new generation. They are treading in my footsteps. My hubs and I left the parties early and they went on until the wee hours. Yep, those days are over. So that's how I feel like a misfit these days.

    I hope I haven't gone off track of what you were saying in your post.

    XO,
    Jane

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  7. Lovely, reflective post. I envy you your time in Paris. I had just such a moment of growth my first visit to Paris. I was a young and newly married. My husband was there on business, and I was teaching at the time and could only join him for the two weeks of Christmas break. When he met me at the airport upon my arrival, I learned that the metro was on strike, and that he had taken a second hotel in the suburbs near the office where he was working. He drove me into the city, dropped me off at the Parisian hotel where he had originally been staying, and sped off to work. I had to spend the first week in Paris by myself. We talked on the phone each night, but I was totally on my own each day. I walked the city exploring and taking in all the wonder. It was the most validating experience. I realized that I could take care of myself in a large foreign city. It was wonderful to share all the wonder with him the following week. I was so proud of myself. ;-)

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  8. I have to say that I think I am loving these comments more than any other post I've ever done! Thank you everyone!

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  9. I love this post so much, Kat! Thought-provoking, and I just feel so happy for you! To be comfortable in one's own skin is a great gift. It has come to me more as I have become older, and I'm not as self-conscious as when I was younger. I have come to realize I am on a journey...my journey...and I shouldn't compare mine with that of someone else! Your trip sounds life-changing, my friend!

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  10. You see now that it's all about how you perceive things. I think that you needed to see that pair on the train at that particular moment. The bridge shot is beautiful, Kat. Thank you for letting me see this beautiful city through your eyes.

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  11. Hi Kat-
    Your posts always get me thinking--
    I think we all should strive for personal growth and to renew our spirits. I'm not nearly as talented as you-/ so from a professional standpoint- I probably don't think as deeply-- but I do want to change and grow-- just be a better person--

    Your images are gorgeous--
    Vicki

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  12. Yes, I completely agree! I've lost a two clients and a friend this year....life really is short! We are all fortunate in so many ways. Thanks for sharing your story, Kat.
    Enjoy the weekend, my friend ~ Loi

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  13. Dear Kat,

    I know exactly how you feel being that outsider in Paris. But the truth is they are as fascinated with us and we are with them. I now purposely try not to look French...I wear my hair long, straight and loose just like I do back home and while I take the pearls and high heels they mostly stay packed away in the suitcase. Was also told by the fashion police that after my morning power walks I had to immediately return to the apartment and change out of my work out gear before tending to any errands. Now I do exactly as I please and this growth decision makes my life in Paris feel much more like my very own instead of an attempt at someone else's life. Just got caught up on some of your recent posts and we could never tire of your beautiful photos of Paris. Please keep them coming. Happy weekend to you.

    Jermaine

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  14. Oh dear Kat, sometimes I believe these moments are set up especially for us when we most need them. This post was so beautiful and so are you. We are so much more than our physical selves, aren't we though? It is so fascinating to imagine wandering about in Paris, I would have been pinching myself continuously there! xo

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  15. I need a personal growth moment like the one you describe. Love your images of Paris, I've never been! Hoping to see it one day - Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Oh... and I am not photogenic. I never really like how I look in photos, and I am not a beauty by modern standards. For a while when I was young, that bothered me. As I've gotten older, I realize how lucky I am, and to stop focusing on what is not perfect. So you do see pictures of me on my blog now and then, because I have finally accepted and really like what I see. I recommend you do the same, it's a release!

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  17. Kat, lovely thoughts paired
    with marvelous images.

    I do struggle with losing my
    looks, even though it is something
    we all go through, if we get the
    great gift of old age, which sadly,
    many do not.

    Two years ago I read about the
    plane crash that the beautiful
    blogger, Nie Nie, was in. She was
    burned all over her body and had
    to endure numerous operations.
    She says that when she reads
    about women fretting about Botox
    or face lifts, she thinks,"Just be glad
    you have a nose!" as hers was burned
    off in the accident.

    That put it all into perspective for me.

    To this day, when I am having a bad
    "looks" day, I repeat those words to
    myself. Then I smile and move away
    from the mirror!

    Love your tender heart. And your Paris
    pictures!

    xo Suzanne

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