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Shoot

In between being me and struggling to become who I think I should be, I also get to be someone else.

 

At 25 I was thankful to finally discern I didn’t have to do things I didn’t want to do—things like work with numbers, play bitchy office games, scrub someone else’s toilets or eat my carrots cooked. I realized I could take something I’d loved to do as a child and turn it into a big girl career.

 

I trained to be an Aesthetician. I took an intensive, full-time course and for the duration of a year, I did nothing but homework and performed thousands of services on hundreds of clients and my fellow students. Contrary to my mindset prior to diving into the adventures of beauty school, it was a long and challenging haul.

 

Surprise, surprise, there was much to learn for the sake of vanity. I memorized the names of every bone, muscle, nerve, organ and system in the human body and their functions. I explored nucleic cells and biochem.

 

I studied.

 

Hard.

 

Every single night.

 

Never having had an affinity for school, I was pleased to graduate at the top of my class and more than proud to receive my 5 diplomas. But, after some time working in the industry and a stint of dabbling in my own endeavor, I realized I had managed to somehow still be doing something I didn’t want to do.

 

Shoot.

 

I hung on for as long as I could, but in the end, had to succumb to the fact that electrifying unwanted hair from areas I shouldn’t see unless I’d at least been bought a dinner made me cringe and scraping dead, flaky skin from the soles of needy feet was not, in fact, the glamorous profession I had dreamed it to be.

 

So, I sidestepped.

 

These days, and that encompasses the last nineteen years, I focus solely on the make-up aspect of the beauty industry. I get to float around on TV sets, wedding days, runways and photo shoots.

 

And, it is in fact, glamorous, and something I still want to do after all this time.

You can check out Jennifer’s many stunning shots over at COFFEE & COUCH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hazy Shades of Me:

Oh looky what I got to do on Valentine’s Day. Thank you to my friend and fab foto-grapher, Jennifer Findlay from Coffee & Couch!

Originally posted on coffee & couch:

EMILY 3_FACEBOOK

It’s Sunday, and I get to sit on my couch with my coffee and my laptop doing my favorite thing ever–editing photos! The photo shoot was so much fun yesterday. The models, my daughter Jane and my niece Emily, were spectacular and my makeup artist is a genius (Not to mention that she’s one of my dearest friends, and a very talented writer. Check out her blog…Hazy Shades of Me). Every time I download my camera’s memory card, it’s just like Forrest Gump says, opening a box of chocolates to see what treats are inside!

In case you’re wondering, I used my Nikon 35mm F1.8 lens for this shot.

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Living the Dream

You will eventually have had enough of my grieving process I’m sure, but for the moment you may be finding comfort in walking alongside me. This is what keeps me going. Perhaps you’ve lost someone or perhaps that hasn’t happened for you yet and you’re trying to understand what to expect.

 

Expect nothing.

 

I can safely say that although the journey will hold similar jumps for all of us, the method and speed with which we get through (not over) them, will not be the same whatsoever. Emotions and reactions are dependent on so many things—age, proximity and support for example, come immediately to my mind.

 

I tried to tell you a story today, but couldn’t find the words. Everything else seems trivial right now and even though I know that’s far from the truth, I can’t seem to muster the creative backbone needed to spin a tale.

 

But I did visit my girlfriend this weekend. I’ve known her for twenty years and she moved to what I’d call far away a couple of years ago. I miss her terribly, but it’s also nice to be able to make an excursion out of seeing her now.

 

So off we went, my daughter and I, painlessly driving the three-hour jaunt, stopping only for cheap gas and cheerful wine. (The wine was for me. My daughter is not allowed to get cheerful just yet.) Once settled and after eating (a delicious Thai meal courtesy of Leslie’s hubby) we sat on the couch and the dreaded reared its inevitable head. We hadn’t, of course, seen each other since my Papa’s passing and she asked how things were going and how everyone was doing. We talked for some time…well into the night, and as we headed off to bed we were still pondering what happens on the other side.

 

I told her that as much as the idea of a guardian angel seems comforting, I don’t like the idea of them having to watch over us. After all, what kind of torture would it be to see our children but be unable to touch or talk to them?

 

“No,” I said. “I like to believe they take a version of us along for the ride and that way, for them, not a thing has changed.”

Cool-memes-living-life-in-the-clouds

 

 

Don’t Let Go

Bear with me.

 

It’s a long journey around so many messy things and I lack the stamina to run it in one tidy breath.

 

Opening your eyes to the realization that somehow you must lift your burdened self out of bed so the show can go on. Peeling potatoes and stirring gravy so your children won’t think of this as the year they lost a Grandpa and Christmas Day. Stoically wading through a sea of memories that now contain a foreign element of hurt, so others can remember him the way you do. Battling tears and the desert that has become your mouth in order to send him off with the dignity he very much deserves.

 

Worrying someone will bring him up and then hurting when they don’t, planning only outfits with pockets to hold your twists of unscheduled Kleenex. Finding a way to preserve voicemails you’re so thankful you never deleted, fighting the guilt that you have saved the last ten, subconsciously aware you would come to rely on them one day soon. Holding on to the last time you saw him healthy and ruthlessly reliving the last horrible day that he wasn’t.

 

I used to think death was this obscure thing—a convoluted end that was hard to understand—marred by emotion and murky in its meaning. I was so wrong. Death is concise. It’s clear. It’s forever. And it’s final.

 

So I fumble for a bright side.

 

Hazy always ends in a positive spin. And although I’m desperate not to let her down, I’m having a really hard time grasping a silver lining through all of these ominous clouds.

 

I wish you heartache such as this in your life. Because despite the crumbling cliff it leaves you dangling from, it’s a true blessing to have loved someone this way.

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Extra Ordinary

What was once decent in life, can, like magic, become disproportionate in death.

 

Our memories switch off the ability to recall missteps, unpleasantries and altercations. It takes those things by the neck and drags them deep into the folds of our conscience, tucking them in for a Snow White sleep.

 

The brain, nature, survival, whatever we choose to call it, takes over, and we remember solely the good—the kind words said, the times they made us smile, their soars and their successes.

 

But for the majority of breaths—theirs and ours—we brush our teeth, drive to work, eat our dinner and wash the dishes. One day comes after the other and we forge on, comfortable in the knowledge that we simply like, and contently love.

 

It’s that very love that protects us. It shields. It transforms what’s now gone into only what we need to remain—good deeds, helping hands and a softness of spirit.

 

And this is understandable. After all, less is more. We tend to scrape away disagreeable to accommodate the palatable on our plates.

 

But this wasn’t my Papa’s way. In life, as in death, he had no tolerance for waste.

 

That’s why he only made room for extraordinary his whole life long.

In loving memory of John Martin Murphy Sep 6 1927 - Dec 24  2014

In loving memory of John Martin Murphy
Sep 6 1927 – Dec 24
2014

 

 

Real Robots

This article.

 

 

This article winks at me from across the room, then leaves with someone else. It asks me out to dinner and dodges the check. It promises tickets to a show that isn’t playing. It snatches my last Rolo and while we huddle side by side in a muddy, war-torn trench, it tells me we don’t stand a chance.

 

In a shell, I’m the nut and it’s the cracker and it splintered my little blog-bound heart into a million tiny pieces.

 

I admit going through a similar process to what Carol describes. Writing has always been in my life, but I felt that putting my work out there was the next step. In fact, I believed I’d be hiding in the dark ages by not leaping into the light. That’s how I came to birth my blog and as is human nature, I continue to nurture it despite the pain it causes me.

 

Next, they fall in love with the blog, and then spend way too much time on it.”

 

It’s almost three years old now, and yes I’m in love. Not because—“…it’s so empowering, pushing that ‘publish’ button on whatever you want to say…that it becomes addictive.”—but because I don’t feel alone. It’s not just me anymore. I went from what was, in my mind, selfish, to sharing, hopeful my words would entertain and inspire. At times, I even dare to believe I’d be letting you down should I vanish into thin air.

 

“It’s a dying niche because semi-literate, half-baked posts you dash off in 15 minutes for search robots to index don’t work any more.”

 

Piercing music screams in my head, reaching its crescendo as the shards of my heart are flattened and ground into a fine dust by this suggestion. Half-baked…dashed off in 15 minutes…I’m writing for robots?

 

Ouch.

 

But, I read Carol’s article through several times, washing it down with a tall glass of cool coherence. And you might be surprised to know that once I’d swallowed the pulp and circumstance, I concurred—If you want to write articles, you should of course, write articles.

 

But if you, like me, simply want to write of myth and whimsy to see where the wind takes you, there’s no need for a plummeting spirit. Tice’s advice doesn’t apply to you. Just keep doing what you’re doing because well, it makes you so darn extraordinary.

science_fiction_11

All bolded quotes taken from “Why You Should Stop Writing Blog Posts (and What to Do Instead) by Carol Tice at makealivingwriting.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Fitting Tale

To distract from the consistent incorrect use of tense in my last post, which I’m hoping you won’t realize took me a full day to get around to fixing, I’m going to talk about coffee and its accessories.

 

I didn’t drink coffee until I turned 30. With company over one night and me, pregnant with my third and last child, I percolated a pot for our guests just as I’d done a million times before. But this time, as I set out the cream and sugar, the spoons and the mugs, I added one for myself without thinking. I poured the dark and steamy liquid, filling each one, including my own. My friends and my husband looked on, somewhat shocked.

 

And then, as natural as can be, I drank it.

 

I imagined it was a one-off, but from then on, my baby begged for beans. By the time she was out of the womb and a walking, talking two year old she was pleading for teaspoons full of my sweet and milky caffeine. (You may want to fault me for this, but I’m British and was raised on tea—let’s face it, we have since discovered that that is just as caffeine-infused as coffee and I turned out fine. No really, I did.)

 

It’s been a long few years since that first cup and it took me some time to figure out what it is about Starbucks that makes it the apparent all that.

 

It’s the lid.

 

I can’t even drink the regular coffee at Starbucks. It’s too stark, too bitter for me, so I tend to go for a milky Cappuccino, but sometimes, you just want a cuppa, you know? And I do love a good Double Double.

 

But. That. Lid.

 

I am aware this is the quintessence of first world problems but this is the world in which we live. With the knowledge available and the ‘perfect’ sample ripe for the copying, why oh why, would Tim Hortons manufacture such a horrendous lid?

 

It’s flimsy. It’s loose. It’s weak. Once you open that hatch it’ll never be on lock-down again—you’re left babysitting your beverage until the last drop. And, could the opening be any bigger? Who thought having to pause mid-walk for every sip would be convenient, or that your car would have to be motionless to take a swig. And your coffee is of course cold by then by the way, due to that gaping hole in the top of your cup.

 

I thought I’d finally found my genius when I ordered my Double Double and asked for their ‘latte lid’ instead which actually does resemble Starbucks’ style, but I knew I’d made a big mistake when I looked down to find my scarf covered in large fervently fragrant dribbles.

 

Details matter. People notice. They rely on us to get them right, to make it easy…to feel effortless. The structure, the tense, the flavor, the finishing touch…all of it counts.

 

It has to be charming. It has to be tight.

 

Readers will always choose a good fit. After all, the content is subjective.

Screen-Shot-2014-05-05-at-1.56.44-PM

 

 

 

 

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