Things I’m Afraid to Tell You

Graphic designed by Ez of Creature Comforts
Have y’all seen this movement going around the blogosphere today?! I am exhilarated by it. I am energized by it. I am in awe of it and I am proud of it. I am inspired by it! Please click on the graphic to read the back story and see the full list of bloggers participating in this truth-telling spree. So far, I have made it to only a handful of blogs to comment and cheer, Nichole, Erin and Rena but I plan to make my way around the entire list. I am committed because it is so important to support this kind of heartfelt bravery and honesty in our saturated, perfection-inducing online world.
I’m going to get straight to it, but if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, I hope you have seen glimpses of this kind of honesty from me already. I have fought against making a perfectly pretty blog, because it’s not true. Life is not perfectly pretty.
Things I’m Afraid to Tell You:
When I look in the mirror, I say hateful things to myself. And then I feel deep shame because I am a cancer survivor and I should be grateful to be alive and who cares how I look? Except, I do care. It’s sad but true. I actually took “aging gracefully” off the list of things I like on my Pinterest profile page recently because I realized it was pretty much a lie. I mean, I love the idea, but I’m not living it right now.
Although I’m a Virgo, I am hopelessly unorganized at home. My files are a mess, especially the digital ones. I have over 25,000 photos now on my external hard drive. I cannot access them quickly, they are not rated or tagged with keywords or anything. I have so much work I could share and promote and this is a huge hindrance to my progress as a photographer. Don’t even get me started on emails. I save almost all of them, I have five email accounts, it is ridiculous. It is an enormous, inefficient part of my life. Sigh.
I pick at my lips when I’m stressed or worried or tired. Now the Noodle is mimicking this behavior of mine which makes me want to vomit. More shame. 
I think the last thing I want to share is how lonely I have been since I moved to Portland. I really miss my friends and family and school community at home in California. While I have some community here (thank goodness!), I have felt very disconnected overall. As a result, I have developed a ridiculous attachment to my stupid iPhone. I check Facebook on it all the time! I don’t even like Facebook! It is a real symptom of my need for a community. Not finding a school community yet has been a big setback in feeling settled here. I know this won’t last forever, but I did notice it and it feels good to say it out loud. I feel like I read stories of people packing up and relocating and it’s a breeze! Happy kids, easy transitions, no problems at the new school or making new friends and that has not been our experience. 
Oh boy, this movement is really scary! I’m going to hit publish before I over-think it because I love it, I love it so much. I feel like sometimes my tag line is a sham, “photographing the magic of the ordinary” because I don’t find myself really showing the un-magical sides in my photos. I use a fixed lens with a shallow depth of field on purpose! So you can see the parts that I want you to see and blur out the rest. But sometimes, wouldn’t it be nice to see everyone’s dirty dishes, and not just their pretty coffee cups? 
I think we can take this movement to the next level with photographs too.
Are you in?
P.S. I deleted one thing and I’ll admit it right now. It was just too much, I felt too vulnerable. I am human.

Ez - Jessica, you ARE beautiful…and I don’t even know what you look like. Your words of honesty and transparency paint a picture of someone who is creative, passionate, and has a beautiful fighting spirit, and I think that’s pretty darn gorgeous! Thank you for being a part of this challenge. You’ve inspired me today! xo EzMay 4, 2012 – 12:51 am

erin loechner - OMG I’m a Virgo and I pick my lips, too! Wowza. This is such a wonderful movement – it feels so good to know we’re not alone. Thank you for your bravery today, sweet Jessica.May 4, 2012 – 12:59 am

Bec Nolan - Thank you so much for sharing, it is really brave of you! I feel like you are far too hard on yourself.. it’s a hard journey but know that you can learn to be nice to yourself and live without shame if you have the right tools (I found them in the form of a good doctor and psychologist). And you don’t have to share everything – it is good to keep some things for ourselves, share only as much as you need to and still feel safe.May 4, 2012 – 1:46 am

ethanollie - virgo non lip picker here . . . but i have other flaws to compensate. i wonder where people like myself, without an internet home, might say things i’m afraid to tell people?

and i love you sweet jess, in all your honest disorganized glory . . . you know that. xoMay 4, 2012 – 2:12 am

sulu-design - Wow, Jess. I hadn’t heard of this little blog movement going on until I read your beautifully honest post. Thank you. I’ve gone on to read several others, too, and I’m really touched by them.

I know where you’re coming from when you write that you say hateful things to yourself about the way you look. Sadly, I think most of us do. You might like to know that for a long time, I had a photo that you’d posted of yourself in one of my bookmark folders. It was full of cute haircuts that I wanted to show the gal who cuts my hair. You looked absolutely adorable in the photo, as you do in person.

And I understand the loneliness. While we did have a pretty easy transition to Portland and I made a lot of friends easily right off the bat, I’m not good at maintaining relationships. I can retreat deeply into myself and keep true friendships from growing.

Thanks again for sharing your post. I’m thinking of you…May 4, 2012 – 2:51 pm

Anonymous - Hi Jess! The last time I moved I was 45. All of my friends and my family were thousands of miles away, and even though I had my husband and my kids, I was terribly lonely. Two things worked for me in finally finding some girlfriends. One, I joined a book club. And Two, I realized that I had to make the first move, almost like dating! I just asked a woman who I really liked and admired if she would like to have lunch sometime. It was kind of terrifying and liberating, but it worked out beautifully. Good luck to you. Oh and I bought a photo of yours on etsy. You are so talented. Hang in.May 7, 2012 – 4:34 pm

April May - I read your post on Friday, and I’ve been thinking about it since then. I like this movement and the reminder that we’re all just regular people with insecurities sitting in front of computers; nobody’s perfect. We all have flaws and we struggle with life in different ways. With the support of friends and family (however far away they are) we make it through. I’m happy to be able to call you a friend, and I wish we weren’t on opposite coasts! Your comments on my blog are always beautiful and kind and memorable – just like you (and your photography, actually). So thanks for sharing, Jess. It was brave of you. xoxoMay 7, 2012 – 7:04 pm

Jess/Sweet Eventide Photography - I am so fortunate that such a vulnerable post was met with such love and compassion. I feel supported and encouraged by all of your words.

Ez, thank you for encouraging the blogging community to open up on a deeper level for a change.

Erin, it really does feel good knowing I’m not alone in my quirks and habits, so thank you for sharing that with me.

Bec, I go through phases in being too hard on myself, I think this post pushed me closer to freedom from the negative thought patterns actually.

Kim, that is such a good question and I have been giving it a lot of thought. I think Instagram has some potential if we could find a hashtag that would work. I think this movement in the form of photographs has immense power and potential. I love you too!

Susan, it is wonderful to hear from you, as wonderful as it was to see you recently. Sadly, I agree with you that too many of us have negative self-talk. I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. We all have our challenges and I think they are lighter when shared. How sweet of you to tell me about that photo you had saved!

Anonymous, oh whoever you are, thank you for such wise advise on making new friends! It does feel a bit like dating now that you mention it. I’m so glad your bravery worked out beautifully! Oh and thank YOU for supporting my Etsy shop!

April, yes, yes! I love it — we are all regular people with insecurities sitting in front of our computers! It is so good for us to remember that. I wish we weren’t on opposite coasts too, there is nothing I would love more than to visit you at your first NSS! I’m so proud of you and cheering you on from the Pacific Northwest!May 9, 2012 – 5:57 am

Anna @ IHOD - Jessica,
You know what I love about this whole movement is that through the honest posts, I feel like I get to know the real person behind the blog. Vulnerability is a tough practice, and I had a difficult time publishing my post, but I am so inspired by the encouragement we all have to give each other.
I lived in KS (moved from sunny GA) for a few years and I can completely relate to your Portland experience. I felt so isolated. That is actually why I started my blog! So good things came from the experience, but I know in the moment it was hard to see through the loneliness. And by the way, you are a beautiful person. Just by reading this, you are the type of person I would want to hang out with and have a cup of joe:)
Thanks for sharing this!
AnnaMay 10, 2012 – 1:51 am

lynn russell - Jess,

I’m not sure when I first started reading your blog. Not long ago, though I wish it had been sooner. I wanted to thank you for this post which I’m just not getting around to reading. (I wrote my own too, the day before we left for Utah. We came home early because Liam got sick, so I’m a little out of sorts.) I so appreciate your honesty and see it as a reminder that we know so little of the whole behind all these blogs, but that we can change that if we are willing.

All my best,

LynnMay 15, 2012 – 9:23 pm

E'Layne Koenigsberg - I love your honesty…I love you took aging gracefully off Pinterest…your are precious…love from another disorganized Virgo xxxoooMay 18, 2012 – 3:04 am

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