Return from the Upside Down

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illustration of the Upside Down from Stranger Things

Well, after a year (and some change)-long hiatus from my blog, I have returned from the Upside Down…..or at least it feels like I went to another place.

If you’ve watched Stranger Things, you’ll know where I’ve been. A parallel universe but a much darker version of the real one. Even though I didn’t go to a “dark place,” per se, I did go somewhere for a while. But the power of writing found me again.

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movie poster from Stranger Things

Well, I guess I could go into my lecture of apologies for being a bad blogger but I’ll skip that and just give the excuses. Why did I go AWOL? Well, life, I guess. 2015 was the year of photography and I devoted A LOT of my time to it. I poured myself into learning everything I could about it. Reading books, reading online material, practicing, practicing, practicing, and enrolling in an online school. You can tell this was becoming the year of photography as most of my last few blogs were showcasing photo shoots. This was before I established a website for my photography work. My Instagram (aptly named the same as my blog) became less about promoting my blog and more just a personal one and my Facebook page was seeing tumble weeds blow by. Besides photography, I was also pouring myself into  other ventures such as Nashville Wine on the Rails and then this year opened up an Etsy shop, Red Velvet Cake Vintage. Which I needed to open an Etsy shop like I needed another hole in my head but I (gasp!) have too much vintage and need to pass it on to other homes. I also am a board member for Historic Nashville, Inc. and I support my husband with his career with Muddy Roots Music which includes many, many layers itself and too many to list. To say I have a lot on my plate is an understatement. But hey, get busy living or get busy dying.

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movie still & quote from Shawshank Redemption

So in short, my blog got put on the back burner. About a month or so ago I started missing it. It was calling me back. I missed writing, I missed documenting my experiences in life, and I missed being curious and exploring. That was the initial purpose to start this blog. To document my curiosities and explorations. I am the Indiana Jones of Curiosity, always wanting to find that treasure that is out there, with the purpose of putting it in a museum (my blog), of course. 🙂 Plus, when blogging about your experiences, it’s a good excuse to travel and explore. You have to have content for your blog! I also always feel a touch of melancholy when I visit other people’s blogs and it’s been months or years since their last post. Why did they abandon ship?

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movie still from Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark

While we all can agree 2016 has been the year of death. The death of David Bowie, Prince, and so many other public figures. And don’t even get me started on the election. Putting aside the activity going on in the world, 2016 has been a year I’ve been questioning my mind, body, and spirit. I’ve always practice some kind of “reset button” on myself throughout my life. I love change; I welcome it. But change doesn’t have to be anything drastic; it can be something very small. So what I mean by mind, body, and spirit is how I’m treating those areas and paying attention to what is influencing them. It’s been more about collecting data this year so I can analyze the problem. Why do I feel this way? What am I allowing? What brought me here? Questions going on and on. Part of my analysis has included what has brought me happiness.

So reflecting on that I came to the conclusion of what made me happy: the great outdoors, traveling, writing, photography. There are other things but these were the core. So was I moving towards these or was I moving away from them? Another factor was something I didn’t mention above; my job. Yep, the one thing I don’t talk about often because it’s what pays and fuels for a lot of the things above. I wish I could say I was a full-time blogger or photographer and was rolling in six-figures but that’s most definitely not the truth. And it quite possibly never will be and that’s totally fine! It’s not about the fortune & glory. My job was robbing me of happiness and for a few reasons I won’t go into great detail. I made a great salary but I felt mentally and physically drained 40+hour a week after 40+hour a week. I also had a toxic co-worker and I quickly realized that would never go away unless I did. So I did. I made a career change within my place of employment and took a huge pay cut. I had a lot of support from my husband and my mom. It’s funny how when you do something drastic people start coming forward with their experiences too. A few people truly understood why I was doing it while some thought it was dumb to walk away from my salary. One person even gave me a nice card with a nice message and told me I was brave for making this choice. For those that understood, they all said the same thing: the stress is not worth the money. And folks, I am living proof that it sure as hell isn’t. So I abandoned the familiar and all the expertise I gained for almost seven years, walked away from my salary, and hit the reset button on my job. Almost four weeks in and I’ve realized it was the best decision I have made in a career so far.

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movie still from Heathers

So now that I’ve really made myself super vulnerable by exposing something that was making me uphappy, let me focus back on my blog. Like I said earlier, I just really, really started to miss it. Why did I not devote some time to it? What was I doing with my time? Well, wasting it for one thing. One big culprit: social media. Which is a double edge sword because this is the digital age and sooooo many people use social media to promote themselves or their business. Me being that majority. But was I using my time wisely with it or mindlessly scrolling like a Walking Dead zombie fiending off the unimportant news. I will say, is it nice to just zone out and scroll every now and then? Yep. But it shouldn’t be something you spend several hours a day doing. Exhibit A: this morning. This morning I spent almost an hour on social media as soon as I woke up, in bed, scrolling through the abyss called Facebook and Instagram. Again, don’t misunderstand that I do not like social media, just not the zombie, life-sucking version of it. Otherwise it’s a great place to connect with people and get yourself or your brand out there.

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illustration by Steve Cutts

And lastly because this blog post turned out to be waaay longer than I intended, I’ve got to reset and get back to writing. Even if it’s in the blog-form. Exhibit B: my diaries and journals throughout my life. Writing is one of my therapies and I think we all need to find something that is. Whatever that is. Below are my diaries/journals I’ve kept over the years. Feel free to laugh at the decor ;). The only one missing is my first one I started in about 3rd grade. It’s around somewhere just wasn’t with it’s mates. These journals span from middle school to post-college and have been through countless moves. Every once in a blue moon I read a few entries and it’s a good way to compare my life now and then. It’s also a good way to learn about yourself and also how to move towards happiness. I’ve captured a lot about myself over the years and it’s all here in these pages. But not like you young whipper-snappers, us Gen-Xers had to “blog” the old-fashioned way, with ye ole pen & paper.

So now that I’ve found my way out of the Upside Down, I hope I can stay on track with this. In the meantime, I ask you to ask yourself what makes you happy and are you doing that?

Until next blog post,
~Katie

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