Yesterday, Alana, our engagement photographer, our photographer’s husband, and I drove half an hour North to a beautiful park where the Fall leaves were perfect. And there we spent three hours doing our engagement photoshoot!
The shoot went fantastically. It was so much fun. Our photographer posed us on and against many different architectural structures, landscapes, and terrains. In a few shots, her husband held a pile of leaves in his hands, and let the leaves blow in the wind to cascade over us. We took several different shots with the seven Harry Potter books around us, some with our heads bent, reading. We took shots of us near a river with ducks, against an old red barn, on many different benches, in the sun, against trees. The four of us just walked and walked, and wherever our photographer saw inspiration is where we headed.
I’m so, so, so pleased with how this sneak peak turned out. I can’t wait until our photographer finishes editing the rest of our shoot!
We’ve been engaged for a year and a half now, so to finally have this shoot done is so exciting! It was the first step of our wedding planning, right after booking our venue.
Now comes the save-the-dates. Now comes the final invite list being prepared.
This shoot has started a whirlwind of wedding planning that’s about to start now that it’s been finished.
Getting the rest of the edited photos will only be the start of it all!
I haven’t taken a yoga class in ten days. I’m going to take one tomorrow morning before work, and it can’t come soon enough.
My yoga journey started thirteen months ago, and within those thirteen months I’ve definitely noticed patterns. One of the biggest patters I’ve noticed is how terrible I start to feel on the rare occasions when I go a week or longer without taking a yoga class.
So I’m going to use this blog and write out a list of just how unbalanced and icky I start to feel when I’ve gone a week without breathing through my thighs, bending, and twisting.
When I go a week or longer without taking a yoga class:
I start to lose the huge sense of gratefulness and thankfulness that yoga teaches and gives to me. I’m not saying that I become completely ungrateful, but the level of gratitude and overall thankfulness that I have for my life, my friends, my car, etc, starts to diminish. Because of this, the mundanity of life starts to become more apparent. The reality of things like constantly paying bills and working for forty to fifty years starts to cave in more.
I start to feel more sluggish, more sleepy, and my digestion slows down. Yoga wakes me up, it wakes my mind up. I feel the most rested, energetic, and high-spirited on the weeks that I take two or more yoga classes. Yoga improves my sleep, and the constant twisting and rinsing of the digestive muscles allows for optimal digestion. My practice gives me a sense of euphoria and accomplishment, giving me the feeling of a “natural high”, and chasing away both fatigue and sleepiness from my mind and body.
I start to become less honest with myself. My yoga practice gives me myself. I can’t hide from myself in certain yoga poses. My practice inspires me to be honest with myself, and to recognize the negative feelings, thoughts, and emotions tucked away into the crevices of my mind. When I go a week or longer without taking a yoga class I’ve noticed that I’m less likely to admit to myself when I’m feeling negative, undesirable emotions such as fear, jealousy, frustration, and bitterness. I lie to myself, I make excuses to and for myself. I feel less genuine, less authentic, and this shows up everywhere, such as in my work, in my thoughts, and in my reactions to things and people.
I don’t feel as calm, cool, and collected. I become frustrated more easily. I’m more likely to get into tiffs or arguments. I second guess myself more, and I start to become more aware of others judgements of me. I sometimes feel less connected to the people around me. I become more impatient with ordinary things, such as traffic and long lines. I stay upset about things longer, and I’m not able to “let go” and move on from a frustrating situation or annoyance as quickly.
I don’t feel as plugged into the Earth, as present, and as grounded. I start lose the ache of ab muscle or the feeling of tight hamstrings and quads being stretched out through asana. I’m less aware of the breath in my lungs, and the aches and cues that my body gives me to signal when it’s in want or need of something. I type on my phone more and listen to the conversation around me less. I lose the amazing anatomically corrected-ness feeling that yoga gives me, of my tailbone being tucked and my shoulders sitting perfectly on top of my hips. I’m more likely to withdraw and to not reach out to people. I start to think about myself and my problems more, and less of (the problems of) the world around me.
All of this being said, when my alarm goes off at 7:00 tomorrow morning I’m making a straight beeline for the shower. I’m ready to unroll my mat. I’m ready to spread my toes and plug my hands into the Earth.
I shudder to think about where my life would be if I hadn’t found yoga thirteen months ago. I know that both my life and I would be in a very different place right now.
My 27th birthday was the perfect day, even though it was a gray, overcast Tuesday.
Alana and I both took the day off of work to celebrate my birthday (because we’re young. Because we can. Because, why not?) and that morning she drove us both to Spa World. We’ve already been there twice, but I could never get tired of that place. We’ve only ever been there on a Saturday, before now, and the huge lack of a crowd was completely perfect. I soaked and sat in different kinds of hot tubs, and the wade pool, for hours. I kept floating around to different jets with different levels of pressure and stationing my feet, hands, or shoulders in front of them to provide some release. Alana treated me to a thirty minute shiatsu massage, and it was fantastic! The massage therapist walked on my back for about ten minutes of it and I was in complete heaven.
Alana and I wandered out to the Poultice Rooms and we tried a few that we’ve never tried before, such as the red clay ball room, which was utterly fantastic. I took a headstand in the middle of the room. We found a quiet, cozy corner, and we sat and talked. We talked for a while about things we’ve never talked about.
We’ve talked about wanting a family in the future for a while now. We’ve talked about having kids after getting married next Fall. But the type of talk we have about it these days is different. I don’t know if it’s because the wedding is less than a year away now, or if it’s just starting to be that time. Probably a little bit of both. But now we’re starting to talk past simply wanting a family. We are discussing parenting methods that we’re interested in. We’re voicing worries, and fears, that neither one of us have voiced before now. We talked about what we both want out of life, and we talked about how we don’t want starting a family to limit that. (As well as ways to stop any limiting from happening.)
We’re even discussing whenwe think we’d like to start trying. And maybe we’ve discussed this before, but it’s just a bit different now. A bit more serious. It’s just blowing my mind that we’re talking about these things, even though I know it’s perfectly normal. Expected, even. We’ve just been together that long. It’s just getting to that time. We aren’t 23 and 25 anymore.
We had some time to kill between leaving Spa World and heading to dinner, so we stopped at Jared’s to browse wedding bands. And even though I hadn’t yet fallen in love with any wedding band that I’ve shopped for anywhere, I finally found what I think I’m looking for.
The band I fell in love with is both rose gold and white gold, which was something I was having a huge dilemma about. I’ve been trying to decide if I wanted to go with a rose or a white gold band, but this one is both! It’s gorgeous, and it’s different, and it’s definitely not something every woman has on her finger. We are going to buy two to wrap my engagement ring in. The really exciting part is that both rings are extremely under the budget that we had set aside for my bands!
For dinner Alana took me to The Melting Pot which is my very favorite restaurant. The fondue is just amazing. It’s very expensive, and you’ve gotta cook your meal yourself essentially, but it’s so worth it.
Alana gave me this beautiful necklace as a birthday present. The stones are lab created opal and pink sapphire, and I just adore it. Between this, Spa World, and The Melting Pot, my birthday was the best one I’ve celebrated with her yet! Finding my wedding bands and the unexpected baby talk was just the icing on top of the cake.
Another year to be alive. Another year to have adventures. Twenty-seven is the year that I’m going to become a wife! It’s going to be full of (probably stressful) wedding planning and learning more about myself than I have yet. I’m excited for it. I’m ready for it!
It feels like so many things have happened since my last post on September 25th, and all of those things are positive. This Fall has honestly been just a series of good moments, followed by awesome moments, followed by even more amazing moments. The good just keeps piling up, the laughter and excitement just keeps rolling in, and I’m honestly living in that glow that happens when everything in your life is well balanced and you just feel good.
Alana and I reached that three year milestone in our relationship last week, which means that our wedding is less than a year away! After already being engaged for a year and a half, after almost a year of her not having a permanent job and us being unsure of any short or long term future for us, we are finally under that year mark.
Last weekend, to celebrate, we took a yoga class together, went shopping for our engagement shoot, and then went to dinner and a movie. We saw The Maze Runner, and we both really liked it. My birthday is on Tuesday, and this weekend my Mom is having the entire family over to celebrate, and she’s making homemade Indian food! On my actual birthday next Tuesday Alana and I both took the day off. She’s going to take me to Spa World all day before taking me to dinner at my favorite restaurant (which is not cheap).
Our engagement shoot is going to be happening sometime within the next three weeks. We’re not exactly sure when because our photographer is judging the changing color of the leaves week by week so that we shoot on a weekend when the leaves are perfect. My yoga practice is on fire right now. The 2-3 classes I’ve been making weekly have been so easy to get to. I jump out of bed when my alarm goes off at 7:00 AM, ready to face traffic and get on my mat. My body is still changing. My shoulders sit on top of my hips more, my sacrum is more tucked, my pelvis less tilted. My arms and back are getting stronger. My headstands are unlike they ever have been, strong, effortless, and I hold them for longer than three minute periods. (Longer than I’ve ever held them before).
On the random times that I do try for a forearm stand or even a handstand, I’m there. I always reach the pose, even if I only hold them for a moment or two. I’m ready to get serious about my inversion practice this Fall and really try to master forearm stand and handstand before our wedding next Fall. The strength required of my body for these poses is almost there, or possibly, there. Every season I grow more acquainted with the feeling of finding my center of gravity while my body is upside down. I reach it more quickly then ever now, my head reaching the floor only a few seconds before my toes leave it.
My schedule at work is busy, full, and full of personality. The clinic constantly gets complaints about how full my schedule is and how hard it is to book an appointment with me. I’ve been getting more sleep, drinking one soda or less a week, and Alana and I have been getting along shiningly.
Like I said, things are great. I’m looking forward to all my birthday celebrations and our upcoming engagement shoot.
I hope this Fall is treating you all well as well as it’s treating me. Peace, love, and light. =)
As I woke up and started my day today I felt different. Very different, even though nothing had changed. I felt a sense of calmness and peace, an almost serene type of peace, though I had nothing to attribute this new sense of peacefulness with.
I took it in and enjoyed it because it felt so great, but all morning I racked my brain trying to figure out where it came from. (I’m one of those people who look for meaning and symbolism everywhere, and who thinks that everything is connected.)
About an hour after I got to work it finally hit me. A week from today will be the three year anniversary of Alana and I officially being a couple. But, that’s not the significance here. The significance is that it was exactly at this point in my last serious relationship with a woman, exactly a week before our three year anniversary, when I found the courage to end it and leave her. It was at this exact point in that past relationship when I decided to leave my abuser.
Alana wasn’t the first woman I’ve had a very serious relationship with. There was another, one in my past. I met her when I was nineteen years old, and we fell hard fast. We moved in together on our one year anniversary. I ended up living with her for two years.
Soon after moving in things went quickly downhill. She became first verbally, and then physically abusive. I didn’t see it at the time (or maybe I didn’t want to) but there was so much about that relationship that was unhealthy. She isolated me from my family and friends. She controlled what I wore. She wouldn’t let me go to massage school, which was the key thing I wanted to do in my early twenties.
The morning that I left her was any other typical morning. I hadn’t woken up knowing that I was going to end it that day. It just kind of happened, and I’m so happy that it did. It had taken me some time, but I had finally found the courage to leave.
I’m happy that I left. I’m happy that I’m happy now. I’m even happier that in a week I’ll be hitting that three year anniversary mark with someone who loves me, and respects both my body and I in a healthy manner. That past relationship taught me so much about myself, life, relationships, and human behavior. Alana and I work hard to try and keep our relationship healthy, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because of what I’ve been through I have a much better idea of healthy and unhealthy relationship habits. Because of what I’ve been through I’m able to be a better woman for Alana.
I still feel that same sense of serenity and tranquility that I’ve felt all day. If anything I feel it even more deeply after writing this blog entry. I have a feeling that it’s a feeling that’s here to stay, deeply embedded into my bones. Perhaps I’ve been missing it all these years, needing someone else to take up that much time in my life. Someone who is gentle, kind, and tender. Someone who has never and would never raise a hand against me.
I just had to share all of this. If you’ve made it to the end, thank you for reading. And please, if you know anyone suffering from any type of abuse, get them help. It took me a while to climb out on my own. I’m one of the lucky ones.
This past weekend Alana and I went to Dave & Buster’s to celebrate the birthday of a mutual friend. We all got a table and ordered food, but mostly we drank. They had these jello shots that were in huge syringes that were only $5.00 and that tasted amazingly.
After that, some of us tipsy, some of us drunk, we went to the all the gaming rooms and played game after game. I can’t remember if Alana and I have ever been to an arcade together before, but it was really enjoyable. We played round after round of skee ball, side by side. We shot baskets into hoops, shot zombie after zombie, and we kept filling up our cup of tickets like two giggling kids at Chuck E. Cheese.
At the end we took our cup of tickets and bought nothing but candy with it, munching on it all on the drive home.
I was exhausted most of the day on Sunday, but it was worth the jello shots and the laughter.
Today my friend James came over and we played video games. And then we watched World War Z, followed by a bunch of documentaries from the series Ted Talks. We pigged out on McDonald’s and rubbed each others shoulders. He was over for about seven hours total.
It’s that weird Autumn time, when the feeling of Summer hasn’t quite left, but the coolness of the Fall is just starting to set in. Everyone is falling back in to their school, career, and work routines.
My friends are stressed with new moves, new parenting obstacles, or financial struggles. Alana and I are starting to really grind down and cut down on our expenses to prepare for a year of saving up for our wedding.
It’s just that kind of weird in between period. People are sick, people aren’t feeling well. I’m noticing a lot of lower spirits and tired eyes. This is an exciting time of the year, but it’s also a stressful one. As the weather falls colds here, we tend to cover up more, stay inside more. Perhaps, withdraw into ourselves more.
I’ve been feeling much better since I wrote my last entry “Little Miss Sweet Tooth”. Aside from the McDonald’s today, I’ve stayed away from soda, and sugar, and sweets. I’ve started drinking more clear liquids again and I’ve started heading to yoga classes on a bi-weekly basis. I feel good, but I also feel in transition. That weird in-betweenness, like we’re all in between time.
Waiting for Fall to really start. Waiting for the holiday season to really start.
Waiting for our three year anniversary, the engagement pictures, for the leaves to start changing…
…waiting for my next burst of real energy and for the Autumn doldrums to pass. I hope the leaves start changing soon.
If you haven’t yet watched this video, I beg you to please do so. I normally never watch these kinds of things. I don’t consider myself to be very political person. Before I watched this video I never called or considered myself a feminist. The biggest reason why I’ve never labeled myself as a feminist is addressed beautifully within the first half of this video by Emma Watson.
The word “feminism” has definitely become a negative word. I agree with Emma Watson on that completely. As she states, the word has become synonymous with “man-hating”. She states that many women choose not to use this word when describing themselves. I am one of these women.
I have especially never wanted to label myself as a feminist because I feel like on top of the lesbian label it sounds severely man-hating, and as if I just can’t stand men at all. Even though I’ve always fully supported women being treated, paid, and respected as equally as men, I’ve never been particularly vocal about my feelings.
Emma Watson goes onto describe this as being “inadvertently feminist”, which I will continue to be no longer. From now on, I’ll proudly say that I am a feminist, which in its proper definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.
And just like Emma Watson says, it doesn’t matter what I label myself, or what any of us label ourselves. We all have to band together to end gender inequality. Men face gender inequality as well, which she talks about and gives examples of as well.
I could go on and on about reasons why you should watch this video, so I’ll just wrap this up by saying this: Go watch it if you haven’t yet.
This video should be seen by as many people as possible. This has all got to end.