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They say the days are long, but the years are short.

You know you are “old” when you get that statement.

I have been married for 21 years, together for 25 and we have two daughters, 17 and 19.  We are blessed.

Life is a journey.  It’s a marathon and not a race, but so many of us feel that it’s a race, living at the pace we do.

I was born in 1969.  Grew up in the land of the FREE, 70s and 80s and the crazy 90s…  I have so many stories of my upbringing, but in all honesty…looking back, I am SO thankful I grew up as I did.  We learned life by DOING, getting hurt, dusting ourselves off and getting back up so we could do it all over again.  It was a GLORIOUS time!

Now that I am 50, I have had a lot of time to experience and reflect.  Please don’t take my words or opinions as Gospel…JUST my experience at life and what I have learned for myself.

As I am a photographer by trade, I have learned to witness life on a different realm.  I have learned that the camera doesn’t lie.  It picks up the subtle nuances of what is going on before it.  And as a photographer, witnessing life, I too, have picked up on so much.

My brain works in nano seconds.  It thinks in clicks.  The interpretive side of my brain wants to tell the story of what is going on.  And as a result, I see life through a polarized lens.

I have photographed everything from birth to death.  I have so many stories, you would either be intrigued…or bored to tears.  I express details lost on others and I feel deeply.

I have suffered with anxiety all my life, so I feel things I don’t want to feel.  But I also write.  And I write it all, because I don’t think ANYONE should EVER feel alone in this world, and I am not ashamed of how I feel.  My father lived every moment of his life out loud, and I learned from the best.  I have a daughter who has picked up on it all, and I see things through her eyes as well…my “live out loud #lifewithred”

I wish more people fessed up to how they feel.  There is something freeing in that.  But somehow and at sometime, there was a society that frowned upon that, and so people withold, or … stuff their emotions.

Let me tell you what happens when you stuff.  (and this is not a judgement, I have witnessed it  first hand MANY times…).  When you are afraid to “let it all out”, those emotions need somewhere to go.  You try to hide them in your body, but just like a pimple, dirt eventually needs to escape.  And at that point everyone can see it.  Now, I am NOT a dermatologist and I can’t confirm all the reasons for acne, so don’t bother debating me here.  My point is a visual one, and I think you get the point.

Emotions eventually escape.  Stuffing does not help.  It rears its ugly head in ways of Anger, Sadness, Depression and even Anxiety.  On this, I speak from experience.  I was raised that children should be seen and not heard.  If you broke out in unexpected hysterical crying, you MAY have heard from your parents, “If you don’t stop crying I will GIVE you something to cry about!”

And, there you go.  The beginning of the stuffing.

Now, I don’t remember myself EVER stuffing how I feel, so I’m not sure how I ended up with anxiety.  But, ladies and gentlemen, I’m pretty much a life long sufferer.  I have learned to cope over the years, but I’m still plagued on a regular basis.  I have been on medication on and off for many years, but lived my life with the goal that I will LEARN to deal with the plague that has been handed to me.  And it’s been a long journey.  I have been med free for a long time, but that doesn’t mean I am at peace.  It means I have learned to talk myself down most days (and long nights) so I can get by.  I have found alternative methods that have helped.  But mostly, I have learned that anxiety is a big scary threatening Dragon that spits fake fire and makes me really tired.

In the life that we live today, with social media and EVERYTHING IN YOUR FACE…it’s REALLY hard to TURN OFF!!!  I TOTALLY struggle with this (as I literally call myself a facebook whore(*scusethereference) and love connecting with people every day!  I work from home.  There are days I don’t get out of my house.  It actually ADDS to the struggle of the daily grind.

But here is what I have found…

I am NOT alone.
I don’t care who knows my truth
I LOVE people
When I give of myself, my heart is full
When I share my story, people come to me and I am so glad! (you are never alone)
Medication has helped and I’m not against it, but constantly finding ways to be more self reliant
Anxiety is WAY more prevalent than people know or acknowledge
We are stronger than we know!

I have learned so much over the last few decades.  I am NOT a medical professional, I only know my battle. But I’m not afraid to share what I have dealt with, and I am here if needed.

In my years of blogging, I know that there are some people who fear letting others in.  Don’t be afraid.  You are NORMAL!  You are STRONG and you CAN do this!!!

This was not the blog I started to write, but apparently my heart pulled me in this direction.

I’m not always in control and that is okay!  I embrace the squirrels that take over my life (UP reference for those who are wondering).

Whoever you are… You GOT this as long as you are not afraid to admit it, and are free to ask for help.  We are there.  Help is there!  Say the word!  We are the net…take the leap of faith!!!

(please forgive any typos0