Sunday, May 27, 2012

It's Time...

Today I caught up on the Adventures of Glitter Girl and realized that I am forgetting how to scrapbook.  Sounds impossible, right?  I mean, after 13 years it would be like riding a bike.  It's a creative process... no right or wrong... so how can you forget??!!!  Well trust me, it is happening!  I realized that all the progress I've made is fading to the background and that the few scrapbook sketches I've made of late have started looking more and more like the layouts of the past:  very structured and plain with little layering - you know, the stuff of years ago when it was all getting the pictures on the patterned papers, and the creative process had yet to take root.  In other words, remember when we started and all our pages were about letter stickers and premade diecuts and all pictures were matted and placed side-by-side - what I've heard some people refer to as the Creative Memories style of scrapboooking (though, I have a friend who sells Creative Memories and her pages are beautiful - CM too have evolved).
So enough whining - it's time to talk about the fact that it's time to talk about... me. I watched this (last ?) week's episode of Glitter Girl regarding scrapbooking about yourself.  I used to have a serious problem with this concept for the following reasons:
  1. How can you scrapbook about yourself when, out of every 250 pictures, there may or may not be one of you.  For instance, I have apparently missed the past 10 Christmases - yet there are approximately 150 pictures taken every year with my camera. There were over 750 pictures taken during our trip to Disney World with my camera - and I am definintely there proven by the 3 (yes 3) photos of me.  Hmmm.
  2. How can you scrapbook about your past when your brain is a total blank?  Okay, I'm going to blame this on the MS - and that's the truth to a great extent.  But I am also the posterchild of the fact that any type of partying destroys brain cells.  Since I kept all of mine regarding logic and intelligence (until the MS), my destroyed cells were delegated to the memory part of my brain.  For instance, I have pictures of the Prom - and yes, I know that I went with Dan what's-his-name whose brother was dating my bestfriend; but, I have to admit that I don't remember a single thing from that night - not being picked up (evident by the photos), not going to the dance in my 70s semi-formal, not going to dinner afterward, nada damn thing.  Hmmm.
  3. When did scrapbooking about yourself become the thing to do, about 8 years ago?  Well, up until the past few years, I really thought that was seriously indulgent.  How can I scrapbook about myself when I have these wonderful grandchildren that deserve my supplies? How can I scrapbook about myself with all the events that happen every month with someone else in my family:  grandchildren, child, parents, siblings, etc. that must be scrapped for prosterity?  How can I scrapbook about myself when I must use my supplies to create mini-albums and cards to give as gifts?  How can I scrapbook about myself when almost all the supplies I buy (that are not for my grandchildren) are for the 140 years of photos (with stories) that must be put in scrapbooks before my mom passes away?  Hmmm.
A few years ago I decided that my grandchildren need to know about me more than they need to know about my great-grandparents.  For instance:
  • They need to know about my top ten favorite things every year.  So there are documents stored in my computer featuring these lists. 
  • They need to know how I felt about turning 50.  Okay, "Why?" you may ask.  Because 50 is a really big deal to every woman I know.  And the year leading up to my 50th birthday, was a real doozy.   Also, my life at 50 is certainly not where I expected it to be when I was 13 or 20 or even 30.  They should know that things don't turn out the way you expect them to, especially if you don't work to make your future happen.
  • They need to know, that even with how crappy our lives seem right now, how proud I am to be with my family.  I say these things, but I'm sure the next time shit falls apart, that statement is totally lost in the drama.  It will be good for them to know later how very much I love them and the rest of my family; and, especially during these trying time, how very lucky I feel to be able to be here to take care of everyone.
  • They need to know how I feel about God and the faith I have in Jesus Christ as my Savior.  I am not a religious woman.  I do not attend church on a regular basis.  In fact, my views regarding religion and God in general may be considered very different than the rest of my family.  But I am a deeply spiritual woman whose faith is based more on intellectual study and observation than on what I learned in our church.  I really don't feel this is an appropriate age for them to try to reconcile my thoughts with what they are learning in church.  And I really believe what they are learning is important - after all, that's where I started my journey.  But I also believe that it's important for them to know how much I study and how strongly I believe as well as what I believe - especially in the event that they may start to waiver in the future.
  • They need to know everything we have gone through mentally, emotionally and physically.  Dealing with my daughters illnesses can cause some very negative feelings (and possibly memories).  In addition, though they lived through all the trials of the past few years, it has been a very confusing time.  Why is it that I missed the entire football season, yet here I am taking care of everyone?  Why is it that their mom can stay up all night shopping, but can't get out of bed for days?  Why do we freak out about my mom's "sugar" reading and why can't she remember making promises that aren't fulfilled?  How are we mentally and emotionally dealing with my dad getting worse physically and mentally?  Why do I seem so mean so often, especially because they know that I will do anything anyone asks of me?  They need to know how all of this has affected me and how I "see" it in broader terms.  And they need to know how strong we all are.
  • They need to know how I feel about the things beyond my control.  Like how I feel about having MS - about the pain, the challenges, the regret, the despair, the anger and the fear - because this is affecting them so very much without them really even knowing that it's my MS that has utterly changed their lives and how it's changed mine in ways they don't see.  Like how I feel about living in "paradise" and why I hate it so very much.  Like how I feel about not working and how I miss it.  A minibook like the one I'm working on perhaps??!!
  • They need to know what our lives were like when I was a kid.  I tell them stories... but like all stories at that age, they don't really take root in their minds and hearts.  They need to know about growing up on both sides of the coin - very poor on the one hand and very wealthy on the other (especially my grandson who has the same sort of lifestyle in a very real way, but unfortunately he doesn't experience or understand the grandness of each of these lives).  They need to hear the stories of slaughtering hogs and playing in cotton fields while at my grandmothers as well as having season tickets to pro-football games and shopping at Saks with my mom all in the same year. 
  • They need to know how my brother and I grew up together - about my mom working and the fact that I practically raised him, about the fact that we fought so very hard, about the fact that I love him so very much because of all those experiences.  As siblings, they have a very different relationship than the ideal their mom feels they should and I have to jump in sometimes as she really doesn't understand this dynamic.  They need to understand that just because you don't always like someone doesn't mean that you don't love them with all your heart. 
  • They need to know about my marriage(s).  I don't talk about these; and, again, though they've lived through this last one, it was so against the norm of what marriage is supposed to be that it has to be very confusing.  They need to know why things have been this way - and it's really something that I can't necessarily sit down and talk about even though I can probably write about it.
  • They need to know why other things are important to me.  For example, why scrapbooking is such a big deal... and this changes all the time I think.  No one layout will ever give credence to what's important about it today.  Yes, it's the telling of legacies, the memories of moments, the creative process - but it's also my life raft.  To me it's akin to taking a power nap.  So, because these things (and more) are always revolving, it probably takes more than one layout to get this idea out - another minibook I've started maybe???!!!
  • They need to know about the things I dream about:  the house I wish I had and what it would look like and how it would be big enough for the entire family; how very much I would love to see England and (because I'm already across the ocean) Ireland, France, Italy, Greece and Laos; the dream of buying an RV and spending the summer taking the family all over America; having the money set aside for their cars and college education to ensure these things happen if I'm not here; why I love Harry Potter and Hobbits; and, why I'd live in Disneyworld.
Now I know you're wondering, "With such an extensive list, how much have you got done?"  Nothing.  Nope, not a bit.  Well, maybe a couple of layouts (maybe) with two minibooks started.  But it's time to get serious about this ME stuff.  I am starting to have more current photos of me to work with because I have finally gotten past my ego and handed the camera to someone and said "Take a pic of me today."  And I've taken a few myself on the days that I just don't look so good (and on the days when my gray roots have grown out and it's time to color those babies).  I have also figured out that photos are not a must, especially in minibooks.  But most importantly I have figured out that I am not guaranteed another day, so I better get off my butt and get some of these stories told.  Yes, the kids current events are still the priority... but I've decided I will come next.  And if I get bored thinking about me, then I'll work on those 140 years of photos I need to get done - and if I don't finish them I'll do the same thing my grandma did, I'll pass them on to GiGi to do. So maybe this evening I'll go pick up a few supplies - at least a dot runner, trimmer and few pieces of cardstock.  Tomorrow is Memorial Day, and since my family has been instilled to remember our servicemen everyday of our lives (my dad is a retired Colonel and served in Korea), I think I'll take the day off of doctors' appointments as an opportunity to get a little scrapping done in between all those other little emergencies.  After all, I can stop and start and move around at will when I'm scrapping.  I may even get GiGi to grab her stuff from home and bring it over to create along with me.

Anyway, gotta thank Shimelle for always motivating me - especially with her Glitter Girl videos and especially with this one.  Did you see it?  Did you love it?  Did you do anything about it?  Well then, go on - tell the world about yourself.  I've said it before... if you don't think you need to because you don't have kids, remember that knowing all those wonderful (and maybe not so wonderful) things about you will be appreciated by your parents and/or spouse as well as yourself when you start looking back in the future.  But no matter what you do, create something about something!


"There is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.” — Martha Graham

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