This is Miss Rachel Kara (aka Mrs Ashton). We’ve been friends for almost three years now but we only met properly last week. You see, when I say ‘friends’ I mean internet friends. It all started on Twitter, I believe. A conversation about photography or fashion or the two combined. Over the years we’ve tried to tee up many a meeting but something always stood in the way. We first saw each other in real life at last year’s Laneway Festival but I was on the job, rushing to photograph some band playing on a stage in the opposite direction, so that hello was far too brief. I remember it clearly though. I heard my name, spun around to see a familiar face and instantly stretched out my arms and gave the girl a hug. A few hours later I was re-playing the scene in my head and it was only then that it struck me as kinda strange. Rachel and I don’t even ‘know’ each other and yet giving her a hug felt like the most normal thing to do. Funny how the internet can make you feel close to someone. Through Rachel’s blog, Twitter and my brief foray into the world of Instagram I’ve learnt all sorts of things about who she is and how she lives her life. I love that. Thanks, internet! About a month ago Rach sent me this tweet: ‘I want to hang with you this year. Achievable goal? X’ and last week we did it. We spent the morning in Cronulla (where Rach and her mister live …yep, she wakes up to those stunning water views every. single. day) and it was so easy and genuine and satisfying like a home-cooked meal. (I had a similar feeling when I met dear Liz…who happens to know Rachel…of course!) This girl is, in a word, a natural. She’s effortless. She does her thing and does it with conviction. She considers her words. Looks you in the eye. Actively listens. I’ve never felt Rachel was trying to be anyone other than herself – her work, her style, her faith, even her ‘gram – so authentic. She seems quite at ease with her place in the world and radiates calm and contentment. A true gem and a rare find. And so, dear Rachel Kara, I want to hang with you AGAIN this year. Achievable goal? X
I live across the road from Carriageworks/the Eveleigh Markets but I’ve barely popped in since moving here last November because: work. However, I was able to go earlier this month and I’ll be there again this Saturday with bells on. Farmers’/growers’ markets are my happy place.
Families, couples, kids and hip young thangs strolling around, coffee in hand, filling their French baskets with #fresh #natural #organic produce, homemade relish, cheese and bread while cradling bright blooms wrapped in brown paper. It’s all about inner city dwellers making meaningful connections with their food producers, carefully considering what they put in their bodies and mentally planning the feasts they’ll prepare and the friends they’ll invite to sit at the long table in their candlelit courtyard later that night.
Yeah, I know, these words could be pulled straight from the pages of ‘Stuff White People Like’ but it’s…stuff… I, um, like. The Saturday morning markets contain all the elements for simple satisfaction: a shared experience involving a day off work + coffee + flowers + friendly human interaction + food + plans for more human interaction involving food = happiness. It’s what we were made for. What’s not to love?
I’ve been kickin’ around with this guy for six months now. Naturally, that means I’ve spent six months making him pose for photos here, there and everywhere: ‘Oooh, that light is so nice! Stand there.’ ‘Look, that wall is blue and you’re wearing blue! I’m going to take a photo.’ ‘Cool shadows! No, I don’t want you in the photo, just your shadow, so move.’ ‘Act natural. Pretend I’m not here!’ ‘That’s your photo face. I want your normal face!’ Really, who would put up with such things (and so much more)? This guy. Thanks, Dan. You make me so very happy xx
Thank you, for a few things. Firstly, for your responses to that last post. I really appreciate your kind messages, encouragement, understanding and the experiences you’ve shared with me. I definitely feel less alone and more at ease. It can be a bit weird writing about personal stuff so earnestly, though. You wake up the next morning with a change of heart. Things feel better and so you wonder if you were just being melodramatic. Should I take it all back? Delete my words? What will people think? Unfortunately that last question dictates far too many of my actions. I reckon the anxiety first became a thing because I was over-thinking what people thought or might think of me. I don’t want to become a person who just does what she pleases with little to no regard for how it affects others but I don’t want to continue being the girl who is constantly checking herself, censoring herself and over-analysing the thoughts, feelings and opinions she has before expressing them for fear of how she will be interpreted or perceived. That girl’s not me! Where did she come from? I think that she’s the reason I’ve backed away from most of the popular forms of social media (Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr). The energy! The stress! Of re-moulding yourself to fit in with the people/online culture/social setting/group you find yourself in. No wonder I so often crave quiet time alone in my bedroom/trips to deserted beaches/anonymity. I’m working on and through this stuff, stick with me. That kinda ties in with the second thank you. I recently saw that over 1000 of you WordPress-ers are following this little ol’ blog of mine. Thank you! That said, I love how WordPress places barely any emphasis on followers. I didn’t even know how to find the figure until recently. It really helps reinforce the view I have of this space: that it’s an independent platform in which I can share images I like and write openly about my life. It’s never a chore to post here, rather a joy. I feel free and confident and hopeful here. Thanks for that.
Here’s a photo of me from a little while back. It was taken in NYC by a lovely redhead named Anna. I met her through Tumblr, ha
The day we took this little trip up the coast I was a stressed out wreck. Hitting the open road, exploring a tiny coastal hamlet, drinking one of Dan’s coffees, swimming at a deserted beach with sand so white we could barely keep our eyes open, lighting a campfire, making s’mores for goodness sake – nothing could ease my mind or calm my spirit. I kept saying ‘I’m so glad we’re here!’ and I meant it but I couldn’t seem to convince my pounding heart. Anxiety has been something I’ve struggled with for two years now. I’m still working out why it decided to show up but I definitely remember when. I was reading the triple j news headlines in the studio with presenters Tom and Alex at 6:30am when suddenly I found it hard to breathe. That’s weird, I thought. Then my heart started to beat real fast and I felt light headed. Um, what is happening? Please stop happening! I panicked. I thought I was going to pass out and it was as if I was watching the scene play out from above. Somehow I kept speaking, kept reading the words on the page in front of me, but my voice was shaky and I didn’t have enough air in my lungs to finish each sentence. I wanted to run run run out of the studio and keep going until I was safe in my room at home but I was live on-air so that wasn’t really an option. Tom asked if I was okay and I made some joke about choking on the muesli I’d eaten for breakfast. I shuffled back to my desk and collapsed into my chair feeling weak and exhausted. Somehow I made it through the rest of the shift. I sat on my bus, staring out the window, confused and angry: What was that? Why did that happen? And then the fear crept in and set up shop: I hope that doesn’t ever happen again. What if it happens again? Oh no, it probably WILL happen again. And it did. It’s happened about 15 times since then. Always on-air, primarily during the headlines and once during a top-of-the-hour bulletin. Many many times I’ve opened my mouth to read the news and felt the panic rise but I’ve been able to internally talk it down, breathe through it.
During 2012 there were weeks where I felt fine and strong followed by weeks where I felt so afraid and helpless. I didn’t really tell anyone; I reasoned that acknowledging the anxiety would only give it more power over me. And I worried I’d lose my job. About six months ago the ‘what if’ fear started to barge in where it was most definitely not welcome: on my weekends, as I switched off the bedside lamp and put my head on the pillow at night, as soon as I opened my eyes in the morning, half an hour before every bulletin. Last weekend I reached the end of my tether: I clenched my fists and shed hot tears. I am DONE with this anxiety, I cried. I’ve been seeing an amazing psychologist, practising yoga, having massages, praying, exercising, juicing and yet this thing is winning, I thought. And now, a week later, a weight has lifted. I can’t tell you exactly how or why. I went to Laneway Festival and had fun. I spoke to my boss and felt heard and respected. I had a series of revelations as to what was going on in me two years ago around the time of that first attack. My mum came to visit and I felt safe. I don’t know what it is, but I hope that it’s true and that it stays and grows; crowds out the fear and worry. All of this has reinforced that idea of letting go that I talked about a few posts ago. It has become so clear that I can’t get through this in my own strength. I cannot go it alone and put my trust in my own abilities or skills. I need help and guidance and support and family and God and community. And if that’s the lesson in all of this then I’ll gladly accept it.
^^ The day I realised I was dating a pyro, ha! I kinda feel like the heaviness of my words is dragging down the light summery-ness of these images but perhaps they balance each other out?