olive and oak

elize strydom's photo journal

Month: February, 2014

to market

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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?

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this guy

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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

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all my love

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Or, an excuse to show you the beautiful wreath my dear friend Lee made for me back at Christmastime (I know that isn’t one word but I like it that way.)

Update: thank you, Dan.

thank you

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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 😉

i hope that it’s true

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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.

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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.

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^^ 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?

these two

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Lee and her insanely cute little niece Arianwen (…her name sounds like it could belong to a character in Lord of the Rings, don’t you think?)