What Am I Willing To Do: Conflicting Indecision

Now that my truth is out there, hanging by a frayed thread, I obsess about what I am willing to do. I am a contradiction. I have strong feelings about my current weight yet I do nothing to change the direction of my journey except think about it. Think. Think. Think. Every plan comes with excuses about why it can’t or won’t be done. I must not really want to change or I WOULD JUST DO IT (or not do it). My excuses are boring. Snorefest. They are not creative. They are not anything. I am my own obstacle. They are lame, unjustifiable excuses. Why won’t I do something, anything, or at least alter my decisions? This is a problem. The “why” exists as a question to be answered? Why am I doing what I am doing? Why won’t I stop? Why am I getting in my own way?  My least favorite 4-letter word creeps into my head. Do you know the word I am referring to? Do I dare write it? My fingers abruptly stop. I would never describe another person with such a misunderstood description. I cringe. Maybe it’s true about me. Maybe it’s not. Arggggg…

Let me reframe the trajectory of this post. What am I willing to do? What tiny, little step will I determinedly make today to halt this pattern of behavior I want to change? Figuratively pacing-back-and-forth, I wonder what I will decide {fingers unconsciously tapping on the table}. For the past few weeks I have been trying to motivate myself to press play on my DVD so Jillian Michael’s can scold me through the television. Even her inspiration and direction cannot shake me into action. Press the damn button; just do it. Sigh… Maybe, just maybe, tomorrow will be the day. Will I let myself down by doing nothing? Will my words, my pleas for change be empty and unfulfilled?

Do you want to know why I am paralyzed and exceptionally hesitant to start anything? I am so afraid of not being able to do it {as I could before} that I would rather do nothing. Failing thwarts action. There, I said it {deep breath}. It’s crazy thinking, right? I know it is. I wish I didn’t have these horrible feelings. I know they will pass as most everything in life does {the only way through it is to actually go through it}. I know I will feel so much better if I exercise, cut down on sugar, eat less, and make better decisions throughout my day. I know it. I know it. I know it {shaking my head}. Honesty is humbling; however, is it enough?

Will I make a change tomorrow? If not tomorrow, then when? What am I willing to do? These are powerful, heavy, important questions that can only be answered by one person: ME.

Excuses-Excuses: food wars – who will win?

I am alone with my food. Feeling badly, I take a bite. One bite leads to more bites. The guilt lessens with each excuse. I rationalize. I am hungry, so hungry. The cycle is powerful. The ability to change my behavior dwindles. I know there is a problem. I need to change my relationship with food. It is not good; I know it, my pants know it, and people around me know it. Yet, I cannot stop. Ouch! Those words hurt to write, and more importantly, to acknowledge. I’m eating and eating and eating for bad reasons, for the wrong reasons, and I have so many excuses. I know it. You know it. Everyone knows it. I know why I am eating the way I am eating. I make lots of excuses for why I am and why I don’t want to change what I am doing. The conflicting message is that I do want to change and stop doing what I am doing. It’s hard. It is really, really, really almost impossible for me to even wrap my brain around what to do or how to change. I don’t want to feel the way I do about food or myself or my inability to just stop {cold turkey, hot turkey, or any turkey}. Do you hear that, Nikki? I want to stop. I want to stop eating in the car, eating privately, stuffing horrible, high caloric food into my mouth as I run to another meeting, to another session, to another whatever. Tick-tock, tick-tock. It’s not good. I know it. It is exceptionally painful to write this but it is my truth. I’ve lost control. I am so far from where I want to be. It’s scaring me. Yet the knowledge of what I am doing is not enough to stop the behavior. Why? Why? Why?

There are so many things I could write about now {insert heavy sigh here}. The non-sense excuses. The work-life excuses. The no-time blah, blah, blah excuses. Reality check: this is a difficult battle for lots of people; however, I know I am choosing to do nothing even though it feels like a glacier chained to my legs. The key is in my hand. Why can’t I use it? I know being healthy is a choice. I spend hours thinking about what I could do or should do – someday. When will my someday be today? Every day I want to do something to help myself but then I don’t. I don’t. I don’t. {Sigh…} Exhaustion aggressively grabs hold of my emotions and motivation. There’s always something to do. This mammoth weigh severely impacts my spirit and motivation.

What to do? What to do? What will it take for action? How will I begin the process of getting back to me? When it comes down it, I must confront my excuses and get to it. Maybe that’s why I am writing today. I haven’t written much lately. Perhaps, sharing my journey with you will hold me accountable for something. Will my words be powerful enough? The only way through it is to actually go through it. I am lurking around the corner at the entry way. Will I walk through?

ARNOLD ARBORETUM: a photo-walk with my family

Teaching my 4 year old how to see things is difficult; therefore, I must try to explain what I see and guide her to trust her instincts.

One beautiful, sunny Sunday morning in early May 2013, our family went for a walk. Not so unusual; however, our walk today was more specifically a photo-walk, a practicing-walk, a teaching-and-talking-walk, and a running-and-exploring-kind-of-walk. Most times these special moments are not planned. They seem to just happen because we allowed the time and trust the experience to unfold and become what it was meant to be.

My husband, my 4 year old daughter, and my 2 year old son and I decided to go to The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University which is an arboretum located in the Jamaica Plain and Roslindale sections of Boston, Massachusetts. I haven’t been there in years and years. I often ask myself WHY I haven’t been there in years and years. It is such a lovely place in every sense of the word. It is peaceful. It is beautiful. It is a wide open space meant for walking, or biking, or jogging, or just hanging out. It is a wonderful place for a photo-walk, and that’s what I shared specifically with my young daughter, and budding photographer.

Upon arrival, there were already few parking spots and ample people. We did not let the bustling activity hinder or influence our family outing. We parked, we walked, and we explored: together. My son was wowed by the wide open space and plethora of climbing rocks, areas to roam, and an abundance of everything to explore. My daughter, camera in hand, waiting only seconds to see what I was going to photograph, and then she was off on her own. I loved watching her figure out what she wanted to photograph. Her camera is a toy, digital camera but she held it like a professional. She snapped away and then steps aside assessing her masterpieces, wanting to show off her work. Shot-after-shot, she gazed at trees and flowers and grass and birds and passing dogs. She made me laugh as she pondered whether to get up close to an object or to stand back. She asked me questions about the details of what she wanted to photograph. I was able to photograph her as she quietly photographed whatever caught her eye. We talked about light a bit, and how shadows are made. Side-by-side conversations with this little growing mind and developing photographer reminded me that she is so curious and inquisitive about so many different things. All questions spilling out simultaneously.


ALL COPYRIGHTS RESERVED, DAYS WITH US, http://www.dayswithus.com

My son and my husband were often far away from where my daughter and I were as we slowly moved about looking for the perfect light and flower and tree and bird and dog and rock. I was often distracted by where my son was in comparison to where I was because I could hear him but often not see him. He was free to run and jump and wander about without direction or boundaries. Scary for me but I knew my husband was close by. He ran and ran and ran, giggling, screeching with delight, and stopping every once and a while to wave back at me (with my heart racing because he seemed so small in the distance).

Our family excursion to The Arnold Arboretum proved to be successful not only through my lens but through my heart. We shared such lovely uninterrupted time together as a family with our only limitation being hungry bellies and impending naps. Will we go again? Oh yeah.

NOTE: All photographs on this post where taken by me with my Nikon D90 and 50mm lens [ALL COPYRIGHTS RESERVED]. I can still see major areas in need of improvement; however, my photographs are getting better and better with much needed practice. I still have a lot to learn but am proud of myself and how far I have come as a photographer-in-learning. Thank you to all those that have influenced my photographic journey, and you know who you are and how much I appreciate the knowledge you share.

MAMA’S GONNA SNAP: one photographers journey to manual

Through the lens, my eyes wonders. What am I looking for? Light. I am looking for, chasing, searching, wondering about light. Natural light inspires curiosity. How can I use “that” specific light to create a moment, a feeling, an emotion, a beloved photograph? I am attracted to artsy, emotional, up-close-and-personal photographs. It’s been this way since I first discovered my interest in photography which was a long, long, long time ago. I love details and faces and moody photography. Shooting in black-and-white is timeless and another area that makes me shiver with excitement.

What is it about photography that drives me? I am not a professional photographer but a day doesn’t go by without me, my camera, and an image I love and want to share. Having an iPhone makes it infinitely easier to share my images; however, I can’t remember a time I didn’t love looking at or taking and sharing my own photographs. My Dad helped encourage and foster my love for photography (as well as my 10th grade photography instructor). I always wanted to borrow my Dad’s old SLR camera, and I was so excited when he allowed me to do so. My Dad continues to share the story that he would give my sister one roll of film, and she would take her time, carefully over time; however, he would give me a roll of film and I would shoot and shoot and shoot upset by the fact that I needed more film to suffice my growing curiosity. I never had enough film, never.

The past few months, I made a decision to educate myself more on all aspects of my Nikon D90 and the mysterious manual mode. Thanks to a whole bunch of wonderful photographer friends for helping me learn and inspiring my curiosity: Isabel Furie Photography, Amara Cohen Photography, Kristi at Live and Love Out Loud, Ann Epps Photography, Lucrecer Braxton, Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts, and Kerry Goodwin Photography. I’ve studied your photographs. I’ve read your blogs. I’ve spent hours and hours looking at the light you’ve captured and the moods you’ve created. I’m learning, slowly and steadily. After a few months of hemming-and-hawing, I made a decision to say good-bye to the automatic setting on my camera and took a leap into the creative world of manual mode. I did it. The change has been made but let me be honest it is so hard and not intuitive yet, and I’m slow, slow, slow (in my assessment of ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed). It’s getting better and better and better but I still have to think a lot about what I am shooting, the light, and the mood I am trying to capture. In those moments of struggle, I want to turn the darn dial back to automatic but I don’t. I allow myself to take dark and out of focus and horrible photographs because when it does come all together, and it always does (thank goodness), the photographs are exciting and beautiful and artsy and moody and emotional and exactly what I want.

Photography has always made me happy; therefore, I will continue to seek the light and snap-away. I would like to introduce you to my new babies; they are ISO, APERTURE, and SHUTTER SPEED. We are a tight knit family, and we will work painstakingly hard together to create interesting images even if we struggle with one another as we conquer manual mode through discovery and practice. What are you doing to refine or build your photography practices?

www.dayswithus.com, Mama's Gonna Snap - June 2013, IC: photo credit: Sean Molin Photography via photopin cc

http://www.dayswithus.com, Mama’s Gonna Snap – June 2013, IC: photo credit: Sean Molin Photography via photopin cc

SIDE BAR: Have you seen these cute MAMA’S GONNA SNAP T-SHIRTS on the Clickin Moms blog? I love them so much and it seems fitting to promote them here. I really, really, really need to buy one of these shirts, and I think you do, too.

STORIES MISSING: a not-so-scheduled break

Stop the Block

DAYS WITH US, http://www.dayswithus.com, “Stop the Block!” photo credit: FindYourSearch via photopin cc

My words are missing. Where did they go? Are they on vacation? No. Do I have amnesia? Nope. Or, have I done nothing story-worthy since my last post dated way-back-when? No, that’s not it either. I have no idea why I haven’t written a post in such a long, long, long time. It actually feels strange writing now. I can’t even express what influenced this blogging-break. It seems like just yesterday I was at Blissdom (okay, that was in March), and the following weekend was Easter, and then I began spending a lot of time focusing on a fundraising event that I co-chaired but that was the first weekend in May. It’s now the end of May, and I’m struggling to find something story-worthy to write about. Has this ever happened to you?

Well, it’s time to start writing again as I resuscitate my blog. But, write about what? I’ve found myself obsessed with too many of the elusive technical aspects of my blog. I want it to do this but it won’t work correctly. Or, I want to make this seemingly easy change but it’s littered with errors and frustrations. The slowness of my blog also drives me insane (beyond insane, really). I’ve allowed my technical inabilities to negatively influence my creativity. Even expressing this truth-statement bums me out because I started blogging as method to feed my creativity not squash it. Sigh. I must quickly find my way back to the yellow brick road of creativity leading me back to my storytelling roots. Come out, come out… Where ever you are?

Although this post is nothing more than a feeble attempt at forcing myself to write something-anything, I understand its purpose and requirement as I move forward with my blog. Fingers crossed this admission of difficulty and frustration will unlock my creativity which sleeps quietly in the background.

Next on the writing docket: “stress eating, juicing, and photography on manual”…


Sugar Demons Awakened {photo credit: Stéphane O via photopin cc}

Sugar Demons Awakened {photo credit: Stéphane O via photopin cc}

It was 73 days from those first, tough initial moments when I made the decision to change my eating habits to the day I left for Blissdom ’13. I knew it was going to be difficult being away from home, being away from my supports, and being away from my juicer and menu planning. I knew it yet I didn’t conceptualize just how powerful “those” foods, those sugars, those drinks would be to NOW eliminate again. Sigh… Yup, I went to Blissdom ’13 and learned so much but now I am treading deep, rough waters to get back to clean eating.

I ate lots and drank a lot of already eliminated foods and drinks while at Blissdom that I thought I no longer desired, wanted, needed. I haven’t had any craving or real desires for sugar or carbohydrates or sweets or alcohol but once IT was on my tongue, the sugar demons, rapidly re-appeared, stronger than ever. Poof! I felt awful, almost immediately, yet I continued to eat and eat. I didn’t go overboard with what I was eating but I did allow myself to venture into places I did not want to go. My stomach hurt. I had a dull headache. I was bloated. I was tired. I knew IT was all related to my food and drink choices. There’s no way around it for me. I know what works, and it includes unprocessed foods, little to no carbohydrates, tiny amounts of sugar, hardly any alcohol, no soda (I didn’t have any at Blissdom), and just an honest assessment of what I am eating and my hunger levels. Sounds easy? Well, it isn’t. I know you know, and I know too.

It’s been 14 days home with Blissdom ’13 one weekend and Easter ’13 on the other weekend. To say, these past two weeks have been an eating-bust is an understatement. I feel awful. Yup, I fully admit it. I have to start again but my refrigerator is still filled with unmentionables and things that need to go still. Sigh…

Restarting means a few things. First of all, I need to recreate my plan. The house needs to be purged of all taste-great-sugary-treats. Easter is over, and so is this binge. I know I can do it. I’ve done it already. I need to keep reminding myself of how awful I feel when these next few days are tough and my energy is low. Juicing, cooking, planning, and exercise are my weapons right now. I cannot let the sugar demons strangle me. I must push them aside with force, with determination, and with persistence.

As I learned at Blissdom ’13, FEAR does not need alter the direction of my journey. It will only motivate me to work smarter, to clearly define my goals, and to help sustain my motivation. I’m flying back to South Beach with my Breville Juicer in-hand and a borrowed Vitamix blender in the other as a way to help guide my journey back to healthy.

Which Direction Will I Follow? {photo credit: Conrad Kuiper via photopin cc}

Which Direction Will I Follow? {photo credit: Conrad Kuiper via photopin cc}


Here are my TOP 10 DAYS WITH US goes to BLISSDOM ’13 HIGHLIGHTS {in no particular order}. Let’s get to ’em. Can I be frank? I have so much more to write and to say regarding my experiences at Blissdom but I’m not sure I’m ready to write a PART 3: SOME ADDITIONAL DETAILS. If you have any specific questions about Blissdom or my experiences, let me know. I would be happy to answer them directly.

1. To start this off, I remained true to myself, and my blog. Who you met at Blissdom is who I am IRL (I love this little acronym).


2. Meeting Scott Stratten of unMarketing and taking a photograph with him was a huge, awesome, fantastic highlight for me. His keynote, his words, his recommendations, and his presentation style really captured my interest and curiosity. I will be reading his book real soon, and Tweeting about it {a lot}.


3. I am grateful for the uninterrupted time I had with my own friends (Hooray for the Boston Parent Bloggers!) as well as connecting with many wonderful bloggers, presenters, and brands (some of which I had rich dialogue and lovely conversations with throughout the weekend). It’s so refreshing to actually talk, and have real conversations with other adults. Loved these moments so much.

4. The photography track was my absolute wheel-house. That’s where I felt I gained the most take-home skills. I could have listened to Anna Epps, Lucrecer Braxton, and Kristi Bonney for hours and hours and hours. Seriously, this was such a gift to do something I love with a whole bunch of people that also love it. I cannot say enough about the photography track. I’m so glad I brought my DSLR.



5. Twitter {how I love thy}: Scott Stratten emphasized – “It’s a dialogue not a dictation.” Yes, yes, and yes. I’ve come along way with Twitter, and I’m proud to say, I’m commenting more, and it feels really good. I even tweeted American Airlines {post-Bliss} telling them I enjoyed the two movies they premiered on my flights to and from Texas. Moments later {and to my surprise}, bam: I received a really nice tweet from them. I guess I was testing the water to see IF they would actually respond, and they did. Haaa! Side note: Scott Stratten talked about soooo soooo soooo much more and I would have to write an entirely new post to gush over everything he said; however, you can learn more about the specifics of his keynote by reading Random Recycling’s post-Blissdom recap on all-things Scott Stratten.

6. I embraced the calm of Blissdom. I didn’t feel rushed. I wasn’t anxious or concerned about this and that. I knew I was taken care of, and watched over. If I needed something, I asked. The Community Leaders were present and helpful and wonderful. This is a great model, and it’s so appreciated. Yes, I would LOVE to be a Community Leader someday. I really would.

7. I sincerely LOVED meeting other “storytellers”. It’s nice to know what I’m doing on my own blog as an “emotional storyteller” is valued. I know the direction of my blog fits me, and that it can remain fluid and un-niched until I feel the need to change that focus or direction.

8. I was touched by how much the Bliss Chicks really care about this community. At first, I may have been a teeny-bit cynical; however, you can’t fake that type of emotion, kindness, and heartfelt sincerity. I do believe these connections will be with me for a long time. I’m not sure yet how it will all play out but I’m open and willing to foster these new relationships and networks. Being a part of Blissdom only supports the journey I am on as a blogger, as a parent, as a person, and as a learner of all things social media; therefore, I welcome it.


9. I’m still sorting out all the skill-based take aways for myself and DAYS WITH US. I know there is an action plan for me somewhere but I need more time for all this Bliss-stuff to sink in. For now, I will continue to work on my writing and photography. I will view myself as a writer {this is really hard for me to do = old baggage that needs to go, and yes, I’m working on it}. I will not allow fear to paralyze the direction of my success so I will continue to surround myself with like-minded, driven, creative people to help support my exciting journey forward. Go, go, go!

10. THANK YOU, Blissdom ’13 for allowing me the pleasure of experiencing the “magic” you often refer to. I cannot thank you enough for welcoming me into your heartfelt community. You’ve shown me how “nice” nice can be. You’ve embraced me, my blog, and all my questions. You’ve patiently helped build confidence to step outside of myself and get out of my own way. What you’ve done for me, for many of us, is unexplainable; however, it is felt. I look forward to remaining connected. Until we meet again…

NOTE: all DAYS WITH US photographs {from Blissdom, part 1 or part 2} were either taken with my Nikon D90 (18-200 mm) or with my beloved iPhone.