Where Am I?

Well at the moment I’m sat at my desk, flicking (stupidly lazily) between Facebook, twitter, Lightroom and Lightblue, my photography business management programme.

Really, I should be running around like a crazy one, charging batteries and clearing memory cards and stuff. Or, I could be packing a bag ready for a(nother) mom blogging conference.

I’m not doing either, because I’m just taking a quick step back to look at where I am.

Not, like, where I am physically at this minute, but perhaps where I am mentally, and where I will be physically.

I’m seeing shit loads of tweets about tomorrow’s conference and I keep thinking, having been snuck under the parent blogging blanket, that I should be really gutted about not going. Instead, I’m stupidly excited to be shooting a wedding, solo, down in London (ironically, for someone whom I met at a parent blogging conference). Perhaps it’s because, after a long time of struggling against my own labels and titles, I’ve broken away into something I can call my own? Something I actually want to be, rather than something I have to be, just because I do?

That makes a lot more sense in my head.

I know I’m not the only photographer out there, of course I’m not. But for so long it’s felt like I’ve wanted to be something more, something bigger for me, something better for me; something I can do and look back on it and say “yeah…I did that. I did that on my own”. Sure blogging is something I do on my own, but I don’t want awards and recognition for being able to let my brain vomit a ton of crap on the internet, since, quite frankly, that’s all my blog is. But the photography – that’s something worthwhile for me and other people. It’s rewarding for me and them. I’ve built up JMP on my own, with support from the best friends and family (who know who they are), and it’s the most satisfying thing ever.

Mentally, weirdly, I’m still dealing with a ton of guilt. I’ve had to plug so much time and energy into this, trying to get it off the ground. The TV has often been used for a baby sitter, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve snuck in some quick processing while The Smalls are taking a bath (20 precious minutes; I can’t tell you how important those minutes are). I hate that I’m missing loads of swimming sessions with them, and I’m not even going to begin to see how many times I’ve passed out on the sofa straight after dinner, and then dragged myself upstairs to go back to work.

I’ve been lonely. I’ve been on my own. With only twitter and Facebook for company, it gets a bit sad and lonely. I’d love to go out and be somewhere else doing stuff, but the threat of falling behind in this busy season scares the shit out of me. I’d like to be seen staying on top of things, managing ok, maybe not FAB, but managing.

I’m in an ok place.

Actually, that’s not fair (on me); I’m in a good place. I don’t know how long it will last, but it’s bloody good to feel like I’m not raging against a system I never wanted to rage against in the first place. My blog doesn’t get much attention these days; I don’t have much to say since I’m often buried in a sea of work. But there’s still stuff I want to document, I just haven’t figured out how to find the right time to do it yet.

Ironically, maybe that’s the curse of living my life? I don’t actually have time to reflect and look back on it? Either way, it’s ok. I’m in a good place, and that’s what matters.

Happy Birthday, little wee blog.

On a Tuesday, much like this one, 5 years ago to the day, I started my blog. I didn’t even give the first post a title. I had no idea what I was doing; all I knew was that I had a lot of stuff I wanted to say and document, and I wanted a way of doing it knowing that I could check back any time I liked.

People ask me “why do you blog”? Well, first and foremost, my blog is my voice. Without it, I’m in a whooooooooole lot of trouble. I know for a fact that without my little space here on the interwebs, I wouldn’t be alive today. I also wouldn’t have a ton of stories to tell me kiddos as they get older. I also wouldn’t be able to read back on the fucking awesome highs and the desperately hideous lows.

I’ve been through a ton of stuff. Had people throw crap at me here, had people offer all the support in the world here, made friends here, lost friends here, given away a dildo here, saw the creation of a dildo here, birthed 2 bloody large kids here, laughed, cried, ranted, chatted…SO. MUCH. STUFF.

If there’s one thing I’m proud of, is that I tried as much as I could to stay true to myself. I’ve done the odd review here and there, and stayed very honest with them (however I’m done with shit PR requests and have now changed my view on all of that bollocks…).

I’ve travelled to different parts of the world with this blog, taking all 6 of my readers along with me (I assume 6; it could be more. Maybe 9. I’m not sure, I’m not a stats whore I’m afraid) and oh yeah! I’ve refrained from becoming a stats whore. Which weirdly, feels like one of my greatest achievements.

I’ve become part of a team of ladies who help the anonymous blogging “community” (whilst fending off people who feel the need to make a song and dance deal for no reason at all, every time they feature an anonymous post – they {you} know who they {you} are, and dude{s}, I’d rather they {you} just kept their {your} distance to be honest, you know? It’s just creeps me a bit) and Blognonymous has helped a LOT of people find a voice where they were otherwise silenced. I understand the importance of that. SO. Very. Much. Our hearts have always been in the right place.

Shit, I could go on all day about the ton of crap I’ve lived through in this blog. It’s been an absolute hell of a ride, but the biggest and most important thing for me, as I keep saying over and over again, is that my blog IS STILL MY VOICE. I’ve felt censored a few times, for sure. I’ve written posts which have probably rubbed people up the wrong way, unintentionally. Fact is, I’m not here to please everyone. I didn’t sart this blog for other people.

I will continue to write. I’m going through an uncomfortable dry patch, while I try to balance JMP with being a mom of sorts and a wife in a fashion and maintaining bacon consumption. It’s a fucking difficult balance, I have no idea how I’m doing it, and shitting hell things are REALLY rough right now. But it’s ok, because I have my voice. I can still speak. 5 years later, I can still speak. That’s a good thing.

Happy birthday, Voice. Happy birthday, Blog. Been a hell of a journey so far, and still so much further to go, eh?

Silent Sunday. It’s BACK. And it’s bigger, bolder AND SMELLING LESS LIKE AFTERSHAVE.

When I ditched the Silent Sunday linky back sometime in 2011 (I can’t remember when), the sigh of relief was so big, caused a hurricane in the middle of the pacific ocean. No one was affected though, because I don’t like world disasters and being responsible for mass death and destruction; it just makes me uncomfortable. The very same day that it was announced, approximately a zillion people got in touch asking if they could “take it” so I wouldn’t have to deal with it.

Ahhhh there’s the problem.

Much as I didn’t like the linky and the epic shit that came with it, I was genuinely sad to cut people off. I don’t think I fit in very well with the “mummy blogging” “community”, and rarely seem to fit in anywhere else on line. So to sever the last chunk of communication with the blogging world, being my love of photography, was a wee bit sad. However, Silent Sunday was always my blogging baby. And you know when you give birth, and have the newborn, and someone comes along with some hideously strong perfume or aftershave and leaves your bubba wreaking of that, rather than the natural essence of the thing you created in the first place? And all you can smell is the wreak, and not your lovely bubba? Well it’s the most bizarre analogy ever, but it’s the most accurate analogy ever.

Silent Sunday was not for others to take off me and leave their smell all over it. The end.

AND THEN, along came Love All Blogs a couple of weeks ago, asking if they would be allowed to host The Linky for me, so that my meme (meem? MeMe? Mehm?) could be resurrected properly, without being taken away from me. Am I possessive? Hell yeah. But if you know me, if you’ve spent the time reading my blog, if you have the vaguest idea of the sort of person I am, you’ll know why a SILENT Sunday is so important to me. Why I was (and still am) so particular about it.

There are shit loads of people out there whom I know for a fact snipe at Silent Sunday for whatever reason. “What’s the point? It’s just a photo.” Or, “Geeze this blog is dull, it’s nothing but photos and no words. What am I supposed to read?” Or maybe “Why should you have to follow rules to post a photo? Over on my blog I can do what the hell I like.” If those are your views, then that’s absolutely fine! I’m not going to slate you; the world would be dull if we all thought the same, no?

But I would like to say this. First – I’m a photographer. I can express myself very well with photos alone. I don’t expect you to do the same. Second – I’m crap with words. I’m not a writer. I’ve never declared myself a writer. If you want something to read, go find another blog. I promise I won’t be offended. Third – Of course you can blog what you like! But may I remind you that the rules do not stipulate that if you post a photo then YOU MUST link it up to something. Just saying. You don’t have to link it up if you don’t want to follow the rules. So please. Please show some (A LOT) of respect over on Lovel All Blogs.

Annie at Love All Blogs pitched to me absolutely perfectly, was bloody lovely about it, and was brilliant in “asking me first” if it was ok to go ahead. I have a lot of respect for her for that. And so, the Silent Sunday linky is back, and can be found on Love All Blogs Silent Sunday Linky, and the badge as ever can be found there or here. Ok, much like my tagline, I’m emitting all manner of crap now. So go. Do your Silent Sunday.

The Rules still apply. Why wouldn’t they? It wouldn’t be Silent Sunday without them.

THE (yes, THE) Blogger Calendar HAS LANDED!

You know when you’re chatting to a mate and you come up with a WICKED idea, and you’re all “YEAHHHH!!!!! RAWWWRRR!!! AWESOMMMMME!!!!!!”

Well that’s exactly what Tara “Sticky Fingers” Cain and I did at the start of this year. We talked a bit about the blogs we’d found and liked to read, and wondered about “collecting” them all into one place, and finding the faces behind the blogs.

Thus, THE (yes, THE) Blogger Calendar was born.

Tara and I ran round like crazy people, trying to get everyone in the right place for their photos while the conference continued. Tara told people of for turning up at the wrong time, while I told people off for pulling faces at the camera and pointing the wrong way (I can see you when you stick your tongue out or hold a moustache to your face, y’know…). Then Tara liaised her PR skills and gained the support of online photo service Snapfish (www.snapfish.co.uk) by HP who very generously offered to make the calendars for us and print 100 to distribute, while I edited people’s faces to make them look very silly, collected the best of the worst photos into my secret blackmail folder, and feverishly set about editing the “real” photos for the calendar.

Oh how I laughed.

By the way, Snapfish are the world’s largest online photo service with 85 million members, offering quality prints and unlimited photo sharing and storage. Which is pretty cool. (And they didn’t pay me to say that.)

snapfish

AND NOW HERE IS THE CALENDAR AND HOW TO GET ONE!!!! It’s easy.

First: post a photo of your blog’s inspiration. So, your baby/babies, where you live, your vegetable patch, your novel, your native flag, your phone – whatever you feel is the main subject of your blog.Whatever, it’s entirely up to you.

Second: Post a basic blog CV. In a fashion, it could describe why you chose the photo you did. Explain your blog, the who, the what, the why – your call.

Third: YAYYYY it’s a Linky. You need to do is add your post to the Linky below, either here or over at Sticky’s, and the first 100 in the Linky before 16th December will get themselves a calendar (postage is £1.99. Because you know, give a little, get a little). And you don’t even NEED to have appeared in the calendar to apply for one – it’s open to all! Awesome, yes?

Well it doesn’t end there. Snapfish are also offering you 50% (FIFTY PERCENT) off any of their calendars (excluding post and packaging) for readers of mocha beanie mummy and Sticky Fingers.

Head on over to the Snapfish site, design your calendar with their online tools, and then use the code TARAJAY at the checkout. Hurry up though, the offer is only valid until December 18, 2011. So go now. Go. Go!!

Check-In

I’ve not been here much lately because I have been BUSY innit. So I’m just leaving a mental note here of all the stuff going on.

First of all, for the first time in maybe 10+ years, my weight is LOWER than it was pre-pregnancy. I woke up this morning 1lb less than my pre-preg weight. OMG, THINKING SLIMMER. That is all.

Next up, the Blogger Calendar categories with Tara and Snapfish have been announced. I actually have a HEADACHE from trying to keep up with the shit load of tweets on twitter. Holy crap I can’t believe how excited they all are! Tis awesome. Sorry to the peeps who missed out, but there may be opportunities for other stuff next year. Photos taken over the weekend, then I edit the crap out of them for about 4 months. Nice and easy. Hah.

Also, buh-limey, I’ve been busting my ass on my pro site. It’s had a COMPLETE overhaul, and it’s not done yet. I’m trying so hard to throw myself into the wedding market, and I’ll be honest, it’s a struggle. Or (most likely) I’m just very impatient. I know I’ve barely finished my first year with 9 weddings under my belt, but even so I wants MORE. So I’m quietly slogging away. 2am has become a good friend of mine. I bloody hate it. But at the same time, I love it. It’s oddly satisfying, eh?

Curiously, I’ve been burying my head in the sand wondering just how much I can actually teach people without talking a load of crap. I have a (my first EVER) photography workshop at Cybermummy. I’m obviously excited to be doing it, and hope to help out loads of people with their photography. However, I just hope people actually understand what I’m trying to convey. I’m also hoping I don’t say fuck, shit, cock, what the fuck, bastard, wank and variations on the themes. The very lovely Erica Whiteman of Punch Communications will be live blogging my workshop, so I guess she’s the one to lurk near on twitter on the day.

On the list is a thank you to my sponsor Love it, Love it, Love it enough for helping me get to Cybermummy. I’ve got outgoings left right and centre at the mo, and the financial situation for me personally is really shitty. So Ruth? I bloody love you lady. Thank you.

MBM Sponsored by Love It Love It Love It

Then, of course, there’s the biggie (for me). My Dildo Decorating Party on Saturday night, courtesy of Eden Fantasys. Admittedly I’m terrified as I’m a very rubbish host. I am fast starting to understand why The Bloggess stays in the toilets whenever she hosts a party, it makes perfect sense. I have two boxes of goodies for the party, with some daft games, prizes and other treats. I don’t want to give anything away just yet, so I reckon I’ll do all the writing malarky after the weekend, you know, when I’ve stopped drinking. Dildo Bob is primed and ready to go. In fact, I suspect he’s very excited about seeing new family members being born. Must remember to prod him to keep tweeting from his account, too.

If you’re expecting a Silent Sunday linky bright and early on Sunday, you can piss right off. That won’t show up until lunchtime. Maybe.

I am exhausted. But I think, I think, I am ok.

 

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