Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015

on getting your "likes"

there are a couple of things i need to write about. things i need to remember.

we're coming up on almost being married for a year.
this past year i've experienced two things i was not expecting at all:
1. the trauma and heartache of miscarriages  
2. being overwhelmed with responsibilities as a working wife/being the perfect wife

i realize we live in a time where we like to post on social media/blogs about the happy and pretty parts of our lives.  right?  we follow people that we wish our days looked like theirs.  that we were off traveling, reading books by the pool all the time like they somehow are. right??!  i sometimes feel tempted to not write on my blog the past year or so, unless i have something lovely/happy/inspiring to write on. but gosh, I AM SO done with not just being what i am. and being OK with whatever that is.

I was recently given the counsel and opinion to not write personal things on my blog, from the perspective of someone reading this blog from my photography website as a potential client.  they also said, though, let your personality and WHO YOU ARE show through your website.

well... this IS me.  wah! here i am.

I have a ridiculously handsome, talented, and loving husband. I have a marriage I am thankful for. I have a darling home that makes me happy.  I have talents that bring me joy.  I have a photography business that pushes me, fuels me, and makes me proud.  I sometimes make cute little things with my sewing machine and I enjoy reading in bed with clean, white sheets.  I have a seriously "pretty" life and i have so many blessings.  but this year.  I have also struggled personally.  my insides.  and I think the world has tempted us to hide our struggles.

I confided in a trusted friend recently what i've been feeling and she thoughtfully suggested a wonderful book that i'm in the middle of: The Gifts of Imperfection  Brene Brown talks about owning our story.  And that's what i want to do.   "Shame keeps worthiness away by convincing us that owning our stories will lead to people thinking less of us.  Shame is all about fear.  We're afraid that people won't like us if they know the truth about who we are, where we come from, what we believe, how much we're struggling, or, believe it or not, how wonderful we are when soaring (sometimes it's just as hard to own our strengths as our struggles)....We have all experienced shame/have shame...Shame needs three things to grow out of control in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgement."   I know the word shame makes you turn away.  eek! You are probably unconsciously flashing back to feelings you feel associate with shame.  Perhaps you already stopped reading because you do not like those feelings which were triggered by the word.    

so if shame thrives in secrecy, Brene suggests--own your story.  get your story out.  share those feelings with someone you trust that has earned the right to hear and share in your story.

there are many different ways we feel shame.  it's that rush that comes over you when you're embarrassed by what you did or who you are.  shame is when you just don't feel like you're enough.  and you hate feeling like you're not enough, so you hide those feelings, in hopes no one else notices.

many of us feel shame to some degree daily!
many of us have also developed ways to cope with (or mask) this shame.

my story: (and i noticed reading this book how excited and intrigued i was to hear about other peoples stories.  why do we love hearing other peoples "secrets"?)

my miscarriages have been so hard on my heart. yes, there have been two in the past 6 months.   i think a miscarriage is so difficult to recover from because it knocks you down severely in a spiritual, physical and emotional way-- all at the same time.  it is hard to mend all those areas at once.  i feel like overall i've done a pretty good job to recover.  i've done the best i can.  but it is still hard. i still have moments where its fresh and where i feel a sting of pain.

i don't know if many women feel this way when they get married, but i have an idea of what kind of a wife i want to be.  i have a standard that no one has set or expects of me (not even my husband) but myself.  this standard includes:  keeping a clean home (im a bit ocd i realize, and clean for me is a pretty high standard), having a cute home, providing healthy, yummy meals, looking good/being a healthy weight (exercise/eating well), and spending time with my husband/expressing love to him.  I have had a serious/ridiculous grudge about working full time and trying to uphold my above stated standards.  its hard to work all day then come home exhausted and need to think up meals, make something, clean crap up, etc.  it has been overwhelming for me.  I WANT to be those things and do those things. I want to. I feel  like it is my responsibility to do those things.  my husband is amazing and never asks me to do better in any of those areas--doesn't even hint to it, which i am so grateful for.  but I hold myself to this standard.  and it has really been hard for me.   throwing the tidal waves of hormonal changes with the miscarriages and my sad heart in with this pressure i have to be a perfect wife, perfect hard worker, perfect mormon, perfect athlete--and you got a huge melt down waiting to happen.

and the melt down did happen.  some time in january it went down.  my immune system was low. i had been sick all week. my shoulders killed from so much tension and stress knotting them up.  i could cry in an instant.  i felt go go go to do everything and be everything. i constantly was asking andy to pick things up and help me out and keep things perfect with me.  my heart and mind and body were way behind in the race i was trying to win.  i was hurting.  i kept building on top of it, though, instead of addressing my crumbling foundation.  i was expecting an impossible perfection of myself.

so i resolved to do something. to do anything.  if nothing more than offering my husband something better than an ocd, stressed out wife and honestly, unhappy life.   he deserves better than that.

it is foolish to think that you can be a good spouse/parent/friend/etc without being a good, healthy place. i decided i didn't want my anxiety and struggles to ruin my marriage. so i vowed i'd make changes.

i woke up after the melt down and wrote in my journal.  i spent hours reading up ideas on how to destress.  i made a list of things i thought i needed to be healthy or happy.  this began my quest to take care of myself.  this began my quest to try to figure out how to not care about dirty dishes, stinky clothes on the floor, work pressure, and macaroni and cheese meals.  i didn't want to feel shame any more for not being perfect.

some specific things i decided i would try to resolve my above struggles:
+running regularly- it has been my therapy for years and i've been in an exercise funk for the past year which is stressful for me and makes me feel guilty
+use therapy balls on my neck and shoulders while i am at work to relieve pain from stress
+stretch each day when i get home from work-i havent been doing this haha. my hopes were that this would calm me down and help me relax when i get home. i usually come home and run around doing chores in a stressed out panic as i never feel like there is enough time in the day
+only do real house cleaning on thursday nights, and do 10 minutes of picking up each day- this is the most influential change i have made.
+essential oils when im stressed out- im in love with doterras "past tense"
+positive mental perspectives-this has included telling myself at work that i will just get done whatever i can get done in 8 hours, and i will not be staying late frantically trying to please customers.  this has also included telling myself "its ok if its dirty, it will get cleaned thursday night".  i also have repeated to myself "if i want a clean house, i need to clean it myself".
+ sleep- i took a day off work at this time to sleep.  as i was sick i spent several days taking nyquil once i got home from work and slept 12 hours 2-3 days in a row.  this was huge for me to do for my body.
+massage-got the best massage of my life (scott at segolily, bountiful) which helped my tense neck/shoulders and aligned my body.  it relieved pain i've had for the past year in my upper back for nearly 4 weeks--THATS incredible for me
+eat better (totally loaded and vague i know. and overwhelming haha)

all of these things, excluding the stretching which i havent done, have been really helpful for me.  other's should make a more personalized list tailored to their personality but this is what i needed.  i have recognized this past month that i need to do some SELF CARING.  i dont need to be stressed out about creating award winning meals or even cooking every night.  its not a main priority when im falling apart.  i don't need to feel stressed that we dont have family home evening and i am inconsistent with scripture study and i havent mopped the floors and i barely got dressed today--my priority right now is just being in a healthy place.

self care for me right now is including saying no.  to not filling my schedule. to only helping people when i really have time to and have the energy to.  to spreading myself less so i can focus on just being OK.

i also made a list of things that could help me repair physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, outside of the list of ways to relieve stress from my life.
 this list included:
-going to the temple
-having a clean/orderly space
-leisurely baking/cooking
-watching a movie
-clean bedding
-hot bath
-making a craft
-hot tea
-yummy candles
-good smelling shampoo/conditioner
-painted nails

I knew i could do any of the above things when i was feeling overwhelmed and it would help relax me and make me happy

this past month of working on these things has been really good.  i'm learning more about how i am and how to take care of myself.  physically i have needed to care for my body and tend to myself before i can be able to move forward.  i finally am beginning to not feel shame for where i am at and for struggling this year.  i am enough.  i am definitely enough.  being imperfect IS enough.  i may not be as "likeable" for being flawed, but i could care less at this point.  being liked is not the top of my priority list.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


we love this place. we love our state. i don't know if there truly is a prettier state.  if so, i'd LOVE to go.

 we spent several days in moab just hiking and eating junk and reading (just me) and watching football (just him)
this is corona arch on day 1. we got to hike with the dogs to it. its gorgeous.

it wasn't as warm as this image portrays it to be...

balance rock in arches national park on day 2

i really like this place.

 hike to the arch on our Utah license plates:  delicate arch

such a sweet trip away in a snowy cabin to relax and soak in the beauty!
we loved every minute!
i think maybe this should be an annual january trip!

Monday, January 12, 2015

surviving a miscarriage.

i wish i had something i could say that would immediately uplift and bring a burst of joy.
a secret answer.
a key that unlocks it all.

i keep thinking it will just hit me. just wake up one day and will be doing much better.
but it's not really happening as i thought it would.
and nothing has happened as i thought it would.

revelation number one: how did i not really know that life wouldn't go the way i imagined it would?  you play out in your mind your growing up, going to college, meeting the man you'll spend forever with, you'll have your home, you'll have your children, they'll grow up to be normal and successful, you'll be grandparents, you'll retire in a sweet, warm, modest home and you'll die peacefully at an old age.  And you think--mostly, as you are an intelligent, "normal" functioning human that these will be natural steps, somewhat easy steps that just happen in life.  You imagine them going well...  Why doesn't anyone tell you that its kind of horrible sometimes?  Why didn't you have any idea that the getting married part can be so hard and painful sometimes? Why didn't you know that having babies isn't so dreamy?  how come no one told me?   my sweet friend and i talked about this a couple weeks ago.  she mentioned that maybe we don't warn others and others didn't warn us because we all want to have hope that maybe it will go that way for others.  kind of letting them enjoy the innocence while they have it.

i think she is right.
i hope when you find out you're pregnant, you feel elated and bliss and a high
and that you never have to know the heartache.
i wish for that innocence that makes you feel like nothing bad could really happen to you.
that is a gift.

i haven't been writing at all. i don't have organized thoughts right now, but i wanted to get out what the past couple months have been like.   I feel like the first month after the miscarriage was a dazed, shocked, survival mode.  I spent a lot of time cleaning/organizing.  Like feng shui would take my pain away.  Also we spent a lot of money - shop therapy.  it worked a lil. Mostly I was in diapers and was a hot mess emotionally, but I got up everyday and knew I had to force myself to put a smile on.  Everyone was making us meals and sending the sweetest notes/cards and flowers.  I felt numb, but there was so much going on to distract.  Distraction is a good word for what the first month was like.
I distracted myself. And it worked well.

Once that wore off, i did a lot of self talk--telling myself I am ok, remembering Heavenly Father's plan, reminding myself of the bigger picture.   With a miscarriage--everything seems small and immediate. I don't know if that makes sense. Actually its like that with any traumatic event--it is all that matters and all that you can see at the time.  So the second month, I tried to talk myself through it. The second month is when people stop taking care of you and everyone assumes you're fine.  Physically that month sucks.  Its the time your body begins to really not feel pregnant and thats a hard thing to feel when you want to be pregnant still.  The self talk was working for me though. I told myself I was strong.  I felt like I was doing pretty good. I was into my normal routines and was functioning just fine.  I even photographed two births that month.  I mostly felt pretty pumped off my pep talks. I felt joy and had fun and avoided things that would make me really emotional.

Month three, my body was feeling completely like my own again. Part of that brought my a tinge of excitement that I could mountain bike and exercise and maybe work on getting in better shape now that I wasn't pregnant. Month three and the beginning of month 4 is where I am at.  The past couple of weeks have been the hardest emotionally for me.  I've had a lot of bad dreams and for some reason falling asleep has been harder. Sometimes when i go to bed i find myself remembering parts of the miscarriage or think about where I would be now.   I have cried myself to sleep several times in the past couple of weeks.  I just have been much more sad than I wish i was after a couple months.  I find myself randomly getting emotional over it--while i'm driving or exercising.  I'm just having a hard time lately. The physical part of being pregnant, like memories of what it felt like physically, are fading more, which is sad to think about, but it has helped me to move forward i think.  i'm kind of just hoping the sadness i've been feeling lately will subside and get better soon.  i don't feel depressed at all. not like moping around and hate everything. i've had mostly happy times, but there are moments almost daily when i suppress a cry.

During the miscarriage and right after, was probably the closest i've ever felt to my husband. it was just a raw time. we were open. he showed love and service to me that was....all I can think of to describe it is Godly.  The way the Savior would love me.  I'm kind of embarrassed and secretive about how sad I've been feeling lately. I don't know why it sparked up worse now than in the beginning. And my husband has seemed to handle everything fine and got over it long ago. It's like it never happened.  But inside me, i'm just not fully healed. And i'm not sure what to do with it.

I sat in church yesterday and thought about leaving. theres approximately one billion pregnant women in my ward and probably 10 newborns. my mind is shouting that it isn't me. then it's shouting what a brat i am for not feeling overjoyed for their happiness.

i just didn't know that "having babies" wasn't JUST having babies.

Monday, January 5, 2015

your goodness.

i 'write' blog posts in my mind while i drive, the most inopportune times of course. 

i had this thought as we are driving home from moab. and i figured i would get home and write, but i know, when i get home i will stress about unpacking and cleaning and it wont happen. 

so i write this thought now. on my phone. 

i dont know if i saw this in a movie recently, or maybe in a song, perhaps it was in my dreams.

I considered that maybe i have spent years defining myself by the worst things ive ever done or said.  

has my crappiest parts of my past defined me? have i said i did this, THAT is what i am?  

we do this to other people all the time. Don't we?  SHE did this to us, THAT is what she is.  HE is a drunk, that's what he is. She has commited this sin or that. He has bad grades, has gotten into trouble, he IS a wayward teen. She said this one thing that was hurtful and mean, SHE IS horrible.  

As if thats all we are. 

I have had times where I have considered my wrong doings in life and have had to remind myself, ' I AM a good person. I understand I made a mistake and was wrong. I understand WHY i made that decision at the time and WHAT led to that action.  Overall I have good intentions and want to be great to others, helpful, and loving. I want to spread light and goodness.  I am doing well. My mistakes do not define me.'

I do not dismiss crime, sin, mistakes. But i am afraid that if I have spent time feeling like long ago mistakes have defined me as 'bad' now, many others do too. 

Another note, you may have a thought about 'forgiving yourself' for past mistakes.  This is not exactly what im talking about.  I have sought restituion and forgiveness for misgivings and feel peace about that, but what i am talking about here is deep down. Deep down what do you feel about yourself. And how do you feel others think of you (which whether you like to think so or not, influences you).  AND how do you think (judge, may i say? Dont panic) of others? 

Maybe all i am saying--our wrong doings arent ALL we've done. I am afraid particularly younger people feel defined by mistakes that lead to bigger mistakes as the believe that is WHAT they are.  I'm afraid we look at others for their choices that hurt us and thats all we can see. We don't let ourselves see they are mostly good and that there is reason for their actions, whether right or wrong.  

We're all human. 
All flawed.

And thats ok. 
More than OK, that's what this life on Earth is SUPPOSE to be like. Flawed. Imperfect. 

Can we look at our spouse and be accepting of that? Can we look at ourselves and recognize that we are not define by our flaws? 

Can we look at our enemy and accept they are broken 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


it started to snow here.
which is dreamy as can be.
also i go into a panic a little in the beginning of winter when i realize the things i shouldve taken advantage of doing outside while i could during the summer...
also, my puppy baby. shes the cutest, really.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Hilliker Family

having fun and looking adorable and stuff!