Tag: daily post

D is for Dog #AtoZChallenge

  • “Happiness is a warm puppy.” -Lucy VanPelt
  • “The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” – Andy Rooney
  • “The dog lives for the day, the hour, even the moment.” – Robert Falcon Scott
  • “The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.” -Samuel Butler
  • “If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.” -James Herriot

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Happy

The Daily Post- WPC- Smile

Have a great day!

-Kat

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“There’s a snake in my boot!”

woody with hat
‘You’re my favorite deputy!”

 

 

Little did we know that back in 1995 when we were first introduced to the movie, Toy Story, that Woody, Andy’s favorite toy would become a family favorite who would still be with us over 20 years later. His arm is torn, his buttons are loose and his string doesn’t work, but I think the old guy has held up pretty good considering his age.

 

 

 

 

woody up on shelf
“Reach for the sky!”

 

Woody has found himself in a number of predicaments over the years. And sadly, due to accidents from so much playing, he’s been shelved from time to time…for his own safety, of course. He always kept a watchful eye over the household while he was out of commission. Sort of an off-season Elf on the Shelf, you might say!

 

 

 

 

woody hangingLucky for Woody his pals- Buzz, Jessie and Bullseye- are usually nearby and willing to help him out when he’s in need of a friend.

“I can’t stop Andy from growing up. But I wouldn’t miss it for the world!”       -Woody, Toy Story

all the woodies

“Now Woody, he’s been my pal for as long as I can remember. He’s brave, like a cowboy should be, and kind and smart. But the thing that makes Woody special is he’ll never give up on you…ever. He’ll be there for you, no matter what.”—Andy as he finally decides to hand Woody over to Bonnie.

Woody is a frequent guest subject in my photographs and the really cool thing about this is that with the exception of the photo of the four Woodies, his photos are not staged. Whether it’s compliments of the big kids (ages 27 and 22) or the little kids (ages 8 and 3), Woody continues to live an active life full of adventures- and I love it!

Weekly Photo Challenge- Variations on a Theme

Textures

“Anything looked at closely becomes wonderful.”

– A. R. Ammons

Once again, the oddball pictures I take when I’m out and about have been put to good use- this time for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Textures. It was difficult deciding which to choose. Lucky for me, I see another photo challenge coming up in a few weeks that also uses the theme “Texture” so I am able to hold back a handful for the next one.

Thanks for stopping in!

-Kat

Small Wonders

“Those who find beauty in all of nature will find themselves at one with the secrets of life itself.” – L. Wolfe Gilbert

There is such peace in nature. When I need to clear my head, I find that taking a walk surrounded by trees, water or both helps me to sort things out. Since I began taking pictures, it’s become even more therapeutic for me. As I have been slowly learning how to use my camera, I discovered that I enjoy taking closeups. Flowers, leaves, weeds and more are the perfect subjects! And the concentration helps me to chase out unwanted thoughts and to focus on the beauty in front of me. It seems like we are so busy that we forget to take time and be present in the moment.

Thanks for stopping by!

-Kat

Daily Post- Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

The Return of the Dress

The Return of the Dress

Two years ago, I wrote about a dress. It wasn’t just any dress- it was my daughter’s prom dress. You can read the original post here-  All Because of a Dress.

At the time that I wrote that post, the dress was crumpled up in a garment bag, stuffed behind the chair in my home office. It was a long time before I took it out of its hiding place.

It now hangs on the back of my office door. It represents my last days with Kerri, the last dress I would buy for my daughter. And that is where I thought the story ended. But this is Kris. And as I’ve learned, not everything is permanent.

Within a few short months after purchasing that dress, I would barely recognize that my child…. or my life. That was 5 years ago.

I’ve written about the different emotions I experienced as Kerri transitioned to Kris., female to male. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve reassured other parents that everything they are feeling is valid and OKAY. And yet, the one thought- the one idea, wish, call it whatever you want- that one thing that I cannot think without intense heartache and so much self-loathing for being so incredibly selfish is the desire that I had my daughter back. I can’t speak those words- when I attempt to even say anything that implies that I ever felt like that- well, I can’t. The words just won’t come. I beat myself up. The stream of reprimands is relentless. It’s one of my deepest secrets and it’s painful to even type those words. 

And yet,  if I hear those words from another mother’s lips, I am the fiercest in letting her know that it is perfectly normal to feel that way and to just FEEL it. It’s OKAY! This is your child you are talking about here and those emotions are so strong. Don’t suppress them. Don’t feel guilty. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love your child- you are just letting go of the child you thought you had. But when it comes to me? I just can’t give myself a break or listen to my own words- not me- nope.

And why did I have to keep that dress? Any dress? I knew that Kris would never wear it again and might even be hurt that I chose to keep it. Why did I force myself to write about it at that time- when the pain was so fresh. That was torture to write. I remember sitting in the very place I’m sitting right now, feeling like the words were being torn from me.

Letting go of Kerri was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. A year and a half ago, I wouldn’t have believed that there would be anything more difficult. If someone had said, “Just wait, Kat! It gets harder….. and the punchline is that you won’t see it coming until it hits you. Oh, and it’s not Kris,” I wouldn’t have believed it. As it was happening, I didn’t see it until I was in it. But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about that dress- hanging there. I hardly look at it because when I’m in the room, the door is open.

And then Kris came home from spring break. Kris, my middle child, 24 years old, who was assigned female at birth, transitioned to male at 18, and then changed pronouns (they, them, their) and appearance (feminine) at 23. Not my daughter. Not my son. 

So, Kris came to my office door to talk to me and I saw the dress, hidden from Kris’s view because the door was open. I hesitated. Then I said, “I want to show you something. I’m not sure why I have it. I don’t know how you are going to feel.” 

I showed Kris the dress. I felt sheepish, embarrassed, guilty, anxious, sad….. I guess I shouldn’t have worried. Kris looked at the dress fondly and said, “Maybe I can replace the black sash and use it as my wedding dress.”

And because the mind works in miraculous ways, before the swell of emotions could rise, they were swept up and locked in a box and I was able to smile at Kris and respond, “That could be done.” I admit that I ignored the little scratching and tapping sounds coming from inside that box. So much feeling going on in there. So many stray thoughts did not make it in there- wedding dress, but not my daughter, nonbinary, dress dress wedding dress.

Maybe the story of the dress is not over. And quite possibly all of those things that I let go of when Kerri came out and became Kris aren’t gone after all. After that conversation with Kris and admitting that I still have the dress, I realized a few things.

It was hard to let go of all my hopes and dreams for my daughter but when I stripped them all down to bare bones I saw that they were still the same, they might look a little different than I thought they would. And that’s okay because I know my child very well and whatever that dream wedding was that I thought they were going to have, regardless of gender or name, Kris is so incredibly unique that no one knows what their wedding will be like, least of all Kris! 🙂

Now that a lot of what I thought was gone is back, I look at it much differently than I did before. It’s all fluid and not really important. Having my children live happy productive lives where they love and are loved, are kind, generous and caring people…..that’s what matters most.

I’ve managed to work through most of the contents of my mind’s locked box. The only thing that remains are pronouns (a topic for another day) and a label. Since Kris came out, I have grown to dislike labels but the one I struggle with most is a label that accurately expresses how I feel for Kris. And this is a biggie for me.

I have been told that son and daughter are just words, that they don’t mean anything, that child means the same thing and it’s just not that big of a deal. But for me, it is. I feel that daughter and son have an emotional attachment to them that is not present in the words child or kid or offspring. Child seems so impersonal and distant. I have been told these words hold the meaning you give to them. But I can’t get past it. It doesn’t mean that I want Kris to be my daughter. It simply means that I wish I had a word for Kris that describes the depth of feeling I have for this kid that matches. And I have been reduced to feeling guilty when calling Michael or Andrew my sons, so I try not to refer to any of my children as anything.

I’m listening to myself as I write this and a little voice keeps screaming- it’s just a label, it doesn’t matter! And the truth is, if this is the biggest problem I am facing with Kris these days, I’ll take it!

My love for my children has only grown stronger as they have grown up. I love the very cool people they have become and I can’t wait to see what their futures hold!

via Daily Prompt: Label

Your Inside is Out 2.0

Just over five years into the life changing journey that I have experienced with my non-binary child, I have started to revisit earlier posts. They are from a time when we were in a different place than we are now.

I am sharing a post from April 2014, when my trans kid, Kris, identified as male and used he, him, his as pronouns. I am leaving it in its original form, with the only revision being my addition at the end. 

If you are unfamiliar with Kris’s story, you can catch up HERE

I originally wrote this entry 18 months ago. I find it interesting that time and a little perspective make all the difference.

Image

October 2012 “Your outside is in and your inside is out.” I don’t know exactly what John Lennon was referring to in the song Everybody’s Got Something to Hide… Whether it’s drugs, sex or spirituality, it doesn’t matter to me. Right now I can relate to the song. For quite some time I have been feeling like my outside is in and my inside is out. Today is one of those inside out days.

About 6 months ago, K asked if I would mind taking down his senior picture. It was hanging on the wall in between his brothers’ school pictures. I didn’t have a hard time with that. In fact, the picture had seemed like a sort of taunt every time I saw it. It’s a beautiful picture. K looks incredible in the picture. Yes, I could see where that might be a problem for him. His hair and make up are perfect. Lovely smile. Sparkling eyes. A gorgeous girl. Definitely not an accurate representation of my middle child, who was now a boy. I took it down. Now there was a blank spot in between my two other children’s pictures. And now instead of being taunted by the photo of the daughter who did not exist, I was being haunted by a blank space. That lasted for about 5 months. Every time I walked past that well, which was countless times a day, it seemed to mock me, the blank spot magnified. When someone came over, I was sure their eyes jumped to that empty space and what was missing. Finally I took the other pictures down as well and had a blank wall with nails poking out waiting for something to be hung on them. It was easier to look at that empty wall. It seemed really blank and took up more space than I remembered but it was definitely easier. When I mentioned first, the senior picture coming down and then next, all the pictures coming down to my mother and sister, both seemed to be upset by the idea. My sister got defensive about the “girl” pictures she had around her house. To both mom and sis, I repeated that no one was asking anyone to do anything. And the truth was, I wasn’t. I was just informing them so it wouldn’t be a shock when they came over. If they came over. Ever again. I wanted K to be comfortable in his own home. And I wanted him to be able to bring friends home, if he wanted.

I knew that there were probably other pictures that made K uncomfortable so I mentioned to him that in the future, we would be doing a whole house/all pictures overhaul. We would take everything down and then decide what’s going back up. That way, he could remove anything that caused him discomfort or pain. Was taking down these photos going to cause me some heartache? Sure, but I would get over it. And I told myself that, although my heart ached at the thought of removing those beloved photographs.

A few days later, something clicked inside me. I’m not sure what triggered it, but I knew that the time had come to tackle the pictures. It was time to move on. Before I could do that, I needed to do one thing. I went through our pre-digital camera photo albums and started scanning the “girl” pictures of K from birth on up. That was the cause of the inside out feeling. K at different ages evoked different emotions. The baby/toddler/preschool days filled my heart with love. The early elementary days made me smile. What caught me off guard (and probably shouldn’t have) was the early teen years. I felt like someone had stabbed me in the heart at the sight of my middle child with full make up and a woman’s figure. In my head, I know that’s what he looked like. It was such a sharp contrast to the boy who lived with me these days. Such a shock to the system to remember how girly my girl was. My emotions were all askew. I was mourning for the loss of my daughter once again. I was proud of the young man he was becoming. I was amazed at how much an ultra feminine picture taken 15 months ago could look so wrong. I was happy, sad, angry. All at once.

My goal was to take my special girl pictures and make an album. A sort of letting go project that would keep my memories safe and in a place where I could easily see them when needed. I told my mom about this, once again- not to cause pain or guilt or trouble- just as a warning. She replied almost angrily that she was probably going to take all of her pictures down. I just couldn’t win. Once again with the people that were expecting me to lead them in supporting me and my kids, I had done the wrong thing.

Once again, I knew that this was her issue and not mine but it just made me wonder if I was correct in my guess at her anger. Was I making my parents deal with something they didn’t want to face? Or were they embarrassed by K and ticked off at me for not nipping “this phase” in the bud? Or was it their inability to accept it and their guilt over not supporting us?

“Everybody’s got something to hide except me and my monkey.” ~John Lennon

April 2014  I’m happy to report that after my picture overhaul, K sorted out all the pictures into two groups. There were quite a few that we could display if they were black and white. Removing pink or purple made all the difference. Yes, there is a gaping hole of about 10 years when K’s pictures are just too girly and we don’t display those. But it really is okay. I love the pictures I have out. Little 2 year old K wearing his big brothers windbreaker, jeans and hair swept up in a baseball cap- that’s my little boy- the one that was always there, trying to get out. I showed my mom those pictures and said, “See, he was there all along. These are K.” I’m working on a scrapbook. It’s therapeutic for me to remember little snippets of that little girl and I have realized that I don’t have to let her go. I had a daughter for 18-1/2 years and I’ve had a son for 2-1/2 years. But I’ve had my middle child, K, for 21 years.

February 2017 It’s hard to believe that Kris will turn 24 soon. Much has happened in the 22 months since I first published this post and the 3-1/2 years since I began writing it. While Kris is still searching to find their comfort level in expressing who they are, they seem to be settled (and more at peace) with identifying as non-binary and using they, them, their pronouns. Their gender expression is strictly feminine, and often they are taken to be a young lady. (And Kris assures me that this is fine.)

A few months ago, Kris asked if we could find a picture that accurately represents who they are up on the wall. This would be the wall where my children’s school pictures were displayed, with the final photographs being their senior pictures. In the Great Photo Purge of 2012 I struggled with a replacement and finally Kris provided one of his abstract self portraits. Not having a studio portrait of Kris that compared with my sons’ senior pictures, I asked Kris how they felt about the senior picture going back up. Kris agreed that it was the best option and I dusted off Kris’s senior picture and placed it back on the wall. I will admit that I do a slight double-take at times, not expecting to see it there but it’s nice to have it back. Especially since in the picture, 2011 Kerri looks exactly like Kris does now.

All of those photographs tell Kris’s story. If I was to lay out a smattering of pictures of Kris spanning the last almost 24 years, I would see my baby girl who grew into a spirited toddler and precocious preschooler who alternated between begging to take ballet and wanting to do whatever her big brother was doing. I would watch Kerri’s energy and personality merge with her determination to become a pre-adolescent finding a way to survive. My heart would swell with pride and ache with sorrow at the teen years when Kerri was battling to make it through and somehow managed to accomplish so much that I’m proud of. Then I would reach when Kerri came out as transgender and transitioned to Kris. And I would marvel at the last five years and how far Kris has come, pulling together all those fragments from the pieces of their life leading up to this point to become the person I have always known they were.

Kris

Daily Prompt: Recognize

“I’d love to, but…”

I’m an introvert through and through. (I’m also quiet, reserved, shy…. but that’s a story for another day.)

While this might not be true of all introverts, this is a fair representation of what goes through my mind (and sometimes questions I will need answered) when I am issued an invitation:

If it’s a friendly invitation-

  • Do I want to go out?
  • Who is going to be there?
  • Is it going to be just us?
  • Where are we going?
  • Is this a busy time? Will there be a lot of people there?
  • Is it loud?
  • What are we going to be doing?

If it’s an invite to a party-

  • How many people are expected?
  • Who are they?
  • How long will it last?
  • Does it require a certain dress code?
  • Is it a wandering around, making small talk affair or a sit down meal, making small talk affair?
  • If it’s a sit down meal, who will I sit by? (Large sit down gatherings are torture. Anxiety skyrockets at the thought of being trapped sitting by people I don’t know that well and being required to carry endless meaningless conversations. Even worse is being trapped with people who talk over and past and around me.) What food is being served?
  • If it’s a more casual, walking around affair, who will I talk to? Is there a place where I can escape? Is there a good friend who understands my dread at these gatherings and won’t abandon me?
  • Is anyone going to be there that I want to see?

If alcohol is served at either-

  • Will I feel comfortable enough to have a drink around these people?
  • If I choose not to drink, are these the “cool kids” who don’t give non-drinkers the time of day?
  • If I choose not to drink, how long before I’m surrounded by intoxicated people?
  • If I choose not to drink, how long do I have to stay?

If it’s a meeting-

  • How many people will be there? (If it’s more than two or three, I know I won’t be speaking much.)
  • Who are they?
  • Is this an open meeting where public might be attending (in other words a CROWD)?
  • Will we get the information ahead of time?
  • Are we expected to make a decision on the spot?
  • Will press be present?
  • Will someone be video recording the meeting?

With all invitations-

  • Do these people understand that I’m just quiet- not a bitch, stuck up, rude?
  • How long will it take me to recover from this?
  • Will I be able to get to sleep or will it stimulate me to the extent that it keeps my mind racing for hours afterwards?
  • Can I mentally prepare myself so it doesn’t overwhelm me?
  • Do I really need to make the rounds and personally say hello, goodbye and inane small talk with every single person there?
  • Can a friendly smile replace any or all of the niceties listed in the previous question?
  • What am I going to wear?
  • Is my face going to be flaming red the entire time?
  • Is this something I am required to attend?
  • Do I have to go?
  • Do I want to go?
  • Is there a chance this might be cancelled? 🙂

It took me a long time to realize that there was nothing wrong with me. I do not enjoy large social gatherings or going places where there are huge crowds. I did not realize how draining it was for me in these situations and finding out that it was because I’m an introvert was life changing. I no longer had to apologize for who I was. And in a family of extroverts, I was not a freak- just alone (but happily so!)

I love to spend time with select people. I like to spend time with others. And then there are some who I prefer not to see. I am thrilled to be invited, even if it’s something I’m not going to do. Everyone likes to feel included, right? I like to have the right to accept or refuse. There are invitations that I cannot refuse due to commitments I have made. There are also invitations I will not refuse because the person who issued the invite is that special that I will step out of my comfort zone for them. And there are invitations that I might refuse knowing I’m risking being struck from the list, but that’s okay.

The people that really truly know me, understand that I’m at my best one on one and that the frozen person who is silent in larger groups is not the real me at all. I really am a social person- I just prefer my social interactions to occur in very small groups (which might not even be considered groups) for short periods of time.

What about you? Do you love invitations? Or are you an introvert like me and invitations cause some major minor anxiety?

Thanks for stopping by!

-Kat

This post is inspired by Daily Prompt- Invitation