Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I'm Baaaaaack!!

Hello everyone!

Oh wow have I missed you guys! But don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you :). After all, I shared some seriously personal stuff with you, like how a bout of ADHD always seems to hit the second I try to clean out a closet, my best attempt (with a little help from some wine) to handle couples that fight with each other on purpose because they think it makes them seem closer than the rest of us, my gym insecurities and even my proudest moment in my entire life. However, it's been a while since we've really hung out, so let's get reacquainted, shall we?

Well, a few years ago (oh wow, has it really been that long?) I was a struggling college student working my way through a Master's program in Counseling; specifically, A Master's in Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Something To Do With Office Work...or something like that. Now granted, I left college with some amazing stories, but I still knew something wasn't quite right.

I couldn't shake this feeling of being trapped in a life I didn't want to lead. There were times when I would do something crazy in order to break free and I even found myself writing novels starring sad, boring characters that so resembled my life.

So after a horrible first counseling job experience, a blessing in disguise and a risky career move I've arrived here. And I have to say, 'here' feels pretty damn good.

And where exactly is 'here'? 'Here' is a complete 180 from where my life was two years ago. Stay with me, I'll explain.

Remember that camera starter kit I posted about? Well I've since upgraded. And remember how I went door to door offering to work for free for any local photographer just to gain experience and learn the business? Well this summer will be the two year mark working with the only photographer willing to give someone with absolutely no photography experience a shot.

Then I broke up with Blogger. That was sad (and yes, I see you've made some impressive changes Blogger, but I think we're still better off as just friends), threw myself into finding additional writing jobs and learned everything I possibly could about photography. And finally, a few months ago, I officially started my own photography business.

And it's. Been. AWESOME.

In one of my posts I talked about how a friend of mine once told me to pay attention to what I am most jealous about in others. So I did, and I found that I was most jealous of people that had freedom and excitement in life. And now, I can honestly say I feel liberated and happy. I'm finally doing something that I love. I make my own schedule, I have the freedom to travel when I want to, and I can work whatever hours I chose (like right now, at 4:09 in the morning). That "trapped" feeling? Gone.

And that's why I'm back; you all may not realize it, but you've been a huge part of my life. You've given me encouragement when I felt like a complete outcast and you've taken the time to read my stories and offer up advice and understanding. I'm not sure if things would've turned out the way they did without so much encouragement from an online blogging community. Strange, isn't it? How much power you all hold?

So I'm officially inviting you all to come over to my new blog. It's right here and it's called Jenna Martin Photography (yup, my real name is actually Jenna, not Marlee...see, I feel like we know each other a little bit better already). I'd love to let you in on my new world!! After all, you're part of the reason this is all happening! Also:

Facebook: Jenna Martin Photography
Twitter: @Jennamtphoto
Tumblr: jennamartinphotography

I hope to hear from you guys! I'd love to know how you are all doing!

Oh and P.S: Remember that baseball player I was so in love with a few years ago? Yeah, he's still around. Going strong, 5 years and counting :).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Breakup Redemption: I Win

Folks I haven't written a blog post in awhile (and frankly I'm pretty impressed with Blogger's new platform...maybe he has changed after all...maybe I should give him another chance...) but I simply have to share this with you, as I'm sure many of you will identify with my current situation, and I just need to tell someone!

But first, a bit of background.

If you haven't read previous posts explaining my past relationship, let me give you a quick rundown. From my freshman summer at college to my senior year at college, I dated a guy named...oh I dunno, let's give him a fake name so I can be the bigger person and he can keep his anonymity: Jason. We'll call him Jason (Jason is his real name, I don't give a shit about being the bigger person). Over the course of our relationship, he landed me in the hospital multiple times, he brainwashed me into believing I could never live a life outside of the life he decided for us (where I was his slave and his authority was never questioned), and he took advantage of me in every way possible. An example you say? Why of course!

Eight months into our relationship, my brother graduated high school. Thrilled at the chance to see him, Jason and I drove the six hours across Montana to see his graduation ceremony. Shortly after his ceremony ended, as I was talking to my brother and various high school friends, Jason came up to me, stone-faced and cold.

"What's wrong?" I inquired.

"I just got a phone call from my sister," he said. "My father just died of a heart attack."

Naturally, I went into compassion mode. "Oh my God! I'm so sorry! What do you want to do?"

"I just want to go home," he replied.

So we went home. I apologized to my brother about having to miss his graduation celebrations, and excused myself from my friends as we headed back on the the road.

Jason screamed at me the whole way home. Most of it made no sense, but I wasn't listening. I figured this was how he was coping, and it was my job to be supportive, no matter what. After all he had just lost his father.

After we got home, he continued to berate me for the next week. If a sock was lying in the living room, I was going to hear about it. If a his dinner wasn't hot enough, I was going to hear about it. If the television was at a volume that he deemed unpleasant, he was going to throw it out the window, and then later explain it to our landlords, blaming me in exquisite detail. Finally, after a week of this, I called his sister.


"Hi," I said. "I'm sorry it took me so long to call, I just thought you could use a little time to yourself. I just wanted to say how sorry I am about your dad. If you need anything, let me know."


"What do you mean?"she asked.

"Well your father," I mumbled. "Jason said he died of a heart attack last week. Oh my God, please tell me you already knew..."

"Wait," she answered, "I don't understand. My dad is sitting right next to me, do you want to talk to him?"

The blood ran from my face, and I could feel myself losing grip on the phone. "No," I replied. "That's okay." I hung up and waited for Jason to come home.

The second he walked in the door he started into me, screaming about some insignificant thing I knew nothing of.

"I can't deal with your shit right now," he yelled, "I'm grieving!"

"I just talked to your sister," I replied calmly. "And your dad was sitting right next to her, alive as ever."

He stared. I stared.

"Well," he said matter-of-factly, "someone had to teach you a lesson."

(Hi Red Flag, my name is Marlee, nice to meet you.) 

I stayed with this man for four years. No, I never learned what "lesson" he was trying to teach me, but it's pretty safe to say that things went downhill from there. So downhill, actually, that I didn't even make the choice to move out of my home. After he had held me hostage for 3 days (no work, no cell phone, no contact whatsoever with the outside world), A group of friends showed up and move moved me out at 1:00 in the morning while he was at work. I sat in the living room, a puddle of terrified tears, watching strangers pack my closet and throw it in the bed of a pickup truck.

So anyway, back to the awesome story that has me so excited right now at 4:24 in the morning.

It's been 4 and 1/2 years since the day I moved out. Ironically, my current boyfriend is one of the people that moved me out of that house, and we weren't even dating at the time. So tonight, 4 and 1/2 years later, I went out with some friends.

We went a variety of places, but then ended the night at a bar called, "The West." This is a place that entirely revolves around the dance floor, and as much as I'd like to go there when I'm sober, it takes a considerable number of beverages before any of my friends will set foot there. Tonight we went, and who should I run into but...

No, not Jason...

Jim (name actually has been changed), our old roommate.

This was the guy Jason and I lived with. The guy that stood in the corner as Jason called me every name in the book and gave me concussion after concussion. The guy who was still very close friends with Jason and who talked to him on a regular basis. I'd never given Jason another thought since the day I was forcefully moved out, but this made the memories come rushing back.

I made eye contact with him, could see he didn't recognize me, and in an instant I knew; if I was going to do this, it was up to me.

So I went for it.

"Jim!" I shouted across the room. "I can't believe it's you!"

He smiled, and stared at me, dumbfounded.

"It's Marlee...we lived together!"

"Yes! Do you not remember me?"
"I remember, it's"
"No, not the Marlee I lived with. You"

Wow. That's a word that you never really forget. "Wow in a good way?" I asked. "Yes," he stuttered. "My God you look amazing.  I can't believe how hot you are!"

I brushed it off. Yes, I had lost a good 30 pounds since we lived together, I learned how to correctly apply makeup, I had a shirt on that could make any well-endowed woman insanely jealous (my girls are a healthy 36D), and I was breaking in a pair of 4" platform heels for an upcoming wedding next weekend. And I was wearing a pair of cut-off shorts that made my legs looked 'effin amazing. Yeah, I have to say, I did look pretty goddamn good tonight.

"How have you been?" I asked, trying to stray into polite conversation, but he wasn't having it. He got halfway through a sentence before he came back to how amazing I looked. He even said I was now one of those girls that guys talk about when they get home because they can't believe a girl that attractive would talk to them. I was glowing.

"Aw, well it's nice to see you, sounds like you're doing great! Tell Jason 'hi' for me!" Then I scooted off to the dance floor and never looked back.

Ladies and Gents, this may sound like the most conceited post of all time, and maybe it is, but I just don't give a damn. And as much as you may hate to admit it, a breakup is a competition. A competition to see who's doing better and who came out on top. Shallow? Of course it's shallow, but it's a way of life. I haven't spent one second thinking of Jason, and since I've found a real man, I've spent even less time thinking about how awful Jason made me feel all those years. But for all that high mindedness, tonight was an exercise in reality.

Someone always wins. Low road? Probably, but I don't care.

All I'm hoping is that tomorrow morning, Jim calls up Jason to tell him that he ran into his ex-girlfriend, and she looked waaaay out of his league.

Fact: 4 and 1/2 years later, I just won the breakup, and it fells fantastic. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It's Not You, It's Me

Hey there Blogger, how have you been? It has been awhile, now that you mention it, since I've actually written a real blog. What's that? A week? Maybe more? Well, who's counting. You look good Blogger, you look good.

Where have I been? Oh, yeah, about that. Maybe we should sit down and talk about something. Blogger? Did you hear me? Blogger...I need to talk to you. Blogger...pause the damn game this is important.

Here, hold my hand. First let me just say that you're awesome...just...awesome. I mean look at all the friends you have! You're fun, and nice and just, awesome. Super awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I think you deserve better. We deserve better, don't you think?

Exactly. We deserve better. Better than this. What? Someone else? Noooo, there's no one else...there' one...else...

Okay fine, there's someone else.

Sorry! It wasn't like I went looking for Wordpress, it just sort of found me. And out of respect for you, nothing happened. Hear me? Nothing happened. We've just been hanging out: visiting over coffee, a few late night conversations...just...getting to know each other. At first I thought maybe it was just a phase I was going through. You know, like a mid-life blogging crisis or something, but it's gotten me to re-examine our relationship and now it's all I think about. I just can't live like this anymore. I have to be honest with myself. I have to be honest with us.

Please throw that in the garbage, I just cleaned yesterday. Or throw it on the floor, whatever.

Oh come on, did you really not see this coming? You used to be so attentive and caring; my blog uploaded at breakneck speeds and whenever I had a question you were always there to help. Lately though, as our lives have grown more complex (I added more features and you added more friends), we began to drift apart. Now, my blog is slow to upload and difficult to edit, and nothing I do seems to make you happy. I can't for the life of me figure out why I have two different fonts on my Weight Loss Community Page, and the font colors have become a serious pain in the ass to work with.

And the jealousy, what's that all about? You've not only deleted followers without my permission, but you've even deleted whole posts without my permission...who does that? You say you're letting me follow other blogs, but then I hear from them that you won't let me. It breaks my heart that you would go behind my back like that.

And while we're being honest, the new interface? Really? It's a boring gray color that makes it difficult to read and navigate. Yes, I've already told you that, numerous times, but you just ignore you're doing now...Blogger! As I was saying, it's ugly and cranky. God, I feel like I don't even know you anymore.

So let's just call this for what it is: a fling that's run it's course.

Admit it, when we first got together it was wild and exciting. I was sneaking off in the middle of the night to spend time with you, and you opened my eyes to the exotic world of blogging. Neither of us wanted anything serious, and that's what made it so much fun! But things are different now. I've grown up and what I need from our relationship you just can't provide. I need more than a simple outlet for my writing, I need an advanced layout, one where I can add as many pages and links as I want. I need the ability to upload videos and photos without worrying about bringing my load time to a seemingly excrutiating halt, and I need the freedom to adjust my blog accordingly. Not to mention a little customer support every now and then.

Can you put down the Funyuns for just a second, we're kind of breaking up right now...

Thank you.

Where was I...oh, right. Well, I can honestly say I have no regrets. I mean we did have our good times, didn't we? Remember that time I won a blogging award? That wasn't all me, you contributed too. And I'm sure I'll think fondly of all our familiar places...on the couch, in the bedroom. I've experimented more with you than any other blog hosting site. You were my first, and I'll never forget that. I hope we can still be friends. 

Most important though, we have the followers. They're so beautiful and innocent, and we never would've had them if we'd never gotten together, but that doesn't mean we should stay together for their sake. I've known other bloggers who did that and in the end everyone ended up getting hurt. Besides, the followers are old enough now to understand that we're just not as good together as we used to be. It's better this way, for everyone. Just because you're here and I'm over at Wordpress doesn't mean we're going to screw up they're long as we stay civil, that is.

And don't worry, I'm not going anywhere just yet. I still have to pack and my new place is going to take a lot of work before it's ready. Plus there are a few things we need to sort out, like which posts I'm going to take with me and how to make this as easy as possible on the followers.

Well I feel better now, I think we needed to get all of that out in the open. Is there anything you wanted to ask me?

No, Blogger, you can get your own damn beer.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Photography Wish List

Ok folks, so after countless hours of research and recommendations from the photographer I've been working with, this is the initial combination of photography equipment I'm thinking of buying:

1. Camera: Canon EOS 40D 10.1 MP Digital SLR Camera

2. Lens: Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 1.8 II Lens

I can find both of these on Ebay for a combination of about $500, which considering my budget at this point is about $12, I have a feeling this is as close as I'm going to get. Any photographers out there have any advice for me? I'm an open book!!

Keep these requirements in mind:

- I'd use it for action/journalism shots more than portrait shots
- Some landscapes
- Extremely low budget

Any words of wisdom?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thank You: All Of You have you been blogging buddies? I've been...well, I'll explain. There's been a lot of development on my end, and I bet you all have no idea how much you had to do with it.

Here, I'll break it down for you.

Remember about 8 months ago when I started blogging on a complete whim? No? Well that's cool. I had three week break between when spring semester ended and summer semester began, and I'd never gone that long without having a paper to write in years, so when a friend suggested blogging to keep my fingers busy, I decided to check it out.

I found Blogger, opened an account under a fake name (not completely ready to trust the internet) and started writing. College was all I'd known, so that was a good enough topic at the time. But as I became more and more frustrated with the career path I had chosen, the topics turned to self-introspection. What the hell was I doing? For as defiant as I was in everything else in life, I sure waved the white towel pretty quick when my parents limited my options for potential college majors. I gave in without a fight. Without doing my own research, even. And sure enough, the farther I got along on the path that had been chosen for me by those "who knew best", the more miserable I became.

And through it all, you were always the first ones to know. I explained to you the intense misery I felt at my first "big girl job", how I wanted to just keep driving everyday on my way to work, and how I felt trapped and confined by the metaphorical prison cell known as the cubicle. I word for word described my boss's unwarranted bullying, and then filled you in on the day I got fired. After that ordeal, I gave you more than a glimpse into who I really was by letting you all see the results of my own psychological career assessment. I had previously changed my mind so many times (maybe I should have seen the sign then?) that I felt guilty about letting any of my family know that after two bachelor degrees and a Master's, I was starting from scratch. You, blogging world, were my main source of feedback.

And feedback I got.  People I'd never met before in my entire life offered condolences and words of encouragement. I felt like I belonged to a secret society, and one that was fully supportive of whichever direction I wanted to take.

Soon I focused on a select few careers and decided to take the leap. Writer/photographer turned out to be the most realistic (when compared to acting, writing music, finger-painting and underwater basket weaving) but it still seemed like such a long shot. But with your encouragement, I took the leap.

I sent out about countless job applications to websites and magazines asking the naive question of, "Hi, I like to write. How do I write for you?" Brash and completely unprofessional? Definitely. But worth the embarrassment to get my question answered? Absolutely. I had no idea how to get into this business, and I knew I had to start somewhere.

I got 6 replies and they offered me jobs writing bit by bit articles. Instantly, I felt the pit of my stomach grow heavy. What the hell did I think I was doing? I don't have a journalism degree, or an English degree or a writing degree, or an 'in' with some famous poet, or a collection of antique pens, or a library with leather-bound books...I had the sudden urge to answer all of them back with, "Sorry, family emergency. Maybe the spring issue will work out better. P.S. lose my email I'm terrified of you." But I'd already committed on here. On my online blog with a fake name. So I stuck it out.

And thank God I did. It's been tough, but I now blog for three separate companies on a weekly basis, and write for 3 different statewide magazines. Eventually I'd love to call myself a freelance photojournalist (I'm still saving for that damn camera) and be able to document history right as it happens. In the meantime though I'm learning new skills, like how to actual promote a blog correctly and how to use backlinking and other ways of optimization to increase traffic. Plus last night I found out I type 80 words a minute. Take that, Mavis Beacon.

Blogger buddies, what I wanted to say was thank you. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou a million times over. I feel like I'm finally in a job/career that is what I want to do, not what someone thought I would be good at. I'm excited, and I can't wait to see where this is all going to lead. I work hard, I make my own hours, and guess what...if I travel? I don't have to take time off work.

So that trip to Italy? That you voted on? Still planned for the spring. Except instead of a week long trip to Italy it's gradually grown to a 3 week trip to 6 different countries.

And I can't wait to write all about it.

The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom

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