Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

April 8, 2013

On Being Lost & Found

I was struck by something last week as I was standing near my sewing machine, smiling to myself as I “cooked” some embossing ink with my heat gun.

Actually it’s been a theme for me since getting divorced last year: reclaiming/reconnecting with the “fun” me.

In conversations with friends recently I say things like, “I used to be fun.”

To some of them I say, “Do you remember when I was fun?” and to others I say, “You haven’t even known me when I was fun.

To some I’ve said, “I feel like I’m coming home to myself. To that place where the old me and the me of today are meeting up and finally getting on the same page.”

I laugh more. I feel lighter (physically and emotionally). I’m working on not taking things so darn seriously all the time (this is an ongoing battle). I smile easier. I’m much quicker to say yes to impromptu adventures.

I want to be living the length and the width.

This also translates to my creative life. I feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve felt the actual heart-pounding delight – almost like a high – that comes from creative play. From making messes and experimenting and what if this goes with this instead of this. I felt that way today while I was working on Project Life. It was a letting go of perfection, of holding on too tight. I was also simply taking the time to allow for fun within the realm of the creative things I do already.

I think it’s also a reason I haven’t scrapbooked as much or shared as much of my story in this space. I’m finding my voice again bit by bit (Who was I before? Who am I now?). And I think reclaiming the “fun” me is definitely a part of it.

I still feel lost at times. Scared. Unsure. Sad. Just this past week I had “one of those days” that essentially boiled down to me needing to be reminded that I need to find happiness within myself first and foremost. That I have to own, all the way through my bones, that I really am enough.

Music has been a great catalyst of fun for me. I have a physical reaction to music. We play it loud in the office. I play it loud in the car. I’ve been attending and making plans to see live music. I’ve been making time for old and new friends and we laugh and drink and eat and make merry and listen to music and I remember the lighter parts of myself that existed before the layers of years and responsibility and stress and loss and experience - that whole crazy combination life that includes all the awesome stuff as well as the things that are really hard.

I’ve learned that I have to allow and create opportunities for myself to have fun, personally as well as on my scrapbook pages.

And I have to let go.

And I have to be open.

So here I go, trying to fearlessly live the length and the width, inviting in the fun.

Comments

  • 51.
    Milli D said…

    Ali, I so get it. The last 2 years have been hell on earth for our family and things are finally starting to look up a little. I said that very thing last week to my co-workers of 1 year: “You haven’t seen me at 100%, I used to be so FUN!”
    So you know what my husband and I did 3 days ago? We left town to visit our 21-year-old son, all 3 of us went to a costume shop to get decked out, and we went to an 80s sing-along at a movie theater. We were the only ones dressed the part (which was even better) and we sang at the top of our lungs for 2-hours straight along with the cheesy 80s music videos. It was SO healing.
    It’s time to live out loud again and I wish you the very, very best in this journey!!

  • 52.
    Susi from Germany said…

    Signed. Feeling and experiencing the exakt same things these days. And yes, every single moment is worth it. Contributing to your very own story and your path called LIFE!

  • 53.
    Rachel said…

    Loved reading this Ali, and can relate to that sense of ‘awakening’ and rediscovering myself, the old and new me. It is such a journey, this life of ours.

  • 54.
    Sarah said…

    Beautiful post Ali and thank you for sharing a view into your life. It’s refreshing to see not just the highlights but the true day to day stuff too. I’m surprised to hear you say you think you’re not fun because if I had 3 words to describe you one would be fun. You give off an aura of fun and I pray you get to a place where you feel that within yourself.

  • 55.
    Vanessa Babin said…

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have always been a very positive, spiritual and funny person until six and half years ago when my 28 year old son had a diving accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. I had dreams of retiring soon and traveling (camping), but in the blink of an eye, my dreams ended. For the past six years I have been struggling trying to find myself again. My husband and I are his caregivers. He has constant medical issues. This has drained me emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Like you, I have been trying so hard to find me again. My one little word is “faith” because I’m trying to find my faith again. I love music (any kind) and I listen to it to exercise, clean house or relax with a glass of wine. My greatest joy is my grandchildren. But most of all, I want to laugh and be positive about life again. Sorry this is so long, but I wanted you to know you are such an inspiration to me. Thank you and good luck to you.

    • ….
      Paula said…

      Prayers for you and your family. Life really does change unexpectedly and quickly and often there is nothing fair about it. You are accomplishing something very big and important and loving, and the Lord will hold you and your family in the palm of His hand.

  • 56.
    jenn shurkus said…

    oh ali…. i don’t know if you remember the email i sent out when i was leaving behind a relationship of 5.5 years… to living on my own… in a place where i didn’t know many people (my island) BUT the 5 years after that were all about discovering me… enjoying just being me, and with me… it was a scary, sometimes lonely time… but so so so happy i went through it because the jenn that came out on the other side is more confident, knows “me” more, is a better friend for it. happy to hear you are taking more time for the silly times- those are very important ;)

  • 57.
    Christen said…

    I’m crying as I read this. Thanks for sharing. I have been going through something difficult the past few years and is hard to feel creative and happy again. Thanks for sharing your feelings.

  • 58.
    Mary Rogers said…

    you are stronger than you know!! go Ali go!

  • 59.
    Terri B. said…

    Hey Ali. I think I am going through a lot of the same emotions of finding my FUN self again. I laughed and teared up about your music connection with all of this, because I too find this a huge part of letting go and feeling again. Music used to be such a connection point for me (a violinist) but then I literally “gave it up”, sold the violin and listened to all the outside voices of people in my life telling me there is no “use” for it if you aren’t going to perform or make money playing. Stupid. Long story short, my son is almost 16 and I have been living through all his band experiences the last 6 years, and my heart ached SO bad to play violin again… so, guess what I picked up last week after not playing for over 10 years? I bought a violin. It was scary and I thought it would take a lot longer to relearn, but to my amazement, it really was a reserve of knowledge that has proven to me is purely held in my brain space for eternity. It came back last week so very fast. It really was a hole in my being and in my overall creativity that was missing. I got it back. I feel again. <3

  • 60.
    StacyK said…

    A lesson for all of us. Thank you Ali for putting into words what so many of us feel. And also for reminding us to live.

  • 61.
    Lisa said…

    Read this today with a little smile as my word for this year is fun. Trying to find it, enjoy it and also recognize it when it is happening. I am not sure how we lose the fun part when growing up, but am doing my best to have fun…not let other things like laundry and work get in the way.

  • 62.
    Megan said…

    This is beautiful Ali! Thanks for sharing. I have found the same stuggles when dealing with my dad’s cancer diagnosis (almost 3 years ago) and then dealing with 4 family deaths in 11 months (last year). It hasn’t been until this year that I feel things are coming full circle and I feel more of myself. I’ve been forced to let go of things that I have no control over and just be greatful for what I have in front of me. Thus my one little word for this year, grace. It has been a stuggle but it’s also so worth it too!

  • 63.
    Courtney said…

    You absolutely must listen to Katie Herzig if you never have! She has a beautiful song called “lost and found” and as I read your post I thought of it and wanted to share. Thanks for your honesty!

  • 64.
    Stacy said…

    “I remember the lighter parts of myself that existed before the layers of years and responsibility…” Wow!! Powerful statement. Ali, you continue to inspire me. I wish you lived next door. So glad you’re finding your fun self again. I wish you the best!

  • 65.
    Iara said…

    I did not went under loss or pain in the recent years, but all the loss and pain I’ve colected through my life has a big weight on my shoulders. I also trying to enjoy life more and live in the Moment, its a daily battle. thank you for your post, right to the Point and yet, so emotional. Gruß aus Deutschland, Iara

  • 66.
    Jennifer McNeely said…

    After just having gone through a battle with breast cancer, I think I am more alive than I have ever been. Before this, I wasn’t giving my “all” to everyone around me. I was busy, I was boring, I wasn’t fun. But all that changed. I am healthy now, but I thought, “what if I lose this battle – what will my 5 year old daughter remember of her mama?” I didn’t want her to remember the boring, too busy old me. Now we have fun – we dance, we play. When she asks me to “Come see”, I go see and I actually “pay attention”. My husband is still stuck in the boring phase, but hopefully he will see the change in me and roll with it. I am thankful for my battle with breast cancer, because it changed my outlook and I am a much happier, fun-loving person. And I love Brene Brown too

  • 67.
    Jenn said…

    Thank you Ali for putting the thoughts that were in my head on paper. We all have a journey in life…embrace it!!

  • 68.
    amy s said…

    go ali! i’m so happy for you. :)

  • 69.
    Patti L said…

    Love this. As always. Can totally relate. I love your honesty, how you share yourself without being overly exposed. I used to have a much stronger voice in writing, but its been hard to get that across in blogging. Always a work in progress. Its hard to accept at the time, but I have a certain appreciation for how life’s challenges sort of break us open a bit. My note from the Universe was spot on today:
    “One of life’s greatest arts, known only by the most adept seekers and revealers, other than synchronized whoo-hoo’ing, is perpetually considering what one has not yet grasped about themselves.”

  • 70.
    Michelle said…

    another beautiful post Ali. I’m sure many readers can relate on some level–may they change the word “fun” to some other adjective–but the feelings resonate.

    I’ve always admired your ability to share your life and thoughts so openly. What I struggle with (that you seem to do so well), is taking photos when I am feeling crappy about something. What’s bugging me may be something small or big, but it gets in the way of me capturing our lives at that time–leaving gaps in the storytelling.

    Thanks for continuing to inspire me.

  • 71.
    Heather said…

    Wow! That is exactly what I have been going through, but for a different reason. Life is just too short not to enjoy every minute. I’m letting go of the controls…and I feel free! All thanks to Him! You go girl!

  • 72.
    Gail A said…

    You are such an inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

  • 73.
    Jenn said…

    Ali,

    You have been inspiring me for more than ten years now and so often I feel deeply connected to the messages you share. This one hit close to home as I too am trying to reconnect to a person I once was and have her merge with the person I am today. It’s such a delicate and fascinating journey. So much love and admiration.

  • 74.

    Ali, we haven’t talked in years – and you may not remember me – a fellow “crafty progressive” who took a few of your classes in Iowa and ended up publishing a couple of scrapbooking books of my own through the “Complete Idiot’s Guide” series. Then life threw me a few curveballs, too, and I lost some of that magic that happens when you sit down at the crafting table.

    Your words have inspired so many people. To document lives and tell stories. But I think most importantly, to be authentic. And in today’s world, that can be a super scary thing.

    I’m getting my creative mojo back, too, slowly but surely. And just last week, I finally found the courage to really tell my story (http://www.determinedtoshine.net). But it took a while, to be sure.

    Thanks for being one of those brave strong women who shows so many of us, day after day, that being true to yourself is what matters most of all. :)

  • 75.
    Tracy Perrett said…

    Exactly where you are…lost myself along the way somehow and trying to get the old me to meet up with the new me. I gave up on fun and am seeking it out now, trying to be more spontanious too. Thanks for being so honest and open, good to know that I am not alone!

  • 76.
    Marie in NC said…

    AMEN AMEN AMEN! It’s funny the different things we put on the shelf for ourselves out of obligation, expectation, practicality or just because we think we should — I too am dusting some things off and trying things I’ve always wanted to do (dance class! me?! YES!)

    My guiding star (like one little word) this year came to me — YES! just like that too.

    YES!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Dance class is on my list too!

  • 77.
    Adelina said…

    This post hit home for me today. Last year I experienced a divorce of my own, from my corporate career. It defined me for 16 years and after our 3rd child was born I decided to stay home. I’m in major transition, struggling to keep my identity alive, fighting not to lose my creativity and trying to find satisfaction in being out of the collaborative environment that molded my identity for so many years. I’m grateful for a husband that is open to all my ups and downs as I go through the emotions of this transition. Open, accepting, gentle . . . these are words that resonate with me lately. Good luck with this new chapter in your life!

  • 78.
    kelly libby said…

    Brave post! I often think I’m the only person who feels the ways you wrote about. Thanks for being honest and real and a source of inspiration. Happy Monday, Ali.

  • 79.
    Steph said…

    thank you!!

  • 80.
    angela said…

    When I have “those” days I tell myself all the things we are suppose to tell ourselves… you are enough, etc etc… but then a friend said to me… Angela even Jennifer Aniston gets ousted from time to time and for some reason that made me laugh and took a bit of the pressure to be perfect off. SO there you have it!

  • 81.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  • 82.
    Jen said…

    Well said. I too have been in a situation similar to yours and I appreciate you coming out and saying it so profoundly. I’m not much of a writer so I could never say it as well as you do but I appreciate reading something that resonates with me as much as that did. So, thank you.

    Jen

  • 83.
    Kimberlee said…

    Yay! So happy for you. Isn’t music just the most amazing mood changer? Dance. Dance. Dance.

  • 84.
    Kim Darden said…

    Thank you. Great inspiration for my Monday morning. Time to focus on my passion.

  • 85.
    julie g. said…

    Ali, awesome post! I can relate, though not in the same sense. I have been so reflective lately, partly because I am also in transition (in a different way). I have realized that my life – as a whole – is a collection of different forms of “self”. I find myself more often saying “in my former life..” not always in a negative or nostalgic way, but as an acknowledgement of another time.

    Transition – especially when it is not by choice – has this way of knocking us on our sides. And sometimes we immediately find a new identity (or we think we do), but most of the time we don’t. Sometimes life is really hard. Really hard.

    My husband always says ‘appreciate that it’s difficult. appreciate how hard this is’ and all I think to that is – ‘that’s easy for YOU to say.’ But he’s right.

    And it’s in our most difficult moments we can learn so much about ourselves – and discover both who we used to be and who we will be. Just remember that difficulty is not a new state of being, it’s transition. And the cool thing about transition is that eventually you WILL emerge. And you’ll be all the better for it.

  • 86.
    Sarah said…

    Love this post. It totally hits home as I reclaim my own “fun” self right now! Doesn’t it feel amazing?! (and by the way…I totally think you’re tons of fun!!) :)

  • 87.
    CARINE said…

    Ali, I have been in the same state of mind and soul, five years ago, after a break-up, lost a lot, sad too. And i haven’t scrapped for some times, months, years. And some time ago, i’ve refounf the pleasure to create and to make LO, telling my story – and i’m still having pleasure with it hopefully (I was wondering if it was lost..)
    So your post speaks to me.
    Bon courage
    carine

  • 88.
    Doreene said…

    Ali-thank you so much for posting this. I am in the same place in life that you are, with just different circumstances. All my life people have told me they loved being around me because I was so much fun-it was one of the reasons my husband told me he started dating me. Then, 3 years ago, he was taken from me in a tragic motorcycle accident just after we had become “snowbirds” in AZ. I was totally devastated, but had to take on the farming responsiblities along with my 2 capable sons. God has given me the strength to go on, but the light had gone out in my life. I have struggled to stay on top and scrapbooking all the old times has helped so much. Now I am, like you, trying to put the laughter, happiness and joy back into my life. I am praying for you as we continue on and know that you can do it–you are such a tough gal! I love following your blogs and your PL and look forward to more!

  • 89.
    amy tangerine said…

    GO YOU.

  • 90.
    Kim t said…

    I so know what you mean. I feel like this a lot too. There are times when life is just a whole lot more work. It’s more work to even try to feel fun or happy. But it is such a relief when you reconnect to that part of yourself. I’ve had some struggles in the last few years and have felt like that off and on. Where I catch myself being fun or thinking of less serious things and I think wow, I forgot what that felt like. Good for you.

  • 91.
    Anna Aspnes said…

    Love you friend :)

  • 92.
    Katherine said…

    Good luck on your journey :-)

  • 93.
    heathergw said…

    oh boy, I totally needed this today!!! Thank you so much for sharing, it’s a battle I’ve been dealing within myself and the post partum depression and anxiety and feeling bad for my kids because I’m not the fun mama I thought I would be and I need to let go and just live this short life we have… thank you for the inspiration, Ali!!!

  • 94.
    samantha jane said…

    Thank you so much for this! It reminds me I am not the only one that needs to lighten up and not take life so seriously! I know this about myself and picked my One Little Word to be live. I have it everywhere reminding me to do just that!

  • 95.
    Misty said…

    Wow! This is exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you for your inspiration and sharing your thoughts!

  • 96.
    Katie said…

    Thank you for your heartfelt words. These words stopped me in my tracks –> “I feel like I’m coming home to myself. To that place where the old me and the me of today are meeting up and finally getting on the same page” YES. YES. EXACTLY. I too, divorced …4 years ago but still a process. And there are still some tough days. But that quote sums it up. The old me and the today me is someone that I am really proud of. And I am happy to be in the place that I am. THANK YOU for your continued inspiration and this truthful post.

  • 97.
    Jenn said…

    going back over your post I re-read the part about music. I get lost in my music and felt the need to share my fav music quote for you to take with you through your journey:

    ~Some songs-like some people and places, can never be forgotten. They stay in our hearts because music gives voice to what cannot be explained. Emotions aren’t always easily expressed or even understood. Sometimes a song is the perfect way to sum up all the crazy feelings that are going on inside you. No matter where you are, no matter what you’re doing, special songs conjure visions of the past and dreams of the future.~

  • 98.
    Debbie said…

    Amazing! Just like Brene’s book, I thought it was just me. It seems so many of us are on a similar journey. Thanks for allowing us to realize we are not alone. BTW, you are not only enough, YOU ROCK. Why is it so hard for us to know and feel that?! :)

  • 99.
    Christine said…

    And we are on the same path. Ditto is my current path, too. Except I am embarking on a 5 day camping/backpacking trip, voraciously reading lots of books, and running. Oh the running!

  • 100.
    Dawn Priestley said…

    Oh yes, I am in the same spot right now Ali. I’m so glad you’ve figured this out. I had to do that after my divorce to. YOU are the only person who can make you happy. And am needing to remember it right now too – 6.5 years into a long distance relationship. We are getting close – but not yet.

    I’m so happy for you to rediscover the joy in life. In you. Rock on girl!

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