1,348 days worth raising your glass to


To You,

Time goes by pretty fast when you’re having fun. Or so I’ve heard. Apparently, it can also go by pretty fast when you’re asking yourself “what the hell am I doing here” nearly everyday for a few months, followed by another few months of, “I cannot believe I moved here..”, to “how did we make it this long apart?” So, to each their own, you know.. time passes in happiness and misery.

[What a useless life motto, eh?]

..But, in the end, we are here. And I did move here. And we did somehow make it this long apart.

One thousand three hundred and forty eight days.

I started dating Patrick in June 2011. We were together nearly everyday from then until September 2011 when I moved to England for my postgraduate studies. And we didn’t live in the same country until those 1,348 days later.

[My well spoken husband just chimed in with, “Yeah! F*ck you, cheaters!” He’s sweet like that. And committed. And does not take kindly to anyone who uses long distance as an excuse for their infidelities.]

Today marks one year since I was legally able to immigrate and move to the United States (seriously – I still have to look at this handsome bloke’s face beside me to remind myself why sometimes). It has been a difficult year for me (sometimes, his pretty face doesn’t do it… that’s when I remind myself that airports still exist to take me places away from here). We were married nearly 1.5 years before we moved in together for the first time, and that in itself is amazingly euphoric. Like, euphoric as in when you take some hallucinogens, and everything is sparkly and floaty and bright, and then the walls start caving in and zombies are taking over the neighborhood and have already claimed your right leg as their own. (My husband just reminded me that I can’t speak from experience. But I’ve had some gnarly cold medicine before.. and ooo boy lemme tell you stories!….)

Long story short, I cannot put our relationship into words. I cannot rationalize our time spent apart. I will never be able to explain the pain and stress and complete exhaustion we endured to get here. People who know me know that I do not take marriage lightly. I don’t take relationships lightly. And when I left Patrick in Chicago O’Hare Airport in 2011, I did not say good-bye lightly.

In reality, we are not meant to be. We’re not “soul mates”. We did not promise to make this work, no matter how long it took. We took each day just as that – day by day. And each day that we built upon a strong foundation of trust, we committed to each other that much more.Β  It was hell. It’s still not easy. But, as my husband gives me a bouquet of flowers and simply states “I’m glad you’re here”, it reminds me that we have come a long way. Only few can appreciate this. But they’re a good few. πŸ™‚

Thanks for having me, babe.

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

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2011, Chicago O’Hare

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June 2012, London, UK

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February 2014, USA

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February 2014, USA

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May 31, 2015 – U.S. Border

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April 17, 2016 – USA

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Why, hello there!


To You,

This would be so much better if I had some thought-provoking, influential words to re-introduce these writings to you. Like, Adele lyrics-good. Or something to the extent of a Ghandi speech; a robust collective of sentimental sentences to make your eyeballs shed those salty tears.

But I don’t. I’ve been off for around 7 months, and honestly, I hadn’t realized it had been that long! There’s been so much chaos.. of mundane events.. crazy dullness.. like, insane day-to-day happenings. Basically, I’ve been learning how to have a day-to-day relationship with my husband, and oddly enough, it’s been exhausting. We’ve been so used the ridiculous situation we were in for 4 years of long distance, and now that we’re in one homely abode, we’ve been trying to adjust to the normalcy. Dinners together. Drives to work. Grocery shopping. So, although for us it’s been nuts, emotional, and overwhelming, for you it would have been stories on the craziness of cooking up some leftovers together. And staying in watching an episode of Making a Murderer on Netflix. (Okay, to be honest, it may have been like 4-6 episodes in one sitting..Yeah.)

I’ll be re-capping on what we’ve been through, creative projects we’re working on, and all the other weird stories on what it’s like to move in with your spouse after being married for 18 months.

But today – it was time to come back, because yesterday was our 2-year wedding anniversary. And remembering what we have been through together, and still realizing that there are few people who really understand what we’ve been through, I got that itch. Not like an uncomfortable itch that requires an ointment or anything – I’m not here to get that personal with you folks. But that itch to get back to writing. We have Part II of our wedding coming up in a couple of months where close friends and family have been invited to celebrate our journey, and come together for us to thank them personally for being there for us, and supporting us through what has been scientifically proven to cause complete insanity, and be diagnosed as a case of plain stupidity. But yesterday, we celebrated our wedding anniversary together which we were not able to do last year due to immigration processing. And so here I am, remembering how this blog came into fruition over 4 years ago.

There are no words that really sum up how yesterday felt. We’ve had a couple of truly rough months which are smoothing out gradually, and yesterday emphasized the amount of work we have put into this relationship, and how hard it has been. No amount of trust, respect, admiration, support, and love has been spared throughout our relationship. We have invested our life into each other these past four years, something we don’t recommend to others to do ever, but something we will never regret nor take for granted.

So I’ll leave this here with some lovely photos to cheese this shit up some more πŸ˜‰ I’ll be back, keeping this blog thing up again. No more slacking for this lass!

Lots of love,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Long-Distance: How Sane People Turn Crazy


To You,

I never would have imagined years ago that whenever I was to be wed that my first year of marriage would be spent as stressed out as this one has been. Immigration provides you with one hell of an unpredictable timeline to say the absolute least. I have no issues with the offices or employees involved in processing our paperwork, but more so the nature of which I have never had a clue as to when this would/will culminate. People from the start have asked me “So, how long will this take?” and I have never been so unsure in responding to a query before in my life. I said the hope would be 8-months, but the reality could extend to beyond a year. It’s horrible, the waiting process. Just miserable.

People have always asked my husband and I, typically in separate situations, if we have any tips for long distance. I mean, I think we are a testament to the power of trust, respect, and communication in that we were only dating a mere few months before our distance expanded in September 2011.. and now we are married, and moving towards ridding of any distance ever again. But in the end, I would never recommend this to anyone, nor can I tell anyone how to make this work. I think both of us have truthfully told those inquiring that it’s a pain in the ass, requires top-notch communication, trust, and respect, and that the little things in a ‘normal’, close proximity relationship may be huge things when doing long distance. But again, some people are so laid back that their need for consistent communication may not be the case, but it was for me and him. In the end, I do not recommend long distance, I still wince at the notion of it, but all the same we have created a friendship, partnership, and relationship based off of the least superficial of necessities. Sure, my husband is the studliest of studs, but when you’re apart trust and communication trump that pretty face. But my oh my, is it ever gorgeous πŸ˜‰

I love my husband more than I could possibly explain. He finds ways to nurture me from afar, and he encourages my strengths ten fold. In long distance you truly gain a best friend, because they are the only one who understands the painful moments of missing one another, the stresses that occur between you that explode to larger proportions due to long distance, and the angst of wanting fewer miles between you. No one else can listen to me cry, and weep, and sob out of loneliness and get the fact that I just want to hold his hand and be hugged by him alone. No one else can listen to me endlessly complain about the same stupid things about this process and understand the magnitude of my pain. No one else can begin to comprehend the joy in my face as it lights up when I get to sit down in front of my laptop and see his face on Facetime. But he can. And he does. That’s the beauty in our ridiculous tale. We completely like each other. He is my bestest of best friends and in the most loner-tone of honesties, knowing I can’t see or hang out with him, most days I’d much rather cozy up at my studio flat on my lonesome than hang out with others for the sake of not being alone.

Our relationship is founded in the endless effort we had to make to survive this type of situation together. Our communication would have never been so strong had we not gone through these years apart. Our trust would not have stood to be as solid as it is now. And the effort we had to make to show each other our commitment through distance would have never been as evident. For us, long distance has forced two people who hate phone conversations, have introverted characters (me more so than him), a pile worth of baggage, and dwindling trust issues from past experiences to challenge each other to grow selflessly, improve on our flaws, and build a kickass friendship.

But don’t get me wrong, it has definitely been a huge pain in the ass. πŸ˜‰

Peace & love,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

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2014: The Year of Commitment, Change, Challenge, and Corgis (but really – what year isn’t the year of Corgis, right?)


To You,

2014 was hard. It was lovely, and it was challenging, and it was hard. 2014 for me was the beginning of truly realizing the value and the triumph of commitment, love, and relationships. It was a year where I’ve begun to realize that perhaps my personal relationships with friends – new and old – went to the wayside a little bit, but only due to the true commitment I chose to put towards my first year of marriage, a long-distanced marriage. I’ve lost consistent touch with some, but my husband and I have been through so much together these past few years of being a couple, and now together in marriage I had to choose to put all I possibly could into getting through this year of immigration with him. They say the first year is the hardest – but it’s not, really if you ask me. Every year from here on out we will have to choose how much we wish to commit to our lives together, not just in the first. Our first year of being married I will say is the toughest as it sits in its own category of having to endure our first year completely apart without knowing how long this process of me moving to the U.S to be with my husband and step-daughter will take. But if nothing else, 2014 was the year I chose to commit to my husband, dedicate all my time into building a long-distance however solid relationship with my step-daughter, and pushing myself to figure out how to be a solid wife to my husband from afar. I want this year to be over, but not because I don’t value all that its challenged me with and taught me along the way, but because 2014 was battled through only to commence a triumphant 2015 with my husband.

So, cheers to you and yours this New Year’s Eve! I hope the culmination of 2014 brings many learned lessons to your growth, and that 2015 only makes you stronger.

Much Love to you all!

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo new years 2014fb3fb6fb9IMG_9811_Small163Small_Indy201420140614_130542rain3Thanksgiving2014_6_webThanksgiving2014_15_webIndyOct2014-6_small47dec2014

A gorgeous book from my husband. Arrow through the heart, indeed.

A gorgeous book from my husband. Arrow through the heart, indeed.

A little box filled with things of "home" sent from Idaho - from her home, my future home, and my ancestral home.

A little box filled with things of “home” sent from Idaho – from her home, my future home, and my ancestral home.

xoxo

It all started in an airport those three years ago


To You,

Three years ago in the early hours of the morning my boyfriend drove me to Chicago O’Hare International Airport. As we left from his apartment in Indianapolis, the mood was conflicting: rushed, as I had a plane to catch to London Heathrow in a few hours, yet hesitant to budge as I didn’t want to leave. However, in the realness of it all, my soul deserved this transition into the next stage of my adventurous so-called life.

Three years ago I had no idea as to what the next stage was to present to me – I was embarking on the attempt to hold out a long distance relationship without any end in sight as to when we would be local again, and I was heading to grad school in the UK. Three years ago this blog commenced, and three years ago I said what would turn into the first of many goodbyes to my boyfriend, and the first of a lifetime to come of “I love you“‘s.

There’s no other soul I could ever imagine running this course with, but I forever will as difficult as it may be. Here’s to our three years of long distance finally approaching its termination and a lifetime of marriage as husband and wife. Not many could ever pull off this relationship, but it will eternally remain one of my proudest commitments and my heart’s purest joy.

Much love to my Mr. Husband-Face, the only person I could ever survive this adventure with. And who would have thought it all started in that airport πŸ˜‰

Lots of love,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

September 2011, Chicago O'Hare International Airport

September 2011, Chicago O’Hare International Airport

A New Post Redirected Back at Life


To You,

Seasons are usually a tell tale sign of time flying by, memories collected in the snow, on the sandy beaches, running through piles of leaves, and basking under the crisp reddening sun. This past year, seasons have been obsolete and time has Β been difficult to trace and at times, appreciate. It’s hard to explain standing here in what to most is still considered my youth and watch time fly by and not even care.Β 

For what feels like ages, I have been sitting and waiting for U.S Immigration to process my visa papers in order for me to follow a life in the U.S with my husband. And I am exhausted, but IΒ have to be in order to remain distracted and aloof as to how much time these days feel like to me. I work 6 days per week in order to lose track of the days. I have one day off per week which means my time off is merely there for me to rest, sleep up, clean up, and get back to the next day. I cannot give myself time to process that this is all taking so long.Β 

Honestly, I am a woose because this paperwork process has only been months, but having been in a long distance relationship for years, immigration is dragging out the final days of our distance due to the anticipation for this to be done and Part II to commence. I miss my husband, I want to create a steady local relationship with my step-daughter, and I am tired of having to wait to understand what home will feel like.Β 

In complete vulnerability, I am not doing well. Hence the lack of writing in the past few months. I have moved into my own flat and yet I am married. My belongings here are mine; there is no “ours” here. I’m feeling distant from a lot, and unenthusiastic about much. I’m mad and uninterested in many, and impatient towards most. I’m tired. Exhausted. I’m constantly kicking for emotional survival, and it’s becoming harder each day.

People tell me to wait, be patient, this isn’t forever. But it has been long enough, and although rationally I understand that this too shall pass, emotionally I am just plain tired.

It’s been a rough few months, and it just feels like that none of this will be alleviated soon.Β 

Breathing in and out,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Packing Boxes, but Not Yet Moving Home


To You,

There are people out there who hate moving. They hate the chaos, the packing, the sorting, the re-sorting, the mental frustration and emotional rollercoasters. Right now I’m in the midst of packing boxes of bits and pieces, artwork, books, records, clothes, etc. as I prep for yet another move in the story that is my life. You see, most of my adventures revolve around a move. And this one adds a rather depressing, melancholy tale to my immigration woes as I am yes moving out of my family home to help clear the clutter as my mum preps for her own move abroad, however I am not yet moving to my husband.

I am in an awkward head-space right now as I get my shit together in a depressive mindset knowing that although I am married – and happily so – I am not yet able to move in with him. And for two people who have never had the opportunity to share a home due to long distance and international dilemmas, we have always made our individual abodes a home for the other, even if we would step into said space a mere couple times per year. While dating, my husband (well, boyfriend at the time) had an extra key made for me to his apartment – and its pertinent to note that I was living in England at the time doing my Master’s degree. And whenever I’m in town visiting, he lets me redecorate and make it homey for me – he even purchased a pillow for my side of the bed, and when accumulating the days I’m able to visit, I’m usually there for about 1-mth per year, maybe 2.

This upcoming move into my own flat again is bittersweet. I enjoy living on my own – I did so for the first time during my postgrad degree in the UK and loved it, in fact I really wanted to enjoy that single studio-living lifestyle again. However, I never pictured that after being married I would then be given the opportunity to do so again. It throws me off, it makes me sad, and it just doesn’t feel right.

I miss my husband like mad. People say we’ll drive each other nuts when we’re able to move in with each other, and yeah, that may be the case but bring it on! Phone calls getting dropped drive me crazy, opposite work schedules drive me crazy because we can’t find the times to talk, bad phone lines drive me crazy, and having to Skype at the local Starbucks due to limiting satellite internet service at home drives me crazy – so you know what, bring on the crazy that I get to deal with in person!!

But for now, it’s back to packing boxes. I’m trying to stay excited about having my personal space again in my small Victorian bachelor space. But I miss my husband, and I would love to be packing these boxes and shoving them in a truck to head south of the border to arrive at our home.

Home is where the heart is. But I’ll do the best I can to make it homey for me and him since it makes me imagine a life with him rather than away from him.

Peace,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Someone Dumped a Crap Load of Smiles On Me This Week


To You,

This past week has brought me a crap load of loveliness. Like, a serious crap load. And it all arrived in an SUV.

My wonderful husband-face visited my homeland for the very first time and it brought me the utmost of annoyingly giddy joy! In a rare set of events, he was able to have the time to do so and so he did and I am so, so appreciative of his trip up here. With a daughter on his weekends free, a tightly scheduled job in order to earn the moolah, and a few other bumps that are present in our ever so odd relationship, his opportunities to visit me are minimal, but someone somewhere knew that I was so desperately in need of something wonderful to restore my faith that we will get through this immigration process fluidly and solidly and it was sent to me this week in the form of my Husband-Face.

You see, my Husband-Face is my best-friend. He truly is. I have a rough day: I want to tell my husband. I have a good day: I want to share it with my husband. I want to go antique hunting: I would go with my husband. Sports, news, art, design, coffee drinking, bad movie watching – it all works with my husband. I think more than anything through these past few years of dating long-distance and now being married long-distance, there aren’t many people who understand our plight more than each other. We are each other’s confidant, we have to be. He is not just a best-friend, but more so my partner and he came up here when I needed something wonderful the most, and I can never express my gratitude enough for that.

He’s headed back to Indiana now, and as always it’s not just that I miss him but rather that I feel like something is missing from me. He is truly, truly wonderful and one of the best people I have come across and I am beautifully blessed to have him locked in as my husband. [Yeah, that’s right Mr. Husband-Face – I said locked in :)]

Sweet dreams and keep on keeping on,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

“Have a Full and Awake Day xo”


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I’ve had a rough time lately, and have been hugely anxious and stressed all week. So at work, my husband surprised me with two deliveries: the first a pizza and wings from Boston Pizza, and the second a large lattΓ© from Starbucks. (Reminder: he lives in Indiana and I in eastern Ontario – he ordered them from the US for me, haha).

πŸ™‚

A Happy Farewell to 2013


To You,

2013 was not my year. It was filled with many personal battles that never seemed to settle and honestly, many mental blocks that I’ve yet to poke my way through. It ended with the unexpected noting that life should not consist on a negative focus, but the triumphs that rise from the falls.

2013 put me through the ringer and has exhausted me to the core, however this exhaustion was partly caused by the deterioration of my inner balance and gave cause to my putting focus on me, my health (emotional, mental, physical), and my life as a balanced whole. I have always found it difficult to comprehend the meshing of my goals with those beyond my own, i.e. mixing my individual dreams with my those that build a fulfilled life, and I think I’m figuring it out (or more so figuring out steps in order to figure it out…).

Last year started with the feeling like life was crumbling, when in fact I was allowing my own self to crumble under the lack of comprehension as to what life I had lived up until that point. The year shifted rather rapidly to me deciding to alter my perspective on my individual nature and focus on my overall well-being, something of which is hard for many human beings to do. It was a rough ride, and it’s still a rough ride but if I had not sought after this change in my own self I could not help balance my relationships, my goals, and my view on certain life matters. I’m still struggling in these issues, but I managed to maintain and re-build a healthy, strong partnership with my lad and nearing to the end of 2013 lead to our tale of an engagement at the Indianapolis international airport!

I’m still not where I would like to be in life, and in entering into a path towards marriage I know my life goals are going to shift and I will have to reshape how to achieve the things in life I know I could on my own individual existence, but present challenges as a dual collaboration. And 2014 is going to present challenges that I know will exhaust me even further such as pursuing immigration status, starting a beautiful marriage, experiencing immigration in its physical self, and ongoing finances… it’s going to be an interesting year, but I know more than anything that I’m entering 2014 in healthier, stronger form than I did 2013.

I’m healthier than I was this time last year.

I’ve run two obstacle marathons to challenge myself even more.

I’ve lost loved ones in my life this year, but life was fought for endlessly and their spirit never dies.

I’m stronger than anything 2013 threw at me, and it threw a fucking load of bricks at me daily. (And now I’ve got some solid bling on my left hand to slash with punches thrown.. πŸ˜‰ )

So bring it.

But not too hard.

You know, like a good solid swing enough to bruise but not break.

πŸ˜‰

Happiest of New Year’s to you All!

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Happy Holidays – Here’s Wishing for Nothingness :)


To You,

This holiday season I would be overjoyed to spend long, uninterrupted hours with my future Mr. Husband-Face. That’s it. I know, it seems too simple, too lovey-dovey, too unrealistic amidst the want and “need” for sparkling gifts wrapped in layers of paper and tape. But it’s true – I’ve asked for nothing else this season (to those inquiring, that is) than for some boring, materialistic financial assistance with our immigration/visitation fund. Over the next few months we will be embarking on mounds of paper work and a load of headaches awaiting for processing to finalize, and through all of this it is going to take a lot of patience and savings to get it done as soon as possible.

I want a house. I want my Mr. Husband-Face. I want a marriage and to see my partner for more than a few hours at a time alone. This holiday season, I am seeing my chap for a couple days and I could not be more elated than to just ring in 2014 with our usual tradition of nothingness – but together nothingness, and that’s a beautiful thing. πŸ™‚

This holiday season – try to embrace this simplistic notion of beautiful nothingness. It’s much more pleasant than crowds at the mall!

Peace & Love,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Tonight


Tonight, I dream of steaming teacups sitting beside your scotch.

I dream of waking up under blankets to the smell of coffee in the pot.

The wonderments of dinners sat at the table side by side.

I dream of evenings in silence snuggled tightly with my guy.

Walking our dogs on the weekends with our fingers linked hand in hand.

I dream of distant travels and exploring distant lands.

Tonight I dream of distance coming to an end,

Because all I want is my lovely, my bestest, my Mr. Beardfaced friend.

xoxoxo

Airports: Where Adventures are Made


September 2011: In an anxious realization of time running out before a departure flight overseas, our first ‘I love you‘ was exchanged at the airport. We hugged, said our good-byes, and international long distance commenced.

October 2013: In an anxious realization of weekend plans ruined and time running out before another departure flight home at the airport, a marriage proposal was presented and I said ‘Yes’. We hugged, I cried, and I didn’t get on the flight. And the goal to eliminate our distance commenced.

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xoxoxo

It’s Our Story


We had cups of coffee and plates of food.

We talked art, we talked sports, we talked life and the in and outs of painful roads traveled.

We walked through galleries gazing at the exhibited pieces awaiting discussion.

We watched movie after movie, and Mavericks battle a new wave of Heat.

We walked along pathways and canals, and we talked honestly and openly.

We spoke awkwardly yet perfectly, stumbled off balance but in sync.

We held each other up as life tried to take us down.

We questioned the unquestionable out of fear and chaotic plans.

We started a summer without an envisioned end yet knew oceans would exist in between.

We have been tested, we have been strained, and we have struggled through the days apart.

But since that start to summer, since those weeks in June, since those two years ago,

We’ve made it through.

xoxoxo

Life is a Roller Coaster.. that Sometimes Makes Me Want to Hurl


To You,

I’ve realized that I haven’t been on my blog updating away on what’s going on around me. It’s strange – a little over one year ago I created this blog for my transition to the UK for the pursuit of my Master’s degree, and it was really developed with the storyline of ‘Sharing my year with you’. But now that that year as met his finality, another year begins and it’s another one of transitions, challenges, and change. Thus, I have yet to terminate this blog and instead will most likely continue it with everything yet to come, because each year will have challenges and projects and pursuits, and I don’t think my ‘year’ of challenges is a theme yet expired. So blog away, I must. πŸ™‚

In all honesty, I am extremely stressed and anxious. This past month has been unexpectedly anxiety-ridden for me with so many questions weighing down on my shoulders. Up until now I have always been ‘contracted’ to a plan – school. I have the date of my first day of classes, and a schedule of day-to-day tasks to complete towards my course work. And now, in a world of no such contract, my world is wide opened and yet even more confined. I need money. I would like to know that I will see my partner on a regular basis. I want to fully unpack my suitcase and store it away for further travels rather than having it in the corner ready to be re-packed again with all of my belongings. These are such little things, however they weigh so heavily at times. I want to put more attention towards life rather than plotting for convenience. I want and need a firm base so that all of the other chaos that I seek after can happen. I need a firm location where my belongings reside, where I can collapse after a long day and chill, and work on ideas I’m developing for upcoming art concepts. And I need to travel, to explore on my own terms again. I’m a bit lost right now, feeling torn in every possible direction. I feel like I’m in a transition of adulthood – yes I have debt, yes I’m in a long distance relationship, yes my family lives all over the world and I worry about how often I can see them, and yes I’m worried about finances, commitment, career, and happiness. I work harder than what people give me credit for, but still not as hard as I could be working and so there’s a lot more ahead of me.

Anyways, that’s what I’m sitting on lately. I am one of the most determined yet stubborn people out there. And I don’t have easy routes with easy decisions.. I take swirving routes with face-palm decisions πŸ™‚

For now, however, I’m going to enjoy sitting on this couch under this blanket πŸ™‚

Until next time,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

 

One Year Ago..


To You,

A little over one year ago, literally by a couple of days, I was being driven to Chicago O’Hare International Airport to set off to England for my year in Durham. Having only dated for a couple of months, my beau and I were to commence our year of overseas long distance dating and at that moment were not to see each other again for another 3 months during my Christmas holidays.

Yesterday, one year since my arrival into London, I spent my evening grocery shopping and cooking dinner with him in his flat. We’re not yet still 100% ‘local’ in our situation, but it’s the little things like last night that are symbolically monumental in my little life. xo

πŸ™‚

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Reaching Out for a Hand to Hold


To You,

Yes, it has been a while. Why, you may ask? Well I shall answer whether or not the question was posed with, ‘because I’ve been moving, bitches.’ On July 22nd I jumped the Durham ship and was London bound where I spent an awesomely lovely week soaking up the sunny rays (yes, they were actually in existence prior to the Olympics) and some time with family members throughout the cosmopolitan city. It was absolute bliss going from packing hell, shipping stress, and cleaning frenzies to sitting outside in my beloved city underneath the warm summer sun and catching up with relatives about this and that and everything in between. On July 27th, I headed to Gatwick and successfully arrived into Toronto to catch a bit of the opening ceremonies footage playing on Canadian news stations – a little surreal since I was there in London that morning and was now watching it from overseas. TrΓ¨s sad.

Now I have been resting in Indianapolis, IN for 2 weeks at this point, of which the first week consisted of nothing but sleep, sleep, and more sleep. Since then … the difficulty to awaken from this mindless slumber.

I’m feeling.. at odds, so to speak. I have worked my ass off this past year, more than what most can come to realize. What people do not acknowledge is that I have spent the past 5 years of my life studying in fields of which I had no prior knowledge of before the commencement of said studies. In 2007 I enrolled at IUPUI in Indianapolis, and within 3 months embarked on a degree in Fine Arts. Had I ever studied the arts? Yes. However, had I ever seen a darkroom? No. That’s an affirmative negative. Did I know what silver gelatin meant? Ha, no. I was beyond clueless, but knew I wanted to check into the medium. Challenge accepted. To be honest, I did well.. I stand true to that. I worked my ass off to challenge my mind to communicate my passions through the medium of photography and art in general. It was difficult going from such a nervous individual, refusing to express opinions in the most casual of settings to pinning up my work on the walls and presenting varying topics to my peers. And let it be known, photography students are nasty, ruthless, and cut-throat compared to other students I’ve thus far encountered. We do not hold back and neither do the professors. It’s rough, and a huge mental challenge for the soul at times. At the end of my undergraduate career, I was ready for a Master’s program. In art? No, that’s silly – politics of course!

Yes. I am an idiot on multiple levels. My artwork had developed an interest in exploring the power of art within a political setting. However, I have never studied politics. Not even in high school. To this day, I am a dunce in parliament rulings, democratic voting schemes, political party movements. I wanted to know more about the discussion in today’s classrooms as to what we are exploring, focusing on.

I cannot explain the difficulty of this past year. Due to the fact that my brain has turned to incoherent mush it is hard to verbalize my struggles in words which are inclusive in the English language. I challenged myself with the ultimate challenge for myself – I am not a natural academic, but I refuse to recluse to the mediocre simplicity of my mind’s nature and so I push it to it’s actual capacity. So picture this: the art student, quirky, creative, at times irrational, stepping onto the grounds of Durham University, a highly traditional English university recognized as one of the tops in the country. It is claimed as the third oldest in the UK, and it sticks to its traditional nature. Challenge.. accepted? Yes. Fuck yes, let’s do it. (Can you see the oddity of which I stood out as amongst my peers? Should I mention that in my induction ceremony class photo I stood out like a pea sitting atop a pile of charcoal – literally.. only chick wearing a colour amidst a sea of grey toting classmates).

I have less than 1 month to complete my dissertation. I am tired. I am worn down, and I am struggling to complete this challenge. I didn’t back down, however. I never backed down, even though I did stumble, I did trip and fall, and I did break down on numerous occasions. No one will ever know what I have put myself through this past year, and no one will understand why it has been as hard as it has been. I’ve had a rough few years battling personal struggles, being beaten down verbally, struggling to trust, to talk, to believe, and to dream. Those who know me know I’ve been through some shit. And it never ceases to stop, but neither do I.

To be honest, I am fighting so hard to find something worth standing for. Throughout my year abroad, pushing my brain through the equivalent of boot-camp for the weak, I have been trying to come out on top of personal decisions. And to be honest, I’m breaking down. I have been fighting for something that I truly believe in more than anything else in a long, long time. I believe in the connection of people, and I believe nothing is made to be easy apart from the connection itself. But I feel like no matter how hard I keep fighting to sustain a life worth fighting for, I’m blindsided by the unforeseen. There are most definitely times where I wish I could start over, choose the easy route, but life as I have always known it has been difficult, but I have accepted every challenge with everything I could give and I am grateful for the experience. I feel like every time I give, however, I’m asked to up it with an extra side of fries. I’m still trying, I’m still kicking, I’m still being as honest as the situation calls for, but will I ever be worth the flaws? I am struggling in life right now, and I feel like I’m not done giving. But I feel as though I am not worth the challenge for others, and I think that leaves me feeling foolish and taken for granted. But I’m still kicking, because the minute I stop I will sink in the middle of this sea rather than reaching the stability of the distant shoreline.

So yes, been busy. Been preoccupied. Been stressed and confused. Been fighting.

Speak soon,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo