photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

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Going Home: The Series

I generally don’t share my guy, Josh’s, story with many people. I respect his privacy, and although I used to take the liberty of posting anything-to-everything about our relationship here in my blog, I no longer do that. I feel that he has a right to his privacy and if he wanted to share some of the deepest parts of himself, he’d probably have his own blog. So, last year, I went through many of my blog posts and made the ones pertaining to him private. I do still have a few up, but I basically made private the gut-wrenching posts that I should have used more discretion with. But live and learn, eh?

That said, I decided to revisit one of my photo series called Going Home; in which I told a story about a man (Josh) who had begun his journey to return home after a long time away. In this series, he sets out with a heavy heart, longing to return home. The word home evokes such strong feelings. It represents comfort, acceptance, peace, relaxation, and ultimately, love.

I created the Going Home series 6 or 7 years ago and submitted it to a photo contest. I won a camera for it (my 4th one) and gave that to my daughter, Brianna, who ended up becoming a talented photographer herself. (But she’ll never admit to that. She’s far too modest when it comes to her many talents. She’s also a piano prodigy, immensely gifted singer, a writer and self-taught multilinguist- the list is long. The kid is amazing!) But all of my kids are. :)

I love the Going Home series because it tells the metaphorical story of each and every one of us in this world; all traveling onward to an unknown (and sometimes very much known) destination. I know Josh doesn’t mind my sharing this part of his own story, which ties into the series perfectly.

I’ve never known anybody, apart from my oldest daughter, Heidi, who’s had such an incredible life story. I’ll share a bit of his story with you- for those of you who are new to it.

Josh’s mother was murdered by her boyfriend when he was only 7. For the next 7 years, he and his sister lived with their father. Unfortunately, his father died of a heart attack when Josh was only 14. He and his sister were sent to live with their grandmother, but she wasn’t capable of taking care of them for long, so Josh and his sister went off to live in one foster home after another. The two eventually split up and lived in separate homes, slowly drifting apart. After being shipped off from one place to the next, longing to fit in and really belong somewhere, Josh finally turned 18 and was no longer a ward of the state. He was given a small apartment and after so many years of living with somebody else, he was finally able to call his new place “home”. It was shortly after that that I was introduced to Josh from my brother. My brother had brought him over one day, and we clicked immediately. He stayed with us for the next few years: we adopted him straightaway! That was 10 years ago.

I can say with ease that I was an immature girl when we met, and although there was an 18 year age gap between us, we clicked on every level and became the very best of friends. I’ll always owe Josh a debt of gratitude for stepping into the very large shoes of “father figure” to my children. He was just a kid himself, but he was a sober, brilliant-minded “bruddy” to my son (a combination of brother and buddy) who took the time out of his life to be a great example to my children. It was understood that he wasn’t replacing their father, but his contributions to my little family are innumerable. I could never repay him for all that he’s given to me and my children. I like to think he feels the same way about us. :)

Josh is still my best friend. We have an unspoken understanding that we are not “boyfriend/girlfriend” and we don’t hold hands and stroll on the beach together with stars in our eyes. We have a much stronger bond than if we were married. We know that no matter what- we have each other’s backs, and we know that we can trust one another with each other’s very lives. I don’t think one could ask for more than that in a life partner. :)

Back to the series! I wanted to visually express Josh’s journey of longing for that ever-elusive place that he could finally call home. (The last pic at the bottom of the collection isn’t part of the series, but it fit in nicely, I thought. I was looking through the window into that same abandoned house, which actually tells what happened in real life, again, metaphorically. Also, I was still cutting my Photoshop and Lightroom teeth back then and might’ve gotten a little slap happy the editing here. My apologies!)

And so began his journey:

Traveling Man
TrqavelingMan

Crossroads
Crossroads


Hostel

Hostel

Last Dance [camera-winning photo]
lastdance

Undone [He was still a baby here!]
undonePorthole [Me, looking through the window- 10 second self-timer]porthole

Icing on the Cake

Just in- invite only: Will definitely help with grad school. :)

************************************

Congratulations!  Within the week, via U.S. Postal Mail, we will announce your selection to join the Indiana University East chapter of The National Society of Leadership and Success, Sigma Alpha Pi.  Your deadline to activate your membership is 9/8/2015.  Simply enter your nomination code, #####-###-#####, at www.societyleadership.org to activate your membership.

Society membership, exclusively by invitation or nomination from our campus faculty, gives you access to leadership certification that is a valuable asset to your professional resume and a life changing personal development tool.  Sigma Alpha Pi is a leadership honor society (not a fraternity/sorority) available to select students on campus.  Your invitation is a nationally recognized achievement of honorable distinction based on academic accomplishment, leadership potential, or nomination from our campus faculty.

Society membership places you among the top student leaders on campus and gives you an edge in the employment market through professional leadership training.  The National Society of Leadership and Success is one of the largest college leadership honor societies in the United States with hundreds of chapters.  Membership gives you access to over $200,000 in awards and scholarships, leadership certification (a valuable asset to your resume), exclusive events on campus, employer recruitment, an exclusive online job bank, networking with other top students on campus, and discounts that can save you hundreds of dollars on computers, textbooks, car insurance and grad school prep courses.

Congratulations on your outstanding achievements and selection to The National Society of Leadership and Success.  Your next step is to activate your nomination code, #####-###-#####, atwww.societyleadership.org and process your registration payment.  We look forward to welcoming you as a member.

Yours truly,

##### ####
Chapter Advisor

***********************************************

Sweetness!

Sleep Deprivation= Cheap Buzz

Tomorrow is my last day of the semester. I love this floaty, surreal, semi- twilight existence that goes along with sleep deprivation. I’ve been awake for 30 hours now; not too bad. I’ve seen plenty worse. (It involved hospitalization and wide awake REM states- no place for the faint of heart, m’ friend.) I’m good for powering through a final exam and an 8 page paper in a day, however, which is what my day consisted of- just as long as I get a 12 hour power sleep beforehand. I wouldn’t recommend trying this at home, kiddies! But it’s a way of life for me, and I seem to be at my best when my world is slightly ethereal with the soft fuzzies of sleep deprivation. It pushes me over the edge ever-so-slightly so that I get a much-needed blast of adrenaline. It’s better than coffee. :) (And let’s face it, it’s a free buzz that carries with it no guilt.)

I’m managing to hold on to my A still in my Serial Killers class–which I finished an hour or so ago– and as long as I receive a good score on my final paper in my Forensic Anthropology course, I’ll have an A in that as well. I have a good feeling about it so I’m betting I’ll come away from it with my two A’s in tact.

I would write more, but I’m starting to teeter over onto the floor a bit- and I don’t think I’m supposed to be doing that.

Netflix is calling.
My vacation starts tomorrow evening (a whole 9 days to myself-YES) and I can’t wait to go to some ole boring park and take pics of absolutely nothing at all. That sounds like paradise!

DreamscapeMJ

Out with the Old…

…in with the new. Semester, that is. My summer classes are almost over. I can hardly believe another year has flown by so quickly!

And so goes college life.

I’ll either be taking 5 classes this fall, or 3- depending on how much aid I receive; it’s yet to be determined. Technically, I’m only two semesters away from receiving my B.S. in Psych. and I can either knock it out in two consecutive throat-choking semesters, or spread it out for another year and a half (and keep most of my sanity in tact!). I’d rather get it over with, however, quickly.

I still have one quiz, 3 discussion boards, both final exams and an 8-10 page paper to write- and yes, that’s just one week of school! I’ve been keeping up this ridiculous pace for 5 weeks now and I think I remember what all of my children look like. :(

I haven’t seen my oldest daughter in half a year now and although my mother only lives 2 miles from me, haven’t seen her much more. She’s working doggedly herself 6 days a week; but we do get to talk often and she’s recently joined the rest of the texting world and has hopped on board and texts with the speed (and emojis) of a 20 year old. Too cute.

I’ll have a 10 day break in between my semesters, so if anybody’s reading this who actually wants to see me- there’s your official notice! Before you know it, I’ll be up to my eyeballs in 3 psych. classes, a biology (addictions) course and a Statistics course. It’s going to be one of those semesters.

Alas, as I wrap up my summer semester and prepare to dive into fall, I love all of you, my friends- old and new- and miss you all terribly. I’ll be popping in from time to time, as always. Before we know it, it’ll be 2016!

Summer is dying and I must say, I’m going to actually miss it this time! Special thanks to my BFF and the love of my life: Josh, for giving me the best summer of my life. :)

My back deck- summer of ’14- first leaves falling- my beloved Helios 44-2 film lens/Canon Rebel XSI

July14

Blur

That pretty much sizes up my mood right now. I think I’ve reached my serial killer threshold.

My alternator finally died (for good) and so I had little choice but to sell my lenses. Not my camera! Just the lenses. The good side is that I’ve fixed my car. The bad side is that I’m stuck with one 28 MM film lens which doesn’t even attach to my camera. Yeah. Hard times!

Nevertheless, I force myself to see this as a positive situation; with much everything else. Having to hold my lens up to my camera, I discovered that I can bend the light in Hitchcockian fashion, if I do it juuuuust right. I get a good amount of blur (which I love) and heavier in-camera contrast. Not a bad thing. The downside is that it really sucks having to hold your lens up to your camera manually.

Alas, it served its purpose, which was to distract me from having to write my 6 page term paper today. About…you guessed it! Serial killers. I can’t believe I’m actually looking forward to beginning my psychology classes again next month. A person can handle studying only so many paraphiliacs before the brain begins to involuntarily shut down.

Which is what’s happening in my case.

On to my paper…

Shot in monochrome- today’s batch of pics: YUS 28 MM film/Canon Rebel XSI- back deck
doorknobMJseedsMJ
doorknob2
blurMJleaves


Brunch

 Organic Coconut Chia Granola with Greek honey vanilla yogurt and fresh bananasBrunchMJ2

Are you a Psycho?

Clearly, I am not a psychopath. Which is amazing. Because I actually share quite a few traits with many of them:

  • Bedwetting as a child (and adolescent)
  • Was a wee bit experimental and unkind to animals as a child
  • Lied a good bit as a child

I don’t have in interest in pyromania, though (not even a bit- and never have), which is a major characteristic of many psychopaths/sociopaths. For starters, I think it’s wrong to destroy someone else’s property. I used to wonder about sharing several traits with psychopaths, understandably, seeing how I was grossly abused as a child. I remember my thoughts being “abnormal” growing up- at best.

AlienMJ

However, I was raised to acknowledge right from wrong and was always hyper-aware of my conscience. This is what distinguishes a “normal person” from a psychopath; knowing right from wrong and choosing to remain within those non-impulsive and non-reactionary boundaries.

I’m learning some fascinating things in my classes. One of the most interesting things I’ve learned is that most people have a good bit of activity going on in their prefrontal cortexes. The prefrontal cortex (located in the frontal lobe of the brain- behind the forehead) regulates impulse, aggression, judgment- and fear, most importantly. A “normal person” ‘s brain shows activity in this brain area; a psychopath’s does not. Psychopaths and sociopaths show little to absolutely no activity in their prefrontal cortexes- at all. That’s some pretty solid evidence that psychopaths are genetically hard-wired for long-term sociopathy, including the development of becoming a serial killer.

There are 3 main traits that serial killer’s share, according to academicians and researchers:

  • Childhood (physical, emotional, psychological, and/or sexual) abuse
  • A brain injury of some sort (whether developmental or congenital)
  • Mental illness

When a person has two or more of these characteristics in childhood, the chances of developing the third one is pretty great. If a person exhibits all three of these characteristics, the chances are that much greater that a serial killer is in the making. That’s not to say that all people who share these three characteristics are or are going to be serial killers. But interestingly enough, the majority of all serial killers do have these three key characteristics in common.

I took this psychopath quiz a few minutes ago: it’s certainly not standardized and it’s not APA-affiliated or approved; it’s a 25 or so question quiz that sheds some insight into what percentage you fall into when compared to the national median. If you score 30% or more, chances are, you’re a psycho!

I scored 5%. I can sleep tonight. ;)

Results

You scored 5. Scores above 30 indicate psychopathy, of course only a professional, which this test is not, can make a true assessment. This test was made just for fun.

Below is a graph of how other people who have taken this test have scored:

download

5.5% of people score higher than 30.

You can take the quiz here- (results are immediate):

http://vistriai.com/psychopathtest/

It’s Pure Madness: And I Love It

So I’ve just gone over my syllabi for the semester: I’m cramming 4 months of classes into 6 weeks. That alone is madness.

My work for this week constitutes the following:

5 chapters in Forensic Anthropology
5 chapters in The Human Bone Manual
1 study guide that requires the memorization of the names and locations of 100+ bones in the human body
2 videos
5 Powerpoints/Lectures
Multiple discussion board postings + citations, etc.
2 quizzes

And that’s just one class.

Multiply that times 2 and then you know what I’m up against.

But I love it. :)

(See you when I come up for air!)

xo

Isn’t it Funny when…

…you’re a kid and see Freddy Mercury singing “We are the Champions” in his black and white outfit, dancing in the white smoke and think, “That’s so Cool!”

And then at like- 45- you see it again, and you’re like:

“His 1/2 black and 1/2 white suit is probably indicative of his devotion to the Illuminati and duality, in general, and MAN that’s a lot of cocaine!”

I still love you, Freddy. :)

I’ve Planned Out the Next Six Years of my Life

It’s a great time in my life.

Josh and I are still best buds; Mandy Tator Tots is making home made biscuits and gravy tonight and Josh will be joining us. (Mandy Tator Tots is my son’s girlfriend and I absolutely love her to death. She’s pure gold, that one.)

My summer classes begin in 10 days, and so I’ve plotted my course in life for the next 6 years or so. When I wrap up my Bachelor’s in Psychology, it’ll be the spring/summer of 2016. From there, I’ll move on to my Master’s in Forensic Psychology (at a school with the # 2 Forensic Psychology program in the nation). The Master’s will be 35 credit hours and will take two years. I’ll then transfer my entire Master’s degree over to Spalding University (they accept up to 30 credit hours of a Master’s) so I will have only lost out on a total of 5 credit hours. Not a bad deal. Plus, getting my Master’s first and then transferring it will save me 50% of my costs, rather than going straight into my doctorate. After transferring my Master’s to Spalding, I’ll begin my doctorate (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Forensic Psychology/Corrections. Voila! 6 years.

Don’t know about anybody else, but I’m locking this thing down with eagle focus and an insane drive. (I have to get my GPA up from 3.5 to at least a 3.8 though, or higher.)

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING will stop me.

So, that about wraps up my semi-periodic update here! Time to get into school mode again. My vacation is officially over. :)

Jwaterpark

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