PROJECT NO FEAR: My Inner Demons

It took me this long to figure out what to say in Phase Two of this project because, although I did know exactly what my loudest inner demons were, I had no idea how to properly express why they were the loudest or how they truly made me feel. I think I know how to describe it now.

My inner demons are Depression and Anxiety. They have been with me for a long time now and have become somewhat akin to annoying aunts and uncles who have overstayed their welcome. Depression would be the aunt. always giving backhanded compliments and always showing up unannounced while you’re in the shower or something. Anxiety is the uncle, loud and obnoxious. You can feel uncle anxiety from a mile away but know that you cannot escape him. He is coming with cigar smoke to blow in your face. He is coming to take over your couch and watch loud football in you living room. He is coming to eat all of your food and then complain when you run out of cheesy puffs. He is coming, you know he is, but stubbornly you try to stand your ground because its your damn house, your damn couch and your damn food… but in the end he gets it all for a little while. When Uncle Anxiety and Aunt Depression finally leave, they do it with no pomp or circumstance because they have already done enough damage. No reward for giving your time and mental fortitude, no money to recoup the costs of damages. They leave and you are sitting on your kitchen floor drained of all energy in a pool of melted ice cream and tears. You are extremely humiliated and embarrassed by them and by your reactions to them. You are upset that you cannot just make them leave and be gone forever. You are upset that they’ll come back you do not know when. It’s a mess.

There is a bit of humor in there obviously, without humor I would not be here today to write this., but that is the best way for me to describe how it feels to have these sneaky little demons in my head and with me all the time.

I used to think that Depression and Anxiety would make me unlovable and unlikable. In fact, I have been told by actual human beings that my depression and anxiety make me unlikable and unlovable. Nevertheless, I try. The truth is, I’m genuinely happy most days. The other truth is that sometimes I force myself to be happy. However, though there are days when I win and win hard… there are still days that I lose. I take the L and move on most times.

I’ve been told that I need to seek treatment and be cured. I’m not ever going to be cured because it’s not that kind of disease. I’m okay with that. I have learned to live with that. I have definite safe guards in place and make sure to always tell my support system what’s going on. My family and my boyfriend have never once shunned me for who I am or what these two demons do to me and that is a WIN!

I’m open about this because I know what it feels like to be so close to ending everything and want others living with this to feel safe if they come to me with their concerns. It’s so easy to think that no one will care, but I do! I really, really do.

A classmate from my first semester of college.

A friend from high school.

An old student from when I was a martial arts instructor. 

Three people gone because they just didn’t think anyone would care. Three people gone because they simply thought they weren’t worth someones time.

If me talking to someone for a few minutes or even a few hours talks them away from the edge then you bet your ass I’ll make it happen.

If you’re reading this, you’re loved!

XOXO ❤ Neeks

Featured Photos by Beauty by Photography! Love her.Trapped

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Apartment Chronicles: A New Drama Emerges

Living in an apartment seemed like a good idea until I realized that I really hate sharing my space with strangers when my spaces isn’t to be shared. Don’t get me wrong, there are some super great people in the small building of the complex but, there are also some horrifically entitled and awful people here.

First we dealt with the loud partiers above  us. They had parties every weekend for about two and half months. We tried being cool about it but, when you have work in the morning, you simply cannot let that stuff slide. When you live in an apartment you must be extra mindful of those around you. Especially when you live in an old building (as we do). They took it fairly well by the way. They kind of calmed down after the cops were called the third time. I think they finally got the message after we had to go to management and formally write them up. Again, both me and my SO did not want to be “those” people but, come on! 

Today’s drama started when I finally found the key to the storage room. I went in and was really excited to finally get some of the crap out of our apartment and LO AND BEHOLD the people below us (and over one) decided to take our unit. They plastered over our number and everything, ya’ll. I mean that puppy was full of their stuff. So, me being me, I asked myself if it was worth it to cut the lock off and throw all of their stuff around the room. I decided against it and called up management, informed them of the issue and sent a long email containing proof (pictures, video, etc). When we first moved in, I took a video of me visiting the storage unit and everything so there was proof from basically last year that unit belongs to the apartment. So, here we are battling neighbors again.

There are a ton of legal issues with what they did but I’m waiting to hear back from management before I move on it. If you are ever going through anything similar, feel free to message me about it! We can commiserate! Until next time, love!

❤ Neeks 

Negative Energies and You!

We live in rough times. It seems like everyone is scrambling while the privkedged few have everything. Very often it may feel like you just cannot get you footing and move forward. I’ve mentioned before that I have depression and anxiety disorders, that sucks, and they definitely made calming myself and balancing out my energies a lot harder than it needed to be in the past. So, I thought I share a story and share my super easy process to ridding myself of negative energies and thoughts! 

Yesterday was the final day in a line of super gray, super rainy, just all around awful days this month. I was starting to really feel the effects of that. I felt slower, lazier, unmotivated to do anything of value to my life. I also realized just how far behind I had gotten on some projects, got into the dumbest fight with a friend, found out that one of my model’s was going to break her contract, and (this is the kicker) the orange elect may have cost me my job with his stupid hiring freeze.

I was a mess. A hot, sweaty mess. 

So I spent the day getting bombarded by negative texts, having negative messages pummel my FB, and feeling like some form of crappy turtle. I tried working out the frustration but even then, the messages got to me. 

So how did this all solve itself? It didn’t. My friend chose to push my buttons and block me from seeing her statuses, petty. The model may or may not understand that I will take her to court. This is my art. The job thing is way in the air and I don’t know if it’s coming down. It was just all too much. 

I spent some time talking to some good friends about the various situations, friend who don’t yell at me over insignificant issues that are solved through logic, and they let me know that I handled most of it the best I could. One friend let me have it about getting down about the job so hard. Her points were completely valid and I love her. Immediately after I began the negative cleanse. It’s super easy and I’ll list the steps for you.

1. Pull up your favorite playlist.

2. Gather your favorite aromatics.

3. Arrange those thing in the bathroom and turn on the hot water until the bathroom is full of steam while brushing your hair.

4. Turn down water if you need to, get in shower.

5. Wash away all the negative thoughts and energies. Stay in as long as you need to.

6. Get out, dry off, go to bed.

See! Super easy and it works. 

Today I woke up to a face full of sun and boy, did it feel good. I feel rejuvenated. I feel like yesterday happened but it was stupid so I don’t care about it. With these sunbeams I have moved on and I am in a better headspace. LETS DO THIS! 

/rantingandrambling lol.

❤️Neeks 

Morning After

This is not a pregnancy scare story.

Yesterday a candidate came in for her PROJECT: NO FEAR boudoir shoot. I was super excited, she was super excited… I don’t think either of us was really prepared for the backlash and onslaught of negative emotions after her shoot.

To be frankly honest with you, dear reader, this may have been the best one yet. Her photos were fire, she came with so much creativity and, and this is the most important part, she felt good after the shoot. When she told me that her perception of herself changed by the end of the shoot I nearly cried. That is what this project is all about for me. However, I would also like to be able to show off my work. Especially when the photos are just that fabulous. 

My issue is that after the teaser was posted her brother saw, told mom and then all hell seemed to break loose. I took down the photo out of sadness for her getting berated but also because I knew this family. I had known this family for a long time. After taking it down though, I must admit to being kind of angry. These were my photos, my pieces art. I had a model release that said so. By law, I can do what I want with the photos, others be damned, but is it right? I don’t want to see this young lady get chewed up by her own family no less for the classy and confident boudoir pictures she came to create. 

What to do? 

Do I think it’s completely unfair? Of course. It’s unfair to me and to the model who came in and worked through mental barriers just to shoot with me that day. She was probably the most positive and and most willing to really embrace the spirit of this project. I have the right to show of the work but do I have the ability to turn of my emotions and not care what brash and unwarranted reaction she’ll get from her brother and parents and who knows who else? No. I’m honestly not sure. 

The worst part of all of this would be that her teaser was basically fully clothed. She was in an oversized jersey, holding a football and wearing a SnapBack. There was absolutely nothing racy about her photo when compared to, say, literally anyone else who came in. I say that was a chuckle but, it’s still sad! 


That wasn’t her teaser photo but, that was the look.

I barely slept last night because these photos, you guys, these photos are simply gorgeous. I understand that seeing you daughter or sister like this may be startling at first but try to get out of your head for a second and look at all of the confidence that was coursing through her. Look at the positive energy! Look at the sheer beauty and grace this young lady possessed throughout her shoot while managing to quell insecurities and worries. That takes work and it takes talent. She had both.

I’ve kind of steeled myself for the hate I may receive from her family. It’s unfortunate because this is personal on several levels for me. First level, I love the family. Second level, the model in question was brilliant and I very much want to show off the work we made. Third level, I am all about female empowererment so the whole situation really irks me. I have to be honest about that but I also have to say that it’s not my culture so, I will never fully understand. That’s the simplest way for me to put that statement. Forth level, YOU LITERALLY DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW GORGEOUS THESE PHOTOS ARE. It may be my best work yet and I can’t show it! The frustration is real.

If the degrees of separation weren’t so close, I would have said something along the lines of “sorry but you signed a release…” a while ago. This hurts. This just hurts. I’ve covered my ass but, who will cover hers? I don’t want be that photographer that ignores the plight of their models but, I have put a lot of time and effort into shoot and editing afterwards. I’m not just going to let the photos figuratively collect dust. 

I will be dropping the set but, not at my normal time frame. She was excited to share these with you all and they will be shared. I hope that you all join me in wishing her the best of luck with all of this. 

😢 Neeks

PROJECT: NO FEAR – Confessions.

In elementary school I was always the new kid. I skipped going to kindergarten on the recommendation of several school officials. I got bullied even. In middle school things weren’t all that different but, I had made some good friends. In high school things changed for me.

Freshmen year I got boobs. They didn’t magically pop up or anything, they literally went through all the cup sizes, finally settling at an unwanted D. I hated my boobs. All through sophomore and half of junior year I wore this black Harley Davidson sweater that was three sizes too big to hide them. Yes, even when it was hot out. By the end of junior year I felt comfortable enough wearing t-shirts. 

By my senior year I had gotten to a point where I’d be considered attractive. Saying that now leaves a sour taste in my mouth because I hated myself back then. I hated how I spoke, how I walked, how I looked… everything. Everything accept my artistic ability and my writing. I wish I had monopolized on that more.

By the end of senior year I had a “boyfriend.” The use of quotation marks is used to denote the fact that he wasn’t really a boyfriend at all. It was my first “real” relationship and to be frankly honest with you, I was an insane person. Because our relationship didn’t fit the mold I had in my head, this poor boy was subjected to endless lectures about how he should be rather than what he was. In my defense, he did steal my car to get hotdogs and he didn’t even get me one. Rude.

The following year I got diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. This hit me hard. The image I tried so hard to project at all times was now confirmed to be complete and utter bullshit. Facing that was probably my greatest battle. Oh and the guy, the “boyfriend,” he dumped me. Again, to him I was crazy. Whateves.

I spent a long time “discovering” myself after that. How? I had a ton of sex honestly, flunked out of college… okay not really but, I did take a long break from my studies. I eventually got wrapped up in an abusive relationship with a new guy who I was over the moon for. I went back to school. Left a job that I loved after I broke up with said abusive guy and the business did nothing when the abuse was happening during work hours. He also told everyone I was a slut blah blah blah, normal broken-up-with guy banter. 

At this point you’re probably wondering how reinvention comes into play. I’m getting there. 

During all of that horrible nonsense, I discovered a lot about my sexuality, my ability to love and the seemingly boundless energy I have to create. I loved photography, I loved modeling, I loved being active, I loved my family and I knew, above all else, that I had neglected all of those things for far too long. I realize now that all of that bad was needed to show me what and how I was supposed to be. It showed me, well, me. 

I’m probably going to write more about these experiences so, if you’re interested please let me know. If you want to know about something specific, also let me know. I will be an open book. It is so important to me that while PROJECT: NO FEAR is going on, I make myself available to anyone and everyone because I get it. I’ve probably been to similar dark places and seen similarly dark things. No one should feel alone, no one should be afraid. 

Maybe you don’t want to comment here, that’s cool. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter too! 

💋Neeks

Apartment Hunting

Apartment hunting, much like job hunting, is like dating. I guess that’s because dating is just romantic partner hunting. Even before I got into a committed relationship with someone I NEVER was afraid of dating. This is hard. I’m actually staying awake and spending so much time thinking about what furniture is going where and how I’m going to afford grocery shopping. How many rolls of toilet paper do I need? How many sets of of flatware will be needed? Yeah there are going to be two people living there but that means nothing when it comes to food.

All of that comes secondary to actually finding and applying to a place though. I thought it would be cool to document the process in case someone who is thinking about getting out and spreading their wings stumbles across this blog here. So, without further ado, here are some helpful tips from me to you, sexpot (that’s you).

Tip #1:

Figure out your budget and stick to it. If you set your budget at $1300.00 a month, then do not even thinking about looking, glancing, dreaming about a place that it over that number. When you go to any search engine for apartments make sure you type that number into the “maximum price” section right away. There are a few reasons for this, the primary being that you want to avoid bargaining with yourself. At the start of this search this became my biggest struggle.

“Maybe if I don’t by that many groceries I could afford this place?”

“Do I really need a bed?”

“Who needs internet?” This was my low point.

Seriously, before you even go to Zillow, Hotpad, or Apartment Guide be sure to SET YOUR BUDGET. Or else you are going to have a harder time than need be.

Tip #2:

Once your budget is set in the same stone that held Excalibur, you need to decide if you are going to try and lump utilities into it. For me, I set a budget and it included utilities. This was not something I was willing to budge on at first but seeing as how this was a “rarer” thing in the area i wanted to live in, I figured paying for one or two utilities would be doable depending on what they were and what the base rent would have been. That being said, currently I’m hoping to get approved for this one with all utilities included. Pray for me. Utilities are things that are totally necessary and you are required to pay. Water, electricity, cable, stuff like that. So, make sure you check online or ask someone during the viewing of the unit (if you decide to go that far).

Again, my recommendation it to always go for a place that has utilities included. Always.

Tip #3:

Know what you want/need and what you will be flexible on. For example, I knew I wanted a two bedroom apartment from the get go. This is something that eventually turned into a semi-flexible want based on size of the apartment. If you are someone who knows they NEED two bedrooms, do not compromise. I was willing to be flexible about the size of the bathroom, size of the kitchen and size of the closets as long as I had two bedrooms of a decent size. My boyfriend, who will be moving in with me, literally had one solid want/need and that was for the place to have carpet. It was solid and something to work with so, it works out. Figure out the parking situation and laundry situation as well. If you are moving in with three people, make sure you can all get parking. If you don’t want to lug laundry down or up stairs, get a unit with a washer and dryer in it. Think about the smallest details.

When going about what can be flexible and what cannot, look at what you will be bringing with you, your lifestyle and who will be living there with you. If you are trying to get a place with four people it makes absolutely no sense to get a place with one bedroom. If you are chef, you are not going to want a small, cramped kitchen. Just saying, you have to know what you are working with.

Tip #4:

Getting denied on your application is not the end of the world. If you get denied then they will most likely tell you why they denied you in the first place. Let it be a learning experience, not a bummer situation.

 

Tip #5:

Apply carefully. In some states if you apply to a place then you must accept. So, don’t go around applying to multiple places. Yes, you run the risk of losing out on another place but, you must choose carefully. Also expect an application fee. Know the housing laws in your state because some people may try to rip you off.

Tip #6:

This is cliche but necessary to say, save up. Ideally, you want to have three months rent saved up and available to show your property manager. Have character accounts from your employer(s) as well, this is a nice thing to have. A lot of time the property manager wants to know what they are getting into. The agreement (lease) you enter into is binding for both you and the property manager. If you turn out to be a complete ass, they can’t legally kick you out for it but, you will have a hell of a time getting any problems resolved and end up resenting everyone there. Living in an apartment or condo means that you will be part of a tight community. Be nice to your neighbors. That means all of your neighbors! The ones below you, above you and on either side of you.

I’m still in the process of finding a place so, with some luck we’ll get this place we applied to. If we don’t, no big deal. I will update this post in the event of learning anything else, which I’m sure I will. I hope this was helpful to anyone currently in the process as well.

<3Neeks

 

Job Hunting is Like Dating

Job hunting is literally like being on a website like Plenty of Fish, OKCupid and/or Tindr. Think about it.

You put yourself out there with emails, faxes and mailed applications only to wait and see if someone bites. It’s like speed dating, you try a bunch of different flavors in your field of study or previous employment and pray you find the perfect match or at least something to settle on until something better comes around. You call some people, maybe chat and then hang up wondering if they liked you and if they will call you back.

Interviews are the first date. It’s so important that you put your best foot forward. So, what do you do? You put on you business best, maybe even your business casual best. You make sure your hair is done in a way that is both respectable and proper for the work environment. You practice smiling and holding out you hand for handshakes that you know you’ll have to give. You put on lotion so your hands aren’t dry and pray they don’t start sweating because you are, in fact, nervous about this interview. You spend hours in front of a mirror making sure all of that looks okay and even more time in your car practicing because, fuck it, you can’t have too much practice smiling and extending your hand for a handshake.

On the drive there you practice saying “Hello, nice to meet you,” because you don’t want to sound nervous and squeaky. Guys probably practice lowering their voice a bit so they sound manly, but I wouldn’t know because I am not a guy. Every person on the road is merely an obstacle in your way to the job. You’re late! You’re not actually late but you figure that some jerkoff is going to cause a thirteen car pileup that will make your commute take an extra 15-30 minutes. Taking a train or metro there? Well, forget it, you’re not getting there sweetheart. Your date, the interviewer, is going to take your lateness as a sign that you are just completely unreliable. In your mind they hate you already. Damn.

Surprise, you actually made it on time. In fact, you made it there fifteen minutes early! Good job! You park or exit the tunnel and see the building you hope will be somewhere you’ll need to go to for a long time (at least until you find something better). You enter. A nice later directs you to the waiting area where you will be doing mental gymnastics until some guy or gal comes out in a nice suit and introduces themselves as the person you’ll be interviewing with. You practiced this, you practiced smiling, saying “Hello, nice to meet you,” and holding out your hand for the important first handshake. You do it. In your mind you botched it. Your voice cracked, your hands are sweating more than normal now and maybe your smile is looking a little Joker-esque. Damn.

Nevertheless, you both proceed to an office. It’s clean, the chairs are semi-comfortable. This person you are talking to is very high up in the company and you feel a bit sick looking at all of their awards and degrees on the wall. You begin to question whether or not this person is merely using you as a break in their day. This person in the nice suit begins to tell you that they have reviewed your resume and liked what they saw, they then go on a spiel about what their company is about and where you would fit in “if” selected.

“If.” That word bounces around in your head as they proceed to talk. Even though you are trying your hardest to maintain eye contact and not at appropriate times, that word, “if,” continues to echo through your whole entire body. Are your palms making a puddle on the arm rest, crap, beter nonchalantly wipe them on the pants you spent thirty minutes picking out.

At the conclusion of your interview the interviewer looks at a stack of paper, shuffles it around and puts into another pile with even more papers. At this point they’ll say something to you along the lines of:

“Any questions for me?”

“It was a pleasure to meet you.”

“You’re so funny/charming/sweet.”

“You’re the [insert number here] person I’ve seen today.”

After that they’ll usually let you know when you can expect a call back “if” they select you. “If”

This is your second chance to use you smile and shake combo, don’t mess it up. You’ll feel like you did. You say goodbye to the nice lady at the front desk and leave the building back to your car. Maybe you feel good about the interview, maybe you don’t, either way you will spend the rest of the car ride hoping you hear back from them in a week or so. A week is a very long time, you realize as you drop your car into drive.

The ride back home seems slower not because you’re calm but because you keep running the whole thing through your mind wondering how you could have locked in the job that day. Maybe you could have told a joke? Maybe you could have had a firmer handshake. Did you brush your teeth this morning?

Either way it is completely out of your hands and all you can do now is wait to hear from them.

Just like with dating, for your own mental health, try not to dwell on it. After an interview go workout, write a poem or watch some anime. The worst thing you can do to yourself is sit around moping about how it could have gone better, you will, but give yourself an hour max to sit in self pity and move on from it. Apply to my jobs, keep putting yourself out there. The thing you should take from every interview is that someone wanted you. Someone viewed your resume and took a moment to read it over a couple of times. They even contacted you just so they could meet you in person. Never forget that the people interviewing you are taking time out of their day to talk to you, so they are going to try and keep that number as small as possible and find the right candidate from that select group. Try your best to make every interview a positive experience.

Listen to them as well. If they ask about something that is super relevant and sought after in the line of work that you are trying to get into, make sure that something finds it’s way onto your resume. Your resume is your dating profile when it comes to applying to jobs so, put your best foot forward always. Always be looking at your resume, it can always be better. Figure out what are some needed skills for your line of work and make sure you have them on your resume and in that beautiful brain of yours.

Eventually you will find the right place for yourself as long as you keep pushing and stay positive. Not getting a call back is not the end of the world. I forgot that when I fell into a deep despair over this one place not calling me back after what I thought was a great interview. Truth is, I don’t know what would have happened if I worked there. I could have hated it. You just never know.

Anyway, this ended up a lot longer than I thought it would be. TL,DR version: stay positive, be happy and keep on trucking.

❤ Neeks