Greetings! There is a fair chance that if you have taken a moment of time to read this post (at which I humbly thank you) that you have familiar with my blog(s) for the last year and a half. To those of you new, welcome!
While I have introduced myself before, it was primarily on my first blog, The Mary Curator. I didn’t bring any of my introductory posts to this space when I changed blogs this past January, and it has been my intention to do a little reintroduction of myself for everyone here. A lot has changed since I first began blogging, and in the last month as well (even this last week).
In this post I’m going to share a bit about myself and my story, and how I got to where I am today.
I’m from a small town in Illinois on the cusp of the suburbs. I’ve lived here all my life with my parents and three younger siblings. We all love puzzles, playing board games, and being generally silly. Our Christmas cards every year since 2003 have involved our family dressed up as characters of different films. We started in black outfits and sunglasses for “Taitrix: Reborn” and finished this last year in classic red, yellow, and blue costumes of Star Trek for “Tait Trek.” It’s a fun tradition and we now have a fan base among friends and family waiting for our family picture to come out at Christmastime.
Creativity is something that is as natural to me as breathing, and a vital part of my growing up. From the time I was young I wrote stories and plotted movies, and my playtime was full of animals toys interacting in epic adventures that for some reason involved deeply constructed political systems and intrigue, even though I had no real context to derive such a system of play. (Lizzy, the blue and black speckled lizard Beanie Baby was the president, in case you were wondering.)
Animals hold a special place in my heart (I have two dogs named Taiter Tot and Boomerang), and growing up I would spend hours at a nearby pond (the location of the shoot in this post), watching the animals and wildlife. Trees are familiar friends, and when they are absent I feel very out of place. While I can enjoy a city for a day or two, the wild is a place where I can dream. The ideal place to live would be near a coast in a little house on a hill with a tall pine forest behind me and a lovely patch of beach just a walk down from the house.
While I read primarily classics growing up my mind was always inclined to write fantasy. I was home schooled until college, when I made my abode in the midst of Indiana’s cornfields and studied creative writing. It was then that began to dabble in science fiction elements, and now my writing floats between fantasy and science fiction in a very realistic environment. I read a lot on myths and folktales, drawing from them as inspiration for my work.
Words were not my only medium, I worked with a camera in high school (I had used basic film earlier but it was costly), and alongside my writing, became very creative and imaginary. I loved photoshop, and a common pastime was to dress up in my favorite clothes, trek out to a green or wooded space on campus and take pictures of myself. After editing them I would post them to facebook to show them to people. That was nearly ten years ago, and blogging was new, but it was the foundation of what I would try eight years later.
In the meantime, God provided a job working for my college’s Archives where I indexed old student newspaper articles to search for various topics. I am very analytical and I like structure, so it was the perfect way, I thought, that I could earn my bread and butter working in library science while writing the side. I was accepted into the top school in the nation to earn my Master’s in Library and Information Science. I could do the program while living at home, and I worked at Kohl’s part time to pay my bills.
My time at Kohl’s introduced me to a new creative medium: clothing. It turned my attention towards fashion and I began to read blogs and use Pinterest to gather styling ideas. It came at a perfect time in my life because half way through grad school something happened that took away my ability to create and put me in a very scary place.
Hills and Valleys
In the summer of 2013 I went to a couple of weddings. The hypothesis is that I was bit by a tick during one of them. I didn’t have any reaction though, but by the fall of that year I was experiencing some pain in my back and strange neurological issues. By the end of the year I was bed ridden and had to crawl to get around. My brain was in so much of a fog I could barely get my homework done for grad school, and the only creative outlet I had was my clothing.
God placed some people in my life who recognized the symptoms and had me look toward Lyme (the CDC approved test claimed I didn’t have it), and I was able to start on some herbal treatments so by the summer of 2016 the Lyme was in remission. I was 95% normal, and had landed an internship cataloging vintage clothes for a local museum. What I didn’t realize was that I had more issues with my body than Lyme, an issue that surfaced at the end of that summer.
In 2017 I decided to begin blogging. I didn’t have a job—I had stepped out of the Internship I was so ill again—and the one consistent creative act I could do was style outfits. My health improved a bit during the summer, but dropped again in the fall with a vengeance. All the while I was attempting to blog and loving it, but my emotions were all over the place. As warmer weather came around in 2018 my health didn’t receive the usual boost but rather got worse.
What I didn’t realize until a month ago (yep, we’ve caught up to the present day), was that Lyme hadn’t relapsed, but that I was dealing with a terrible infestation of parasites. My gut was destroyed, I could hardly walk, my mood swung into deep despair and anxiety like a pendulum, and my body quit absorbing nutrients from food.
This past May (very shortly after I took these photographs) I plummeted into two weeks of such fragile health I felt like I was wasting away. Now I realize that I was. While my weight stayed the same I could feel my skin closer to my bones. I got a cold the week after and had another terrible week so I sat down and mapped out my symptoms, determining that what I was experiencing was not Lyme, but another issue, and that issue was probably parasites.
About three and a half weeks ago I went to the doctor and I went on a new herb to help kill the parasites. I was hoping to feel better quickly, but it was a pure joy when just two days later I was able to stand and walk in place for twenty minutes when I hadn’t had the strength to do so in months. Three days later I was able to begin a schedule of three miles of aerobic walking, something I hadn’t been able to do for almost five years since I had first contracted Lyme.
The whole experience has been like waking from a dream. After gaining my energy and ability to walk again my mental health started to stabilize. I would walk around feeling very surreal.
I could see things again—not that I was blind, but that my brain could process minor details it couldn’t before.
It was more than merely sight. This last week has been like I emerged from a period of amnesia. I can remember everything that happened over the last two and a half years, but I realize now how different I was. I was there, but the person living wasn’t me. I am a head over heart person (sometimes to a fault) and I was dealing with crippling anxiety and depression, and periods of extreme lethargy. If you have been following my on Instagram my back and forth posts about how I approached this blog was caused by this issue. I feel as though I have just lived the last couple years as another person and I’ve finally woken up to my true self.
Perhaps what brings the most joy to me right now is to realize how I can pursue life like I had hoped. For a while, between the state of my mental health and the chronic fatigue I had wondered how I could even live. The dreams I’ve held to these last few years can finally be pursued. There were several times when I felt like giving up, but God always pushed me to hold onto them, telling me that there would be a time for me to take them on. I am so humbled and grateful that there was a solution, and that I didn’t have to face wasting away and potential death.
I can think about life again. I’ve been able to interact with people and even go to a party for a friend. There are plenty of issues that need resolving, but time has only brought more freedom and hope, so I’m moving forward into the next phase of life.
So as someone who had been in a different mental state the past couple years, let me now speak as myself:
Hello, I am so glad you are here. Thank you for sticking with me during this crazy time of health. Thank you for encouraging me and speaking life into me, even when I feel like I had little to give but pieces of my broken imagination. I can not say enough to thank you.
As for the future of Wind & Spindle, I am pursuing what I intended, in some ways, when I first got the idea to blog years ago. I’m sharing outfits, discussions about life, and art in my own whimsical sort of way. My photography brain has come back (which is wonderful), and I am happy to have the energy, strength, and focus to create images, looks, and writings to share with you all.
This was a mouthful of a post, thank you for reading. I am always interesting in hearing your thoughts and conversing with you. I love talking about art and different forms of creativity with others!