An unexpected gift...

For a year where I picked the word 'happy' - I've been so very sad. My Grandad died last month. I'm heartbroken. I'm broken. Yet I feel more me than I've ever felt. Isn't that odd. It wasn't a surprise as such, he's been so sick for a while, his heart was failing him. It was very quick though, when it happened, and I guess I'm most upset because I wanted more time, more of him,  I definitely wanted to get to see him again, yet... here we are. 

He's gone. I'm broken. I'm going to have to rebuild myself... again. I'm really not ok, but I'm probably the most ok I've been for a while. 

I've been thinking about grief - like you do when one - you're a highly sensitive person - and two, you're an over thinker. And the truth is that, its real. Now I understand that is a bit silly of a statement 'of course its real Rhianne - duh' but hear me out.  By real I mean its coming from a very real part of me - a part thats born of love, a part thats true and raw, thats unaffected by the materials of the world - a part of me I'd forgotten existed in the last few years.

In feeling real sadness and heartache, I'm starting to feel more and more real emotions and I'm starting to see my depression for what it is - unreal. Nothing about my depression comes from me. None of it is born in love. None of it is from 'me'.

Grief flows freely from me.

Depression sucks me in and away.

Grief is sadness, unexpected laughter, heartache, devastation, sorrow, forgotten memories, leaking eyes.

Depression is despair, hopelessness, worthlessness, apathy, numbness, ruined nails, a sickness to the stomach.

Grief is carrying me through the days, the time has passed by me faster than I imagined - yet I seem to float through it, somehow getting by, my body reminding me to eat and my mind protecting itself from the usual stresses of the day in order to cope with what it needs to do.

Depression weighs me down, taunts me, provokes me, grinds at me, insults me, lies to me, drags me under, pulls me deeper.

Depression disconnected me, yet somehow, the love for my Grandad, expressed through grief, is reconnecting me - reminding my brain that it knows what to do in these situations (honestly, I'm so blown away with myself its a bit bizarre to witness), reminding my cells that they feel, they love and they can thrive in awful situations.

Now I'm definitely not saying this is easy, or that I'm floating through the days in a good way and I'm definitely not thriving (even if my cells are ok) - I'm not ok. I'm so incredibly sad, I'm at a complete loss of what to do with myself, I forget to eat, then I only eat biscuits and chocolate, I find myself with tears leaking from my eyes (yet I'm not crying?), my thoughts are all over the place, I nearly forgot to get off the train today, tiny things set me off - today it was a bag of potatoes on the floor, one of the potatoes was smashed.

Yet riding this rollercoaster of real... I'm somehow finding the strength to give my depression the finger - to hold my sorrow above my head and shout 'this is real, this is true... you have nothing on this pain, this pain is born of love, this pain is an expression a depth of feeling you couldn't even comprehend - yet alone try and pile on me.'

Depression is cold and heartless, yet today my grief is warm and full of heart - a broken heart yes, but a full one, of love as true and heavy as my sorrow.

And the unexpected gift is that in remembering that I can truly feel sadness how it should be felt - in a real way - I have hope that I can really remember how to feel truly happy too - to remember what happy means and not what it 'should be'. So maybe 'happy' isn't a completely ridiculous word, if in being so sad, I find a way to reconnect to my happy.

Ode to my little holga...

Way back when, I bought my first film camera in a number of years, the camera that started me back on my film photography journey - my Holga 135bc.

Yesterday I read that the Holga factory has been closed and my heart sank. So today's post is dedicated to this plastic chunk camera which started a change in my life and was the first stepping stone on the varied journey that has been my relationship with film cameras.

Way back in 2009 with my new toy :)

Way back in 2009 with my new toy :)

I haven't really used my Holga properly in a few years if I'm honest - the results that you get from a Holga aren't exactly what I'm looking for now, so I tend to use SLR cameras - however as an introduction back into film for me, this little camera was perfect. The colours and the black corners created bright results and the challenge of having such limited control of the results was just what I needed straight out of University.

So here are some of my favourite photos from my little Helga the Holga camera 

I do feel like I should try taking this camera out again now though and see how I do with it - if my changed style of taking photos reflects with this camera or even if I could consistently get a good roll of results from it (this has not happened yet haha). Maybe I'll pick it up this weekend and see what happens :)

Some of my favourite posts have also been written because of my Holga - this post about why I love this photo (which actually led to an unfinished Blurb book - I should really finish that!) and also this Diana Mini vs Holga 135bc comparison. I took my Holga to Wales, to Paris, to Krakow... for a while it was the only camera I took with me anywhere and we had fun - I loved my holga and it loved me too.

Also, if you want a Holga camera, you probably should grab one asap before the prices go a bit crazy!

Oh Kodak BW400CN

In August, Kodak announced that they were discontinuing their C41 black and white film - Kodak BW400CN and my heart sank. Other than Ilford XP2 - Ilford's C41 B&W film - this was the only other B&W film that I use.  I know purests love true black and white film over the C41 versions but it's just so much easier for me to develop rather than having to send films away. 

So my heart is sad that another film I love won't be around much longer - I'm going to try and buy as much as I can when I can afford it - but I guess I will have to consider other black and white films to get the contrasts that I like so much with Kodak BW400CN film.

Luckily, I still have photos left to share from 3 rolls of film on here - so this next week or so is going to be a mini celebration of Kodak's C41 BW400CN film - but before I share those photos, today I'm going to share my favourite ever photos I've taken with this film.

Snow Detail Photo08_8 Quiet Monkey
Whitby Lighthouse Photo29_25A
Photo07_7 Photo32_32
Untitled Photo30_26A The North Pier, Blackpool Holy Island Boat Sheds

I'm still so sad to see this film go! Have you used it? Do you have any favourite photos taken with Kodak BW400CN?

If you want to see ALL my photos taken with this film that I've uploaded so far - you can see them on Flickr here.

p.s. I had a couple of weeks off to gather my thoughts and have a little break, but I'm back - thanks for sticking with me everyone who reads this - you're the best!