September 30, 2017

farewell, september

You were the push I needed to start putting myself first again. I have dealt with a lot of hard things head on this month, recognizing that you cannot go around them. The only way to make them go away is to go through them and come out on the other side stronger and more resilient than before. 

I have been practicing self care. Knitting Christmas presents & listening to podcasts, actually picking up a book instead of scrolling on my phone all night, challenging myself with a book of soduko puzzles. All of these things lift me up instead of dragging me down.

Taking care of my mental health also involves recognizing that every day I go into work hating my job. I think 5 years is my job limit. Anything longer than that, I get comfortable and I get bored and then I grow to resent everything about working there. So I’ve been applying for jobs. And I put my blog on my resume because it’s basically a record of everything I’ve done after my sham of a college experience. I have an interview for seriously a DREAM JOB next week. I am over the moon pumped for this interview. 

I have also been taking the steps to figure out how to restart my own business, Anna Gutermuth Photography. I bought an eCourse from A Beautiful Mess and I am slowly working my way through the lessons, taking the time to plan everything out before making the plunge into the scary world of working for myself again and all the unknowns that come with it. I hired one of my childhood theatre friends to design a logo for me. Taking the steps to do what I love has inspired me to help my friends do the same. 

September, THANK YOU for lighting a fire under my ass and giving all sorts of get shit done energy. 

Tomorrow is my last day of work for a whole week. Tuesday is Justin’s birthday & Thursday we go in for teeth extraction part 2! October is going to be an interesting month for sure. 

See you next year, September. 

September 28, 2017

another knit blanket

This blanket was a labor of love. I started it at the beginning of August and finished it over Labor Day Weekend. It's long enough to cover me completely when I lay down on the couch with it! Justin says my blankets need to be wider though, so I'm keeping that in mind for the next one I make. ;)

Yarn is Lion Brand Thick & Quick in the color Hudson Bay. Took 7 skeins total to finish.

September 27, 2017

the lost companion

Spent this morning over at The Lost Companion. Deb, the lady that runs it, is my dad's high school best friend's sister that lives in the next town over from us. I got permission to come take pictures anytime, so I am a very happy camper.

The Lost Companion is also hosting a psychic reading event in a couple weeks to raise money so they can take in more kitties. Visit the event page on Facebook for more info.

I'm so excited to continue working with this business that is very near and dear to my heart.

September 26, 2017

nobody said it was easy

2008 days between these two photos. I am almost an entirely new person now compared to who I was then, but the ghost of days away from 20 year old me is coming back to haunt me. Sunday night, I received a Facebook message that has left several demons from my past wandering around in my head.

First and foremost, Cody is there. Not the tattooed, bearded Cody that lives on Facebook, but the one with the dorky mohawk that lives in my battered memories.

When I was sixteen and going to therapy for the first time, the subject was brought up of me pressing charges against Cody. That stupid letter where I told him I loved him two years before because I literally didn't understand that I was supposed to hate him after that came back to haunt me. My stupid, emotion filled decisions always come back to haunt me. That letter was the nail in the coffin of my case against him. No charges were filed. Nothing ever became of it.

I can hear my favorite high school English teacher, Mr. Mocarski's words echo in my ear after I opened up to him about it. "Stop waffling. Make a decision."

This almost-20 year old me is one that I still can't look in the eye. I was all healed and put back together after Cody. I was trying to be independent despite living under my mother's roof and working two jobs to support my family of three on one income. I spent most of my last days as a teenager chasing after things that didn't belong to me—jobs, money, and men in particular.

I met Julio on, after making an account on the urging of my friend Bryce. My friends were worried about me. They watched me diving deeper into stress and depression and told me to go do something fun and spontaneous to break me out of my shell.  The left picture was taken the first night Julio and I met in person. Five and a half years later, he's coming back to haunt me.

Julio and I were never together in any technical sense. We only "dated" or whatever for about six months before I moved onto other people and met Justin. The two nights we actually spent together will forever be imprinted in my mind simply for the scars he left behind. He took my virginity the first night. He left welts and bruises so bad I could hardly walk after the second night. Consent was never an issue. I walked into this freely knowing what I was getting myself into.

The problem with Julio is that he doesn't know how to take the word "No" for an answer. This is the boy who had a dream about literally branding his name into my ass like cattle. This is the boy who drew me in with his touch and made sure I would never forget what it felt like to be small and insignificant and beaten down. This is the boy who wanted to take me on a "camping trip," just the two of us, where he vowed to rape me and leave me out in the middle of nowhere alone for a few days and "maybe come back for (me)." This is the boy who showed up, time and time again, on Skype, on Facebook, in my email even after I had told him, "Yo, dude, I have a boyfriend now." His persistence and my stubbornness to let others help me is what led to me cheating on Justin with him.

I am still just beginning to crack the surface of all the damaged Julio caused to my already broken psyche.

Sunday night, I received a message from Julio's most recent ex-girlfriend. This is the girl that was with him when Justin found out that I had cheated on him with Julio. We had spoken briefly before, and she asked me about allegations of abuse she had heard from other girls that had been with Julio. I told her about what I had also heard from the girl he dated after me, and told her to please be careful because I didn't want her to end up like us.

She asked me to be a character witness in her pursuit of charges against Julio for sexual assault.

Once again, all I hear is Mocarski's voice. "Stop waffling. Make a decision."

I told her I would think about and asked her to keep me updated.

Stop waffling, Anna. Make a decision.

I have to absolutely prioritize my own mental health here. I don't know if I could get on the stand and give testimony about the special brand of horrible that Julio is while he sits there, watching me and probably wishing that he could hurt me now just like he used to then. I can feel myself falling into the depression pit again. I just need to find the courage to summon the strength to ask for help in climbing out.

September 23, 2017


This morning anything felt possible. Drank my coffee in the sun under the apple tree. My Mayday Parade tshirt came in the mail today. I delivered Cristin & David’s pictures. Work left me exhausted & crabby & all I want to do is shower so I don’t smell like a giant French fry anymore. 

September 16, 2017

saturday pep talk

It doesn't matter that yesterday you didn't put on real clothes or leave the house at all. It doesn't matter that work was less than ideal the night before last. It doesn't matter that two people quit tonight. Let the bad stuff go. Today is your fresh start. Today is your Day One, if you need it to be. 

September 12, 2017

find the joy

Today is the first time that I have been in front of my own camera since 2014. All at once, the feelings of anticipation and nervous excitement from trying to get that perfect shot for my first 365 came rushing back. I texted my best friend after I got home and said, "I have missed taking pictures so much. I feel like I'm seventeen again, and I think I'm going to spend the rest of my life chasing after this feeling. (And the good light!)"

I spent a solid hour and a half in the woods taking pictures tonight. The familiar act of pulling my tripod out of its bag and fumbling for my remote came right back to me like three years haven't passed since I last got in front of the camera. Joy filled my heart as I swooned over the sun and danced in the clearing. Don't forget what this feels like again, I thought. Hold onto this joy and never stop.

Find your joy and then keep doing it forever. I think that's what life is really all about.