In Retrospect

Hi everyone,

It’s been an incredibly long time, hasn’t it? Roughly two years, I’d say, since I last wrote anything on here.

I apologize for the absence, there’s a good reason for it, though. See, Living Like Audrey became too limiting for me. I realized that rather than wanting to emulate someone else and their lifestyle, I’d much rather enjoy the process of figuring out my own. If I am going to document anything, it should definitely be that. So Living Like Audrey has been altered.

Welcome to Entering Retrograde!

For those who don’t quite know, my name is Nina and I’m super excited that you’ve made it here. As a way to express myself and give myself something positive to look forward to, I’d created my previous blog Living Like Audrey.

It was a blog dedicated to the lifestyles of women who had grace, ferocity, love, kindness, and the confidence to show the world who they were. However, as time went on, I wanted to touch on broader topics that really focused on what I cared about most. Everything from gaming, nerd culture, art, society, and the way we view ourselves to the original intention of Living Like Audrey.

Then there was that gnarly two year gap where I didn’t post anything. Realistically, it’s just because I didn’t have much to say at the time. I took a step back for a while and recent events in politics, society, and simply observing the people around me have led me to think I can turn back to this blog and write more freely. Let’s call it an experiment, shall we?

The blog title is Entering Retrograde because I’m a deep believer that you can’t know where you’re going, can’t avoid repeating the same mistakes, unless you know where you’ve been and can honestly confront that.

  I hope you will be able to learn through some of my painful lessons so you won’t have to endure them. I also hope that you’ll be able to laugh, smile, and feel that fuzzy warmth when something goes well. If anything, at the very least there should be some very interesting life tips and creative projects for you to take on.

Though I adore Audrey Hepburn, Claudette Colbert, Greta Garbo, and many other elegant women, Living Like Audrey was bound to be so much more. But these women never shied away from adversity and neither will I. So what will you find here? Hopefully not a woman wanting to live like Audrey anymore, but a woman excited to live simply as herself. So, Living Like Audrey is no more, at least here. Instead you get a full blast of Nina, as I am.

  I’d like to think that the evolution has come along because I’ve reconciled who I was in Florida, Massachusetts, and the person I’ve become since moving to Canada. Ironically, it feels more like home than any of the places I’ve lived before. For once, I feel “right” in my own skin. The anxiety is still there, but manageable. The depression… I’m aware that it’s genetic and it can rear it’s ugly head any time, but oddly enough, since I’ve become more open and capable of sharing my experiences, they don’t haunt me and feed that monster anymore. It’s become more like a shadow puppet that tries to intimidate me but as soon as I turn on the light, it’s gone. Most importantly, I’ve grown into someone able to let go more. I don’t carry the stuff that happened as a burden. Instead, I talk about it, hopefully help some people along the way, and try to bring more happiness into my life by just going for it. Going for life and living the hell out of it. Sometimes that means going for a 4 hour walk to photograph, sometimes it’s creating amazing characters and putting them to paper, and other times it’s embracing a comforting nap.

Beyond that I share insights and lessons I’ve learned, facing adversity head on, how to overcome or embrace it, and how to just be. Interested in getting in on all of that? Great! Let’s get started!

And of course, if there’s ever anything you want to hear about- let me know!  You can contact me at entering.retrograde@gmail.com

                                                                                                                                -Nina
Advertisements

I’m a nerd and I like it that way.

In the 6th grade, I had a really hard time, which led to my doing very badly in all of my school courses. When I say badly, I do mean badly. I got D’s and F’s. I even got D’s and F’s in classes that I had never before gotten less than an A in. I was lucky though. My parents never used any of my childhood traumas as an excuse to allow me to expect less of myself. So my punishment was severe. I was grounded. I wasn’t a big tv watcher in the first place, so they took away that minor privilege and my video games. I didn’t go out much to hang out with friends (it’s kind of hard to even have friends when you’re always panicky about who you can trust as a kid) so books were my friends. A lot of people would disagree with what they chose but to be honest it was the best decision for me. They took away all of the books that were considered “entertainment” like the Baby-Sitters Club books and Sweet Valley High. I was left with tons of world dictionaries and a bunch of encyclopedias and only intellectual material for my “entertainment”. I think they wanted to give me at least something to cling to because being grounded without anything to improve myself with for two years (yep, they grounded me for two years) would have been drastic. Instead they gave me a choice. Knowing that I was a smart kid, they didn’t want to take away from that growth so they said “Improve your grades and you get all the fun books back. If you want to be able to take care of yourself in the future, learn everything you can now. Take this time to become everything you want to be. You can be mad about this or you can use it to your own benefit.”

I was mad for about a day. I was all “But my birth father is evil! He hates me! He never told me I had a brother! I found out from a cousin!” and “But I was abused! I’m confused and frustrated.”. But the fact is, that letting myself recoil into a self-pitying monster has never been my way, so I cracked open a random letter of the encyclopedia and started to read.

I didn’t really think that that would be what became my comfort zone. History is in many ways a science. Actually, it IS built up of sciences. Archaeology, Anthropology, Paleontology, etc.  The more I read about the mechanics of History and how the world works, the more resolved I became. I didn’t have a definite goal at the end of those two years but I did know three things. One, I did not want to rely on others to tell me what is right and wrong, what to think and do. Two, the first person I ever respected was my aunt Enie, who is a teacher and an amazing one at that, and I wanted to inspire people like she had always inspired me. I mean this woman travels the world over, teaches kids who are often times going through a form of hell none of us could ever understand, and she still has the energy and dedication to care for her family in ways that other people with less trying careers claim they’re too tired to do. Three, I wanted to learn everything I could about the world.

Now as an adult, I realize that, as noble as that is, sometimes I really don’t want to learn more about the world, what with all the killing and everything. Then I remember that if I hadn’t explored other cultures in any way, I wouldn’t know about anime, sushi, Buddhism, the British Victorian era, Steampunk, comic books, etc. In essence, all of the nerding out I do is related to that one experience.

I also know, after many years of struggling in Mathematics, that I have Dyscalculia. Part of me sometimes resents that the education system let that slip through the cracks and that I entered every college math class with dread. Exam times were excruciating because of my anxiety but having a learning disability put more emphasis on the struggle. For that reason alone, I almost feel inclined to be as open as I am about my disability, even in situations where I could actually get a job. But what’s a job if in 3 months they figure out I’m not capable of doing it because I was dishonest about the disability? I’ve had to let great opportunities slip through my fingers because the requirements they needed met were out of my control. I could do everything except large scale accounting. However, having my parents support that curiosity I had as a kid was paramount to my being able to function at all today. For someone who is passionate about contributing back to society, if I hadn’t of had that discipline and that nurturing, I could have easily lost to my troubles in learning Math.

So as someone who was once a kid, I can say this much: Parents, do your best to encourage your kids but don’t allow that encouragement to restrict how you discipline them. It doesn’t all have to be “Don’t wound his/her self-esteem.” or beatings. There IS a middle ground. Strip away all of the unnecessary and allow them to grow within the boundaries you set. If they fail a few classes, don’t convince yourself that grounding them will only make them hate the classes even more and make you into an enemy. That’s now how this works. Ground them, and within that grounding give them the tools to improve.

I can definitely say that I am grateful to my parents for having done it. I think your kids will also thank you (many years later. Sorry, instant gratification goes out the window when you have kids.). Either way at least you can be confident you’re heading in the right direction, right? I mean, I’m still kicking. That’s gotta be saying something.