Taxing trials and after-quakes

This week has been a head-spinner. It’s been a week where I’ve had to remind myself the golden lesson that cancer has the instant ability to teach: just lay off the stress, girl.  Relax, sister. Of course it took me a while to remember this valuable lesson, since I was head-deep in my ‘what the frack’ mode .  . . but practise makes perfect, and eventually I gave up my load. You know what that’s like? Sometimes stepping away from a problem feels like an impossible option . . .  so then how do you make the impossible possible?

Chantal and me at the LGFB shoot.

In the meanwhile, great things have been happening. Over the past couple weeks I’ve had a photo shooting adventure, finished my eighth out of nine stories for my lovely creative project, blogged for this great start-up company (and wrote the posts well, if I can say so myself), and largely became used to being alone. In fact, I started relishing my walks to the cafe. Alone Catherine is a productive Catherine. (Though I still miss my man!)


Then I tried to do my taxes, again, and my head spun off into the atmosphere. You see, last year I earned a modest amount of freelancing income. Yay! But at the same time . . . how the heck do I prepare my taxes as a ‘small business –other’?  Apart from the wonderful discovery that expenses equal deductions (cue me combing my past visa bill and sourcing receipts online. Oh my goodness, did I really spend that much on my writing . . .yes, apparently I did), this tax season has my brain sizzling with anxiety.

Zsolt and I were in disagreement over getting an accountant. He wanted to save the money, I wanted to save the headache – but when push came to shove, and my meltdown alarms were ringing with the complications of my situation, we found ourselves a compromise (with the guidance of my parents, and considering the money saved from all those expenses I dug up). I guess we all move beyond times when we cannot find solutions, it’s just that limbo between problem and answer that gets me all stressed and stupid.


But you know what? Even after agreeing on a compromise, the stress was still resonating through me! Like after-effects of an earthquake – my mental health was having after quakes: nerves and emotions totally unstable.

Which is when I remembered the blog post I’d written not so long ago, and thought, “yes, what a good idea,” and decided to do something to counteract that stress. Basically, I returned not to my writing (though this is lovely) and not to my conversations, but opened my Bonusprint program and began picking through pictures of our Greece vacation, making a photo book for the company to print.

Ah, the loveliness of creativity coupled with happy memories. And as I indulged in something that made me feel good – a creative project that had nothing to do with taxes, work, or obligation (and yet wasn’t television, cause while that’s entertaining it doesn’t change my mood) I began to feel more and more like myself.

I have a two-for-one deal with the Bonusprint people, so today I’m going to make a second photo book: the summer of 2011. It was a pretty freaking glorious summer, even if the winter involved a lot of catching up . . . and so why not? Right?

Sometimes when you’ve dipped your head in the pool of stress, and even after you’ve  pulled back out and found a solution  to the problem . . . sometimes you still need to recover yourself. Heck, we all know about that! Anyone facing any kind of challenge has had to nurse the after-effects.

So there you go, photo-booking and it feels soooo good.

P.S. The above beautiful photo was shared by Jason Kang on Totem Brand Stories‘ facebook wall, and was snapped by the talented Donna Griffith at last week’s Lives Affected by Cancer shoot. This was before the return of winter, where Chantal and I look optomistic in our spring dresses!