Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Sunday, May 31, 2015

My Project - 1 year on, what happens now?

You know I was talking yesterday about our digital legacy and Timehop ect, well just lately my Timehop has been filled with the images and adventures I had when I embarked on the project a year ago and every day I dread opening the app as I suppose I had kind of shut it out, I've spoken about it privately with various friends and I have blogged about it in amongst other subjects but as the one year anniversary approaches with the project stagnant at city number 24 I thought it was time to publicly state where I am with this all.  This week marks 9 months since my husband walked out of our marriage as we knew it and a month later Abigail went to live with him, I don't really talk much about it now in public because we just kind of get on with it but I can tell you that there are things we have been through in the last 9 months that I didn't ever imagine I would have to endure again.  The hardest thing has been going from a 2 income family to a 1 income family, single parenting changes everything, how you live, how you work, your whole life entire becomes something other than that which you knew.  I hadn't for a moment thought when I embarked upon the project that Paul and I would separate, it was my worst nightmare, it still actually is, I still to this very day love him with all of my heart.

I'm not someone who likes to let people down and I'm also not someone who likes to leave things unfinished and I have had many sleepless nights trying to think how I could go forward to the future and finish the project but at this point it's not even vaguely possible, I don't have the income, the business infrastructure or the family support I would need.  I was so used to coming and going as I pleased, I knew that if I wasn't around Paul would be there to tend to the kids and it had always been the same the other way around but you can't just do that as a single parent, I'm not questioning Paul's parental skills, he's a great dad to Looby but Looby has needed me so badly over the last 9 months that my whole life has revolved around her pretty much, and Iain, who has no other family in the whole world apart from me (he tells me this and it makes me so sad, he's said even at the age of 18 all he would really love is a proper dad) still needs me to be there.

When Paul left I tried to maintain my business but my head and my heart weren't in it and something must have gone amiss because in January I saw a huge decline and by March I was living on  batches of cous cous being unable to pay even the most basic of bills.  I haven't had a public mental breakdown, perhaps because I'm too stubborn to fall apart although there've been times when I've certainly been on the edge but luckily every single time I've fought on even further for the sake of the kids and I.

To this day I am now regaining control of my business and have fallen in love with it again, not just portraits but also weddings, something I had previously decided to give up but now I continue onwards for perhaps another 10 years.  It's still very early days where that is concerned though as mostly you're always booking a year or two in advance so whilst we're pretty much out of the woods and I'm being able to invest in my business again we're not exactly ready for a tropical beach holiday. 

I want to say today that I have not given up on the project, one day I intend to finish it, I'm just about to start selling quite possibly the largest collection of life stuff that I have built up over the last few years,  Once I have a large savings pot then I can take the time off to go travelling with Looby and Holly and via air bnb I think it's quite possible that I can finish the project one day.  I think it's about being able to take chunks of time out of my diary and then renting a house for a few days in the south whilst I tackle those cities.

I've questioned myself so much over this, I've had one or two unpleasant emails which have shaken me up, I would not have gone into this if I didn't think I could finish it, I have hated myself for not being able to deliver when I thought I could and I constantly beat myself up that I have let people down.  My business investors continue to be present in my mind and on my blog and they'll remain forever because it's the least I can do.  I'll never ask anyone for any help ever again although I still hold out hope that one day a publisher will think it's a brilliant idea for a book and help me to complete it, obviously even then it would be with Looby and Holly at my side and never being away for so long that Iain feels alone, he often says if I'm away for too long it drives him crazy because he doesn't see other people, he goes out once a week to his friends and he goes to college 3 days a week although he's just about done until September now.

I wish I could go back to the beginning knowing the things I know now, for one thing I didn't even scratch the surface of the cost of the project, I invested every single penny of savings I had and my accounts for last year are going to be so awful that it's probably better to laugh about them than cry. One thing I do know is that I absolutely underestimated just how much the breakdown of a marriage can affect you when you have a business or if you think you are financially independent even within a relationship try taking one half of that away, it's beyond all reasoning and some things I still don't understand.

So thank you if you have stuck around with me, continue to support me with friendship and love and to those who doubt me, hate me or feel let down I truly am sorry, take comfort in knowing no one feels more like that than I do.  This blog has been coming for some time, I hope you'll excuse any typos or bad grammar but I had to just get myself into a space and write it straight off so that I wrote exactly what was on my mind, it's really the best way sometimes.

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