Someone Once Told Me

Someone Once Told Me…

“If you go back to waiting tables at a certain age, you never come back.”

“Going to school is for people who have important dreams, not people like us.”

“If you go to school, the most important aspects of your child’s life could slip through your fingers, moments you can never get back.”

“Going to school is the stupidest idea to earning an education.”

“If you do not go to school, you will become a second rate photographer, another one of million amateurs who lowers rates for the higher paid non ignorant working professionals.”

“If you go to school, you will be in so much debt that it is illogical and frivolous, an idea built on an illusion that you could possibly make any money freelancing.”

“If you quit waiting tables while in school for gas and food to assist for a new friend, you are walking on a tight rope of financial irresponsibility.”

“If you go to school and continue not sleeping, you will go crazy and possibly are bipolar as it is.”

“You can not get a job without learning how to be a cord bitch first, and you, can never efficiently handle wires or cords.”

“Mommy, if you fail school, I will not be sad because I will see you more.”

“The only thing I regret about The Circus was not quitting sooner.”

“You can not pass first quarter without a light meter, a failing computer, a color checker, or a tripod. This computer is absolutely unacceptable.”

“In 100% pie chart, only one percent will make it after going 40,000 dollars in debt, an impossible equation to overcome no matter how good you are at hustling. That will never pay the bills.”

“You may be terrible at Photoshop, but I must say, you write great emails.”

SOMEONE ONCE TOLD ME….

“Go with your gut, because it is always right.”

“I believe in you.”

“I don’t know how you create the things you do, but when you say it is going to happen, I get the joy of sitting back and watching it unfold.”

“You should be charged more, yes you, the first quarter student with no technical skills.”

“Do not walk behind me and carry equipment. Take this Canon 5D and put it on your neck. You are the only one not believing you are a professional.”

“You will be the last one standing, no matter what anyone else thinks. I have seen you prove it again and again.”

“Only one in a million are made like you. No one can say what to do but you.”

“Here are the keys to your car we had fixed. I may not be getting out of Chilis, but I’ll be damned if you don’t for me.”

“You, the students, are responsible for your own education.”

and my favorite, “Mommy, no matter what happens, don’t cry. I love you just the same..”

And so, my dear readers, after one quarter, you have read and supported this journey of my one broken tripod, my longing for home, my tears from the endless nightmares of problem solving, all of you along the way supporting and cheering me, have awakened with me, coffee in my hand, tears on my keystrokes.

Feel the weight of your love.

It has taken all that I am, has not been easy, and almost cost everything, and is nowhere near over, but the statement in the school auditorium that brought me chills then, still has taught me the most invaluable lesson of my life.

“Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

And I’m tired of being perfect at failing, so tired, my dearest friends, and so I must learn that failing was never my problem, but success was always the excruciating dream crushing my existence, asking me if I was worth it, what I valued in order to obtain it, who would I need approval from and why to claim it? It has been here all along, knocking, whispering, asking, and today, I finally cry out, is finally for me to seize it.

I have been offered a nice salary, way above what I am qualified, being paid by check now, have a budget I almost choked at the dollar amount, a number my imagination didn’t quite know existed, my checking account is at 12 bucks. I have a respected opinion into how this budget is managed as far as business, marketing, clients, and goals. I “get” to be in charge of learning lighting, with brand new equipment to play with at my disposal, have the Canon 5D, workshops fully paid and booked in the areas of growth I need including Photoshop, Marketing, and Lighting.
I am working for and with a professional who has asked me to share her vision, her dream, believes in the magic of my own marketing, my loyalty, my passion, aware the skills to photograph are coming along much faster than what I am aware of.

It was I who made the decision to quit school, and in that moment I looked at her and said, “It’s time. We don’t belong here.”
She did not hesitate, but went to the car, handed me my job requirements, our vision statement, the goals we had been discussing for hours while supposed to be doing homework. She had known all along, that Thelma, all along, and had waited for me to see it for myself, that I was worth it, deserved it, owned it. But, she, my new partner not just in crime, but business, had always seen what I was too afraid to.
Here I had been, worried about a tripod.

This one is for you, Thelma, the song you thought of me for, the one that played the day I changed my own mind, the day we made a commitment to not just business or each other, but to ourselves, a cohesive force of two creatives with fearless drive and ambition.
I dare anyone to say you can’t.
I will die fighting for what we build, who we hire, how we create, and nobody is worth the bumps, falls, failures, and defeats along the way more than you. No one has supported or pushed or believed in me without a doubt, with such fierce loyalty and surmountable support and non attachment to the outcome like yourself.
I thought it would be a man, but I was wrong.
I have finally met my equal.
And that has made it all worth it.

Lose the Keys and Follow Your Dreams

My heart is full with gratitude to be sitting here, coffee in hand, with my blog and you, my strange friends out in the universe. I have missed writing and have felt the pain of not expressing my ups and downs daily, a balance that always grounds and restores me. I am excited the next three weeks to return to my writing, the blogs of bondage shoots, people, laughter and experiences bursting to be expressed.

I have been living like a hurricane building slowly on the horizon, a dangerous and destructive omen to most, a storm unyielding and unpredictable, my presence unbearably feared by my mother, who has been worried about my health and lack of sleep. I have 26 unheard messages I think, my phone is MIA at this very moment. I missed the annual tree decorating this year with my girls. I whisper I love you to all of you during the day, when a text comes through, a thought pops up, a song is playing, when my heart drops at your status on face book I had again missed, and then in the early morning when my return reply had been replaced by drool on the side of my face, the awareness I went to bed fully clothed again.

I don’t know if the echoes of my whispers find their way, but I just hope, sometimes cry, my tears falling from either trust or doubt.
I certainly have not known the difference, especially at first.
I once thought you should have a key to having it all, and so I looked for the key tirelessly, mostly through my love of all things spiritual, self help books, failed relationships, lots and lots of questions to all kinds of people. I am passionate I can have it all, and my treasure has been an endless search for the perfect key that will bring the energy available to my work and family, friends, independence, and even love.

I have been looking for keys my whole life.

People who know me would laugh because it is so true, my keys are always lost, locked in or out of my car, stuck in 14 foot drains when it is raining, and I feel bad for people who love me for this reason. I could be in a New Jersey Hotel, a cemetery shoot, or in the driveway crying, but it never fails the best friends I have are most likely cursing me in the bushes. Divorcee, who has a gift I might add, knows to always look in the most illogical place possible, which is actual logic, and sometimes, like the bushes, or the fridge, there they are, a white light illuminating them in my eyes, my face overjoyed, his head shaking.

Triple A is probably what I should be asking for Christmas.

I lose but also collect keys, uncertain why, many of them are rustic and beautiful, some are prison keys, concrete and heavy. I love keys, in all shapes and sizes and the best of them tell a story, represent bondage and freedom, wisdom, and love.

Haven’t you overheard the phrase he holds the key to my heart? I used to wonder if that could be true.
Can people hold keys to your heart and is it possible just anyone could have the key and open and shut your heart as pleased?

If keys could represent love and dreams, no wonder I have been collecting them, wanting desperately to unlock all my heart’s desires, the search endless.

No wonder I can’t find one to complete me, so I collect them and have found some of the best in garage sales and nice antique shops, the perfect key makes me smile, especially if it makes you pause and stare, is worn and authentic, waiting to unlock something fabulous.

Strangely today, if the key to solving my disappearance were in my hand, the key to a workable loving relationship with a man, being fully present with my kids, my mother’s fear vanishing, the only key to turning off my brain racing with anxiety and excitement were in my hand, I would not even think twice.

I would toss it right out the window, without even hesitation, unless I was aware of a pedestrian, or maybe to turn up the volume in my car, my laughter and tears of the day falling, which they do fall every day, but rather they come from joy or pain I can’t ever seem to know.

I have become alive and I am never going back.

Becoming alive has been a fearless and painful process because I don’t think I understood it fully till now.

I think about the word “SHOULD” in my life and all that have brought me to you today, my heart beating in that loud beautiful way, the way one’s heart must beat while alive. I recognize it because it is new to me, a bold unfamiliar pattern I am strangely adapting to understand.

You SHOULD lose your best friends because that is what your husband wants.

You SHOULD be a good stay at home mom because that is what your mother did best.

You SHOULD not write about the things your family feels so much pain over.

You SHOULD accept years of unhappiness in a marriage because you brought kids here.

YOU SHOULD NOT BE SELFISH.

YOU SHOULD GIVE YOUR WHOLE SELF, NO MATTER THE COST, BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT LOVE MEANS.

And so I did, worked tirelessly to make all the demands I believed should make life matter, and I regret nothing, seeing those decisions found me here today along with a lot of healing, beautiful children and relationships stamped by the word “FOREVER.”

But those things did not make me come alive.
It hurt actually.

It made getting up a hard thing to do, my arms like weights being lifted just to hit the alarm, the voices of doubt pushed so that I had like a robot, repeated these unfamiliar dreams into a pattern now familiar, dreams I thought I had to want o be my own.

“Life is not easy,” and “Look at the good things” and “You could be worse and have been” are mostly the ways in which I convinced my dream to be a good one.

Dreaming is scary for Robots.
Robots are careful not to see too much hope. They know despair soon follows.
Robots are careful not to see too much destruction. They know destruction costs you everything. That is why they do everything the same way, but they are wired incorrectly. They are still living in fear every day, but it okay as long as they are unaware of why or have a creator they blame for the damaged circuiting.

Robots sense fear and loss and despair and so they pretend the life they have is the one they ordered, unchangeable, and for whatever reason, dreams do not get a receipt. You accept the damaged lost dreams and you go on.
Or they can also pitch a fit, blame everyone behind the counter, stomp through life angry and unmovable, completely convinced the people in standing distance must all be punished. Robots don’t even ask about the exchange policy.

It seems strange now I did not question either whether dreams never expire, or believe you can change your mind or even ask for a new dream, uncertain if it even exits, or how much it costs.

Being a Robot has cost me a lot in my life, but I did not know it.
I was just a Robot.
Being alive has hurt, cost me relationships I value, and I tremble at the future, aware it may hold even greater destruction than I know how to handle. I fear not only believing in the dream and losing it, but the reality of losing the ones I love in the process.
It has been hard for me to realize Robots say the right things, the cliche of “FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS,” wanting you to follow your dreams and when you do, what they actually meant all along was,
“Follow your dreams if I am a part of it.”

“Follow your dreams but don’t come to me for help.”

“Follow your dreams if it is the one I think is best for you.”

“Follow your dreams but need me and don’t go far.”

“Follow your dreams but I am pretty certain you will fail and if you don’t, I wont like myself around you.”

Robots don’t want to feel less and it makes them afraid when you decide to do the very thing they desire.
All Robots want to be set free.
So when you set yourself free, it makes them aware that they have not, and suddenly, they do not like you.
And yet, I can’t go back.

I have this funny wonderful feeling that the dreams I had before were all programmed Robot dreams, my life an evolving door of pain and suffering, having been programmed by fear, fully dressed in Robot gear.
I am not sure yet but I wonder if dreams don’t actually cost you.

Maybe that is a robot invasion programming device convincing me I am unworthy.

I wonder if all I have to do is look up.

The dreams may just start falling straight from the sky.

Dreaming

To know someone deeply is to know what their dreams are made of.

I have been thinking a lot about dreams, yours and mine, the ones I have carried my entire life, tucked securely away in the pockets of my heart.

We don’t know if we can endure the pain, fear, doubt, and failure, but we learn to persevere, to hope, to climb.

It is the best part of being alive to see our dreams come into existence, to have that baby placed in our arms, to find the partner you dared hope for, to have that diploma, that business, to be the reason a child reads his first book.

I remember being a young thing in Charleston, the place I love with all my being, riding in the car with the man who would soon be my husband. We were driving over the Folly Connector, the windows down, my feet out the window, his hand on my knee.

The sunset was more beautiful than usual, leaving us to our thoughts, and he looked into the rear view mirror, back at me and smiled.

Soon you are going to be my wife. Can you believe it?” I took a deep breath from excitement.

“And one day,” he said, “we will be on this same bridge, but we are going to look back and see not just one car seat, but two.

He said it more like a fact and although it was a concept I couldn’t conceive of at the time, I nodded happily, placing my head softly on his shoulder.

And so here, with this thought, began the birth of our dream.

The birth of that dream brought two beautiful girls, friendship, family, pain, joy, death, love, destruction, and transformation. It was our dream, and God did we fight for it, both of us stubborn and neither willing to admit defeat, not to something we wanted and created in the first place.

We didn’t know yet how to let go so instead, there was kicking, screaming, fighting, crying, pleading, avoiding, and ultimately, leaving.

I realize now I was almost willing to die in order to keep a dream alive.

I am learning to dream again and I feel a lot like a lost little child trying to find her way home. It is a painful beautiful process to know myself deeply.

For all the dreams I have lost, I want to tell them they were beautiful, that they mattered, that they made me the woman I am today. I have new dreams to make, some bursting at the seams, others just forming thoughts or questions in my mind.

I want to tell all my new dreams that I need courage, perseverance, and a lot of hope. I am done dusting away the old, and in my heart, on top of a lot of tears and finally a smile, have placed one big welcome mat.