Choices

I left Divorcee years and years ago, a young mother, barely able to understand herself much less the vows she took. I stayed and so did he, neither of us able to look at our life and imagine a day without our girls in it. We settled and didn’t even question the distance, the cold empty space between, the void, the growing ball of self hatred, the elephant I¬†pretended not to watch just stomped me instead, over and over again.

In the leaving, I saw two girls so heartbroken over their daddy, I could die from just the memory of it, a stain so drenched in shame of their innocence, the smell of their blood on my hands could make me vomit in their presence.

I knew I had made choices that defined my life early, choices that led me to stay home, daddy coming home to the bills and a mortgage, my shirts drenched in breast milk and baby vomit paid my homage, a role I believed I had to endure. The truth is I loathed him for his freedom, the flippant way he hated his job, my thought of working and providing made my heart flutter like air. My very shame in wanting to work was the bondage he could never seem to make peace with.

And so, with my father vanishing, Divorcee’s tears and heart gripping hugs to them, I couldn’t take it anymore. They didn’t ask for this pain nor did they ask to come into the world to a young mom shocked and horrified at her own unconscious life, a life I couldn’t remember choosing, the constant look of longing and questions, their little hearts longing for the Daddy I knew loved them. And so, he moved in to take over, paid the bills, fed and clothed us, my mother and brother roommates as we all passed by, the girls in the circle, a circle I depended on for refuge.

And so they have soared, my little angels, healing and growing, Kat’s reading conquered, Lola’s first day at Kindergarten a blow we took together, friends and mostly a team, Divorcee and I. I told myself the room I had was worth it, the tiny little room with a mattress I did not own, a side table and lamp borrowed, my home long gone, all the “stuff” we collected together a vague memory of what was. It was worth it, the pain easing over time, the work of forgiveness and healing showed up like little lights in their eyes.

Only he knows what this cost, the harsh criticism, the judgments and assumptions, the weird looks, and strange distance of potential relationships, a blow I took for not having known my worth or passion. This new roommate role I settled into felt more comfy, like my favorite converse shoes, and was a better trade, so I took off their pain and wore shoes that said more lost than comfy, a bewildered zombie of a woman I did not know ran and ran, watching them grow from a different angle, but it was all just the same.

Again I was outside a life I did not want.

And like all things, courage came, the death of a dream in another form, the understanding that I wanted to live in a home I owned, with little towels that smelt like me, sheets I paid for, a bathroom I could visit without a turtleneck and deadbolt, which is pretty much how I feel every time I sneak to the community shower, never knowing if Divorcee or Baby Bro will have beaten me first.

I am an artist and nothing here is owned or decorated by me, strange glass vases and foreign colors make me weary and depression came down like a whip lash, my girls laughter in the back yard was nothing less than the cost of myself, my eyes vacant and hollow, joy a feeling I had lost long ago.

Until now. I found me. I found my joy, the passion for a work I could only dream to want much less own, and truly the shock and gratitude comes and goes like a slap, the pain and longing for my babies just as strong, my inner pull to do what I love.

The truth is I did not choose this job but it has instead chosen me, my body and soul a channel for the demand to create, no matter the cost.

I have not eaten from having spent my quarters, prayed as I shake from the gas tank on empty, not even able to buy the birthday presents much less the big party, I watch in sick envy as Divorcee clumsily picks the Halloween costume, nails the Christmas list, works tirelessly as a single Dad while I come home deathly afraid I have missed it, and the fear is not an illusion, but a truth, because I always miss something, every story or lesson plan or book read is a shock to my system, and I watch Lola miss me in her baby love, Kat shrug away in her silent anger, no longer a hero at her ripe age of 9.

And has it cost me. God, it has cost me everything. I eat, breathe, sleep, think work and art, my own presence vanishing off the map, my little girls holding my legs and crying for me not to leave, the hours have been brutal to them, and so I have promised them.

I have promised a girl house, with girl stuff, where girls where panties and dance and laugh, and this house has been the taste of freedom I seal the wound each night I miss the bath, the reading, the stories off the bus.

So, I have this passion, this creative talent and unheard of passion and drive, but for what?
You never get Mrs. Smith’s second grade concert back.

Kat has struggled the most, her needing me screams like a cat caught on fire, my heart screaming no as she turns her back to me, my sixteen hour day has nothing but “YOU LEFT ME” written, a pain I cope by working harder, certain the dream and the house and the ability to own a bank account certainly will make it all worth it.

Perhaps I will fail, miss every moment for a poor substitute, a dream is a waste for many or all of us would pursue ours.
I don’t blame them. I sometimes hate my own.

I tell them about Disneyworld and the house of girls and i see myself disappear in their eyes, and only God knows how I don’t just bury my soul in the grief, the guilt, the belief it has to be worth it and so I push, and push.

I can’t decide if living with them poor and broke when they are on their own paths, a cord they can never untie for needing to carry my weight is the destiny I am avoiding or if the truth of my mission will one day reveal itself to me, all these broken promises made good, a pride for my work and courage renewed by our love.

Until then, I sit in a room written with words of affirmation, words written to convince me I could do this and be happy, dependent on a man that never wanted me, who is releasing my title, living my dream, the one I have to go make space for while he is brushing their hair and hearing their stories, and I feel like a ghost, my life playing through a window pane, but he is in it while I am chasing it.

I sobbed and sobbed with Kat tonight, a breaking I had to have, my forgiveness I beg, my title of mother not worthy of such a precious little girl, and she is going to let me hold her tonight, a rare thing for her growing pride, to watch a movie in my teeny room, and yes, no closet door for extra storage space, my mission to make a magical sleepover in this once fearfully loved home, a space I never occupied but pretended to love.

The truth is, no space or dream can take her away, for without her I am nothing, and so I silently weep, a grief I know must be shared by millions of women all over the world. But right now, I hear nothing but the shallow ache of a hollow heart, wondering if any dream or art could give me back her, all the days, not just the moments, and I can not hear my own voice, the echos of these women I assume know answer not, and I sit in the breath of my choices.

I sit in the weight of my dreams.

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.

“Thelma and Louise, but in the Buff”

What happens when you and the girl you mutually do not like get paired up for studio lighting?

One of you is bound to get naked.

When I heard the announcement that we were partners, I groaned, my stomach tight and uneasy. I had many judgments, ruthlessly believed I was nothing like her, had talked about her behind her back which she called me out on. I was pissed I had not said it to her face to begin with, putting that lesson in my back pocket which I hope to never relive again, mad I had not said the words to her face from the very beginning.

The worse thing about gossip is that the thing you wanted to say translates to nothing you said therefore what you really wanted to say never gets heard.

Gossip sucks.

I didn’t blame her for not liking me either, content to leave it there, and so of course, an intense portrait and lighting class where concepts and meetings, hours of styling and modeling for each other takes course, our photographs depending on our partner’s collaboration.

I was screwed.

I thought about how I was going to handle this partnership, my photography and work a fierce passion for me, and I knew it was my work or my ego that was going to suffer, or perhaps both, and so, I decided I had to package and sell the worst product ever.

I had to figure out how to make this girl tolerate me.

We met at a Starbucks, both noticeably on guard while I pitched her the idea of taking all the judgments we had of the other and making fun of them through our photographs. I thought she would be defensive and disagreeable, but she laughed, surprised me by jumping right in, our love to photograph suddenly started wearing down our defenses, and after many hours, I found myself surprisingly adoring this girl I had thought uptight, crazy defensive, and incapable of being actually real.

Second huge lesson to put in pocket is to never judge, not just because you may be their actual model for a shoot critiqued by everyone in class, but because most likely you will find you are always without a doubt, 100% wrong. And so, I fell in love with her actually, not in the bi-hopeful way, but the really amazing way, an unfolding of trust that happens when a person decides you are worthy of it.

She was nothing like I had imagined, fearless and fun in a feisty determined way, not to mention a far better photographer, an actual working one, with nice equipment and years of experience already on her belt.

I had not thought her an artist until she began pushing me as hard and harder when I pushed her, a broad slap to my confidence, asking me to require myself of exactly what I had once accused her of not being.

She wanted me to get real.

As a lover of fashion photography, she wanted me out of my converse sneeks and jeans, my comfort zone peeling away with a sick vomit feeling replacing it. I hate being photographed.

No, seriously. I really really hate it.

And so, she argued, she hated it too, and if I were making her be a trophy wife, raw and revealing in low light and maybe smoking to make fun of her uptight attitude I had once imagined, she wanted me to be sexy.

She picked out my wardrobe, dove face first into the shot gun wedding bride I had imagined in my mind, her passion for my photos just as important to her as her own. We talked and laughed a lot, argued even, and I suddenly couldn’t remember what in the hell I ever disliked to begin with, remembering only when she opened her mouth in class, like the time she discussed all the books our teacher had written in class.

I wanted to smack her and here I was drinking in her passionate energy, and at three in the morning in her basement, had a tight dress, a make up artist, and before I knew it, was cold and naked in a coat waiting for her to decide what to dress me in next, our idea as a logical IT guy would be a certain irony.
I know when she gets an idea in her head, the way her head tilts, her eyes sparkle, the fast way she moves and directs, crazy to get the idea out of her. Now I also know the next time her eyes sparkle to run like hell.

“Don’t move,” she said. I was confused, thinking I was watching her grab her camera to actually shoot me, right at that moment, which I knew couldn’t be it. I looked over my shoulder.

“I said Don’t MOVE,” she barked, her eyes darted right through me.

“FUCK YOU,” I at least think that is what I said, but I will just wing it for the story since I do get a little grouchy at 4 in the morning, cold and tired, in heels with a fan on me. It had not yet hit me.

And then it hit me.

“YOU want me to look like this, for IT GUY? ARE YOU NUTS?”
She told me to look up at the wall and back at her in three.

“FUCK YOU.” I know I said it then, but actually laughing this time, because she was dead serious.

“Just shut up and do what I say, cause that is hot, and that is what I want.”
I give her props for not giving me time to bail, cry, or even think, and I realized she had just pulled off the impossible. I was modeling nude in a coat for an audience.

How did she get me to do that?

I realized I needed to shut my mouth more and watch what I think I can’t learn from. It also helped the basement studio has no mirrors, the inability to not see myself was vital, and so fuck it, I thought.
And so Thelma and Louise were born, her being Thelma she demanded, because of the obvious brown hair.

We worked tirelessly, and I learned more about photography in those early hours of listening to her direct me than any snapshot I called art. Anyone who can get me in front of a camera much less take off my clothes is someone I have a lot to learn from.
Well, that was my attitude until the day of class, the adrenaline and moment were over and I was now seeing the projector I had forgotten was as big as the coming back of Christ, my heart pounding, my head suddenly feeling slightly dizzy at the realization of what I might see.
I think I thought it was going to be the worst moment of my life, but it actually was interesting to hear myself critiqued in her photography by people I respect, the person in the photographs seemed distant and foreign, an actual vision of a painting or piece of art in front of me.
I didn’t really have a lot of thoughts about it.
We had key and low light, three different backgrounds, great concepts, and had learned a lot about each other, the best part of the assignment.
No, by walking away with each other, I say we nailed it.
I hate it that I can’t show off my work, but she is nothing like me, Thank God, and I would like for that not to change. Not everyone can be a perfect failure, an imperfect duality of having the highs no one can touch, the lows no one dares to imagine, the life everyone wants to visit, but not stay.
There is only one Miss Obvious.
I doubt I even need to point that out, which is an irony, of course, coming straight from the woman who owns the name.





Junk in the Trunk

Auntie Sage once said something to me that she has no idea how it has carried me. She is not a fluffy person, nor does she throw compliments away which is why when you receive one, it lands with a bulk of weight tied to it.

Clyde and Divorcee are both like that, my own compliments are far more like Lola.

I once heard her make a woman gasp when she said she had lovely eye lashes.
I think I congratulate every one in sight I see who has a pretty scarf or a tired look, the thought that I should keep my sparkly thoughts to myself come after I am stuck in a two hour conversation with a stranger, a fact that is either painful or wonderful. It is the best and worst of me.

Anyway, Auntie Sage said she could see clearly in front of me a day I was photographing and writing, living and being, and no one on earth would believe where I had come from, the life lessons that I have overcome.

I would love to believe that is true, and so here I am, not eating Chick fil A to save on gas, opting for crackers out of the vending machine, my stomach eating itself, my heart grateful to have made it the week with two bucks to spare.

I can not complain for I am sitting in my dream, no longer looking at it, but touching it, living it, seeing it form around me, enormous bold bright miraculous shapes of love healing and strengthening me.

I sit in the parking lot of this school and weep sometimes, not sure how I will pay for a color checker passport or light meter or if I will have the money to get contacts, but I know the anxiety will not kill me, or so I hope.

If it does, I went out in flames, so burn me to a crisp, put me in little jars to spread around like party favors, go find a great live band, and let’s have a huge party.
Until then, I will hold on to my dream, to Auntie’s words, to the day I will walk onto a shoot, equipment my own and paid for, art directors that respect and love me, my children waiting at our own house that Divorcee is waiting to drop them off for me.

I will have fluffy pillows, hard wood floors, windows that sun beams through during the morning. I will not even remember the days of being on the side of 285, exhausted, weeping, broken, texting strangers to get me to class.

I will pick out my favorite pair of boots out of many to choose, make art and meet people, laugh a lot, and when someone asks me about the story of life upon meeting, I will smile, say I am blessed, that with God and love, all things are possible.

And I will remember today, as I cry on my bed, my glasses being switched around with my last pair of contacts, my hair streaked whitish orange from a CVS hair dye, the heartbreak I feel over missing my children to go close down a restaurant, the weight of it all I will remember.

It will break me open, humble me, and my soul will shout in just living that anything is possible, that as deep as one can feel pain, one can also feel joy. I choose joy.
I love Junkyards, always have, even as a little girl, I would come home with things people had thrown away, crafting projects and tree houses, believing you can make anything beautiful if you see it differently.

I have been thrown away myself, tossed with mighty force as well as happily owned, captured and treasured for all the right and wrong reasons.

Despite it all, I have never been anything else.
Junk lets other people’s ideas of them believe they are worthy.
Art is already worthy and that is why it stands apart from all the other shitty pieces of creation.
It laces up its shoes, chooses joy when people are pissed the chips are soggy, believes in faith because miracles have paves its way, and doesn’t way to be discovered.
It is already found.



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The Creative Circus, a School for Photography

In all my years of schooling, all the years of rushing to turn in college papers, to solve basic Algebra problems, discuss Philosophy and sit through countless boring lectures, it took till this week at this school to solve the basic riddle of the Universe.
All of our genius forefathers did not know shit if they could not make perfect white lines appear on glass edges in photographs. You can have the high end equipment, have taken great photos for years traveling all over the world for years, but the real genius can take an incredible photograph of a spoon.

That shit is not easy.

I think I am prouder of surviving this week than I am over 3 1/2 years of college, maybe because I don’t remember them, or maybe because I saw a grown married man cry by a teacher who can prove Photoshop is incorrect in its percentages of what a Raw image file can contain, that JPEG is for pussies, and I shake now when burning dvds, a trauma now I may never recover seeing as my Macbook can not burn a flippin dvd, for God’s sake.

I have managed to create a new disorder.

DBF. DVD BURNING FAILURE is a disorder I now recognize by blood rushing to my head, rooms starting to spin in slow motion, people’s mouths opening and closing while I feel a deep hand around my throat choking, blood pounding to strange beats any time I hear the sound of any cd or dvd being ejected, even away from school.

I think I may have to start listening to mix tapes from the 80s until I recover.

Yes, besides the disorder, the fact I haven’t slept in days and have complete memory loss have been worth the shitty photos I have taken, the zillion lessons they have brought me.
I also have learned that showing up unannounced to do work alone will put you in the company of hot art directors and copywriters, and so, on top of the shitty photographs, I at least was invited to drink off the pain.

I saw a guy dressed with a scarf and jacket, a rare thing in an art school, gazing up at the sky. He looked like he was memorizing data, mouthing words, his face breaking into confusion, his other hand oddly holding a pen, his body in between these moments would crumple, his head in between his arms.

It was a pattern, and yes, I saw it clearly in five minutes.

“What’s up?’ I asked over the rim of my DVD failing Mac, wondering if he were gay, which when you meet a hot man with a pen in his hand and a lovely scarf, women know to guard their hearts immediately.

“I am obsessed with words.”
Snap. That is the come on line of all time for a girl like me, and so here I was, talking to a copywriter, which I had been wanting to get in their heads, always wondering if my personal ridiculous tales could translate into the advertising world.

I had thought the answer to that would be “NO WAY IN HELL.”
He said he had an ad campaign, that he had to convince with 3 statements how to convince people to START smoking, and so he also had a blog as well, but his was about ridiculous pointless dorky thoughts.
I find late night break rooms to be my favorite place, people hurdled around discussing book bags for children from the village assignment, the ones that will free the child in the tribe to do more homework.

The people all have different backgrounds and ethnicity, even there dogs, yes, dogs are allowed, as long as they look like they just dropped acid. Creatives are the best. And so, here I brain storm with a man asking me about his kid in the jungle, if he could possibly use netting, while he helped me find Barbie sized adult beverages.

My concept of taking Barbie and making her bad ass, turning the good girl image around has gone a little far with the help of art directors, walking by and laughing, turning around to tell me to get needles, coke, rolled up dollar bills, smeared make up.

“Oh, and DEFINITELY get teeny tobasco bottles from Hobby Lobby,” a guy said, barely stopping but rolling past me as I smashed glass to look like barbie had fallen from a chandelier while partying.

Nothing hesitates these people when you need Barbie porn ideas, which is why I belong there. The men of course had great ideas, like to put the video camera in, to tie her hands behind her back in the bath tub scene, since she was obviously into dominatrix, her tiny little pink slippers elegantly next to Kat’s barbie toys I stole.
And so it has been, one adventure after another, laughter in between meltdowns, teachers that inspire or terrify, and the basic promise to myself to just do what is next in line, that I will have an emotional break down if I think about next week.

And so, I shall go finish my homework, my blog missed dearly for its grounding emotional quality it brings, so let the heart pounding begin, which when you hear what I do for homework, it is freakin hilarious.

So far, the assignments for shutter speed and aperture have had me decorating cars and grocery carts, having people spin them or slowly tap them, while a guitar lighter I found that makes sound and lights up has been the silent weapon to help me understand aperture and night settings. I have laughed watching people shoot pumpkins, offer up hand made potato guns, and I have turned my girls into lamps, covering them in lights, asking them to put on ski uniforms to be shot in the tub, for the irony, I said with irritation, Kat not getting the concept.

But, all of this is bullshit, you guys, until I take the perfect spoon, and so, I guess that is when I will be able to break the rules. You have to know them to break them, the only inspiration to do that tedious frustrating lighting to begin with, proving to myself I finally have the right to do what I want fearlessly, instead of happy accidents occurring from time to time.

Until that day, I shall make Barbie porn, dump naked people and shoes into big tanks of water to understand the perfect way to shoot something frozen in action, a creative answer that fuels me like gasoline because this is what I love, and nothing says that like Creatives, up all night writing curse words with sparklers and glow sticks, hoping to capture them perfectly on camera.

A spoon genius.

Trippin Tripods

You know how Oprah does those “What do you know for sure?” columns and ads, her hair being blown by a fan while she gazes into the eyes of John Travolta, sighing with disbelief at her “AH HAH” moments. I had that happen, but with a tripod. It is a known fact that I have been asking, begging, inquiring about a freakin tripod, a tool every one of my classmates owns but me. My manager even told me to stop harassing my tables, my class laughing as I auctioned off ovaries, my quest began to take a perfectly exposed still life photo. I have watched with envy all the ways my friends twist, turn, swivel, mount, while I learned from the side, irritated. My first tripod came from a beloved bartender, a beautiful shiny gadget, almost as sturdy and cool as the bad ass ones at school. I held it up in victory and so we sat her up, opened up her legs, and shit damn, but yes, she was missing the screw to attach my camera.
Sigh.
My next attempt is a blog for another day, a man I was seduced by his claims to have the very thing I needed, his charm ended up with an epic story and an offering of what looked like an umbrella, but I was very grateful. I headed to class with accomplishment, even though it was a sad little thing, opened next to the giants of camera gear, making my best bud gut laugh. The thing was probably the skinniest tripod ever made, my teacher pulling me up to class for my turn to meter a gray card, its legs wobbled like it could snap like a twig, the whole class had their hands up to their mouths, and as it started to tip over from the weight of my camera, my professor stopped me. It made her too nervous. One person commented it was totally sketch, a sweet blond said duct tape helped everything, the IT boy of digital rubbed his chin seriously, advising me not to break my lens for what looked like a tripod used by families with hand held digital cameras on vacation.
And so, the shooting began, and now I was over it, done asking and begging, looking through others lenses, not sure why I could come up with everything impossible to be in a school without the basic tripod.
So, I did what any creatively obsessed artist without a palette would do.
I made my tripod into a duplicate of me, my feet barefoot without even thinking twice, my tube socks off, my quest for tape and glasses, my earrings and belt whipped off to do something while I waited for a tripod someone had put down without notice.
It was fun and I loved her, but she was not exactly still life potential. My studio professor is a dude who is nothing short of genius in his art but cool enough to have skateboards and fish tanks in his class, arms covered in black ink, which to me, is the very definition of sexy. He suggested I take her out of the studio and into the school, mostly design and copywriters around, all busy doing what they do, like copy stuff and shit, I guess. They are interesting with their big ink portfolios, all hovered around computers looking at font, discussing concepts and snapping fingers when a bright idea comes along.
I was just going to take her on a little adventure, maybe to the vending machine, the lighting obviously ridiculous and useless, but the concept of it just made me laugh.
The reactions were even more hilarious than I thought, especially because I didn’t think about what they would be, and so while I put her in position from place to place, people came by, stopped, stared, laughed, backed up and stared, and laughed some more.
Then she started making friends, people asking her to have a smoke, stopping to admire her legs or her belt, others walking by amused, or turning around like whiplash, asking for a photo op, all making me laugh harder than any concept I had imagined. Like the raccoon copywriter who acted like she was a real person, not waiting in line for the copy machine for her, without even a bit of hesitation, dry and smooth in wit. He was wearing a freaking raccoon hat, so what did he care, she hadn’t done anything to earn his respect.
When I realized half my class had wandered out of the studio and into the community fridge, setting up pranks and abandoning their photo projects, I realized I had picked the perfect shirt for her.
“Most Likely to Be Famous,” and she is a little feisty, talks a lot, and bothers people trying to get real work done. I decided I might want to bring her in on my tripod quest, certain if she got this much attention, a sign for a tripod might just accomplish that. And if it is not meant to be for me to own my own tripod in a professional photography career, at least I will have gotten some laughs, made some new friends, and got me thinking outside the box.
Like, when she is going to meet her first boyfriend.
Or what she should wear for Halloween.
Or how people would react if she were set up, me in the car with my photo lens, waiting for the reaction as she waits to pick up Kat and Lola at the bus stop.
I think we are going to get close, me and her, my ideas popping up non stop, a quest for adventure setting me on spin and dry, a series of shots lining up in my head.
Oprah doesn’t have shit on me, cause I may be duct taping a shady pole for a professional shoot, but I finally have someone who gets me, and I like her style.


The Flip, the Switch, and the Crazies.

My intention with this blog was for me to write about my demons, the censored parts of my life that I need to purge to feel healthy, without judgment.

I wanted to be fearless in my writing, to bring all the dark places within me to the light, to throw the f bomb around if needed, to journal my deepest wants and needs, to write about all the people who have blessed, cursed, hurt, contributed, and loved me on the journey.

I’m not so sure it was a good idea to publish it on facebook. And yet, I’m not so sure it isn’t. For one, the blog I wrote titled “The One Who Got Away.” actually ended up being read indeed by “The One Who Got Away.”

I used to call him Hurricane as one of his many nicknames.

He had so much energy and power and enthusiasm for life that it was like he couldn’t help but start electrical storms every where he went. And so, the blog was published on facebook, which he read, and he asked me to please come visit him and he would pay for the plane ticket. I think I am a little bit in shock over this.

What am I going to do? I have no freaking idea.

And of course, there are issues surrounding my father. I want to write about him because he is my ultimate teacher, the catalyst of all that I have learned through pain and destruction, forgiveness, and self awareness.

He has taught me what I am made of, how much I love, how secretly I hurt, how deeply I give. He has forever changed me for the better but in sharing those details, I fear that I will hurt or anger people I love by putting the ugly details of our family’s dirty laundry on public display. I am still working this out by constantly reminding myself to trust the process. I tell myself often to stop asking for the acceptance and validation from people outside of me, to live and speak my own truth and ultimately, to trust that my good intentions do actually matter.

Clyde isn’t even close to being ready for a committed relationship, and on most days I am good with this, enjoying being in the moment with him, our friendship still feels like fresh air, and I am hopeful it always will. We have so much effin fun together.

I knew from the beginning that his heart does not belong to me, but to his ex, and I still find this to be a bitter pill to swallow. Love is absolutely ridiculous and unfair, isn’t it? The love one of us would dream of having another would just give away. He’s trying to let her go and meanwhile, I’m trying to let him go, all the while trying to remain fearless, unguarded, and hopeful. This to me is what I call the flip, the switch, and the crazies. On a high note, photography is coming into focus and I will be finding out soon if I got into the school of my dreams, if waiting tables will soon have its end, if I have the courage to go face everything that makes me weak in the knees and faint at heart. I believe I’m doing well on my 90 day diet to follow my bliss. Some days I think my heart may just break wide open, and what you see come out will look a lot like this: