Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Press For The Book!

I'm super excited to see the book get some press! This past Sunday Kathy Belge (of the famed Lipstick & Dipstick column in Curve Magazine!) over at interviewed me for an article about it. You can read the it here. (

Last night I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the guys at The Art Life Video Blog. Check them out and subscribe to their YouTube page. They're talking to some really cool artists here in Portland. Here are the links to the three segments of the interview.

First segment:

Second segment:

Third segment:

I also just finished answering questions for an interview that Shaley Howard at PQ Monthly did with me for the book so look for that soon, as well! 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Year & New Adventures

Coming back to Portland when I did this past year felt like the right move for me at that time. Being back has brought some closure for me around some things, including the photo project that I've been working on for the past two and a half years. The book is published and in very good hands and I couldn't be more proud of that work. Who knows if it would have happened the way it did had I stayed in Massachusetts or if I would still be searching for a publisher? There's really no way of knowing but I am glad that things worked out the way they did.

My group of close friends and family has become smaller but I feel like I hold them even closer to my heart. They are my top priority in this life and I love them dearly. I no longer feel like I take any of them for granted and I hope they feel the same.

I've forgiven myself for many things I've done in my past that I am not proud of. Forgiven yet not forgotten. They all help me to be a better person with each passing day and remind me of what is important in this life. Family. Friends. Love. Happiness.

I've also made peace with who Wendi is, what she wants in life and how she chooses to live. I do things that make me happy no matter what the financial reward. I love working with dogs and the rewards that come from it far out weigh any sort of financial gain. Dogs teach me and remind me of so much every single day; the importance of taking time to play, being filled with pure joy, fully being in the moment, eating good food and taking a good nap. At this point, I feel like I could step into another job that may not include animals and carry those lessons with me into every working day. Maybe even find ways to help others find joy in the days.

So, in the end, it was a good choice to come back to Portland and I'm glad that I did. But, it's time for me to move on. In the hindsight that I've had I can clearly see that I went into panic mode while dealing with so much grief at the beginning of the year and felt pulled to come running home. In the end, the panic paid off but now I sit with a sense of regret. Regret for not giving myself enough time to be in a new space. To adjust to all of the new things around me and a new way of life. A way of life that I really began to love just before I left, in a small town where I quickly got to know people and their dogs. Where people would honk and wave as I walked Scarlett every night and it felt comforting. Just as it started to feel like home for me, I left and now I regret it. Coming back to Portland was needed for lots of reasons but now it's beginning to feel like a step back for me.

In this distance I've also realized a lot of things about my feelings towards my ex-wife. How they've always been there in the back of my mind where I pushed them and locked them away as a way to survive. I know I really messed things up this last go around for us, but we've forgiven each other and are moving forward as friends and family. I don't feel like I'm able to be in a relationship with anyone else because of the feelings I still hold for her, so of course there will always be hope as long as those feelings remain, but I also know the reality of things. I do not hold her to rekindling a love that may be long gone for her. Instead I am grateful every day that she is still a part of my life and my family and will only ever want for her happiness. Whether it's with me or someone else. She will always be my family no matter what.

All this being said, at the end of March I will return to Ipswich, Massachusetts. I'm moving back in with my amazing ex-wife, we will clear out the second room for me and I will, most likely, have a snoring dog sleeping next to me for years to come. I couldn't be happier about this decision and so very grateful that she is welcoming me back. This time it'll be as permanent of a move as I can make, not knowing when I'll have to return to Southern California to take care of my parent(s). Really my only permanent move will be when I purchase my land and build my tiny house.

During this trek across the country I hope to make a few stops along the way at some bookstores. I'll be taking Interstate 90 across the US again so they will be places along that route, including Chicago. My publisher will be working on putting together some events and/or signings. Maybe we can get something together for a Boston or NYC book release party, as well. I'm hoping to have a travel partner this time, but that's all up in the air at the moment. We're still 3 months out so there's time.

I'm looking forward to returning to the East coast for good this time, spending quality time with my ex-wife (and the fur kids!) and thoroughly enjoying the small town life. Of course, there will be more photo adventures!

I can't wait to see what this part of my life brings. Let's do this, 2015!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Gifting & Gratitude

My son asked me a couple weeks ago what I wanted for my birthday. Over the past few years, our Solstice celebrations have become less and less about giving presents and more about connecting so gifting for the holidays isn't something we are all that concerned about. But, when he asked me about my birthday I told him that I really didn't want for anything and that I didn't want him to buy me a thing. He persisted so I sat for a moment and thought about what I could really use.

This past year I've purged a lot of my possessions. Everything from clothes to furniture to high school yearbooks. My collection of books now fits neatly into one medium sized box. Everything that I own fits into the trunk of my car, with maybe a bag or two in the back seat. I guess you could call me a minimalist.

So, I ended up telling my son that I could use a new hoodie. (It's practical and something I would most definitely use.) What I got was a meal with him and our family at a traditional Japanese ramen restaurant in downtown Portland and it was absolutely perfect.

Gifting is awesome but the idea of bringing something new into my space that I most likely won't use, and will have to find a new home for, kind of makes me crazy at this point. I don't want or need stuff these days. Specially with a couple more big moves and a tiny house in my future. I like the idea of being mobile. Compact.

A meal with my family, one on one time with close friends, kind words, a thoughtful letter or email sent my way or even something handmade that's useful (like a bookmark)...these are the things that I want these days. Memories, love and relationship are the gifts that I am most grateful for every day of the year. These are the things that make me wealthy. I treasure them and hold them close to my heart.

Spending the last year focusing on what I'm grateful for has helped me to shift my perspective on so many things. I'm much more at peace with my life and the way I choose to live it than I ever was before. I choose a simple life filled with the love of my family and a few close friends. Those are all the gifts I need.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Re-Cap Of The Butch/Femme Photo Project

I've been thinking about following up all of the awesomeness of the book being out in the world now with a blog post telling the story of how the project came to be but the more I thought about it the more I realized that I've already done all of that writing here on this blog. So, instead, here's a re-cap of all of those posts starting with the "official" announcement on July 19, 2012.


Butch/Femme Photo Project Announcment, July 19, 2012

Over the course of the last few months I've been reading two books that have made quite the impact on me by teaching me a lot about the history of butches and femmes. The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader edited by Joan Nestle and Persistence: All Ways Butch And Femme edited by Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman. Both are anthologies and contain an abundance of incredible writers. I highly recommend getting your hands (and eyes) on these books.
One of the things I've learned from reading these books is that butches and femmes have always been here. We're always going to be here. No matter how much our community fights amongst itself about our presence, we are always going to be here. We are a part of it's history, we are a part of it's present and we are a part of it's future.

There is no one way to be butch or femme. Each one of us is our own unique and individual expression of the identity. Those expressions are what I would like to capture and document for future generations.

Friday, August 10, 2012 was the day of my very first photo project shoot. 


August 15, 2012 Update

The Butch/Femme Photo Project has been very well received by the community all over the US and even a few up in Canada! I've received some beautiful and heartbreaking answers to the questions I sent out to all who wish to participate. I am deeply touched by their willingness to share so openly and so freely. Their stories are so important and they should be heard and remembered.

So far I've had two photo shoots with project participants! I have four more scheduled this weekend, too! Meeting participants and photographing them has been incredibly inspiring and motivating. This project includes some pretty incredible and amazing people. I'm really very excited to see how it progresses. I'm considering creating a blog for it but haven't quite decided on that piece just yet. Once I get more images together and edited I hope to figure that out.


Butch/Femme Photo Project Gets A Facebook Page, September 27, 2012

I just wanted to let everyone know that my Butch/Femme Photo Project now has it's own Facebook page! It's another way for me to get the word out about the project so please check it out, "Like" it and share it far and wide!

I have three photo shoots lined up this weekend for the project so an update to the page will happen soon! Thank you all for participating, supporting and encouraging me to keep going with this project! 

Butch/Femme Photo Project In It's First Gallery Show! October 30, 2012

I am so happy to announce that the first eleven photographs in the Butch/Femme Photo Project will be featured in TransConnect Resource and Cultural Fair gallery show titled "Femme, Butch, Queer & Trans Intersection" at the Portland Q Center next month! They will be hanging at the Center for the entire month of November and ten of the eleven pieces will be a part of a silent auction to raise funds for the Q Center and the Order of Benevolent Bliss’ working and grants funds!


Kickstarter For The Butch/Femme Photo Project! January 16, 2013

I've put it together, submitted it for approval with the Kickstarter folks and now it's live! Check it out!


Getting the buzz going on the fundraising. January 21, 2013

I knew from the start that running a Kickstarter campaign was going to be hard work. Constantly contacting as many people as you possibly can is not as easy as it sounds. There was a time when social networking sites made it easy but now, not so much. Not only do I post the link in a bunch of places daily but I've also begun privately messaging and emailing people who may or may not be seeing my daily posts. This project really is a passion of mine so I really want to do as much as I possibly can to see it through.
Five days into it and I'm mentally exhausted. My brain won't stop trying to figure out something new to try to drum up more backers. It also won't stop worrying about what might happen if it doesn't fund. Where would I go from there? Do I have a plan B? 

Press for the Kickstarter campaign! February 11, 2013

The Advocate wrote an article about the Butch/Femme Photo Project!

The final hours of the Kickstarter campaign! February 13, 2013

There's only 41 hours to go on the Kickstarter campaign and thanks to a very generous donation of $1,800 within the last hour, it's now past the 60% mark!


Holy crap, it funded! February 16, 2013

When I awoke yesterday and checked my email on my phone I found that there were a few new backers to the Kickstarter project and that there was still quite a ways to go. I felt sad for a moment but then reminded myself that, hey, it raised over $6,000. That's nothing to sneeze at. Plus, it's gotten a lot of media attention. There's always a plan B and both of those things will help with plan B. Still, I wasn't going to give up on the Kickstarter itself until the clock had ticked down, ending the campaign. It still had 6 hours to go and anything could happen in the span of those hours. (Read more...)


On Saturday, March 9, 2013 I spent the day driving up to and around Seattle doing photoshoots for the project.


Planning, planning and travel planning. March 18, 2013

Yesterday, I finally sat down and made my itinerary to travel to the Rockies, the Midwest and the Northern East coast for the project. This morning, I feel a million times lighter. Not that I don't have more planning to do, fundraising as well, but at least this part of it is done. It's been weighing heavily on my mind. I also made plans to travel to Texas and Louisiana. I still need to make plans to travel to North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico. (Read more...)


Working on letting go of the negativity in the comments of the press articles. March 21, 2013

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt
To say making travel plans and coordinating with multiple people is difficult would be quite the understatement. This is something I have learned quite quickly. But, I'm learning how to move through it and solidify plans so I have my first crazy travel adventure lined up. It happens the first week in May and it goes a little something like this: (deep breath) (Read more...)
Trip to Vancouver, BC. April 28, 2013
It was the first time I'd ever used my passport, which was exciting and nerve wracking to me. The border crossing officer asked me what my purpose was for visiting Canada. (Read more...)
Waiting for my first flight for the 13 cities, 22 photo shoots in 9 days tour! Getting through security at the Portland airport was a breeze and everyone is so happy and friendly. That was a nice start to my trip! Plus, it calmed the nerves a bit. Not totally, but a bit. I'm what you might call a nervous traveler. But, by the time I get to the end of the week, I'll be an old pro at this. (Read more...)

Denver was amazing! My first shoot happened at the world famous Red Rocks! It was my first time there and I have to say, it truly was awesome and beautiful. 

Two shoots followed that one, one at a participant's house and the other at a participant's cabin, complete with horses! 

To end my day, I had dinner with friends I haven't seen in 12 years! Thank you for a wonderful day, Denver. 

This morning I'm off to Madison, WI then will be driving to Waukesha and Chicago. Needless to say, I can feel my energy struggling to stay up. I'm hoping to catch a nap on my next two flights. 

This trip has been incredibly awesome. As exhausted as I am, looking through the photos of all of the amazing butches and femmes makes every ounce of that exhaustion worth it. I can't express enough gratitude to those who helped make this happen.
(Read more...)


The last weekend of my week long travel for the project was spent traveling from New York to New Jersey and up into Massachusetts. On my way to New Jersey I was able to catch a glimpse of NYC and of Lady Liberty, which was pretty awesome, even though very brief. Extra time to "see the sights" was not built in to my itinerary so any glimpse of the sights was bonus for me on this trip. (Read more...)


Texas June 25, 2013

This weekend I traveled to Texas to photograph participants in Dallas, Plano, Spring, Houston, and Wichita Falls. A couple days before I left for Texas I had two photo shoots on the schedule for the weekend. Shortly after posting my travel plans on the project's Facebook page I scheduled five more, which was incredible. Texas brought it! (Read more...)


I spent the last week in August in Southern California. I also drove out to Phoenix and Santa Fe. It was a trip filled with not only project shoots but family time and a wee bit of friend time. (Read more...)


On Sunday, September 22, 2013 I drove up to Olympia, Washington for a few project shoots.


I spent the first weekend in December 2013 in Florida traveling around a few parts of the state for project shoots. 


In April of this year I traveled to Boston for a shoot and to New York City a couple of times. On one of my visits to New York City I got to do a project photo shoot on a rooftop in Manhattan. It was amazing and I felt fantastic. (Read about it here...)


In August of this year I started talking to Blue Skirt Productions about publishing the project as a book and on October 29th, I signed a publishing contract with them! (Read more here...)


Pre-orders for the book! December 2, 2014

I feel like these past few weeks have been a bit surreal. This book, this project that I've been pouring my heart and soul into over the past couple of years is/has become a reality. (Read more...)


The book release party happens on December 15, 2014 and bookstores in Portland and Phoenix begin to carry the book! (Read more...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Questions

During the Q&A section of the book release party I was asked about the questions I had sent to each of the participants. From the answers came the quotes that accompany each photo in the book. So, as promised, here are the questions:

What is your name?

How old are you?

In what city do you reside?

Are you single, dating, partnered or married?

What is your occupation and/or main activities in life?

How do you identify?

What is your personal definition of your identity?

When did you first identify as such?

Why did you identify as such?

Who were/are your role models?

Did you ever resist your identity? If so, why?

Have you ever been embarrassed or ashamed of your identity?

Have you ever been ridiculed, threatened or harmed because of your identity? If so, and if you're comfortable sharing, what happened?

What do you wish people knew about your identity?

Is there anything else you'd like to say?

What are the best days and times to meet with you for a photo shoot?

Book Release Party, Bookstore & Birthday

Today is my birthday. It's the best birthday ever. This week began with The Butch/Femme Photo Project book release party where somewhere around 60 people celebrated with me. It was an awesome night filled with great friends, great conversations, fantastic food and wonderful music. Each time someone came over to me and asked me to sign their book I thought to myself, “Who, me?” It was all very surreal. I've been floating on that cloud and filled with so much gratitude all week long. Here are a few photos from the evening. They were all taken by my friend, fur.

Last night I drove up to St. John's Booksellers to see the book in a bookstore for the first time. The owner was so excited to have them in that she set them front and center on a table so everyone can see them the moment they step into the shop. While I was there she asked me to sign the stock! Again, so very surreal. I stood in the store chatting with her, signing the copies that she had while she took photos of me to post on their Facebook page. Surreal.

This morning my publisher sent me the best birthday message, too. The book has, so far, sold 101 copies. I am amazed and delighted and so incredibly grateful.

What an incredible journey.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Butch/Femme Photo Project Book! It's Almost Here!

I feel like these past few weeks have been a bit surreal. This book, this project that I've been pouring my heart and soul into over the past couple of years is/has become a reality. I signed a publishing contract this past October and the release date for the book is December 15th.

I haven't held a copy of it in my hands yet but, somehow, a friend of mine who ordered it from Amazon has already received his copy. When I saw the photos he posted of him holding the book I started crying. Tears of joy. Tears of release. Tears of "holy shit, it's happening, it's really happening".

My publisher is working out the details of the release party and I am anticipating the first copies of the book to be delivered soon so I can finally hold a copy in my hands. The photographer in me will closely look at every photograph to be sure they all turned out the way I had envisioned them. The writer in me will carefully re-read every word (for the 20th time) to be sure all of the typos have been caught. Even though I know there's no fixing things at this point.

Most of all, I will look at that book in my hands and see my dream come to life. This book is my heart. Everyone who holds a copy of it in their hands will be holding my heart. If that's not vulnerability for you, then I don't know what is.

I am incredibly grateful to everyone who participated, stood in front of my camera, took the time to meet with me and answer all of the questions I sent to them, freely gave their hard earned money, and to those who supported me with encouragement, love and support. None of this could have happened without each and every one of you. Thank you.

As I sit here this morning reading through the blog posts from last year I can't help but feel blessed and amazed. We did it. We fucking did it.

So, here are a few ways to get a copy of this book:

Get a signed copy direct from the publisher, Blue Skirt Productions, through this sale that's happening until this Friday, December 5th:

Pre-order an unsigned copy from Amazon:

or Barnes & Noble:

or Powell's Books right here in Portland:

Also, come to the release party here in Portland, Oregon on Monday, December 15th at 7:30pm at the American Legion Hall at NE 21st & NE Alberta and get a copy. I'll sign it and give you a great big hug. Plus, there will be food! Here's the Facebook Event page:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Transgender Warrior

Self portrait of Leslie Feinberg.
As most everyone in the community knows by now, one of our elders has moved on from this plane of existence. This past Saturday, Leslie Feinberg passed away. The Advocate published the obituary that was written by Leslie's wife, Minnie Bruce Pratt, while at Leslie's bedside. (I will use the pronouns they used in the obituary.) Please take a moment to read it if you aren't familiar with Leslie and her work.

I'm a bit taken aback by just how much this loss has affected me and am still reeling from the news. In a state of denial, almost. Rationally, I know she has been battling Lyme disease and the co-infections that came with that battle, I know she's been suffering and that this would be the inevitable end but my brain is having such a difficult time wrapping itself around the news.

I hadn't ever met her, yet, I feel as though I've lost a family member. Yesterday morning, as I watched a video of her speaking at Sonoma State University (, the tears welled up and poured down my cheeks. As I let the grief out, my rational side was having a difficult time understanding why I felt so sad by this loss. I think I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it but I know it's partly about the passing of someone who paved the way for me to live in this world. To live in this world as my authentic, butch self.

Reading her book, Stone Butch Blues, for the first time in 2010 was the beginning of a turning point for me. It was then that I began to find where I fit in this community, in this world. It was the beginning of finding me, of launching a photo project and feeling less alone in the world. That book, her words, made a huge impact on my life.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

I will always remember how her words made me feel. Valid. Brave. Strong. Seen.

Rest in peace, Transgender Warrior.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Choosing Love & Authenticity

A few days ago I had a very surprising conversation with my step-Father. He was telling me about how little he hears from my son and how he'd like to hear more from him because he feels he doesn't really know him when suddenly he's telling me how he doesn't have a problem with the gay thing but that he had wished my son and I would have chosen to be straight.

I wish I could remember, word for word, some of the things he said so I could quote him here but I was too shocked and a bit stunned to be having that conversation with him. I get where he was going with it, or trying to at least. I believe he was trying to say, in a very awkward and uncomfortable way, that he does love us and wants to hear from us.

But, the way he was trying to explain it was hurtful. His perspective comes from a very conservative, right winged kind of life. According to him, my son and I and everyone else who is gay chose to be gay. According to him we could have chosen to live a straight life, which, also according to him, would have been an easier life to live.

The major problem with this “thinking” is that it isn't thinking at all. I didn't chose to be gay anymore than he chose to be straight. Being gay is who I am, it's my authentic self. Imagine if I chose to deny who I am and lived a straight life. It would not only affect me on a deep, soul scaring level but it would also affect the person I was living that straight life with, his family, my family and anyone who I may have created from that straight life. I would be living a lie every single moment of every single day and that lie would rip me to shreds on the inside, finding ugly ways to manifest on the outside and harming everyone around me in some way on a very deep psychological level.

The denial would turn into self hatred and that hatred would eventually kill me. I've seen it happen over and over again to those who chose to live a life that isn't authentic to their true selves.

This isn't a perspective he totally understands. I'm not even sure he hears me when I try to explain it to him and having this conversation with him makes me feel like he believes something is wrong with me and my son.

There is nothing wrong with me or my son. He is gay. I am gay. It's just a part of who we are. The rest of our lives are just like everyone else's. We get up, we go to work, we pay our bills and our taxes, we are contributing members of this society, we have dreams and goals, we love and we are loved. Our lives don't look any different then his. We don't live a secret life that heterosexual people don't know about. Our relationships have the same highs and lows.

Yes, there are lots of people in this world who hate us simply because we're gay. But, honestly, their hatred is not my problem. It's their problem and it's something they have to live with and carry around with them. I choose to live my life authentically, to be true to who I am and to love.

I choose love and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Butch/Femme Photo Project Book Is Coming!

The culmination of the last few years of my life is about to happen. Yesterday I signed a publishing contract with an indie publisher here in Portland, Oregon called Blue Skirt Productions. They are going to publish the Butch/Femme Photo Project book!

I can't even begin to explain how excited I am about this. I know that when I finally hold a copy of that book in my hands, I just might cry. I've put my heart and soul into this body of work and couldn't be more proud of the way it's turned out.

The publisher is shooting for a December 15th release date and a release party is in the works. I will post the info about all of that and let you know where you can get your copy just as soon as I have all of that information.

My sincere thanks and tremendous gratitude to all of those who have supported me through this journey. It's truly been an amazing experience.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

They Were Right About Me

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” ~ Tao Te Ching

"I'm always makin' the same mistakes. All this takin' is hard to take. When I think about bygone days, I was doin' everybody wrong. I was takin' the long way, endin' up where I don't belong. Now I pray it's not too late to change the path I'm runnin' on."  -lyrics from "Snake Road" by Ron Sexsmith

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." The hard part about finally being honest with myself is owning up to my mistakes and painful patterns. The sentence in the quotes can be interpreted in a few different ways that I can think of. The "what I am" can be the ideas of who I am or supposed to be in my mind or it could literally be "what I am". That "what I am" being exactly the person someone once warned a woman I dated a few years back about me being. A person who is easily distracted as soon as things get hard and someone pays attention to her.

Just typing out those words made my stomach turn. This is me owning up to how much of an asshole I was. I wanted desperately to be loved and in my mind a relationship should be easy because that's how you know it's right. As soon as there was a hurdle to jump or a mountain to climb within that relationship I shut down and ran. And ran. And ran. And ran.

Until one day I finally owned up to my shit and was able to see all of the wrong I had done. I was able to see how selfish I was and how much I was Godzilla-ing my way through life. "I was taking the long way, endin' up where I don't belong. Now I pray it's not too late to change the path I'm runnin' on." This path I'm on is very different.

Relationships aren't supposed to be anything. They are supposed to be relationships. Sometimes hard and sometimes easy. It doesn't make one more right than the other. What matters is the love, connection, honesty, and communication between the people in the relationship and whether they're either heading down the same path or reaching for the same end result.

I think. Fuck. Maybe I don't have a clue. 

I know how I feel. It's taken me a really long time to finally know how I really feel, but I finally do and these days I feel humbled. Humbled by the events and my decisions and actions over the past few years. I know I don't want to be that asshole anymore. I know that today I am a better person than I was yesterday and that's a great accomplishment. I also know that tomorrow I will be a better person than I am today because I will keep on working on this open and honest communication with the people I am in relationship with now. My family and closest friends.

I also know that I am grateful for those who call me out on my shit, even if indirectly. I'm finally in a space where I don't automatically go into a self defense mode and can honestly sit with it, take it in and consider whether or not something should change in me.

If a relationship does ever happens for me again, I know it'll look different than the idea that I've carried around in my head all these years about love. You might say that it'll look much more practical and realistic. I don't feel the need, although the want will always be there, for the forever ever after. I'll want space and time for myself within the relationship and I'll most likely want to sleep separately, although not every night but often. When my tiny house comes to fruition, maybe even have our own tiny houses on the same property. I guess what I'm explaining is more of an intimate companionship.

Even if that doesn't happen, I will still have my family and close friends to make those connections and have that companionship. Plus, there are always dogs. Dogs are the best companions.

I've let go of my attachment to my need to be loved. I've kicked the asshole out of my head and every day I'm becoming that person who I always thought I was. Honest. Loving. Open. Trustworthy. Loyal. Compassionate. Considerate. Someone that truly knows the meaning of family and being a good friend.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Hindsight and Major Life Changes

Hindsight. It's frustratingly clear sometimes. After spending this past year traveling through so many major life changes I've learned some huge lessons for which I am grateful.

One of those lessons being to stop moving so much and just be. Specially after a major life change like ending a relationship, starting another, ending a job, starting another and moving across the country.

I wish I would have given myself more time in Massachusetts with my ex-wife. I was in the midst of a lot of grief and internal struggle that clouded quite a bit for me. I can't help but wonder what might have been had I just sat through it while staying put.

But, wishing I would have done things differently doesn't change the past. All I can do is move forward and be ever so grateful that I still have a friendship with her, that she's still a part of my life. While the reality of things may be that we are never to be an "us" again, I am so grateful that she will always be my family.

I've learned so much over the past year. I look forward to being still, being quiet, being present and learning more this next year. Most importantly, staying honest and open with myself and those who are most important to me. My life has new priorities these days. Cultivating and nourishing the relationships of my close friends and family is top priority. Staying in a space of gratitude goes along with that.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Something Shifted

I am happy, yes happy, to say that I am doing so much better. Between the increased exercise, solitude, and time with close friends and family I feel like I am in a much better space these days. Thankfully.

Something shifted for me this time during this battle with depression. After spending most of my life chasing an idea of love out of the shear desire to be loved, I find that I've completely stopped chasing it. I can't, without a doubt, say that I'm not just completely shut down due to the depression, but right now there is not a single part of me that has any desire to be in a romantic relationship.

I'm not brooding or saying that from a space of pain or hurt where I feel like I'm just done with it all. This is new for me. I'm in a space where I am truly happy being single and spending time alone.

In this space I find that the relationship I have with myself is deepening, I'm being much more honest with myself, and I'm also focusing on strengthening my relationships with my family and my closest friends. It's the deeper connections that I crave these days.

That deeper connection that I crave leads me to send a personal email or message to those farther away or getting together with those who are close by. I always look forward to catch up sessions with my friends and family and we make it a point to schedule them. I appreciate them immensely.

I also love my job(s). I'm working with dogs and other animals when I house sit and it fills me up with so much love and true companionship. I can't remember a time in my life where I've ever loved and enjoyed my job so much. My happiness and contentment with that part of my life seems to be flowing over into the other parts of my life, which is what I had always thought would happen and am grateful to have finally discovered that to be true.

Because I love my job(s) so much, I am rearranging my life to fit into the income bracket and if the income improves, I am very happy to watch my savings account grow after paying down more debt. I will soon share living space, I live simply and I am content and happy with this lifestyle.

I've also stopped chasing the past. I have completely released it all, forgiven myself, and no longer pine for what was. If I could find better words to convey the magnitude of this, I would surly use them. This is huge for me.

This shift is substantial and life changing, to say the least. I am cautiously optimistic and excited to see what the future holds. I continue to plan for my eventual return to California to care for my parents and my tiny home that I will one day build. Of course, this is not to say that a romantic relationship will never again happen in my life, but at the moment, I am honestly ok if it doesn't. I no longer feel that desperate need to be loved. I don't yet know myself well enough to know whether or not I feel like I'm meant to be partnered up with someone in a romantic sense. Perhaps that will come with time.

I'm also finding that in this space, I don't feel as comfortable with putting myself out there the way that I used to. My online presence has changed both here and on the social media sites. Even writing this blog post feels a bit too self centered. I don't mean that as a judgement, I just don't feel as comfortable with it for myself these days.

I've separated my personal life from my online/public life so most of what I post these days on social media is stuff that I can talk about with anyone. The more personal things stay personal and I talk about them with those who are closest to me. I don't feel the need to talk about it in a public space anymore. 

Not to say that I won't write in this blog anymore. The topics of future posts may be a bit more general, is all. Perhaps one day I'll find myself back in that space where I feel the need to put myself out there again. That avenue is always open, of course.

If I'm really being honest with myself, I could wake up tomorrow and this could all change. Even so, it'll still be me and who I am. I will honor that shift, as well. But right now, I like where I am mentally, emotionally and physically. That is a very good thing. 

A very good thing, indeed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Again, and Again, and Again

Third time's a charm, right? Well, it's really the fourth but enough with the counting. I gave up numbers years ago.

That path that I talked about starting down again back in November of last year was briefly sidetracked. I thought I would be able to handle dating while remaining committed to being single but I just don't seem to be built that way. Thankfully one of us was smart enough and brave enough to cut things off so we could both continue down the healing paths that we forged for ourselves.

So, here I am again. Processing grief, battling depression that the grief seems to have triggered but I am winning the battle. The battle happens daily, sometimes moment to moment but I keep reminding myself that I'm still here so I'm winning.

On the first of this month I finally got myself outside on the track to try out my knees with running again. While running I had an idea to start tracking the things that I do to battle this disease of depression through photographs on my Instagram account. I'm using the hashtag "fuckdepression". It's a knock off from "fuckcancer" that I've noticed some of my social media connections have been using. I like it. It helps me stand up to it and do something for myself. The photographs will serve as reminders for me. Perhaps they will inspire someone else who is waging the same war.

Other changes are coming that will help with my intentions of continuing to work on letting go of the past, being grateful for what I have, focusing on work and paying off debts, finishing the book (I am currently in talks with a local indie publisher!), getting to know me, and learning all I can about care giving, gardening and building a tiny house. Care giving because at some point in my future I will move back down to Southern California to take care of one or both of my parents, gardening because I will one day grow my own food again and building a tiny house because that's where I want to live. In a tiny house that I built with my own two hands on a piece of land with a small pack of dogs. 

Hopefully, I'll keep coming back to this space to write about it.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Macro Photography

Hey everyone! I've gotten a lot of really great feedback on my macro photography images and have chosen 24 images to create some really great blank note cards. 

The note cards are made from tree friendly sugar cane and post-consumer waste fiber and have a beautifully printed matte photograph on the front plus they come with envelopes. I've assembled them myself and signed the backs. 

If you're interested in purchasing some, please visit my online gallery for more info. Credit cards are welcome! Please feel free to share, as well! You can also order prints for gifts or your home/office space! 

To visit my online gallery and find information on how to order please click here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Butch and Her Dog

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about this dog. Her name was Sumatra and we spent 7 wonderful years together in this life. From the moment she burst out of the car and ran around the yard with me when my then partner brought her home until the day we said goodbye, we were inseparable. She was attached to my hip and followed me where ever I went. She was my best friend and my savior during one of the darkest times in my life.  It didn't matter what I was dealing with or going through in my life, she was my true companion and always ready for our nightly walks. She taught me how to enjoy life again, how to love deeply and how to play. She made me smile every day, hogged the bed whenever she could and provided me with endless amounts of cuddles and lap naps. 

In September of 2009 she fell ill very quickly. Unable to stand to eat, drink or go outside, I took her to the vet. After some tests the vet told me over the phone that she had reason to believe that there was a large growth in Sumatra's belly that could be cancerous so I took her in for more tests. Those tests confirmed the vet's suspicions. She then talked to me about quality versus quantity. Sumatra was then 13 years old and nearing the end of a labs life span. I had to make the toughest decision I've ever made in my entire life. Something I would never wish on my worst enemy. 

I had to say goodbye to my best friend, my companion, my teacher, my dog. 

Almost 5 years later I still find myself shedding tears when I think about that day and how much I miss her. I am still so incredibly grateful to those who helped me through that tremendously difficult time. 
Sumatra's actual paw print tattooed on my left forearm.

Today as I was hugging, playing and walking with the dogs I get to work with now I thought about all of the lessons Sumatra taught me and how I'm learning them all over again with the dogs that surround me now. Dogs don't care about your finances or what you do for a living. They have no judgements around any of that. All they care about is whether or not you're a good person with a good heart and good intentions. To them life is all about love, happiness, physical and emotional connection, good food, lots of play time and naps. 

I've struggled financially in the past few months, I mean really struggled, but you know what? I wouldn't trade this life or this job for anything. I have never been happier with the work that I do. My nights are no longer filled with dreaded thoughts of work the next day. They're filled with happiness and excitement about work. I get to hang out with dogs! To me, that's the most wonderful, happy and exciting thought ever!

This feeling, this sense of pride and happiness in my work...this is what I've been searching for all this time. It wasn't ever in the daily grind of 9 to 5 nor was it on the road to a "sensible" job in the accounting field. It was here in the realm of an assemblage of part time gigs that have me working every day doing things that fill my soul; dogs, cameras, MacBooks and non-profits who are doing good in the world. To some, it may not look like much of a life but to me, it's the best life I've ever lived. 

My heart is filled with gratitude. 

Thank you Universe. Thank you for saying yes. 

Thank you, Sumatra. Thank you for saving my life many times over and teaching me what this life is really about. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

Stepping out of my comfort zone at Burning Man 2012
I've been trying to write this blog post for days now. It seems that even writing about stepping out of my comfort zone is uncomfortable and challenging.

A night or so ago I sat on my makeshift bed of a futon cushion which sits on the floor of my studio apartment and read through old blog posts from this blog. Going all the way to the beginning of the blog when I wrote about leaving the accounting world and living a more authentic life, I discovered that I am, again, back in that same space where I was almost 4 years ago.  Learning to let go.

Four years ago I left the safety of a 9 to 5 accounting job and picked up my camera with the intention of living a life that was more authentic to my soul. No more 9 to 5 jobs. I wanted to find my work, my calling, my authentic self. There was a period of time where I had to talk myself through the panic but then I found myself moving back towards the "safety" of a 9 to 5 through temporary work.  Slowly over those 4 years that temporary work became a permanent position, outside of the world of accounting, yes, but still nothing that was fulfilling. I felt trapped once again.

(I use quotes around the word 'safe' and 'safety' because, in all honesty, who really is safe in their jobs these days? In a world where so many are still unemployed and starving for work, we are all replaceable.)

Here I am, again, back in that space where I know the 9 to 5 is not for me and I'm doing my best to piece together an income that will sustain and support me while I find that thing that not only feeds my soul but fills my bank account. This time I am constantly talking myself through the panic, almost moment by moment, and doing what I'm sure most around me are doing, wondering why I just don't go back to the 9 to 5 instead of stressing about whether or not I'm going to make rent next month.

As some would say, "She's an accountant. Why doesn't she just go and do that again? She'd make more money." Well, here's the thing about that: I've been out of the game for 4 years and when I left it, I let it all go. I honestly can't remember how to do it. I tried to take an online bookkeeping test and failed it miserably. Plus, I don't have any recent experience. So, let's put that thinking away now, shall we? Thanks.

What I'm doing differently this time is the thing that I have been struggling to get but am finally getting. Instead of focusing on and stressing over figuring out exactly what that work is (because it could be something no one knows about or has even thought of yet), I am focusing on how I want to feel while I do that work and how I want to feel about that work. I'm focusing on how I want my life to feel to me.

There's a video on the interwebs of a commencement speech that Jim Carrey gave last month. I had no idea that the man was so profound. For the last week I've been watching that speech before starting my day because there are so many things in it that speak to me right now while I sit in this space. Here is the full video:

When I listened to it the third day in a row, there was one thing stood out to me the most. So much so that I stopped the video and went back to it to hear it again so I could write it down. While I wrote it down, I could feel the tears starting to form. What I wrote down was this:

"My job is not to figure out how to make it happen, it's to open the door in my mind. When that door opens in my life, all I have to do is walk through it." 

In that moment, I realized that so much of my life has been spent trying to figure out how to make my life look and feel the way I want it to.  That's where my focus has been. I've dreamed of things that I've wanted in my life but my first thought has always been, "What do I have to do to get it?" I am a fixer. My mind goes directly to problem solving and fixing things, figuring out how to make it happen. It hasn't worked out so well for me so I am switching gears.

My task now is to focus on the "what" and let go of the "how". It's a bit of a challenge, to say the least. The day before yesterday on my way to my shift at the doggy daycare I started really thinking about what to ask the Universe for. How do I want my life to feel and look like? Even in coming up with those things I was very much aware of where my mind was going as I drove down the road. It was trying to see how it was I was going to get there. Where those thoughts were really going were dead ends. Every single one. I couldn't see how I was going to make my life look and feel the way I want it to. Finally I yelled out loud, "Let it go, Wen!"

It's not possible for me to think up all of the scenarios the Universe has to make my life the way I want it to be so I need to stop trying. That is an incredibly limited way of thinking and does nothing but hold me in this struggle. Asking for what I want and letting go of the how while I work towards a life I want to live, that's what I am doing this time around.

Before I wrap this post up I have to share another video with you. It's a long one but I highly suggest taking the time to watch it. It's an interview with Brene' Brown by one of the photographers I follow, Chase Jarvis. I can't even begin to recap all of the great stuff in this interview but the one thing that stood out for me is them talking about vulnerability and creativity. One of the quotes from it is, "There is no creativity without vulnerability." Brilliant. Another thing I wrote down while watching it is, "If it's uncomfortable, it's the right thing to do." Also, "It's not about winning or losing, it's about having the guts to show up and be seen without knowing the outcome." Seriously. So much good stuff.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fail Faster

I've been really struggling lately with figuring out what my work in this world is. Not my job but my work. They are two separate things. To me, my work is what makes my life meaningful and worthy of living. My work is what I will leave behind in this world when I move into the next plane of existence. 

I feel like I'm just on the cusp of really figuring out exactly what that work is. Right now I'm sitting through all of the unfamiliar and uncomfortable feelings of letting go of what has always been the "norm" for me. The norm being the 9 to 5 job that brought in the steady paycheck, made me seem responsible and a part of society around me. But that's not at all what suits me. All this time it's been me, a square peg, cramming myself into a round hole and it just is not working. It's not who I am. 

As I've been sitting through all of this, I've been coming across posts and quotes on the internet that are constantly reminding me that I am ok just the way I am and that I don't have to be a part of the "normal" cog in societies work force. One of those posts was from my son. Below was his status update on his Facebook page yesterday. Not only am I so fucking proud of him, I am incredibly grateful for him. He is my mirror, my teacher and my inspiration. Here is what he said:

"It's late, I've had a wretched day, but a nice ending with my roommate and boyfriend (we watched This is the End, which is generally not my kind of movie, but it was still very fun to watch). Regardless, after a beer and a glass of fantastic plum wine I started thinking about life and the meaning of. I know everyone thinks about it as it's a popular topic, but I realized - at least for me - life is about experiencing. It's about learning new things, falling in love, and writing your own story. I know it's simple, but that's really answer enough.

Everyone makes mistakes, but the key is embracing those mistakes, learning from them, and aiming to be a better person tomorrow. I've made a lot of mistakes in my life and I've also failed to make mistakes in my life. I've even gone so far as to become afraid of making mistakes in life, afraid of being in that awkward position because I believed that in order to be a great guy I've got to not make any mistakes. It's why you don't see me animate so much, it's why I'll speak of grandiose ideas but take forever to begin development, and it's why I've been stuck in one place for so long. I am a perfectionist, but that perfectionism is what could ruin me if I don't learn to "fail faster."

I know how that sounds, "fail faster." When I first heard of the mantra "fail faster" I thought "but what about making the perfect game?" You can't just make the perfect game, I know that; it's obvious. But sometimes if you've got an I.P. rattling in your brain for a decade you begin to think of it highly. If I don't learn to fail faster - to make mistakes and learn from them - I'll just stay in one place. It's like life, basically. If you're too afraid to jump, then you'll just stick to the "day in and day out" mentality. You'll stick to your routine crap job for years. Today I learned that I don't want to stay in one place. I want to show everyone I can be awesome! But there was the problem: I want to prove to you guys that I can be great too. I've been basically chasing my dreams for the wrong reasons.

I love you guys. You guys are awesome, in my book. Most of the time I'm even jealous, but I really shouldn't be. Life is about experience and everyone lives their own experience in life. It's pointless to compare each other's lives and skills because we're all wired differently, experienced different things, and grew up differently. I know it's a quote from the invisible book of common sense, but we're all unique.

So, today I've changed. I'm not chasing my dreams because I want to be noticed, I'm chasing them because they're my dreams. It's my life and I've lived it to this point by comparing myself to others when I really needed to compare myself to the me from yesterday. So, today I've changed. I'm a better person than I was yesterday and a step closer to my dreams.

For me, this is huge. For you, I guess that really depends on who I am to you. Either way, I guess from now on the only person I'm really competing against is myself. If I'm the only guy I'm up against, then there is no direction but up because I know I can reach the stars.

I hope what I've learned today might help you in some way."

Yes. Yes. A million times yes. Thank you, son. 


Phenomenal Woman

A truly phenomenal woman moved on from this plane of existence today. I was awoken this morning by a text message from my dear sister telling me that Maya Angelou has passed. Renowned poet, author and educator. She touched the lives of so many with her presence and her words.

One of her quotes has been my mantra for the last couple of years.

"If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be."

The quote in the photograph is also one that has lead me through this life. People will always remember how you made them feel.

Thank you, beautiful soul, for sharing your words and yourself with this world. You will be missed. Rest in peace.

"Just do right. Right may not be expedient, it may not be profitable but it will satisfy your soul."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Butch: Not Like The Other Girls

This past week I was very excited to discover that a photograph that was taken by the artist/photographer SD Holman was included in their book Butch: Not Like The Other Girls.

"BUTCH is a photographic exploration of the liminal space occupied by female masculinity in contemporary communities. SD Holman delineates Butch not as oppositional to Femme and Trans identities, but as an inclusive site of resistance to limitations on the way women, gender, and sexuality are still defined. The images honour the mercurial beauty, power and diversity of women who transgress the gender binary - celebrating the transversal dialectic of female masculinity, unapologetic and undiluted." - SD Holman

I feel very honored to be a part of this collection. 

The book is beautifully put together and well worth owning. You can purchase a copy online from SD's Etsy site or if you're in the Seattle area, you can find a copy at Elliot Bay Books on Capitol Hill. 

Also, if you're in the Vancouver, BC area there is a book launch happening on Thursday, June 19th at 7pm at Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium

Check out page 63 and don't let the spelling of my name fool you. That's me alright. The quote on the opposite page is me, as well. 



This past weekend, thanks to some amazing help and inspiration, this site received some much needed improvements. A brand new banner at the top, a tag line a bit more suited to what this blog turned out to be and a list of links to all of the press the Butch/Femme Photo Project has had over the past year and a half. (Look to your right and down a wee bit.)

These aren't the only changes happening around here. Stay tuned for more announcements. I'm working on some really cool things, including the Butch/Femme Photo Project book!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Plan B?

I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted last. Just so you know, I made it back to Portland safe and sound. It was a good trip with only a couple of instances of snow. Yes. Snow in April. Montana and Idaho are crazy with their snow. They like it a lot, I guess.

My welcome back to the Pacific Northwest was wonderful thanks to family and friends, both new and old.. It was so good to see my son again. I gave him the biggest hug making him feel extra awkward. I can't figure out how I ended up raising a non-hugger. Well, actually, he is a hugger. He's just not as into it as I am. Anyway, I was so incredibly happy to see him and hang out again.

I surprised my 5 year-old Goddaughter when I went over to her house to pick up her Mom for a coffee and catch up session. We were trying to sneak out of the house with plans to make a time to hang out with the little one in the next few days but that didn't work. As I stood at the door waiting for her Mom to gather her things, suddenly I heard the pitter patter of 5 year-old feet running across the house to the living room where I was standing, trying to be quiet. The moment she saw me standing at the door she stopped in her tracks with a shocked look on her face. Then she smiled really big, yelled “WENDI!”, and jumped into my arms for a huge hug! It was awesome!

Just after arriving in the Pacific Northwest I received a text from my sister telling me my old studio apartment was open again. Moments after getting the text I excitedly sent a message to my old landlord asking her about my chances of renting it from her again. She was so happy to hear from me and so excited to rent to me again that she immediately cancelled all of the appointments she had to show it the next day and rented it to me on the spot. I signed the lease and moved in on May 1st. It was incredibly surreal.

On May 5th I started my new job as the shipping and receiving manager for a small shop here in the Portland area. It's been going well so far and the higher ups are impressed with the speed at which I pick things up. It's not rocket science and I've done this sort of things many times over so, for me, it's pretty easy to catch on. I'm not a big fan of the early morning hour that I have to get up but I do enjoy having the late afternoons/early evenings to do other things.

One of those other things has been working on getting into classes at the local community college to get on my way to applying for the Radiograpy program. Unfortunately, it's all a bit dependent on how it's all financed and today I received a bit of bad news in regards to just that. I'm about capped out on the amount of student loans I can take in my lifetime and I don't have enough left between what I've already taken out for my Bachelor's degree and the cap to make it all the way through the program. The moment I hung up the phone after receiving this news I immediately thought to myself, “Ok. Now what?”. What's plan 'B'? Alright, honestly, I thought those things after first yelling, "FUCK!" but I had to get it out before moving on.

So now, what is plan 'B'? I am, at the moment, unsure of the answer to that question. My wise, Life Coach Mom seems to sense a bigger plan unfolding. I just wish I knew what that plan was. My mind is bouncing between looking at scholarship applications to continue down that path, taking my photography to a level that would sustain me, writing/self publishing, and starting a new business walking dogs/pet sitting. One thing that I am sure of is my need to focus on finishing up my current photo project and getting the book out there. The move and all of my transitions have put the project on the back burner and it's time to bring it back to the front. I miss it.

On a side note: I've noticed lately that I haven't had the words to write. Until today. Until after receiving that phone call regarding financial aid at school. I'm not sure what to think about that, if anything, but it's interesting.

So, Universe? Where do I go from here? A bit of guidance would be fabulous, thank you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On The Road Again

For the past three days I've been on the road making my way back to the Pacific Northwest. I spent my first night on the road in Hamburg, NY just outside of Buffalo. The second was spent in Rockford, IL and last night I stopped in Rapid City, SD. So far I've driven 1,922 of the 3,125 miles of this journey. Thank goodness for cruise control, lots of flat roads, beautiful scenery and lots of music on my iPhone.

This morning I'm heading up to see Mt. Rushmore then will hit the road to get more miles under my tires. I'm hoping to make it to Missoula, MT tonight.

Friday, April 18, 2014

This Day Was A Very Good Day

On the eve of the beginning of my great big road trip across the country, I sit here in awe of what this day has brought to my life.

This last Wednesday I had a phone interview with a company that is hiring for a shipping/receiving/material handling position. A couple of my friends work at this company and one of them gave me the heads up about it so I sent my resume' in right away. It's a position I've held in other companies and one that I really enjoyed so I went for it.

The phone interview went well and things sounded pretty positive. This morning I woke up and thought, "Oh shoot! I didn't send a thank-you email!" So I quickly remedied that. This afternoon I received a reply from the woman in HR offering me the job at the salary I asked for in the interview! It's a full-time with benefits, Monday through Friday day job!

Before I even leave the East Coast, I have a job on the West Coast. How fricking awesome is that?!

To top it all off, I had a fantastic dinner, great conversation and watched a movie with my ex-wife tonight and it was fabulous! I so enjoy our times together. She introduced me to the cult classic Lolita tonight.

This day.  This day was a very good day.

Thank you, Universe. I'm excited to see what tomorrow will bring!