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.