Thursday, January 16, 2014

Time To Wrap This Up


I've been thinking a lot lately about wrapping up this blog, moving posts regarding the photo project over to a page on the project's web site and moving posts about photography stuff over to my photography web site. It's something that's been on my mind for the last few weeks and I think it's time I simply make the call.

My life is heading in so many different directions now. I have a lot to finish up on the project, I'm beginning to help with a fellow photographer's new project in NYC and once I get back to Portland I am planning on going back to school for a new career. Plus, I've felt myself doing much more internal dialogue and paper journal writing then I ever have before and, to be honest, it all feels very raw. I'm just not sure I am brave enough to expose that sort of vulnerability in this realm. It's been suggested to me that I write a memoir of sorts. I'm thinking about it. Goddess knows, I have enough journal entries to help me with that.

This blog started out being about me finding myself and I feel as though I'm finally getting there, or at least, on the path. At this point it feels like I need to continue on that path on my own, in a more quieter way, so I am honoring that feeling and letting go of this online space.

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for reading and for taking the time to respond, email, or comment during this blog's 3 year run. Knowing there are others out there going through the same things in life has made my life a million times better. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Peace, love and enlightenment to you all. 

Namaste.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Growth

"Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed." - Alice Walker


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Finding My Perspective

I'm not going to lie. The past week or so I felt myself fall back into a funk. Back into the old thought patterns and back into the old self talk that does nothing but drag me down into a dark pit of self torture. Even though I knew I needed to change the thinking patterns, try as I might, it just wasn't happening. I was allowing the dark fog to completely envelope me and, quite frankly, it sucked.

I was practicing the fake-it-'till-you-make-it strategy until yesterday morning when a friend sent me a text message asking how I was doing. I emotionally vomited all over my reply to her then immediately felt ridiculous. I even said at one point, "I'm a fucking broken record." Dammit, Wendi. Enough already!

Having the awesome friends that I do, she demanded I sit under the dinning room table to get a different perspective. She wanted a picture to prove I did it, too, so there was no getting out of it. Reluctantly, I moved the chairs and climbed under the table. Immediately I felt like a kid. It seemed silly but that was the point. I started laughing in the midst of all of the tears and that's exactly what she was going for.

As the day progressed I found that I was able to bring myself back to the moment by using the mantra, "Be here now." With that, I was able to recognize and finally stop those old thought patterns by really taking a look at them. Now, lately I've been working hard on letting go of some feelings around my past but I am finding an intense resistance.

What I finally realized yesterday is that I don't have to let those feelings go in order to move on. Letting them go isn't going to help me forgive myself. Forgiving myself and allowing myself to hold on to those feelings, the good feelings, the feelings of love for those who are no longer in my life, is something that I can do. Really, why would I want to let good feelings go, unless I was allowing them to hold me back on my path? I don't have to allow that to happen.

Knowing I can, or rather, giving myself permission to forgive myself and still have love for those who I hurt while also giving myself permission to be happy is a perspective I have really needed in all of this. While it's one I've seen, it's also one that I have had to remember over and over until I finally got it. Holding on to those feelings doesn't mean I'm dwelling on the past, it simply means that I can still love them and hold a place in my heart for them without it being associated with sadness. They can simply be feelings that feel good.

You know that saying, "It's okay to be sad sometimes"? Well, it seems silly, but, it's also okay to be happy. Oddly enough, it's a permission that I have to give myself every day until I really do get it. Until I not only get it but fully accept it and embrace it for myself.

I am not a bad person. I am a good person who makes mistakes and who is learning from them. Forgiving myself does not mean forgetting about what I did and moving on like it never happened. Forgiving myself means the end of beating myself up and fully embracing the lessons learned from making those mistakes then using them to become a better person. Accepting my humanness and letting go of the idea of perfection. 

Life is about making mistakes. It's what we do after those mistakes that matter. Holding myself accountable, apologizing where needed, asking for forgiveness, forgiving myself and not only seeing the lessons in all of it but actually learning from those lessons is what really matters.

All of the people in my life are mirrors reflecting back at me. Stopping to really look into those mirrors and seeing, really seeing, the lessons they have for me is a tremendous gift I can give to my future self. I am so grateful for them. All of them.

Onward.

Friday, January 3, 2014

My First Nor'Easter

This morning Ipswich awoke to 23 1/2 inches of snow from a Nor'Easter. My first Nor'Easter experience! All the snow is beautiful! Despite the cold (10 degrees with a wind chill!) I had to get outside with my camera and capture some of the beauty around the house.
















Unfortunately, the storm thwarted my plans to spend the weekend in Brooklyn with Syd so I'm spending the weekend warm and safe here in Ipswich. Tomorrow should get up to 27 degrees and sunny so I may venture further away from the house to get some photos of the beach or at least the river, but don't hold me to it.

Photos From First Night in Boston 2013/2014





















Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Reflecting & Moving Forward


As I normally like to do around New Years Day, I spent some time this morning reflecting on the past year and boy was it filled with so much good stuff. Even the painful parts are good. Here's a quick summary I put together to put things into perspective for myself.

2013

January: Put together and launched the Kickstarter campaign for the Butch/Femme Photo Project.

February: Both the Advocate and the Huffington Post wrote an article on the Butch/Femme Photo Project and the Kickstarter campaign was successfully funded for $10,456. Travel planning began.

March: Completed travel planning for a 9 day whirlwind tour of the northern US and Toronto, Canada.

April: Used my passport for the first time when I traveled up to Vancouver, Canada for the photo project. Stayed with some awesome people and photographed more awesome people. Also got to meet a couple of amazing photographers, Belle Ancell and Robin Toma.

May: The first major trip for the project sent me to Utah, Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Canada, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Fourteen cities, sixteen photo shoots and 7 flights in 9 days. It was awesome and exhausting all at once. 

June: Traveled to Texas for project shoots in Dallas, Plano, Spring, Houston and Wichita Falls all in one weekend. Visited my sister who I haven't seen since our Dad passed away in 1997.

July: July brought lots of changes in my personal life.

August: Traveled to Oakland for the Butch Voices Conference where I finally got to meet a photographer whom I have admired for years and who has been one of my greatest inspirations in the world of photography, Syd London. Not only did I get to meet her but I got to assist her on a shoot and sit on a panel with her at the conference. A great friendship was sparked between us, of which I am so grateful for. At the end of August I traveled down to Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico for the project and to visit family. During my trip I was able to say goodbye to my Grandmother before she passed. I was also able to be there for my Mom when we received the news of Grandma's passing. While there I reconnected with my cousins, niece and nephews, which was wonderful. 

September: Said goodbye to, my friends, family, a lot of my material possessions and Portland then drove across the country to North Shore Massachusetts with the intention of starting life anew.

October: Three weeks after arriving in Massachusetts I landed two pretty awesome part-time jobs. One in a doggie daycare and the other at an IT company.

November: Reconnected with the Burner and art community by taking a trip into Boston to help clean up an art space with a bunch of Boston Burners. Explored Ipswich with my camera, had some hard conversations around relationships and started working on getting to know myself.

December: Started practicing being in the moment, letting go of the past and focusing on the positive. Took the train into Boston for First Night and saw some fabulous Burner art in the default world. Welcomed in the new year with a hot bath and some quiet reflection. 

This new year will bring many more changes and exciting adventures.  First up is this weekend! This Friday after working with the pups in the morning I head for Brooklyn, New York to spend the weekend with Syd London and her partner Jay Toole! It'll be my first visit to New York and I am so excited! 

Here's to a great year filled with lots of letting go, taking in lots of positive stuff, working on getting to know myself, focusing on the good, lots of adventures, more writing and photography, laughter, joy, family, love and, I'm sure, more mistakes and pain. I think Neil Gaiman sums it up best with his quote about mistakes.

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it."
-
Neil Gaiman


HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!! Let's make it a great one!