Seven years ago. I posted my first images on a photography site. After years of not picking up my camera. After years of trying to live up to some labels while trying to get rid of certain others. I resurrected part of my self. Through my photography. Again. Call it art. Call it a mess. I called it mine. These are the words I posted with that first image. Strange how I was reminded of these same words just today.
…surrendering to what’s fragile. giving in. no longer asking to be anything else for anyone else. I know who I am. at this moment, I know.
make up whatever you want…
… I am that
Just yesterday, a friend asked me, “what now”? And it’s hard to know. Because my world changed and I wasn’t ready to change with it. Ready doesn’t matter. So, two days ago, I began asking new questions. Looking for new answers. Heart open. It’s time. To start from a place of love and take one more step. Toward light. Toward living. Toward more love. Treading softly as I dream new dreams one at a time. Building them little by little. Sharing them as I go.
I found a postcard from London that I sent my mom and dad exactly 27 years ago today. I was so excited about my life that even in the tiniest handwriting, I couldn’t fit it all on the back. I was fortunate to study abroad that year and I wrote it while sitting outside Buckingham Palace, just after seeing the Queen arrive. I had seen a Puccini musical, gone boating, gotten my hair cut (1980’s London style—that’s right) and had my cartilage pierced. (that’s when piercing anything was radical)… All within two days. The day before that, I had secured a summer job working on a book with my professor, seen my first international rugby match, (where I also learned that Scotsmen, in fact, do NOT wear anything under their kilts), eaten my first authentic Indian food, and learned how to drive on the left side of the road.
Today. I was excited to use my new spin toothbrush.
Over the years, I’ve thought about letting my ear close up. But this morning, I twisted the same little diamond, and it made me smile. A reminder of the girl who was… is.
I have been listening lately to people talk about how they feel too deeply or give too freely, all of it leaving them open to hurt. And the people in particular that I’m thinking of are two of my favorite people. Not just because of who they have been to me, but because of who they are. As people. One of them wants to shut down, close her heart, because she gets hurt when she opens it. The other feels he has given so much of himself to others that there is now very little left. To give at all. Both have gotten hurt as a result. The thing is–the problem is, I think it’s all connected. The abilities I think we have to open our heart, feel too intensely, leaving us hurt, give too much, leaving us depleted, is all part of the wondrous people we are. It’s deeply entwined with the way we receive and give love. The way we express. The way she is able to be on stage in front of hundreds of people and stir someone’s soul with her voice. And the way he is able to translate a vision of light and emotion in his head through a lens and have it bring someone to tears. And I have to believe this about myself. The areas of my being that allow me to feel the most pain and often frustration, are the very parts that allow me to see beauty in the world and people around me. To shut down the part of me that feels “too” deeply, means I shut off the ability to feel joy as well as pain. Even what we create, if we are able to create at all, becomes a partial expression. It seems like a shame to put out the fire, just because it might burn me, when it’s the same fire that warms me when I’m cold. And that. is the struggle.
So grateful for yesterday. Perfect company. Sunny. Warmer. And being outside in it all. Today… just as thankful, while we wait for a big snow. In March. In Ohio. Inside. Glad for each day as it is. A lesson I am bound to learn.
in the middle of the night and in between dreams. But there is a new light breaking through. It’s certain to bring new dreams. And new ways to live them. I’ll start by waking up.
I really don’t know if I can sail through the changing ocean tides. I think I can handle the seasons of my life. And I know the child within my heart can rise above. Time does make me bolder. And I am getting older. One song and it poses so many questions. And the truth is, the older I do get, the less I do know. The less I want to know. The more I am carried along by seasons and tides and time. And that child within my heart kicks and screams but is my hope My very hope. To believing. To rising above.
It’s almost spring and I thought about my dad this morning. The last frost will be here before long. Dad always knew when to plant and transplant. Between growing seasons. Early spring, early fall, to prevent the least amount of shock. Among other things, he was a Botany major. And while I can identify all kinds of plants and know the difference between trees and shrubs, I can’t grow anything to save my life. I can kill the healthiest, sturdiest plants, or at least make them very sick. Not enough water. Too much water. Light, no light. I just don’t know to care for them. I love them. I should just probably leave the care to someone else. But I don’t. I just keep trying. Because I want plants in my life. And I know one day, I’ll get it right.
One of dad’s favorite things to do, was to go to the local nursery and buy up all the dying plants he could find. I watched him do this. And the owners would look at him like he was crazy. But he got a bargain and they got rid of dying plants. And dad would work his magic and those plants would thrive. I wish I knew that secret. I’d trade it for the keen ability to drive backward, any day.
Sometimes, I have to visit and re-visit a concept before it really starts to take hold. And this thing about memories has really started . To take hold. I have spent a lot of time with certain memories lately, afraid to let them go. More to the point, afraid of letting the content of those memories go. For fear of losing part of myself along with them. Part of my actual identity. And this morning, with the help of time, sun and a little quiet, I began, not to let them go exactly, but to allow them to take their place. As memories. It’s funny that when you’re not afraid of losing something anymore, the power that fear holds over you disintegrates. I had the secret all along. The past can be the past now. And I’m still here. A little different maybe. But alive. And here. Able to smile at those memories. And it feels good
I don’t think Mr. Milosz would mind that I borrowed his words. They have always touched me in the past. Today, I touched them.
A day so happy.
Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth my envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.
~ Czeslaw Milosz
I was called back to the sea tonight. Where so much of who I am began. Where I stood on a pier. Unafraid. Facing the vastness of the life before me. I met love there. I met spirit. Life. I met me. It’s time to go home. and meet me again.
I’ve been drawn to them again and again my whole life. I don’t know why. But there they are. Always.
Mr. William Butler Yeats.
Beyond the silence. The seeing. The thinking. The learning. The understanding. After pausing. Searching. Finding. Talking. It’s time to merge. Weave myself into this life. And, I thought I had the answers. But I don’t. Only more questions. … this should be good.
Recently, it’s like I’ve been in this book called, the Ridiculous Book of Me and My Dumb Life, and the last few chapters have been really hard to take. Still, I feel like I’ve learned a few things. In silences. Through tears. Large doses of humility. And the truth is, I don’t know if I’m any better of a person for it. I’m still mostly me. Still this flawed human being who is messy and talks too much too soon. That said, I’m trying to keep my heart open. Open to listening more. Loving more. Trying to face fears. One at a time. Trusting that I won’t be consumed by them. Because I haven’t yet.
In the past I have had the tendency to skip ahead. This time I can’t. Not even a few pages. And it’s kind of nice not wanting to.