October 31, 2016

and so it begins

30 minutes to summarize the core element of photography – composition.  Jumping in and not know what is the best way to teach it, language barrier as well as the challenge of having to learn this “new” language of photography and “seeing”.  3 hours of total time spent in instruction including shooting time and image review.  It took a while, but slowly and surely, the lights started to turn on and we were seeing that most of them were getting it.

We are adapting as we go, adjusting the lesson plan to their pace of learning.  But they are getting it.  We told them about the exhibition and instantly their eyes lit up and smiles were on their faces.  They are so excited.

Processing my own emotions :: feelings like, inadequate, inarticulate, not fun/funny, not friendly enough.

Questions like:: will this work? will we fail? will we disappoint people?, Am I being all the things above? am I being egotistical? am I being outgoing enough? Am I listening? am I being kind to locals?

My fears are:: I don’t want to devalue anyone, offend anyone, or be a burden.

Thoughts moving forward ::

I have just as much to contribute as any of the other teachers here.  I am so grateful to be here, to have this experience and to be able to share time and space and love with these kids.  My affect will never be known to me, but it is worth it non the less.

October 30, 2016

36 hours in India

It was a bomb waiting to go off – my built up anticipation and anxiety were just waiting to be satiated.

Don’t get me wrong, it did not disappoint, but I immediately felt like I was back in Ho chi man city Vietnam with the amount of bustle, noise, humidity, smells and people.  It felt familiar, like a place of promised adventures, and a place I was content to be.

Chai from the local spot three doors down. 20 rupees, piping hot and drinkable in clay cups that will shatter when you toss them in the trash when finished.

Today was – morning traffic and Howrah views.  Shaking little eager hands like I was a celebrity, surrounded by the murmurs of “good morning ma’am”.  My smile was a mile long.  Morning walk through the slums, kids collecting and following as we went along, again, I felt like a movie star and stop to shake all the happy hands and wish them good morning. Cows, motos, buses, honking taxi’s.  Kids, beggars, men going about their business.  This is the busiest streets I’ve ever seen, definitely beginning to max me out.  More time back at the school with the awesome kids. Badminton and everyone fighting for a turn.  Lunch was hand made “tortillas” and eggs. A ferry ride home.  My legs are jello and I am fighting jet lag.  My zombie like countenance is taking over and I struggle to form sentences that make sense. Which was perfect because we had 4 more appointments set up for the day.  We met up with George to check out the exhibition space that is still under construction.  We met with the photo lab that decided to sponsor the exhibition unprompted.  The owner invited us to tea afterwards and we shared stories of the program, our visit to india and about he shared ideas as to how we should celebrate and witness Diwali this weekend.

Then it was off to Hamari Miskan – the second group of kids at the center for children of the sex workers. Instantly I am in love again and am so  so so so excited to be a part of this program.  The opportunity this is providing is priceless and essential. We went to dinner with the headmasters of the center and discussed logistics of the class schedules as well as more plans for sight seeing for diwali.

Every step is a contradiction.  I love this place, this place is horrifying. that smile! the smell.  The noise, the delightful chaos, the people, these living conditions.  The yo yo doesn’t stop.  My mind and my senses are numb from the overload.

I am so glad I am here.  I was meant to be here. Everything has contributed to where I am right now.  I suppose I will continue to trust the path that I am blindly following.

6am comes early. Good night.

October 27, 2016

Enroute to India

Of course, my final week is spent finishing up work projects and running around like a chicken with its head cutt off.  My anxiety was wracking me and I found myself crumbling too many days in a row.  Chris came and spent the week with me. He went to work to and from my place and then would make me dinner and run errands with me.  I am so grateful for his silent support. I said it before.. “quiet strength”..  that is him for sure.  Self assured, not flashy, unassuming, consistent, supportive and patient. Everything I need in my psychotic free falling state.

bumped into Esther at sfo as we headed out on our separate and exotic adventures.  We shared a glass of wine as we waited for our flights.  Bummed about our non shared experiences but love that we share this love for travel and adventure.

15 hours of flight time and 6 hours in Dubai.  Emirates is a great airline. Clean comfy and great amenities for economy tickets.  I slept a little, worked a little, and watched two bollywood films.    as much as I like, I feel that there is no way to prepare myself for what I am about to experience.  As best as I can, the only way is to just jump in.

Conversations with the guys prove that this thing has grown in the right direction, with the right people.  I feel like we are well balanced in our gifts and strengths.   I have a few moments when I need reminded of what mine are, but I know I have a lot to contribute.  As long as I can have an open heart, and open mind,patience and kindness, I am good to go.

I have a few reservations about details that I don’t fully understand, things that seem sketch or political, but I have to remind myself of what I am here for, what started this path and that it is actually happening.  I felt India calling my name a year ago and here I am.  What do you have for me life?!  what do you have for me..

<3

October 18, 2016

It feels like my nerves are crumbling. I’m incapable of confident thought.  I think everyone hates me or puts up with me.  These things are not me.

Year end wedding season, culmination of 9 months of planning for the india project, next level of relationship, I feel like I am becoming unglued.

Me: I don’t smoke pot, but I would right now.

Him: Do you want me to get you some?

Me: What?! You don’t smoke! ..do you?

Him: No, but I would get you some if you want it.

Me: have you ever bought any?

Him: no

Me: Have you ever smoked?:

Him: no

Me: lmao <3

= = = = =

Struggling with what is next and finding the time and money to pursue it.  At the end of every wedding year I want to shoot myself in the face.  I can’t do this anymore.  My max is 20 weddings a year, with a 4k minimum average to survive this lifestyle I have created for myself.  I want something new, but I don’t know how to move forward.

I feel like I have let people slip through my fingers, friendships that mean the world to me I have not had time to give them the attention it needs to keep going.    January.  Chris and I keep joking about this magical month that I will have balance return to my life, in January.   January I will be able to pick up my banjo again, visit friends I have not seen in 9 months, start working out again, and return to my 4 hour work weeks (haha).

 

Anxiety I hate you so.  Leave me and my self alone.  I do not want you here anymore.  Everything will work out in the end.  I will be ok.  I will be more than ok.

 

 

September 24, 2016

“Life begins all over again when it gets crisp in the fall”.

Summer came, along with it was sweet nothings and new adventures in the world known as “relationship”.

Carmel, New Orleans, Burning man. Quinoa bowl Mondays, chocolate and port on the patio,  lazy sundays whenever they are available.  Late night work sessions on the couch.  NYC whirlwinds; hotel fiasco, walking down 5th avenue hand in hand, speakeasy with high school buddies.

Not all easy, but the most important parts are.  Plenty of ways to learn how to communicate, to be compassionate, and to be patient.  ::sigh::

Turns out my life hasn’t changed THAT much or deviated from any certain path that I have been chasing previously.  It’s all fallen into place, fulfilled my bucket list items and the wishes my heart has been looking for.  Reservations and fears are slayed when the timing is right.   Timing is everything.

Timing is everything.

 

India is in 30 days – The project that started with a desire has turned into a full blown program with sponsors and funding.  This is my life, and I am so grateful.

What do you have for me life?! What do you have for me.

 

<3

 

Words collected lately::

 

“You don’t get to control every outcome and aspect as a way to never give in to the uncertaitnty and unpredictability of something that’s beyond what you understand.   It is the basis of presence: to show up as you are in this moment and let that be enough.”

July 8, 2016

These are words that go together well

 

Summer time

Wedding season in full swing and aside from shooting I have had zero time for any thing else work wise.  Time to say no to everything and chain myself to my desk for a few days.  ::sigh::.

Puddle muffin (because everyone needs a nickname the land of google searches and seo) – I don’t even know where to begin.  The precariousness of the dance on the ledge that is relationship and dating has been done.   While I am still with eyes wide open I am willing to lend my hand in trust and hope and walk forward to enjoy.

A long weekend with friends – him meeting my girls and me karaoke-ing and becoming bff’s with his. More sunshine and drinks on the 4th followed by calm moments at home in our sweats and quinoa bowls as we talked the evening away sprawled on his couch.  I had been waiting for him to say it first, but I knew I had to be the one that said it after all since I had pushed back so hard.  These words are terrifying and I again, some very small part of me thinks it is happening all too fast.  What I can’t deny is that it feels right, it is flows well, and I always look forward to seeing him, and when I do see him, my heart is in my throat.

I have a double this week, and nothing the next.  He is planning something for us to do.  Should be an interesting adventure.

 

 

Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble

June 13, 2016

Words collected lately::

Over that ridge and beyond that crest there lies in wait a certain life for us. The sharply sloped hillsides come together where the brook still tumbles jovially through cedar groves in the summer.

There’s a life for us lying on our backs in the meadow, full of lemonade and sharing kisses. A mandolin near your feet still singing sweetly by itself in my head.

There’s a life for us where our arms and legs ache from work at the end of the day, not our eyes and ears. Small white parachute puffs lean with the wind and ascend with their seeds, seeing us as just specks below, happy and at peace.

There’s a life for us where you looked at me on that afternoon we now laugh about, scooting around a crowded shopping cart with your hands full of vegetables.

There’s a life we created in those daydreams, nearly passing out on the couch after one of our too-big dinners. It’s amazing we still made this life a possibility in between the cloudiness of empty wine bottles and bed sheets.

There’s a life for us I’m not afraid to describe… to rip apart its pages and write them once more all over, revised. One hundred times I’ll paint these hills and trees and you can tell me what to change, and every time you’ll see yourself beneath them, happy and at peace.

This life I make still lies waiting, its pop-up pages just needing a curious tug from your licked finger. That moment… that subtly lingering, inquisitive smile is all it takes, and there we’ll be, lying on our backs full of lemonade and sharing kisses.
C.McClean

June 13, 2016

Daybreak creeps across our cloud of bed sheets,
and from underneath, the golden circles in your chandelier
make crossed figures like stick men and asterisks;
we float easily in time between my business suits and suitcases
and your grey camera backpack.

You’re the accidental legend, Parisian harlequin,
elusive in plain sight, intolerant of superficial tourists or prize fighters;
you call me calming, tether, man.

I’m the pensive sketcher, buried with books and structure,
campfire guide, patient and kind;
I call you canvass for kisses, artist and muse, inspiration.

In chance orbits, we’ve converged as keen observers geared for service,
heralds of sincerity, products of family yet pathfinders.
We’re late-night whiskey by a picture-framed pier,
chilly wind-swept perch of grass above the city,
square pegs on purpose, outer- and introspective,
tender touching each other in these intersections.

So I pray for sacred lazy Sundays where my smile doesn’t fade
and my hands never tire of their game.
Providence placed a cloud in empty space where together we can float,
practice patience, speak love languages.

But far from fragile wisp, this cloud widens and solidifies,
connective comfort filling the gaps between our worlds as they circle.
C.McClean

June 13, 2016

A weekend with my bae’s family. I felt it was too soon. So many “but if’s” running through my head. The second I met them and said hello I was so glad I came. They are all things wonderful and I needed this deeper perspective of this man. I feel lucky to have met him.

If I can manage to not be the rebellious independent soul that I am and stop pushing him purposefully away I just may be able to have all the lovely things that I can sense are awaiting me with him. Calm down child and. just. breath.

I say you – bright eyes, quiet lips, Keenly observing my every breath.
I dare look you in the eyes for I fear to see the bright stars and reflected magic in them.

You say me – a fine bottle of moet and sunshine on a cloudy day.

I say you – the possible and hoped for – light joy freedom – love.

You say me – will hold my hand if I let you.

I scream you – how can you be so sure

You say me – here are 20 reasons why.

Words collected lately::

“I will stand in your shadows and tell you I am not afraid of your dark.”

There is some kiss we want with our whole lives,
the touch of Spirit on the body.
Seawater begs the pearl to break it’s shell.
and the lily, how passionately it needs some wild darling!
At night, I open the window and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine.
Breathe into me.
Close the language-door,
and open the love-window.
The moon won’t use the door,
only the window.
-Rumi

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

by Maya Angelou

June 2, 2016

A year ago today I took my newly purchased costco mattress and plopped it down on the bare wood floors in my new and still empty bedroom. This was my new and first home in the three years. Three years where I slept on my parents couch, my friends extra mattresses, in countless airbnb’s, hostels, hotels. living out of a suitcase or with the same 5 outfits for months at a time. It earned me the nickname gypsy, countless stamps on my passport and memories that will keep my laughing to myself for a lifetime. I’m not done chasing my dreams or taking chances, but I am glad for the reprieve of space and the time to breathe and reprioritize what I want out of my “one wild and precious life”.

What I came up with is this – people. The people in my life, the people I meet when traveling, the people I get to interact with in a moment through a simple exchange and may never see again. More specifically, what that interaction looks like and what is the feeling I leave them with when I walk away.

As a wedding and portrait photographer for 10 years I have been commissioned to celebrate specific events in peoples lives with my camera in a beautiful way. It has been an honor to participate in these stories of triumph and love and even loss.

I want to celebrate people. I want to tell their story. I don’t consider myself a writer, it is something I typically run away from. My camera is my tool that I use. I strongly believe in the power of a photograph; What it is to be photographed, to see yourself, embrace yourself. To own your story. We all have a unique journey. I want to celebrate that.

My personal journey of the last 5 years has been transformative. It has given me the capacity of compassion and hopefully the ability to listen.

The most common heard question was “ where are you in the world? or “where are you going next? or my favorite “ you are so lucky” or even better, “I wish I could have your life.”

more on those later – but first I want to reflect on what it was like to have home, personal space and things again.

I’m still pretty gypsy despite having home. I honestly feel lazier now because the idea of staying in my bed as long as possible each morning is just so delightful. My space is bright, peaceful, calm and cozy. It brings me joy and reflects also the things that are me.

I have to work hard to maintain a routine and I’m still figuring what that looks and means for me and not anyone else.

I’m seeing a therapist, I prioritize my physical and mental health, I’m getting better at knowing my limits and I am drinking less. I am comfortable in my town, I know the good spots for food and drink and have a few friends that I can meet up with now and then.

This is my life and I am grateful.

I have plans for the future, hopes for the future, money in the bank, a car, a boyfriend (gasp), and freedom to be me.

I am grateful.