Black & White

There is a challenge going around on Facebook. Seven Photos for seven days. Each day you post a black and white picture from your daily life, with no explanation. No kids, no pets.

Today I was nominated to participate. Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t just do it myself… I wanted to do it, I “liked” every post that I saw (that was participating) in hopes that someone would nominate me. I think it’s kinda funny that it happened today because the writing prompt for today was identity.

I’ve struggled for a long time with the concept of identity and actually, with the concept of black and white thinking (all or nothing- either/or vs both/and) so to get both of those things on the same day… I knew I had to post.

For a few years, “photographer” was a big part of my identity. Not nearly as long as “writer” but I almost took more pride/joy in the role of photographer. As a writer, fear got in my way so much… I was afraid to write. I was afraid to submit anything anywhere. Once I finally did, when I wound up with a rejection, it was paralyzing. The worst time being, I’d quit writing for almost a year. I was miserable. With photography though, it was instant gratification. Pictures were digital, parents were happy, I felt accomplished. Plus, I met some really cool people.

And then it happened. Whatever “it” was or is. The problems with my back. And my legs. The fibromyalgia, the chronic fatigue. I couldn’t do it anymore. I don’t think I could go back to it either. Not as a job, anyway. But it was nice to go out and do something fun, snap a photo and be able to post it.

Thank God I’m back to my writing!

The “feature photograph” is the one I took and posted on Facebook. What do you think?


Not What I Expected…

So here it is again, Sunday. Time for Slapstick Sunday but I don’t feel so slapstick-y. I’m sure funny things have happened during the week yet I’m feeling more… sentimental.

We took our daughter to get her hair cut today. Four inches fell to the floor in as many seconds. We took her in for a couple of reasons. One, it was just time. Two, she’s back at school tomorrow and I didn’t want to have to fight with her about washing her hair and the third reason is because her birthday is coming up. Next month she will be a teenager.

Usually on her birthday, I do a photo session. This year I wanted to do it early. There’s a wonderful building in Minneapolis, off of Washington Ave that is idea for a photoshoot. I was excited to get started!

First we HAD to buy a new shirt. The one she had on barely covered her belly button (can you hear her eyes rolling in the background?). So a-thrifting-we-will-go. After a little looking and maybe a bit of bribery, she agreed on some denim jeans with roses embroidered on the leg and a pink & white top, the kind that are like a tube top-on the top and then free flowing from the bra line down. Oh, she hated it! It was adorable!

Hair looking good? Check. Presentable clothing? Check. Directions to downtown? Check. And we’re off. And I’m sooo tired. It hurts to keep my eyes open. The building is open until 8:00pm and it’s only 5:00. Totally enough time to go home for a quick nap!

It’s a little after 7:00 when we leave. I know I’m cutting it short. It’s not that it’s a long drive but I need the sunlight for the effect I want. The sun is in perfect position to blind me all the way until I miss my exit. Backtrack. Park. And then? Where the hell did the sun go? Who knows. We’re already here, we’re going to make the best of it.

I feed the meter and lug all of my crap out of the car and cross the street to the historic building. I take in a deep breath before pulling the handle on the door. It’s stuck? Nope, it’s locked. It’s only a little after 7:30. What. The. Fuck.

Now that the sun is gone, it’s also much colder, as well as darker. We cross the street back to the car and I throw my stuff in the back, making sure I slam the car door loudly.

I started the car and the gas light came on. Fantastic. I ask Siri where the nearest gas station is and we’re off again.

Tayla hasn’t said much during this time but I can see her playing on her phone and get irritated. This isn’t how it’s supposed to go. We’re supposed to be bonding. Reflecting. Taking in the beauty around us, not playing Minecraf… holy shit. She’s taking pictures. The skyline. The bridges. The neon lights. The flashing lights. The art on the side of buildings…

“Didn’t you used to live down here?” she asks.

“You did too” I tell her.

She smiles brighter than all the lights at Target Field.

So, I didn’t get her birthday pictures done today. Instead we took an impromptu tour of the city and I can’t wait until we do it again.

I Love This City!

The Photo I Didn’t Take

We drove home a different way than usual today. Road construction forced us to take the scenic route over the faster more efficient way. We passed the golf course, the city park, the fire station and then the street.

“There it is mom! Remember?”

I remembered. That’s where we walked to in the fall, when we drew pictures on the sidewalk with fallen berries and wilting dandelions. The walk prompted talks about what we both wanted to be when we grew up (she an artist and I, still undecided). We turned down an empty street and walked the inside lip of a cul-de-sac, kicking through piles of leaves, watching them scatter and spread with the wind. We felt like powerful colossuses, stomping through a small village. I filled out my body, I took up the space I wanted. I felt full of life.

Soon I was out of breath and I dropped down to my butt.

“C’mon mom! Let’s keep going, we’re having so much fun!”

“We can have fun on the ground too” I replied.

She kicked through another pile before joining me on the ground of the small hill.

“Now what?” she asked.

“Now this!” I yelled as I crushed a fistful of dried leaves onto the top of her head and watched it break apart into millions of little pieces. I didn’t even let it bother me, thinking about how long it was going to take to get all of those leaves out of her hair. I’d started a war. A few more minutes in, I was aware of a longing for my camera. I wanted to capture this moment. Save it. Freeze it. Keep it up on the fridge forever but I knew that on the other side of the lens I would be out of the moment. I would be directing, forcing, controlling and ultimately losing the joy of the experience.

And sitting with this knowledge, well, it just plain sucks.

I want it both ways. I want to live and be present in the moment and I want to record the moment. What if I forget this day? Forget this happiness? It happens sometimes with depression… but I am capturing it, here and now.

She was wearing soft, black boots. Blue denim jeans and a white sweatshirt. The dried bits of leaves blended in perfectly with her hair, the same brown shade of autumn. Her cheeks had that natural blush that always seems to follow kids when they come in from outside, yet she looked so grown up.

“That’s where you left that huge imprint of your butt, remember mom?”

Yes dear and I hope I never forget.