I did it. I crossed the finish line of shooting 365 IMPOSSIBLE Self-Portraits. One year ago today, on my birthday, I embarked on a journey that I felt called to take. The natural progression of my photography compelled me to take on the challenge of shooting a self-portrait on instant film using vintage Polaroid cameras every day for one year. Even now, as I type that sentence, it still sounds ludicrous. Each part of that project sounds daunting — (1) a 365 project, (2) of self-portraits, (3) using only instant film — and it was. And…I did it!!

I am awash with emotions ranging from elation and jubilation to loss and sadness. I have much to process emotionally as I review this past year and epic journey of photography and self-discovery. And as I need that time to truly reflect and take it all in, I am crystal clear on a few things. I am grateful I said “yes” to this hair-brained idea. I am grateful I went all in with what my heart longed for artistically and creatively, even though it scared the shit out of me. I am grateful I stayed the course when it got hard, and then again when it got harder.

Perhaps most importantly, I am grateful to you. I am grateful for every comment on every blog post I wrote about the project and on each photograph I chose to share. I am grateful for every “like” on Facebook, for every “favorite” on Twitter, and for every retweet. And to my biggest cheerleaders — you know who you are — I am forever in your debt.

Much love, friends. Much love. xoxo

And many thanks to the IMPOSSIBLE Project for their support of 365 IMPOSSIBLE Self-Portraits and help with defraying some film costs. I don’t know where my photography would be without you all!

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 4

Six days, friends. That’s it. Just six more days of shooting 365 Impossible Self-Portraits. In some ways, it seems like I’ve been working on this project forever. The daily grind of any project will likely do that to a person. And in other ways, it feels like I was just at the half-way point. That it was only yesterday when I still had a full month to go.

Spectra_Softtone_Ferris-Wheel-Double-SelfieThe ride is almost over…

Over the last 12 months, as I’ve been shooting my 365 IMPOSSIBLE Self-Portraits, I’ve realized that my “other” photography has taken a hit. With carving out time each day to take a self-portrait while also having a very full-time job, many other photographs simply haven’t been taken. There are only so many hours in the day, right? So I began looking over the seemingly handful of images that I have shot recently that aren’t photos of me, and I did come across a few gems like this one from my trip to Santa Fe…

600-Color_Native-Saint-SF_rs I’m over at Mortal Muses sharing a few other recent favorite photos shot when I turned the lens away from me! Click HERE to check them out.

Friday, April 11th, 2014 0

It’s the 10th of the month and it’s time for some photo riffing! This month, the talented and wicked funny Cherish Bryck gave us our photo prompt, challenging us to riff off the following image she recently shot…

Cherish RiffGiven I’m in the very last days of shooting my 365 IMPOSSIBLE Self-Portraits, I knew I would riff in a self-portrait. I actually had already developed a similar idea to this photo that I wanted to shoot, so Cherish’s photo prompt gave me the exact push to execute the following photo…

600-BW_Day349_Hide-Eyes_Inverted_rsThe “original” image is actual inverted, but I fell more in love with it when I rotated it 180 degrees. Sometimes a turn in perspective is just what a photo — and ourselves — needs.

Head on over to Tamar’s site to see her version of this month’s photo riffing.

I feel it all.
The duality.
Both sides.
The hard edge and the softness.
The joy and the grief.
The dark and the light.
The relief and the sadness.
The noise and the solitude.
The emptiness and the fullness.
I feel it all.

600 BW_Day287_Heart Lips

I’ve fallen. Hard. I’m in love all over again. I knew I shouldn’t have. There were compelling reasons NOT to. Many compelling reasons. But love knows no logic.

Fuji100C_Tulips Journal_195_rsI’m over at Mortal Muses today, exposing my love affair. Click HERE to read the sordid details.

Friday, March 28th, 2014 0

One month to go. That’s it. Just one more month of this 365 IMPOSSIBLE Self-Portraits journey. Seemingly just like that — *snap* — I’ve got only 30 more days to capture myself on instant film. 30. More. Days. I’m relieved…and, I’m terrified.

I’m relieved because, if I’m honest, the project has been daunting. A 365 project of any sort is daunting. A self-portrait project, of any duration, is daunting. A 365 instant photography project is daunting. And yet, I combined all three of these — 365, self-portrait, instant film — and it has sometimes many times felt formidable. But here I am. In the homestretch. I’ve got 335 instant self-portraits under my belt. And the relief of not having to ask myself each and every day, “how am I going to shoot myself tomorrow?” is beckoning me.

600 Color_Day279While that sweet relief is enticing, I’m also terrified. With only 30 photos to go, I feel a weighty stress within myself. The voice in my head is taking on a sinister tone, imploring me, warning me, demanding me…”You better make ‘em count.” That critical voice knows of my longing for gallery shows and exhibits, of my desire to share the work that has been largely only mine, seen mainly only by me, during this past year. That voice has keenly observed my dreams of writing a book, a memoir borne of and including these self-portraits. And rather than gently encouraging me, bolstering me, guiding me during these last short weeks, the voice in my head is cracking the whip and scaring the hell out of me. That voice is stirring up the gremlins of “what if my photos aren’t good enough?,” “what if nobody cares?,” “what if no one wants to hear my story?,” “what if no one sees me?” And all those what-ifs…they’re terrifying.

So yeah…one month to go. 30 days of relief and terror.

It’s the 10th and you know what that means? My circle of photog sisters are blog-hopping today! Last month we launched a new idea where one person selects a photography she shot and the rest of the group free-associates, or riffs, off that photo. It’s a way to get inspired, perhaps try something new, and then share it among our community. For this month’s riff, the group decided that I select one of my photos to get the riffing going. Here’s the photo I selected, one of my self-portraits from my 365 IMPOSSIBLE Self-Portraits project…

Spectra-Color_Day255This photo is Day 255, and it a double-exposure shot in-camera with my Spectra. Like all of my photographs for 365 IMPOSSIBLE Self-Portraits, it has not been Photoshopped or edited in any way. I’m so excited to see what my photography sisters shot, inspired by my photo. So here’s to another round of photo riffing! Let’s get this blog-hop going by clicking over to Tara’s site to see her riff on my photo.

I went to undergrad with the intention of getting a biology degree and going on to medical school. I did earn a biology degree, but realized very late in the game that medical school wasn’t the best fit for me. I worked full-time in D.C. for a few years after graduating, trying to find my way, (re-)discover my career path. About two years later, I knew I had to go back to school. I realized that psychology was where my interest lie, and that I wanted to go to graduate school. Unfortunately, I had ZERO undergraduate credits in psychology.

So, I went back to undergrad to earn a second degree in psychology and determine what type of psychology to pursue in graduate school. During these two additional years of undergrad, I discovered Counseling Psychology through a fabulous mentor. I was on fire about this field and the work that I could do. I realized that becoming a university professor where I could do research and teach was my ideal career. I then applied to doctoral programs and was accepted at my “dream school,” the University of Missouri-Columbia. I again worked with an amazing advisor who continues to be my mentor to this day. After five years of classes, a dissertation, and then a one-year full-time internship at the University of Oregon, I earned my Ph.D. With the faculty job market being super competitive, I then took a post-doctoral position for a year and half where I conducted more research and worked with clients, becoming a Licensed Psychologist (if you’re keeping count, we’re now at 9 1/2 years). Then, I landed “my dream job,” an academic position in the Counseling Psychology graduate training program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

I started my position in 2007, and not long after, I was diagnosed with cancer. Needless to say, this put a kink in my plans. I took care of myself, stepping back from work to do so, and was able to add time on the proverbial tenure-clock to get better. After a difficult year (and then some), I got back on my feet and got back down to business. And, six and half years later, it’s paid off.

Yesterday, I got the official news that I am promoted and tenured to Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Exp600_Champagne-Tofino_rsIt’s definitely time to get the champagne. This celebration has been 16 years in the making. WOOT!

Huge thanks to so many people who have helped me along the way in this journey. It’s an understatement to say I couldn’t have done it without you. xoxo

Friday, March 7th, 2014 19
Posted in: Film, Polaroid, Self-Care, SOOC

If I’m honest, I’ve had a tough few weeks. I’ve been feeling a bit down, a bit untethered. A few set-backs have appeared on my path. My groundedness has escaped me of late, and the swirling has taken over. My one word for the year, secure, seems to have left the building. I’ve been trying to dig deep, to press on, to rely on my one word from 2013. But it’s felt difficult. Not good, friends, not good.

So last week, I could no longer ignore that the swirling and the ever-growing to-do list — especially after having been out of town for a full week at training — had left me feeling depleted. My mat was beckoning me (screaming to me!) to get to the studio, to breathe deeply, and to reconnect to my core. After an intensely full day at work, I made the conscious decision to let the rest of the seemingly-urgent responsibilities await another day, and I headed to yoga. As I found a spot in the very crowded class, took a seated position, and closed my eyes, I immediately felt an internal shift. Then, a few deep breaths, some rolls of my beyond-tight neck, and a settling into the present moment. For the next 75 minutes, I would be here, now. Nothing else to do. Just. Be. Here.

At the end of class, right before savasana (total relaxation!), the teacher guided us through bridge pose and invited those who could to go in to full wheel (or upward bow). Wheel is a full on back-bend — lie on your back, place your palms face-down up by your ears, then push up and into your hands and feet, extending your arms and legs. Viola, full on back-bend. Wheel. Upward bow. Uh-huh. Right. I’ve never done wheel. Actually…I’ve never even tried. But in this class, the woman next to me did it. And in witnessing this, her courage and ability to go for it, made me want to try.

As I placed my hands up by my ears, my yoga teacher happened to walk by and notice me. She came over and gently said, “do you want to try it?” Before I had a chance for my brain to even consider it, my mouth said “yes.” She then stood directly behind my head and told me to put my hands around her ankles for support. Once I had a firm hold of her ankles, she then said to push into my hands and feet with all my strength and raise my hips. I took a breath, and I pushed, holding on to her for dear life. I couldn’t quite come all the way up, as I had too much weight in my head and not enough into my hands and feet. So I came back down to my mat and took a breath. She gently asked, “do you want to try again?” A resounding “yes” came out of me. I took another deep breath, held onto my yoga teacher, and I pushed. And then, I was in wheel. Full on back-bend. With support. And it was amazing.

PX680_CP_BHB-Tofino_rsI felt so exhilarated. So strong. So secure. And in those incredible moments on my mat, I realization dawned on me. I don’t have to do it alone. Yes, there are times when my own sense of groundedness is firm all by itself. Times when I feel and know “I’ve got this.” Times when I am deeply connected to my core and am rooted in secure. But other times, MANY times, I’m not there at all. It’s as if I have amnesia and I never knew secure existed within me. I flounder and flap about, grasping for some reminder that I’m okay, searching for something or someone to hold on to. But my yoga teacher, helping me come in to wheel, literally giving herself to me to hold on to, showed me that being secure with support is okay. Even necessary at times. She showed me, “we’ve got this.”

This post is for all of you who support me, who buoy me, who show me time and time again, “we’ve got this.” It doesn’t get more secure than that. xoxo

Monday, February 24th, 2014 22