Category : Impossible Project
Last month I had the opportunity to take an amazing trip to California. And by amazing, I mean that Big Sur an Napa were on the docket along with being together with some of my most cherished friends. As if going to the Esalen hot springs at 1am to soak under the clearest sky filled with the brightest stars hearing the crash of the Pacific waves directly below was not epic enough, there was also the hike to a swimming hole, the discovery of flat whites, and staying at the kitschy Madonna Inn.
But then came four magical days spent at a Napa vineyard with these people, a most inspired and inspiring group of artists…
This time, space, and bounty wouldn’t have been possible without our benefactor, Timm, host and party-thrower extraordinaire…
I send out a heart-filled thank you to each of these kindreds. You filled my cup during those four sparkling days and nights in Napa. Thank you for letting me see you, and for you seeing me. Can’t wait until our next adventure. xoxo
For those photographers interested, black and white photo shot on Tri-X 400 with Pentax 645N camera, color photos shot on Portra 160 with Canon AE-1 camera, and the two Polaroids shot on Impossible 600 with Polaroid SLR680.
It is April. Spring. To say it is a time of transition — in the year and in my life — is to put it mildly. I have been quiet here of late as my whole world has been turned upside down. I’m s-l-o-w-l-y coming back to ground, back to right-side up. Searching and discovering whatever this new version of “normal” is going to be.
Every single day of January and February, and even into March, felt hard. As in “I’ve never gone through anything this difficult” hard. I had a constant wish that my heart would stop hurting, that the pit in my stomach would go away, that I would wake up from the nightmare I felt my life had become. Those wishes never actually came true. Not in the instantaneous way I had wished for, anyway.
But…my heart is healing. The pit in my stomach is subsiding. The nightmare still goes on, yet it is becoming less terrifying. And as these transitions have been occurring, I find that my mind has allowed for just a bit of space to dream. I’m feeling the cracks of openness to glimpse the hopefulness this season brings — of renewal, of awakening. As my birthday comes this week, as I embark on an altogether different chapter of my life, one that I never planned and certainly never expected, I wonder what new wishes I might be making…
I’ve been swirling for the past few weeks. Most days have felt like a struggle. Getting out of bed has been difficult. Pushing through the day has required inordinate effort. I’ve been looking forward to the end of the day when I can come home, change into my pajamas, and pour a glass of wine, with far too much gleeful anticipation.
I’m having tumultuous dreams and flashback images of my mother. A dear friend’s wife died, bringing up all of the feelings associated with the knowledge that friends my age shouldn’t be dying and that I, too, will die. My tendencies toward existential crisis lie just below the surface, and needless to say, have been spilling over. My self-efficacy regarding writing a memoir, telling my story and telling it well, has been dangerously circling the drain. Oh, and Mercury was in retrograde. I can’t see the forest for the trees.
I have been stuck. In a fragile, emotional, crying-three-times-a-day funk. For a few weeks. But I’m coming out of it. I’m clawing my way to the surface. I have to. I need to see the big picture. I need to remember that life is short and I will die, and to use that knowledge to embrace the life I have rather than retreat from it. I need to remember that revisiting my past opens old doors, and that dreams and flashbacks are part of the process. I need to remember that I’ve never written a memoir before, that this is all new territory for me, and that my self-efficacy will grow as I keep writing.
Yes, I’m shaking the devil off. Casting off the stuck-ness. Starting to glimpse the forest again.
I interrupt my re-capping of our summer travels to Spain and Paris to share some of the instant photography shots I recently unveiled for Autumn Polaroid Week. For this now twice-a-year extravaganza of all that is wonderful about instant photography, I saved a few of the portraits I took of my amazing friend, Melissa, to share. I posted my very favorite black and white photos of her that I took during our shoot in Oregon, but was hoarding these color images shot on IMPOSSIBLE Project film to share last week for Polaroid Week.
I don’t want summer to end. The slower pace, the lessened responsibilities, the lack of structure. That all sounds just so very good as I write these words. Yes, it sounds good to me, in theory. If I get quiet with myself and I’m really honest, I know these kinds of days don’t equate to the feelings in myself for which I long. The truth is, I’m restless. I’m antsy. I’m a little down.
Knowing myself — really knowing and accepting myself — is a work in progress. I heard Gretchen Rubin give a great talk last year on this very subject, and I’m only now hearing all of its reverberations. Over time, and particularly of late, I’m becoming more and more clear that my personality is wired for structure. Spontaneity, free-flowing time, and days without set plans all seem enticing to me. It sounds great. But it isn’t great for me. Those type of days make me feel more restless, more antsy, more depressed. I realize I have been holding on to some notion that those kind of days are supposed to be awesome and fun and freeing. After all, I can sleep in if I want. I can stay home in my pjs all day, be with Parker, and work on my manuscripts. I don’t have scheduled meetings, so the day can just flow. Sounds good, right? As much as I don’t want to let the idea go that I could be “unstructured, free-flowing Meghan,” I have to accept the truth that these kind of days are not good for me. I have to know and honor my true Self enough to accept who I am.
This acceptance fills me with some excitement. Getting closer to my truth is GOOD! I’m already thinking through my plans to kick this restlessness to the curb. Although it still only the first week of August, my summer is just about over. I leave this week for the American Psychological Association conference and and when I return, preparations for the semester will be in full swing as classes begin a few short days later. Thus, with the new semester on the horizon, I’m thinking through the structure I want to build for myself. I’m making plans for how and when I want to spend my time — writing my book, working on research manuscripts, teaching class, meeting with students, yoga, lunches/walks/happy hour with friends, dates with Tony. These are all the parts of my life I want to really sink into, and for me to really sink in, I need to prioritize and schedule it all. As well, I need to wake up, get dressed, and leave the house. As a true (and extreme) extrovert, I need to be with other people, even if it’s working and writing at the coffee shop. Staying at home in my pjs all day, alone, is a recipe for disaster. That’s knowing myself, being secure in who I am, and living my truth.