Category : Self-Portrait
My mind is feeling full and the swirling has commenced again. The sand in the hourglass runs so swiftly each day, yet tasks and to-do lists seem stagnant. Daily reminders keep coming that life can change in an instant. Then curve balls are thrown my way for which I’m not prepared and I’m unsure how to handle. I’m not in a good place, my friends.
For our polatych collaboration, Celina and I chose “relax” as our May theme. I don’t think this choice of word or sentiment was a coincidence. I’m trying to take in these photos, take in this message to relax, to quiet the swirling. I’m reminding myself with each breath to trust the process.
2. What is your least favorite word? Panties
3. What turns you on? Wit, authenticity, and pie-making skills
4. What turns you off? Small-mindedness
5. What sound do you love? Ocean waves crashing to the beach
6. What sound do you hate? Jackhammers
7. What is your favorite curse word? Fuck
8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Travel photographer and food critic
9. What profession would you not like to do? Prostitute
10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? You are loved, always have been and always will be.
Now, your turn.
PS–questions from James Lipton’s Inside the Actors Studio.
I met Andy and Josh when I was out in Oregon for my pre-doctoral internship. Coming from very different parts of the country and different doctoral programs, the three of us all matched (crazy, computerized ranking and matching system like medical residency) at the University of Oregon’s Counseling and Testing Center for this last component to earn our doctoral degrees. Interestingly, while all three of us were in long-term committed relationships, we all moved out to Eugene, Oregon without partners for the year for one reason or another. Since we were all managing long-distance relationships and being away from our partners for the first time, we had an instant bond. But there was much more than that.
The three of us also share many personality characteristics and those sealed our friendships. During the course of that internship year, we spent so much time together — yes, at the Counseling Center for work, but lots of time hanging out, going to happy hour and sporting events, eating together, attending festivals, and a super fun weekend trip to Seattle. Oh and we LAUGHED together. Belly-aching, tears-running-down-your-face kind of laughing. Along with all that fun, there was all the listening and being there for one another as we managed health crises, difficult job searches, dissertation research, and relationship issues being apart from our partners. While my training and work at the University of Oregon Counseling Center was amazing, Andy and Josh made my internship year what it was.
As I look back on that time, I wouldn’t change it for anything. On the surface, it sounds ludicrous that I would choose to spend that year apart from Tony, with him in Missouri and me in Oregon. But had I made a different choice — that Tony was able to join me in Oregon, or that Oregon felt too far away and so I didn’t rank it #1 — then my relationships with Josh and Andy would not have developed in the ways that they did or perhaps even exist. That’s the thing about being able to go back in time and change one small aspect of your life — it would change everything.
It’s been almost 8 years since we completed our internship at the U of O. And through those years, we’ve done a good job of keeping in touch and visiting one another. With job changes, moves across the country, and having a kid, two years had passed since we had gotten together. So, I’m beyond grateful that Josh and Andy came to visit last week. Words don’t convey how fabulous it was to see them and to connect. They’re my best guys.
It’s been just slightly over 2 weeks since I embarked on a new photography journey. After wrapping up my first 365 project, I decided to jump right in to another one. But I decided to use the themes that emerged from my first 365 to guide me moving forward on my next endeavor. In seeing that instant photography and self-portraits were the most resonant and constant markers over the past year, I decided I would combine those for a 365 Impossible Self-Portraits project.
I began the project on my birthday, April 23, and suffice it to say…it’s been kicking my ass. I knew that this project would be challenging. I knew that it would be difficult. And I knew I was likely a little crazy for taking it on. I mean, it’s one thing to shoot instant film photos every day for an entire year. And it’s another thing to shoot daily self-portraits for 365 days in a row. But to COMBINE these two tasks?!?! That’s kind of nuts, right?
Going into the project, I felt pretty prepared and fairly ready to take it on. Looking back through my last 365, I could see that I shot 27 instant self-portraits. 27. That seemed like a considerable number of self-portraits that I shot with my Polaroid cameras, which led me to feel some confidence that I could really do this 365 Impossible Self-Portraits project. But…
I think I’m psyching myself out. I’m all jacked up about it. Because I have so many dreams and goals for this project, I’m giving it a lot of power. I’m really in my head, putting a great deal of pressure on myself for each and every photo. I am feeling like every shot has to be awesome for my dreams for this project to come to fruition. I am devaluing most of what I shoot, telling myself that the photographs aren’t artistic enough or interesting enough.
Thankfully, I’m journaling as I work on the project. And in doing so, I realize that these thoughts, this kind of negative self-talk, is a creativity killer. I’m working hard to remind myself that at the core, this project is for me. I chose to take on 365 Impossible Self-Portraits for my own photographic growth. This project was what felt right in my core as my next step. 365 Impossible Self-Portraits is what I believe will help me move forward in my creative journey. And that needs to be my focus. Yes, I do have dreams and goals for what may come of this project. But for now, day by day, I need to do the work, get out of my head, and stop psyching myself out.
Note to self: Trust the process, Meghan. xoxo
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have many excuses these days to play dress-up. Even the more “regular” variety of getting a bit dolled-up with a dress and heels for a Saturday night date comes few and far between. But the opportunity to really play dress-up, like in a costume?!? I have no idea when I last did that. So when a dear friend of mine got the idea to host a murder mystery party to celebrate her birthday, I was all in. The theme was a 1920s speakeasy/brothel, The Four Deuces, with gangsters, high-rollers, and flappers. How fun is that?! Everyone was assigned a particular character and had a list of tasks they needed to accomplish before the night was through. Without further ado, let me introduce you to my “friends” for the evening.
Our hosts were Madam MeMe and Don Wannabe…
Then Don “Big Jim” Ravioli and his ex-wife, Vicky Ravioli, joined us…
As did Sly Sleeze and Carrie Crooner-Ravioli…
Along with Rhett Bumbler and Baroness Ravioli…
And finally, Capo “Toto” Tequila and Rebecca Ravioli…
I don’t think I can spill the beans on who the murderer was, but let’s just say I know her very well. What was so great about this evening was how much each of us really got into it. We all got decked out, buying flapper dresses, renting suits, getting hats. We all stayed in character for hours and really did it up. It was SO much fun. Which tells me that as adults, we all need more reasons to play dress-up and escape reality a for a bit.
Have you ever shot photos throughout your day — a typical, ordinary day — to just document it and tell your story? Me neither. I’m over at Mortal Muses today sharing my Sunday through 4 images I shot with my iPhone within 24 hours. As most Sundays do, here’s how ours started after Parker was fed and walked…
I hope you click here to see the rest of my Sunday. Hope it inspires you to capture your own ordinary and beautiful days.
Life as we know it can change in an instant. I think the events of the past week remind us all of that. As I look back over the past few months, I am seeing ways in which I’ve been reminded repeatedly of this change-ability of life. My favorite film of this year’s True/False Festival, The Crash Reel, was all about the frailty of our human experience and how quickly it all can change. Focusing on the devastating training-run crash of then Olympic-bound snowboarder Kevin Pearce and his slow steps at healing, we as viewers are pulled in immediately to how his life changes 180 degrees in one moment. We are reminded, in deeply affecting and emotional ways throughout the documentary, that each of us is potentially one instant away from our own life-altering moment.
Watching this film reminded me of a childhood friend’s grandmother whose life was forever impacted by a freak, Frida Kahlo-like car accident. I thought about my friend’s niece who almost died this past summer of cardiac arrest at the age of 9. It brought up horrific images of 9/11, Columbine, the tsunami. Memories of countless close calls and near-misses in my own life and in the lives of my friends and loved ones bubbled up. The film reverberated with me for a few weeks as it culled forth my experience of being diagnosed with cancer five years ago and the ways in which that health crisis changed me and my life in an instant. I’m sure as you are reading this, just as I sit here writing, other memories and stories of lives changing in the blink of an eye flash before us.
And while these thoughts can bring about such despair and sadness, this awareness can also remind us to cherish what we have in our lives right now. I remember when Tony and I were going to sleep the evening we saw The Crash Reel, I couldn’t hug him tight enough. I distinctly remember holding onto him as we lay there in our friends’ guest room, thinking how much I love him, how much I need him, how quickly our lives are flying by, and how much I want to keep this moment forever. I recall having waves of fear that this moment, and the next, indeed our fifteen plus years together, will all keep whizzing by, and that in any one moment, something could come crashing in that changes all of it. I can still feel the pangs of guilt I had in knowing I am not always so mindful of this bigger picture, that I’m not always so close to understanding my deep love for Tony and the gratitude I have for him in my life. No, I could more clearly see all the moments I totally take for granted, the times I choose to be on the computer or my phone scrolling through social media rather than talking to Tony about our respective days at work, the times I’m frustrated that he didn’t rinse out his coffee mug (again!), and on and on. And I remember thinking before drifting off to sleep that I don’t want to do that anymore, I don’t want to take Tony for granted, I don’t want to choose to look at Instagram rather than connecting with him, I don’t want to be so frustrated about the damn coffee mug.
But then, that moment was gone. I fell asleep. I woke up the next day, and my life marched on with all its usual distractions, ungratefulness, and annoyances. And then my neighbor was diagnosed with cancer. A wake-up call. And then students at Tony’s high school were in a terrible car accident coming back from lunch. Another wake-up call. And then the episodes of this past week unfurled. More wake-up calls. So I write this post to remind myself to stay awake. To urge my awareness to linger. To choose love, every day. Because life can change in an instant. xoxo
Today is day 365 of my 365 project. But, I needed to write this post for today. I’ll be sharing my thoughts tomorrow on this past year’s journey, and announcing my next project. See you then.