Don’t get too excited, its nothing deeply revealing, but I kind of feel like I am cheating. When I decided to start my self portraits work, I expected that each week I would take one and be done. Well, truth is, I started one week and took a whole bunch and have taken very few since then. All of the ones I have posted have been from the first day I took them. But honestly, each one I have selected has been just right for my posts. Take this weeks post, it completely represents how I feel at the end of this month. Not really wanting to look. January started with a death, continued with other deaths, not directly related to me, but deaths nonetheless. Two divorces of friends and the foreclosure of our house. I pray February gets better, but I still have two more days of January left. let me know when its safe to come out.
I like the fact that Inauguration day is on MLK day. It seems poignant that a black man should be sworn in, for the second time, as President of the United States on a day that we celebrate a man that did so much for that moment to be possible. I mentioned in a previous post that I was thinking of what could I do in 4 years. It really needs to be stated, what do I want to do in 4 years? Its hard to answer this question. Its probably the hardest question I have had to ask myself in a long time. And I am not sure if I can answer it. We like to compartmentalize things into black and white, but as we are all aware of, its really the grey area that is the hub of life. Where the black and white meet and churn like the sea and become a swirling mass of ideas, expectations, possibilities and hopes that we call reality. So please give me a bit more time on this one, maybe 4 years. I wish it were as easy as a 4 year presidential agenda, but for me its just not. I am still working on my platform for running my race. I hope I can get it done before the race is over!
As the new year progresses, I have thought more of what it is in my life that I want to change, or more so, what I want to realize. I believe that the passions that we develop when we are younger are there for a divine purpose. Everything within us is there because God wanted it to be, and He will use it for His good. It has been hard for me to even consider that idea in the past, as I thought that my passions, my desires were really self-serving and that it was “un-Godly”. I mean what purpose for the greater good of mankind can art or photography or French or becoming a Broadway star be? When I started to recognize that the things that are innately in me are what I need to feed me, feed my soul, I recognized that Gods intention is not to restrain me, but to set me free.
Art can help someone in their dying days. I have two pieces of art in a Hospice Facility. A friend, whose aunt recently passed at the facility, recognized my work. I took over 40 free portraits this past Christmas to those who could not afford them. I am still waiting on my big break on Broadway, so stayed tuned for that venture. As for French, well, I can only hope to be able to use it in some way.
I remember when I was little of wanting to be several things, as all children do, we run through the gamete of ideas. When I was 7, I wanted to become a nun. That one only lasted 24 hours. I was obsessed with Jacques Cousteau when I was 10. I wanted to become a marine biologist, then I realized I didn’t really like the ocean much. I wanted to become an artist, and to be honest I never thought I would, but I am. I also dreamed of being a photographer for National Geographic, but without going into any dangerous places. So, in the past months I have realized that I still want to be a photographer in the National Geographic style. And maybe, God willing, I may get that opportunity in the shape of a documenting a mission trip, and if its to Haiti, then I can use my French!
As A follow up to my last post, this is Michael’s story:
A few weeks before Christmas I spent a couple of Saturdays taking free portrait sessions for people of various walks of life. The first Saturday I spent downtown Pontiac taking pictures of families from an elementary school that our church mentors and helps out and for individuals and families of Grace Centers of Hope. Grace Centers of Hope is a place for the homeless, the addicted and the hopeless to find new life. I met some amazing people that day. I will not post any images of these people, to protect their privacy and this post really isn’t about that at all.
This post starts, really with the second Saturday. Awhile back I heard about this guy, Michael, who decided to move into a trailer park across the street from a dump. He did this because he felt God telling him to. And God made it all happen. I had the opportunity to meet Michael and many of his friends in the trailer park on that Saturday. There were all sorts of characters I met, but Michael has the most lasting impression on me. He has become a tutor, a big brother, a mentor and a life saver to so many people there. He is a combination of Fozzy Bear, Animal and Kermit all rolled into one. I am sure he would not relish in that comparison, but who doesn’t love the Muppets? He is an inspiration and really just a totally rad dude. Not just cool, but Radical. Jesus was Radical. can’t quite wrap your head around what Radical looks like? Read Michael’s latest blog entry:
I told my husband recently that I just wanted to be a bit more Radical. I think Michael will have to be my earthly representative of what that looks like.
In the chaos and excitement of the holidays, my time, energy and blog went by the wayside. I spent a lot of time just thinking about what I want to change this year. I heard the question, “what can you do in 4 years?” I found it intriguing, as there is so much you can do in 4 years. I am hoping to compile a list of what I would like to achieve in 4 years and have it ready by inauguration day. I figure that is a good way to gauge my progress. Me and Barak can compare notes and monkey wrenches.
One thing I am sure of, that I intend to do, is start another photo challenge for myself. It is 52 self portraits. I heard once that if you want to take good portraits, you need to be able to take a good self portrait. But, another reason is that I am struggling a bit through the self image/aging process. I don’t mind getting older in the mental and emotional sense, but I am struggling with myself physically. I plucked 7 grey hairs out, I know I am lucky to be 42 and just starting to get grey hairs, but when your hair is one of your best features and it starts to fade, my spirit wanes a bit as well. I am struggling to lose 15-20 pounds that keep re-appearing and staying longer than I like. So, this challenge is a bit of an attempt to get all Jillian Michaels in your face and start accepting what I cannot change, change what I can and embrace it all. That and getting a better grip on lighting and figuring out how my stinking self timer works.
Here is my first self-portrait, and yes, I know my brows need to be trimmed and shaped. I have yet to find someone to do them and do them well around these parts.
Happy New Year!