All pictures were chosen today because they work with the themes below.
Drum roll cause it's almost over with this post (2 more pictures)...
The second thing I really underestimated about a 365: it was life changing. My best and favorite photos were snippets of our life: ordinary moments that occur every single day. Usually they're left uncelebrated & unappreciated. But we do them again & again. I realize now that my life is just a series of moments strung together. Photography made me stop & look at them. It made me highlight their beauty. And when you are highlighting the beauty of found toys & a dirty pile of clothes, your life becomes full of opportunity to discover magic. This is where I need to walk a fine line. There are tons of bloggers that write beautifully & craft gorgeous photos their lives. You're certain that their children never fight over toys, have never eaten something from a package, they've never snapped at their spouses, & they've never heard "You're a meanie." (note: I heard "Meanie" three times yesterday) I quit reading those blogs & I never want to create those types of feelings. Please don’t think that I walked around my house saying: Look at that gorgeous pile of filthy dishes. I’m going to wait & see just how beautiful mold will look in the morning sun. Oh, look at that poo-stained piece of underwear. Why should I teach my child how to wipe properly when he creates ART with every shit?! We have the same bad days, the same arguments, the same whining, all the same shit that drives a family insane from moment to moment. But photography interrupted those crap moments with a shimmer of gorgeousness. Sometimes I was able to stop & appreciate. Other times I was filled with too much anger & annoyance to care.
I would almost venture to say that 2010 was as life changing as the year I had my first son. This might be difficult for some to sallow. He's your baby for god's sake & this is a couple of photos! I hear it. I do. But go with me. 365 was a life change that I decided to control. Every day, I was the one that made a choice for myself. I let photography turn from a hobby into a passion. When we decided to start a family that was the last bit of control I had with that life changing decision. I'm not a control-freak, but everyone likes to feel like they have a pinkie on life's steering wheel. After the decision to go off birth control, everything else was sort of like a sucker punch. If that's too negative for some: a surprise hug from a stranger. I like the sucker punch though. Your life is going to change whether you want it to or not and children teach that you cannot control your life in the ways you’re used to. That old type of control only means disappointment & added stress. When you become a mother things cease to be about you & rightfully so. Your life has to change in order for you to survive & nurture your children. You begin the long journey towards becoming someone else & sometimes that can be at the expense of your self. Many think selflessness is the way to be a good mother. I’ve never felt that way, but somewhere along the way I got lost. And during the 365, I started see a glimpse of that old woman again. A very wise & good friend said something that stuck with me. I’ll paraphrase because it wasn’t necessarily about women, but it runs along side my ramble. Before kids were were these fun/cool people, why wouldn’t we want to be those same people. Kids can take something. I think it’s finding a balance which I wasn’t doing a good job at achieving. And it’s about finding out who you’ve become. Mothers can inform other mothers about this change. They could say, "Trust me. You'll change with each milestone the kids encounter" But new ones won't listen. I wouldn't have seen it until now. It wasn't a huge lump or a hairy mole on my face. It was subtle. I didn't realize it until I was wrapping up the 365 & I was trying to figure out why I loved it so much. With the first kid, I would have said "I've got a handle on this. I get free time with work." Second kid, I would have said, "I've done this before..." But by the time the second didn't need me as much (start of 2010), I got space & a little time to relax. I would tell new mothers don't wait for that space to magically appear. But I'll save that advice. They won't listen because they're different...
Up until my children were born, I knew who I was. My mother shoveled self-esteem into us like Sloppy Joe's on a Tuesday. And I ate it up. I figured it would keep me full & satisfied throughout my life. After my son was born, I realized I was changing, but I didn’t take the time to reflect on it. Birth changed me in ways that were unimaginable & my life will always be full because of my children. But the 365 made the new me/the mother me a better person. It gave me a chance to work on something that was mine. I didn’t only edit while the kids were sleeping. Daddy’s here & he knows how to read books & play games too! I got to escape into the office to edit & craft an image. I got alone time that I appreciated. Work alone time isn’t the same. Alone time in the car with a sleeping kid isn’t the same. Alone time after they're in bed isn't the same either: you're exhausted by then. Alone time with something that fuels your passion is completely different. Alone time while someone else is being responsible is luxurious & a must. If as a mother you’ve never felt like you lost yourself, great! If you knew who you were the second you changed that first diaper, I’m really happy for you. But I didn’t. And didn’t take the time to face that new person. That new person isn't brand new & fabulous. It's a version of the pre-kids woman, but I think a little softer. It's a version that wants to be a little selfish from time to time. It's a version that realizes she doesn't have to do every little thing. This version will still bitch about doing every little thing & will prance around in the martyr sash whenever she wants. This version doesn't focus on the doom & gloom that sometimes seems to swirl around the world. This version will change again when it's time.
365 was life changing because it made me see the beauty this world offers. It reintroduced a confidence that I forgot existed within me. It made me branch out & try different techniques. It made me reach out for help. It made me appreciate friendship. The end of college & directly after is when I made some of my closest friends. I thought friend-making days were behind me. I didn’t try or care to add more to that group. The 365 helped me create stronger connections to current friends & helped me find friends online that I desperately wish lived closer. It gave me a chance to be less critical. It gave me freedom. It gave me something that was mine. It gave me pride. It gave me an awareness not based in fear. It gave me all the other cliche crap associated with life-changing events.
I don’t believe that a 365 is the answer to life’s problems. I don’t think that everyone will have the same results. I don't think it's perfect for mothers. I don't think every mother will say, "Oh yeah. That's is me" at the finish. I don’t think everyone who picks up a camera will feel its impact. We all have something that will drive us & will enrich our lives. For some it’s a good book & for some it’s a 365 project. We just have to find it. And we must find it for our families and for ourselves. I'm looking forward to a break with the picture a day business. I'm guessing I'll still take at least one, but it will be because I want to not because I have to. I have no idea what 2011 will hold. Will it be as life changing as 2010? Who knows, but it will be different. I’ll have a whole new string of moments to appreciate & loathe. If I could revisit that afternoon in late 2009 & hear that woman ask, “Is this it? Is this what life is going to be like?” I’d answer that woman confidently with a smile & a pat on the ass, “Hell, yes it is! Keep juggling, bitch. And go do it with flare!”