One day I really will make time to ALSO journal more here. I miss it so - you have no idea. Daily snippets on Instagram do NOT cut it and I am not a Facebook girl.
Today I am at home alone celebrating my birthday. :birthday: I am a Pisces and one of those *extroverted* *introverts* that needs alone time to regenerate. I blame that really on having been an only child!
Last year - or in reality two years - 50 - 52 - were a real spin in the evolution of life. I was UP at 50. I had finally reached the top of the corporate ladder and was rolling in my idea of success. Just wanting for nothing and reaching goals and feeling fulfilled - glorious. So proud of myself for being happy at 50 and on top of things.
Then I was laid off 2 weeks later. I had never been out of work since 16 years old! It was *beyond* devastating. I lost the increase in salary I'd just gotten excited about and believed I earned, deserved and finally had. I was unemployed for 13 months. That year I put on 15 pounds eating three times as much avocado toast as anyone should eat on a daily basis.
My kid became a teenager and suddenly I wasn't his dream girl anymore but just his Mom.
I went to the doctor four thousand times. My body let me know I was 50. Dental implants, mammograms - oh put a colonoscopy on the list b/c you know - you're 50 and need to start looking for cancer. New DEEP wrinkles showed up to stay.
Oh - and the fun of "looking for a job" for a year.
Etc. Ad nauseum.
I went to therapy. :talk: I visited my parents a LOT. I did learn that I loved biking. I learned to truly be a gourmet cook! I lived with my camera pointing ANYWHERE ELSE but me. I basically spent two years SOUL searching in the bravest, most honest ways. Lots of crying. Lots of fights with my husband. Lots of jealousy. Lots of self pity.
Then I got a new job. I didn't fit. I hated my boss. It paid less. OH MY GOD. 51 for the first half was pretty awful too. I didn't even celebrate my birthday.
I stayed with my camera every day. Out in nature. Mother Nature HEALED me (along with my parents, my family, my friends and my shrink and my cats and me and the sun and the farm animals and birds and bugs - etc.
) Every day I could STILL see beauty out there. During all this time. No matter how hard I tried to be blah or miserable - Mother Nature would show me SOME beauty - every single time I stopped to look.
I made new friends. Friends that drown themselves in art. I started thinking more about how to express myself again - in addition to rolling in what Mother Nature had to offer me. I had epiphanies. I felt better. I got better at my job. I learned to not hate my boss. I FINALLY accepted to start taking better care of my diet. I lost weight.
Today I turn 52. I feel wonderful. I feel healthy and loved and free. I feel more honest than I've ever been. I feel hopeful. I started new art projects - here is a glimpse of it in this first self portrait shot in two years.
I call it soul searching. The background canvas are covered in letters from my grandmother to me over a nearly 30 year span. The light is from my home studio window this morning.
There are no words (to this day) to express how much this community in particular has shaped me. As a human and a photographer and an artist and a friend. In the days of Facebook and Instagram I re-iterate my devotion and love to Deviant Art. The sense of community this place fostered originally and for some of us still today, is palpable and pure in a way Instagram can never be.
So thank you.
Oh - and NEVER give up!
(go tell me if you like my portrait today!)