i don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but i, i think maybe it’s both. maybe both is happening at the same time. - forest gump | thank you for being the ever brilliant ray of sun in my life. thank you for your kind heart. thank you for making me want to be a better person. thank you for loving me even on my darkest days. thank you for finding your way to me @factr.
if i had the ability to rewind time ten years back, I would bestow these wise words of advice upon myself: be more patient. be more kind with your words. hold less grudges. be more forgiving. less judgmental. spend more time with your family. take more family vacations. take more videos. force more family photo shoots. give more hugs. say more i love yous. because at thirty years old I’ve found this: life can be painfully short and your time is limited with your loved ones, and here I am ten years later longing for more. more vacations. more videos. more photos. more hugs. more i love yous. more…time.
I’m always honored to photograph each and every single wedding, but this group of girls? They pulled me in, from the moment I walked in the door, and made me feel like so, so welcomed. This right here is what makes my job worth it; the welcoming, the hugs, the “we’re so excited to meet you”s, the did you eats? the have a drinks (even though I prefer water), the dance with me on the dance floors! the friendships, the LOVE.
And so, I stopped writing about my life. It was as if I couldn’t find the words to speak anymore. Was I happy? Was I sad? What if they thought I was too emotional? I explained in the car. Yea. What if. I thought back into my own head. What if they thought I had feelings and was human and was going through hard times. Oh! You know, like normal people. Putting it out for the public to read just seemed so vulnerable. I was doing it to “protect myself.” To make myself seem less sad. But since when is being vulnerable bad? Why is it bad to say, “Here I am! Going through some shit here, sprinkled with some happy and hopefully I’ll meet you on the other side!” Why is that bad? I’m not sure. Apparently we’ve been programed to think that way, but yet every single person has been in the position where they can relate. And then I read a post. A difficult post about a sweet girl going through a similar situation dealing with parental grief and sadness and she let it all out. Like take your shoes off, sit down and grab a cup of coffee cause she’s gonna tell you like it is. She was so courageous, and brave to share all those scary feelings. I praised her. I wished I could be more like her. Her words helped me. And from what I could tell no one thought she was “too emotional.” It was then when I realized that it was ok to be sad. It’s ok to share. And it’s ok to be vulnerable. You’ve been there. I’m there right now and I’ll be honest, my voice is shaky and the words are often lost upon me but the days are real; they’re sad, difficult, uncertain and real. Because that’s what life does. It gets real, and all up in your face until you don’t know what to do. So instead of the illusion of perfect little lives and “being so strong” how about the bits of real life. The bits of life of when you just can’t hold it together anymore, and you sit on your fathers bed and weep buckets of tears over his lap. Because that, THAT’S real life.
a few years ago, back when we realized the gravity of my father’s prognosis, the two things that most affected me was the uncertainty of my father not being there in the future for what i consider the most joyous occasions in one’s life. although my career path is as a wedding photographer, most weddings i hide my face behind my camera as the tears stream down my cheeks watching and photographing all the fathers walk their daughters down the aisle, knowing this is something that I will never experience. and wishing that one day he would be able to meet my children, his grandchildren. although I know both of these will probably never come true, in March when my sister shared her pregnancy with us I was overjoyed because I knew that if my dad could make it that long, he would one day be able to meet one of his grandchildren. on christmas, my dream came true and dad got to meet little zoe, his first grandchild. this precious moment will be forever etched on my heart.
although this holiday season was different in so many ways; it was slower. bittersweet. difficult. i decided to do less decorating. i didn’t send out cards. and for the first time in my career I put all work aside. we didn’t spend it at my moms house. we ate a frozen lasagna for xmas dinner as we passed around bebe Zoe. there are now +2 in our family and that makes my heart happy and eases the pain of long tear filled days. so although this holiday season was different, I’m not sure I’m ready to take this all down yet.
christmas tree is up but undecorated. some presents still haven’t come in yet. we didn’t get a chance to shoot family photos. no time for a christmas card. i still have photos to edit. and it was almost 60 degrees today. but I’m in NYC and it’s festive, Christmasy. and full of joyful happy people and we went ice skating today. sometimes you just have to let things go and be thankful for you things you do have; a beautiful weekend in NYC with my Favorite, a darling little peanut niece, and another holiday with my dad. (at Grand Central Terminal Clock)
my favorite moments on this earth are the milliseconds right before the sun dips below the horizon. if I could alter time and photograph every frame of my lifetime during these brief, extraordinary moments I would die happy. until then we will run down the beach, drive like maniacs, and run through the frigid bustling streets of NYC chasing the sun to capture these breathtaking, fleeting moments.