Going Home

Each year, we drive along the tree-lined stretch of Michigan highway as the sun begins to make her ascent across the horizon; we've been traveling through the night from Chicago, nearly four hours now. My playlist hums softly in the background while my husband falls asleep with his head resting on the passenger side window- he never was one for long car rides. I'm too excited to sleep. Since we've crossed the Michigan border the nervous excitement that had my stomach turning flips has slowly melted between my ribcage, dissolving into the most welcome and delicious sense of peace. Brake lights dance like tiny orbs of red light in the distance and traffic begins to build alongside the exit for Winston Road. We roll the windows down, arms stretched out and fingers entangled in the heaviness of the warm breeze. Everything that has been building over the course of the last 365 days has led us directly to this moment. Release. We follow the other cars single-file into the grounds of the Double JJ ranch and I glance over to exchange smiles with the family that surrounds me. There is a mutual understanding shared between all of us without ever having to say a single word.

We are home.

- - - -

"Electric Forest is less about the people who choose to come than it is about what this peculiar event allows those people, including me, to become."  ~Giancarlo Buonomo

From Beneath It All

GK3A6304_1.jpg

Writing feels like standing naked in the middle of a crowded intersection. I keep pushing my own brakes when my mind is trying to pummel the gas to the floor; everything feels foreign and flooded and over-saturated in a world that has been monotone for much longer than I'd like to admit. Standing with my feet in the clouds, my head is dizzy from the disorientation. Traction. I can feel myself gaining it with each new day that comes forth. I guess when things get uncomfortable, it's a sign that you're headed into the right direction-- somewhere challenging, somewhere new, somewhere great.

On Thriving With Fear

I used to be afraid of staying at home with the girls by myself.

Honestly, it was worse when Alba was still a newborn, something about that brand new baby, needy toddler and lack-of-rhythm that really forces you to swallow deep and sink back to find your bearings all over again. It's since become our normal over the course of the past year, and I can say without hesitation now that caring for two children singlehandedly is a feeling I'm comfortable with. Not easy in the slightest, but comfortable nonetheless.

And then on the opposite end of the home front, I have the nerves of endless social situations and all the pressures that come with the type of work I'm involved in. Well luckily for me, these are just the inevitable facts of life that never go away. I'm still standing here. I'm challenged. I'm better for it.

Isn't that what we do? We just get thrown into these situations and we adapt, we learn and we grow. 

Fear is a feeling that most people spend their entire lives running from. Seriously. Think of how many times you've avoided something just because those feelings started creeping up and crawling over your skin. I know that I avoided certain situations because it's uncomfortable and it's scary as hell. But now for whatever reason, I keep finding myself standing face-to-face with fear; while I usually want to curl up in a ball and cry, I'm not appearing to do that from the outside. I'm actually doing it. Whatever those scary things are that I'm faced with. It's happening and I'm surviving and I'm getting stronger every day.
 

. . . . .

"Life mastery is not just about the learning, but about the integrating it into your life. It is about courage and facing your fears. Facing your fears so wholeheartedly that fear becomes your ally. You start to go to where fear is, face it, and break through.” — Jill Sutherland

Four Kisses When I Wake

“When i have said my evening prayer, and my clothes are folded on my chair, mama and papa switch off the light, I'll still be three years old tonight. But from the very break of day, before the children rise and play, before the darkness turns to gold, tomorrow i'll be four years old…

Four kisses when i wake, four candles on my cake. A goodnight kiss for the three year old, to send her to sleep and to dreaming, and blessings to the four year old who'll climb out of bed in the morning."

 -- The Birthday Book


. . . .

Happy birthday, my big girl.

The Things We Do

Today was the last day of May in Chicago and it was cold.

I had walked into a small, vacant restroom stall in the women's bathroom of Bloomingdale's. I was on my break from second shooting a wedding, and quite thankfully, I was dressed in my nicer-looking clothes. If I had wandered here on any other day I'm sure I would've stuck out like a sore thumb, but today as I made a beeline for the restrooms, I managed to blend in amongst the wealthy stream of shoppers.

Unrolling a long line of toilet paper, I pulled gently until I had a wad the size of my fists. I crumpled it between my hands and began to unbutton my blazer. Here I was, standing in the corner of a locked stall to express breast milk into a massive lump of toilet paper and I felt the warmth of welling tears begin to spill out the corners of my eyes.

I remember everything so vividly. Bathrooms, pumping, not making milk. Trying so hard for Sofia and failing because of the stress and pressure of my then full-time job.

My hands began to cramp in a fiery ache up just as I was switching sides; the same hands that have been holding up a camera for hours, the same hands that were nowhere near being done working. Even two years later into my journey with Alba, it is impossible to spend an entire day without relieving the immense pressure of uneaten milk. A tangible reminder of all that I am and all that I do. It isn't just my heart and my mind that whisper how much I miss being home; my body, it aches.