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Wonderland: A Self Portrait

Chasing perfection is a thief of joy.


Don't wait until you are in your forties to decide to jump in, take risks, and to allow yourself to feel silly... Don't wait until you are in your forties to decide that you, all by yourself, just as you are..... are enough.

(And, if you're already in your forties or beyond, and haven't set yourself free yet, let this be your sign.)


I am 43.


I have wrinkles and stretch marks. I have blemishes and softness that I wish was less so.

My teeth aren't straight. My nails are never done. I barely know how to curl my hair.

I've been a size 16 and I've been a size 6.

I've been penniless, and I've had a few dollars to spare.

I've started things and never finished them.

I've been a victim and a villain.


And, in my life, I've let the idea of not being "enough" of anything, not being what my vision of "perfect" was, hold me back from being MY 100%.


As I marched my determined ass out in the beautifully fresh fallen snow this morning, I was hyper aware of the sound of each passing car. A representation of an echo of criticism, judgement. Engulfed in a sea of tulle, with a camera slung over my shoulder, I tripped clumsily through nearly a foot of snow. Every step sloppier with the competing material tangling between my feet. I've given in to accept some time ago, that I am, indeed, really weird. And that, life's just more fun this way.


See, when I awoke to see that it was amazing out there....It pulled on me... It deserved something fun.

And, here I was, camera ready, but no model.

I could have let the vision die, not spent over an hour "trying" to make myself look some kind of way in an attempt to become my own subject.

But, I dig a challenge.... so, I thought, "You're a photographer. Make it work."


There was no guarantee I'd even be able to get a single shot that I'd hoped for... I may have been completely wasting my time.

It's challenging to work on a timer and to get the feel and focus right where you want it.

Add to that, all that tulle... and all that snow... and all that COLD.


I may have mentioned, I don't do cold. I am ALWAYS naturally cold. I joke that my internal thermostat is just broken. I was meant to live in the south.

Electing to put myself in this position, really validates just how crazy I am, I suppose.


But, I did it!


And, all I could think as I processed the results was how people often hold themselves back because of the things I see here, and oh my, how they are missing out...

Missing the point.


....All those wrinkle lines.

A map of this beautiful life filled with emotional experiences, some good, some bad, but all mine.

I won't "brush" them away in order to be a closer shade of the societal mission to defy aging.

...The shape I'm in isn't the best I've ever been. It's soft, not toned. And, yet here I am....healthy. A whole person who has accepted this body in every shape and size along the way.... because it carries me, it serves me. It has created life and fed babies. It has allowed me to experience every place I've ever been, feel every hug I've ever felt. I can appreciate that. I won't hate that. It deserves love.


All of that is just the surface.


Oh, how the chase of perfection can steal the joy!!!

If I assess my abilities, the image, the setting, the style, the poses.... I could pick it apart!

Certainly, I am well aware that there are those that will.


I'm okay with that.


Because, I am imperfect. The person. The art I create. The way that I think. The things that I say and do.


I lay it all bare and I let go of the outcomes because, striving for perfection has been a thief in my life. I see that now. And, I for one, won't be donating any more of my time to that.

I challenge you to join me.

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