Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Way

It's been an interesting month so far:

I've made other people happy, and others sad.
I, myself have been happy and I've been sad.
I've been accused of things I did and didn't do.
I've made money and lost money.
My "day job" is getting shaky again; I've looked for new employment.
My camera has been relatively silent this month.

I sincerely think it's been one of the biggest up and down months I've had in a while. I think my mind, body, and spirit have been left confused and weary over it. Last week I cried....for seemingly no reason, yet every reason at the same time. Really it tells me that I'm not sleeping enough. The mind does funny things when you work it too hard.

I suppose the anniversary of starting my photography business should have been this huge event for me, but all it really did was confirm that I made it to one year. I just keep thinking forward to 30 more years of doing what I'm doing and I'm super stoked that I've made it.... this far. As I look ahead I realize I have a long way to go. I need people to know who I am and what I can do. I need to not come off as some arrogant ass that speaks from an air of authority, but I need to appear confident. It's a hard line to walk. Other photographers will knock you down if you talk a big game, but clients don't want a photographers that says,"I hope I don't screw up your job today!" Both of those things will keep you from getting work.

I've never aspired to be a world-renowned photographer like Chase Jarvis or Annie Leibovitz. I just want to be a photographer than can pay his bills and give his family nice things, give back to the community, and just be myself. Some say that you should "shoot for the moon" and I can hardly agree with that. Aim for something you know you can reach and then shoot just out of reach. I aimed to make my business last 6 months and I made it to 1 year. Now I'm aiming for 2 years and hoping that I hit 3.

I know that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be right now. I've taken exactly how long I needed to take and stumbled where I've needed to stumble. I'm sure that next year's post will have the same amount of navel gazing, but I'm hoping my vision is more clear, but knowing life it probably won't be any more clear. Working for yourself is incredibly relieving and incredibly scary at the same time. It's not safe like am 9-5 job where someone else worries for the company. Working for yourself is all you.

I'm feeling the itch to go work on some stuff for ME again. Maybe I'll go play in the mud for a bit.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Soft Spot

Quick blog post tonight.

I few moments ago... I was completely compelled to go watch my kids as they slept. I haven't really done that in a long time, but for whatever reason... I just had to.

When Brooklynn was born, I remember being in the hospital holding her. Caitlyn was resting and recovering from her epidural (too much, too fast... stitches...) and I was holding Brooklynn in a little chair that was off to the side. She was sound asleep.

The thing about Brooklynn: I knew her name before I met her mother. I would imagine what she would look like. What she would think is funny. Who she would fall in love with. Everything I possibly could in as minute detail as I could. As I looked down at her sleeping in my arms I would just sing to her. Softly. More like a barely audible hum, really. I would hum Ravel to her. Pavane pour une infante défunte to be specific. Although it's a piece that holds grave meaning I took creative license on it. To me, for Brook, it's a beautiful piece that's full of life and meaning.... It's more like she's sleeping... because it's the only time I've hummed it to her.


I have a piece for Riley as well, also from Ravel... Bolero. I've also never hummed it to him while he was awake. He's so different than Brook. He's quiet. Witty. Kind. He's.... Me... when I was small at least. I imagine that I'm still that way... deep down where no one really knows me. I fight and lie to everyone and tell them that I'm extroverted... but really I'm so shy. It's actually painful, really. Riley, I hope, will know when to speak up and know when to listen. I hope he says that things that he needs to when he needs to say them.


Mackenzie I struggle with. She fights me. Tells me I'm wrong. How much better her mother can do something. That she doesn't need me. I'm not quite sure where her mother ends and she begins. It's frustrating and sad at the same time. I had to fight to get to see her as much as I do, but 4 days every two weeks.... it's just not enough. I miss her and it feels like I barely know her. I didn't get the chance to hum her a tune. I didn't get the chance to hold her as an infant. That time with her was never there for me to take advantage of. I know that I can't go back in time and do those things so instead I focus on the future... but it seems so less sure...less steady... less predictable than the other two. I'm not scared for her.... I'm scared for me. It seems selfish, but I know she'll be fine. I'm fearful of how much she might not need me.

So my short blog post turned into a longer one, but that's okay. It feels rather nice just to let it out. Don't tell Caitlyn, though..... She'll think I'm going soft.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001

I still remember where I was on September 11, 2001: I lived in Greeley, CO at that time. I remember coming downstairs after sleeping in late and saying "Good Morning" to my roommate, Chris.

He said,"Turn on the news."

I asked,"What channel?"

He replied,"It doesn't matter."

For the next week I watched the news almost non-stop. I could sleep, but it was never restful. I could eat but nothing tasted good. I went to class, but I wasn't present. The experience of "9/11" as it's come to be known commonly had happened thousands of miles away, but it felt like it happened just down the street from me.

I felt for the victims of 9/11 the only way that I knew how. It's impossible for me, even now, to properly empathize with those directly and irrevocably affected by 9/11. I can't imagine losing a loved one as instantly as they did, let alone as gruesomely.

As the years passed since that fateful day, I accepted the idea that terrorists hijacked planes with hundreds of people on board and flew them at top speed into buildings with thousands of people inside and that those buildings were severely damaged or destroyed. Thousands of people died needlessly. Firefighters, Police, and Rescue Crews died attempting to save those lives. Some of them are still dying slowly today from toxins in the air during the experience. I accepted it because we all saw it on tv, but earlier this year as the 10-year anniversary of the event drew near I had an Orson Welles / War Of The Worlds moment: I hadn't realized that it might not be the truth; That it might be a radio drama. I saw something that made me not believe the commonly held idea anymore. Not 100% anyway.

Little-by-little I believed less and less in the idea. After an eight-hour time vortex lost into the abyss of YouTube, I found myself thinking differently. Suddenly, after all this time, I no longer accepted the commonly held idea anymore. Now, all I knew is that buildings with thousands of people in them were severely damaged or destroyed; Thousands of people died needlessly. Firefighters, Police, and Rescue Crews died attempting to save those lives. Some of them are still dying slowly today from toxins in the air during the experience.

I told my wife what I had been doing for the passed 8 hours while she was at work and she looked at me like I was a complete lunatic. Then I showed her what I has seen...

Then I said,"It's not that it didn't happen... it's that it's plausible that it didn't happen the way we've been lead to believe." Immediately she understood why I was telling her what I had found.

She knew at that moment that I was scared. Scared that we were trapped. Lied to. Cheated on. Betrayed, even.

I'm still scared. I'm scared that this view is so completely unpopular that I'm going to viewed as Un-Patriotic... Un-American... when the fact is that I love my country. I love the people in it. I love those that not only fight for my freedoms that I enjoy but also those that lay down their lives to ensure that I have it. I love my family and friends that have gone overseas and left their families behind to fight for my freedom. It's hard to describe exactly how much I feel I owe them for fighting for this country, for my freedom, for my family, and for me.

Now, please keep in mind that I'm not one to just stand up and start insulting people by flinging accusations around. I love a good debate as much as the next guy, but I feel like I'm accusing the government and the media of not being entirely truthful. That's an awful feeling. We live here and we're supposed to trust our government, but right now I feel like I'm having a hard time doing that. I'm not saying that it didn't happen... I'm just saying that I have questions.... I have doubts.... and I need those questions to be answered truthfully.... and I need those doubts to be resolved. I believe that enough time has passed that we can safely allow a real congressional or independent 3rd party (another country?) investigation to take place without revealing the identities of our agents in the field. The last thing I want is for anyone else to die needlessly because their cover was blown like a secret agent movie. The NIST investigation couldn't be completed successfully due to the our agents in the field and other information that, if leaked, could compromise our country's security. Enough time has passed and I think we deserve more complete answers.

Truthfully, I'm afraid of what making this post means. I'm afraid of who will judge me or think I'm another conspiracy theorist. I'm not a bad person, I just want answers... completely and truthful answers. I'm not signing petitions or going door-to-door. I'm not traveling to Washington DC and picketing on the Whitehouse lawn. I'm just sitting at home... waiting for complete and truthful answers.