Friday, December 28, 2012

Dream Courage

You can tuck all your dreams away in a box and hide it in a cluttered room. But in the attic, in the corner, under mounds of books, clothes, toys and cobwebs; that crushed, faded, mangled and torn box of dreams will find a way to haunt you. The spirit of that box will sneak up behind you through the years and whisper in your ear. Words like “I wish I could” or “if only” will echo into the void and return with “I should have,” and “why didn't I?”

 In to Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s character Atticus Finch says, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” This kind of courage is the act of faith and determination, it is not about winning in the end, it is about not going down without a fight. After all regrets come stronger in the things that we did not do or try, then the things we did and failed.

 I worry about today’s young people and the oppression of so many dreams that are drowned out by sounds of recessions, depressions and just getting by not to mention the affects of drugs and alcohol that lull them into an acceptance of a mediocre life.. I worry about our teachers who try to ignite that spark in our youth but gets flooded with the dampening effects of overworked parents, poor nutrition and not enough sleep. But our dreams are resilient they can stand the test of time and endure a multitude of war.

Given the right care, our dreams have the ability to live long past ourselves. Steve Jobs who has a permanent place in not only our country’s history, but in the history of the world is a great example. He said, “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition” By embarking on the journey of perusing our dreams we grow and expand in the respect for ourselves and who we would like to become. The act itself of reaching a little further, learning a little more, practicing more often moves us one step closer to the result that we hope for. The courage to try gives us the opportunity to respect ourselves and love ourselves in a new way; which in tern shapes how we feel about others and how they feel for us.

So tell me… what do you dream of?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Fixing the UnBroken

I started the Dr. Oz's Reparative Or 'Ex-Gay' Episode and couldn't bear to watch anymore of it after 10 minutes. It reminded me so much of a society who believes that my life would be so much better if I was not disabled so they try to "fix me" through therapy, surgery, and the worst one of all, faith healing. This stigma comes from small minds who are clinging to their cookie cutter magazine perfect world and anything beyond the mediocrity just has to be "fixed." After all we don't want to mess with the perfect body fantasy. Never mind that if we have a creator who does not make mistakes created people of all shapes, sizes, colors, abilities and yes, orientation; we are simply telling God how to do "his" job. We are robbing ourselves of the treasures of our diversities and the lessons we can learn from them all because we want to hold on to a idea that is just that, an idea.

What if, my disability could be put into the background of who I am as a person and my ABILITIES, and personality were what people remember me by? What if my physical infirmities were accepted and I could have accessibility freely for work, play and dating without stigma, pity and those with a mission to convince me that I lack faith because I didn't get up and walk? What if I could be appreciated for my unique perspective?

What if, gays were accepted and treated with respect within their orientation, instead of shamed and ridiculed into believing they were some kind of an abomination; and tortured and bullied to the point of seeking out a treatment that could cause a psychotic break, or see no other option than to permanently end their pain by taking their own life?

Most of all, why is it the people who want to fix others the most are the most broken and they don't even see it?

Here is more on the subject...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Beyond the Silver Lining

Beyond the Silver Lining by Etha Walters

I took this photo while sitting on the patio of my new apartment. The blue sky and big fluffy clouds greeted me with such promise for a fresh new start. When my husband told me a year ago that he wanted a divorce, I had no idea how much my life would change. The last six months have been the most devastating. I sold everything that I could to move including much of my photography equipment, and literally felt stripped of everything. This heavenly view, right off my patio gives me great hope in what is to come.

It is just me and Miss Cleo (My cat) now, and I am adjusting quite well to my new environment, and yes, living alone. Moving furniture and boxes around with my body and my wheelchair reminds me that I am still strong and I can still do this. Other challenges take a little more practice and commitment, but that is just life in a wheelchair.

Now that I am settled, it is time to rebuild my life. The kids are gone and I am now single and can go anywhere and do anything. So profound. My plans are to throw myself into my art and just absorbing my new environment for a while and enjoying the people in my life.

I still have my trusty Nikon D70 and so a new chapter is opened...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012, the Year of Starting Over

Photo by Envy Graphix

Here we are in 2012! Has the excitement worn off yet? For me this is a new year that compliments a new chapter in my life both personally and professionally. I have embraced the symbolic nature that a new year holds and I am rolling with it as far as it takes me! However, I might have to stop occasionally to recharge my batteries.

2011 was a year of great loss. My family and I got hit with some financial difficulties, which caused my already strained marriage to buckle and implode. I have had to sell most of my photography equipment, to make ends meet and keep us fed. And my daughter has had her own life changing struggles she has had to endure. We have deemed 2011 the year of “Murphy’s Law (‘If anything can go wrong, it will".) I want to educate and enlighten others by my experiences but, I also want to maintain a level of privacy and professionalism; please bear with me while I find that balance. Needless to say I was happy to see the end to 2011 and begin 2012 the “Year of Beginnings,” as I do hereby deem.

So, here I am, stripped down with no husband, no home, no car and no studio. As I begin building again I recognize that my foundation is a lot stronger with additives that were lacking before: education, experience, and a new open spirituality that is more honest and authentic than I have ever known. It is as if I am arriving to a new destination as a new person. I say this because I am not the same person coming out of the marriage as I was going in, and I am thankful for the experience. I have learned a lot about love, life and relationships.

January 1, 2012 began a new calendar year and it brings new hope to everyone with a resolution. It is extra special to me as I transition to a new life on my own. I will be moving into my own place (as soon as I find one), restocking my photography equipment and focusing on my creative journey. I don’t mind admitting that I have a ton of obstacles and my struggles from my marriage are not going anywhere anytime soon. But I am going into this New Year with rejuvenated hope, and I will be drawing strength from the people I have come to know, who have deeply enriched my life.

The creative journey is not an easy travel. I have been criticized as a dreamer and another drop in the deep ocean of the inspired. I assure you, as a physically challenged woman who has seen the dawning of the ADA, rocky roads are my road home. When you know every little bump and groove you become familiar and even comfortable with the ride. I am not ever giving up.

A few years ago I hit a brick wall when I lost my breaks in my wheelchair accessible van. My head hit the steering wheel and left me with lacerations that stretched across my forehead and exposed my skull. I also had a broken nose and eventually had to have some teeth pulled. Despite having an amazing plastic surgeon and dentist I had a real hard time feeling like myself. Even today, although when you look at pictures of me before the accident and after, most people don’t know the difference. But for me, getting over a shaved head, two black eyes and a broken nose left its imprint on the image I see in the mirror. The picture above is very special to me, not just because it was taken by my good friend Nic of Envy Graphix, but because it is a reminder that wounds do heal.

So raise your glass of metaphorical champaign and lets toast to a year of new beginnings, stronger foundations and the inspiration to build.