It's important to feel something as strong as love.
I got a strong message about a year ago. It was loud and clear that this was something that I needed to work on. The message was:
Open your arms to love.
So I did. In the past year of my life I have tried to open my arms to all the love around me. Collect it, reciprocate it, hold on to it. If I have learned something in the past year though, is you can't control love. You can't try to tame it and keep it locked up. It is not something meant to be controlled.
The ends of years have always been sort of sentimental for me. It's a closure of sorts. One year ended is a start to a new one. There are 12 months to do meaningful somethings, to have adventures and to meet new people and experiences. So while I'm feeling my heart hurting at the end of this year, I also look back at the last 12 months of my life. I'm looking back and feeling proud. I am amazed at what I have accomplished and allowed myself to feel.
I forgave someone and made amends.
I have taken hundreds of thousands of photographs that involve light, people, things, emotions-difficult ones and light hearted ones. I'm proud of those.
I networked like a mad woman. My friend circle has significantly expanded, I'm grateful for those new friends and the old ones.
I was forced to grow up and face consequences of my actions. That was a hard one.
I became a coffee drinker.
I applied for multiple grants. I wrote a grant. One got accepted, one did not. In the long run, it was for the best that it didn't work out.
I found a roll of film I shot when I was 6.
I prayed. A lot.
I left my pride at home and I went trad climbing. I laughed at myself a lot.
I conquered one of my worst fears which was going back to Yosemite. I went, I stayed, I fell in love with the place. I understand why my Uncle loved it so much. I made peace.
I shot photographs of a wedding. That was incredible. The amount of love, family and connectivity I felt there. It was beautiful.
I was a leader for groups of girls in the back country. I fell in love with wildflowers and mountain meadows. I learned to like backpacking. I learned how to be confident in decisions and making them. I learned how to be by myself. That was huge.
I stayed in a hostel for the first time. I made conversations with random strangers and got to know people who had incredible life stories. I'm lucky.
I was a photo assistant on a river trip. I faced a fear of water and rafting after a previously scary experience. I voluntarily jumped in the river and swam along side the raft. This was a huge step. I left the trip feeling happy, fulfilled and grateful for such a rewarding experience. I learned a lot about commercial photography. I learned a lot.
I made a spur of the moment decision to drive 8 hours to see a best friend and finish the summer off well. I also made a spur of the moment decision for her to cut my hair at 2 in the morning with a pair of paper-cutting-scissors. That was entertaining.
For only having my license for one year (yep, I'm serious), I drove 4,000 miles by myself. Not proud of that carbon footprint, but I am proud of being able to sit alone with myself for that long. I brushed my teeth on the side of the road, bought an old feather mattress for $2.00 and took naps in the back of my car.
I was a teenager for the last time...ever.
I won a grant to fly to New Orleans and found out I want to do social justice photography for the rest of my life. I saw heartbreak and loss and people let me into their lives without knowing me. That was huge.
I lost people in my life.
I went on tour with The North Face for the second year in a row and got to work with amazing athletes and people again.
I can truly say I loved some people with my whole heart.
2010 was about learning to love. 2011 is learning about how to let it go and realize there is no control in it. There was a lot of "I" in those sentences. It's because I needed it; Today I needed to be proud of what I have accomplished in my life in the past 12 months. All of that could not have happened if I didn't have an open mind and heart about what I could do with my life. It's the end of a year. It was a good one. You should be proud about what you have done this year in the world. I'm proud of you.
My new years resolutions:
1. Be proud of who you are.
2. Learn to live without. Being alone isn't a bad thing. Being with someone isn't always a good thing. But it's important to be able to live your life and be comfortable being alone.
3. Take care of yourself. Do whats good for you. This is your life, your time, your emotions. Don't waste your time on things that aren't going to benefit you. Don't rent your mind space to someone who doesn't deserve it.
Today I'm going to do things that are good for me. When my heart hurts, I do things to make it fulfilled. That means a day full of photographs. Bring on the healing.