Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Self-Doubt and the Creative Process

If you aren't already aware, I started a photography business in May. If you aren't aware, you probably haven't spent much time with me lately, digitally or IRL. If you had, you would know because I talk about it too much, and I think about it even more.  It has been nearly all consuming. I try not to let it be, but it's exciting and challenging. It requires all sorts of skills I have not had a chance to sharpen until now.

But it also involves so much self doubt.

Because it's hard to tell people to pay me for something they could do themselves. To convince them that I do it better.

Because selling my art/ product / service feels like selling myself.

And it's impossible to avoid feeling like an imposter. To avoid feeling like a cliche.

At my worse I feel like everything I do is either boring or wrong.

But I'm pretty damn sure that's how everyone feels.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Vacation, One Week In

The ocean is, arguably, my very favorite place. Every time I visit her shores, I wax euphoric. This visit, I will do my best to spare you, but rest assured, my love for her remains. 

And while the first week was marked by  all consuming, albeit minor, adversities, Tom arrived late last night, and so now at least I have help dealing with the most challenging aspect of the past seven days: a very beautiful, but completely demanding 17 month old baby. 

My sunburnt lips are still trashed, and a wisdom tooth I should have pulled a decade ago is still bothering me. But the salt water, the drip castles. The cups of almost instantly melted ice cream. The morning walks down dirt roads canopied by live oaks dripping in Spanish moss. Those things are happening too.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Poorly Laid Plans in Beautiful Places

It was a long, slow drive down the 95 corridor on Saturday, punctuated with the traffic of beach goers getting in one last week away before the school year starts. I was driving solo with three kids, and we were already to stretch our legs in ways beyond a trip to the bathroom and wandering fluorescent lit isles in search of snacks and cold drinks.

When we finally hit the Outer Banks, I decided to take them up Jockey's Ridge, the largest natural sand dune on the East Coast. I was hoping it was late enough in the day and that the sinking sun would make it a bearable adventure.

Up we went, Alamae in my arms as Gus and Arlo raced ahead. The familiarity of a place I had gone so often as a child but hadn't been to in at least a dozen years held on to me tight. Spring puddles filled with tadpoles. Summer sunsets with kites flying high before going off to get ice creams. Fall birthdays spent playing hide and seek.

But it was hot and the sand stuck to our sweat and there was no adult to help me as I wrangled children, camera, and a bag that should have held a water bottle. Arlo face planted and Alamae got sand in her eyes, and by the time we got back to the van I questioned why I had ever conceived of such an idea.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Farm Visits // Cristo Rey

Earlier this week we drove down to St. Mary's county to pick-up our CSA chicken share. It was our first trip to Cristo Rey Farm, but I am certain it won't be our last. Not only are their pasture raised birds delicious, but the whole experience was almost too cute to bear. 

KC, the owner, brought out a box full of week old farm kittens for my kids to meet. My kids know that I am not taking on any more pets, so they tried to convince me that we should return in a few weeks to get their Oma a kitten. KC's barefoot children came over to make friends, trailed by two dogs and a couple of grown cats. 
The trip helped to spur me back into the kitchen, which I have been gracing as infrequently as possible these past couple of months.  It is hard for me to find motivation to cook during hot summer days when I would rather spend as long as possible at the pool. My laziness has resulted in way too many Sweet Sue's muffins and baskets of french fries. While I am not ready to let go of summer, I do think it's about time that I get back to feeding my family more carefully. And luckily, our little morning trip provided just the right amount of motivation. 

As can only be expected, I have now gone back into "find my own farm" mode, which happens almost every time I visit one. I have an almost impossible time appreciating something without fantasying about how to make it my own. But since I doubt that will happen anytime soon, I plan to sign up to participate in the PSA at some point this fall, which will involved Sena and Gus being a part of the chicken harvest. It might be the perfect way to kill my farm dreams forever. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Pickin Crabs at Grandma's

On Saturday, the questionable weather threw off our plans. We had planned to drive the nearly four hours to go back to my friend Claire's home on the edge of the world. But with four kids cooped inside, and the possibility of terrible Bay Bridge traffic we abandoned plans and found ourselves with a free Saturday, which is pretty rare these days. Ever since I stopped teaching and started waiting tables part time, Saturdays have become a rare commodity. Sure, I take some off, but it's always for something planned, just as this Saturday was.

So it was refreshing to find myself with a free day. We went over to my grandma's house to eat crabs with my aunt and cousins before they left to go home to Florida. Alamae and Jettie followed after older cousins. I ate too much of my aunt's cheesecake. It was nice to stay and visit without a clock over my head reminding me that I needed to head home to get ready for work.

Starting in September I won't be waiting tables anymore. I put in my notice so that I could focus on Brackish Photography. And unfortunately, a successful photography business will also mean that many of my Saturdays are full. But should there be a time between one job ending and my business occupying my weekends fully, I am going to try to make a point of keeping Saturdays unscheduled from time to time. To give myself those easy moments with the people I love. 

It was sad to see my aunt and cousins leave, especially since Sena and my cousin spent the two weeks visit nearly inseparable. They spent hours sitting on various dining room tables drawing together, plenty of afternoons swimming together at the pool. They found excuses to go on walks. It would appear that we are going to have to make a trip to Florida sometime this winter. A winter I am not ready to consider quite yet.