brit and I met in a pre-rec class for studio art. we didn't start off as friends, certainly not enemies, but not friends. and then, so much of the same happened to us over the past few years (getting accepted into the studio program, traveling for art, receiving our BFA's, making art) that without even realizing it, we became very close. sometimes close for me isn't that close anymore. making friends is harder as an adult. I think it's because everyone has their own path moving every which way and the chances to align paths, or even cross them, seems like a miracle. what else could you call it? I was lucky to not only cross paths with brittany, but parallel them, in a sense, for a good few years and I can't think of my experience with art without thinking of her. our paths are miles apart now but somehow they still feel aligned. we text/email every now and then and have become safe sounding boards for developing ideas. we have an art collaboration in the works, to encourage one another to keep creating, and it feels like we always will have this simple relationship that doesn't ask very much at all but somehow gives so easily.
we didn't spend much time together outside of the studio, but I requested to spend a day with her before her move to Washington last year. I had two goals: finding lilacs and photographing her. the two came together and produced these hauntingly beautiful photographs.
**I haven't fully converted to film photography (as I'm shy with my use of it, and am afraid of making mistakes on someone else's clock) but when shooting for myself, film is my obvious choice and I welcome my amateur mistakes. I'm hoping to start a little journaling series here, "to know someone", to collect a physical memory and document old ones, of people I've met. of people who've changed me.
#cantstopwontstop taking photos of the sky. a dozen more on my instagram. a thousand more on my phone.
I would have called it a new years resolution but the truth is it started slowly, throughout 2013, and really, even before that, though I hadn't formed it all together into something I could pin-point. There are many things I want to be for myself (past self and future self), for others (those I've met and those I will meet), for the world (for the mark I leave/don't leave), and for God. It really all comes down to being genuine. I think the world is good at offering extremes, contrasting sides of one thing. And lately (being the last few years) as I've watched social media grow and do many great things, I've also seen it become something I'm often embarrassed to take part in. I don't think it boils down to others being wrong, doing it wrong, presenting it wrong, but rather my take on it all. I've seen it bring out a nasty, judgmental side of me; comparison being my vice. I've been frustrated that genuine good content isn't what always gets noticed but that the tricks of smoke and mirrors appeal to a larger group. And furthermore, that this information often is read as truth or "the whole" when in fact is it curated, just like everything else.
A friend noted the change in my blog over the years. It's been intentional. I determined that my blog served a very simple purpose: to journal my thoughts. It's not a scrapbook of my life (you likely won't see my photos from NY or Disneyland on here). It's not a business. It's not about fashion. I'm no authority on any subject, or lifestyle, or belief. It won't teach you how to do anything. And I won't make any promises (or did I do just that?). But, of course, I have tried all of this in the past and as I've looked back my thought has been "that's not me. that's not claire."
I curate. I'm an artist, and I know the power of good curation. But I have the intention of curating this piece of my life to be genuine. One of my favorite teachers said "If you go out intending to make great and important art, you often fail. But if you make art true to yourself, it will likely succeed" (well he probably said it better than that, but that's how I remember it). I'm just trying to be true to myself, so I can be proud of it in the moment and in the future. Something else: I write to better understand what I think. I've discovered so much of myself through this blog. Writing, amongst other things (meditation, sleeping in, saying transition prayers, eating coffee ice-cream) make me feel good. They make me feel Claire.
I'm grateful for the relationships blogging has afforded me. And I'm grateful for you who read this blog and even more grateful for how much you teach me. I hope to never be the source of negative comparison. I certainly do not have my life together. And I'm not even striving for that kind of perfection (what a horrible burden that would be!). Though I think much of my life was about that image at a time. I've felt the burden lifted when my focus changed from perfection to genuity (not a real word, btw).
I'm not sure how to finish this post. It's not as clean or concise (curated) as I'd like. But it's my current thoughts and the thoughts of many posts started and never shared. Maybe I'll talk more in the future how this "genuine" theme has played a role in other aspects of my life: friendships, the foods I eat, clothing purchases, and even weirder stuff. Or maybe I won't. I haven't decided yet.
The past two weeks have been extremely difficult for me. I've been in and out of the hospital and ended up having an urgent surgery yesterday. I haven't talked about this much here, or anywhere for that matter, but I've had a lot of physical and mental health problems the past few years that have weighed me down. Perhaps I don't talk about them because I know that I truly am lucky, and that relative to others, my trials are so insignificant. Also, it's hard to admit to being fragile. But this last week has been hard, and I've felt so lonely. I'm trying to count my blessing and make use of the time I have to sit and rest (I made over 200 bows, you are welcome to check them out here>>>> thebellewhistle, I'm hoping for sales to help cover some of my medical bills). The medications I'm on slow my body and brain so I've spent a lot of time sitting, thinking, and looking through old photos and files. These images were taken a few years ago when I was going through similar health problems. At the time, they were the result of a drug induced desperation to complete a class assignment. But now they are some of my most treasured images.
::Trying to keep perspective::
*also, I went through my closet and am selling some great items on instagram: @bellewhistleshop :) might be worth a look.
I've been painting a portrait of my mother in my head for the past few weeks. I'm dissecting every line, every mark, and every color before I put the finished piece into the physical realm. Most of my art making has been in my head lately. A lot of portraits, with thick strokes of unnamed hues. The portrait of my mother only sort of looks like her but it's her. Like in dreams, when the characters don't necessarily match familair faces, yet you know who they are. It's their essence.
my mother and I are the same age. I've always known this, even when I was young, that we were both humans, with the same age, just born at different times. She happened to come first. And then me. but we've always been equals. I wouldn't have known it, I would have forgotten, but she reminded me. She gave me a voice and an equal ear and because of that we are friends. for the most part, she is the better friend. circumstance allows that. but she also allows it, to be constantly aware of me. She is usually the shoulder that is cried on. But I've had those rare chances to be that shoulder for her and it has helped remind me again, that we are the same.
I think for the larger portion of my life I've been trying to find a me outside of everyone else, when in fact the me worth finding is in others.
Happy belated birthday, Mom.
So much has happened in the last year, in the last few months, and I've hardly had a moment to sit back and realize it till now. I turned 24 last week, and for the first time I actually feel wiser. I think wisdom comes from experiences and circumstances that are out of your control. If I chose my trials they wouldn't teach me a thing. But a lot has happened in a year and it's required that I grow up. I had no say in the matter. I'll always remember my 23rd birthday, and the day after that changed my life. I won't get into the whats and whys cause frankly, there aren't important for anyone but me. But my life changed. And I'm really proud to be at 24 in a mostly solid piece, and wiser, nonetheless.
amongst other big things that aren't so cryptic from my 23rd year:
-had my final show
-got a new job
-finished 4 months of student teaching (and graduated college!)
-grew my hair out a mile long
-chopped my hair
-watched all of breaking bad
*photo from my NY trip last november, thought it fitting since I'm headed there tomorrow for the holidays!