what lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why…

i remember reading this in college and falling in love with it…

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why (Sonnet XLIII)

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

self-loathing and selfies

i wrote this post at the end of 2012 and finally decided to post it after reading this post on the good men project’s website.

someone asked me recently why i don’t have a job in photography since it was, after all, what my degree is in.

i first went to school for english and anthropology and while i loved the subject matter, i wasn’t feeling particularly inspired. years later, i was done with it, mentally anyway.

photography has always been in my veins. it’s something that’s always been close to my heart and i knew i wanted to learn more about it.

i started taking a couple of night classes to get reacquainted with the basics (first learned in 4th grade). i loved the smell of the chemicals and processing film and printing photos.

around that time, one of my best friends was talking about going back to school. to scad (savannah college of art and design). a lightbulb went off in me. that’s what i wanted to do. so we did it. we moved to savannah and went to school for photography.

the crazy part was that i knew i didn’t want to do photography as my job.

that’s crazy, right? why bother going to school for something that you’re not going to make into your career. it was more than that though.

it was my creative outlet. i really loved capturing that one teeny tiny moment in time on film. but the best part was having your head buried behind or bent down peering into a viewfinder, hiding from the world.

i spent my childhood wanting to hide in the corner, overwhelmed with shyness to the point of it making me physically sick. never feeling worthy of anyone’s love or attention made me cower in fear that people would actually tell me that they, in fact, didn’t love me. i lived dreading having to talk to anyone that wasn’t already my friend. even that was difficult. and truthfully, spending time with your face behind a camera was easier than trying to socialize.

i didn’t grow up talking about my feelings. you just didn’t. for me, i began to eat my feelings, stuffing them way down, only comforted briefly with food in hopes that i could bury my feelings of self-loathing forever. instead, it only made things worse.

my shyness was always there, still is, but the older i got i was somehow able to shelve it to a degree. but, the self-loathing lingered. it’s something that i have to literally fight to this day, every single day. and that’s hard – so damn hard, especially living in a world that tells you you’re not worthy unless you’re skinny and perfect. well, i’m neither of these things so it’s a constant battle. a battle that still makes me want to hide in a dark corner hoping someone kind will notice me, love me, and generally think i’m okay just how i am.

after decades of battling the self-hatred and running every time a camera surfaces, i’m trying to find tiny ounces of love for myself and hope people aren’t judging me the same way i’m judging myself in the photos. yes, i still cringe every single time i catch a glance of that familiar face staring back at me but i’m trying so hard not to critique what i see.

every phone now has a camera and every person is taking a mulitude of selfies, but at first i just couldn’t do it. i started out slow, almost never taking any, but now, i go there more often. why? i guess in hopes of some day being completely okay with the outcome; of possibly not believing that all there is is ugliness looking back at me. mostly, it’s helping me to be okay with myself, little by little, one selfie at a time.

i am much too alone in this world, yet not alone

always loved this rilke poem…

I Am Much Too Alone in This World, Yet Not Alone

by Rainer Maria Rilke

I am much too alone in this world, yet not alone
enough
to truly consecrate the hour.
I am much too small in this world, yet not small
enough
to be to you just object and thing,
dark and smart.
I want my free will and want it accompanying
the path which leads to action;
and want during times that beg questions,
where something is up,
to be among those in the know,
or else be alone.

I want to mirror your image to its fullest perfection,
never be blind or too old
to uphold your weighty wavering reflection.
I want to unfold.
Nowhere I wish to stay crooked, bent;
for there I would be dishonest, untrue.
I want my conscience to be
true before you;
want to describe myself like a picture I observed
for a long time, one close up,
like a new word I learned and embraced,
like the everday jug,
like my mother’s face,
like a ship that carried me along
through the deadliest storm.

translated by Annemarie S. Kidder

people get stuck…

i picked up this book by donald miller last month after hearing about it for a couple of years and then being reminded of it when erin loechner referenced it in her post about slowing down. excellent read, by the way.

she mentioned a passage in it that said:

“People get stuck, thinking they are one kind of person, but they aren’t … The human body essentially recreates itself every six months. Nearly every cell of hair and skin and bone dies and another is directed to its former place. You are not who you were in February.”

so true, right? you can’t get stuck on who you were, what you did or didn’t do, the mistakes you made. everyday is a new day to be better, do better. we choose the person we are and want to be. it’s not always easy, hell, i struggle with it daily and have most of my life, but it’s a nice reminder to let go of the image we have in our mind of ourselves.

it’s like my amazingly honest and smart friend tony told me (about me), “you have to forgive yourself for being stuck; stuck on who you were and the decisions you’ve made.”

can’t wait to read this book… anyone else read it?

a beautiful girl can make you dizzy…

beautiful girls.


from the beautiful girls facebook page

one of my favorite films. it came out in 1996 when i was working at these independent, art house theaters in raleigh, north carolina. one of the perks of the job was being allowed to watch anything and everything whenever we wanted and luckily i was able to see this one a few times.

i’d always loved timothy hutton (i mean, how could you not?!), and this film made me love him even more. his interactions with natalie portman always break my heart a little, he’s the older, 29-year old man back visiting his hometown, and she, the 13-year old neighbor of timothy’s father. there’s an immediate connection, not a dirty, sexual inappropriate one (although i’m sure that’s how some people saw it), just one where you know this person is coming into your life for a particular reason kind of connection. to teach you something.

maybe i love it so because i always know instinctively the second someone in particular like this comes into my life that they’re there for something deeper than just chit chat. i get the same feeling every time it has happened and i’ve yet to be wrong and while it hasn’t always been without pain, they’ve always been a vital piece to my life puzzle. they’re the ones that make me dig deep emotionally and challenge me to go the distance because they, to me, are worth it, as I am to myself.

ah, and then there’s michael rapaport in one of my favorite scenes about beautiful girls:

“Supermodels are beautiful girls, Will. A beautiful girl can make you dizzy, like you’ve been drinking Jack and Coke all morning. She can make you feel high full of the single greatest commodity known to man – promise. Promise of a better day. Promise of a greater hope. Promise of a new tomorrow. This particular aura can be found in the gait of a beautiful girl. In her smile, in her soul, the way she makes every rotten little thing about life seem like it’s going to be okay. The supermodels, Willy? That’s all they are. Bottled promise. Scenes from a brand new day. Hope dancing in stiletto heels…A beautiful girl is all-powerful and that’s as good as love. That’s as good as love.”

here’s the scene:

and then here’s the ensemble singing ‘sweet caroline’ and i have to say it’s probably the only time hearing that song wasn’t annoying. i’m sure you can imagine that i’ve heard this song once or twice in my day…

watch it. i promise, you won’t regret it.

the lemonheads

ah…the lemonheads – my drug buddy. this song reminds me of my senior year in high school and first year in college. for various, never to be published reasons.

but for her it will be weightier…

found this poem in an old sketchbook of mine and thought i’d share.

witness

by martha collins

If she says something now he’ll say
it’s not true if he says it’s not true
they’ll think it’s not true if they think
it’s not true it will be nothing new
but for her it will be a weightier
thing it will fill up the space where
he isn’t allowed it will open the door
of the room where she’s put him
away he will fill up her mind he will fill
up her plate and her glass he will fill up
her shoes and her clothes she will never
forget him he says if she says
something now if she says something ever
he never will let her forget and it’s true
for a week for a month but the more
she says true and the more he says not
the smaller he seems he may fill up
his shoes he may fill up his clothes
the usual spaces he fills but something
is missing whatever they say whatever
they think he is not what he was
and the room in her mind is open she
walks in and out as she pleases she says
what she pleases she says what she means.

secrets

“you’re only as sick as your secrets.” — rick warren

you hear that quote a lot, whether it’s from aa or the dude above, and hearing it again recently really got me thinking. as i said in this post, i toy with the idea of revealing more.

but honestly, it scares the shit out of me.

so i ask you – is it better to keep your secrets, whether big or small, or lay it all out there for the world to judge?

i grew up a shy kid. i mean, painfully shy. always worrying what people thought and never speaking up about anything. that’s just what you did. you kept your thoughts and feelings to yourself. if someone asked you how you were doing, you always say “fine”. always.

the older i got, the more i wanted to say but never really had an outlet. i always kept things close to the vest, as they say. [ask any guys i've been involved with]

i guess a part of me was scared they wouldn’t like me if they saw the real me.

the me that didn’t always make the best decisions or the me that had opinions differing from theirs.

the more time that went on and the older i got, the more this became a habit.

but at some point you feel like you’re going to explode.

but how long can you hold onto your secrets before they, literally, make you sick?

i think the older i’ve gotten the more i just don’t care so much about pleasing people. i mean, i still want people to like me, who doesn’t? but i would say i’m not nearly as worried about it.

i do worry about the other people it might affect. i know at times it wouldn’t be hard to figure out who i might be referring to, even with names changed.

so where is the line as to how far you should go when speaking your truth?

there’s also the judgement and opinion of strangers. i’ve talked about it before. mean comments and emails can be gut wrenching so i can only imagine how it would feel to get one when you’re talking about something that’s so personal and so heartbreaking to you…

i admit, i hate feeling vulnerable. it weirds me out in ways i can’t even describe, that you or anyone could know something about me that’s painful and that you could possibly use it against me in some way.

when you’re open and exposed and raw like that and you don’t get the reaction that maybe you wanted or were looking for, it can be brutal. i’ve been there, even recently, and it’s extremely painful.

so, is it worth it?

sigh…

i’ve been feeling the need, more so lately, for an outlet.

everyday i compose things i want to write here but i worry about revealing too much… do i want to completely expose myself, my life, my faults?

i’m not sure… i do and i don’t.

honestly, i hate being judged. actually it’s more that i hate being judged for personal things, not work stuff.

i don’t mind an honest critique, thoughts or feelings, just not negative bullshit for the sake of being negative.

it’s a tangled web we weave, no?

the aftermath of steubenville

another day, another rape case. this time, two teenage boys raping a 16-year old girl.

today, they were found guilty.

they were tried as juveniles so even with the guilty verdict, they’ll be free in a few short years and will move on with their lives, almost like nothing ever happened.

the girl, well, the girl will be living with it for the rest of her life, i’m sure.

some of the media have even painted the picture of these poor, teenage boys – so much promise, and now their lives are ruined. their promising future’s in football are now over. all because of this trial.

wait. are we supposed to feel sorry for them?

i don’t think they were feeling sorry for the victim when they were raping her while she was drunk.

they did consciously make the choice to do what they did, and for that, there are consequences. they made the choice to change the course of their lives.

but she didn’t.

sadly it’s not just the ill-informed reporters that sport ignorance on the subject. it’s everywhere.

from the attackers, be it teenagers or the elderly and everyone in between, assaulters, harassers, and men and women in general, you name it. everyone needs to be educated on what is, and what isn’t okay. what they did wasn’t okay.

teach your sons and the men in your lives to be kind and respectful, and teach them what boundaries are. teach them that their decisions can affect other people. teach your daughters the same.

we could all use a lesson or two in boundaries, no?

and most definitely, give them a voice to speak up. no one should be disrespected and no one should be taken advantage of, drunk or not.

remember, these are your wives, sisters, mothers, and even your 16-year old daughters… but more importantly, we’re all human beings.