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Take the Picture

Hey, hello there, I’m still here, just been off on vacation this last week. And recovery was necessary. Ya know what they say about needing a vacation from your vacation, well that was true of this one.

No offense to any family, as this was a family vacation. It is simply that preparing to go on a vacation, going to said vacation and then living in an unfamiliar setting for a few days is, well, overwhelming. At best it brings new scenery and new stimulation but that runs out rather quickly for me. I would have been happy to head home after a couple of days. And I still managed to make the best of it. By taking the pictures.

Yeah, this is really what I want to talk about. Taking pictures of things, myself included, has long been uncomfortable. Not in the sense that I don’t want to take any photos but more so in the sense of the external reactions to taking photos of things. Being starkly honest I was embarrassed to be taking photos of things I found cool, beautiful, or interesting. Because I didn’t want to feel I had to explain myself.

The times when I did something different, whatever it was, and it got called out I hated the way it felt because it was often a hey, why don’t you do that more often (like smile), or, in some cases, sheer disbelief that it was me doing the thing (wearing dresses as a teen). I learned quickly and uncomfortably that others were allowed to comment on whatever I did, and as someone sensitive to others (always worrying over other’s energies), it felt very unsafe and unsolicited. I felt powerless and cornered.

I know that there are photographers, it isn’t like I’m totally out of the loop…but for me there was this special joy in taking photos that felt very, very vulnerable. Something that I didn’t want to have to share with anyone, especially when other’s felt they had the right to butt into my life without asking. And until recently (and even still) I’ve felt I have to share myself with others because I didn’t deserve to be private, didn’t deserve to have my own personal joys.

And I get that maybe it makes no sense to be writing about this, to the public. But that is the thing, I am learning that I can share myself and my joys on my terms and I don’t have to worry about those without the right to speak into my life. They can say or do what they like, I don’t have to listen or give credence. Even if it isn’t that easy to do in practice. I’m trying.

So, while we were up in Sunriver I gave my best effort to take pictures of ALL the things I found interesting, beautiful, cool, just wanted to photograph. I practiced existing in that uncomfortable space of wanting and doing something that might get unwelcome notice. I practiced loving doing it in spite of the discomfort, and a little because of it (thanks to my inner rebel).

And I get such wonderful, deep, squishy joy out of photos, truly. It is one of the ways I think I am learning to embrace softness. Giving room to both my inner child and her young wonder and awe of nature and to my inner rebel and her need to do things that go against something, even if it may only exist in her head. Shh, don’t tell her.

It was also an escape. As I’ve learned with that first larger solo adventure last month, getting out and moving, walking, and away from other people’s energy is vitally important to my regulation. And a house full of other people that I don’t usually spend time with in close proximity is overwhelming even if I am hermiting in a private room. And though we love and cherish them, they don’t truly understand what I am and how I exist in the world, what I need. Somewhat because I don’t always understand that either, but mainly that we lead separate lives, and that is just fine. We do not have to understand our family to love them. And we don’t have to like them all the time, either. That is the way of things.

So, go ahead, take the picture… or whatever it is that you keep pulling back from that would bring you that beautiful, squishy, messy joy. Do the thing. Do it for the joy of it, do it for the rebellion of it. Do it for yourself, and yourself alone. Share it if you like, or hoard it. You do you.

I know I do a bit of both because while below is a selection of my favorite pictures from the vacation I’m still going to keep some just for me.

So, yeah, take the picture!

much love,


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