Wednesday, May 19, 2010

{when words fail...}

Her name was Nancy and she came to visit me at our house just after Hudson was born. She had been a nurse for nearly her entire life and was exactly the face that I needed to see after the week that I had just experienced. She was gentle. Non-judgmental. Calm. She was all of the things that I wasn't at the time and she was there to tell me that everything would be alright.

I answered the door that morning in tears. It was my first day alone at the house with Hudson and the world looked very different to me at the time. She very graciously assured me that I was certainly not the first new mother to find herself in such a state. We sat down in our family room, Hudson asleep on the couch, and began to discuss what had triggered this onset of tears. She, of course, already knew because she had seen and heard it countless times before...but it was a first for me.

We sat and talked for nearly two hours. Mostly about the baby and motherhood but also just about life because our new baby had just become our life. As she quietly sat across from me, she began to ask about our future...the life that would inevitably build once this day of endless tears finally passed. That's when she asked me if I was planning on going back to work.

Work! What a strange concept that had become over time now that I was holding a tiny little person whose very survival was dependent on me. Wasn't I already in the midst of the most difficult work that I'd ever do? But I had also left another kind of "work"...the work that I had known for over a decade that didn't involve spit up and changing diapers. Then there was also my camera; the one thing that stood alone in this discussion...

I was planning on returning to my photography less than three short months after having Hudson. Certainly not with the same time consuming schedule that I would otherwise commit to but I was going back nonetheless. And I was excited for it. I had weddings and engagements and maternity shoots all set up; I was meeting with clients about bookings for 2011; I had classes and exhibits registered for, and all the while, it didn't feel like work.

As I began to hear the words come out of my mouth, I found myself defending my choice as though I was defending my honour because somehow, in the midst of our conversation, I had caught myself questioning whether or not this made me a bad mother; whether or not my desire for something beyond motherhood meant that I wasn't cut out to do it in the first place? But my nurse just sat there with the most compassionate of expressions on her face as she listened to me battle it out with the demons in my head.

Because here's the thing...

There are no words for how much I love my son and my husband. There are no words for how much I love being a wife and a mother. There are no words for how grateful I feel to have these men in my life. There are simply no words. And so I give. I give every single fiber of my being into loving this child and the amazing man that sleeps next to me every night. And there are no words for how much I love doing so. But being the woman that I am, I can lose myself in all of the giving. I'm notorious for it.

And so I need my camera to help me be me. I need it to help remind me of the person that I was before I became a wife and a mother. And though I wasn't a photographer before either of these things, I was a person who used her artistic side as her outlet; her passion as her therapy. I need to create in order to find my sense of balance; I need the time alone, behind my camera, to breathe and re-boot. I need to visit those places in myself that are not linked to my son or my husband because in a strange sort of way, I think that doing so helps me to be a better wife and a better mother.

Or at least I hope it does because this past weekend I went back to work; back to my photography; back to my business; back to creating and most importantly, back to building a better mother for this little guy...

I think that my nurse would approve!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

{by any other name...} sister-in-law introduced me to someone the other day as a photographer. This was weird. I actually kind of cut her off mid-sentence and tried to throw a word or two in there to correct her. Instead, the mumbling idiot that I can be only managed to muster up something resembling "uhhh...well, not really...I mean, it's know..." And on the misery went!

This prompted an interesting question afterwards though; why did I feel so uncomfortable actually being considered a photographer?

When I started running about eight years ago, I experienced the same challenge. I would run five or six times a week, trained for various races, participated in running groups and even completed a full marathon...but I never felt completely comfortable calling myself a runner. This would bother my husband to no end. "Anyone who gets up early on a Sunday morning in the middle of winter to run twenty kilometers better either call themselves a runner...or come back to bed!", he would say. He had a valid point! For me though, I always felt like I had to earn the title of being labeled a runner. As far as I was concerned, being called a runner was reserved for those who ran seriously...not someone like myself who run fifteen kilometers straight to the nearest poutine stand! Most of all, I was always waiting for that specific finish line, that specific and perfectly run race that somehow deemed me worthy of being called a runner.

Sure enough, I woke up one day and decided that I was indeed, a runner. I may not have been a good runner or a fast runner and least of all, a "serious" runner...but I was a runner! I would run through the rain, through the snow, through half marathons, through full marathons, and most of the time...I would run my way right through the front door of a Starbucks! What couldn't be disputed though was the fact that I did indeed run....and I loved it! So that became my criteria for being called a runner, once and for all!

I've been trying to apply the same logic to this new {and somewhat larger than life} title as photographer. I've been spending the past year trying to earn my way into these ranks but I never really stopped to ask myself what I considered to be the finish line. I've been continuously looking for that one photograph or that one shoot or that one moment that would carry me over through the realms of worthiness. I suppose I should be realistic enough with myself to acknowledge that my perfectionist nature may never really consider myself worthy of being called a photographer. This can be detrimental or this can be what challenges me to constantly push my creative boundaries. The choice is mine. But what can't be disputed is the fact that I do indeed take pictures...and I love it!

So by that name is Gen...and I am a photographer!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

{the million dollar question...}

I've been having a debate with myself as of late over which is cuter;
babies...or handsome men with their babies...??

I received my answer this morning while brushing my teeth!