A woman’s hair is her crown.
Image via My Modern Met
The best thing about fashion is that it embraces the weirdo.
Image via My Modern Met
Susannah is a writer and photographer who offers creative courses on discovering your true self. Her therapeutic approach to photography is what attracted me to her blog, and I’ve only just discovered that she had a project on this month called August Break. The idea is that you take a picture each day, for the whole of August, or whenever you start (which in my case means, erm August 29th?) and share it on yoru blog. She says:
There are no real rules, basically. This is all about being present and enjoying taking photos just for the hell of it.
What a great concept! So here is my first photo, based on her prompt for Day 1: Breakfast.
Today it was peanut butter on brown toast and fresh orange juice from my island, Chios.
I can’t sleep tonight. As I checked my iPhone out of sheer frustration, the blue glow of the small screen exaggerated the darkness and I felt as though there was an evil man in the corner of my room. This is not random. When I was a child I had a recurring nightmare that I was running through my neighbour’s backyard and about to jump into bed, and all I could see was a black silhouette with red eyes staring at me from the corner of the room, rocking in his chair as I hid under the duvet. Tonight, as I remembered that, I remembered to tell myself, if that devil is outside me, he is my fear. If he is inside me… maybe I am that devil. Suddenly I am not afraid of the dark man in the corner, when I know he is me.
I”m reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. She says that there are several ways to give your life meaning:
I reflect on which of those I’m doing, and which I would like to do. Personal fulfillment is top of the list, despite my aspirations to climb ladders. Is this what I want?
She asks: what would you do if you weren’t afraid?
It’s a good question. If I weren’t afraid…. I like thinking about it. It’s fun to imagine all the daredevil moves I’d make, from confessing my desire to have someone’s babies to them to travelling with Doctors without Borders and/or the UN PeaceCorps. I wouldn’t be afraid to make money. I would imagine my future as a former CEO-turned-psychologist giving TED talks about how to trust your children and simply
teach show them how to be with other people and the value of relationships.
I still think it’s possible, and that makes me happy.
That doesn’t change the fact that it’s 5:25am, and I’m still sleepless.
This book inspires me to stop everything and pursue a career in comedy writing. Mindy is so cool, and if she were real, I would make it my life’s purpose to become her best friend. But since she’s a celebrity, she can only ever be my best friend on tv (#bfotv).
And now, my favorite parts:
“One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about.”
“A note about me: I do not think stress is a legitimate topic of conversation, in public anyway. No one ever wants to hear how stressed out anyone else is, because most of the time everyone is stressed out. Going on and on in detail about how stressed out I am isn’t’ a conversation. It’ll never lead anywhere. No one is going to say, “Wow, Mindy, you really have it especially bad. I have heard some stories of stress, but this just takes the cake.””
“In my parents vivid imaginations, lack of at least one parent’s supervision was a gateway to drugs, kidnapping, or at the very minimum, too much television watching.”
“If I had to testify under oath, I would admit, no, I don’t believe Mac Teegarden is psychic. I’ve just been made too aware of people like Carl Sagan and basic science and stuff. I am certain, though, that Mac Teegarden provided an enormous amount of comfort to people who had unexpectedly lost loved ones. I don’t know if it was psychic, but it was cathartic, and therapeutic, and it helped people.”
“If I can give one bit of advice to any drama major, high school theater kid, or inmate who is reading this in a prison library with dreams of being cast in the prison play, it’s this: write your own part. It is the only way I’ve gotten anywhere. It is much harder work, but sometimes you have to take destiny into your own hands. It forces you to think about what your strengths really are, and once you find them, you can showcase them, and no one can stop you.”
The minute you step outside into the sweltering heat and the wind hits you so much like a summer breeze you begin to hum the song outloud shamelessly, you know it’s sweet summertime, and the months ahead will seem like a long leisurely vacation and that you will do the light things that life is meant for. It’s strange, but today was the first day I felt as though I was on holiday, and even though the weather is ahead of me, my mind is not. There is only the light I can see streaming in from the dark recesses of my mood, the one still left over from winter, and slowly but surely, my summer mood is about to emerge, even though it’s been beach season since March.
To help mosey things along, I put together a list of the things everyone should experience in the summertime, and it’s truly inspired me to make some of that happen for myself!
And of course, have a fabulous time! You are alive and well and vibrant and full of creative energy and drive and love! Celebrate that feeling of complete and utter freedom, wehther it’s for two weeks or two minutes of yoru daily life.
What else will you be doing this summer?
It’s strange, ever since I was away and I spent one week offline, I’m finding it very hard to focus and I notice that my brain feels as though its short circuiting. It hurts to look at the screen for too long and I realize that user experience may not be for me simply because I want to look at a website for as little as possible. I’d rather look at clouds in the sky.
As I walk Victor, marigold colors fill me up and the summer air across the leaves warms my skin, and I think: this is life. Singing, walking, watching, talking, ingesting, inhaling. It is magnificent.
I wrote my friend a letter and it felt good to write. It felt good to send her the book. This is my favorite part:
“It all began six months ago, that time I was looking at my coffeepot and for the first time I really saw it. And you know how it is now, how I hear the birds sing, and I look at people and they’re really there as people, and best of all, I’m really there. And I’m not only there, but right now I’m here. The other day, I was standing in the art gallery looking at a picture, and a man came up and said, “Gauguin is very nice, isn’t her?” So I said: “I like you too.” So we went out and had a drink and he’s a very nice guy.”
No games. Will I be this brave in Italy?
Autumn is coming. I want to sing. I want to write. I want to run (or do I?). I want to feel my body. And I want to think and learn.
People and their thoughts charm me. I wish we wrote letters more. I wish we spoke more. About real things. And silly things. Maybe its just me that needs to speak more at this moment.
I want to define my life’s own meaning. I think I have. Let’s do this.