Wednesday, October 28, 2015

On Printe

I'll never forget the moment I ordered my first canvases. My finger poised for the click, eyes anxious to see how they'd turn out- but I was reluctant. It's not often that I place print orders, and canvases are in a league of their own. I had no idea how they worked, how they're printed, or how much they were.

With the advent of digital photography, the majority of images created will never reach a tangible form. They're files and numbers and data and more technological than I'm capable of comprehending. Film was simpler. When I took Photography in high school, I was simultaneously enrolled in Chemistry. The two courses had more overlap than I thought possible, and I'm so lucky it worked out that I was in both.

Nowadays it's so easy to take a picture, that many don't understand the process behind photography or value professional photographers. The word "photograph" is a marriage or two Latin roots- "photo" translating light and "graph" meaning write. Because photography is writing in light, I've always thought of it as a science and an art.

In Chemistry we learn that light acts as a particle and a wave. When the shutter is released ("taking" the picture"), light waves enter the camera and are recorded when the particles react to chemicals on the film. The photo is a latent image and thus not visible until the film is developed with more chemicals. But film strips are small (generally) and don't look as pretty on the walls, so photographs are more likely to be printed with even more chemicals. It's a long process, but the photographer always ends up with a physical product.

Although digital sensors work similarly, there's no development process and no film, meaning an photograph could be taken and never seen again. Photographers now are more likely to post these images to Facebook and Instagram instead of printing them out and displaying them on the wall. I'm certainly guilty of this! But as I dive deeper into my business, I've decided to explore the fine art side of photography and frantically printed and framed about ten photos that are for sale at the Purple Peacock in Littleton. Framing is not my forte, and it took me hours of review reading to find just the right pen to sign the images with.

This month I upped the ante. In Bethlehem we have a new gallery known as 42 Maple. Angel from Larcom Studios (who designed MegaBug's fabulous logo and watermark!) asked if I would like to do a show with a sculptor from Massachusetts. I've had my work featured in galleries before, but I was responsible for occupying the entire wall space! Although an exciting task, it was also quite stressful.

The cost of printing and framing images adds up, which led to my hesitation at placing the canvas order. In a split second I mustered up enough courage to hastily click the submit order button, and there was no going back.

A week later I was greeted with bold color and familiar memories. The canvases glistened in the gallery light, people pausing to take a better look, discussing their thoughts on where each image was taken. One turns to me- "Are you the artist?"

To read about the gallery show on my MegaBug blog, click here.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Losing Your Sh*t and Cutting the Rope

When we tune into the right frequency, everything seems to fall into place. I've had a difficult time the past couple of days, but an article popped up in my Facebook newsfeed that piqued my interest- and it couldn't have come at a better time. The article was published on Elite Daily and is titled, "10 Reasons Why Losing Your Sh*t Will Make Your Life Come Together." Intrigued, I read Aleksandra Slijepcevik's list that placed emphasis on the individual, and how everyone experiences life differently. Under "10. Your breaking point is your solo journey. No outside feedback allowed," she wrote, "When you feel like you’ve reached a breaking point, something beautiful happens: You begin to listen to yourself, your own truth and your own suffering — that’s where healing begins."

This resonated with me. It reminded me of a time last November when I had come home from a difficult board meeting at my full time job. I was still attending LSC as a full time student, and felt so lost and overwhelmed. Instantly I collapsed on the couch and just stayed there all day, lying on my back and watching the sun set outside my living room window. It was quiet. The bold colors of evening turned into the darker, muted colors of night and I just watched, feeling helpless and confused. My family came home and didn't understand what was wrong with me, or why I continued to feel low and upset for the remainder of the week. But after reading Slijepcevik's article, I now understand that those three days of aguish revealed to me what my breaking point is.

When her article popped up in my newsfeed last night, I was feeling overwhelmed yet again. What Slijepcevik's article revealed that hit me so hard was that no one understands what you're going through but you. Yes, simple concept, but one that's very hard to understand when your loved ones are restless and frustrated with you for wanting to do nothing but stare out the window for a few days. They don't understand. However, the line when article truly clicked with me was, "You're not broken; you're simply out of order. Don't apologize for that."

So I went to sleep pondering Slijepcevik's philosophical revelations and woke up feeling like I had a purpose again. I try to stay away from Facebook, but I signed in this morning to see if a friend had received my message from the night before when a video popped up at the top of my newsfeed. It was from Humans of New York. Sole blogger/photographer, Brandon Stanton had posted the forum he was asked to participate in at Harvard University. I have followed his blog for over a year and admire the way Stanton uses only a few words and a single image to reveal the personality and experiences of a total stranger.

In the forum, he explained how HONY began, that what it is now is not the idea he came up with to begin with. He said, "I think the one thing that holds most people back from doing it [something creative] is that they're waiting for that perfect idea to cut the rope behind them and start putting their energies towards something they really want to be doing, that they're really passionate about."

This reminded me of "The Hero," the latest book in "The Secret" series and my absolute favorite. It perfectly illustrates Stanton's quote through multiple examples of how successful people made their dreams come true, and focuses on the Law of Attraction. I think it's time to move it back on my nightstand.

I'm amazed that these two stories came to me at a time when I could really use some inspiration. Hopefully I'll continue on this frequency and will embrace losing my sh*t, and finding some scissors to cut the rope.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Roaring Twenties

With every birthday, people ask if I feel different. A couple of days ago I turned 20, and yes, I do feel very different. It's incredible to begin my twenties having already graduated from college, a strong credit score, a steady full-time job, and now a house.

Okay, so I don't own said house, but I'm not really renting it either. The owners have temporarily moved to the Middle East and I am now responsible for their beautiful white house, dog, and cat. My cat, Puss was put down a month ago, so it is wonderful to have Arlo purr in my ear, step on my computer, and crawl in my lap. Ben is also a sweetheart, acting as my free personal trainer.

In the couple of days I've lived in this house, I am ecstatic about being a pretend homeowner. Grocery shopping excites me, and I feel fulfilled when cleaning and organizing. I'm so thankful to have the opportunity of learning how to care for a house without having to pay a mortgage or even rent. (Well, I do pay a little...)

I've already accomplished so much, and I now feel free to take advantage of my twenties and mold my life into exactly what I want it to be. In the past I've lived life quickly, and I'm truly enjoying moving at a slower pace and being able to balance just work and fun, not work, fun, and school. Ben and I walk everyday, and on Thursdays I have my tap class. I've been able to take WREN workshops and pay more attention to growing my business. Whatever the next decade brings, I hope to have a roaring time.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

I think I'll miss you forever

People come and go in our lives. It's just a natural flow of the Universe; the way the world works. We don't always know why or how it happens, we just accept it. Some people join us for a brief moment- a single raindrop cascading from the clouds. Others have a more lasting impact- a crash of thunder jolting the earth. It's the latter that we have a hard time forgetting and letting go of, whether they brought happiness and joy or misery and sorrow.

Then there are some people who bring both.

In 2014, I lost my best friend and my boyfriend within the same month. It's been almost a year since both relationships ended, but I haven't been able to forget or move on from either. I've had friends who pursued different paths and experienced break ups before, but never have I felt as deeply shattered and lost as I have over these past months. I'm constantly reliving moments, seeing the past in my dreams and feeling tormented by what went wrong. I can't live like this anymore. Heart pounding, breath shortening, head racing. Part of this is my fault- I can't let go. It's so hard to forget two people who were once my world. The one I connected with immediately, and the other who I thought was my soulmate.

The majority of my best recent memories are with these two, and are the type of photographic memories that when thought about, I can relive perfectly. I can see the way they both smiled at me: hers somewhat crookedly, his incredibly wide. Their gorgeous green eyes that lit up so brightly when they looked at me. How I admired those eyes. Feeling complete in their arms, and how we fit together so perfectly.

I felt like I could loose myself in their company; the type of release that's intoxicating. It's hard for me to calm down, relax, and allow myself to wander. She challenged me mentally, he did physically. It was a beautiful trifecta, one I've struggled to replicate.

Because they're gone.

I change the station when my radio plays certain songs, look away from firetrucks & bicycles, and drop old pictures I've accidentally picked up. Blue is not so soothing anymore.

I often wonder how it would play out if I could go back and live certain moments differently. It's comforting to think of extend relationships, but I feel the inevitable would only be prolonged. In the end it was a repetition of issues that gave me the heart pounding, breath shortening, head racing that I still experience today. But back then I didn't know what would happen. Now I know where I stand.

I know that I cannot talk to my current boyfriend's family, because she is dating his brother. I know that after four break ups and months of wanting me back a fifth time, he has found someone else.  I also know that over the past several months I have developed friendships and a relationship that have brought me much joy and support, of which I am deeply grateful for. Yet, I am still having difficulty replicating the deep connection I had with her, and shaking the bond I had with him.

Today I am moving into a house, and tomorrow is my twentieth birthday. I learned much and accomplished enormous feats in my teens, but I want my twenties to be a new era. It's hard to forgive, but I want to be able to do that. I want to move on and expand my current friendships. I want to let go and have the ability to be present in my current relationship. Now it's up to me, and I better learn how to face it.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015: A New Era

Every New Year's Day I ponder my hopes and goals for the upcoming twelve months, and I've never been as excited to do so as I am for 2015. I completed college a few weeks ago and I can't even begin to describe how free I am feeling the the onset of a new year. The possibilities and excitement running through my mind are exhilarating! So with my newly found time (and life!) this is what I hope 2015 will bring:

*Additional time spent with friends. Over the past year I have been so thankful to reconnect and develop deep friendships with people I adore and admire. I'd love to be with them more.
*More opportunities to travel and explore.
*Motivation to continue learning. I'm an advocate for beyond-the-classroom education, and feel that there is still plenty more I'd like to know. My main focus is definitely photography and business ownership, but I'd like to explore crafting again (crocheting, sewing, diy, etc), and dive deeper into living holistically.
*An increase in my fitness level. I have a ski pass to four mountains and I'd really like to use it! It's also been two seasons since I went cross country skiing, and my mom would like me to start hiking NH's 4,000 footers. I can't say I want to lose a set amount of weight- I tried that and became too obsessed with the number- I'd mostly like to feel better.
*A general idea of home ownership. I will be semi-permanently house sitting for a neighbor and will be the surrogate care taker of their cat and dog. I'm thrilled for the opportunity, as it will allow me a taste of what living on my own will be like- and I adore their dog!
*A boost in business. 2014 had many fabulous photo shoots, and I hope to increase their frequency. I'd also like to submit more posts to MassFinds and contemplate finally sending something to Yankee Magazine. With more time I'd also like to enter in photo contests and take more workshops on photography.
*Dedication to become the best little Executive Director that I can be. I have hopes that I can help bring the Franconia Notch Chamber of Commerce to a new level, and have so many ideas on how to increase our community involvement, member benefits, and regional marketing.

So I hope 2015 will be full of excitement and the beginning of my life as an independent individual. There may be many dreams listed above, but I have faith that they will bring my life more iin bance. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Reflections

I don't think I've ever had a year as full of change as 2014 was. My first post of the year was titled "New Frontiers," and I think I definitely accomplished that. So this is my year in review:

*Left my Residential Loan Assistant position to focus on my 22-credit spring semester. I am ecstatic to say I finished with a 3.9 GPA!
*Accumulated more photo shoots that have led to my pictures being featured on MassFinds, Foodshionista, a bus, billboard, and banner. I even photographed the governor. ;)
*Lost my best friend and boyfriend in the same month.
*Picked myself up and rekindled past friendships, finding another fella to pass the time with.
*Was able to travel more so this year than any other, visiting Bermuda in May, Florida in October, and Montreal a few weeks ago.
*Completely redesigned my website with my own domain name!
*Accepted the Executive Director position at the Franconia Notch Chamber of Commerce.
*Graduated from Lyndon State College with a B.A. in English, A.S. in Business Administration, and a minor in Marketing.

There have been some serious changes in 2014, and I'm excited to see the beginning of a new era in my life. =)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Graduate

On Wednesday, December 17, 2014- my experience with formal education came to a conclusion. It's been three days since I submitted my last final, and I'm only beginning to process that I don't need to spend a small fortune on textbooks for an upcoming semester. I never have to register for classes, or transfer money from my savings account to meet the deficit left after scholarships.

I have spent more than 68% of my life at school, and it's going take some getting used to life without it. Throughout this past year, kindly neighbors and friends would ask, "Are you planning to pursue a Master's?", "What will you do with yourself after school?"

The former exhausts me: I just escaped with a Bachelor's at 19 and I'm still overwhelmed by it. Also, considering that I majored in English with the hopes of becoming a photojournalist, I don't see how a Master's would be of much benefit. Already I feel that in certain fields an Associate's is superior, and I have many stories of people who make more with a two-year degree than those with a Master's. I also believe that knowledge can be acquired beyond the classroom, and feel that I learned more through my few years of real world experience in the workforce than I have behind a textbook. So no, I will never see "M.A." follow my name, nor will I ever be referred to as "Dr. Meg" (though that does sound snazzy).

From my two and a half years of college, I became rather cynical of it. After seeing the mortgage-sized loans graduates accumulate, I can't find too many degrees that justify the debt. Of course, I do want the surgeon operating on me to have a doctorate (and beyond), but is a masters in creative writing necessary?

The latter question- although meant to be light-hearted- rankles me as well. Back in March, I wrote an entire post on what I plan on filling the vacancy in my time with. This past semester I was a full-time student and a full-time employee. I think I'll just stick with being a full-time employee.

Still, it's incredible to think that I am done with school. There have been moments when I just sit and cry tears of joy, recognizing what I have just accomplished and celebrating the beginning of my next step in life. I didn't want to attend college in the first place, and I don't think I would have had it not been for my grandmother. She took such pride in seeing me graduate high school, and has the highest hopes for me. I knew then that she wanted for me what she did not have the opportunity to even try for. I am grateful that I had the opportunity she never did, and this B.A. in English is for her. I'm the first in my family to earn a four-year degree. Let's make it pay off.