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 is somewhat crookedly and his is very 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.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Black & White Photo Challenge

I was challenged by my friend, Angie of AGLOW Photography to do the black & white photo challenge. My task was to post a b&w photo for five days and nominate someone else along the way. I decided to revisit my film days.

Because I didn’t have access to a scanner, my film photos never made their debut on the Internet.  So I picked out my five pictures and hunted for a scanner. I did!

 {Landaff Center, March 2012}

In high school I interned with Meg of Rodeo  & Co Photography. Although my internship ended at Christmastime, she still invited me over for shoots every so often. In the spring she had done an editorial shoot with EH Floral and took home the flowers, so we took these shots at her house. She was experimenting with medium format film, and I used 35mm.

{Remich Park, April 2011}

I took this photo on the first roll of film I ever developed and exposed. Because I took Photography I at Littleton High School, we visited Remich Park often to do our work. It was a rainy day before class and I had to finish exposing my roll, so I explored the park by myself. I love this shot because of the way it draws the eye across. I took it for my shape assignment, but I think it possesses more character than that.

{Littleton, November 2011}

I was admiring the vintage artifacts at just L in Littleton and began to just snap away. The bowl of vintage spoons stood out to me because my mom had a collection hanging on our kitchen wall in Derry. This shot came out better than I had hoped with the shallow depth of field.

{Sugar Hill, May 2011}

This is one of the craftiest shots I took. My friend, Eden and I were taking pictures on Sunset Hill Road when we decided to take a moment and admire the mountains from its overlook. There’s a tree stump in the middle of the platform with these jutting pieces of park that look rather cool in a macro perspective. I glanced down at my keychain and the little leather bug given to me at Christmas caught my eye, so I put the two together.

{Littleton, November 2011}

I saved my favorite shot for last. This was taken at just L the same day I photographed Vintage Spoons. The globe was sitting on a table and I thought it would contrast nicely with the orange stool I placed it on (even though it’s in black & white), but it was missing something. There was a wooden box sitting on the nearby counter with compartments of old typewriter keys. This word came to mind…

Saturday, November 8, 2014

'Cause nothin' lasts forever

My friend died a week ago. We weren't close, and it had been awhile since we talked, but the news was still a shock for me. He was good friends with my cousin, which is how I met him. His family had crammed into my house for a weekend in the notch, and we continued to talk after that. He'd tell me how many hoops he had scored in a game, and I'd laugh at how obsessed he was with Farmville. We'd talk about music, and jam to "Sweet Child O' Mine" together, even though he lived more than 100 miles away. "November Rain" makes me think of him.

I read through our messages the other day, and was upset to find that Facebook had deleted most of them. The few that were left still made me cry. It was two years ago that he told me his plans to take his girlfriend Black Friday shopping in Portland. I told him don't die.

His birthday was coming up, and I advised that 17 was a rough year because it's a long count to 18, and nothing exciting seems to happen. My birthday was a few months later, and I said I was planning on buying a lottery ticket.

Later, he asked if he could use personal pronouns in a narrative essay. I said yes; he was writing a memoir on the Red Sox game he went to the previous summer. I then told him that college is much easier than high school, because teachers (usually) don't assign homework over break. The last thing I ever wrote to him was "You're welcome. =)"

It may have been two years, but I can still remember how silly he was, and that he rarely complained about anything. I continued to like his graduation pictures, the time he went to a Portland Pirates game, and his excitement at buying a Mustang, but I never reached out to him.

It's amazing that the people we come across can still have an impact, even years later. I kept more in touch with his sister and saw her every so often, but for whatever reason, I think I was too shy to talk to him. This past week he's been on my mind, and how I wish I had at least asked what was new, or how he was doing. I don't have many regrets in life.

There are few things that are final, and those that are can be truly devastating. I can only imagine how his family and friends are feeling. My cousin was supposed to be in the car with him and the others. I've never believed in a god, and I don't think I ever could.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

True New Englander

I'll never forget my elation at seeing the drudgery of the misty gray clouds consuming the City of Boston as my plane landed. Although I had just spent a fabulous week in sunny Florida with my travel companion and friend, Patsy, I missed home. Florida had palm trees, warm beaches, St. Augustine, and oranges, but I missed fall leaves, mountain vistas, Littleton, and apple cider.

Traveling is incredibly fulfilling for me, and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to leave home twice this year. I'm ecstatic to look forward and plan my trips for 2015, but I think travel is more delightful when one knows they have a glorious place to return to, a place of most contentment.

For me this is Franconia Notch, but Florida reminded me that I'm not just a North Country girl or even a New Hampshirite, but a New Englander. Although I can only handle urbanism in small doses, Boston is my city. Although it's a real nuisance to shovel out my car, I'd rather sweat in my winter coat than on the car seat in 90 degree weather.

Warwick Long Bay in Bermuda is the most stunning beach I have ever visited, but salty hair and rustic tug boats make me feel complete. New England is a diverse region that has not only coastline, but lakes and mountains as well. We enjoy four seasons (five if you consider mud), and the most beautiful Autumns in the world. I learned this when I began working for the Chamber.

We may be pretentious and keep to ourselves, but in my small town of Sugar Hill, I have seen neighbors come together out of help, support, and yes, gatherings. New England is home to the meetinghouse and many of our towns are still run by a Board of Selectmen and town meetings. 

These towns perpetuate history, and although I visited the oldest city in America (St. Augustine), New England history is what really fascinates me. We have Plymouth Rock and the first Thanksgiving, the shot heard 'round the world, transcendentalism, the nation's oldest college, the Old Man of the Mountain, and more. It's the rebellious spirit of American Revolutionary roots and the unconventional philosophy of transcendentalism that inspires and makes me proud to say that I am from New England. 

Not only that, it's the summer strawberries and autumn apples that keep me here. Tonight I dined at the Common Man in Lincoln and left satisfied by a New England supper. Our food is hearty and delicious. I could never give up cider donuts, acorn squash, blueberry muffins, maple syrup, or whoopie pies! Fall does have a smell and it is incredible.

I love New England for its history, beauty, cuisine, and activities. I can be found kayaking on a lake in summer or picking blueberries in the fields. Fall brings foliage hikes while in winter I ski. There are so many outdoor activities that I enjoy doing and New England is the place where I can do them all. It's fantastic to have this variance.

I was born in a Massachusetts port city, grew up in a suburb, and now live in the mountains of New Hampshire. I can never see myself leaving.