In Art/ Life/ Photography

A Lifetime Ago

This is Sam - Art Piece

I made this piece a lifetime ago.

Back then, I had been laid off from my job at the art center, had finished a stint at a photo studio, and was waitressing while trying to create as much art as I could.

I knew what I wanted to be doing, but wasn’t sure how to get there. I remember pulling at least one all-nighter a week to do freelance design. I asked everyone I knew and strangers I just met if I could take their photo. I remember working back to back doubles at the bar and falling into bed with my grease stained clothes on. I took morning classes at OCC and moonlighted as a photographer for ballet performances and at Detroit techno dance clubs. More often than I’d like to admit, I had to decide between buying groceries and paying rent.  (I’d pay the rent and sneak a soup cup or a breadstick at work.)

But I was living life! Going to bonfires at 3 am, sneaking into pools with fast friends, using my tax return money to fly out to see my sister in California, trying and doing every creative thing I could.

Things are much different now. So much better in many ways and hard in completely different ones.

I still love to see my sister and I have the most incredible friends. I have the feeling of a home now- a loving husband, a too-cute-for-words son, and a cat who lays in my lap when I’m at my desk. I am fortunate to have a career that lets me fight for just causes and be creative all the time, in more ways than just photography.

But it’s a very strange time for all of us. Unprecedented. Pandemic life sure ain’t easy.

Right now we’re all a little bit anxious.  It’s hard.  We’re not able to travel or have as many gatherings as we’d like.  The things we do venture out to do are calculated and assessed for risks.  Compulsively using hand sanitizer may have become routine, but the measured distance between us and the other families walking around the block still feels unnatural and sad.

Covid has become an unwanted guest. It’s a topic that invites itself into conversations with friends. Something we don’t really want to keep talking about, but also cannot stop talking about.

And then, unfortunately, some of us have got sick. Some have loved ones who have been terribly affected. We all have learned to live with the worry that someone we love will get Covid.

Is there a silver lining to all of this? I’m not sure we are quite at the point to see all of the good yet. But personally, I do know that I’ve realized what is most important to me: My family and art.

We are living life! We go exploring on family bike rides, share ice cream sandwiches, hop in the car and spend the morning at the beach, make finger paint masterpieces.

I still create as much art as I can. I’m constantly learning and I ask strangers to take their photo (from a safe distance of course).  I’ve also learned to multitask like a superhero and I even stopped feeling too guilty if you hear my kid singing in the background of our conference call. I have built and strengthened relationships over messaging, letter writing, zoom calls, and gifts dropped on porches. I’ve adapted.

And like before, I have to believe we will persevere. And it’s the love and kindness of everyone that keeps me going, thank you.

Cheers and don’t stop dreaming, friends. Xox

*Photography piece by Lauren Mac of Lauren Mac Design

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