Growing up in Boulder, Colorado, I never fit in. Everyone thought I was a weirdo (or so I thought, and let’s be honest I thought I was a weirdo too.). Boulder was a confusing place filled with wealthy hippies, a lot of actual rocket scientists and as my mother used to say “even the checker at Whole Foods has a PhD.” It was a contradictory place, for me. Until I moved away, I truly believed that Birkenstock’s were the official shoes of all clergy. (except the LDS, but that’s another post for another day, am I right?)
I was too pale, too loud, I wore sunglasses that were too big. Then I moved to California and absolutely everything that made me unattractive in Boulder made me attractive there. It was mind-boggling. I was the same person but people’s reaction to me was vastly different.
It wasn’t until I got to Los Angeles that I truly felt HOME. I understood feeling like you belong to a place. A geographical location. And I met my people. That’s not to say that in Colorado or Northern California I hadn’t found people to which I belonged. I’ve been very blessed to make great and long term friends that become family along the way. My husband says it is one of my superpowers.
I’d say that’s a great super power, but I’m still asking Santa for the ability to move things with my mind. Every year he disappoints.
Within ten weeks of giving birth to my oldest, we packed up the entire contents of our Los Angeles life in an ironically named moving van blazed with Broadway across it, waved good bye to my sister, nephew and best friend and drove away. Almost seven years later and I still can’t believe it. The rawness of the wound hasn’t healed, but something has happened.
I found a second home. For a long time we have felt like been treading water, licking our wounds from the financial crisis, unable to move forward. But in the last six months I’ve been feeling almost as if I am in a chrysalis. Almost ready to burst forth. Hyperbole aside, it’s a strange feeling, not uncomfortable…but almost as if I am perched on the edge of the high dive, at the ready, a little scared, a little excited, waiting for the final impetus to make the leap.
We’ve got all the babies we are going to have. Our family is complete and happy. We have general paths we wish to follow, we are ready.
This weekend I photographed a sweet newborn and traveled back and forth to DC to celebrate NCGE’s 100th anniversary where I photographed the Gala, awards and receptions. I’m not sure if you’ll find a nicer group of people than geographers and geography educators. Did you know we have an official geographer of the United States? We do. I met him.
If you had told me when I was my son’s age and already feeling out of place, that someday life would take me to Los Angeles, that I would do commercials and movies and that at one point Morgan Freeman would lay down one of my biggest life lessons for me while we made dinner. That I would visit the Ancient City, the Vatican, St. Peter’s. That one day I would be a mother, that one day I would be a photographer, that one day I would spend every weekend at the pool and LOVE IT, that one day I would make friends here, that one day I would look around DC and appreciate it’s beauty and feel at home; I would have declared you insane.
But here we are. Oh, the places I’ve been. And the places I hope to go.