“I look over at you, and I see, a woman. Living in a thatched hut. In Indonesia. With a bird living in her hair. Holding a basket, under her arm. With red lips-“
“But I don’t have red lips.” “But you would if you lived in Indonesia. Red, red lips, as soft as a robin’s belly. And delicate nails. And a skirt, with a a train, that leads a mile off into the water. And that is what I see, when I see you. Right now.”
“But I don’t have red lips.”
“But you would if you lived in Indonesia. Red, red lips, as soft as a robin’s belly. And delicate nails. And a skirt, with a a train, that leads a mile off into the water. And that is what I see, when I see you. Right now.”
So it seems that it was too dark at the Rec Center for underwater photography. The lady at Walmart set the package to the side and said it was free because the film was “blank,” but I later came to find that the CD I ordered was still included in this free package, and that it had all 27 exposures on it. (:
So that’s one good thing that exists regardless of the fact that these exemplify the quality of all the pictures.
This just means we’ll have to try again some time. Because, obviously, Sarah’s a wonderful model and these pictures would have been amazing.
On the trek somewhere between San Diego and Las Vegas, we stopped at a small gas station to stretch our legs. Out back, the girls and I discovered an interestingly misshapen tree, and we spent some time climbing the limbs and soaking in the Nevada desert sun.
Once upon a time a girl with a very average name was born into a not-as-average life. She had outrageously bird’s nest-like red hair and lived in the country with her ever-in-love parents and seven younger siblings. Those ever-in-love parents decided very early on that their children were to be homeschooled, and so the girl learned nearly everything she knew sitting among trees rather than inside of walls, under beams of sunlight instead of under the gaze of critical eyes. At times she sought out her father and asked him about what he was learning, and he told her of history and physics and engineering. While listening to her father explain the law of relativity and talk about how every person we see negatively is really a mirror of ourselves, she found out that she loved ideas. For a decade her mother became mildly obsessed with collecting books, and the girl found out that she loved words. The girl grew. By the time she was thirteen, she had cut off most of her own hair, and when she was fourteen, she, along with her parents and those of her siblings who were old enough to realize, experienced a shift in paradigm. The world as she knew it fell away, replaced by understanding, and she soon stopped being afraid. She went to school in the town she had lived in for nine years, and learned of the existence of a life that had been just outside her fences. She found out that not everyone understood Shakespeare, and that if her clothes didn’t look new, they might wonder. The girl decided not to care. She hooked pens over the holes in her jeans and wore pencils in her hair. She wore a different necklace every day, and filmed her classmates at the lunch table. Her teachers were impressed by her and many of them talked to her as a friend. She spent a lot of time smiling. But some days, she wept. After the first quarter of Junior year, she realized that she was spending eight hours each day to learn not very much at all, and chose to drop all but two of her classes. The next year, she watched from the sidelines as most of her friends marched in their caps and gowns to retrieve a piece of paper that they had spent thirteen years earning. At about that time she became confused. Her mother wanted her to leave the crowded house and pursue a life for herself, but the girl didn’t know what that life was supposed to be. She wanted to get some kind of footing before she jumped off of that cliff. When she caught pneumonia in the middle of the summer, the girl promised to leave. She promised her mother and she promised her boyfriend, and she looked for somewhere to go. She found someone else who wanted to leave, a woman who had adopted three little girls and continuously convinced herself that waiting should not be an option. The woman wanted to take her daughters across the country, wanted to show them the things she hadn’t herself seen. And so they met with the girl and they each knew they could care for one another and they went. They drove from Idaho to Maine, through deserts and mountains and forests, from elevation to elevation. The girl saw things that she had never thought of, and thought of things she had never seen. She had a lot of time to herself. She went for walks and watched as the trees there turned into every color but blue. She waded through canals that formed in the old streets, and dressed as a house for Halloween. She spent an hour standing on a bridge, trying to memorize the paths of leaves flowing through a river. She noticed that all the while, flowers were blooming. She saw the Atlantic and kissed the pages of books a hundred years old. She ran through stone castles and dined inside of a museum. She turned nineteen. She snuck out in the middle of the night to lie on the road’s yellow line and made eye contact with Cassiopeia. They left on Thanksgiving, and spent that evening in a small city in the state of New York, eating steak instead of turkey at Denny’s, and sharing the holiday with members of a much larger family. A couple days later they were caught in a snow storm, and as the girl waited for food that was to be retrieved through the two feet of white, she called a man she knew and told him that she wanted to send balloons down a waterfall. She was home for Christmas, and for New Years, and she finally began to see. She realized that she wasn’t in love, and that she was in love. This realization ignited a spark that lit up the quiet places in her spirit, and she became aware of who she was and who she wanted to become. She left for San Diego to meet back with the woman and her daughters, and has spent three months there gradually constructing the idea that her future will be comprised of. Each day she grows more and more aware of herself, and she’s become almost entirely comfortable with the whole of the universe around her. Starting from the center point behind her eyes, moving outwards, through her veins, past her skin, into this room, encompassing the city and the ocean and the continent and the planet, pausing at each human being who is significant in her life, distilling joy and meaning throughout everything.
The girl isn’t sure of many things. But there are a lot of things that she is sure of, and she knows that it’s those things that matter. She will share those things with as many people as will look. And she will never relent.
Higher quality image here.
“I see my future as a world of my own creation. My thoughts and ideas are the frame through which I see life, and I plan to continue to express my creative self through the written word and with an array of visual art. I will use my time to learn and produce, to explore and experience. I want my influence to have a sincere and colossal impact on everything I touch. I will use everything that has been given to me to inspire others. I will reach the fullness of my own potential.”
Frame My Future Scholarship contest entry.
I don’t have to talk to you about beauty, or tell you how it’s definition has been manipulated. I don’t have to remind you of the photoshopped celebrities and the advertisements that you’ve seen. I don’t have to mention how people everywhere compare themselves to a nearly unattainable standard of “good-looking.”
But I did have to prove to myself that I could show you my face. I do want you to understand that I don’t agree with wonderful human beings ever feeling as if they must hide behind their masks. I do want everyone I care about (which, you understand, means the entire world) to understand that I don’t see your beauty as based on any of those physical trivial temporary things. I want you to know that I, for one, will never require you to mold yourselves, to fit any type of “image,” in order for you to have my love.
I want you to know that I know you’re beautiful. And that I can always see it.
Yes. Quite, quite beautiful.
Those with whom I’m acquainted on Facebook have no doubt received a dose of this story, for it quite literally enveloped my life.
Here at our latest apartment in San Diego, eight-year-old Elexa got into the habit of bringing me the newspaper each day. Occasionally, she and I sat crisscross applesauce on my floor together and spent a good chunk of time thumbing through pages and pages of newsprint, searching for interesting stories or pictures to clip out. Our fingers became grayed with ink, and astonishing amounts of that ink found its way onto our faces as well, giving us half-shadows of beards (I assume) we’ll never have.
After a couple months of daily newspapers, the pile of them in my room, though all folded, had grown enough to fill a pretty hefty kitchen garbage bag. I wanted to do something with them all before I took them to be recycled, and after brainstorming with Elexa, finally decided to build a waterfall of newspapers “cascading” down my wall.
It took two days of unfolding, rolling, taping, piling, and tossing between myself and six young children to complete the installment. While it was all going on, we played in the sheets of news as if they were leaves or snow or the ocean. We all became covered in ink, along with every wall, knob, handle, and light switch in the apartment. The whole experience was so wonderful.
For days and days afterward, I got to wake up each morning to the smell of the printed word.
Miya decided to take out the braids that have been in her hair for the last couple of weeks because they were becoming difficult to brush. I helped to untangle them and her hair looked so beautiful, I had to take pictures.
I had 4 minutes of battery, two nearly full camera cards, and 10 minutes before these girls left for a road trip to Idaho to get some quick pictures in with the evasive and diminishing sunlight. But we definitely made it work.
Miya has such a beautiful natural smile once she becomes comfortable. (:
The other girls came along too, which I was really happy about. As always, they went searching for things to add to the miniature forest in my room.
Olivia let her mom cut her hair recently, and though she feels that short hair makes her look younger than she’d like, everyone agrees that she looks adorable!
I had only socks on, and had to hop, skip, and jump over a bunch of puddles in order to avoid getting muddy. It was fast and exciting.
Elexa has such a natural beauty to her, inside and out. All these girls do. I’m excited to see how their beauty develops as they grow and mature.
Soon after this find there ensued horror stories of nests smelling like humans and abandoned baby birds. XD