Wednesday, February 28, 2007

To Infinity & Beyond....

I was asked recently why I haven't been talking much about my personal life. I can yap for hours on end about classes I'm taking, portrait shoots, and career goals, but I have left out all the little details (as of late) that actually make up a person's life. Maybe this will shed a little light on that.

2006 was a big year in a lot of ways. It brought me the numbers 28, 5, and 2. (My age, number of classes I've completed since I went back to school, and the number of years Mike and I have been together.) It was the year I realized how much I love graphic design... and how much more I love photography. After months of mulling over career choices and the educational path one must take after deciding on one, it ultimately boiled down to money vs. love. I took a quick detour toward money, but in the end, love won out and I went with photography. After all the confusion, I knew it was the right choice when my brain was suddenly clear and my heart was happy and at peace. And because I don't want to completely give up on having a career and getting out of a dead-end corporate job I hate solely because I am in love with creating art, I decided to take things one step further and go into business for myself. These choices made in 2006 are my reality in 2007. I'm building my portfolio, beginning to take on clients, and learning the ins and outs of what it takes to be a successful artist and business owner in my classes. I have the beginnings of a promising plan for my financial future.

I was able to research all this and really focus on it because I have had such a stable home life. My boyfriend of two+ years is my champion, best friend, confidante, cheerleader, drinking buddy and lover all rolled into one. How lucky I am to have found such a person. One who can see me at my best and hold me close, proud to be with me. One who can see me at my worst and most vulnerable and hold me closer to protect me. Even writing this now makes me teary-eyed; I do know how awesome life can be because we are in this together.

But toward the end of 2006, things changed. One conversation snowballed into every aspect of my life, coloring my perspective of just about everything. Suddenly, things weren't so stable. What I had seen as domesticity, was something else entirely to my partner. Our inside jokes, our "CLP" acronym for each other no longer seemed to apply. How could we talk about forever or say anything was "for life" when we weren't sure if we would make it through another year? At first, I took it really hard. It was a blow to my self-esteem to hear doubts from someone who's opinion I so valued. Was I unwanted? Unloved? Was something about me that undesirable? And then I was confused. How can we talk like this - talk that made it sound like our whole world was being tipped on it's head - and act normal, with nothing changing in our everyday lives? When I say that conversation snowballed, it did. From that one night and every conversation after, I became a woman obsessed, going over every detail both in my head and aloud, trying to find the 'glitch in the matrix' that would make it all right again.

After a few weeks of making us both crazy, I realized there wasn't just one thing. There was no secret ingredient that would fix everything. No magic word that would give me back that same blissful ignorance that came with taking the solid foundation of my relationship for granted. I had to face that I might not ever feel that way again. While the insecurity I feel in the face of such turmoil is undesirable, maybe not being able to go back to the time where I was just floating along isn't so bad.

If it were solely up to me, my future would hold a successful photography business, a little house or loft in the city with a ton of history and character, giggling children of my own, and a devoted, adoring partner - one who will love me for me and not for the hopes that I will someday realize some 'potential.' But isn't this every girl's dream?

In the face of all this, a part of me has distanced myself from my personal life, so to speak. I've had to bring back a part of just "Deann" instead of living all the time in "DeannandMike". As a mechanism of self-preservation, I've had to. I'm sad that part of me is no longer able to say "I Love You" as easily as breathing. I'm sad that I feel I sometimes have to hide my more vulnerable parts until they are a little less raw and exposed. I'm sad that I feel like this skin of my existence is a little too confining at times, no longer able to completely enjoy what once was so easy and free. And I'm sad that my brain just won't turn off and let me feel, instead interfering with thoughts of what-if and how and why. But I also think about the apartment I want to get and the studio space I long for. I think about re-establishing my relationships with my girlfriends, craving the natural bond that comes with being women with a shared history. I am looking forward to moving closer to the city - my city - where there is life, and vibrance, and a general urban-ness that I have dearly missed. I especially look forward to reclaiming a piece of me, the one I put on hold to be with the person I love. I just hope that when I am able to get back those missing pieces, he will see me again for who I am and decide he wants to reclaim this - us - too.

So, back to why I haven't been sharing much. I guess I've been censoring myself. I've been confused as to what's been going on and what will happen in the future. Not wanting to be hurt any more than I already have, I've been writing less on what matters to me personally and more on fluff and filler. (Oh, and some pretty pictures too.) Not that everything has been that 'light', but for the most part... I figure I dwell on it enough in my brain; why have to look at it in print too? But, maybe I've been going overboard. Maybe, just maybe, it needs to get out into the open fresh air and have the world take a look.

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