Very simply me

I live with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and chronic Epstein-Barr virus. I am typically home bound except for my daily walks with my two dogs. If I am lucky, I am able to save up enough energy for a short photo excursion about once a month. Usually, this splurge will be one and one half hours of shooting time around my neighborhood. I do my best to continue to find worlds within my little world or if I am incredibly lucky I will be gifted with a visit by a charitable model from another land.

When I am behind the camera the pain, fatigue, and many other symptoms of my chronic fatigue, chronic Epstein-Barr virus, fibromyalgia, chronic migraines and sundry other associated ailments disappear for the duration of the time I am hypnotized by whatever subject has captivated my attention. I will barely even notice if I’ve ended up in a crooked, contorted position, half-submerged in water or standing in muck. The only care I take is in making sure not to disturb another’s property, a creature’s habitat or well-being, and in making sure my subject is as comfortable as possible. My own comfort is another matter however, but that is irrelevant as my mind has taken me to another plane of consciousness, similar to euphoria, elation, and contentment as I soar in another world, far away from the limitations which my illnesses and disability confine me to on a regular basis.

I shoot all genre but find myself gravitating towards animals and nature. In my previous life, I was an architect. That was what I dreamed of being since I was fourteen years old and I hitched my wagon to that star and drove full steam towards it. I could not have been happier having achieved my dream and living my life as an architect. I thoroughly enjoyed the rush of designing and managing multi-million dollar buildings and complexes through construction. Standing on top of skyscrapers with the wind whipping against me, as if to imply it were more powerful than I in its ability to physically move my body about my perch. Coordinating Owners, Consultants, Contractors, Code Officials and co-workers to get the building designed and built in an expeditious, cost-conscious, functional and aesthetically pleasing manner.  I thrived on the stress and power. I thoroughly believed that the harder I pushed, the higher I could fly. There weren’t any limits to the amount of work I cold produce, and I dazzled my clients and employers by outdoing myself every time. I was on top of the world and unstoppable by anybody or anything, except for me.

It took a couple of years and multiple chronic illnesses to finally slow me down. And not just a slackened pace, but an all-out cessation of my body and mind with my brain already shutting down non-essential functions in an effort to salvage any bits of spare energy just to keep me alive. I had turned into a zombie from pushing my body and mind to the limits. I was no longer able to see colors; my world had turned literally to black and white. The only discernible sounds to me was the buzz of static in my head. My gait had turned into a lurching slide in which I was unable to lift my feet off the ground. My legs wobbled with each step threatening to give way and collapse under the weight of the rest of my body allowing gravity to win its battle and pull me to the floor. If there was anything available to grab onto I would grasp it in a desperate attempt to propel my body forward, hand over hand, against the downward pull of the floor. Speech was a garbled mess of sounds as I was unable to string two words together to form a complete thought. I had worn my body out and my conscious-mind refused to listen, so my sub-conscious mind took over and began to shut my body down, until not only was I completely non-functional, I ended up irreversibly damaged.

I regretfully left my passionate career as an Architect in September 2003. My husband feel into a deep depression unable to cope with my illnesses. I did my best to try to lift his spirits. I encouraged him to spend time with his friends since being around me and my illness only seemed to bring out his anger. He took advantage of my encouragement and I saw very little of him. He refused counseling for himself and before I knew it, even though it had been quite awhile, he was out the door and serving me with divorce papers. All I ever wanted was for us both to be happy, or at least for him to be able to be happy as well. He didn’t want to be with “the sick girl” and he wanted to have children, which after 20 years together, I wasn’t able to provide for him.

Shortly before my ex-husband left me I found out that my grandmother had left me a little bit of money through my dad. During our separation, my husband started spending the money as if he were a kid in a candy store – or really a BIG kid in a very EXPENSIVE candy store. I realized that if I didn’t spend any of the money myself that there wouldn’t be a single penny leftover. So, despite my proclivity to save, I splurged and bought my very first DSLR. For those of you who aren’t camera nerds, that just means I bought myself an expensive digital camera with changeable lenses. I am SO glad I made that purchase. Between photography and my dogs, they have been the best therapy and coping strategies I ever could have invested in. As long as I have them I can do my best to continue to live my life, maintain a positive attitude, and continuing to learn from my mistakes along the way.

As an Architect I made a name for myself in the architectural community prior to my early retirement. I had earned several design awards and I enjoyed firms competing over me for employment. Now, as a photographer, I have begun to accumulate a few credits to my name as well. I am an contributor. ( I have had several photos accepted by Vogue Italia, so far. ( I have been accepted into a few juried art shows and won a couple of photography competitions. I have turned down commissions because I have feared that I wasn’t well enough to meet with clients for portrait sessions at the time. I never want to do something just for the money; I always want to be sure that I can fulfill my obligations without sacrificing quality or making anybody wait an exorbitant amount of time.

I continue to work hard to consciously be a better me, and to share my happiness and knowledge with the world around me.  I feel forever thankful for my Quaker upbringing as it helped me find my true inner nature early on in life and stay connected to it no matter what twists and turns life might toss at me along my journey. I intend for this site to be ever-changing, ever-expanding as I continue to add to it and show you what I have learned, what I have experienced, what makes me happy, what makes me unique, what makes me similar, what I can do for you,… and I hope that it helps you. Because, I feel that we are always evolving and metamorphosizing based on our environment and experiences.

  • Cathie Hilton

    What a beautiful story and beautiful soul you have! Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for sharing your gifts with us!

  • You are too sweet. 🙂 I’m so glad you came to visit my page and enjoyed my photos. It takes one beautiful soul to recognize another. All my best.