Where Smart - Dana's Eye Photography

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September 26, Truckee, CA: I have been anticipating today for a while now. Since last year, actually. When I started this exercise the goal was to accomplish all kinds of things...to discard the need to manage others' perceptions of me, to be more open about who I am and how I am flawed, to grow into an acceptance of myself. I think I have been able to accomplish some measure of all of that. Another fantastic unanticipated consequence has been the impact on my photography (I wouldn't be shooting star trails otherwise). But today didn't live up to the buildup I'd created in my mind.

I think I'd attached some sense of finality to today. As if it would signify some sort of mission accomplished or the "end." But there are always going to be parts of me worthy of improvement. Over the past year, I've had a lot of thoughts about having this transformative experience, helped along by a photo journal, that would make me able to be "me" and less controlled and controlling. I remember thinking about today as the day when I could shed the "crutch" of the daily journal and be able to function in some way that I couldn't describe, but would somehow recognize on sight (or feel, I guess). I don't know what I'm going to do on day 366, but this has been the best way for me to think about the one thing that makes me feel most vulnerable each day and try to share it. So I've been inclined to stick with whatever works.

One of my greatest fears has been being judged for the ways in which I'm flawed. Over the past 18 months (and beyond), I've had unending love and support from family and friends. My family, in particular, deserves a lot of gratitude. They are far away from me, always physically, and often emotionally. But they have had to contend with me and my not-so-easy-to-deal-with ways for longer than anyone (and they still get the worst of my judgment and stubbornness). All the compassion and empathy I've received has shown me that being openly flawed is infinitely more appreciated than pretending you're not. And my life, which was always fantastic, is so much better. Thank you.