I can hardly believe that it’s been a year since I’ve started this blog. I’ve always kept a diary, since I’ve been a young girl, and so I thought, “Why not make my diary public?” It really is just that, my diary. I’m sure I could start a blog, perhaps a commercial one, and “like” everyone to death and “follow” tons of people, and, as the unspoken rules dictate, reciprocally speaking, in turn, have tons of “followers” as well. But that’s a double edged sword. Nothing wrong with it, but I don’t like to play the back-scratching game. Some people make their whole lives their blogs, and as with anything else, feel so bonded to it that they don’t know who they are without it. Much like Facebook. We all want that 15 minutes! But why? Why do we need to feel like we have to have 560 “friends” or 300 people “following” us? How many of us would be able to kill our online identities and never look back? I’m speaking from experience, as I’ve done this several times in the past.
My first Redbubble (art/photography) site had hundreds of people who were “watching me” and after a while I actually felt responsible, like I had a new obligation to report to them or something. I grew tired of the notoriety and perhaps responsibility that goes with the territory and, without a word to anyone beforehand, wiped out my account entirely. Hundreds of pics- gone in a second- and I simply vanished. I did the same thing with my Facebook account- poof. Gone. That was over three years ago and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It killed my vanity immediately! I had to do some in-depth soul searching and re-prioritizing. I didn’t communicate with anybody for almost 30 days. Ironically, that was the same time I was published in Digital SLR Photography magazine. Oh the irony! I was finally published and I couldn’t even tell anybody, because I virtually murdered my online identity! Even so, it was an enlightening experience and one that has changed my views of society and social circles overall.
I really don’t know what I want to do with my life. I know that I want to make a difference in other peoples’ lives, perhaps through Photo Therapy. I’ve seen few programs on the subject and it’s virtually unheard of in my community. I would like to develop a program that teaches children/teens/disabled/disadvantaged people how to express themselves through photography. To tell a story.
For me, taking pictures allows me to control my environment, instead of my environment controlling me. I can change the scene and manipulate my perspectives and make the sun dance in any direction I want- it’s really quite empowering! I would like to help kids, in particular, to tap into the rich stream of art within themselves, and to be able to express their angst, joy, hatred, love, laughter- whatever it may be- through photos.
I can see the light on the horizon. I’m not there yet.
Maybe I’ll volunteer at the Boys and Girls club of America.
I’m just not sure yet.
I know this: I am a poor woman. I will probably always be a poor woman. But that’s what drives me. I have a constant hunger that pushed me to go outside of myself- always- and think of others, do for others- to really try to make a difference in their lives.
I have a message, and it is this: “Never give up. Know your value. Always believe that you were created for other people. The more you suffer in this life, the more valuable you are to others. We all take turns on the great wheel of pain. When it’s your turn- step up boldly. Remember that every drop of pain you go through can benefit another human being- somewhere…somehow.”
When I was a child, I was given five dollars in quarters, as were all of my siblings. When nobody was around, I split up my quarters into four little, equal piles, and then I hid a pile in each of my siblings’ drawers, underneath their clothes. It was my delight to sit back secretly and wait for them to see the extra money they had.
I never told them that I did that. 🙂 After all these years, it has been my little secret. I learned something that day; there is no better feeling in the world than to give to somebody else, and it’s all the more powerful if your pockets are empty afterwards. This, is my joy in life.
And now I will share (with whoever may want to read this) a special story of giving, that involves a pair of grey house slippers, a homeless woman, and myself.
Merry Christmas to whoever may be reading this, and know that God is watching over you; He sees your struggles, hears your cries, and genuinely loves you. ♥
Pay it Forward
Today I was at my mother’s house. I’d popped in to collect some library books and chit chat for a moment. I was pressed for time because my classes started last week (Behavioral Sciences/Substance Abuse) and 5 classes + 2 teens is nothing to sneeze at! She asked me if I wanted the new pair of house slippers on her sofa- her neighbor had given them to her: size 10, just my size. They were gray, with gray fur trim around the edges and super soft inside. I accepted them, and with a hug and a kiss I was out the door.
I had only driven a few blocks down the road when the feelings were put on my heart to go and take the shoes to the local homeless shelter. It would have been fairly easy to go and drop them off as a donation, I’m sure somebody could have used them. But this felt more personal, and the feelings that were tugging at my heart were very clear, “Go to the parking lot- somebody will be there that can wear them.”
I had no idea what was going on, but I knew that these feelings were too strong to ignore. I had to go. The shelter used to be a church- it’s in a seedy part of town and known to be running rampant with drug addicts and alcoholics. I know the scene well- I lived there years ago. I took the back alley, keeping my eyes peeled; I didn’t see anybody at first, it looked pretty empty. As I got closer, I could see two couches out at the dumpster right at the edge of an alley. Sitting on one of the couches was a woman in her 50’s, facing the alley- backpack at her feet. There was nobody else around. She sat as still as a stone and even as I pulled up alongside her, she didn’t turn her head. I knew immediately she was the one I was meant to find.
I took the slippers and walked up to her and said, “Excuse me, I have some new, gray slippers here, would you happen to be able to wear a size 10?” (I didn’t want to come across as a total whack-job, but I knew I had to do this.) She was startled, but gratefully accepted the slippers- she wore a 9 1/2. Bingo!
We talked for a moment and she told me about her sister who’d been brutally murdered in the city next to us only a year before. She also told me about her daughter she hadn’t seen in over three years. I shared some of my own story with her along the same lines and I felt for a moment, that we were able to share an understanding of sorts, we truly had walked in each others’ shoes in life. I shared with her that I was a former resident and knew her plight all too well. I too was no stranger to losing a child. I asked her if she had a Bible- she did, a small one in her pocket. Then I asked her if she had any money. She looked frightened and I realized how my question had sounded! I explained that I didn’t want money, I wanted to give her a few dollars. At first, she was hesitant, but I knew she was embarrassed, so I made light of the situation, handing her $20.00. I told her that if I had two pennies, I would give her one, knowing that God had all things in His hands. What I give, He will make sure I get back somewhere else.
She broke out in tears and I gave her a big hug. I asked her her name and she told me it was Lucille. “Lucille, I’ll keep you in my prayers. Everything is going to get better, it really will. It’s going to take time! But it will get better,” I told her. And with that, I left.
This evening my friend stopped by. I hadn’t seen her in several months and we had tea and cake and a nice visit. I shared my earlier experience with her regarding Lucille. I had been feeling almost selfish, like I wanted to keep Lucille all to myself. It’s not every day something like that happens! It had become suddenly very precious to me, but I told her about Lucille and how God had put it upon my heart to go and look for her there.
After my friend had left, I went to my computer. (I needed to try and get an Algebra assignment in.) Sitting there by my keyboard was a twenty dollar bill. Before my friend had left, she had snuck in here and left the money on my desk. Smiling, and in shock, I sat here and shook my head, and then I laughed. I knew exactly how Lucille had felt earlier.
I love that life is so beautiful. (So hard sometimes!) But so beautiful, and our lives can be touched by total strangers…
I’ve written a BIO for those who want to know more about me.
(Tab at the top.)
Everything in it is incredibly true.