living a life

isaac double exposure brac and trees double exposure

i was so glad to come across this mary oliver quote on kim klassen's blog today... 

"instructions for living a life...
pay attention. be astonished. tell about it."

it couldn't more perfectly wrap up in just a few words why i take pictures of the things i witness and see... and why i blog about them {or have any kind of public, online presence}... why i love to share about the things i find joy in... what i've been given, what surrounds me, my past, my present, good or bad, whether bestowed on me or forced on me or the results of my own choices. i choose to pay attention to it all. be astonished. and tell about it. it's not meant to be for everyone to see. just for anyone who wants to. some don't care. some won't care. but they are not the reason i do this thing.

some will not live this way... attentive, amazed and able to share. others will try, but eventually end up spending their time paying attention to what others are paying attention to instead of their own gifts, surroundings, past, present, good, bad, causes and effects with astonishment or ability/willingness to tell about it. some will assign motives to the ones who are living out this small instruction without knowing their hearts or bothering to ask what lies beneath what is seen... going judgmentally forward on only what they have been told by others who have done the same. some will go as far as to seek to crush the spirits of others who are choosing to live a life.

i've let publicly judgmental words of others bother me at times... let them quiet me for a time... let them attempt to halt my attention and astonishment or even silence my telling.

but i always come back to living a life... this life i've been given. a life that has limits, but one that has so much possibility. one that allows me to look beyond all limits because i can pay attention, be astonished and tell. but more importantly, i choose to.

my world and circle of outreach will change some day {which i have many more thoughts on for a different post in the near future.} it will look different from what it is today, just as today looks so much different from what it was five years ago when i started to capture my world through a lens and tell my experiences through words. but right now it looks like this... like these. a home which i rarely leave in winter for lack of transportation to do so, per a choice that we've made and stand by. a boy {no longer a baby in the eyes of any who are close enough to him to have seen that change} who never leaves my side. {yep... that means a lot of pictures of and stories about him.} a man who leaves our side forty hours a week... in body, but never in spirit. trees. snow. days. weeks. weekends. boxes. furniture. smiles. tears. tea. chocolate. toys. silly hats and mispronounced words. glass windows to the outside world. an office with another window, of sorts, to the outside world through the wonders of technology... my source for connection and contact with other people and things not inside these walls. occasional visits to our windows and doors from cardinals, family and friends. occasional trips away to accept the invitations of family and friends. unseen hope and anticipation for warmer days and walks through the community... for newly formed friendships with neighbors. projects galore. lists... things to do, churches to look into, appointments to be made, stuff to buy. budgets that are ours and God's alone to judge. piles that are ours alone to sort. books that are ours alone to give away. decisions and motives that are ours and God's alone to judge. hearts that are ours and God's alone to know.

i don't apologize for what i see, photograph or talk about... what i celebrate through image and written word... for it's all i know right now. i could spend my time complaining that we can't see the world, have more money, have more children or have had children earlier, have more resources to have a more outward life, have better health... and so much more. i might complain that others can, or criticize their celebration of those things. but i sincerely don't mind that they are able to, nor do i mind that they celebrate. i smile when they do. just as they would want me to smile when they've done and celebrated something i've been able to do... or even the things i can't. and i would miss out on what there is to pay attention to in my life if i did spend my time that way... complaining... writing the rule book about what you can or can not celebrate and how much you are allowed to before you deserve ridicule.

in my opinion, for every ounce of time spent negatively focused on what others are saying or doing {such as things we are not able or willing to say and do ourselves}, we have equally missed out on what there is to notice and celebrate in our own lives. if i focus so much on others and what seems wrong with how they embrace life, i'll fail to see what is right and embraceable in my world. if i pay so much attention to what is going right in the lives of others, i'll miss out on learning from or fixing the things that are wrong in mine.

i don't just want to stay alive. i want to live a life.

so i'm quieting the subtle, hurtful winks, whispers and hints that suggest i should be silent. and i'm ignoring the public casts of judgement as to what my motives are. i don't try to live others' lives, because those lives are theirs to live.

i keep on living a life... in the details... with astonishment. my own.

mine is the one i've been given and the only one i'll ever have. i vow not to miss it.

isaac at window double exposure


Candace said...

I know I don't know the whole story here (not at all) but I'm sort of astonished that anyone would ridicule you for what you blog about or photograph.I've been photoblogging for 4 years now and I've never had a reader or anyone in my real life say anything negative. Most of my friends don't read my blog regularly or at all but most know I have one and they've never ridiculed me for it. In fact, I've only ever had positive feedback or none at all. I've never had to delete a mean comment. I assume people who don't like my blog don't read it and mine, like yours, is really to document my life and what I do and see and enjoy.

I'm sorry that has not been your experience (if I'm reading this correctly). There are thousands and thousands of blogs out there and no one can read all of them but I have always enjoyed yours. If I read a blog that I don't find interesting or where I think the photos are crappy, I just don't go back. I would never think to leave a negative comment or tell someone that their blog is stupid or that they shouldn't be doing it.

georgia b. said...

thank you for your thoughts, candace. my guess is that you wouldn't think of being negative because you've decided to give all your time and energy for such things to being positive... celebrating your life through your online presence and others too via your comments about or on your space or theirs. this leaves no room or time for the negative. i'm glad you've not had that experience. i've unfortunately had it more than once... from anonymous people, from people i know. even from people i've held the highest esteem for. people who i thought were friends, but decided not to be. and the most boggling of all... from an acquaintance of a mutual connection... who i, myself, am not even connected with... that publicly wrote something judgmental based on one of my photos {and i assume also based on what he was told by this mutual connection} and not based on a true knowledge of my life or my side of the picture. it was nothing more than a ridicule so badly based on one small puzzle piece of a much bigger picture. that was not one of the recent things i read that made me write these thoughts out today, rather something i saw last november. but those hurtful things stick sometimes, and so my post is in response to all of it. and it's a reminder to look away if you don't want to see what i reveal of my life, because no one is forcing anyone to look. like you said, if there's something i don't find worth viewing, i look elsewhere for things that are. to make comments about it shows something much deeper going on... a need to crush or tear down. i don't understand that need at all. but it fuels me to appreciate and celebrate even more, because i don't want the negativity of others creeping in and choking out joy like an invasive weed... why i wrote this, i guess... gardening tools.

Liza said...

hello Georgia...it's been a long time. I'm amazed that anyone would have the time to hint, wink or otherwise try to quiet you. You live so quietly and simply, already. That's really ashame. They have no business making you feel like you need to change. Just be you.

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

I think you are doing great to photo and enjoy the life you have...dont be apologetic. I like to be amazed at how beautiful life is

georgia b. said...

thank you, liza and kim.

stacey said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through this experience, G. :( This makes me sad for you because you are so amazing. Appreciated your honest words in your post.

And these photos? Ack. I love them. They are fantastic.

georgia b. said...

thank you, stace. i felt like doing some more playing with "double exposure" images. i always have so much fun with it. makes me think i should do them more, but i forget sometimes. most of the time, i'm lucky if i find the time to download them from the camera and upload them to the blog s.o.o.c.!... let alone playing with them. =)