Dear Samantha— Thank you for your passion, your grace, your confidence, your boldness, your femininity, your sense of humor, your courage and fearlessness, your dedication, and the blinding beauty radiating from you. I edited one photo for every pound you lost (and have posted my favorites here)! I hope you feel as beautiful as you look in these photos.
So what is it about urban exploration that's called to me for so much of my life? I think I've always loved the questions that come packaged with each place, the stories concocted by the things left behind. I know that every home I've ever explored was once lived in and loved by somebody. I know that there are beautiful and ugly and tragic and very human stories inside every wall that I've yearned to hear.
Mike and I's Christmas gifts to each other this year were guitars (and lessons!) because we have a 2017 goal (among too many others probably) of learning how to play. We've named them Maeve and Dolores.
So this one's for you, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince, George Michael, and every other talented soul we lost to this shitty year.
Have I ever told you that my grandmother was a bird and wildlife rehabilitator? That she eventually became known as the "bird lady" in Las Cruces? Have I ever told you that my grandfather joined NASA at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston in 1962, then in 1963 transferred to the White Sands Test Facility near Las Cruces, known then as the "Apollo Site?" That he served first as Chief of the Test Operations Branch, then as Chief of the Propulsion Test Office, where he oversaw the development and qualification testing of the rocket propulsion systems used on the Apollo Service Module and Lunar Module, leading to mankind's first steps on the Moon in 1969?
"I hope I'm not speaking out of turn but I think you sell yourself short sometimes. I don't think you truly realize how great you are. You have that "thing" that great people have but you don't see it because you are so humble. You excel at everything you put your mind to. You have to see, that in the grand scheme of things, you sit amongst the upper echelon of quality humans. Take that for what it's worth and maybe keep that in mind the next time you're selling yourself. You only have so many heartbeats." —M.C.
I think every woman has a dear friend who can't appreciate her own beauty. In fact, I think nearly every woman is a woman who can't appreciate her own beauty. How many women do you personally know like that? Even more important, how long have you been looking in the mirror and cursing what you see?
As some of you know, I’ve spent the last two and half years in school at Regis University, and the last 16 weeks completing my final capstone necessary for graduation. I chose to write and illustrate a short story as my final project deliverable (that I then later decided to animate and add sound to also). Last night I attended my very last class and gave my final project presentation and received unforgettable praise from both my professor and classmates, so I wanted to share it with you all as well. I am so extremely proud of the final product and hope the passion invested in this project is evident.
"You do sound really fucked up, but (wait, wait, wait) guess what: anyone pouring their heart out to a friend will always sound fucked up. Know why? Because we're all fucked up, my dear. We've just all mastered the art of appearing not-fucked-up along with everyone else, even knowing everyone's just as fucked up as we are. What a quote that is! You can put that on my tombstone,...which I'll never have anyway because being buried makes my skin crawl. Sounds so much worse than being burned to ash, right? Or is that a fucked-up presumption? Who created the rules for this place anyway? Oh, that's right: countless fucked up human beings over the course of history."
"When you said this… 'I know so many parents stay together for the kids but as your son gets older, he'll begin picking up on this stuff, on the fact that you and her are not in love, that it's a marriage of convenience and practicality, that you put on a show, and there's deception and hurt there. I would hate if that was your son's first true example of what love is.'
"You didn't mislabel me a dreamer. I am very much a dreamer. I fear you misunderstood what I was saying. Love is THE most important thing in my world as well. Everything else can suffer as a result. My happiness begins and ends with love. I would follow this man through the depths of hell for his love. I would be miserable in every other way for his love. His love alone is my happiness. That's never a sacrifice I'm willing to make, but that's what I have with him. I have passion and love...and happiness. I have raw animal sex with him. I write him poetry and letters and passionate rallying cries dripping with pain and emotion and intensity that he returns. And we have happiness too. My soul feels content in ways it never has before."
"Adam told me before I left that he feared that, for me, happiness was a moving target. You said in an email above that 'dreamers like you and I are never truly happy because this world is brimming with reality.' While there is some truth to both statements, I'm here to tell you that there is a kind of happiness out there that is possible, that the happiness you've written off as never-attainable is attainable. It's a cautious/guarded happiness, the kind that worries you and makes you scared because you never know when it'll retreat, the kind you never let yourself get used to because you know it won't last forever so you must always be ready for the drop back to the darkest corners of the earth, but it exists if you're brave enough to look for it."
I could never forget this moment and I don't need this picture. I could never forget what coming home each day to this man felt like, how we could occupy such a small space and fill it with such passion; tears and rest and laughter and food, and deaths and rebirths, and smoking and drinking, and pasts and presents and futures all commingling in space and time, and friends and sex: loud and unapologetic, and love, oh my God, love.
"Some heartbreaks are never full mended. They become a part of us and our story, until we forget entirely who we were without them. You don’t really ever get that kind of advice; that that deep emotional pain never dissipates entirely, that we’re forced to make peace with that pain, to learn how to live with it for the duration of our short lives in something of a reluctant surrender. I wish I had something more hopeful to share. I carry every past heartbreak around with me, including my decision to leave you and our life together. Sometimes the memories, both good and bad, can still bring me to tears. Sometimes the realization that the man who has been by my side for the last half of my life, who’s shared every moment of my life both good and bad, and is no longer there is devastating. Every inside joke, every “Remember when…,” every little thing that was ours…where do those things exist now? Are they still there, waiting silently to awaken between us?"
Sometimes I feel physically ill from the memory of what I left behind and the way that I left it. I am not capable of the acts I committed, the desperation I induced. I am that woman now, capable of such things. How long am I allowed to toil in heartache for the woman I can never again claim to be? Sometimes I grit my teeth so hard my jaw aches. I wake up often that way. Feels like every unbearable tension, climbing every root of every molar battling for dominance.
I’m liquidating my personal print stash in an effort to raise money for the Serenica Landship RV Fund. There are nearly 100 prints in this digital document from series spanning the last 13 years. Some are limited editions, some are special editions, most are print proofs I had printed to check clarity and color. Some are sold as sets, and some sold as individual prints. All are being sold at base/cost prices. Thank you for your love and support, and for helping me to make this dream a reality.
Why are each journey's impending ends so difficult to conquer?When you feel close enough to see it, but still too far to claim it?
As if reaching and grasping at a too-distant destination is an agony worse than seeing nothing at all,
nothing to tease or torment, just stumbling around in the dark and hoping for good news.
I'm so tired. I know you are too.
I'm so ready. I know you are too.
I’ve been telling you how beautiful you are since we were little girls, but maybe a little too quietly or without enough faith. I never lost it in you. Maybe you didn’t believe me. Maybe you couldn’t. Maybe even you didn’t know how.