Forgive my brief break from passionate photography to share a little PSA for anyone who might benefit.
This week the narcissist of my past once again popped up to plant slanderous stickers about me on the stop signs in my neighborhood. He hadn’t done that since December. I suppose he thought he was going to injure me. Sad, the lack of perspective. Firstly, I have supportive friends and neighbors. Further, that act alone speaks to someone being cowardly, undignified, and unstable. The medium is the message.
In my unwavering desire to spin every negative into an opportunity for learning, I thought I’d share a PSA of sorts as I myself, was beyond baffled when this person who I once believed to be so lovely, turned into my worst nightmare, in the blink of an eye, and suddenly, all the incongruent story lines and the history of “crazy bitch” exes and disgruntled friends fell into place. What I can advise anyone who is experiencing narcissistic abuse:
- Educate yourself about narcissistic personality disorder. There is a plethora of clinical and anecdotal information available as well as support groups.
- Maintain NO CONTACT. You cannot reason with these individuals and you can’t out-crazy Crazy. Don’t spend time in their head trying to understand their thought processes. It will never make sense to a normal brain.
- And, simply, live a good life. Narcissists target good people but their behavior has nothing to do with you. Be happy. This disorder is their life sentence, not yours.
I found this article, written by author Elfreda Pretorius, to be SPOT ON and have included the excerpts that really speak to my own experience with this individual:
“Once you break ranks with those who sing his (or her) praises endlessly and instead, ask for accountability, the mask of contrived congeniality is swiftly ripped away and you look into the cold and calculating eyes of the real person. Those who have experienced the unabated wrath of an ‘injured’ narcissist, will be unanimous in their advice: Put as much distance between you and the perpetrator as you can. Your well-being depends on it.
The cold hard truth is that a narcissist loves no-one, not even himself. Rather, he falls in love with the ‘impression’ he thinks he makes upon others, and falsely feels love toward those who are most in awe of this ‘impression.’ Should this fake image be discovered by those who “admire” him, he becomes outraged and abandons these people in contemptuous disrespect – even publicly. The narcissist has no real friends and only fake self-esteem. Masters of deception, they devour people and shamelessly use them to achieve their goals, whilst vehemently denying any allusion to this effect.
A narcissistic relationship is utterly toxic. When you discover their gig, you will be disillusioned and stunned, but be warned that reconciliation is not even a remote possibility. Once you have peered through the sham of their pretenses and lies (yes! they are pathological liars who spin a story at the drop of hat) then you become the enemy. A narcissist requires continuous admiration and stroking and if you no longer can be a source of supply, you will not be tolerated in his inner circle. Ironically, a favorite assertion of narcissists is that they are ‘humble and ego-less’, but these are only terms they use to impress. In reality, their behavior, especially when they are crossed, gives their game away.
Not convinced your friend, business partner or whoever, falls into this category of the human race? Examine, if you will, some of the following traits. Does he exaggerate accomplishments, talents and skills? Is he obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success or fame and dream of being in the limelight? Does he endeavor to make contact with people who are in the public eye and try to associate with their brilliance, posturing to be of the same ilk? Does he spend endless hours on the Internet and in terms of social media – does he work at building long lists of “friends” that he has no substantial contact with? Are his “friends” people who live in distant countries and locations whom he can hoodwink with his “wit and superior intelligence”? Is he devoid of empathy and incapable of identifying with the feelings, needs and choices of others? Does he behave arrogantly and rage when contradicted or confronted by people who threaten his superior, invincible persona? If the answer is yes to most of these questions, you might want to take deep breath …you are undoubtedly caught in a narcissistic relationship.
Narcissistic rage is a scary phenomena, because it is different from “stress.” Narcissistic rage is the result of what is interpreted as a slight, criticism or disagreement - which in Psychiatry is known as “narcissistic injury.” This uncontrolled reaction is devastating and completely disproportionate to the offense – where the punishment simply does not fit the “crime.” Raging narcissists believe that their wrath has been intentionally provoked. But when their victims finally see through the ruse of the ridiculous attack, they clue in to the perpetrator as being incoherent, unjust and fickle.
There is no known cure for narcissism – especially when it has become pathological. The reason for that is that introspection is the one thing they fear most and simply cannot do. It is just too scary to look inside and find a dark hollow void staring back you.
Let their rage be their problem.”
I am with you always means when you look for God,
God is in the look of your eyes,
in the thought of looking, nearer to you than your self,
or things that have happened to you
There’s no need to go outside.
Be melting snow.
Wash yourself of yourself.
A white flower grows in quietness.
Let your tongue become that flower.
- Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi
You know that you are an awfully peculiar girl when you are enraptured with the textures and colors of the frayed ropes of a fishing boat net. Even the slippery dogfish, with his insides drooling out commands my wonder.
Where Does the Temple Begin,
Where Does It End?
There are things you can’t reach. But
you can reach out to them, and all day long.
The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of God.
And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.
The snake slides away; the fish jumps, like a little lily,
out of the water and back in; the goldfinches sing
from the unreachable top of the tree.
I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.
Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.
And thinking: maybe something will come, some
shining coil of wind,
or a few leaves from any old tree –
they are all in this too.
And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world
At least, closer.
Like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish; the unlooping snake.
Like goldfinches, little dolls of gold
fluttering around the corner of the sky
of God, the blue air.
~ Mary Oliver ~
“What I wanted most for my daughter was that she be able to soar confidently in her own sky, whatever that may be.” – Helen Claes
a place where life begins
and love never ends.
“Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.” – Elizabeth Lawrence
“Love is like a butterfly, it goes where it pleases and it pleases where it goes.”
A community project merging the photographs of pro, amateur, and young (ages 8-18) photographers, celebrating the City of New Bedford opens tonight at ArtWorks 384 Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford 6-9pm.
I am personally very excited about this exhibit because not only does it celebrate the multitude of fantastic stories and the cultural color of New Bedford, it is the first time that I will be exhibiting with my 8 year old daughter Charlotte. I love seeing the world through her photographs.
“Out of clutter, find simplicity.” – Albert Einstein
Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh. – W. H. Auden
“I must learn to love the fool in me the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries” – Theodore Isaac Rubin
Happy Birthday silly girl. <3
Shake the sky,
And a hymn fills the world.
Only you and I,
Only you and I, my love,
listen to it.
- Pablo Neruda
I have been so swamped with work and the girls and holiday preparations that I have yet to do prenatal photos. I am in such good fortune to have so many talented photographer friends who want to shoot me and my burgeoning baby belly and I know the photographs will be just wonderful. I’d love to get a henna tummy tattoo for photos! After the hustle and bustle of December, things should settle down a bit and afford me the time to appropriately document this beautiful moment in my life. In the meantime, every so often I snap a bathroom mirror iPhone shot to document the progress.
I’ve now arrived in the third trimester and with hope this pregnancy continues with ease, thus far, it has been a wonderful experience. No nausea or swollen ankles, I’m still running, practicing yoga and eating like a champ. Anything with ginger or milk is at the forefront of the craving scene. I’ve rekindled my love of milkshakes! And after a few gingersnaps a serious kung fu battle seems to unfold from within.
We can’t wait to meet this mysterious stranger who already has his own thoughts and dreams and tiny, perfect eyelashes. His soul already perfumes my days though I don’t even know his name yet (yes, still undecided).
There is so much to be done to prepare for his arrival this winter, but I do want to slow down and savor these last weeks (in spite of a wee foot in my ribcage at the moment) where his entire existence is cradled within me and we belong so fully to each other.
Wishing everyone all things beautiful and bright, this magical season and beyond.
“Exuberance is beauty.” – William Blake
I love this candid I snapped on Newbury Street of a little girl dancing her heart out to a street performance. I can’t remember the last time I danced in the street (without having 3 martinis prior). I must remedy that! Like the scene in the Trevi fountain in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, these delicious moments are meant to be experienced fully with all of our senses engaged, and with the willingness to live passionately, exuberantly, without a care for might be watching.
“Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day’s woes and triumphs on their faces. They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled, apprehensive. Winter, and his children shivered at the front gate, silhouetted against a blazing house. Winter, and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and shot a dog. Summer, and he watched his children’s heart break. Autumn again, and Boo’s children needed him. Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.” – To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
When the soul lies down in that grass,
mevlana jelaluddin rumi – 13th century
“I am watching your chest rise and fall like the tides of my life, and the rest of it all and your bones have been my bedframe and your flesh has been my pillow I am waiting for sleep to offer up the deep with both hands” – Ani DiFranco
How did you become a photographer? Because I am largely self-taught, I’ve always felt a little weird about that title, acknowledging that those who qualify as “photographers” in my mind are those who have invested years and endless dollars into honing their skill. I’d always say, “I’m just a girl with a Nikon who is in love with the details.” I do my fair share of goofing off and photoshop fun, but I want my art to be important and to be distinguishable from the scads of fauxtographers out there. I’m always confounded when people encourage glaring examples of fauxtography, I suspect they just don’t know much about photographic composition, or they are just being nice. To clarify, fauxtographers are phonies who jump on the “I’m so artsy and creative” identity bandwagon, calling themselves professional photographers though they largely shoot a bunch of garbage in auto or presets, throw it in black and white and then call it art. They have limited actual technical knowledge about photography and their true colors come out in situations that require technical savvy. If you see someone who can’t shoot in manual, someone who only owns one camera and who uses the built in flash…you have got yourself a fauxtographer. Their “work” is generally poorly composed and exposed and color compensated and is lacking in dimension. Since they don’t know what the f an f stop is, they can’t pull off depth of field. I do think having a great eye for the story and the composition is by far the most important skill. I know “professionals” with studios and all the best in equipment with expert technical know-how but their actual photographs are uninspired. I think it crucial to have that artistic sensibility while having the technical skill to back it up and execute your vision. Otherwise, to me, it seems pointless. I am continuously trying to improve my craft. I have a lot of room to grow. Weekend art school classes and conferences go a long way, as does forcing myself to shoot in technically challenging situations and being increasingly hyper-critical of my own work. Still, I don’t take myself too seriously.
What do you shoot with? A Nikon D80, I have a D5000 for back up and assorted lenses (always lusting for more). I adore my latest acquisition, a prime lens that gives gorgeous bokeh.
Who did you last kiss? The last boy to kiss me was Banjo, my dog.
How do you choose your subjects? Generally speaking, they chose me. I like to shoot organically as events unfold. I photograph my family the most because they are the people I am with the most. My children are by far the coolest, most interesting people I know. I think my photography reflects who I am, a weird, romantic, dreamy, poetic girl who savors the details.
What advice to you have for being a Mom? Trust your self. You are exactly the Mom your kids need and they are exactly the children you are supposed to raise. The universe makes sure of that. Don’t compare yourself to other Moms or anyone else’s expectations. Play! Have fun! What a gift it is to behold their wonderment and imagination. Be flexible. Waffles for dinner? Brilliant! Try not to stress out about the jelly fingerprints on the wall and endless mountains of laundry when there are piles of golden leaves to jump in. But it is THE priority in your life. The most important job, in my estimation that you have been charged with. As Jackie O once said, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.”
What are your guilty pleasures? Spa treatments. Junk food. I love peanut M&Ms, milkshakes and french fries. I have an addiction to moisturizer and of course, shoes. I work in a photography studio and the attire is “business comfortable” – polished, but where you are able to climb up on stepladders and get on the floor. I need to buy more sensible shoes, but damn it, those slick 4 inch red sling-back stilettos are always the ones calling out to me.
When are you at your happiest? I find things to be happy about every day. The last time I remember saying to myself, “boy I am really happy right now” was a few weeks ago at a camping trip on the Saco River. A severe thunderstorm had sent the crowds packing and we woke up to an empty beach and endless late summer sunshine. After sipping campfire coffee while watching blue herons in tall grasses frisk out silvery fish, I dove in, naked, washed my hair in the cool river water and later, stretching out, letting the morning sun warm my skin, I felt completely wonderful.
If you had only five dollars what would you buy? Either a cup of really good coffee or some lip gloss and atomic fireballs.
What is your favorite song? Sir Duke, Stevie Wonder. I really can feel it all over.
Besides photography what are you good at? Cooking. I have perfected crème brûlée. It’s actually really easy but sounds impressive when company arrives. The sugar scorching blow torch is way fun.
What do you stink at? Bowling. Even with bumpers, I’m a sad sack.
What would I find in your refrigerator right now? That is a great question. That tells you a lot about a person. Once upon a time I’d probably have said, half a bottle of wine, assorted takeout containers and soy sauce packets. Nowadays: milk, juice, bread, eggs, cheese sticks, yogurt tubes, juice boxes, oranges, red peppers, baby spinach, grapes, carrots, limes, hummus, jam, seltzer, salad dressing, a wedge of gorgonzola cheese…I’m a Mommy type now. My refrigerator certainly reflects that!
What do you think is the important thing in a romantic partner? Honesty, respect, being with someone who encourages you and helps you become the best version of yourself while striving to be the best that they can be. Someone fun so that a trip to the grocery store becomes a grand adventure. Most importantly, I believe that you have to love and trust yourself, otherwise you end up inviting garbage into your life.
What do you like about yourself? That I’m creative and genuine and funny, though admittedly with a quirky sense of humor. That I am a good Mommy. I like that I see things differently from most and that I am becoming increasingly more comfortable in my own skin and care less and less about other people’s judgements. I find myself increasingly less interested in people pleasing.
What do you dislike about yourself? That I can be very impatient and stubborn. That I can either verbally eviscerate or freeze someone out when I feel wounded.
Who can always cheer you up? My brother. He just has to start talking like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets and I’m in stitches. He just gets me.
Do you still talk to any of your exs? Not really. I sometimes see my old high school boyfriend at BBQs, he is a sweet guy. Generally speaking I maintain good feelings and memories towards people I once loved, acknowledging that all relationships are meant to help you grow and evolve. Sometimes growing means outgrowing, but you maintain affection for the people you once were. I will confess that I have also been involved with an assclown or two and wouldn’t mind hearing that someone had set them on fire and put it out with an ice pick, but that kind of disdain is reserved for the worst of the worst. Trust me. They deserve it.
What does your 8th text message say and who was it from? It’s from my cousin Shelly, wanting to know if I can swing dinner at the Cheesecake Factory next week.
What makes you really mad? Dishonesty. Phonies. Littering…people who throw their trash or flick their cigarette butts out of their car windows make me feel stabby.
What was the last thing you purchased? A handmade beaded necklace and two bracelets from Toko Indo in Provincetown, MA.
What’s your bag right now? Lets’s see…lipgloss, mascara, wallet, mints, cough drops, hairbrush, dry shampoo, body spray, cute business card holder with the Eiffel Tower (a lovely and thoughtful birthday gift), my datebook, atomic fireballs, a Lara Bar wrapper, Aveda hand lotion, receipts, pens, the last can of Who Hash…
What’s your favorite color? It’s sort of a orangy-red, saffron meets paprika meets ripe summer peaches…there was a nearby florist when I lived in Newton that carried roses in this exact shade and my apartment was always filled with them.
Do you have many close friends? I have many, many wonderful friends but I would say only a few close friends. I think it’s hard to get in like that with me. I am super friendly but admittedly guarded. My best friend (Brian) has known me for over twenty years. There is something incredibly good about having someone in your life who has witnessed you changing skins, who has seen you at your very best and at your very worst, and still says, without hesitation, that they love you and think you are pretty terrific. I don’t have many examples of unconditional love in my life, so I am grateful for his.
Besides being a photographer or artist, if you could have any job what would it be? Food critic. Being paid to consume and describe delicious food and wine? Sign me up.
What traits do you notice in the opposite sex? Smile, eyes, I like tall men with great hair and beautifully-shaped lips. But really I am drawn in by someone with creativity, talent, an adventurous spirit, someone kind but with a sardonic sense of humor.
What do you notice in the same sex? Footwear.
Who do you like working with? My art group, SNAC. It is a great collection of talented, funny, motivated people. We just organically click. Our shows are a blast.
Who don’t you like working with? People that lack artistic integrity. I used to know someone who I would qualify as a fauxtographer (shot on auto with a point and shoot camera) and stole a number of my compositions (shooting over my shoulder) and ideas for projects that I shared with him, but boy did he get his panties in a twist when I shot a landscape that he (and many others) had photographed before, though the place had become inedibly important to me. I’d always cite him in shoots we had worked on together, he never returned the courtesy. It used to irk me but then I realized that the work speaks for itself and his being, generally speaking, poorly executed point and shoot shite, it’s laughable and nothing to be threatened by.
Who do you want to work with? Anyone that will let me play with their collection of Nikkor lenses.
What is the best gift you have ever received? That’s a hard one. I love giving and getting gifts, but want to receive things that tell me the person really knows me and my heart. Yankee candles are pleasant and all but a hand knitted orange scarf, vintage camera, great art book, collection of Mary Oliver poems, a favorite quote rendered in graceful calligraphy, tickets to see the Black Keys, a homegrown tomato, all tell me that you really know and love me.
What are you wearing right now? Ummm…black leggings, gray sweater, my naked feet.
How do you decompress? Yoga, reading poetry, meditation, taking in nature and art, hiking…I take long walks daily with my dog Banjo. I also find underpants dancing with the iPod volume turned way up, shoe therapy, head rubs from the one you love and many bottles of red wine with good friends to be wonderful coping mechanisms.
What photographers do you admire? So many. The classics of course like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alfred Stieglitz, Richard Avedon, but also contemporary artists like photographer Tierney Gearon, who picked up a camera much like I did: to simply document her children and capture various vibrant and interesting stories, not personally conceiving herself as an artist until it became clear to the world at large she was very much one.
“She wondered if she would ever truly know him, if their togetherness would shape her life, or if, like the summer, he would fade into the beauty and sadness of all summers. There was no way to know the future. At times she felt she might open to him, but then something he said, or a subtle change in mood–and she would close again, very suddenly.”
From the novel, Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy
It is OFFICIALLY grey knit hat season!
Monkey Man is a sock monkey I gave my daughter Sophia on her first Christmas, she grabbed him with those plump baby hands, squealed in toothless, drooly delight, and they have been inseparable since. Monkey Man has seen his share of planes, trains, and automobiles; campfires and carnival rides. He has endured being flung mercilessly from the upstairs balcony, being smeared with ketchup and cupcake frosting, and having his wee ears chewed by our puppy Banjo.
After our last trip to Austin, Monkey Man was looking rough. His tail tattered, his ear a pitiful chartreuse fright, stuffing poking precariously out from under his limp arms. Sophie, deeply concerned, asked if we could take Monkey Man to the hospital because she would like to see him mended and restored to his former, gleeful self.
Sadly, I, Sophia’s mother, have no talent for knitting, crocheting, crafting, or otherwise restoring sock monkeys and their ilk. I do however have a talent for shopping, and I am deeply thankful that The Land of Nod still has the very same “Funky Monkey”. And so, a new monkey man was purchased. Not surprisingly he did not receive the same love and attention as his predecessor but he seems contented hanging with all the cherubic baby dolls and leggy Barbies.
And thanks to the artful craftsmanship of Preservation Framer, Mommy gets to capture the spirit of the original frayed yarn monkey in a colorful, custom-designed display before he is damaged beyond repair. And one day when the puppy teeth and perished ice cream cone splatters and other such incidents have been outgrown, he can once again return to the little girl that loves him so, intact, wearing the signs of their history.
Matt, Rob…thanks so much.
A grand adventure is about to begin. - Winnie the Pooh