When you hear your whole life that you're strong it's difficult to think of yourself any other way, or to ask for help when you don't feel like superwoman or even averagewoman. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer the summer before my senior year of high school, things started changing for me, but not in a way most people could see. I had one of my best trimesters that fall, writing my entire senior thesis in a matter of weeks (I got an A on it), applying to colleges without any major issues, and generally being the same snarky but happy friend and classmate I'd always been. My sophomore year at Yale, the chemo and radiation treatments my mom was taking really took a physical toll. She lost her beautiful head of hair, hair that I still remember the smell and feel of, and I started losing it, but subtly. I'd always slept (in my mom's words) "like a log," but suddenly was going to bed later and later and waking up knowing I hadn't rested much. Sophomore spring when she died, I probably slept a few hours a week, but because of Yale's leave of absence policy I had to continue taking all of my classes (while flying down to NC often) if I didn't "want" to take a full year off. Yale, one of the oldest and best resourced schools in the country, had no process for short term grief or mental health absences other than forcing students to take a full year away from campus (I hope that has changed, but this happened in 2013 so 🤷🏾♀️). Through all of this I kept on hearing about how "strong" I was. More than a few times I wanted to tell friends I actually wasn't (but never did), that I slept on my couch in front of the TV most nights because whenever I was in bed I couldn't sleep without nightmares that kept me from full sleep cycles. I knew I had pretty serious depression brought on by grief, in addition to my sleep issues, but I didn't see a therapist until well after graduation (and not really until a few months ago). I feel fine sharing this because I've seen a number of people I deeply respect sharing their own mental health stories today. I'm still not sleeping normally, in fact, I spent the last two nights on my couch with all the lights on.
I remember looking up into the sky after a long hiking day, seeing this and saying "holy fucking shit." I still feel that way revisiting this image. I've seen sparkling night skies in many different places, but there was something about this rare, clear evening in Southern Patagonia that felt like magic.
Feeling good again and missing the places and activities that make me feel most myself. Gearing up for another big trip near the end of the year, and I couldn't be more excited. I've got a love affair with the Southern Hemisphere, and this time I'll be on the other side of the Pacific, in NZ. Look out for trip planning, along with my regular shenanigans, on my stories. Happy Monday, everyone!
(Head)lights, camera, action. Missing the fun kind of sleepless nights. I've been battling the fatigue (and related shittiness) of unproductive insomnia, so haven't felt creative or up to editing and sharing images. Hoping this passes soon. 😕
My very first night in Patagonia last year. I drove several hours to get here, and couldn’t really believe my eyes. I was surrounded by everything I love - mountains, a beautiful night sky (that stayed mostly cloudy during my visit), and no other human beings. There’s really no feeling quite like being alone outside, somewhere new.
I posted this image on the Nat Geo Travel page a few weeks back, but wanted to revisit on my own page since I love it so much. The capture went against everything you read when it comes to photographing the Milky Way. Usually, New Moons are the ideal nights because the sky is so dark, and similarly, areas with little light pollution are desired, because you get incredibly bright stars. But on this night, parked on the side of the road in Mesa Verde National Park, an almost full moon was rising, I was looking down on a brightly lit town, cars driving up the road kept on slowing down with their high beams pointed in my direction, and seemingly unrelated but also important- moths the size of my hand kept on gathering in front of my lens and near my face. I'm putting together a time lapse video that shows some of the chaos, complete with flickers from the moths, but in the meantime wanted to share this again, because what a night. Between a new job and travel, I haven't spent as much time recently with my camera outdoors, but hoping to be alone in the dark, freezing my butt off again in a few weeks. This time last year I was headed to Southern Patagonia for the most epic quarter century solo birthday trip, so I'll likely dip into those archives while wishing I was back.
“So you think we all just have animal dreams. We can’t think of anything to dream about except our ordinary lives.” “...If you want sweet dreams, you’ve got to live a sweet life.” I've been reading Kingsolver's Animal Dreams the past few days and have thought about this a lot. What does it mean to live a sweet life when there's so much sad shit interspersed?