floaty free.

This is me.
Awkwardly picking up sea shells in Galveston, TX when I was about ten or eleven years old. It was my first time to really see the ocean. The sand was ugly, the water was a little brown, and there were seashells everywhere. It wasn't the pristine experience you visualize when thinking about a beach vacation, but I loved it. I loved every minute of it. I also love this photo. I remember that cloudy day spent with my mom and two sisters. And I remember wearing the floaty, not because I couldn't swim, but because I was in that awkward, pre-teen, self conscious stage of my life where I had baby fat. And my one-piece bathing suit or big round glasses weren't enough to distract from it or cover it up. I was kind of a dork. 

It's been 5 years since I've seen the ocean. And probably just as long since I've been on a real vacation. A lot has changed since then too. I started wearing a two-piece and quite wearing the floaty. But, unfortunately I'm still a dork. And unfortunately I'm often still very unsure of myself. Not really my body but my life. My choices. My happiness. And who I am.

I've been thinking a lot lately of two things. One is the opening dialog in the movie Crash when he says, "We're always behind metal and glass. We miss that touch so much, we crash into each other just to feel something."  And the other is taken from a powerful book I just read Called "A Language Older Than Words" by Derrick Jensen. He says, "For there to be growth there must always be a dying away. ...Let a part of your life die so another may emerge, to dive as fully into death as you do life, to embrace it and let it embrace you."

Now obviously they're not talking about actual car crashes or real death, but rather ...life.

So when my awesome surfer/underwater photographer friend Jimmy needed a house/cat sitter for his home in Florida recently I jumped at the opportunity. Not only did I want to help out Jimmy and his wife Cindy while they are in Missoula teaching at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography for the summer but I wanted, needed actually, a change. And of course I also wanted to spend hours on the beach searching for sea shells and swimming in the ocean, floaty free. I craved a drastic change of place and unfamiliarity, like the shock in your chest when jumping into ice cold water, something I was not only afraid of but knew would be good for me.

So in a couple weeks I'm leaving the comfort of these mountains in Colorado and will be on the road, beach bound. I wanted to inform all of my readers of this change for a few reasons.
1.  Because I needed to explain the sudden travel/beach photos that will be appearing on my blog
2.  Because I'll be stopping in Oklahoma and am taking a limited number of photo sessions during my visit! (More on this later & please contact me if you're interested!)
3.  And finally that I will be temporarily residing in Florida and looking for work there. (Portraits, weddings, food, and boudoir.) Again, contact me if interested.

Thanks to all of you who read this long post and continue to follow me and my work. It's because of your support that I continue to do what I do and stay in contact with who I am. You're truly wonderful. :)

And just for the fun of it (and because I apparently like to embarrass myself or don't care), here are a handful of other old beach/pool/floaty pictures.

Building sand castles.

From the Left: My little sister, big sister, me, and a neighborhood pal. Apparently still not understanding the use of a floaty.

Beach babes in Florida (Me and my older sister.) Gotta love those 1999 high rise swim suit bottoms. :)