I am a city girl and a beach girl…all.the.way. How can those two co exist? Um, easy….be a native Californian. On one hand, I love being able to wear flip flops 358 days a year (the other 7 days is dedicated to rainy days). have ponytail days, wear tanks and shorts, but on the other hand, I LOVE being able to get dolled up and enjoy the city life at night. I love the hustle and bustle, but I also love the soothing sound of the crashing waves. When I got married, we lived literally two minutes from the beach. The beach has always been my oasis, a place where I can escape to be refreshed and renewed. I went to the beach 6 out of the 7 days a week…to run, to ride my bike, to soak up all the energy, to meditate, to “bronze” since I am already tan, and to never regret not taking advantage of the Oasis that was my backyard.
I am accustomed and comfortable in the environment that I grew up in. I fit right in. I am secure. Everything is familiar. When I first moved out to Colorado, I was comforted by the signs that read “Coming Soon…” on vacant lots. I hated the smell of manure. I hated the open space. I hated the dilapidated barns. I hated all the dirty cars. I couldn’t understand why there were SO many streets that still had not been paved but were just dirt. Nothing of this was familiar, nothing of this was comforting….and all this made me feel was like a fish out of water. Back in California, we referred to the cities like this as the 909 (area code for the Inland Empire) or Fontucky (Fontana+Kentucky=Fontucky for those of you who are not native Californians) It is amazing how time can change everything. Things that I once avoided like the black plague (like driving down dirt roads to save time…no thank you..I’d rather spend time in traffic with signals and asphalt roads), I can now appreciate. Those ugly dilapidated barns are now appealing because of the character and unusual background it makes for a photo shoot. Those dirt roads (I still don’t understand why they aren’t paved, especially since it turns into mud when it snows), I love taking because I can drive all the way to Costco which is about 8 miles away and only encounter 3 signals and still make it in 9 minutes. The “Coming Soon…” signs, well, bad habits are hard to break, so YES, I still get excited when I see them (unless it’s another stinkin’ strip mall with the token dry cleaners, nail salon, liquor store but I don’t mind the hole in the wall restaurant they put in because I don’t like chain restaurants).
I love now finding the beauty in things that I never appreciated. My life isn’t one dimensional and neither is photography. I have always challenged myself (and my parents ), especially when something doesn’t come naturally. For me, that is about everything (except being able to put on makeup and style my hair without a mirror…yes, that is talent)…I just have a strong work ethic and I am a very driven person. Last week, Jessica and I explored some abandoned homes with our cameras. Both of us were out of our comfort zone since there wasn’t a person in front of a camera…just some abandoned houses, barns, random furniture and junk all over the lot. I mean really, sign me up for that…um, nope. But, I love a challenge, I love an opportunity to learn, I love an opportunity to grow, and most of all, I love an opportunity to appreciate the place, both the familiar and unfamiliar, we call home.