Mother’s Day

Mom

“You always grow up to be your parents.” Well, that’s what they say anyway. It’s one of those things you hear as a kid and immediately dismiss with a laugh and a battlecry of “Not me!”, unaware of the cosmic joke that is being kicked into motion with its mere utterance. The punchline, of course, isn’t that we actually do grow up to be our parents but that once we reach a certain age, a certain sense of self awareness, that we realize we actually are and, well, maybe that’s not so bad. We start to see, in ourselves, all those little idiosyncrasies that make them who they are; We laugh at the same things they laugh at, we find ourselves making decisions using logic they have used to make the same decisions, we cry, yell, smile, work, struggle, believe, triumph, and succeed for same reasons we have seen our whole lives in them.

It’s an inevitable manifestation, but not one devoid of choice. Part of that realization is that our parents are not infallible, that they, like all people, make mistakes. They have good sides and bad, positive and negative, their own mistakes and successes. They try their hardest to make sure we see more of the good and limit our exposure to the bad. They do their best to make us into better people with their experience. Such is the role of a parent. The choice we make as children is to understand that fallibility, to see and understand the good and the bad, and choose to let the good live on in us. To be not just an example, but a mirror for their lives. The choices we make, our successes, our failures (make no mistake, we inherit that same fallibility) serve as a reflection for their teachings.

So, in my life, I choose every day to try to reflect the joy, humor, creativity, love, hope, and strength instilled in me by Jean Mercury, my mother. I choose to be brave, to fight, to be passionate and tenacious in my pursuits because these are the life lessons she has taught me, and continues to teach me. This is what she chose to share; this is the good she has given to me. This is why I am proud to admit that I’ve grown, and am growing, up to be like her. And just as she is still teaching, I am still learning.

I am thankful for her, every day. For the lessons I learn, every day. For teaching me that I need to be honest and brave, every day. For the hope and love that I have, every day.

Today is Mother’s Day, a day for recognition, affirmation, and appreciation for everything you have done for me. I want you to know, though, that I hold those feelings in my heart, that love, always, every day.

BoChallenge Words: Legs on Flickr.

BoChallenge Bi-Monthly Words & Photos: 1 – Legs

I’ve always trusted my legs to take me where I need to go and, for good reason, they always have. It’s probably by virtue of being my primary means of locomotion, but they’ve done a pretty good job so far. I’ve walked through nearly every major city in the United States and many elsewhere. They’ve climbed me up mountains, hiked me through forests, swam me in oceans, guided me across deserts, and generally powered my explorations of this world. They’ve kicked, jumped, powered, danced, ran, marched… my explorations of this world, my wandering, my adventures, have been on these legs.

…and I’m not sure I trust them anymore. They’ve stopped taking me where I think I need to be. To their credit, it could be my thinking that’s off, but I feel like I’ve come to the end of my road. It’s not that a lack of a road has ever stopped me, but I just don’t know where the next step is and without it, these legs aren’t doing me much good.

“You’ll have to decide for yourself. Walk on your own. Move forward. You’ve got a good strong pair of legs. You should get up and use them.” – Edward Elric

One of the reasons I love self portraits is that I can experiment with all different kinds of post processing techniques and not have to worry about the images being perfect. This image was a focus error (eyes are out of focus), so I used it to practice applying landscape/travel retouching techniques on skin. Occasionally I use my landscape Black & White filters to highlight skin imperfections when I retouch.

My usual post processing is not particularly flattering for skin, which is usually why I avoid photographing models. I love hard details (part of my travel photography style) and desaturated contrast (personal preference), so applying these styles on myself is good practice, since I have photographically difficult/annoying features to retouch, like deep pores, scars, and stubble.