I used to work in a windowless office, pushing papers around, proofreading legal briefs, organizing files. I enjoyed my job, and deeply respected the two attorneys for whom I worked, but I knew I wouldn’t be doing that work for the rest of my life.
I knew because I exchanged my florescent office lighting for a set of lamps, hung pretty pictures everywhere, changed out my desktop background every few weeks. I bought myself flowers, and stalked the windowed offices in my building, looking for pretty, seeking out the sunlight. I used the stall with a glazed window in the company restroom, dawdled under the warm water when I washed my hands.
When I was growing up, I had a lot of free time to create. I planned to start a craft business on a cute alliteration – Kelly’s Kountry Kollectibles. (The acronym on that one killed the idea in its infancy.)
I wrote two novels when I was 17. I set up an office and made baskets and magnets and dolls, wrote poetry about the apple tree outside my bedroom window, spent hours playing the piano, learning the flute, and walking on our 25 acres. I baked, cleaned, planned church services, made sense out of the displays at our local antique shop, wrote short stories because I hated getting committed to long novels and there weren’t enough good short stories out there.
I was created to create. Working in an office, unable to engage the world outside – it wasn’t where I belonged, any more than niching into any one thing for a creative brand is where I belong now. “Legal Assistant” didn’t define me then; “Photographer” doesn’t define me now.
When we went to Ireland, there wasn’t a person whose first reaction was “oh, I hope you have a wonderful time!” Instead, the first thing I heard from e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. was, “I can’t wait to see the photos!”
But I spent the weeks leading up to our trip racking out the last of the work I had in front of me so that I would have a clean slate when I returned. By the time we left for Ireland, I didn’t even want to touch my camera. I wanted to breathe. To see. To open my heart and just let the world in without editing it.
So I didn’t go to Ireland as a photographer. I went as me, with a camera. And I photographed little, silly things that made me happy. Because when it came down to it, one of the most important things I need to create in my life – no matter where I work or what I am doing – is SPACE IN WHICH I CAN LIVE.
Even as I GO, I have to have a place to come home, a time to rest and remember where I come from and why I am going. In spite of my obligations and the expectations of others that drive me on day after day, I still need to create space for me to just BE. The busier I am, the more guilty I feel about this; the busier I am, the more desperately I need this.
That is why I slow-cleaned my office this morning, why I stopped to catch the morning sun in left-over peonies from yesterday’s engagement shoot, why I’ve had three cups of tea today while deliberately choosing not to process one of the four sessions still waiting for release.
I need these rabbit-trail moments to stay alive; they are my Sabbath. If I can’t be alive and GO, then I will turn that GO around, close my business down, and make art because that is what I love doing. Because that is what I was created to do. Because I don’t work in a windowless office now, and my play is my realest work.
This post is for you who need to breathe today – light and pretties. It’s what I needed when I took these this morning to the sound of a lilting piano melody with sun streaming in after a full day of gray. Thanks for being here, for being with me.
P.S. I know I promised a giveaway from my Ireland photos; I will get it up as soon as I can. ;-)