#NaPhoPoMo

By now I would hope that you all have figured out that I take a few pictures and sometimes share some of them online here and there and over there and, oh, and here under the Big Top too. I take a lot of pictures. What can I say, I am surrounded by inspiration, love and beauty and the extreme need to capture it all so that I will always have it with me. And because I am always up for being inspired and trying to take at least one picture every day, I am all about an exercise like the lovely Karen Wahlrond’s NaPhoPoMo – National Photo Posting Month. In the spirit of NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo, Karen calls us out to take this challenge to push the habit of online creation, quantity-over-quality, just to develop the discipline of a creative practice. To anyone who has ever offered one single compliment for the photos I have taken I have always thanked them telling them that I take literally thousands of pictures and occasionally I get lucky with a few.

Truly.

Karen writes:

My friends, the time has come for a National Photo Posting Month.

Every day, for the month of November, I’m going to take a photograph and post it here, supplementing my regular posting schedule.  I’m doing this for a couple of reasons:

1.  I love the idea of a daily challenge, but I love the idea of a daily challenge that has an end date even more.  I like the idea of creating a body of work — in this case, 30 successive images — even though I have no real idea where this will take me.

2.  I love the idea of taking a moment every day to work on my photography.  Because I think no matter where any of us are in our photographic journey, practice always helps perfect, you know?

3.  I love the idea of stopping and looking around me.  While it’s possible that some of my photos might be staged, my goal is that they’re not — that the 30 days becomes a gratitude practice of the beauty that organically exists around me.  Because really that’s what it’s all about.

So, get ready:  it’s about to be all photographic up in here.  And you should join me.

Starting today, keep your camera on you, and photograph something — anything — and save it somewhere.  To be clear, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to do this — just have a camera (of whatever type), and a willingness to stop and take a photo every day.

And to make this fun, how about we do this:

If you upload any of your pictures online — on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, whatever — tag it #NaPhoPoMo — that way, we can watch all of the amazing photographs as they come in.  See?  They’re coming in already! 

It really is that easy. Have a camera? Have a smartphone with a camera? Stop. Take a picture. Post it on your Facebook or your Instagram or wherever.

I’m all in and yes, I will be sharing here, on Instagram and the #NaPhoPoMo tagboard because it’s nice to share and to be challenged and inspired all the more. All part of the creative practice, yo.

My first official #NaPhoPoMo shot. What? Too obvious? What can I say? This sweatshirt is so me…even if it was in the mens’ section at Target.

baaa-baaa

Like so many…tens and tens of thousands and ultimately millions of many…I joined the move to turn Facebook red. Slactiviism I am not a fan of, that is true. In memory of Susan Niebur, I avoid the cutesy what color is my bra or where is my purse memes for breast cancer awareness because I am already aware and what I really want is a cure dammit, especially for a dear, dear friend who was just recently diagnosed. I didn’t care much for the cartoon characters meme that was supposed to stop child abuse either. But this week I did go red as did the the majority of my Facebook friends.

What a beautiful sight it was to see my timeline the past couple of days.

And might I say that I have some creative friends? I do!

As the Supreme Court prepared to hear arguments that will decide the fate of Proposition 8 and the Defense Of Marriage Act this week, I noticed a thoughtful post from a dear friend on his Facebook timeline urging his friends to join him and change our profile pictures with a red-hued Human Rights Coalition logo in support of him, his partner, friends and family alike all who desire the same basic right that I get to enjoy…getting married. Another friend, who just the week before lamented on his Facebook page the ridiculousness of filing his and his husband’s taxes: jointly for their State which recognized them as a lawfully wedded couple and separately for their Federal because our Federal government does not recognize them as a married couple, also asked his friends to join him and his husband in calling for marriage equality for all…gay or straight. I dearly love these two friends. How could I not come along side them and support them? The marriages of my friends who just so happen to be gay are just as valid and special as is my marriage. I stand beside them asking for them to have the same right to be able to marry their special someone and enjoy the benefits (and frustrations) of all other married people.

As Tuesday turned into Wednesday and even today, my timeline became red…very red. People I never would have imagined took a stand to support marriage equality for us all here in the United States.I love this! Even better, there was only one…ONE…one negative post that showed up in my timeline where a friend exhorted us all to not be sheep.

Well BAAAAAAAA!!!!!

In all seriousness, this was a social movement of support that could not be ignored. It was a movement that celebrated hugely social change whose time has come…actually whose time should have been here already. This meme started mostly thoughtful dialogues over the idea of inclusion and consideration of the arguments for and against marriage. Arguments like marriage is supposed to be just for a man and a woman because we should be procreating…um, I am definitely in trouble here since god has for sure closed my womb. The red avatar movement offered overwhelming support to our friends, families and associates who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. I can only imagine how it was for them to see the red spread all over their own timelines…especially when dear, old church ladies and grumpy old right-wing men they know joined in. This was a movement so full of positive impact that we can’t help but celebrate its positive impact. We should celebrate it.

So we are sheep?

Okay, fine. We are sheep herded together and moving together towards something good. Something better. The strays can go ahead and get stuck in the brambles, or worse.

when cartoons save children

Over on Facebook most of my friends seem to all resemble cartoon characters these days.

Why?

Because you should change your Facebook profile picture to a cartoon character from your childhood & invite your friends to do the same. Until Mon 12/6, there should be no human faces on facebook but an invasion of memories. This is for violence against children. Join in the fight against child abuse.

Um, okay.

And this prevents violence against children how?

This will stop child abuse how?

When I see the cartoon characters of my childhood I see the characters of the Saturday morning shows that I played on TV to keep my little brothers and sister occupied and quiet lest we wake my step-dad and mother too early as they slept off their hangovers. God help us all if we were to wake them.Yeah, I need an invasion of childhood memories like that…like I need a hole in my head.

I dared to question the purpose of this cutesy little meme posting this article from the Washington Post’s blog by Melissa Bell and fielded messages that accused me of being a kill-joy.

“It’s all in fun,” I am told.

“It’s for the children!!!”

“It’s to make people feel better about themselves.”

“It’s just supposed to help spread awareness.”

“It just seems like fun to see who people pick.”

Yes, it is fun to see what cartoon character some people identify with but still I wonder how does this help children…children living a life of nothing but fear, hopelessness, physical, emotional and sexual pain.

Unlike the Facebook “I like it on…” status change, which raised awareness for breast cancer, I am slightly doubtful about how a grinning Animaniac will help fight violence to children. A Reddit user calls it “Slacktivism” — taking a stab at activism for a cause, but in a very lazy way.

I agree with Ms Bell. This slactivism doesn’t eradicate violence against children. It doesn’t even reach out to one child. If we truly desire to do something, if we truly want to make an impact on the lives of children in our community then perhaps we should step a little bit further out of our comfort zone…much further than searching Google images for a picture of Josie and the Pussycats (my favorite cartoon).

All of these and much more have an impact on children and can make a difference in their lives much more than a picture of Scooby-Doo on your Facebook page. I bet you’ll feel much, much better about yourself too.

This cartoon meme is a fun little nostalgic exercise. It is fun to see what cartoon characters my friends might identify with. But in all honesty, it will do nothing for any abused or neglected child. Getting our fat asses up and away from our Facebook pages and actually DOING something will make a difference in the life of a child.

Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him.
~Albert Schweitzer

Day #30

Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself.

The letter is posted and is private because, after all, the directions are write a letter to myself. This has been an interesting thirty day emotional and mental exercise. As I imagined some days were hard, REALLY hard…and a little harsh. Still it was an exercise that I appreciated. A little self reflection and navel contemplation never hurt anyone. I’m not hurt at all. In fact, I am alive and kicking and ready for the next month of blogging and another meme.

Another Meme??!!

I imagine some of my friends are groaning just a little. Yes, another meme, another exercise of self reflection and definitely more navel gazing. It’s the last month of the year. What could possibly be a better time for a little bit reflection and manifestation? The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.

I joined Gwen Bell’s Best of ’09 Challenge last year searching for a way to somehow reconcile and accept what I thought was a horrible year before beginning the new year. Through the course of the last month of 2009, I came to see that although some parts of the year were challenging and at times, overwhelming with suckage, I still enjoyed many blessings. The 31 day exercise provided me with just enough optimism to embrace 2010 with the hope of the good that it promised to bring. Participating really got my head and my heart in a better place. Here I am twelve months later and again I am ready to stop and reflect and send out optimism and inspiration for the next year that will be 2011…2011!! 2011 promises to be a busy year, a challenging year and a happy, hopefully a happier year for my circus act. And I will be ready as I begin to reflect and send out hopefully positive reverberations for the year ahead.

I encourage, challenge and invite you all to join me and a lot of amazing others.

Day #29

Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.

I stubbornly believe that there is nothing really I can change about me. I have changed so much the last couple of years.

  • I gave up a full-time position and added responsibility at work in order to allow myself some much needed flexibility to juggle it all and to decrease some stress. Stress abounds in my life, just like everyone else’s life, but this one area of stress that I did have control over so I made the choice to make the changes necessary for my mental health. I know, it is all about me. But it eventually trickles down to those around me, especially my family and my friends.
  • I recognized that I was clinically depressed and I took the steps necessary to do something about it, to seek help and to get treatment.
  • I decided to do something about these symptoms that are menopause for me because I had enough with the hot flashes, the insomnia, the inability to focus, the everything.
  • I got my fat ass up off the couch/out of bed and I began to move joining Shredheads everywhere moving to Jillian and Bob and, eventually, getting out there and running. The added bonus was I began to feel better and I dropped over 20 lbs.

But there is still much to change and improve.

  • I probably could and should change my snarky attitude about those in my life who are stuck and seem to refuse to step up and change…at least from my perspective they are not even trying….yes, they know who they are and if they don’t :::couch::: darling husband :::cough::: then they should.
  • I DEFINITELY need to do something about my temper. My family, at this very moment, is clapping and cheering wildly.
  • I should just suck it up and accept a relationship with my Mommy~Dearest on her terms complete with the un-medicated by choice Bipolar disorder and the need to always rehash her autobiography complete with every single minute detail that I already know because I have heard it hundreds of times before. No, I do not exaggerate ever when it comes to my Mommy~Dearest. Mom is 67 0r 66 years old (rumor has it she lied about her age on my birth certificate) and she is mostly harmless…if I plug my ears and sing loudly la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la.
  • I need to grow my hair long. No, not really for anyone but for myself…even though Holly has said she might like my hair long rather than short in time for her wedding…the wedding redux with the hearts and flowers and God and blessing which is still on in April 2011.

Yeah, there is much that I could and should change about myself.

I’m working on it.

Okay?

Be patient, please.

Right now I am working on growing my hair long again.

One change at a time.

30 Days of Truth