Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Finding My Tribe

Traveling to California by myself to get together with a bunch of people that I "met" on the internet is not the absolute craziest thing I have ever done, but it definitely ranks up there in the top five for sure.  When I first signed up for Shutter Sisters Oasis I kept it to myself anticipating the (negative) reaction from my family.  Finally as the trip got closer and closer I realized that I should probably fill them in on my plans.  Needless to say there were lots of baffled looking faces and comments like "you don't even know these people!"    
  
 But what they didn't realize is that yes, yes I do know these people.  In fact, I probably know these women better than I know some of my local friends.  I have seen their lives the way they see it through their lens.  They have opened themselves up, fully exposed themselves, their art, their passion and their creativity.  We have made a connection because we are like minded people.  

People talk about finding their tribe and I've always wondered what that feels like. Sure I have my family who I love dearly, but to find people who share the same passion and vision as I do...well that is an overwhelmingly intense connection.  No one gave me a second glance as I turned my camera down towards my feet or when I stopped to focus on a small leaf laying on the sidewalk.  Nobody questioned me as I knelt down on the ground to get a different perspective on the palm trees.  In fact, most of the time they would join me!  They got me!  Having some of my FOL sisters there with me put me at ease as they are all exactly as I thought they would be.


Xanthe Berkley and Kim Klassen (pictured above) made a connection at Camp last year when they found each other at the bar both ordering a Diet Coke.  During a learn along at Oasis they spoke about their process.  Not how they process photos (which they both do beautifully!) but how they got here and what led them to where they are today.  Everyone has taken a different path and stumbled along their way, but we all ended up in a similar place together.  It was a talk that will stick with me for a long time to come.  

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, 
but I think I ended up where I needed to be"
 ~Douglas Adams

  

And even more important than finding my tribe is perhaps the self discovery that I stumbled upon.  I knew going in that I was going to learn more about photography, but I didn't realize that I would learn so much about myself too.  It's ok to feel vulnerable.  It's ok to put myself out there and not know what to expect.  It's also ok to feel confident in my vision, in my style and in my art.  Self confidence is still difficult, but I'm beginning to feel stronger in my own skin.  Meredith Winn and Kristin Zecchinelli spoke about the importance of self portraits and seeing ourselves in the family albums.  According to them, it's not about the pretty it's about the proof.  Talk about a defining moment for all of us mom photographers!  To truly know someone you need to see things through their eyes and sometimes seeing myself through my own eyes opens up a whole new world of self discovery.

 We all see things in different ways...that's what makes us unique.  There were tons of photos of this particular spot with the paint dripped wall and colorful chair and no two were alike.  Different perspectives is what makes us who we are.  My photo of these chairs included my daughter's puppy who was placed in my bag as a reminder of home.  He had fun at Oasis too, but was definitely happy to be back home with his people as was I, but my tribe will always be in my heart and luckily they are only a click away :)

Tomorrow is November and we will be introducing a new monthly theme.  In the meantime, why don't you add your Sunshine and Shadow photos to our Flickr Pool!









35 comments:

Dotti said...

Waving at you, sweet sister, member of my tribe! And missing you, too. It was so delightful to meet you and yes, I have to agree: The six of us who were able to gather at Oasis were exactly as I knew they would be. Crazy, huh, how we get to know one another so well online? I think that's what's behind FOL ... extending this same kind of adventure to our readers.

Hugs ...

AFishGirl said...

Such a delight to read about it all, here as the armchair traveller. Beautiful post, such clarity and such testimony to the power of love and friendship and trust and art and leaps of faith and vulnerability and safety and community. Whew. Tea for me now.
Pam oxoxoxox

Leigh said...

You're coming next year sister!

Dotti said...

Second what Leigh says! :-D)))))

stephmull said...

amazing post, leigh. you took the thoughts right out of my mind and expressed them so eloquently. thank you for sharing this experience with me...life changing. and it was so good to meet the other FOL sisters and others from the on-line community. can't wait for next year!

Leigh said...

Thank you for being an awesome roommate and taking care of me when i was sick :)

Kim Klassen said...

oh Leigh.... this could have been me...writing this...... you made me cry..... so beautiful....and so happy you found yourself, exactly where you should be....

so much love....xo, Kim

Leigh said...

Thank you Kim for your friendship and inspiration!

Moms Who Click said...

Great post Leigh and so happy to hear that you enjoyed the adventure. I'll always remember you and that cute little puppy....lining up a shot with the ACE sign in the background...so sweet. xoxo, Kristina

LeAnne said...

Well said...so true to my own experience as well. Wonderful meeting you!

terriporter said...

And I third what Leigh says! Everything you wrote, Leigh, was exactly what I felt last year at camp. I was delighted and amazed at how well I knew these complete strangers and how well they knew me, all because of our passion for the same thing. This year was different but the same. Different location, different structure, but the same welcoming arms of people who truly understand your passion. This time was extra special, though, because of being able to share it with five of my FOL sisters. Yes, we talk here almost every day but to meet in person and spend time together doing something we all love was so special. I miss you all so much and hope we can be together again soon (along with the other four who weren't able to go this time). Thank you for this wonderful post, Leigh!

kelly said...

i have so loved seeing everyone's photos from OASIS. loved watching my instagram feed where, like you said, same wall & chairs but different ways of 'seeing' it. a very special thing indeed. love, kelly

Dee said...

Beautifully written.

Xanthe said...

This says it all. Beautiful. As are you x.

Linda said...

So true! So eloquently written! After arriving back home, I've been asked how my trip went. It's funny but I hesitate because I know that what I say will not be understood by them! I need my tribe to rehash the experience! And it was an experience! I'm so glad you were a part of it!

Missing your beautiful smile!
xo,
Linda

Andrea said...

I bet it was an amazing experience! One of these days I'll make it! :-)

terriporter said...

I know what you're talking about, Linda. Nobody besides those of us who experienced it can really know what it was like. But Leigh did such a beautiful job trying!

Kristin Zecchinelli said...

oh leigh this is so good and profound. i love that you kept it to yourself for some time. allowing it to be yours and not allowing others opinions to perhaps talk you out of attending and being brave and leading you to your tribe in person, live and in the flesh. i am so honored you felt so. XOXO kristin

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Wow... what a lovely post (as usual) but so heartfelt.

I am sad to hear you were ill while you were there. That has happened to me and its kinda embarrassing yet so lovely that you were well taken care of.

Being with all of you in my tribe tops my bucket list. Looking forward! BTW...enjoy Halloween with your wee ones!

Hugs (and glad you are safe and home)

Roxi -Coppercurls Designs said...

Fab post. how cool to have the puppy along. (I'm taking notes)

Alison Bents said...

As a fellow armchair traveler, I have to say, that I (somehow) feel just the same way. It's unbelievable how much I feel like I can trust my online/flickr/photo friends with so much of myself, and I've never come face to face (in real life) with very many of them. It's hard to explain that to others. Your post so resonates, and I'm so glad that you had such a transformative time at Oasis! (Can't say I'm not completely green with envy!... someday :) )

Kris said...

I knew it would be a good week after our time at the airport on the way there. Thanks for making such a special time. XOXO

Leigh said...

It is hard to explain to others. There is a pretty deep connection when we see people's daily lives as they see it through their camera. You're coming next year!

leigh said...

Me too Kris! Miss you!

Leigh said...

It was a nice reminder of home :)

Leigh said...

Kristin, thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. It really means a lot! I'm so happy that we were able to meet! Proof not the pretty constantly runs through my head :)

Leigh said...

I hope you can Andrea! It was amazing!

Leigh said...

Thank you Xanthe! So grateful to have met you :)

Leigh said...

Thank you Dee! The words just kind of flowed in a way they haven't before. Says a lot about the Oasis experience if you ask me.

leigh said...

You are coming next year Kelly! We can fly together :)

leigh said...

Wonderful meeting you also LeAnne! I'm still cracking up about waving at the airport and you were standing right there!

leigh said...

Thank you Kristina! That is one of my favorite puppy shots and my daughter just loves it. Although she scolded me for not putting sunscreen on puppy. oops!

Melody said...

Leigh, perfectly spoken. Thank you for eloquently expressing what Oasis was (and is) to me.

leigh said...

Thank you Melody! Such a wonderful experience we all shared together.

Alison Bents said...

I sure hope so! Keeping my fingers crossed.

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