July 16, 2008

hello freedom - so nice to meet you

i've been driving down the west coast of FL for two weeks now. i know it isn't long, but it has meant a lot to me.

this place has been my home for 25 years.

as a little girl i spent my days tagging along side my siblings, bike rides and food fights, climbing the giant oaks, and saving fallen feathers.
my entire youth was spent here.
it was here where i first fell in love. my 16th year was filled with broken curfews and skinny dipping in lakes. that summer i refused to cut my hair and it grew past my elbows. it was wildly curly and completely unmanigable - a fitting self likeness.
it was this place where i sat with my father and watched him take his last breaths.

my 21st year i stood in the atlantic ocean and scattered his ashes from the shores of anastasia island. afterwards my sister and i sat on the dunes, smoked huge cuban cigars, and drank irish whiskey to honor all the love he gave us.
as i grew older i tried to forge a new life for myself. i finished art school and traveled the world. i studied in foreign countries and backpacked through 15 or more. i spent 3 years on the run, doing whatever i could to escape this place, thinking i would find myself.
the thing is, i couldn't find myself in places where i did not exist.

now i sit here, watching the sun settle into the atlantic, and i am grateful to this place and for all of my-self it has showed me.

i am learning the hard way (as i often do with everything else) that so much of my identity is rooted here: the heavy humid air, the barefoot shoppers in super markets, bike rides and water rafts, cold beers that get smuggled onto the beach in hand bags, and dogs with their heads hanging out car windows... this place is my freedom and i am desperate to take back.
that is why i am doing this.

only 5 days left on the road and i'm running out of film...
**the photo above is of me at beer can island.

***i used my sx 70 & expired time zero film. the double exp. is just cheap scanner tricks, but i like it.


  1. Although I'm still in that era of broken curfews, not cutting my hair, and skinny dipping in lakes, (17 years old) I felt like I could relate to, well, all of that. I'm in Jacksonville though but that's still Florida! I want so much to travel and get away and I guess it's like you said "to find myself" but the part where you said "i couldn't find myself in places where i did not exist." made me realize what I think you did too. I'll still travel though, as I've always wanted to, but I wont forget about some of the things that make me, *me*. I guess I didn't have to learn the hard way though, thanks to you. So, thanks.

  2. thank you matt & of course same to you :)
    should we get a coffee someday?

    brnd- thank you dear friend for keeping up with my words. i forgot to tell you how much i loved your book to lia. i am terrible to not mention it before, but it is beautiful.

    savage- well, i am honored to have some sort of influence on your journey to finding you. you must travel, friend. i may not have "found myself" on the other side of the world, but i did find beauty and love and the people i met while traveling have influenced me in ways they prob do not even know about.
    p.s. i love jax beach. i will have an art show there soon, if you wanna check it out.

    bakin- i have finally learned that paradise is not about where you go, it's how you feel for a moment in time. thank you friend. you are wonderful :)

  3. an empty beach at night with friends; watching the darkness move and listening to the wave crash.

    jackets on january mornings, sweating like a pig in january afternoons.

    sharing the road with the worst drivers in the history of the history.

    growing your own palm tree.

    splashing flood water on your friends after hurricanes/t.storms.

    digging in "dirt" to find white/yellow sand only a foot down.

    90% of the populace 90% of the time wearing a sandal of some type

    65 degrees is cold and 85 degrees is hot.

  4. damn, i forgot one :)

    staring at sunning gators on the side of the road