Updated: Aug 12, 2019
I think I finally found the perfect analogy for this final attempt at a relationship, which may very well end in my going completely Euripides on this world: I have a coffee cup. It is the near perfect size, color, and weight, in that I have grown accustomed to it over time.
I don't use any other coffee cups. I finish the coffee or tea in the cup, rinse it out, and set it in the same place next to the coffee maker every day, and it is always in the same place every morning, waiting for the same routine. I don't like it when anyone cleans my coffee cup. I can clean it when it needs to be cleaned. It doesn't need to be cleaned, or moved, or polished.
It doesn't need anything but to be in the same place every morning, and serve the same purpose. My wife has a dozen different coffee cups, all different sizes, colors, and weights. She uses a different one every day, and I don't think I've ever seen her finish what's in the cup. They get collected from various spots where they have been abandoned around the house, generally half full, and they are washed, then placed back in the cupboard, to be half used or not used the next day.
In writing that down, it dawns on me that this analogy might simply apply to the differences between men and women, because my daughter does the same thing with water cups, which I initially found annoying, always wanting new cups of water when there are dozens of perfectly good half full cups of water around the house, but at least I know we will be safe when the aliens finally show up. Quirks. We laugh about them; we fight about them; it doesn't change them. We exist as we are, and that is enough, to loosely quote Whitman.
Life primarily consists of things that we can not change, especially when it comes to individual human souls who are free to do whatever they want. The only thing we will ever have control over is how we choose to respond. I often look at myself in the mirror and imagine that I am better, but I don't think I will ever be anything than who I am. I continue to change in ways that align with my journey, but my process is mine, and your process is yours, and all any of us can do is love each other in the process. To this day, one of the most profound realizations I ever came to was that I am an idiot, and I have been repeating that mantra for a decade.
Truly understanding that very basic concept is the only way to open yourself up to a world of possibilities. Take the box of definitions off the shelf labelled 'facts', and relabel it 'assumptions based on perception and opinion'. Which beautifully circles back to another ancient E, Epictetus:
"It is impossible for a person to begin to learn what he thinks he already knows."
The only way to truly benefit from this life, and all it has to show us and teach us, is to go into everything open and loving to who people are, not who we want them to be. This applies to self more than anything. We spend too much time wanting to be something, or trying to be something, when we are already beautiful. True beauty is in the being, not the doing. The things we do become beautiful when they align with who we are, in this specific moment in infinite time and space, not who we are trying to be to live up to temporal expectation, which is why expectation always ends in disappointment, and openness and love, in ourselves and the uncontrollable spinning ball of gas and rock hurling relentlessly around the Sun, generally brings pleasant, positive surprises.
I obviously love my wife, and genuinely appreciate her willingness to shoot, but I love her less for the model she is trying to be, and more for who she is. This is a bit of a personal rant, and mildly unrelated to the photos attached, but it is all related. Relationships are relationships, whether intimate or in passing, and the only way to survive the chaos is to appreciate ourselves and everyone in our lives for who we are, because we will never get to choose who loves us, why they love us, or how they love us. Just like we will never get to choose how people perceive us or judge us.
We can only be the best us that we can be, smile, and allow everything to happen exactly how it's supposed to happen. You can't change gravity, but you can change how gracefully you navigate it.
My first shoot of the year that wasn't with my incomparable wife: the amazing @steph_in_space and @bodyofsarz; a beautifully exhausting day in Joshua Tree.