the pure and dirty bits

courtesan 5i’m not one for resolutions. i figure that if there’s something that needs doing, you simply suck it up and do it, declarations be damned. and if it needs doing, it mostly likely needs doing now. i’m a girl who likes action. forward movement. what comes next. i don’t wait for the stars to align, the right bones to be thrown, a raven to fly westerly and low to the ground, or any other form of augury that would prohibit me from tackling the issue at hand. and resolutions made on january first are imbued with no more magic that the promise of a slate wiped clean. but we’re never wiped clean. our past stays with us, affects our present and informs our future. it’s what we do now, instantly, now, that chooses who we are to be tomorrow. and honestly, i prefer my slate a bit dirty.

i do, however, believe that life leads us to certain things at certain times. i recently found myself at a crossroads that strangely met up with the coming of the new year, creating a nexus in every sense: a connection, a center, a focus.

i hold things too long. i don’t give them up, even when i know better, especially when i know better. i worry too much about what people think of me. i am filled with regret, mostly for opportunities thrown aside from fear, which dwells in a place deep inside me, difficult to root out. i have battled clinical depression and anxiety attacks. i’ve lived through some days, months, moments that should have broken me.

somehow i’ve made it this far. ah, but that’s a bit disingenuous. i know why i’m here now. i have no trouble saying that i didn’t do it alone, that there have been people who have dragged me alongside as i fought, struggled to be left behind. they deserve much praise. they deserve much more than i’ll ever be able to repay.

but i do have a problem saying this next part: i’ve also made it because of me. i’m really quite a great person. that sounds a bit ridiculous when i say it, and i’m sure it reads as very tongue-in-cheek. it’s not meant to be. i’m incredibly smart. i have a capacious heart. i’m curious about everything, and thirst for new experiences. i’m creative in many ways. i’m pretty damn funny, but only when i don’t mean to be. someone once told me that i have “lips like clouds.” i have freckles. i am difficult, in the best possible way. i am large. i contain multitudes. but i never say it, even to myself. i’ve been too afraid that i might actually believe it, and then there would be no more excuses. nothing left to hold me back. how utterly terrifying to destroy the walls that i’ve built, painstakingly, decades old, the great wall of i can’t no longer there to limit me.

so i’ve kept mum. but, home for the holidays (there’s no place like it, thank god) i experienced a cataclysm that, when over, left me shaken and looking around at the detritus at my feet, my walls inexplicably destroyed, my defenses finally gone. some rubble remains, yes, the foundations, but now, no longer weighted down by other stones, they will be much easier to dig up from the ground. soon it will be as if the rocks containing all those fears and regrets never existed. a smooth plain, pleasing to the eye, open and wild and free.

and i’ve begun the process now of rebuilding myself. i’ve always felt halved, split apart, within. growing up mormon, growing up socially awkward, growing up chubby and two smart for my own good, there were expectations placed upon me. how i should look. how i should talk. how i should behave. and i followed them, afraid of what would happen if i didn’t. i allowed myself to be led, fearful of finding my own path. but inside, i wanted more. i wanted other things. i wanted to look differently. i wanted to speak differently. and i really, really didn’t want to behave.

oh, i had such a little beast in me. all these years trying to control it have left me exhausted, bloody, close to breaking.

so i’ve set it free.

all of these paths, every event of late, leading me to this moment. my uncaging.

resolved: i will let it go. all of it. all of myself. i am reconciling my pure and dirty bits. i am loosing my restraints. i am becoming whole. it’s gonna be messy. it’s gonna be dirty. i may even get a bit broken and bloody, but in the best possible way. and now i know i can come through the fire. i can even admit that i like the burn.

in that spirit, i’ve been inspired to do things i’ve held myself back from in the past. to explore my world, and myself, further than ever before. i’ve been a bit naughty, and i’ve been a bit nice. now i want to be lots more, of both.

before, when i felt my ignored, unbehaved half fighting too hard to get out, i would take pictures of myself. i could be naughty. i could have fun. i could do something hidden that relieved the pressure, if just for a bit. but they were only for myself. never shared.

lately, i’ve made a gift of one or two, as a means of connection to others whom i love, and connection to myself, to try and bring that unruly child slowly aboveground. it was terrifying, terrifying to share that part of me with others. but once done, it was so much more rewarding that i ever imagined.

i did another photo shoot last night. it was inspired by the wrappings around gifts i had received; a grey scarf and a black ribbon. i wrapped myself up in them, and only them, and had an adventure. as i was prepping for the shoot, i decided to take it that one step further: going public. i’d take the photos, post one, and whoever came up with the best title would win the series. oh, a whole new level of terror. it almost paralyzed me. so of course i had to do it.

driving to work this morning, i realized that i should combine it with a blog post, which has been long overdue. one is born from the other.

so, below, my photo. cara the bruce as concubine, as courtesan, as newly-formed odalisque. take a look, if you will. and if you would like to own the series, all you need to do is come up with the winning title. here are the rules:

send me a direct message on twitter with your title. hit me with your best shot, people. and keep on hitting me, because there’s no limit. that’s right, send as many titles as you want. i’ll take ‘em all. you’ve got until midnight tonight, after which i’ll decide the title that tickled my fancy (or other things) the most.

some caveats: i have no idea at this time what the series will consist of (part two of the photo shoot is scheduled for tonight), and you have to promise me on a stack of tweets that they will not be distributed without my permission. seriously. i’ve got my serious face on, folks. ‘cause i’m serious.

but: they will be yours. exclusively. i won’t share them without your permission. and you’ll have photographs of a woman on the cusp of setting herself wildly free into the world.

so here i am. and here i am. i hope you enjoy me.


bits 1


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