Taking pictures is one of my lifelines. Whenever I catch myself slipping into the icky muck of hopelessness, I go outside and take pictures as a reminder that the world is full of beauty and wonder, which helps to counterbalance stupid crap like hatred, greed, hypocrisy, and all those other words that appear way too much in the media these days.
When I lived on Orcas Island, photo shoots were a focus of my daily hikes, and I posted lots of pictures. After a few weeks, my husband let me know that he liked the nature photos, but he really wanted to see pictures of me. Since neither my dog nor cat was particularly adept at photography, I started to take pictures of my shadow and send them to him with captions like: Shadow Me in the front yard. Shadow Me in the woods. Shadow Me at the ocean.
Shadow Me on Mt. Constitution
In my current state, I think about Shadow Me quite a bit, as I seem to have entered a shadowy, undefined time. Nothing brings this more to the forefront as when I meet new people and they ask, “What do you do?” thus triggering a long, rambling response that causes their eyes to grow wide, bleary, and eventually vacant. By the time I come at last to a breathless close, they’ve usually wandered off, and who can blame them? “What do you do?” is a cornerstone of cliché conversation, not an invitation to hear someone’s life story.
Part of me wants to panic about my relatively new lack of clarity, but another part looks back on all of those Shadow Me shots and thinks, Cool.
Shadow Me may be a faceless blob of darkness, but she seems to get around and have adventures. Sometimes, she even manages to find company.
Reality is based at least in part on one’s perspective, right? Therefore, I have decided this Shadow Me experience is not a midlife crisis (although it really might resemble one). No, this time is about eschewing definition to embrace the silhouette. And I imagine that’s just fine.
[Also, I may be in a midlife crisis. At least a little one. And that’s probably okay, too.]