I’m supposed to take pictures of “Pieces of Me.”
Not necessarily a physical part of me.
But something that reflects a piece of me.
I just started a new photography course, and my assignment is to shoot, and edit, a piece of me.
I’ve been thinking for days.
What is a piece of me?
My children, of course.
They are the best of me.
The sweetest, the purest, the most innocent. The quick to forgive, the easy to love. The unassuming. The honest. The true.
The laughter. The light.
And I probably will use pictures of them in my assignment.
But that feels too easy.
And it seems to neglect the part of me that’s separate from them.
Because all mothers, regardless of our paths, exist as something apart from our children.
I thought about taking a picture of my law degree.
I moved it, the other day, from its dusty home on the floor in my basement. It seemed safer to put it on a high metal shelf. Out of the range of peanut-butter covered fingers and a male dog questioning his place in our pack.
The price of that paper was high.
In many ways.
And it is certainly an integral part of my story.
Rotating through the unfinished part of my darkened basement, its homes don’t bother me now.
It does, however, symbolize part of my life.
But it’s not the piece I want to focus on.
I thought about the sun. It sets, over my backyard, through the trees. Those moments are stunning and golden.
They are my solitude, after the children are asleep.
A few stolen minutes before I settle in to work on my computer.
They are quiet.
The absence of sun, my inability to see it, even at midday, is how I will always remember the hard months of last winter.
I think of it as a dark time.
Literally and figuratively.
A piece of me was gone.
I knew I was getting better when I walked into my family room one day and felt like I needed to put on my sunglasses.
But I felt like there ought to be something else.
And then I realized there is.
A piece of me.
Something I have poured my heart and soul into.
Something that, I hope, will live on as long as someone wants to share it.
To identify with it.
To read it.
This class is designed around photo editing and self-reflection. Each participant completes private journal entries and shares photos with the class. If you are interested more in the class, please visit Beryl Ann Young.