Thursday, July 31, 2008

Goal # 67: Blog Something That Is Challenging For You...


Justin & I spent the past few days up in the Berkshires with our PUG group for the "Annual PUG Rock N' Roll Retreat." Don't let the name fool you. This was some serious business. 

It was one of the most inspiring, self-reflecting, revising, kick in the pants, burden lifting, make me wanna be a better person, you complete me and had me at hello experiences of my life. And that was just day one.

Our assignment for the retreat was to come up with our list of 101 goals in 1001 days before we could leave, and to blog at least one thing that we've accomplished from that list within a week of the retreat. 

Goal #67: Blog Something That is Challenging For You. 

It always comes easy for me to blog about the good things, the happy things, the woo hoo for us, we rule the world so let's throw a party things. But when it comes to the hard things, the not so pretty things, the fall flat on your face and don't pick yourself up things, well.....I tend to hide. Like a newbie at summer camp who just heard the "the call is coming from inside the house" story for the very first time, I hide. Just give me a flashlight and a sleeping bag to shiver under, and I'm all set.

Goal #67: Blog Something That is CHALLENGING For You. 

Deep breaths now....here we go.


I guess you could say I grew up.....'po.

Not just poor you see, but 'PO...that's when you're so poor that you can't even afford the other O and the R to go with it. 

The picture above is of a place called home. This is the place where my roots run deep. Ask me what I stand for and I guarantee you here is where the answer lies. As I stand before it, wide eyed and wistful, the haunts of my childhood laughter can be heard floating on the breeze. And my heart drifts back in time to a more complicated me.

There wasn't one day that passed growing up that I didn't hate this trailer. I would spend hours dreaming up ways to build on to it... to transform it, and thereby me, overnight. Start with what you've got and build from there.

Several times we tried to fix it, and several times we failed. And I feared that this trailer, this failure to me, would forever define who I am.

Sometimes our worst fears are the best things that ever happen to us.

Fast forward a few years, and these things I've learned. It was not failure that kept my family where they were...but love. Only the strongest kind of love would cause two parents to live with nothing so that their child could one day have more. And that trailer, the one that I hated and feared so much for all those years... well, it turns out it has opened nothing less than the entire world to me.

I came across this the other day when we were clearing off some hard drives, and I wanted to share it with you. It is the opening paragraph to my personal statement for my application to Yale Law School. It describes in great detail where I came from, and there is not a question in my mind that it is responsible for everywhere I've gone since. Sometimes our worst fears are the best things that ever happen to us. 


You've just got to start with what you've got and build from there.

The roof of the old shack cracked under the weight from the average twenty-two inches of a Nicholas County snowfall. The wood stove was never properly fitted at the top, causing flames to shoot out and streak overhead every time a log was thrown on. And orange and blue blazes would dance perilously close to the pink fluffs of insulation that hung from the sagging ceiling. When Spring came, it would rain just as hard inside as out, and the smell of mildew would hang thick in the air long past the end of Summer. But for now at least, it was Winter. 

The young girl swung open the screen door and dropped her head against the stinging bite of wind sweeping across her Fenwick Mountain home. A thin, tattered blue scarf hung loosely about her hand-me-down coat, and she pulled it close to her as if it alone might somehow stop the wind. She quickly dumped scraps of brown beans and cornbread for the latest stray that had wandered into the yard and wheeled around for shelter. She was stopped in her tracks, if only for just a moment, by the sight of the shack that stood in front of her. Or as she had always simply called it- home. And she couldn’t help but think, there must be more out there than this. But then the whipping wind picked up again, and she hurried back inside with only fleeting memories of a life that could be hers.


Goal #67: Blog Something That Is Challenging For You. 
Check.

30 comments:

Melissa said...

Oh my gosh! This was so amazing, and unbelievable that you would share that with us. Thank you... I love it.

Cassie Schott said...

I've been reading your blog for a bit and thought I should comment for once! This was so beautifully written and very touching! Thank you for sharing!

Val McCormick Photography said...

Great Job Mary. That's awesome. You did a beautiful job writing this entry. It's so awesome that you are took on such a difficult task in less than a week after the set goal.

Rnormfoto said...

OK --- wow! That is a REAL, blog post. I give you a lot of credit for delving into that topic...that's not an easy thing to do - but that's why we love you :)

Orchard Cove Photography said...

Written with grace and humor and honesty - Mary Style :) Congratulations my dear - we love you more!

Beyond The Lens Photography said...

Mary,

What a heart warming story. And I love the way you see your misfortunes in life as things that can lift you up and make you reach furthur. You go girl. Kudos for hitting another goal too!

Robin Dini Photography said...

you never cease to amaze me with your beautiful writing. I can relate on so many levels. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to try and do that 101 thing this weekend!

Mel said...

This was such an amazing story. I give you so much credit to just put it out there. I think it's amazing that you were able to conquer one of your greatest fears. Thank you. You are such a strong person and we love you so much!

Joy Moody Photography said...

Writing through water in my eyes. Miss Mary you are wonderful and I am thankful for you.

Dove Wedding Photography said...

Mary, you are a beautiful writer. What a wonderful image you have painted for us. Amazing.

Whitney

Salty Grapes Photography said...

You truly inspire me in so many ways. I'm am so grateful that I found you... and that I was able to spend such a wonderful, relaxing two days hanging out with you and the incredible PUG people. As I told you in person, I just adore your writing style... and this post just solidifies my love even more. You are an amazing individual, Mary. Thank you SO much for sharing that part of you and who you are. XOXO - Julia

Natalie said...

Wow is right!
I've got goosebumps right now and am all emotional!
That was a big thing to publish and put out there, so I just want to thank you again for sharing something so personal.
Your words and your writing style touch the heart of your reader. It just feels so intimate and personal, like we're snooping into a page of a diary - and yet that you shared this with everyone just makes us all take a step back and hope to have the same impact on someone as you do to us!
It's very rare and special when you meet people that are true to who they are and are sincere in their ways..and well, who just bring you "up"...and you (okay okay, Justin too) are just both so AMAZING!
Haven't known you super dooper long, but I just love ya!
Serioulsy, thanks again for sharing that entry.

carla ten eyck said...

Miss Mary... I have always known how hard this was for you to put out there. This opens up so many doors for people to look deeply inside you and see who you are really are and where you truly grow from.
I am so proud of you not only for putting it out there, but to do so in such a beautifully written post- I felt that wind whipping through my hand me down coat too! And it's HOT here I'm at!

big, big xx's & ooo's

nikki nicole photography said...

MAR-DOG!

Thank you for writting this post. It gives me such an understanding of who you are and why you do the things you do. as i was reading i could feel all your emotions running through me.

Now for martinis!

ericamay said...

I've been one of those "phantom blog readers" of your site for quite a while now, and I'm compelled to comment on this one. I've never met you, and might never get the opportunity to say hello in person, but I wanted to thank you for sharing this window into your heart. What a moving lesson for us all to learn and reflect upon. Keep up the fantastic work...your words and your photos are an inspiration! And keep up the 101 in 1001 -- I just started mine a few weeks ago!

Erin Harvey said...

Great job girl, I know that was tough. I tried to come up with 101 things and that in itself was really hard. It must feel so rewarding as you cross things off tho. =)

E. Broderick Photography said...

Whoa. So incredibly moving and so beautifully expressed. First of all, I hope you are working on your memoir in your "spare time" because you have a real gift and a wonderful message and outlook to share. You also have a gift for talking with people. Whenever we have spoken I have felt that you were one of the most present and genuine people. For real--I even told my husband about you. you really inspire people to open up and to push themselves.

Bravo, Mary.

Sherrell Photography said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tabitha & Larry said...

Thank you Mary. What a nice way to start my day. I am ready to be more real than ever. Such an inspiration!
xo
tabitha

Krista Photography said...

Thank you for sharing, Mary! Sometimes the things we fear most, are the very things that God wants us to do. I'm proud of you for facing your fears :)

Derek said...

Mary. I love you so much and am so lucky to have you in my life. Thanks for opening your heart to all of us and letting us get to know you better. When you get a chance, thank my brother, too, for bringing you into our lives and making you part of our family. You are forever someone I will love and cherish.

Tina Parsadanov said...

That was beautiful. You are amazing Mary.

Aimee Thomas Oswalt said...

Mary, you are amazing, I love this. Your words are so powerful and truly inspiring thank you so much for sharing.

Melissa said...

wow....thats an awesome story. I grew up in the trailer park as well and it haunted me FOREVER...when my husband and I bought our first house last year..it was the first time I had EVER lived in an actual house and it was crazy emotional and exciting...but I know that I am how I am today in my life and in my business because of that old crappy trailer and its so cool to see that someone else was there too... you guys rock and thanks for sharing!

Shara Lana Pisowicz said...

Amazing Mary!!! I am so hugging you SOOOOOO tight right now! This makes me love you that much more. I had a friend that lived in a home just like yours and I know how she struggled so much. I am so proud of you, I mean EXTREMELY PROUD of you. You have such an amazing way with words that I so envy. You must write more, I mean like a NOVEL! I am so serious. Love you Mary!!!!

Erik Maziarz said...

rock on Mary . . you have a remarkable ability to convey sight, sound, emotion, and perspective through your writing - and as we already know through your photos.

your material surroundings might have been meek and modest, but the immaterial things like love and encouragement were clearly overflowing. your young mind was just brimming with talent!

thank you for sharing. :-D

Amy Martin said...

Awesome, awesome post Mary. xoxo!

Heather Colt said...

MARY!! This post brought tears to my eyes! OHMIGOD! You can see that money doesn't make you who you are... its love, desire and passion.. and baby, you gots all three. MWAH! Love you

Jo said...

I can't tell you how glad I am that you shared this. You inspire me with your honesty and strength. Thank you.

HaroldB said...

I alway knew that trailer helped motivate you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.