Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Empty room

Our last Oakland apartment, 2005

Monday, March 25, 2013


Tired and stressed and sad. 

I wish Cassidy would write back, even though he shouldn't.

Oakland (top) and San Francisco (bottom), 2005

Friday, March 22, 2013

It feels like what we were meant to be

I told him all of the things I'd written down that day, about how we are making it harder for each other, how I can't be a good friend if I am also his girlfriend.  I said, I think we need to break up.  And so we did.

And then we talked.  About what going forward would look like.  About concerns I have with jealousy, about taking time to acclimate to change.  And then we just talked.  About my day.

I love him.  I do.  But this feels right


So far I'm just organizing.  Scanning negatives that have lost their contact sheets so I know what, at least, I have here.

These images came on the roll together like this:

These two I put together:

I don't need to make something good, I just need to make something, to start a collection because even though they might all be throwaways eventually, I need to start.  I'm starting here.

We broke up.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Big Thinks

Back at it—again—more words about whether or not I am breaking up with Cassidy:

Cassidy has been thinking Big Serious Thinks.  He will be staying home this weekend for the purpose of working on said thinks.  They are not thinks about me, per se, but thinks that involve me because our relationship is affected by other factors in his life.

I like my life.  The things I want to change are more like redecorating decisions.  I want to improve my mental/emotional issues.  I want to engage better with my art.  And I want a romantic relationship, the kind that looks like a marriage, whether or not it actually is one.  I want someone to go out with sometimes and come home to sometimes.

If I want to repaint the kitchen, Cassidy wants to tear out the foundation.  Cassidy wants to live near his daughter.  He wants to stop feeling like an absentee father, in deed if not in spirit.  He wants a job that uses his brain.  He wants to figure out what he's going to do when he grows up.  He wants to make Big Serious Changes to his life.  And so he has big thinks to do, not to determine what he wants, but to determine what he can do to achieve them.

We are in each others way.  Because what he wants from life conflicts with what I want in a relationship.  And we can keep dating until one of us forces the issue, and we can say, "I'm not going to get in your way, I support your dreams and desires," but I think that's a bit of a lie.  Because my helping him figure out how to go back to college while paying child support is also helping him end our relationship, and no matter how much I say I want to help, I don't want to help.  It puts us in a situation where helping him goes directly against my own self-interest. 

And I wonder if maybe the lack of endearments, the sad tally I was taking, maybe it wasn't all in my head.  Maybe he was, unconsciously, pulling away from someone he was trying to leave.  Or maybe it's because I'm constantly running the relationship analysis, wondering if my affection for him outweighs my disappointment in the situation.  And who wants to date someone who is constantly deciding if he is worth dating?  Just because I always end up at the same answer doesn't make me a great girlfriend.

I think about what we look like when we're broken up, and yes, I am jealous.  Because he might not be looking for a new girlfriend, not while he's upending his life, but he might not be celibate, either.  And the thought of that hurts.  But I think that, despite the jealousy, we could be friends.  Real friends, not just exes going through the motions so that we can feel mature.  The reasons I keep trying to stay with him, despite all this, are all reasons why I would want to be his friend.  (Well, most of the reasons, anyway.  I don't think that sexyfriends are a good idea, so there's at least one reason I'll have to go without.)

I am surprisingly not-sad.  I will be, I know.  And I haven't said any of this to him yet.  He will call tonight, and maybe the conversation will surprise me.  But I think I'm right, and I think he knows it, too.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The last time Cassidy needed to cancel our plans, he made a heroic effort to find an alternative for us.  The problem is that it takes a heroic effort.  As much as I want him—and I do, very much—I don't want heroic efforts.  I don't want a life that requires heroic efforts as a regular occurrence.  I don't want my time with him to be the exception.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cassidy is not sick. But his parents sprung something on him so he's leaving town on Thursday and I tried to make something work tonight but that failed, too.

I think I need to stop looking at the good things and asking myself if I want this. I need to look at this, right now, and ask if I want it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

He's sick

Or something. Doesn't know how long it will last.

In anticipation of disappointment

So this coming weekend is a Cassidy weekend, but I'm half expecting him to cancel.  And, fuck, that makes me sad.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sometimes I just don't know how.

If only I had left for work two minutes earlier this morning.  I might have turned off the radio while they were discussing the symbolism of St. Francis.  But I was still listening to the radio when they started telling another story.  It's a variant of the story I'm trying to fix, a variant of the story someone just told me, not two hours ago, sitting in my office.  And it's a variant of the story from Tuesday evening, the story about stolen voices, about power and the lack thereof.

The story on the radio makes me sick to my stomach.  The story I just wrote down makes me angry.  The story in my office makes me want to weep. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Kinda fun

I looked up my photos on Facebook, and they happened to be arranged like this.  I really like what happens with the two photos of me together in the middle.


I'm starting to look at the other photos from SotN.  They seem to fit into four different types, and I'm not sure that they go together at all.

__________THING ONE__________

Instead of people not caring about the fair they're in, it's people who don't care about the dancers.  It's also the dancers who don't care about the people in the chairs.  It's people's disconnect from each other, rather than from the place they're in.  I really like this photo.

__________THING TWO__________

Ballroom dancers are funny looking!  The drama!  The expression!  Oh my.

__________THING THREE__________

More sad, lonely, people.  They are not having fun.

__________THING FOUR__________

Judges judging.  I think this may, actually, be what I move on with.  Because I'm not sure the sad people really bring enough newness to my previous sad people.  And I'm not sure I really want to keep stalking interesting people and waiting for them to stop smiling.  I think that ballroom dancers looking absurd is kind of too easy and a little mean.  I can catch anyone looking awkward and funny looking, but what's the point, really?  And the first image, I love it, but I'm not sure that it's a series.  I think it's just a thing I love on it's own.

So I think I will find more ballroom competitions, but I can take this to the state fair, too.  And maybe I can find dog shows, theater auditions?  Lots of things are competitive based on a judges appraisal, and I might be interested in that...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Two conversations

1. A conversation between me and a print service representative last weekend.

ME: What do you do?
HIM: We make silver gelatin prints from digital files.
ME: So, it's a printing service?  People send you files, and you make the prints? 
HIM: Yes.  Do you know what that means?
ME: Yes.
HIM: It means that we expose silver gelatin paper with a special device and then process it in chemicals in the darkroom.
I am a 33 year old woman at the annual conference for the Society for Photographic Education.  I have a badge that identifies me as Not a Student.  And I just got 'splained about the darkroom.

2.  I have a crush on the woman who works in the cafe at Studio Arts.  I've mentioned this, I think.  She's beautiful and nice and provides me with food.  So, obviously, crush.

Yesterday she said I was cute.  In a totally casual, relating something she'd said to a friend, kind of way.

Not my story to tell

Not now, maybe not ever.  But bad things are happening, and I am trying to help, and it matters, much more than things usually matter, and I am terrified of doing something wrong.  Because there are rules that I don't know or understand, because there are other people's feelings that I don't know or understand.  But the ball is in my court and I am going to kick the shit out of this damn ball.  So, I am kicking.

And I lost my wallet.  I still don't believe it, it MUST be here, but it isn't. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

On a Previous Note.

I feel like I'm always talking about this.  Like people are rolling their eyes and saying, this again?  I feel like I'm boring.  It's embarrassing.

I almost deleted this, like, five times.


I'm still thinking a lot about my face.

Because I remember a girl in a shoe store checking off boxes for my demographic information, and she didn't even bother to ask, I was so obviously white.

Because I remember being told that I wasn't white, not at all, no way.  I look so Asian.

Because I spent a lot of time, growing up, with people asking me the question.

Because it's been years since I've heard it.

Because in college everyone confused me with my best friend, who is white.  (I mean, seriously, they were surprised that they didn't have that conversation with me last night.)

Because in Iowa people confuse me with a friend from the Philippines.

Because people have told me throughout my life, with certainty, that I look totally white.  And people have told me throughout my life, with certainty, that I don't.

I don't know.  I can't see it.  All I see is my face.  And I don't know what it means.  But I feel stupid talking about it, because it seems so obvious to everyone else. 


So much conversation about being a person of color centers around privilege, and I think that most of the time I'm on the privileged end of things.  Because either people see me as Unidentified White Person, or as The Good Kind of Foreigner.  And so, while there are still harmful stereotypes and attitudes to confront, I am the recipient of many of the benefits that go along with white privilege.

And because I'm this kind of not-white, I don't have the same daily reminders of my otherness that many people of color get.  No one tries to touch my hair, or tell me how to wear it.  No one assumes that I'm a prostitute.  No one assumes that I'm stealing, or in the country illegally.  So in conversations about race, I am often speaking from the White Side of Things.  I have gotten very used to speaking from the White Side of Things. 

And so I start to think of myself as being, in practice, entirely white. 


This isn't about my history or perceptions. I'm just trying to figure out my face.


Chicago, part 1:

I had almost forgotten the afternoon last December when I went to the LACMA and was disappointed by the Ruscha and Mapplethorpe that I'd wanted to see but was stunned by the Richard Serra.  I'd show you an image, but that really isn't the point.  I'd seen images.  I'd even seen video walk-throughs.  I can link those.  But I can't link the moment when I turned a corner and lost my breath and nearly my footing.  It is gorgeous, impossibly massive, and it manages to be both grandiose and personal at the same time.  As I walked its path, dragging my fingers along the rusty steel (not supposed to touch the art but you should touch this one anyway), I was awed by it's looming height, and comforted by the intimate spaces it creates.  I wanted to live in its folds.

This weekend, at the Chicago Art Institute Museum, I discovered for myself the haunting, luminous At the Moulin Rouge, and, cliché though it is, Van Gough's Self Portrait.  Again, I want to add images, because otherwise I feel like I'm dropping names.  I don't expect everyone to just know what works I mean.  But the copies are too dull.  I'm not talking about the copies, I'm talking about the things I can't put here.  The depth and physicality and vibrancy.  For reals—real life matters.  Sometimes I forget.  Also, the tiny historic dollhouse rooms in the basement level, each set into the wall with a wooden frame and glass so that from a distance they look like paintings, and even as I start to perceive the lie, my brain continues to try to process a real space as two-dimensional.  Imagine with me.

There were three different prints of Ansel Adam's Moonrise Over New Mexico, and seven different prints of Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother.  I liked that.  Making transparent our ideas of authenticity.  They also had (in the Contemporary Art section, rather than the Photography section), Sherrie Levine's After Egon Schiele.  From the museum plaque:
During the early 1980s, Sherrie Levine gained recognition for her re-creations of famous works of art, typically by men, through which she questions the ideals of high modernism and confronts issues of authorship, repetition, and authenticity. Rephotographing 18 self-portraits by Egon Schiele from bookplates, Levine altered the original images, interrupting the viewing experience with a series of implied contradictions. The finished piece is simultaneously Levine’s self-portrait and Schiele’s; it is the work of a woman and a man, a reproduction and an original.
I can't say that I love Sherrie Levine.  But I love living in a world where Sherrie Levine exists, and also After Sherrie Levine where one can download hi-res scans of After Walker Evans along with certificates of authenticity.  Yes, it's all a joke, and not very intellectually rigorous, but it gives me giggles and joy. 

I took a piece of candy out of a glittery pile in "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Ross became a fraction of an ounce closer to death.  It tasted like cheap candy.  In the photos it always looks like a forgotten corner, but in the museum there was a spotlight and the wrappers shone.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More silence.

Cassidy has gone to ground again.  This is day two.  I miss him both more and less than I'd like.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Star of the North: links

You'll have to click through to the full size images.

This is, um, me.

Star of the North: Photos (part 2)

Still tourist photos.  I like them, in that I think they are nicely done and this pleases me.  I wouldn't want you to think I take them seriously, though.

This is the team:

Bad Moon

Maybe there's a bad moon rising.  There seems to be a lot of sad in and around me.

Was it only a week ago that I was turtles all the way down?  It seems so much further away.  And yet, it keeps coming back.  Twice now, so far.  And each time I think, no, see, we fixed this.  I'm over this.  Logically, I think it should not bother me.  And so it surprises and disappoints me that it still does.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Star of the North: pictures (part 1)

The Professionals:

These are, essentially, tourist photos.  Hey, look!  I was here.  I saw things.  I also have a set of team photos, so they can say, hey look!  I was here.  I have a much smaller folder of things that I might take seriously, but I'm not getting to those yet.

Star of the North: words

I had a terrible weekend.  There were things the event organizers should have done differently, some things the team should have done differently, and some things that can't be changed, that mean I won't compete again.

As I uploaded photos of pretty people dancing prettily, I wrote an email to the event organizers explaining the causes of my disappointment.  They replied quickly, and kindly, and expressed an interest in how to better improve things.  It was well done, and I appreciate it. 

I might come back and talk about the fuckups, about feeling left out, about feeling like I was missing out, about terrible communication and mistaken expectations.  But the fuckups are a red herring.  Even if everything had been right, I would have still come back having learned that I don't like competing.  I compare and criticize instead of appreciate.