It was supposed to be a Vanity (Af)fair. A perfect picnic under a lone cherry blossom tree at the height of the season; a colour-coordinated garden party to celebrate the beginning of spring. There are so many “it was supposed to be”s, for me and many others. Mostly, this year I was looking forward to a somewhat “normal” birthday, and a celebration of life in Paris. It was obviously not normal at all, but generously celebrated none the less.
My biggest disappointment was canceling the festivities. I actually, up to this point, have dreaded birthdays — really, my own — but this year decided to embrace it. In that respect, my efforts felt a bit like a joke. But, just because the beginning of year 23 (really, I can’t believe 23!) is off to a bumpy start doesn’t mean that the whole year is going to be so. At least, I’m choosing JOY, and I’m choosing to believe that.
Twenty-two was the wildest ride of my life. It was a fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants year, except that I forgot to wear the belt. I don’t consider myself adventurous, but it seems that adventure is always finding me, aka the entire year 22.
Personal highlights include migrating all my artwork to film; meeting some amazing couples who allowed me to document their stories; connecting with childhood and Instagram friends in real life; making new friends who would pour into my artist soul in a way I didn’t know I was missing; practicing art and/in community; showing my artwork in an art gallery on THE art gallery street; taking an editorial internship at a website I’ve been reading since I was in high school; and perhaps, a major reason I came to France in the first place: Perfected my French.
I think that my 8-year-old self would be satisfied to know that 23-year-old me speaks good French (said the French people I’ve spoken to, I will always say I speak ok French); lived in France; and had that adventure. Now that it’s coming to an end, I guess, here are some things I want for year 23…
- To embody my words of bold and beauty for 2020. To find bold beauty and beauty in boldness.
- Keep professionally photographing! Thoughtful, joyful portraits on film.
- Continue my personal art series “She’s In Bloom,” portraits of women by the flowers that they choose.
- Photograph and write my manuscript for California.
And of course, love my neighbours and community and search for the beauty in the every day, as always. La beauté dans le quotidien! Thanks for riding along with me.
Photographs by Madeleine.
Francophile; lover of ice cream, ballet flats, and skirts with pockets. Photographing light, life, and JOY in San Francisco and Paris with my film cameras, Norman and Cecil.