Monday, December 13, 2010

I no longer believe in coincidence.

I have not known how to word my next post, what to include, what to omit.

Instead, I will pose an open-ended question: What do we fill our lives with, and why?

On the way from Los Angeles to San Francisco recently, I answered a craigslist ad. Since my smartphone is really a dumbphone, I had to handwrite the craigslist encoded email on paper, then hand-enter it into an email on my phone's browser. The person who posted the ad was an amateur sketch artist on the Peninsula, and we worked out that we would not exchange money, but rather I could stay with him for a week or so and I could sit for him when we were both free, and for a group he hosted on the weekend.

I can't describe why I felt compelled to answer this ad, or why he felt so compelled to respond; I had begun to feel like a hired object and needed to come down to earth, I guess was one motivating factor. I can't put words to the kindness he showed; he was respectful of my needs and space, cooked 3 meals a day when I was not working, drove me to the train when I was. He, one of his friends who attended the sketch group, and I had a very long conversation about life, and the things we go through. For some reason, I felt compelled to draw that day; I haven't drawn seriously in years.

The Universe gives us what we need in order to grow; sometimes, we have to go through challenges and what we may view as hardships. If we don't learn our lesson then, the Universe is patient, and the lesson will come in another form later. Our only job is to be ourselves; to really know our wants, desires, and purpose, in order to be a positive part of the world around us. If we do something untrue to ourselves, we surround ourselves with falsities- fake friends, a job we're unhappy with, a lover we don't really love.

This new friend ended up being the first person I saw when I found out my estranged father was diagnosed and in treatment for cancer. He was picking me up to get to another informal sketch group, and I decided that I needed to go. I felt compelled to draw that day.

I have gone through a few emotional breakdowns over the past few days, and a frantic call to my mother, saying I wish I could be there to take care of her, my grandparents, brother, and sister. I feel selfish. removed, and like I'm not a vital member of the family. Luckily, my mother echoed what I had heard a few days before- our only job in life is to be ourselves. I feel like I am on the right route; but, I think it would also be right to modify my life for a few months to be able to be an active member of the family again and still work as a traveling model. I have found a few places in Boston that would be potentially interested in using me as a life model in the Spring and Summer of '11, as well as a few artists in Boston and NYC.

As I type now, I am planning the next few months of traveling, comparing and contrasting Greyhound, Amtrak, and American Airlines. I have a complex system of formulas to deduce which days are best to travel by what mode. But, more importantly, I know where I want to be going. I do not believe I am the best model, the prettiest/ smartest/ whatever. I simply love what I do, know what I have to offer, and know what I want from those around me.

I can't describe how I feel; my father and I have never been close, especially not in the last few years. I had wanted someone that he could never be as a father; he had demonstrated that I was not what he wanted in a daughter. It was easiest to live separate of each other. But what now? The treatments should work, but it is still a shock to realize that we are all human, and only here for a limited time. We should not hold grudges, or do things that displease us just because it is an easier way to live.

In the end, what do we fill our lives with, and why?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Different Experience

Frequent travel can have its downsides- anything from a sore back from sleeping in your car to missing out on time with family. And while I've certainly had my fair share of restless nights curled up in the hatch of my car, my lifestyle as a traveling model has allowed me to see much more of my family than I did prior.

I've never been good at selecting exceptionally profitable jobs. Before working as an art model, I worked in a low-cost veterinary clinic. Not surprisingly, low-cost clinics don't pay their employees especially well. I lived across the country from my family, and visits were exceptionally rare. Even when family members came to visit, I generally was working at least a few of the days that they were in town. I simply couldn't afford to take that much time off of work- nevermind the prohibitive cost if I wanted to fly out to Indiana to visit them. We used e-mail and phone to stay in touch, but I had relatively little face-time with my family.

A schedule with infinite flexibility and frequent travel changes things. I'm now able to visit my family in Indiana a couple of times a year. My father and I have been able to resume our ongoing Scrabble competition. My mother has gotten to know her granddog, Jitterbug. Were it not for the trajectory my life has taken, I would still only be seeing my next of kin once a year, if even that often.

I'm lucky. I know that. I'm thankful for my time on the road- it keeps things interesting, but it also keeps me close to family.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


These are pictures taken at my grandparents' 50th anniversary I was unable to attend:

Family is a very important thing for me. I don't see them enough. I spent two days with my grandparents this past week, which I haven't been able to do since the spring.

My grandmother and I talked about whether I was safe when I was traveling, whether I was enjoying the work I was doing. I said yes, but it comes with a huge cost.

Right now I'm working on getting more established with regular work, so that I can find a home base again, or just afford to spend more time with my family.

You should never live to work; work should enable you to live.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thoughts for newer models seeking to go full-time.. by ShivaKitty

*Reposted with Permission*

I compiled a list of basic suggestions for models looking to eventually make money from modeling. Some people might find these suggestions offensive, or harsh. It is from my own personal experience, not the law, not the Every(wo)man's-Modeling-Holy-Book by any means. Some of these topics have been discussed to death, and beaten into the ground, but models still ask about them, so I provided input regardless.

Before you even consider starting to model full-time, you should be comfortable with the idea of accepting paid work from people whose images you feel are really pretty horrible, or at least mediocre. Understand that many of the people you shoot with will post unflattering images of you all over the internet, and you will have no right to complain since you were fairly compensated, in cash, after the shoot.

When you first reach a point where you realize you *can* make money from modeling, you will NOT just arbitrarily "set" a rate. When that time comes, you will start being offered certain amounts of money per shoot. Often, the amount you will be offered will seem surprisingly low. It isn't. As you model longer, build a diverse portfolio, and have a list of strong references, you are likely to be offered increased amounts of money. Eventually, you will have more control over the rate at which you work. In the beginning, the people hiring you will control your rate. You gain more control over your rate in accordance with experience level, and reputation.

You cannot assume that every person who contacts you is creepy, or harmful. Understand that you will be shooting with a lot of people whom you probably wouldn't care to socialize with in your daily life. Some folks are unpleasant, stinky, have no social skill, etc. You will be shooting with some of these people, yes. However, if they are not disrespectful to you verbally, and if they do not engage in overt transgressions, you are going to be okay. Most people are good people. Most photographers and artists do treat their models very well, and with respect. Have some trust in the goodness of humankind. You will be pleasantly surprised with what you find.

You should be comfortable setting personal limits, but also be flexible with those limits when you realize you have started outgrowing them --- and yes, many of the things you start off saying "never" to become okay to you, or even fun, after you have been shooting for awhile. Your personal values are likely to change, because modeling full-time will force you to grow in areas of challenge that many people never even encounter, let alone go out and face bravely.

Do not let other people determine when you have outgrown certain limits and boundaries. You will know. You. You. You. You.Will.Know.

Certain things, that modeling full-time kind of forces upon you, will increase your self-esteem, your street smarts, and your personal savvy. An example is travel. I never traveled alone until I started modeling. Now, I do it a lot, and I do it fearlessly. Modeling just changes you. It really, really does. It changes who you are, how you interact with the world around you, how others perceive you. You are either able to go with that natural ebb and flow - grow with it, rather - or not.

People will often try to convince you that you are not worth the rate/trade/compensation you feel your work is worth. Either agree, or move on. You might find out that you're not so great after all, or you might discover that you are -in fact- talented, and great at what you do. Anticipate that your perception of yourself, and your perception of your work's value, will shift as you grow personally from your new experiences.

Be willing to spend a lot of time on the road. In 2009, I was putting an average of 500 miles per week on my car, and I did additional long-distance trips (requiring airplanes). There are ways to travel cheap(er), such as trading shooting hours for airfare, but it can be difficult to wrangle up these jobs. Getting started traveling to shoot tends to happen naturally over time. It is not worth hurrying; when it's time for you to work elsewhere, it will happen.

Time and time again, models you think are uglier, dumber, or less experienced will be selected for jobs, while you will be rejected. You will learn that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, and you are the perfect model - for a DIFFERENT photographer.

You will lose old friends who refuse to support you, but you will gain new friends within the industry, who understand where you are coming from, and care about your goals and development as a creative person.

You will become jaded about some things, because -as with any job- the stress wears on you over time. You will become more open to many, many lovely things that you would have never experienced working in an office, or in doing retail work.

You will likely evolve in a "hustler" of sorts. You learn to negotiate, bargain, weigh options, etc.

You will become very good at managing your ever-changing schedule.

You will need to decide, relatively early in the game, whether you want to keep your modeling life private, or whether you want to "come out" to your family and friends. If you are over 18, and living independently, whatever you choose to do with your body and likeness is your personal business, and yours alone. Just like your personal finances stop being your parents' business once you are working and out of their house, so does the ways in which you choose to use your body. If you choose to share the information, wonderful. If you don't, it's your heart/mind/body, and only you own it.

You will be well-advised to use a stage name - religiously - for any nude, erotic or fetish work. No one should have to tell you that this shit can come back to bite you in the ass when you are 45, and running for mayoral office. Even if you use a stage name, it can still come back to bite. Just keep that in mind.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tools of the Trade

Let me start off by saying that this is by no means a comprehensive, or universally applicable, list. This is just the list of what I've found to be especially useful in my work as a freelance art model. I bring very little with me to shoots, so I've broadened my scope somewhat. Rachel Jay has written a similarly-themed list here, but hers is geared toward people who model in clothes, and who know how to apply makeup. If you're one of those clothes-and-make-up-wearing types, then I'd highly recommend checking out what she has to say. Similarly, there are some items on my list which others have done perfectly well without.

Now that we've got that disclaimer out of the way, let's get down to it. What is the stuff I use?

1. Hairbrush, and her friends the hairties- Messy hair works great for some images, but not all. For figure work in particular, being able to pull my hair up into a bun is quite useful. The hairbrush and a few hairties travel with me to every shoot. Hairties live on the handle of the hairbrush, instead of on my wrist where they would likely leave elastic marks. Which brings me to...

2. Loose clothing- This means no socks, no underwear, and nothing so tight-fitting that it will leave impressions in my skin when I take it off. I usually opt for jeans which are slightly too large for me and a tank top or tee-shirt.

3. Cards- Especially when sitting for drawing groups, I’ve found it to be quite useful to be able to hand out cards with my name, stats, and contact information. It communicates that you are serious about modeling, and it also makes it easier for people to contact you and hire you independently.

4. Modeling robe- Again, this one is mostly useful for drawing groups. While it doesn't strike many photographers as odd for me to remain nude during breaks, that is a major no-no for drawing groups. Some groups have robes on-hand for models, but not all do. Bringing my own robe means that I have something to easily throw on for breaks.

5. My car- Though I do occasionally travel by plane, much of my travel has been done by car. It allows me to easily reach artists who are way out yonder in the suburbs, and it allows me to stop by much smaller markets along the way. Anymore, I’ve found that small cities with next to no local nude models are great places to stop for a few days on my travels. Plus, my car is incredibly fuel efficient. It is because my car gets 40ish MPG that I can state that anywhere from Cheyenne to Denver is “local” to me without cringing.

6. Sunblock and bugspray- Part of being a nude model is making sure that your skin is in reasonably presentable condition. While I’ve had some faux pas moments along the way, I strive to make sure that my skin is all approximately the same non-red shade, and isn’t specked with mosquito bites.

7. The internet- Be it with my blackberry or my laptop, I strive to stay in touch with the world. If somebody needs to contact me on short notice, whether to hire me or to cancel on me, I want to know sooner rather than later. Coffeeshops have, at times, felt like a second home for me as I utilized their complimentary wireless to take care of business while traveling.

Again, this list is of the items that I have found indispensable in working as a freelance model. Those occupying other modeling niches, or with different travel styles, will have a different list. It takes some time to find your own groove, and what works best for you. Lists like this one, as well as the lists that others have made, can help you on your way as you find your rhythm.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Airport Camaraderie

I don't care for airports. By and large, I've found that they bring out the worst in people. To start with, you're pulling from a segment of the population that has a well-developed sense of entitlement. These are Big, Important People, with Big Important Places to Go and Things to Do. Airports take these people, process them assembly-line style through security, shuffle them into a holding area with crowded, uncomfortable seating, and then tell them that their flight is going to be late because of a thunderstorm, a broken part, a delayed flight crew, or because that's just the way the cookie crumbles. And no amount of self-importance can change that.

Hooo boy, that rarely goes over well. I've found airports to be permeated with a thick tension in the air, with everybody right on the verge of snapping. All it takes is a single catalyst to set off a nasty reaction.

On my way home from New York to Denver, there were more than a few catalysts. Nasty weather all along the east coast left travel a mess for many airports, including Newark, my point of departure. Flights were being delayed or outright canceled right and left, and folks were finding their travel plans effected by more than just a slight hiccup.

But shockingly, these repeated obstacles weren't met with hostility. The mood at gates B41-B48 was one of patient humor. Stranded travelers cracked jokes, helped one another with working around delays, even shared phone chargers. None of us were thrilled to be faced with the circumstances, but it was collectively recognized that a foul mood wasn't going to change anything. And so we banded together, and stuck it out with humor. After dozens upon dozens of flights over the course of my lifetime, it was the first truly pleasant and inspiring airport experience that I've ever had. So thank you, fellow travelers through Newark. It sure coulda been worse.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Touching, adjusting.. "May I..?"

Touching is fine, as long as you're courteous and respectful.


To photographers:

I take direction amazingly, and I'm great at posing myself.. but even I need help sometimes. If I'm holding a pose, adjust my hair, outfit, body parts etc. as need be.. just be polite about it.

If you aren't sure if it's alright, ask "May I adjust...(insert whatever needs adjusting).. for you quickly?"

When moving a body part, please make sure it's not a load bearing point.. I've had people yank my leg out from under me and cause injury and bruising because they weren't paying attention enough to realize my entire body weight was on that foot at the time.

And please be gentle when moving body parts. Yanking my chin around, pulling my arm almost out of socket into a position that the joint isn't designed to go into, etc, can cause issues. If you more me quickly and gently, then if there's an issue with the pose, it can be figured out before it causes injury.

If adjusting clothing or hair, be quick and professional. Clothing shifts, we all know this. If you aren't comfortable doing it yourself, ask the MUA, hair person, etc. to do it for you, if you aren't wanting the model to shift out of position.

If the model isn't comfortable with your conduct or communication, and you know this, ask why. You can't get answers to questions if you don't ask. If you can't make it work, then end the shoot.

In general, as long as you're efficient, polite, and communicate your intention, there's rarely an issue.


To the models:

You're a model. At some point while you're doing this, you need to accept the fact that you generally have no personal space while shooting. You may have limits as to what manner you may be adjust or squooshed or squeezed or prodded, etc.. but for the most part, get the hell over it.

I've had people with an arm up to their shoulder up a latex skirt to adjust it. I've had my boobs squooshed, squished, fluffed, shifted, etc. I've had my bikini/underwear shifted, lifted, pulled, etc. so that I could maintain a pose the photographer wanted.

I've been shifted like a mannequin into position, shifted myself into position, had my arm, leg, hand, head, etc. shifted for me.

Some people communicate differently. I work with a lot of inexperienced photographers, and many of them aren't really sure how to give direction verbally, so when I'm having trouble understanding what they would like verbally, I ask them to shift me into what they had in mind, or tell them I'm comfortable with them doing so at any point in time, as long as they conduct themselves in a polite, professional manner.

There is a difference between a good touch and a bad touch, but you, as models, need to realize that sometimes, you WILL need to be touched, adjusted, squeezed, squooshed, etc. If you aren't comfortable enough with the photographer, MUA, stylists, or whoever need be touching you, then you shouldn't be working with those people in the first place. Get up, get your things, and walk out the door.

In my 500 +/- shoots in the last 3 years, I've never had an issue with being "touched" in a non-comfortable manner that wasn't a result of poor communication, and if the communication wasn't working, the shoot ended.


Listen to each other, talk to each other, learn from each other. You can't learn to improve your posing or direction to suite the individual shoot needs if you're scared to death of offending the other person(s).

Photographers, if you have trouble giving verbal cues, or the model isn't taking direction well, then TELL them so. Politely. Explain the issue you're having, and ask if you may gently & quickly adjust what is needed.

Models, get the fuck over it. Really. If you aren't comfortable with something, say so, politely. Explain the issue you're having, and figure out how to resolve it. Half the posing, skill, and knowledge I have as a model, I learned from communicating with the people around me at the shoot, and allowing myself to be worked into a position or such as needed. Sometimes it's things you never noticed, and being made aware of it as an issue can improve your skill and talent as a model.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Where Are You From?

I used to think that about the most annoying possible answer to that question was "All over." Really now, nearly everybody has some sort of a home base. Be it where their family is or where they last lived, you have to have somewhere that you're from.

Oh, how times change. It's a question with which I'm faced fairly frequently, and over the past year, it's become a bear for me to answer. Do I reply "Colorado," where I'm legally a resident, but have only spent about two months of my life? Should I answer "Ohio," which I used as a base of operations for much of last summer? Or what about "Seattle," the last place that I truly feel that I lived? How about telling people "I'm from Indiana," since that's where I was born and raised, and still have family and friends?

Or maybe they intend the question differently. Maybe they're asking where my last stop was. Does that mean I should tell my well-intentioned questioner where I camped along the way the night before, or the last city that I stayed in? Or would it be more appropriate to give an abbreviated replay of where all I've been in the past... week? Month? Three months? Did the trip that took me to Salt Lake City, where I currently am, begin in Wendover UT, San Francisco, Seattle, or Denver? All of them could be legitimate answers.

Do I awkwardly attempt to explain all of that? These days, I just throw my hands up, accept the irony, and tell people, "I'm kind of from all over." It's easier that way, I promise.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

From me to you..

I've been shooting full-time, one or two shoots (sometimes more) a day for almost two year now.

There is very little in the way of "art nude" I haven't shot on multiple occasions. I have extensive work in many other genres as well.

From me to you, here's a few things:
Statement from a model: There were two photographers who started saying negative things to me right off the bat. With one it started via text messages where I apparently didn't express enough excitement? and then every few minutes it was either a story about his crazy sexcapades or "why aren't you having fun." I wasn't having fun, I didn't want to know about his sexcapades or the models he shot with who let him photograph them having sex, and I didn't want to shoot the level or eroticism he did. But, him saying something negative only made me more quiet.

At some point, you need to make a decision. [i]Is this shoot/money worth more then my personal comfort and/or safety?[/i]

If someone is behaving or discussing things you are not okay with, say so. Politely. "I appreciate that you've had a lot of interesting experiences in your personal life and/or with other models, but I'm not very comfortable with you sharing these with me."

The moment you don't feel that you are in a safe or "okay" enviroment, you need to leave. Period. If you're being pressured to shoot work that you didn't agree to, and "No." isn't sufficient, gather your things, get dressed, and go.

Being a model doesn't mean you have to put up with things you aren't okay with, and being paid doesn't mean you're property. You, as a human being, have the right to exercise your free will. If you don't learn to set your limits and stand by them, you won't last long. Be gentle, firm, polite, and if all else fails.. be on your way out the door.

Statement from a model: With another guy it was like I get there and my make up is wrong, my hair is wrong, the clothes I picked out (from his collection) aren't right. And then it's like, why aren't you happy? I don't know, maybe you shouldn't just tell me I did a bad job without having a solution.

Option A: Sometimes, people just aren't suited to work with one another. If you feel that you aren't able to suite the needs of the shoot, concept, etc. .. then bow out gracefully. "I feel that I am not the right model for what it is you're trying to accomplish here, and I would like to suggest we discontinue this shoot, and possibly try again in the future with something that may suite our dynamic better." If they paid you, refund it. If they didn't, part ways.

Option B: Sometimes a photographer gets this.. idea.. in their head of the perfect hair, MU, clothing, etc. and you will simply not be able to match the lovely ideal they've created. Accept it, and do your best to be the best model you can. Next time, just don't work with them again.

A lot of times, one must "grin and bear it". Working with people you don't normally work with, and learning to handle personality types of an abrasive or non-cohesive nature are part of learning to deal with the world. Do your best to be polite, patient, and understanding. If it's beyond your ability to manage the situation, then exit the situation.

Statement from a model: Unless I really like a photographer I'm not necessarily happy at a shoot. I'm probably too busy concentrating on my pose and my facial expressions and I really can't chat if I want the right expression in a picture. A lot of photographers are kind of like dentists in that respect, how they don't realize you can't talk freely while they take a picture.

Darlings, if you can't find a way to enjoy what you're doing, then don't do it. I may not be overly joyful during a shoot, but I do very much enjoy my work. I deeply adore the movement, emotions, energy, and art of it.

You don't have to bounce like a baby bunny, but you DO have to be engaging, pleasant, and polite. You CAN actually have an engaging conversation while shooting.. it's actually better to do so. It keeps you relaxed and connected with the person you're working with. Spending every ounce of concentration on your poses, face, etc, will only serve to make you appear stiff, tense, and disconnected with your work.

And honestly, you're new. You've barely begun to work with people, and the world doesn't revolve around modeling. If you're not enjoying the people you're working with THAT much, find new people.

Statement from a model: Being entertaining doesn't mean you're having fun. I'm entertaining a lot of the time when I'm bitter and in a shitty mood. And sometimes I'm really happy and quiet as a mouse. Feeling an emotion and expressing an emotion are very, very different.

when I said "sometimes it's just a job" I mean, sometimes I'm just okay about the photographer/the concept/whatever rather than thinking it's super cool and wanting to capture the perfect shot. I always give it my all, unless I feel unwell for some reason, or a photographer like the one I mentioned keeps putting me down.

No, you don't have to have fun to be entertaining. You do, however, need to be engaged in what you're doing and who you're talking to. Entertaining someone generally requires being able to connect with the person(s) you're addressing.

Learn to express what you don't feel, and to feel what you can't express. Like it or not, being a model isn't just "stand and look pretty", especially as a freelance model. You are also having to network, market, engage, create, and dissimulate. You need to be your own worst critic and your own biggest fan.

Whether or not ANYONE ELSE in the room thinks you're beautiful, talented, vivacious, creative, or amazing... YOU need to think you are. By modeling, you are placing yourself at the mercy of someone else's heart, mind, and imagination. You're taking the risk of being put on a pedestal you may not be able to balance on, and you need to be able to take the good with the bad, filter it for the useful information, and continue on learning, growing, and developing as a person and model.

Creating beautiful images isn't a one person pushing the button job. It's an everyone in the room job, and it is VERY much your job. If you can't love, hate, live, and learn from the good and bad parts of your job, then find a new job.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Seven Point Five Weeks, Eleven Hours

Those numbers are how long I've been on the road, and how long I slept last night. Respectively, of course. It was a highly enjoyable journey, all in all. The highlights, encapsulated as data points:

Six beds, five couches, three mats on the floor, one hotel room, and one very snug thermarest in the hatch of my car.

Fifteen shoots, one drawing session, and one painting class. Six cancellations, two of which were last-minute.

Three national parks, two national monuments, and many more national forests.

Thirty six stupid camera phone pictures of Jitterbug, my four-legged travel companion.

One oil change, zero flats.

For the next month, my travels will be limited to the stretch of I-5 between Olympia and Seattle, Washington. I'm staying with a dear friend in a trailer in the woods in Oly. I must say, I'm looking forward to spending a non-nomadic month here, re-energizing myself, and planning out details of my next stint on the road.

Monday, January 18, 2010

There are days..

Ya, I've almost throttled my share of people.

I have to purposely schedule days of nothing at all so that I can give my body recovery time. I've no internal clock left, no regular sleep/eat schedule.

I've had more then one photographer try to pull that "I do more work & invest more time/money then you do" crap. They usually realize how much of an asshole they are when I then sit down, and show them exactly what it is I have to do every day for me to make all this work.

There are days though.. when it gets overwhelming. Days when I'm commuting for 10-12 hours, when my spine feels like it's tearing away from my body, when I'm exhausted and starving, but can't really sleep because I can't fit comfortably enough in a full plane & can't bring myself to eat much because then I feel sick to my stomach when flying. Days when I've been shooting once, twice, three times a day for the last week, and then dealing with someone calling and throwing a fit because they don't understand why I can't fit them in my schedule this trip.

But then you have those days where it's worth it.. where you know this is who you are and what you should be doing. When you meet photographers who you click so well with that the shoot rolls like water in the sea. When a 4, 6, 8 hour gig leaves you feeling wonderful and amazing and beautiful, when you're energized and excited about the work you just did. When you get to meet those other people who make you laugh so hard your ribs ache, smile so much your face hurts.. those people who can completely relax you simply with their presence, who make you feel happy and safe and comfortable. When you get to visit new places that catch you off guard.. a glimpse of a sunset over a hill, the water breaking on a dock.. the odd musical quality of traffic in a major city, or the soft whispers of rain in a forest.

I love it. With utterly every fiber of my being, with every twinge of my soul. It's who I am, what I am.. it's what makes me tick, makes me breath. It's my passion, my heart, my blood. It's the music in my mind, the twinkle in my eye, and the dance in my step.

I hate it also. With a fiery burning passion sometimes. But that burning, that aching, that horrible frustration and exhaustion.. it what makes the loving, beautiful days so much more so.

And I'm so glad for it.


Shiva Love's ( addition:

In order to do this, I've made it not into 'work,' but into a lifestyle. I've sacrificed my ability to have a 'normal' existence, since the things I've experienced modeling, and the lifestyle it's created for me, has put me far outside the mainstream. I have surrender my ability to fit with most groups of people, even if they're in my age group and socioeconomic class. I have sacrificed my ability to ever be a public school teacher, a public servant, a politician. I have given up my right to a certain type of ownership of my own body - since many people now own many pieces of me. I fully accept that, at any point in my life, I could be the subject of negative criticism and public ridicule. Every day, I am stereotyped in different ways. I could be asked to leave my neighborhood, place of worship, or resign from my job.

In exchange for those sacrifices, I have gained a sense of personal accomplishment, independence, a notion of what makes life worth living. I have tangible proof of the beauty one life can create. I have rejected those old taboos and fears about my sexuality. I have encouraged, though my work, other women to do the same. I have learned to understand and care for my body as a resource and a point of pride. I have learned to care for my mind as a creative tool. I respect what I have, as an individual, to give to the world. I have looked at the world, and seen how I could recreate it in a unique way.

No one can convince me that I don't invest a lot...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Skip the Interstates

It's embarrassing that I need to be reminded of this, but I do. Unless it is my goal to get from Point A to Point B in the least amount of time (in which case interstates are the clear winner), they are best avoided. Stay on the interstate and you find occasional scenic views, but mostly the same fast food joints and gas stations regardless of where you are. An overabundance of these interstate staples does not a good road trip make.

Venture away from I-XX, and you begin finding the good stuff. The little charismatic towns, the jaw-dropping scenery, and the narrow, windy roads that are just damn fun to drive. I was reminded of this again today by my host in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was leaving his place for Albuquerque. I'd been planning on taking the easy, obvious route of I-25. He suggested I take NM-14.

The drive was gorgeous, and routed me through Madrid, a town that my host had characterized as "a mining town that was bought by hippies." So far as I can tell, it's a pretty apt description. I paused at a local restaurant for a delightfully tasty and satisfying salad, then proceeded on my way. One could point out that taking the state road put me a few miles and a few minutes out of my way, but that begs the question of exactly what my way was.

To be sure, there are times when I really do just want to get to my destination as quickly as possible. I do not want to be all warm and fuzzy and exploratory. I just want to get there. But other times, the destination is secondary, if it's even known at all. It's the time between Point A and Point B.. Point C... Point D... that matters. Over the next few months, I'll be making my meandering way through the southwest and up the west coast. I know approximately where I'll be when, but still have a fair bit of flexibility. I've also made a point of blocking out several days at a time for losing myself in the desert.

The only way for me to do that is to get off the interstates, and so that is what I'll do. So here's to the meandering one-lane highways and state roads. I can only guess at what I'll find.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Whatever Tomorrow Brings, I'll Be There!

The more I travel and the more people I meet, the more I understand a quote as simple as my title. There are so many people from so many places who if they called and said I need you now, I'd be there. We're not super close, we don't talk every day, but they're like family now. I think it's something that has come from traveling all the time. I meet these people and I have 7 days or less living with them and getting to know them. I'm so open that I just tell them now. My life seems like some sort of open book.

Sure, there are few things that only a few people know, but I spend the most time with them. Those are the people who could be in outerspace and I'd figure out how to help them. This community is stranger. It's one of the strangest I've seen. SoCal is a scene, but this group is so different. We trust so easily, but befriend only a select few. Those grow to know us better than anyone else. They're the ones you call lonely at 12:30 am and say can you come over, I just want someone to be around. And they come, they get it.

Something about the loneliness of this business and the closeness enthralls me. I love that I have these people. I wouldn't trade it for anything. However, in a way I already pay the price of a strange loneliness

You can also view this on my regular blog