the happiness that attends disaster

In Inspiration
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The world is feeling like it is all just too much lately. I’m sure it’s not the right response (is there a right response??), but I’ve been thinking back, looking back, circling in. Back in the day – jeez, more than a decade ago now – I participated in a series of self-portraiture classes put on by Kristin Zecchinelli and Meredith Winn. It was a look inward and also a lesson in community building. I set out on a self-discovery mission only to find myself in those who I came to deeply love.

I was looking back through on some of my favorite images from that time, partially wishing I would undertake a project like that again, but also just really enjoying the trip through that headspace from what feels like lifetimes ago.

The beauty of flickr, though, is that more than just the images from that time that are preserved. Comments from friends, groups and albums, and my own commentary on each image are still there. I was struck by the “yes, yes THIS”-ness of the quote that accompanied this image.

“Emotions, in my experience, aren’t covered by single words. I don’t believe in ‘sadness,’ ‘joy,’ or ‘regret.’ Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I’d like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, ‘the happiness that attends disaster.’ Or: ‘the disappointment of sleeping with one’s fantasy.’ I’d like to show how ‘intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members’ connects with ‘the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age.’ I’d like to have a word for ‘the sadness inspired by failing restaurants’ as well as for ‘the excitement of getting a room with a minibar.’ I’ve never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I’ve entered my story, I need them more than ever.”
…Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

So here I am – looking back, looking forward, not knowing where to turn, how to make things better, but pushing on nonetheless. Resting for a bit in those train-car emotions. Letting it be okay for it all to feel like too much.

All the best,


  1. Thank you for giving me a new phrasing for the things I’m feeling, and for your photos. The title of your post is so descriptive of the year I just went through. Hugs

    • Sometimes those just so turns of phrase happen along. I’m glad you found it here šŸ˜Š

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