30 March 2015

ten years ago today

ten years

ten years ago today, I started this blog.

exactly 1,185 posts later and here I am. I didn't know what I was doing, I didn't know how long this thing would last or where it might take me but I didn't care. I didn't know and I didn't care. I just wanted the space. I needed the space.

ten years ago today, ava was four, ezra was a baby and I was in the trenches of motherhood. knee deep in the place where you weep with exhaustion one minute, are swallowed up with love the next. when you feel at once like you are both drowning and flying, when you are consumed with love, absolutely transformed by it but also sometimes find yourself on all fours beneath the dining room table, scraping peas off a dirty floor at three in the morning. you live for sleep, for freedom but you want them to stay little forever. you can't imagine them any other way, are sick to your stomach at the very thought but dream of the day they become completely self-sufficient beings so you can go on living a normal life, whatever that is. if you are a creative, you struggle to find where your creative self begins and motherhood ends. or, where motherhood begins and your creative self ends. the truth is this: there is no beginning or end. instead, the two things co-exist in a way you previously thought impossible. they run from the same faucet, folks. from slow trickle to gush, depending on the day, the hour, the minute.

and so I was deep in the trenches of motherhood, grappling with said things when I found my way into the blog world. no rules, no schedules, just show up, write, share work. so I did. and almost instantly, I fell in love. it was the one thing in my life at that moment that didn't expect a thing from me. it was just there, exactly when I needed it and not a minute sooner, when maybe a minute was all I had, when I was nursing ezra with one arm and typing with the other, when all I could manage with my free arm was a hunt and peck lowercase situation. no rules, it didn't matter.

and if no one cared, if no one read, that didn't matter either. the having of the space was enough for me. but ten years and 17,959 comments (really, 17, 959!) later and I would be remiss if I did not properly acknowledge just how profound the interaction here has been for me. that people even read, take time to comment, this still surprises me, humbles me. if this is you, has ever been you, thank you. a hundred times over, thank you.

I wish I had the numbers, I wish I'd done the work. number of words written, hours put in here. number of photographs shared, polaroids, photobooth fridays. creative projects started, finished, not finished. number of lists posted, number of collaborations. times I've been right, times I've been wrong. number of shamelessly maudlin posts, number of times I used all caps to yell at the internet, times I've been forced to both explain and defend my lowercase habit. number of posts that mean something to me, number of posts I'd love to delete. number of actual real world jobs landed via this weird little place, number of experiences, adventures, people I would not know in real life were it not for the blog, people I absolutely cannot imagine my life without. from the blog, of all places, the blog.

in the ten years I've been here, my children have nearly grown up. ava's a teenager, for pete's sake. ezra is poised at the very edge of it. we moved to the opposite end of the country, found our way out to the great pacific northwest, to portland, oregon, and then seven years later, found our way back home to the south again. somewhere along the way, an old polaroid SX-70 camera cracked my personal work wide open. my words and photographs have been published in both books and magazines. teaching happened, workshops happened. ward turned forty, I turned forty, our marriage turned twenty years-old. and my mom. I lost my mom.

still, the blog was here, is here, through everything, here. undeniably, the landscape is changing and I am probably not unlike the stubborn little house in the city, dwarfed by high-rise buildings and skyscrapers, sorely out of place. the one who refuses to give up her little plot of land no matter how drastically things continue to change around her. after about a year of blogging I can so clearly remember thinking, how long can this thing go on? I mean, really? how long can we keep this blogging thing going? five years? ten years? surely not. surely we will not all still be blogging ten years from now. I mean... what would that even look like?

well, I guess this is what it looks like. at least, one little piece of it. I still don't know what I'm doing, not really, but I like it here. and I think I'll stick around. probably not for another ten years but you never know, you never really know. so here's to the ever-changing fantastically lovely, undeniably goofy blog world. here's to ten years of the unknown, the unchartered and here's to the future of this here crazy place, whatever it may look like a decade from now.

65 comments:

  1. ten years! what a feat! i'm glad you decided to share in this space and happy that i stumble upon in it somewhere along the way.

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    1. thank you, friend! you've always been a friendly, familiar face in this here internet ocean and I'm thankful for it, thankful for your voice, your space too. xo

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  2. Cheers! My little wooden shack, dwarfed by skyscrapers is only a few neighborhoods away :)

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    1. fist bump to my fellow little wooden shack! xo

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  3. clapping my hands and stomping my foot, throwing hats in the air, honking horns full of confetti :::: having a hypothetical celebration party on this blog's--and your--behalf. have I mentioned I'm grateful for you and this space? because I am.

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    1. thank you! I can hear the stomping, feel the confetti! I can, I can! and it makes me so happy and so grateful and well, just thank you for your always (always) thoughtful, kind and encouraging words. I do not always feel worthy. xoxo

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  4. Congrats on your blogiversary! 10 years is huge. We're glad you're still here.

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    1. thank you! still so weird to think of it! a decade! gah! xo

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  5. thank you so much for those 10 years. it's be beautiful watching you and your family grow and love.

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    1. thank you! for stopping by here over the years, for kind words, for all of it. xo

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  6. My blog turns ten this week too : ) Maddie was 2.5, Gracie was three months old. And I also have thought many times along the way: how long can this go on? And yet, I'm still doing it. Happy blog-anniversary! —Elizabeth (the commenting box keeps making me look anonymous)

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    1. happy ten year blogiversary, friend! (just a little bit late). how crazy is it to think back on how little our kids were when we started doing this? still messes with my head a little. :) xo

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  7. wow, amazing that you've been writing here that long! when i see a blog that is five years old that seems sooo old compared to my three year old blog. but ten! awesome job at keeping at it. the internet is very much a blog graveyard and then there are gems like yours in between.

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    1. thank you! and blog graveyard! ha. totally. totally. and three years is nothing to sneeze it! but I know what you mean. good for you, for the way you keep on keepin on. xo

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  8. happy 10 years! yours is probably the first blog I found/read/followed and I've always appreciated your way with words and am grateful for your sharing of life and color, lists and projects, hope and dreams.. when I started reading your blog I was a college kid, futzing around on the library computer while studying abroad in Cape Town and now am a (crafty, color-loving, SX-70 wielding, photobooth-appreciating) mama of two and am glad for the paths and communities forged by mamas like you!

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    1. you know, it's comments like this that sort of blow my mind. that this space could somehow connect me with a college kid in cape town somewhere along the way. tickled pink I was one of the first blogs you stumbled onto and honored that you still come around. and to know that you are now a fellow color-loving, SX-70 wielding, photobooth-appreciating mama of two... well, that just sends me over the moon. thank you. xoxo

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  9. I always marvel at your words. Today is just as true. I adore your photographs and all you share. As I read your words in this post I couldn't help but think I'd love to read a book by you. You have a passion for life and the wonderful observations and joys you find are in turn a pleasure for us your audience to behold. Thank you, thank you for you.

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    1. oh goodness, thank you. thank you. can I type that again? thank you. because the book thing is a dream, an idea I rarely let myself entertain. honored that you suggested it, that it'd be something you'd even read, honored by your kind words. xo

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  10. Wow, happy 10 years. Here's to many many more words and photographs...

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    1. thank you! cheers to you and your lovely words and images too, friend! xo

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  11. Ten beautiful years. Thank you for hanging in there. xo

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    1. thank you. and thank you for hanging in there with me. xo

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  12. happy blog birthday, girlhula. your words and pictures and, above all, heart, have made my days more vivid for 10 years. and so for that, thank YOU. you paint the world beautiful. thank you for inviting us in. the gift is all ours.

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    1. oh gosh, thank you! for coming around here for so many years, for reading! thrilled to pieces to have been any bit of brightness in your day. thank you for taking the time to tell me, thank you for for your lovely words of kindness! xo

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  13. Cheers to you Andrea!!! You certainly bring so much color and inspiration to my life. Thank you, thank you, a thousand thank you's for sharing yourself and your world on here!!! XOXOXO

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    1. oh lucy, thank you! a thousand thank yous right back atcha-- for coming around here, for the encouragement and kind words! xo

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  14. Happy 10! Thank you for your beautiful photos, and especially, your beautiful words.

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    1. thank you! thank you so, so much. xo

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  15. About 5 years ago I was told I "need to check out this blog". Drawn in by your inspiration and creativity, I have been following it ever since. Thank you and happy blogging!!!

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    1. oh goodness, thank you! can't tell you what that means to me. really! thank you! xo

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  16. Happy blog birthday! I'm so happy I've discovered your blog (in 2007, btw).

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    1. thank you, ilaria! thank you so much, friend! xo

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  17. Oh Andrea, you are on of my blogger inspirations because what you've built here is a jewel - real, raw, unapologetic, creative, inspiring, heart-full... I love to see your posts and miss the days there aren't any new ones. My regret is I never made the effort to meet you in person while you were in Portland. Here's to 10 more years (and more!) of blogging craziness; I hope I can live up to my expectations of what a blog should be after enjoying yours for so many years now. xoxoxo XOXOXO

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    1. oh, thank you! thank you! honored, humbled, on all accounts! and yes, so bummed we didn't get to meet! but you know, I won't be able to stay away from the PNW, I just won't. am already planning on doing an instant photography workshop out there... so I'll be back! and we'll just have to make it happen then! xo

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  18. Wow, ten years! I've been reading your blog for many years, but not that long! :)
    Thank you for sharing your pictures and your words with us!

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    1. thank you for allowing me to share! thank you for comin round these here parts. xo

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  19. phew, for a minute there i thought you were bidding this space farewell! cheers to double digits! ^^kelley^^ told me about you about three and a half years ago, and i've grown quite attached. i would have been sad to have seen you go so i am, indeed, overjoyed that is not the case! keep on doing what you're doing -- we all love it.

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    1. ha! I wondered if some folks might think that... honestly, I've considered it a couple times but I love it here too much. I'm sure the day will come but not ready yet. I'm still enjoying this little space. and I'm thankful for kind souls like you who come around here with kind words. xo

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  20. Thank you for sharing your loves, your photos, your words!

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    1. thank you, tammy! for allowing me to share it with you! xo

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  21. How did I even find you? So glad I did all these years ago (long term lurker, newbie commenter). I always wondered about the lower case. I wanted it for my own but somehow that felt like stealing. One of my favorite spaces on the interwebs.

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    1. thank you! and I was wondering how we found each other, if it was on instagram first, or through the blog world. this place is such a crazy place but I'm thankful for it. and for the people we find. xo

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  22. You may not know - still - what you're doing, but something is guiding you. A kind of bravery that allows you to feel around in the dark. I feel that way about IG, not really knowing the what and why of participating, but when someone such as yourself takes a moment to say: "This makes me happy." I stop and think, well that, however fleeting, has got to count for something. Thank you for the happy and sad, the triumph and failure, the ups and downs and the flatlines of this slice of your pie. With love, G

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    1. oh gosh. thank you. and boy but that was lovely. wish I'd written it myself. so much truth in it, the why in why I share, the why in why I find so much joy in what others share. thank you. xo

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  23. Thank you for all the inspiration, my twins thank you for the birthday morning donuts they got this year, I'm always happy to see a new post on your blog. Your photos make me swoon. Happy ten years!!!

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    1. ack! I am responsible for birthday donuts? this makes me infinitely happy. and thank you! for the kinds words, thank you! xo

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  24. thank you thank you thank you for continuing to share here. even when we're all wondering what we're doing here. i'm so glad you've stuck on. (and yay for the lower case habit- no need to defend!). xoxo

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    1. oh julia, thank you. you feel like an old friend, like someone I grew up with because well, we've been around here for a while, we're like neighbors. feels like I know you in real life. maybe one day we will! anyway, thank you! for coming around here, for your kind words, and for your lovely words and images and your internet space too! xo

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  25. Thank you for keeping this going and being the little house the offers up so much charm and inspiration. I look forward to every post - way more than almost every other blog out there.

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    1. thank you! thank you so much! really, I can't say it enough. it just means so much to me. xo

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  26. oh congratulations on ten years of this blog! and thank you for your inspiring and honest words and photos xxxx

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    1. thank you! oh gosh, thank you. means the world to me. xo

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  27. and still a favorite place to come visit. happy 10 years! xox

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    1. thank you, jan! so crazy to think of where we were ten years ago! I'm so glad I found you early on, glad to call you friend. xo

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  28. You are one of the first modern photographers that turned my head. And now that you're in my city, I kind of stalk you a little and keep hoping you'll host a workshop? A walk-around? I would be there, just sayin'. I am currently in the scraping peas phase, but I do it with my Pentax ME Super and my digital Nikon on the floor beside me because you are totally right in that it all runs together. Thanks for doing what you do!

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    1. oh gosh, melanie! thank you! I mean, really! kind, kind words. and my friend, there's a workshop in the works! but I didn't think about a photo walk... that could be cool. I will keep you posted! xo

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  29. Ten years! Oh my! How time keeps on moving. We love your blog and look forward to another 10 years of missives, images and thoughts over here in Wales :) W, L, F, E & Olive (the cat)x

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