Finding a boyfriend was pretty much impossible at my high school. The first impediment is that I went to an all-girls-catholic school. The second was that the boys that went to the all-boys school that we shared prom and homecoming with were far from my type.
One of them once asked me what I was reading.
“It’s Henry Miller,” I said.
“Yeeeaahhhh… didn’t that dude write a play or something,” the jock responded.
“No, that’s Arthur Miller.”
I began to think that I would remain a virgin for all of eternity. Back then, my requirements for a boyfriend were few but specific. Knowing who Henry Miller (my favorite writer) was, was paramount.
The lack of boys wasn’t the only problem with my high school. Cornelia Connelly of the Holy Child Jesus (yes, that was my school’s actual name) was a college preparatory school. That meant that our electives included advanced chemistry, bio-chem and other non-artsy classes. I longed for something creative.
Our dance class which consisted of our teacher (a former ‘fly girl’ from the 90s sketch comedy show In Living Color) parading around the chapel in yoga pants with a camel toe and making most of us feel inadequate that our thighs jiggled when we walked, didn’t cut it.
So, I signed up for a winter session photography class at the local university. I really did want to learn what an f-stop and shutter speed were, but I also had this romantic notion that I might find a boyfriend in the class…a weird artsy outcast boy who read for pleasure, loved Nina Simone and had a corduroy jacket with leather patches on the elbows. I had visions of my new photography boyfriend and I spending long afternoons in coffeehouses reading poetry and then speeding through a tree-lined canyon on his motorcycle. Yes, my imaginary poetry boyfriend liked to read and had a motorcycle. He was smart artistic bad-boy. Basically I was looking for Kathleen Turner’s beatnik guy from Peggy Sue got Married.
The first night of my photography class my dream was squashed… completely. Everyone in the classroom was older than me. Most of them were at least twice my age. I decided that instead of finding my soulmate, I would actually learn how to take a decent photograph. When the class ended I’d learned enough to vow never to use the automatic camera setting again. Twenty years later, I’ve kept that promise.
My first camera (the one I used in that class) was a hand-me-down from my dad. It had this awesome embroidered 1960s strap. When I got a digital slr, I transferred that strap to my new fancy camera. The strap has gotten pretty ragged (it’s 50 years old after all). Lately, I’ve been thinking about getting a new one. true to my DIY nature I did a little research on making my own strap. These twelve lovely camera strap tutorials totally inspired me! I’m a little sentimental about letting go of my dad’s strap.
Sometimes we have to just let go. Just like I had to let go of my dreams of marrying a motorcycle riding poet soulmate. I’m glad I did. I got married six months ago. My husband may not have a motorcycle but he does have a corduroy jacket with leather patches on the elbows, plays bad-a$$ guitar and makes me remember how beautiful the written word can be when I read something he’s written. AND by the way, he does know who Henry Miller is.
What have you had to let go to make space for something new?
*Big thanks to all the awesome bloggers and makers that created these tutorials. All photos credited to the respective websites and creators.