Time and Tide Wait for No Man
— Geoffrey Chaucer
The passing of time remains my favorite subject. It started with the 365 Sunsets project in 2007 and seems to be continuing with my love of blue hour photos. Blue hour is that time in between. It is neither sunrise or sunset. It’s basically twilight, a time when the world is neither completely dark nor completely light. It’s a magic time full of hope and possibility.
We are all still here, we are all still standing, and 2012 brings with it the promise of hope.
A Little Background Info
When I was in the 8th grade I fell and sprained my ankle. Come New Year’s Eve at midnight mom had me stand up on my own two feet without the crutches because she didn’t want me to start the new year on the crutches.
What can I say? We’re a superstitious bunch.
Although we are stay-at-home folks on New Year’s Eve I always have us standing up in street clothes as the ball drops in Times Square (no jammies ‘til after midnight). I’ve added my own lil idiosyncrasy to the standing tradition; we have to go outside right after midnight even if just for a moment. Why? I don’t really know. I suppose to me it signifies health and ability.
The 365 Days of Carol Anne Project Comes to a Close
Well kids, it’s day 365 of the 365 Days of Carol Anne project. Today brings this yearlong project to its conclusion. All totaled, I posted 318 photos over 365 days, that means I posted 87.1% out of a possible 100%. Not bad. Not perfect, but not atrocious. I’m both disappointed and proud of this statistic. It’s not perfect. It is however the most committed I’ve ever been to any blog project since Soapboxville began.
I’d be lying to you if I didn’t admit that I’m more than a little relieved that this project is drawing to a close. I’m also a little sad to see it go. It’s not always easy to take an honest look at one’s self but it also gave me purpose, it gave me something I NEEDED to complete each day. It kept me sane, it kept me honest, it offered me a place to open my heart and mind, a place to express myself. I’ll miss it but I’m ready to move on from daily introspection.
Now, on to the hard part …
I started this project as a way to learn to love myself on the outside. In this particular endeavor I failed quite miserably. I’m still rather self-conscious. I’m especially self-conscious of my seriously messed up and missing teeth. This horrifying problem has nothing to do with my cancer. My hideously messed up and missing teeth are from a lifetime of soda drinking and an intense fear of the dentist. I will eventually have to address this problem. I’m a little braver now but there is a mountain of medical bills to be paid before we add dental bills to the ever-growing pile.
On the positive side of the equation I don’t hate the very thought of the sight of myself anymore. Yes, I’m bald. Yes, my teeth are a hot mess. Yes, I’m overweight. At some point during these last 365 days I found compassion for myself. I don’t know if that’s the right word to explain it but I don’t loathe my reflection in the mirror anymore. It’s a start, I guess. When I look at myself now I can say things like, “I like the shape of my eyes” and “I like my smile” and “I have nice skin”. I suppose then this project has not been a total failure. I’m still a work in progress.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Blog Post
Although this started as a way to learn to love myself on the outside I may have instead learned to love myself on the inside. Before I got sick, before the 4 surgeries, before the countless doctor appointments and medical tests I felt small. I did not have a voice.
At some point in my life I just accepted that I was not as smart, pretty, or popular as others around me. I don’t know why. I don’t know why I’d let anyone make me believe I was less than anyone else, but I did. I’ve spent my life trying to blend into the woodwork, trying not to stick out, trying not to be heard.
I grapple with a fear of success that is much bigger than any fear I harbor of failure. It was not until 2 weeks ago when I started rereading this year’s blogs that I saw myself clearly for the first time in a very long time; perhaps ever. I am not weak. I am not defeated. I am strong and I am human, I’ve stumbled along the way, I’ve fallen apart and put myself back together on several occasions but I did not give up. There were days I wanted to, but with the love and support of family and friends I picked myself up and soldiered on. I’m a survivor. By God’s grace and the power of prayer I am cancer-free as I write this to you.
I AM ALIVE
I AM CANCER-FREE
I AM ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY
I HAVE FOUND MY VOICE
I AM NOT WEAK
And so my dear ones 2011 and the 365 Days of Carol Anne project draws to a close here. I am putting 2011 square in the win column. Thank you all for accompanying me on this journey. I couldn’t have made it here without each and every one of you. I love you all. Here’s to a healthy, happy, beautiful 2012 for all of us!
With much love and great affection,
~ Carol Anne
This year end wrap-up took a lot longer than I thought it would. I’m my own worst critic and choosing photos I feel proud of was tough. That said, I do however think that I had a good year photography wise. I’m content with the progress I made this year. The following photos are my favorites from the hundreds I took during 2011. I hope you enjoy!
After I got out of the hospital my neurosurgeon said I should take daily walks so on weekends we’d drive to Washington Lake Park and walk to the duck pond. This photo is from what I think must have been our second visit to the pond.
Every year me, Chuck and my father attend the circus. We all love it and it’s become a yearly thing. This photo was taken on our way home from this year’s trip to the circus.
This photo was taken in Brigantine, NJ the Saturday before I went in for my second skin graft. I always go to the ocean when my soul feels low and I feel empty. This trip sured me up for the coming operation that Monday.
In April the pretty tree in my front yard comes alive with Cherry Blossoms. I spent a lot of time out front taking pictures this spring. The blossoms are only on the tree for a short while before the tree fills with green leaves.
I took this photo in the parking lot of Deptford Mall on the day the world was supposed to end. I was blown away when I got home and downloaded this day’s photos to my laptop. I had not seen the bird in the shot when I took it. If this doesn’t mean that God wants us to go on living and basking in his grace and glory I don’t know what does.
The sun set that day and another day came to a close. Chuck picked up his new glasses and we all lived on to fight another day. I didn’t know it when I took this picture but late in October I learned that there is no evidence of tumor and that I am right now cancer free. This year I’ve read a lot of blogs written by women who have cancer some are still here to blog and others have since passed on. That night I mused that it’s up to the rest of us to be worthy of standing in Lens Crafters’ parking lot taking photos of the sunset on the day the world didn’t end.
You just know the goose from the duck pond is looking at me like, “Bitch please get that camera out of my face.”
My father, who took me to many of my radiation treatments loves to sit down the lakes under a tree and feed the squirrels. On this day I tagged along and brought my camera.
I love this photo, it makes me laugh. We feed the birds and the squirrels in our backyard. It started out as something for the cats to look out at but quickly became one of my favorite things. I love that we feed the backyard critters.
I took a lot of full moon photos this year. This is one of my favorites.
This September 11th was the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedies. Normally I love the news and history and current events but I wasn’t sure if I was up to watching countless replays of the Twin Towers falling so we opted to turn off the TV and head to Cape May and the ocean. This photo was taken at the Cape May bird observatory. I very much like this photo. I think it’s one of my best of the year or ever.
We spent this day visiting the Laurel Hill Cemetery. We were actually meant to go to the zoo that day but 3 whole parking lots were full and so we decided on a less crowded venue. The historic cemetery is beautiful and peaceful. I recommend a walk through on a beautiful day. After leaving the cemetery we drove over to the new South Street bridge so I could take a few photos of the Philadelphia skyline on this gorgeous October day.
We were at the American Swedish Museum, which is located in Lakes for a meatball tasting event sponsored by the South Philly Review. The event ended and the winners were announced just at the right time, which allowed me to take a few photos at sunset from the Gazebo, which you see pictured in the June photos. This too is one of my favorites of the year.
On the night of the November full moon Chuck drove me to the city so I could take photos of the Philadelphia skyline at the blue hour. This and the photo that follows are my absolute two favorites of the year. They were both taken from the South Street bridge, the location from where I took the daytime skyline photo the month before.
In addition to my new obsession with taking photos at the blue hour I was also trying to take as many photos as possible during the month of November because I knew I was scheduled for surgery on December 1.
Our local duck pond has become my local place of solace. When we can’t make to the ocean I go to the duck pond.
This is the only photo I took during the month of December. I like it but it’s in no way in the same league as many of the others. It’s from the morning blue hour and it’s the first photo I took after my December 1 surgery. I wanted to include it so that I finished out the entire year.
Today another leg of the journey came to a close, my home care nurse discharged me from her care. The stitches are out and thankfully I am healing well so Chuck will once again be taking care of my wound care. It’s not a big milestone but a milestone nonetheless. I’ll take it!
I’ll be back tomorrow with my year end wrap up.
~ Carol Anne