When We Can Gather Again

2020 is not what any of us anticipated, except for possibly a few epidemiologists who have been warning this could come for ages. The future feels so indiscernible, so I wanted to take a few moments to write about my present. I’ve mourned before, so to say I’m mourning the temporary loss of my normal life feels a bit dramatic. That being said, there is tremendous grief. Grief in all it’s forms. Grief for the loss of so many lives, grief for the loss of normalcy, grief for the loss of breakfast food with Heidi at The Clique and pottery classes with Justine and walks with Sally and sleepovers with Effie and falling off the wall at the climbing gym and trips to LA or Baltimore to see friends and Saturdays at weddings and so many other things.

I love my job. I really do. There have been plenty of things over the years I’ve been good at, but this is something I’m great at. How lucky am I to genuinely love the thing I’m great at? In school, I was good at math. I f*cking hate math. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you’re going to like it and just because you like something doesn’t mean you’re going to be good at it. I’m glad the stars have aligned for me. I say often during meetings that I have extremely high job satisfaction, and it’s the truth. I love what I do. I love going to work, the way it keeps me on my toes, the way I never know quite what to expect, the chaos, the tradition, the emotion, the stories. In more than 10 years of photographing weddings, I’ve never had to wake up and dread going into work. I’m very fortunate.

In many ways, I’ve practiced my tried and true method of dealing with this grief, avoidance. It’s another thing I’m great at. I have a beautiful new house to work on. I’ve had my hands in the dirt on every sunny day. My animal crossing island is really coming together and I can make some baller homemade pasta now. The one thing I haven’t been able to bring myself to do, since all this started, is look at my wedding work. My job, which I love, has dwindled to emails. There are no weddings to get ready for, no sessions to edit, no meetings in coffee shops with new clients, no cake. I’m currently an administrator, helping so many lovely couples who thought 2020 was going to be the year they got married, navigate the fact that it’s not going to happen this year. I should be spending this unexpected time off updating my portfolio and scheduling instagram posts and working on my SEO and pushing album sales and so many other things, but I haven’t. It’s been hard to muster the will because I know to do so will be to really face what I’m missing.

I miss rooms full of people. I miss the way the laughter from a well placed joke during a toast fills the space. I miss squeezing my way into the middle of a dance floor to get the shot. I miss leaning in to fix a stray hair on a bride’s head or straighten a wayward boutonniere on a groom’s lapel. I miss the (kind of gross) sweaty hugs from couples at the end of the night. I miss bossing around groomsmen. I miss the feeling I get when I position myself at the top of the aisle just before a ceremony starts, the way my appearance there somehow signals the guests to sit up straight and get ready because the show is about to start. I miss cake. I miss seeing my friends at weddings. I miss stealing a few flowers from a centerpiece at an empty table on my way out the door. I miss going to the bathroom to avoid having to photograph the ChaCha Slide. Hell, I even kind of miss the ChaCha slide.

I miss my job. How lucky am I to have a job I love so dearly that to be unable to do it causes me such heart ache?

I can’t wait for the day when we can gather again, for the return of hugs, of dancing, of sharing a meal, of wiping one another’s tears. I can’t wait for the day when mothers can zip up dresses and fathers can say the things they’ve been holding on to. I can’t wait for the day when we can gather again to share just how important we are to one another, just how strong love can be, just how vital our communities are. Until then, I’ll look at these photographs full of people, and remind myself to never ever take those days for granted. And hopefully soon, when the grief gets a little bit easier, I’ll get back to sharing more of this work I’m so lucky to be able to make.

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