Late, the night before Claire and I did our shoot together, she and I decided that we were going to get up far before the sun and drive an hour and a half out of Nashville.
I often ask people that I shoot for Project 104 where they like to be in times of thought and reflection. Claire made her way out to Nashville from Portland a little over a year ago. These cold falls and the teal pool below them quickly became a safe-haven for her.
On little more than a nap, we headed out and made it to her favorite spot just as the light was starting to peek though. To get down to the falls, it’s a short but steep hike. The temperature was already cool and dropped at least 15 degrees by the time we got to the bottom.
I’ve said many times that I believe we really create for the experience of creating, and let me tell you… getting in that water was an experience! The only colder water that I have been in was in the glacier mountains in Washington.
Watching Claire wade into the chilling waters of that pool is a memory that I will hold onto forever. Her willingness and love of the experience speaks to the remarkable qualities of what it is to be human. Furthermore, it speaks to the remarkable quality that is Claire.
Only having known her for a short while, I’ve seen her grown and change so much even in that time! She’s the type of person that gives me hope for humanity and I know the world is being made better wherever she is.
Claire herself can be anything but quiet, but her strength is often a quiet one. That’s not to say that it goes unseen. She will speak her mind, but what I see more than anything is Claire’s strength being shown by example. She is constantly striving to be there person that she wants to be and is making all those around her better versions of themselves. I would say this is especially true when it comes to Claire’s strength as a woman and advocating the strength of and for women by her example. Humble and honest yet still striking and courageous.
Claire is headed back west in a few short weeks. It’s hard to know what life will hold, and there’s a chance that I will never see her again. That thought is certainly sad, but I take comfort in knowing that she’ll be wherever she is and being Claire. I feel that she’s only just begun to understand her potential and I can’t wait to see what she does with it!
Love Aimlessly, My Friends
What gets you out of bed everyday?
Of all the reasons that I can think of I would say that on most days it’s anxiety. I say ‘anxiety’ in a good way because I wake up saying “Oh boy gosh! I have so much stuff! I have so many things to do!” It gives me anxiety to just stay in bed past a certain hour. I think that it all boils down to this curiosity that I have. I’m so fucking curious about people in general. I think some people are curious about what nature does and how the oceans work and how the stars are or how to put machines together. For me it’s people. Not only other people but I’m curious about what I can turn myself into. So when I wake up in the morning I just want to start figuring that out. New experiences and new challenges for myself. I’m curious about my own potential and what I am able to do. I think a lot of that comes from spending so much time as a girl and young adult just doing what I was told and not understanding it. Just going through the motions I thought that I was supposed to. Going through the motions in school so I could get good grades and get out of school and not disappoint my parents. Going through the motions with friends and what I thought it meant to be a good friend and be supportive. Also with men and sex and what I thought that I was supposed to do and like and be when I was with a man.
So I guess, overall it’s curiosity that gets me out of bed.
Even if I sleep in and I wake up and it’ 9:30 one of the first things that goes though my head is “Oh my God! What’s going on out there?!” Sometimes I’ll wake up and go get coffee only to get back in bed to start reading and writing. It helps me figure things out.
To date, what is the greatest lesson you’ve learned?
I think one that has shaped my entire adult life I learned in a geography class, in Boise State. It was after I flunked out of the University of Idaho because I smoked too much weed and I drank too much and I didn’t go to class. I have to go back home with my tail between my legs and move in with my dad. I registered for classes at BSU. I was taking a geography class and early on in the semester walked in to the teacher giving a lesson about how we view space and the world and our ability to see the bigger picture.
She drew a circle on the board and said “This circle is everything that you know you know.” Everything that you know for sure. Your name. Your address. What color your hair is. Even down to your personal opinions on things. How to do your job. Books that you studied.
She then drew another circle outside of that one so that it looked kind of like a friend egg. She said “This circle on the outside is everything you know you don’t know.”
Maybe you know that you don’t know shit about geometry. Or maybe you don’t know how an engine works, but you know that you don’t know those things. Things that you can see as being something that you want to or could learn.
She then said “Okay… Everything outside of this fried egg… everything on the board… everything in the room… every space outside of this… is everything you don’t know that you don’t know.” Things that you have no concept of even existing.
She also said “When you become aware you become accountable.”
Those two things combined were so humbling and made me feel so responsible. They stick out as being my most valuable lesson and have played a lot into how I conduct myself and relate to people.
What is love?
It’s definitely a practice. It’s… Oh God! “What’s is love?!” I wish that I had a smart, articulate answer. I wish I was one of those people. When I think of giving love or receiving love, before I can do that in a way that feels right there’s a level of self-love that I have to reach. The more time that I spend figuring myself out and what makes me happy, and loving myself for those things the more I feel like I’m understanding what love is. I guess I don’t know quite how to describe that in words but I’m learning how to do it better though action. There has to be a level of vulnerability.
It’s a hard question. It’s so simple and so complicated at the same time. It’s hard for me to describe because I feel like it’s an emotional feeling of an action. Like when people come in for a hug and give you that side hug versus someone that you’re able to give just a genuine fucking hug. For two seconds you’re both able to drop all of the bullshit that’s around you and just hold this person.
I’ve also thoughts about love as a frequency that you can dial into and operate within.
Love is like… having the words to say what you want but taking the time to say it in a poem.