A Light Up Ahead | 6.6.21

The Sunday Edition

It’s been rare, hasn’t it, good news as of late? We’ve been trapped in this vicious cycle of doomscrolling the bad, desperately seeking the good, and most often coming up empty. By now you probably realize that I’m a firm believer in science, in the compassion that comes from caring more about the welfare of your fellow man than yourself, by now you probably also know that I’ve been stagnant and still, unable to work, travel, or live the life I spent so many years building, for well over a year and a half now. By now, we’re all looking for just a little bit of light, a little bit of resurrection. For the first time in a long, long time, it might just be near.

A barometer I’ve used over this last strange 16 or so months, a tool to gauge how things are truly going, has been the New York Times. I’ve found, — I could be wrong on this but in all the research I did to find honest, impartial, and fact-based reporting, the NY Times most generally did me right — that despite my deeply human desire for things to just “Be ok,” they still very much were not. The headlines that kept popping up on the Times reminded me day in and day out that as hopeful as I was, there were still ten million reasons to be cautious, fearful, and generally bleak. This was not done in a cruel way, not by any fault of the Times, but because in general, the world was in a pretty rough spot, still is, and this far-flung idea of a ‘new beginning’ or a spirit feeling resurrected at all was ages away. Then, then, my friends, came the headline on May 21, and a quote in the article that gave me, silly me, a jolt of an unfamiliar feeling: Hope. Here’s that headline, so you can see what I saw that morning.

The quote that moved me most was simple, but it was effective enough to make me ache harder for a new beginning than I have in years. It said:

“After almost a year and a half of sickness, death, grieving and isolation, the progress is cause for genuine joy.”

Genuine Joy. Have we forgotten this? I know there have been pockets of happiness for us all scattered throughout this strange pandemic soaked year and change, but JOY, has seemed entirely elusive for many of us. I know that we’ve still a long way to go, I know we still have so much work to do in lower income countries that have not had the blessing of access to vaccines that we have, I know we have to stick together still, take care of one another, that we have to put energy, money, and resources into getting everyone, everywhere, clear of this beast of a virus, but my goodness, we’re on our way there.

Saying this, I’ve found something interesting in the years of my life I’ve been kicking around, and it is this: Often, RIGHT before we’re in the clear, we feel our heaviest. Right before we’re saved, we give up, give in, and fall apart. There are reasons for this, many well documented and backed by, yes, science, but that’s for another time. I’m here, instead, to check in with you all. On a personal level, I’ll divulge what it’s been like on this end, in the hopes that it gets you, some or all, to open up and start a conversation with me, with each other, about how this strange year+ has been for you, truly, not on a superficial “I’m Fine” level. On our end, we lost more than a year of business, for starters. As wedding and elopement photographers, we have built a business that shoots 98% of all our work outside of Montana. We travel for work, a hell of a lot. In 2020, we had 26 weddings scheduled, all over the USA, Ireland, and Scotland. All but one was canceled or moved, and in the time since, many of those that rescheduled, have had to cancel completely, schedule a different photographer, or chose to get married privately without need for photographer. In all of this, we’ve not had an actual, honest, real paycheck since February of 2020.

Listen, I don’t care about money, I’ve never been one to buy expensive cars, care about the clothes I buy, and I don’t have any “toys” habits that make me spend money on frivolous things, but losing all income for a year means I am terrified, constantly, about supporting Sarah and the kids. It’s absolutely petrifying trying to make a go of it when you’re self-employed and when you’re on the Autism Spectrum and so “normal” jobs seem impossible. Add COVID and a global pandemic to this, yeah. Recipe for disaster. Saying that, we’re ok. I’m a saver, and we’ve been ok, and starting this newsletter has been a finger in the hole in the dam in a lot of ways, so for all of you, Thank you. Beyond this though, MORE than the loss of income, it’s been the loss of travel, of the life we have carved out for ourselves, that has hurt the most. We are used to traveling, often, and to go from that to absolute forced stillness has been a shock to the system I think we’re still just beginning to understand and dissect.

Again, we’re ok. What I want to know is this: How are YOU? All of you? Don’t give me the canned bullshit responses, this isn’t that kind of newsletter, not that kind of Signal Fire. Tell me. Share, and open up, and allow others to help, to heal. I think we can do so much good reaching out to one another, that I’m actually going to open up comments on this one post to 100% of you, even those that haven’t yet taken the leap behind the tiny paywall. (If you haven’t yet, I really do think you’ll get so much value out of the $5/month…I’m constantly working on extras to add for your generous subscription!).

So…sound off…in any way you choose. How are you? Do YOU feel the new beginning coming? Do you feel the hope? Open up, we’re here.

A new beginning,

a spirit resurrected,

a light up ahead.

Haiku on Life by Tyler Knott Gregson

Song of the Week

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