Destiny

It’s difficult to describe the moment you realize you’re on the right track.

And that moment came to me today, when I very matter-of-factly explained to my 7 year-old that in addition to becoming an inventor, fashion designer and mommy, she could also be a writer because, didn’t she know that besides her own mother, my parents had each written a book?

I retrieved them from our library and set them next to one another.

And it dawned on me.

I’ve arrived.

This is where I’ve been headed all along.

The line, not straight.

The path, not clear.

The destination, the same.

A writer.

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Dreams

You wanted to sleep on the floor of our bedroom.

I reassured, you were no safer than your comfortable bed.

Shaking and sobbing, you wouldn’t believe me until I explained:

It’s not my job to hold your fears.

Rather,

It’s my responsibility to cheer you on.

To remind you that your courage comes not from me, but from within.

That there, is where you discover your dreams.

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Camille Vaughan Photography

The Traveling Salesman

Wrinkled.

The best way to describe my fingers.

Saturated.

My undergarments.

Rain.

Nonstop for 9 hours as I walked door -to-door on the streets of small-town Ohio.

The Traveling Salesman.

Finally, someone answered.

The furniture, well-worn. The space, cluttered.

Thoughtfully, he leafed through my encyclopedias as he listened to my pitch.

Sincerely, he asked if they would truly help his children.

It was the question I had been trained to answer.

I glanced at the Britannicas on his shelf, knowing very-well how much he had sacrificed to pay for them.

And with my first sale of the day within arms reach and tears in my eyes, I shook my head “no”.

No, you don’t need these.

No, this is not worth the “sale”.

No, this is not for me.

And with that, I thanked him for his time and made my way back into the rain.

Face up. Cleansed. Renewed.

The traveling salesman, no longer.

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Camille Vaughan Photography

 

 

 

 

Better Together

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You wanted to fish.

I wanted to paddle board.

We respected each other’s desires and handled dinner and bedtime solo with the knowledge that we were doing it for each other.

I returned earlier than expected one evening and you breathed a sigh of relief.

Because, as much as we need our alone time, you and I both know

We’re Better Together.

Happy ninth wedding anniversary, my darling.

 

Camille Vaughan Photography

No Time to Lose

They say, “You do so much.”

I say, “There’s no time to lose.”

Just today, my father reminded me that since I was a very little girl, I’ve always been cognizant of death.

I questioned, I wondered, and I experienced it’s effects when my friend Ruth passed away at 11 years-old from leukemia.

I’ll never forget the size of that tiny coffin or the banner the budding artist made of felt for her funeral.  The one she was unable to fully finish.

I’ll never forget the look on her mother’s face then and 20 years later when I saw her again.  The guilt I felt for still living.

And I haven’t forgotten that life is not to be taken for granted, but to be lived.

There’s no time to waste!  There’s no time to lose!

We know not of tomorrow so we celebrate today for the gift it is.

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Camille Vaughan Photography 

The Reason

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POW!

It’s fascinating how authors of graphic novels have nailed that onomatopoeia.  Because, that’s exactly how it felt when he punched my face, breaking my jaw.

Thrown back into the closet from the force of the punch, I stood up and looked at him quizzically, as if to ask, “Really?”.

But truly, I had always known it would come to this and had been almost waiting for the inevitable.

The reason to leave.

He left for class, I headed, mouth bloodied and all, straight for the rental office, requesting a new apartment placement.

I packed my belongings in under an hour and called the police when he found my new residence and started to rip them from my car.

I lived my entire senior year of college in fear of seeing him, as I had the previous two years of dating him.

And wondered, as I received weekly ultrasound treatments for my jaw, how I had allowed it to go on as long as it did.

Same old story.

Different girl.

It begins with the shaming.  The belittling. The Emotional Abuse.

And evolves to the physical.

Until and unless we Recognize it.  Name it. And Stop it.

Until and unless we Recognize it.  Name it. And Stop it.

Until and unless we Recognize it.  Name it. And Stop it.

Until and unless we Recognize it.  Name it. And Stop it.

Until and unless we Recognize it.  Name it. And Stop it.

Until and unless we Recognize it.  Name it. And Stop it.

Until and unless we Recognize it.  Name it. And Stop it.

Until and unless we Recognize it.  Name it. And Stop it.

Until and unless we Recognize it.  Name it. And Stop it.

Hold my hand.

Recognize it.

Name it.

Stop it.

You are reason enough.

Camille Vaughan Photography

 

 

 

 

The Paver

Over the years, quite a few friends, especially those moving, have asked me how I’ve managed to make new friends.

The answers always results in a chuckle and long-winded story of me racing on my bike, knocking on doors, or running down full-term pregnant women to find a connection.

Any connection.

I’ve since realized my spider-webbed childhood is to thank.

4 half-sisters, 1 half-brother, 1 step-sister and 1 step-brother will do that to you.

Fit in.

Make peace.

Be the connection.

Pave the way.

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Camille Vaughan Photography

Confession

9 Months.  That is how long I had hidden it from him.

But out like a thief, it came.

My confession.

It’s been 20 years since Columbine but not a day has passed, since before I even had children, that I worried about sending my child to school.

On Friday, the used-to-be-unthinkable happened right down the road from us.

Down the road as in, on our way to school.

As in, my 5 year-old asking why the police-car lights are still flashing 3 days in a row.

12 innocents murdered for no reason other than they. were. there.

My instinct is to protect her innocence. My gut tells me to instruct her where to hide.

Why, in the literal F* H*, is this even a consideration?

He told me that everyone at work knew someone who had died.

I confessed I’ve never said goodbye to Aurora before school without considering it to be the last time.

Why?

Why?

Why?

Why?

 

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Camille Vaughan Photography