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March 30 - My Story | by Brooklyn Hilary
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March 30 - My Story

365 Days: Photo #184 03/30/07


The first bit is sucky. But then it gets better.


A year ago today I was rushed into emergency surgery after it was discovered that I had an ectopic pregnancy. My fallopian tube had burst, making me lose more than half my blood. When I woke up, the doctor told me that if I'd arrived at the hospital half an hour later, I may not have made it.


I looked at myself in the mirror, bloated and almost unrecognizable. But when I saw my big puffed up face and the incisions on my belly, I felt beautiful and alive. So grateful that I had more to learn and discover and experience.


It wasn't long after that I re-discovered my camera. I began documenting life obsessively. My first project was photographing details of Park Slope, Brooklyn, street by street. All my senses were heightened. I saw and captured details that I never before would have noticed. And people began to respond.


I felt a weird guilt attached to photography initially. Was I missing out on life because I was behind the camera all the time? Was I capturing the routines of others at the expense of doing my own thing?




A new world was discovered. I was able to tap into my creativity, which had been somewhat smothered by, well, the way I thought I was supposed to live. For my entire life I'd been envious of people who had passion. Something they had to do. Suddenly photography was that thing for me.


In the past year, I have been able to stop worrying so much about what people think of me. I've made a fool of myself and have encouraged others to follow in my footsteps. A year ago, I never would have imagined, for example, taking a photo of myself in my underwear, much less creating an entire week around it and watching people jump right in... [This photo was part of International Underwear Week - a "holiday" I created.]


I've turned down good full-time jobs and have made it a rule to only do the type of work that makes me feel "warm & fuzzy". I can't buy as many new clothes or go out to dinner as much. But I'm happier than I've ever been.


Throughout the year I've had to make some extremely tough decisions. I've learned to follow my gut when it comes to life, work, love. It's not always easy - for me or for those around me. My happiness is my responsibility - no one else's. And I take that responsibility seriously.



I feel like I should add a poem or something, so this just popped into my head. It's by Shel Silverstein:


Sandra's seen a leprechaun,

Eddie touched a troll,

Laurie danced with witches once,

Charlie found some goblins' gold.

Donald heard a mermaid sing,

Susie spied an elf.

But all the magic I have known

I've had to make myself.



I thought I'd make a big deal of the photo I posted for today, but I ended up just snapping a couple on a whim. It's not perfect. I'm not perfect. I'm just me.

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Taken on March 30, 2007