Detroit, love and the lack thereof

I fell in love with Detroit when I wandered through a street with my best friend, snapping photos as we sneaked up on Michigan Central Station. I fell in love with Detroit when I drove through the city alone for the first time despite my parents’ expected fears. I fell in love with Detroit when a homeless man stopped me and my friend to tell us about growing up and fulfilling our dreams. I fell in love with Detroit when I locked hands with people I didn’t know in Mexicantown, praying over what may be, for some of them, their only food for the week. I fell in love for Detroit when I biked through the city with thousands of other people, laughing and yelling and taking in a new angle of the neighborhoods.
Detroit may look like it is falling apart, but beyond the side the media always lets us know about, there’s beauty, there’s community, and there is love. Hate in and for Detroit can only survive if we let it. Poverty and death and blight are very real, but so is love. Love is powerful, love is life changing, and love is so desperately needed.
It’s so easy to avoid what needs to be changed, so easy to hate what needs love the most. Detroit, looming under a cloud of stigma, Detroit needs love. And I fall in love with Detroit each time I step foot inside its borders.

To Be Nothing

Here I sit, sheltered from the elements by a door, watching the sun rising over the worn brick of the building I work in. Snow coats the ground, though it can’t sparkle due to the dead grass it rests upon poking through.
I think I am content, but only content. My mind is racing with the desire to explore, the need to escape for some time. In sync with my mind, my eyes dart back and forth with anticipation for where I could be. Or is that the coffee I just drank? Whatever it may be, I’m here, awake and alive, so I must refrain from complaining. I just feel like there is something missing, the passion and feelings that come with the fiery desire to create and explore.
I am a writer and a photographer. My entire purpose is to create, and to create meaningful content. I cannot lie dormant. I cannot choke out the creative need that fills my soul. I can sit silently, neglecting my camera and notebook, but doing so would only neglect myself. I have tied to drown out what I need, usually unintentionally, and the result was horrible. I will never be truly happy unless I am shooting and writing.
Even days spent in the frigid cold, kneeling on the hard ground and trying to shoot as my fingers and toes lose all feeling, are days far better than the ones I don’t use my camera. Photography is a part of who I am. Writing is a part of who I am. I believe “writer” and “photographer” better describe who I am than any adjective ever could.
What I have found is that what simply makes me happy and complete, defines me. What began as a hobby out of curiosity has exploded into a major and crucial aspect of my life. While cameras and capturing moments intrigued me and  I have been writing for enjoyment for as long back as I can remember, I had no idea these time fillers would one day consume me.
If there’s anything I know about love, it’s that it is a blazing passion deep within our souls that spills out uncontrollably. My feelings toward my camera, toward the words produced by my mind, are nothing short of love. The mere concept of snapping a photo, of writing a sentence, they are such simple actions, yet they encompass my being. To be completely and utterly passionate…That is love. To me, my camera is far more than an object—it is a lifeline, a connector to my grander purpose. Without it, I am nothing.

All I Can Offer

I’d like to say I am a happy and positive person. It’s quite a change from the person I was just a few years ago, down and out, looking for the worst in things around me. I was mean. I was rude. I had some vendetta against everyone and everything. I don’t know what was wrong with me, but I seemed to think the world around me was what was wrong.

Now here I am, 20 and a junior in college, a few years away from that person that seemed to hate everything, including life itself. Here I sit, writing this with one of my closest friends beside me, and I think I can say I am happy.

I don’t think I have ever really known happiness before, or at least the true and complete happiness I am feeling now. Of course there are days when I feel low, back at the point where I feel like everything is wrong, but there is something so different here. Now, my biggest goal is to not only continue to better myself, but to improve the lives of those around me.

I have been blessed with an amazing group of people that surround me. From close friends to people I interact with here and there thanks to social media, I have discovered some of the strongest, brightest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. These people are sweet, kind, and caring. These people deserve to be happy. But many of them aren’t, and it breaks my heart.

Knowing what it feels like to feel at the very bottom with no where to go, it truly upsets me seeing these people down at that point. I feel this need, this force telling me that I need to change lives. Even if I only put a smile on the face of one person for a moment, I think that is an accomplishment toward making a difference. Sometimes I feel as though I will come off as weird or creepy for trying to reach out for people, especially those I do not know well, but at the end of the day, I have decided that who I am and what I wish to do is important. If I feel like someone needs something, I am going to give what I can to them, putting aside the fact that they may be confused as to what my motives are.

My motives are to make and see people happy. My desire is to make friends and help those friends grow like my friends continually help me grow. My purpose is to change the world, even if that means only changing the lives of the people I have been lucky enough to cross paths with. If I am not helping people, I do not see any other reason for my existence.

A (very) short piece on passion and friendship

Passion is one of the most alluring qualities of a person and I feel truly blessed to have friends around me that are filled with passion. To me, there is no better feeling than watching how someone’s face lights up when their passion fills them or the way their voice changes for the same reason.A passionate happiness is true happiness and all I want for the people in my life is for them to be happy. As someone who is absolutely driven by passion and devoted to my passions, being surrounded by such people is truly special. There is a difference between people who are passionate and people who are not, and I believe a passionate bond is much stronger and more valuable than one that lacks such passion. I take a great deal of my happiness from watching the happiness of those around me and I see a true beauty in seeing the effects of passion the the people I call friends. I cannot even begin to explain the way observing those I am closest to experiencing their passions makes me feel. I would put the happiness of my dearest friends over my own any day, especially if I get to see them smile and laugh over something that is actually changing their life.

You Got Me: An Open Letter to My Best Friends

I know I get really busy and in over my head. If I’m not working, doing something for school or the paper, or shooting, I’m probably sleeping. I know it seems like I either don’t care at all or care way too much. When it comes down to treating you like you’re the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, it is because you are. I swear that even though I seem like I never have time for anything other than building myself, I think about you so much. I know that it probably isn’t easy to maintain a close relationship with someone who might seem like they don’t even care about you all the time, but I can promise you that every single day, I say a little ‘thank you’ for the people that I have been blessed with. While my daily communication can be slewed with stress or other problems or, the worst, sometimes nonexistent, I will always be by your side the minute you need me, whether that is figuratively or literally (and I truly hope it always comes down to literally because I would drive hours for you).

So, to my best friends, to the best people on this earth (okay, that may seem a little excessive, but to me, you are), you’ve got me if you need me. If something happens and you need me, call. Even if you just need a friend in the middle of the night, please let me know. I don’t care if I’m sleeping, out and about, working on something important, or even taking a test, I will drop any and everything because you are the ones that deserve it. I don’t really think I deserve you so I want you to see just how much I care about you. I will drop every single thing to help you because while my time may seem so limited most of the time, you deserve all the time I could possibly offer and more. Don’t hesitate to come to me because I will not hesitate to help you. I don’t allow many people to get very close to me because I like to be choosy about who I allow in; I have allowed you in because I love you and I would do anything, absolutely anything, to be there when life gets rough or you’re just feeling alone. That is what friendship is all about, and while working my butt off to work towards my goals is great, these bonds we share mean so much more than a success on paper.

No matter what, you have me.

Some Insight on Change

There was a point where I let my closest friends walk all over me, believing their words over their actions and feeling I found the most amazing group of people to be surrounded by. A year ago I was lying on the floor screaming and crying about how one of those people kicked me to the curb with no explanation. Months ago I was crying while begging one of my close friends to speak to me or return my calls and text messages. I gave my all to people who sucked the life out of me and filled me with empty hope.

Today, I am talking to some of the most understanding and like-minded people I have ever met. I have found a tight knit group of friends in my program at school; they support my goals and ambitions. They understand my dreams and they have helped to build me up an immense amount thus far. I have advanced at the paper at school, meeting a group of outstandingly talented people. I can talk about what I hope for, what I fear, and where I want to be headed without feeling belittled, judged, or pushed down. I don’t feel like I am walking on glass, I don’t feel awful about myself when my words don’t come out right, and I can finally say I am completely happy. Healthy, supportive relationships are so important to our well-being. That being said, don’t go skimp on redeeming qualities in people just to have someone to hang around with. That person may be fun to spend time with for the time being, but they will eventually take their toll. Unfortunately, that toll isn’t even always evident.

It almost upsets me to look back and see that I accepted the treatment I was given by people I thought cared about me. I allowed myself to take the abuse of people that didn’t mean well all because I wanted friends to care about me like I loved them. I can’t really be hard on myself, though, because those experiences helped me to see what a healthy relationship consists of. The pain was necessary for the good to come out and truly make sense. Life isn’t set in stone even in the slightest. I fought the changes when they came, but giving in, I learned that there was much better out there, just beyond what I could see. We don’t know what this life holds and sometimes trying to control it completely will destroy us.

Embrace change in all aspects.

Change hurts, but there’s a cliche light at the end of the tunnel.

Overpowering love

Love is a very strange thing. I honestly am not sure if I know what the feeling is, yet I believe I have felt the feeling multiple times. I guess I can’t really distinguish between love, admiration, and happiness, though they are all tied together in some respect. I’ve found love in people, in animals, in moments, in places. I don’t really see how “falling in love” is applicable for one person, as I’ve fallen in love with more humans and locations than I can even count. My heart just seems to be overflowing with the joy of a love, but not the traditional kissing, holding hands love. No love I have experienced has ever been that. I’m not too certain if that means that I won’t ever have that (though it’s not a priority or something I really desire), or that my definition of love is just a bit different than what many people think.

I have fallen in love with songs, with sunsets, with the view of a new and unfamiliar place. I am in love with the smell of fall, the feeling of the weather on my skin, the sounds of this earth in my ears. I am in love with the friends I have had, in love with the people I grew up with, in love with the people I meet every single day. I am constantly adding to my list of who and what I am in love with. The feelings aren’t necessarily easy to describe, but they fit in with my mindset; I don’t want to commit myself to one place or person because I have far more love than the cookie cutter molds of one. I just want to share my love, my feelings, my experiences. This is beginning to sound more cliche than I would like, but it is a simple concept I’ve been tossing around my mind for a while.