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in real life

you are just like me. eye to eye. in real life. years of photographs walk into the room now three dimensional. we are all the same in real life. thousands of words scrawled across paper now have voices that float and faces that smile. for real. that’s you. hi you! i’ve known you my whole life and this is exactly as it should be.

i am. you are. we are. all together.  it’s why our magnets were drawn to one another in the first place, it’s why we kept coming back for more words please, you speak to me. it’s why we keep coming back to certain images that reflect what i feel inside. you are stronger than you know.  cherished. believe in yourself. no fear.

in real life we reflect our passions in mirrored lamps, peering closer and closer. all the while smiling. you are just like me and i don’t know why i ever questioned that. insecurity seems silly now. thank you for this gift. we speak of dreams to come, textures, fields, foods. we speak of how we got to where we are. our stories crisscross intertwining across lines strung with flowers, clothing, words.

this is comfort in my own skin.  your inner demons are my own.  as is your outward beauty.  we are all the same. and i love what i see.

in real life we are faces in elevators meeting for the first time with hugs upon recognition.  you know me through my words. you know me. i don’t know what i was so worried about. being seen is being loved.

we are fun shoes on carpeted floors and elevators to private suites. we are room service and city views and truths told and truths shared. we are all the same.

we are five women reflected in mirrors on our way out the door to more hearts open wide. we are the realization of all our dreams and wishes. intentions set. being seen through someone else’s eyes helps me to see myself.  i am this person.  i am this body floating in water.  this woman in a window.  i am this self portrait, and i’m beginning to believe it.  i am this meredith winn. i am this camera shy momma.  yes i am. i wonder how you could have seen me before i saw myself but it doesn’t matter anymore. now i see and know and feel.

in the moment, this conversation with feet on hardwood floors, photography hung around us. a paintbrush in your hand. i am these words you are painting on my body.  no introductions but simply “i know you!” from my favorite author hugs and smiles and feeling at home in appreciation and reciprocation in honor and awe.

i am me when i am with you. over the years we grew this relationship without even knowing it.  we walk together and find ourselves in hallways jumping and laughing in bathroom mirrors. we are private car conversations.  we are gorgeous hanging chandeliers.  we are kids inside, all of us. and it is so very good.

beauty is curled beneath blankets on couches. drinking water from wine glasses. darkened city skylines through open curtains. open hearts. beauty is honesty revealed. true to life. we are all the same.  our stories intertwine.  we are laughing laughing fall apart. we are all this and more to come.

this is not me recreating who i am. this is me being who i’ve been all along … and just now finally realizing it.

this is like nothing i’ve ever experienced before.
being seen.
in real life.

thank you.

time well spent

Take a roadtrip with us to see the Mom 2.0 Exhibit in Houston!
{view the slideshow}

chop wood. carry water.

life for most of us becomes routine. mundane, if you will. so much so that during infrequent gatherings that highlight our week, the women i am surrounded by {my tribe} well, we find ourselves searching for something more.

the mothering road for us is 5 years long now, and it’s winding us around curves we never knew existed (with many more to come as lots of you know.) while we go through our daily lives, together~separate, we search for a bit of ourselves on this path. hoping we’re not getting lost along the way, always looking for the perfect combination of life and parenting.

how often do we get the chance to share the most real version of ourselves with our children? not the wiping noses, bums, and tears. not the goodnight kisses that carry us through the long nights. but the passion, the individual passion we each have in our own hearts. {whatever that may be} in some of us it looks like photography, cooking, designing, fortune 500’s, or running a triathalon. these important bits of ourselves are unique to us, and they shine through the daily life, even if it feels they don’t. these bits are pieces of the puzzle that make us real.

and when our children get to witness this? these unique pieces of us? well, it makes their eyes sparkle.

this week my focus was firmly set on friday. this is when i’ll be attending the Mom 2.0 Exhibit reception at the Fotofest Art Gallery. however, yesterday a holiday provided my son and i with an entire day to spend together. i dreamed up a roadtrip to Houston, because i felt a very strong need to hold my son’s hand in that very space i would stand this coming friday night.

what i wanted most was to share this piece of my life with him. to put my feet next to his on the hardwood floor, to sit and laugh and relax with him by my side, seeing these bits of me all around us. all i really want is to give him a gift, an experience that just might tuck itself into the folds of his memory.

this was time well spent.

i feel like i carried the sisterhood there with me. all of you so far away. all of you in my heart, and those of you who i carry in my pocket. i carried this sisterhood in through the entrance, side by side with my own motherhood. as well as my own individual dream {for what it means to me}

my intent was to share it with my son. but i came away wanting to share it with the sisterhood as well because the energy there was undeniably strong. and to think it all began with a fistful of maps and a tank full of gas. all the way home i had a familiar sensation in my chest, in my heart, in my smile. oh yes, now i remember: this is me, happy!

take a moment to view the slideshow of our journey to Houston that delivered us to this most amazing atmosphere. the gallery is an amazing space of light and wood, walls covered with beauty all familiar.

on friday this room will come alive with voices. but yesterday, in all its silence, this exhibit was very much a living breathing creation.

valentine

it’s 6am sunday morning:

“mommy get up.”

…. silence ….

“it’s too early to get up yet.”

“but mommy i want to build with legos.”

“can you get up on your own sweetie?”

…. silence ….

“mommy will you still look like this when i am 17?”

{we do this from time to time. me, perfecting my horizontal parenting. him, worrying about the future and if i’m going to up and change on him. i’m not yet sure how to explain that change is gradual. and one day i’ll look at him and wonder where the little boy disappeared to while he’s wondering what happened to my face.}

“well, probably. i’m not sure. i might have more grey hair.”

“mommy get up.”

“you know, when you are 17 you’ll be able to drive and you’ll get up on your own, in your own bed, and you probably won’t want momma around so much.”

“when i am 17 i’m sure i’ll still want momma around because i love my momma.”

“and i love you. and i’ll always want to be around you when you are 17.”

“mommy get up.”

“okay.”

“but mommy. first can we snuggle on the big bed?”

“sure. why?”

“because i love you.”

happy valentine’s day!
xo

layers

it’s 6am. we have no heat in the house. this is the first of four layers i put on.

5 years ago today it was cold. and there was a fire crackling in the woodstove while wood was being chopped outback to replenish our supply.

5 years ago today i baked cupcakes and i could not possibly foresee the events that would bring us to where we are now.

5 years ago today i wore this same black tank top at 6am when i went into labor. what would prove to be 20 hours of back labor to a posterior baby. 20 hours of labor that resulted in the homebirth of a 9lb 11oz baby boy.

5 years ago today i did not expect any of the events that followed his birth.

now i expect the unexpected.
and i know that a warrior lives inside of me.

artist series :: a conversation

a few weeks ago Madelyn asked me for an interview… to join in her artist series over at Persisting Stars. i was honored. and then… i didn’t know what to say.

am i an artist? what does that mean to me? to others?

the entire interview process was amazing, and it revealed many things to me about myself, things i never knew. i love how words, thoughts, emotions, questions, and photography can do that to me. i would highly recommend reading her questions, and using them as a writing prompt for your own creativity. you’ll be amazed at where they take you. i know i was.

if you’re interested you can read my interview here.

being seen

in a matter of weeks i’ll attend a reception in an art gallery. my photography will be hanging there. many photographs from many of my friends will be hanging there. i’ll be surrounded by women i admire, women i have only known online for the past few years. women i have never met in real life.

and i don’t know why, but i worry about being seen. will you recognize me? the real me? really? it’ll be the first time i step out from behind my computer.

that’s me. camera shy and introverted. it’s all good as long as i’m holding the camera. my security blanket, my way to get space while in a crowded room. it has something to do with my hands. they flutter when my cheeks turn crimson, when i think about how i can type much faster than i can speak.

i am anything but boisterous. or loud. infact, i’m downright quiet. but that’s no surprise. it’s my energy. you’ll feel it, right? the way i watch and smile and blend into the wall making myself seen only when i want to.

there is this give and take in friendships.
there is trust.

there is this amazing community that surrounds me, and i’m ready to walk right up to and say ‘hey! it’s so good to finally meet you!’ and truly mean it. (and then hope that i don’t trip and fall in my heels… my god, what the hell am i going to wear anyway?!)

i must say that i’m very excited to come face to face with so many amazing women. it’s truly an honor. but i’m nervous. i know it’s silly, but it’s true.

*and if you are planning on attending the Mom 2.0 Summit and/or the art exhibit on Friday February 19th, please email me so we can be sure to meet!

mothering the mother

i am the child of many mothers.  women of the neighborhood.  my mom’s best friends. the recipe clubs. the book swaps.  the mustard  yellow kitchen phones with stretched out cords.

i speak to them now as an equal. somewhere along the way, we crossed a threshold, i was unknowingly indoctrinated into their club. we are all mothers.  i have my own circle now.  and with each day that passes i find myself fluctuating between being someone’s child and being mother to my own son.

it’s a constantly shifting floor.
one that is tricky to walk on.

any letter that begins with “My Little Meredith…” is going to wreck me. i know this now. it’s going to fill my heart with love and truth and empty it with honesty and reality.

“You were always like a mother to me, ” i tell her, “i’m not sure if you knew that.” of course she knew that. she was there in the late 70’s with the shag carpet, the atari, the tuna casseroles and dorothy hamill haircuts.

she knows more than i know. she knows my mother from the inside of parenting. just as i know my friends now. i wish i could be the grown-up version of me back then, i wish i could sit in on their circles not at their feet as i often was, but at their side and know them as the women they were. 

i wish… i wish…

“You were always special to me,” she says. and years of sleepovers, backyard swingsets, and clotheslines by the creek zip past my mind.

she was not much older than i am now.

~~~~

a friend of mine told me recently that she was thinking of this the other night. this role i’ve stepped into. the go-between for my mother’s friends. she thought of this while looking at her own daughter. she thought of this while thinking of our own circle of cell phones, emails, book clubs, and blessingways.

it wrenches your heart with sadness to think of this, our possible future. our own children calling those who helped raise them. crossing time and roles to embrace what has past and what is yet to come.

today and always, i know this:
life cannot be lived without hope.

collective genius

often it seems that both hands are full of light and dark, but good always prevails. i have to believe this. i’ve seen it with my own eyes. i know it to be true with my own heart.

i feel blessed to be shining on the edges of this collective genius. to witness this community from the sidelines, cheering it along, fanning the flames from my own little corner of the world. all this makes me very proud of the power people recognize in themselves. this is more than just a gathering of amazing women, all creating something positive and powerful… this is the collective genius.

this type of art show: mixed media ~ woman focused… is made of magic. it’s the most real kind of magic imaginable. this type of project is what keeps my heart afloat.

light like air.
light like sunshine.

and so i just wanted to pass it on and share the love. if you are close to Houston, you should try to stop by!

“Tide shifts created by a community.
A community created by moms.

At this year’s summit we’ll honor this community and its milestones at the Friday night event with this one-of-a-kind art exhibit at the FotoFest gallery.”