”Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.” – Isaiah 43: 18 KJV
Sooo….I had this idea. Nothing new for the wilderness that can be my mind at times, but I wanted to take some selfies and if you’ve been following my IG you’d know I love murals, street art! I find it absolutely astounding and when I have free time, I drive around town to find these gems and take pics. I had a upcoming trip home, as in, home home, Maple Hill, NC and I thought it’d be cool to find street art in the surrounding areas, being Jacksonville and Wilmington. After a failed google search for IG worthy murals, I decided to take pictures in front of what surrounded my childhood home….trees, trash and a rusted shed. I know, not the best backdrop for beautiful pictures. The irony of a preferred scenery behind my favorite blouse and beautiful green dress. I walked away with more than a few pictures, but a reminder of my own testimony and the beauty of the difference between where I came from and who I’ve become.
Just because you can identify with it doesn’t mean you’ve become it.
When I arrived, I immediately started looking around for backdrops for my pictures. The trees, trash and rusted shed were the things that caught my eye and I decided to go with it. The first place chosen was on the side of my parents’ house, beside a small, dirt road there’s a curtain of small trees and dying brush. I used to call it the sugar cane field before my parent’s cleared it to make room for horses. Dressed up, makeup slapped on my face in hurried attempt to capture the sunlight before setting for the night, I took my phone and stand and made my way. Once I got there I decided to step over into the field, where I crept over thorns and dodged branches to snap a few shots.
Typically, when we revisit things in our past we typically try to go back to those things in a better state than when we last left it. The years removed between the situation, memories and emotions creates a space where this mental growth chart should be placed. For some of us the less we try to deny the familiarity means we’re healed. All the while we’re still placing band-aids on old thorns still in our feet and bruises from branches that have hit us in the head from our failure to duck.
What’s understood doesn’t have to be explained.
I then decided to use my grandfather’s old Chevrolet truck. It’s been parked in the same place since middle school. What was once my father’s way of keeping his father close, in a way became mine. Whenever I see it, I instantly think of my father. I didn’t have the pleasure of growing up with my grandfather so, my dad and I would take rides in the truck as he’d tell me about my grandfather. What was once a functional memorial was now broken down, holding old soda cans and an equally nonfunctional lawn mower on the back.
While the memories were so sweet and loving, I had difficulty finding “my good side” and poses that’d make sense here. The ground was very soft and I struggled to keep my balance as my heels drove into the ground like stakes. My poses weren’t stable and my ankles flipped flopped as if they were indecisive. At the end of the day, I didn’t have any creativity with this scenery, so I did what was natural to me and a few of the pictures came out great despite my futile difficulties.
There can be pressure to try and fit into the background, when we are clearly made to stand out. Shifting our posture to make sense between the subject and the scenery can be taxing. There’s no way I could connect my outfit, a bright, green dress, with a broken down Chevy in the backyard. My connection to it is beyond the picture and many times in life we try so hard to show the connection to things that don’t have to be explained.
I say all of this to say. Your background shouldn’t define you. Denying your background won’t help you, embracing it and how it shaped you into who you will. You are the totality of your decisions, not your past. Go on and make the world your backdrop, it’s only the beginning.
here’s a few more of the pics from that day.