These are the people in my neighborhood

I hate Texas.

I hate Austin.

And in our house the only swear word you are not allowed to say is hate. But it is so accurate in this instance.

Years ago, just before we left on our Airstream adventure, I got super scared. I called a therapist and scheduled an emergency appointment with him and Thomas. I wanted to back out.

“What is your biggest fear?” he asked. “What is it that you’re so afraid of?”

I explained that the purpose of this trip was to find our Home. That I had moved every two years and just wanted to find a place to lay down roots. And then I started crying and said these words, “My biggest fear is that something will happen and we’ll end up in some terrible place… like Texas.”

Thomas laughed. The therapist laughed. “That will NEVER happen!” They assured me.

And here I am.

For the last 5 years I have tried to fall in love with this place, and failed. I’ve tried to love the city streets and the crowded parks. The libraries bigger than hotels and the hotels for miles. I’ve tried to love the dry earth that cracks like the heels of the old ladies at church, their swollen feet shoved into too-small sandals. I’ve tried. And failed.

And then last week I realized I am never going to love Austin. In fact, I may never not hate Austin. I decided to stop trying to fix that, and instead just accept it. I live in a place I hate. I didn’t get the happy ending to the Airstream adventure that I wanted and my worst-case finding-a-home fear came true.

I accepted it. I cried. I kind of had a mini tantrum, and then I went outside for some fresh air. And my daughter was playing with the neighbors. And I realized, I hate Texas, I hate Austin, but my goodness, I LOVE the people here.

So I grabbed my camera, because that’s how I love people, and I started snapping. Nothing special, no rivers, no epic over the top emotions. Just my people. They are enough.

And that’s how my new photo essay was born.

I am photographing the everyday people here who have my heart. I accept that the place itself is awful, but the people, my goodness, they don’t get any better.

“These are the people in my neighborhood : Day 1”