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Eyes up, heart open

Carla Ten Eyck

survivor stories beauty and hope

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Today? Was my JAM.

Today? Was why I am a photographer.

Oh… today. I am crushin’ on you, hard.

I started my day maybe breaking my toe on a light stand while setting up my backdrop in my super fancy studio, known to the masses as my dining room. This room, oh wow actually let me say my entire house is just filled with the best natural light. Like. Every single room gets a turn to bask in some type of beautiful light throughout the day. It’s like it was built on the best spot for light in the world, ever. And I have always thought this. Always! This light makes me ache for my childhood…it literally fills my chest with this ache and I am transported back to the late afternoon in the fall, and my Mom’s sewing room is filled with warm, heavy late afternoon light… the room is cozy, and the clock radio is on and Bruce Springsteen’s song ‘Hungry Heart’ is playing. And I am aching just writing about this. Transported. Because of this light.

Today I saw light fill my dining room as I sat at the table with Sherri and Boo, talking about Boo’s second battle with cancer. I watched it dance across her cheeks as she spoke about finding the lumps both times. Her eyes sparkled with it as she told me how she wanted to have her picture taken with no shirt on, showing her scars to the world. She lit up with her own light as she said that she felt beautiful with her scars and wanted to show everyone that she was.

My camera has never seen such confidence, and grace. She settled right in, immediately comfortable with me, standing shirtless and scarred in my sun-lit dining room. She established her spot in front of my camera and looked right through my lens into my eyes.  I was so moved I wept. Her struggle was not lost on me, not for one second. It hit me in my gut hard in that moment. I knew today for her was a good day. A day that she wasn’t home too sick to do anything. That, today. Today was HER jam as she stood there confidently before me bathed in this light that filled my childhood home. This light that will fill my children’s eyes and make them sparkle. This light that will carry on Boo’s light as it’s own, her strength, hope and beauty all wrapped up in it. Thank you for sharing your light with me today Boo. XO

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