Hi there! We're finished with week 26, of the 365 More People Pictures project.
Day 175 - Lowell
This is Lowell. We met outside the mall.
"I woke up this morning, vertical," Lowell answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
I asked Lowell if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. Lowell explained that he's been on the receiving end of kindness. Lowell was homeless for a while, but he now has a place to live. I'm so glad Lowell has landed on his feet and he received the kindness he needed most.
"I'm still looking, Lowell answered with a grin, when I asked his life's purpose.
When I asked Lowell something about himself which he would consider to be a success, I thought for sure his answer would be related to his military service or his work, as he was wearing pins on his hat indicating both. Instead, he answered in a thick Southern accent, "I raised 4 kids...they're good Church-going people."
Wishing the best for Lowell, and that he continues to have a place to live and love from his family.
Day 176 - Walker
This is Walker. We met outside of Sam's.
Walker was such a great subject because he was willing to give me lots of time, and he doesn't seem to mind being in front of a camera. I had a hard time choosing which picture to share with you!
"A really lovely girl I met," Walker answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
Walker said that he was recently the recipient of an act of kindness, in that his sister just took him to the coast for the weekend. In return, Walker helped her to learn guitar. I was impressed they were able to achieve progress in weekend of guitar lessons. Either Walker is an excellent teacher or his sister is a natural! (or perhaps both.)
"To find contentment in simplicity," is Walker's personal mission statement. I love this! Walker re-affirmed my objective to continue to purge and rid my life of anything (material) that I don't absolutely need or love.
When I asked Walker something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered that he taught himself how to play the mandolin.
Thank you, Walker.
Day 177 - Boo
This is Boo. She was walking toward me as we walked down the sidewalk. I almost didn't stop her because she definitely looked like she had places to go and things to do, but I just couldn't resist because she looked like an interesting person. She carried herself with confidence and determination, and she was wearing a motorcycle jacket so she had a little bit of badass-ness about her as well. She struck me as an authority. Oh, and I'm pretty sure her motorcycle jacket was an actual motorcycle jacket, as in, her bike was parked down the street.
When I asked Boo the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she said that she was on her way to get her first tattoo! We were just a few footsteps away from the tattoo shop. She was going to get her family's crest. I asked if anyone else in her family had the tattoo and she said that all of her brothers have it, so it was her turn to get it.
"I try every day to be the best that I can be, to take care of my family and loved ones, and to be the best role model I can be," Boo answered, when I asked if she has a personal mission statement.
I asked Boo something about herself which she considers to be a success and she answered, "I think...the way I raised my son."
Thank you, Boo!
Day 178 - Benny
This is Benny. We also met outside of Sam's. He was taking a break before playing in a pool tournament.
"My relationship," Benny answered with huge smile, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now. "I'm the luckiest man alive," Benny added.
When I asked Benny if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of kindness, he answered, "Both - that's how I go about my day." People often can't remember a specific example, but Benny is certain he both gives and receives kindness often.
When I asked if Benny had a personal mission statement or life's purpose, he said that he doesn't really have a mission statement, but more of an actual mission: "Exploration." When we met, Benny had just moved from Colorado and had only been in Portland for 4 days, so he's not only exploring the city, but exploring a new career and life here. As far as his life's purpose, Benny said, "To help people find their potential." "I feel like I'm a good coach and teacher," Benny added. Benny is fulfilled when he helps others to fulfill their potential.
Benny told me that I was the first person to stop and talk with him since he arrived. I was so bummed to hear this, because we're so nice in Portland! Portland is a friendly place, for the most part. Benny explained that he had moved from New York to Colorado and he transitioned from being a person who kept to himself in New York, to being a person who talked with random strangers in Colorado. Benny said strangers just stop and talk with you in Colorado and that's the expectation he had for Portland, but his initial experience left him feeling more like how things were in New York. I assured Benny that Portland is friendly and he would have many more positive interactions to follow. Hmmm...maybe we warm up when the weather warms up?
When I asked Benny something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he had a hard time answering the question because he's a humble. Benny decided that he was successful with change. He's uprooted himself a few times and even though it's intimidating, he's embraced the changes. He's also a good pool player.
Welcome to Portland, Benny!
Day 179 - Richard
This is Richard. Richard was on his way to go buy an umbrella when we met. It's been pouring here for the past few days. When Portlanders break down and go umbrella shopping, you know it's raining hard! (I have a confession. Since starting this project, I've discovered that umbrellas are a fabulously wonderful invention! I don't care anymore that Portlanders think you're an out-of-towner if you're using one. I started using one to keep my camera protected and discovered the added benefit of not looking like a soggy muffin when I've been out wandering the streets. So there. I admit it. I use an umbrella and I like it. Phew. I really needed to get that off my chest.)
Richard was another person for whom I had a hard time choosing my favorite picture. Although I love it when people are smiling and happy and their photo looks like they were genuinely having fun making pictures with me, when I'm faced with the decision of having more than one good picture to use, I tend to favor the photos which are a little more edgy, tough, and pensive, over the happy/smiling photos. I've noticed I quite frequently choose more pensive-looking photos that are technically lower quality, over happy/smily pictures which may be more technically sound. I liked this picture of Richard because he looks a little Rock Star-ish.
"My kids are growing up well," Richard answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
When I asked Richard if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he considered the question for quite a while before answering, "I should work on that." Again, I'm sure Richard spreads kindness in some way...he stopped in the awful weather and let me take his picture. That's an act of kindness. It's just really hard for people to think of something specific when we're put on the spot.
"To leave the world better than I came into it," Richard answered, when I asked his life's purpose.
Something about himself which Richard considers to be a success, is his family.
Thank you, Richard!
Day 180 - Kayla
This is Kayla. We met at a coffee shop.
When I walked into the coffee shop, the barista wasn't at the counter, like usual. Kayla, sitting at a table in the corner, told me the barista ran next door and would be right back. This gave me the perfect opportunity to ask Kayla if I could take her picture for the project. Kayla agreed, and then the barista returned at that moment. Kayla told me I should take the barista's picture instead. Kayla said something like, "She's beautiful and I'm not." The barista there is absolutely stunning...like the kind of pretty where you seriously can't help but to stare at her, and then you feel like a creeper for staring! The barista, standing right there at our table, was trying to figure out what we were talking about. I agreed with Kayla, that "yes, she is beautiful...but so are you!" With that little bit of assurance, Kayla was back on board. Then I got nervous! The coffee shop is a really challenging place to get a nice picture. I've blown it every time I've taken someone's picture there. If I blew it with Kayla, I didn't wan't it to impact her self-confidence since it was already a bit fragile. Kayla is beautiful. (She just doesn't see it when she looks in the mirror.)
The happiest thing happening in Kayla's life right now is that she now has no roommates! Although she's had great roommate experiences, she's also excited to be living on her own.
When I asked Kayla if she's recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of kindness, she explained that she works in customer service. Her job is to give kindness. Kayla also said that she'll sometimes buy coffee or drinks at Whole Foods, not really needing or wanting the drinks, but just making the purchase so she can sit down and use her computer and free Wi-Fi. When she's finished, she'll give the items she purchased to homeless people who are often sitting outside the store. (That's both giving and receiving!)
Kayla is going to school to become a massage therapist, so her life's purpose is: "Making people feel relieved and relaxed, and helping them to feel better about their body."
When I asked Kayla something about herself which she considers to be a success, she answered, "Surviving. I've been through a lot of crap."
After meeting so many survivor type people, and surviving some crap of my own, it's so clear to me that positive life changes result from the most painful challenges in life. Making it through to the other side of the crap times in life, increases one's capacity to truly experience gratitude and find joy in simplicity. When you go through the crap, you have a new appreciation for simply waking to live another day. ("I woke up this morning, vertical," Lowell said earlier.) I think when a person reaches the point where they value the beauty of simply surviving and waking another day, then life really begins to happen. When you come out on the other side of bad times, then life is filled with hope and possibility.
Kayla was actually the survivor of a car crash. I didn't ask details, but I gathered her injuries were enough to be life altering. After all that she endured, the accident led her to start living her life's purpose. Kayla attended college on a golf scholarship but she wasn't going to school for anything she was truly passionate about. After the accident, she had to go through treatment and rehabilitation which included seeing chiropractor. It was her experience in going through rehab for her accident, that solidified her desire to become a massage therapist. She always thought she wanted to be a massage therapist, but had she not had the accident, she may have never followed her heart and pursued massage as a career. She was able to turn a bad, life-altering, accident into a positive opportunity.
Thank you, beautiful Kayla.
Day 181 - Alvin
This is Alvin. We met in the mall. I wasn't even looking for a subject at that particular time, but when Alvin walked by, I was compelled to ask if he would be in the project.
"My children," Alvin answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
When I asked Alvin if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he explained that he's been working with someone who is currently grieving. The exact phrase he said, made me think that perhaps grief counseling was his job, but Alvin clarified that it was personal, not professional. Alvin is actually a massage therapist and having just talked with Kayla the day before, reminded me that massage therapists are doing their part to spread kindness. It's much easier to spread kindness when we're not in pain or suffering in some way.
"Don't just aim to please, aim to impress," Alvin said, is his personal motto.
"I'm continuously evolving with family, business and everyday life," Alvin answered, when I asked him something about himself which he would consider to be a success.
Thank you, Alvin!
Here's the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week.
- I'm still looking.
- To find contentment in simplicity.
- I try every day to be the best that I can be, to take care of my family and loved ones, and to be the best role model I can be.
- To help people find their potential.
- To leave the world better than I came into it.
- Making people feel relieved and relaxed, and helping them to feel better about their body.
- Don't just aim to please, aim to impress.
Thank you for another week!