Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Big Debut Event

Robyn and me at my high school graduation party in June of 1999.
I wanted to write about the Art Walk and Acu Lounge Grand Opening last night, but wasn’t sure where to begin. I came to the realization that the evening of festivities wasn’t just about photographs and acupuncture, but something more important.  It was about friendship.  I realize that sounds cheesetastic, but bear with me. Thousands before me have said eloquent things regarding friendship and how important it is and I don’t really have anything to say that hasn’t been said by someone wiser before.  What I’m going to say is what is true to me and hopefully I can manage that without sounding too corny.

Robyn and I met in the sixth grade at Nooksack Valley Elementary School and our friendship turned out to be one I truly treasure because we grew up together.  We were there for each other through the awkward teenage years and all the life challenges that go along with that phase of life.  We shared secrets, had inside jokes, got together to go to the mall or to have a slumber party, whispered about boy crushes and roamed the mean streets of Nooksack and Everson.   Through the years, we added more friends to our circle and we all survived high school by trying to be there for each other the best we could.  After high school, life pulled us in different directions.  I got married and became a working girl (no not THAT kind of working girl).  Robyn traveled and conquered the world at the same time and went on to become an acupuncturist.  Now that we are thirty-something, life has brought us back together at the beginning of a new chapter for both of us.  The beauty of our relationship is that we were able to just pick up right where we left off, effortlessly.  Cheese alert: That is one of those truly special friendships which may come along only a few times in a lifetime.  Now we stand together once more, supporting each other.

 For Robyn, this chapter is about returning home and starting her own business, The Acu Lounge.  I was in literally in awe as I watched her work last night.  She has turned out to be so professional and the girl knows her sh… stuff.  She can look at your tongue and tell what your personal health issues are.  On a side note, when she looked at my tongue, she could see I’m a total nutcase. No surprise there. Anyway, my point is that she has truly grown up to be an amazing (and I’m not using that term lightly) woman and, as cliché as it might sound, I really do feel lucky to know her and to call her my friend.  A lot of who she is has always been inside her, her compassion, her bubbly personality, her smarts, her sense of humor and the way she is able to gravitate people to her.  I believe the rest is just education and life experiences.  What I mean to say is that I’m so proud of you, Robyn.  Cheese alert: I always had this feeling that you’d go on to do great things in your life.  Okay.  Excuse me while I dab my eyes (and no, I’m not being sarcastic about that).

For me, this new chapter is about coming out of hiding and putting my photographs out there for the world to see.  I have to admit, that although I had fun, last night was also nerve-wrecking for me and part of that was the the stresses and drama of trying to prepare the actual photos.  One thing after another just went wrong, but I was able to pull it off at the end. Before the event started, Robyn and I were both feeling pretty overwhelmed and it looked like we were going to end up as roomies in a padded room on a psych ward at an undisclosed location.  We both have similar hair color and style at the moment, and with matching straightjackets, we could have been psycho twins.  I would have been the extra twitchy one demanding raspberry Tootsie Pops and screaming about making the evil chicken leave me alone. Oh and we would have totally rocket the mental institution look.

 Fortunately the men in white coats did not end up taking us away and the night turned out to be what I would call a success. We had a steady stream of friends, family and curious strangers.  It was really beneficial for me to see reactions to my work and to receive feedback.  Sometimes I just live in my own little photo bubble, and although I’m amused with my quirky pictures, I don’t really know what other people think or how they react to seeing them. Of course the internet is one great way to get feedback, but hearing it in real life is even better.  In addition, I was able to sell four pieces of artwork.  That was an unexpected bonus. Robyn was able to show off her new office, get the word about it out there and even do some treatments.  We had some veeery relaxed guests in recliners and being poked with magic needles. 

I’m grateful that Wayne was able to be there to support me too.  He was like the old Wayne, the one I fell in love with.  I haven’t seen that man in such a long time.  He pushed me to talk to people about my work and give out my business cards.  My natural instinct in social gatherings is to hide in the corner until the scary strangers leave.  We sat in the front room on “door duty” for awhile.  Wayne told me, and I quote, “You are the world’s worst door greeter.  They wouldn’t hire you at WalMart.”  He is so right. This whole interacting with people I don’t know is still a struggle for me. 
So, all in all, it was a fun night.  I got to see and laugh with old friends.  Both Robyn and I were able to promote our new ventures.  At the end of the night, Robyn went to have a drink with some of her coworkers and the old married couple couldn’t wait to get home and go to bed.