It’s been over a year since I’ve written here. Sometimes I’m not drawn to share. Sometimes I’m very drawn to share but only find the words coming in my head when I’m laying in bed or sitting at a stoplight. But this one has been brewing for a while. Since January or February at least. That’s when I applied to be an ambassador for Noonday Collection. I’d been invited to a show back in Indiana right when we moved here. I thought, “Dang, this is cool. I’d love to be a part of it…but no, not right now. Maybe when I get my shit together.” Never in my life have I changed so much in two years as I did 2014-2016. Well whatever, that’s probably not true but let’s stop with the math, okay? Things change and a lot of change happened in that time, okay? And no, I do not have any type of any shit together at all.
Let me clarify that I’ve always been a supporter of “those home sales things”. I haven’t had a lot of parties but I’ve ordered. A lot. As a self-taught, self-employed, self-starter photographer, I get it. I like supporting women building something and building that something from their own home with their kids underfoot. I’ve made it clear that I don’t like when lines are crossed with aggressive, invasive marketing tactics. That holds true. And that is a big part of why I hesitated before I began with Noonday. Me? Sell things? Right. I passive-aggressively marketed photography for almost 10 years via word of mouth, so uncomfortable with overt marketing. Like I’m going to be hitting up my friends and friends of friends to have jewelry parties! As if.
Then I read more about their involvement with adoption. They’ll give 10% of a show’s sales towards an adoption (sometimes it’s more) when it’s designated as an adoption show. That’s cool. When I saw it wasn’t just for international adoption but for any type of domestic adoption, that was the thing. I’m adopted. It’s never been a big issue for me. My parents raised me as the apple of their eye. They said the right things about me being adopted. I didn’t grow up with yearnings for someone to answer questions because I really didn’t have any. The connection to adoption families is still there.
The bigger piece of Noonday though is that it’s fair trade. Artisans all over the world like mamas in Uganda are rolling paper beads with their company, African Style, to send their kids to school. Mamas that couldn’t otherwise even send their kids to school are being paid a fair wage to make these pieces. When I got my first Noonday order, I opened it and thought about how there could be a mother all the way across the world rolling that thing up and thinking about her kids. We’re all moms, wanting the best for our kids. At the time, I was feeling pretty alone. Not to get too pathetic here, but I cried every time Lulu played the Barbie record she got on our last day in Indiana. It was Barbie singing Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend”:
She got it on this day in Goshen when we had amazing pizza and were uncharacteristically affectionate and shopped for records like it’s just something we’d always be able to do together :
Aside but not really aside, Stacey (camera right) and I met when I was so very pregnant with Lulu. We were at the library (it was McDonalds; Dirty Don’s as she calls it) & I totally unloaded on her, a complete stranger, about having just moved to South Bend and a baby coming and so forth. She stood up to leave (maybe before she’d originally intended) and I thought, “Damn, is that little chick a little pregnant too??”. She was. About three months behind me, and she had her own business to complain about but she didn’t. We awkwardly met a few times at the actual library (no really, the library with books, not chicken nuggets) and became friends but not like down-n-dirty-all-shit-aside mom friends until Andy (camera left) came into the picture as a mutual friend which also included McDonalds but I’ve probably already strayed too far….
I WAS SAD AND LONELY, OKAY?? I know what it feels like to need to feel like I got a friend. Winter, spring, summer or fall.
So one evening early 2016, I went to apply as a Noonday Ambassador and couldn’t get my password to the website to work. Even asking to request a password reset. Even adding the Ambassador kit to my cart. No-go. “It’s a sign. I’m not supposed to do this. I’m supposed to keep looking,” was what I thought. It was a Friday night, a typically antsy time for me. I’d rather be hosting a big Happy Hour Playdate than stewing at home alone with kids on a Friday night. So I browsed around. What did I want to do with this little bit of energy I’d found? I hadn’t set any type of New Year’s Resolutions on purpose. I wanted to see what came my way. What about the community outreach place I’d applied for and even interviewed with over a year before? COPE. That place. That place is the type of local agency I could see myself working with. When I talked to them before, I’d basically backed out during the interview as I realized how low the pay was and that I’d have a hard time paying a sitter during summer for what I’d make there. But the position was open again. I shot off a quick email to the executive director, with whom I’d become acquainted through volunteering a little.
Monday came. I felt less antsy and needy. But I got an email from Noonday stating I’d been accepted as an Ambassador and confirming my initial Ambassador Sample order. I also got an email from COPE saying that if I wanted to interview, I needed to do so soon because the board was going to vote later that week. Things fell into place, like, for real. I met with my Noonday coach who ended up being a fellow spouse at my husband’s company. We connected and she reminded me that this isn’t about jewelry parties. It’s about working outside your circle, be that particular circle your neighborhood circle or your worldwide circle. My world grew a little. And I interviewed at COPE again but this time went for it. Both entities are a stretch for me, but it’s what I’m doing. That’s the thing about change. It’s so hard. But it opens doors for choices you didn’t think you were allowed to make before the change occurred. Omaha Nancy is doing photography and Noonday and COPE. Please let me know if you’d like to talk more about any of those endeavors: email@example.com