Welcome! I'm Shawna, an on-location natural light photographer from Kent, WA serving the greater Seattle and South Sound area. My passion is for birth photography! In birth or family sessions, I strive to capture details and the spontaneous moments that truly reflect the beauty in your life, and that you will treasure for ever. Sit back with a cup of coffee and enjoy my musings, or better yet - pop me an email and introduce yourself. I love meeting new people!

A girl walked into a bar...

Oh yes I did.



Unfortunately, because it was a cozy little bar and I was fifteen minutes late because I don't know my right from my left (true story), I swear every person turned towards me for evaluation as I realized there were no seats left, found a spot at the bar and clung to the counter for dear life.



I was a nervous disaster for the first 45 minutes.

Alone! At a bar! With a cool jazz band! And amazing women! And no clue how I would meet any of them. Sure I'm loud once I'm in a group of people I know, but in a room full of strangers (awesome strangers - so much worse!) I would rather be invisible and hide in a corner (preferably behind my invisible camera). Lucky for me, there were no corners left and Karen took her place on stage to read with the band.


Then I had to pee, realized in the bathroom I had an unzipped pocket and no phone, darted out of the bar (hoping Karen wouldn't take it personally), found my phone, came back in, met Darrah, and found that I was still just me and had nothing to fear.



It's very hard to know who you are when you go out alone after years of being in the company of little clingy beings, taking a break only to go out and work. I was on an artist date with myself, struggling to remember what we had in common. And then Karen started talking about confidence and how she got tired of trying to be someone else (I'd get sick of putting product in my hair for 30 years, too...)- not even the person people expected her to be, just the person she thought people expected her to be. The only person making her be someone else was... herself.

I don't mind being alone, so why was I panicked that everyone else would consider me socially inept? The bartender asked which beer I would like, kindly warned me that my choice was bitter, so I laughed and said, It won't matter! It didn't. It all tastes like crap to me and I just wanted something to sip. It was perfect.



It didn't matter when I started taking pictures of the floor. It didn't matter when I smiled at different parts of Karen's book than everyone else. It didn't matter that Karen moved to the music like it was in her soul and I was stiffly leaning against the bar shoveling cheesecake into my mouth. No one there expected me to groove with the music, that's just what I thought people would expect of me. That's not me. I appreciate music by watching the artful way the mechanics of the instruments become music. I appreciate the great company by watching candlelit bubbles rise in a glass. I appreciate Karen's sweet, confident readings with a piece of chocolate cheesecake.



If you haven't already gotten your copy of Karen Walrond's The Beauty of Different, go now. Do it. And then put it on your life list to meet her, because her view on life will improve yours. In the mean time, follow Karen's blog, Chookooloonks because it will put a little more wonder into your day, and that's never a bad thing.

P.S. If you're a Seattle local, definitely cut out some time to see the Jason Parker Quartet. They are fantastic.

Comments
7 Comments
darrah parker  – (January 24, 2011 at 2:37 PM)  

First of all, it was great to meet you! Second, your photos of the event are SO great! I especially love the one of the book in candle light. Third, the great thing about a jazz club is that there's so much going on (music, clapping, laughter, etc.) that none of us would ever have known that all that was going on inside your sweet head! :)

I understand how it is, though. Going into unknown territory to meet new people can be overwhelming. But I'm so glad you did!

Judy Schwartz Haley | CoffeeJitters.Net  – (January 27, 2011 at 10:16 PM)  

I was there that night as well, and it was a singular experience I won't soon forget. so cool.

I love your photos!

Sue –   – (January 28, 2011 at 8:10 AM)  

I love how you put all this out there. We're all so human in these same ways yet we look right past each other. Thanks for reminding me there are kindred spirits everywhere. Also, fantastic photos!

Jason Parker  – (January 29, 2011 at 1:17 AM)  

Thanks so much for coming out to the show, Shawna, and for the beautiful photos! It was a pleasure to meet you and share such a cool experience!

Tea  – (January 29, 2011 at 10:36 AM)  

I'm so sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you! I would have liked that.

And a HUGE high five for coming to the event on your own. That's an intimidating thing to pull off. You get major bravery points in my book :-)

Jet Harrington  – (January 31, 2011 at 11:43 AM)  

Your story of the night is tender and honest – thank you for sharing it. I wonder how many of us go around with that sense of outsider-ness, when we would so enjoy meeting and connecting with each other?

Your photos are fantastic - I love the moments you captured: the facial expressions on the musicians, Karen relaxed in between sets, the shot of her boots.

It is cool to look at photos taken by all the different folks there - different styles, different interpretations - it's a big old crazy mix.

And I would LOVE to meet you next time. We should wear our "I'm nervous and introverted" signs. ;-)

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