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Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland: Who do you portray?

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Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland: Who do you portray?

Live Beautiful | Courtney Kirkland

March 25, 2010

Who do you portray?

I’ve been at Barnes & Noble a lot during the day lately. With Little Man gone, and my very first professional photography gig around the corner, I’ve used the extra time ‘off’ to do some studying and some research. I’ve got two scratch notebooks full of scribble notes, techniques, things to remember and rules of thumb. I’ve become enough of a regular that the early afternoon manager at the Starbucks recognizes my face and what drink I’m going to order.

When I arrived on Tuesday morning, I noticed two of the other ‘regulars’ that have been around almost every time that I’ve shown up the past couple of days. Like me, they looked to be drinking the same drink, sitting in the same general seat and reading the same subject of books. So I decided to do a bit of people watching.

First there is the “cat lady.” Seriously. Not making this up. I’ve arrived around lunch or a little bit after every day this week, and each day that I arrive she’s drinking out of a red Starbucks mug and wearing pink. One day it was a pink shirt. One day she had on a pair of pink tennis shoes. One day she had one of those ridiculously large 80’s style hair scrunches around her wrist…it too, was pink. And she sits in the adjacent corner from me. Beside her, on her left, sits a stack of books about cats. I haven’t seen her actually remove anything from the stack, just reading the same book the entire time she’s here.  My hours are kind of similar. I get here between 11:00 and 12:00 and stay till around 3:00. She’s always here when I get here and she’s still here when I leave. Wonder what else she does all day?

Then there is the computer guy. He’s an older man..probably in his late 50’s or early 60’s. Heavy set, bushy white beard. And he has two computers. Both Apple of course. One looks to be a 13 inch and the other is a 17. Not sure what he does all day, but he’s always wearing a tie and he’s always on the phone. Using his blue tooth, because he’s tapping at two keyboards. Of course he doesn’t have room to hold a telephone. That would just slow down mister Computer Wizard. He sits at the counter by the window. In the middle so his cord is stretched out all over the place so no one else can get to the area of the counter beside him. He puts one computer on one side and the other on the other and he has his legal pad in the middle. Then he goes at it. Whatever “it” may be.

I started wondering, what do people see when they look at me? I order a White Mocha Frappacino of some size. Typically a Venti, but sometimes I stick with just a Grande. I sit in the far corner of the Starbucks, next to the wall where there is a computer jack. A stack of photography books to my right, a notebook, cell phone, computer and iPod on my table. I crank up my rock music and let the words come.

You can look at me and figure out that I’m married, by the ring on my hand; that I’m either already a photographer, but most likely an amateur if you take a minute to read the titles of the books that I’m reading; I write, obviously if you are paying attention you will notice the never ending stroke of the keys on my computer'; and rock music stirs my creativity. That much is evident by the probably too loud music coming from my headphones and the constant tapping of my foot or drumming of my fingers.

Other than that, what do you know?

My story is inherently complex. As are most everyone’s. I’m a creative junkie. Fueled by the power to express myself. A love and passion that I have only recently begun to divulge of myself. I’ve always been creative, bordering on truly wanting to be one of those ‘artsy’ people always engulfed in a book or a screen or something. You know what kind I’m talking about.

This photography thing has really kicked my creative gene into overdrive. And I’m so happy that I’m finally reaching a point where I can be who I really am. Without hesitation and without worry of what anyone will think. My mom isn’t the happiest of people about some aspects of it. Like the fact that I’m getting my nose pierced. She told me I had to cover it up if I planned to come to their house. And that I had to keep my shoes on if [well, when] I get my tattoo on my foot. Wonder what she would say if I did something really drastic, like dyed my hair pink or something? Haha. That would be interesting. {Don’t worry Hubby, I have no intention or desire to dye my hair.}

I like people watching. It’s always interesting to see the way that people react to circumstances, and how they act around others. You can tell the people that try to put on and pretend when they are in public. They walk like they are on egg shells and like everyone is watching them. Then you have people, like the cat lady, that just doesn’t care. She wears what she wants, and does what she enjoys. Or I assume she does. She sits and reads about cats all day, so that has to be something she enjoys.

Imagine you were the one being ‘analyzed’ or that you were the person sitting here in Starbucks with me. What would I see? What would I assume? Is it something you are proud of?

That’s the key I think. Are we portraying something we are proud of. In writing this and thinking of how we portray ourselves, I’m thinking about the men I see flipping through the Maxim Magazines or the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editions. In our Barnes & Noble in Alabama, those magazines used to be, ironically, next to the Bridal Magazines. When Hubby and I were planning our wedding, I would go in and sit down on the little benches with a stack of magazines beside me and thumb through them for a while. Nine out of the 10 men that picked up those trashy magazines to read, had on wedding rings. And to be quite honest with you, several of them at times would even have their young children with them. Dis.gust.ing.

That in itself is a whole different blog, but that’s what I’m talking about. I don’t know those men, don’t know their wives, don’t know their marriage. But my immediate thought by the titles of the magazines they were reading or the books they were looking at led me to believe they were scum bags. I know I’m not supposed to pass judgment and that it isn’t my place to cast the stones, but that’s what I thought.

So my hopes are that in everything that I do, whether it be sitting in the corner of the coffee shop or standing in the grocery store, that I always, always portray Christ in the best manner. That people see who he is through me, no matter what I’m doing.

Do people see that in you? Do they see Christ? Do they see you living out the life that you have been called to live? Or do they see you saying things, doing things, acting in ways that wouldn’t make Christ proud?

I’m not perfect. Not at all. I let my tongue slip more often than I should and use words that I shouldn’t. I too often judge people and criticize people that I don’t know for reasons that I really don’t understand. But I try. Even though I fail, I try. I’m giving photography everything that I can give it right now, throwing myself into the studying and the practicing, hoping and praying that I’m doing God’s will and begging him to take the passion away from me if it’s not what I’m meant to do.

Take a look at yourself today. Who do you portray?

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