Wednesday, January 18, 2012


The young skinny girl is a mother of three. I didn't see that coming. With her twenty-something figure and her clingy leggings, I pegged her as a full-time student. Instead, her subject for photography class was her refrigerator--covered in Christmas cards, magnetic letters scattered about, three different little girls peering into it.

The other equally young only-slightly-less-skinny girl is a mother of an eight-year-old and stepmother to a ten-year-old. She lamented how her kids are growing up, listening to pop music, doing their own thing. She took photos of the orchid on her kitchen table.

The youngest, most artsy looking of all, who already knew the teacher and is part of RISD's certificate program? She didn't even follow directions and took blurry photos of her cat.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not being smug. I'm not saying that my work was better than theirs. I'm just surprised. No matter how many times we are told not to judge a book by its cover, or a person by her looks, it is human instinct to do it anyway. We do it automatically, without thinking. And, to a person, I was wrong about every one.

The other thing I was wrong about? They don't all know more than I do. They were confused. They asked stupid questions. They took some uninteresting photos. Perhaps more than misjudging everyone else, I misjudged myself. I just might be able to do this. I might be an older dog, but perhaps I still have a few new tricks to learn. I just won't be learning them in leggings.

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