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  • Betty Girardeau

The Best


I have no doubt that most of us will remember 2020 as being one of the worst years of their lives with not one, but many, serious and troubling events. But certainly we should all be able to think back and list some things that were the best about the year, too. For me one high point was, after five years, finally finishing my music video, something that at times I was sure I could never do. At times all of us need a cheerleader and mentor, and I have to thank Trace Aiken for being just that for me. One of the best experiences I have ever had was to be selected by Trace to be one of his photography apprentices. I learned so much about myself, my creative abilities, and perhaps best of all, I have become a photographer who continually looks for new possibilities using a camera and post processing as my tools. When I decided that I wanted to tackle a music video for my final project I had no idea what I was getting myself into, nor did I know that shortly after starting it my husband would die and my entire life would change radically. Trace knew when to give me space and when to suggest some new ideas a try. He also knew when to give me a pep talk about not giving up. A lot of those new ideas didn't actually make it into the final video, but they changed my approach and I began to consider photography more as an art form than simply a way of capturing a moment in time. But most of all Trace helped me to have faith in myself to a degree that I have never had before. As a result, after finishing the video, I created a website and started writing these blog posts. I applied and was accepted to work for the 2020 Census. And most recently, I have become a Tennessee notary and have studied to become a Certified Notary Signing Agent for real estate transactions, work which I hope to begin in earnest in the next week or two. Eight years ago when I first began to try to become a serious photographer I would never have dreamed how doing so would change my life so completely in ways far beyond capturing interesting pictures. Though much of 2020 could be thought of as "dark," I found much in it that "lightens" my life and is showing me a way to continue to grow and become. At 11:59 PM 2020 will come to an end and one minute later 2021 will begin. But if you think about it and consider both the worst and the best aspects of this past year, they are woven together into what will become the new year as well. I am reminded of this by today's thought provoking quote from T.S. Eliot that was shared along with the Cloud Appreciation Society's Thursday's Cloud: "What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from."

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