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The story of 2017


The story of 2017

Erica Caligiuri

Ah, 2017. It was less than a month ago, but the impending turn of January to February makes it seem like another world. Thank goodness for that. 2017 tested every part of me in every way. I ended up having surgery in May and for the better part of the year spent most days monitoring my oxygen and heart rate. I ducked into the bathroom at elementary school art shows to figure out why I was short of breath and figure out whether I should go to urgent care or go back out to buy a handmade sprinkled brownie. Was it my unexplainable chronic cough? Was it the inevitable panic attack that befalls naturally anxious people who get sick and also consume too much caffeine? Questions and symptoms, symptoms and questions consumed me.

In 2017, I learned perspective and presence, but it was the kind of learning that doesn't come cheap. Is that the best or the worst kind of learning? 2017 was a plate of under-seasoned vegetables you (presumably) must eat to grow strong. 2017 was the year of small victories peppered with fateful surprises. I did, in fact, breathe in and out every single day. Unexpectedly, the clouds parted and toward the end of the year, I found myself so happy - in a new job, a new (warm!) city, a new house, with new adventures, and my pulseometer put neatly away in the upstairs bathroom.

2018 is where it's at.

Photography-wise, 2017 was the first year since Ferris was born that I stopped obsessing over photography. Not a single class! Not a single new lens! At the beginning of the year, Click & Co. listed me on the 100 Photographers to Watch and I remember thinking throughout the year that I wish I could do something worth watching. I've been so inspired by photography for so long, and it was such an honor to be on that list. There were many days I felt disappointment in myself for the beauty I no longer recognized or the beauty I could no longer capture.

To me, these photos seemed like .... not much. A small catalog with an even smaller group of flagged images. But, as I compare 2017 to years when I was drowning in images and effort, I find that these images are enough. Enough to show my people that they are my people. Enough to remind me how it felt to hold Athena when she floated on her back, enough to remind me how hard it was to fill the days, enough to remind me of Ferris's school and working with the wonderful children there, enough that I can look back and know I lived my imperfect moments.