• Jess Mazzone

365 Photo Project - March

And then the world turned upside down. Or, at least, that's how it feels. Nevertheless, March proved to be an important month for my 365 project. A month prior, I was reflecting on how tough it was to stay motivated during February, dealing with the last stretch of winter, the cold, the dark mornings and evenings, and the lack of variety in my routine that time of year. As I closed out my portfolio for the month and thought ahead to March, I was excited to jump into it with a reestablished sense of enthusiasm. I thought ahead to warmer spring-like days, more daylight and lots of playdates, that inevitably start filling the schedule this time of year. And that is how March began and then things changed unexpectedly in a way that pushed me to reflect on the purpose of this project. The first photo I chose to include is of my daughter and her best friend on the first weekend of March, during a Saturday afternoon playdate. I love this photo, though viewing it in retrospect emphasizes how much changed over a month. It is both joyful and a bit sad to think back on. Sad because my daughter hasn't been to daycare in a few weeks. She is keeping in touch with her closest friends through Facetime, but there are no playdates. It serves as a time capsule of life before self-isolation and social distancing as well as a reminder of how quickly life can (and has) changed. It was the first trip to the grocery store in early March, where the reality of what was happening hit me. I stared at empty aisles and experienced for the first time, a slight sense of panic. A feeling that both emphasized the reality of this time and also a sense of gratitude. I am grateful and lucky to have what I have, and I know others are struggling much more than I am right now. Even more so, this sense of panic is only a fraction of the fear that many people feel daily worrying about whether they will feed their families. I will be ok. These circumstances are temporary for us. At that moment, my mindset shifted to think more about this experience as a meaningful part of my life. That I have a choice about what this time will be about for my family and me. It also brought me back to my whys for my photo project and what this is really about. I took my camera back out; I started to look closely at what was going on around me. I am deeply appreciative of the time I get to spend with my family right now. I'm grateful this is happening in early spring as the weather is steadily shifting into warmer days and we can spend time outside. I began to look at those moments, and this time in my life as something essential to document. I'm documenting my story, my family's story, and someday I will share this reflection and experience with my great-grandchildren through this writing and these photos. I am also looking outside for ways to give back and help those who need it. With simple gestures such as calling elderly relatives, sending photos and videos of my daughter to brighten their day. As well as more critical acts like buying groceries for neighbors, donating whatever I can and being wholly grounded in gratitude for these moments that I get to witness and capture.

It is uncertain what April will be like and how much I will be able to document, but whatever it entails, I will stay focused on documenting my truth with a deep sense of gratitude and openness.

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