8 am and I hear the door bell ringing. I choose to ignore it. Maybe it will magically go away. Who would even ring at a photographer’s door at 8 o’clock in the morning?! ? I try to keep my eyes closed as there’s no way to close my ears. Ding Dong! It doesn’t. I get up. The entrance to my apartment seems miles and miles away. Have you ever had that feeling? I do the zombie walk and I quickly exercise my smile in the mirror. It’s my neighbour telling me with an even bigger smile that her apartment is flooded. Water. All over my lumber room.
I come from a small village called Obreja in the West of the country. In all my lifetime, I’ve never told more than a handful of people anything at all about Obreja or about the house in which I grew up, or about my mother and father, or about my older sister and certainly not about how I became an artist. Most people would much rather think that my mother, father or boyfriend were photographers and that I began my training as a little girl, full of hopes and dreams. It’s not the case. It has more to do with water than anything else.
A few days ago I met someone who happened to mention he comes from West. I felt like a bird must feel when it has flown across the ocean and comes upon a creature that knows its nest. I couldn’t stop myself from saying : ” That’s my hometown! Obreja! It’s near Caransebes!”
This pour boy! His face went through the most remarkable series of changes. He tried his best to smile but it didn’t come out well. “Really?” he said.
I long ago developed a very practiced smile which I call my “frozen smile” because it resembles a mask. Its advantage is that anyone can interpret it however they want. You can imagine how often I’ve relied on it. I decided I’d better use it just then, and of course it worked. He let out his breath, relieved.
I don’t like thinking of myself like a glass of noble wine made in a bucket but I suppose in a way, it must be true. After all, I did grow up in Obreja and no one would suggest it’s a glamorous spot. Hardly anyone ever visits it. As for the people who live there, only a few have the occasion to leave. You’re probably wondering how I came to leave it myself. But that’s another story.
In our little village I lived in what I called “a tipsy house” because it was so old, you almost had the impression it leans wherever the wind blows. Alongside the garden there was this river. I used to watch it, play and read and dance by it night and day.
Mother always said that my sister was like wood. As rooted to the earth as a lordly tree. Growing up, I could see that in her personality. Strong believes, steady temper, wise heart. But me? She told me i was like WATER.
Water can carve it’s way, even through stone. And when trapped, water makes a new path. Water never waits. It changes shape and flows around things, and finds ways to carry on – the tiny hole through the roof or the space between two rocks . There’s no doubt it’s one of the most versatile elements God created. It can wash away earth; it can put out fire; it can wear a piece of metal down and sweep it away. Strong and gentle in the same time.
8 am and I hear the door bell ringing. Sometimes He reminds us in the funniest ways, how to embrace our true self.