It's my favorite joke to make these days.
You see, I'm a photographer. I work with light. You can't make a photograph without it.
But I'm allergic to it.
That's right--I'm a photographer who's allergic to light. Specifically, UV radiation, which is required for the chemical reaction in my favorite (preferred) historic process, cyanotype.
I wasn't always allergic to my artistic medium, however.
Four years ago, I got sick with the flu (or so I thought). I rested up, but never got better. I was a mystery to doctors (and myself) for a long while. For a season, I lived in a state of unknowing, in and out of the hospital, feeling my body turn against me.
As it turns out, I had developed an autoimmune disorder.
That disorder leaves me susceptible to UV light, among other things. With overexposure comes joint pain, fatigue, headaches, and more.
But I can't hide from the sun.
You see, even though I'm sensitive, my body still *needs* the sun. (Vitamin D, anyone?) And being outside is spiritually restorative, which is necessary to lower stress and help cope with my illness. And I've always loved the outdoors; hiking, gardening, being barefoot in the grass...
...take away the sun, and it would feel like taking away oxygen.
...take away the sun, and I wouldn't be able to make my cyanotypes.
So I press on, taking what measures I can to protect myself. I limit my time outdoors when the sun's rays are most intense. I wear long sleeves, a giant hat, and lather on tons of sunscreen (even in the winter).
The seasons come when my disorder rears its ugly head, and I adjust. I rest. I work in ways that are less taxing, and in shorter spurts.
And sometimes I'm gifted with a season of well-being and productivity. It's then that I give thanks, remembering that things always change, and that adaptability and grace are the only means of carrying on.