26 November 2012

Mendy, Photographer and Former Social Worker

Last year I wrote a blog post about my brother-in-law that generated a comment about how interesting my family is.  I realized that it's so true!  My family is super interesting.  Each Monday I'll be interviewing a family member (or dear friend).  I hope you enjoy these Meet Me Monday posts.

Mendy and her family.

Today's interview is with my friend, Mendy.

Where do you live?
Pittsburgh, PA, the nation's most livable city. Yinz need to visit da 'Burgh.

What are your hobbies or special interests?
I believe I have hobby ADD. I can't get into something too far before I need to do/try/make something else. Knitting, sewing, baking, stalking old boyfriends, writing essays, rearranging furniture, painting things turquoise - these kind of things. PInterest is like crack for someone who suffers from HADD. So, I guess we could just say my hobby is collecting hobbies. Special interests? Travel. Give me a destination and few days off. I am addicted to seeing new places. 

What is your current profession?
Blah, I totally hate this question in any social situation. It's like being a super awkward dancer (and truth be told, I'm a pretty awesome 90s dancer) - everyone likes to watch, nobody wants to talk to you. Um, I got my degree in social work and worked for Child Protective Services for a few years. I'm pretty sure it's the most hated job you can do. Or at least that's my take away from all of the death threats (no, I'm not joking). Then I started my SAHM life with my three kids - which coincidentally corresponds with my development of HADD. And recently I've decided that instead of going back to graduate school, I'm embracing my love of photography and trying to start a small business. Shameless plug:www.blackroomphotography.com 

What made you choose that line of work?
Oh man, I guess I should have read ahead before I started rambling about everything I ever spent five minutes doing. I chose social work because I was a young, idealistic girl looking for meaning and hoping to change the world. I chose children because I knew it would change me as a person and because I am madly in love with my husband. And well photography, it feels like photography chose me, but photography allows me to be creative and express emotions that are hard for me to articulate. 

When people find out what you do, what question do they usually ask you?
People usually ask me what was my worst case while working for CPS or if I've ever taken people's kids away. Nobody asks anything about moms - except stuff like, "just what do you do all day?" I'm still working on telling people I'm a photographer. It's a new party of my identity that I'm trying to get comfortable with. But the people who do know usually ask what kind of photography and what kind of camera they should buy. 

What question do you wish they would ask?  Or, what insider information would you give them?
Let's see, I like it when people ask me about my crazy CPS stories. I would like people to ask about the cute or funny things my kids do, but that would require them to really mean it and really be interested, so....maybe just ask me about good books because I actually don't just talk about my kids all the time. Here's what you need to know about cameras - NIKON, baby. 

If you had it to do all over again would you choose the same thing?  Why or why not?
I would not choose social work again. I got so burned out, so quickly. It was depressing and arbitrary, and dangerous sometimes. It was a wee bit stressful. I wish I would have given more thought to how my schooling and education would work with being a mom, which is to say that I often think I should have kept one foot in school or the workforce. I am glad to be a mom - definitely wouldn't give that up. I think it would have been sweet if I had picked up a camera a decade ago. It's hard not to think about where my photography would be if I'd started when I was younger.

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