In honor of the best person I know

I wrote this piece on June 29. Nine days later, mom had a stroke. She is doing great — amazing, actually. I mention it here as a historical footnote of sorts. The timing of the original writing was…uncanny. Suffice it to say that we are all extra grateful to be celebrating our mom this year!

Today is a special day in the Turori family.

Today we celebrate the birth of the woman who is the glue that holds us together.

If you’ve ever thought of me (or any of my siblings) as a kind or responsible or just decent human, you can thank my mom.

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To honor the best person I know, here are five of the best life lessons I have learned from her.

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Eerie waiting rooms

Visual processing

People process difficult situations in different ways. I am mostly a visual processor. When I don’t have words, I photograph. What I can’t verbalize, I write.

I could tell you about spending hours in a bustling Emergency Room, and how unsettling it is to walk off an elevator into a perfectly silent, dimly lit, empty neurology lobby after so much noise. At midnight, no less.

Or, I could show you.
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Vanquish your fear, take the risk

Last night I wrote this on my personal Facebook page:

For years I circled my Cook Islands inheritance with trepidation. I was afraid I’d be told I didn’t belong. I let the fear that I’d never measure up hold me back. Maintaining the status quo was easier and less risky than immersion.

I am no longer afraid.

Don’t let the fear of not belonging keep you from something important. Dive in. You’ll be glad you did.

Spirit of Tivaevae: The Documentary is the story of Pacific women and the traditional art they love to practice. It’s also the story of finding a place in world where you thought you didn’t belong.

Will you join us? Together, we’ll tell this story to the world. Details here: bit.ly/tivaevaefilm

A few days ago I did an email interview and the reporter asked if I had made any self-discoveries in the process of developing the doco.

She may have gotten more than she bargained for on that one because three paragraphs later I had to force myself to stop writing and move on to another question.

Making this film has challenged me to my core.

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Nine years and two rugby games

It has been almost a decade since the last time I was a spectator at a rugby match where I was not related to any of the players. As it happens, that last time also happened the be the first professional rugby game I’d ever attended.

Nine years ago on a chilly June night, I piled into a car with my brother, dad, uncles and cousin for a mini road trip to Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, New Zealand. We were on our way to watch the All Blacks and Ireland. My brother had acquired rugby fever during our vacation, however I was considerably less impressed with the sport that everyone described to me as a cross between my favorite and least favorite sports: soccer and American football.
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Just start

“Half of us are waiting for permission; for someone to say okay, for someone to say do it, for someone to say that is a good idea, [for] someone to give you the money, [for] someone to give you the resources. When I just decided that I’m going to work with what I’ve got and give myself the permission, then it really started.”
Ava DuVernay

The hardest part of tackling any project is taking that first step to get it started. It is so easy to talk yourself out of doing something worthwhile or trying something new when you haven’t jumped in and committed yet. The potential risks always dwarf the potential rewards from your spot on the fence.

What’s the thing that has been kicking around in the back of your head? Figure out what the first step toward achieving or doing that thing is, and then go do it.
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OMBAC experiments

The thing about sports photography is that if you go out and shoot the same sport often enough, you find yourself taking essentially the same photo over and over.

I mean, how many pictures of a guy passing the footie or wrapping up the opposition in a big tackle do you really need to make your point visually? From a player’s perspective, I suppose you can never have too many. But as the person behind the lens, sorting through hundreds or thousands of photos that start to blur together, you start to feel like the BBC’s modern version of Sherlock Holmes: bored.
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On the tension between virtual and real work

I posted this photo and caption to Instagram this morning:

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Most of my daily work takes place in a digital space–website things, video, graphic design, etc.

These might just be fliers and tickets to you, but to me they are a special treat. An opportunity to pick up and touch something that I designed. That might sound a bit silly or overly dramatic–but the tangible, real world has a value and power that can’t be replaced by working in a virtual space.

I have thought about this tension between real and virtual often over the last couple of years. So much of our lives now takes place in digital spaces… how does splitting our existence between real and virtual impact our humanity? What makes tangible items so captivating? How does our relationship with the world around us affect our identities?

If you have thoughts on these things, I would love to hear them.

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Rugby Acrobatics

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Rugby Strong

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On the road