Going Home | +Jo

::Photo and text by +Jo::

I’ve mentioned before I only go home once a year. It also says on my bio page that my parents are two of my closest friends. So why do I travel to Arkansas one time out of the 365 days of a year?





The habit started while I was at SCAD. The first year I attended I traveled every break but I wore myself out and never had any down time between the quarters. Plus, it cost a lot for me to go back and forth as much as I would have liked. I became complacent to the idea I would go home only for the holidays. There have been a couple exceptions to this concept. One was the death of my Uncle James. The other was to help my family patch up old problems.

Yeah, I just put that out there.

Family is always a complicated subject – for anyone – and mine is no exception. We have our problems and we’ve fought through a lot together. All of us and some of us. Some days I want to give up on my family. Some days I cry because I feel I ran away from them all when I was needed the most. Some days I want to call up members to check up on them. Some days I want to rip them a new one. But all the days in the year are saved up for the one trip home.

And durning the travel time I remember why I love my family so much. And why I go home once a year. I need the space to understand them. I need the time to cherish the slim moments I have with them. I ran away to art school following a dream and willing myself not to live the same life as so many do back home.

There are many things my family doesn’t understand about me. I didn’t leave to join the military {like the others}. I left for art. Opposite agendas. I do not want children. I don’t particularly want to get married unless it is an equal opportunity event. I love to “play pretend” on stage and screen. I love to paint. I love to photograph. I love to create. So why don’t I do that back home where I would be closer to everyone? Why can’t I create there? Because I would be too close and too distracted. I would be more involved in mending broken ties. I would be in the middle of family drama that will always be there. I would become caught up in a different life style than what I want to lead.

This probably sounds terribly harsh… and it is not intended that way.

– I think I finally caught up on rest. Family can really wear you out. 😀 #life
Lee Ann -  Imagine living near us!!!!
Jo - Believe me – I understand. I have to build up for an entire year. Lol!
Lee Ann - A lump dose of family. Like ripping off a bandaid. I totally get it. 😉

My family is something very precious and dear to me. Though they fight, bicker, hold grudges and don’t speak – I love them all for these characteristics. For their eccentricities. For their merits and faults, equally. I would not be -me- if I did not have each and every one of my family members in my life. I would not have the life I do if it wasn’t for every conscious, unconscious, spiteful, and loving actions to me and one another. I wish everyone got along better. I wish I could help them all patch things up. But life isn’t as easy as that. Everyone has their reasons for behaving the way to do. There are things I do not know nor understand that has lead each individual to be the person they have become. I stay away because at the end of any day I want to keep the naive notions I had when I was twelve that everyone loved everyone for exactly who they are. That blood is thicker than water. Family always comes first.

We have a new member in our family. I did not mention in my last post – but LeeAnn is my cousin. So baby Joelle is my little cousin and will grow within a loving home with so many people that care for her. There are no doubts about that. I spent so much time with LeeAnn and Nick while I was in Arkansas with the three photoshoots I did with them. Yet, I still made my rounds and saw 90% of the people I wanted to see. Even a couple that might not want to see me – I still saw and gave loving hugs.

I had a lovely dinners with family, friends, Eric and my parents. I shared early holiday presents. I did plenty of shopping with my mom and fired guns with my father. We decorated for Christmas time and shared a lot of hot coco. I showed Eric off to the family who had never met him and took a nap almost every day. {The people who are close to me understand ‘nap’ is a rare thing to hear our of me.}  Eric taught my father how to cook traditional Tai Cuisine and my father made us his infamous spagetti when we first arrived in town at 1:00am. My two cats {who traveled with us} didn’t want to leave by the end of our stay. I took photos, but not nearly enough. I was busy seeing the people I only see once a year.

Art stops for my family.

{ <3 <3 }



  • Melissa Arellanes May 26 Dec ’11 at 9:11 pm

    I love you Jo! The photos of Nick, Lee Ann and Joelle are amazing! Your view of our family is so on point! I did get tickled that talking about the family drama was implanted in the gun photos!

  • Kelly Zorn Arellanes 26 Dec ’11 at 11:48 pm

    Jo, you are clearly open minded and open hearted. That you inherited from your Papa! Me, I can be the bitch from hell and you know that! LOL! The pictures you posted here are wonderful. And Joelle is so BEAUTIFUL!

  • David R. Arellanes 8 Feb ’12 at 1:40 am

    Thank you for the time you spent with us. You have an amazing eye for the Bullseye and the site at the end of a barrel, at any distance! You are so good and so dangerous in so many different ways……….my love to you always –