Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Unfindable Self

The problem with trying to find yourself, is that by the time you get even remotely close to finding yourself, you've changed so much that you basically have to start over.  You can spend a lifetime searching for yourself, or you can spend that same lifetime being yourself.  The choice is yours; your life is yours; you can do or be whatever you want, unless you surround yourself with people who decide to mandate who you are and what you can do, based on a more punishment than reward system, instead of simply accepting and loving you for who you are and what you do.
All of my shooting in these last couple weeks has been with other photographers, who were all potentially beautiful souls very worthy of capturing, but who have chosen to capture beauty instead of being it, to a certain extent. One didn't touch her camera and trusted me to capture her. One showed disinterest in my even being there, as she was shooting my girl, then welcomed my capturing her at work. One is still figuring things out, and wants, but doesn't want; knows, but doesn't know; thinks, but maybe...silly things.
The bigger picture for me has gotten as blurred as my getting ever cloudier 50 opened up to 1.4. I just keep shooting into the sun. The latter of the trio has a lot of questions that I am happy to answer, but most are relative to how I feel about things, not how things are, exempli gratia, she pulled a lens hood out of her bag and asked me what it was for; I explained the dynamics of shooting around the sun, which should be your greatest tool as a photographer, and all the flare involved, which I love, and so does she, but my lens is damaged from shooting like I do and having the opinion on what is beautiful and what is boring, so who in their right mind would listen to me about anything like that?  Right?  The staple in everything I do now is my girl and child, or children, depending on the situation and comfort level, which is good and bad.  It's amazing to have someone to share this with, and sometimes tedious.  This is a weird thing to navigate for me.  I got what I wanted, but... lost myself in the process, I guess, or found a different self?  I don't even fucking know anymore.  I'll have to ask her how I feel about everything.  lol
Life is... life; it is what it is.  You can fight it, or you can live it.  You can search for all the things that you want, or you can be those things.  You can try to find the elusive ideals that you wish for, or you can make those things happen, with what you have and who you are, right now.  You can focus on all the things you are afraid of and complain about them, or you can...do...this..... Thus.  Just be.  I don't understand why that is so difficult to understand.  I am currently living with a lot of expectations, from work and from a relationship involving two young children.  There are constant demands that I feel like I fall short of...far short...... a lot.
I'm not afraid of anything; everything will happen how it's supposed to; just allow everything to happen and do the best you can with it.  Don't bury your head in the sand.  It wasn't that long ago for me when all these expectations would have easily translated to stress, and I would have made a break for it, because I don't want to deal with this shit.  Now 'this shit' is just life.  I do what I can to get better at everything, every day, and hopefully make the people around me happy, or even proud, that I'm here.  That's really all we can do as a rational animal.
Everyone is afraid.  Everyone fails.  No one is the perfect that you are told exists by people who are trying to sell you baby steps to perfect.  Just be you and live your life.  Smile.  Breathe.  Shut the fuck up.

When I got out of jail, fourteen years ago, I packed my camera up in my closet and swore I would never shoot again, because I had been nothing but punished and misunderstood up to that point for simply doing something that I thought was beautiful.  Within a month of that decision a girl asked me to shoot her, and it wasn't long before I once again had a camera strapped to my back everywhere I went.
If I, in fact, have accomplished anything with my life thus far, it is because I decided to not give a shit what people thought about me, or my work, and I kept going; I kept doing.  Severely limited to what I could afford, who I had access to, and the shitstorm of misunderstanding and misinformed masses, I kept going, and I'm still here, whether you think I did it the right way or not.  I'm not sure why I decided to delve into my shady past.  Maybe because I have been so desperate to write about it lately, but feel like I'm not allowed to, not because I've been made to feel like I can't, but because I understand that it doesn't matter: only this matters.  'This' wouldn't exist without that, though, so welcome to my Zen conundrum..... my redundant Zen conundrum.  2015 really fucked my head up.

Smile.

Breathe.

Shut the fuck up.

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