It comes in waves — self-doubt, self-hatred, detachment, depression (I could probably go on). I am not unconfident, but rather, I have no self-confidence. I think there is a slight difference there. Sometimes I start to drown, most times, I simply tread water, wearing myself out and getting nowhere, having no real destination. I feel like I don’t know how to swim, how to thrive, so I exhaust myself in the limbo of chances not taken and choices not made.
I’ve gotten into the habit of creating this box (Yes, the swimming metaphor is over) that has no doors, only windows in which I am constantly peering out at other people’s lives, their accomplishments, their goals, their drive, their interests, their passion — their flame. I feel dull in comparison. What an ugly thing. I make up stories in my mind as to why they have the ability to accomplish things, things that I will never be able to do.
I’ve always been this way. Actually, I used to be a lot worse, struggling with obsessive thoughts and compulsive tendencies. I’ve grown out of that, for the most part, but I am still not comfortable in my own skin. I am still uncomfortable with my dullness. I have this desire to be more, do more, but I am constantly getting in my own way, snuffing my flame before I even get a chance to know how it feels to really burn. I blame a lot of things. My physical well-being, the number one scapegoat, but then I continuously put myself in these unending torturous cycles in which I juggle stagnancy and guilt.
One thing that has helped drag me out of this perpetual loop is creating. The act of creating something is truly powerful. Turning a thought into something that is out there in the ether. Out of your head and into another. Like a wonderful inspiring little mind parasite. My favorite way to create is through photography. Creating a feeling in a still, encapsulated moment. A moment in which I am present, aware and curious. Creating something, anything, is the kindling to my fire — required for spark. The act of photography makes you truly look around in ways that you normally wouldn’t, appreciating things that you would pass without thought. It forces you to be present. It helps you think about the typical in an atypical way and sparks curiosity.
Photography means a lot to me. It has been my outlet through difficult situations and toxic relationships throughout my life. It has been my means of communication when I am void of words, as well as inspired words that I never thought I had. Though I enjoy photography, I am not doing this for the sake of the craft, but rather, for myself and the relationships with the people in my life that have suffered because of my disillusionment, my lackluster existence.
I’ve been to a therapist, quite a few years ago. Anxiety. It took me twenty some years to get there and after sixty minutes, diagnosed. Categorized, a bundle of paperwork neatly organized into a file and kept in a drawer. It helped alright. I should go back. I have made appointments only to call and cancel, blaming the lack of money to start with. Instead, I mentally acknowledge the things I know benefit me, help bring me to life. I acknowledge them and brush them off for a whole other list of excuses I could probably come up with.
Something needs to change. Like Jonas Ellison put it, I want my muchness back(or to establish it). That hard to define, hard to put your finger on type of quality that makes life more than just a sequence of events. So, like Sean Howard I have decided to go on a photographic journey.
So here I am. Out of the file drawer, ready to catch fire.