Being a human is such an adventure, sometimes a struggle, often hard. We forget others have the same struggle, look around, pretty sure others have it together, thinking we can judge with a glance. Intact and upright does not always mean someone feels like that on the inside. A trope in my life has been to appear well enough to be passed over for encouragement, assistance, a hand up – though I certainly have been blessed with those elements in the past, sometimes, now and then. And to armor myself, I became a helper, found my context in how we fit together, and I like it. Most of the time, service to others is my normal, as it is in my community. I’m not used to being on any receiving end, and lately I have had to be, in a material sense and in an interactional sense. Such adjustments.
Folks have always thought of me as outspoken, too, but I hold a lot in (like many of us). Part of my new adventure is to explore my interior and help it be expressed to my exterior world, an authentic, joyful burst of human-ness on the scene. I am lessening the time between when I think and speak, undoing years of difficult training to hold in the bubbling brook of life that wants to escape me and add its funk to the mix. I say my truth more each day.
And it’s messing me up, maybe. I can’t tell, and that’s messing me up, too!
Diving into this intentionally creative life for a year now (one year as of 11.07.2019!), I feel like the last person to judge whether progress has been made. I think I have gained some ground in general, but lost ground in other things. I feel wiser and stupider than ever, trusting my gut, then challenging the wisdom of my feeble attempts in the cold, deep space of electronic communications. I question my in-person communications, too, but take fewer risks in the milieu of the real world. Aren’t we all a little braver behind the keyboard, perhaps miles from the recipient of our leaked bit of crazy?
Last week it was hard to be me. Self-regulating in the storm was difficult. Days and nights felt not unlike waking up from a long sleep to find I’d slept-walked and made ridiculous choices, now un-doable. I’m menopausal, happily and for several years now, but it all felt like piled on PMS, the craziness of hormones and chemicals so familiar to the younger, fertile me – but worse. The waves of need to express myself came unbidden, and my stumbles at sharing unintentionally but likely painful for the reader.
But I felt better. The morning after my first blurp, I felt lighter. Nothing about my communication felt wrong, so, empowered and self-emboldened, I continued. 1,087 words via text. Poor recipient, but still, I must learn to let these things out, take the chance that my people are trust-worthy (as they are). I still feel better, but in the absence of follow-up conversation I ponder the real impact on my friend, whose response was kind, compassionate, oblique and unsatisfyingly brief. And fatigued. I can’t make my trip their trip -don’t think I want to, but when is it ok to blurp?
So I dove into a portrait event a fellow photographer and I were planning. Our first booth at a local craft market in which we set up a pop-up photo studio, took portraits and printed them, or emailed them, or both! Next month we will have the same booth and Santa, so this was a good shake-down event. And a good distraction from my navel gazing. I learned you can buy photographic photo backgrounds and got three. Practicing with the background I got into playing with long exposure and light.
And realized art was imitating life: I’ve been shooting off sparks! That is exactly how it’s felt lately. Exciting, knowing, driven to express outward, earnest in the need to have the light emit. I like the images in which I am obscured or transparent, where the light is in focus and I am a blur. That is so how I feel, and it took me a couple days to realize that…wait for it…my process is displaying an honest, connected continuity between my interior creative universe and my human cells’ ability to express that universe.
So, be warned all, especially as we head into the trigger-happy holiday season. Keep a fire extinguisher handy – sparks are aflyin’!