Facing Myself

This is the beginning of 2018, often at these times we reflect and also post our hopes for the upcoming year ahead.

A few years ago I made a resolution to start writing more and made this blogging site to be place I could publish those written pieces for myself and anyone else I wanted to show it to.

There has been a distinct lack of activity on here for over a year now. I blame this partly on the polarising nature of the World that we seem to be living in recently and also on some of my own self doubt. You may have noticed in some of my previous writings, often I follow a quite familiar structure. First I would present an opinion, then put in evidence to justify my viewpoint and finally do a summary. Most of this was recalling what had been academically taught at University when I would be writing theory essays and having to justify my arguments on interrupting a film’s meaning or a director’s intent.

So now when I want to just write for myself, and perhaps to share my own internal thoughts and feelings, it can become very difficult to break that habit. How can I justify myself? Perhaps social media should also take some of the blame. Recently I seen headlines about teenagers getting stressed about having to maintain their image and perhaps that is also something I have crashed into without even knowing. I wanted to write a blog to get away from the simple bite-sized snippets of Twitter or a making a friend feel awkward by suddenly sending them a volley of text messages. There is a real possibility I have been trying to suppress some thoughts and only share a positive bias.

Writing is one of the creative processes and while I sometimes struggle to find a reason to sit down to type it is not always as hard to flex other creative outlets that I have. Obviously nearly everyone who has met me has seen I carry a camera frequently and generally let my profession of a photographer almost completely define who I am. It has been a wonderful achievement to become a professional photographer and I genuinely love it for allowing me to meet people, visit places and to communicate my passions in life.

Soon I intend to take a new step down my professional path, one that I laid down the foundations for in the previous year. Yet as I do so there is a looming concern of how to walk this path properly and what to do should I stumble. During the jobs I took last year was successes that I made a big deal of and a few failures that I learned from valuably, which I put in measures to prevent from happening again. Yet in the work environment I am currently these errors I made still haunt me and it has begun to trigger my self doubt and fears of what the consequences of further mistakes may do.

This is very gradually meaning I feel a desire to play things safe, to not put myself out on a limb or experiment too much in my creative endeavours because now I feel that the cost of failure would be too high. So while I am getting a short time boost from feeling productive I am beginning to wonder if longer term I am feeling it isn’t as creatively rewarding.

Often we would say that it is perhaps time to move on, to go find a new job. Yet the idea of such change is hard to comprehend because I don’t even know what else I feel comfortable doing for work. Whenever I am looking for a new job, I feel myself going totally blank, I don’t know what to search for. Even though I have confidence in my communication, personality and creative intellect I struggle to imagine it. I haven’t ever been in a full time employed role and the constant chasing for any work back when I was on unemployment benefits brings back unhappy memories I wish not to repeat.

We learn from our mistakes, that is what we say. But what if I need to learn not from a mistake but a flaw? How am I going to see it?

When I left University I wanted to make documentaries and focus more on video than photography. I started to do paid photo work because I could do it alone and not fear being dragged down by someone else. A concern I had which stemmed from time in education when students were not always easy to get along with. Back then I felt socially awkward and felt quite alone, I also didn’t fully tell myself that I was gay until I was 19. In 2018 I have a whole new social circle and wonderful people that accept me for who I am and do amazing things for my self confidence compared to 2008. Yet I still have times I want to retreat to somewhere quiet and do something else.

We all have our personal projects and sometimes for me these mix with my professional mindset. There’s a desire to always strive for the best, to keep up the quality high, whether its a podcast or writing a entry such as this. However sometimes after that initial attempt or once the curiosity has left me it can become very difficult to continue. Many ideas or projects have either been paused or I find myself trying to justify it. This can lead to myself thinking I am just being lazy or getting frustrated at thinking my creativity isn’t as disciplined or reliable as it was when I was younger. Even though many of those were learning experiences, hours spent making up short stories to improve writing or playing with a video editing tool. But also when I was younger I would be using it as a way to escape from problems of bullying or boredom at home because I didn’t go out as much.

Today with social pressures and a reliance on technology to connect us all it has bought some mental positives and probably some negatives as well. I often want to experiment or try out my own spin on something that has inspired me. But then the problem has become a feeling of worth or value. I could write a post, but would anyone read it? I spend a day creating a podcast episode, do the numbers of listeners justify the effort I spent? Would it worth the time and hours, or am I just not any good and should give up? Of course there is that understanding that should start with something simple and slowly build it up over time. I often say I am looking for feedback, but maybe I am just seeking some sort of validation that I am on the right path.

There’s a yearning for a loving relationship, but the fear of rejection or awkwardness on a date make me not want to risk it.

I dream of learning to fly and becoming a private pilot, but do I have the funds and discipline to see it all the way to the end or will the curiosity fade like those creative flares I had in my past?

Have I gone wrong somewhere, and not seen it??

At the very beginning of this piece I said that I wanted to write for myself. But what I really had wanted was to improve myself and ultimately my mental health. I am not aware if I suffer from anything, such a hurdle I would wish to overcome anyway. Yet can feel sometimes like stepping into darkness and wanting someone to pass me a torch to light the way. To those that know me, I ask for your help and support, thank you.

This is the start of a New Year and I turn 30 in the summer. So I feel that I will be doing quite a bit of reflection on the time I’ve spent so far in this existence and what I want to do with it going forward. Because we’re only existing for a finite amount of time.

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