I have a way of talking myself out of things, and it's a bad habit of mine.
I recognize this, yet its an insecurity of mine that's existed since childhood as a means of keeping me grounded to reality. Maybe it was ingrained in me as a child; maybe I grew up talking myself out of things to avoid the often inevitable feeling of disappointment that would come when I could not live up to my own high expectations (or perhaps the expectations of others?). But at the same time, I can also say with confidence that I have always had a very accepting and nurturing upbringing - one that was never doubtful, one that was often proud. And in that regard, I can also say I am at times just as confident and proud of myself as well.
So how does this seemingly hypocritical balance come into play? I suppose it depends on the subject matter. Just like I can be an optimist as well as a pessimist ... in most regards, I think I'm actuality just a realist. I know what I'm good at, and what I'm not. I spent nearly 80% of my life up until this point in school (yes, preschool counts!), and how you were objectively told whether you were "good" at it or not were by the grades you were given. Your GPA. Your ranking. Your test scores. Your percentile. Your honors. Your clinical evaluations. And that still extends into work today. Your performance review, among a handful of other measures. There's always a number. There's always feedback. There is always a way to objectify how you're doing.
Now it's important to note that I was unfortunately never blessed with the creative genes in my family. My uncles, cousins, and even my dad are so super talented - they are the true creatives. They live for the arts. Me on the other hand - as hard as my parents have pushed me for the first 15 years long years of my life during each piano lesson I had every Sunday, I just wasn't really ever any good. Just as I tend to clumsily stumble over things in plain sight, so do my fingers on the ivory piano keys. But I’ve never pretended I was good. I knew I wasn’t a creative person. I was excelling moreso academically and, well, this was my strength. The arts were just always seen moreso of a weakness of mine. I even chose to play the violin in 5th grade for some reason (tbh, it was because it was "light" to hold and I have childhood asthmatic lungs so band was a no-no) and I was okay at one point but nothing worth talking about. I can't draw or paint. I have nice handwriting and do some mean bubble letters, if that counts?
But I did find a love in web and graphic design. Oh, and typography catches my eye. It started in middle school. When Xanga's were especially big. HTML/CSS. I even began dabbling in flash at one point. Paintshop Pro was the thing before Photoshop was all the rage. I learned how to use it all on my own - I read books (geez I never read books), and I even had my parents buy me books to read. I looked up photoshop tutorials online, learned snazzy effects. I was doing my thing, just for fun, and eventually I started getting requests from people to help them jazz up their own page, or to make them layouts. Um, yes! It was all for fun, anyway. I loved it. This was what I wanted to do, I thought... But, I was eventually talked out of it. It was going to be an unreliable career, I needed to be financially stable, etc. My passion was put aside as a viable means of providing a living for my future self and remained just a hobby.
Then as I got a little older and began exploring the world a little more, I started carrying around a little point and shoot with me wherever I went. I would snap a photo of practically anything and everything... and a lot of the time I wouldn't even look. Just snap a photo as I'd be walking by. Jason made fun of me for it - he'd ask if I even knew what I was taking a photo of, to which I would respond no, but show him the picture and it'd look fine anyway. Luck? Meh. This was when point and shoots finally got small enough to carry around, mind you. My first digital camera was a huge ol' clunker that could hold like 12 photos max or some ridiculously low number because we didn't have big memory cards. Eventually, my friends would just know me as the person who'd always have her camera on her, taking photos and documenting things. Documenting things became my hobby, and when I told people I liked to take pictures, I didn't necessarily mean I knew about the technicalities and nuances of photography. Taking a photography class in high school didn't even cross my mind - I did take a few web and graphic design ones as my elective, though. Only because those were my true jam.
As time went on, the talk of cameras slowly encroached ever more into the conversations that used to be primarily dominated by the talk of cars in my immediate circle of friends. I still never really dove into all of it, never really understood it, despite Jason trying to basically shove my brain into a bunch of youtube university videos about them. A lot of it just went right over my head, and I was never shy about admitting to the fact that I could never truly grasp the technicalities of the field and hobby - there's my confession. I just do what I do, and whatever happens sort of just happens. Today, I kind of get what I'm doing?! I mean I'm doing it, but could I explain to you what's going on and why? Probably not. I'm definitely not as versed in the field and the subject like those who are truly passionate about photography are - and I'm not afraid to admit that!
But I know what I like, and I know what I don't like. I also know that art is a subjective matter, and because of the subjective nature of the whole thing, what someone deems as "good" may not generally always be what another deems as "good". So there was a point in time when I was still learning how to navigate the technical aspect of photography - kind of going about things with my arms stretched out in front of me and seeing what I could do. Trial and error, since you'll learn best by doing something on your own. I can't learn this thing just by listening to someone! And in this point in time, I was also simultaneously being told (on more than one occasion) that the things I was producing and was genuinely proud of just wasn't "good". That they didn't "like it". That I shouldn't "post it". Just generally unsupportive and really discouraging things... and to someone who's already basically tiptoeing through the process, unsure of what they're doing, and whether they're doing it right to hear those things, it all just really hurt. Even more, to hear it over and over again got really disheartening. It reinforced the voice inside of me that would talk me out of doing something because maybe it wasn't good enough, or it just didn't matter; maybe it wouldn't make a difference, or maybe no one would care...
BUT MY POINT IS THIS :
If at any moment in time you thought it was good, or if at any moment in time it mattered to you, or if at any moment in time it made a difference to you, or if at any moment in time you cared... JUST GO FOR IT. Do it for yourself. Why should you do it for anyone else? If it satisfies your soul, and sings to your heart, but doesn't read well with that stranger on the internet you'll probably never meet... who do you really have to answer to at the end of the day other than yourself? Who are you living for anyway?!?!
In a way I'm sort of yelling at myself. And also, I'm kind of reminding myself. Because I often need reminders, and I often need to talk back to that self-dubious voice inside of my head that I am worth the time and the effort, despite trying to convince myself otherwise. It doesn't matter if what I'm doing doesn't sit well with others all the time, it really doesn't. If it's what I want to do with my time, then I should feel free to live my best life without feeling guilty of doing so. I don't always have to fit in. (and tbh, I really haven't my whole life..)
There are so many "expectations" and "traditions" in society today that people just go about doing, robotically day in and day out, numbingly and painfully so without noticing that maybe, just maybe, you don't always have to abide by these social contortions. You don't have to always follow the same path people expect you to follow. It might be too late for some things, but ... maybe not for others. Live outside the box. Spend your time how you'd like it and don't let others talk you out of, or dictate what should or should not make you happy. I'm not talking about doing something irrational or illicit, but, you know. Just remember that your own voice matters too. And if I was going to really keep it 100 here, I actually spent all day going back and forth about even posting this... because it doesn't exactly fit the "norm" of this blog. I have no new pictures to share; no joyful adventure. But, it'd be hypocritical of me not to :)
Be wise enough not to be reckless, but brave enough to take great risks