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Dope Perspective

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Girl in a dope hat
Power elite reflection
Looming over us

Greetings from my iPhone. I just got back from a movie night with my two boys. I’m completely wired on sour patch kids and cherry coke. That’s a stark contrast from what a Friday night would have looked liked for me 6 years ago.

It’s a little past 11:30 here, creeping up on midnight. Before I met Maizy I would have been feeling sorry for myself and staring down the barrel of a bottle of Miller Lite, making best friends with the bartender and hoping some girl would come find me and drag me out of there. That never happened really and when it did it was never a good thing. The phrase “train wreck” comes to mind.

I used to pride myself in being able to handle my liquor. I always made an effort to try and temper the amount I drank to sustain and maintain that buzz without going over the edge into pukeville. I hate throwing up, it’s just nasty and it hurts.

That amount just kept getting higher for me though, and I’m afraid I probably hurt myself from over indulgence. I haven’t had a drink in 4 years. I just suddenly could not physically stand drinking anymore. I didn’t quit because I’m strong or courageous, I quit because my body told me it was time.

People often seem perplexed when they find out I don’t drink. They’ll say things like: “You mean you don’t drink at all?” And I tell them what I just told you, and they usually just seem dumbfounded by the whole notion and they sort of just drop the whole thing. I feel like maybe I overshared? I’m actually not sure, I find my self in awkward conversations frequently.

I just don’t have the magic touch . That ability to just be able to talk to people in person and have it seem normal. It’s really starting to get to me as I’m progressing along a path that is requiring me to get face to face with people for interviews, presentations, networking, gallery shows, journalism assignments as well as conversations with parents of my daughters classmates. I’m like 1,000 miles out of my comfort zone at all times at this point in my life and it feels like I need a breakthrough so I can let go of some stress. I’m determined to become a journalist in some capacity, and to really have a chance I need to break out of this shell.

The street photography thing is really great for studying people and the up close interaction is something that I have struggled with but have also been able to fight through with moderate success. It’s a start, but I need to improve my interpersonal skills.

I really wanted to just take photos and not have to be the person conducting the interview, producing the video, and editing the story, but I’m starting to realize that is what it’s going to take if I want to achieve my goal.

I suppose I’m searching for some motivation, that one thing that will get me to suck it up and jump into the fray. Will it be the crazy debt I am racking up to pursue this thing? Or maybe it will be the fact that I have a beautiful family to take care of:

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Maybe it will be the desire to prove the naysayers wrong. Tell me I can’t do it and I’ll never stop until I prove you wrong.

Probably a little bit of all that, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if their were others out there who feel exactly the same way,

I need that wake up call, the drill instructor in your face screaming at you, imploring you to carry on. It’s just so much more difficult trying to be your own drill instructor. Quitting is just so easy.

It’s time for me to take the next step. I don’t have a choice. Learn to overcome my fear of interviewing and interacting with people or give up and walk away from the whole thing I’ve been working towards.

I realize this is a good amount of self talk here, and if you’re still reading that’s cool, but I don’t want to bore you with all the details of my crazy brain and ridiculous hang-ups, I just needed to vent.

So I turn to you, my fellow bloggers, my peer group of choice. You guys all inspire me, I’ve gained a nice following here on WordPress. I’ve read some wonderful stories and received a great amount of positive feedback and encouragement, and I thank all of you for caring enough about a fellow human being to offer your energy and kindness towards me.

You are all like a virtual surrogate family for me. I root for you all everyday, it’s wonderfully therapeutic to connect with people through the written word. I guess this is the modern version of having pen pals. I could never have written 1,080 letters to random people on one night without the wonder of technology. Good night.

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10 thoughts on “Dope Perspective

  1. I don’t even know you, or your name, but your story halted me despite the fact that I am sitting here smoking a cigarette in the freezing cold, and resolved to go inside just before coming across your post.

    First, despite the fact that we don’t even have a friendship, I am SO proud of you, and so amazed at where you’ve come in your life. Second, introspection is one of the most challenging things a human can do, especially if its done right, and we are able to look at the areas of our life where we’ve both fallen and risen! Third, you are not alone. I have a hard time interacting with people beyond what exiats past small talk and what it takes to work together in order to accomplish a greater goal. Fourth, I consider my blog folowers family as well, and often count on feedback to help me past blocks. Seriously, where else can you get a mass of people to potentially hear what you have to say? Fifth, we all need somebody to help motivate us. After a few decades of relying just on myself and seeking only the approval of others, I realized that God is the way out of that rut, and I pray that you do too. I try to rely on God alone, but also look to the people he has put in my path to help me – yes even here! You can do this!

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  2. I share your absolute fear of engaging with people, especially with strangers. It’s weird. I have no problem asking for directions, are greeting/smiling at strangers. But to interview someone? OMG! Even pointing a lens at someone makes my hands shake. And the more I look at the type of photography that moves me most, the more I realize that the really good photographers (of people, that is) succeed because they are able to somehow engage with their subject, to put the person at ease and initiate a feeling of trust. I am very interested in your journey, because it is so like my own. Lucky for me, I don’t have to make money from photography or writing. The few interviews I’ve conducted have been awkward and left me feeling wrung out and hopeless.

    Good luck to you. Keep working at it. I have heard over and over again, that public speaking is a skill that grows with practice. I wouldn’t know, because I have practiced avoiding it at all costs! Hopefully that bit of wisdom is true and applies to photography as well. Chin up! Your street photos seem to me to be getting better all the time.

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    • Thank you for this comment. It’s true. Some of us are just more apt to be social butterflies, I think for me it is related to when kids stopped being nice and started forming cliques. In my life that was like 3rd grade, up until that time I was like the class clown, cracking jokes,sling everyone laugh, I was well liked. Then when other kids realized I had a lazy eye, and I started growing awkwardly into my body. It flipped a switch. Suddenly I was shunned and ridiculed, and that reality lasted just a little bit too long for me. So now I have a hard time believing that people will accept me, I have the idea that all of them are judging me, laughing at me, saying bad things about me to their friends. I know these things aren’t true in everyone, but I also know that people gave the capacity to be cruel, ignorant, and ugly on the inside. Not everyone is the soul searching type, not everyone is kind and compassionate. I have the ability to see people for who they are, based on years of abuse both intentional and unintentional. Sorry I just realized this is only a comment reply! I’m rambling. Thank you for sharing your stories and your thoughts. I appreciate your kind words and support.

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  3. As a horrifically shy person myself, I can relate to what you’re saying … and, is a big part of the reason that you don’t see people in my photography. I’m solitary by nature — I have a partner, a few good friends, and that’s enough. I’m constantly amazed by people who have hundreds of friends all over the world (a friend of mine travels all over the world to see her friends. I’m like … “how do you make that many friends? I’m 47, and it’s taken me that long to make like 10 friends.”)

    I had wanted to pursue photography as a career … but, really, there’s not much money in photography unless one works in journalism, works with people. So you’re a braver man than I — and I think that’s pretty great! Your photos are fantastic, and I suspect that you’ll succeed. We creative people are always a bit neurotic, and are always full of self-doubt — but our passion, and our creativity give us the strength to reach our goals.

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    • Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and leave such insightful comments. It is always easier knowing others feel the same way or have had similar experiences. Tonight I give a presentation to a science class. I’ll have my chamomile to get rid of the jitters and I’ll be thinking about all the people who are pulling for me. You guys inspire me.

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  4. "Occam Blade" says:

    You’re on your way. To cope with my own challenges regardless of where they came from, I remind myself by thinking, “Is this going to add anything to the quality of my life at this time or beyond? If not, then I’ll jettison the bad karma.” Your photos are as much about you as the subjects within them. As for your kids, they provide some of the spiritual nourishment that your photography cannot.

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