Time to get real, which isn’t something that I’ve done on a public platform in quite some time, years to be exact. But here we go, because why not. Also before we get started – I suck at grammar and this a long post – so you’ve been warned, if that sort of thing grates you now is probably a good time to back away.
At the end of last year I found myself in a rut of note. My personal life was turned upside down for numerous reasons and work stress was at an all time high – lets just say that life slapped myself and some of my closest friends in the face. It was easier to climb a mountain backwards than it was to fall asleep, I was drained both physically and emotionally. It pushed me to reflect on how I’ve yet again ended up in the same place that I’ve been before.
The answer is simple, I dropped the ball on keeping myself in mind by being too focused on other things like making people happy, not causing ructions, putting on a smile, I was so busy playing a role that I forgot me. I ceased doing what I loved, doing the things that energise me and make me happy. I wasn’t shooting nearly as much as I would have liked, my writing became non existent, painting was something I didn’t even get to anymore – I stopped doing the things that make me me. I’m writing this post because I’m pretty sure that isn’t something that just happens to a select few people. I think we’ve pretty much all been here.
Who I was half a year ago and who I was at the end of the year wasn’t the same person. Or it was, but it was another version, and it was nobody’s ‘fault’ but my own. At the start of the year I posted about not making new years resolutions, because well – it’s a crock of shit. In that post I mentioned that this year is about taking responsibility – it wasn’t 2016 or a person, or an event that attributed this, it was choices, a bunch of small choices that seems relatively insignificant but amount to a big ‘oh fuck’ at the end of the day. So here goes. Work suffered, sure, but mostly it was my relationships that took the biggest hit, both friendships and otherwise. With everything in life, and yeah everything, it’s about give and take. Compromise. Too much of either is going to end badly. And that’s where my struggle with balance comes in. How do you give enough without giving too much and how do you take without doing the same. How to balance work and life is much of the same.
Truth be told – I have no idea. But here is what I’ve started to realise over the last couple of months. Spend the time that you have with people who deserve it, who make you laugh and who support you. (And people who can deal with little bits of crazy. I’ll be the first one to admit that I have a bunch of that. Sorry not sorry.)
Sleep often evades me, much like winning the lotto and killing that damn mosquito that keeps attacking me (I’m not kidding about the damn mosquito btw. My back looks like I have a case of chickenpox). The last three weeks have been particularly taxing. Anyone that has suffered from insomnia will know what a bitch of a circle it causes. I get anxiety, which makes it tough to sleep, but then I can’t sleep so I get more anxiety, then when I finally manage a minute of sleep it’s time to wake up, and if I do snooze I get guilt angst because I should be at the studio working. This circle spends all my energy and I get stuck in a bit of spiral. I like to be in control, and this is something that I can’t control.
My shrink and I have been working on realising that ultimate control is an illusion, that it’s about choosing your control battles – he says that I should think about it as being in car, you can control the speed that you are driving, you can control whether you turn left or right, but the road is there, and it’ll go where it goes. So I’m working on all of that. I’m also working on finding balance – which is another challenge, since I suck at it.
I booked a ticket back to New York over the weekend, I don’t travel to run away from my anxiety, bouts with depression or stress. I travel because it gives me a much needed change in perspective. It’s helps me to gain insight into my life that becomes difficult to see when I get stuck in my day to day routine. I need the change to refill my levels, to get some balance back.
There’s a moment that I remember distinctly. My flight landed in the morning, I got a cab to Jake’s in Greenpoint. He was at work so I dropped my bags off and made my way to grab some coffee. I had my camera on me and took a photo of a woman working in a tailoring shop. I breathed in the cold air, stood in the rain, took in the sounds and I smiled. It’s an incredible feeling to be filled with energy from one moment. And to be straight, to get this you most certainly don’t need to travel across the world. I got that same feeling standing on the roads edge looking out over the mountains on the road trip that I went on with Chad a while ago. Again, it’s about a change and scenery, a shift in perspective. And spending time with people who ground you.
Anyway, I touched on a lot of things in this post, some that I’ll perhaps elaborate on at a later stage. I think speaking about these things, as difficult or uncomfortable it is, is a good thing. I mean, we’re all in this life thing together.
Here’s some shot’s from the trip to Kleinmond a wee while ago.