I’ve been in New York for just over three weeks now, this trip is the longest that I’ve been away, and I haven’t yet reached the halfway mark. We often want to project this idea to our friends and followers that life is amazing, perfect and exciting. Here’s the thing, it’s been great please don’t get me wrong, but it’s also been extremely taxing in ways that I didn’t perhaps expect. I’m usually a solitary person by nature. I enjoy my own space, and spending time reading, and shooting on my own. But those moments of much needed solace is often followed by intimate dinners with friends, or a night out with people who genuinely know me. It’s broken up by going into the studio and spending time around colleagues. There are distractions between the solace.
I’m good with people, I get a long well with those who I meet, I’m easy going (for the most part) but closeness with individuals to a point of letting them in in any meaningful way is not something that happens easily, it’s a rare thing for me to trust like that. I feel like this is by no means unique to me, in fact I think this is true for many of us – and I think a lot, if not all of what I’m going to write is true for many of us which is why I’m doing this. (Ironically opening up on a blog to 100s of readers seems to be easier.)
For the last couple of weeks I’ve had moments of those micro distractions, but for the most part being in a city of millions without close friends and family, with some curve balls having hit has forced reflection in ways that I may not have expected. Usually I would limit myself to my own minds exposure if you will. But when that’s not an option and all we have is the company of our own thoughts, we can’t help but be forced to listen.
I’ve been throwing myself into work and photography as that’s always been an escape, it’s always been a way to help me process (I’ve briefly touched on this in other posts). I think many creatives would again be able to relate to using their art as a means to cope. Being receptive to emotion, seeing more and feeling more is as much of a blessing as it is a curse. Some days the weight of it all is as heavy as the city itself and without being able to get away from it I feel as if my chest might implode, and other days it’s euphoric in its genuine beauty. If you think that sounds contradicting and somewhat bipolar you would be correct. But that’s the nature of life to an extent isn’t is? In order to create we need to feel, we need to see and experience everything even when it hurts because the flip-side of that is indescribable beauty in happiness. It’s a cliche yes, but it’s true. The ultimate question and much debated topic is probably more about at which point that seesaw becomes destructive. It’s one of the things that I’ve been weighing up a lot lately but not really to point of me writing this.
I was talking with someone the other day and the more we spoke the more I realised yet again that people don’t talk about their depression and how they deal with life’s ups and downs. People don’t talk about struggling – even when it’s just the normal nature of life because in today’s social environment portraying this happy life for other’s to aspire to has become the expected norm. It’s like we’ve become alienated from opening up about the real shit because we don’t want our followers to know that life isn’t always this amazing whirlwind of travel and excitement because that would be a total downer am I right? We are so driven by that that we brush over it, we crack jokes, we say something real and quickly follow it with something like ‘but whatever I’ll be fine’.
We live our lives so secluded from people near us. We pass people every day, we interact with people every day from the barista who religiously makes your coffee to your colleagues to the guy at your regular news stand to your friends you see every two weeks for drinks. We have become so used to surface level interactions that for the most part we talk to our friends but rarely really TALK. Perhaps it’s because we fear what we’d say when the curtains are drawn back and all pretence is left behind. Perhaps it’s because we fear the vulnerability in reaching out because it’s petrifying. I’m not saying open up and spill your heart tomorrow morning at 6.30am while you wait for espresso, but maybe try and be more aware of those around you, and that you’re very likely not the only one in this.
I finally decided to write this post because the reality is that none of this is singular. I’m not the only person struggling. You are not the only person struggling. It’s okay. People get awkward around these things which is why I felt the need to write about what I’m dealing with, people often think that someone struggling will reach out, but here’s the deal – depression / struggling with life doesn’t really work like that. Do you have a friend who you know might be dealing with some shit and you haven’t seen them in a while? Phone them. Are you struggling and having a rough time? When your mate asks how you are try gather the strength to say you’re not really okay even though it feels like saying the words is harder than summiting Mt Everest after a month long binge of drinking and smoking Marlboro reds. But you can do it.
We need to help each other, it’s a two way street in a tough city. It’s an even tougher world, but it’s a world that has so much beauty in it, we just sometimes need a bit of a hand to see it. Maybe this post will help some of you, I’m not sure – but I just wanted to put it out there (and also because writing helps me vent).
BUT It’s not all doom and gloom. I am, despite me going through some things, still very excited about the rest of my time here. I am enjoying this city and the perspective that I’m getting even though it’s scary and hectic but it’s a part of life and it’s helping me to grow. For that I am always grateful and ever excited about seeing where that growth will lead me to.
So that’s that for now. EXHALE.
Here are some photo’s from the last week or two (FYI the steam shot of the man in FiDi could be my all time fav shot that I’ve taken on this trip – I waited for about 45min to get it, but it was totally worth it. Slowing down when you shoot is a valuable thing that I forget at times!)
Thank you for reading xo