SEVENTEEN HUNDRED AND SIXTY SIX WORDS

I haven’t been publishing for a while.

Almost six months.

The reasons are layered, and I’m not quite sure where to begin.

I guess the most important reason is that I’ve been busy living my life, rather than documenting it. I’m taking a little break from documenting my life for now. For me personally, I have felt as though it’s important to disappear every now and again. To re-focus, and re-group.

When I was married to my ex-husband, I used to travel all the time. My ex would spend a lot of time taking photos of our travels. I found that a lot of time was spent documenting the journey, rather than actually experiencing it. Not only do you miss it, but pictures poorly translate the essence of what you’re really trying to capture. Particularly when you are wanting to portray a particular image. Anyone who has ever attempted to photograph a huge rising full moon will know this.

In todays world, we spend so much time taking and editing pictures so they are perfect. So we can send those pictures out into the digital world for approval.

I am not immune to this.

I edit pictures to hide my flaws. I enhance the brightness. Adjust contrast. The highlights. At times I sharpen the image. I do all that bullshit. Because I want to create and portray the best image possible. And it’s all relatively harmless. No one wants to be seen looking anything but their best. But does it ever tell the whole story?

No way.

More on that later…

I am happier now than I have been in forever. Which is why I have chosen to become a little bit of an phantom of late. I am getting to know this new person that I have become. Not only is it taking some time, but I am also loving living this time I have created. And it’s time that I have chosen to take in private. I am very different to the person that I was a few years ago. And I think that’s a good thing. A great thing in fact. But what’s most important right now is making sure I’m busy taking it all in, and being present for the memories that I’m creating. And I’m quietly floating about, planning my next move.

Someone asked me the other day if I feel the happiest I’ve ever been.

I wasn’t entirely sure how to answer the question as honestly as I possibly could.

My immediate answer was “yes”. Because I am.

I then went on to elaborate, as my “yes” is also layered.

I said that I felt like I finally know who I am. I told her that I have often wondered if I feel most comfortable with myself on account of actually just being pretty tired, and that the effort that it takes to care about stupid shit – just isn’t worth it.

I also expressed that what has made me really happy, is finally being in control of my own life. Of being able to choose who I want to surround myself with. That I am heard. That my choices are respected, and are valid, and that I am valued. That I’m free to be me.

I believe freedom, and the ability to choose, is what happiness is. And that freedom of choice is something that needs to be respected.

Which brings me to my second reason for taking a break from publishing.

FEAR.

A strong motivating force.

I have been afraid to publish in fear of my words being twisted. And that fear has paralysed me to the point where I just want to disappear and to be left alone.

Now let me explain a little bit more, without going into too much detail.

About six months ago, I had an honest conversation with a family member about the way I felt about a decision that they had made, and I asked if I had done anything wrong. And boy, was I unprepared for, and totally clueless about the festering can of worms that was opened up as result.

I cried for a whole day at the injustice of the way I had been spoken to. At the way my life had been harshly judged, and trivialised. At the way that my life and how I choose to live it, was disregarded as though it was somehow less significant, less important, and less relevant than anyone else’s. At the way elements of the truth had been twisted and distorted to resemble something so far removed from reality, for reasons I will never comprehend. At the aggressiveness of the passive aggressiveness of silent score keeping, and grievance collecting. At the astonishing sense of entitlement. At the rage, hatred, nastiness, and viscousness of it all. At the cruel barbs, and the lack of respect and empathy for me as a human being.

Everything was out in the open now. Dripping off the sides of that proverbial table, staining the carpet, splattered across the walls, flicked up against the curtains, and stinking up the room. One huge unclean-able pile of shit.

The words of Guga Mona never spoke to me more than they did in this instance.

“Words have an immeasurable impact, they can either build or destroy, so be careful of your words.”

And I was destroyed. Completely gutted.

I wanted to run away and hide, and not allow anyone to treat me that way ever again. I wanted to curl up into a ball and make sure I protected my delicate heart, and my jangled nerves. I was really rattled.

It already took everything I thought I had in me to leave my marriage.

And this exchange took the last bit I had in me. I was spent.

So I took a break from writing.

Until three people in the last week asked me why I no longer write.

When I explained the reasons to my Aunty (one of the three that had asked), she insisted that I continue to write, and to speak my truth.

MY TRUTH.

I’ve discovered the hard way that a lot of people don’t like the truth. Because it is confronting. It exposes them. And no one likes to be vulnerable in that way.

So let’s talk photography again.

And let’s talk about “negative space” in photography.

An excerpt from the site www.photographymad.com describes it as this:

“When used properly, negative space provides a natural balance against the positive space in a scene. Getting this balance right is tricky and rather subjective, but it’s something you’ll get better at with time and practice. Mastering the use of negative space takes time. We’re so used to focusing on the main subject in a scene that it can seem strange to treat it almost as an afterthought. However, doing so will make you consider each element in your scene more carefully, leading to much stronger compositions.”

It is much easier to focus on the positives. However it means that you ignore the negatives. And those negatives don’t go away by simply ignoring them. The negatives are what help make up the whole picture. The composition is the way in which a whole or mixture is made up. The positive, AND the negative.

Some people only like to show that false, edited version of themselves. Where only the brightness, and highlights are on display, for an audience that offers up approval. They sweep the contrasting version of themselves (that we all have) under a thread-bare rug, and refuse to take a look at it. They pretend like it’s not even there. And a lot of the time, these people don’t allow anyone else to view that other side of them either. The dark side. But it’s there. It’s there.

I have made the conscious decision to not have one of those rugs in my little world. Because nothing good comes from it. And they eventually become a place that on a long enough time-line, will trip you up, and manifest in sorts of different ways. Often ugly and sometimes downright destructive ways.

I own my darkness. And I own my light.

And I want to speak when something needs to be said.

I have become intolerant to staying quiet. I can feel it gnawing away at me if I cannot express myself. If I can’t have a grown up, sometimes uncomfortable conversation, then what’s the point? I can’t just “keep my mouth shut” for the sake of peace. Because that’s not the path to peace believe me. “Staying quiet”’s path, has a rug on it with a big lump underneath it, that is gonna cause damage sooner or later.

And whilst it may seem as though what happened with that family member six months ago created anything but peace – it ironically did.

Because it’s all out in the open now. I now see the whole picture. There’s no more pretending, or bottling things up. I know where I stand, and it’s at a very, very safe distance. And it’s peaceful, and I’m grateful for that distance and peace, and that I don’t have to go into that space ever again.

To wrap up todays article, I guess the only advice I want to give is this…

Enjoy the moment. Take your photos. Take your videos. But take in every second of every moment, and LIVE your life instead of trying to impress people. Impress yourself.

Live your life the way you want to live it. So long as you are supporting yourself, and aren’t hurting anyone, it’s nobody else’s business how you choose to spend your time. In the same way that others live their lives the way they have chosen to live it, you too are free to live your life the way you choose. You do not need to explain or justify yourself to anyone.

Have those uncomfortable conversations. It’s your life too, and you get to speak as well. But please respect other people. And try to have compassion and empathy. We are all fucked in the head (to varying degrees of course). Me. You. Everyone.

Give yourself permission to distance yourself from relationships that are unhealthy or toxic. And forgive yourself for having enough self-love to sometimes check out of those relationships entirely. Have respect, compassion and empathy for YOU.

And most importantly, don’t allow fear to paralyse you. Do not be bullied into silence. Be brave, and tell the truth.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

And that’s my 1766 words.

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