Le Art Boxians, it has been too long. Every day, I promise myself that I am going to shoot more, post more, write more, and then life steps in and gets a hold of me and here I sit, making excuses again.
I remember, in all the years that I have been keeping this “therapy journal” for purposes of diagnosing and treating my anxiety disorders, they never actually served that purpose. I don’t think any therapist has ever even asked to read these entries. Well, that isn’t true. The one who told me to write in a journal in the first place would ask me if I wrote anything of interest when I would go in to see her, but I never felt that I had written anything worthwhile to discuss. Turns out, I was wrong.
I have been writing the same sentences over and over since 2007. “I need to lose some weight” (keep in mind, that my weight fluctuates by 20+ pounds depending on what type of “cycle” I am in, depressed, anxious, or “normal”), and “I need to create more art” (specifically “I need to shoot more”). These two things have featured in almost every journal entry I have ever written, and even entries that started off having NOTHING to do with either topic, if left to write long enough (I tend to ramble, had you not noticed), I would eventually make my way back to those two things. I would be happier if I felt comfortable in my skin. I would be happier if I was serving (what I believe to be) my purpose.
Well, I have lost 24 pounds (finally in a healthy, sustainable way, not by refusing to eat or by the “caffeine, nicotine” diet that I used to LOVE while I was depressed). Am I happier? Absolutely. Am I satisfied? Well, that is a whole different story.
I have a few friends who are photographers who have been asking me to model for them for YEARS and I was never comfortable enough with my body to get on the other side of the camera. I’m not even entirely sure why, because there were periods of time during those years when my weight was a roller coaster when I was pretty damn hot. As a matter of fact, I spent a good portion of my 20’s looking pretty damn good, up until the 5 years depression kicked in (I gained about 40 pounds). Lately, I managed to drop over 20 pounds by changing my diet a little and exercising, and I feel really good about where I am right now. Still not good enough to model, though (will I ever stop criticizing my body?).
I am never happier or more content than when I am creating something, even when I am wildly throwing ideas at a canvas to see if they will stick (funny noodles reference). I guess, though, I allow life (read: Job. See photo to right) to get in the way of me really breaking my funk when it comes to being creative. It is far easier for me to ignore the need to create and avoid the self criticism that comes with creating than it is for me to create and beat myself up about everything afterward. I have been slacking lately when it comes to actually making things, with the obvious exception of excuses.
So, what the hell is happening to me? Once upon a time, you wouldn’t see me without a camera in my hand. Where did that girl go? Now I am content to buy photography books and go to the museum or to galleries to view other people’s work without making any of my own. What happened? I still feel that familiar tug to go out with the camera, but I just don’t.
Is it possible that I don’t want to be an artist anymore? Or have I gotten to the point where the self criticism is so bad that I just can’t face it anymore? When I bought my camera, all I wanted to do was shoot. Shoot bands, shoot people, shoot things. Then all I wanted was to do a gallery opening. Then all I wanted to do was pay off all the debt I incurred buying my gear, and when it became a tool to make money, it fell out of favor. I don’t think that is a coincidence, either. Shooting to make money means that other people can tell you “I don’t like this photo, shoot it again” if they don’t agree with your vision as an artist. I didn’t even want my vision to be questioned by me, let alone someone else… ESPECIALLY someone who was paying me to shoot for them. So, I played it safe. I took the “parent pleaser” photos and barely ever stretched my wings as a photographer. I deeply regret that now. Especially because I have apparently ruined my own life with how critical I am. I sabotage any attempt at finding a boyfriend because I don’t feel I deserve one (sometimes convince myself that I don’t WANT one), and I have sabotaged any effort I have made to go out and create.
So here begins my identity crisis. How do I convince myself to be happier mentally?
By becoming UNHEALTHIER mentally.
What do I mean, you ask?
I need to adopt an alter ego, another personality, if you will. A personality that says FUCK YOU, I AM AN ARTIST. A personality that doesn’t apologize for being an artist, like I do all the time.
I have toyed around with the idea that I must have some kind of alter ego because I really resonated with a character in a book that I started writing. Any time I wrote about him (which I stopped doing a long time ago) I would feel a flow of new creativity and I would go make art. Well, that hasn’t happened in a long time.
So, here I am, a full 7 years and going through my 8th year now, of telling myself that I need to lose weight (which I am accomplishing) and that I need to shoot more. Write more. Paint more. Draw more. Print more. Who has time for all these hobbies that I try to master?
Well, step one was feeling good enough to finally step in front of a camera and be a pinup. I have always wanted to be a pinup. A few more pounds off me, and that is exactly what I am gonna do. Step two is finding the gumption to be the photographer I have always wanted to be. Not one who uses photography to pay bills, but one who uses photography to heal their soul.
All right. I have allowed my PhUkTnEuRoTiC content to spill over into my Le Art Box files, but I guess, now is as good a time as any to introduce you to the evil side of panic disorder and how it relates to the things I post here. Two blogs, two personalities… perhaps this isn’t a new idea of mine.
I think I will call her Imogen, after Imogen Cunningham. Vivian after Vivian Maier? Hell, I don’t know what to call my alter ego, but I do know that my alter ego needs to stop being a guy.
Until next time, please share this with your friends and relatives and people you don’t like. Hopefully, this will be a whole new leaf for me and I might actually accomplish what my journals have been telling me for damn near a decade now.