Some days the photography goddess goes with you. Other times she hangs out with the real photographers. Such was my Saturday. After deleting almost half of my photos I felt like the wolf in this great graphic adorning a bakery near Flax Art & Design. What the hell happened?”
Immediately mantras sprang to mind. “The worst day spent [hobby] is better than the best day working.” “If you at first don’t succeed, try, try again.” “You learn more from your mistakes.” Fill in your favorite cliché. But the pounding in my ears sounded too much like “grab some pine, meat.” [A shout out to my fellow SF Giants fans.] Certain photos [like this fire hydrant] caused this familiar taunt to grow louder.
Then I recalled a great Additude Magazine post I read this week on the near addiction folks like me have to quitting. The author explained how many steps ADHD sufferers will take to avoid being “devastated by disapproval.” See http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/10121.html for the original article.
Initially I pushed the article aside because I approach the world like a battleship (invoking the strong women running through both my blood lines). However, closer reflection — notably an apartment littered with failed hobbies and the frustrated voices of exes/friends past — chastened me. I remembered how quickly I dropped things I could not master in an afternoon or [being fair] not ever given certain of my limitations. Not only did it prevent me from perhaps one day mastering certain subjects (hey a girl can dream), but it cost me respect (both my own and that of others). These are losses I no longer want crumbling my foundation.
Then I read a great Lifehacker post urging readers to adopt a Buddhist approach to life. It advised making one’s life goal to remove unhappiness rather than chase happiness. You can find this provocative piece at http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/what-do-you-need-to-let-go-of.html
Frankly it deserves a blog post of its own. It still runs through my mind like a waterfall: beautiful but beyond grasp. It’s incredibly empowering but also seemingly dishonest. What if you owe an obligation to the unhappiness? (Ah; the neglected child and first wife lament – time to put this puppy [post] to bed soon). Too many things are whirring in my brain, much like the mural excerpt below. I real sleep more than blogging absolution.
Besides not everything becomes a total loss. You end up with the parent best able —and most willing— to care for you. Both you and your ex grow inwardly stronger after you part. [Plus you get to litter your new apartment with anything you want. Evil grin.] Finally it’s virtually impossible not to come home with at least one or two nice pictures in San Francisco (as hopefully shown below).
Good night and thanks for hanging in with this post.
Tonight technology driven by a sore shoulder brings you this post via dictation. I feel like a cheap episode of an old Star Trek. Of course all the episodes of Star Trek were cheap so I guess this puts me right at home.
Mind you the power amazes me given the state of computers just 15-20 years ago. I vividly remember a disabled friend typing via a pencil clenched between her teeth. Now folks perform high-level jobs without ever touching a keyboard or mouse. Of course ever since we crawled out of the caves we have improvised around our puny bodies’ limitations. We erect huge buildings, roar down streets in fancy cars and literally fly to the moon. Powers which have wrought great beauty and even greater destruction. Like everything else it depends on who wields the power and the circumstances surrounding them.
Still I find this power of speech particularly terrifying. Oddly because it has always come to me so glibly. As a child I live surrounded by relatives who verbalized everything. Looking back it went beyond merely filling silences. On all sides of my family we saw and experienced everything. Our glimpses became fodder for stories, jokes, and fights. I suppose the modern term is processing, but I prefer living. Yet when the time came to give my heart away it went to a woman who taught me to value silence. An amazingly gifted musician she experienced the world by being still enough to hear sounds beyond my range of hearing and understanding. Like many long-term couples we eventually drifted apart but not before I learned of worlds I missed by not listening hard enough. [Note: picture is not my ex – just random (also gifted) musicians].
I suppose the fear arises from using speech in everything I do. Like many in my family I always fall into the caregiving professions, no matter how much I try running from them. It’s closely linked with the whole world domination thing I have had going since kindergarten. Taught always to give back my family members and I seek to lift up the world around us. In my case I use persuasive skills –either verbal or written– to cajole, console, or scold. In my youth I sought justice and power. Now in middle-age I seek to settle or repair things. It no longer seems like a compromise given what I’ve learned of the world’s fragility. Mostly, much like the dictation, its learning to trust going with the flow. The faster you dictate the fewer mistakes you make. The more people and situations you quickly clean up, the better the worlds. It’s like bringing a little spring in the middle of winter.
So what so terrifying? It’s knowing how easily people use speech to do the wrong thing. It’s not just the larger questions of morality its seeing people ripped to pieces by someone else’s words. It’s knowing people so damaged they no longer trust anyone. It’s remembering, how like any other non-perfect human being, when I used speech to destroy people. With glibness comes too many glitches is or gotcha’s. With writing I feel distance and a chance to edit (unless I had the itchy send button finger going). Of course given my clumsy dictation skills I will always have a chance to edit. Still it harkens of a world where speech will grant instant gratification. Hopefully I will remember what my ex so wisely tried to teach me, just wait and listen.