Rut rut rut. I've been saying that word so much lately that it has begun to lose its meaning, along with the phrase, "I'm a little stuck right now", which is the answer I usually give when people ask me how the whole photography thing is going, or life in general. When I wake up in the morning, I usually feel overwhelmed by all of the things I haven't done yet, rather than feeling energized and ready to meet the day because of all the opportunities that await me. Clothes are piled on the floor. My desk is a battle zone. The bed goes unmade.
Is it possible to talk about being stuck in a rut without it sounding like a complaint? One of my biggest fears is sounding like a complainer; so often I will write a couple of paragraphs for a blog post, read them, worry that they sound too whiney, and then delete it all and post a giant chunk of pictures instead. Photos of pretty things have replaced words about how I am actually feeling at any given moment, and this has led to lots of sentences being formed in my head and never making their way out into the world. I have so many thoughts, and most of them never see the light of day, instead getting stuck behind the barricades in my own mind.
The things I find inspiration in are hard to come by, because they involve shaking life up a bit, which is impossible to do on a daily basis if you want to get any "real" work done. I have somehow become addicted to adventure, even while not going on nearly as many adventures as I want. I feel the most alive when I am somewhere completely new, taking pictures and breathing in the air and realizing that each place exists even when I am not there, each street corner and apartment and field and person. The world is so big, and there is so much to see.
I want to figure out a way for this adventure to be feasible, for it to be my bread and butter, for it to not disrupt my home life and my relationships with the people I care about so much. I want complete freedom, but worry that that desire is selfish, because isn't that what everyone wants? Why am I any more entitled to it than anyone else? Is it the hard truth of life that I just have to accept my fate as a working American adult and settle down a little bit more, put my nose to the grindstone and make enough dollars to get by? Am I so ridiculously privileged that I think I can avoid doing what so many have no choice but to do? Am I just too idealistic, and if so, is it just a phase that will pass? On one hand, I wouldn't want the idealism to end, because it's one of the only things driving me right now (and, as Debbie Millman said in her wonderful commencement speech, "If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve"), but on the other hand, I've got some major Restless Brain Syndrome going on, and it'd be nice to get that under control.
It's not that I don't want to work. I just want to work on something that matters, both to me and to the world at large. I want to contribute, but not by spending 9-5 in an office at a desk. I want to play a role in our economy and society, but not by doing something that I hate. I don't know if any of that is reasonable. But I have become obsessed with a handful of people who seem to be doing what I desire, and hot damn will I make it happen if I get the chance. Who knows, maybe I'm the only thing holding myself back. Maybe only I can give myself that chance, and I just need to practice a little more patience and keep my eyes open so that when the right opportunity presents itself, I'll be ready.
In the meantime, I hold on to the things that make me happy, and they help me get through each day. Los Angeles makes me happy. California makes me happy. Sunshine and warmth year round make me happy. The support of loved ones makes me happy. Having a boyfriend who is willing to work his ass off while I am busy growing and building and figuring out my life makes me happy. Friends who are willing to dance in front of my camera and go on spontaneous adventures and eat picnics on the beach make me happy.
Here, look at some pretty pictures of my friend Elise. She is one of the people in my life that I draw inspiration from - the creativity that flows through her and her ability to follow through on ideas and actually make shit happen are qualities that I can only hope to someday achieve. If she says she will do something, she does it. I'll mention something I've been struggling with, and the next day she will have done some research and be full of ideas and internet links to share in order to help me out. She cooks like a motherfucker and dances and jokes and genuinely and deeply cares about people in a way that is noticeable and rare. She is good people.
Happy Thursday, y'all.