High School photo club was originally just an excuse to spend time with my freshman boyfriend. Then it became a way to avoid going home after school. The developer bin held black and white film prints I shot the week before fading into view. Somehow, the photos I took began to matter, to catch the attention of my teacher. Photography class was challenging and rewarding and now I know why – it was a no pressure, playful hobby.
I could say my parents ignored this interest because they didn’t push it like they did (do) music, but to their credit they did buy me a Canon Rebel.
I took tons of pictures in high school, culminating with poster-size handmade collages for my graduating friends. But those collages coincided with a very intense and raw relationship that would turn my whole self upside-down.
Whether it was that relationship, a Saturn Cycle or just the course my life took, my inner-self cracked and refracted from then on. I ended up continuing on my originally planned path but somehow a different person.
I stopped taking pictures. Writing songs felt like immersing myself in a bathtub of ice. Journalling was fragmented and scarce. Frustrated crying became a daily occurrence. My creative self, smack in the middle of music college, froze.
And that’s where I’ve been for the past 8 years, just beginning to thaw out. It’s starting with a small inkling, a tiny voice that says “Yes you can”. Not in regards to changing the past but in response to one of the questions I repeatedly ask of myself “Am I really allowed to do this?”
Turns out, I’m allowed to do whatever I want to do. This is a fairly new realization for me (don’t laugh). Hence, this blog. As my friend Steph says “No one’s watching”. I think she means this in a restrictive, scared way, as if we’re standing on the edge of a cliff without a rope and harness. But I’m learning to feel out the opposite, expansive option. That listening to my wants and acting on them has to be one of the best feelings in the world.
So, when I first saw the Hipstamatic iPhone app I rebelled. “What a cop-out! That person thinks they’re so cool” I thought. The tiny voice inside me said, “I kinda like it” but the Critic PERFECTIONIST shoved that interest aside. “What a freakin’ FAKE!” it said.
That right there is a general example of my daily thoughts. Tiny Voice (TV) suggests something cute, fun, different and Critic Perfectionist (CP) shoots it down with a sniper shot to the head. But I’m trying oh-so-hard to tune in to TV and really hear what she has to say. I bought the app and started taking some pictures. And as much as CP creeps up and says, “These suck. They only look good b/c a stupid app that anyone can use” I ignore it and keep going. Because this is another form of my current self-expression. And as silly as the app is, as simple as my frames are, these little pics excite me. I’ve spent my whole life doing things because they’re “productive” and “important”. Shooting pictures with an iPhone app is neither, really, at least in the original definitions of those words. But for me, right now, they mean the world.