I have been ruminating on this post for quite some time and I finally got to the point in which I needed to put words down on paper in order to move away from them.
2019 has been a pretty terrible year for our family. In one respect, it shows how wonderful and easy our lives have been leading up to this point. On the other … it felt like a storm came in finding us standing in the water and waves started to crash into us. Then once we started to stand up to recover from one wave, another hits us and takes us out. It has been exhausting. With no time to recover in between.
We have dealt with varying degrees of loss. My rational mind wants to take over here and minimize that our loss wasn’t “that bad” or “that significant” compared to what so many others deal with. But one thing I am learning to come to terms with is that emotions are emotions. One persons are not more valid than another persons. They are yours to have and yours to own. And to our family the losses are significant, especially to two children, and they were incredibly difficult to deal with. They were triggers into bigger challenges.
Trying to understand and embrace those bigger challenges in our family has also pulled us under. Challenges I am uncomfortable addressing in an online forum, but are likely more prevalent than we realize. Challenges that tested our patience, fortitude and took most of our time and attention.
And that is the essence of this post. I have been surviving this year. I have barely been keeping my head above water and out of the fog, making sure that our base needs are being met and our commitments are being fulfilled (and I am sure Jeremy can echo this sentiment). One of our shared joys in the past is documenting our family. But this year some of the photos hurt too much to look at and some of the videos are really hard to watch. Thankfully we are still documenting things, but we just haven’t shared them. At some point when time and space give us more room to breath, we will be able to go back again, but right now it is just too hard.
So instead of doing a massive catch up of 2019, journaling and documenting our year as I tend to do in December, I have made the choice to just let this year go. Besides the above, every time I have tried to start a blog post, I find an excuse to not get to it. Every time I want to be creative, my energy is sucked out of my body and I am left with nothing. I go online to be inspired and see these amazing photographers, writers and artists and just feel this giant sense of inadequacy. My work will never be good enough. My vision is too scattered. I have too much I need to learn and do before I should ever put anything out there, so why bother? It is a big rut of ugliness. One where the sides loom up above you and there feels like no way out. It goes beyond just a “creative rut” – I feel like I am full time with everything in this rut.
And part of putting pen to paper is to say that is unacceptable to me. I usually tend towards optimistic. I usually tend towards, “If it is broken, then I am in control of fixing it” when I have these types of existential slaps in the face. This year it has just taken me a LOT longer to come back around to that line of thinking. Plus I think there is something about approaching a new year that really helps. It’s a fresh start. An unmarred period of time that we can make our own. And really every new day is that, but there is just some sort of finality about closing out a year and starting a new one. And I am ready to do that.
Because I document my family for ME. I don’t do it to gain followers, I don’t do it for all the “likes”. I do it because I want to remember that when my now 8 year old was two, he wore safety googles EVERYWHERE. If I didn’t have the pictures and video of that, I would never have remembered it among the long list of funny things he has done. I do it because I love to learn and grow and expression with photography has always resonated with me. I do it for the challenge of creating new and interesting things FOR ME. If others enjoy them, it is a bonus, but I cannot allow myself to get into a comparison game. Because there are always people out there who are better. And that doesn’t matter. Am I growing when I stack myself up against earlier versions of me? That is what matters.
I am sure everyone is nodding at this point, agreeing with what is so obviously stated and what seems like common sense. But nodding and agreeing is so much easier than living and doing. Gotta walk that walk too, especially when self-doubt, laziness, frustration and every other emotion you can have threatens to get you off track. That is the challenge of 2020. And that I what I plan to tackle, starting now.