Sunday, 27 July 2014

Capturing real moments

A good friend of mine has a camera: a vintage camera that only takes film. She takes photos, often of people, with that camera. Real people, real moments. None of it is made up, none of it is carefully posed. There are no edits, and there are no filters.

Not everyone is smiling in her photos. She just captures what's happening at the time, whatever it is.

She has taken photos of me, too. Really candid photos that at first feel private, because they're so candid. They show bits of me I'm not used to seeing in a photo.

I like the photos because in them I see the way she sees things, I see her approach. She does this great thing, my friend, she believes it's all okay. Whether we're laughing or bawling, angry or all gooey, none of that really matters, it's just all part of life and we all eventually stop laughing or crying or whatever. Or maybe we don't which is okay too. We just hang out, whatever's going on.

And sometimes it's more than that. Sometimes she reckons it's worth capturing those moments. On film. Unedited.

And it's breathtaking.

I know a number of people who believe that too, some of my good friends. Friends who I love and accept and who love and accept me, just as we are - even when things get intense or uncomfortable - and not just when things are happy and easy.

It's a privilege to have friends like that, I'm honoured to know them. They're connections I value so dearly, these people I love come-what-may.

It's not always happy. It's not always fun. It's not always rosy. It's not always comfortable.

It's not perfect.

No, it's better than that, it's real. It's sincere and honest and it's more joyous and more loving.

And sure there are hilarious amazing wonderful moments - but if there's a different kind of moment, that's okay too. It doesn't ruin the rest. Somehow there's less pressure.

Because it's true what my friend believes - I guess that means I believe it too - it is all okay. Joy and sadness and laughter and tears. Love and frustration and resentment and exhaustion. We're all going to feel all of these things at some point. This is life. This is living.

It took me a really long time to really fully understand that. Maybe it's obvious to everyone else. But me, I fought against the painful uncomfortable stuff for years, for far too long. Picture me crying or feeling slightly anxious and kind of yelling awkwardly "ohhh my goodness what is wrong with me what is happening to meeee?". In fact (*tries to accurately recall) I'm pretty sure in one of my first therapy sessions I asked the therapist if it was possible to fix me, as if I were broken.

I had so many people encouraging me to just surrender to it all. And honestly fear really stopped me from doing that. Terror, maybe is a better word, I was terrified of surrendering to the uncomfortable stuff.

Eventually though, with a bunch of little tiny itty bitty steps, and then a few more, and then a few slightly experimental larger ones, and yes some backwards steps in there too... I slowly started getting there. And as my confidence in this process of just embracing all of it has grown, my steps have grown too.

I still have no idea what I'm doing, I'm still bumbling my way through the whole shebang. But now just making a conscious effort to live as fully as is possible - with everything that comes with that. And I've still a long way to go. But now not worrying so much about taking a step in a direction I might not otherwise have been comfortable taking. Getting more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, getting more comfortable with fear, getting more comfortable with just letting myself enjoy the nice moments too.

Another good friend of mine recently sent me this quote. It's Friedrich Nietzsche, what a dude. He says:
“What if pleasure and displeasure were so tied together that whoever wanted to have as much as possible of one must also have as much as possible of the other. You have a choice in life: either as little displeasure as possible, painlessness in brief or as much displeasure as possible as the price for an abundance of subtle pleasures and joys.”
And for me that sums it up nicely.

I used to make an effort to avoid pain and discomfort, not realising it may have prevented me from enjoying an abundance of subtle pleasures and joys.

*throws (sensible amounts of) caution to the wind

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