The Bog (Take Two)

I was in a hurry.  It’d been too long since I’d gone out and taken pictures, and too long since I’d captured many that I really liked.  So yesterday I posted a quick gallery of some of the pictures that I’d done, and only today did I realize that I’d only actually edited about half of them and that I’d forgotten a bunch.  So, here’s that rectified.  The editing is done and I’m reposting.  Thanks for reading and looking at my pictures.

G.

Those shoots…

Good lord I love these shoots.  Something intimate, and carful, and crafted, and beautiful.  I’ve found that they can be so very satisfying for me as the photographer, and very much satisfying and empowering for the subject.

I’ve recently been contacted to set up two boudoir style photo shoots, so I went back into some of my past work, to provide examples of what I’ve done.  These two stood out because for some reason I’de never done anything with them.  I guess that makes them leftovers, so here they are.

I can’t describe the feeling of helping someone see themselves the way that they want to be seen or the way that I see them.  It’s actually hard for me to charge money for this;  I feel like I should be paying for the privilege.  These are a joy.

100 random and unrelated book chapters.

I have no idea if I can pull this off, but, with no deadline and no actual pressure, I’m thinking I can at least make a start.

I don’t remember where or when I thought of doing this, but I love the idea of reading (and actually writing) an utterly random moment from a fictional book, out of order and unrelated to anything.

I’m looking forward to the challenge and the giggles that I’m sure will come a long with it.

Here’s hoping you’ll read them and enjoy them too.

G.

 

What I don’t like about the whole New Year’s Eve thing…

The holiday season is stressful enough. Family members and friends come out of the wood work and you have to run your ass off trying to find enough time for everyone who needs some of your time.  Then you spend the time with them, and if you’re anything like me, probably spend a chunk of that time wishing they’d fuck off for a few minutes so that you can breathe. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy giving presents to people. Well, the people I care about at any rate. I want them to know how much they mean to me, and finding that perfect gift, the one that tells them that I know them and that I see them, is an actual joy to me. 

I hate getting presents. What if I’m disappointed? What if I think its stupid? I have this strange tendency to feel kind of aloof and separate from it all, when I’m receiving presents; almost like I’m somehow just faking it or that I don’t really deserve whatever love and caring that they’re showing me.

That makes Christmas tough, but it’s still kicking New Year’s ass. You see, at Christmas, I can and sometimes do, really enjoy reflecting on the love that have for those around me. I can enjoy the time with friends and family (and still want them to fuck off). That’s sort of the expectation, and I’m ok with that. It’s a positive thing most of the time. 

New Year’s Eve is supposed to be this big party, this wonderful event. Fuck that. I don’t really need an excuse to go out with people I like and drink and have fun, though the dressing up part doesn’t happen often. And then come the resolutions. I hate that. Why? Because it seems that I’m expected to look back on the past year and pick out all the shit that I could have, and should have done differently. Are you kidding?! I do that on a daily basis! I’m always resolving to be a better person, I don’t need to shout it out to the world so that they and I can be disappointed when I don’t manage it. 

That being said, maybe having this artificial moment, this finish/starting line, can be a good thing. A way to mark the time going by and the time to come. Maybe I should see it as an opportunity. Maybe I can open some new doors and say that this is the time when that began. Maybe I need to mark the moment when I decided to close a door or two, things that have had their time and just aren’t adding to the whole or are taking away from it. 

Whether I like it or not, the holiday season makes me look at the people around me, the people and things who enrich my experiences and those that subtract from them. I love the people who are close to me, to a fault. I question them and their importance and I question my decisions and what I’m bringing to the table. I do it all the time and it’s not easy, so I can’t always deal with having this giant moment where I’m suddenly looking at the giant things; I have enough trouble with the day to day small things. 

That’s the whole New Year thing to me. 

Thanks for reading. You’re all generally well thought of, except when you’re not. 

Welcome to 2016. 

The main difference between my journal and my blog. 

A year or two or three ago, I started this blog. I wanted to write and try out new ways of expressing myself and my opinions. I don’t remember how much thought I put in to the title, but I do remember the after a post or two, I had it. Contradictory. I’ll link to my original explanation of the name. 

What it came down to, is this, and it still holds very true:  when I react to something, there’s always my first reaction, first thought(s). Depending on the thing, it can be pretty visceral and emotional. So I might decide to write something about it. My first attempt to write is almost always my visceral response. As I keep writing, the rest of my brain engaged. Some critical thinking shows up, maybe some logic and a clearer head. So, as I keep going, my initial reaction gets tempered and I begin to express a much more balanced look at whatever “it” is. In real life, I tend to see most things from all the different sides available.  What happens then, is that the piece of writing goes from my intense first reaction, very often to something very different. I’ll even talk myself out of the first reaction and come around to the other side of things; therein lies the contradiction in the title. 

Writing a post involves me coming up with and idea and the writing a draft. Then I’ll reread it, get someone else to read it, then maybe scrap it, or simply edit it. There’s a couple of layers that it has to get through before its done and I post it. Often, it’s starts as one thing and ends as another. That’s how my non-photography posts tend to go. 

I keep a journal. Sort of two journals, inconsistently, but still, I’m writing in them regularly these days.  There’s the electronic journal, locked away in my phone, and the paper journal. The things that go into the electronic one, those are the most visceral of all. They’re very short and very much in the moment. That’s become a bit of a dumping ground for high emotion, be it anger (often), sadness (more often than I’d like), or joy (more often than I admit). That journal is not safe for public consumption.  

The written journal has fewer entries. Looking back at what I’ve written there is a bit like looking back at something you wrote in high school. They are basically longer versions of the electronic journal, but nowhere near ready for public consumption. They are still filled with the high emotion, that most likely prompted them in the first place. The journal is where I’m talking to myself, trying to process what’s happening in my head. That process is great but hard. I get the thoughts, emotions out on to the page, I try to be a little more detailed in the content, putting all the pieces (in the moment) into some kind of order, so that I can try to make sense of what I’m thinking and especially feeling. That’s really important for me and sort of the point behind writing it down in the first place. If I can get it out of my head and start putting words to it, then I can more easily identify and own what I’m feeling. They can still be pretty intense and reactionary, and sometimes, to me, read like an emo teenager wrote them. Basically, not something someone else might properly understand. It’d be like peeking into my mind and seeing the thoughts I haven’t actually finished thinking yet. 

The next part is where I try to bring some critical thinking to the matter and maybe a little less emotion. That might just be in my brain, where I can come to terms with the thing. Or it will become a blog post or whatever. 

All three are invaluable to me. The brainstorming, the rough draft, and the final copy. The emotions will almost always be the same, but their intensity, temperature and clarity often change dramatically. 

Thanks for reading. 

What did it take?

I was asked recently, what did it take for me to seek help for my depression?  There was the quick answer, and the. There’s this one, the one I’ve been mulling over for a few days:  time. 

It took time, and not because I was avoiding the issue. It took time, because I had no idea that I had a problem of any kind. 

After a particularly difficult time at work, it was suggested that I use the employee assistance program and speak to a counselor. I kind of laughed off the need, but it meant a day off work, so I went. Chatted with a rather affable doctor and filled out a couple questionnaires. He asked me to describe my moods and sort of generally how things went for me. So I talked and anyone who knows me, knows that once I start talking, I can go. Here’s the Coles Notes of what I told him and talked about with him. 

I was angry. All the time. It didn’t actually show much, but it was always there. It’d come out every so often, but I’d pass it off as a rough day at work or just a difficult moment. A lot of the time, it would be frustration. I’d get frustrated about how I was feeling and have no idea why I was feeling that way. The frustration would easily become anger, at myself, for not being able to figure it out. Or it’d be anger and frustration at others, usually those close to me, for not being able to understand how they were bothering me. It was always there, under the surface. My patience dropped to zero. 

Sleep. Holy fuck could I sleep. Give me a semi-comfortable position and I’d doze off. I’d nap my way through my lunch breaks and fall asleep as soon as I got home from work. I couldn’t seem to get enough sleep, even if I had a full night’s sleep.   With the sleep, came a kind of lethargy. I didn’t want to get up. I didn’t want to move. The more tired I felt, the less patient and more frustrated and the quicker if anger. 

I started looking down the barrel of my upcoming day and get this sort of despair. Not feeling that I could even manage it. I started taking a couple days off a month. I passed it off as job stress. It slowly became almost a day a week. I’d feel great the moment I called in sick; then just as quickly feel like shit. I’d decide to make use of the day and try and get some stuff done around the house, be productive. And then I’d go to bed. I’d wake up just before the end of the work day. Having accomplished nothing and still not feeling rested. I’d be angry at myself for the waste of the day. That meant that I’d probably be short tempered with both wife and child. Not fair to them at all. 

That kind of thing began to happen a lot more often and led to a lot of strife and difficulty at home. Neither of us able to undestand why we were fighting. 

Despite all of that, most of the time, I felt pretty good. There were always days where I felt like myself and was in a good mood. 

It wasn’t until I started having more bad days than good that I considered that there might be a problem. And it wasn’t until I actually laid it all out for a stranger, that I saw the pattern and the bigger picture. 

He told me that I had low grade, chronic depression. He told me that it had probably always been there but the low grade nature of it, kept it under my radar. A smiling depressive, he called me. 

Having something to call it was amazing. I was able to look at everything through that lens and sort of see how it all fit together. I got a prescription for an antidepressant. That really was amazing. After a few weeks of taking them, I rediscover my energy and my frustration level dropped dramatically. That meant that I was so much less angry and so much more able to cope. I had never liked the idea of being on meds, but I like being uneven and angry even less. 

Puppies!!

I woke up, this morning, having a dream about puppies. Seriously. 

I dreamt that I was visiting the set of a tv show. The next day’s show was going to be about puppies. Someone showed up with a truck full of puppies and dropped them off. 

Basically, the dream was me crawling around, trying to hug as many puppies at a time that I could. 

I need to wake up like that more often. 

Empathy (part three)

My daughter. 

She’s an absolute joy. I am amazed by her. I am proud of her. 

She gets hit with the sort of empathy fatigue that sometimes hits me. I don’t know if it’s a hard hit or a soft one, but she feels it. She must. I’m not patient or indulgent enough with her sometimes. When I come home, emotionally and mentally drained, Dan knows it’s not her, but Alex can’t really know that. She’ll hear me tell her that it’s not her fault, she’ll understand the words and what they mean, but I’m sure that a part of her gets hurt by papa being short and cranky with her. 

I try. I really do. But it’s so hard and she still too young to be able to fully understand it. Dad spends all day working with, helping and being patient with difficult kids, but can’t be that patient and helpful with his own, mildly difficult (not really) kid. 

So where do you find the reserves? Where is it going to come from?  I can’t hold back and give less the rest of the time, it just doesn’t work like that. So now what?