On my last trip up to Malcolm Island, I was once again pushing myself to use my camera. There were a few challenging moments like when I went to change the lens. My hand was trembling, my mind went blank, and I could not remember how to do it. But my friend was with me, and was patient and supportive of me, as she has always been, these past 19 years. I took a deep breath and she took me through the steps of how to do it. Soon after I was changing lenses with no problem.
I spent parts of the next few days taking pictures of, old boats, old houses, old boat houses etc. As I took a picture of an old decrepit boat, I would notice the newer ones behind it. As I was taking these pictures I was thinking if these items could only talk, what stories would be told.
I came across 4 small boats. A 12 foot aluminum one, 2 wooden canoes, one red, one green and a small blue wood row boat, all together, turned upside down, leaning on each other just above the tide line. The colours had faded, the gunnels had rotted off the canoes, and they were buckled in the middle. Grass had grown up through and around them all. How long had they been here? When the people put them like that, did they know it would be for the last time? Did they have any idea they would sit here for so long? Why had they not been used in such a long time?
If these old boats and buildings could talk. The storms they had seen, both by Mother Nature and economics, and what lives had been lost because of these? What dreams were started and ended, and what secrets were whispered within their presence.
As I was taking pictures of these, and noticing the newer boats and buildings I felt like I was seeing two worlds at the same time, then in time I realized, I was living in two worlds at the same time.
This is progress. It may not sound like it, but it really is.
An example is what happened to me with my camera. Sure, I was triggered and trembling, and I forgot how to change the lens when my mind went blank. But, and this is very important, I did not dissociate, disconnect from myself, my friend, or my surroundings.
In the past I would have done all of the above, and put my camera gear away and forget that I even had it, and have no memory of the event, or the trip.
Now, I am triggered, but I am able to stay in the moment, and not only that. I pushed on ahead with the camera and got some amazing shots. It was wonderful, as I was able to stay in the present, and take pictures. This, may not seem like a big deal, but it is for me.
Then I pushed myself even one more step and asked my friend to take some pictures of me throughout this trip, so that I would have pictures of me, safe and in the present, to start replacing the ones from my past.
In the past, when I did take pictures I dissociated and therefore was numb. But this time round, I was in the present and it was an amazing feeling. I got lost in the art of photography for the first time. I started seeing the world differently and it was pretty amazing.
The only way I can explain this, is if all your life you could not taste any of the food you were eating. Then one morning, you wake up and find that you can taste everything. Everything would be new, and amazing. You would find tastes you like, some you don’t, strong flavours or a very subtle something that lingers for just a moment before it is gone. It would open a whole new world to you.
This is what it is like for me with my photography. I look at the pictures I have taken, and am amazed at some of the shots, disappointed with others, but the muse is finally allowed to be here and now in the present, and I can’t wait to get out there and take some more pictures, make some new discoveries.
And all the time I am taking pictures, my past will be right there with me, and that’s ok. Because, while my past is there beside me, I am not in my past. That is the difference!
Sure, I may have moments of anxiety and forgetfulness, but I will be able to stay in the present. After everything I have been through, I think that’s a pretty good place to be.
It has been an unbelievable amount of work to get where I am now. And, somewhere along the way, I learned that I needed to honor my past and everything I have been through. I know this is easier said than done, but it is worth it. And unlike those old boats and buildings, I will be able to tell my story.
I also know, that the next time I take my camera out I will most likely have some anxiety around it, and that my past will be visiting me. But, I also know, that in time, because I honor the memories and my past, there will come a time where they are only memories.
Yes, it’s been hard and very painful work, but so worth it.
I have a couple of the pictures my friend took of me, and it’s amazing. Unlike the ones from my childhood, these pictures are full of life and laughter. I was in awe as I looked at them, my eyes are full of light, laughter, hope and all things possible.
Yep, I sure have come a long way, and yep, it sure is worth it!
These are my thoughts for today.
I wish you all light, love and laughter on your journey.
Cheers and be well