Month: December 2016

Resolutions…or Revolution?

2016 has punched me in the stomach more than I would care to admit.  Of course, that in itself is part of the beauty of life-the extreme darkness we often experience.  Because that heaviness and crumbling that we all go through from time to time is inevitably followed by a period of lightness-even it feels short lived.

I have never made New Year’s Resolutions.  I have never felt a need to do that.  Usually my December 31st’s are spotted with moments of simply thinking about the year I’ve just lived through and desperately trying to cement in my brain the “good” moments that have happened.  Attempting to be grateful for those “positive” things and making a concerted effort to block anything unpleasant or unpretty.

“Attempting” to be grateful because I have found that any time I do my “rewind” I’m always pulled in the direction of remembering my year’s  messy moments.  Then I find myself trying to extricate from that and frantically search for the next positive memory I can focus on.

Over the last several weeks I have been ruminating a lot about the approaching finish of 2016.  As I said, it kicked my ass hard and I don’t know that I can throw in here “but I came out a better person”.  

I turned 40.  And it seemed as though the Universe said “let’s welcome that in a big way”.  There was divorce, there was death and there seemed to be an ongoing theme of consistently trying to navigate through situations with people that I just did not know how to deal with.  Situations that left me in a lot of pain.  And speechless.

The phrase is that we can’t control what happens to us.  We can only control our response.  I have found that sometimes you can’t really “control” that either because you don’t really know how to respond.

On remembering my 2016, these profoundly awful moments are the ones that kept popping up.  Not necessarily because nothing “good” happened.  It did.  But because these disgusting moments were my revolution moments.   They changed me.  Often unwillingly.  But they still changed me.

“Revolution” has many different meanings.  Oxford describes it as a “wide reaching change in conditions, attitudes or operations”.

Forbes says that only 8% of people succeed at fulfilling New Year’s resolutions.  I think that’s because, as ironic as this sounds, the failed resolutions aren’t personal enough.  Meaningful enough.  That they are too “global” and not self driven.

For me it’s been a deeper exercise to acknowledge the beautiful of 2016.  But that’s the easy part.  Then to not push away the “crap” moments and try to see if there’s room to grow.  Because the crap moments have left their biggest mark on me and I don’t want to let that be for nothing.

I have said “I don’t know” so many times in so many different ways this past year.  I’m beginning to see a bit of value in the chaos that has turned my plans upside down.  Plans, designs…resolutions are helpful.  And important.  Yet the more vital part for me has been to observe how things  have “overthrown” my own blueprints I had for myself.  

We are constantly moving in this flux of life between the yin and yang.  Sometimes the momentum by which you’re propelled through these things is not the pace you want to go at.  But you’re still going.  

I don’t really know, then, if I have come out a “better” person from this year.  I can say that I have come out differently than how I went in.

“A revolution is bloody.  Revolution is hostile.  Revolution knows no compromise. Revolution overturns and destroys  everything that gets in its way”~Malcolm X

Sometimes what has been getting in the way is the way you “think” things should be.

  

The Book And Its Cover…

Facebook has been the best playground to observe human behaviour in all of its wonder.  

Earlier this week I posted a photograph of myself taken 3 years ago.  The photographer is a man I admire greatly for his creative insight-I “get” his work.  Anyone whose soul is moved when they are exposed to creative works (whatever the modality) will understand what I mean when I say that.  

My photographer understood my personality.  Perfectly.  He understood my lack of confidence in front of the camera…my discomfort with that particular sort of attention.  We discussed at length what I wanted and how that vision would connect to my blog-my creative outlet.  I wanted my readers to have another piece of me to put together a “picture” in their head of who I was and why I write.

Aside from a friendship already there, there was a certain level of trust and an ability for the two of us to communicate on an honest basis.  

During the session that day, he caught a moment where he saw me in a different light.  He snapped that moment.  Capturing it forever.

Because he “saw” something.  Whatever it was, it compelled him to push the button.  What he caught was a very different “look” to my “normal” face that interacts with the world every day.  That photo became my introduction to the “About Me” section of my blog.

That photograph is weighted in meaning for me.  So many things about it are a juxtaposition to my “everyday” face the world sees.  I was sad.  A bit resentful.  Angry.  Lost.  Indifferent.  Intense.

And not smiling.

It’s amazing when someone sees something and reflects it back to you so that you can see yourself through their eyes.  There is an instant clarity.

He loved the picture.  I loved it too.  It was and remains one of the truest photographs ever taken of me.  It is not the face everyone sees.  But it is MY face baring my soul in that moment.

I posted that photo on Facebook this week.  I received a comment from a friend who said that “although you are beautiful inside and out, this picture does not look like you”.  The comments then extended into a typed communication whereby this friend explained that the photo made me look sad.  That it wasn’t a “true” representation of who I was.  It didn’t look like me.

Initially I was very taken aback by her comment.  Hurt.  Especially because those comments were typed for the world to see.  And I perceived it as a critique on how my physical appearance came across to her.

And as I mused about it, I realized how little people actually know about me.  Truly.  That even those who we might describe as “closest” to us often don’t truly glimpse at the soul level.  Beyond the game face we each have.

And I became very aware of how much I had disappointed her perception of me.  I no longer fit into this box that she had built around me with labels and ideas that weren’t necessarily consistently true.  

She had looked at that photograph and had not liked what she saw because it did not fit her idea of who I was.

Ironically, it was exactly who I was in that moment.

And perhaps we all spend too much time trying to fool people into believing we are otherwise.

“A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people”~Annie Leibovitz

Thank you Beaver Smith for falling in love with something you saw that day and helping me to love and accept myself right where I’m at.

  

 

**please check out Beaver’s insanely beautiful photography on Facebook.  Living in Qatar has fed his creative soul as you will see from his work