Saturday, October 01, 2005

Stagnant Alienation

I’m 26 years old and I’m stagnant. I was speaking with an old friend recently. We hadn’t spoken in a year or so and he asked me “What’s new?”. I sat thinking about the answer and I realized “nothing” was the only answer I could give. The players in my life may have changed, but the situation is the same, I am the same. My faults are the same. My demons are the same. I am so afraid of change that I don’t even change for the better. I’m more afraid of speaking to him a year from now and giving the same answer.

I battle so much of myself it seems. My internal struggle never has an end, it never has a winner. I’m so aware of my faults I don’t need critique or criticism from the world. I already acknowledge the faulty parts of myself. So much so that I glaze over compliments, for the faults speak so loudly that they cover any beauty that might be there. Practicality wins in the end. If I can’t see it, then it doesn’t exist. Every break-up, negative comment or hurtful exchange just reinforces what I already believe about myself. There is no escaping who you are.

I think once of the reasons I’ve always been drawn to photography is that I like the position of “observer”. For me there is more impact in viewing than in feeling. Seeing a couple on the train holding hands cuts me deeper than actually being part of the couple myself. I can only process what I see, not what I feel. I’ve stuck myself on the outside of life purposely and there’s no way in. I don’t feel love unless I can view it. Seeing people kiss on tv makes me cry. Being kissed doesn’t shed any tears. I’ll never be in the inner circle of lovers. I’ll only be there to capture the moments of others.

Alienation. The feeling of being on the outside. I’ve had that feeling long before I picked up my first camera. My inception into this world was a difficult one, one that didn’t come with a lot of answers. I don’t have early baby pictures, a knowledge of where my brown eyes come from, what my ethnicity is, even where I was born. Living a life in a family who loves you, but always feeling like you were a piece of furniture in the house they purchased to fill an empty room. Never being invited to the “cool kids” table in junior high. Moving around and never being able to make friends who know your history, who have seen you through your best and worst phases. That’s where my “snapshot” life comes from. Needing to have something to hold on to when it was gone. Early in life alienation was a product of circumstance. Now it’s self induced. Not much in my life isn’t self induced. I will always be the one behind the camera. Sometimes it’s film, sometimes it’s digital, but if you look in the distance, behind the lens, that’s where you can find me.

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