On Change and Self-Management
On June 30, 2016, after 12.5 years of employment at my local public university, my unit dissolved my position and set me free.
The likelihood I would have left a mind-numbingly boring job on my own seemed about nil. So the boot out the door has proven beneficial.
I had no idea how much time I spent managing the stress of boredom. My mental focus could now be on my self-directed projects, I told myself on July 1.
Except I took a little detour into photography and instagram.
Photography has been a lifelong, though periodic, hobby. Even though it was only six weeks ago or so, I can’t recall what caused me to want to pick up my iPhone and start capturing again.
But I did, and I have, something like 2500 photos, which is nothing on an iPhone. Hit that Burst button and five seconds later you’ve got 35 photos.
The other thing I did, well, I became a social media harlot. Instagram gave me likes and comments and boy did I do a lap dance, several in fact. My old lover Writing got left in the studio, waiting for my return.
Writing requires extreme mental diligence on my part. It doesn’t have the ease I find in photography. Photography thrills me. Writing, not so much.
Simone Biles’ coach said in an interview she realized soon after beginning their productive time together that Simone needed to have fun to continue feeling motivated. So she gave Simone fun.
I don’t really know how to make writing fun, except to try to not take myself so seriously. Even saying that doesn’t help much.
Words inspire, comfort and kill. Sure, people go ape-shit crazy over images, like Robert Mapplethorpe’s penises or cartoons of the Prophet.
But Donald Trump wouldn’t be the Republicant’s Presidential nominee if he paraded photos depicting “making America great again” (like what would that be? Jim Crow? Concentration camps filled with Muslims?). Nope. Too literal.
Words give us too much wiggle room, too many opportunities for us to interpret a word according to our needs and wants. I despair being misunderstood or, worse, being boring.
All of this is to say I don’t take much confidence from my writing, not in the way I can, and do, from my photography.
When I don’t feel confident I put things aside, which results in the worst possible solution: Not writing makes me feel shitty, which in turn deters any interest in writing.
This blahblahblah cycle of write-avoid-write feels ancient and familiar.
Photography, though, has somehow reinvigorated my writing. I imagine my words next to my images and that seems fun.
I’ll try that one for now. Because I must keep creating. You must keep creating. Good day. Bad day. Every day.
Yours in the work,