(canon rebel g / some sort of expired film / taken in february 2005)
Hi. My name is Darlene, you can call me Dar and I have an addictive personality though I like to refer to it as passion.
I have been looking at old photos like the one above that I took almost seven SEVEN years ago now. I remember when I took that photograph and I remember how the camera felt in my hands and how excited I was when I bought it used at a camera store that had an entire section devoted to gently used film cameras and I picked it up for less than a hundred dollars but it felt like a million dollars because I was at a point in my life where I was just getting used to actually having kitchen cupboards full of food. I carried that camera around with me everywhere. It never left my side and even though I was shooting film, I took at least a few photos a day and was fascinated by what I found when I looked down.
I can't remember the last time I carried my camera around with me or when I felt absolute all encompassing passion for the art of photography. This morning I thought to myself, what if I bring my camera to work with me but then I looked at my Canon 5D Mark II and the 85 f1.2 L series Lens that was attached to its body and I thought do I really want to pack some five thousand dollars worth of heavy gear with me in my already stuffed bag of
necessaties crappola to work with me. And it was dark out and I still needed to brush my teeth and I was running a good 10 minutes behind myself which is par for the course on any given weekday morning. And so I didn't. But what is interesting to me is that I thought about it. What is interesting to me is that I felt a longing towards it that wasn't nostalgic so much as a spark of something.
So as I let these thoughts and others roll around in my head, I wonder if there is a correlation between this spark of something that I can't yet define and the deactivation of facebook that occurred earlier this week.
When I deactivated facebook the following emotions occurred in quick succession over the past couple of days,
- panic. instant and uncontrollable panic.
- space. a large empty space felt like it opened up inside of me and the prairie wind sang through me.
- loneliness. i felt a sense of isolation. loss.
- i found myself grabbing for my phone and then looking down at it in confusion because there was nothing to see here.
- time. suddenly i had all this time and nothing to fill it with. this sort of reminded me of that time a good 7 years ago now when i quit smoking. i was sitting in a beautiful little restaurant with a friend a few months after quitting and after we finished eating, i picked up my camera and started randomly shooting and she very astutely pointed out that i seemed to have replaced my smoking habit with a camera habit. hello
addictive passionate personality.
- crankiness. i found myself edgy and plagued with a strange discontent.
- peace. i arrived at peace at a pretty fast pace, much faster than the discardation of other addictions i have carried with me. this tells me that facebook and social media (i also stayed away from twitter and instagram and pretty much all else except for my blog which isn't really a social place so much as a personal space) have far less power than i like to think they do.
So where does that leave me currently? Well. I feel pretty darn good actually. I am spending a lot more time with my thoughts without the need to filter out what it is I am thinking and wondering whether those are really my thoughts or whether they are influenced by something else. The thing is, we are all influenced by what we see, witness, view, hear, feel, read but we also need time to sit with the input, to think about it and to relate it to ourselves and our worlds and generally this takes some time. For example, when I travel to some place new and take in different sights, sounds, experiences there is space needed to fully realize how I have changed and how those changes integrate with my life. Re-entry can be a bitch. When I realized how often I was reaching mindlessly for my phone, I realized that I haven't truly been giving myself time and space to sit with the changes that happen just from living and learning and bringing in new information. I read books and articles and I meet new people and have discussions and I go out and listen to music and watch movies and go to festivals and art galleries and gain new experiences at work and with my family and my friends and well, I live a pretty full life even without what goes on online. But instead of giving myself time to process all the normal everyday new experiences, the new information that enters me, I have spent all the space in between reading the incredibly fast moving rolling thoughts of four hundred and some other people and all the emotion and energy of that enters me and consumes me on top of my life.
layers and layers of consumption with no time to process, organize or even breathe. there is no space to experience boredom. i sort of love boredom, that initial feeling of anxiety as our eyes dart around looking for something and then in a breath the daydream starts with the way the light dances over the edges of the sky and our thoughts wander to ancient places and some of my best ideas have formed in the space between boredom and imagination.
I have noticed that in recent years, I have been madly spending my time engaged in consumption. The consumption of money. The consumption of time. Consume Consume Consume. And at the end of the day, it leaves me feeling pretty empty. I am bone weary tired of feeling empty. I was happy in November. Really happy. In November I wasn't consuming so much as producing, doing, creating, writing a novel in a month. It sounds crazy but I was so content living in that space within myself, within my life.
I have an addictive personality that I like to call passion. Passion has served me well in my life but I have to be careful, I need boundaries and I need to focus on what is healthy for me instead of what is unhealthy. My mother used to like to point out that she worried about the way I walked the line of extremes never seeming to find the middle ground and I think she was right to worry because I have found myself in many situations over the course of my life where blind luck was the only thing that has me alive and breathing today. I put off deactivating facebook for a long time because I would tell myself that facebook is a choice and I don't have to go there but smoking cigarettes was a choice too, I didn't have to light up but I did because I was addicted and I went to facebook because I was addicted. When I quit smoking, I gave up drinking and I stopped hanging around with my friends who smoked because I knew that I needed to find the strength deep within myself and the only way I could do that was to remove the exposure to temptation until I was strong enough. It took a while but eventually, I was able to be around my smoking friends and be in situations that would trigger my desire to smoke and I was strong enough to recognize that even if I wanted a cigarette, I didn't have to have one. Same goes with facebook. I will likely reactivate it at some point in the next week. I feel changed already and I know myself, I have kicked many addictions and know that my will is strong once I realize what is happening. I will reactivate when I am sure that I won't default to facebook when I have space to breathe, to daydream, to watch the light filter. I will reactivate once I have removed it from my smartphone. I will reactivate when I know that I may only go on once or twice a week instead of forty times a day. I will reactivate when I can use it responsibly and I have some good examples of people who use it responsibly because my son and my husband are on facebook but they are usually "facebook huh? Can't remember the last time I logged on".
I feel a spark. and I smile because I sense that spark is the answer to the ache, the longing and I can't wait to see where it takes me even as I am learning that as important as passion is for my life so too is the space, the lonely space of a prairie field, haunting in its refrain.