Myself

Myself, that’s who I am–I have to remember that. If anybody ever asks me, “Who are you?” (sort of like the Who song, if you’re old enough to remember that) that’s what I would say. Last night I went to a meeting of a photography group I belong to and saw a presentation by a member of how he creates fantasy posters using Photoshop. In addition placed around the room were amazing wedding photos turned into posters that he had taken. He went into some detail about how he captured the wedding pictures, how he also does videography, how he edits and sets up these events with the proper lighting, how he presents the finished products to the bride and groom, the classes he has taken, etc. I (and everyone else I think) was extremely impressed, although he was not a braggart by any means. He is actually quite self-effacing (which is just being nice, I think) which he should not be at all. His knowledge level is exponentially higher than mine and I felt a little overwhelmed and inferior at the end of the meeting. I know that was not his intention because he is really very nice, but I started doing what I usually do–and that is “looking over the fence at other people’s yards”–that is to say, comparing myself to everyone else and coming up short. I started thinking that my pictures really suck, and what’s the point in even bothering if this is who I have to compete with. In addition, just to complete my mood, one of the members advertised a “paying” photo job for a family reunion this Saturday. She said she might need two people, so if anyone was interested to give her our numbers, which I did at the end of the meeting. But, then I found out that this man had given his number, so I just said to her that there was no point in bothering. The end result is that of course he will be the photographer and if I want, I will go just to learn. I thought about this last night and today and decided that I cannot be a chameleon; just because he is great at what he does should not invalidate me. I started saying to myself, “Why would they even choose me–I am nothing–while he is someone.” It’s so sad that I do this to myself because I must remember that I am me–myself–and nobody else, and I have qualities I’m sure he does not have. That old song by Sly and the Family Stone, “Everybody is a Star”, is so true. We are all ourselves with our own wonders and just because we don’t make a living at it or receive accolades does not discount it. Now if I can just get myself to believe this when I get attacked by the “I’m worthless” monster that so often is lurking just out of site, ready to attack at the sign of weakness.

Baggage

We all have emotional baggage, some more than others. Most people do not even recognize why they react or live their life a certain way or if they do, they still let their past define them. Sometimes a long ago insecurity or hurt, which you thought buried, will resurface and the same emotion floods back. I don’t think people realize that hurtful and cruel comments, made as a joke, can have an impact on you years later. Even successful people, who seem to have the world by the tail, can be floored by an inadvertent nasty remark, which brings back the hurtful situation as if time had not even passed. It would be wonderful if we could have a “mind cleanser” to wipe away negative childhood memories, but I don’t think that technology exists. Although I am very self-aware, I still seem to be powerless to prevent conjuring up an old childhood hurt and running with it. Today, I was getting back in my car from the pharmacy, when I heard “barking” coming from the car parked next to me. It startled me because I thought there was a real “dog” in the car with the window open, but it wasn’t. What I saw were two young men, and the “barker” uttered something like an apology, which I didn’t hang around to hear. I’m not even really sure what that was all about but what I do know was an old incident that I thought dead and buried materialized, along with the intense hurt I originally felt. One day, when I was nineteen and very pregnant, I was walking when two A-holes came up to me and said, “Hi ugly.” Now, anybody else who didn’t have that basic insecurity brought on by my parents (being told I was not pretty, stupid, had a horse face, etc.), would not have been too bothered by that. But I remember the rage, shame and anger I felt, culminating with a severe crying jag. You see I believed them. Over the years I certainly realized that I am not “ugly” inside or out, am very smart, and even have felt pretty. But today, over forty years later, that same old emotion came flooding back as fresh as if it just happened. Now, I really do not know if that “barking” was supposed to imply that I was a “dog” , but of course I automatically assumed that it was. I kept telling myself to just “forget it”, yet it bothered me and actually affected my day. This is something I need to work on, not letting old baggage (negative voices) from my childhood impact me.