Are you struggling today? I am, a little, and I hope I can catch me before I fall again.
I struggled for many, many months, in fact years, before I knew I was struggling.
Way, way back, rather than face what overwhelmed me, I took therapy in the form of skiving school. Going awol. And on these days, I would skulk through all the people heading to work and going about their daily chores and spend my paper-round money on a train ticket to the next town. I would walk around safely knowing nobody would recognise me, tap my shoulder and ask why I wasn't in school. I took my camera. I took snaps. I still have them. It was a very basic camera which had a lens with no power to capture what my eye had seen. But nevertheless I snapped away, kept the snaps and I look back and treasure them. It is comforting to see that, although I was stuck in a dark place and didn't even know it, I had formed a self-therapy and it is to that that I have returned.
My passion for photographs has been life long and yet I have done nothing with it. I wish I had been at school learning and had had someone older and wiser pull me to realisation. But worrying over that will not fix anything. Instead, I am trying, slowly, to bring my passion into my life in a small way. Learn more. Photograph rather than snap.
I have an archive of snaps of my children that, when they look, they see things we do that are good. My LowLife will not have failed to have touched them - my stresses, my shouts, my frustrations and yet hopefully they also see how, through my camera, I saw them. How I saw their sticky faces when they ate ice cream on a windy beach. How I sneaked in at night when they were sleeping and took secret photographs of their slumbering faces over years and years.
Are you struggling today?
If you are struggling on a scale of 5-10 (with 10 being the hardest struggle) then I encourage you to look at some old photographs and see what it does to your mood. It may make you feel weepy, but is it a good weepy? It will, I am confident, make you laugh at least once. You may see the other you.
If you are struggling on a scale of 1-5 then I encourage you to take one photograph every day of something that you like. Look back after a week and see what your story has been. If you are not able to be outside or with people then aim for snapping something around you but from a new angle. Try photographing the tomato sauce from the table height and watch it loom above you in your snap. It feels good to be small sometimes.
Sometimes it's good to try a new angle.
The room above the garage.
A Moodscope member.