Friday, April 10, 2009

100 days of discipline...and what i've learned

So, I've posted a photo every day for the last 100 days on my photo blog. It's certainly not earth-shattering news, but it feels like a fairly big deal. I knew when I decided to do the daily blog that it would be a challenge, but I also imagined there would be a fulfillment within the challenge. What I didn't imagine was how hard or how good this would be for me. These are the things that I have realized, learned, relearned and/or pondered along this journey...

Discipline is hard, but not an enemy. I think that anyone who has ever tried to be disciplined about anything knows it is not easy. For me, I have always thought of discipline as this annoying thing that can produce good results, but drowns fun and spontaneity. Now I am seeing that the need for discipline simply reveals my true enemies, such as laziness and perfectionism. I am relieved and excited to be discovering that I can live my life with commitment, but without a rulebook and itinerary in my back pocket.
If I don't take a photo, I wont have a photo. Seems obvious, right? I look back over the hundreds of photos I have taken this year and realize that if I were not doing this blog, I probably wouldn't have at least 90% of the photos I have now. And I really really like some of those photos. It is strange and sad to imagine not having them. Not only do I have actual photos, but I also have hundreds of new ideas and I feel excited to use them. This realization is motivating to me to continue to pursue...well, life. If I don't take on life, I won't live.
Having support makes commitment possible. There is no way this would be the same without all of the people following, looking, commenting, voting, enjoying and supporting this little venture. That, along with knowing others are doing the same thing has kept me going when I wanted to give up. There is a reason we have community and we truly can accomplish so much more with each other. Thank you. :)
I am terrified of letting myself down. This is something that I already knew about myself and I think it is both good and bad. I live in this world where I either pour way too much of myself into something or I cling to apathy as a crutch. This way I never let myself down because I am either assured great success or I don't reach my potential, but it doesn't matter since I didn't really give my all. It's pretty messed up, actually. I am still pondering this, but I know that I need to dismiss my constant wandering towards half-heartedness and channel my passion, awareness and talent with intention on a daily basis. I am a work in progress. :)
There are walls in the way of every journey. I remember running the 400m in track and it was the most horrible event of all. For anyone who has never run the 400m in competition, it is so hellish because it is an entire lap around the track, but it is not a jog or even a fast is a sprint. Sprinting for 400 meters is hard. My point in all this is that there is a wall in that race right around that last curve or at about the 300m mark. It's been years since I ran a 400, but that feeling is still so vivid in my mind. You hit the wall and the body practically gives up. The legs become dead weights and the arms can't move. The head and heart pound. The feeling of others around becomes overwhelming and the emotional drive starts to give way. The end looks so far away. The desire to give in is almost all that can be felt. All there is left to do is give nothing less than 100% mentally, emotionally and physically. It sucks, but once that finish line is crossed, there is a feeling that cannot be recreated without the fight and you know it was worth it. You may have NO desire to ever do it again, but it was worth it. This may seem a little dramatic, but I am constantly relating this experience to things in my life and it applies to the blog. For me, the first wall was after only a week. It was fun and exciting and refreshing at first, but after only six days, I found myself in my room one night staring at my camera and feeling grouchy. It was late and I hadn't taken any pictures. I was tired and wanted to go to bed. Cursing the blog, I picked up the camera and lazily looked around my room. By the time I made my post that night, I was still tired and my head hurt, but I felt great and I love the photo. There have been walls and there will be more, but the journey that continues beyond them is worth breaking through to.
I am not a film snob anymore. When digital cameras really started to catch on, I was annoyed. I felt like everyone was suddenly able to take a decent picture, but it was because they were cheating. I guess I kind of felt like art was getting sucked out of photography. I had also felt that way about digital "alteration" before the cameras were everywhere. Over the past year, my closed mind has opened. I finally broke down and bought a digital camera, though I still don't have a DSLR, just a fantastic compact. I have realized that it is wonderful for people to be able to explore art and photography in a way that is not too expensive or intimidating. I have also realized that the artistic possibilities offered by the digital world are amazing and can be more of a creative "enhancement" than an "alteration". The blog would be a much larger challenge and investment with film only and I have truly enjoyed opening up to the creative possibilities that come with each photo. I still do believe, though, that bringing an artistic knowledge, passion and idea to a photo will make it better. I still shoot film and I LOVE it, but I have grown rather fond of my computer programs and little digi Nikon.
With perspective, it is possible. If I open my eyes, it is possible to see something new every single day. If I open my mind, I am able to learn and grow. If I open my heart, I am able to love. If I listen and learn and work and allow my perspective to be continually molded, I will do what I desire to do. Art is amazing. It seems that the possibilities are endless and I am so thrilled to continue pursuing them. There may be walls and I will have to fight even myself, but possibility will be waiting. All I did was start a blog and open my camera lens every day and it has changed my perspective forever.
Who knew a simple little blog would hold so many life lessons?


Tim D. said...

What a great post! I agree with all of this! And I too, have that thing where I'm afraid of letting myself down, and I use similar crutches like that. My blog has been good for me and like you said, I wouldn't have 90% of the photos I've shot, if I wasn't doing this. The support and comments and community are great! Thanks!

Cadena Trusty said...

I completely have to agree with the film snob comment. I was once one too and now can fully admit to my poor judgement of what the digital era would offer. Although there is nothing like creating art in a dark room...but I would not have 90% of my images without the freedom of digital.