Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?
Sometimes fear grips me at the most inopportune time. In these moments I freeze, which is unfortunate. I had this reaction this past weekend when I was at a workshop and was suddenly face to face with my old friend, glossophobia (fear of public speaking). I was called upon to give an elevator speech. I waited to go and listened to others first. After hearing a few others I felt brave and stood up. I started speaking and started out well, but then I froze and I couldn’t finish. I sat down and felt completely deflated.
It reminded me of the time I was hiking with Rafael at Castle Rock in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We reached a point on the path where the trail on one side was a sheer drop down the side of the mountain. On the other side of the trail were cables one could hold on to to help them across the trail. I saw the cables and the cliff and said, “Fuck. No.” I sat there for a long time while Rafael talked me into crossing. He even demonstrated how safe it was by walking in the middle of the path and jumping up and down without the use of the cables. After several minutes of cheering me on, I finally gathered my courage and started across. Palms sweating profusely, I grabbed the cables and walked slowly. I got halfway across and the panic started. I froze. I couldn’t go any further. I cried because I just could not move and fear completely engulfed me. Rafael helped me across but, again, I was deflated. I felt bad for letting fear get the better of me.
It was suggested that before I write off the Electro 35 I should try a roll of color film. So I followed the advice. The next weekend I loaded my favorite cheap drugstore film (Fuji Superia) in it and wandered around the Edgefield. It was a beautiful autumn day and a great opportunity to play cameras. I had a wonderful day shooting the roll, along with some pinhole, and when I was done I dropped it off at the Walgreens. I had it back in an hour. When I picked up my negatives the Walgreen’s “Photo Expert” was impressed! He said that there were some good shots on there. I was so incredibly thrilled to have finally impressed the Walgreen’s “Photo Expert” and I couldn’t wait to go home and see what had impressed him so.
Inside the Red Shed
The Red Shed
I think it’ll do.
I loaded it with my favorite film yesterday, Portra 160. I can’t wait to see what this lens and that film make together.
As you can see, I’ve had a very emotional week. I rode this really awful wave of sadness, despair, and depression on Tuesday without really understanding what it was all about. This is a hard time of year for me for reasons you all know by now if you read this blog. In my head I know that and I was expecting it. But, wow. I was really emotional on Tuesday. It felt out of control and scary. When I posted that Neko Case song a few Twitter friends cheered me and made me laugh by posting happier songs. It really, really helped to move me back in a more positive direction in my head. Then last night as I was talking about my experience another friend reminded me that what I was going through didn’t sound like depression but sadness. She reminded me that we are all human and, because of this, feel a range of emotions: Sadness being one of them. And since it is “that time of year” it is appropriate to feel sad. I felt like the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders when she said this. It’s OK, and sometimes even appropriate, to feel sad. What a concept. Why do I beat myself up for feeling this emotion?
On Tuesday grief rose up in me and made itself known and I had to feel it – I had no choice. It bubbles up and you have to go through it. And I did. I cried cathartically several times Tuesday and I am glad I did. I felt better yesterday and I feel better today.
I just realized why Tuesday was so weirdly emotional. Yesterday was the day that Doug died 4 years ago, but the day before I was up with him at his bedside basically watching him die for hours and hours. It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life. But I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. I loved him and he needed me in those moments and I was there for him. There is just no question that I would be there for him. The pain doesn’t even matter.
I wonder, though, if pain can echo through time? I kind of feel like that is what happened on Tuesday.
Today I am thankful for my friends. I am thankful for you. Thank you for helping me through this darkness with your good thoughts and your jokes and your kind words. Thank you Thank you.