Today I was again caught in a whirlwind. A cruel, blustery tempest. These past few days have been full of me chasing after myself, but then running away from it as well. I fidget all day, carrying this anxious feeling within my chest, that threatens to choke me. It seems to say: When is it good enough? “It” being the art I produce, or rather, myself. I spend so much time fixated on it’s perfection in my mind, rather than production of the physical art itself. I am aware of this in myself, and it leaves me in even more suffering and guilt, stuck within a vicious circle. I tell myself that perhaps this is growth, but I find myself trapped within shell within shell, like a matryoshka doll.
Even as I type, I am fearful. Will even this be good enough? Where have I developed this abnormal fear of imperfection from? Perhaps it was something that naturally permeated and stained my being after being birthed and bred in the Japanese culture? A slow trickle of poison. Undetectable in small doses. Could that be the culprit?
Because when I was younger, I remember not fearing anything. I remember what it felt to be inspired by a piece of work rather than intimidated of or jealous of it.
Can I reclaim that sense of self? Hopefully I can find it again this year.
I’ve been overthinking lately. Unfortunately my mind has, in a way, been devouring itself. Starting one thing, stopping it, then starting anew at something else. Why must I let myself spiral into this? Part of me is thinking that perhaps in a way my stress and sadness fuels my joy in some way. That this discomfort is my body and mind’s way of communicating to me that there is something else out there. That I have yet to break out of my shell, my mold, this skin that I have to deal with…
I shake with fear of this. Thinking about having to extend, bend and expand myself leaves me with a nauseous feeling. It is me being a coward. Because while I don’t fear growth, I fear mistakes. And I know my desire of perfection will be my main hinderance. I make an attempt to shout to the universe, to tell me what is best, only to realize that I stand alone in a dark, wet cave, and the only sounds I hear are the echoes of my own voices against it’s rocky walls. Yes, voices; I have more than one.
I beg myself to just continue, to not get distracted by feelings that will be long-gone by next week. To just continue.
When I was a little girl, I loved to spend time staring at my own reflection. I remember that I did this quite often until around the age of twelve. Twelve was when I developed a nasty disease called insecurity, and looking at myself began to produce negative feelings. Prior to that, I was fascinated with looking at myself, and I did it often. I have old pictures that my parents took of myself staring in the mirror. I believe it was separate from any narcissism. All the feelings I remember having was just a simple curiosity and wonder of the body I was living in. I even remember inviting a friend to stare with me once, but he didn’t understand why I found looking into a mirror of any interest. I especially loved staring into my reflection from a car window during a nighttime drive. My face would be layered with the stars, the moon, and the sky, and I felt that in this way I was part of them. I believed that my dim reflection was not only the little me then, but me in the future. At eight years old I believed I knew what I looked like at twenty. I read it in the subtle lines of my face. I felt it as I studied myself breathe. I saw hints of my future in the depths of my eyes.
I’ve gotten a bit older, and at 22 I’ve found that this little habit has made it’s way back in my life a bit. A lot of insecurities regarding my physical appearance have been washed away, and now I find myself fascinated again with looking.
Today, as I was going home after work, I leaned against a metal pillar on the platform of Fuse station. The sun was rapidly submerging itself under the horizon, and spashed a colorful gradient of yellows and reds against the sky. I closed my eyes. The crisp spring wind took my hair and danced happily with it. As I filled my lungs with this air, I felt joy. I heard the announcement for my approaching train, and yet, I stood still, unmoving.
This one moment lasted 5 minutes, and was the absolute best part of today.
I like carrying my camera around. When I first began shooting out in the town, I preferred taking pictures of people’s shoes since I was too timid to shoot faces. In Japan, I don’t see much “street photography”. There are, of course, plenty of tourists with their DSLRs, although that seems hardly a substitute for a photographer whose intention is to capture the essence and heart of a people—of a city. Since there aren’t so many shooters out, I am often anxious as to how people will receive me. I become paranoid when I point my lens at a person, and a rush of wild worry flows through me. Click.
Somehow, despite Japan being more conservative, I feel that it is a lot easier for me to shoot on the streets here, than compared with the States. Confrontation seemed a lot more possible in America, whereas for here, people are more reluctant to talk—at least to me. I have never spent much time in the U.S, although, and have only visited 3 times in recent memory, so that might have contributed to my apprehension. When I did shoot, I was asked more than once “Did you take my picture?” Although it was all friendly, I dreaded the possibility that I would one day photograph someone who would react in anger.
But here, I think I will continue taking photos of the outside world, instead of simply restricting myself to conceptual shoots. If I truly enjoy both, why shouldn’t I do both?
Yesterday when I went out to take an ASL class in Kyoto, I brought my camera and shot this image along the way. It had been snowing, so it was brilliant that the sun eventually came out.
I was indeed spoiled by the California weather. It has been raining and snowing on and off ever since I came back home to Japan; ergo, I am definitely one of the happiest when the weather is beautiful.
Hey you awesome people! How has your week been going? Any adventures? 🙂
Wanted to share an old photo I took of my beautiful friend Sofina, with a re-edit, and wanted to give a little update on my week, and my upcoming trip to the States! I haven’t been this excited in a while. Just the idea of traveling has me dancing around the room.
I haven’t left Japan in about 2 years, so a trip has been long over-due. So far the plan is to travel to L.A and San Francisco, but so far a lot of the plans are up in the air. I’m just looking forward to whatever comes my way along this trip 🙂