Two months ago, I resolved to write a song a week and write a blog post a week. I guess I need to admit that I've failed at those resolutions. Nonetheless, just because I haven't made my resolutions doesn't mean I've been unproductive: I've written six or seven songs so far and I've had about five blog posts since then. So although I haven't met my resolutions, I've made a couple steps forward.
Motivation is still pretty tough. I'm supposed to do the Hope 10k run on March 18th, but my running habits haven't really kicked in; I'm struggling to keep up at work even though I have dramatically more time to get work done this semester; I'm reluctant to call people up or do anything social if I have a night off. I don't feel depressed but I'm likely showing a bunch of the symptoms of depression.
I'm been enjoying film photography more regularly. I have too many cameras on the go right now; some of them still have photos from my visit to Smithers in December on them. But even that's been a tough hobby to maintain when I'm barely getting out of the house or leaving Agassiz. But here are some highlights from a roll of Ilford HP5 with photos that I took between December and February:
Now back to work.
A month ago, I found this lovely vintage camera at Value Village. It was clean and sturdy and I knew nothing about it. I was excited.
I tried to look up infomation about it online but couldn't find much.
The further I got into the film, the more difficult it got to crank the spool. Eventually the camera seemed to seize altogether. When I opened it in the dark, I discovered that the film had wrapped around the sprocket a second time and that it was stuck. I had to destroy the film in order to remove it from the camera. (lomo note: I realized I could have reloaded it into a different camera that loads its photos backwards, perhaps the Canon EOS500 but I realized that too late to make it useful. I know for next time.)
So I started over again. I loaded a new roll of Kodak Gold 200, but the photos started to slip again. I reopened the camera and used electrical tape to make sure the film stuck to the spool.
I started shooting here and there and it seemed like it was going smoother. It still felt like it was slipping now and then, but overall it seemed to be working fine. By the time I got to photo 28 on a 24 exposure roll, however, I knew something was wrong.
I took it into London Drugs and got it developed. When I got it back, the camera had only made exposures up to the 20 exposure point. They were all overlapped and weird and ineffective, particularly at the end of the roll that looked like a five-inch panorama of chaos.
But some of them were kind-of successful kitsch photos, like this selfie:
And this photo I took in Ikea in Coquitlam is really nice, even with the faint double-exposure of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar.
So I don't know what to do now. What type of film do I put in a camera I can't trust? And when's the most appropriate time to use it? I have no idea right now. The rangefinder itself is broken and it doesn't spool its film appropriately, but when it works it seems to be pretty classy.
Here are a few more from the roll.
UPDATE FROM LATER THAT EVENING, FEBRUARY 20 2018: I loaded it with some more Kodak Gold, hoping that third-time-around I'll be able to sense if it's winding all weird in there. Fingers crossed.
My valentine's dinner show got cancelled at the restaurant, so I learned a bunch of sappy love songs for nothing.
Here's one love song, however, that I've had memorized since I was a kid:
Lately I've been looking a little at furnishings. I've found myself at home and felt decidedly uncomfortable. I've tried to do a couple things to improve this over the last few months—most notably, I picked up two CD towers so I can start to listen to CDs again—but my apartment still feels rather unhomelike: my computer desk doesn't seem to fit the work I need to do; my chairs aren't really comfortable to sit in; there's no place to invite a guest to sit and be comfortable. It's a place where I live, but not much of a home, even for someone who's moved around as much as I have.
Last week, the School of Life uploaded this video:
In the written summary of the video, they say,
Creating a home is frequently such a demanding process because it requires us to find our way to objects that can correctly convey our identities. We may have to go to enormous efforts to track down what we deem to be the ‘right’ objects for particular functions, rejecting hundreds of alternatives that would – in a material sense – have been perfectly serviceable, in the name of those we believe can faithfully communicate the right message about who we are.
But right now, what does my home say about me?
My one-bedroom apartment
When we lived in Hope, I liked the hand-me-down aesthetic we had as a family. We had grandma's couches, a different gandma's table, and the rest of the furnishings were typical young-family Ikea fare. I felt pretty comfortable with that aesthetic. We didn't own much furniture, but that was more than OK with me.
However, when it came time to replace the sofa, I discovered that I'm a far more picky person than I ever expected. No matter what sofa I looked at with my wife, I didn't like it. I saw problems with all of them. This was extremely discouraging for both of us. And although we replaced that couch eventually, we never really had one I was happy with.
I still haven't bought a couch. Last summer, I bought a cheap leather loveseat off of Craigslist and put it beneath one of my kids' loft beds, but I don't really have a living area that's couch-worthy, that has room for anything. See the photo I posted a couple weeks ago below: my bed's in the living room; there's an enormous plastic folding table, and quite simply not the room for a couch.
So what does my home say about me? Here are my suggestions:
So I'll keep an eye out for a good couch. And I'll have to get a smaller table one of these days.
Until then, I'll keep the place clean enough for... me.
In October of 2016, I voluntarily took a psychological exam. I wanted to see if my perception was all wrong, if I was looking at the world through a decidedly selfish, narcissistic lens. After bouts of therapy and counselling, the dissolution of my marriage, and loads of reading, I felt confused and frustrated. I wanted to see if I was as horrible as I sort-of felt I was. Maybe I just wanted to talk. For whatever reason, I took this exam-thing,
I can't find the online reference I made to it; I wrote a summary post on Tumblr, but perhaps I deleted it. The main thing I remember the psychologist saying, though, was "You seem to be of sound mind, but your values are all over the map." Essentially, I let myself be pulled around and don't really run with anything. Which is likely true.
I still find myself being pulled around this way. I still battle with trusting my gut enough to stand up for anything. When I do stand up for my values and what I believe is a good thing to do, I'm usually wracked with self-doubt. I'd say I'm doing better than I did a year ago, but I still find it hard to really stand up for anything. If someone suggests they have a better way of doing something, I tend to just go along with it. It takes deliberate, mind-wrenching effort to say, "I'd like to do this... this way... and I will follow that through."
I'm sure there's plenty of nature-nurture stuff to attribute this mindset to. Growing up in Baptist churches, I was frequently told told that I was a sinful wretch who didn't deserve anything without God's help, that Christianity was the only lens through which to see the world. My parents wanted me to follow the faith, but I don't think they intended for me to internalize as much of that type of negative teaching. When you have one authority figure after another telling you that you're horrible and incapable of navigating the world, and you really identify with that thinking, it's easy to let others abscond with your sense of perception; when shame and guilt are virtuous feelings to have to back up your wretchedness, and you're prone to shame and guilt, it ices the don't-trust-yourself cake. In my case, I believe it primed me for doubting my perception.
My counsellor suggested that I listen to Brené Brown's "Men, Women, and Worthiness," so I need to order that. I've read one of Brown's books before, but maybe it's time for me to return to her work again. Perhaps I'm a little more in touch with my shame than I used to be, and I might be able to take it on from a new angle.
I'd like to think I'm learning a little more about how it's OK to have values, boundaries, and needs, and that I'm allowed to try to be happy in my goals to be a good dad and good person. But I have a long way to go before I can feel confident in my own perception, confident that I won't hide behind tinted shame-glasses.
One step at a time.
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