actuality.log


All entries tagged 'life lessons'

Saturday, August the 24th, 2019

So I was out having a drink with some friends this evening. And as the evening progressed our group began to disperse while the bar got more crowded. Anyway, at some point only one of my friends remained, a classically attractive blonde woman.

We were catching up and talking about different things, when the empty spaces around our table was filled by a bunch of twenty-two year old women on a night out. This resulted in two parallel sets of conversations going on, until my friend needed to go to the toilet. I was tooling around on my phone when first one of the young women engaged me in conversation. Asking about my friend. Asking if she was my girlfriend. Asking if I wished she was my girlfriend. How did we meet.

I slowly explained that we met on Twitter, and that we have a lot of common interests and so bond over that. And no, I’m not interested in her being my girlfriend. And then I did something that she could not process. I explained that I’m married. To someone else. I have two young kids. I am just hanging out meeting a friend talking about things we care about.

This drew the confused ire of the entire flock of twenty-two year olds.

How is it possible you care about the same things? That’s so wonderful! How can you find her interesting and not want her to be your girlfriend. We’ve never met anyone from Twitter or Tinder (sic). Does your wife know you’re out with her? How could you do this to your wife?

This went on and on and I was super patiently trying to reiterate the same story until my friend returned to join us. We managed to get them to a place where they exclaimed “it’s really cool… as long as your wife knows you’re out with her.”

I think we just blew the minds of three young women from Northampton. And recalled how stupid twenty-two year olds are.

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Monday, August the 10th, 2009

So here’s what I just realised: I’m in an unfulfilling relationship. It took me a long time to arrive at that conclusion, and, quite frankly, I’m still not certain whether I can clearly articulate what the problem is. But here’s me trying.

I’ve come to realise over the course of my existence that happiness and sadness, levels of prosperity or contentment and a host of other things are just states of being. As hard as society has tried to condition me into thinking otherwise, I firmly believe that none of these states are inherently better or worse than any of the others. They’re all little more than strokes in the rich canvas of life; some cheerful and colourful, others deep and morose. And as with any masterpiece that isn’t doused with pretty pastel shades, a life needn’t be filled with joy and contentment for it to be meaningful, moving or even beautiful.

I don’t see why more people don’t see this. Why is there a constant quest for happiness and prosperity and popularity? What’s wrong with knowing fully well who you are and what you have—and being fine with everything, including how you feel about it?

Now, I’m generally a very negative person. (But you already knew that.) I don’t see it as a problem, and I don’t want to fight to change it. And this brings us back to what I was trying to say in the first place. I’m in a relationship where I’m never allowed to be morose without incident. I can’t be bitter or sarcastic, nor can I say mean things about the world which I feel has denied me so much. I can’t peacefully sit in a corner and mope, nor can I hold conversations where I repeatedly bring up past mistakes or revisit bad memories.

But guess what, all that stuff—the queasy feeling that comes in my tummy from all that stuff—feels right to me. I don’t want to constantly talk only about positive things. I don’t want to plan for and “fix” any of these things in the future. I don’t even want to fucking smile sometimes. I just want to be who I be, and not have the conversation topic turn toward the one thing I dread the most: Women and their insecurities. How she doesn’t feel adequate. How she’s not pretty enough to satiate me anymore. How she’s not a wonderful enough aspect of my life to make me cheery.

A man can’t just be melancholic anymore and have it be nothing to do with another.

Wednesday, May the 7th, 2008

It’s strange how things worked out, but almost as if it were planned, my extremely annoying and painful sore throat and cold cleared completely for the few days of my recent trip to L.A. But sadly for you, I promptly reverted to my unwell self on returning home, resulting in such a delayed update.

(Kinda like the temporary parting of the seas to allow divine beings to cross. Except, there weren’t any divine beings involved here, nor were there any seas to cross.)

I’m so glad (and quite proud, actually) that I decided to go through with my trip. The entire experience was a blast and threw me so much out of my element, it was exactly what I yearned to feel. While things were rather hectic, and with my inexperience frequently coming to fore, taxing, and sometimes even terrifying (I don’t recall ever being yelled at like this since I was in third grade), I got to hang out with a bunch of people whose lives are completely different from my own, opening my eyes to perspectives so very different from mine; which is exactly why I took the trip.

The entire “training” over these few days revolved around hammering home a couple of crucial ideas:

  1. Ensure you have a clear concept in mind before rushing to set up a shot.
  2. You’re responsible for everything in your shot’s frame, so be very aware of what’s in it, and why.

These instructions seem pretty basic, but with the whole environment frequently deteriorating to something of a chaotic scene from a high-pressure creative-competition-based reality show (Top Chef, Project Runway), they were easy to forget. From the oafs nearly starting fires and nearly breaking furniture, to the big wigs and drama queens needing everything to go precisely “the one true way” or you surely got what was coming, to the 30-few year old women huddled on the floor crying after being lambasted for deviating from “the one true way,” the whole place was a circus. An entertaining, magical circus where you actually caught a glimpse of the pressures involved in being a professional photographer—and picked up lessons on handling it.


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