West Coast Winter x Rain and Rest
Just over a week ago, I began a stretch of life on the road to clear my head and fall in love with the northwest coast all over again. It began with this trip to Astoria and Cape Disappointment, where my camera drank a bit more water than it's supposed to, leaving me to resort to a couple of film cameras for the next stretch of time. This was just one part of a series of events that really weren't going my way that week, and they only continued. The week was honestly, one of my worst in a while, but one of the first that I'd ever found so much joy in the experience; one of the first where I was able to be confident in knowing, that nothing, not one thing that had happened, really mattered.
One of the most difficult things that I was dealing with in this week, above everything else, was communication and social media. I haven't responded to countless messages, I know. And it is not because I haven't wanted to. I love people and talking to them and spending quality time with them and talking about really deep stuff. And that there, is the problem. I am only one person, and I cannot handle the weight of conversations coming in through e-mail, text, Facebook, Instagram, etc., many of them coming from people I don't even know.
I couldn't even keep up with responding to messages to my family and closest friends during this week. Because life happens. Sometimes your camera breaks, your car needs work, you need to plan trips, your relationships fall apart, you have to pay bills, you're trying to keep up with the people in your own community, and it all happens at once. And yet someone I'd never met before, who I was hoping to meet up with on this trip, responded impatiently and sarcastically to my lack of response, as if I didn't care. That was a moment that made me realize how insane this culture of expected, constant availability is, and the unrealistic expectations that have developed along with it.
Maybe it comes more specifically to a career where your social media presence is vital. I need to post content, photographs, work, so that I can survive and do this thing that I love; but it has its costs and tolls like anything else. It blurs the lines of personal and professional life all too well. Most people, I'm sure, can't tell the difference between a photograph I was paid to take and one that I've posted on my own time. And they shouldn't. Because my work is my heart, for one, and my life is my work; 5 o'clock and Mondays don't exist because you can't turn off your creative mind and your artist lifestyle, not when you live it truthfully.
I posted about this recently on Instagram, and I only hope to be transparent with you and address my limits and let you into some of my thoughts. I wish so dearly that I could connect on a personal level with everyone, but that unfortunately, would make anyone lose their mind.
*two black & white images of bridge, taken by my dearest friend Alexis Clemens who appears in most of these images (@ajclementine).