Sorry, I don’t want to talk about my pain

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Low tide

There are two main news stories right now about students enacting change on campus, and I won’t get mired down in details or opinions. One comment a student made stuck in my head though, and I’ve been mulling it over, along with thoughts about the campus situations and the conversations about race going on in our country right now.  Go to this Atlantic article for a thoughtful look at the Yale story that began with an administrative admonition about potentially offensive Halloween costumes.

Specifically, the student (unnamed in the article, although I’m sure you can find them named elsewhere) wrote “I don’t want to debate.  I want to talk about my pain.”

I began my adult life as a naive idiot.  I’ve learned a lot along the way.  I’ve been through a lot, including a lot of heartbreaking things.  Not as bad as some people have it, for sure, but enough to state that yes, I’ve known pain.  Mental, emotional, and even physical pain.  Some of it was bearable, some of it was heartbreaking, and some of it I still deal with to this day.

I could be a rare bird or whatever, but in my experience, the more people hurt, the less they want to say about it.  I rarely hear someone say “let’s talk about how I’m feeling” after experiencing the death of a loved one.  One of my own painful experiences – multiple miscarriages – is not something I ever hear talked about in casual conversation.

That said, it’s purely anecdotal and a massive generalization. Take my opinion for what it is.

I don’t want to talk about my pain.  I don’t want YOU talking about my pain.  Bringing this kind of thing up makes everyone uncomfortable: they don’t know what to say, or how to relate, or even to how to be compassionate or empathetic.  I want to suffer through it without your well-meaning, clumsy comments that only inflict more pain. Later, when I’m better able to cope, perhaps I’ll tell you a little about it if I know you really well and I feel emotionally stable enough to do it.

Perhaps this isn’t a healthy way to live.  It reeks of paranoia and privacy.  It can go overboard to internalizing issues instead of dealing with them.  I don’t know.

All I know is this: in my experience, people who say “I want to talk about my pain” are one of two things.  Either they’re extraordinarily strong emotionally, or drumming up angst to make themselves feel important.

So how does this relate in any way to the image in this post?  I gravitate towards photographing things that stand alone.  Alone.  That’s the most I feel like saying.

Panning (out)

 

We walked to the park today because the weather turned out lovely, despite the dire predictions of the weather channel.  I’m not complaining, nope! not with winter coming up.  As always, my camera was with us – stowed neatly in the stroller compartment right underneath Corbin.  The park is a lovely place to visit anyway, and Corbin might just be in a photogenic mood.  Maybe.

And he was, sort of.  He loves swinging in the “big kid’s” swing – it’s like a rollercoaster seat with a pull down harness that keeps him secure while I push the swing.  Of course, he doesn’t quite fit because it’s designed for toddlers.  He’s big for 5 months, but not that big.  So, we took along a handy little stuffage to act as a pillow and prop him up.  It came in handy later for a photo shoot, but that’s another post entirely.

I’ve never really tried to photograph much of anything in motion other than a little motion blur here and there, so I thought I would try something new.  The last batch of swing photos looked stationary because you couldn’t see the movement – it was time to try panning and see what I could catch.  I didn’t read up on tips and hints – I just pulled out the camera and tried as best I could.  Something tells me I’m probably missing a crucial element here, because most of the panning shots just look blurry despite my best efforts.  Clearly, I need to do some research before we try again.  Still, one or two turned out fairly well.  I’m surprised!

I did realize that things are a lot easier if you have room – a swing set with a stroller in the way (mine, of course, because I did move it, but not far enough) isn’t the best place to try this.  Basically, what I did was focus on Corbin’s face as best I could and tracked the motion of the swing back and forth with a slow enough shutter speed to capture motion while (hopefully) still freezing him.  His cooperation – staying still – helped a lot.  At least, when he did stay still.  The swing is one of his favorite things to do so he spends his time looking around a lot, as well as moving his hands, squealing in glee, and just generally wiggling.

The pacifier accessory was non-negotiable – he kept trying to suck on his fingers and the germ-a-phobe in me said “ewwww!”

 

So, something to try again at a later date, but not a total failure.  And I was right – this set of swing shots looks a whole lot more interesting than the last batch.

The loss of freedom

I’ve said several times that this blog is really a photo journal of what I’m working on at the moment.  I’m just a tad embarrassed because I’m working on ::gulp:: nothing right now.  Not my choice exactly. 

Nope, I’ve been ordered to take things easy for a bit and spend time vegging on the couch with my cats.  Talk about annoying.  Not that the cats mind too much.  So this blog will probably languish a little or I’ll be posting random photographs from a while back that never made it to the blog.  It’s a good time to scan in some of my film images, so I might be posting a few of those too.

Today’s photograph is my neighbor’s maple tree.  It sits across the street from us, and right now it’s slowly losing its leaves; they’re drifting with the odd breeze down to the grass and making a bright carpet.   All this cool weather we’ve had at nights has really brought out the colors – even our green maple has turned a bright yellow instead of its usual brown and wrinkled offering. 

Because it grows in their front yard, every afternoon it glows in the light of the setting sun.  Orange leaves turn into flames, and I feel the urge to go worship at the “burning bush.” 

I love maples.  In the spring they send out fanciful sets of wings that twirl all over the neighborhood (and end up growing a bumper crop of maple seedlings in my yard.)  The new leaves are spiky gold and copper that suddenly burst into the iconic maple leaf shape.  They’re sturdy trees – the nasty ice storm we had a few years ago didn’t ruin our trees like some of the other weaker ones in the neighborhood.  And in the fall, we get a wonderful display of color that the other trees just can’t compete with.  I won’t even delve into the glories of maple syrup.

I should mention that I haven’t tweaked this photograph – the colors are as-is from the camera.  Yes, the sky really was that blue.