Saturday, July 11, 2009

photos from my past: boyfriend edition

I've admittedly been a very bad little photo-blogger lately. Mostly because I've been extremely busy working on a portfolio website and trying to find work but also because facebook makes it so darn easy to post photos these days that a photo-blog seems kind of redundant. So as an apology, and since most of my "readers" here are my sister's, I thought a personal offering along the lines of Georgia's "stories from my past" would be a nice gesture and help to explain why so many times, you end up here after one of her poignant personal stories only to find macro photos of bugs and flowers instead of evidence of the life of an equally deep and complex, emotional person.

* I usually hate it when a chick has to define herself by the guys she's dated, even much more so when there's been a whole movie made about the subject; though for some reason it's just slightly more tolerable if it's some dude's story and he has a funny fat friend (see: High Fidelity). I promise not to define myself by these little photo-blurbs, K?

I found this photo recently of high school BF #1 and I at a school dance. The photo was from our senior year and we were really just good friends at that point - he had turned out to be one of my best friends throughout high school even though we had dated for not much more than a month our freshman year. We met on the first day of high school and I thought he was a drug dealer because he had a pager. I completely tripped out when I saw this photo because it wasn't really that long ago, yet so much has changed for both of us. I went to his wedding a few years ago and he and his wife have a little girl now. I am so happy for him because his life was kind of a mess in high school but he's probably the happiest of all of our old friends now and completely deserves it.

Just after I found the last photo, a friend posted one from this night of just the girls on facebook with a joke about us liking that one more than the ones with our dates. I joked, "my date is dead now..." not realizing that many people either didn't know this or didn't know why. High school BF#1 was the one to call me and tell me the news about 5 years ago. At the time, I thought I didn't care. I thought I had spent so much time after our 2 year high school relationship making him dead in my mind that it was the same either way. I thought I was just pissed that I never got the chance to properly tell him off for all the shit I put up with or what a strong person I am now but years later, when the impact of his life and his death are still evident in my dreams, it is obvious to me that THIS GUY is one of the reasons I have these HUGE personal walls that are so obvious in the distinction I make between my public and private lives - no matter how much I reveal about myself it will only scratch the surface. It's only now, 14 years after our "relationship", that I can allow my closest friends to get to know me without making them feel completely shut out.

Nice rack even as a 16 year old, right?

Two years of *not* dating (seriously anyway!), and I met the guy in the next photo. I had actually met him years before and since then had been "the girl of his dreams", unbeknownst to me. At the time it was flattering and though contrary to my belief/requirement for a relationship (the chemistry should be obvious/undeniable from the very start), we were like best friends so it seemed right. I know it sounds odd but I think, in retrospect I've become somewhat detached from the whole 6 years we were together since I was so young when it started and changed so much throughout. Add to that all the experimentation with various substances, a career I know I always put before him and the friends we always called ours (but I never really felt were mine), and the fact that I just didn't know how to separate the life we had made together straight out of our parent's homes so it probably lasted a lot longer than it should have. When it comes down to it though, once you know you're unhappy, nothing matters anymore - all I wanted was my cat and my clothes. That and the refrigerator (because, for some reason, you can not rent an apartment with a refrigerator in LA) is all I took from that relationship.

It was quite the opposite with this next one. I was lugging two pelican cases along a pathway at my former job and about to intersect with another pathway when our eyes met and I almost tripped and tried to cover it up with an equally messed-up hello. We spoke maybe 5 or so times in the next year and a half that he worked there but did a lot of eyeing each other in various hallways and elevators. That's my favorite kind of chemistry - when a guy is so intimidating-hot that you can't even talk to him. (Except for this one time when I didn't realize how cute a guy was right away but liked his sense of humor. Once I realized how incredibly good looking he was, I completely lost my funny and all ability to talk to him! Bummer.) About 6 months after this guy stopped working at the former job, we started emailing and eventually got together.

Sounds ideal, right? Oh wait, did I mention our lives existed in 2 separate places? Or that he moved back to LA to be with me and it still wasn't perfect? Right after he made some huge decision to stay here/get into huge amounts of debt going to a very expensive law school, yours truly set off for a two month location job leaving him to watch my 16 year old cat in a city where he was kind of alone. Selfish? I still don't know. I still really believe that everyone (except for parents) should put themselves first. This isn't what killed it for us, this was just the beginning of the end and I obviously realize this was not a one person relationship - I didn't fuck it up all by myself but I'm not going to air his dirty laundry all over the internets because the best part about this is that I got to keep this one. As a friend, at least. He went back to his city and I stayed in mine but what we both learned about ourselves has been invaluable to each of us.

Now I promised this wouldn't be a "define yourself by the men you've dated" blog and it isn't. I'm going straight back to my bread and butter - the "unhealthy obsessions" that made me start this thing in the first place: the cat and the garden and my cooking and the intricacies of my own little microcosm of a life here on earth. It's not because I'm shallow nor because I lack the capability for the deep emotional connection that my sister so eloquently writes about in her stories but because I'm a photographer and I have been since the day I was born. It is my job to simply "point" to things (as I once heard a wise man say, possibly quoting his favorite photographer, Paul Strand, but I can't remember), which I would rather do as quietly as possible so as not to fuck up the vision with language. As much as I love language, it tends to be too ambiguous and not open to interpretation in the same way that imagery is. This is already hard for me to do because I am opinionated and chatty, not because anyone made me this way or as a reaction to some experience I had when I was younger. I neither bottle it up inside nor do I go looking for conflicts, I simply choose to keep my art and my life somewhat compartmentalized until such a point when I need to combine them (see: above), at which point I believe I excel.

Anyway, that was my long winded apology for not posting more photos recently. So are we cool? ...and that's why I stick to photos!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"- all I wanted was my cat and my clothes. That and the refrigerator (because, for some reason, you can not rent an apartment with a refrigerator in LA) is all I took from that relationship."