I’m still confronting the relevance of continuing to do this. The short answer is that after all these years it can still go in any direction and I’m ready to stop wondering where it will go next. This blogging ritual breeds projects and practices which don’t occur to me at any other time. Over the years I’ve surprised myself, in good ways and bad ways. It often becomes a way to drill down to deeper truths and motivations.
What year was it? 2016, perhaps. I took on the task of elevating the art of self-portraits to a wellness practice, every day for a calendar year. That was some work. It was easy to make it look like fun but it was work. Paging back through those posts I see my notes to myself at the 203 day mark: cultivate a commitment to creating seven images per week relative to how I want to feel and the work I will do to feel that way.
Squashed all together in a collage or gallery the observer can see slices of that practice. I used to post those on collages on Facebook with no captions and no explanations. It probably looked like a big bunch of fun. The work of it (which is the point of it) was missing. Leaving the captions off was a way to avoid telling the truth. I see that now, although at the time I justified it with some flim-flam about letting people interpret the images without coaching. I love that this ritual exposed that truth about me to me.
Every month I still consider giving it all up no matter how little or how much I’ve been posting. Some days I just don’t feel like doing the work, much less showing the work. Those are the days in which the work is most relevant. Remember how the daily post became a grind? Those were usually the days you didn’t see me smiling into the camera with the sun throwing a halo of rainbow rays around my face. I was working at it, so I offered a hip or fingers or a shoulder as a form of management.
It fleshed out the the truth that being on display all the time, in pieces or as a whole, is work. It is work to stay invested in it. It is work to stay engaged and keep learning from it. It’s not all tree-huggin’ poses and lipstick. It is confrontational. I wouldn’t have known this had I not put myself in a position to confront and be confronted.
Confronting safety as an illusion.
Confronting the concept of winning. I called a given day a win because I successfully conquered a difficult situation without resorting to my classic swash-buckling and brow-beating. But winning at anything generally assumes a loss of something else. Confronting what I lost to facilitate the win. Alternatively, confronting what I lost because of the win.
Confronting the changing textures of my topography as I age. Confronting the forgiveness of black and white.
Confronting the lack of glamour necessary to show the dirty work. Confronting my comfort level with that lack of glamour. Confronting the question of why it is important to show images of getting there as opposed to only images of arrived.
Confronting integration of body, mind, spirit, culture, history, and privilege.
Confronting the creases under my forearms from too many hours at a desk. Confronting that dimple in my elbow which implies that my arms are not so svelte anymore. Confronting the reality that staying supple means staying in yoga poses longer than it takes the shutter to close.
Confronting the truth that sometimes I’m just not in the mood. Confronting those contrary moods and investigating them.
Confronting the truth that while others become somber in winter, it is summer that makes me want to hibernate. Or quit. Summer saps me. Summer nearly silences me. This is when the work is the hardest for me. By August I am usually celebrating basic human functions and little else. But working with my seasonal cycles are also part of the work. Resisting the urge to become dormant. Seeing it with confrontational eyes. Being attentive to it. Plumbing it for insights.
This too is part of the practice.