This post has been a long time coming, so please excuse... just about everything in it.
Before I start though, a quote (i love quotes.. they fix everything! also music):
People will love you. People will hate you. And none of it will have anything to do with you.' - Abraham Hicks
He should've followed that up with "Go dancing or celebrate or something", but I suppose genius sometimes has its limitations.
I recently won a kind of art competition lately. To put a long story short, there's lots of funky prizes involved, but the most rewarding was the fact that the winner would be taken on by a gallery and represented for a year.
= Dream come true for an artist.
More about it all can be found here.
To those not involved in it, it won't mean much, but I suppose to someone like me, it's kind of a big deal. I must say, after all that, I am truly overwhelmed most with the above, and the amount of support received by friends and family. I think I have a long way to go in this department/industry, but I need to start somewhere, and that somewhere includes a long list of gratitude. I suppose this is what it's all about.
I remember when I first started taking photos, it was just because I discovered 1) travelling and 2) a DSLR. Later on, it became an all-consuming passion, and instead of going out with my friends, I would coax them to take part in my photo projects. Little lambs that they were, they complied, and somewhere along the line, I think they started believing in me as well. My parents couldn't understand why I was chasing photos instead of hunting for a husband, but they had no choice. My brothers, extended family, friends also gave in and may have rolled my eyes, but eventually they all came around.
Somewhere along the line, being surrounded by this new field of all-consuming passion for photography and art and culture and wide-open-eyed curiousity, I found something that gave my life a little more meaning. It wasn't just about taking photos anymore, it was about making a photo and giving it a name and using it to express something personal and nourishing it like a child and letting it out there for the world to view, assess, explore, judge, wonder, dislike... like letting a child grow up and letting him/her loose.
Why am I talking about this?
A lot of people left lovely comments, words of support, likes, and when I met others, huge hugs and words of support. People are genuinely happy for me. I try to brush it off, but .. well, I'm happy that people are happy for me!!! It's time I get on the social media bandwagon, and instagram, facebook page, twitter the crap out of it! Dead end here, because with the exception of instagram, I really suck awful at all of the above. The only thing I'm good at is writing long blog posts (i love writing), but even those can be an eyesore sometimes.
So I suppose this is all nice and dandy, what's in it for you?
That's just it. What's in it for you?
You give me your love and support, as fleeting as it may or may not be, and I... what can I offer you?
I can offer you some lessons in what I've learnt from my journeys. I can tell you that if you want something really badly in life, you must work really hard to get it. I am NOT a celebrity (as dubai people seem to think), I am NOT some amazing artist (ALWAYS a work in progress... I *just*started after all), I am not some saint, but I do come from a family where I've seen my dad work really long hours, where I see my mum sacrifice her youth for her children, where I see my brothers and extended family work really hard for what they believe in... so I have some idea that to get what you want. Critics? There will always be critics. One artist from the competition wrote to all the other artists, including me, and said that another artist deserved to win... because he's an established artist (???!?!?!?) Two things went through my mind when I saw this. 1) Ouch. Sour grapes, much? and 2) Who *really* cares? Let it go. You can always forgive immaturity (vs. stupidity.. those cannot be undone. Know your rights as a forgiver).
Another thing I've learnt is: if you really really like something.... *really* like it.. just drop everything and go for it. Stop worrying what people will think, thats the least of your concerns. Make sure you have some money or support to get you by, and just do it. There is no shame in loving something with your heart, and going for it. I have no shame in telling people I take photos for a living. Sometimes people think that all I do is click photos all day, and that I must work for 3 hours a day, and how I must be so rich and do I even have a real job? I mean, a real job in Dubai is being an accountant or some GM or anything where you're in the office for 10 hours a day. I get asked if I even worked today? Well. To those I say, I'm sorry for the fact that they do not know empathy, because as an artist, that is the one thing I have learnt to do really well - to look at their lives or their jobs with their perspective, and give it value. I can only hope that one day they will learn to do the same with mine. Or a more real-life example, its not all about selfies! It's about the other person as well... its about Group shots!
Another thing that goes hand-in-hand about getting what you want in life: STOP depending on other people to do things for you. I call these hand-outs. No one owes you anything. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop thinking you're the centre of the world and you deserve this and you deserve that. Get off your high horse. The world owes you nothing. I know these are all cliches, but it's true. The only way to get something is to go out and get it yourself. This means you will become poor. You will have to grovel to people you don't fancy. You will have to sell yourself short at times. But the good thing is, it will get better. It won't go away, (sorry to disappoint!) but it will get better. Learn to accept that this is how it works in the real world. Along with all this, comes the ability to accept. I've learnt to accept that now I will never be as rich as I want to be to buy a laptop that doesn't break down with some glitch or the other every month (the frig, Apple!), I will never be as pretty or as tall as I envision myself, I will never get that dreamboat of a man who is also an amazing chef and the heart of an angel and a thrillseeker to boot, I will never travel to every country in the world as I thought I would..... but it's ok. Learn to say OK. With thanks.
I've learnt another thing as well. If you must be happy, be happy like a child. Stop being such a grown-up about everything. After you've paid your bills and cleaned your kids' diapers (i know money and babies can be stressful), remember how to be like a child again. Laugh at dumb jokes. Watch movies that warm your heart. Sing in the car and who gives a crap that they can see you bobble your head?! Hug someone the way you want to when you see them, not the oatmeal limpy handshake to show your coolness. Wear that dress that you've been dying to wear but thought people would laugh at you if you wore. Call up that person that you've been obsessing about all week. Love even when you know it may not go somewhere (but don't be an idiot though, know your limits, dont stalk for God's sake!) Travel to that place you've been meaning to visit. You really want to be creative and live a fulfilled life? Stop putting limitations on your life. You have nothing to lose. Shame is over-rated. Insanity is under-rated. Be a child.
I'll end this note with my last piece:
If you must be anything in life, be honest (with yourself). Be kind. Be humble (not weak). I am none of those, but I am working towards them all the time. Sometimes... no, MOST of the time, I'm a hypocrite, but trust me I am trying. When I try, that is when I learn those lessons. Initially, I feel like the lessons will destroy me. They hurt. Truth hurts, reality hurts. BUT... there is no greater gift than time. Time heals everything. Heartaches and heartbreaks. Pimples. Confidence. Awaiting for that movie release (except hunger, time don't heal hunger and starvation!). Patience is such a beautiful thing. I am super impatient and spontaneous, so I am just learning to be patient with my life.
That's all for now. Very haphazardly written, but this is all I can offer you for your love and support - My words and my support for your life :)