Solitude Breeds Anxiety

- Detroit River Walk

- Detroit River Walk

I read Eric Kim's blog often. If you aren't familiar with him then check out his blog here. He speaks a lot about street photography, but also gives photographers insight on how to better channel their creative competence. In one of his post he touches on solitude, and how it coincides with creatives. 

The post intrigued me; For the past year now I've been creating my own work, and I've noticed that since I've been taking my craft more serious I've slowly distanced myself from most of my peers and family. Now when I say distance, I don't mean physically, I encounter individuals every day, but on a communicational level things aren't quite the same. It's like explaining a joke from a movie that no one else has seen, they'll laugh to avoid the awkward moment of silence, but honestly their imagination can't really render your artistry. 

And that's what conversations for me are like... I tend to think of myself as well versed in what's going on in the world. I can reflect, or give my opinion on a number of subjects, and for the most part, my friends take full advantage of that. Whenever there this is an issue, when someone wants to confide or just talk about fashion I'm there for them, and the conversation flows because both parties are educated on the subject. But when it's time to talk about photography, well people just can't understand my genius... And it's not that I expect them too, but it leaves me in a state of loneliness, which can sometimes be depressing or cause anxiety. For the most part, the only time I talk about photography is to myself, it adds up to a lot of unmade decisions and self-doubt, it gets extremely overwhelming. My mind flourishes often, constant thoughts of what type of shots I should do... Or what piece of equipment will enhance my ability to get that shot? I tend to steer towards online forums, but I'm still missing something, that human element. 

That brings me back to what Eric said, he stated that solitude breeds anxiety and it spoke so much to me. Initially, I thought perhaps I was just a loner, an introvert, or maybe people just didn't like me, but I understand my separation from other people is something I've been secretly deciding on my own. 

At times, these decisions can be difficult. I understand that I don't have to completely abandon my friends, but I do want to surround myself with people who share a common interest. If I spend less time with friends from the past is that selfish? Or is it selfish of them to not fully understand that I have evolved and grown in a different direction? That's something I battle with every day. 

“If you hang out with chickens, you’re going to cluck and if you hang out with eagles, you’re going to fly.”
— Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

We see these quotes all the time, "You are who you hang around" until now I didn't think those sayings held much truth, but I'm starting to understand why people could operate in this manner. It may be a premature attitude, but I've decided to steer away from people who don't share the same passion for creation as me, not because I think I'm better than them, but because I don't want my relationships to feel like a burden. It's not that my friends don't care about me, but I think it's hard for them to be supportive. Many of them, including family, have known me since adolescence. They've seen me venture into many hobbies, they know my flaws, my inconsistencies, and they know who I am, or who I use to be to them. For them it's hard to see me as a photographer, or blogger, I haven't been doing this my whole life, I haven't spoke passionately about this for years, it's new to them and for whatever reason they just can't adjust to the new me. The majority of them won't even read this post, or even know it was written.

I'm not going to completely desert them, but I think seeing or talking to them less frequently will actually enhance our relationship. It'll allow me to "catch up" with them, allow me to rebrand myself. Our conversations will be based on what we have been doing throughout the months of not seeing each other. Things won't be so one dimensional because they'll actually be interested as oppose to using me for an ear. 

I guess in the end it's not always about where you're at in life, but about who you have by your side. I don't want my friends to falsely embrace my work, every great needs a critic, but I do want them to appreciate my passion, support who I am and who I may become in the future. It'll be hard to let them go, as building new bonds are scary, but I'm hoping photography can introduce to me to a whole new field of creators who simply "get it". "Birds of a feather flock together." That quote doesn't mean we all can't fly, it just means that some of us have to soar in different directions.