Tuesday, 29 May 2012

What looks like a grown-up, sounds like a grown-up, acts like a... Oh, wait.

I am a bit stuck. I found myself in a suit today, for the first time in a long time (I got rid of most of my formal clothes when I moved, what with the change of career and luggage limitations), as I was going to meet my accountant.

I just said that. My accountant.

I have an accountant. I have a business. I couldn't be more excited. Or terrified. Or grumpy.

There's no way to tell if my mood is linked to my newly birthed sole proprietorship, and I am inclined to think it's just a coincidence, but as it's made a lovely little mental correlation in my head, I'm inevitably thinking about why doing this has "made" me grouchy.

If anything, I should be celebrating, or at least doing some kind of promotional work for my new venture. Instead, I am grumbling along and worrying about things that are either a) irrelevant because they've not happened yet or b) irrelevant because they happened so long ago that making myself feel bad/guilty/angry about them now isn't going to make anything positive happen. I am seemingly convinced that I am just playing along with being the suit woman until someone catches me out. So I am stuck.

It'd be good to pretend that my mood is hormonal. That would at least be some form of "logical" cause (albeit with no solid evidence, but let's pretend I'm not empirically minded for a minute) for an emotional dip that has no precipitating factors whatsoever. If anything, things have been going better than usual. I've had time with Ben, time with friends, work is amazing, I shot my first wedding, I am reading a lot of photography material, I bought a bike, I've lost weight. I now not only have wonderful friends here but friends who I actually feel comfortable enough with to tell them that I am having an irrational mood swing, and who are amazing enough to empathise, talk, and bring wine over. While I am definitely homesick for people I love back in England, I do not want for being loved here.

So basically, I'm actually a big baby in a suit, and until I find the root cause of the issue I'm going to rehash exaggerated versions of worst-possible-scenarios, along with maybe pretending that this is all part of being "an artist". That at least makes me laugh at myself.

If I were braver, I think I would face the fact that I fear failure. And not just failing itself (getting things wrong is often not a bad thing, but a learning opportunity, so even failing can have positive results because you at least tried), but what failing means. My brain loves to find ways to point out that I don't deserve the things I have been so lucky to experience and gain, so the more wonderful stuff going on, the louder that voice gets, I suppose. If I fail, I am sure that voice will have an I-told-you-so monologue all prepared so that I can thoroughly explain to myself why I don't deserve anything good. It's no wonder I became a psychologist. And no wonder I became a photographer, either: being behind the camera makes everything else melt away, and there is peace from this ridiculous cerebral diatribe.

What to do, then? Because sure as the sun's going to rise tomorrow, no one ever succeeded by dwelling on the past or by being so anxious about the future that they can't move forward. So, to succeed, I need to tell that voice where it can stick it. There's no reason that I can't try, and who I was two, five, ten years ago shouldn't be stopping me either. The fact that Maslow's Hierarchy is making a play for my attention at this point is another guilt-inducer. First world problems like these shouldn't be blog-worthy. I should be grateful, and move on. But the fact of the matter is that I am grateful, and my brain is still a bastard sometimes. So I guess I will still write, and I do need to reach a solution to stop this frequent cycle of self-doubt and anger, and this helps.

I think Nike has the answer, although it's not the easiest one. Getting into a meta-blame situation is entirely possible if you start wondering why your cognitive processes are so harsh to you, and it just becomes another thing you are doing wrong. Dwelling on it isn't going to help. So, here's my solution: put on a suit, look the part, see your accountant, make a price list, update your website, advertise your services, shoot like a motherfucker, deliver effectively, read more, learn more, ask more, and just. do. it.

"If you're lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it."
-- John Irving 


Thanks for taking the time to write! I try to reply to everyone, and I love to read your comments.