The evening started alone. Sitting at the table wanting to look busier than I was but being comfortable doing nothing all while being uncomfortable thinking I was perceived doing nothing by those around me. Holding the glowing phone up to let the world know I was not waiting alone. But being annoyed by the glow to put it down and just sit in silence. Something I don’t get a chance to do often. Sure I will sit and not speak, but at a table, outside of work, outside of my comfort zone, surrounded by the voices of others. It felt like a droning silence and it was nice. The ladies next to me talking about their day and me not having to worry about their burdens.
I looked through the menu for a little to make sure I made a good choice. The prices made my jaw drop. I can’t afford this, I can afford this, fuck why did I pick this place, knowing damn well I really wanted to eat here. Healthy organic goodness. A perfect meal for the night. But I am a starving artist, this will make a dent. Fuck it, too late now.
Back to silence amongst the murmuring voices. Texting her to take her time, saying I had gotten a table, no rush. Words I would want to hear in the same situation. Easier to comfort others than yourself of course.
Unable to figure out what we would talk about, 2 weeks had gone by since we last met, work I suppose, but how long would that last. I had forgotten what we had talked about prior. Did my attempt at a goodnight kiss make this weird? The night got to a place where I could actually just speak my mind and ask if it was weird. Turns out it was all OK. No need to analyze. My explanation of my need to hear others thoughts giving her an insight to my intense observation to that around me. Understood.
So we did talk about work for a bit, showing her a preview of my recent photos and actually explaining the reasoning was a ton of fun. No one else had seen it yet. She loved the photos I take with the dancers after each shoot, and I made my joke saying someone would probably want those for a gallery versus the ones I put so much work into… but she saw I actually was honestly thinking of including it somehow and had some great suggestions. But she also understood those photos would not exist without the wonderful rapport I built with the dancers throughout the shoot.
These moments in my weeks where I get to go out and turn my phone on silent are captivating. To get away from the glow of a screen, the reminders of an email, the chime of a text. To just use your phone as a random fact check or to remember an example. When turning your phone face down makes you feel proud versus scared you will miss something important. When the important thing is right in front of you. They give my mind a rest but not until recently was I told perhaps I wasn’t actually just enjoying the moment and being myself but putting on an act of sorts. Well turns out when I am just me, it is amazing to be disconnected from the world. “How much further can we get from nothing” where even a cloud isn’t ethereal enough.
I don’t know if it was the lack of being rushed at the restaurant. The food. The lighting. The company. Or the stories I was telling but I had a sense of complete calm that night. In a flurry of both snow and thoughts lately it was a zen calm. I talked as myself. My passion for what I do came out. My voice calmed. I was in my head speaking my heart no fears in the world. Just enjoying the company of the person across from me.
Explaining my tattoo’s meaning without saying a word. Through my stories that night and my life it brought it to fruition, no need for a “story”. It gave it its true meaning. It brought the ink alive and made it meaningful. “The Fool” made more sense than anything I have ever written or said about it. Sometimes when I write something down I have trouble re-hashing it as a story, because I feel like I wrote it better than I could tell it. But my stories that night old or new had a new sense of excitement to them. Of course I started to become nervous that I was telling a story ir-replicable if this failed and had to be retold to another, but being happy it made so much sense and brushing it off as a casualty of happiness. I can’t even write how I explained it, I would have to tell you every story in the exact same order. A once in a moment moment. 🙂
Telling deep moments and being given the chance to recall memories from the past few years that truly brought a smile to my face: directing, my dad, my life. It brought me comfort. It made me legitimately smile.
Being able to explain my life and not be judged on it but accepted for it or just listened to. Not needing to know what was in her head, because she would tell me. No deep analysis needed. No multiple thoughts within a split second as preparation for what might be said next to head off any dragons or ogres. Not having the answers was just as rewarding as having them. I like not having to constantly make eye contact during a story because I know they are listening. I disarmed myself by not feeling the need to analyse emotions, eyes, shifting, body language, I was comfortable with myself.
I left on that cold night warm and content inside and out. As I write the daily life anxieties start to return but for those two hours I had complete calm and a sense of self. It was beautiful. No expectations, no wants, just enjoying being there. It was her partly her childlike approach to dating that calmed me. It made me feel safe. I didn’t have to talk about sex, pop culture, or entertain. I just got to be me. I could stumble my words, say the wrong thing, and pause to form the words or never figure them out. It all felt comforting. That night was a good night. She opened up to me in an extremely vulnerable way and we could still carry on. Her eyes told an amazingly deep story and through the pain a deep love for herself and those around her.
The snow falling outside the windows on this “spring” evening may have contributed slightly to the mood as it was calming and slightly romantic, knowing we wouldn’t have to endure a WINTER again.
I don’t know if it was friendship or more but right then it was nice. It feels calm. And I like calm. I like being me. I like explaining the different aspects of life I have had a part in. Many people ask me so when did you fall in love with Photography. To me this is a very difficult question to answer. I don’t think there was ever a point. I am interested in many many things so even calling myself a photographer is hard for me sometimes even though it takes up 99.9 percent of my day. Ha. I just really enjoy things where I can interact with people and help to achieve things with them. Help them in their lives and mine gets brighter. When a character I direct them to be bleeds into their actual life and contributes positively, I have to call that a good day. But I am not a one trick pony, I can make a mean sauce, salad dressing, dance, sing, photograph, edit, travel, smile, laugh, cry, be sarcastic, and so much more. She seemed to understand the different aspects and enjoyed taking them all in as a first impression for a second time versus a one time “this is how it is”. I like the understanding of my choices versus the judgements. I like the outcome to not matter. I like good food. And I like sitting menus down for a good half hour before ordering.