Building bridges and connecting with my peers is something I as a child spared no thought on as how-to or even that it was a concept to ponder. I lived very much in my own world, and at least before I got into my later teens, I was quite content with having that one friend. Later on, before understanding myself, I went through some frustrating and confusing experiences in meeting and connecting with others. Today, I am at a point in my life where I am grateful for all these different relationships–both good and bad. They have taught me to understand myself and others better, and have lead me to accept that I am still happy with only a few friends.
With that said, I do like to socialise. I really love meeting and connecting with others and joining conversations. Very often, however, I find myself so engrossed in just listening to what everyone has to say that I forget to actively partake. While I suspect I at times come across as the silent one of few words or suddenly a lot of words, only to sit back and be quiet again, it has never been for the lack of interest or that I haven’t been present. All the things I hear, I take them in and then I ponder (except for when several people speak on top of each other and my brain automatically switches to a place far, far away). So sometimes by the time I have gathered what to say, the conversation usually has moved on.
The same goes for being asked questions–I like to have some time with it before I can connect it in my mind and offer a reply. When I feel a prompt answer is needed, especially to questions I haven’t been asked before, I might end up agonising over the things I say. They fly out of my head and I think that is not how I truly feel, that is not what I really wanted to say. This was something I truly despised about school when I was younger, constantly wishing don’t pick me, don’t pick me as the teacher’s eye wandered across the heads in class. And when I did get picked, I had spent all that time wishing myself away instead of thinking of an answer.
This comes close to how much I used to worry about saying the wrong thing and guarding every word. This isn’t that. But I think they are linked. I wonder if maybe it triggered what later became a fear of being misconstrued. As a teenager, for example, it didn’t occur to me to worry about organising my words before they came out. I just went along with it and “edited” as I spoke. Which sometimes resulted in a lot of strange conversations and lengthy explanations that perhaps made no sense, or were too complex. Small talk, for instance, is something I have had to practice for years to avoid simple “So how’s things?” becoming a recollection of my entire past week. Now remember, Lotta, this is a polite small talk thing to say, you are not required to bare your soul. I am still not entirely sure always how to tell apart the sincere queries and the polite ones.
This is where this bridge comes in–my way of connecting back with others. My ping-back. Through blogging and through photography I get to truly share my innermost self. I get the time I need to slow down, gather and connect all that spins ’round and ’round in my head, and deliver it when I am in harmony with it. I get to sit with the words of others and the words of myself and let them get acquainted.
When I started blogging, I had to just go for it. I knew how this thinking process of mine tends to become a labyrinth I get lost in. So blogging is also a way for me to find a balance, to connect back to myself after all these years of second-guessing every single little detail. To share thoughts and photographs a part of me feels are nothing special, not entirely me just yet, gives it substance for me to work with. I hold myself accountable. Through blogging I am every day reminding myself of what I have learned so far, what I still need to work on, and that whatever the outcome I am one step further than yesterday.
So that is why most of these photos are images I have at one point shared already, only they are different. They evolve just as I do and my photography does, thanks to joining online communities and breaking the silence on social media. By reaching out at my own pace, yet trying to take that extra step continuously and challenging myself, I am in turn inspired by all the people around me. I learn things, pick up on tips and tricks, and I secure one more stone in this bridge I am building to reach my goals.
Without others, without you or any of those I will come into contact with in the future, these visions and dreams of mine would have remained a hazy and abstract canvas in the back of my mind. A thought I would have pondered until I realised all the opportunities had passed me by.
And the most wonderful thing with both photography and drawing is that I do not need to organise this brain of mine. To get to the place I want to shoot, yes, somtimes. And to start that drawing, definitely. But once I begin my head becomes quiet and peaceful. Those innermost feelings and perceptions that may be too complex to put into words can be shaped with brush and pen strokes, light and shadow, colours and tones.
So even if I am content on my own, and with sporadic and spontaneous meetings with my closest friends, I wouldn’t be able to live this journey fully toward my biggest dreams without forging connections. Without these mediums of blogging, Instagram, and other platforms, through which I reach out to people, my art and my photography would have remained a whimsical hobby of mine hidden away in drawing pads and folders on my computer. And I may have only just left the starting line, I may not have a gallery or a web shop yet, but I don’t see it as a hopeless wish anymore, nor do I feel silly for setting that wish free. I know that the only way I can fail is if I stop reaching out, stop trying to connect.
Thank you each and every one of you, from the bottom of my heart, for whichever part you have in this bridge of mine. Lastly, I want to leave you with one of my all-time favourite quotes.
I wish you all a wonderful day. ❤
In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.