In Grade 11, I asked my father to bring home a new camera and lens for me. He was coming home for a visit and had asked whether there was something I wanted, and of course there was. I was passionate about photography. (Saying that in past tense now does not feel so good.)
And when he came home and unpacked his suitcase and revealed to me the exact Nikon camera and lens I had asked for, I took it from him, looked at it, and packed it away. I packed it away because I was determined to somehow earn this gift. My parents had never been ones for giving or withholding anything as either reward or punishment. Sometimes we celebrated birthdays with a dinner and I never really begged for anything because I knew if it was good for me, I would get it. I may have been spoilt. But we still never had cable TV.
I had put that camera in my cupboard in clear view of my desk. And every time I looked at it I would remind myself to study hard and get amazing grades and prove, as much to myself as to my parents, that I deserve to get what I ask for. And I did get good grades, adequate enough, I guess, to unpack that camera and call it my own without guilt or regret. That was the one time I was satisfied with my own efforts. Proud. I don’t remember any other time like that.
Do you often feel like an underachiever? I do. All the time. I feel like I’m behind everyone else in their lives and I should have already accomplished something, anything that I could hold on to and say “I am capable of some pretty amazing shit. And there’s proof.” It seems like there is no end to my mediocrity that even when I set goals, I fall short of even planning to reach them.
But eventually something’s got to give. Right? This can’t be it. If this is it then push me down a flight of stairs and throw me into the tide because I’m quite alright with it all ending right now if “this is it”. Judge me all you want but I can’t be the only one who sometimes, or all the time, feels the way I do.
I understand that I hold myself back a lot of the time. And there is a fear in me that I cannot shake. But acknowledging all this counts for something. I truly believe that. And so I do want to find my passion for photography again. And I do want to become better, better than the times that it hurt to breathe, better than yesterday. Better at treating myself right and taking care of myself. Better at just getting better at things. This blog was a step towards finding my passion for writing again, and I will — I am — slowly but surely. So there is hope, there is always hope.