The crying waitress
I cried today. We had a one day class with Carrie Mae Weems and during my half hour, personal, studio visit and brief discussion about my work, I started to cry. Sometimes I can’t control it. Especially when I’m awake, but should be asleep or should have had more sleep. I’ve been busy and up late sorting through my images and organizing them into a book, or a few books for a book class that is finishing up, and where I will be presenting what I made tomorrow. I look at this as a great opportunity to think and talk about my process and work. So now, when I should be sleeping and going to yoga and taking care of my mental health, I am busy doing assignments, organizing images and blogging. Writing is so important, as organizing my thoughts is even more challenging than editing my images, which is practically impossible. The book lends the most favorable form for my pictures to make sense, as the turning of pages provide a break, or even a cushion for the barrage of images. Maybe writing will help me with my thoughts in the same way. Next I will make a book for my thoughts and when I have to talk about my work and what I’m doing I’ll just hand them the book. Of course that won’t work because there are always new questions and even if it would I wouldn’t let it. It’s unintentional, but I still make things more complicated than they have to be. I prepared an edit of images on the wall of my studio today. It was kind of chaotic and somewhat redundant in some spots as I thought it would be helpful to try several small edits of around 4 images, to see what was most successful. There were at least 25 images total and but I think it ended up being confusing for everyone. The edit of about 12 images she helped me pull together were actually my favorite images. Could I have done that myself? The editing situation tends oscillate wildly. I thought I was making more effective edits and then this, again. Maybe I don’t really want easy or simple because of the muscle memory of strife. When she asked me what was missing then from the edit, or in my mind, what was missing from what i was trying to say, I drew a blank entirely and then started to cry. The missing pieces of life and indefinable moments are part of it; the contingency of moments in between. But how I effectively express that, it is not quite clear. It’s in this unknowing I become overwhelmed and despair.
The crying thing is kind of normal for me though. Not as bad as it has been in days past, but still happens. When I was 29 years old I quit a 16 year, 1-2 pack a day smoking habit. I did it cold turkey and unplanned. Already prone to depression, after about 3 months something in my brain chemistry crashed. (Some people I tell this to laugh or don’t believe me. Usually people who think they’re in complete control of their behavior or firm believers in will-power or whatever the fuck, not taking in to consideration each individual’s neurophysiology, hormones and specific biological make-up.) I became severally depressed. My usually once a month melt down escalated to about once an hour. I spent an entire weekend bawling my eyes out for no reason, while I was at work. Luckily I had a job with nice managers, as well as accessible bathrooms I could run to every half an hour to sob. My friend Peter, who was also my roommate at the time, had been privy to my reoccuring emotional adventures and once referred to me as “the crying waitress.” Now I can be “the crying MFA student,” though, that’s not a stretch. How about, “the crying photographer? ” But that would have to include half of New York City. I guess there are other crying waitresses too…other crying people. Some just cry on the inside and are more discrete about their low self esteem and inadequate serotonin levels.
My eyes have grown into eyes that look always look like I have just been crying, even if it’s been awhile. (I hope that writing about on the internet this doesn’t jeopardize me getting a job one day. But, better they know because I am bound to cry at some point anyways. Or maybe I’ll never have job again) Usually it’s when I’m overwhelmed, frustrated or angry to point where I have no other recourse. When i was a child and upset or offended at school I would either cry or just split and walk home without telling anybody. I would cry when I fell off my bike and skinned my knees. My dad would have to come down the block to pick me up and carry me home and when I would look at the bloody patch on my knee I would cry even harder. I didn’t know that the scar left from that kind of crash would be the most easily forgotten. Perhaps it’s a bit like that now and since I’m a bit of a perpetual child, I can make an effort to be a little easier on myself about it.