Life has been difficult lately, for lack of a better phrase. Between work, creativity, family, friends, and general survival, I’ve been pushed to my farthest ends, a test which is simultaneously soul-crushing and exhilarating. On one hand, I’m totally impressed by the sheer magnitude of problems I can face at once all while still keeping on my beauty routine and not breaking down in public. On the other hand, I would really appreciate a few minutes to just get to exist without the crippling responsibility of being a good worker, friend, ex, son, and human being. I’d just like to be.
I find that my biggest struggle in just existing as myself is being around the right kind of people. Who are the right kind of people, you might ask. If you did, I’m glad. If you didn’t, well… I asked for you, so there. The right kind of people are those with whom time moves too fast. People who make you feel like so much more than a decomposing sack of flesh and organs. You can be completely silent in a room with them and be wholly happy and at peace because you know you’re safe in the spaces you’ve created together. With the right kind of people, you’re yourself because the guards which we’re trained as human beings to hold up fall down. They make it possible to trust without fear.
I have some of the right kind of people in my life. They know who they are. They love me when I’m Jayson writing for national publications, and when I’m emotionally-needy Jayson calling to talk about the boys I swear I don’t care about but totally do because who talks about someone that often if they don’t care?
They embrace my humanity as I embrace theirs. And with humanity comes not just the great capacity to do good and the beautiful vulnerability that classic romantics love, but also all the bad parts we deny about ourselves and those we consider as “greater than” because they’ve caught the attention of our eyes, heart, or loins.
What this means is that there are going to be people who masquerade as the right kind of people, under the guise of imperfect humanity. Sometimes they intentionally ruin your life and other times you just happened to fit whatever bill they were looking for. If it hadn’t been you, maybe it would’ve been someone else. I’m really good at finding these people.
Or they’re really good at finding me.
These are the kind of people who never take my picture. They’re always ready to be shot and posed all over our world, to have memories which many of us in this digital age crave to prove that we actually live. They never care if I remember, or if I’m remembered. I’m just another giver to their taker. They crave validation and I’m a validation machine because I was taught to treat people the way I want to be treated.
I get to see all these beautiful places, but the photos sometimes mean nothing to me. What’s art anyways? I don’t care about photography or composition. I just want to be able to look back when I’m old and tell my friends and grandkids that I used to live in the world, that I wasn’t always alone. It won’t matter where I travelled or where I went, but that there was someone on the other side of the lens who was there with me.
(I’m aware that maybe I’m just too dependent.)
I’m tired of taking photos of other people, hoping that maybe someone will take pity on me and get the hint that I’d also like someone to take pictures of me. Really I’m just a human seeking validation, who gives away more than they ever get back. I don’t validate people with lies–it’s all true–so can’t someone share some validating truth with me? Or am I really just not the person I think I am?
I might not have great balance in validation, but I’d rather give too much than give too little. I might not be in a lot of pictures with people, but maybe the pictures I take mean something. I don’t know. Maybe this is all dumb, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.