How honest should you be…
on social media, how much of yourself do you really share? It's so easy for all of us to be something we're not, at least to portrait success with great stories, beautiful images, travel plans, far away lands and big ideas. It all sounds so fuzzy, warm and wonderful, but is it indeed the truth? Do we even care about the person behind all those impressions, or do we have enough going on in our own life that we rather see beauty and look at pretty pictures?
I thought about this post for quite some time. There is a good reason why I didn't post as much the last half year as I did before, and the story is not very glamorous, nor is the attached photo (not going into my beauty portfolio any time soon).
If we're honest, we all love to boost our egos from time to time, it's a human thing. Admitting defeat, down time, failures or anything that would make us look less "polished" and awesome is hard. We want to look great, maybe even larger than life. This however is a fake, and keeping up such a facade is hard, at least for me.
The last 6 month have been scary. In July last year, out of nowhere my heart started to go crazy, and I ended up in hospital for a few days, cabled up to the "bling-bling-back-to-life" machine, scary stuff. Three days later they sent me home, with some follow up tests in August, all looking great, with absolute zero idea why this happened. I'm relatively fit for my age (or so I tell myself), so what caused this? Will it happen again?
Don't we all hate those hospital tales, those "feel sorry for me" stories? Yep, me too, so let's keep it short: They couldn't find anything and all following tests showed zero results: "You're fine, your heart is fine, all tests look ok, go home." Yay, great, good news… but I still have no idea what happened. Maybe it was a fluke, a one time thing.
So I went on, working, from Australia to Tokyo Japan, back down under, then to the U.S., all fine. It took a few month to get back into routine, but somehow all a little slower, a constant "what happened that night" still stuck with me. A day before New Years eve, pretty much 6 month after the initial shock, I'm calling the ambulance, with the same symptoms. WTF?
Not to make the story bigger than it is, by the time the ambulance arrived, my heart "came down from it's hizzy fit". They cabled me up, measured, a bit high but within limits, but suggested to still go and do some follow up tests at the hospital. So we did, my first ever drive in an ambulance. More blood tests, all looking good, 3 hours later I was on my way home again.
So what do you do when you're fine, or so the doctors tell you? If it happens once, you have to get over yourself, put the self-pitty behind you and move on. If it happens twice, it may be time to get a second (or third) opinion.
This is were the story ends, no drama, no further "and then…", that's it, no punchline really. Next Tuesday I'll have a few more tests with one of the top cardiologists in Australia, and I assume (look forward to) everything goes well, and I get the confirmation "your heart is fine". It won't answer the question "why and how", and it will also not tell me what to do - or not to do - to avoid it happening again, but one step at the time.
All this is why I didn't post much the last few month. Pretending to be fine when you're not really, putting on a huge stage smile while the eyes don't feel like smiling. Don't get me wrong, I had a great time, met some incredible people, enjoyed my trips, loved taking pictures, I'm not painting a black cloud here, but pretending that my life is one big fancy and always colorful circus feels extremely fake. Reality is that my work is far behind, I have tons of photos I should have processed, many people are eagerly awaiting final images. I understand, and I'm working on it, but at the same time this entire episode has changed my view on things. I feel a little fragile, insecure, wondering "what if". Not to get back into the drama now, but maybe this was a very important "wake-up call", to adjust my priorities a bit, get the kids and Lego back in front of shooting and retouching, go to the beach and have ice-cream on Sundays rather than emails and writing articles. Yes I know, work-life balance, we all know we should, but do we?
A very long story with a short summary: Who knows what happens next. This doesn't sound like much, but that's exactly the message I take from this: I really don't know what happens next, so I better get my priorities right.
I love being a photographer, I love creating amazing images, I love working with people, I love teaching and helping others achieve their dreams, I'm a very lucky man with an awesome job. However, all of this must get back into a healthy balance, too much is indeed too much. Nobody knows what happens next, so let's be smart about it.
I will get back into posting more, and over time I'll probably get the shiny "hey look I'm oh so great" artificial social media super hero costume on again, or so it may seem. Behind it all however will always be a human being who has his moments of fear, of uncertainty, of times when shit hits the fan. It may be in private, but for once, I felt like sharing a bit more than usual, because that's who I am, right now, simply not sure what happens next.