Dear Journal: Out of Focus

Blurry PrisonDear Journal,

My world is a mystery even to me. These days are like a dream, and I can’t make complete sense of them. I try, but they just fade away like so much ash in the wind. One moment I think I’m truly happy, and the next everything is crumbling down around me, but it’s the same day, and only separated by the length of those moments. I don’t know what to make of it, other than that now I’m just unsure of myself when I used to be very sure. I used to think I knew who I was, and that surety made me solid, but now I’m all blurry and I don’t know how to get back that strong focus.

My first camera was one of those where the lens didn’t come out, so there was no zoom. I had to get right into the belly of the beast before I could get a distinguishable close-up, and it drove me crazy, but I knew it was what I had to do to make the thing work the way I wanted it to. I swore to myself that when I had more money I would get a better camera, one that would allow me to keep my distance but maintain the focus at the same time. In that way I would be able to observe without being observed. It would serve to return the power of anonymity to me, the power of being the viewer without being the viewed.

Then I got that new camera, and I took a ton of photographs of everything and everyone. Most times they didn’t know I was snapping memories because I utilized the zoom feature to get those shots. It gave me a new appreciation for photographers who search for the perfect shot when they know people are watching. It was hard enough to get the perfect shot when they didn’t know I was observing. But then again that was the point, wasn’t it? Because there is no perfect shot. There are just intriguing moments, and if I’m lucky enough to catch them while they’re happening they become stories to share later. Taking a host of pictures to get one truly great one, that’s the dream.

So I started looking through those pictures, and I realized a lot of them are blurry. It’s a problem with perspective, isn’t it? When I took them they seemed clear as day, everyone in focus, everyone smiling, or laughing, or crying, but definite in their form. But after printing them out I saw what I hadn’t seen then because I knew what I had expected to see when I was taking them, so I had somehow transposed these blurry shots for what I felt were clear ones. That’s how I feel now, that I was those pictures, those moments I thought had been perfect, but I wasn’t. I was just a figment of my own imagination, a figure I made up so I could feel good about myself.

And now I need to find myself, the real me, the one who might be inadequate but who is also an authentic human being with wants, needs, and a perspective I am sorely missing now. I need to bring myself back into focus by breaking down those preconceptions and unearthing the truth. And maybe getting another camera to document it all.



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