Note to Self

by brianasoler

Hugh Prather wrote in a poem,

“There is a part of me that wants to
write, a part that wants to theorize, a
part that wants to sculpt, a part that
wants to teach… To force myself into
a single role, to decide to be just one
thing in life, would kill off large parts of
me. Rather, I recognize that I live now
and only now, and I will do what I want
to do this moment and not what I
decided was best for me yesterday.”

It’s been so long since I’ve opened up Photoshop. I used to play around with photos on Photoshop everyday, it was my way of expressing myself. Painting with my camera, I would say. But really I was painting with Photoshop. The camera and the photo I took was always just the canvas. I started photography with self portraits. I loved being able to express myself in front and behind the camera. Then I got into fashion photography and grew impatient on relying on models, and hair and makeup that I would use myself. I never really wanted to do fashion photography, even though I did do it for so long. It wasn’t for me about fashion, or the models or the agencies, or even the magazines. It was always me wanting to express myself somehow, and models were just one of the tools in my paint box to play with.

But, I have wanted to write my entire life. I have written my entire life, but it was always the most secretive part about me – perhaps the most important part about me. I hid it to protect myself, I suppose.

I also did ballet and pointe my entire life. I actually stopped dancing maybe 5 years ago. I wanted to major in it at some point, always switching between that and psychology and English. I was apart of so many dance productions, shows, teams. I wanted to start a dance company, wanted to choreograph and create beautiful moving pieces of art. I grew up in theatre. (I also thought I wanted to be an actress) But I see now that I could never, never really did want to, I was always terrified of doing improv. But I loved preforming, and reading plays, and the rest that went with it. I was in theatre in school and outside of school too, auditioning for roles in bigger productions.

I have visual ideas and dabble in videography. Sometimes I think I see in images, moving images. There is always a story in my head, in my eyes. There is always a push for me to get it out and I have a desire to let it out in all mediums.

Why do I feel like I cant?

I don’t know when it started or if it was always like this, but I have always had a problem being able to express all my art forms without guilt. Like I should be only focusing on one craft because I should “master” one and not be a “jack of all trades”, right? At least that’s what I’ve been told, what I’ve read and seen. But anytime I turn one off it feels like a part of me dies. I cant quite function, or stay on balance, when one part is shut off to “focus” on the other.

I turned off photography, to focus on writing. I turned off dance to focus on photography. I turned off videos to focus on writing. And then I get the craving and the taste to do all of them again, so I find myself in a circle always chasing one thing and the next.

But they keep popping up in my life no matter how hard I try to push them down to “focus” on one thing. Photography, short films, writing, dance, they all keep coming to the surface begging me to pay attention to them. I crave them like some crave sweets. There is too much in my head, too much feelings and thoughts to only be able to release them in one avenue. Each art form can express one thing differently. Like looking at it from every angle, whatever that one thing is that I happen to want to create at any give time. Its so freeing to be able to express myself in different ways, shapes, and forms. Its like speaking different languages. Sometimes one is not enough to really convey what I am feeling.

I suppose Instagram is a partial reason why this seems difficult. Instagram is where I choose to share my work, for better or worse, and Instagram is also one of the most structurally restrictive places for my art. Or for me. They say you cant have a consistent audience if you are “all over the place” with your page. Meaning, having more than one interest. Which maybe that is true, but its also just now how I think or work. There is no part of me that is 100% beautifully curated and only interested in one thing. I am interested in so many things, maybe too many things, but I want them all. I want to be able to do them all.

Ironically though, there is so much more freedom with Instagram for artists, in that you don’t have to go through art dealers, or a middle man, you can sell your own work and control your own future. But then at the same time, there are still boxes they want to put you in. There’s always something to navigate isn’t there?

For now I will keep reminding myself to live by Hugh’s words, and “do what i want to do this moment and not what i decided was best for me yesterday.”

Here is a self portrait i shot and edited today.