Progress

I am currently looking at new job opportunities. It’s not that I am unhappy as such, but there is a good market out there for my skills at the moment so it could be a chance to advance my career.

Anyway, the only reason I mention it is because of a positive experience I have had.

Quite a lot of job opportunities these days are found and applied for on-line. Companies use services such as “Workday” which acts as the interface between the company and the applicant allowing a seamless application and submission of CV file etc.

One such application recently sent me to a “diversity questionnaire” after the actual application part. This is a big national company. The asked for the usual kind of stuff but what struck me where the “Sexual Orientation” and “Gender Identity” questions.

What gender do you most readily identify with?

This was the first time I have seen that exact question on such a questionnaire. Most often it’s just a single word.

Gender?

The available answers to choose from were extensive and I would imagine that most non-binary-identifying people would find something that they were comfortable with, if they were comfortable answering the question (Which is of course another matter entirely).

What is your sexual orientation?

This one really impressed me as it’s the first time that I have ever seen my identity on there.

Pansexual

It’s still one of the less well known and mentioned ones and as such I have never seen it available as an option. I selected it with a smile.

We spend a lot of time bemoaning the lack of understanding of gender and sexuality so if feels good to just take a few minutes to celebrate a bit of progress.

Aaaaand just as a bit of an added bonus – here’s a sizzler……watch it/him!
lucifer

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There is nothing

There is nothing, and I wish there was nothing
There is no love, no hate
No happy, no sad
No enthusiasm for the outside world

All there is
Is the eternal internal loathing
The warm safe cuddle of self hatred
The permanent friend who has never left
Who is closer than anyone ever could be
Who hates me
Who loves me and holds me in the dark
Whispering diabolical half-truths in a lovers voice

There is nothing, and I wish there was nothing
I am a coward, a worthless waste of breath and water
I drain the joy from the ones I love the most
And who love me the most
I fill their lives with “coping” when it should be full of laughing
I give them feasts of “it’s ok” when there should be plates of smiles
I hurt them

Nothing
Nothing
Nothing
Nothing
Nothing

There is no hate but self hate
There is no anger but fury at what I am
There is no love but love of the dark
There is no sensation but that of falling towards…

Nothing

Descartes (Work in Progress)

Another of the photographs for my upcoming collection along with a prose piece that is still very much under construction but I wanted to share it with you in its “as is” form.

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Descartes

The only thing that is truly real must be the way that we think and feel.

Questing for eudaimonia occupies so much of our lives it distracts us from the twisted thorns of reality.

If we truly are experiencing the world as a puppet of an evil demon then the only thing we can rely on is what we think and what we feel for if there are thoughts then there must be something real thinking them.

But when our feelings are at counterpoint to the experienced world what are we to do?

Grain

I sat;
the grain of the boards calling out to me.

Begging me to follow them,
to stroke them,
to dive into them.

I caressed them
stroked them
loved them

Spent my entire life swimming with them
in them
on them

for them.

Grain

I have been working on the photographs and writing for my planned book.

Anyone with depression will hopefully recognise the sentiment in the picture and short piece above, being completely lost in something and not able to escape, it draws you in like a Siren, singing beautifully and horribly all at once.

Nowhere To Go

I have talked before about my experience with depression. Thankfully now I am decently medicated and able to engage properly with my wonderful partner I am able to turn my eyes inwards a little more and think about those feelings, even fight them when necessary.

I have also spoken about photography and my love for making photographs. I have recently started using old film cameras rather than digital (Although the results are digitised) and am loving it.

So, I am going to put the two together.

One of the key aspects of depression is the feeling that you are trapped in some way; you feel like there is no way out, no options, no alternatives. Nowhere to go…

I have started planning work on a project to combine  my photography with my words on the subject of barriers and depression. This will be the first photography project I have ever undertaken but it feels right. It has been far too long since I wrote prose or poetry; and I have never limited myself in such a way as to have to focus and write on a specific subject. It will be an interesting experience.

I will keep you posted – as a starter here is one of the photographs that I will be including in the project.

bars
bars – 2016

Maybe I can have a photo-book created, perhaps to sell and donate the proceeds to a relevant charity, but I am not jumping ahead of myself, rather my aim is to enjoy the process and get my feelings and thoughts through the lens and pen.

Nick Rhodes

Sat with my fiance watching Duran Duran on TFI Friday, I make a comment about Nick Rhodes and how he is one of those guys that I realise I have always fancied. Her response…?

“I thought he looked like your type”

She is most certainly a keeper 🙂

Putting these pictures up I just realised that as he ages there is a touch of Andy Warhol about him. Random…

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Here and now

I can be a self absorbed, self pitying knob.

Feels a bit funny talking about being self absorbed on a forum that is essentially me saying to the world “read all about me!”, but what the hell. That’s a great dichotomy to start the day! This is a post for me, I need to write this stuff down so that I can process it and understand it. If you want to read it then great, but I am not expecting anyone to.

I guess I am feeling a bit angry, a bit upset/sad, and a bit disappointed. Who at? Well me of course.

I haven’t been a brilliant partner recently. Since coming out to my wonderful girlfriend she has been her trademark supportive amazing self. I on the other hand have become obsessed with my new found “identity” and researching/discovering who and what I am. I am a very obsessive person. When I have something that I am interested in, it’s like the rest of the world stops and I have to focus on that thing entirely.

Of course this leads to burn out and depression.

Sometimes it’s a slow burn, sometimes it’s a bright hot fire. My most recent thing has been one of the fires. It’s my photography, and I only just realised as I am writing this blog post. I got it into my head that because people are always saying how good my photos are that I could make some money from selling prints. This may be true, but I went after it in my standard way i.e. all guns blazing.

I created a facebook page and invited all my friends to  follow it. I created the Fine Art America page and of course expected that the world of art would immediately see what a messiah to the monochrome image I am and come beating down the door with battering rams of cash!

There’s nothing wrong with all of this. It’s pretty normal behavior for a new endevour I think? The problem comes when there isn’t a balance between that and day to day life.

When I get focused on something like that, it’s like everyday life kind of fades into the background. I stop looking after myself, I stop interacting with people, I forget to do things and don’t think about those around me.

Well it has to stop. I am drawing a line here, publicly and privately. No more. I am hurting the one person who has stood by me through everything and I can’t let that happen any more. I’m sorry.

Words are all well and good, I am good with words. But words only take you so far. There are only so many times you can say “I’m sorry” without your actions backing that up. That’s where I have been falling down, and I it’s because I am focusing on the wrong things, the important things are blurred, out of focus, and I need to reverse that.

So what can I do? Well one thing I can do is drop the constant thinking about selling my prints. I have set up the mechanism and they will either sell or they wont. If they do then that’s cool, if not, then it hasn’t cost me anything!

What else? Well from now on I need to be here and now. This is real life. The only life we get as far as we know. If I mess this up then I don’t get another chance, I don’t get to start over and learn from my mistakes, I need to learn now and learn fast.

So there we are. I bit of a ramble. I don’t know if anyone can relate and it doesn’t really matter to me. I have made a commitment to myself and to the most important person in my life. I will be better.

I can be better.

Confidence, depression and photography

I have never been the most confident person. I think that’s part of the reason that I am not very competitive; I have never really believed that I was better, faster, stronger, more talented than anyone else. Suffering from Depression doesn’t help that, obviously. Yes I have depression. I haven’t even alluded to it so far I don’t think. I was a bit self conscious about it since it’s such a common thing especially online, I think that people are getting blase about it, and even doubting people when they admit it.

But it’s part of who I am so I would not be completely honest with you (and myself) if I didn’t at least mention it. I take medication which helps immensely, to the point where I don’t think I could be myself without it, if I forget it then I am a different person the day after; morose, monosyllabic, distant and just not worth being around. Generally though it’s just a niggle, something that affects me but not to a huge extent thanks to the drugs and the therapy and the constant positive influence of my partner and our daughter.

So that’s two “outings” for me here now, I am a pansexual guy who suffers from depression.

Moving on 🙂

I have shared one photograph with you already, a picture of a window that I took at Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire, UK. I have been using Flickr for quite some time and have been getting some good responses on there which is wonderful. It’s nice to be appreciated by complete strangers who have nothing to gain by “bigging you up”.

Buoyed up by this, I have decided to try and sell my photography. The first channel I am trying is Fine Art America. It’s a site where you can upload photos and people can buy them as prints, canvas, and all sorts of other things like iphone cases, pillows and even shower curtains!

Here’s a bit of my page:

FAA
My FAA page, an excerpt

Yes, that’s me. It’s a big step for me to do this. I have been “Fox” on here to be anonymous so far, but I think that if I am going to make any sort of progress at all then I needed to do this. It’s not like I am putting a poster up at work, but I feel a little less like I am hiding now.

So there we are, please take a look around. The picture is a link to my profile page where you can see all 25 photographs that I have for sale. Let me know what you think either in the comments here or on FAA if you have an account and can post.

I was in two minds about posting about it here because I don’t want this to be an advertising site for my photography, but at the same time, it’s something I am proud of and I value any and all advice and comments that my readership can offer, I really value your opinions.

Of course if you fancy buying something, I certainly won’t stop you 🙂

I will leave you with one of my most popular photos. I am not at all religious, but I think this sums up a position a lot of us find ourselves in from time to time, in the darkness looking towards the light, hoping that one day we get there.

Look to the Light
Look to the Light

Myers Briggs

Myers Briggs Personality Typing is one of many ways of defining how a person will psychologically respond to a given situation, how they perceive the world and what their preferences are in terms of how they spend their time or the activities they pursue and enjoy.

Right off the bat I will say that there are several of these systems and they all have their fans and their critics. What I will say is that I have done a number of Myers Briggs Typing assessments and they always come out the same so at least it is internally consistent. I also think that it’s a fair description of me in as much as a collection of fairly general statements ever can be.

So with the disclaimer and basic explanation out of the way, lets get into the detail!

An MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) is made up of four letters, each of which has two possible results. The mathematically gifted among you will soon realise that there are sixteen types. Below is a picture showing them all handily using Phineas and Ferb characters as a reference!

Myers Briggs Types

Each of the letters is known as a dichotomy and is selected from two mutually exclusive concepts.

  1. The first dichotomy is “Attitudes” and can be either I for Introversion or E for Extroversion. This relates mainly to where a person gets their energy from, and how they are likely to be drained of that energy. A person with the Introversion type rebuilds their energy from introspection and expends it through action whereas a person with the Extroversion type will be the reverse. This isn’t quite the usually understood definition so takes a little getting your head around. An extroverts “flow” is towards people and objects whereas an introverts “flow” is towards concepts and ideas. This description is what allowed me to absolutely nail which of these I was, and why all the tests I do always agree.
  2. The second dichotomy is “Perceiving” and can be either N for Intuition or S for Sensing. This is perhaps more easily understood. People with the Sensing type tend to rely on concrete hard facts and figures; they tend to be detail orientated. People with the Intuition type will tend to rely on hunches, gut feelings, and look for broad patterns and underlying trends; they tend to be “big picture” people.
  3. The third dichotomy is “Judging” and can be either F for Feeling or T for Thinking. This is all about how a person comes to decisions. Those people who prefer “Thinking” will evaluate things from a more distant standpoint and will act based on what is logical, consistent and fitting into a set of rules. Those people who are more “Feeling” will make a decision by empathising with the situation, getting “under the skin” of the issue and coming to a “best fit” solution that provokes the greatest harmony.
  4. Finally, the fourth dichotomy is “Lifestyle” and can be either J for Judging or P for Perception. This is slightly different to the others as it describes how a person interacts with the outside world based on their other three indicators. Those who are “Judging” tend to show the world their “Judging” identifier (Feeling or Thinking) so for example a xxTJ person would appear logical and a xxFJ person would appear empathetic. Those who are “Perception” based will show the world their “Perceiving” identifier (Intuition or Sensing).

It’s all a bit confusing until you look at an example, so I will use the best example I can get my hands on, me!

My MBTI is INFJ.

Introversion – meaning I get energy from being alone and introspective thought and study.

Intuition – meaning I trust my hunches and look at the “big picture”

Feeling – I empathise with situations and try to get the best result for everyone

Judging – I appear empathetic to the world

Overall, the INFJ type is sometimes referred to as “The Councellor”. Some notable INFJs (As assessed by people remotely I imagine) include Mohandas K Ghandi, Dr Martin Luther King, Robert Burns and Nelson Mandela.

We are the rarest of the MBTIs with about 2% of the population falling to it’s clutches. I quite like this quote about INFJs

infj

I can relate to a lot of what the Dr is saying. I am a person who will analyse the hell out of a set of data, then intuitively come up with a reason for it based on a hunch or feeling given my own experience. I am creative/artistic with my photography and writing but also logical in my work which is heavily data analysis based. I often confuse people with my response to things which can be drawn form either or both ends of the above spectra!

So there is a very quick introduction to MBTI. I find it really interesting and plan on reading more about it to hopefully understand my type a bit more. I am hoping that understanding where my energy comes from and goes, and how I respond to certain things will allow me to be more comfortable and to choose to do (or not do) things in a fully aware way.

I would highly recommend anyone giving it a go. There are loads of web based MBTI tests around. I would always recommend doing several and seeing if the results match. You could then do as I am and use it as a bit of a springboard into further personal exploration (Stop sniggering at the back!).

Thank you, and a photo

I wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who has read my young blog so far. I had hoped that the blog would help me navigate towards the “me” that I want to become and it really is. I can only hope that as I continue, someone else will gain something from it too. Through the several interactions I have had so far I feel like I am stepping into a community and taking small steps towards finding new friends.

In an earlier post I said that I would occasionally be sharing some of my photos – here is the first.

Window in Black and White
Window in Black and White

I mainly like to use Black and White in my photos. I am an entirely digital photographer and love the processing side as much as composition. Mostly I take photos that highlight textures and contrasts, that’s one reason I wanted this to be the first that I shared as it has some great textures in it. I am also really pleased with the light playing through the window.

We all have things that we love doing, this is one of mine. I can lose myself in the process and create something that I find pleasing, and hopefully someone else might too although that is secondary. If you are struggling, try to find that which you enjoy and lose yourself in it for a while, it may well help you find balance.