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.
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.
I wasn’t planning on posting today. I was planning on putting together an interesting retrospective of my childhood and all of the experiences that I can remember that were relevant to my recent orientation revelation and posting it later in the week. But hey, this is a diary isn’t it? And diaries are for writing whatever pops up and whatever is top of mind. This is a bit of a ramble, but it does have a point, honest!
I have always fancied girls. My earliest memories of anything even vaguely involving sexual attraction are in connection with girls (Debbie and Cheryl, hope you are well and happy!) and are from the age of about nine or so. I was an early developer, which is damn frustrating! As a trailblazer you have no one to follow if I may state the obvious for a second. I was noticing things that none of my friends seemed to see. All these suddenly interesting bumps and curves and I was the only one that could see them!
Of course at that age I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing with any of them. That changed with the discovery of a large box in the attic of a neighboring block of flats, full of magazines, but I will come to that in a later post.
I think I have always fancied boys too. By which I mean males, I don’t lust after schoolboys now in my early forties. I hate that I have to point that out, but I feel that I can say “I like girls” as an adult man and people will understand that I mean “women”, but if I as a grown man say “I like boys” it is immediately assumed by a vast majority of the population that I mean “little boys”.
I don’t think any schoolchild enjoys the showers after sport, but they terrified me. As an early developer I was noticeably physically different, and in school different is bad, but that wasn’t all. I was embarrassed by the stares, sure, but I also enjoyed the attention and my biggest fear was that I would react, physically. I have vague memories of being the first to finish showering almost every time, and dashing out to dry off and get dressed as quickly as I could to hide what I couldn’t control my sheer mental will. This would have been a little older, maybe 12 or so.
My bedroom wall was covered in pictures. My parents were cool with it thankfully so the wall that my bed was against was absolutely papered with cuttings from Smash Hits, Metal Hammer and Kerrang. I have always been musically complicated, but at least I have always been able to speak about that!
The biggest poster I had was of Sam Fox. Remember that this was the mid/late eighties and she was one of the most attractive page three models, and had released a single “Touch Me” and an album so was pretty much everywhere for a while. It was a black and white picture, revealing but not topless. I can remember pretty much every detail. The magazine cutouts were a variety. Fuzzbox were blu-tacked next to Slayer and I can distinctly remember a picture of Andy Bell (Lead singer from Erasure) bending suggestively over a kitchen counter that I was always fascinated by. It was from an interview in Smash Hits and I remember the phrase “homoerotic” being in there somewhere. All I knew was that it was “me-erotic”, as much so as Samantha was on the wall beside him.
The funny thing is that at no point in my childhood did I ever think that it was OK to find both of those pictures attractive. Getting aroused by Madonna in “Like a Virgin” was fine in my head, but being stirred by Adam Ant in Prince Charming or Nick Rhodes in Duran Duran was “wrong”. It didn’t stop it happening, or from me enjoying it, but it felt dirty and something that only I was doing, which if I am being completely honest probably added to the enjoyment!
If I could impart one piece of knowledge to a young person having the same sort of experiences it would be that it’s OK! Enjoy it, explore it, revel in it. Sexuality is a complicated thing and it can take a long while to sort out. It took me about thirty years so I know this to be true…. School is a complicated place too, and not a kind one to anyone not following the herd. I think that being honest to yourself and accepting your own feelings and urges and their direction is the main thing. I think that if I had accepted that I was attracted to my friends as well as my girlfriends then my life up to this point would have been a lot smoother and happier.
Have you had any similar experiences? Or are you currently going through something like I describe? Drop me a comment and I will reply as best I can.