Introspection

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Introspection

Today I’ve been struggling with what to blog and thought perhaps I might do one on introspection. It is something we all do from time to time. Don’t we?

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Introspection

Is it true that artists seem to do it so much more than others?

Who knows really. It is something I do a lot. Always questioning and wondering why things are the way they are. Why some people seem to get all the breaks while others don’t, for example. Though this is not going to be about that.

One of the things I do a lot of thinking about is my work and the meaning behind it. I wish I could say that I have a burning desire to produce work in a particular way because . . .

The truth is, I just do. I create these silent still images of life. I’m so drawn to them. Over the years I’ve tried to work it out, but the truth is the quest still goes on as to why that is so.

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Answers

There could be answers in the way I think. I don’t know that I think the same as everyone else. There is no doubt I don’t have a quiet mind. My brain never shuts up. To get to sleep I have to trick it by listening to something else. That could be a book, or a movie, even music. My brain needs to engage in something else to get that stillness that is needed for sleep.

Recently I was told that I might be a bit ADHD. It didn’t bum me out. In fact, it was the complete opposite, things suddenly started making sense. It explained why my brain never shuts down, why I can’t keep still. In many ways it was like I knew myself more.

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Growing up

My husband had an amazing childhood. When he talks about it you can hear how much he loved it. I have always envied him that. Once our daughters asked me why I never talk about my childhood. It was a question I wasn’t expecting. I didn’t even know that I had never really talked about it.

The truth of it though is that I didn’t have an idyllic upbringing. My father was a selfish and controlling man who drank too much. It isn’t a new story. So many other people have the same childhoods. Drunken fathers who abuse them. Though to be clear, he was abusive, but not physically. I’m sure many of you are realising where my self doubt and lack of confidence now comes from.

It is hard to ever recover from being told your whole life that you will never amount to anything.

Sadly, my grandmother also said many of the same things to me. Then, of course, you become the black sheep of both families, mother’s and father’s and that sort of abuse is 10 fold.

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Taking that baggage into adulthood

Once you remove those people from your life you are left with just yourself. Whether you want to or not you do start repeating all those things to yourself.

I will never amount to anything. I’m a lazy person. I’m selfish. I only think about myself. I’m not worthy of anything.

Wow, this is getting deep, sorry.

Anyway, you can start to see where my brain goes all the time. It is constant.

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How to make it stop

Well, I think the reality I’ve realised over the years is that you can’t make it stop. You can never recover from that kind of abuse. You just have to find ways to help you cope with it.

So, the other day I was thinking what did my work really represent?

This introspection really got me thinking. Am I creating these quiet images to help calm me down? Are they my brain’s way of making part of my world silent? Is it what I wish the world was, or how my brain could be?

To be honest, I have absolutely no idea. This could, of course, be all crap.

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These days

I try really hard not to dwell on my childhood now. It is gone and I’ve had a lot of counselling to help me cope with it. There are strategies in place to help me deal when situations arise that can lead me down the hole into the darkness.

Though, I am really quite liking this idea that my brain is trying to create some silence for me. The quietness of my images. The place where there are no people and no one to hurt me. They could be safe places.

Introspection is something that we all do from time to time. Is it something you like to do?

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37 Responses

  1. My heart breaks for you, I don’t know your pain, but yet I think I can understand it. I hope you will find peace, be the person you want your children to be, that is how I overcome my negative self talk.

    • Thank you Janice, I am in a fairly good place now and feel good about life. I’m having fun and just going with the flow, which I think is really a good thing for me.

  2. Maybe one day your dad will be able to tell you just how talented you are with photography, if he hasn’t already done so (and if he’s still part of your life). It would be good for you to get some positive feedback from him. Better later than never.

    • My father is no longer part of my life. My brothers tried relationships with him and they all ended in disaster. He ruined my life enough. I don’t need his feedback, he had 18 years to give it to me and always made me feel that my best was never good enough.

  3. Your photos are beautiful. You should have lots of confidence about your work. I am glad to hear that you went to counseling to help you deal with your past.

  4. You’ve made some fantastic images, Leanne…whatever the source or inspiration…keep it up. 🙂

  5. I’m sorry to hear what you went through as a child. But, I think the stillness and beauty of your images might be the real you rising above the harm done. Just beautiful, Leanne.

  6. Passing Stranger

    Oh, Leanne, my heart clenched when I read this. I am a firm believer that our images show us a lot about ourselves. It took me years to work out why and was only after going to a Freeman Patterson workshop that the penny finally dropped as to why so many of my images tend to be on the bleak side. He said “The camera always points both ways.” It was like an epiphany. I won’t go into my childhood, but we do have quite a bit in common.

    I have only recently become aware of you and have to say that I really love your images and the words that accompany them.

    • I really think the same, it has just taken me a while to work it out. I like that saying.
      Thank you so much, I hope you continue to enjoy the images.

  7. Thanks Leanne for writing this and accompanying it with amazing still images. Many of us had fathers like yours. Have you noticed that none of us who are older ever talk about it? It’s dismissed, it was ‘just like that’, that’s all. I have a zero intolerance of drunks because of the way my father treated my mother and, indirectly, us children who were watching. My mind is like yours and I often wish I didn’t have to go to bed. Lying there for hours, wide awake, is such a waste of time. I often sit up and write stuff. I don’t feel so odd now that I’ve read your blog today.

    • You’re welcome Wish. I think part of the reason we don’t talk about it is that it just wasn’t the thing to do back then. I don’t have a problem with people drinking, but there are certain types of drunken people that will have me being really scared. Unfortunately my father directed a lot of it at me. It is good to get the mind busy with something else so you can sleep. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  8. Your images not only invoke stillness but also beauty. And that might just be a good reflection of who you really are. Thanks for sharing the awesome photos and the stories behind the artist. It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable. 🙂

  9. So much of your post resonated with me. I agree with you that it is about learning strategies to cope and manage the symptoms and neuroses that have been hard-wired into us from childhood. I also found it useful, especially once I became a parent, to consciously break the cycles and patterns. All of this obviously requires a great deal of introspection because that is the best way to ensure self-awareness.

    • I don’t know what to say Laura, it is said to hear you have a similar experience. It is true about the strategies. Becoming a parent was interesting. My biggest fear was doing the same to my children. Thank you for sharing your story Laura.

  10. I know that I do it often

  11. So much to digest Leanne. I was wondering why your photos are dark. Perhaps that is the you you put into your images? Whatever you do is quite amazing and I am enviuos of the skill level you have and bring to the photos. (((hugs)))

  12. Great post Leanne, thanks for sharing!!!

  13. Interesting insights. Self knowledge is always good. A few years ago I gained more self-confidence by revisiting messages from my childhood and replacing them with more accurate ones. It is possible.

    • Thank you RJ. That is great that you were able to do that. but after several years in counselling, I know it isn’t going to work for me, but I try not to let it affect me too much.

  14. Don Barton

    Wow, Leanne, this is a very honest and insightful blog.

    I remember questioning you about the lack of people in your photos. Your answer didn’t really explain why. This blog does.

    I think your love of long exposure photography is explained by this. Stretch time – blur movement – freeze action. Eliminate the real and emphasize a created reality. Your use of a dark tonal pallet fits this perfectly. In an over-populated city removing any vestiges of life, just leaving behind the silent structures created by and for these crowds creates a safe other-world.

    By the way, Leanne, the images in this blog are fantastic. Of course, they carry the Leanne design signature, delightfully offering an augmented reality, a design signature that is uniquely yours.

    Thanks for being so open.

    • Thank you Don.
      It is a difficult question at times. It is good that I have been able to answer it in a better way.
      You’re welcome Don. I wasn’t sure how it would be taken.

  15. Oh my! We are very much alike. Someone once asked me why I sing.
    I was surprised when I realized that I didn’t know the answer. I finally said, “I sing because I do.”
    It fills my mind with melodic sounds and overrides negativity.
    I usually do not fall asleep until 3 a.m. So in the middle of the night, I often write.
    Actually, I wrote about writing on my blog–and how thoughts are easier to hear in the silence of the night.
    Most of the time, I use photos that I have taken as prompts, to give my thoughts some sense of direction.
    https://storieswithnobooks.com/2013/05/14/voice-of-thought-writing/
    If you read what I wrote–you will see that my ‘writing process’ is definitely a form of literary ADHD. :).
    And yes…I just looked at the clock. It is almost midnight.

    • Thank you Mary. It is a crazy thing trying to answer why we do what we do.
      I do fall asleep,but I need to distract myself.
      Direction is a great thing. I struggle with that sometimes.

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