Sunday signage: I am not always at my best

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

~ Oscar Wilde

A while back I wrote a post titled Three Things.  It was a simple post, a reaction to harsh words.  I thought, at the time, the post was more of an action than a reaction but it’s been a month or so and I can see it was still on the reactive side of the equation.

These clouds were so cool that they don’t deserve my name (MaidinSun Photography) scrolled across them.

The words in an email I reacted to contained some harsh truths.  They were not my truths, but I was not confident enough in myself (or my Self) to realize they were not my truths and so, I was hurt.  Hurt, for me, often comes out as anger.  Then tears.  Lots of tears.  Then an undermining of what I thought was becoming a firm foundation.  Even after all this time in life, I find myself on shaky ground once in a while when it comes to self-confidence.  That’s especially true when it comes to my art.

Gusty winds move across the pond and clouds are reflected. This does not deserve my name either (Mother Nature created it), yet I found it acceptable to have my name on it without bothering to do more than the minor tweaking required for a blog post.

You will not often hear me refer to my photography as art.  You will not often hear me refer to myself as an artist.  Or as a photographer, for that matter.

This could have been better. If only…

Yesterday I was asked if I was in the same career track as my husband and I responded with, “Oh no.  I just stay at home.”  I was shocked at myself.  At my response.  (My brain kept flashing “what? what? what???”)  I haven’t responded that way in a long time.  Thank goodness reason prevailed in the form of others (men and women) who “just stay at home.”  I was promptly and gently and lovingly reminded not to say “just stay at home,” and I woke up.  I don’t just stay at home.  I do a bazillion things every day, and those bazillion things make life easier for at least one other person so that I can “just stay at home” and do, well, what I do.  (For those new here, I used to work outside of the home.  Now I work at home.)

“Sunday signage: Fracking comes to your neighborhood.” This is what the signs look like through the car window. I could have gone back on a bike or on foot and positioned it all better so it would be acceptable for putting my name on it. I didn’t.

Time and distance have made it obvious to me that I’m not quite over what I thought I was over.  I could sit here and thrash through it all or I could tell you the simplest truth of all:  I am not always at my best.

I took four photos of this mushroom in the grass. This is not my best. But this is the one I like best because of light in the dewdrops which most won’t notice until I point them out, but that’s okay. You don’t have to notice the dewdrops or like it or not like it or think of it in the same way I do.

Really.  I am not always at my best.  I get up in the morning and my hair is a mess, my teeth need to be brushed, and I’m pretty sure that the restless (coughing, sneezing, etc.) nights of late are not reflecting well.  It would be cool if I could always show the world the bright, the shining, the GLOWING, the Epitome of Robin.

Maybe the glowing epitome of Me is behind this doorway. (Taken at Deep Lock on the Towpath Trail.)

Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.

~ Allen Ginsberg

The passage of time

I think that GLOWING version of Robin appears on rare occasions.  That’s cool.  But for the most part, I’m not always at my best.  Instead, I’m just me.  Hair out of place, eyes sleepy and droopy when I have a cold, and funny shoes or socks on my feet when I bother to cover my feet at all.  I am willing to put my name on all of it.  The good, the bad, the ugly.

My art, my photography, my words, my blog, my life, are about living, about life as I see it.  These things — my art, my photography, my words, my blog, my life — are not about the rules that govern photographers and artists, they are not about what the professionals say you should do.

If that’s your life, if the rules matter to you, if the advice from the professionals are what keep you going, that’s cool.  Just be happy in whatever you do.

I think if you are happy in what you do, chances are pretty good that it doesn’t matter what others say or do.  I’m also sure there are folks who will disagree with me.  That’s okay.  I don’t expect agreement from everyone.  I don’t even expect to be liked by everyone.  That’s life.  And that’s okay.  It keeps things interesting.

This morning’s first view of the pond

In other news:  Local squirrel commits suicide

We had a power outage this morning.  It lasted a few hours.  Turns out a squirrel just up the road from us chewed through a wire, killing himself and turning off the power for quite a few of us on this road.

Something is happening here.

M the Younger along with Bo the Dog came for a visit today.  This visit helped to truly signal the end of summer here at Breezy Acres.

Where’s the swim platform?

M the Elder and M the Younger moved the swim platform off to its winter storage area.  It will no longer be a feature in the daily views of the pond (unless I happen to take a photo near the back corner where it’s stored).  You’ll have to wait until next summer to see it again.

Bo the Dog

Well, I guess that is more than enough from me today.  Thank you for visiting us here in the Bogs.  I hope your Sunday has been an enjoyable one.  We had some marvelous weather today.  Sunny with cloudy spells, and a nice briskness in the air.  Tomorrow will be a little warmer, but still below 70 for a high.  I love this kind of weather.  🙂


45 Comments on “Sunday signage: I am not always at my best”

  1. Kathy says:

    I am not always at my best, either. Sometimes I think it’s a shame if we only show the sides of ourselves that our at their best. I feel so fortunate to know more than a one-sided mask of Robin! I can only hope to show you bits & bits more of my many faces, some of which aren’t very pretty or enlightened. **love**

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Kathy, for the comments and the **love.** 🙂 I like seeing all sides of people too, or at least most sides. There might be some sides best not explored in public. lol!

  2. mobius faith says:

    Another great story from the bogs. Okay the squirrel committing suicide was just plain funny. The popcorn clouds are amazing! I’m lovin’ the tug. Another group of winning images. Deep Lock – now you’re in my neighborhood (well close enough to Highland Square). And I love the part of the Towpath with the train tracks crossing over by Summit Lake. Really like your processing on that one. Bravo on todays collection.

  3. Nicola says:

    I always like your honestly. I am rarely at my best; so rarely these days that I wonder if there even is a best anymore!

    As for “rules”, the best artists have always disregarded them. 🙂

  4. Oh Robin, we’re all learning life lessons…so much to learn….the lessons I’m learning sound similar to what you’re learning too…so much to learn…specially realizing that what others think and say are simply “opinions”….sometimes expressed in too blunt or harsh a manner…but they’re just someone else’s take on things…my thought is that if someone lacks the common sense to be kind or supportive, their opinions are suspect too… but I still tend to take it personally…we’re all “works in progress”….btw…your photography is wonderful….your use/capturing of light, line, color, texture and nature have soothed my soul so many days! (good thing we don’t know who was critical…there would be a mob at that person’s door!…or email server! )

    • Robin says:

      Good points, Kathy (PP). Opinions are one thing, and even constructive criticism is welcome, but when it comes with insults… well, that’s another thing entirely. I’ve since come to a similar conclusion about how we’re all works in progress, including myself. I could use a bit of sprucing up when it comes to some things. 🙂

  5. Joanne says:

    Nicola (above) really hits the nail on the head by saying “as for “rules”, the best artists have always disregarded them”! You are perfect Robin, with all of your imperfections, just as we all are, and the reason that your photography is so amazing is because of the feelings that come from your heart when you see the image you are about to capture in the photo.

    Isn’t it strange that we refer to ourselves as people who “just stay at home”? I could write several blog posts myself about my choice to “just stay at home”, while raising my children! I worked from home, both in a business and as a mother, as I refused to give birth to children, then pass them on to a baby sitter to raise them. And although I have been judged for my choices, sometimes by people who are the closest to me, I have stubbornly resisted changing for others. At the end of the day, we must make the choices that are right for our own lives. You are always at your best, Robin, when you are being true to yourself. 🙂

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Joanne. I like the idea that you’re always at your best when you’re being true to yourself. I think that’s what matters most. Being true to self. 🙂

  6. artsifrtsy says:

    I don’t think any of us is always at our best – I rarely am. As for artistic insecurities – we all have them – they make us dig deeper to find our own voice or point of view. I like your work a lot. It’s more important that you like it:)

  7. I like that you aren’t always at your best. 🙂 We are so much alike! I like how the bridge seems to disappear in one of those last pictures.

  8. This post makes me realize how much I’ve missed your photos, Robin. However, I should be back to a regular blogging schedule Monday morning. About time, right?

  9. Val says:

    Robin, I can’t speak for others but for myself, I don’t want you to be perfect, I just want you to be you. Messy hair, teeth need cleaning? Who cares. Not living up to someone else’s expectations? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even matter to me if you don’t live up to your own expectations. I am slowly, very slowly, ultra-slowly getting to know you – partially through your images, partially through your words, and that’s fine. Hugs, and I hope the cold you mentioned before, goes away quickly.

  10. Phil Lanoue says:

    In the past people have asked my for some advice regarding their photography. I can offer some technical tips, but I always try to end up with advice such as…have fun, enjoy what you are doing, it’s not always going to be perfect and not even necessarily your “best”, but that’s OK.
    For instance this evening we saw a bald eagle flying above a salt marsh. I grabbed a few pics, nothing outstanding but it doesn’t matter in many ways because…I saw a bald eagle flying by!!
    I think that’s pretty darn cool and it made my day. 🙂

  11. Marianne says:

    Love and hugs to you, Robin. I cried when I read your comment to my post. Michael Brown, author of The Presence Process, writes that reactions are un-integrated emotional charges from childhood (even though they occur in the now through a variety of circumstances). I, myself, deal with the same issues that you mention. Kathy put me on to Michael’s book. His book takes the reader through a 10 week process through presence. I started week 6 today. The practice is something that can be done as many times one wants. I see myself going through the process again, once I complete this round. I can see that each time one can go deeper and deeper. Love the photos! The clouds and the water patterns are beautiful. I agree with Joanne, “You are always at your best, Robin, when you are being true to yourself.” Wishing you a wonderful week, Robin. P.S. Daily meditation is part of Michael Brown’s program so I’m down for that and I’m going to try to do some yoga as well as some form of exercise every day. 🙂

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Marianne. Love & hugs back at ya. 🙂

      I have The Presence Process (because of Kathy), but haven’t read it yet. It’s one of those things I’ve been putting off for winter when the days are slower and the nights are long.

  12. I love your post today, the Oscar Wilde quote and all you have to say. I admire people that are true to themselves with all their foibles and imperfections. We are all imperfect and those who pretend to otherwise are not being true. I’m happy to hear about you and your life AS IT IS, without any gloss or glimmer. Thanks for sharing, Robin!! And for baring your heart to your readers. 🙂

  13. Chloe says:

    i feel exactly the same :
    “I think if you are happy in what you do, chances are pretty good that it doesn’t matter what others say or do. ”

    this post was a beautiful insight into the amazing, talented & kind hearted woman that you are and i’m glad to have /met/ you in this world of blogging xx

    ps/ beautiful photos x

  14. aFrankAngle says:

    Anyone who says they are always at their best is delusional. Nonetheless, the post ends with an up-tick. 🙂

  15. ocean1025 says:

    I think the true definition of being an artist is paying attention to your own sense of creativity, and defining it by your own set of rules.

    I mean…isn’t that what artists do?

  16. Very insightful post (beautiful photos, too!). This really spoke to me today…thank you!

  17. Ellen says:

    who is at their best every-single-day?

  18. Karma says:

    You know what Robin? Screw the rules! (is it okay to say that on this blog? feel free to edit that out if you’d rather I didn’t – it won’t bother me because I am not always at my best either). Rules are made for breaking, and if we always did everything by them how would we have any adventure or excitement or unexpected joys in our lives? I like your honesty and the sides of you that you let us see here on your blog – that’s why I keep coming back. 🙂

    • Robin says:

      lol, Karma! Yep. It’s okay to say “Screw the rules!” on my blog. I’ve used worse, although it’s been a while. Thank you. I think I’ll do just that. 🙂

  19. Oh we had those “depressed” squirrels – it was so bad you’d run out back, throw acorns at them and scream “Leave the wires alone – go take a nap – things will look better in the morning”
    Ok Clueless about all the hand wringing. You have a great eye for subject matter ( love the windshield shot – without the reflection it would have been ordinary…and the mushroom is magical). You always have great quotes and thoughts in series with pix.
    Don’t be so hard on yourself. Art is in the eye of the beholder – different tastes/different art available for all.
    And that “just stay at home”. I’ve worked most of my life – like my mom, but I can tell you for sure, things started falling apart when so many moms were forced to work because of the economy and rising costs of things. Society is paying. Moms picked up a lot of the slack for society, volunteered, raised kids who knew right from wrong, even garden clubs and homeroom mothers and those who drove carpools and field trips -and kept the house in order, food around, and laundry done….then there’s the pets.. the job description is endless…
    To you own self be true….Anyone who has a problem with that – well, it’s THEIR problem, NOT YOURS. (a lot of angry arrogant grumpy self righteous people out there.)
    Just be. That’s all you have to do.
    (Ok getting off soap box now….)

    • Robin says:

      lol, PhilosopherMouse! Perhaps the squirrels are in need of some Prozac with their acorns this time of year.
      All the hand wringing was just me having a bit of a pity party. I’m over it, thank goodness. I appreciate your comments and suggestions, especially the part about “just be.” You’re right. That’s all I have to do. 🙂

  20. The same can be said of all of us, Robin. I tend to react the same way you do, with anger. Only recently have I been able to understand that when people attack you, their issue is not with you, it’s with themselves. They’re either too bored with their own lives or too unsure of who they are, so they try to convince themselves by preaching on others. When I understood that, it was like I could see the world through a different set of eyes. Now I just take a deep breath and walk away, I know who I am, it hasn’t been easy to reach the point where I’m comfortable in my own skin, so I don’t need others to try and bring me down. If those others don’t have enough self-confidence to respect other people, then they don’t deserve my attention, or yours, either.
    And I really enjoy coming here and finding out what you came up with this time. Your subjects are beautiful and your editing is quite unique, so your art is always surprising and beautiful, believe it and accept the compliment :).

  21. Dana says:

    Robin– I don’t really have an astute comment on this post, but I could relate to it on a very deep level and agree that I am not always at my best, either. There are a couple of things that usually get me thinking in long, deep ways: career paths, working from home, and artists– and all three of them popped up in this post. Now, if you will excuse me, I must mull things over. 🙂

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