How often have we moaned and groaned that our lives would be so much better if we could travel back in time and change things in the past? I plead guilty on all counts on this, but have also learned the importance of closing chapters, letting bygones be bygones, water under the bridge and all those tiresome cliches. Maybe it is a manifestation of midlife transitions and passing the magic 50 threshold, realising that you are either at the half-way mark of your life, assuming you live to see your 100th birthday, or you are significantly over the midpoint and it is high time to take serious stock of your life.
Instead of a major crisis during my teens, turbulence made a brusque and bumpy landing somewhere in my mid-40s, when menopause had reared its ugly head and shamelessly dumped hot flashes and mood swings at my doorstep. If my body had been an airplane I would have sworn that it was being flown by a cross-eyed kangaroo at the time, co-piloted by a blind bear with four left paws, neither of them knowing where the proper knobs were nor in clear possession of a flight plan. Even worse, mid-life transition also begged the question of what had I accomplished thus far.
I was deeply envious of my college contemporaries who had already climbed the corporate ladders and established themselves in their chosen careers, thus approaching middle age with a sense of accomplishment and building up a legacy. I, on the other hand, had a CV with more holes than Swiss cheese, having lived in countries where I was not permitted to work. Consistency was therefore severely lacking, as one cannot add motherhood or social role playing to your professional and proven experience and get extra credit for it. One psychologist tried to convince me that I had in fact taken the more honourable path in life, putting my career on hold and taking step back in order for others to shine. This conservative opinion neither convinced nor consoled me, and I wondered what on earth I was going to do with the rest of my life.
Life has a rather peculiar manner of providing solutions to questions we never considered asking in the first place. Nevertheless, I found myself diving deeper into photography and writing, which I now realise are the only portals to the past that allow me to vicariously settle some scores and put some of my inner turbulence to rest. All the photographs I share in this entry were taken several years ago and lost in the depths of my archives. At the time I took them I was not happy with the results, didn’t have sufficient skills back then to get the look I truly wanted, nor the competence to do the post-processing at the level that I work with today.
Thanks to #lockdown2020 I had ample opportunity to revisit the past and dig up some old ghosts. Needless to say, it has been incredibly cathartic working through these photographs, coming to terms with how situations eventually turned out, leading to the exact moment I am in right now in my life, and the woman I have become, the photographer I grew into, and the writer who has finally found a purpose.
After stumbling around in the darkness of the past, unyielding and reluctant to let go of so many things, ideals, feelings of inadequacy and discontent, that thin sliver of light has shattered the darkness and brought forth the dawn. The fisherman is revealed.