I’ve been so lazy and unmotivated to post on Instagram, overwhelmed by the infinite photos of others and even of those in my own phone. However, while running into some emotional battles with 5-year-old Geo as we adjust to our new family dynamic with Baby Delphi (he totally loves her but is dealing with the fact that he’s no longer the center of our attention), I went into my feed and scrolled all the way to the bottom, back when my little Geo was a baby.
In tears I looked through all the photos and videos and read my captions. There was so much positivity and soulfulness in them. Why have I lost the motivation to literally take five minutes to write a few sentences and share a memorable photo? Have five years of my adult life in my thirties made me jaded? I used to even include hashtags, but stopped when I began reading about child trafficking... that’s when it started to change.
Not like I was oblivious to the darkness in the world before, but the things I’ve discovered about the exploitation and abuse of children shattered what faith I had in humanity’s inherent goodness; more so than the atrocities of war or poverty, of which I was painfully aware since my own childhood.
Despite my reluctance to include the vulnerable and private colors of my life on the internet canvas, if I hadn’t posted all those photos of Geo as a baby and toddler, I wouldn’t have those accessible snippets of memories now - comforting me in a moment of panic because my once-tiny-baby is now a grown boy with big feelings... still just as much in need of affection, security, reassurance, playtime, being seen and heard, positively disciplined (when I don't succumb to the urge to yell), cuddled, held, etc. Sure the photos are in my digital backup files and some I’ve printed, gifted, framed, etc, and I did make a photo book of Geo’s first year that we’ll always treasure - but the Instagram feed that those words and images comprise is something I treasure as well.
Let’s see if this instinct sticks and I start posting more often. It’s so great to interact with friends too, and keeping my account private helps my paranoia about internet predators.
Our children are so precious and divine. Of course we want to share their milestones and magical everyday moments. There’s so much of the past few years with Geo that I haven’t shared, and while it’s not about sharing it to prove it happened, it is about documenting a unique and special journey, and inviting people I care about to witness it.
A new positivity and soulfulness needs to rise within me, it cannot be reclaimed from the past. I’ll start with gratitude for two healthy pregnancies and births of my children, a wonderful man who loves us, our families who support us, and the gorgeous and relatively safe location where we live. Uncountable blessings despite various struggles. Perspective. Empathy. And visualizing a safer and healthier world for us all to share...
Give my often-ignored but perhaps making-a-comback Instagram a follow: https://www.instagram.com/nikagram/
When it comes to thinking about our world (almost all day every day for me), why am I so dumbfounded by my own emotion that I can only think of paragraphs to post on facebook? I seem to only go as far as composing a superficial woe-begotten mini-rant, asking rhetorical questions and rehashing sentimental platitudes. Perhaps I shouldn't be so hard on myself with this observation. Paragraphs are better than nothing. Or are they just babble? Emotional purging for the sake of not much else.
So many of us think and speak and write of how we fear the world in which we're raising our children. Fear it and question it and pray for it and... dread it. It's like we just dread the future, how much more horrific it can get, the way it seems to be going.
Many of us pray and write hopeful things. And take hopeful actions. And get things done and change the world and save lives and create inventions and discoveries. I do have faith in us.
But... but but but. Something's missing. Something's terribly wrong. I know it is, because I used to think I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders needlessly - and now I think I do it with no other choice.
I suppose that's because I'm a mother now, and I feel like I just can't let myself off the hook. I feel as if a buried speck of knowledge and ability lies somewhere within me that I am not allowing to surface. If I don't light the way into that abyss with my own feelings and emotion, how will I ever unearth it?
My old philosophy of living my joy is exactly that - it's old. I don't feel pure joy anymore in this world except when I'm with my son... And that isn't fair to him. I must not use him as my therapeutic solace. I wish to build a world for him where real joy is possible - not at the expense of barbaric wars and wasted resources. No, I can't live with all this blood on my hands. That of innocent people lost in the name of a fictitious cause... "fighting terror" and all this bullshit. The fight is the terror. The FIGHT.
We stick play swords in our kids' hands and let them pretend to stab each other. We buy them plastic guns and let them shoot each other as they run through the park, shouting "I'm gonna kill you!"
I know this observation isn't a new one, and it goes right along with my usual status-paragraph complaints. I just want to reaffirm it to myself - to challenge myself to raise my son with perspective, with awareness. To speak to him realistically about the effects of violence. To not instill in him that it is something in our nature. It may have been so in the past, as a means of survival; but it need not be so now.
Unfortunately my ideal doesn't sit with the real "now." Sure there are statistics for how less violent and poverty-stricken the world is now than in the past. But that doesn't mean it ISN'T violent and poverty-stricken. And I think it's a shame that it is, considering all of our evolutionary advancements. It's a shame that huge wars are waged for the sake of questionable motives. It's a shame that there are stories and explanations and wool over everyone's eyes. It's a shame that we aren't able to solve our problems. Put as simply as I can - I think it's a damn shame.
So I am challenging myself to think differently. Think of what hasn't occurred to me yet. Think of what I've been missing.
There isn't really a simple answer. Or is there? Is it just staring me in the face, a quantum degree away? What is real power? Do we possess it? How can we harness it? How can it have any effect? Here are my rhetorical questions again. Well, Yanika. Start thinking.
They say that overthinking is useless and even dangerous... I've definitely over-thought before to the point of feeling stagnated, or to taking unnecessary action...
But to think differently isn't to think too much. It's literally that - different. It's different. What does that mean? I think it is both forgiving and holding evil accountable at the same time. It's acknowledging what's wrong, not bypassing it with explanations and theories. It's.... Oh I don't know. It's beyond words. It's a simple prayer, it's a rhythmic heartbeat. It's a dying star inside a supermassive black hole inside a supernova birthing a new star. It's truth. And indeed it's out there somewhere. All the way out there, right in here. *points to brain*
I hope I can get nearer to it. Create it if I must.
Creating a slideshow for a table presentation, I was amused at how iPhoto combined my images.
A journey from one dimension of expression to another...
drawing on paper to editing digitally to dancing to praying to celebrating... light to shadow to form to weightlessness to truth to reflection to love.
Maybe right now it's just not accompanying me,
the sometimes sweet inner voice of enjoyment,
comfort and equanimity.
I can hang without.
For a bit.
Hoping to reconsider, over and over again,
how we've lost our way before, how we bend and sway.
Forthright, always within and surrounding.
On "daylight savings" day, it was nika-savings - I was sideswiped. As a gift, I survived. Many today died.* But I survived.
Was hit. Car door dented. Nerves shot.
Shock, and instant lessons.
Later that evening, breathing the air, reading poems, walking a dog, tea with a friend, correspondences, dreams and ideas, smells and sensations. Bliss it is, to be alive.
Love for a man. Faith. Torment. Sweet song. Idle longing. Change of perspective. Change of angle.
sideswiped | change | so very deeply grateful | to be alive
*by "many today died" I meant it as generally, in the world, that is. not just by car accident or impact or sideswipe. But I was sideswiped. Vulnerable and stupid outside the car door on a narrow street. Reaching for a bag from the back seat. I could've been crushed. But I'm still here. So grateful.
Recharged. Emotionally a bit bruised but getting over it.
The day had been a Runyon Canyon yoga morning followed by a short hike and ocean at Topanga Beach and talking with and writing to dear friends.
So very deeply grateful to be alive.
The vulnerability of this human flesh is intoxicating.
I'm dizzy just thinking of the split second.
The loudness and scratching.
A gift. A lesson.
I'm still here.
"Our world is in crisis because of the absence of consciousness. And so to whatever degree any one of us, can bring back a small piece of the picture and contribute it to the building of the new paradigm, then we participate in the redemption of the human spirit, and that after all is what it's really all about."
Last.fm Music Profile
Alex Chemer Photography (my father)
Vera Rey Fine Art