2.2.18 Morning snooze
My camera. Oh my magic new eye. In a month of taking photos every day, I have come to rely on it almost as desperately as my older two. I have started reaching for it like a comfort blanket - other days, a shield, a wall. On days when I feel too visible or too unwell, it lets me put something between the obviousness of my disability and everything else, but with it in my hands, I can still reach out and touch things, too. Gently, and with kindness.
I have been learning a new way of being in recent years. I am becoming something still and watchful, here on the edges of things. Some days I feel more tree than person. I can't join in much, but I'm learning to ride the energy of others and let it carry me to those places and experiences I can't reach now, so I can experience them too. I listen and watch and try and take it all in as my own.
I am learning how to be apart and still belong and that is not an easy thing. The trick is to carry the grief lightly, I think. It is hard not to mourn the don't-see and don't-do and instead celebrate the victory of secondhand experience, but you can do it, if you can just put resentment to one side and love what you receive instead.
It is in that place, here at the edge, that my camera finds its meaning. It lets me push my eyes up close, to watch faces and gestures, light and movement and bring something back, even when I am separate. And, oh, there is so much tenderness to be found there. Not in intrusively tunnelling somewhere I don't belong, but in joining it considerately, like a conversation.
I can focus in and in and change my size, shrinking until I can walk the pavement cracks and peer up at bricks towering 100ft above me. I can stretch myself until I can swallow up the whole sky, the moon, every tree in sight, greedily seeing how much I can hold. Or I can leap with one slide of the zoom, taking myself wherever I wish, perching on rooftops and walls, following birds right into their nests. With it, I am omnipotent and free and there are no barriers between me and the making of something good and true and permanent. Pain can't interrupt it and neither can my dwindling mobility because there is nearly always something right where I am. I only need to sit and look and raise the lens, just like I only need to keep my hand moving across a blank page to write. Everything can come from those two things and neither can be taken away from me. My health can't steal words or pictures, and neither can poverty or heartbreak or anything else. There is triumph in that.
And when my physicality does get too much, with photographs, I can simply disappear entirely, hiding myself like a code in the arrangement of a picture and its secret heart. I can make all my energy visible in that instead while I remain slumped and tired and no one has to know. When speech won't come now, it doesn't matter. I can close my mouth and instead let myself be this caressing, loving eye that sees perfection and beauty in everything, every place. I can take photos and turn the camera back around to the world and say look, look how perfect you are.
Take me out to play. Let me make pictures with you. Let me show you how deeply you are loved.