This is a part of a 31 day writing prompt series called Reverb 11 <– click to see the entire list of prompts and join in.
How do you fill the void?
How do I fill the void, oh let me count the ways.
In my not so former life there were days when I wasn’t happy until my credit card started warping from overuse arms loaded down by the weight of bagged stuff. I remember the familiar comment I used to receive, ‘you much not shop very often.’ I would unload it all into my trunk feeling victorious until the bill came. I would justify my shopping by telling myself that I had been working hard or that I ‘needed’ all of it but what I really needed was something, pardon the cliché, money can’t buy. Some people fill the void with money, drugs, food, sex even work. For me it was shopping. Somehow I had equated self-worth with the acquisition of stuff and I had a long trail of credit card bills to show for it. Money that could have been spent on other things or better yet saved.
I needed a new way to fill.
In the last couple of years I began taking a more serious approach to photography in an effort to focus on something else to bring me happiness. Its funny the first time I recognized the power of photography was in high school. I choose Photography 101 as my elective in high school, I was a freshman. The only thing I learned that year was the dark room was good for two things, ruining your clothes and drinking. Yes, drinking as in Jack Daniels, we had Seniors in our class who took the class for that reason and that reason ONLY. Despite the party-like atmosphere of the class I manged to learn how to use my dad’s Nikon FE.
Here’s a proof sheet I dug up. You aren’t surprised twenty years later I still love photographing my cat.
That was our family cat Leroy.
I eventually left photography because of money. Its hard to believe but back before the days of digital cameras film was expensive and if you shot it you developed it and that cost money too. I ditched photography for shopping. I was a broke college student at CSLB when I was approached on campus with a clipboard and an offer of a free tote bag if I signed up for an American Express Card. I was in no position to handle the credit card with no spending limit and frivolous spending soon commenced.
Twenty years later I turned back to photography to fill that same void, this time digital. I did however spend some money when I invested in a full frame camera (Canon 5D Mark II). I can take as many photos as I want and blog about it for free (less the cost involved to host and publish my sites). Of course there is the constant lure of upgrading equipment, attending camps, conferences, workshops, new lenses, gadgets, that’s my downfall, stuff. I have to remind myself its NOT the equipment that makes a great photo ITS THE PHOTOGRAPHER. Nothing fancy required to make a great image just Y-O-U. If I can remember this then I should be able to find my way back to happiness without a price tag.
How do you fill yourself up healthy or not?