Freedom of wine


wine-montage

“My objection to war was not that I had to kill somebody

or be killed senselessly, that hardly mattered.

What I objected to was to be denied the right to sit in a small room and starve

and drink cheap wine and go crazy in my own way and at my own leisure.”

― Charles BukowskiSouth of No North

Soldiers train to go to war. We mentally prepare ourselves to die. We don’t want to die of course, but we prepare for it. We learn to shoot weapons to defend ourselves. We create wills just in case. We tell our families we love them. And then, we go off to a foreign country and hope things will be alright.

We adjust to the lack of freedom and the demanding work schedules. We cope with the dangers of intermittent rockets or the unknown dangers on a patrol. We learn to deal with the nonstop worry of the sky falling, because sometimes it literally is.

Don’t get me wrong, I never had it that bad. I was what they call a FOBBIT, a Soldier who pretty much stayed on the Forward Operating Base. I was a unique FOBBIT though. I had opportunities to venture off bases from time to time. I went on some patrols with special forces troops, I met village elders, and I experienced a convoy here and there. But, I was never on the front line, in a fire-fight, or face to face with a known enemy. (So I had it relatively easy compared to our hardcore troops. So I am not here to pretend I was more than I was. I am merely sharing my perspective on my experiences to those who may not understand deployments.)

However, as a Soldier who was deployed to three different countries, I saw and experienced some interesting things. And through those years, I realized just how grateful I should be.

I’ve had to sleep in overcrowded tents, a bug infested plywood hut and an cold HUMVEE. I’ve heard the whistle of a rocket overhead and hit the ground not knowing where it would land. I heard gunfire fill the air and not know which way it was going. I’ve walked on a patrol and got a bit uncertain with some locals around us. I’ve seen the dismal conditions people have had to endure. So, there were times of heightened concern, general discomfort, humble gratitude.

Then…there were times where there was nothing. Sometimes days, weeks and months of nothing. Nothing but work and more work. The same old work and the same old clothes and the same old food in the same old places. Being stuck in a small compound is enough to stress you out.

You get stir crazy in a way. You want to drive your own car, wear your own cloths, make your own schedule. But you can’t. You are stuck there. You feel like a prisoner who has to defend freedom, yet ironically, you have very little of your own.

Your life back home continues. Yet, it continues without you. And that is what nags at you. You miss your freedom. You miss your life. The freedom you had taken for granted is now gone. Your freedom is on hold while you try to regain it for someone else.

It is like that saying, you don’t know what you have until its gone. That is true. Because once you are deployed, you realize, you miss the little things. You miss cooking. You long to wear colors. You want to enjoy a glass of wine. But you can’t. You are a Soldier every day, every second and every moment.

This lack of control over the small luxuries hangs over you. Fore example, back home, you may only drink a handful of times a year. Yet, when you are deployed and not “allowed” to drink, you miss it more. You want it more because that freedom was taken from you.

I longed for a drink when I was deployed. It wasn’t that I really drank that much at home, but I enjoyed the option of having one when I desired. I wished I could kick up my heels and enjoy a glass of wine after a hard day. But I couldn’t. So when I read the Charles Bukowski quote above, I laughed. Yes, I definitely missed my right to sit around and drink cheap wine. I missed the option of making myself view the world with a bit of a colorful blur, if even for one night.

So the above photomontage is a blend of some of the items currently on my wine rack. Sometimes, I don’t touch it for months. Other times, I may have a glass or two in one day. The great thing though is, I can now do it at my leisure. And that freedom is something I will always appreciate.

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For Sally D’s Phoneography Challenge ~ Photomontage.

To read more about Charles Bukowski, click here.

Facts and memories ~ what you recall


Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving.

What you have caught on film is captured forever…

it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.

~ Aaron  Siskind ~

Our memories can be selective and based upon our perspective. Some details are easily forgotten while others cling to our minds. We relive feelings, both good and bad, as we recall a moment. And if we close our eyes – we can almost taste or see a particularly memorable event when thinking of it. Unfortunately, all those perceptions may not be the same as someone else.

This difference doesn’t necessarily mean one person is lying though. It just means they saw it a different way or at a another perspective.

I have said on many occasions, that if you have two people and one situation, you will have three stories. Each person will have their perspective of course, and somewhere in the middle generally lies the simple, unfiltered facts.

It makes sense when you think about it, and often, I think this difference is best described by comparing it to photography.

Take a look at the three iPhone macro photography shots of some peppers from my garden. Each picture is different. Yet, they are the same peppers. And I would bet, that if you gave these peppers to another photographer, they would capture yet another view. In fact, there are probably countless ways to photograph the same thing.

This factor makes life incredibly fun, and yet frustrating. From cooking to politics, people can find vast variety when looking at the same things. Some may find one idea/picture/song/etc motivating and uplifting while another finds the same boring and offensive. And then, there are probably even more views somewhere in the middle. Essentially, no one sees things the same way. As unique human beings, this should be expected though. We all think, feel, and love differently. Therefore, our perspectives will almost always vary.

The magic with photography (and several other mediums of art) is that our perspective is captured. Through our pictures, we freeze time. We paint a view of our feelings. We create a sense of texture.  We open a window to those who were not there. We invite a peek into our minds. That moment is now fact, forever, and we created it. It is no longer our perception alone, but the perception of all those who ssw our work. To me, that is empowering.

I can replace bland with beauty and boring with wonder. I can invite people to places that they would have likely ignored. I can spread magic into hearts that have grown tired. Overall, I can (hopefully) reveal just how amazing life and the world can still be, and make someone regain a little hope and motivation to continue. Because, maybe from their perspective, it just hasn’t looked that good.

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 For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Macro.

September is suicide prevention month in the Army, and I guess this was on my mind. Yet, I didn’t realize it until the last couple of paragraphs.

But that is the way my Thursday phoneography posts it seems. I pick a picture and just write and see where it takes me.

I hope this post finds whoever it is supposed to. May you find some comfort and know, you are not alone.

 

Seasons of life, nature


“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” [Meditations Divine and Moral]” ~ Anne Bradstreet, The Works of Anne Bradstreet ~ The ebb and flow … Continue reading

Discover what you look for


My boyfriend teases me that when he gives me flowers, he will just wait until they are already dead. He says that since I seem to photograph several of his bouquets, even when they are past their blooms and drying.

I cannot decide if my interest in decaying flowers is more a focus on finding beauty in things that some may overlook or more from my philosophy on life: you will discover what you seek.

I say that with a grain of reality of course. I know people don’t seek to be abused, disabled or oppressed. With those extremes aside, I think people are capable of creating, discovering or changing their lives.

All of us are given a place in the world. Whether those places or circumstances are equal or fair can be debated. However, debating that is really pointless. For none of us can change the past. We don’t get to decide our parents, our race, our sex or anything at birth or in our childhood for that matter.

Once we are old enough to think for ourselves though, we can make changes (on most things anyway). We can decide how to act, what to do, when to change. We alone have the power over our emotions and voices. We can choose who we want to be. Sure, it may not be easy. If we decide to be an athlete, we need to train and eat right. If we decide to become a lawyer, we need to study and study more. If we decide to become a spiritual leader, we need to align our actions with our words. Heck, we can even change our sex these days with surgery, therapy and hormones.

None of that is easy though. Life is hard. Success is even harder. To be successful, we must work not only hard, but smart and efficiently. We need to gather the tools required for success in whatever field we have chosen. We can’t just expect the world to give us what we want, especially when we don’t deserve it or work for it. Yet, I see this all the time. People want fame, money and love yet they don’t want to put the effort required to have those things.

This entitled expectation reminds me of a Tom Krause quote.

~

“Flowers don’t bloom where no seeds have been planted.

If you want kindness, be kind.

If you want acceptance, be accepting.

If you want encouragement, be encouraging.

If you want forgiveness, be forgiving.

If you want love, be loving.

If you want respect, be respectful.

We should not expect from others what we fail to give to them.”

Tom Krause

~

Krause’s quote is profound to me. It makes sense. Essentially, it is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done onto you. And regardless of your religion, there seems to be a golden rule in them all.

rule

So if you can create a better world for yourself through dreams, goal setting and hard work, I figured you can create a worse world just as well. I’ve witnessed people worry, fight, and fret over every detail in their life. They have a negative outlook. They are always the victim. They are always defeated. The world is against them…or so it seems. As I have aged, I have wondered, what makes one person overcome a horrible situation while it defeats another? Or why does one person with all the elements of success at their fingertips still fail?

I am sure there are several factors as no two situations or people are alike. However, I feel like one factor is themselves. They chose to be defeated or motivated by their setbacks. They wallow in pity or pull themselves up. They retreat into a safe circle or they venture out into risk. Essentially, I think their actions, attitudes and behaviors can play a huge role in what happens to them in life. My own included.

For example, I dated a guy for a while who later told me he was walking on eggshells because he was afraid I would break up with him. He feared that he would do something wrong, and I would leave. He didn’t express this fear outright, but the relationship felt strained and difficult. His tension made me tense. His insecurity made me feel guilty…of nothing and everything. I couldn’t put my finger on the problem, but just felt like there was something missing. I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t happy. So we ended it. In hindsight, I feel like his fears put certain actions into place that created a tension that lead exactly to what he feared – our relationship ending.

Another example is a friend of mine who has always had bad luck with men. I sympathized with her for I too had this same luck. We both seemed to always pick the bad guys. Yet, we were the one constant element in all the relationships. So naturally, we must be the problem then, right? Through my own growth and experience, I tried to help her. Maybe we were not necessarily the problem, but we were creating it in some ways. By thinking we were jaded, insignificant or broken, we were unintentionally attracting, or accepting, less than worthy men. And those men we chose, used our insecurities to their advantage. They would control all the situations and conversations. We let them have all the power. And on a rare occasion where we vied for the power or challenged theirs, problems occurred…or in some cases, violence would the result. Again, I am not saying my friend was at fault for her abuse. No, that fault lies with the abuser and the abuser alone. But, I think she plays a role into the situations she finds herself in. She would always say, I can never make a relationship work, I am meant to be alone, I always pick the wrong guys. I wondered, is this like a self-fulfilling prophecy? I also wondered this about my own experiences…

self-fulfilling prophecy – “Any positive or negative expectation about circumstances, events, or people that may affect a person’s behavior toward them in a manner that causes those expectations to be fulfilled.”

With age and experience, came wisdom, painful yet good wisdom. I had to pull myself up from defeat. I had to look for the lessons in the bad. I had to lay out my dreams into goals and those goals into steps. I had to decide, do I want to feel sorry for myself or do I want change? I chose change and it has been empowering. I chose to find me again. It was not easy and is still not easy, but I see more beauty in the world than ever before. The world has not dramatically changed though. It was me who changed. But now, I don’t see ugly dead flowers. Now, I see transformation and beauty. I just needed to change my perspective and look for it.

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For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Editing and Processing.

Photo note: The photo was taken with my Canon Camera actually. However, I did edit the photo on my iPhone in the LiveCollage app. It is the same picture edited in two different collage formats. I was trying to do a montage but could not figure out how to do that in the app.