Well it’s been an interesting few days. I used to be a guy who had a season pass on my emotional roller coaster. It’s taken years of conscious effort to learn to appreciate the middle ground and not spend all my time at the top or the bottom. But lately it does seem like the highs have been very high and the lows have been very low.
This weekend, my wonderful friend Melissa was in town staying with me to have a shoot we had been planning for months. We had a specific look in mind and we were both very excited. Melissa always shows up with ideas and enough energy to light up a city. Some of my favorite photographs I’ve ever made have been of her. We had an idea that was inspired by her Native American ancestry. Like most of us in this country, she’s a bit of a mutt, but her diverse heritage is the reason for her unique beauty. But we really wanted to focus on her Apache roots for this shoot.
We’d been looking at some of director Mark Romanek’s lush music videos from a few years back as guides for the look of the film and had really filled in a lot of the details of the shoot weeks ago. I think it’s a little unusual to have such a clear idea of what we want to do going into a shoot. Most of the time I like to have a general idea of the direction we want to go, but leave room for inspiration on the set as we get into it.
So Sunday morning. The day of the shoot.
I woke up at 8, quietly gave my new beautiful muse across town a wake-up call so as not to disturb Melissa, and we talked for a bit as we often do, but my head was in a strange place and I decided I wasn’t quite ready to get moving yet. But by the time I did get up a few hours later, my head felt like it was even more underwater. I walked out of my bedroom and Melissa was already up and flipping through one of my fashion magazines. She saw the look on my face and knew something wasn’t right with me. I started to talk and words just started coming out, and coming out… and coming out. In a matter of a few minutes we both knew there wouldn’t be any shooting happening.
I’ve been doing my best to stay in my “Paris state of mind” since Morgan and I got back from our life changing trip back in September. But it does seem like I’ve the weight of a few different worlds on my shoulders lately. Or maybe more specifically the thoughts in my own head are heavier and need more attention than I’ve been ready to admit to myself. I’m still generating positive energy in my life. I’m making an attempt to keep positive people around me these days. There are enough negative pressures out there and people who want to fill my already full plate to the point of overflowing. So I’m doing my best. I’m just sad that the weight of it all got to the point to me yesterday that I had to cancel a shoot. And one with one of my favorite models that I only get to work with once or twice a year. I think the realization of a missed opportunity to be creative will begin to smart as the week progresses.
But Melissa was a good listener and it turns out had a few things that were percolating in her head as well. I think she needed to say the words out loud about things in her life. So we talked and cried and listened to music that moved us and went for a couple of long walks. I think we were still keeping the option of shooting open later in the day, but it was clear that as night descended on the day that I was just emotionally exhausted. And I think when I reach that point as much as I want to make something beautiful, I just don’t have it in me. Or at least I didn’t last night.
Melissa listened and by the end of the night pretty much told me what I was afraid of hearing about myself and that was that. We went to bed and for once I got 8 hours of sleep. Sleep I probably desperately needed.
Today, I can’t say that I feel better necessarily, but at least I’m not as drained. Plus taking one day off of my life is difficult enough, even though I deserved it and it probably did wonders for my head in the long run. Time to get back to living.