Usually on a Saturday I set my alarm to get up at 8:30, bound out of bed, dressing and packing a light snack for the day, and tear out of the door, camera in hand headed for the football field. I spend about 7 hours there taking pictures of the 3 games of the day. My children never played football. I don't have any grandchildren that play football anymore here in town. I've done this for 12 years. It's just something I've always enjoyed doing. For the first 8 or 9 years, it was because my grandchildren and nephews played in the league.
Today, I'm just not feeling it. It's not that I'm sick. It's that I'm "sick and tired".
When I was young growing up, I heard "you'll never amount to anything" once too many times. It gave me a very low self asteem and I never strived to do any better. I didn't want to disappoint all those people who felt I'd always just be mediocre. I was one of 6 children in a family where only my father worked and drove, so the only way we could be a part of something is if we earned our money and found our own way there. My only enjoyment was gym class in school where I could do something I enjoyed and was good at doing. I was the class clown in gym and could make people laugh. I worked during the summer of my sophmore year so I could be a part of the Drill team in my junior year. No one was there to take photos of me; none of my family showed up to watch. But I never graduated. I got married, had children and succeeded at becoming that person who everyone expected me to be; the person who would never amount to anything. Eventually when my marriage failed, I did go back and get my G.E.D., but I still only worked mediocre jobs like waitressing, or as a housekeeper at a motel.
I guess if you talk to some people, they would even tell you that I was a mediocre parent. I was a mediocre house keeper, a mediocre cook, and held mediocre jobs when I did work. The only thing I did different was I did try to allow my children the chance to be in sports. I even volunteered to be a coach if they needed one. I did excell one time when I went to school for Automotive Technology. I studied hard, worked hard and graduated with a 3.75 grade point average in a field dominated by men.
It became important to me to take photos of my grandchildren playing sports. I wanted to show them that whatever they did was important to someone besides them. I started out just taking photos of them playing, which led to taking photos of their teams playing, and that led to taking pictures of other teams as well. Parents would tell me how much the appreciated it, and tell me that I was really good at taking pictures. It gave me confidence and made me feel like finally I was breaking out of that "You'll never amount to anythng" role. When my grandchildren moved away, I continued to take football picturs every Saturday out of loneliness. It gave me an escape from my house every weekend. Parents would ask me to take photos of their children playing and were very appreciative that I would take good photos of their children. I even started taking photos of a semi-pro football team that really respect my ability. A friend suggested I go to college for Photography and even suggested the course and school he was taking.
It frightened me at first. I was never more than an average student in High school. Could I even keep up in college? My first challenge was an entrance exam, which was suprisingly easy enough for me. Soon I realized that I could probably do this and even make it through to graduation with honors. After the first full year and still remaining on the Honors list I had gained confidence enough to think that I had finally broken out of my fate...I could amount to something.
But alas, now I am hearing the same negativity. Maybe I am not good enough to be anything besides that person on the sidelines trying to be something I'm not. I'm just another person with a camera. My work isn't that good....it doesn't compare to that quality of people who take photos for a living...
Maybe I'll never amount to anything after all.
Words hurt people more sometimes that punches. Bruises heal, the hurt that comes from always being told something negative never go away. They remain in your head forever. And just when you feel like you have beat them down, they return to hurt again.
So that's how I feel now...Why bothering trying to be someone I'll never be. There will always be those words reminding me I'll never amount to anything.