Monday, April 23, 2012

*This was going to be a personal e-mail but I decided to be honest here:

It's been a week! Woo! What could possibly happened in 6 days? 

WELL, surviving an earthquake made me re-think a lot in my life. It was like someone was shaking the couch. Sweet as. Kirsty and Matt looked at me as we were watching Chuck and said, "This is an earthquake. Can you feel it?" "Naw, really?" I said. But instinctively lifted my feet off the ground because my first thought was, "Are there rats in here?" No lie. For some reason a shaking couch makes me think there are rats in the room.

I've spent the last five days in Christchurch with my friend Kirsty from Tanzania and her husband Matt. We totally went camping on Banks Peninsula which you can see photos of on my blog More and more I find myself visiting my married friends. I'm that person. The single, travelling, poor, hobo who sleeps on your couch and hasn't finished college yet. EWW, right? Never fear. I'm determined to finish. Even if it is snowing in April at RIT. 

You'll all have to stand being subjected to my too-personal-to-blog thoughts for a moment.

I've had wifi for about three days now and I no longer have much interest in the life of a photojournalist. There. It's out there. And I just bought Andy Stanley's book about Life Rules. Tomorrow I'm going back to the farm where I'd rather be any day than at school pretending I want to join the likes of the Getty and NYTimes elite. Because I honestly believe I totally could get there in a few years, but I just caught up on the NYT lens blog and saw a lot of photos of people dying and at war and I know there are people literally dying without food. I just ate half a chocolate bar. No small feat in my life because I put it down when it was only half, but I'm so not in tuned with what's going on outside of the Western world. I can look at photos all day long and still eat my chocolate and go to the gas pump and not be bothered. 

True. I think there's something wrong with me. Or something wrong that is completely normal among people and definitely Christians. 

I don't want to be a doctor, frankly because I wanted out of school about fifteen years ago and I'm over that. But a lot of photojournalists don't really help people. They exploit them. (Some definitely do help and get the word out). But I could "be the change I wish to see" blah, blah. Except there was an article in the NYT recently about the two photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros who died last year in Libya, one of which may have been saved if someone had been trained in first aid to stop the bleeding. 

I don't ever want someone to die because I was trained to take pictures of bleeding, not to stop it. 

Katie Davis in Uganda said, "somebody's got to stop the bleeding". It's not about saving the world, really. It's that I don't think the world needs more pictures. It needs relationships. Small lives here and there who have a great impact on those around them. 

I'm really, really glad and grateful that I'll graduate with a degree because if I could pick one, it'd be for visual journalism. I'm so lucky in that respect. But I'm so done with the idea that photojournalists need to tell stories and it's urgently important to document history. There are thousands willing to do that. So few are willing to be small in the world, insignificant, live a life that professors might call a waste- in order to have a great impact on a few lives. I am not one of those people. I want to be awesome, the best, and revolutionize the world with my amazing skills. Seriously. But Earth to Jesse...

I wonder, how beautiful would a young life be that didn't live for it's own pomp but grew up young and realized early that money doesn't make you happy? Success doesn't last. Not that no one should do them, but a lot of people in the West try to be someone else's idea of happy and successful. 

So now I'll graduate not wanting to be what I went to school for. Gasp, gag, "what the bleepedy bleep bleep are you thinking?!?" You'll get over it. I went for what I wanted. Am I going to join the Peace Corps and go off to start micro loans for poor people and save the world one starving person at a time? Okay, let's just be real for a second. No, that is not what I'm going to do. If I did join the PC it would be with some motivation for the $7,000 at the end to put towards a sweet motorcycle so I'm not saving the world. 

I don't know what I'm going to do next spring after I get that piece of paper in the mail saying I'm an accomplished, degree-ified, legit human being...Move into my parents' basement and play X-box? God, no. The rats really do shake the couch down there. 

Abraham Lincoln said, "The probability that we may fail ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just." At first, I disagreed. If it's going to fail then let's find a solution that does work. But life is not as black and white as I imagined a few years ago. Stopping one person from bleeding or saving one life rarely rocks the world. It certainly doesn't end the famines or stop the wars and I think world peace is a crock in this lifetime. 

So I think I'm going to get down and dirty figuring out exactly what I believe and, if it's worth believing, how to live it and not just talk.

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