Friday, September 28, 2012

The Challenge, The Chase

The other day we were asked as a class, "Why are you doing this?" in regards to our projected career path. I immediately knew my answer but was also aware how bad I am at verbally communicating what's already had a lot of time mentally dedicated to it. Here it is:

The challenge, the chase. One has to choose something.

The danger of many options and interests is that it's easy to become reliant on that sort of living. After spending my life in a fairly stable but stagnant environment, college wasn't a chance to party all night long and crawl out of bed wasted but rather it was a great opportunity to take that SCUBA class, put bubble bath soap in the fountains at school, get a taste of another culture down South, learn to slowly unlearn judging people, and work my ass off to get every scholarship and grant offered in my department. (There were three. I won all of them). It was like, the world was finally at my fingertips and I wanted to taste and experience everything and be like, super awesome at it. 

I discovered I'd done a lot without accomplishing much. The world is far more complicated than it seems. Things are rarely straight up black and white- even in the darkroom. I mostly learned a lot about other people which created changes within my own personality. 

At some point someone people have said things to me straight that have made all the difference. One that stands out was Tracey Curran in New Zealand offhandedly saying as we watched a documentary on Africa, "You just need to get your shit together.You could do that."It's moments like that where I get smacked across the face with truth and I snap out of whatever contemplative funk I'd been in and all that's required to change is action.

There's that idea of commitment, too. Sure, there are people that love life simply going from one thing to the next and slowly accumulating skills and experiences. Like they'll just pick up the fiddle or decide to start a farm and they've decided to work with and love that. I don't get it. Somewhere along the way I realized I'm one of those people that have to quit thinking so god-damn much, make a decision and stick to it and then just do it. Just accept that I thought about it enough and deemed it worthy enough to go after and then go do it.

So that's it. I had to choose something and as fate would have it, of course I've landed in the journalism world. Life is so ridiculous. Everything this younger Jesse swore off to "never ever" do, I've done or plan to do.

It's funny, I was never a kid with serious plans to be anything like an astronaut. All I remember is watching Godzilla and seeing that obnoxious blonde reporter hackling everyone in the city, saying, "I will never be a reporter." But maybe that's why I'm so interested in things I've previously sworn off or set in the "judged" pile. Those first years of university weren't a waste. I learned some things are sometimes misunderstood or abused and thus seem unappealing or debase. The task isn't to decide what's "right" or "wrong", but rather to separate the bias and judgements from the facts.

Motorcycle gangs aren't all like the Sons of Anarchy.
Not all reporters are out to exploit people.
Alcohol is okay to be consumed by some but not all (thanks to AA for the lessons from birth).
Christians aren't all judgmental pricks with picket signs trying to steal your rights.
Muslims aren't out to kill all the infidels, esp. Christians, and take over the world.
Smoking isn't the worst thing you could do. In fact, Rocky Patels are pretty smooth cigars.

Pretty much, I've chosen to love visual journalism.

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