This I Believe
I turned on the radio one day when I was printing in the darkroom and there was a doctor being interviewed and the interviewer said ‘we hear all the time the words anxiety and depression, could you tell me your definition of anxiety?’ The doctor answered: ‘consistently anticipating a negative outcome.’ Until that very moment I never considered myself to have ever had anxiety, but he’d just defined my almost 50 years. Soon after being born, my mother tried to kill us (I was unexpectedly a twin). I often wondered why I was always in a hurry, always kept my clocks fast, always had to be doing something and never felt at peace. Someone asked me once how fast my clock was, which I couldn’t exactly answer, and why I kept it that way. “Because I don’t like to be late,” I replied. Then, “and because I don’t like waiting.” Oh, do you have an unpleasant memory of having to wait? I could think of many. I went back earlier and earlier in my memory, to being harnessed in my crib, waiting for someone to come let us out of our harnesses, out of our cribs, and hopefully feed us. When we couldn’t wait any more we cried. When we cried, we got throttled. Pieces of the picture were coming together, I was actually trying to live inbetween time, carve a narrow alley way inside a moment to sneak through so I couldn’t be caught, couldn’t have my trachia crushed. I realized maybe not everyone gets a pain across their throat and from ear to ear and can’t breathe when they cry. Maybe some tears flow like a river without any dam. The pictures floating in the trays of darkroom chemicals are of flowers and trees and humans being. One day as I was studying some of the photographs I’d taken of some of nature’s gifts, a saying came to me: At the source of creation is a wish for well being. I realized that this is something I believe and am maybe trying to document without words. For all of the human failings and struggles, as we follow our paths from inception to each unfolding new day and experience, if we are not disconnected from nature we are surrounded by beauty. And beauty is meant to be enjoyed, so joy is meant for us.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.