A wave of deflation

A burgeoning California morning. An abundance; fields actually, of colorful blooms. A camera. Thus began a promising day.

The homeschool field trip to The Flower Fields in Carlsbad left me with time, while my children were attending a workshop, to take in and attempt to capture–in my psyche and in my camera–the intoxicating beauty surrounding me.

Click, click. Smile. Click. Smile. Click, click, click. Smile.

Arriving home, exhausted but happy, I could hardly wait to view my shots. I loaded them up, hit “Import,” and waited. It would be a while. There were hundreds. I pulled up the internet to check out the photos of an award-winning photographer I had met that day, Donna Pegakis.

Mistake.

I was tired. Too tired. Way too tired to view amazing photos expertly massaged into fine art; photos worthy of the awards they had received.

I clicked over to my photos, now loaded, to see if any were keepers. I didn’t get very far before a wave of creative deflation hit me. What had I been thinking? Me, a potential professional photographer down the road? Who was I kidding? Her shots were amazing. Mine paled in comparison, despite the brilliance of the flowers. I took a nap.

Weeks passed. I received an e-mail from Donna with her newly updated site, and I ignored it.

This. Is. Not. Like. Me. At all. In case you don’t understand. I am not a jealous person. I used to be, but when I decided that being insecure was NOT an option, I eradicated jealousy–seriously (it took many years). I am the kind of person who will compliment a drop-dead gorgeous woman on her calves, her stunning low-cut blouse, or her form-fitting capris. So this fresh round of envy, in response to Donna’s amazing work, depressed me. Still, I ignored it, until I finally decided to look at my shots; not to see if I could out-do my new friend, but to see if any of my shutter clicks matched my vision for them. Lo and behold, since I wasn’t comparing my work with Donna’s; wasn’t letting the atrociously ugly green monster control my thoughts about my aspirations, I found some I loved.

Today I will contact Donna and share this post with her. I will apologize for not responding. I will tell her how her work has inspired me to keep my own creative vision alive–versus comparing it to someone else’s and deciding to quit, or to settle for less than my progressive best.

As for those demons I thought I had wrestled into oblivion? I’ve realized that they are always waiting to rear their formidable heads–especially when I forget to remind myself that my dreams cannot be touched by someone else’s accomplishments. In fact, if I am smart, I will let other people’s genius inspire me to new heights.

14 thoughts on “A wave of deflation

    1. All to often we compare how we are feeling to how someone looks.( your feelings to her pictures) Insides to outsides seldom match up! with all you have going on a bad day or two is allowed.

      1. So true. The only comparative analysis we should do involves our daily actions in relationship to our goals. Do they match up? If not, why not? And so forth. Thanks “little” brother!

    2. If you click on the gallery included, you can see larger versions of these three. I’ll post more in future posts. Thanks for the encouragement!

  1. Best line: “…my dreams cannot be touched by someone else’s accomplishments. In fact, if I am smart, I will let other people’s genius inspire me to new heights.”

    Good advice for us all.

    1. That particular line made me think of you for some reason. And now that you have pointed it out–thank you–I found the typo in it and fixed it! Thanks Jayne.

  2. As a recent non-winner at the CA State Fair, I understand the deflation of comparison, but when you contact Donna Pegakis, you may be surprised at the photographers she feels leave her in the dust. In all these cases, it is not our pecking order but how we create who we are through our photos and writing that matters. To people who love us, that includes our striving as much as our accomplishments. Both come through just fine in your pictures and writing.

    1. Yes, “…how we create who we are through our photos and our writing that matters.” it is too easy to get lost in nebulous doubt and second-guessing when comparing instead of leaning into our own creativity; letting it emerge then honing it in whatever ways fit our vision for it.

  3. There’s no escaping periodic ‘deflation’, whatever the reason, for anyone whose heart is so intertwined with what she does. And, yet, taking the time to examine those feelings, write about them, and even come to a new awareness about yourself in relation to yourself (I love what Peter wrote) as well as in relation to that world of artists you admire is as much as you can ask. How perfect is that triptych of a bursting flower!

    1. Thank you, Deborah – it was those particular flowers that reminded me of our constant evolution…as writers, as human beings; and of the emotions I had wrestled with that day.

  4. I’ve been in that state of mind, and yes, mostly when I’m tired–exhausted. That’s why I never read over my writing in the evening.
    I’m sure your photos are marvelous.

    1. Then you are a morning bird like I am. If I could go to bed at 8 each night, I would!

      Thank you for coming by.

      The three pictures above this post are a few shots I liked from that day’s shoot.

  5. Britton, you are one of the most generous & supportive new-friends I’ve made lately. And you’re upright honest with your envy. (I’m often envious of my writer friends and insecured of my writing. I don’t like this either. I will change.) Take the green-eyed monster out and look at our works with our honest eyes. This is a great reminder-post. Tremendously glad I came by. (Your pictures are wonderful.)

    1. Claudine–I smile when I get notes/comments from you. A kindred spirit from afar indeed. I’m glad my post was helpful to you. I know it was helpful to me to write it. My photographer friend I envied has invited me to come and meet some of her photographer friends…so this has had an unexpectedly happy ending indeed! Being open and honest always seems like such a risk, but in the end, it has brought me great joy and camaraderie. Thanks for coming by–and for your caring and support!

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