Conflicted

I haven't written lately because, well, life. Last year, 2014, was AMAZING. I had so many bucket list dreams come true. It was the best year of my life. So many bucket list items that I thought would never come true, came true. I got to live in New York which was the best thing that could have ever happened to my soul. I got to take photos in the Congo which was a life long dream. I started dating my absolute dream guy who has shown me more love than I ever knew to exist. And then, as if nothing better could even happen, I got accepted back into school (after a year of being rejected).

And so here I am, eight months later and I'm feeling in over my head. I knew school would be tiring and a ton of work. I knew it would be sacrificing my time and ability to travel and even create. But I knew it would only be temporary. Two years, that's it, and I'd have this damn degree which has taken me now almost 7 years to complete. I wouldn't trade what I'm doing for anything, but I guess I am writing because I'm sitting in my bed listening to the rain outside and for the first time since what feels like forever I have a day off tomorrow and for the first time in what feels like forever I can sort of think straight.

I wrote so much while I lived in New York. Everything, EVERYTHING, was inspiring. My heart felt so full. I love school and I am so happy to be half way done but I guess I am writing to simply vent at how tired I am. I miss my time, I miss my creativity, I miss traveling. I love writing papers and I LOVE what I'm learning in school but I just miss *me*, ya know. I haven't had a chance to take a breath and remember who I am. There have been moments, yes, but they've been far and few. 

I miss feeling inspired through happy things. My degree, though I love it, is so depressing and sad. Sometimes it makes me leave class feeling so hopeless. My program is called "Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice" which is a spin off of what was formally called "Gender and Women's Studies." It's a feminist program and I love it but gosh, is it sad. There is so much injustice in this world.

But, I came back to school because I needed to remember this sadness and this oppression. I was so tired of taking photos for tech companies in SF. I hated carrying thousands of dollars of camera gear through the Mission knowing those around me had so little. I don't want it to ever seem like I wasn't thankful for my clients because I certainly was, but I guess I wasn't the best photographer for those jobs because I wasn't passionate about them. Coming back to school was so that I could learn more about injustice so that I could try and use my photography to help change the world.

But here's the other thing. There's rent to pay. I also can't deny liking clothes or fancy things or getting a really amazing new client. I know, or I'm afraid, that as soon as I finish school I'll just go back to photographing what I was photographing before. I'm afraid that I'll finish school and my camera won't be put towards a good cause. I'm afraid I'll keep shooting products I know are unethically made. The clients that pay my rent aren't always the clients that I can honestly, truthfully, stand behind and say, "yes, I believe in this product, how it was created, where it was created" and so on... 

I don't know how to balance these things. I hate to sound like such a downer right now, I guess I just want to be real. I miss creating and want to create in a transparent way. I also want to create in a political way. I don't care about my name, I wish no one knew my face, I just want my work to speak. I want my work to change the world. I want my work to help someone. I don't know how I'll do this, but I know I won't stop searching for a way until I'm there.

What do you do? As an artist, how do you give back? How do you create what you love and also create something that is helping others? How do you create something that you completely believe in? How do you pay your bills?

On a plus note, there have been some companies I've been able to get in touch with lately that are completely ethical. It's a tricky balance still. I don't want to promote capitalism but people are going to buy things regardless, and so I'd rather promote these ethical products that not promote anything. I guess I just have to remind myself that I can't fix every single problem in the world, and not everything I do is going to be perfect. I can pick one thing at a time and use my photos to help this one issue, and then move onto the next. I think doing something is far better than doing nothing, even if that something isn't entirely perfect.