My not so Black and White Story

I  love stories- in all their forms-my family’s history, television shows, movies, photographs, and then books became a bigger and bigger role and now podcasts. As life rolled on,  I sought questions to bigger and bigger questions and kept finding many more questions than answers. This did not go well for my mental health and after graduating from a 4-year college, I felt more lost, boring, and incomplete than I ever could have imagined was possible. Lots of holes that needed to be filled and my way to that goal was to talk to others to learn their story, how did they become an “adult” in this world with so many questions and not so many answers readily obvious. How did they learn who they were as people, how did they become the person they are? how did they find their career- their purpose? How did they find ways to collaborate, connect and create a life of meaning?

I lived my life believing that my choices were black and white- do I wear a skirt or a dress? a one-inch heel or a 2-inch heel, a red lipstick, or a pink lipstick? Girls were one way and that was not sports, pants, dirt, flat shoes, or bitten nails. Trying to fit in gave me more angst and so I was only left with the black and white of feeling like I was neither. Though I identify as she/her, the definition of that gender was so narrow, I could have easily have chosen they had I been given a choice. He/she is black and white, and as I’ve learned in my podcasting interviews, people are not one or the other but a combination of all things human…all things in between….

I had stories I had been told, stories I read, and that I learned in school. I gravitated to the other stories- the people out there, anyone and finding a job as a documentary film/tv maker and a photographer made the hole begin to close…but how much can one look to others to find answers? I realized that the world of media, while a team effort, was outside of self out of one’s control, endeavor…and so I chose to follow my instinct to find a career where I could help people in a concrete way,work to fix them, help them, make them feel better, move better and function better. No one could tell me that I wasn’t doing it “right”. Simple black and white logic, that once again did not match

Much of what I have learned in my first half of life when I used to spend hours upon hours in a darkroom I learned where the light was the paintbrush and where the deep blacks and the bright whites were the least difficult part to achieve- the deepest black and the brightest whites were simple (perhaps that’s where the metaphor of black and white came from- the contrasts fo the 2 extremes…)of the final outcome.

Finding the shades of gray, the areas that needed dodging and burning, in other words, the areas that needed to be brought out or dimmed down- for balance, expression, nuance, subtly, and beauty. Black and white became words that didn’t say the reality. Duality? I chose to look at the light inside a person for answers to help them find their own answers, but first I had to look for ray own.

I am drawn to working with children and working with older adults. The contrast is obvious. The similarities less so. And I must ask myself does it matter? right now it matters to me because I wonder if asking the questions that aren’t being asked is worthy of some attention. Might we all benefit from understanding more how the way young children move, is the gold standard and as we live our lives, more unaware than aware, and as our habits form, we lose valuable skills that may lead to a quicker declind in older age as opposed to a more gradual slope.

If we look at our life as a slope in terms of functions- what do we have control over and what don’t we? doctors do this all the time when making educational pamphlets, lets say for cardiovascular health: risk factors: smoking etc ;things we can not not change: genetics etc; what we can change: weight, lifestyle etc and i propose for grwoing older there are similar categories and the one where what you can do to help yourself woudl include a list of ideas to do with flexiblity of ankle and hip joints, balance challanges, activity, social life, spiritual and connection


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