In January 2016 I knocked my head while vacuuming at home and suffered a concussion. That event alone is insignificant. It is what has unraveled from that concussion which I think is more interesting at least to me which is why I’m going to write it down. I’m going to write it here.
Actually I’m going to speak it here, because I am writing this blog post via dictating to my phone using Google to translate my voice. This will be an experiment for me and mixing my speaking voice with my writing voice.
If you’ve ever suffered from a concussion you know that some of the symptoms include headache, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, increased anxiety and increased irritability. During your period of recovery you’re supposed to do things like minimize screen time, participate in low-stress activities, give your mind a rest. It is exactly this process of trying to give my mind a rest, which is what I can’t stand. So that’s why I was compelled to write and publish right now here today because now it’s May 2016 , this is now the fifth month, I officially have what they call post-concussion syndrome. I have been seen by a round of doctors, very good ones and just yesterday was seen at the concussion clinic at George Washington University. Tomorrow I have an appointment with an opthoneurologist in hopes we will be able to help with the issues I’m still having with my eyes.
Even though what I’m saying here may seem kind of personal nothing I’m saying you couldn’t already find out about me from a Google search. But here it is in my own words instead.
Right now I’m thinking about my students. I’m a teacher. Among the many things that I am the thing that I probably have been the longest professionally is a teacher. Right now I work at a lovely little school with the wonderful well behaved mostly well-mannered children. I’m thinking about my students because that’s what my Dad would want me to do. If I were talking to my Dad right now about my state of mind and what I’m thinking and what I’d like to do he would listen to me patiently and then he would delicately give me advice about balancing my desires and my needs with the greater good.
I’m 44 years old. This may be my median. Might be time to tip the scales.
So I was thinking about my students because I’m a teacher. I teach High School. Right now I teach computer programming systems and Robotics, film and photography, and a robotics class. That’s a lot of screen time. That’s a lot of languages. Xhtml, Java, objects C, C++, Ruby on Rails, scratch, snap!, Lego robotics, ardruino variations- oh my! Sometimes a tossed salad of these happen simultaneously in my class. It’s a lot of screen time. That’s only one of the three hats I wear at school. It’s a job where you must be extremely mentally organized. Now add your concussion and stir.
With all of this difficulty with my eyes I haven’t been able to shoot. There was a time a few weeks ago when I thought I was feeling better and I went out to play for a few hours and boy did that set me back. So I haven’t picked up my camera now in over a month. I miss it like a phantom limb. But every good photographer knows you don’t need your camera to shoot. I’m shooting all the time in my head , everywhere, everyday, every place. I’m framing, I’m looking at the angles, I’m looking at the light, I’m changing my perspective.
Today I met with a photographer who’s going to replace me on a job. It was a job I was really looking forward to too. Not only would it have been irresponsible of me to try and complete this job but I would have probably injured myself medically as well and most assuredly set back my recovery. Nobody wins in that situation. The old me would have pushed through partially out of pride partially out of I don’t know yet. Thanks to some excellent counsel and medical care I’m learning to listen to myself in a different way and take care of me first and so I did the grown-up and responsible thing I replaced myself. As I was talking to this photographer about the gig I also ended up explaining why I couldn’t take it again in further detail. I realize this is the first time I talked with another photographer about this and I could share my feelings with someone who really got it and I said to her I miss my camera. When I said it then I think I allowed myself to really feel it. Then we talked about gear, then we talked about our many professions, then we looked at the pretty pictures in my classroom in an awkward but not uncomfortable silence. I’m looking at the angles, I’m looking at the light, I’m changing my perspective.
Watching the light is one of my new favorite hobbies. Even though I can’t pick up my camera my lovely DSLR, my preferred tool , I’m going to start shooting again. It’s a compulsion. So what you see here, until further notice, is being shot with my Samsung Android Galaxy Note 5, because as every good photographer knows you also choose your cell phone based on what has the best camera.
I apologize for typos or malapropisms as I’ve only done a quick skim before I publish as part of the continual minimization of screen time.