It’s incredible what we can carry on our backs.
I carried a backpack about as big as me for most of the last two years and in it was only clothes, gifts i’d been given and minimal survival bits.
I saw very old ladies carrying much more than me in Nepal. They worked on a building site of a new temple near me. Each of them carried about 40 or so house bricks at a time, in a piece of material hung from their foreheads all day, back and forth in the heat.
But even as I counted myself lucky, when my own bag was off I still sometimes felt like I was carrying a heavy weight. I’d left Liverpool to build my showreel and take on new projects so I would ‘stand out’ back home, but creating a film company takes time and people.
I’d shot some footage of Kathmandu, nothing mega, just general establishing shots. I started to edit, but with no electricity to sit and edit for hours my battery faded. Also with no power comes no internet for research or way to upload clips. Even with power and internet, at the speeds when I did have internet it didn’t seem like an easy process. I couldn’t help but worry how people were even going to see the footage I was sweating over.
It was then, sat on the porch as the sun went down, getting attacked by bugs of all sizes that I saw what was happening. In front of my eyes were was planet Earth, with her incredible mountains, trees, flowers, animals and history… and I was staring at a computer screen.
This was it – the heaviness I felt…
It was an equally straining and totally invisible bag. Closing my eyes, listening to the hisses, meeps and croaks of Nepal at sundown, I peered in the bag. Inside it was me many times over in different identities and under various self imposed pressures. to be the best… to be successful at this and that. Of being a photographer, a film producer, a teacher and every other ‘me’ I had created or had been created for me before I left home. Now seeing and feeling this, I knew that I still needed to drop some ‘stuff’. I saw how I had been living life by reactions only. I was always reacting to situations others created for me to document and not creating anything myself. Did I even know what I wanted?
I wanted to be successful with my film company, and I had the time but didn’t yet have my team, so until they came, I decided release stop fighting. I hadn’t failed, I just took the weigh off my back and put the project back for a while. I eventually let go of grasping at what was unachievable at that time and removed my claws from this concrete idea of myself.
The most amazing thing happened when I stopped thrashing upstream. As I went with the flow instead of panic I felt relief. I had given myself time, money, love, energy and freedom to create something new. To be someone new.
You are under no obligation to be the same you you were 5 seconds ago
My best friend Rachel is an award winning dancer. She inspired me with her story recently and confirmed that it is okay drop my personas, by doing it herself.
She was known to us as a 40’s inspired showgirl, faultless and always glamours even walking around the supermarket. Now she has decided to drop that persona and become someone else “I wanted to see what else I could do with my life” she said. She refused to remain that ‘Mimi’ we all knew her as, she was brave enough to go from walking around town flawless and gorgeous, to totally raw, no make up, no persona – just her true self, Rachel. Not easy.
So if you are ever struggling, and are feeling like you have made your bed and need to lay in it, you are wrong. It’s ok to empty the invisible backpack and free up energy and space for something else in your life. Now that we did we are so much happier.
I finally feel like I have found my strongest voice to make a difference.
My trip is documented here: twitter.com/StoriesNotStuff
Rachel’s is on going too and can be found here: minimalmidiaries.wordpress.com