Fear Of What I See In The Mirror

Somehow, today, I feel I have completely lost touch with who I am and where I am going with this project. I have spent the past couple of days researching and trying to figure out how a blog actually works. What it needs to have, how to expand it, and how to make it grow. I am finding it’s all way too overwhelming to think about and plan. Have I already been derailed from my concept by the very means needed to capture the concept? It’s perplexing, confusing and downright distracting. I have so many thoughts in the head. It’s swimming with ideas of what I want and need to say. Suddenly there are a lot’s of eyes with their focus on me, responding, recognizing things in myself I have never been aware were ever present. I feel like there is now an expectation. The bar has been raised and as I began to write today become paralyzed, gripped by terror, almost frozen unable to move. Can I live up to the remarkable things others see within me? I have always heard fear is a great motivating factor to get things done, so I guess it’s worth exploring.

When I look in the mirror who it is that I really see? I have never been much of one to admire myself. As a child I was awkward, gangly, and very uncoordinated. I didn’t have many friends and totally lacked any semblance of self-esteem. My retreat was to create a world of my own, a world where I could create something remarkable beyond myself. It’s taken years to get past those painful remembrances of self-loathing and isolation. Of being able to trust in myself  and recognize I was really worthy of any kind of talent. Growing up in a rural sate like Montana, creativity was completely misunderstood because it wasn’t in the norm. It was a non-sustainable hobby that was more often discouraged as sentimental or emotional. Athletics were the suitable substitute to suppress sentiment and emotion; you could work out your aggression on an opponent. My family really didn’t get me. I was that creative black sheep. Though I was involved with plays they never once came to see what I was involved in. I just learned to adapt and was persistent to fulfill my driving desire to create. I never was never quite sure what, but knew I needed to create something, anything as long as it revealed my hidden self and let me express myself.

When I become an adult and began to explore my sexuality, I suddenly found a place where I was accepted, where I did belong. It was exciting and intense and filled with wonder, beauty and mystery. The raw sensual self was allowed to emerge and celebrate the release of all kinds of emotions: love, beauty, seduction and passion. My body was not as disjointed and awkward as I had been lead to believe. Yet I could not see these remarkable qualities within myself. I guess, have always been filled with self-doubt. Through photography, this exploration of myself and working to revealing others I am coming to terms with my own self-image. Why has it taken me all of my life to get to this place of feeling safe and comfortable with my own identity? There are still a few residual temporal insecurities that emerge when I look in that mirror and see a man approaching middle age. Self-portraits have always been a difficult thing for me to create. I have such a different image of my self then what appears in the image. I look deeply into them and ask myself: is that really me? Self-portraits become an agonizing search for who we really are. So many people come into my studio fearful or afraid of what they might discover.  Yet I am a master of discovering and seeing all those remarkable qualities in others, why do I have such difficulty seeing it within myself?

To strip away ourselves and really look at who we are is very unnerving. For some reason when we look in the mirror, all we seem to see is a reflection of our flaws, our imperfections, things we don’t like about ourselves, yet I know if we look deep enough there is a discernible beauty buried deep within all of us. Photography becomes a mirror, and in that mirror of art we can see the most remarkable things.

5 thoughts on “Fear Of What I See In The Mirror

  1. Paul Bujak

    >Don't do it all at once. This is like a novel. Scribble a note and get back to it later. Stop looking at all that stuff. No wonder you feel overwhelmed. Don't worry about what a blog "should" or "shouldn't" have, or what you should or shouldn't do as an artist. Just keep going and whatever comes out, comes out. The only thing you can't do is stop.

  2. Terry J Cyr Photography

    >Thanks Paul for your support. I feel less overwhelmed today and agree I need to just get back to my normal mode of creation.

  3. Greg

    I watched a program last night on the life of Jay z (the rapper) He said his success started once he realized his failures were caused from trying to create for others. Once he started creating for himself and being true to himself is when true success came along. Your success exists within you and the amazing art you reveal to the world around you. Don't conform to a blog Terry, it's not about right or wrong here.

  4. Dave C

    >I agree with Greg that your success exists within you; however, that which lies within in you is richness. Richness of life lived, passion, compassion, helping guys uncover themselves through images and come to know and understand themselves – you connecting with and doing the same at the same time. You are one of the most remarkable men I know Terry – from your gardening to your building the space you live and work and love in to the photography and amazing detail revealed through light. I am blessed to know you and call you friend.

  5. suzanne

    >Terry,I too was sooo misunderstood by many.I became an outcast of sorts.I always doubted myself in life,art,love etc.My life has not been easy. I understand what your saying and fearing.Your life has not been a bowl of cherries either I'm guessing/reading. I wish you happiness and I think your art is amazing(I've been peeking:)It's comforting to know someone else that struggles with self image and doubt.The term "tortured artist" rings true.I love that you started a blog.It helps

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