Seeing But Not Seeing

seeing but not seeing erika napoletanoOn my first night in the vicinity of SXSWi, I shared a bril and low-key dinner with the likes of Shelly Kramer, Merredith Branscombe and Katherine Meyer. Serenaded by live flamenco guitar, we giggled and guffawed on a patio lining Congress Street while being inundated with FourSquare checkins from others who were at The Ginger Man. Feeling as if we were missing out, we took a $40 (*shocked expression*) pedicab ride (sign on pedicab said “suggested fare during special events is $10 PER PERSON. I apparently chose the wrong profession…) over to stand in a RUHdonk line for a shindig that was relatively bust. So we headed over to Halcyon, a swank, unpretentious vice hub (alcohol/coffee/tobacco) a mere block down. We had it on good authority they serves s’mores.

Slap me and call me Myrna…yes, they did.

It was there that we met up with Trey Ratcliff of Stuck in Customs. Realizing that he’s 39 and I’m a mere 38, I scored a major single-year coup upon first introductions, yet he trumps me significantly because he’s just wicked fucking talented with a camera. Somehow (duh) we got to talking about photography (shocker) and back in the day, I used to really dig macro photography. I loved using a tool to get closer to something than I ever could with my eyes alone and seeing the surprises that the pictures I’d taken held as I opened them up on my computer. Flowers were my favorite – sandy, dew-drenched textures offered temporary shelter to the tiniest insects and every pistil and stamen demonstrated that no matter how alike things look to the eye, they’re not.

An illusion of sameness, revealed with a lens.

And that illusion mixed with a thought that had germinated earlier in the day makes for today’s blog vomit and business tip-du-jour: how often do we really see where our lives are at?

Everyone reading this blog right now is facing failure. A fuck up, aborted mission, ended relationship, deal gone bust, lost camera, smart phone that turned out to be a blasted moron…you name it, we’ve got it. And success – what is that, really? It’s just something that hasn’t blown up yet. And no, I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer Emo-Clone. Success is fleeting, never sustained and always to be re-earned. Like sand in your palm or anything wrapped in bacon that you sit down on a table in front of me.

If we really take the time to sit down and consider our current individual states, the source of our discontent comes from refusing to see. Our denial of the status quo and a preference to tra-la-la when we should be having a huge DUH moment.

When we choose to see, two things becomes clear:

Failure is when you stop thinking.

Opportunity is where you start.

As you head into your weekend, maybe consider what you are and aren’t seeing (and what you are and aren’t thinking about). While there are always times where we need to shut the brain down and stop the analysis paralysis, I know my life can always benefit from seeing things differently. Today just feels different – I could do with more days that feel different after the past six months. Don’t stop thinking…thing about finding a way out.


6 comments
Serendip Designs
Serendip Designs

I came back to read this again. I love what you have to say and how you say it. Somehow, when I was young and naive I thought that once I got my business going, got my accounts, the hard part would be over. Ha! Silly me. It had only just begun. There were times when I was hot, and then suddenly, I wasn't. It has happened several times over the years, and I'm sure it will continue. Thank you so much for the reminder that when things feel like failure, it is really an opportunity and my job is to figure out what that is.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Glad to inspire you to keep coming by. Thank YOU.

Naomi Meredith
Naomi Meredith

I've learned more about failure in the last 5 years than I care to admit (I guess I just did)... self-sabotage is a vicious cycle that refuses to relent unless the saboteur is willing to sit down and actually admit there's a problem - and the problem (in my case) is not realizing that you cannot ride endlessly on one wave of success. Waves end at a beach. You can't ride waves sitting on the sand. Swim back out into the ocean and wait for another one. And then do it again. And again. The beach can seem pretty awesome for a brief respite but if you want to keep riding waves, you have to go back out into the water. Always inspired by you. Meems.

The Redhead
The Redhead

If you're still here, ping me. Would love to say hello! (PS: find the Intuit pedicabs-they're free!)

Christina
Christina

This rings for me. My mom is getting old. I'm the daughter. She lives in my town. The fact that she forgot to pay her electric bill for the past two months upsets me WAY more than it should. Because it is just a sign of the direction in which we are moving. But I don't want to go there, and I feel selfish about not wanting to go there, so I just try not to think about it. There is undoubtedly opportunity in there somewhere. Plus, for the last 47 years she's loved me. She's my mom. She's a good one. I owe her. Thanks for the post. I will think about your words this weekend (I've sorta been slapped.)

The Redhead
The Redhead

Glad you found value, Christina...the most I could ask for as a writer.