I attended the 2016 Spring LEAF (Lake Eden Art’s Festival) event. I took lots of good pictures during the Friday and Saturday day and on Friday night. I captured on video the contra flash mob next to the main stage. The photo and video documentation I got would thrill many people. Posting it would honor the dance and arts I seek to promote. I’ve also not done anything with this material yet. Why?
The shadow side of the event was the overwhelming pain I found myself in. Old(er) age has left me with back issues, and these flared up and out across my body. By late Saturday afternoon the only parts of me that didn’t hurt were my head and my forearms. Moving hurt. Sitting hurt. Holding the camera to take pictures hurt. I could dance in short spurts, with adrenaline, joy, and muscle memory pulling me through, but the on the other side I was in that much more pain. I only had low dosage aspirin on me, no “vitamin I”. I took the aspirin with no visible impact. Sadly I did not think to reach out to my friends for something (much) stronger. My bad.
The weekend ended late Saturday afternoon when I packed up the van and made my way home. At the house I took stronger medications and the pain eased. This detour caused me to miss the Saturday night dances and events on Sunday. I don’t regret the choice in retrospect given how much I was hurting, and the exiting allowed me to recover, but I wouldn’t want to do it again.
What does this tale of woe have to do with procrastination? As I mentioned before, I took lots of pictures and video at the event. These were dutifully copied to a hard-drive to await processing. Time has come and gone, with the files not yet attended to. When I consider working with them I meet an invisible wall of resistance, something almost physical that pushes me to another task. Believe me, I always have some photo / video project waiting for attention. The LEAF work should be at the top of the list given the quality and magic of the material, but it takes backseat to less worthy efforts.
The answer to the question of “why procrastinate” came to me one day. The reply was “PAIN”. There is so much pain tied up in the material. The photos / video are joyful, but my experience during the capturing of them was a story of waking distress. The resistance I feel is purely psychological as I am not claiming that I will actually be in physical pain while I work with the material. In fact, I can’t truly “remember” the pain on a conscious level, but there seems to be some “stove hot” reluctance to approach the work. Some part of me is convinced, at an irrational level, that I will hurt again if I go there.
This was an epiphany to me because there are other areas of my life that procrastinate on. They involve cleaning up past situations that were painful, messy, and complicated in a tormenting way. Life would be better if I attacked them head on, but to do so is incredibly difficult. I’d rather end my life than take some of them on, and this is about as irrational as you can get, as well as being life threatening. The phantom pain feels like a wave that would overwhelm me, and to run is the only (in)sane choice I have.
I’m not being paid to put the LEAF photos and videos out. Their publication is based on my willingness. There is no outside prodding by interested parties. The same goes for the big things I procrastinate against. The world seems content to let the pain lay while rot sets in. This is irrational because there are almost always interested parties. Hundreds of people would love to see the LEAF material. I would be a minor hero to some. Yet this is not enough now, as I write this. The imagined wound, the implied suffering, out weighs these very real factors.
In the end I learn from the LEAF experience. It is the tip of the iceberg that threatens my life deep down. I still don’t know how to overcome this, but at least I am aware of the monster I face.