“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” Thomas Jefferson
I had to look up what “delineate” meant. All I could muster up in my out of shape brain was de-line, as in action will de-line me? Huh? Like lines of a tennis court? Yea. I’m encouraged that at least I had the presence of mind to realize that the definition I came up with is actually the antithesis of the essence of the quote, so I knew I was off mark. So I highlighted and clicked and looked and found that delineate means “to describe or portray something precisely.” Ah. That makes a lot more sense.
Action will define me, and define me precisely. And don’t just act. Act! Do it with a little oomph, a little will, a little passion.
I so often get hung up on what to do, rather than just doing. I think myself into circles and before I know it another day is done, wasted, thinking rather than doing. It’s because I want to have purpose in my doing. I want to know why I’m doing what I’m doing. I want to have it titled and packaged nicely and perfectly defined in my mind. Yet the process is often times what gives me my reasons for the why. I figure out what works and what doesn’t, what fits, what sounds right and looks good and feels right. I hate change so I think to myself that if I don’t get it right the first time, I’ll have to change it and people will think I’m wishy washy or not level headed. It’ll show my imperfections, my weaknesses, my lack of ability to make up my mind.
So, much of the time I don’t act because I’m too scared to. I don’t act because I’m afraid that people will see right through me and that I actually have no idea what I’m doing, I’m just experimenting. I don’t act because I don’t have a clear plan or direction.
In the few years I’ve been practicing photography, I’ve become more and more convinced that movement creates the best kind of pictures. Maybe not every picture is perfect, or even good, but when people move in front of my lens, something good eventually comes of it. At first they might even be faking it, but the more they move, the more confident they become of their movements. The more convinced they become that this is the right path, simply because they are moving. They might not know why they are moving or how they should be moving, but they start to realize that movement creates emotions, and real emotions, imperfections and all, will translate to honest images.
Writing is a big way for me to act. I’m not really ever sure where it will lead. I’m not really ever sure why I’m writing or what I’m writing when I begin. But I’m learning that if I merely keep thinking and asking myself if I should write, I usually don’t. And that’s safe, but it’s not honest. I’m in fact robbing myself of the opportunity to delineate myself, tennis lines and all.
Imperfect, unplanned and emotional. I’ll take this over stiff smiles any day.