The Trees/ The Forest

These photos were all taken at the NJBG last October

I am putting together a time-line/ story of my dreadlocks and it hit me, I have been seeing the tree of my life, but not the forest. 

This is a particularly apt metaphor for me, because when it comes to photographing actual trees (which I love very much), I love macro shots and blurry closeups especially. And silhouettes. Oh, yes. 

But in terms of my life, my perception of my own life, I am perhaps too close. I can sort of appreciate my uniqueness, but I haven't pulled back and looked at it in totality. The forest of me. 

I wonder, is the gestalt of me more or less different (interesting/ unusual) than each sum part? 

I used to worry I'd look too crazy. I've been feeling that slipping away as I'm going through my thirties. Stripped socks with clashing stripped shirt? Hell yes! (I still have a tiny whisper of worry at the back of my head. Now it is more like, "Am I trying too hard to look like a teenager? Will people *think* I am a teenager? The horror!" Even that voice is getting quieter and quieter as I head closer and closer to forty. )

As that worried voice slips away, I find what is getting louder is my own passion: "Oh, those colors are awesome! Mmmm... that is shiny!"

My passion never abandoned me, not really and I'm almost positive that from the outside it looks like I have always followed that voice, and the truth is, I have, mostly. Even when the passionate voice was quiet, I listened closely for it. I heard the worry, too, but I consciously dampened it when I could, in order to keep listening to my passion.

The change is (almost) entirely internal, except that it isn't. My life as I've gotten older has changed dramatically in a few ways. On a macro level, I have made these changes organically, and fairly easily, switching out products that contain SLS, for example. Switching to buying only Fair Trade (organic) coffee and chocolate. Dreadlocking my hair instead of staying with "normal" haircuts (and slightly wild hair color).

But when I look at the panorama of my life, are all those little changes adding up to a very huge change? 

I'm not sure. I don't see the forest very well, for the trees are so alluring that I prefer looking at them close up. 

Perhaps it is time to pull back and take in the landscape. 

Perhaps it is time to explore the forest.