Thursday, 6 September 2012

Picture perfect

A few weeks ago, I decided to take an intensive five day course in digital photography. As usual my theoretical understanding was picture perfect but for some reason, I seemed to be struggling with the practical side of the assignment. What should have been a simple case of “point and shoot” had somehow become an over-complicated, ambiguous mess. The whole experience reminded me of high school and the way in which our eccentric art teacher would ask us to pick up a paint brush and start painting our feelings. “There is no right and there is no wrong answer when it comes to art for beauty lies within the eye of the beholder.”

This kind of whimsical subjectivity may be the very reason Vincent Van Gogh cut off his ear that starry night. Our insane obsession with getting things right or as close to perfect as possible can be altogether consuming especially when society sets the bar so high. Financial freedom, a high-end career and a happy marriage...are these the only goals that frame success or are they just mainstream perceptions we’re expected to want for ourselves? Are we all ultimately after the same thing or was Ms. Moore right? Can one person’s idea of perfection be someone else’s shortcoming and vice versa? 

Aiden and I were finally on the same page. Things were particularly starting to look up for him at work since he landed the promotion he had been working so hard for. He even got himself an attractive salary bump which was in itself a real shocker considering the low life white-collar criminal that he worked for. I had only ever heard negative things about this man. Apparently he was the type that screwed around on his pregnant wife with his barely legal secretary. I also heard that he had a tendency to dip into the staff pension fund to support a cocaine habit. Whatever the case, the firm that Aiden had worked for sounded like a place where ethics and professionalism came to die. It’s no wonder he decided to resign from such a morally repugnant environment.

The initial shock happened at shutter speed. What should have been interpreted as a glass half full situation was in fact the beginning of the end. Instead of showing any kind of support for his decision, I unleashed my inner she-bitch, a force more potent than a thousand volts of PMS. After all we had been through in 2010, all the lies and set-backs, Aiden decided to put me in one more difficult position. And in such a difficult job market where most positions are AA, EE, I O U? We were supposed to travel next year, see Europe. Conversations of buying a house together and marriage now seemed to filter away in the harsh light of reality. Just when you think you’re on the right track and the bigger picture starts coming into focus, something drastic happens to alter the clarity of your perfect composition.

The status of our relationship had become as blurry as my photographic assignments. We were somewhere stuck in limbo walking a very fine line between making it work and ending it completely. Just like all those assignments, our relationship was being tested and I did not like it. Once again, the theory was clear but applying it into actual practice was the bigger challenge especially when there was no right or wrong answer. Had my need for black and white eliminated any kind of subjectivity on the matter? When did my life become so rigid and calculated? Had I really conformed to the standard perceptions of perfection?  

If beauty really does lie within the eye of the beholder then I’ve been temporarily blinded. No matter how hard I try, I just cannot see the upside to my current situation despite Aiden’s attempts to re-invent himself. As individuals we’re entitled to make changes in our life but not at the expense of your partner’s hopes and dreams and not without discussion first. As I sat in limbo trying to adapt, I realised that “perfection” may just be an impractical state of mind especially when life as we know it could change at any given moment.

When it comes to a relationship's darkest hour, why is it so hard to see the light? 

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