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A self-portrait

In the age of selfies, the art of the self-portrait is a drowning art. Like an anchor. It sinks to the bottom of the clear lake to remain as a foundation, while cell-phone portraits float at the surface by the millions each day.

What constitutes a self-portrait? I'm hardly a versed artist, but I can say this: a self-portrait almost always includes

thought & intention planninga message or subject& an audience.
Recently I took a series of portraits to tell a story. I wanted to show what it was like to have schizophrenia through emotion, fabric, highlight and shadow.

I chronicled through portrait my journey with schizophrenia:

Symptomatic but not medicated or diagnosed.Diagnosed but not medicated. Medication trial and error through hospitalization.Isolation out of fear and shame.Despair because of that isolation.Accepting my diagnosis. Coming public with my diagnosis.Advocating for others with the same diagnosis.

I know that the term schizophrenia is hardly praised, so I want…

Effort in a Different Direction

"Nothing ever comes to me, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work." 

-Booker T. Washington

If you're unfamiliar with the life and work of "Booker," please read this. 

I could never claim to know what "hard work" means. 

I don't dig trenches. I don't carry massive buckets of water to my community every day. I don't harvest in rice fields.

I don't caretake the mentally ill. I don't talk down the emotionally distressed. I don't nurse the sick or wounded.

I don't watch over dozens of children on a playground every single day. I don't put my life in danger to keep the community safe. I don't lift the elderly out of their beds every morning. I don't bend over and strain my back for hours on end to do hair, clean nails, or massage muscle and skin.

I don't do this kind of hard work. Not in that way. I honor those that do these essential tasks, and many of them do this with a smile on their face!

That leaves me to wonder what work do I do? What value do I add to my community?

How do I contribute?

This. This is how I contribute.

I read. I write. I learn.

I teach. I advise. I mentor.

I uplift. I encourage. I lead.

I research. I experiment. I find.

I guide. I cheerlead. I empathize.

I digest. I analyze. I adjust.

I strategize. I observe. I gather.

I report. I organize. I celebrate.

I share. I shout.

I consult. 

I strive for progress for myself and all those around me.

I strive not for perfection, not for "better,"

but for different, creative, efficient, productive, smarter, and joyful.

I contribute by pointing a person's hard work in a different direction.

Creative direction.

Efficient direction.

Productive direction.

Smarter direction.

Joyful direction. 

But for what result? What purpose? What am I trying to achieve?

Connection to the community.

My entire goal, mission, essential pillar, whatever you want to call it,

Guide a person's hard work to:

1) benefit the community
2) be welcomed by the community
3) be celebrated by the community
4) be supported by the community

Because of the internet, your community is not constrained to just local anymore.

Community is also in the palm of your hand.

The world is now your stage.

Those that know how to navigate this world wide web are the ones that are slowly shaping human mindset around the globe. 

Marketing is no longer a 1920's newspaper/magazine catch phrase.

Marketing is now massive mind manipulation, leading individuals, and entire communities to action.

To vote.
To buy.
To serve.
To volunteer.
To sign-up.
To support.
To read.
To try.

And to what direction? To what purpose? 

To vote for what?
To buy what?
To serve what?
To volunteer for what?
To sign-up for what?
To support what?
To read what?
To try what?

Every compelling marketing message makes the promise of:

more effective

The advertisement claims that their product/service will make a person's life better, more comfortable, happier, and so on.

The hard work that fulfills that promise is the one that lasts and grows because it's nourished by its community.

Anyone can "say" they are great. 
The ones that DO great find success, support, and community.

In a world wide web bombarded by marketing and false promises, the sayers no longer stand out.

It's now the Doers that hold the world stage.