Do you want to see the world or do you want the world to see you?
Updated: Feb 26, 2019
About 6 months ago there was a Pride parade in Madison WI that I went to in a different manner than ever before. I had it in my head that I would take my camera and get awesome pictures, ask people amazing questions, and in the end make some huge documentary about the experience. Boy was I off mark because none of that happened. When I got home I didn’t like the pictures I’d taken, had only spoken with a few people, and didn’t feel like I’d really accomplished anything.
The next few days I spent in bed recuperating as I’d done some serious damage to my body without knowing it. I was dehydrated from more than 6 hours of running back and forth along the parade route in 90 degree weather, my legs were beat up because my chubby self didn’t wear the right clothes, and I felt like complete crap. When I was laying in bed though I was very happy with myself. I was happy that I’d gone, happy that I’d seen it, and happy that I didn’t let my fear of being seen overtake me. In fact, I was surprised I’d done some of the things I had done.
When I first arrived at the parade I was sweating bullets. Picture a big guy in a black shirt and grey shorts, with a huge camera wrapped around his neck, looking oh so shiny. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb and more than once considered just leaving. I didn’t though, I put the camera up to my eye and I pressed the button.
It was like the camera was armor and all of a sudden I could do anything. I went up to people and asked them questions, walked through the crowd and took picture after picture, and in the end I hoped I wasn’t too rude looking back. When the parade started I raced from place to place, stood on benches, and even though there were probably a thousand people there I felt like I was the only one.
This is all to say that I hope these posts about myself are few and far between because what I realized in that day was that I enjoy seeing the world and when I’m not the focus I shine brighter than I ever knew I could. I think so many people have it in their heads that they want to see the world, when in fact they want the world to see them. They want to travel to far off places, but stay comfortable, as though they expect the new place to accommodate them. They want to go to resorts, see wild animals, talk to locals, all from the point of view of themselves.
Then I think there’s the people who want to see the world. They’re like me. They want to be invisible and hope the world makes no concessions to their interruptions. They don’t want to fly first class, but hope that no one on the plane notices them. They don’t want the fancy hotel, they want to see where they’re staying and leave no footprint in their wake. They want to observe locals, observe culture and customs, and appreciate that they know very little of the things they’re taking in.
Countless times I’ve tried to get this blog up and running for myself, but I realize now why I just couldn’t do it. I don’t want a blog about me, in fact, I’d be happy if you didn’t even know my name and just read my words. I want to be invisible. I want to see you so I can understand you. So I can be happy for you. So I can love you.