In a photography lecture I went to last weekend, the photographer talked about how she only ever shoots in Aperture Priority mode. I love the look of photos with a really shallow depth of field, though my ability to capture them had been sort of hit and miss. Now I understand how to get the blur on purpose by using Aperture Priority mode, and how to control it.
In my kitchen this morning, taking pictures of fading hydrangeas to practice what I'd learned, I had an epiphany that had nothing to do with photography. I've been controlling my grief by using an emotion aperture to only let in what I can deal with. Recently a few people have told me that I look great, or I am holding up so well, or I make stress look easy. When really, I'm not at all OK on the inside. It is true that I have been keeping my life rolling fairly smoothly, continuing to be a leader at work, not crying in public places (much), not having freak outs except behind closed doors. I don't really feel that I have the luxury to fall apart. I have no one to pick me up again. So I keep a tight reign, only let in what I can process. Just a bit at a time. It means the processing is very slow, and that's frustrating, but also, it allows me to keep moving, keep feeling, keep functioning, and to make considered decisions rather than rash emotional ones. And mostly, it is working for me.
In the photo above, you can't see the fence in the background, our neighbor's ugly roof, the grungy kitchen window sill. You can't even really tell that this particular bloom is totally wilted. When you look at me, you can't tell that I'm falling apart. That doesn't mean the pain isn't there, I've just blurred it out so it isn't noticeable.