What I never wanted to tell
In the past I've talked about the depression I've had. Of course I also told a lot about the dogs, how they got me through difficult times. How they have always been there for me. I told about how I got my first depression, the death of my father, and the year and a half after his death, in which my mother was severely depressed, and in which her COPD continued to progress. That life has become very hard for her due to the loss of her support, and how I took care of my father and mother during that time. About the fact that my mother passed away a year and a half after my father, that I myself had lost my way afterwards. And that it cost me 10K euros due to a stupid mistake.
I also told about my passion for photography. How it disappeared after the death of both parents, and how Rowan managed to bring this passion back to life. But I have said very little about how I also had a passion for drawing and painting before the death of both my parents.
Why have I talked little about it, and showed almost nothing of it? For the simple reason that that passion was also extinguished, and it was buried even deeper than the passion for photography. My inspiration had disappeared, along with my parents. Their support and motivation was very important to me, and without it I ended up in a 'black hole'. To draw and paint you have to dare to let your creativity run free, you have to let yourself go, as it were. And that part, I couldn't do that anymore after everything that had happened..
Seeing how your parents both die in a short period of time after a severe and severe illness in a year and a half is already hard. But in the time since then more things happened that made it even harder for me to let myself go. Oh, I'm saying it wrong… At first I was able to let myself go completely. In a totally wrong way, but hey, I could let myself go completely. I could lose myself completely, and I did so with full dedication. I had completely lost myself, if you now understand what I mean. I had completely changed, I was not myself anymore and I was doing things that did not suit ME at all, and that I would never have done if I had remained myself.
My stupid mistake
So one of those things was falling head over heels in love with a man who surreptitiously managed to get his hands on 13K euros of my parents' inheritance. In retrospect, now that I can think back to that period with all my mind, I see that he had written the word “SCAMMER” in capital letters on his forehead. Back then I was very vulnerable, I didn't see it and fell for his sweet talk.
Shortly after we met, he started talking about how hard it was as a professional photographer and that he urgently needed new equipment. His old camera, an Olympus E3, couldn't handle the work he was doing anymore, and he had to go to the south of France to shoot a wedding, but actually needed a Nikon D3 for that. People who are somewhat into the cameras probably know in which time this took place. The Nikon D3 camera had just come out. That is not important at all … What is important is that if I hadn't been so vulnerable, I would have used my brain! Because seriously, I should have known this was just bullshit!
I had a firm belief in how he and I would be happy together, and having just rediscovered my passion for photography myself, I fully understood his desire to upgrade his equipment. And let's just say I believed him on his beautiful blue eyes. A long story short. We decided to draw up a loan agreement, I would lend him 10K euros, and for 3K I would buy his old Olympus E3 with the lenses that came with it. He would repay me with at least 100 euros per month of his increasing earnings. Because with his new camera he could again take on all the assignments that were offered to him. That was his story. And I… I believed him on his beautiful blue eyes.
The agreement was drawn up, and that's where I went wrong. I wanted so badly to help him. I wanted so badly to make him happy. And transferred the money to his account BEFORE he signed the agreement. Together we went shopping for his new equipment and as a thank you he took me out to dinner only to find out too late that he had left his credit card at home, his bank account was empty after buying all this expensive equipment of course. If I could pay that bill. And of course I did, there was no other choice ...
Well, now it was time, he had money, we had shopped together and he now had everything he needed to make it all the way in photography. Nice talk about customers queuing up to book a photo shoot with him. And yes, he was crazy about me, he continued to assure me of that.
The end of the bubble
A few days after we bought his equipment, he called me to say he would be abroad for a few weeks on an assignment. He would call me regularly and he would miss me. God, what a sweet talk, and I was stupid enough to believe it.
I enjoyed myself with Rowan during those weeks. Rowan was still a puppy, about half a year old and brought joy and love into my life. We went everywhere together and where I was was Rowan. The days went by, and now and then my lover called me to say how much he missed me, that he was so looking forward to seeing me again and that he would come and see me very soon as soon as he was back in the country. used to be. After such a phone call or chat conversation via MSN, my night was good again. Yes night, he had the strange habit of calling me at night or chatting via MSN.
Until one day the first crack in my confidence came, through a DM on facebook, from a woman I didn't know at all. She asked me if she could have a serious conversation with me and immediately gave me her phone number. It was about him. Somewhat apprehensive, but still trusting his words, I went to check out her profile. And what I saw there put the first dent in my confidence in his words. Photos of him and her together, taken 3 days earlier. And not abroad where he said he would stay. No, about 20 miles from where I was sitting. My world collapsed a bit, but I didn't want to give up what I thought I had just yet.
I had believed in an illusion
I texted him if he could call me when he had time. And when he finally called 3 days later, I confronted him with the fact that I knew he was not abroad, but only 30 kilometers from me. He got mad and yelled that I shouldn't claim and control him and more of that sort of thing. For a moment I doubted whether I should stop, but his reaction had awakened something in me, and I realized at that moment that I had believed in an illusion. To which I decided to go ahead and tell him he still had an agreement to sign. And that I counted on his promise. If he didn't keep his promise I'd hire a lawyer. From that moment it was clear to me that we had no personal relationship, and that it probably only ever existed in my mind. It hurt, really hurt. To know that I had been lied to and cheated so much. I knew I had to find myself again, and protect myself. So that this couldn't happen again.
And yes, there it was again Rowan holding me up. My most loyal friend ever. Unconditionally! And for him I went on.
The loan agreement got finally signed
And even though I never really wanted to see him again, we still had a few things to deal with. 10K euros is not a small amount! So I kept calling and texting him, after all there was a loan agreement that needed to be signed. And he had to pay me back at least 100 euros every month. After a silence of about a month, he suddenly tried very hard again to have good contact with me. Unexpectedly he called me again almost every day, and slowly the nightly chats via MSN were also picked up again. And then there was the moment when he called me, he was already in the area and wanted to come over and have a coffee, talk about what went wrong, and sign the agreement to start keeping his promises. Of course that was an important point and at 11 o'clock in the evening, (I had already gone to bed earlier), I got up again. Made coffee. He would bring something nice for coffee. And at half past eleven he did indeed arrive with a bag of deep fried doughnut balls. When I saw him again after all these months, I found that I could be strong when he was out of sight, but I was still attracted to him in his immediate vicinity. I was even more vulnerable than I had anticipated, and even more vulnerable then I realized.
The loan contract was on the table, and the first thing he did after he greeted me excessively was pick up a pen and sign the contract. We drank coffee, he tried to make friends with Rowan but it didn't work. Rowan was not an ignorant puppy, certainly not. But he absolutely did not want to go to him. And that's where my alarm bells should have gone off. Unfortunately, I hadn't learned very well at that time to ALWAYS listen to my dog.
What happened after the coffee I won't, and can't even write about, but let's just say it was an experience I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. And that after that experience I was left with literally empty hands and a puppy that had to go to the vet the same night. And that I had to visit a doctor the next morning. After that night when I thought I finally had the all-important signature, I had nothing left. No loan contract, no signature, and virtually no money left in my bank account after I paid all the fees needed to patch myself and Rowan. Rowan, who at six months had tried so hard to save me, but could not withstand the force of a malevolent man, was left badly wounded. And while I was certainly not unscathed, I still thought that was the worst of all. I couldn't have protected my faithful doggy friend.
My creativity was irreparably broken
At that moment something was born in me that prevented me from letting go of control over myself, so that I no longer dared to let my thoughts run free, and on which my creativity was definitively blocked. To allow an idea to mature, you have to dare to dream away, I couldn't do it anymore.
Later I found a good friend in that woman who had sent me that message. She too was a victim of this man. In a very different way, but no less bad. And we weren't the only two women either. The woman he lived with lost more than 30K euros because of him, and later I spoke with several women who all had negative experiences with him. We tried with all the women to make a lawsuit out of this, but the gentleman put a stop to that by starting a procedure for debt counseling, and we had too little evidence. He had taken care of that.
I wanted to forget all this and tried to move on with my life. Photography is for a large part technique, it is capturing an image that already exists. I could, and yes, I could also see how best to take a photo. And yes, in the safety of my own living room I could also be creative with photoshop. But to continue drawing and painting again… for that you have to go outside your own safe box. For that you have to create an image that does not yet exist. And I just couldn't take it anymore. I didn't dare to let go of that control. I couldn't get to my own creativity anymore. It was broken. I was broken, but could function on autopilot. My creativity was irreparably broken, it doesn't function on autopilot.
Why this story now?
It is now 2 years after Rowan, my best friend, was diagnosed with incurable cancer. Coming December it will be 2 years that I have to miss him. And although I still miss him very much, I am especially happy for having him in my life, and I look back with gratitude on all the years that he was able and willing to be such a great dog to me. He has always been there for me. Unconditionally. I was his world, and I certainly did everything in my power to be there for him. And even though I couldn't protect him in that one night, I find that I can slowly forgive myself for this. I tried what was in my power at that time.
I also notice that things are now starting to change.
Of course I have been happy in a relationship for a long time, and although that relationship has also had difficult times, fortunately it has been going well for a long time now. In fact, it's better than before that difficult time when we almost broke up. Our relationship has become much stronger. We are happy with each other and with the three dogs we have now.
Although I never expected it, now it turns out that with the passing of Rowan and the Corona that came shortly after, my inspiration to go out to photograph has once again hit a snag. I don't feel it anymore. The dogs I have now are seriously as dear to me as Rowan has always been. But at the moment I don't feel the pleasure of going out together to photograph. Rowan had something special about a camera. As soon as he saw that I grabbed my camera, he was already happy. He enjoyed going out with me, doing assignments along the way so I could photograph him nicely. The dogs we have now don't care. They are happy if they can come along, but they don't like to pose for the camera. Who am I to ask them that? There is also much less pleasure for me from that, so with the dogs I now have, I walk every day of course. Only the difference is that the camera remains unemployed at home. We do different things because as I've always looked with Rowan at what HE liked, so with Myla, Lana and Skipper I look at what they like. I think having dogs gives me the obligation to make sure my dogs have a good time. If they don't like big cameras, that's too bad for me.
Little or no inspiration to photograph the same view every day
I have seen my daily environment every day for many years now. And I'm not going out very often, besides my daily walks with the dogs. To be honest, I get little or no inspiration from my daily view to photograph this every day. Yes, it's changing in every season, yes I live in a nice spot of this country. But to me, it's not that interesting to photograph the same thing every day. I haven't been able to really go out to photograph for a long time due to circumstances. And now the circumstances have changed, but my motivation to go out for photography is below zero. The loss of Rowan was the beginning of a lack of inspiration for that…
But with the loss of Rowan, this memory of the past, which apparently continued to weigh heavily on me, has faded into the background. And I didn't expect that, and I didn't even really notice it. Until something else started to happen. And with that I'm very happy!
Finding creativity back!
I didn't expect to find something back. And that's exactly what happened. Being able to let go of Rowan apparently also allowed me to finally let go of the worst memory of my life after so many years. The death of my parents and the many events that followed. And the fact that I was able to let go of that after so many years has ensured that my own creativity has started flowing again. Last year I already started creating digital images myself. Instead of shooting and editing photos. I liked that, so I dared to go further. And suddenly it was there again. After almost 20 years! I reach for the blank canvases, paint and brushes again.
And that feels good. Finally after so many years not to get scared when I see a white canvas in front of me. Now I'm ready to start thinking about what I want to create. Instead of despondently walking away from that canvas. I'm painting again. My inspiration is fully back, my creativity that has been suppressed for so long is flowing again and I want to create images again, preferably one every day, but that is not possible. LOL! I am very happy that my creativity is again able to come up with images, and no longer just register and capture what is already there.
I'm happy that I have a hobby back
This creation succeeds one day better than the next, that will always be the case. But at least I'm very happy to feel it again, and to be able to do something with it. I feel alive again! Am I suddenly an artist? No, certainly not, but I'm happy that I have a hobby back, that I dare to let myself go again in creating an image that wasn't there before. I'm glad I don't block anymore when there's a blank white canvas in front of me, and I feel a desire again to wave a brush and paint over a canvas every moment of the day.
Temporarily unemployed in the closet
My camera is temporarily unemployed in the closet, and I'm pretty sure there will come a time when I want to use that camera again. Also for photography I still have plenty of ideas what I would like to make. When will this happen? I don't know, I think I'm going to feel it again, there will come a time when I'm going to reach for my camera again.
But now I want to enjoy the fact that I am painting again after so many years.