I bought some prints from Parabo Press the other day. They are incredible and use recycled paper! Check them out and use this code for a $10 discount: MLOBSL. I really love these square prints!
Well anyway, for these prints for my apartment, I decided to use photos I had taken in Paris and edit them all in black and white. Once I got them and laid them out to hang on the wall, I started thinking about how they may be black and white, but the in-between is grey. Not every picture was perfectly black and white. Maybe that's just how I edit photos, but it's how I like it.
There is something unclear and unfamiliar about the grey parts of life. But there is also something really unique and undiscovered about the grey. There is a comfort in knowing exactly what you believe or feel, but if we live life in comfort, we will live boring lives. In fact, I don't think that living in comfort is even living at all.
"A ship is always safe at shore- but that is not what it is built for."
If we always stay on the shore, or in the safety of comfort, we will never sail the seas, or have amazing experiences and learn incredible things. Likewise, if we never listen to other people's opinions, we will never learn anything new. Lately it's felt like people all think in black and white. They hold so strongly to their opinions that they won't even allow themselves a chance to learn. We have to start letting ourselves live in the grey. It's okay to not have everything figured out and it's okay to have questions. Personally, I don't think we should ever stop asking questions. When you let yourself stop learning, you close people out of your world. Humans thrive from learning from each other and being in community. So why is it that we stop asking questions and cling to either the black or the white? I think the answer to that question is the fear of the uncertain.
The same goes for our dating lives. Despite my not so lucky dating history, I love this topic. We let fear control us to the point where we lean towards one side or the other, when, in order to be in a healthy relationship, we should be somewhere in the middle. Let me explain. How I see it, one side is the shy, very unconfident person who feels as though they can never ask someone out or express their feelings. It comes from fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment...you get what I mean. The other side is the over-confident asshole that asks everyone out and flirts with everyone. We usually refer to these types as the, excuse my language, "fuckboys", "whores", etc. They lead us on and then end up not being able to express their true feelings. But again, I think the deep issue here is fear. In a very different way, it's still a fear of rejection, and maybe an insecurity in themselves and a reputation that they feel can't be lost. But, if we learn to live in the grey in our dating lives, we will be able to have much healthier relationships and live in a strong confidence that isn't overcompensating for fear.
Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing inherently bad with being afraid. For sure, it holds us back sometimes, but we are human. We can't change the fact that fear is a present thing in our lives. What we can change is how we deal with it. Living in the grey is scary. The most important thing that I've learned about the in between black and white is that I can't be there alone. You have to have people there with you. It has to be a discussion. The grey is lonely and impossible on your own. And even when you do have people in the grey with you, it won't always feel like they're there. You won't agree on everything. But, that's the point. Despite everything, there is a relationship built on love and communication. Anything is open to discussion and a there is a bond formed like nothing else you will ever experience. I may not have hundreds of these people, in-fact, I probably have around 10, but I have my people. And I didn't find these people all at once. Some of these people don't even know each other. But, I know who my people are. And I think they, whether I have told them or not, know that they are my people. And wow, am I grateful for these people. They have honestly changed my life for the better and introduced me to so many ideas and thoughts. They are incredible people.
I guess what I'm saying is to find your people. Don't let fear stop you from finding people to live in the grey with. Find people who encourage you to think and to think outside the box. Find people who you can trust completely, no matter what. Find people who love you for who you are, and who don't try to change you. Hold on to what you believe loosely and with an open mind. Never stop standing up for what you believe, but be willing to admit that you may not be right. This takes so much humility and my friends will tell you that I am not always the best at this, but it makes your life so much more beautiful in the long run when you can admit that you might be wrong. Live into your fear. Don't let it hold you back from living your life. Challenge yourself to get outside your comfort zone, think differently, and live in the grey. Explore the unfamiliar and let yourself be uncomfortable sometimes. You'll find that you can do amazing things between the black and the white.