Once upon a time

Once upon a time I used to be good at blogging.  I look back and regret having quit.  I scan through a decade of blog posts and they make me smile and for the most part are delightful reminders of times past.

I think some of it had to do with my dog Cleo passing away, she was always good for an amusing story du jour, and I was very sad.  I fell out of the habit.

For a long time it was the Cash-man, Cleo-bug and me.   Two dogs and a divegirl.   We had adventures and folly and a lot lot lot of laughs.   I was also still working as a surgical tech, and that gave me tons of fodder for lamenting this or that early morning, and this or that endless commute.   I blogged though 3 dogs, a really messed up relationship, a ton of movie and book reviews…  I blogged A LOT about what silly thing I was doing with dive gear, and what awesome new toy I was playing with or reviewing another piece of kit.

Then everything got too serious. I was trying to be someone I was not to a degree.  I loved teaching diving and it was something I was quite good at it in the 90’s, but when I decided to ‘get back into the game’ in 2004, it didn’t take long to find disappointment with the standards being upheld by the ‘big agencies’.   Having to fight for an extra two days in the pool for students was unacceptable.

Somewhere around 2006 or 2007 I started down a different path. With the help of my dive buddy, we had been mentoring divers for a while and fool that I can be, decided I wanted to be an instructor for a diving agency that was pretty male dominated, very serious (mission oriented). By 2009-2010 the climate was such that anything I did or said or wrote felt like it would be under a microscope and be reported ‘back to HQ’ as an example of my being unfit to lead or represent said agency (looking back on it now I just shake my head in a WTF moment, we are all adults, right?).  At the end of the day I don’t know how much of it was my own paranoia, but it did put an end to blogging about crazy monkey dives, rebreather shenanigans and strapping myself to the nose of a scooter with nothing but a 30 cuft stage bottle and blasting about the Alki Pipeline like a maniac.

Some other stuff happened there as well, some of it at the bleeding edge of ridiculous and at looking back at it, quite unacceptable, unbelievable nonsense I’d rather leave in the past.  Lets just suffice to say I will avoid diving politics like the plague and won’t be teaching diving for any agency or doing any serious mentoring for a while.

These past few years have been focused on making the leap from the golden handcuffs of the hospital and striking out on my own as a half-baked entrepreneur (www.she-p-na.com) environmental advocate, activist and educator (www.tox-ick.org) and videographer both underwater and topside (www.btlgproject.com)

It is different when you have a 9-5 job, you know where you are going, you know what you are doing, you know the limits of your role/position and any opportunities for career advancement.

When you are freelance its kind of up to you what direction you take,  how hard you work, where you put your energy, and you find yourself (whether you realize it at the time or not) trying things on for size.  Just like at the clothing store, some things you try on don’t fit quite right, others look amazing and you would love to be the kind of person who wears that stunning outfit, but at end of day, you are who you are, and you know in your heart that you won’t wear it enough to justify it.

So if it appears that I have been trying on some things for size, you (my fine reader) are somewhat correct in that assessment.  The themes that have remained true however are: film-making & camera stuff, Boxer dogs, filming underwater, environmental education and storytelling,  cool dive gear, education surrounding Puget Sound, empowering women,  mild computer geekery, communicating ‘stuff’ and social media.

Things that did not work (and if I head down that path, please find me and remind me):  Working for a non-profit ‘just to pay the bills’ (I might as well go back to the operating room),  working as a dive gear rep,  diving education – specifically GUE,  organizing a divers ‘group’ and mentoring, Ghost writing for anyone else.  Being a mover and a shaker in the enviro sector wasn’t exactly right either, the meetings, so many meetings to attend if you want to know and be known.  All those meetings didn’t leave me the time to do the stuff I really wanted to be doing.

So what am I up to these days?  Currently I’m doing my best to build a solid topside shooting resume (I’m not Howard Hall, and can’t survive just yet on underwater video alone) and get all the experience I can to be a very reliable asset to any production, above or below the water.

Stories are told mostly topside as well.   The best underwater story in the world has topside components.

That said, this also means really dialing in my diving video chops and re-shooting the stock footage library in higher res and better quality, along with branching out and learning new techniques and developing a more creative style that will lend itself to the critter videos for kids.  It is a slippery slope though, the reason I eased back into mentoring and diving education was the desire to build a fantastic lighting team for amazing underwater video projects…. So, if i start wandering down that path please come whack me upside the head with a dive light, because it won’t end well 😉

So I guess what this long drawn out post is mostly about is finding my blogging voice again.  I’ve stuttered and started and stopped a few times now and usually that is due to having such high expectations of myself.  I look over at my white board and see a list of blog posts I wanted to write and honestly, they are all so serious!  That serious wasn’t me, isn’t me, and if it is, then that needs to change.

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