Smoke Break

Photo by Vinh Tran

By Vinh Tran

I actually do want to quit smoking eventually, even if it’s not really smoke–it’s still horrible for you. I want to kick the habit, I want to quit. But that’s the thing about giving something up, some things are worth never returning to again, however, other things are worth revisiting. Trust me, I’m going somewhere with this. 

I took a break from a lot of things recently, some that I don’t ever want to see again, maybe I’d like to call it a permanent hiatus. I took a break at my job to pursue a new one that’ll hopefully treat my wallet better. I took a break from my old habits and inherited healthy coping mechanisms. But I also took a break from writing for Kindergarten Mag. I never really thought people read the things I put out, to be honest, I started sending things in just so I could vocalize my thoughts and feelings. Was it to prove something to myself? Or was it to prove something to the world? To be honest, I have no idea. But hopefully, I won’t take another break as long as this one. Maybe I’d like to call my hiatus recess. 

Get it? Nice. 

Anyways, I actually do think that it’s healthy to shelve responsibilities, ideas, and feelings off to the side. If you don’t want to see them again–by all means. More power to you. But I always have this overarching feeling of guilt when I hold off on projects and dreams. Those one days turn into some days. Until that dream eventually just decays. 

That rhymed. Nice. 

One thing that I am currently stuck in a cycle of quitting and returning back to is photography. I picked up the hobby years and years ago, I first started with a dinky film camera, then I bought my first DSLR, then I bought a couple more dinky film cameras, then I bought a not-so-dinky DSLR, and now I have a pretty not-that-dinky-at-all-by-any-means film camera. But with each switch in my gear, there’s always a long period of time where that precious tool that I worked hard to get–just collects dust. It stays on that shelf, waiting to be used. It’s nothing more than an idea that I romanticized and left to die. 

Sometimes I like to rationalize that horrible feeling with this idea that “oh I lost inspiration, maybe switching to a different camera will spark something.” And yeah, it usually does, but that bright feeling of wanting to go out and pursue the thing I love is short-lived. Why is that? There’s nothing more in my life that I enjoy more than just going out and just hearing that shutter click. Why do I constantly let my passions go? 

Not nice. 

It’s because I’m so easy to give up. I feel like my generation specifically carries this sin of constantly comparing ourselves. When I scroll through social media, look through YouTube, or even anywhere–I just can’t help but think, “they’re so much better than me, why even try?”

That really fucking sucks. It’s not nice at all, far from it. 

So we take breaks. We take our passions and our drive for success and throw them elsewhere. We tell ourselves, “I’ll come back to it.” But do we? Do we really return with the same light in our eyes? Or is it temporary? Does the cycle continue? 

I’m going to ask you a question, what’s that one thing you love or loved doing and why can’t you come back to it? I’m sure some people have valid reasons. Like maybe you love dancing and you got shot in both legs. I mean yeah, shit that sucks. But I’m talking about things you currently have the ability to do that you just won’t. 

I still haven’t touched my camera in weeks, the last time I did was because a friend asked me, I haven’t truly picked it up in the hopes to achieve something for myself. 

But you know what? 

I won’t beat myself up about it.

We hurt ourselves so much and so often, comparing our abilities, our skills, and our passions to other people. But they’re not you. Willem Verbeek isn’t me, that one guy on Instagram isn’t you. So I’m gonna take things one step at a time. I’m assembling a list of all the things I love in life that I put away. The things I put on hiatus with the hopes of coming back to.

Like this article, I kept saying I’d write something–but I’d always just trash it. To my editors, I’ve actually written 13 different articles that are currently in my ‘recently deleted’ folder. When somebody asked me why I scrapped so many articles, I said “they’re not up to my standards.”

I froze a bit after saying that. My standards. I set my own standard for what I want. Writing is one of my passions, I do that shit every day. I haven’t compared my own writing to all the talented contributors on Kindergarten in the longest time. That’s why I set a goal for myself when I learned about this month’s theme. I’m gonna write something to my standards, something I want to talk about that I’ve been feeling all this time. A piece that acts as a culmination of my insecurities and how I’m still trying to overcome them.

I think I’m done with my break. I’m ready to get back to work.

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