Inside Out, or Outside In?

It's really struck me lately about the different ways we use social media.

For me, the conversations about mental health, inner happiness and our collective misuse of social media are all part of the same equation. Instant connection, and the ability to showcase our work and our lives instantly with each other online is an incredible tool: but it takes constant work and effort on my behalf to set up the right boundaries and mindset with it. I delete the apps off my phone regularly, I also limit my time on them when I use them, or set myself intentions or goals with it, to enable me to actually enjoy it and to use it in a positive way.

I'm finding that as I want to start sharing more about myself, my photography and my writing online, I start beating myself up if I don't look the way that I want to, or if a photo isn't perfectly composed and shot, or if things arn't 'perfect'. In short - I become hyper-anxious at how I imagine people are perceiving me and my work - and I make that fatal mistake of using that imagined perception, an impossible barometer of 'perfection' - as a substitute for internal self-love, self-esteem and acceptance.

This pursuit of perfection has followed me my whole life, and is deeply unhealthy, just breeding further insecurity or unhappiness, as I find myself striving to outdo all the other people online, as well as keeping me insecure. But i'm never going to be the 'most beautiful' (what does that mean anyway?) or 'most followed' - it's a tortured pursuit that won't lead to any contentment anyhow. In these moments, I try to ask myself: what is it that only I can bring to this work, what is my unique experience or perspective that can fill this picture with my own colours? And ultimately - how can I embody more joy and spontaneity?

In my past life I tried to be a singer - I was desperate to be liked, desperate to make it, and I tried to turn myself into a marketable, sellable, product of desire. It ended up ruining the process of writing and making music for me, and I turned something I loved pursuing for sheer pleasure and joy into things that others would think were 'great' so I could make money from it. I promised myself that in my next creative endeavour, I would keep a large part of the practice just for myself. Simply to do it for the joy of creation and an intrinsic feeling of fulfillment, rather than using it for external validation, or indeed, leaning on it and bleeding it dry as a means to sustain me financially and practically.

I have picked up photography the past couple of years and find myself falling back into the same old traps. Instead of trying to look perfect, or overly curating the frame - killing myself over making sure that every detail is perfect - I am trying to foster an inside out mentality. Instead of doing things to appear more likeable, more successful, more loveable, more attractive to others, I want to do things that internally move me, inspire me, things that spark joy, and to share what I have captured in the moment with others. I want to think less 'outside in'. And I am trying to let more things just 'be' instead of forcing them to be perfect, as well as living more in the moment, capturing more of the joy in the 'now' rather than constantly battling for someone else's standards of beauty, love or 'success'. This is hard though. And it's a constant process.

If I have any goals, it's just to want to live life, and to let the beauty of life to reveal itself to me, simply because I happen to be living it. I ask myself the question: how about just documenting the beautiful things that happen? Or when you feel like life is grey and dull, picking up the camera and going with the flow anyway - because as I have learned over the pandemic - wonderful things in life do still happen despite the shit hitting the fan?

In other news, on a sick day today in London, where I am doing my best to starve off a cold (even though it's bright and sunny), I have discovered something that I truly want. I deeply desire to live this life to its most full, and its most fulfilling - falling in love, travelling, learning new skills, starting my own business - without forcing it or feeling the anxiety to fit everything in, or for it to look a certain way in my head. And what I deeply desire is simply to document it all - without trying to put it all onto one canvas, or make it into anything more than it is. I want to write it, film it, photograph it, poeticise it, and dance through it. I want to be overflowing with such joy in life that I want to capture it all and share it. And I want to share it because I want to connect, and share the love that I feel in these moments with others.

... I've been wondering about a name, sometimes I worry that 'A Man On The Move' is too generic, and other names that crop up are 'The Brokenhearted Backpacker' (but I don't want to stay brokenhearted, or a backpacker for the rest of my life!) or Nomad Luxe (but i'm not a hotel!)... so perhaps, for now, while i'm figuring out how to be more inside-out, then 'A Man On The Move' it still is, or maybe just my name, Pritham Pummy Bhatia.

Anyways, i'm going to hope you stay inspired and creative, and find something magical in your day!