In Part 3 of Lindsey Addario’s novel It’s What I Do, she mentions her many conflicts with being a female war photographer. One conflict that she mentions throughout the book, specifically on page 146, is the idea of making money from images of people who were so very desperate. She had spent countless years of her life making sacrifices financially, mentally, physically, and socially for her job as a photojournalist, yet she still feels guilty for making money off her work. She claims, “I knew that any money I made from these photos would be invested right back into my work… I wanted them [the reader] to linger, to ask questions” (Addario 146). This is a very difficult struggle because no matter how hard Addario works and succeeds in her career, she will never be able to provide for herself as sufficiently as others may. She will not allow herself to be selfish enough to give back to her life and needs. This is both a good and bad thing because it shows how passionate Addario is for her profession, but she is not giving herself enough credit for all the hardships she endures in her travels, like watching people suffer and placing herself in dangerous situations.
I had a similar conflict of being too selfless in my past, and it still sometimes occurs to this day. I have always been taught to put others first: other people’s needs, wants, desires, and even happiness. This is not a horrible stigma to live by, and I am thankful that I grew up in an environment that taught me the importance of treating others so well. In fact, my high school’s motto was, “Men and Women for others.” However, I realized that even though I tried so desperately to make my friends, family, and peers pleased and healthy, I began to notice myself becoming depressed and unwholesome. I would not be able to look myself in the mirror and feel satisfied, and I got sick to my stomach when I had to have my picture taken. It was difficult for me to talk about myself or express myself in ways that I always encouraged others to do for themselves, so I made it a conscious decision to turn this part of my life around. I had to learn how to love myself. Although love has always been a passionate value I strive to live by, once I learned how to truly love myself, my passion became even more fervent and powerful.
This is certainly a conflict I plan on addressing in my passion blog because I know that many people, especially my audience, have the same internal struggle that I battled with and still do from time to time. Self-love will not only improve the lives of people who practice it daily, but it will also drive that person towards the success they intend on pursuing in their lives.