August 16th


It’s past midnight here in Belgrade, Serbia where I live, so it’s already August 16th – even though I have a pretty challenging relationship with this particular day in the year, it’s still my birthday. I’m 38. Seems a lot in certain ways, seems hardly enough from a different perspective… the truth is probably as always somewhere in the middle, hopefully I’m somewhere in the middle of my life path. What’s certain though is that I don’t feel 38, maybe because I spent years and years just hiding and coping. Those years are one big blur, which can be condensed into a single dot in time – for me, it’s as though that time never passed, while in reality life went far ahead without me. It’s a if I’m still in my twenties in my head, still waiting for my life to unfold, to make important decisions, to overcome these mental hurdles and start living again. Then comes August 16th again and again and puts things into their real place, reminding me that things are not as good as I try to picture them to myself, which used to hurt a lot. I would lie if I said that it doesn’t not hurt any more, it just hurts less. Every year I say that next year on this day I’ll be in some much better place, but actually both me and everybody and everything around me grow just older and things get tougher. My dad is not doing really well lately, which makes my birthday much less significant than it used to be – if I could truly make a birthday wish, it would be for him to resolve his issues and start feeling better again. This picture was taken by my dad and fully developed by him as well, and it is one of the first pictures in my life. My parents say that I always held my fists tightly closed, as if I knew I would have to battle a lot in life. This photo reminds me that 1976 was quite a long time ago, everything was done manually… and it shows you where my passion for photography came from. 🙂 He developed numerous films and photos in improvised dark rooms, he loved slides and projectors, but somehow that passion of his faded away with age and the arrival of digital photography. I developed some films and photos manually myself and I remember that I loved doing it, maybe some day I’ll show you some of that black and white work.

There were many different August 16ths – many of them were spent at the seaside, some of them abroad – once in the USA, several times in Italy. Those were all quite lonely birthdays because it’s vacation time in Serbia and the famous Ferragosto week in Italy when people run away from deserted cities and towns to enjoy their holidays to the fullest. I didn’t always have a cake, but it was always a special summer day, special because I lived it in my head as such. Tomorrow will be another “specially” modest day – there were years when I thought I had to do something extra particular on that day or make some extra efforts, but in reality, I just want to relax. I want it to be a calm, good day. I didn’t manage to make a huge progress with my battles yet, but this is the first birthday I spend blogging. I hope there are many more years ahead, so maybe, just maybe next year I’ll be able to tell you that I’m in some much better place… 🙂
Till then, I can just promise that I’ll continue to fight, with my fists tightly closed as I did in those first months of my life.

4 thoughts on “August 16th

  1. Happy Birthday! that is a wonderful baby photograph, I think your father gave you the talent for photography, I wish many happy days ahead for you 🙂 Judy

    1. Thank you so much Judy! I’m sorry I’m a bit late with the reply, we’re having some issues with my dad’s health and these days are pretty much stressful, but let’s hope things will get better. He used to make really good photos, all in those days when you couldn’t check the shot until you had the film processed, still he rarely missed a shot or did something wrong. I was born quite late in his life when he was already 40, so we missed some of that more quality time together – when I was getting more seriously interested in photography he already pretty much gave up on it. Anyhow, there are so many photos behind both him and me, still we never really considered organizing better those very good ones. I never saw this photo I published here till several days ago, my dad found it in an old box where my late grandma preserved it together with one photo of my dad when he was young, it was such a strange discovery considering this period of the year and the circumstances, and I somehow wanted to memorize it here. Thank you for you kind wishes, I am often very much scared of the future… but then I always have to force myself to think that there can be something good ahead as well. I hope you’re doing well, have a great week and all the best!!! Tanja

  2. Keep blogging, Tanja. I have a feeling that blogging is excellent therapy for you. ( It certainly is for me – my wife says I’m happier on the days I post ). Keep blogging and maybe you will be blogging with your fists open next year. 🙂

    1. Thank you Jim for this comment. Thank you so so much, I sincerely mean it. I really considered quitting blogging due to the situation with my father (I wrote a post about it) and this evening I was doing really, really bad. I started crying so much and I don’t know how I ended up with the phone in my hands, asking myself and God what I’m supposed to do now… and those were the first words I read after that question in my head, your words – keep blogging, Tanja. There is no way to ease what I’m going through, but blogging is at least a way to feel less alone. I’m glad that you’re happier when you blog, I really grew fond of your incredible garden and your stories. Thank you for being there, excuse me if I don’t manage to follow your blog regularly, but I’ll be in my thoughts in that little paradise in Indiana that heals the soul. I’ll try to fight, in whatever way I can. All the best to you and your wife, Tanja

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