About Mark

It’s been awhile since I wrote an updated “about me” section on either of my sites. I always dreaded these. I think part of that is the natural “oh gosh” what do I say about myself sort of feeling but I also think part of it for me was that for much of my life I was holding back parts of myself. Somewhat unconsciously I was picking and choosing how I wanted people to see me. What parts fit my image of a geeky sci-fi fan but didn’t raise any questions. I wasn’t exactly dripping in self-confidence.

There’s still probably not a wealth of self confidence but since coming out I have gotten more comfortable letting people inside the velvet rope. I used to claim that I didn’t care what people thought but that was very much lip service. The truth was I cared and my main response was to be as invisible as possible. I held up a little cardboard mask of who Mark Tisdale was but I barely knew him either. I’m probably going to spend the rest of my life picking apart who I really am versus who the mask was but we’ll hit the high points for those who are curious.

Photo of Mark E Tisdale - 2023

A Life In Three Parts

Part One

The first 27 years of my life was childhood and school. I was definitely one of the most aimless college students that existed. I loved going to school. I loved learning new things. I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up though. After six years I ultimately got an Bachelors of Science in Sociology. Sociology and Psychology were definitely among my favorite subjects but I had no actual plan for what I was doing with that degree. So I followed my aimless path on to grad school. I said I liked school!

I thought I would probably follow an academic path and maybe end up as a college professor but after two years of grad school I had done everything but write a dissertation. I made some great lifelong friends but otherwise I recognized that I wasn’t really interested in staying on that course. I thought I would eventually finish that degree just for the sake of completeness but it never happened.

Part Two

I spent a little over a decade following school working at a handful of different jobs mostly dealing with data processing at Equifax. Most of that time I worked and lived in the Alpharetta area and my life revolved around work. My friends were mostly comprised of people from work and even when I was home I usually had a work laptop. I’m not blaming the company culture or people I worked for or any of that. I have come to recognize that I lost myself in my work so that I didn’t have time for introspection. Whatever it was, the current big project mattered more than thinking about how alone I really was.

Regardless of the source of the motivation, I was getting very burned out as I neared year twelve. I tried changing positions internally. I tried to take solace with the trips I took a few times a year to far away places. But I was desperately unhappy and hated getting up each day. I ultimately decided a career break was in order. Surely if I traveled a bit I would be refreshed and build a new life for myself when I got done…

Except I didn’t travel as much as I expected. Oh I took some long trips here and there, but mostly I buried myself in trying to build up a new life being a self employed visual artist. To degrees I succeeded making enough to get by but not enough to flourish. By the time I was coming face-to-face with the years of avoidance, I was abruptly faced with being an only child with parents in failing health. First my father had a stroke and died in 2016. And then almost immediately my mother began showing signs of dementia. Not only had she never lived alone in her entire life, she was scared to be alone. And with the dementia, I saw no option. I slipped into my new role as a caregiver. The more time went on, the more of my days revolved around helping her get by. I squeezed in time for my digital art around the time she needed. In fact, moving more into digital art than photography was a matter of necessity not being able to get away as much to find new subjects for my camera.

Part Three

Part three is right now! If there’s a hard date for when this chapter began, it’s the start of the pandemic. Honestly on some level it had started a little before that but facing our collective mortality was the point in my life when I finally sat with my thoughts. As I slipped further into mid-life and could see that I was facing being alone in the world, I finally started asking myself if that was what I wanted. After my mother had a very rough hospital stay in 2022 it became clear I couldn’t care for her solo anymore and she moved into the nursing home that’s literally across the road. I still feel a strong sense of obligation to be nearby and ride this out with her but I was finally ready to turn the page and see what the rest of my life holds.

The future really is unwritten!

This Blog & What’s Next

I’ll be honest that when I say the future is unwritten. I mean it. I don’t have concrete plans. I don’t know where I want to ultimately live in this world. All these years later I don’t even have a solid idea what I want to do with my life. It’s ironic that we’ve arrived in a time where the two things I’m good at, writing and visual art, both seem to be destined to be done by artificial intelligence. And even if that doesn’t really come to pass I’m not sure I’m as good at monetizing them as I need to be. I’ve had fair to middling success with putting ads on my blog. In fact I recently decided to remove the generic ads from my blog. I’ve left up my blog posts that have affiliate links because those are all products I specifically use. So if you read a post telling you about a great widget, I use that widget otherwise I wouldn’t have written about it. Or if I write about a book, movie, etc. it’s something that I genuinely spent time consuming. Those post remain with their affiliate links intact but otherwise no ads and what I’m writing is a labor of love. I enjoy writing about my observations on life, etc.

If you enjoy what I share online and want to chip in a little towards the general cost of living, feeding and caring for my Mom’s cats, etc. see the following.