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Today’s guest is Jason Evans

We go deep talking about:

  • The Shadows and Light Project
  • Why it’s important to join a mens’ group
  • The power of photography
  • Vulnerability and Honesty as a man and father
  • Taking care of our mental health and doing our inner work
  • Leadership and the ability to shoulder all of that responsibility
  • Perfectionism and Imposter syndrome
  • Why is it important to be involved in the lives of your children and some of your family’s children?

Jason Evans is a photographer, a Broadcast Systems Operator, and the founder and creator of the Shadows and Light Project. 

After navigating a series of painful life events, Jason decided to step up and take a deeper look into the reasons why he lived small, hid his voice, and lacked integrity. Through various therapy modalities, and the support of a men’s group, Jason came to realize he was not alone. In March of 2021, the Shadows and Light Project was officially launched.

Jason’s goal for the project is to shine a light into the shadows we protect so fiercely as men, and to transform them into something positive. He hopes to inspire other men to normalize their vulnerabilities, and in turn contribute to the global co-regulation of what is true masculine strength.

Jason is a leather craftsman, avid golfer, son, brother, friend, and uncle.

Find Jason online at:

WEB: www.shadowsandlightproject.com
INSTA: shadowsandlightproject
TWITTER: @shadsandlight

Curt Storring 0:00

Welcome to the Dad.Work podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of Dad.Work. This is episode number 58, shadows and light with Jason Evans, Jason and I go deep today talking about the shadows and light project. It's a visual and biographical collective of men sharing personal stories about fear, shame, joy, pain, Faith loss, humor and wisdom. It's a container for men to normalize their vulnerability and contribute to the global CO regulation of true masculine strength. And so basically what this is, as far as me being a non artistic person can explain is, it's a collection of photographs, paired with a story from a man. And the story is often vulnerable, revealing, sometimes painful, and is paired with a very amazing, beautiful photography session that Jason leads, I have actually been a part of this project, because I have seen it for the last number of months on Instagram and with a number of friends of mine, who have taken part in it. And it is giving men around the world who see this permission to be themselves permission to be seen permission to be vulnerable and to share their stories. And I wanted to be a part of this. And to be honest, this process to me, this triggered me in ways that I was not expecting, I have sat in men circle before I have worked with coaches before I have done a whole lot of crazy healing work before and growth work. And almost nothing prepared me for the vulnerability of being seen by a camera after having shared my story. And Jason is a fantastic space holder, he created a wonderfully safe container. He's a great photographer, a great artist, a great man. But there was something about being seen. I don't know if you've been photographed before quite like this. But man, it was like baring my soul. And it was so powerful. It was transformative, it was healing. It was just a wonderful piece of my journey that I can now look back on and share with my children moving forward. So I want to invite you to listen to this story with Jason, telling you about the shadows and light project, why he started his own vulnerability and wounds and healing all of that and his hopes for the future. And how you can take part in the shadows and light project if it's calling to you. You can find the shadows in light Project Online shadows and light project calm or on Instagram shadows and light project and on Twitter at shadows and light. I hope this conversation gives you license to share what's real for you to open up and face the difficulty of being vulnerable. Knowing that on the other side is often peace and clarity, and a wholeness of self that cannot be achieved without sharing what's real for you. With all that being said, I hope you enjoy this episode with Jason Evans of the Dad.Work podcast. Let's get into it.

Alright, dads, I am here with Jason Evans, who I'm excited to have on because he is the artist behind the shadows and light project. And I had the good fortune of participating in this project. And it did a number on me. Not only did I get some amazing photographs from Jason, but it actually processed me in a way that things in men's group rarely get the chance to hit me so deep. And so I wanted to have Jason on to share what this project is why it's so important to him and his hopes for this project in the future. And I want you listening to check this out. Because I think there's a lot of value here to both experience it from the outside and perhaps even be part of it. So Jason, welcome to the show. And I would love for you to start with like an overview of what the shadows and light project is.

Jason Evans 3:36

Wow. Thanks, Curt. Thanks for having me on. I super appreciate this opportunity to come and talk about the project. The shadows and light project is a visual and biographical collective of men sharing personal stories of fear, shame, joy, pain, Faith loss, humor and wisdom. It's a container for men to normalize their vulnerabilities and contribute to the global CO regulation of true masculine strength. I did read that bio there just because it's a bit of a mouthful. So yeah, the projects started about just just under a year ago, and there are now 17 Men 18 Today, there's a new one coming up this afternoon. So

Curt Storring 4:14

nice. Okay, so what like what is the process behind this? Can you give us more of a sense of like, what the project actually looks like?

Jason Evans 4:21

You bet yeah. So the the project is, essentially, men can go to the website, www dot shadows only project.com. And you can submit a story based on you know, really any story. It doesn't have to be about fear, shame, joy, pain, Faith loss, humor, wisdom. It can be anything really, so long as it's not selling anything or preaching a message, you know that, you know that unless it's, you know, it can't be selling anything or preaching a message other than your own honesty and vulnerability. So yeah, once a man submits the story, I'll take a look at it. I'll be in touch with them to set up a photo session. Typically The photo sessions take place in my apartment, you know, but I can, and I have gone to other locations. You know, if a man's not mobile or for any other reason that they can't get to, to my place, typically a photo session takes about an hour and a half to two hours. You know, most men come in, they're quite nervous, you yourself experienced that, I think. I'm also nervous to you know, meeting the guys for the first time. And a nice time, it's, it's great, it's a great, it's a good nervous, you know, so yeah, the metal come in, we'll have a conversation, we'll get to know each other a little bit. And then we'll get started. And where we get started is I have each man choose the music that will listen to, so the music would be a meaningful from their life, it can be from any point in their life, it could be current or from their childhood. Just any music that that's, that's meaningful to them. And typically, once we get the tunes rockin, it sort of takes that edge off, and most guys relax. And almost always, actually, they relax and sort of, I guess makes them feel safer, you know? So yeah, we do that. And then we'll shoot. Like I say, for an hour and a half, two hours. There's no real set process in that I use two lights. It's like, if you look at the work online, you'll see that it's very shadowy, and light. It's, it's very contrast II and and that's for a reason, right? Just like, part of the stories. They're not they're not always dark, and they're not always light, they're sometimes in the middle in the gray. Okay, so

Curt Storring 6:36

these pictures are black and white, they've got the pretty intense lighting, which is amazing to see. Like, honestly, if you are on your phone right now just look at shadows and light project calm. Is that the website?

Jason Evans 6:47

That's correct, or Instagram has shot shadows and light project? Yeah.

Curt Storring 6:50

Yeah. So I would just look on there. And for me, just seeing it was enough to be like, Okay, I want to be a part of this. And I didn't really know, like, why I want to be part of it, because it's quite vulnerable, I guess. And I've never had pictures taken of myself. But in seeing the images, there is a certain rawness and ascertain power. And the stories that the men share as well. It was give me license as someone looking at them to, to open up myself. And obviously, we're both in men's group, and we see the value in that. But I'm wondering, like, why, why do this in the first place? What was it about your life, your experience that made you want to do this, because it's both beautiful, and, you know, probably takes a lot of work. And it's just, um, it's not a project that there are many, like, so could you give us like some idea of, of the why behind this?

Jason Evans 7:40

Absolutely. So the why, for me, you know, I went through a really difficult time, in the last two years, I had a bit of a life crisis, you know, starting in 2019, where I got quite sick, actually, quite mentally ill actually, which was something I'd never experienced before. And I really couldn't understand why it was happening to me. And, yeah, it's sort of, it's, it started with a lot of worry, and it started with feeling like I had no purpose. And I, I started to start, I stopped eating, you know, and I and I lost about 40 pounds at one point, I had to be off work for four months. And, you know, at its worst, you know, I had to actually have my parents had to come and stay with me for about a month because it couldn't be alone, you know, and so it was really the roughest time of my life. And I was seeing talking to with, you know, I have a great therapist at the time. And he, you know, he was telling me, you know, at its worst, like, you know, we can get through this, you need to feel this, you know, you got to feel your way through this. And on the other side, I had my medical my family doctor, so he's saying, you know, you absolutely need to take some antidepressants. You're at a state now where this is, you know, this is not good. And so, you know, in the end, it turns out, they were both right. I did, after, you know, three trips to the emergency, you know, feeling hopeless. I did end up taking the medication, I fought it for so, so long. And as promised, in four weeks, I started to feel better. I did continue with the therapy. And, and it was also, you know, like I say they were both right, it was also super helpful for me to sort of feel you know, and just start to learn how to feel what was going on for me and why this was happening. Around that time, too. I was, you know, I was in a romantic relationship and we were having challenges there too. So as I got better, we I mean, to make a long story short, we split and you know, it was extremely heartbreaking. And I would call it I guess, the defining moment of what probably started this project, I joined a men's group that week, I went to my first meeting, and I cried in front of 13 guys that I've never met before. And it was, it was, it was just, you know, nobody batted an eye, none of them. Everyone, just no one treated me special. And, you know, everybody just supported me, and thanked me, you know, for being vulnerable. And I wasn't used to that I didn't grow up in that sort of atmosphere, you know, and that really lifted a weight off my shoulders. And so I kept going back. And, you know, I kept going back week after week, you know, three hour sessions, where we would just share everybody just having each other's back. And as I sat there, I started to think, you know, I want to offer this to other men who, you know, might not have, you know, the option to join one of these groups, or, you know, might not even be quite willing to, you know, at this point in their lives, but still, it gives them a place to tell their stories, because it's cathartic, you know, to write, to write to journal, to get it out, right. And so I wrote my own shadows and light story, I put it out there to some men in the group. They were all very supportive, as usual. And three of them stepped up and said, you know, I'll do this, I'll, I'll join your project. So they came over, I photographed them. We threw it up there, or I threw it up there the first three, about a year ago. And yeah, it was amazing. The feedback from other men, because we all have our stories, and some of them hit for certain guys in certain ways. And women as well, by the way, so many women, you know, write right in on to the project. And, and,

yeah, it's like, we're all dealing with shit in our lives, you know, and we all want to be heard, we all want to belong and feel a connection. And I think that's what this project does, you know, it, it gives, it makes you it gives it gives, it gives people a place to go, it's safe, and they can read, and maybe feel like they're not alone, you know, that there's other guys out there that are struggling with the same things as they are, and that it's okay to talk about it. And all of the men that stepped forward and step up to the project, make that you know, it's such a brave thing to do, because it really does make it safe for other men to acknowledge and and talk about stuff that they feel is unspeakable.

Curt Storring 12:47

Yeah, man that I feel like we just we turned a corner and you're just your own grounding to is like we're sitting here together. And just like going that place where it's very vulnerable. Like I see, I see you settling in for anyone listening, like we're looking at each other on this recording app right now. And I just like I can sense you as well. Grounding as you share. Because you're, you're used to it. Like we're one of a select group of men who share like every week, basically a men's group. And it's still hard. And it's still weird. But there's a comfort in it, because exactly what you just said, you're not alone. Like, I feel exactly what you're saying, and a lot of my own story, and I put my story out there, because it was important to me to a say it in a safe space with you, which you held space for me. And then to give other men permission to do that. Like that was my whole desire, beyond my admittedly large desire to have, you know, ego boosting pictures of myself, because I think we talked about that. I was like, Sure, this actually feels great. But like, that's just kidding, by the way like that. No, no. There is that ego feeling to be sure. But like, man, it was such a powerful process. And like, my question for you, as a photographer is like, Do you know why this is this works so well, being photographed? Like, have you ever thought about the power of photography itself?

Jason Evans 14:09

Wow, yeah, I've been a photographer for, you know, over 20 years. And that's a really, that's a really big question. I think for me, why? Yeah, I don't know. I guess photography, or, you know, specifically this style of photography really exposes emotion. I think, you know, there's something about I think, to the style, it's a very, it's a process. The images are processed in a tin type style. It's not tintype photography, per se. I'm not using a large format camera and I'm not shooting on metal plates or anything, but it's a it's a process afterwards. That gives it that effect. And there's something to that. I don't know if you know much about that old tintype photography, but yeah, it's sort of like the early days of photography. You know, And those photos often look slightly blurry. They're often sepia toned. There's often like blown highlights. And many, much of the time, you'll see there's no expression in those old photos. I think a lot of that had to do with because I, you know, I think it's because they had to stand very still, because they were long exposures. So you'll see a lot of that photography, and you look at them, and it's like, wow, like, you can really sense the person's emotion. Even if it's just, you know, melancholy or sad, or, you know, again, you don't often see a lot of happy shots. But yeah, there's some real emotion that's emitted from, from looking at that stuff, you know, and, yeah, I'm just thinking to if, you know, it's interesting, you know, during the process of the shoots, I allow the men to just, you know, flow, I tell them, just just just do what comes to you, you know, and it's all very honest, you know, like, it's, it's, none of it is really, I mean, there are definitely a series of posts shots, looking at a certain looking up at a certain light, or, you know, but nothing, you know, all of that stuff that you see on there is, is all coming from the mouth. And so it's their true emotion. And I think that you can feel that when you when you look at the images. Yeah,

Curt Storring 16:18

that's exactly what I got out of it. It was like, You can't hide from a camera. You know, we're, we're really good at hiding from other people with our ego and the mechanisms we put up, right like that camera, man, there's something about the open, I have the land, right, that appears right through you. And I felt like almost naked in front of it. Sure. I couldn't hide, even if I was trying to be cool. Like, you know, I might fool you, but she's gonna look at these pictures after I realize I'm a fraud, to be so honest, and just show up how I was. So for me, like, that was an incredibly powerful process of being seen. Yeah, being okay with that. Yeah. Did you like did you get that sense when you were shooting? Because I imagine you shot yourself? Right? Like you probably did? Or something?

Jason Evans 17:04

I did? Yeah. No, I said it on a timer. That was the first time I did you know, when that when the idea sort of sort of came about I, I first photographed myself before I even wrote the story. And it's interesting, you say that, you know, I have an opportunity to be a little vulnerable myself. I, I have a series of photographs with me crying, actually, you know, I'm a pretty sensitive guy. I don't know if that's comes across. But yeah, so you know, again, when I started this thing, I still am, you know, sort of going through a process of grief, you know, and I was really, it was, it was really powerful to sit there and just let myself fully express, you know, how I was feeling. And so yes, a lot of the photos that you do not see online, under my story are of me crying, and I didn't delete them. And they may come, they may come up, you know, they may, they may appear again some other day. You know, one thing with the project on that note is that it's open for men to come back again, you know, that's not really out there. But I'm saying it now. It's, you know, if men want to come back a year later, if their life circumstances have changed, or they've done some inner work, or some had some sort of growth, maybe a body change, or, you know, there's people that come with sort of body dysmorphia issues or you know, things like that. Yeah, they can come back and update their story, right. So, so maybe I'll do that, you know? Yeah, listening to you just now, it really, really does actually spark that idea. So that's, that's great. You were also saying to like, when you came for your session, we talked about perfectionism. And I think that's two things. You know, it's, it shows just when I meet people, it's like, oh, yeah, I'm just like you, you know, oh, you know, and also in your story, you talk about sort of rage. And you and I are just like, two peas in a pod that way, right? And then some other guy will come and he'll talk about, you know, you know, body dysmorphia, or whatever it might be, you know, and it's like, oh, I can I can relate with that, or I can relate with this. But yeah, I was just thinking to myself, I'm sorry, I'm off on a bit of a tangent here. But I was just thinking about just preparing for this. It's like, oh, I have to have this perfect. It's got to be perfect. It's like now it doesn't, it doesn't have to Hell yeah. He might not use it. And that's okay. And he might use it and I might not sound exactly how I want to. But you know what I got in the arena. And here I am. And we and we're doing it so yeah, man, this

Curt Storring 19:31

is so timely. This is almost like the second time this has come up in the last couple days for me is just like being in the arena. Yeah. And showing up and just like taking the punches, right and carrying on. And yeah, like I love what you said about finding the similarities and people and the peas in a pod because I I think most men just being in men's group. I think this is true, but for me, at least, I felt like oh unspecial like all these guys. They've got their own stories, but like nobody's living my life. Yeah. had a harder or whatever. And that's a bullshit because like, my life's been pretty great, other than some perceived traumas as a child and like, whatever, we've all got that, sure. But to imagine that, like, you're so special and unique with your suffering keeps you distant from people. And so I love that that's part of this project, too, is like, wow, you get this intimate look at people and then you get to go shit, I'm not so unique. Exactly. Have you noticed that too?

Jason Evans 20:25

Oh, not only have I noticed that, you know, it's funny, you bring that very comment up i in men's group. I don't know if it was maybe four months in, you know, and one of my shares I just announced, I just said, Hey, every guy Oh, you guys, I just want to I want to thank you for not making me feel special here. I literally said those words. So it's interesting. You say that? Because, yeah, man, it's it's really, you know, we're all the same. We all want to be loved. We all want connection, we all want to belong to something, you know, and I think I don't know what it is. But I think that we get caught up and like thinking on some level, like, we're unique, our problems are different. For me, like unspeakable, I can't talk about it, you know, and this was sort of what also started the project to is, you know, I never had a voice. You know, growing up, I was shamed a lot, you know, and that shame became toxic. And, you know, I took it on, and it became me. And, you know, having a voice meant, you know, or an opinion, a strong opinion about anything meant drawing attention to myself. And drawing attention to yourself means opening yourself up for more shame. And opening yourself up for more shame is like, you know, death by 1000 cuts. So it's like a snake eating its own tail, you know? And, yeah, so I think I'd again, just went off on a tangent, you keep sparking these things in my brain.

Curt Storring 21:49

That's the whole point. Talk about anything else. You know, if we don't answer my question, we get a lot of good stuff. And like, yeah, I don't care. They know that. Like, like we talked about during my sort of my shoot. Like, there's so many similarities. I was sharing, and you're like, dude, me too. Like your hair thing? Yeah, absolutely. I wear a hat. I'm

Jason Evans 22:08

wearing a hat right now, bro, I always wear a hat. Unless I haven't prepared because I want my hair to be look a certain way. And I don't mind saying it, man. And I feel like I think you understand. Yeah, totally. Yeah. No, it's like when it's like, when you when you submitted your story to, as soon as I started reading it, you know, you talked about you know, like this impatience or this rage that you had that you didn't know where it was coming from, you know? And it's literally, like, just landed so hard for me. And I was like, Oh, yeah. And the landed hard for me in a way too. Because when, when you get when you get that feeling when you when you feel like Oh, I'm like him, it sort of lessons that load for you. Like it just takes that weight off for it's like, okay, if he's figured this out, there is an answer. You know, right, there is an answer. There's, there's clearly an answer. This guy's like, maybe further along in his journey than me or he knows something. I don't know. But that's the point of the project, right, is that we can share, we're gonna have this giant library of all types of stories. And they can be happy stories. They can be funny stories, they can be sad stories can be difficult stories, you know, but each one touches a guy in a certain way. And they don't all touch guys in the same way. Right. So yeah, really? That's the that's the power of the project.

Curt Storring 23:21

Oh, yeah. I'm so excited to see like, I don't want to vision 510 years out from now because like, let's live in the moment. Yeah. And when you call it like a library, I was like, Oh, dude, that's amazing. Like, I would read the book, like, yeah, make a coffee table book make like a gallery where I can spend five hours walking around. Like, let me just experience this because that library of like, vulnerable honesty, whoa, dude, that's gonna be super powerful. I mean, it already is. Yeah, but like the sharing of the vulnerability and like, if, if you're listening to this, and you've never opened up to anybody before, like, let this be licensed to go do that. join him. Call me like, I'll take your call. Go like, oh, shoot, yeah, get a shoot with Jason, like, go do something to open up, because it's hard. And it seems like the impossible thing to do. But as soon as you do it, on the other side of that, like near death, feeling of vulnerability, is relief. Absolute. It's just it's like, Ah, why did I do this sooner? So, oh, there's

Jason Evans 24:20

no dogs, you know, I mean, the only real cost is your vulnerability, you know, like it's and which is a it's a good price to pay. Honestly. I think you pay, you know, more if you don't, if you don't open up, and you don't you don't start talking, you know, you quickly you mentioned sort of the future, you know, and, you know, a book and that's all in the works. You know, I'm actually working on a TED talk right now. It's a I know it might not sound like that. I could manage that. You know at the moment but I that is a goal of mine and I've never had goals, you know, and that's another thing that's come out of this project is I'm super super excited to have goals in my life. I'm clear about it. You know, I want to take this project on the road, and I want to travel around the globe, I want to offer it to men anywhere. And yeah, and like you said, galleries, I like to, you know, have physical prints as I travel, you know, the prints and the stories and put them up in galleries where people can go and see the physical prints and read the physical stories. And then, you know, shoot other men and, and, and talk about it in public forums, the stories behind the stories, the changes, you know, that it's created in my life, just listening to and meeting all of these other men.

Curt Storring 25:37

Yeah, men. So one of the things that I have noticed is there's a few projects, and I don't mean to make this about me, but I have had a lot of feedback on Dad.Work That like, wow, this is obviously going to work, because I have a ton of fear. Like, am I gonna be able to do this? Am I gonna be able to serve enough guys? Am I going to be able to reach people? Can I balance the necessity of like, you know, making money to keep this work up with the service that I feel deeply? Can I do any of this? Is it going to work, whatever. And I have had, thankfully, because I'm really trying to come at this with a heart based approach. A lot of guys go like, are you stupid, like, of course, this is gonna work feels so good, right? I get that sense with your project. Like, there's no doubt that this is just going to be like this amazing thing. And you're going to be shaped through it. And like the world's going to be shaped through it. And it's just, it's beautiful, which helps. But it's so important. And the thing that's coming up for me right now is like, I've had guys in men's group go. Like, I don't really know what my purpose is. I have a hard time making goals. And so when you said that, I was like, is there like, Do you have any inkling of how this came about? Like, did you just follow your heart? Did it require vulnerability? Do you feel like this is your purpose now? Like, do you have any thoughts on that?

Jason Evans 26:55

Yeah. Wow. Yeah. Again, so it came about from from from, from, from pain, honestly, you know, it came about from crisis, and it came about from being sick of my own shit, honestly, and knowing I needed to make some changes, real changes. And that meant being uncomfortable, you know, and joining a men's group was not on my, the top of my list in any way whatsoever, I was hiding my stuff, I was hiding everything for years, most of my life, you know, like I say, set with this sort of shame and, and what that does to a person, you know, and

Curt Storring 27:30

part of it was

Jason Evans 27:33

I took the catalyst was the breakup, really, that really, really, really started I think, the whole thing honestly. Yeah, on a on a deep on the deepest level. And is it my purpose? It certainly is, I finally found my thing. You know, like I said, I've been a photographer, I was a wedding photographer, I've shot everything you can imagine. You know, and I've always been very creative. I'm a leather worker, I'm, you know, I have a full time job as well in public television. And I found it, you know, like, I have so much passion around this, it's not work. To me, it's a lot of work, you know, it's a lot of work to get guys in to edit all the photos. You know, there's a process to the stories, too, not all guys, you know, obviously, are really, really good at writing. So, you know, my niece helps me with editing and, and it's not, it's not a job, man. It's so rewarding to me. And it is my purpose. And you know, I'll quickly just tell a quick story. I met a man over the Christmas holidays. And his name's Mike, and he inspires me I found him I don't know how I found him on Instagram, but I've been following him for a while. And this guy climbs the chief in Squamish every single day and has done so for 290 odd days straight by himself, sometimes a lot of the time in the dark in the middle of the night. And he does it for you know, he does it for mental health like to bring awareness to mental health. So I met him, I went to his house in Squamish on my way back from a trip to Whistler, and we did a photoshoot and I got talking to him. And he was so inspiring, just, you know, to me, to hear him say, I won't stop, nothing will stop me. I will not stop. And I said, Well, when are you going to finish? Like when is it? He goes, Well, it was 365 days. Total, like non stop. But now I'm doing 1000 Imagine, you know, so it's like him hearing him say that. It's like yeah, listen, like you're going to do 1000 I'm going to do 1000 I'm going to do 2000 Nothing will stop me. Yes, this is my passion absolute

Curt Storring 30:00

Hell yeah, man. Yeah. Oh, I love that. Like, I would love to tease out like the Oh, how did this happen? And like, exactly what was your process? But like, There is none. And I want to help the guys who have been asking me yeah, how do I get there? But like, I don't know what it is other than you just showed up, you put yourself in a very vulnerable spot, you did what felt right and then share it with the man. And you're like, oh, this has legs. Have you ever tried something like this before? And it was like not the right thing?

Jason Evans 30:28

Never No, not at all. Like I said, I didn't talk much about my my true emotions. You know, I was pretty closed off there until, you know, two years ago, I even a year and a half ago, you know, I was very closed off when it came to talking about my true emotions, you know, like, what was really going on? For me it's very surface level. Very avoidant, you know, that's my attachment style, very avoidant, and yeah, I couldn't do it anymore. I think I think honestly, the crisis that I taught tell you that I had there that I didn't understand. That's really what it was, you know, it was, you know, whatever you believe in God, or the universe, sitting me down and giving me a timeout and saying, Listen, man, you got too much to offer to to keep this bullshit out, man. Like, it's time, like, what you feel you can't talk about? That, I guess it would be the message I have to say is like, whatever it is, you feel like you can't talk about and believe me, I am that guy, you can, you just have to do it, you have to step up and you got to be brave. And you know, I've got a long way to go. By the way, I'm not I'm not by any means, where I want where I want to or need to be yet, but it's amazing. What happens if you put yourself out there and offer up a little vulnerability? And yeah, you'll be you'll be shocked. So I think the answer to your question is you just got to do it, you got to take a chance, you got to take a risk, you know, you know, you do have to take some risks. And you know, your emotions are, you know, can be a really hard risk for a lot of guys to take, you know, you know, out in your emotions. So, yeah, I think that's the answer is just, you know, step up, just do it.

Curt Storring 32:12

Totally. Yeah. And that's why I am trying to just like hold space in our men's groups with Dad.Work. Like, I just, here's this space, come find us if you need to, like have this man or men to hold the space while you share vulnerably because that's the other side of it is like, yes, share vulnerably. But it can feel too scary or too impossible if there's not that safe container. And that's like, what this whole project is trying to be about, like, let's just do our work, but you can come to it safely with me and with all the community.

Jason Evans 32:47

Absolutely. Yeah, I feel I feel that and that's and that's, that's part of the project, too, is like, you know, it does, it is a very safe space. You know, there's the Instagram component. You know, it's it's very much monitored to you know, like, the actual website is a better viewing experience, in my opinion. But there's no commenting. I may add that in in time, but you know, there is commenting in Instagram, but it's, you know, I keep a close eye on that, because this is a safe space. And you know, I'm not having any, you know, people who who don't want to step up and be brave and just just want to be off about, you know, who it scares, you know, I don't want them commenting. And

Curt Storring 33:28

yeah, I Well, man, I'm just imagining the hundreds of people harassing me on their on your page now that I never get to see it. The next question that I have is related to you as almost like the other side of the space holder as the photographer and the artists behind the project, when I'll just sort of set it up this way. When I became a leader in my own men's group, which were both part of the samurai brotherhood, it was time for me to do that work. My inner work became, how do I step into leadership? Because I felt I had come at least to some degree of comfort in the group as a man. And it only was when I stepped into leadership that I felt like super uncomfortable at my edge, all the rest of this stuff like okay, now I'm growing at a pretty high pace again. And I wondered if there's any of that for you behind the camera? Like, are you stepping into leadership? Have you learned to hold space better? Like are you a better man or a friend because you're doing this project? How? Maybe Okay, most succinctly, how has this project impacted you?

Jason Evans 34:42

Wow. Yeah. Absolutely. To all of that. Yeah. Yeah, what am I learned? I've learned for sure. I think, like we touched on is that, you know, I'm not special. I'm not unique. My problems are not unique. They're important, but they're not Unique, I do feel like it is my purpose. And it is my service to do this to to create this, this space to be of service in that in that way. A leader I wonder that's interesting, you know, within my men's group I have, I do feel like I'm on a path towards that. I used to be extremely anxious meeting, especially men, you know, I have my core group of guys, but, you know, the sort of, yeah, I would much probably in the past much rather have hung out with a group of women than men. And so I think it's really changing that I'm reaching out, I do reach out to certain individuals that I feel would make, want to contribute to the, to the project and who inspire me. And that would have been, you know, very difficult for me to do in the past to reach out and to ask another man to do something vulnerable, especially like, Hey, I have this project. Would you mind coming on and talking about your vulnerabilities? You know, I would never have imagined in a million years that I would do that. So that has been huge for me, I'm so much more comfortable. Even today, you know, I had nerves around this podcast, but there's a sense of calm, there's a sense of calm that doing the project has created for me in my life. Where I'm enough, you know, I think I think maybe that's it. Maybe that's maybe that's like a long way around saying like, what it's taught me is that I'm enough. And that is something I didn't believe, for, really, for more than 40 years. I am enough, man. And because I'm enough, it's not hard. It's not hard for me to be on here. Yes, I'm a little nervous, probably. All over the place with my with my word, it's but you know, it's not a problem for me to reach out to, to, to any man, you know, and, and to ask the question, you know, you know, I don't have to be ashamed of that. Right. So. Yes, sorry, I'm rambling on. But it's, it's that I'm enough.

Curt Storring 37:13

No, yeah. I'm glad that you did. Because through that explanation, you got to where you needed to go. Yeah. And that's, that's the joy of having conversations like this. And even in men's group, or like, you know, if you if you have a coach or something, that's what I've experienced is like, you get talking about the things that come up naturally, or you're like you told yourself the story. And only when you sort of let all of that base level stuff off, you get to like the core of it. It's like, oh, right, here's what's true. And that can be hard to get to. So like, that's right. And one of the things I like most about like men's work is like, I always say the process is the process. Whatever you take from the process, that's what it's supposed to be. So if I tell you, like, Okay, we're gonna do this prompt now. And it's supposed to bring up this feeling, or we're gonna go here, if you simply think that I'm a moron, and you hate me. And this fiery energy comes up in you. Great. That's your process. Right? Aim is this podcast, right? Like we are going through this, you get to be processed on this podcast in a sense, and extremely vulnerably. There will be hundreds of men listening, as well. So like, it's a given, it's a take. And this is also another way for both of us to do the work. Like, I'm not I don't feel natural at doing this. I don't feel like I'm a good conversationalist. I don't feel like I always have the answer. And I'm always trying to like, be perfect. Like, we talked about having, like, I got my questions here. I got, like, all these ideas, but like, what if I just sat? One if I didn't know for like five seconds, and I had to think, would everyone listening? think I'm an idiot? Yeah. Would they stop listening? Because I was like, um, hold on. Jason. Let me think about this for a sec. Right. And I don't know, like, maybe but then, you know, maybe they would be like, Oh, it's real. Yeah,

Jason Evans 38:52

exactly. And if they do they do, right, it wasn't for them. So you know, no, it doesn't know. It's, it has nothing to do with you, actually. Yeah, that's the beauty. You know, it's funny, that sort of brings up another thing about this project and maybe goes back to the last thing you're talking about is rejection. You know, that was another thing. I was not good with rejection most of my life. And I've reached out to a number of people and you know, there's been there's been some guys that have said they're gonna do the project, you know, and then they don't. And that's okay. You know, it's, it's, it's, there's, there's a What does that quote? If it comes let it and if it goes, let it right. So it's been hard for me to learn that lesson. It's not personal, you know, and people are going through their own shit right? They'll get to it when they get to it kind of thing. But yeah, it's been hard for me to where it was it used to be hard for me to feel that sort of any sort of rejection and I guess that would be the same you know, in your in your with the podcast

Curt Storring 39:50

is? Absolutely yeah, runs it runs deep man. And like I have also done a lot of work on that obviously. But like with a core wounding personally, I've just like abandonment. nickoli write all that kind of stuff. It's like, well, that's where the perfectionism comes from. Because when I can be perfect, and please everyone, then I can be liked. And if not, then I'm nothing. And people will leave me because I'm clearly not inherently good enough. You talked about shame earlier. Yeah, that's my story. No, so like, yeah, that was, yeah, right. That's where that comes from. It's like, well, I can't look stupid. Right? And yeah, not even for a minute, because you'll see right through and if you see for one minute, perfection requires 100% consistency. Otherwise, no, perfect. That's just that's right. Inherent in its nature, if you get a minute of me being imperfect, my entire self comes crumbling down, and you can see everything and you'll hate me. Yeah, like, that's the kind of fear that we're talking about here.

Jason Evans 40:47

That's beautiful man, you know, that. That brings up another topic, too, of like, sort of this imposter syndrome. You know, when it comes to this work, you know, there's a lot of photographers out there that I, you know, inspire me that I admire. But I do you know, I've been fighting with this sort of imposter syndrome, in the sense of, Well, they're going to, like, certain guys are going to look at this certain certain people, guys, women that are gonna look photographers are gonna look at this and think, Well, you know, technically, it's not perfect, you know, like, I can see that as he's doing this this way or that way. And, you know, like, Fuck all that man. Because that's what I'm kind of about to write. That's kind of what this project is about. It's like, no one's perfect, man. Your body's not perfect. Your hair is never going to be perfect. You know, nothing is perfect. And we shouldn't, you know, we shouldn't be wasting time really trying to be perfect all the time. And this thing will evolve and we evolve, we grow. And yeah, it'll get towards needs to be when it needs to be there, you know?

Curt Storring 41:53

That, that wouldn't even have crossed my mind. And I'm so glad you went there. Because it's like, oh, that's real for you. Because I look going on. Oh, my God, I wish I could take pictures like this. Like, I don't I'm not a photographer, but like, it would be sweet to have that skill. Oh, man, the way like, you put the light together, and then like you edit them. And you do it, like, from what I could tell you like it really quickly. It's like, Man, this guy's amazing. And here, you are going like, oh, I don't think I'm like, what am I really am.

Jason Evans 42:19

I really appreciate that. But I'll give you I don't think I'm bad. I think I'm pretty good. But I think I you know, I think like I said it's going to evolve it has if you look at the the photography on the project, you'll see the evolution actually of how the lighting is now finding its, its, you know, its groove, sort of its sort of, you know, its its final look, but yeah, no, I'll be honest, I'll be here's a vulnerable thing. I don't follow certain photographers on Instagram. And it's something that I play with, like, as I'm like, picking people to follow. I look at certain people that I that I admire or that I know, and I sometimes don't click that, like, you know, follow because so we talked about what if they look at it? And what if they have a what if they say something's gonna destroy me? You know? Not really. I mean, you know what, like, Hey, what are you doing? What are you doing with your time? You know, yeah, yeah. So, yeah, it's, it's, yeah, there's, I literally don't follow certain people at the moment. And I now that I've outed myself, I will I will change that. I think. I think maybe that's the lesson here for me today is like, yeah, man, like, just, it's, it's, it's, it's worthy. It's worthy of, it's worthy of being out there. So,

Curt Storring 43:32

yeah, it's worthy being out there. Even if you're the only one it gives a shed. Yeah. You know, like, that's where the word comes from. And I also happen to give a shit. And so if someone comes out, you like, Absolutely, yeah. You can be like, Okay, well, at least Curt likes it. Like, maybe I'm not a great photographer, maybe I don't know what I'm looking at. But like, it's amazing to me. So like getting that support and putting yourself out there. And this is one of like, this is what I'm working on right now to like, I had a call earlier today about connection, and relationships and making friends. And it's like, well, like how much are you sort of the the reason that you're not actually connecting with these people. And I had to, like, really own certain things that I was doing, or ways I was acting or like, lack of trust in finding my my team as it were. And it's like, I see me giving 100% support, like, you will never be able to know for sure if I'm just like fucking with you, but I'm not. And when I go like, Okay, well, I give my 100% support. I think well, other people won't give me their 100% support because like, I'm just too different. So the here's the difference coming back. Right. So like, Man, I don't have the answers here. This is just me sharing vulnerably because your shoulder blade, sure. But I love the flavor of where we're taking this, because it's just like, let's be real. This is just an honest conversation. It's like a template of what guys might do in their own lives. I think it'd be amazing

Jason Evans 44:56

with any luck Yeah, man. Yeah, yeah.

Curt Storring 44:59

Oh, so where Like, what do you want the shadows and light to look like you said you want to go traveling? You want to like maybe do other shoots with guys afterwards? Which is amazing idea. Yeah. Is there like a pinnacle to this? Or is it just like you're gonna keep chugging and climbing that mountain? 1000 days in a row forever?

Jason Evans 45:15

Yeah, well, I will keep probably climate for you know, as long as I can breathe, you know? Yeah, it's a life project for sure. You know, I'll be vulnerable again, here, it seems as we're being so vulnerable. I am, like I, like I mentioned, I'm writing, I'm writing a TED talk, right? So when I say TED talk, it's doesn't specifically need to be a TED talk, but I'm writing. I'm writing a talk, I'm writing my story. I'm writing this story. And I want to, you know, sort of my biggest fear in life has always been sort of public speaking, right, especially being someone who's toxically shamed and sort of hides, right. So. So I've got a title for it. It's called finding my voice. And, yeah, it's, it's in the works. It's a five year goal. So it's a little ways out. But you know, at this rate, who knows, I've got a lot to learn, and I've got to get my public speaking chops down a little better. But obviously, that all comes in time. And with practice, and yeah, I want to share my story, I want to share how this how this project came about. And I want to do that around the world, you know, and to whoever will listen really doesn't really matter, the venue. And my goal in life is to inspire other people. And that's what I hope to do in the big picture is just inspire anybody, you know, to come out of their shell, to use their voice. You know, to to, to be proud of who they are, you know,

Curt Storring 46:48

beautiful man that's so noble and worthy and also like, inspiring, both personally and obviously to you as well. I, I'm curious what kind of fatherhood thoughts you have. And I don't even know, like, where to ask or where to take that. Sure. But I just like, I'm always interested, like, what came up to you? Because I know you thought about it. What came up to you on the topic of fatherhood? Okay, yeah.

Jason Evans 47:18

Anyone who knows me, I would probably tell you, if you ask them that question that Jason would be a great father. I always intended to be a father. I still want to be a father. I'm 48 years old. I don't feel like it's too late for me, I'll be that old ass dad. But, you know, it's not it's not it's not off the, you know, it's still in my mind a possibility, by all means. I think what happened? I think a couple things happen. I think, you know, it's again, another cliche is that, you know, he thought he had time. And there's a little bit of that, but there's a lot more. He was hiding, and not being as authentic self. For a good portion of his sort of father baring years. And I don't think I would have been, I know, I wouldn't have been a good father. You know, had I had children in my 30s. And even and even into my early 40s I think I had too much anger that was suppressed, and I wasn't, you know, facing, facing all of that, that stuff, you know, so, thankfully, I'm so grateful that through crisis and heartbreak, you know, I'm finally at this place where I'm pumped, man, like, you know, if it happens, I will, I will, you know, do my very best. You know, and if it doesn't, that's okay, too. I, you know, I'm not I'm realistic about that. And I'm Uncle J, two dozen, probably a dozen different kids, some blood, some not. And, you know, I'm sure one of them will feed me when I'm old. If I don't, if I don't get my own, you know, now, it's, uh, yeah. So it's like I say, it's, it's, I would love for that to happen for me. And I do believe too, that it's all you know, my story's already written, right? It's already out there. I just have to keep putting in the work, you know, and the rest of it's all just gonna fall into place as far as everything really, but fatherhood as well. So, you know, and maybe I become a father to two kids, that's not my own, you know, that's fine, too. You know, I'm in the Big Brother organization as well. I haven't actually been paired up with a with a with a guy yet. But, you know, again, when it happens, it happens and I'll be there to serve and, and just try to do my best to be a good role model and inspire people whoever that might be.

Curt Storring 49:49

Beautiful, man. I'm glad to hear that and so funny that you said your Uncle Jay, to all these kids already, because when you were saying that I was like, dude, make sure that you are available. to some kids, because that's one of the things I'm trying to inspire as well, as I learn more about this is like, if you have kids, and you have people around you, then be that uncle or family friend to another set of kids. And if you don't then like, oh, man, there's so much value for you. But also for the kid in the family, you being in those people's lives and like, I would love to have more of that in my kid's life. That's what I am trying to figure out now. Like, how do I build that community? Sure, yeah. I don't know how else to say other than, like, please keep being in their lives, because I would love you and some other people to be in my kid's life. Like being be not me, and to share vulnerably and to be like, Here's what a man looks like. Right? So yeah, I'm very excited that you're doing that. I'm grateful for the world that you're doing that Oh, wow. I really appreciate you sharing all that man. Thanks, man. Is their last sort of ideas, thoughts, anything that you want to share? Before we wrap up? I think we've pretty much covered it. I

Jason Evans 51:01

don't know if maybe I'll just reiterate. I don't know if I if I've already beat this to death. But yeah, just if you want to take part in the project, or you want to follow along the web URL is www.shadowsandlightprojec.com The Instagram handle is shadows and light project all one word. And on Twitter, you can find it at @shadsandlight. I want to say, you know, I guess right now, I should point out too, that the project as at the moment is only open to men living in and or visiting British Columbia, obviously due to the global craziness that's going on. And yeah, if you're thinking about it, do it you know, start writing something even if you think you're not capable. It doesn't have to be perfect as we talked about, it doesn't have to be anywhere near perfect. I have an editor you know, I'm fairly decent with it myself and I can help you to, to translate whatever messages that you want to put out there. There's no cost to you. And yeah, your voice is important and your story is important. And your story will undoubtedly help other men you know on so many different levels even if it's just simply I'm not alone. And yeah, that's it that's that's that's it I think

Curt Storring 52:21

beautiful man Well, I'm going to put all of those links in the show note to make sure that guys can find that at Dad dot work slash podcast. Okay, man. Well that is that's a wrap and I got so much out of this this conversation like way beyond giving a shit to put it out like I'm really excited for particularly like I'm thinking of two or three guys. I'm like, Oh, I can't wait till they hear but I feel great having done this and that's what I know it's been a good episode. So I really appreciate you man and thank you so much for taking thank

Jason Evans 52:48

you so much Curt it's really means a lot to me. I really do appreciate it and it's really helpful for me to hear it's your part of my ladder man. So thank you so much.

Curt Storring 52:56

Beautiful Thanks, bro

that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including Show Notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to dad.work/pod that's DAD.WORK/POD type that into your browser just like a normal URL, dad.work/pod to find everything there you need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

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