March 17, 2013 § Leave a Comment
So I think I might write more. Not sure. Not making any promises. But it is a possibility.
Today, I am thinking about one of my biggest barriers to success. It is a completely self-inflicted barrier but probably the most difficult for me to surmount. It’s caring too much what everyone else thinks and what everyone else is doing. Anyone else have this problem? There have been a rare few times in my life when my vision was so crystal clear and I knew so well who I was that I have leapt over this wall like it never even existed. The biggest instance I can think of was when I embarked on my round the world journey. Plenty of people doubted not only my ability to do it and not end up dirt poor on the street but also the practicality. I didn’t care. I especially didn’t care what anyone else was doing. It was just the path I had to take. If only I had that much resolve all the time. But often I don’t and I’m sure that is caused by many mixture of things. It is probably a very natural part of life for many.
I’ve been thinking about this a great deal over the past week or two. There is a big change coming in my professional career (but I think since my professional and personal are so strongly tied it really just affects my life as a whole), a change I probably very much need. But I’m frightened. Why am I frightened? For all manner of reasons, one being what if I end up dirt poor on the street? Probably mostly is that I am going out on my own as an artist with out a cushion anymore. Just me and my art and what if I can’t really connect and produce the work I want to? What if no one wants to buy it? What if the phone doesn’t ring? What if I just play it safe and remain average? Sometimes I am afraid to take risks and really be myself because the fear of what others may say or think creeps in. I don’t do well when I hear that someone doesn’t like me. I think I have shared that here before. I want everyone to like me! But that just ain’t possible.
I just came back from a week in Vegas of all places that quietly upset me. I know that I can play it safe and succeed. I have those skills, but the thing is I know I’d look back and be disappointed. I’m not really a play it safe girl. Why do you think I took off after college for a couple years to explore? That isn’t play it safe style. I want to live. And Vegas reminded me of this. It reminded me of the crazy traveler who made lots of friends with complete strangers, who bought a one way ticket with out much of a plan, of the girl who fell head over heels in love even though I knew it was doomed, it reminded that I only get this one life and I have gotten a bit too comfortable. I have been playing it safe and become more than ever concerned with what people think of me. It even guides some of my choices. Crazy, huh?
There is an opportunity on the horizon to dream of unrealistic things* and go after them. People will tell me to not set my goals so high, people will judge me for dreaming so high, and others will root me on! I might not make it the first time. If I fail, my hope is I will pick up and keep going. And the journey might change along the way. The most successful people dream of unrealistic things and believe they are possible.
Here’s to dreaming unrealistically and believing in it with every part of my soul.
Step one: Stop paying attention to everyone else’s journey. Step two: Work with a pure intent and accept I’m going to ruffle a few feathers along the way anyways.
*P.S. The lingo about dreaming of unrealistic things came from Jonas Peterson. He is a master storyteller and my greatest inspiration as a photographer. Check him out if you haven’t already.
March 2, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I don’t think everyone is like me, but I’m sure there are several others out there. I definitely have a very dear friend who shares my disposition. And it is the disposition to be focused on what you are missing out on instead of focusing on the very wonderful thing you are actually doing.
I don’t know if I have always been this way. As a child did I think about the toy I didn’t get for Christmas while playing with the one I did? Did I think about pizza when I was eating pasta? Did I play dress up and only long for blocks?
I did struggle to make choices between toys and treats and playtime activities always wanting to do everything, never able to choose just one. I have always found ordering just one thing on a menu absolutely impossible and repeatedly as a kid only realized just what I really wanted after the waiter walked away with our order. My parents didn’t really appreciate that.
And then thisis morning I was reading “The First Husband” by Laura Dave and this paragraph struck me. It highlighted my disability perfectly. Here our main character Annie Adams explains why a travel column promoting a cheaper travel option over a more expensive option failed.
“Who didn’t want to experience a city without breaking the bank? It wasn’t until years later that I realized what what we had done wrong. It wasn’t that we had provided a free option, it was that we had also provided the expensive option beside it. It was in the comparison that we lost the readers. Because all they could see then, was the option they wouldn’t be taking. All they could think about was they’d get if they could spend more. About what was about to be missed.” (The last line is key, it sums me up perfectly).
In life I constantly feel this way. I couldn’t choose a major in college because there were so many options and what if I was missing out on exactly what I was meant to do? After college, choosing just one profession? Ludicrous! There is so much to do in this world, why only specialize in one thing. The trouble is I can never seem to be content for long periods of time because I’m so worried about what I’m missing out on. Funny thing is, in my effort to never miss out on anything I’m missing out on one of the biggest things of all–life. Is that irony?
October 11, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Somewhere around July or maybe even before that I stopped having a life. You know the kind where you go outside at least once a day, shower regularly, remember to eat your first meal before 4pm, talk to your best friend on the phone more than once every 3 months. Yeah, I lost those things and so much more. I spent pretty much every waking moment on the couch, in my new condo, glued to my laptop. I was editing thousands of pictures, sending thousands of emails and sadly checking Facebook every time I needed a distraction from the actual work I was supposed to be doing. This isn’t how life should be for long stretches. It just doesn’t make sense. Yes, I have a new photography business, I am still fine-tuning my editing process and building a solid foundation, and learning so so much. But 3 months with out having a phone conversation with my BFF in LA? Really? I’m pretty sure my boyfriend considered divorcing me and my other Big Sky friends stopped calling me because I always responded, “Sorry, I have to work.”
I love my job, but not that much. And you want to know what it took to help me wake up and add a little more joy back into my life? Unexpected appendicitis. One day I’m fine and the next I’ve got a strange pain in my lower abdomen. Emergency room, CT scan and to surgery I go. I was a little frightened at first. Surgery? Me? I’ve never had one and wasn’t expecting to when I woke up that Sunday morning. But, I’m alive and sans appendix and feeling better than I have in a while. (I also really enjoyed having cable in the hospital and watching The Rachel Zoe Project at 4am when I couldn’t sleep.)
You see I got a forced 5 day break from my laptop. You’d think that when you are laid up in bed that you’d still be able to edit photos. However, when I tried, my mind just couldn’t compute. I looked at the photos and they didn’t even interest me, they almost seemed trivial. And that was a scary thought. Could my work really not be that meaningful or important? In the days since, as the Vicodin haze receded I’ve realized that was a perfectly normal reaction considering I had a very brief period where I felt physically threatened. It was only an appendectomy, a fairly common experience, but it still gave me a brief bout of panic where I began to think about my life in a different perspective. What had I been doing the last few months? When had I stopped making time for the people in my life? Yes, my photos have value and merit, just not as much as my work habits make them out to be. At the end of the day my health and wellness matter just a bit more. My people matter more.
It has only been 9 days since my surgery and most of them were spent on the couch. Now that I have my energy again and it doesn’t hurt to move I have a much needed, refreshed outlook that has added spring to my step. I’m getting more sleep, working less, cooking good meals, spending more quality moments with my boyfriend through out the day and just not stressing how much I have to do. I feel a little relieved and almost glad it happened. Kind of strange, but I guess sometimes life truly does give you exactly what you need.
August 16, 2011 § 3 Comments
I have a dream where I actually blog on a regular basis.
It’s just a dream, it in no way has come to fruition. This little dream that seems forever suited to sit on the shelf in my big giant dream closet has a lot of buddies. Here are a few of blog dream’s closest buddies.
1. Travel again from a backpack with a writing/photography focus.
2. Do something meaningful with photography (i.e. Donate family portrait sessions to families with an ill loved one, invest in youth that are interested in photography)
3. Go back to school (Get my masters and get every last drop out of the experience)
4. Make a difference in life (i.e. become a teacher, find a need in my community and work on fulfilling it, be more about others and less about myself)
5. Become a writer (I don’t even have to be published, I just want to write well and regularly)
Sure, some of those are pretty lofty and vague. Maybe that’s why they seem to have taken permanent residence in that ol’ closet of mine. How can you accomplish a dream when it isn’t even completely formed?
And then there is my goal closet and that is about 5x the size of my dream closest. Should that be the other way around?
Here I am drowning in goals and dreams and yes I have achieved quite a lot in the last two years. I have a real job, real relationship and I enjoy both. But there is a part of me that wants more, imagines that there should be more to life. Yep, I have hopelessly romantic notions about what life should be like.
I don’t want to forever be this way, this is one of my biological father’s biggest flaws, causing him to miss out on the wonders of life he already had in front of him. I have so so much that I don’t appreciate and enjoy. Big Sky, Montana, my boyfriend, my family, reading, writing, breathing, because I work too much because I want too much, and possibly not the right things.
Our culture just doesn’t know how to slow down and I’m suffering that fate at present. Sometimes you just need to stop, reevaluate and figure out what really is going to bring you satisfaction, joy and peace in life. Even if it doesn’t fit with the American cookie cutter dream. I have to think back to my traveler’s mentality that had lifted the societal walls and showed me the world was truly my oyster and redefine my goals and dreams. I have to not be afraid of what I might find when I do this, because I’m pretty comfortable at the moment. Its time for a little shake up. However, soul searching might have to wait until October, when I’ve finished editing thousands of pictures.
Yep, soulsearching is going on the calendar for October 6-10. Next thing you know, I’ll have to write sex on the calendar. Not good!
October 9, 2010 § Leave a Comment
I can’t believe in just ten days I’ll be in Heathrow airport again , lugging all my stuff down to the underground where I’ll here phrases like “Mind the Gap” and “Piccadilly Line.” It’s been over a year since my last visit and it seems like a lifetime ago that I called Bristol home. I have mixed emotions at the prospect of returning and seeing my friends again after so long. I feel like a different person, so much has changed in the past four months alone. I have two new jobs here in Big Sky, jobs that I love and am excited about, plus I’m starting my own photography business on the side. I’m more comfortable in my own skin, I know who I am and have a very clear idea of where I’m going, two things that definitely didn’t describe my last stint in the UK.
I wonder what this trip will be like, part of me feels like I shouldn’t be going. I have so much work to do, so so much and then there is the expense. On the other hand, I think I need the break from my nonstop life of late, I need the chance to just experiment with my camera and the craft of photography free of a customer’s expectations, and I just need to sit still and drink in the present moment a bit more (maybe have a few pints while I’m at it).
It should be exciting, it should be a time to read and write, a time for photographs, and a time for friends.
I’ll keep you posted.