i brought the box home. set it on the shelf and starred at it. i walked in and out of the room and the box sat on the shelf starring back at me. i opened it. i did. and pulled out my new canon 40d camera. i barely touched it the first few days. it was like a masterpiece and i was the kitchen help. my camera was like a work of art (a really expensive one at that!) and my fingers could only do it damage. i was insecure, afraid and struggled through each and every single page of that manual. it was like reading a foreign language! i was afraid and my fears went a little something like this: what if i bought a camera, took pictures, and they turned out horrible. what if i failed or worse, was rejected. what if i admitted that i wanted to be a photographer and no one ever hired me. what if people judged me. what if… and the laundry list of fears when on and on. the salesmen at Calumet might as well have handed me my new camera and said, “congratulations on owning a new camera and a million new fears to overcome.”
i was afraid of dreaming.
and somewhere along my journey that box and that manual (with a million languages) lost its power… the power to tell me i couldn’t have dreams and that i couldn’t make beautiful pictures. it lost the ability to make me hide from what i longed to create. i don’t think it was a single moment that melted my fears, but it was actually in failing and in being rejected that my courage took root. i guess it was the slow and painful realization that who i am, as a person, is more than being a photographer. that who i am is not defined by what i do. being rejected or making mistakes is actually what sets me free from my own self perfection, need to please, and fear of failing. and when the pangs of a potential client not hiring me arise or those dirty little fears creep back in… i see it as a gift. a little reminder to myself that photography, for me, is an outpouring of who i am, not the definition of what i am. it keeps me humble and humility is a good thing.
and i can dream and not be afraid.
now that box sits tucked away up in my closet. and every time i see it, i laugh remembering how a little piece of cardboard once made my body shake.
a little preview.
(Jennifer, if you are reading this, don’t be afraid)