All I've wanted to do is write. But about what? How my career was non-existant? How I felt like I'd somehow let the world down by not "living up to my potential?" How I felt like a bystander to my own life and on most days didn't feel like crawling out of the bed would do any good? To anyone?
Don't get me wrong. I have a beautiful life. I am married to the hottest, sexiest, smartest, kindest, awesomest man ever put on this earth. My kids are, well, the most beautiful children (inside and out) God has created. And, no, that's not bias talking, it's absolute fact. I have a home. A home that we own, no less. I have a vehicle (thanks to the sexy husband for making me get rid of my POS and buying us a new car). We have food in our pantry; although if you ask the hubs and kids, they will tell you that we, in fact, do not have food, we have ingredients, and there is nothing to be done with ingredients when they are hungry NOW. Heh-heh
So why? Why haven't I been able to write? Quite simply it's because I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. My life, as wonderful as it is, isn't what I thought it would be at this point. I wasn't the successful, independent career woman I was when I relocated to LA. I wasn't moving forward in the fast-paced manner that I was accustomed to or that others were accustomed to seeing me. For awhile, it was great. I had time to actually be at home with my kiddos. Cook meals. Be in the moment.
But I gotta say, after a minute of the solitude, my mind was going stir crazy. So, I set out to find a job. I had every expectation of being offered all the jobs I applied to and just knew my only dilemma would be which one to choose. I had no idea the only response I would hear was "Thanks but no thanks." Repeatedly.
It felt pretty much like:
What. Could. Go. Wrong?!?!
A lot. A lot can go wrong. People don't actually want to give non-profits money. It wasn't as easy in Los Angeles securing money as it was in New Mexico. Oh wait. No one knows me here. Of course no one is going to give.
Plan B: Start classes and let the work speak for itself. People will SURELY give if they see the artwork being created by cute, chubby-cheeked kids. After two years of teaching at UCLA and a couple of local schools, the money coming in wasn't nearly enough to cover expenses. There came a moment in the beginning of Summer 2015 when I had to have a come-to-Jesus meeting with myself.
+++This reminds me of a status post I posted on FB 5 years ago today: I asked myself, "Self am I crazy?" Self replied-"Think about who you are talking to."+++
On this particular day in May, my Self was actually quite wise. It was time to step away from the non-profit I loved. All the time, all the energy, all the words written, all the pictures taken, all the kids and parents I had met, needed to be put in a sacred place in my heart so I could move on. At first I felt like such a failure. I tried my hand at something big and it didn't work. I failed. The program failed.
But something kept nagging at me. To say the whole thing was a failure was to say THIS was a failure. And I couldn't. I couldn't say THIS was a failure, either. (FYI, for those of you new to blogs, click both "THIS" words).
What I could say was that I wanted to
I so desperately wanted to be able to move forward with my head held high without the "blemish" that I had not failed. I took a risk to do something exquisite and the result was THIS and THIS and THIS. So, no. I did not fail. I most definitely succeeded.
Realizing this truth, I now had to learn to
My beautiful project, my baby, Audacity Urban Youth Project, isn't gone forever. It's just not the time to pursue it. I don't know about you, but I love the Buddha. His teachings are so grounding. Especially when he said:
I had to let go of what I thought would be my legacy. Not because it wasn't meant for me, but rather because it's not meant to be right now.
The summer of 2015 was spent re-evaluating. Myself, my life, my direction, my goals, my vision. At the end of the summer I realized a few things: I deeply loved photography and I deeply desired to inspire and empower and I deeply needed to find a way to pay the bills.
Sooooo I had to figure out a way to make money taking pictures, all the while inspiring and empowering.
For over 7 years, I have taught children how to create kick ass pictures but I have never taken the time to hone my own photographic skill...the technical side of photography. So I did what every broke adult does....I went back to school.
My amazinglysexytalenteddelicious husband bought me a camera for our anniversary. Like, a real camera! For adults! Not a point-and-shoot that I had mastered while teaching children.
No excuses now. I have the camera. I'm taking classes to hone my craft. I know who I want my subject to be--women. All women. Tall, short, curvy, fit. I know my goal of photography--to show women their beauty as I see it.
Why does there always have to be and "And yet?!"
I wasn't taking pictures. I wasn't even turning my camera on. I wasn't even taking the camera out of the bag!!!!
Here's what I learned about myself in my first month of photography school:
I am not going through a mid-life crisis, I am going through a crisis of confidence. Me. Robyn. The girl who has an endless stream of confidence. The girl who regularly kicked the worlds ass. The girl who never, ever, ever took no for an answer.
I have become crippled with my lack of confidence in myself.
How did this happen??? WHEN did this happen?? Whyyyyyyy?!?!
Here's the cold, hard truth. It doesn't matter how or when or why I ended up where I am. What matters is that I put on my big girl panties and
And that's exactly what I did.
My Mentor has said three things that I constantly remind myself:
- You don't need to struggle! Struggling is a choice. It's a lie that you have told yourself and YOU. CAN. CHANGE. IT!
- You don't need to educate clients on your value. If you believe in what you are doing, they will buy from you. Because they bought into you and your belief.
- The third one hit me in the core so deeply I printed it out and put it in my photography journal:
I won't go into all that has transpired in the past 24 hours (this post is already long enough), but I see a glimmer of light. I've gotten out of my head and am in the process of getting out of my own way. I have found my UMPH!
Are you struggling? You don't have to walk your journey. Crawl if you have to. Just. Keep. Moving.
Don't stop. Don't give up on yourself.
Readjust if you have to. Think outside of the box.
Just don't. give. up.
UPDATE: Minutes after posting, I heard Runnin' by Naughty feat. Beyonce. OMG! The last lines.
Ain't runnin' from myself no more
I'm ready to face it all
If I lose myself, I lose it all
I'm ready to face it all
If I lose myself, I lose it all
Don't lose yourself, my friend.