A New Direction

In an effort to keep the momentum going with my writer’s block and chair re-upholstery procrastination, I’m taking up photography. I’ve always loved photography ever since I took it in high school. Back then I had a film camera and developed photos in the school darkroom. I loved it, but, I didn’t know what I was doing with my camera. I was intimidated whenever anyone spoke of apertures and shutter speeds. I just moved around the settings, manually focused and shot away. It’s amazing anything turned out.

Over the winter I had an epiphany when I was taking photos with my trusted point and click at a friend’s daughter’s birthday party. Well, I don’t know if it’s an epiphany as much as a willingness to finally listen to the feelings in my gut telling me what I really want. As I shot away, I was overcome with a feeling of total joy.

It felt like my gut was screaming, “I loooove this. I have to take this more seriously and finally learn to use a DSLR camera.”

For the first time I did not respond with the self-sabotaging, practicality, of my stuffy, overbearing voice that has always squashed these moments by reminding me that all matters of the gut are frivolous and dumb.

This time, I could not be dissuaded. I was not going to overthink it. I was simply going to remember that feeling of joy and continue to do things that would keep it alive.

I don’t know why at that moment at that birthday party I started to see an enticing island beyond the normally all encompassing sea of fear. It feels like it has something to do with losing my dad. Maybe when one of the life events you’re most afraid of happens, all the other fears don’t seem so important anymore. I don’t know. I just know there has been a change in me since losing my dad, an unwillingness to put things off.

There are so many things I’ve always been interested in but I always only dabbled and then gave up. I think partly I was afraid I wasn’t capable of learning a real discipline and being expected to have any kind of specialized knowledge. It’s unfortunate I wasted so much of my life telling myself I couldn’t do things. What I’ve learned is that most of the worrying comes from the not doing. Contemplating, overanalyzing, thinking about why that thing you want is a bad idea and remaining inactive is what causes anxiousness and a desire to give up before evening beginning. Instead, action should be the distraction from all the worrying.

I realized all that matters is actively working toward the thing you love because it fulfills you and makes you feel most like yourself.

After just one class this winter I learned the concepts behind apertures and shutter speeds. I can’t believe I was too intimidated to figure it out in high school. I don’t care to dwell on the past though. I used to be a professional dweller. But, now I’m just happy I’m figuring out a new way. I feel like my dad left me a piece of his passion for life and innate way of living truthfully.

The minute I started moving in this new direction everything changed. My neighbor connected me to a bunch of her friends who invited me to take pictures at their kid’s birthday parties. It’s been so fun. I started listening to podcasts on photography, creativity, starting a small business. In the process, the writer’s block lifted and I started writing again.

There are ups and downs of course. But, I am inching forward every day. I hope anyone reading this and relating to it can find a way to do the same.

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